A crop party is a modern quilting bee. A group of friends gather to have girl friend time, sharing joys and sorrows while preserving memories and creating a special keepsake.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Eclipse of the Heart

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, and yes, we got married on a Friday.  I have been wanting to try an Eclipse card.  If you are not familiar with the technique, the idea is you die cut letters, or in my case shapes, out of your image and then put them back in place popped up.  Right now I am seeing a lot of cards using letters, but I like to put hearts and flowers on my romantic cards for my husband, so I went with hearts instead spelling out the word love.  He knows I love him, right?

First I want to talk about challenges.  I started this blog five years ago this month, so I could participate in the Mojo Monday challenge because I wanted to give myself "homework assignments" and grow as a cardmarker.  My cards have definitely evolved as the number of challenges I follow has grown.  I have just started following two new for me ones:  The As You Like It Challenge asks you to make a choice between two items, themes, etc. or maybe pick a favorite something such as paper and then explain why you made that choice.  This week the challenge is ribbon or flowers.  For an anniversary card that is easy.  My husband has always given me roses for no reason except that they are pretty and he thinks I will enjoy them.  Even in our starving student days he would sometimes stop by a florist and buy a single rose.  It should come as no surprise that most of the anniversary and I love you cards I make for him include roses.

The second challenge I have begun following, Happy Little Stampers, has several challenges each month that run for the entire month so you have plenty of time to work on your entry(ies).  They are designed to "inspire you to create using techniques or products that may be new to you or just a refresher on using them."  Each month there is a Watercolor (or any medium using water), CAS, Christmas, Mixed Media, Anything Goes With a Die Cut, and ATC challenge.  This card is for the Die Cut challenge.

If you like pink, with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, a number of challenges including The Sisterhood of Crafters, Craft Rocket Challenges, Fussy and Fancy Friday Challenge want to see projects featuring it.  I am also entering this in the Stamps & Fun = Creativity challenge to make something "non cute."

Now back to the card:

I started with a stamp from the Lady Rose set by Tom Holtz whose designs are often messy with a lot of texture and a vintage feel.  This is what it looks like stamped with black ink on white and dark brown on ivory paper:

When colored with your favorite medium, the color of the ink will dominate when using a dark ink to stamp.  I chose to stamp it in Close to My Heart's Champagne ink which is a light beige.  This allowed me to use my Prismacolor pencils to color over the stamping.  Any beige showing through just added to the muted, vintage feel I was aiming for.  While I had the Champagne ink out I sponged in circles around the edges of my paper to "age" it.  

Once I was satisfied with my image it was time to cut the hearts.   This is easiest using dies which  you can position on the image however looks best to you before cutting.  I imagine you could use a Cricut type machine to cut the word on plain paper, leave the cut and background together and then create your image so the raised sections will coordinate nicely with die cut.  I cut the smallest heart first and then the larger one.  Some people pop up their die cuts with foam tape.  I prefer to stack multiple dies cuts to get more of a chip board effect.  Again, this is where dies shine.  Each one will be exactly the same.  The one complication for this design was the carved out part in the large heart.  After each was cut I used the original heart to trace the carved out spot so it would be in the same place, allowing the smaller heart to fit in perfectly.  I used five layers of pink cardstock to pop up the large heart and seven for the small one.

Lastly I embossed the sentiment in gold, added a few clear Nuvo Crystal Drops for balance and mounted the panel onto a piece of pink cardstock.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Monday, October 2, 2017

Elegant Wedding Card

Over the years there have been a number of college students to whom I have sent care packages and cards of encouragement.  Some have been family, some the children of friends.  I have had the privilege to watch one of "my students" to grow from a high schooler singing in a praise band, to a college student, to high school teacher, and now a Navy wife.  I have always felt that gold, ivory, and black is an elegant combination suitable for a wedding. 

The center panel is Hero Arts' Leafy Vines stamp embossed with Ranger Princess Gold embossing powder and embellished with Black Nuvo Drops.  The sentiment was stamped with Black Versafine ink, an intensely black pigment ink, and embossed with Stampendous Clear Detail embossing powder.  This let me avoid the perils of stray flecks of black embossing powder.  To gild the edges I lightly pressed the edges perpendicularly into Versamark and then into gold embossing powder and heat set.  I popped it up with thin foam tape.  The ribbon is Shimmer Ribbon from Close to my Heart.

Now to photograph my cards I like to bounce the flash straight up to flood the subject with diffused, even light to show details.  Here is a shot with the flash bounced at an angle to show the shine.  Put on your sunglasses!

Here is the inside.  The sentiment and bells are also embossed.

Did I mention that the Monday Simon Says Challenge theme is "Heavy Metal?"   I am entering this card into that challenge and well as the Addicted to Stamps and More "Anything Goes" challenge.  Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Merry Monday Penguins

The theme of this week's Merry Monday Christmas Challenge is penguins and the Jingle Belles want to see some embossing, so I broke out my favorite penguin stamp set and made a card using this Freshly Made sketch:

I stamped the penguin and sentiment with pigment inks and heat embossed them with clear detail powder and then used a Staedtler marker to add a pop of red to the penguin.  I made the frame using two Nestabilities circle dies.  Before removing the paper from the dies I ran it through my Cuttlebug again with a tan embossing mat to get the ring around the middle.  To give the striped strip definition I lightly pressed to edges perpendicularly into a black ink pad.  Here is the inside:

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Black and White Daisy cardstock, Live Beautifully by Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Wintry Wishes, Very Merry Christmas, Merriest Christmas by Close to My Heart
Ink:  Black Versafine ink, Cranberry dye and pigment inks from Close to My Heart, Red Staedtler marker
Embellishments:  Snowflake punch by Marvy Uchida, Embossing frolder by Darice, Stampendous Clear Detail powder, White Nuvo drops

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fab Friday Ornaments

This card was inspired by this Fab Friday sketch:

The ornaments were made using the thinlet set that co-ordinates with Stampin' Up's Embellished Ornaments stamp set.  In addition to having outlines to cut out stamped images, there are some dies designed for layering.  To make the ornaments, I covered each die cut with Versamark ink, heat embossed them with Gold Superfine Detail powder from Ranger or Black Detail powder from Stampendous, and then layered them.   I looped black metallic embroidery thread  around the hangers and, once the ornaments were glued in place, wrapped the ends round to the back and used tape to secure them.  A small bow and pearls brightened up the ornaments.   Here is a close up:

The sentiment was stamped in Black Versafine ink, an intensely black pigment ink, and embossed with clear detail powder.  To gild the edges, I pressed them lightly into Versamark  and then gold embossing powder and heat embossed.  The sentiment is attached with thin foam tape.  Lastly I attached the completed panel to a card base with craft foam in between for dimension.  This card is a 6.5 x 5 inches to accommodate the ornaments and keep with the sketch.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Colonial White cardstock
Stamps:  Embellished Ornaments and Star of Light from Stampin' Up
Ink:  Versamark, Black Versafine
Embellishments:  Superfine Gold Detail embossing powder from Ranger, Clear Detail and Black Detail powder from Stampendous, Ribbon by Offray, Pearl Opaques from Close to My Heart, Sew easy Fancy Floss from We R Memory Keepers

Monday, September 25, 2017

First Christmas Card of the Year

It's late September, long past when I usually start making Christmas cards.  Never mind that temperatures have been running in the upper 80's...  This is my first of the season created using this Freshly Made Sketch:

I made the star using the thinlets that co-ordinate with Stampin' Up's Star of Light stamp set.  What I like about their die cut sets is that you can say they are value added.  Containing more than outline dies that let you avoid fussy cutting stamped images, they include dies that can cut layers, embellishments, and/or windows.  First I used an outline stamp to cut the star shape which I painted several times with a gold shimmer pen to give it a subtle background shine.  Next I cut the lacy layer and heat embossed it twice with white super fine detail embossing powder to give it shine and added dimension.  One things I like about this technique is that the sharp edges of the paper go away, giving it a molded look almost like icing on a cookie.  I wanted even more dimension to the star but hesitated to use pop up foam out of concern that the points of the star would be bent downward in the mail.  My solution was to cut three more background layers out of Kraft paper and stack them.  The finishing touch is a sparkle in the middle because sparkling is what stars do.

It's a little blurry, but this is the shot that best shows the gold shimmer.  I heat embossed the sentiment and two more stars adding sparkles, of course.  Here is the inside:

Originally I filled the center of the star with a brown marker, but it looked almost black, so I covered it with a bit of  Almond Glitter Glitz to better compliment the soft colors of the card.

There you have it.  One card down, 60+ more to go.  Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Oh Deer!, White Daisy, Desert Sand, and Cashmere cardstock, Kraft paper, all Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Star of Light by Stampin' Up
Ink:  Sea Glass, Juniper, Twilight from Close to My Heart, Versamark
Embellishments:  White super fine detail embossing powder by Ranger, Gold Shimmer pen, Brown and Blue sparkles and Almond Glitter Glitz from Close to My Heart
Other:  Star of Light thinlets from Stampin' Up

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Halloween Cats Love the Moon

Summer is winding down which means it is time to think about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and *gasp* Christmas.  I made this card using this Freshly Made Sketch:

The cats were cut using a die from Penny Black, coated with Versamark and black embossing powder, and heat embossed three times to give them shine and dimension.  I also embossed the sentiment.  I used a clear shimmer pen on the "moon" to make it sparkle, sponged the edges of the background with Goldrush ink to ground it, and finished the front with some Nuvo Crystal Drops in Bottle Green.  Here is the inside of the card featuring a trimmed, un-embossed version of the cats:

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Moonlight with Black, Garden Green, Goldrush, and Creme Blulee cardstock from Close to My Heart
Ink:  Black and Goldrush from Close to My Heart, Versamark
Stamps:  Purr-fect Halloween (retired) and Just to Say from Close to My Heart
Embellishments:  Bottle Green Nuvo Crystal Drops, Black embossing powder from Stampendous
Other:  Cat die by Penny Black

Friday, September 8, 2017

Back to School to Live a Dream

This card is for a young woman I know graduated from Radford University a few years ago with the dream of teaching art or maybe even photography.  Of course thanks to budget cuts and the emphasis on STEM, such positions are few and far between.  She cobbled together part time jobs, some in her field and some not, until last Tuesday she began the school year as a high school photography teacher.  I am so proud of her!

For the background I applied Distress inks directly to acrylic blocks, misted them with water, and pressed them onto smooth watercolor paper.  I left each block on for several minutes to allow the color to absorb and become more vivid.  I used a MISTI to stamp the cameras three times each to get the intense black and embossed the sentiment with black embossing powder on vellum.  The embellishments are Nuvo dots.  To make the mat I used the backside of a metallic paper I bought at Micheal's years ago because it was the most intensly black paper I had.

I plan to enter this card in the Paper Players "Back to School" challenge.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Paper:  watercolor paper from Close to My Heart, vellum and metallic paper from Michael's
Ink:  Wild Honey, Worn Lipstick, and Chipped China Distress Inks by Ranger, Black from Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Retired Close to MY Heart Stamp of the Months from years ago
Embellishemnts:  Caribbean Ocean Nuvo Drops, Black embossing powder by Stampendous

Monday, July 10, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches Meets Eastern Palace

I am an aging hippie who still sometimes wears flowing Indian print clothes.  Now they call it boho, lol!  I have always been fascinated with India.  I love the rich colors and gold accents in everything from clothing to artwork to home decor.  And the food of course...  My husband use to travel to India for work, and in 2009 I got to join him at the end of his trip and spend five too short days there.

When I flipped through the new Stampin Up catalog I knew the Eastern Palace suite products were going to be at the top of my wish list.  Today I played with a few of them using this Freshly Made Sketch:

For my first attempt I used the thinlits and stamp set, gold embossing the stamped images.  I even embossed along the edges of the center panel.  To accommodate the thinlit I wanted to use I had to make a 6.5 x 5 inch card rather than my usual 5.5 x 4.25.

You say you don't have a heat tool or maybe you don't have time for embossing?  No worries!  The suite includes gold vinyl stickers which I used here.

I had to fudge the dimensions a bit because the border stickers are 6 inches long.  This is the card I plan to enter in the challenge.  The suite also includes specialty paper and adorable mini tassels which I could not work into the design, so I will have to use them on my next card.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Fresh Fig and Tranquil Tide from Stampin Up, White Daisy from Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Eastern Beauty from Stampin Up
Ink:  Peacock from Close to My Heart, Versamark
Embellishments:  Ranger Princess Gold Embossing Powder, Blue Sparkles from Close to My Heart (retired)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Lighthouse and Waves for Mojo Monday

When I saw this Mojo Monday sketch I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it.  Finding the time this week was another story!

To make the background I stamped my new Hero Arts Waves background stamp using Versamark, embossed the image with Ranger White Detail embossing powder, and sponged on Distress Inks.  I left one at that and sprayed the other until it was saturated to the point of puddling and let it dry to a soft watercolor look.  I then ran it though my Cuddlebug with the sandwich I would use to die cut plus two pieces of cardstock to flatten it back out.  Lastly I sponged around the edge of each panel with Chipped Sapphire to ground it against the card base.  Background done!

Next I heat embossed the lighthouse and birds from Close to My Heart's Perfect Day set in white on vellum.  This is one of my favorite stamps because, not only do I love lighthouses, but this one resembles the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse in my hometown.  The trick to attaching vellum is to apply the adhesive behind the embossing.  For one I folded the top over the edge on the background panel and glued the flap to the back.

Rather than trying to match colored cardstock to ink, I cut strips of White Daisy cardstock and sponged on the same Distress Inks.  The scripture verse was stamped with Blue Denim pigment ink and embossed with Stampendous Clear Detail powder.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe quote was stamped with Versamark and embossed with Stampendous PEARLuster embossing powder.

Both sentiments were attached with foam tape.  A few Bitty Sparkles from Close to My Heart complete the card.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sherlock Seizes the Birthday

My sister is owned by a mischievous ginger cat with a white chin, chest and paws named Sherlock, so how could I not buy this stamp by Stampendous to make her a birthday card and enter it into the Seize the Birthday challenge to use an animal?  I stamped him with Chocolate ink from Close to My Heart and colored him with Prismacolor pencils.  The sentiment is popped up with foam tape.  Here is the inside:

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  White Daisy and Sweet Leaf cardstock from Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Feline Curious by Stampendous, Love My Cat and Birthday Sparkles by Close to My Heart
Ink:  Chocolate from Close to My Heart
Other:  Prismacolor pencils

Monday, May 22, 2017

Freshly Made Goldfish

I used my new Color Layering Goldfish stamp set from Hero Arts and this Freshly Made Sketch to make this card of encouragement for a friend.

Following the directions in Jennifer McGuire's Water Color + Embossing Folders video, I swiped mini distress ink pads across the flat side of an embossing folder, used the inked folder to emboss a piece of White Daisy cardstock, misted the now embossed and inked panel with water until it was saturated, and let it dry.  Of course it warped as it dried, so I ran it through my Cuddlebug set up as though I were going to use a die cut to flatten it out.

Next it was time for the goldfish.  I used my MISTI to stamp the first two layers leaving the second layer stamp in the MISTI and an acrylic block to stamp the "facial features."  I then stamped over the fish with Versamerk using the second layer stamp and embossed it with clear detail powder.  I repeated the embossing process two more times for dimension and shine.  The sentiment was embossed using a mixture of Sapphire and black powders on vellum.

Now to put it together.  I folded the ends of the vellum under the background panel and applied a toothpick sized bit of liquid glass under parts of the sentiment and the fins of the fish.  I attached the fish with thin foam tape and used liquid glass to embellish his eye and create some bubbles. 

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  White Daisy cardstock from Close to My Heart, Vellum
Stamp:  Color Layering Goldfish by Hero Arts
Ink:  Broken China, Pine Needles, and Chopped Sapphire Distress Inks by Ranger, Honey, Poppy, and Cocoa by Close to My Heart, Versamark
Embellishments:  Clear Detail embossing powder by Stampendous, liquid glass by Close to My Heart, Quatrefoil embossing folder by Close to My Heart

Monday, May 8, 2017

Freshly Made with ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers

I have been seeing a lot about ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers and had a birthday check to spend so...  Here is my first attempt with them using Altenew's Persian Motifs stamp set and this Freshly Made Sketch:

Yes, the tip really is a brush and they can be used like watercolors.  I made life a little easier by embossing the image which helped me stay within the lines.  The panel is popped up with a sheet of craft foam and the sentiment with foam tape.  Here is the inside:

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Strathmore watercolor paper, Colonial White, Thistle, and Fern cardstock from Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Persian Motifs and Beautiful Day by Altenew, Holiday Tags by Close to My Heart
Ink:  ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers, Fern from Close to My Heark, Versamark
Embellishments:  Princess Gold by Ranger and PEARLusture Rubellitte by Stampenous embossing powders

Monday, May 1, 2017

Freshly Made Watercolor Embossing

After watching the Jennifer McGuire video, Watercolor + Embossing Folders, I couldn't wait to play.  Essentially you rub Distress Ink on one side of an embossing folder, usually the flat side, put in watercolor paper, run it through your embossing machine, spray it with water until saturated, and wait for it to dry.  After doing one panel inking the flat side, I tried it inking the raised side for a different effect.  When the paper was dry I put it back through the Cuddlebug set up for die cutting which flattened it somewhat so it had the texture of heat embossing.  Lastly I sponged a bit of ink around the edges.

I then used this Freshly Made Sketch and Altenew's Peony Bouquet stamp set to make a birthday card.

The Peony Bouquet has four (!) layers, a base, an optional outline, a midtone shadow, and a deep shadow layer.  There is a PDF guide as well as this post and this video on Altenew's website to help you line them up.  I found it was a lot easier to see the parts of the shadow layers that need to line up  after the stamp  was inked which makes it hard to use a MISTI.  If you want to use a MISTI it is easier if the stamps have acquired a bit of stain to help you see which parts actually stamp.  If you miss a bit so they are not perfectly lined up you can fussy cut them and remove the parts that "stick out."  After I cut mine out I used a foam eye make-up applicator to ink the edges where I cut off the outline.  I could have also skipped the outline layer all together but I found I needed the outline the first few times I used this stamp to help me line up layers.

The sentiment is heat embossed in gold on vellum. and the flower attached with foam tape.  I used a bit of gold metallic paper to compliment the embossing.  Here is the inside:

I also plan to enter this in the Seize the Birthday Anything Goes Challenge.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Watercolor paper, White Daisy and Desert Sand cardstock from Close to My Heart, Vellum from Michael's, Gold metallic paper from Amazon
Ink:  Pixie, Hollyhock. Vineyard Berry, Sweet Leaf, Topiary, New England Ivy, and Cashmere from Close to My Heart, Victorian Velvet, Aged Mahogany, Gathered Twigs distressed inks from Ranger, Versamark
Stamps:  Peony Bouquet by Altenew, Holiday Tags and You Mean the World to Me by Close to My Heart
Embellishments:  Princess Gold embossing powder form Ranger
Other:  Embossing folder by Spellbinders

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Freshly Made Henna Elements

This Freshly Made Sketch has so many possibilities that I am sure I will be using it long after the challenge closes tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. EDT.  Thank you, Cecile!  When I saw it Wednesday I knew I wanted to play with it using Altenew's Henna Elements stamp set, but finding the time was another matter with my garden competing for my attention.  It's that time of year...

The square with the flower is popped up with foam tape.  What you may not be able to see in the photo is that the stamping is just as intensely black as the border because I stamped it twice.  How did I manage to stamp something twice in exactly the same place?  I used a MISTI which was a Christmas gift from my husband.  It tells you something about how crazy my life has been that I am only just now trying it out.  If you are not familiar with a MISTI, here is a video that shows it in action.   I'm sorry about the ad in the beginning, but it is the most succinct and complete video that wasn't trying to sell it I could find.  Tonic and Tim Holtz have a version set to hit the market soon.  I will say there is a learning curve.  Sometimes the paper will shift when you lift the lid, so you should check the position of the paper each time you stamp, even if you are using magnets to hold it in place.  Secondly, to avoid smudging your paper, it is a good idea to wipe excess ink from the lid after inking our stamp if you are using clear polymer stamps.  Ask me how I know.

Here is the inside:

I used acrylic blocks for the inside stamping because my MISTI is not large enough to accommodate a ten by five inch piece of paper.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used:
Paper:  Black and White Daisy cardstock from Close to My Heart
Ink:  Black from Close to My Heart
Stamps:  Henna Elements by Altenew, Just to Say... and Say It All by Close to My Heart
Other:  MISTI by Sweet Petunia

Monday, April 3, 2017

My Favorite Butterfly in Blues

I saw this Addicted to Stamps photo challenge and knew it was time to pull out one of my all time favorite stamps, the butterfly from the retired "Find Your Style" stamp set from Close to My Heart.

I also knew immediately that I wanted to use this Freshly Made Sketch:

To ink the butterfly, I pressed the stamp into my Crystal Blue ink pad and then used sponge daubers to apply Pacifica and Blue Denim.  After I fussy cut her out, I sponged some Black around the edge of her wings and colored her body with a black journaling pen.  I am not very adept at splatters, so a stamp from the Ink Blot set came in handy to create the border.  A  single black sparkle and flourish completed the card for now.  I am not sure what I am going to use this card for, so I will stamp a small sentiment to the right of the butterfly when I know.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heartfelt Musical Background Stamping

This month the ladies at Heart 2 Heart wanted to see some random or background stamping.  My original vision had been to layer on some more color and flourishes reminiscent of distressed B&T paper, but I decided less is more.  I started by swirling some Champagne ink with a sponge, working from just off the paper inward.  Then I stamped the flowers from the Hello Lovely cardmaking set in New England Ivy and swirled on some Sorbet and Fern.  While I was at it I rubbed some Sorbet in the upper left corner.  The trick to not making marks when you set the sponge down in the middle of the paper is to ink the rounded edge, pinch the wedge on the pointed side and start the swirling motion before the sponge makes contact with the paper while using a light touch.  It is better to layer to build color rather than starting dark.  Next I stamped the musical notes from the retired Universal Backgrounds set in Desert Sand.  Sometimes I would not completely ink the stamp; other times I would stamp lightly on scratch paper before stamping on the card.  I used the same process with the small butterflies from the Your Own Kind of Wonderful set.  The larger butterfly from the same set was stamped in Fern.

I embellished the card with some Fern thick twine and a retired Base and Bling charm.  Once I had the knot positioned the way I wanted it, I used a glue dot to hold it in position.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used, all Close to My Heart unless otherwise noted:
Paper:  Sorbet, Desert Sand , and Colonial White cardstock
Ink:  Champagne, New England Ivy, Fern, Sorbet, and Cocoa
Stamps:  Hello Lovely Cardmaking, Your Own Kind of Wonderful (retired), Universal Backgrounds (retired)
Embellishments:  Fern thick twine, Base and Bling charm (retired)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Favorite Crafting Tool

When I saw this Atlantic Hearts Sketch I found myself thinking it would make a good scrapbook page for a single photo and I just knew just the one I wanted to use.

With four babies born within six months to stay at home moms on my block, it was only natural for us to hang out. My daughter was very small (14 pounds at 15 months) and had several physical challenges which limited her mobility, but we always found a way for her to participate.  When Katherine had hip surgery and was in a cast from her armpits to her ankle on one side and her knee on the other, the other moms brought their walkers over to see if we could wiggle her into one so she could be upright.  This not only allowed her to participate in many normal activities, it kept her neck and trunk muscles strong which lessened the recovery time once the cast came off.  I will always be grateful to the those mom's.  This picture was taken at a "garden party" where we had a wading pool set up.  When dealing with toddlers in the days before swim diapers, it was easier to let them skinny dip.

Before I tell you about my scrapbook page, I want to say a word about the judicious cropping of photographs.  It didn't occur to me to write about this until after the photo was already cropped and mounted, so please forgive the cut lines.  This is the original photo pieced back together.  You can see that the edges are a busy and detract from the subject.

Now look what happens when you trim about a quarter of an inch off the top and a half from the side.  There is enough background to see that they are in a garden with a makeshift fort, but the focus is now on the interaction between the girls.

Now back to my project:

I combined this sketch with the Heart 2 Heart challenge to use tools to create a project.  Because I like to play with ink, my favorite tool is a sponge (or sponge dauber) which can be used in many ways.  You can use sponges to ink a stamp in multiple colorscreate a background, distress an edge in one or more colors, add dimension to a shapes, or outline a shape to ground it which is particularly helpful if you have a black and white object against a white background.  My favorite way to use a sponge, however, is to resist emboss which I did in this card which is still still getting hits three years after I posted it.

I knew I wanted to use the Hello Lovely cardmaking stamp in the background around the photo, but wanted to keep it subtle do avoid making the layout too busy.  I could have used second generation stamping to keep it light, but emboss resisting would be more fun.  Plus, I wanted to give my page a sweet, vintage feel.  Now the problem was how to position the stamping.  I could cut out completments leaving the backing paper intact so I could rearrange them, but once an image is stamped it can't be moved around.  Thin cuts to the rescue!  I love Close to My Heart's thin cuts because I have never been that skilled at lining up a stamp on a cut out image.  It is so much easier and less stressful for me to stamp, line up the thin cut, hold it in place with a bit of washi tape, and run it through my Cuddlebug.  I stamped and cut three and played with them until I was happy with the look.

I then removed everything except the die cuts and traced around them lightly with a pencil so I knew where to stamp and emboss.  Of course embossing required another tool, a craft heater, to melt the embossing powder.  Once I erased the outline, I used a sponge to rub Desert Sand ink over the image, layering and pulling the ink out lightly toward the center and in from around the edges of the page.  As I worked I periodically placed the photo and main elements back on the page to check the look.  Here is what the background looked like when I was finished:

I did the journaling and date on my laptop and printed it in dark brown on cardstock that had been cut to 8.5 x 11 to fit in my printer.  The flowers hide the edge of the not quite long enough  strip of paper.  For the date I cut out the center of the frame from the Hello Lovely compliments pack and put the printed date behind it.  Lastly, I rubbed a little bit of ink across both pieces so they would blend in and distressed the edges of all the elements including the complements.  Now it was time to put everything together.  How did I make sure all those strips of paper were straight?  I used my Versamat, another handy tool.  Now all I had to do was bling it up with some gold glitter gems and some hearts from the Hello Lovely complements.

Thank you for stopping by!  Now why not head over the Atlantic Hearts and Heart 2 Heart challenge sites for some inspiration?  You might even be inspired to enter Heart 2 Heart's tool challenge which is open through the end of March.  Until next time,  Hansi

Materials used, all Close to My Heart unless otherwise noted:
Paper:  Hello Lovely (only available until April 30), Colonial White, New England Ivy, and Desert Sand cardstock
Ink:  Desert Sand
Stamp:  Hello Lovely (available until April 30)
Embellishments:  Hello Lovely compliments, Gold Glitter Gems, Clear embossing powder
Tools:  sponge, craft heater, Hello Lovely thin cuts, Versamat, paper trimmer