Kitty Cats and Cards Don’t Mix!

Mallett's Bay Boat

Ok, I am finally ready to tell this story; it isn’t pretty, but Real Life is messy, as I’m sure anyone who has ever had a dog, a cat or a small child will understand!

I mentioned at the beginning of June that I had attended a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator’s event where we met together to make each others’ cards in what is called a Shoebox Swap. Everyone brought a card sample and all the materials for everyone in attendance to make their own copy of the card. They ranged from quick and easy to more elaborate, but hands down, this card, designed by our colleague Mary, was the most detailed and time-consuming card there. Not only was the front gorgeous, but the  inside was decorated too:

Mallett's Bay inside

It was so detailed, in fact, that to save time, I took a picture of it and just brought the materials home to finish the card. It had originally been made into a birthday card, but I decided to make it into a Father’s Day card for Reggie’s dad. I thought it was perfect; it reminded me of Mallett’s Bay, the part of Lake Champlain in the town of Colchester, VT near where Dad lives, and this Dapper Denim blue and Cucumber Crush green are the exact colors of Colchester High School. What could be more perfect?

I usually finish my cards late at night, after my husband has gone to bed, so when this one was done, as usual, I set it up on the kitchen table so that he could sign it before he left for work and we could get it in the mail on time.

The next morning, imagine our supreme annoyance when we found the card knocked over, flat on it’s face, and a giant hairball thrown up on the back of it!

Now, we have four cats, but we knew immediately who the culprit was:

Eddie. The Emeritus Cat. He’s the Old One, and lately he’s made a habit of plunking himself down on my work table, right in the middle of the stamps, cardstock and embellishments.

So, what to do? Too late to make a new card, and this one had taken so much time! I did what any other paper arts lover would have done – I cut the front of the card off, mounted it onto a new, clean card base, cut the little boat out of the inside and re-used it, stamped the greeting again and die cut another lake from the Swirly Scribbles Thinlits Dies for the boat to float on!

If any of my sisters-in-law from Vermont are reading this, you may have seen Harold’s Father’s Day card; now you know the rest of the story!

Would you like to attempt this card in your own home? I challenge you – but keep the kitties away! Here are the supplies that I used:

Have you ever had a pet-related disaster while making cards? What did you do?


It’s A Milestone Anniversary!

Anniversary 10

Red and green are opposite each other on the Color Wheel, and whenever you use opposites together, it’s an attention-getter! Of course, a 10-year wedding anniversary is worthy of note, but later on in this post you’ll see why I put some green with the red & white, which we traditionally associate with love and marriage.

I also used the Happy Heart embossing folder on the background and a couple of punches; the small heart from the Itty Bitty Accents Punch Pack, and the slender arrow from the retired What’s Up Punch. I just punched two of them and attached one to the top of the card and one to the bottom. This is a great punch, and if you don’t have one yet, you’re in luck, you can still get it on the Clearance Rack for around $10.00! But I wouldn’t wait; once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Perfect 10

I used a sentiment from the Number of Years set to stamp “Happy Anniversary” on the front and the coordinating Large Numbers Framelits dies for the number “10.” But for the inside I computer-generated a specific message on a separate piece of Whisper White card stock using a font that complemented the lettering style of my cover sentiment.

So here’s the gift that I gave Reggie for our anniversary yesterday, commemorating our wedding location in Vermont 10 years ago:

Vermont Wedding

The Milestone Anniversary card is quick and easy; you can make it in any colors that are significant to you. Here are the supplies that I used:



Inspiring Circus Postage Stamps

When The Stampers’ Sampler came out with their Envelope Template Challenge last summer I knew that I wanted to create something with it! I considered several ideas, but it wasn’t until we got a couple of cards in the mail from Reggie’s sister Kathy that I knew where I’d be going with this:

Lions Tigers Bears 1


Kathy had used some of these great postage stamps with vintage circus images on her envelopes, and I carefully cut them off and used them as the starting point for my project.

I used a lighter-weight yellow paper to construct the envelope which was easier to fold than card stock would have been, and I made some extra foliage from the leftover piece.

Lions Tigers Bears 2


All of the stamps are retired images from Stampin’ Up! – the African animals from the Wild Things set, the bear from Thankful Forest Friends, and the leaves are done with the large Bamboo background stamp.

Another fun family connection that this piece has, in addition to the postage stamps from Kathy, is that some years ago the family home in Colchester, Vermont was discovered to have held a long-kept secret:

Circus Posters

When my in-laws, Harold and Gladys Degree, removed the clapboards from their home before putting new siding on, these five circus posters were revealed, which had been mounted on the house when a circus came to town in 1883. They remained hidden for the next 108 years. Realizing the historical value of such artifacts, the Degrees called the Shelburne Museum to have conservators remove the boards from their house with the posters still attached. The family donated the posters to the museum, where they reside today.

The Spring 2016 issue of The Stampers’ Sampler will be available on April 1st!

Triple Dipping – in Cards & Cones!

Triple Thank You

When the Stamp Group met this weekend we made a card that we had seen on page 16 of the big Annual Catalog. The card in the catalog example was made with Mint Macaron ink and floral embellishment, but I had a container of Blossom Accents in all of the 2015-2017 In Colors so I let them choose which colors they wanted.

Only three of our six members were able to come and stamp this month, so in my mind I was imagining that everyone would choose the same color – silly me! Of course they all picked something different. It reminded me of a story from my childhood:


When my family and I moved from California to Vermont, for the first few days we were just tourists, driving around stopping here and there, seeing the sights. We stopped at a rural outside eatery and ordered ice cream cones. As we were used to doing in California, I ordered a double, one scoop of one flavor, and another scoop of something different. The girl behind the counter gave me the strangest look, and said slowly, “Well… I guess I can do that,” but I realized immediately that I had crossed over some invisible cultural barrier by asking for something out of the ordinary.

That was so many years ago, long before the excitement of Ben & Jerry’s, and no one would bat an eye at a request like that in Vermont these days!

Dijon Thank You

Anyway, choice and variation make things interesting, wouldn’t you agree? Here are the In Colors that our Stamp Group friends chose for their cards, and the supplies used. If you try this, remember to stamp the ink on the flower image onto scrap paper one time first before stamping on your card so it will be light enough to overstamp the sentiment.

Click on any color swatch to see our coordinating products in that color!


Price: $5.25

All You Need is Love

We received two hand stamped Valentine cards in the mail from Reggie’s sisters in Colchester, VT:

Kathy Hearts

Kathy used the Bloomin’ Love stamp set, an embossing folder for the background and heat embossing to embellish the larger hearts on her red and white card, finishing with a touch of Dazzling Diamonds glitter on the flower petals.

Sherry Hearts

Sherry collaged different stamped hearts and smaller hearts punched out of glittery paper. She embellished her card with washi tape, tiny jewels and a snippet of lyrics from a Beatles song in classic black, white and red.

Then there was one more surprise in the mailbox:

Karla Stocking

My sister Karla from Fremont, CA sent her annual Holiday water-colored pen & ink drawing card with greetings inside for a wonderful 2016 – always appreciated, no matter when it is received!

All You Need is Love –  the kind of love that is conveyed with a handcrafted card!



No Business Like Snow Business!

We received many beautiful handcrafted Christmas cards this year, but with the busy schedule of holiday events and preparations, I’ve gotten behind in my posts! Here are few snow-themed cards to share today:

Snowflakes are the focus of this first card, made by Wanda Morin of Colchester, VT:

Wanda Xmas 2015

Snowflake stamp images, shaped punch, sequins and patterned paper all coordinate to celebrate a white Christmas! The icy-looking square rhinestones are a fun accent.

Next, a snowflake and dove card made by Kathy Pavloski of Woodland, CA:

Kathy P Xmas 2015

I love the way that this Dove of Peace is holding a snowflake-shaped embellishment in her beak! The sparkly sequins are a treat.

Finally, this Snow Family card was made by Sherry Pakulski of Colchester, VT; notice how she shaded the figures with a very light wash of gray ink to give the snowmen dimension:

Sherry Xmas 2015

We actually got a couple of cards made by Sherry this year; this is one that she made for her father to send out. Sherry’s a very busy woman; she makes cards for her dad, herself and also for co-workers to purchase and send. She told me that her goal for 2016 is to make 10 Christmas cards each month so she isn’t pressed for time next winter!

Watch for more beautiful handcrafted cards in tomorrow’s post!



Mona Lisa and I Have a Secret!

My Heart is Yours

My sister-in-law Sherry Pakulski called from Vermont last week to let me know that we both had cards included in the new Winter 2016 issue of The Stampers’ Sampler. She mentioned that our cards were just two pages apart, and that we’d have to try again to get “on the same page.” She was referring to her Heart Locket template cards on page 42 (My Heart is Yours, A Little Kindness is Key) and mine on page 44 (Key to Mother’s Heart, which I will show in a later post – click here.)

A Little Kindness is Key

When my artist’s copy of the magazine arrived in the mail today, I quickly turned to page 42 to see Sherry’s cards.

pages 42-43

But wait, what’s this? On the next page, facing Sherry’s two cards, I saw my very own Mona Lisa’s Secret, the second of two cards that I had submitted for this Challenge!

Mona Lisa published

Of course, Sherry didn’t realize that this was my card; my name was inadvertently omitted and it was attributed to another artist.

So, Mona Lisa and I are both wearing a secret smile today.

Here is a closer look at this card, taken before I submitted it for consideration:

Mona Lisa's Secret

Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, so the color scheme that I chose for this card was meant to convey the earthy colors of Italy, evocative of terra cotta pots and dusty green olive leaves. The A. Rossi patterned paper that I used on the locket background is an Italian script, and I added a scrap of an old Italian postage stamp along with a vintage bookseller’s label.

I will include the two other cards that I had published in this issue in a subsequent post! (Click here to see them.)






Honoring Faces From the Past

You might know Waterbury, VT as the site of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory, but another interesting, if lesser known, spot is the Waterbury Flea Market, which is held on weekends in a farmer’s field, adjacent to the large barn and silos.


While you can find a little bit of everything there, new and old, tools, T-shirts, dishes, books, and whatnot, I mostly search for old pictures,


postcards and ephemera – paper odds and ends, like tickets or receipts, that were useful for short-time use and designed to be tossed (but were saved instead.)


I am particularly fascinated by the old photographs of people – who were they? What were their stories? Their names are rarely written on the backs, so when they end up in a box at the flea market for 50 cents each, I often feel compelled to take them home and care for them.

For a while I kept a rotating gallery of these nameless faces lined up on my fireplace mantel. I thought it was a cheery thing to keep their memories alive by displaying them in this way. But then I was informed by a couple of house guests in a row that they felt creepy about having to spend the night on the couch bed in that room with the faces staring down at them! So I put them away.


Instead, I have been using these “Instant Ancestors” in my artwork, which is another way to honor these people of the past. In this piece, I have made up a story about the woman in the picture; I believe her name was Alyce and she was in a romantic relationship with a man, but it was not meant to be. He loved her more than she loved him, and one day in September she left, and all that remained for him was her memory. The scent and color of lilacs, their shared love of birds and poetry – all of these things reminded him of her, and of the passion they once shared.



Sisterly Love

Reggie Bday 1

Now that we’re back from our vacation, I’ve had a chance to take some pictures of the handcrafted cards that have come our way in the past week. These cards were made for Reggie by his sisters, Kathy and Sherry, and one of our sisters-in-law, Mindy, who all live in Vermont.

Reggie Bday 4

Kathy’s card in bright primary colors has a heat embossed greeting (one of her favorite techniques) with a dry embossed background, all focusing on the “Happy Birthday” theme.

Reggie Bday 2

Mindy’s card in earth tones features the Canada Goose from the Wetlands set, and she cleverly uses the watercolor swashes from the Work of Art set to add color to to her images. The addition of twine is a nice natural accent.

Reggie Bday 3

Sherry has made good use of the Lost Lagoon and Hello Honey In Colors to coordinate with her designer paper, as well as echoing the spherical shapes using balloons from the Celebrate Today set. The tiny rhinestones are a perfect finishing touch.

Thank you for the beautiful cards, everyone! We always look forward to seeing what you have created for us.

Here are some of the supplies that were used to make the “Sisterly Love” cards:

Supply List

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Over the River and Through the Woods

“Over the river and through the woods,

To Grandmother’s house we go;

The horse knows the way, to carry the sleigh,

Through the white and drifted snow!

Traditional Children’s Thanksgiving Song

 Happy Winter 1

Although I live in California once again, as the seasons change nostalgia fills my memory for those traditional scenes of New England winter holidays. I was 17 when my family moved from California to Vermont, and the first snow flurries of the year scattered about as we settled into our new home in mid-October. A couple of months later, I was rudely awakened in the dead of night by what sounded like a loud collision on the road outside my bedroom window! It was my first introduction to the scraping and clattering of a municipal snow plow rumbling by. I learned to feel safe and cozy when I heard that sound, because it meant that someone was out there, clearing our roads so that life could go on as usual the next day.

This card, constructed with the Sleigh Ride Edgelits Dies and the Softly Falling Embossing Folder, reminds me of a Currier & Ives lithograph – a traditional, comforting past.

Happy Winter 4Let it snow

“Let it snow…” is the sentiment inside; I know from experience that six months of snow each year is not for the faint of heart, but the idea of a white Christmas still sets the heart to longing!

These are the tools and materials that I used to make my Happy Winter card, several from the new Holiday Catalog. Click on any picture for more information:

Supply List

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

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