Monday, November 30, 2015

Joy, Hope, Peace and some Holly Berries

Christmas is only 25 days away! There's Christmas music playing on the radio, decorations are going up everywhere... yes, it's starting to look a lot like Christmas around here! It's nearing that time to round up those handmade Christmas cards and head over to the post office. Before you do, here's another idea that you could use for a special card or for a gift or even to deck your own home using these super fun dies by Stephanie Ackerman for Sizzix.

Today, I'll be using the Peace, Joy, Hope, Holly and Berries dies.

To diecut the pieces, create the following Sizzix sandwich: lay the dies, Peace and Hope blade side up next to each other (these are smaller dies, so you have space on the cutting pads to do two at a time) on the Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pads, Standard and lay cardstock on the blade side and cover with the other Standard Cutting Pad. Run the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine. Repeat with the dies, Joy and Holly and Berries. You might want to layer a two or three pieces of cardstock on the Holly and Berries die to get multiple die-cuts.

Here's what the die-cuts look like.

Now, to make the card, fold 8.5" x 11" cardstock in half so it makes a 8.5" x 5.5" card. Layer a piece of book paper slightly smaller on the card with Gel Medium. 

Next, layer on the die-cut words and images, to look like a Christmas tree with the smallest word 'Joy' at the top, 'Hope' in the middle, and 'Peace' at the base and decorate with the Holly leaves and Berries. Attach the pieces with Gel Medium and seal them all in place with another coat of gel medium on top.

When dry, color the piece with Gelatos colors.

Blend the colors and add more layers of colors.

Add details.

Color the words Gold and add some random stamping for added visual texture and interest. Add some splatters. Let dry thoroughly. And you have a mixed media greeting card for a special someone or put it in a frame in your own home.

I hope you have fun!

Book paper
Gel Medium
Gold Paint
Paint brush

Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!

Notes from a Thankful Heart

No day is a bad day to let someone know why you are thankful for them. I am so happy to have started this tradition in my family to teach my children to acknowledge and express gratitude and encourage others for doing good deeds. While the original post for this tutorial to make this Thankful Place Setting (using the Library Pocket, Millinery Leaves and Tea Cup Bouquet dies from Brenda Walton’s Favorite Things Collection) was supposed to go live on the Sizzix Blog early in November, due to some blog changes, it went live after Thanksgiving. But with the holidays around the corner and friends and family gathering, you can still use the idea for a special luncheon or dinner... tweak the color scheme if you like but you will make someone's day for sure! Check out the tutorial here.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Jewelry, Easy As 1-2-3

Some of you are jewelry designers. You can create incredible designs with wires, beads, gems and whatever else you like. You get to wear one-of-a-kind conversation pieces to match anything you choose to wear. What an awesome skill! While I could never do what you do, sometimes I too want to make DIY efforts of wearing something I made myself. Above is a necklace I put together with some lovely elements from Journey Girl Jewelry Collection by Fun Stampers Journey.   

I tell you, it was a very quick project. You could personalize these to make unique jewelry. But for today, I used the elements just as they came and I have to say that I am pleased with the results. Follow along to see why I say, this is as easy as 1-2-3!

The elements come in these cute little teal velvet drawstring pouches.

When you open the pouches, you get the pieces in clear baggies. We are going to use only some of these today.

These are the elements I have chosen for today's piece.

Now, let's start assembling. Open up the Sparkled Round Locket. Place the Black Accent Plate in to create a base. Then, lay the Filigree Plate on top.The Filigree Plate should be on the sparkly side of the locket.

Close the Sparkled Round Locket gently.

Now, let's glam up the piece a bit more! Open up the Crystal Ring and Hoop and feed it through the closure of the Sparkled Round Locket. Gently press the Crystal Ring and Hoop piece closed to make sure that the locket is secure.

Pass the Diamond Cut Link through the Crystal Ring and Hoop to complete the piece. You can adjust the length of the necklace which make it more versatile.

Now, if this is a gift, place it carefully in one of the teal velvet bags that I showed above and tag it.

It's a cool necklace and making it was as easy as 1-2-3!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gratitude for Your Love

Hello you! I'm so glad you are here today! For I want to thank you for YOUR love and kindness...


  • for reading my blog
  • for leaving comments when I felt the conversation was one-sided
  • for choosing to publish something I made
  • for asking me to contribute to your books
  • for dog-earing my projects in magazines 
  • for writing me e-mails when you saw my project in your favorite magazine
  • for writing to magazines when you liked my layout
  • for asking me to teach at your venue
  • for coming to my classes
  • for opening your homes and hearts to me
  • for wanting to take pictures with me at events
  • for buying things I made
  • for trusting me to create your wedding vow books
  • for believing that I could make something special for your children's first year of life to high school graduation
  • for giving me opportunities to design with your products
  • for your feedback, positive and negative, because they helped me grow
  • for accepting me
  • for supporting me 
  • for validating me
  • for connecting with me
  • for reminding me that what I do matters
  • for being there for me   
  • for becoming my friend 
I am SO, SO VERY grateful for YOU!
This is even more true because I come from a very different culture. I might never get a chance to meet you in real life and tell you in person, so I wanted to tell you all this right here and right now. 
This one is for YOU. 

Thank you yet again Janice, Barbara and my unknown friend (who is anonymous even to me for privacy policy reasons) for your uplifting, encouraging words and your love!

Now, it's your turn. Make a list... lists are great. List the things you are grateful for about those who once were complete strangers and then they touched our life and just made it better and beautiful and gave you something to look forward to!  
And I'd love to read your list if you wouldn't mind sharing it with me.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to Make Flowers with Fringing Scissors

Hello there! Hope you had a lovely weekend. I got to spend a little time in my studio today and made a few cards. One of my favorite crafting tools are scissors. I have a wide variety from various sizes of precision scissors to decorative scissors as well as special scissors like the fringing scissors. 

Apart from making cool borders with them, I also love creating little flowers using fringing scissors.

Here's a how-to video in case you want to make your own.

And here's a complete list of supplies I used to make the flowers and the cards:
Celebra'tions Special Occasion Prints Product # [SCP-015]
Celebra'tions Assorted Solids Product # [SCP-018]  
Celebra'tions Ink pads: Captivating Coral SCI-012 and Pixie Play SCI-005

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thinking of You!

There are so many wonderful friends I left behind in Florida when I moved! I think of them all the time. But don't always get around to getting in touch with them. It's hard. The longer it takes, the harder it gets! So, I have decided to seize the day and make a card and send it a friend I miss a LOT! 
So, I made the above card and here are the details in case, you too, are trying hard to stay in touch with your dear ones.
Celebra'tions Ink pads: Berry Black SCI-001
Stamps: Doily Fun SCS-001; My Friend SCS-002
Etched Die: Pierced Recatngles SCD - 012 
Celebra'tions Linen Thread SCT-001 
Fun Stampers Journey Grand Pro Shears 9", Product # [TO-0064]
Journey Platinum machine

Pick your favorites from the Celebra'tions Prints and a neutral cardstock to make your card base. I chose Butter Cream. 

Trim Butter Cream Cardstock to 8.5" x 5.5".  Fold in half to make the card measuring 5.5" x 4.25". Trim the other papers down to say, roughly in gallon-quart-pint ratio.

Attach the Celebra'tions Prints to the card as shown.

Now that the card base is ready, let's get to decorating it.

On the remaining half of the Butter Cream cardstock, stamp the Doily Fun stamp using Berry Black ink pad.

Using the Journey Platinum machine and one of the Pierced Rectangles dies, diecut part of the stamped Doily.

Stamp the sentiment, 'Thinking of You' using Berry Black Ink and My Friend stamp set. Cut the sentiment into a strip using Journey Grand Pro shears.

Attach the diecut Doily block on the card. Notch a strip of Celebra'tions Print to make banner ends. Wrap some Celebra'tions Linen Thread around and tie into a knot. Mount the sentiment on the twine to finish.

Here's a close-up of the finished card. 

I am going to send my card to a dear friend of mine in Florida. Who are you thinking of often? Send them a handmade card. Trust me, it will make them happy :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gratitude for lessons that took many a moon to learn

Hello you! Welcome to you if you are new here and welcome back if you were here before... I'm so glad you are here today!

It's November. Another year is coming to fruition. Looking back and feeling grateful for all that went well, those that didn't go so well but could have been worse, seeing growth that came out of failures, the promises of success that might be around the corner... gratitude is in the air.

As you are looking back at your year, what lesson stands out to you? What one message finally became clear... you know that aha moment, when all the seemingly disparate pieces of the puzzle suddenly magically click into their right places and the picture makes sense? Let's talk about those life lessons that could not have been truly learned in a conventional way. 

You know the lessons that took many a moon to learn, to really grasp and you can now shake your head and admit, 'Better late than never!' 

So, here's a lesson that I put in the back burner a long time ago cause it didn't make too much sense until I was trying to teach it to my own kids.

I am an only child, so growing up, I did not have to experience any sibling rivalry. That, to some, is awfully lucky, and to some others, including myself, awfully dull! While that situation was beyond my capacity to correct, I found cure for the dullness in my decision to have more than one child of my own. Fast forward thirty years and I have two kids that are two and a half years apart and their relationship can be best described as 'ugh can't live with you but also can't live without you'. There are some incredibly sweet moments between them that I look forward to and the rest is just full of bickering and whining and complaining. The trigger can be candy, shared space, responsibilities, privileges... well, I'm sure you get the picture!

The most recent debate is about FAIRNESS... yep, it's a biggie alright! These two kids, now 13 and 10 1/2, are both quite vocal about how the other sibling gets all the advantages and how forgotten, left-behind, downtrodden he or she is. I tell you, these are not my step kids. I almost died giving birth to them. So, it's shocking to me that they would feel that way. I want to have good relationship with them. I want them to have good relationship with each other. Being a psychologist by training, I naturally try to get to the source of such feelings. I ask for examples. I try.

One busy Monday, when I was just plain swamped with many odd jobs to finish, a feud began to erupt between them. I was alarmed because I needed them both at that moment... I needed a headshot taken for a design team in a black top that I haven't yet unpacked from the move. I dug through my husband's clothes and found an oversized black hoodie that clearly looked like I was wearing a tent.  

I handed my phone to my son and the baby to my daughter and stepped out for a picture in front of the chimney wall. Thank God, it's behind our house, so hopefully no one saw me in that hoodie that hung below my knees over my pajama bottoms!

He was grumpy. He kept pulling examples of any and all incidents from the last 10 years that he could recall to explain how I was NEVER fair to him and how his sister ALWAYS got more privileges, stuff, you name it. 
I kept trying to explain to him situation by situation while trying to smile for a pose until I said, 'Well, fair does not always mean equal' This made him MAD! 

He said, 'Why should I even take your picture? What will I get for it?' AHA! So, I smiled and pulled him right where I stood for the photo, took a picture of him and showed it to him.

He was visibly confused by my amused face. 
I explained, 'You took a picture of me. I took one of yours. So, we are even.'  And here's the dialogue that followed. 

Om: 'How's that fair? I didn't even want my picture taken. That's just silly!'
Me: 'Oh but I made it equal! I did the exact same thing for you that you did for me. You said that's how fairness works!'
Om: 'It's INSANE! Just because it's equal doesn't mean it has any value for me!'
Nini (the other sibling): 'Her point exactly. And, you sir, proved it...ha ha!'

But while I was trying to teach my son, I was the one who actually learned the lesson. All those moments growing up and into adulthood, when things didn't seem fair because I felt that I didn't get what I deserved, be it attention, affection, accolades, stuff... and stopped thinking about it because it hurt, much of it began to make sense. 

It was really a lesson of acceptance of my own self just as I am and others just as they are and rising above pointless comparisons that only hurt because fair does not always mean equal, that the lesson applies to me to too and better late than never!
So, what one lesson have you finally figured out this year? Share in the comments. We could learn from each other. 

And I will see you right here next Thursday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Library Pockets: Let's dress 'em up!

I believe I am not alone when I say that I love all things Library! The Books. The smell of books. The Reference Section. The Fictions. The Facts. The date stamps. The journeys waiting to be taken. The inspiration that awaits - all that make Library themed craft projects a lot of fun for me! Here are some decorated Library Pockets I wanted to share with you today. I made these Library Pockets using Sizzix Bigz XL Die - Library Pocket, Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 14PK - Whimsy & Delight and Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 17PK - Party Dress from the Favorite Things Collection by Brenda Walton along with paints, threads and glue from my stash.


Start by die-cutting the Library Pockets. For that, trim cardstock to size: the die is 13" x 6". So, cut paper in two parts: one to fit the pocket part and the other to fit the card, tag, and re-inforcer. Create this Sizzix sandwich: Lay trimmed cardstocks on the blade-side of Sizzix Bigz XL Die - Library Pocket. Place them between a pair of Sizzix Accessory- Cutting Pads, Extended. Pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

The Library Pockets come with their own flaps for creating the pockets. You can apply glue to those flaps and press them down to make your pockets. I machine-stitched along the left and right edges to add some texture.


Paint the Library Pockets and card inserts with watercolors.

Choose the dies you want to embellish the Library Pockets with from the Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 14PK - Whimsy & Delight and Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 17PK - Party Dress. Create the following Sizzix sandwich. On Sizzix Accessory Standard Magnetic Platform For Wafrer-Thin Dies, lay another Sizzix Accessory Cutting Pads-Standard. Place cardstock and the selected dies face down on the cardstock and cover with the other Standard Cutting Pad.The powerful magnets of the Magnetic Platform will hold all the dies in place for precision cuts. Pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

Carefully pull out the diecut pieces. 

Paint the pieces with watercolors.

Stitch the painted diecuts to the cards. Attach the reinforcers to the tags. Paint the tags and thread them with twine. 

Now you have a whole set of decorated Library Pockets ready to use in other creative projects of your choice!

Sewing Machine
Paint brush

Note: I am a project designer for Sizzix. Sizzix provided me with the above dies to create the above project. If you click the links to buy these dies, I will earn an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. Use the code SZB2015 at checkout. You get 15% off and I get an itsy bitsy portion of the sale. It's win-win!