Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Apron Abby card with French sentiment

This is another card using Apron Abby from Whimsie Doodles' February release and my last post as the WD February guest designer. It has been such fun creating with the new release this month. I have quite a few Whimsie Doodle stamps in my digital stash; they're some of my favorites, so cute and humorous.

I used Apron Abby on my last altered box project (here) as a brunette, this time I thought she'd make a cute blonde. I paper pieced her headband, dress, apron and shoes for a 3D effect. My sentiment is done with English 157BT font. 'Gros bisous pour toi' is the French equivalent of 'hugs and kisses'. This is another reason I like digital stamping, I can add my sentiment in French or English.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Cosmo Cricket Sea Ivory, Pink-Paislee London Market
Digital Stamp—Whimsie Doodles Apron Abby
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Die-namics photo corners, square stax, circle stax and Spellbinders foliage
Embellishments—wooden lock, key and butterfly, flowers, buttons, pearls, ribbon
Font—English 157BT

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Whimsie Doodles monthly challenge 'For the ladies' and an altered candy box

It's time for another monthly challenge at Whimsie Doodles and as February's guest designer I have the pleasure of participating with the super talented Doodlecious Divas in sharing a project with you.

This month's theme is 'For the ladies'. Instead of a card, I decided to alter an empty candy box into a jewelry box. Our neighbors gave us this box, filled with Belgian chocolate truffles, at Christmas. When the truffles were gone my husband handed me the box and said, 'You want to keep this, don't you?' Does he know me or what? The box is sturdy and not too big, perfect for altering.

I used the Whimsie Doodles February Apron Abby stamp as my focal image. I colored her face and hair, but decided to paper piece her headband, dress, apron and shoes for a 3D effect. I used the same paper on her dress as I did for the box top and flowers—Sassy Designs Cottage digital paper pack—but shrank it down in size relative to the stamp. I used Honey Script font for the sentiment.

I added small Papermania Bare Basics bobbins as feet (to give it a bit more height) and had a blast embellishing. I didn't bother with the bottom part of the box as I liked the dark brown color. I didn't take a picture of the inside, but I finished that up as well. I distress inked the white insides with Vintage Photo and glued a felt square to the bottom. Here's a before photo of the box.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Cottage digital paper pack
Digital Stamp—Whimsie Doodles Apron Abby
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Toga's Feuille sur Tige, Cadenas et Clé and Cage à Oiseaux, Memory Box Cherry Blossom
Embellishments—pearls, ribbon, pom-pom trim, metal tag, metal key, heart charm, paper roses
Fonts—Honey Script

I'm linking up with: All Sorts challenge blog week #298 - Any occasion than birthday, Crafty Calendar February challenge - Anything Goes, Simply Create Too #79 - Anything Goes, CCEE Stampers 1507 - Month of the Pearl, and DL.Art Thankful Thursday challenge #150 - Use the color blue.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

'I'm thonging to be your Valentine' card

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Whether you'd happily paired up or happily single, enjoy the day (if for no other reason than it's a good excuse to eat chocolate). This is another card for my Whimsie Doodles February guest designer gig. The Thonging stamped image and sentiment are part of the February release. The paper is from the Fleur digital paper pack by Sassy Designs.

I've never seen my husband laugh so hard at a card. He thinks this stamp is hilarious; definitely a card a guy can appreciate.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Fleur digital paper pack
Digital Stamps—Whimsie Doodles Thonging digital stamp
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Crafts-too step card die, Die-namics rectangle stax
Embellishments—fleur de lys charms, pom-pom trim

I'm linking up with: Bloggers Challenge - Love is in the air, Chocolate, Coffee and Cards challenge #84 - Love is in the air, Fussy and Fancy challenge #132 - It's all about love, Jo's Scrap Shack Fun- Day Friday challenge #75 - Valentine's Day, and Sister Act Card Challenge #93 - Anything goes.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

'Don't go bacon my heart' Valentine's Day card

I have the good fortune to be Whimsie Doodles' February guest designer and as such I get to play with the new February releases, like this cute little guy—Don't go bacon my heart stamp.

I thought he had a country air about him, definitely not a city pig, so I paired him up with the Country Girl digital paper pack by Sassy designs.

I used the sketch from Sweet Sketch Wednesday 2 #43 and kept the colorful theme going with a mix of color and shape buttons.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Country Girl digital paper pack
Digital Stamps—Whimsie Doodles Don't go bacon my heart
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Embellishments—buttons, twine

I'm linking up with: Come and Get It challenges - Love is in the air, Jelly Park Friends February challenge - Love is in the air and Quirky Crafts Challenge #3 - Love is in the air.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Simply Cards & Papercraft issue #133

I've got two cards in the latest issue of Simply Cards & Papercraft issue #133. Check out the animal themed birthday card for kids - my two are there (page 75). One of the two is on the cover, the middle one in the three to the left. In addition to page after page of creative inspiration in this issue, there's a free super cute Clearly Besotted stamp set included!

Friday, February 6, 2015

'I love you a latte' Valentine's Day card

This Valentine for my hubby uses an image and sentiment from the DigiStamp Boutique Coffee Break set. Unfortunately, this set has been retired, but if you're interested you might try contacting Sally-Ann to see if you can still get it. It really is a great set with coffee, hot chocolate and tea themes.

I paper pieced the cup and wrapper and since it's for a guy kept my embellishments simple with a bit of ribbon and a wooden heart.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Swoon digital paper pack
Digital Stamps—DigiStamp Boutique Coffee Break set (for image and sentiment)
Dies—Die-namics Rectangle Stax
Embellishments—ribbon, wooden heart

I'm linking up with: Aud Sentiments challenge #124, Creative Knockouts challenge #75Crafting for All Seasons challenge #95, Digi Galore challenge Anything Goes and Crafts Galore Encore February challenge.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Freestyle vintage look mini-album

I try and whip up a mini-album as soon as I can after a special trip or event I want to document in a tangible sense—note try. I rarely do; weeks and months pass—even years—before I get around to making one. Such is the case for this mini-album I just finished for a USA/Oklahoma trip to visit my family in November 2013. I used Zutter clip-board wood covered in scrapbook paper for the front and back with a Zutter album strap to keep it nicely closed.

 I spent more time decorating the front then I did the insides. I really don't like fussy album pages. I like to have plenty of space for photos and room to write or doodle—I have to write in my albums. This is where the freestyle aspect comes in. I don't plan, I just see what happens as I go. Sometimes I mess up, but I don't sweat it. I cover up goofs with stickers or tags and go on down the road. There are thirty pages in this album, these are just a few to give you an idea.

I have a Zutter Bind-It-All machine, but I don't use it much; I prefer ring binders so I can add/take out pages.

I'm linking up with Crafty Ribbons challenge #111 Anything But a Card.

Supply List
Paper—Kaisercraft—75 cents collection, Guinea, Penny, Pound, Base Coat Collection Weathered Wood, Turtledove Collection Geese—Bo Bunny Et Cetera Watermark, miscellaneous papers
Ink—Distress Ink Walnut Stain and Old Paper
Embellishments—Studio Light Easy Vintage Butterflies, Nostalgics Rebecca Sower stickers, Washi tape, fabric tape, ribbon, pom-pom trim, flowers, twine
Miscellaneous—Zutter clip-board wood covers, Zutter Perfect Key Hole Closure Album Strap with key charm, ring binders, varnish, acrylic paint

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Go Nuts! squirrel birthday card

I found the tree bark on this card (yes, it's real bark) in a design store sale. It's very thin and easily cut. I don't know what it's original purpose was for, some sort of table decoration, but I think it's perfect for cards.

The digital stamp and sentiment is from the DigiStamp Boutique Alvin Squirrel Set. This is a great set. I think it works well for everyone—all age groups—male or female. The digital papers are from Sassy Design's Acorn Digital Paper Pack. This is the second card I've made with my new Crafts-too step card die; I love it!

The acorn embellishment is another find at the same design store earlier in the year. Since I don't have ANY craft shops around me, I have to hunt for my embellishments in different places.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Acorn Digital Paper Pack
Digital Stamp—DigiStamp Boutique Alvin Squirrel set
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Crafts-too step card die, Die-namics rectangle stax
Embellishments—twine, acorn

I'm linking up with: A Gem of a Challenge #136 birthday card for a boy, Kraftin' Kimmie All About the Boys challenge #265, Paper Creators Crafts challenge #34 Anything Goes, Sister Act Card Challenge #90 Anything Goes, and DigiStamp Boutique January 15 customer competition.

Save small online digital independent crafting businesses—sign the petition!


The EU in its ultimate stupidity has passed a new series of VAT laws that as of January 1, 2015 anyone selling digital downloads is required to charge its customers and pay the VAT tax rate for the EU country that person lives in, not the VAT rate of the seller's country. This was done to stop Amazon and other big companies who have based themselves in Luxembourg to pay lower VAT tax rates. But the EU has made no difference between giants like Amazon and small 'Jane Doe' sole trader digital crafting companies. There are 28 member states in the EU and 75 different tax levels. This is an accounting nightmare many small businesses do not want to undertake and so are no longer selling outside their own country for digital download. This also effects digital download sellers in the US who sell to Europeans. They are now supposed to be charging and paying VAT for EU customers.

Many small companies don't want to mess with this and I can't say as I blame them. There are no digital stamp companies in France, so I buy mainly from the UK or the US. Tonight I was shopping online with some of my favorite UK sites and this is what I came across, "...we can no longer sell digital downloads via this website to EU countries, other than the UK." I checked an American website I like and it said this, "Due to this new [EU VAT] law, [...] will no longer carry digital products as of January 1st, 2015. Thank you to all those who have purchased digital stamps over the years and supported our artists."

How completely idiotic and incomprehensible is this law?! The overall EU unemployment rate is 10%, but you have countries like Greece at 25.7% and Spain 23.9%. Overall youth unemployment (under 25) is 21.9%. At a time when business growth and entrepreneurship should be encouraged, the EU makes a completely ridiculous business and entrepreneurship killing decision like this.

I urge you to please click over to Change.org and sign the petition to exempt micro businesses and small traders from this ludicrous law. Americans can also sign the petition. 

Please share this information on all your social networks and let's get this changed. Save our small independent online digital crafting businesses!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cursive Writing—It's important! 10 reasons to teach and use it

Today is National Handwriting Day in the United States. It only recently came to my attention that cursive handwriting is no longer uniformly taught in the US...and I was shocked. I was even more shocked that so many Americans were accepting it.

I wanted to discover what was behind this disastrous decision and found the culprit—Common Core State Standards.

If you are not familiar with Common Core, I urge you to research it further. Who is behind it? Who stands to profit from it? The Washington Post has an interesting piece on their blog entitled The Coming Common Core Melt Down. It is a reprint of an article by Stan Karp that originally appeared in Rethinking Schools magazine. It is the best I have read about Common Core. In it he says under the section 'Fighting Back', that we should be '... exposing the truth about the commercial and political interests shaping this false panacea for the problems our schools face.' And make no mistake, companies are profiting from it (could this be why 'keyboarding' is mentioned specifically and longhand is not?).

If you argue—as many internauts do—that cursive handwriting is no longer required (old school they're calling it) then why teach mathematics? After all, we have calculators. We continue to teach mathematics because it is knowledge; it is a skill set we need. The same applies to longhand. It is not a question of either/or. We need both keyboarding skills and cursive handwriting. I have computers and I type every day for work and leisure, but I write longhand every day, too. This so called digital age in which we live has only been in existence for the last thirty years—hardly an age in the scale of humanity, more like a blip. Are we going to throw away a skill set human beings have been perfecting for several millennium overnight? Why are we so quick to throw away an important part of our humanity? Monkeys can tap at a keyboard, but they cannot write in cursive.

By not teaching children this valuable skill we are depriving them of knowledge. We are condemning them to a future where they are incapable of signing their own name. Is that an education?

Cursive writing has real, valuable benefits. Here are ten reasons to keep teaching and using it:

1. Writing in longhand accesses a different part of our brain, employing the more perceptive right-brain's cognitive aspects. By learning cursive, children activate this different part of their brain and in so doing further develop fine motor skills.

2. Writing in cursive helps you generate ideas and retain information. Children who learn cursive score better on spelling, reading and future SAT tests.  Recent studies show students who take notes with laptops score worse on theoretical questions than students taking notes in longhand. The longhand students acquire and retain a greater understanding of their subject matter via longhand than do their laptop peers.
3. Research has shown that cursive writing may be a valuable teaching aid for children with dyslexia.

4. Most American establishments still require a signature. You need to be able to sign your name for a registered letter at the post office, have a bank account signature card, sign a passport, a petition, etc. The same goes for other westernized countries. 

5. Signatures are harder to forge than block letters. Like fingerprints, our writing is part of what makes us unique.

6. To be able to read your great-grandfather's WWI letters to your great-grandmother and other historic documents written in longhand (can you imagine—what if John Hancock had had no John Hancock?).

7. Write an aesthetically pleasing personalized card or letter. Cursive is accepted as more visually appealing than block print (of course doctors are the exception to this).

8. It's faster than block printing. If you need to write by hand—and no matter what anyone says we still do—longhand is a quicker way to get what you want on paper.

9. One day you might live outside the United States and find you're missing a valuable skill the citizens of other Latin script countries still teach. 

10. To prove that you are a well-educated, adult human being who can.

If you would like to take and use the badge I designed above, please feel free to do so.

Favorite links:

The Pen Is Mightier than the Keyboard - Advantages of Longhand over Laptop Note Taking - Psychological Science Journal
The Lowdown on Longhand: How writing by hand benefits the brain
The Joys and Benefits of Cursive Writing
Andrew Coyne: Losing longhand breaks link to the past
How Handwriting Trains the Brain
Why teach cursive handwriting? A response
How cursive can help students with dyslexia connect the dots
The Benefits of Cursive Go Beyond Writing


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