Sunday, December 31, 2017

Auf Wiedersehen 2017 + Best Nine Photographs and Cards

Hello friends,

The days are long, but the years are short.  A quote that many young parents don't like.  They say you've forgotten what it's like to be jolted out of bed at 5:30 in the morning, a sink full of dishes, dinners to be made, budgets to adhere to, and the list goes on.  I haven't forgotten.  Tonight I'd like to look back on those long days:

  • The long deployments, 
  • endless meetings and travel, 
  • one parent/teacher conferences, 
  • staying to a budget split in two, 
  • trips to the ER hoping the one hurt doesn't throw-up in the car.
But... life isn't a straight line.  Before we know it, children grow up, careers wind down, and retirement is on the horizon. How we'd love to do it all over again (I think).  This is the second year I have seen people show their "Best Nine"  So this is my take on it - with a few of my "Best Memories"

  • Making 250 candy apples every fall for the elementary school carnival
  • Fitting as many children as possible in a Volkswagan Super Beatle to take to T-Ball practice
  • Folding down the back seat of the Volkswagan and making a palette while traveling across the states.
  • Creating memories with a homemade Gingerbread house each Christmas
  • Reading the Incredible Journey to both my children during a deployment
Now I'm in my autumn season.  Still active and enjoying the everyday struggles and joy.   Now I have time to cultivate the creative side of my personality.   On this last day of 2017, I would like to wish you dear readers a very Happy 2018, and share some of my favorite 2017 Best Nine photographs and cards.

Best Nine Cards for 2017

Last card for 2017

Best Nine 2017 Photographs - Lowcountry - Charleston, SC

Best Nine 2017 Photographs - Phoenix, Arizona

Best Nine 2017 Photographs - San Diego, CA
With temperatures across the United States in the negative numbers, I decided to create one last card for 2017 keeping in mind all of our friends who live in snow country!  We wish you a very happy, healthy New Year!    And to those young parents who lament the early years and what seem to be endless days - embrace it, enjoy it, live each day with meaning and purpose.  Take the time to create the things that make your heart sing!
May your home be blessed and your faith increased.
Susie ~
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fa La La - Package Delivery!

I'm crazy in love with this guy!  I loved pairing the adorable Santa from MFTs Jingle All the Way with the new word die from Simon Says Stamp, Fa La La.  The Fa La La die is from the Making Spirits Bright collection has both the word and shadow in the set.  Again, to maximize my options I have paired several company products for this card.  Now that we're retired it really helps me stretch those crafting dollars.  The designer paper is from Lawn Fawn.  I had all the pieces cut and on my craft table so this card came together fast - perfect!   I had already cut several santa's and had them tucked into the cataloged stamp set.   It gave me the time to really enjoy a little Copic coloring.
Are you wondering how I added that sparkle to the photograph?  It's a filter from LINE camera and can be found in the APP store.   For those of us who just can't get enough sparkle and shine, this fills the bill without the mess.

Now go create something that makes your heart sing and puts a smile on your face!   And don't forget to check for a package delivery.  That santa is a sneaky guy (smiling).

Susie ~

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Geli Prints I Three Different Looks

Hi friends,

For all my friends who live in the 4 season zones -- I'm jealous (she smiles).  I have to admit that while the low country is beautiful, I do miss the cooler (notice I said cooler), weather of fall and winter.

Several weeks ago I created several cards using a Poppystamp die set called, Blooming Poinsettia, and a Memory Box die called, Circle tree.  The inspiration prompt was an envelope I found with several Geli Plate background designs I created several years ago (remember the Geli plate).  I didn't use them at the time but didn't want to throw them away either.  I'm so glad I put them away and had a chance to look at them again with fresh eyes.  I chose three background prints to cut the poinsettia's from and let the colors determine the design.   I hope you'll enjoy them.

The first print had a different shades of green, red, and white.  The flecks of white was part of the print.  It looked like snow to me, so I decided to pair it with the Memory Box die, called Circle Tree.  I applied a little glitter paste to the trees and did a watercolor snowy background wash.
I embossed the sentiments on both the green panel and the smaller strip of red then added some fun foam to the back and adhered it to the beautiful sliver sparkle paper.  I love how this winter scene turned out.  It satisfied my need for "cooler" weather (smiling).

Do you get inspiration from all the Christmas catalogs?  I snip, cut, and make notes - it's my form of a mood board (smiling). 
Twas the night before Christmas... 

This retro Santa image from Graphic 45 looks wonderful with the country plaid, kraft and green card stock doesn't it?  I added a little gold edging and some sequins to give it some pop.

And for the final card, a Geli print with beautiful golds, reds, and greens.  I stamped a lovely Christmas background from Hero Arts, Holiday Florals Bold Print and embossed it with antique gold embossing powder from Simon Says Stamp.  Both sentiments are from a new Simon Says Stamp, Stained Glass Greetings.   Three cards and three different looks using the Poppystamps Blooming Die, some Geli Print background panels and a little imagination.  I love it when I can use different products and stamp sets together.  And I especially love a happy find -- I'm so glad I saved those Geli prints.

Now go create something that makes your heart sing!
Susie ~
Friday, December 1, 2017

Simon Says Stamp DieCember Reveal - Picture Book Hugging Penguin

Hey friends!

Today is December 1st, and the first day of Simon Says Stamp Die-Cember.  A month long fun event revealing new dies and the crafty and unique ways to use them for your handmade cards.  Examples of cards created with the new dies will be shown on all the social media sites as well as FB Live this afternoon!  Grab a hot beverage and join the Simon Says Stamp family as they share their love of paper crafting with great examples, tricks and tips.

I'm sharing one of the new Picture Book wafer dies, Hugging Penguin.  How cute is this guy?!  And, I learned a new trick on how to better place inlay dies (you might already know).  I'll share that in a moment.

I used Simon Says Stamp, Hearts Alive die, and cut out a background in sliver card stock (save those negative hearts), and then using black and white card stock, cut out my Hugging Penguin using the wafter thin die.  This die has 2 main body pieces, 2 little feet, eyes and mouth.  Here comes the trick (she smiles).   When putting the die cut images together start by laying the image face down and put a strip of scotch tape across the back.  Then flip the whole image over again and place a little glue in the eyes and mouth and inlay the pieces back in.  You can now put adhesive or dimension dots on the back without it coming apart - YAY!   This is a terrific idea when using inlayed word dies.  Just remember to keep all the little pieces.  Where did I hear about this?  Check out Kelly Latevola You and Your Big Dreams blog - brilliant idea!    I popped up the little penguin and placed one of the little hearts over his hands.

The fun part of all of this was using the new-to-me Tonic Crystal Glaze Nuvo to fill in all the hearts.  And creating little eyeballs (laughing).  I very carefully put a dot of the white Crystal Nuvo Drops in both eyes and then a tiny drop of black on top.  I wish I had had a little more courage and put a little larger black drop (next time).

The word sentiment, I LOVE YOU, is from the Simon Says Stamp Roses for You set, and cut from sliver card stock and backed on red card stock for a little shadow.

So there you go, a cute, simple, Valentine card using the newest die from the Simon Says Stamp DieCember reveal, Picture Book Hugging Penguin.   It just doesn't get any cuter!   Hey, it's time for the FB Live event - see you there!

Susie ~

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cyber Week Surprise - Joy to the World

Hi friends,

Cyber Week at Simon Says Stamp continues with a brand new stamp set.  Today I'm sharing a card with you from the set, Joy to the World.  The set includes a manger, Christ child, Mary and Joseph, a little donkey and lamb and of course the star and several sentiments.   I think it's an adorable set for creating cards for little ones who are beginning to understand the nativity story.   My first card focuses on the Christ child and uses one of the sentiments from the set, O' Come Let Us Adore Him.

One layer cards are so nice, especially at Christmas when you have so many to mail.  With that in mind I decided to do some masking.  I stamped the manger and Christ child images twice using my Tim Holtz Tonic Craft Stamp Platform.  Once on the card, and the second time on masking paper.  After covering the stamped images, I sponged the galaxy sky and sand dunes with Distress Inks.  I also spritzed water blotting afterward with a paper towel.  Distress ink reacts to water and lifts it - a technique which provides a soft look to the sky.  Next, I flicked some white gouache across the sky for a thousand stars.  Once everything was dry I stamped the star above the manger in Simon Says Stamp Clear Watercolor Ink and embossed with WOW Embossing Glitter Metallic Sliver Sparkle.

I removed the masking and colored the manger and Christ child with Copics and deepened the shadows with Polychromos Colored Pencils

The sentiment is embossed with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Ultra Fine Embossing Powder on Woodgrain vellum from Hero Arts.

I love the versatility of using other die cuts to give a different look.  I used Lawn Fawn Cuts Stitched Hillside Pop-up with this card.

Two cards, different looks.  I hope you've enjoyed my offering as we continue a week of surprises with the Simon Says Stamp Cyber Week celebration.   Simon Says Stamp will be promoting the new DieCember release on Friday, December 1st on Facebook.  So grab a hot beverage and join in the holiday fun!  I'll be back on Friday with another card using a brand new die from Simon Says Stamp

Susie ~

Monday, November 6, 2017

Simon Says Stamp | Grit Paste and Glitter

Hi Friends!
I'm back sharing another card with you using products from Simon Says Stamp.  You can find this card on both the Simon Says Stamp Blog Monday Challenge, and the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge.

It's countdown to Thanksgiving and it always seems to go to fast - yes?   I love November and all that it brings.  Is it my imagination or are people trying hard to be more patient with one another.  I hope so.   The goal each week at our house is being kind and thankful.   We can always use a second helping of each, how about you?

My card is simple but provides a punch by using the beautiful Birch Tree Window die from Simon Says Stamp, and one of the lovely papers from the November Simon Says Stamp Card Kit, Kind Flowers.    The frame around the Birch Tree is the lovely Die-namics Stitched Oval Scalloped die.
The Birch Tree Window was cut on white card stock and sponged with Distress Oxide Inks with a little bit of Copic on a few leaves. I also sponged a light halo around the trees to give the appearance of looking through a forest window and seeing the first rays of sun on the frosty branches.  I spread a little bit of Distress Grit Paste and sprinkled it with Distress Stickles Dry Glitter for that frosty look with just a wee bit of green still showing on a few leaves.
The frame around the Birch Tree Window is Die-namics Stitched Oval Scalloped from MFTs.  The sentiment, Thanks, is cut out of gold mirrored paper to match the mirror behind the trees.  I've cut the word die three (3) times from white card stock and once from gold and stacked them.  This technique grounds and provides dimension across the focal point of the card.
I love the beautiful patterned paper from the November Simon Says Stamp Card Kit, Kind Flowers.  The whisper soft print background and the raised gold autumnal elements all add to the lovely Birch Tree Window.

I'm thankful for the season, our family, friends, and the blessings so graciously bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father.

Susie ~
Friday, October 27, 2017

Simon Says Stamp Flicker Challenge

Hey everyone!
I'm Guest Designing today for the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #83.  As we prepare for November our thoughts naturally turn to gratitude, so it is fitting that our Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge theme is Thankful. 

Expressing gratitude, through words and deeds, is something the paper crafting community takes to heart isn't it?  Handmade kindness from heart and hand, one to another.  Our cards brighten days, express love and sympathy, cheer success and triumphs, AND say Thank you.   The Thank you card has a two-fold blessing.  It allows the maker to express their gratitude in both word and deed, and the receiver is blessed by the sincerity of the effort.

I have two cards, both say Thank you, each have a different look, and use different techniques.  The first card uses a faux letterpress technique using die cuts as shown by Jennifer McGuire.  Jennifer provides examples of how easy it is to create those beautiful letterpress designs by stretching our dies.  Now that's what I call value added!  One of my favorite winter stamp and die sets is an older one that is now retired called, Winter Warmth, from Simon Says Stamp.  I chose the knit hat and scarf to use as my letterpress elements.
My sentiment is from Simon's Big Scripty GreetingsThe smaller sentiment is from Hero Arts, Prayers set.   There are a number of small add-on sentiments to choose from.   I might even add a little beverage card inside for extra yummy warmth (she smiles).  Below is a close up of the beautiful dimension you can achieve with this type of faux letterpress.
This is definitely a technique I'll try again - this Christmas!

My next card uses the 2 for 1 Edge Stamping Trick, another great technique example from Jennifer McGuire.  I chose the Simon Says Stamp, Roses For You set and stamped off two identical cards.  But that's where I departed.  I colored my roses with Copics and then cut them apart.  I mounted the corner pieces with 3M mounting tape to provide dimension.  My Thank you sentiment is from the same Big Scripty Greeting (as shown in the first card) and embossed with Rangers gold embossing powderAccents of Nuvo Crystal Drops are used in Ripened Pumpkin and English Mustard.
What are you thankful for?   Let us know and show us your card by playing along in the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge.  Guidelines for playing in the challenge are on the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Group site.  Hope to see you there!

Susie ~
Friday, October 13, 2017

Simon Says Stamp | Embossing + Watercolor

Hello!  I was so inspired by all the beautiful cards and techniques from the Simon Says Stamp new release, Making Spirits Bright, that I just had to make another card today. 

I used several different stamp sets from previous releases to create a thank-you card for our grandson's teacher.  I have coupled the sets, One With Nature, Thank You Teacher (from the Encouraging Words release) and Lots of Dots to create a fall look to my card.  Perfect for this time of year, and with a fitting sentiment for the teacher.
This is one layer stamping with a lot of punch - embossing + watercoloring.  I stamped the leaves, sentiment and dots onto some Bristol Smooth card stock with a watermark ink, and embossed with Ranger gold embossing powder.  Some of the dots are open while some are solid.

Next, I used some colors from my Daniel Smith Fine Arts Watercolor palette for the leaves and background.   I used a wet on wet technique first, then let it dry, and came back in with wet on dry (glazing).  Once everything was dry I trimmed the piece down a little and mounted it on gold mirror card stock with 3M adhesive tape to provide dimension.  The card base is a top folding A2 in Dark Navy.

Now comes the fun part -- splatter time!  Now I know it's trendy, but honestly, for me, it's like patting your head and rubbing your belly.  I feel like Elaine from Seinfeld on the dance floor - how's that for a word picture (she laughs!)  All I can say is that I did my best (laughing).

Now here comes the serious part... I love that sentiment.  And it got me thinking.  Why wait for Thanksgiving to be that somebody.  Lets remind ourselves to season our speech and actions with the fruit of the spirit everyday.

Let's be that somebody!
Susie ~
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Simon Says Stamp | Center Cut Kaleidoscope Background | Holiday Release

Hi there!

Today Simon Says Stamp reveals their Making Spirits Bright release.  This chock-a-block fun and cheery release is filled with holiday stamp sets, dies, and stencils - something for everyone!

If you're like me, Christmas card designs are popping up like visions of sugar plums in your head.  And lets not forget my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!

I have a card to share with you today that uses one of the new release 6x6 background stamps, Center Cut Kaleidoscope.   This unique background stamp has a removable center stamp.  Which means you can stamp with it in place, or remove it and use it singularly - so many options. 

When I looked at this stamp I saw so many things; just like looking through a real kaleidoscope.  And with just a turn I saw leaves in fall colors.
I stamped using a watermark ink and embossed with a platinum powder from Ranger.  Using the Zig Clean Color Real Brush from Kuretake I did some watercolor between the embossed lines.  Once dry, I applied some Tonic Crystal Glaze Nuvo which adds clear dimensional detail.   Then I did some "deconstructing" by way of fussy cutting (she smiles).
I stamped the center stamp using the same technique as described above and placed it on the leaves with adhesive dimensional squares.
Using a large stripped background stamp, I tapped on several colors of Ranger Distress Oxide Inks and spritzed with water before stamping off on a piece of 4 x 5 1/4 card stock.  I love the look - perfect for fall!
The sentiment is dear to me this month because yesterday was our 49th wedding anniversary.  I love the set from Simon Says Stamp Clear Stamps, Love.   What do you say after 49 years together?  I say, I love our life together!
Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please be sure to stop by Simon Says Stamp to see the whole October Making Spirits Bright release.  I know you'll find something special to meet your holiday crafting needs. 

Susie ~
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July

Sincerely, Susie ~
Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Summer Place

Summer grass planted in ground sea glass and gravel gives way under crunching tires - then springs to life again.   Unrestrained shouts of summer laughter fill the air.  Car doors fly open as children scatter like sandpipers along the waters edge and gulls cry out a welcome.   The summer place sits as it always has, weathered and slightly salted; ready for a fresh coat of exhilarated joy!   Rustic window boxes filled to the brim with a kaleidoscope of wild and unruly color.  Aged lace curtains ripple gently in the breeze in need of a stitch or two.   And the sweet smell of summer's bounty fills the air as the door swings wide.  A summer place, safe and warm, rain or storm.    A place a family shares.    All their hopes.    All their dreams.    All their love.

Happy Fourth of July!
Susie ~
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Shots

Hello friends!

The heat and humidity have arrived in the lowcountry of Charleston, SC.  But that's okay with us because it gives us a reason to relax on our front porch.  We are very blessed to get a nice salt water breeze from the east, which keeps those pesky no-see-um's and mosquitoes at bay.
But we haven't just been sittin' wavin' and sippin'  We've been working too -- well, one of us has anyway (she smiles).

My husband and I have been planning a redo of the front yard this spring.  We're a team!  We choose the plant material together, discuss the design, and he does the heavy work - I supervise (she laughs).  The soil has been amended with gypsum, mushroom compost, and good top soil.  My energetic garden guy literally set one ton of tumbled blue stone for a path on both sides of the front yard to highlight the focal point (a Teddy Bear Magnolia). Golden oregano, chocolate ajuga and creeping juniper skip along the edge of the path.  Beautiful red roses provide a pop of contrast behind the compact hedge of Baby Gem Boxwood.

In the corner Elephant ear, Fox Fern, Hosta, Farfugium Japonicum (the tractor seat plant), with the smaller Leopard Farfugium tucked underneath, and Canna Tropicanna. Lovely Heuchera (Coral Bells) with their cooling stems of delicate white flowers sway in the salt marsh breeze.

Eventually the blue stone path will extend down the side of the house to the backyard.
Click to Enlarge
The right side of the front garden will have some beautiful Loropetalum as foundation plants which will repeat the design and color from the left side of the front yard.  And to top it off - 400-600 pounds of mulch!  Believe me when I say there has been a lot of Advil in the evenings (she laughs). We intend to extend the boxwood hedge around the Society Garlic in the front to give a more uniformed look.  After that comes the fun part - finding all the small, sweet perennials that are native to coastal Carolina to tuck in and around all the foundation plants.
Find your passion and create something that makes your heart sing today!
Love from my Garden Gate to yours.
Susie ~

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lowcountry Gardens, Porches, and Wildlife

Lowcountry backyard garden
Caladiums (Aaron) mixed with Sky Rocket Variegated Grass, White Linen Torenia, and Muehlenbeckia complexia (Angel or Wire vine)
Sittin'  Sippin' Wavin' Lowcountry Style

Mother Mallard with her ducklings resting among the marsh grass
Beautiful Day stamp set from Altenew and CASE of one of Marika Rahtu's  (Me and Minime Crafting Blog) lovely cards.

Come, sit, stay awhile.
Easter Blessings,

Susie ~

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Make it your goal to live a quiet life...  1 Thessalonians 4:11
Sincerely, Susie ~

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Open Sky

Sincerely, Susie ~
Monday, February 20, 2017

Surely Spring

Sincerely, Susie ~

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