Saturday, April 30, 2011

MIM#12 + 2nd Blogoversary Recap

Make It Monday #12

I played with some of my new Papertrey Ink dies today and I tried the line frame technique shown in the Make It Monday #12 video. I like the way my frame turned out, even though it isn't perfect, but I'm not really satisfied with the way the butterfly looks. It's been about six months since I last used a twine body (see my Embellish win on the sidebar) so I did that here but added knots at the top of the antennae. I tried several different versions of the layered butterfly: two layers, no stamping, etc. but it still didn't look right so I left it. When I photographed it, it looked like it was missing something so I added the bling. Now I'm not even sure that looks right. Well, creating is all about experimenting, right? This is a good reminder that not everything has to be perfect. I'm sure one of my girlfriends (maybe one of you?) will love the bling regardless!

2nd Blogoversary Recap

Wow, so my blogoversary month has come to an end. I can't believe I've been blogging for two years! All I can say is that it's been an amazing run, especially the second year. I looked back at some of my statistics and here's what I found. After one year of blogging, I only had a dozen followers. After two years of blogging, I have more than 245 followers. That is astounding!!! After one year of blogging, I'd yet to discover my cardmaking style. After two years, I know I love the clean and simple style. That is my strength but I'm happy to try new styles even if I can't get it right! In the past year, I've added three incredible design teams to my resume and in the past two months, I've had publication acceptances from Paper Crafts Magazine and CARDS Magazine. I am so lucky and thankful for all of these accomplishments because they've given me so much exposure and I've made incredible friendships as a result. I'm really excited to see what the next creative year brings!!

I had six prizes hidden in my blog posts this month and I'm going to show you a seventh prize, as well as recap the rules for winning. I will draw all the winners on Monday, May 2nd, randomly from all April posts, regardless of whether you commented directly on the post that had the prize. You must be a follower to win. I will announce the winners sometime this week and if you are one of the lucky winners, you will have three days to contact me. If I don't hear from the winners, I will redraw but hopefully I won't have to. This last prize is the Melody Ross set One of a Kind. When I ordered this, it came with two defective stamps (portions of them are cut off). Unity was ever so kind to immediately replace my defective set so I have this extra one with fantastic spares and you know I have to share my love for Unity! I crossed out the defective ones in red but I'm including them in the package in case the winner can find a way to use them. Best of luck to all of you!

Thank you all so much for being a part of my creative world!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury black & kraft cardstock; SU Certainly Celery cardstock; Papertrey Ink Butterfly Dreams; Memories Black ink; Copic 0.3mm Multi-Liner; Tim Holtz Antique Linen & Walnut Stain Distress Inks; Ranger Blending Tool; Papertrey Ink Signature Series: Butterfly, Butterfly & Love Lives Here Collection dies; Papertrey Ink Raspberry Fizz & Harvest Gold felt; QuicKutz Epic Six; The Twinery Charcoal baker's twine

Friday, April 29, 2011

Unity FWF Blog Hop {Apr 29th}

Hello, Friends With Flair! I missed two Fridays of blog hopping with Unity so I couldn't let this week pass without participating. So many depressing things have happened lately that I wanted to make an uplifting card to make myself smile and to give away when the need arises. There's always the possibility that I might keep this for myself. ;)

I used three stamps that haven't seen ink yet and the rainbow theme makes it easy to pull everything together! The flowers are from Bella Fiori, the ladybug is from Loolah Collection and the sentiment is from the store kit Believe in Fairytales (also available in the itty bitty On the Bright Side).

I hope you all have a very lovely weekend!

Sources: Gina K Designs 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; Unity+Bella BLVD Bella Fiori; Unity+Iron Orchid Designs Loolah Collection; Unity November 2009 Store Kit - Believe in Fairytales; SU Riding Hood Red, Pink Passion, Tangerine Tango, Summer Sun & Brilliant Blue inks; Stampin' Dimensionals

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pink Cat Studio ~ Apr 28th Digi Release!

Happy Thursday! Pink Cat Studio is back with a spring digi release!! Did you miss us? Today's sweet release features Betty, Billy and Lily with a lot of flowers! These digis are perfect for Mother's Day, Father's Day and a host of other occasions like birthdays, congratulations, friendship, get well, graduation and weddings.

My first card features Billy Holding Flowers for his lovely Mom. This Mother's Day card is already on its way to my mother-in-law!

I hope this card makes her smile because my father-in-law had yet another stroke on Monday. We fear the worst every time the phone rings because he hadn't fully recovered from last month's stroke. :(

My second card uses Lily Holding Flowers.

It's a generic card I made for my stash. I don't think I can ever have enough uplifting cards.

This last card is a Father's Day card that I'll be giving to my Dad. It features Betty Holding Flowers. She's so cute and this is my favourite digi from today's release!

I used Verve sentiments on all of my cards and I've listed them in the sources at the bottom of this post. We've had two days of thunderstorms and very little sunlight so I apologize for the darker photos, especially the close-up ones.

As always, thank you for supporting this Pink Cat Studio release! If you purchase one of these digis, please leave a comment because I'd love to see what you've made with it! For further inspiration, visit the Pink Cat Studio Blog or the design team links on my sidebar. Have a wonderful day!

Sources: Gina K Designs 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; Pink Cat Studio Billy Holding Flowers, Lily Holding Flowers & Betty Holding Flowers; Verve Because of You, Text Objects & Dad's Day; Memento Tuxedo Black; Copics; Stampin' Dimensionals; We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Twinery + The {Stamps} of Life Blog Hop {Apr 26th}

Are you ready for some fun?

The {Stamps} of Life and The Twinery Design Teams are playing together for this hop!

About The Twinery:

Our twine is made from 100% cotton, it's eco-friendly and made in the USA. Whether you're gift wrapping, crafting or tying up baked goods to give to a friend, our baker's twine adds a fresh, yet nostalgic look to any project at hand! Our baker's twine comes in 11 delicious colors and is uniquely twisted against a bright white hue, creating an eye-popping burst of color and a creative embellishment! Our twine has lots of color which lends to a fun, candy-striped look.
For creative ideas & more...visit OUR BLOG!

About The {Stamps} of Life:

We feature high quality, made in the USA, clear stamps and digital stamps/brushes for stampers, card makers and scrapbookers. Feel free to browse our gallery with more than 2500 samples using our stamps, watch our free how-to videos and join our club!

As you make your way through the hop make sure you comment on each and every post. There will be 4 prize winners chosen randomly among the blogs:

Two winners will win 2 stamp sets of winners choice valued at $12.95 (total retail value: $26.90 per prize) from The {Stamps} of Life
Two Colorful Bunch Sampler Packs ($20 value!) from
The Twinery!!!

The prize winners will be announced on The {Stamps} of Life and The Twinery Blogs on Tuesday, May 3rd.

The hop list:

The Twinery Blog
The {Stamps}of Life Blog
Jeanne Streiff
Julie Ranae
Deb Felts
Monique Hansen
Vicki Garrett
Monika Wright
Emily Niehaus
Emily Leiphart <--- You're here!
Beverly Sizemore
Tifany DeGough
Joana Studer
Katrina Hunt
Laura Williams
Jen Carter
Kim Howard
Jenny Suchin
Sheri Twing

For this special blog hop, I chose to work with a set called coffee4two. I've always wanted to own a stamp set involving coffee and I'm so happy to have one by The {Stamps} of Life! I love this set and it's going to get a lot of use! When I first saw it, I knew right away that I would be able to turn it into a tea set as well which is perfect because I love both coffee and tea!! Here's the card I made using Honeydew baker's twine and coffee4two:

You might notice that there's no tea sentiment in this set. I made my own! To create the cardboard sleeve/clutch/jacket/holder, I curved the "take a break" sentiment on my acrylic block and stamped it repeatedly so it follows the shape of the sleeve and looks realistic. To create the sentiment on the tea bag, I used the t from "thanks" and both the e and a from "a latte". I stuffed the vellum tea bag with tiny punched circles before stitching it closed with the Honeydew baker's twine in place.

I hope you like my versatile take on this fabulous stamp set combined with The Twinery's luscious baker's twine! Maybe you would love to own coffee4two and some baker's twine? Be sure to hop along and leave comments on all the blogs to increase your chances of winning one of today's amazing prizes! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!!

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury kraft cardstock; SU Early Espresso & vellum cardstock; Echo Park For the Record; The {Stamps} of Life coffee4two; Memories Black ink; Staz-On Jet Black ink; Papertrey Ink In Bloom & Linen & Canvas Impression Plates; QuicKutz Epic Six; The Twinery Honeydew baker's twine; Marvy-Uchida 1/8" long reach circle punch; Gutermann thread; sewing machine; Stampin' Dimensionals

Monday, April 25, 2011

Papertrey Ink April Blog Hop Challenge

I know, yesterday I said I would have something for you tomorrow but while blog surfing this morning, quite a few of you had blog posts for Papertrey Ink's April Blog Hop which I had totally forgotten about. I had planned a nice nap for myself but I just had to make something because I've always wanted to participate and it gives me the opportunity to use some stamps that don't often see ink.

The challenge is to make a masculine card so I used Masculine Motifs and Background Basics: Retro, as well as Side One of both the Sunshine and Linen & Canvas impression plates on the card base and koi fish, respectively. I always forget that black and blue is a fashionable combination so that's what I did here to keep the background colours a little darker and more masculine. For an embellishment, I knotted together two strands of Charcoal baker's twine from The Twinery which ties in nicely with the black sentiment.

Okay, and now, for sure, I will see you tomorrow for a very special blog hop with prizes! ;)

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury kraft & 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; Papertrey Ink Masculine Motifs & Background Basics: Retro; SU Brilliant Blue ink; Vivid! Red & ButterScotch inks; Memories Black ink; Papertrey Ink Sunshine & Linen & Canvas Impression Plates; QuicKutz Epic Six; The Twinery Charcoal baker's twine; Stampin' Dimensionals

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birthday Balloons

Wow, I can't believe it's been four days since my last post. I feel guilty, like I've abandoned all of you!! It hasn't been quiet on my end though. I've been busy 'sublicating' (making cards for publication calls) and I had a very nice Easter weekend with my family. I hope all of you did, too! This is a card I had submitted for the 2011 Stamping Royalty Card Contest. The winners were all announced last week and since I didn't win, I can now share this card.

This card uses an image and sentiment from Unity's The Best is Yet To Be. It was made in my favourite clean and simple style. I stamped the image and sentiment, shaded the balloons with Copic markers and added a glossy accent to the balloons. I'm not sure how I could've made it any better and in my opinion it's still great but with at least 2300 entries... at least one lucky hero is going to get to send this to someone he or she loves. Anyway, I was excited to read that Cristina Kowalczyk won with a one-layer card so maybe I'll have better luck next year. ;)

A big thank you to all of you who have left comments for me in the past couple of weeks. I'm still trying to catch up but I'll be around to visit all of your blogs soon! Thanks for sticking with me!! See you on Tuesday for a very special blog hop with prizes!

Sources: Gina K Designs 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; Unity February 2011 Kit of the Month - The Best Is Yet To Be; Memento Tuxedo Black ink; Copics; SU Crystal Effects

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Hello, friends! All day today, I thought it was Tuesday. For a few months, I was so used to posting almost every day and now that I'm only posting every two or three days, it feels so weird! That's still quite often but it feels like forever to me. :) Since my son has made a habit of not napping lately, I don't have a lot of time to craft except at night, which I don't enjoy, but I guess I'll have to get used to it. So, since I'm supposed to be crafting now, I'm going to make this a short post so I can get back to 'sublicating' (making cards to submit for publication).

One of my husband's co-workers just got back from a business trip to Italia and brought back two more Italian books for my son's Barbapapà collection (Barbapapà su Marte e L'inverno dei Barbapapà). We spent all day reading them over and over! This card falls into the masculine projects category of the Hero Arts April Contest. I used the International Skyline as the main image and Typewriter Letters to spell 'grazie' (pronounced grat'-zee-ay) which means 'thank you' in Italian. My first time using the Basic Grey Wander Collection was when I got a card picked up for publication in Paper Crafts' Go-To-Sketches, Volume 2. Come to think of it, I used the International Skyline on that card, too! It makes a great pairing, don't you think? ;)

The skyline isn't stamped in its original composition. I purposely stamped it twice directly on to the patterned paper and cut it so that the CN Tower (Toronto) is first and then the sentiment (where I wanted it to sit) spans between the two Italian monuments (Roma e Pisa). I cut out a couple of strips that reminded me of cobbles or tiles and added a dark green background. It looked like it was missing something so I drew in some faux stitching. It still didn't look right so I punched some circles and wrapped them around the edges. I finished by sponging the edges of the kraft card base. Before I discovered distress inks, I always wondered why anyone would want to do that but now that I have a couple, I'm developing an addiction. I almost have to stop myself from doing it on every card I make, especially since I love kraft so much. LOL

It's been a while since I mentioned anything about my blogoversary giveaways so I thought I'd reveal another one today. This MFT Button Quartet die will be going to one of my lucky readers! If you leave a comment during the month of April and are a follower of my blog, you might win this die!! So much for that short post, eh?

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury kraft cardstock; Basic Grey Wander Collection; Hero Arts International Skyline & Typewriter Letters; Memories Black ink; Tim Holtz Antique Linen & Walnut Stain Distress Inks; Ranger Blending Tool; Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen; EK Success 3/4" circle punch

Monday, April 18, 2011

Little Tree-Hugger

This card is for my husband's nephew, Ben, who is turning eight at the end of April. This past Christmas, Ben requested a violin tuner from us (no toys!) and for his upcoming birthday, he requested that everyone who intends to give him a gift make a donation to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change instead (no toys!). I think that is amazing, especially for an eight-year-old!

I had not yet inked up the Hero Arts set Whimsical Houses and thought that this would be the perfect set to use for Ben's birthday card. I created masks for the three houses, stamped a row of them on ivory cardstock and cut it out. I had a really hard time cutting out the trees (not sure why since I love cutting and you all know that!) so I decided to make my own trees out of woodgrain embossed cardstock and die cuts. I used the small flower stamp to create blossoms or leaves on the trees and stitched the pieces together right on to the panel of houses. Before adhering the houses and trees to the card base, I stamped grass along the bottom and added a sentiment from Essential Messages. I used Copics to colour in the little dog to look like their boxer and adhered him with foam tape. I inked up the edges of this card for practice and to give it a warm earthy feel. I'm entering this card in the Hero Arts April Contest in the masculine projects category.

It looks like I'll be making a replica or some other version of this card. My son really wanted to have this card for himself and started crying when I wouldn't let him have it. He watched me die cut the trees and was playing with the pieces before I put it together so maybe that explains his attachment. I explained that I made it specifically for his cousin's birthday so it wouldn't make sense for him to keep it but of course he didn't care. In the end, I convinced him that I would make him a bike version (go figure) and took his mind off it by giving him a chocolate egg treat. :Þ

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury kraft & 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; SU Naturals Ivory, Certainly Celery, Wild Wasabi & Chocolate Chip cardstock; Hero Arts Whimsical Houses & Essential Messages; SU Garden Green & Wild Wasabi inks; Memento Tuxedo Black ink; Copics; Papertrey Ink Woodgrain Impression Plate; Papertrey Ink Beautiful Blooms II #2 Die Collection; QuicKutz Epic Six; Gutermann ivory thread; sewing machine; Stampin' Dimensionals

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Krafers' Paradise Featured Crafter

I'm thrilled to be the Featured Crafter at Krafers' Paradise in Singapore! Sandy Ang contacted me a couple of months ago to ask me if she could feature some of the cards I made using Unity stamps. Krafers' Paradise is now selling the Unity co-brands and Sandy thought my work might be inspirational for their crafty shoppers. Wow!! Thank you, Sandy and Krafers' Paradise!

I made this card more than a month ago for Take Two Week but I never posted it! It's the perfect card for my husband who's a bike commuter. He loves that he can just whiz by all the cars that are bumper-to-bumper in traffic and get home to his family very quickly after his workday. ;) This card uses colours from an older colorQ challenge, #76 to be exact, and uses stamps from two Iron Orchid Designs sets, My Dear and Love Never Fails. The sentiment is from a Cosmo Cricket set called Joy Ride Icons.

I created a background using stamps from the two Iron Orchid Designs sets in Summer Sun ink and then stamped the man riding a bike. His hat and shorts are inked in brown, his shirt and legs in Kiwi Kiss and the bike in Old Olive. I inked the sentiment using the rock-'n'-roll technique with Kiwi Kiss in the centre and Old Olive on the edges. I cut it out, punched holes, strung Cappuccino baker's twine and adhered it to the white panel with foam tape.

I'd love it if you could stop by the Krafters' Paradise Blog and leave some love. Thanks so much!

Sources: SU Early Espresso & Old Olive cardstock; Gina K Designs 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; Unity+Iron Orchid Designs My Dear & Love Never Fails; Unity+Cosmo Cricket Joy Ride Icons; SU Summer Sun, Kiwi Kiss & Old Olive inks; Memento Rich Cocoa ink; The Twinery Cappuccino baker's twine; Marvy-Uchida 1/8" long reach circle punch; Stampin' Dimensionals

Saturday, April 16, 2011

With Sympathy

Warning: Reading this post may result in tears. Have some tissues handy.

On Wednesday night as I was preparing my Pink Cat Studio post, I received an email from Elen's husband that reduced me to tears. Elen's father had just passed a few hours before in Greece, which meant that it was already in the future my time. Elen had less than a week with her father by the time they arrived in Greece and her father slipped away quickly. It was almost 11:00 p.m., I was tired and I hadn't yet finished my post but I couldn't stop crying. I felt so sad for Elen. I couldn't believe how little time she had with her Dad since the doctors had told them he had two to three months. Life really is fragile and precious.

I didn't get to talk to Elen until today but I did talk to her husband that night to make sure he and their son were doing okay. He said that he had the easy task. Elen must have the weight of the world on her shoulders being so far away from her husband and son. I can't imagine having to make that choice and then actually going through it. Elen told me today that she spent the last four days of her father's life by his bedside and they laughed like friends and roommates. He must've been so comforted and proud. I have no doubt that he died happy.

In the 12 years that I've known Elen, I was fortunate enough to meet her parents on several occasions and get to know them. Her parents were always generous, funny and kind. They were always grateful that I was such a good friend to Elen and they made sure that I knew it. Elen and I have been through a lot together including divorce, job loss, travel, remarriage and babies. It's almost like living two lifetimes with someone which is why my heart aches so much for Elen, especially since she's so far right now and there's only so much I can do to comfort her. I know she's looking forward to receiving my package which includes the Brave Girl card I made for her and also the card and gift set I made for her parents. I just never imagined her father wouldn't be around to see it.

To make this card for Elen, I needed a lot of help because I can't make sympathy cards. They are so hard to make, a million times harder than masculine cards. I didn't know where to begin but the colourQ challenge #80 gave me a good start.

I really love this bird image from Melody Ross' She Did It Anyway and wanted to use it as the focal point of my card. As it happens, birds are the theme over at the current Unity Challenge. The sentiment was created using the alphabets from A Little Happy. (Thanks, Cindy, for letting me know what set they're from!)

I sponged all the edges which is something I rarely do but I like the softened look it gives to the card. I tied the Honeydew twine using the cross-and-twist method I described in wrapping this gift set so it's all one piece, bow included, and secured at the back of the panel with Scor-Tape so it doesn't slip off the edge.

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury kraft & 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; SU Tangerine Tango cardstock; Unity+Melody Ross She Did It Anyway; Unity May 2010 Kit of the Month - A Little Happy; SU Kiwi Kiss & Cherry Cobbler inks; Tim Holtz Antique Linen & Walnut Stain Distress Inks; Papertrey Ink Edgers #1 die; QuicKutz Epic Six; The Twinery Honeydew baker's twine; Scor-Tape; Stampin' Dimensionals

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pink Cat Studio ~ April 14th Digi Release!

It's Thursday and Pink Cat Studio is back with a new digi release! I'm excited to announce that the original Fairy Friends (used in my birthday blog hop card for Melissa) and more Enchanted Lily are now available in digi format!

I used the Bunny Fairy to make a set of spring/Easter cards. I've been spending way too much money lately on padded envelopes and shipping costs so I wanted these to be completely flat.

I started by cutting paper from Echo Park's Little Girl Collection to give bright pops of colour to the kraft base. I used the scalloped strips as well as the remaining concave sections. I cut contrasting straight pieces and sandwiched those between the scalloped background piece and the 'waves' in the foreground.

Shockingly enough, I was not in a cutting mood so I decided that I would highlight the Bunny Fairy by using the Out of the Box with Nesties technique.

I stamped the Bunny Fairy four times and used a pencil to trace where I needed to cut around the ears. Then I die cut the circles and trimmed more closely around the ears. I created a mask for the bunny and stamped the Hero Arts Clouds in four different colours that would complement and contrast with the respective patterned papers.

Then I lightly shaded each Bunny Fairy and coloured the flowers with Copics to coordinate with the papers on each card. Before adhering the patterned paper sections and the bunny circles in place, I gauged the position of the sentiments and stamped those before attaching the patterned paper. Basically, I completed these cards from the bottom up.

After attaching the paper sections, I ever so slightly bent the card so the scallops would pop up and I could tuck the nestie under one of the scallops. Only the ears are 'free' which gives them a cute 'flapping in the wind' kind of look. Don't they make you smile? To finish, I corner chomped diagonal corners using both the 1/4" and 1/2" rounds. I realized after I finished these cards that they are a pretty close interpretation of one of the sketches for the Hero Arts April Contest, just flipped horizontally.

Thanks for stopping by for today's Pink Cat Studio digi release! As always, more inspiration can be found on the Pink Cat Studio Blog or the design team links on my sidebar. Have a wonderful day!

Sources: Gina K Designs pure luxury kraft & 120lb pure luxury white cardstock; Echo Park Little Girl Collection; Pink Cat Studio Bunny Fairy (also available in rubber); Hero Arts Clouds; Hero Arts Essential Messages; Memento Tuxedo Black ink; SU Summer Sun, Pink Pirouette, Bashful Blue & Olive Green inks; Copics; Spellbinders Nestabilities Standard Circles Large; Papertrey Ink Medium Scalloped Border die; QuicKutz Epic Six; We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper