Easter Cards with the Cricut Explore

Easter Cards with the Cricut Explore
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Time flies when you’re papercrafting!! I was going through the thousands of photos I took of my art for blog posts and came across the pictures of last year’s Easter cards and thought it was time to blog about them! With Easter approaching, a lot of us will be working on cards this weekend and I wanted to share this simple card with you.

Easter Bunny Cards 2014

I used my favorite (retired) paper packet of all time: Close to My Heart “Chantilly” because it embodies cheerful Spring colors so well. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I made 12 cards and most of them looked the same. The Cricut Explore made designing, cutting and assemblies these cards a breeze! Here is a sampling of what I made using washi tape, card stock, scrapbook paper, ribbon, epoxy dots, a Copic marker, and liquid pearl drops. I hope this post inspires you as you make your cards this weekend! Some Bunny Loves You Easter Card 2014

Easter Bunny Card 2014

Simple Easter Cards 2014

Happy Easter 2014

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My First Two Airbrushed Cards

My First Two Airbrushed Cards
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I’m so happy to announce I’m now Certified by Copic! I hold the Standard and the Intermediate Copic Papercrafting Certifications, the only two offered by Copic. Last week I completed all my training and was certified to demonstrate, teach or just use the techniques for my papercrafts. Taking these classes were “bucket list” items I’ve dreamed of doing for seven years, so it feels really good to have done something special like this.
My Copic Papercrafting Certifications
    It was so much fun spending two full days coloring and shading with Copic markers. If you’re not familiar with the brand Copic or how to pronounce it, it sounds like “Ko – Pick” and not “Cop – ick.” Back in 2008, I invested in a set of Copic Ciao markers and I got the other set as a gift a year ago, but I didn’t use them as often as I intended. The reason for taking these two classes was to become better at using my investment of colorful markers. Sure, I used alcohol markers in high school AP art and college, but I had forgotten a lot of techniques I’d learned. It all came back to me when I was re-learning how to use alcohol markers in my Copic classes.
    In Junior High, my art teacher was a talented and well-known airbrush artist and I was fortunate enough to get to learn how to airbrush… but then I forgot most of it because I don’t think I airbrushed again after the 9th grade. Last week, I got to try the Copic airbrush with a compressor and I was hooked! No, I’m not going to turn into an airbrushing graffiti artist – I just enjoy airbrushing backgrounds and quickly changing the color of white embellishments and ribbon. It was pretty special marrying two art mediums I learned to use in public schools: an airbrush and alcohol markers!
    After class, they sold the Copic airbrush system at a ridiculously low, below-wholesale price and I was thankful to be one of the lucky 4 to buy one.
    So, here are the first two cards I’ve made with my new airbrush system. I used three colors on both cards.
Airbrushed Depeche Mode Violator Rose Card
    In this card, I cut the cardstock down to size; airbrushed the background; stamped up the iconic Depeche Mode rose from the 1990 “Violator” album; loosely doodled a frame around the edge with a black Copic Multiliner pen; then mounted it onto dark red cardstock.
    For this guy card below, I wanted to closely match the Seattle Mariners team colors, so after laying down a chevron stencil on the cardstock and airbrushing the 3 colors, I lined the bottom of the chevrons with a silver marker. Then, I stamped the Close to My Heart sentiment; attached the ribbon and buckle; mounted it on silver paper; adhered it to the blue card; then added the Close to My Heart sticker embellishment and gemstones.
What do you think? Do you like the airbrushed backgrounds?
Up Close Thank You
Details of Chevron Card
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Sneak Peek: Ugly Christmas Sweater Cards

Sneak Peek: Ugly Christmas Sweater Cards
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More and more, it seems like ugly Christmas sweaters are becoming widely acceptable and encouraged to be worn! In fact, I’m wearing my hideous DIY Christmas sweater as I type this blog post.

I came across another blogger’s post about ugly Christmas sweater cards & gift tags and thought they were adorable! When I found myself at the craft store last weekend and saw the “50% off Christmas stickers” sale, I was inspired to make my own ugly sweater cards.

Here are the little cards I made for my husband to give to a special group of volunteers, along with their appreciation gifts. If you’d like to see a close-up of each card, I’ll add another post with more photos.Ugly Christmas Sweater Cards

Merry Christmas!

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Hello there! I’m excited to present to you my very first Cyber Monday deal! For a limited time only, you can purchase any one of our four Close to my Heart Cricut Collections at a very special 20% off price – that’s just $79.20 each for this unprecedented sale!!!

Cyber Monday 2014 CTMH Cricut SaleIf you or someone you’re shopping for needs a good all-around, every day cartridge that includes 700 useful shapes, a great font, 3-dimensional flowers and more, then Art Philosophy was meant for you! This is still the cartridge I reach for the most. It comes with three coordinating, exclusive stamp sets and matching Dimensional Elements (color-ready chipboard).

If your crafty wish list includes a desire to cut 700 wonderful 3-D projects, party favors, interactive cards, awards, robots, spooky characters, wedding and Valentine shapes, cupcake wrappers, invitations, and party essentials, the Artiste Collection is just what you need! Included is a step-by-step assembly booklet for the 3-D projects, three coordinating stamp sets and Dimensional Elements (coordinating color-ready chipboard).

Are you new to scrapbooking; looking for a way to simplify your layouts without sacrificing style; or do you want to make creative cards for all occasions? Artbooking is the answer! With oodles of images in each of 15 layout themes, you can create several coordinating pages for each theme using just two keys and one dial size. Images include accents, borders, titles, overlays, photo mats in standard photo sizes, and more. The Cricut® keys are optimized for creating 12″ × 12″ pages in a FLASH. You’ll also love creating 10 themed mini books, also optimized for several different sizes using just two keys and one dial size. When you’re finished cutting, use the coordinating stamp sets and Dimensional Elements shapes to add even more pizzazz!

Do you already have all three cartridges, but you’re looking for an easy way to make handmade masterpieces in no time at all? Check out our all-new Artfully Sent Cricut collection. Choose from cards with sentiments cut directly into them, or combine several cutouts to create your own pop-up scenes. Featuring more than 25 different card themes and 5 different card formats including dynamic interactive designs, this cartridge has a card for any and all occasions—even if the occasion is “just because”! Card styles include pop-ups, swing cards, scenes, sentiments, sleeves and pocket cards.


Sunday, 11/30/2014 from 11 PM until Cyber Monday, 12/1/2014 at 10:59 PM Pacific time.

If that wasn’t enough to get you excited, Starting December 1st, our supplemental Seasonal Expressions catalog debuts! You may start ordering from it on my website December 1st through the end of March 2015. There’s a beautiful assortment of Valentines-themed papers and exclusive stamp sets, as well as fresh new crafting supplies for Spring and for any occasion.

December 2014 also is the time for our Deal of the Decade promotion!

CTMH Deal of the DecadeWith a qualifying purchase of $50, you’ll automatically become eligible to purchase ANY C- or D-size stamp set from the Annual Inspirations 2014-2015 idea book for just $10!! How does THAT sound? Don’t forget, you can also take advantage of the December Stamp of the Month!

In December 204, with any $50 qualifying order, you’ll get the opportunity to purchase this limited edition “Cutie Pie” stamp set for only $5! Here are some adorable samples made with the stamp set:

Cutie Pie - CTMH Stamp of the Month December 2014

Hey There Cupcake - December 2014 CTMH SOTMIf you have any questions about these special deals, please leave a comment below and I’ll be glad to help you! Have a wonderful day!

It’s a Bust

It’s a Bust
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Any kind of surgery is a big deal and I believe it’s normal to feel apprehensive before going under the knife. So, when a friend of mine was days away from a breast-reduction surgery, I made her this card to… show her our support. ;-) Long ago, a friend held an all-you-can-create card buffet where we could use her supplies to make replicas of the cards she designed and pay one low price. I was too uptight to make the bra card and I didn’t know how or when I would ever use it. As I’ve gotten older, some of my friends have dealt with delicate female issues such as breast cancer, reconstructive surgery and breast reductions. Now I know where I could use a bust shaped card.

So, when the time came to make a card for this situation, I tried to remember the shape of the card my friend designed and came up with this. No Cricut machine was involved in this. This card was hand-drawn from my imagination and hand-cut.

Bust Card with Pearl NecklaceI used some retired Close to My Heart rosette ribbon and nestled some faux pearls between some of the roses with Glue Dots. With my Cuttlebug, I used an embossing folder to add a feminine pattern to the top.

Bra CardHere’s another picture of the card with better lighting:

It's a Bust





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Nice Mustache

Nice Mustache
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Last month, I had the pleasure of seeing my favorite Aussie, Peter Brewer, when he flew to San Francisco to speak at a real estate conference we both attended!

Peter Brewer - photo by Nate Ellis

Peter Brewer – photo by Nate Ellis

If I had time, I would create a special card for every friend of mine, but that’s just not feasible. So, when I knew I was going to see him and his famous mustache, I wanted to make him a card.Hey, man... nice 'stache.The pictures look dark to me, but I any filter I put on the photo changed the colors drastically, so I left all the photos untouched without a filter.

Mustache cardI am often inspired by popular songs and pop culture, so I probably got the phrase, “Hey man, nice ‘stache” from the Filter song “Hey Man, Nice Shot.” It was easy to pull this card together because I’d designed it in my head first. Using paper from DCWV “The Guy Stack” cardstock and my Cricut Explore, I cut the mustache and had the machine write my phrase with a pen.

Hey, man... nice 'stache!When my husband and I got into town, we discovered Peter and Tara were having dinner near our hotel, so we stopped in and surprised them. It was nice to hand The Mustached One his card before the fast-paced conference week began.

Peter loved his card!Hurray for friends!

Photo Aug 20, 12 51 22 PM Peter approved of this mustache card.

Nice 'stache!Thanks for reading my blog!

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Social Media App Ornaments

Social Media App Ornaments
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I guess it’s Christmas in July since I’m blogging about the social networking iPhone app icon ornaments I made back in December of 2012. I meant to blog about these in early 2013, but time slipped away from me and today it seemed like the right time to share this post with you.

Social Media App Icon OrnamentsMaking ornaments or using craft foam were two things that weren’t on my radar at all when my friend Katie inspired me with something on Facebook. She shared a picture of some social media ornaments on her wall and said, “I totally need these for my office!!” I commented below with, I love those, too!! How cute!! I think I could make them and so could you, Katie!” It wasn’t long before our friend Debra private-messaged me and asked if she could pay me to make a set for Katie and a set for her. I liked the challenge, accepted it, and shopped for my material so I could come up with a price for the secret project. Once everything was agreed upon, I got to work and just figured out how these were made. I had never worked with craft foam and discovered how fun it is to cut, but also how tricky it can be. One dent from a finger nail tip and the foam is not good enough to use.

I looked at images of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Foursquare iPhone app icons and printed them to approximately 3″ x 3″ and then proceeded to cut out certain elements of the icons with a craft knife. I traced the cut-outs onto the craft foam and carefully cut around them for each ornament. I found that using Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue works well for creating these ornaments.

iPhone App Icon Ornaments

One set of social media app icon ornaments Once Katie received her surprise in the mail, she shared this:

Katie LanceKatie is very influential in the social networking platforms – especially across the national real estate agent community. After the cat was out of the bag, word got out and I was approached by an acquaintance who is the creator of one of the well-known REALTOR conferences. He asked me to give him a quote for ten sets, gift-wrapped and mailed to real estate speakers all across the country. I agreed and got to work! I shared a picture on Instagram and as the word got out, I collected several more orders! It was an accidental success and I think I made a total of 105 app ornaments.

The ornament factoryI also made a few of these limited edition Klout app icon ornaments for a few friends.

Klout app icon ornamentsIsn’t it cute on the Christmas tree?

Klout app icon ornament on a Christmas treeIf you are interested in getting a price quote and placing an order, please leave a comment below and I will get in touch with you.

iPhone App Icon Ornaments

Photo Jul 25, 11 13 33 PMThanks for reading my blog!

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Baby Card for Beckett

Baby Card for Beckett
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Do you remember this card I made for my friend Anita? I blogged about it here: Hand-Cut Paper-Pieced Baby Announcement

Handmade paper-pieced Pregnancy / Baby Announcement Card via CardsByStephanie.com

Handmade paper-pieced Pregnancy / Baby Announcement Card via CardsByStephanie.com

The good news is she successfully delivered her (huge) healthy and happy baby boy! I wanted to make a special card for Anita and Patrick’s new baby, so I looked at some pictures of the nursery Anita had shared online. She put so much love, effort and care into the special touches that brought this adorable room together. This card is a nod to little Beckett’s nursery.

Welcome, Beckett! Baby card with "Lifting Spirits" CTMH stamp setI used the cheerful Lifting Spirits Close to My Heart stamp set for the airplane and clouds. Is anyone else concerned that there’s no one flying the plane? I told Anita a teddy bear is flying it (totally normal) but he leaned over to tie his shoe when this picture was taken. I stamped the airplane onto the cardstock first and then stamped it onto scrap paper. I trimmed around the stamped image and stuck it onto the airplane with washi tape to temporarily mask it. I should have used a sticky note or the masking adhesive designed for this! Then, when I stamped the clouds over the airplane, it caused the clouds to look like they were behind it.

I used Copic markers to color this. I have forgotten everything I learned about coloring with alcohol markers in high school AP art and college.Baby Card made with CTMH ifting Spirits stamp setDon’t you just love this cute orange and white button that anchors the sentiment banner in place? Anita is very talented at sewing, so I thought adding a button was appropriate.Orange and white button - welcome, Beckett!I made a little string of pennants from orange cardstock that I hand-cut and drew designs upon with a white gel marker. I used glue dots to lay them over the embroidery floss I stapled down with a mini stapler.Orange pennantAnita shared this cute pic she took of the card in the nursery and she plans to display it on one of the shelves made from vintage suitcases:Anita Kissee's photo of Beckett's CardsByStephanie cardThanks for reading my blog!

Beckett's airplane card


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Happy Birthday Stacy!

Happy Birthday Stacy!
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Today is the One and Only Stacy L‘s birthday! Stacy and I became instant friends a little over nine (!) years ago when we met through the Depeche Mode message boards. We’ve had many fun adventures together, including meeting Depeche Mode backstage. Yeah, I had to bring that up again because I’m still thrilled that happened!

With each birthday card for Stacy, I feel compelled to outdo myself. Who’s to say if I really achieve that? What I do know is that each card has a completely different feel to it and it’s always a surprise to Stacy. This year, I wanted to do something with the really cool illustration of Stacy that her good friend Shaz Justice of Lollipop Labs Studios drew. Stacy has used it as her cover photo on Facebook, and I think she’s also used it as her avatar. I had a friendly conversation with Shaz about it, and she was all for the idea of me collaborating with her to make Stacy a special card. I should have asked her for the file so that it wouldn’t be so pixelated, but I just snagged it from Stacy’s album of cover photos on Facebook.

Here’s what I came up with. What do you think?

2014 purple birthday card for Depeche Mode fan StacyI used a (way too dull) craft knife to cut Stacy out of the printed .jpg and popped her off the page with double-sided foam adhesive.

Stacy - Depeche Mode Fan - illustrated by Shaz JusticeI found the perfect washi tape spools for the card! Stampin’ Up! had some Halloween washi tape on clearance, and my order just arrived, so I used the skull washi tape and some purple patterned washi tape from We R Memory Keepers and laid them onto the card, along with some ribbon I bought years ago. I always planned to use it on a card for Stacy.

Special 2014 birthday card for Depeche Mode fan StacyAren’t the pennants cute? I folded washi tape in half over the threaded silver beads and snipped them into little triangle shapes. They were kind of floppy, so I pinned one down with a glue dot.

Close-up of Stacy's purple birthday cardI added a cluster of embellishments to the lower left corner. I used a mixture of retired Close to My Heart products and embellishments from my local craft stores.

Embellishments on Stacy's birthday cardHere’s another view of the card. Isn’t Stacy adorable? I love how Shaz illustrated her!

Washi tape + skulls + illustration of StacyI almost never decorate the inside of a card, but this time I did! I added another cut-out of Stacy and layered her over some washi tape.

Stacy - illustrated by Shaz JusticeThere was still plenty of room to write my sentiment inside.Inside of the card: Stacy - illustrated by Shaz JusticeI used my tiny Tim Holtz stapler to attach the wire-threaded silver beads.

2014 birthday card for Depeche Mode fan Stacy      Here’s one last picture I took of the card: Custom birthday card for a special fan of Depeche ModeStacy enjoyed the card and the concert ticket we bought for her. We got to see New Order LIVE last week for our very first time! She shares the same birthday as Ian Curtis, the late singer of Joy Division who died the same day as Mt. St. Helens erupted. Photo below, by Stacy.

Stacy's Depeche Mode birthday card and New Order concert ticketThanks for reading my blog!

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Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary
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This is the week of my husband’s and my wedding anniversary, so I wanted to blog about what I did for him last year. The chalkboard effect has been very popular for the last few years and 2013 was the year I finally played around with that look and I still love it in 2014. Someday, when we look back on my first wedding anniversary card and gift to my husband, we’ll say, “That style is SOOO 2013!”

Traditionally, the first wedding anniversary gift is paper and that be interpreted so many ways. For the paper crafter, it meant I would make him a paper scrapbook of photos and moments from our first year of marriage. We take a lot of photos and share them online with friends, so I picked the highlights from the year and printed the photos on glossy paper and made a mini album of memories. The photos are pulled secretly from his Facebook account so that both sides of the stories were represented. What was really special is that he made me a video “scrapbook” with photos from our first year together! We both made each other surprise scrapbooks! That was pretty sweet.

I’ve always described myself as a reluctant scrapbooker. I just can’t get into creating fancy layouts that feature the perfect balance of embellishments, photos and journaling. It’s just not me! Until I met my husband, I’d only made two mini scrapbook albums and I gave those away. They commemorated someone’s baby shower and a vacation she took with her family. I’d never been inspired to make a book of memories and moments until I married My Dream Come True, Dale. The joy and love I feel everyday I’m his wife causes me to be inspired to create more things, and it’s his loving support that continues to fuel my creativity. My style is more of a smash-book where I select the best photos and print them on glossy photo paper, then I trim them and stick them onto pages with minimal journaling.

Here’s what I surprised my sweetie with last year:

1st Wedding Anniversary DIY Gifts: a mini album & a cardI’ll share more about the 1st anniversary card in another blog post because today I just want to share details about the mini album. I’d had this small 6″ x 6″ Close to My Heart album in my stash for a few months. I got it on clearance and with just 8 page protectors (for 16 pages), it didn’t seem to daunting to try it as a mini scrapbook.

Five-Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six-Hundred Minutes mini albumI was happy when I thought of using a line from “Seasons of Love” from “Rent,” the Broadway musical. Dale LOVES musicals, so writing the number of minutes in one year (from the song) was a nod to his love of musicals. I used regular black cardstock and smeared it with ink from my White Daisy Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad and some white colored pencil scribbles I blended with Kleenex. Then I wrote in “chalkboard fronts” with an assortment of white markers, pens, a Gelato, and colored pencils and secured the edges with washi tape.

How do you measure a year? 1st anniversary mini album.How do you measure a year? In photos and in love!! I found the “1” charm at Craft Warehouse. There was a collection of metal numbers on clearance a few years ago, and I knew I could use them for something! This was the right embellishment for this project.

"1" charmI used the AWESOME Rhonna Designs app to embellish photos with sayings and trendy clip art. I also used the Diptic collage app to make some collages of photos. Then, I printed them onto glossy photo paper and trimmed them to fit my 6″ x 6″ pages.

Photo made with the Rhonna Designs appI used Close to My Heart Memory Protectors™ 6″ X 6″ Flip Flaps because I needed a few more pages! It was helpful to add flaps where I needed to extend some pages.

CTMH Flip Flaps were used in my projectThere were a total of two used because I needed 4 more pages!

CTMH Flip FlapsYou may think your spouse wouldn’t want “a girly scrapbook” as his anniversary gift, but my guy was touched and he loved his surprise scrapbook. Rather than having several scrapbooks to sift through of different events in our lives, having a little smash-book mini album was much more palatable. It won’t take hours to pour through the photos, and that’s one thing we both liked about this gift.

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