Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still Using Scraps, and...

This blue plaid paper was actually already in the recycling box, but I rescued it yesterday (and its twin) and made two of these cards. The paper is by Keeping Memories Alive, the bird stickers are by Paper House Productions, the pine bough (just a teeny piece of a larger stamp) is by PSX, and the sentiment is Hero Arts. I used the Operation Write Home sketch #151. The circles were colored a bit with Distress Inks in the Frayed Burlap color. One card will go to OWH, and the other will go to a cousin of mine.
I copied this idea from a card I saw on Pinterest. It is very similar to a card design on OWH, not a challenge sketch I don't think, but an idea for using up scraps from the tutorial about Scrap Wrangling. Aside from the paper scraps, I used the leftover smiley flowers I used in a card a few days ago for the "bows" on the presents. Now that I get a good look at this card, I see I need to touch up the yellow ink around the sentiment before this goes in the OWH box.
And just in case my knitting friends were thinking I had abandoned my needles, I present two of my socks-in-progress. The blue one is the second of a pair for Meital, the grey is for someone very special.

I keep getting more and more inquiries about doing work for the Yizkor Book project. I have mentioned these before but it was a while ago. After the Holocaust, many of the survivors moved to Israel or America and began recording the story of their hometowns and the people in them. There is often a good deal of pre-WWII history in these books, along with accounts of the suffering endured by the townspeople during the Holocaust. There are descriptions of the town itself and of various events that took place there, character sketches of various people from the town, and so on. These are truly memorial books for places and people who are no more. Sometimes the chapters are full of funny stories, sometimes they are horrifying and tragic, and sometimes they are poetic. The Hebrew is almost always very elegant and lyrical, full of old fashioned terms and references from the Bible. Interesting and challenging work to be sure.

So I'm pretty busy on what is likely a four day weekend for most of you. I hope you're having fun!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Card Sketches

As you know, I most often use sketches from the collection at Operation Write Home for my card inspiration. I don't always follow them exactly, but they are not only a huge help but they also encourage me to think in new ways and try new things. But the card above is not (knowingly) based on an OWH sketch. I was wandering around YouTube the other day and watched a video by Paper Trey Ink called Make it Monday #69: Inspiration Into Unique Sketch. It was very interesting. The idea is to look at things you see in your everyday life and see if you can find inspiration for a card design. I have a much easier time following someone else's great idea than I do coming up with ideas on my own. This card is pretty much a CASE (copy and steal everything) of the card the gal on the video made.

I am happy to say that I used up even more scraps in the making of this card. The monkey is by Posh Impressions, and the saying was typed up in Word using the Kristen font. The monkey comes in a set that includes a cute vertically-oriented sentiment "I'm wild about you" but I thought this was more kid friendly. Too bad I don't have a stamp of a banana!

Only three days left until the New Year's Eve Paper Purging Party - I can't wait! Every time I leave my crafts room I think I should just go dump all of those tiny scraps now instead of waiting. But then I walk in there and decide I really should try to use just a few more scraps. I've got another scrap card in the works right now, in fact.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Than Cookies

I really had fun with this card! I wanted to use the scraps of this fun chocolate chip cookie paper, and I decided that the Operation Write Home sketch #152 would work perfectly. But what to put in the circle? I got the idea for the sentiment first (typed up in Word using the Kristen font), then I thought of Cookie Monster. The blue and black papers are also scraps, whoo hoo! Clearly I am still on a kid-friendly cards trend here. I have another idea that I hope to try out today; I got the inspiration from a video I saw on YouTube, but I want to chase down the link for you before I post. Oh, and I guess actually making the card would be a good idea, too.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Missing You and Kids

The Midweek Throwdown Challenge this week at the Operation Write Home blog, Stars and Stamps, is to make a Missing You card. Using (bet you already guessed) scraps I couldn't bear to part with, I made this card using OWH sketch #129. The sentiment was done in Word and printed out. I'm not sure which font it was. The pale paper was a gift and I am guessing the design on it was made with the shaving cream technique. The purple strip I did with alcohol inks (this piece was left over after I made those purple ornaments for the Christmas cards).
 Another scrap card, made in response to OWH president Sandy Allnock's challenge for us to make more kid-friendly cards for our heroes to send home to their children. The bear is by Darcie's, the sentiment is Hero Arts. I used a fun trick I learned on-line. The stamp is on clear acrylic, so I put my circle of cardstock on the table, put my clear acrylic block over that, then curved the stamp to fit inside the circle. This is the first time I've done this (at least, as far as I can recall...and please note my motto: "If I can't remember, it didn't happen!") Patterned paper is well-aged Frances Meyer brand. This uses OWH sketch #152.
Here is another card I think is kid-friendly. I love this little flower stamp with the smiley face by Close to My Heart. More scraps were given new life in the making of this card. Sentiment by Hero Arts. The blue paper is also CTMH, the yellow (which was also used to mat the circle in the card above this one) came in a packet of travel-themed scrapbook papers. I think I bought it in 2004 in Salt Lake City but I could be wrong about that (big shock, I know. Please see my motto in the paragraph above...). I based this layout on a card I saw linked in the OWH tutorial about using up your scraps of paper.

I also got a jump on my New Year's Eve Paper Purging Party yesterday. Sometimes I am just in the mood, you know? I put a fair sized stack of paper into the recycling box, then I went ahead and reorganized my embossing powder stash. A bunch went into the trash because of the high glitter content (plus, I never use them). Cards made for OWH and also for children in hospitals (which is something I want to start doing again) should not have glitter on them, because it can flake off and either stick to uniforms, thereby making the wearer easier to spot with night vision goggles, or it can get into wounds or stuck on skin or get in the eyes...Just not a good thing to put on cards for the most part.

Most of the rest of the embossing powder was poured into little plastic storage boxes. Usually ep (as it is called) comes in tiny jars. When you use it, you stamp an image and while the ink is still wet, you pour the ep over the image. The powder sticks to the wet ink, and the rest of the powder gets shaken off. You need to pour back what you don't use into the tiny jar. This equals a huge mess everywhere, at least in my case. For years I have seen people using plastic containers to hold their ep. This makes returning the excess so much easier! (The stamped and powdered image is then set with a heat tool, which melts the powder and creates a nice effect).

Just to make a long post even longer, I will tell you that I am making good progress on sock #2 of the pair of socks I started for Meital. I hope to have some knitting to show you soon.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

 A very Merry Christmas to you! As promised, here are the other cards I made this year. Hopefully these blog posts will help me avoid repeating myself next year!

The first card is one I made at Liat's request; she wanted to give a card to the couple for whom she babysits. Since I had enough of everything, I made two of these cards, and the second one went off to California to a friend of mine. The ornament stamp is part of a Duet by Posh Impressions. I used alcohol inks for the teal background and the purple for the ornament. The ribbon is something I bought in 1995 I believe, when I was shopping for things to use on a Purim costume for Liat. It wasn't what I needed (I made her a Little Red Riding Hood costume) but I thought it was too pretty not to buy. So you see, I sometimes do use those things I hoard for years and years!

 These two cards were created to feature that pretty paper with the holly, which actually was a border around a Christmas card I received many years ago and - don't be shocked - couldn't part with. I think is so pretty. The holly stamp used on the green cardstock in the first card is by Posh Impressions, the script Merry Christmas is by Art Impressions and the Happy Holidays is from Darcie's.
One more story of hoarding. These adorable snowmen were all at the bottom of a piece of stationery (or scrapbook paper) by Keeping Memories Alive that I have hung onto for many years. Couldn't figure out what to do with it, but it was too cute to toss in the recycling. The stationery had a border of that snowy paper you see in the card on the right. I trimmed them out, and since the snowman on the right was behind the one with his hands up, I had to trim away the left side in order to make him look normal. The Joy stamp is by Posh Impressions.

I know I (and probably everyone else) always say it, but I really do hope to get an earlier start on Christmas cards next year. There were so many people I wanted to send cards to, and I just ran out of time. I actually know people who make a few every month and by the time December comes around they are pretty much all set. I can't decide if I think that is wonderfully admirable or irritatingly efficient!

I am just about done showing photos of things I have done lately, so I'd better get busy making and doing new things to share.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Making Spirits Bright

Happy Christmas Eve! Above you see the other card design that I made more than once. I just love the images of the snowy rooftops and Santa (both by Art Impressions). They are colored in using Prismacolor pencils. I used the Operation Write Home sketch #148 for this card. I wonder if I will ever get through all of their great sketches? Especially since they add a new one every week! The snowflake paper was purchased in the summer of 2011. I wish I had bought more than two sheets. Oh well, I understand that the paper companies put out new designs every year, so I am looking forward to treating myself to new paper again this summer. Turns out I had a couple of these left over, so I have filed them under Winter in my OWH box.

Remember, you can click on the photos to make them larger.
Here are three of the four Wrap Me Up Puppies I made for some adorable children I know. The fourth puppy also had a pink blanket. I gave away one puppy before the elves managed to finish the fourth one, so there is no photo of the entire group. The pattern is in the book Itty Bitty Knits by Susan B. Anderson. She has many wonderful patterns available, some for free, others in books and leaflets.

From all indications the children love their puppies, and that definitely makes my spirits bright.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hello Again

Wow, a lot of time has gone by since my last post! The good news is, I have finally finished the four Christmas gifts I've been working on. One was gifted yesterday, and the rest will be tonight (I hope!). I will show them to you in my next post.

I made several of these cards and sent them out to friends and loved ones at the beginning of the month. I know at least some of them have been received, so I will share this here now. The dry embossed gold paper was purchased here in Israel (big shock!) and I believe was by K & Co. The saying was made in Microsoft Word (Edwardian Script font). The image of the dove (by Penny Black) was heat embossed.

I usually don't enjoy making many cards all the same, so this year I ended up making quite a few different designs, with only two cards made in multiples (this one and a design I will share next time). Then there are a bunch that were one of a kind.

I still have a lot of gift knitting to do, though obviously those projects won't be Christmas gifts. But I am really itching to get back to card making, too, so I will be very busy in the days to come.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pinwheel Card

This card uses up more of my scraps from the big messy pile on my table. The design is from the Pinwheel II tutorial on the Operation Write Home website. Since this card is a Thinking of You card and uses punches, I suppose it also qualifies for the Midweek Throwdown, but I'm not sure if it's kosher to post more than one card. I will have to check! I really love the colors in this card, and am so glad I was able to find a design that would use up the scraps I had.

Today I am working on finishing up some knitted Christmas gifts, but I am still thinking about card designs to make. Maybe if I make enough progress today I will take the time to make some cards tomorrow.

Friday, December 14, 2012

MWT Thinking of You

This card was inspired by the Operation Write Home Midweek Throwdown Challenge (a new one is posted every Wednesday). The theme for this challenge was to make a Hello or Thinking of You card, with the added challenge of using a punch or die cut. Anyone recognize this tulip paper? It features prominently in my post about scrap wrangling. I'm afraid I don't know who made the butterfly punch I used, but I bought it so long ago I would suspect it isn't even made anymore. The design for the card is loosely based on card sketch #122 over at OWH's Stars and Stamps blog. The sentiment stamp is by Printworks.

Scrappy Background

Here is the card I made using those strips you saw in an earlier post of my leftover paper scraps. I followed the tutorial for the Scrappy Background, using strips .25" wide. The paper is by Hot Off the Press.I love the look of this technique as well as the way it eats up small scraps, but I found this width to be a bit too fiddly for my taste. I will probably made more cards with the scrappy background, but they will have wider strips, possibly even strips of different sizes.

The image I used is by the talented and generous Paula of Handmade By Paula. If you are a cardmaker, you should definitely check out her blog for inspiration as well as a ton of fabulous free digital images.

I don't know if you can see it, but the lavender colored paper has a faint shimmer to it. I used the trick of cutting out the circular mat for the image from the middle of the larger piece, before I added the scrappy background to it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Believe it or not, I actually have some knitting to share with you, at long last! I just found out yesterday that this little tree (Ravelry link to free pattern) made it to its destination yesterday, so now I can share it with you. I wanted something I could send to our son of the heart (a term I learned from a knitting friend years ago), something not too big and cumbersome, something fun. When I saw the pattern for what I call the portable Christmas tree, I decided that was the right choice. I actually didn't knit the entire pattern, because it started getting too tall. Liat offered to make the angel for the top of the tree (she hasn't lost her beading skills, I'm happy to say!) and she contributed some beads and charms for the decorations, too. Meital and I sewed things on.

I have many other knitting projects on my needles right now, and deadlines are rapidly approaching. Time to get busy! I hope you're all having a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Honor of Caro's Birthday

In honor of Caro's birthday, folks are making birthday cards to send to Operation Write Home. As soon as I saw this card (sorry, I don't have a direct link to the cardmaker's blog post with this card on it) I knew I wanted to use it as the basis for a card using up some of my scraps. So that's what I did! The sentiment is probably by Darcie's, paper by Close to My Heart. The decoration on the hats was made using an EK Success flower punch, and the bling was a gift.

Caro, if you're reading this, I hope you had a very happy birthday!

Scrap Wranglin'

This past Friday, while wandering around the Operation Write Home website, I discovered a tutorial about dealing with all those pesky scraps of cardstock we paper crafters tend to hoard for some unknown reason. Since this was a problem that was currently annoying me to no end, leaving me feeling irritable and unsettled (you know how I love to organize and be organized!) I decided to see what the Scrap Wrangler had to say. This is a hilariously helpful video, but if you don't have time or the privacy to watch it, the entire text is written out at that link.

The first element of wrangling your scraps is to go through and cut out card-sized (i.e. A2 or 4.25" x 5.5") pieces. That is the biggest your OWH cards for heroes to send home can be. If you're like me and send larger cards to your friends and family, you can do what I did: since most of my scraps wouldn't have been big enough for those cards (5" x 6.5"), I decided I would use whole sheets of paper and cardstock for the larger cards. Simpler that way. Anyway, above you can see my upcycled baby wipes box (which believe it or not - and if you know me at all you will surely believe it - I have saved since there was an actual baby living in my house. Note that my younger daughter is now 15. 'Nuff said!). Ahem. The box is filled with card-sized pieces of paper and cardstock that were cut from my scraps. Yes. All of that came ONLY from paper that had already been cut into and partially used!! Believe me, I still have tons of whole 8.5" x 11" and 12" x 12" paper and cardstock, too.

You can not begin to imagine how thrilled I became, watching my enormous herd of scraps become corralled and easily organized. Now I know what I have and what is more, I am using it! Since I finished filling the wipes box on Saturday evening, I have used up about 20 of these sheets of paper in the making of seven cards.
Another piece of advice from the Scrap Wrangler is to toss out whatever is left after you have completed the step mentioned above. But. I just couldn't do it. She then advises (since she knows us so well!) that we set a deadline of one week to use up whatever is left over, and then make yourself toss what's left. I am fudging on that a little; since the timing works for me, I am giving myself until 31 December 2012 to use up this pile of scraps you see in the photo above. Just as a note, the Scrap Wrangler provides many great ideas for card designs that are perfect for using up these smaller scraps. In fact, those pastel colored strips you see at the top right have already been used to make a Scrappy Background card, which I will share with you soon, probably in my next post.

Whatever does not get used up by the last day of the year will be going on a scrappy cattle drive to the recycling bin around the corner from my house (but first, we'll have a fabulously festive New Year's Eve Paper Purging party! Gotta have a party, right?).
Here is just one of the cards I have made in the last few days. It is loosely based on OWH Sketch #150 and as you can see it uses three different pieces of paper from my scraps corral. The cowboy is a stamp by Darcie's, colored with my BIC Mark Its, and I printed out the sentiment from Microsoft Word (Playbill font). Whatever bits and pieces were leftover were immediately tossed into the holding pen (uh, I mean recycling box) that sits in my crafts room. I think I'm getting the hang of this!

I really had a blast getting my scraps wrangled, and even if you don't love organizing, I can guarantee you'll enjoy having all of that paper cut and ready to use in manageable pieces. I can't believe how many cards I've made since I did this. Usually I only manage to do a couple per week. I realize now that what was slowing me down was the mess of scraps. So, thanks Scrap Wrangler!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

ODBD December Challenge

This card is for the Our Daily Bread Designs December Challenge over on Stars and Stamps. The challenge was to use flowers in your cards. If enough people respond to the challenge, Our Daily Bread Designs will pay for shipment of OWH cards to our heroes overseas. I believe this stamp is from the (sadly) now-defunct Pacific Stamp Exchange (PSX). The pink paper embossed with the swirls was given to me long ago. I may well be one of the last stampers / cardmakers on the planet who does not yet own an embossing / die cut machine. I am thinking VERY seriously about buying a Cuttlebug this coming summer, though.

The sketch this card is (rather loosely) based on is the brand-new OWH Sketch #150. This is the second card I've made using this sketch, which came out today. I will show you the other one soon, possibly tomorrow.

My stamping table is fairly clean and with all of these scraps cut and ready to go, I can't seem to resist making cards!  Wonder what I'll come up with tomorrow. First, though, I promised Meital a trip to the mall, and I have about 8 dozen chocolate chip cookies to bake, for our friends on the basketball team. Tomorrow Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv plays against the team based in the town where we live. It has become a tradition for me to bring cookies for the guys to eat on the bus ride back to Tel Aviv after the game.

Hope everyone is enjoying their day!

Inspired by Jennifer D.

For some reason, organizing my craft room always fires up my creative mojo (and all too often, my inner Mojo Jojo, but that's a different story for another day...). While organizing and de-acquisitioning my paper stash, I rediscovered a large sun I had painstakingly cut out of a piece of cardstock and saved for some unknown future purpose, and these wavy border strips that I bought back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I didn't think much about them, except that perhaps if they did not get used up beforehand, they might bite the dust in the already much anticipated New Year's Eve Paper Purge Party.

When I took another look at the most recent featured cardmaker post on Stars and Stamps (the Operation Write Home blog), I was inspired by one of the cards made by Jennifer D. The above photo shows my riff on her fabulous card.  I believe the stamp is by Printworks. These cards are already tucked (version 2.0) and ready to send to OWH, but I think I will hold off a bit because they seem more summery than springy to me, and right now I am trying to focus on cards with a more vernal ambiance (ooooh, fancy!).

I also, believe it or not, made two Chanukah cards yesterday! Those used some stickers that have been marinating in the stash lo these many moons.

Gotta love stash busting!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

One More

Remember, I warned you I would post a few blogs today! I have so much to share, and I am so far  behind, that I decided to catch up as quickly as I could so I could start showing you newer things. Above is a card I made awhile ago. It is based on the Operation Write Home Sketch #146 and uses Close to My Heart paper and stamps by Stampers Best. Those stamps (part of a set) and another set were given to me by my wonderful friend Mary (she really is a fantastic person and friend) and this is the card I made to thank her (along with a very modest thank you gift). The two sets are just a few of the stamps that Stampers Best created and sells as a fundraiser for Operation Write Home.

I have been super busy since yesterday organizing my paper scraps, and I am looking forward to sharing that story with you soon. But I realized that I still haven't cataloged in these two stamp sets Mary sent me! They need to be included in my stamp catalog and put into a proper dwelling place (the top of the counter in my craft room just isn't the right spot for them!).

I hope you are all having a great weekend.

OWH Color Challenge

I made this card for an Operation Write Home Color Challenge (Turquoise and Silver) that happened several weeks ago. Since you can keep on submitting your cards to challenges for about a year, I didn't let the fact that so much time had gone by stop me! I had it in my mind to do something for this challenge on the day about a week ago when I went shopping at a nearby store called Art Center (can you guess it's one of my favorite shops?). They have lots of great craft and art goodies there, including this pretty paper with butterflies that I discovered on that shopping trip. Of course I had to buy a sheet (or two) for my card! The design is modified slightly from OWH Sketch #132. Sentiment is by Hero Arts.

This card is also in the packet I am planning to mail tomorrow.

Sending Hugs

Over on Stars & Stamps, the stampers' blog on Operation Write Home's website, there is a mid-week throwdown challenge for cards featuring love and hugs. Using OWH sketch #127, I came up with this idea, about which I am pretty darn tickled (click on the photo to make it bigger, if you wish). The paper is by Close to My Heart (retired), the teddy stamp is by All Night Media, and the saying is from Darcie's. Using a suggestion I found both on the OWH website and on the (incredibly fantastic - go visit her, especially if you like beautiful digital images for your cards - she's got freebies) blog Handmade by Paula, I went ahead and made as many duplicates as I could get out of the 12 x 12" paper I used (in this case five, because a corner was missing). More on organizing my paper in a future post... These went into a small packet of cards that I wrapped up today for OWH and hope to mail tomorrow.

I finally broke down and started using the tip I've read and seen on videos for years: if I can find a suitable container with a lid, I empty my little jars of embossing powder into the containers as I use them (white in this case). What a huge difference it makes! No messy, gritty powder everywhere any more. I am very happy!

Another thing that makes me happy today is that most of the Christmas cards I needed to mail out are now in the mail. Just a couple left to write and send. That is a big relief.

I have lots more to share and may make multiple posts over the next couple of days...consider yourselves warned!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cards for Family

 The cards I am showing you today were made for members of my extended family. I used long-retired Close to My Heart papers, card sketches from Operation Write Home, and stamps by Art Impressions (the house),
Posh Impressions (flower) and Hero Arts (sentiment). You probably can't see it very well but there is a sheer white ribbon on the pink card. Both of these cards, like the two I showed you in my last post, are from a set of blank 5" x 6.5" cards that I got at Michael's last summer (I believe it is their store brand, Recollections?).

In the midst of what promises to be a busy day, I find myself thinking about 7 December 1941. I wish there was a way to convince young people of the importance of remembering and reflecting on things that happened long before they were born (heck, 1941 is before I was born, too!). It seems more and more like anything from the past just doesn't hold any meaning for a generation that is growing up with everything happening at the speed of light. They seem to live only in the moment, with no respect for the past and no thought of the future. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


After I finally got around to upgrading to a more recent version of Internet Explorer, I had nothing but problems with the Internet, especially with Yahoo mail. So I used my desktop computer as little as possible, which of course meant I didn't do any blogging (all of my photos are on here). I have started using Google Chrome and so far it seems to be working better. So, hello again! Obviously, these are the Thanksgiving cards I sent out this year (I only sent three).
This is the first version I made, and I had planned to make all three the same, but...I realized it was the same sketch I had used for a birthday card, and I didn't want to send exactly the same layout to the same person. So the first card is the one I made for him. Both cards use sketches by Operation Write Home (this one is based on #144, the first card is based on sketch #142), papers by Keeping Memories Alive and a stamp by Posh Impressions. I was very happy with the way they turned out. Plus, using up more old paper, whoo hoo!