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!

SAVE OUR SMALL DIGITAL CRAFTING BUSINESSES!!!


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

A card for National Handwriting Day


Today is National Handwriting Day in the US and in addition to my written post above in support of cursive handwriting and the reasons why it should still be taught, I decided to make a card in honor of it. If you're a European reading this, you might not know that American schools are no longer uniformly teaching cursive handwriting.


I used a free vintage look graphic from Antique Images as my focal point, paper piecing the cuff. I created the sentiment with Honey Script font.


In keeping with the writing theme, I chose papers from Sassy Designs Air Mail digital paper pack with an old pen nib embellishment under the button.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Air Mail digital paper pack
Image—Antique Images hand holding a pen
Dies—Die-namics square stax
Embellishments—pen nib, button, metallic twine
Font—Honey Script

I'm linking up with: Aud Stentiments Challenge Blog #123, Inspiration Destination challenge #17, Fab 'n' Funky challenge #243, Moving Along With the Times Button It!!! challenge and Kraftin' Kimmie Wonderful Wednesday challenge.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chocolate Box Valentine's Day card


I recently treated myself to a couple of new cutting dies and eager to play with them, decided to use both on this card. The card base itself has been made with my new Crafts-too step card cutting die. The frame around the image is Joy Crafts Flourish Frame cut and emboss die.


To make the embossed images on the frame stand out, I inked them with Distress Black Soot, before removing the die from the paper.


The Box of Valentine Chocolates image is a free digi-stamp from Dearie Dolls. You would not believe the time I spent coloring this stamp! I wanted the image small to fit in the frame so I reduced it in size. You probably can't tell from the photos, but the chocolate box itself is only about 3.5cm (1.5") across. Trying to color and shade on such a small scale is not easy. I was constantly sharpening my pencils and my eyes felt like pinpoints by the time I had finished. The paper is digital and the front sentiment one I created with Grilled Cheese BTN font.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Hugs & Kisses digital paper pack,
Digi-stamp—Drearie Dolls Box of Valentine Chocolates free dig-stamp
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils,
Ink—Distress Black Soot
Dies—Crafts-too step card cutting die, Joy Crafts Flourish Frame 6002/0257
Embellishments—buttons, twine, felt hearts
Font—Grilled Cheese BTN

I'm linking up with: Digi Chooseday week 3 challenge, Part Time Tuesdays #194, Sweet 7 Designs challenge #9, Sweet Stamps challenge #205 and Top Tip Tuesday Something New challenge.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

You're the Apple of My Eye for Valentine's Day


My mother has a thing for apples so I thought I'd send her a Valentine's day card somewhat hors-norme (you can see another one of her apple cards here) with apples as the theme instead of hearts. Although really, when you look at it, the apple digi-stamp from Sweet 'n Sassy is kind of heart shaped. Of course, I'll add my Valentine greetings to the inside so it's clear.


The paper is digital as well, the Big Apple digital paper pack from Sassy Designs (I guess this is just an all around sassy card).


I added some twine and a button to dress it up.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Big Apple digital paper pack
Digital stamp—Sweet 'n Sassy Apple of My Eye 
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901
Dies—Die-namics circle stax
Embellishments—button, twine

I'm linking up with: Use Your Stuff challenge #168 Buttons, Whoopsi Daisy current challenge, Not Just Cards challenge #10, Crafting From the Heart challenge #42, and Crafty Cardmakers #130 Something Old (the button and twine) Something New (digital paper and image).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Masculine Guitar Valentine's Day card


This Valentine's Day card is for my guitar pickin' cousin. I want to send him a card just to let him know we're thinking of him, but I don't want it to be overly sentimental. This Whimsie Doodle guitar digistamp from the Valentine Punnies collection is perfect.


I kept the overall theme masculine. The forest green ribbon, twine and burgundy button snazz it up a bit without looking too feminine. I did make one change to the sentiment (this is why I like digital stamps!); I changed my to our using letters in the stamp.

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, The Paper Studio Mirabelle paper pack
Stamp—Whimsie Doodles Valentine Punnies guitar digistamp
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Artemio rounded square dies, corner round punch
Embellishment—ribbon, twine, button

I'm linking up with: Crafts Galore Encore challenge #13,  Sister Act Card challenge #88 and Stemplesonne Challenge #132.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 Paperesse retrospective

Each new year I like to create a retrospective, looking back over the previous year's creative posts, choosing my favorites from each month. If you would like to know more about a project, the month link will take you back to the original post.

January


February


March


April


May


June


July


August


September


October


November


December


Saturday, January 3, 2015

This Bud's for You! card made with digital stamp and paper


I used Whimsie the Turtle, a freebie digistamp from Whimsie Doodles, as the focal image for this card. This is such a cute image and so versatile. I first thought to use it as a get well card, then I realized it would be good for any number of occasions—birthday, romance, Valentine's, mother's day, congrats or just because (I left it blank inside so I can use it for any of them).


The papers on this card are digital as well, from the Absinthe digital paper pack by Sassy Designs.


I based my card design on the current Freshly Made Sketch # 167.


Supply List
Paper—cardstock, Sassy Designs Absinthe Digital Paper Pack
Digital Stamp—Whimsie the Turtle Whimsie Doodles
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Die-namics circles stax
Embellishments—pearls

I'm linking up with: Digitally Sweet Challenges #121 (my favorite shape is circle), QKR Stampeded challenge #120 and Cute Card Thursday challenge #354.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015! Wishing EWE a Happy New Year


Happy New Year everyone! Here we are are 2015. Can you believe it?! Remember when it turned 2000? Fifteen years ago now. Time flies.


When I saw this Whimsie Doodles New Year's Lush digital stamp, I thought it was so funny and a perfect match for the sense of humor of the couple I sent it to. My husband likes to see my cards, but when I showed him this one, I had to explain the ewe pun, which rather dampened the humor for him. His English is very good, but the nuance of some things eludes him.


Wherever you are, in whatever your language Happy New Year, Bonne Année to you!

Supply List
Paper—cardstock, PaperTouch Scrap Dots N95340C
Stamp—Whimsie Doodles New Year's Lush
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies—Die-namics rectangle stax
Embellishments—twine, gems

I'm linking up with: Whimsie Doodles monthly challenge, Just Inspirational Challenges New Year and Not Just Cards challenge #9.

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