A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Note: my Privacy Policy can be found at a tab below. Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

November 13, 2019

Holiday Branches

Hello Stamplings!

I hope you're having a great week! I'm knee-deep in all products Christmas and am shocked (as I am every year) by how much of it is NBUS. Do you think Hammy has figured out how to get on the computer in the middle of the night and order things?! I'm not complaining because it's like Christmas when the mail comes, but he needs to finger out a way to give me more hours in the day to USE everything!

Anyhoozle, we're all busy this time of year, so I'll prolly do more posts, but quick ones, just to share the cards I'm making which may spark ideas for you. Today I have cards I made using a NBUS full-size Holiday Branches stamp from Echo Park. The design itself is a CASE of a card made by Jenny Mullens, which  I saved from a Craft Stamper magazine ages ago. Thank you, Jenny!
The great thing about using a full-size stamp is that you can cut it in half and make two cards using the same design, as I've done here, or you can cut it into even smaller pieces for borders, small panels, etc. Wait. What? Clumsy me. What I meant to say was you can cut the stamped panel in half, not the actual stamp! (Is it bedtime yet?)

To begin the card, I did a watercolor smooch panel on mixed media paper using shades of green Distress Ink. For the first card above, the white heat-embossed sediment is from The Ton. The die-cut sediment on the second card is from Creative Expressions. The white paint lines on both cards were made with a Pen-Touch paint pen, a gift from Lolly, and the schplatters are watered down gouache paint.

Challenges for card one:
Challenges for card two:
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Here's one of another Twofer I made using the same stamp heat-embossed in white. I wanted to show you how pretty it looks on gold paper. The yummy-textured snow paper is from my friend Chrissie. I don't know the manufacturer of the die. I thought it might also be Creative Expressions, but I don't see it on their website. I used an American Crafts gold metallic pen for the transition line.

Challenges
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Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!* Please keep the residents and fire fighters in New South Wales Oz, in your prayers as they deal with the catastrophic fires.

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by so I can be sure and return the flavor!

Note to Bette: I don't have your email address, so I hope you see this. Chester's card was made by Cornelia. The stamps used for Chester are from Cats on Appletrees. In the future, if you ever have any questions about the card illustrations on The Back Stories, you can always click on Cornelia's name at the bottom of the story and that will take you to her blog for details about her amazing cards. Thank you for asking!

*Life is too short!

To open the pop-up comment box that let's you jump to the end w/o scrollingClick CTL + Home. Click the Home tab under my blog banner which resets the post. Click Page Down to reach the end of the post. Click Comments and a pop-up box opens. Click "Jump to Comment Form" and wallah, no more car pool tunnel! Mwah! (p.s. If you ask me a question in your comment, please remember to leave me your email address so I can respond. Thank you!)

November 10, 2019

Holiday Greenery ~ With a Twist!

Hello Stamplings!

I hope this finds you well and, if not, I'm sending you squishy cyber hugs with the hope you'll soon feel better. It's always so difficult to be far away from someone we love who could use a real-life in-person hug. Thank goodness we all have vivivacious imaginations so you can feel well and properly squished over the interwebs! 

And how are you doing with those holiday cards? It's that time of year, even if it does seem like we just put those holiday decorations away! Today is the 10th of the month, so I'm here with some inspiration for you for the November Twofer Card Challenge. To help you with those ideas for Christmas cards, our prompt this month is:

 HOLID🎄Y GREENERY!

The Holiday Greenery my two designs have in common is the NBUS Holly Frame die from Papertrey Ink. 

Wait. What? My cards are for the same occasion and that's a TCC no-no!
No worries! There's a fun and welcome twist to TCC this time, so my cards for the same occasion are okay!! Because we are all busy making holiday cards right now, I decided to waive the rule of "two different occasions."

Of course, you're welcome to make your two different designs for two different occasions, but if you want to make two different designs for the same occasion, such as Christmas, go for it!! Just remember you still have to use the same stamp, die, or stencil to showcase the Holid🎄y Greenery prompt on both your different designs!

Onefer
This first design couldn't be more QACAS! I attached a panel of Christmas green glitter paper to the card base and glued the holly frame over that. To finish I glued on the die-cut sediment from Creative Expressions. A couple of clear enamel drops and shazambam, Santa came to town!

Twofer
My second horizontal design uses just one side of the Holly Frame and is pretty self-exploratory. The sediment from MFT was heat-embossed in rose gold e/p. 

My perfect color-match enamel bling was Hammy's idea. I used one of those old-timey paper punches to punch a circle from the same paper I used to mat and cut the frame. Then I glued the circles down and glued clear enamel dots over the top.  

And to show my appreciation for Hammy's idea, I made three more dots to bling his water bowl. As if he needs any more bling in his cage!

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Join Us!

This is our last challenge of 2019 and I look forward to seeing your festive holiday designs in the gallery this month! It's hard not to use some kind of greenery on our holiday cards this time of year! And as you can see from my cards, your Holiday Greenery does NOT need to be green!!
Pop over to the Twofer Card Challenge where you'll find the Team has made beautiful inspiration cards for you! We are also fortunate to have the lovely Nanc' Leppek as our talented Guest Designer this month!

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Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

To open the pop-up comment box that let's you jump to the end w/o scrollingClick CTL + Home. Click the Home tab under my blog banner which resets the post. Click Page Down to reach the end of the post. Click Comments and a pop-up box opens. Click "Jump to Comment Form" and wallah, no more car pool tunnel! Mwah! (p.s. If you ask me a question in your comment, please remember to leave me your email address so I can respond. Thank you!)

November 6, 2019

OLC and TFC

Hello Stamplings!

How are you? I hope you've had a grand start to the week which has now reached its apexible moment. Have you noticed that people around you, on social media, and on TV have started to delight in mentioning it's blankity-blank days until Christmas?! Sure I'm knee-deep in Christmas cards, but I still want to take a few more minutes to enjoy fall and the delights of Thanksgiving!

Wait. What? It's how many days??!! Just kidding. Relax. You know we always get everything done or do our best trying. Might as well relax while we do our best trying. Besides, as Hammy tells me ~ and wants me to tell you ~ working with paper and stamps and ink is so much easier when our fists and teeth are unclenched!

Onefer
For this one-layer card (OLC), I used a NBUS Inkadinkado wooden stamp with no name, but the number on it is 60-00332. I did a direct-to-stamp coloring technique using Memento markers, but after wards I felt it needed more definition, so I colored it with ancient twinkling Spica pens. Anyone remember those? The sediments were stamped with Delicata gold ink. The embossing folder is called "Stately."

Hammy went to town with the winking, which you can see a wee bit better in the closeup. You'll note he also glossified the ribbon, so IRL, it's uber schparkly!
Challenges
For your blog
Twofer
The panel on this card was made at the recent Indiana retreat when Brenda taught us the Tarnished Foil technique. When I saw that this month's CAS Mix Up Challenge was Oxidized Metal, I cut the panel in half in order to make two CAS cards to play along. But when I went to link the above card, I started looking at videos, and soon realized that oxidized metal is not the same as tarnished foil, even though the look can be very similar. Oops.

Not only that, but I realized I didn't use the "stamping" requirement! Gah! Anyone else have trouble with Brain Fog for a few days after the fall-back time change happens?!!

The best way for me to explain the Tarnished Foil technique is to refer you to Brenda or to this video: Tarnished Foil Technique. It's a lot of fun! The oxidized technique looks like a lot of fun, too, and I hope to give it a try before the CMU challenge ends. BTW, the vertical NBUS Thanks die is from Frantic Stampers.

Challenges
 

Threefer

Here's what I did with the other half of the metallic panel. The die cut sediment was a gift so I don't know who makes it. It was cut from white paper so I did a Ziggie wash to tone it down.
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Nellie Notes
What's going on here, Miss Nellie? I toyed with the idea of not telling you what happened and letting you make up your own plot line, but then I realized the story is written all over her face. Both literally and in the look in her eyes!

What happened was, I went in the house for two minutes max. I came back out and Nellie was no longer sunning herself on the deck. I walked over to the side of the house, not there. I called her. No response. I was about to look in the last spot she could be when I heard a rustling behind me. I turned around and here she came squeezing out from under the dirty deck! 

Those spidey webs on her head were all over her back, but she shook them off before I could take the photo. For a little diva, she's quite a tomboy! This weekend we put lattice all around the edge of the deck so now she is free to run free! 

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Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

To open the pop-up comment box that let's you jump to the end w/o scrollingClick CTL + Home. Click the Home tab under my blog banner which resets the post. Click Page Down to reach the end of the post. Click Comments and a pop-up box opens. Click "Jump to Comment Form" and wallah, no more car pool tunnel! Mwah! (p.s. If you ask me a question in your comment, please remember to leave me your email address so I can respond. Thank you!)

November 2, 2019

Guesting with Penny!

Hello Stamplings!

Welcome to the charming month of November. Who doesn't love November? You can have some warm Indian Summer days to enjoy the remaining colors of fall (or cool spring days before the heat of summer). Here in America we have a rustic and robust holiday of gratitude and food that we look forward to all year long! And for card artists, it's the month of full-on holiday card and tag making! 

I was fortunate to win a fun Penny Black Saturday Challenge recently, so I have the privilege of being their Guest Designer for November! This wonderful challenge is always "Anything Goes" (as long as Penny Black products feature prominently, of course), with an optional theme if you need extra inspiration. November's optional theme is "Tags."

Here is my tag to inspire you!
I used "Stitched Main Street Tags" by Poppystamps for the tag layers. I cut a solid tag from aqua paper for the base of the tag and over that I adhered an aqua vellum layer and over that I adhered a beautiful platinum patterned paper layer and over that I adhered another aqua vellum layer with a platinum-embossed sentiment from Penny Black. After that I adhered a blanket over me and took a nap.

When I got up, I propped the tag in the window sill for a coupla days while Hammy and I considered whether to add anything more. In the end, adding the critters won out, as it always seems to do in the Playhouse! These delightful critters are from Penny Black's "Jolly Friends" set. I was not particularly pleased with myself for stamping the critters in harsh black on my soft platinum and vellum creation, but I got over that by adding gold and black organza ribbon to, well, tie everything together!
Guest Designer Badge

Thank you, Helen, for inviting me to be your November Guest Designer!

I'd love to see your tags in the November challenge at PBSC! The talented Design Team have created stunning tags to further inspire you, so go check them out! 

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Challenges

Snippets Playground Badge
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Nellie Notes

Continuing from my post last week, this was the best photo I could get of the three dogs together. Sorry about the dappled lighting.
Henry with Duke / Nellie / Adam with Jack
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I also wanted to share these photos. Nellie wasn't freshly groomed when we got her so by the time I came home from Indiana she was so dirty finding a groomer went to the top of my To-Do list! Here she is before and after!
She's dang cute either way and let me tell you, that pure white does not last long, lol! She gets dipped in the sink after our walk every morning to wash her feet and then she gets brushed and combed.
Thankfully, she came with this pretty argyle sweater from her prior owner which helps keep her belly clean now that the temperatures are chilly in the morning. She adores going on walks! You can see in her face that she's imploring me to stop taking photos so we can GO!!

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Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

To open the pop-up comment box that let's you jump to the end w/o scrollingClick CTL + Home. Click the Home tab under my blog banner which resets the post. Click Page Down to reach the end of the post. Click Comments and a pop-up box opens. Click "Jump to Comment Form" and wallah, no more car pool tunnel! Mwah! (p.s. If you ask me a question in your comment, please remember to leave me your email address so I can respond. Thank you!)

November 1, 2019

Chester

Arlene looked out her office window just in time to see young Chester lift his leg and whiz on the asphalt.

This was Arlene's 35th year at the Sacred Heart Animal Obedience School. She didn't even want to think how many classes she had taught and she was excited that today was her last day.

At the beginning of each class Arlene hoped she'd not have a "Chester" in her class. But.every.single.time.there.was.one. The other animals were eager to learn and willing to follow the rules. They were predictable and easy.

As Arlene continued to watch out the window, she noticed something she'd never noticed before. In fact, she felt a bit light-headed and silly that she hadn't seen it before. Then again, with a "Chester" in every class, naturally her attention was focused on him or her and the rest of the group became a bit of a blur. 

This time Arlene stopped watching the little hooligan and focused her attention on the faces of the other animals. She was surprised to notice that they weren't shocked or disgusted in the least. Rather, they were looking at Chester with admiration and a bit of awe. Arlene knew from experience that even the donkey with his wonky-donkey eyes was feeling the same way. She leaned back against her desk and crossed her arms over her ample chest. She reflected on what her career would have been like if she hadn't had a "Chester" in every class. It didn't take her long to realize the answer: boring!

In truth, Arlene thought, the world needs Chesters. She remembered her father always quoting Henry Thoreau. She reached for her phone and looked it up. 
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

Arlene smiled, realizing that the same was true of the animal kingdom. She grabbed her purse and walked out of her classroom. On the way to her car, she stopped in the playground and stood in front of Chester. “Goodbye, Chester,” she said. Taking off her training apron, she patted him on the head, and then she emptied the entire pocket of treats on the ground in front of him. Throwing back her head and laughing out loud, she turned and walked away.

Darnell Knauss, Author
Cornelia Wenokor, Illustrator
©11/01/2019
Vol. 1 Ep. 15


Note to Bette: I don't have your email address, so I hope you see this. Chester's card was made by Cornelia. The stamps used for Chester are from Cats on Appletrees. In the future, if you ever have any questions about the card illustrations on The Back Stories you can always click on Cornelia's name at the bottom of the story and that will take you to her blog for details about her card. Thank you for asking!

October 26, 2019

Sunglasses, please, folks!

Hello Stamplings!

When I woke up last Sunday morning, there was a whole new week laid out in front of me, like my outfit on the first day of the new year of school. Then I turned my back to go find my shoes and when I turned around again, my clothes had been worn, laundered, and put back in the drawer before I knew what happened. 

That's my metaphor for how fast this week went by. And now, since Christmas will be here before we turn around again, let's get after it.

Onefer
I painted this card with metallic watercolors while at Brenda's retreat in Indiana. I think I borrowed them from Kara? The stamp is Mondo Holly by Julie Ebersole (Ellen Hutson), which I also borrowed from someone. You can't really appreciate the awesome glimmery glimmerness of the paints unless you tilt the card towards the light and then it looks like a magnificent stained glass design:
Back home at the Playhouse, I added a platinum-embossed sediment from GKW. I attached the art to a glittery pale green panel, which glitter you maaay be able to see if you click to enlarge. And that's it. I could have made it an OLC, but I have all this beautiful glittery and glimmery paper that is crying out to be used this year.

Hammy? Remember he was busy with Cassie Kitty at the retreat so no hard labor from him for today's cards!

Challenges

The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge
Twofer
This card was also made at the retreat. Colleen taught us this technique of scribbling color onto a snippets panel in an ombre' fashion. Once dry, you swipe Nuvo Glimmer Paste (or some other brand) over the colors with your spatula. 

Once that is completely dry, you can die cut it, or use a negative die-cut overlay ~ as I did here with this mondo snowflake die. The snowflake die was also borrowed, along with the sediment. (We were one big happy family using each other's things and I wasn't good about making notes.) I added the bling and glittery matching aqua panel at home. Thank you, Colleen! That was fun!

Challenges
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The Guys
While looking at photos of Miss Nellie in my camera, I came across this handsome photo of the Mister and the grandtwins taken in September on the Mister's birthday. They and their big dogs are here entertaining us again this weekend. I'm going to try and get a photo of the big dogs with the little dog.

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You may have heard that once again we are dealing with devastating fires in our area and in other parts of California. It's heart-wrenching to watch the news and it's unpleasant to smell and breathe in the smoke, but thankfully, we are safe where we are. Please keep those who have been impacted by the fires in your thoughts and prayers. ❤

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Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by so I can be sure and return the flavor!

*Life is too short!

To open the pop-up comment box that let's you jump to the end w/o scrollingClick CTL + Home. Click the Home tab under my blog banner which resets the post. Click Page Down to reach the end of the post. Click Comments and a pop-up box opens. Click "Jump to Comment Form" and wallah, no more car pool tunnel! Mwah! (p.s. If you ask me a question in your comment, please remember to leave me your email address so I can respond. Thank you!)