Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

All Women's Problems Start With Men...

"All Women's Problems Start With Men..." - When I first saw this, I laughed my head off!!! 

And if you are a card maker, you can probably add making manly cards to that list of woes... 

Well, I hope this helps

at least just with the card making bit!

Friday, November 25, 2016

My new website

Guys, I am so glad to announce that I have a new website: It's work in progress... but happy to have started this journey. 

The goal is to separate my personal art as in my illustrations, paintings, prints, kits, classes, etc. from my design team work that I do.  

I'll continue to blog my design team posts here. 

And if you want to follow my personal art endeavors and life and family, you are invited to visit my online home and follow me at I will have a comfy chair and a hot cup of tea waiting for you there. 

So, stop by and let me know what you think :)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thankggiving!

A very happy Thanksgiving to you all! 
Eat, laugh and enjoy your loved ones today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Holiday stress? Relax... You've got this!

Stressed? Being a hostess for the holidays is a complicated job with many moving parts.
Getting the house ready, planning the food, creating comfort for everyone... stress somehow always manages to sneak in.
So, take a DEEP breath.
Don't worry about making things perfect, just do your best.
Like everything else in life, it gets a tad easier if you remember to relax and take it easy.
And if you need a reminder, you can have some fun with this pack of elves and fun sayings...

If you are in the U.S.A. Buy Now Button 
 If you are outside the U.S.A. Buy Now Button

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Happy Holidays 2016 Paper Crafting Kits

Today I want to take you into my studio for a behind-the-scenes tour of how I created my Happy Holidays 2016 Paper Crafting Kits up to the point where I drop them off at the post office.
So let's start at the start...
It all began at the drawing board, well, not exactly a board but a sketch pad. It took me about three days to come up with what images and words I want in my kit. This is the phase when I drew and wrote down every idea that came to my mind related to this project. This year, I aimed to create a kit entirely based on my own illustrations and hand-lettering. 
I ended up drawing and hand-lettering over three hundred single images. 
The hardest part for me was to then shortlist the images and words... because they are all like little babies to me! And while I would love to include them all, experience has taught me that too many pieces cause overwhelm and curb creativity and that's not my goal.
My goal is to make holiday crafting easier for you, not harder.
It took me another day to pick eighty of the drawings. 
Next, I re-sketched the eighty pieces in the sizes I wanted, keeping in mind that these pieces will adorn scrapbook layouts, mini books, planners, cards, gift toppers, tags, home decor, etc.
Once I finished drawing, I added ink to the pieces. Once all the inks dried, I went back in and colored each piece and blended the colors with water. When all pieces were dry, I took them to my scanner and edited them to clean up anything I didn't like. Then I saved all the images in my flash drive. 
Now, it was time to go to a professional printer to get my handpainted images printed in the truest colors and sharpness that I could get.If
If you have ever been to a busy professional print shop with a smaller job, you know that you'll have to wait quite a while to see a color sampling of your product and that it may take a few tries before it's a go. After some more waiting and then being given a time for pick-up, I got my prints and happily drove home and started to cut out the pieces with fine embroidery scissors!
It was at this point that it hit me that maybe you would like to see the behind-the-scenes process and started taking photos along the way. So, here's the rest of the story with pictures :)


It took an average of 2 hours 30 minutes to cut out the eighty pieces for each kit. 

Next, I counted and re-counted the pieces and put them in a clear bag for each kit.

When it came to assembling the mini book, I decided to go with plain heavy weight cardstock this year with a frosted plastic cover and a thick chipboard backing.

But I couldn't just trim the papers and leave them be! That's not how I roll and I wouldn't give you anything less than what I do in my own memory journals. So, I took an edge distressor and gently distressed the edges of the papers - 25 in each kit.

Now, I did the distressing to build in a bit of texture.  But when I distress, I also feel the need to add a touch of shine. So, I splattered every piece of paper with gold paint.

After all the paint splatters dried, I organized the papers in the order I would like and punched holes through them. I included binder rings in the kit, so you can reorganize the papers if you like.

Then I took a day to think what else can I add to the kit where you can see the artist's hand at work. Those of you who are like me, buy handmade for we appreciate the little quirks the artist brings to any piece. I decided to draw some of the images on the pages of each kit. At the same time, I didn't want all the kits to be the exact same and so I changed up the designs... all to make sure your kit will be unique to you at least to some extent.

Once I finished assembling all the kits and add-on kits for those who ordered them, I sat down to write my thank you notes in note cards I designed myself. 
This is THE MOST EMOTIONAL part of the process for me to let you know how much I appreciate your choosing my art to be part of your Holiday crafting!

Packaging a kit is something I enjoy a lot. This year I bought rolls of kraft paper to wrap my kits.

Once I wrapped a kit and tied it up, I added jingle bells to them... after all it's a Holiday Crafting Kit, right?

I placed my thank you note in front of the package.

And then carefully placed each kit in a priority mail padded envelope for extra security and timely delivery.
Next, I place my envelopes in my bag and head to the post office. As they get stamped and placed in the postal bins, I say a little prayer for each of them and wish that they are received with the same love that I send them out with :)

And folks... that's the back story!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: Inspiralize Everything

Before I picked up this book Inspiralize Everything by Ali Maffucci, I did not know about spiralizing. I was attracted to the cover image and read the book description and became curious to know more. Even before I started reading this book, I loved looking at the gorgeous food photos! 
Recently, my daughter decided to stop eating meat and given her various allergies, it has been a challenge to find her nutritious meals that are not boring same-old-same-old. As I'm reading Inspiralize Everything, I'm making notes of the different recipes that we can try as a family. The book is divided into sections by fruits and vegetables. If you want to make something with apples, flip to the apple section. For those who, like me, are new to spiralizing, it's a kitchen tool that turns certain types of fruits and vegetables into raw noodles that become the main dish or a sidekick to a meal. The book gives you a guide for choosing the right spiralizer for your home. I have already started looking on Amazon. 
If you want to eat healthy and are stumped at times, this book could help you too. I have read rave reviews about how delicious the recipes turn out. I am inspired!
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Thanksgiving Place Setting Idea + Tutorial

Hello, hello... I'm so excited to share this Thanksgiving place setting tutorial with you today! Almost 17 years ago, I came to the States and was in utter culture shock. Over time, I began to feel like this is my home away from home. All three of our children were born here and as the older ones began school, I learned more about the celebrations and festivals of America. We adapted and began to join in, in our own ways. Autumn being my favorite season, the festivities of Autumn are also my favorite, especially Thanksgiving. Every year since 2011, from the time my son Om was 6, he has made sure that he helps his dad cook a Thanksgiving meal for the whole family, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce - the whole lot. 

While the boys attend to the food, I love to set the table. And every year, I write a note to each family member telling them why I am thankful for them that year. I encourage the kids to share their notes. While they don't always do that, I know that they find ways to express their gratitude toward each other.

This year, I decided to create tea cup place settings using the Sizzix ScoreBoards XL Die - Tea Cup, 3-D by Eileen Hull.

To die-cut the tea cup, create the following Sizzix Sandwich: lay the Sizzix ScoreBoards XL Die - Tea Cup, 3-D blade-side up. On the die, lay a sheet of the Sizzix Little Sizzles - 6" x 13" Mat Board Pack, 6 Cream Sheets. Place the die and mat board between a pair of Sizzix Accessory Extended Cutting Pads. Pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine. From this pass, you'll get only one tea cup surface. You need two pieces to make one tea cup. I usually am very frugal with my mat boards and try to move the remnant mat boards around to get as many cuts as I can.

Repeat the above as many times as the number of teacups you need.

Fold the central strip along the crease lines. That's the piece that will help you turn the two-dimensional tea cups 3D.

Glue the front piece of the tea cup to the 3D strip. Once it's dry, glue the back piece to finish assembling the tea cup.

Apply a coat of gesso to the tea cup.

Color the tea cup with Gelatos colors.

Apply Whipped Spackle or another texture paste with palette knife through a stencil. Let dry completely.

Add more colors to the tea cup with Gelatos colors and a touch of shin with the Gold Texture Luxe.

Color the plate and tea bag tag. Attach some string to the tag.

Don't forget to write the person's name on the tag.

On a piece of vellum, write your thankful note to the recipient. When the ink dries, roll it up and tie with a string. Fold your napkin and place it in your teacup along with your thankful note. Place it on the table and your place setting is ready! 
If you are making several tea cups, create them production style - first diecut all the pieces for every tea cup, then assemble each tea cup, color them all at the same time, apply paste one by one, write the names on the tags, string them up and tie to each tea cup. Write your note and insert them. 
I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial and will give this tea cup die, your own creative twist!
Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads, Extended, 1 Pair
Sizzix Big Shot Machine Only (White and Gray)
Others: paint brush, gesso, gel medium, Gelatos, stencil, Whipped Spackle, Gold Texture Luxe, pen, paper, string, scissors, palette knife

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!  

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Christmas Paper Crafting Kit 2016

I am super EXCITED to announce that my 2016 Christmas Paper Crafting Kit is now officially ready!!! 

It comes with 110 pieces that include
  • 80 pieces of embellishments that I hand drew and cut 
  • 25 sheets of 8" x 8" heavy weight paper that you can use to document your Christmas or cut up to create your own paper crafts
  • 1 piece of 8" x 8" plain chipboard  
  • 1 piece of 8" x 8" frosted plastic
  • 3 binder rings 
Here's what crafters like you are saying about my 2015 kit

Because my kits are totally handmade by me, I can make only a limited quantity of these kits available for purchase.

Every kit comes wrapped all pretty which makes them great for gifts! PLUS, I share my own takes with the kit here on my blog for your inspiration.  

So, if you are interested, send me an email at and I'll reserve a kit just for you!

I'll start shipping kits on 11/18/2016.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Book Review: Rad Women Worldwide

In 'Rad Women Worldwide', author Kate Schwartz presents forty essays, each one about a rad woman who created history. From the ancient Mesopotamian High Priestess Enheduanna to the young Malala Yousafzai, these women are from various backgrounds from across times and continents who have shaped and reshaped every frontier, be it in the space, the Mount Everest or standing up against oppression. Each essay is interesting, informative and easy to read and accompanied by a black-and-white illustrated portrait by Miriam Klein Stahl. At the end of the book, there's a list of 250 more rad women you can research yourself. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to learn and find inspiration in human achievement, young or old, girl AND boy.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

So Grateful!

OMG... where did the year go? we are in the 11th month of 2016 already!!! Another year has gone by, we are all a year older and hopefully a little bit wiser. I get somewhat nostalgic as I start to analyze the experiences of the year that will end soon and I begin to realize yet again how much there is to be grateful for each and every day... even the most-terrible-horrible-no-good days. What I feel in my heart guides my art. One word that is on my mind these days is gratitude. This canvas is a reflection of that feeling. 

I created this canvas with some unlikely ingredients. The Sizzix dies you see above were originally designed to create jewelry, cuffs and bracelets to be specific. They are beautiful dies and even though I'm not a jewelry artist, I wanted to put them to more versatile use on a mixed media canvas. If you want to create this canvas, follow along with the tutorial.

These are the dies I used: Sizzix Thinlits Die - Southwestern Pattern and Sizzix Thinlits Die - Celtic Knots by Jill McCay

and Sizzix Movers & Shapers Magnetic Die w/Thinlits - Geo Bracelet Cuff by Katelyn Lizardi.

To diecut the above pieces, create the following Sizzix sandwich: on a Sizzix Accessory Standard Magnetic Platform For Wafer-Thin dies, lay another Sizzix Accessory Standard Cutting Pad. Place
Sizzix Thinlits Die - Southwestern Pattern blade-side up on the cutting pad and lay your cardstock on it. Cover it with the other Standard Cutting Pad and pass the whole sandwich through the Sizzix Big Shot machine.

Repeat the exact same sandwich to die-cut the pieces using
Sizzix Thinlits Die - Celtic Knots and Sizzix Thinlits Die - Geo Bracelet Cuff .

Start attaching various widths of washi tapes to your canvas.

Layer the die-cuts from above with Gel Medium. Add interest by tearing the diecuts apart and using them in multiple spots on the canvas.

Apply a coat of gesso to unify all the colors and patterns.

Rub some warm colors of Gelatos in the center of the canvas. Add water to blend.

Add some purples and blues to the mix. But be carefully not to blend oranges and dark blues together to avoid creating browns.

Once you are happy with the background colors, add a little interest with stamping.

Now, it's time to add your focal point. I wanted to keep the focus on the rich texture and beautiful colors of the piece, so I chose a single powerful word 'Grateful'.

Here's a close-up of the canvas.

Sizzix Thinlits Die - Southwestern Pattern 
Sizzix Thinlits Die - Celtic Knots

Sizzix Movers & Shapers Magnetic Die w/Thinlits - Geo Bracelet Cuff 

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!