Monday, March 31, 2014

March Christmas Cards

Hello!  I have my March Christmas Cards to show you today.  I had fun making these cards!  As most of you already know I play the Splitcoaststampers Christmas Card Challenge where we make Christmas Cards all year long so that were not stressed out during the busy holiday season.  I make five cards a month so that I will have about sixty at the end of the year.  I choose a different design each month, but I make five of that design.  I also make long cards (4 1/4 by 8 1/4) so that I can fit a photo collage postcard inside and I try to keep my cards to no more than two layers and 'bump free', so they are easier to mail.

Here is my Christmas Card this month.  I made five of these cards.  I used a retired Stampin Up! set called 'Winter Play' and stamped it on Kraft paper.  My sentiment is computer generated.  I colored the images with a mix of Copics and Prima Colored Pencils.  I sponged the edges with white craft ink and sprinkled on a variety of glitters from Martha Stewart.  I finished with some shimmer spray and adhered the Kraft panel to a white card base.

 Here's some close ups for you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: Playing with Plaid

Hello!  For this week's Fashion Over Fifty post, I'm playing with plaid.  Oh, and if your still wondering why in the world I'm still showing winter outfits, it's because it is STILL cold here in Wisconsin.  Trust me, I would love to show you some new spring outfits, but it was only about 9 degrees when I took this picture five days ago.  I hear we are going to get one day in the fifties on Sunday, and then the temperatures will quickly plummet back into the thirties.  So I fear if your looking for spring inspiration, you will have to look elsewhere.  Anyway, back to the plaid.  Plaid was all the rage this past fall and winter.  I kept seeing it everywhere and resisted it.  But when Bridgette Raes, one of my favorite style bloggers, did a post around this fun ModCloth plaid shirt  I could resist no more.  You really need to go check this post out and see how she styled this plaid shirt.  She's amazing!  I had to have a plaid shirt after I saw all the different ways I could wear it.

When putting together this outfit, I was inspired by Look #2 on Bridgette's blog.  Here is what I came up with:
 I used an off white scarf instead of a blue one, not only because I didn't have a blue one, but I thought a white one was at least a tad bit more 'spring-like' than a blue one.
 Because my scarf covers up my neckline, I wanted to show you a picture of the shirt as it appears on ModCloth.  It has a deep neckline with buttons, one chest pocket, and sleeve tabs.  A lot of previous buyers of this shirt described the material as thick, but I found it to be a very thin flannel, which I prefer.    Because I carry all my extra weight on top, I do not like to wear bulky sweaters, sweatshirts, or tops for I feel they make me look even bigger.
 Here is a close up of the sleeve tabs, pocket, and plaid print.  The shirt is very soft, and I love the length.  I have a long torso, and many tops are too short for me.  And because of it's length, I could probably wear this with leggings too.
 I purchased my scarf at Target.  It has a nice long fringe and a beautiful lace inlet detail.
For my bottom half,  I wore a dark denim barely bootleg jean from Express.   I can't even begin to tell you how hard it is to find a pair of jeans today WITHOUT holes.  My friend and I were shopping yesterday and we were laughing at all the jeans with holes in them.  We couldn't find hole-less jeans anywhere.    I mean, really, I know it's 'in' right now, but if I wanted a new pair of jeans with holes in them, I'd just pull out an old pair from my closet that got holes in them the good old fashioned way:  HARD WORK!  Spend a few hours gardening kids, and you will have plenty of holes in your jeans.
 Because we still have plenty of ice and snow on the ground, I wore my old stand by leather dress shoes that have a nice heel to them, but plenty of rubber traction.  The ice is actually getting worse instead of better because during the day it melts, and then overnight it freezes again, making it more slippery now than it was all winter.  Oh, cold weather, please go away and stay away!

And finally, because I have a scarf on and you can't see my neck, (and my long hair covers my ears, so what's the point of earrings?),   I wore a simple, multi colored bracelet from Lia Sophia.
This was my first experience shopping with ModCloth and I really enjoyed it.  What a fun company!  Did you know that they have a customer style gallery where you can submit a picture of yourself wearing your new ModCloth clothes and they put it in their Style Gallery?   You can even 'love' other customers style photos.  Check out my style photo HERE.  Another fun thing ModCloth does is to allow the customer help make the decision on what clothes the company will produce and sell.  It's called 'Be the Buyer' where you can look at pictures of clothes being considered for production and vote for them.  It is so fun!

So what about you?  Did you embrace the plaid trend this past season, or did you never stop wearing plaid and you always have a favorite flannel shirt hanging in your closet?  There is something so comforting about flannel, and it seems the older the shirt gets, the softer and more comfortable it becomes.

Have a great day!  Amy

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cool Girlfriend

Hello!  I spent my day off shopping with an old friend.  Boy did I come home with the goodies!  I found so many cute pairs of shoes and floral shirts, now I'm just ready for some warm weather so I can wear them!  I hear it's gonna be in the upper 50's this Sunday.  We'll see.  Anyway, I made this card awhile back for another friend, but because I had so much 'girlfriend fun' yesterday,  I thought I'd share this card today.  It just screams 'GIRLFRIEND' doesn't it?

The image is an old retired Stampin Up! set called, what else, but 'Girlfriends'.  I simply stamped the large image on the side of a white panel and colored her with Copics.  I added Stickles to her earrings and bag to glam her up a bit, then I sprinkled the card with pink sequin flowers and adhesive crystals.  The sentiment is a 3D sticker by K & Co.
 Here's a close up for you to see the embellishments better:
Yesterday, was the first day in years, I actually spent time with a girlfriend 'just having fun'.  I can't tell you how good it made me feel.  I'm away from my house 'working or commuting' a minimum of 50 hours a week, so when I have a day off I'm usually crafting, blogging, doing household chores, gardening, or just trying to 'catch up'.  Oh, and I am married, so I do have a husband that needs to see me once in awhile too.  Because of all that,  I really put my friendships on the back burner because I felt I didn't have time for them like I did when I was a SAHM.  I know when life gets crazy busy, you have to cut some things out because you can't do everything, but to cut out having fun with friends,  was a bad idea.  It was such a great stress reliever just to get out, talk, laugh, and enjoy life instead of always working, working, working.  Somehow, someway, I need to make time for more of this, even if it's just coffee or lunch once a month instead of an entire day.  I didn't make any New Years Resolutions this year, maybe this should be one?

Have a great day!  Amy

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eat More Cake!

Hello!  I love cakes?  Don't you?  I really dislike the new trend of NOT having a cake at the graduation party or a wedding.  That was always my favorite part of any life event party:  seeing a beautifully, decorated cake and eating it!  But now to save money,  the trend at most parties seems to be a 'dessert bar'.   Not for me.  Sorry.  Give me a good old fashioned piece of cake!  

Because of my love for cake, when I saw this sentiment I had to buy it.  It's so funny, isn't it?  I simply stamped it onto a panel made with a Nestie, and added a three dimensional sticker from K & Co.

 Here's a close up of the cute sticker.
I used a darker dp so that I could give this card to a male or a female.  I put a more colorful strip of dp on the edge, and added just a simple strip of ribbon for embellishment.

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: Monochromatic Outfits

Hello!  For this week's Fashion Over Fifty post I am going to discuss how to wear a monochromatic colored outfit.  I know most of you are probably tired of seeing dark colors and winter outfits and are wondering when am I going to start showing some of this year's pretty spring trends, but even though the calendar says it is spring, in northern Wisconsin it is still winter.  The temperatures were only in the twenties when this picture was taken, and it will only be in the twenties again this weekend.  I am ready to scream; I want warm weather and sunshine so badly.  I've already revolted in a small sense:  I've packed away my parkas and knit scarves refusing, yes refusing, to wear them again no matter how cold it gets!  I will only put on a spring coat from this day forward!  And even though there is still snow on the ground, and my little tootsies froze the day I wore this outfit, I've officially declared that I'm done with boots and I will no longer wear them anymore this season too!  So you see, even though it's not an official spring outfit, I've made a few, small, spring concessions in spite of the weather!  LOL!

Anyway, onto the outfit.  My entire outfit is monochromatic in shades of browns.  To keep monochromatic outfits from getting boring, just don't wear the same shade from head to toe.  Yes, everything I have on is brown, but they are all different shades, textures, and even prints.

There isn't anything in this outfit that is brand new, so I have no links to show you.  My sweater dress was purchased last year from Express, the belt is off of another sweater dress I purchased from J.C.Penny (you can see that dress in THIS POST HERE), and the brown leggings are from Penny's too.  The scarf is from T.J. Maxx, and the leopard print flats are from Target.  So in a nutshell, this is a very inexpensive outfit that I have been able to wear for two seasons now.  I wonder if this look will still be 'in' for a third year in a row.  What do you think?

 I love the subdued print of this scarf.  It adds just enough interest, without being too busy and because of that I can easily mix it with other prints.  It is so super soft and has a luxurious sheen also.
 My $14.99 leopard flats are always a 'go to' shoe for me.  They go with so many different outfits, and always add so much interest.
 Here some close ups of my accessories.  Accessorizing is so important when putting a monochromatic outfit together:  you need to glam it up a bit to keep your outfit from being too boring.
 I love my bling, and this bracelet is one of favorites.  I've shown it to you before in the same sweater post I linked above, but it's worth showing off again,  it's so pretty.  I love it when I find jewelry that I can wear with so many different outfits, and also wear year after year.
Have a great day!  Amy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Up, Up, and Away

Hello!  I bought this city skyline die from MFT eons ago and never really used it.  Like most paper crafters, I'm a hoarder and I have TONS of stamps that have never seen ink; die cuts, Cricut Cartridges, and embossing folders that have never been used; and paper that has sat, untouched for years.  I could probably paper craft for the rest of my life and never buy anything again but glue and ink.  So, just like I put myself on a 'Fabric Freeze' (yeah, I have way too much of that too), I have also put myself on a stamp, paper, and die cut freeze until I use everything at least once.  I guess I won't be buying anything new for years.  LOL!  Well, while were on this subject, have you noticed that most of the new stamps are just repeats of older versions?  I have seen so many new stamps lately that look just like so many retired SU! stamps I already own or look like another stamp from another company, but just different.  It's kinda nice actually, because when a company comes out with a 'new' version of an old stamp I already own, I don't have to buy anything!  I just get creative, updated ideas of how to use my 'old' stamps.  It's wonderful when companies aren't creative enough to come up with new images we haven't seen before, isn't it?  I know that was a naughty, sarcastic statement, sorry. LOL!  But it's true!

Anyway, onto my card.  As usual, I kept it CAS yet still with enough detail to have a 'wow' impact.  I cut the MFT city skyline twice:  once in black and once in Crushed Curry, then glued them together and onto a Soft Sky card base.  The clouds and banner were also cut with a MFT die.  The plane is from a Papertrey Ink set and is also cut with a coordinating die.  I hand drew the string to connect the banner to the plane.
Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tattered Time

Hello!  I have just a very simple masculine card to show you today.  I recently purchased this Inkadinkado 'Pocket Watch' stamps on accident.  I thought it was a clearance stamp and I didn't realize I paid the regular sale price till it was too late.  I decided to keep it rather than go through the hassle of a return because I figured it would make a really quick and easy masculine card;  and it did!

My first dilemma in using this stamp was how in the world do I color it?  I mean, pocket watches are usually silver or gold, and the clock face either white or off white.  Now I could have mimicked the look, but I felt it would be too much work and probably never look like I wanted it to anyway.  So I decided to not color the watch and just stamp it on a piece of designer paper from DCWV 'Tattered Time'.  From there, I just added a sentiment from a retired Stampin Up! set called 'A Little Birdie Told Me' and adhered it to a Chocolate Chip panel, and a Kraft card base.  That was it.  I thought of adding either a string, or some brads, but I didn't.  I liked it just as it was, and I figured, whatever guy I sent it to would prefer it unembellished as well.

Have a great day!  Amy

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dried Flower Embellished Card

Hello!  I have a simple, rustic card to show you today.  I found this dried flower embellishment on clearance for 25 cents and thought it would make a easy, quick, and simple card so I bought it.  I simply adhered it to a Very Vanilla dry embossed panel of 'Branches' and I added a tiny bit of designer paper and hemp on the edge.  I used a Nestabilitie to adhere a birthday sentiment to the image.  
 The button and ribbon were already on the dried flower embellishment.  I used  dark chocolate card stock for my card base.
After making this card, I thought it might be fun to experiment drying and pressing my own flowers from my garden this summer to use on cards.  It would be a way of sharing the flowers from my garden with others.  I will have to give it a try!

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: My Latest Stitch Fix

Hello!  For this week's Fashion Over Fifty post,  I wanted to show you what I got in my latest Stitch Fix.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Stitch Fix Company you can read all about them in this post HERE.

To keep myself from getting into a style rut,  I like to schedule a 'fix' with Stitch Fix about three times a year.  For this fix, I got some really interesting pieces that I was quite happy with.  My first item was this Jay Houndstooth Print Swing Skirt.  I really love this skirt because it is made of a cool and comfortable knit material, and the colors and style will work for all seasons.  I can wear it in the spring and summer months with a white tee, tank, or shirt (or add a colored shirt for an extra pop), and I can also wear it in the winter months with black tights and a cardigan.  Perfect!

 My second item was a Benni Dotted Striped Knit Shirt.  It is also not only very comfortable, but I think the dots formed into stripes is a really interesting contrast and it also has a unique neckline and pleat in the front.
 The third item I received was this burgundy dress.  Now, I've ordered from Stitch Fix a total of three times and I've never returned anything, but this dress I had to return.  I really like the dress, it is very thick and has a very nice texture to it;  but I knew from the second I pulled it out of the box that it wasn't going to work.  You see, I have an apple figure:  big on top, small on the bottom, and this style of dress NEVER fits me for it's made for a woman who is small on top and bigger on the bottom.  But I tried it on anyway, like Stitch Fix requests, and sure enough, it didn't fit.  I couldn't even zip it.  I thought, maybe I should just wait till my husband comes home, and he can try and zip it closed (I have a few dresses that require that), but I changed my mind because at my age I'm all about comfort and I felt like I would be wearing a straight jacket if I wore this dress.  Also, because I have a long torso, the pleats of this skirt hit shortly below my ample bust instead of at my waistline, making my already large tummy appear even larger.  So, long story short, I can never, ever, ever, wear this style of dress and whenever I see this style of dress in a store, I don't even bother trying it on because I know it won't work.  So I sent it back.  Now, here's the catch to sending things back;  even though it costs nothing to send an item back and you are not charged for it, if I would have KEPT the dress,  my entire order would have been $10.00 less than what I paid..  The reason being, if you keep all five items in your fix, you get 25% off your total order.  I wrote Stitch Fix and told them it wasn't fair.  I wasn't sending the dress back simply because I didn't like it;  the dress was just too small and the style was inappropriate for my body type.  But I didn't get a response.  In hindsight, I wish I would have kept the dress and donated it to Goodwill or given it away as Blog Candy:  I'd be $10.00 richer and someone would be very happy with a brand new designer dress.  I will have to remember that if it ever happens again.
 Now for my final two Stitch Fix items, which were my absolute FAVORITE items I received.  When I pulled this blouse out of the box, I squealed in delight.  It is SO different, and something I would have never picked out for myself, but I LOVE it.   It is a Bilson Pleat Detail Abstract Feather Print Blouse.  Being a bird lover, I not only love the feather print, but the beautiful colors and almost a watercolor look to it.
 Even though it is a size small, it is a very large, loose, and flowy blouse so it does make me appear bigger on top than I probably really am, but I'm willing to live with that because I just adore the blouse so much (it's also perfect for those PMS days LOL!).  The colors and material are perfect for all seasons.  I can wear it now with black pants (I already did!),  or I can wear it in the summer with a white skirt and maybe a loose belt.  It is very versatile.
 The fifth item I received in my fix were these Emer High Waisted Cropped Trousers.  Now, I really didn't need another pair of black pants, but when I tried these on I loved the look and feel of them so much I kept them.  They are so comfortable and so slimming.  I like them more than any other pair of black pants I already own, so I would rather get rid of one of my current pairs of black pants and keep these.  The fit and feel of these pants are FABULOUS!
 I bought these radiant orchid velvet rhinestone loafers at Charming Charlies in the fall and have never worn them because the color is so different they never went with any of my outfits.  But with this feather blouse, there are so many colors in it, I could finally wear my shoes!
 Here is a close up of the blouse so you can see the beautiful detail of the feathers.  Just gorgeous!  It was hard to select jewelry to go with this busy blouse and scooped neckline, but I finally settled on a long Tori Spelling silver and clear rhinestone chain, and a black and clear crystal bracelet.
Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feel Better

Hello!  A lady at my church had knee replacement surgery this week, so I sent her this card to help her 'Feel Better'.

My image is from PaperTrey Ink.  I stamped the outline image onto patterned paper and cut the image out with the coordinating die to the set.  All the designer paper is very old retired Stampin Up!.  Spellbinders Nestablilites were used to create all the various circle elements.  Ribbon, crochet trim, a button and hemp are my embellishments.

Have a great day!  Amy

Monday, March 10, 2014

From One Coffee Lover to Another

Hello!  Because I'm a big coffee drinker (I drink WAY to much coffee according to my doctor!), I love coffee cards.  I usually make coffee cards with natural colors like browns and creams.  But this card was for a man at my church that loves coffee as much as I do and is always making the coffee and/or bringing me a cup; so I wanted to have a little fun with it!  I chose bright cheerful colors and papers and came up with this:
 My coffee cup is actually a tea cup from a Papertrey Ink set.  I just stamped the outline image onto brightly colored paper.  The sentiment is computer generated.  The designer paper is from DCWV 'Birthday Celebrations'.  The inside of the card reads 'Happy Birthday'.

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fashion Over Fifty: Dressing Up the Basics

Hello!  This week's Fashion Over Fifty post is all about how to take those basic items you might have in your wardrobe and dress them up a bit.  You know you all have them hanging in your closet:  the classic black pants that never go out of style and a standard button down shirt.  Well I wanted to wear this old teal satiny shirt from Express but I felt it needed just a little 'oomph' than wearing it alone.  So I added a sequin tank underneath with a black lace cami underneath that.  The sequin tank is kind of loose in my chest, that's why I added the lace cami.  I also thought it brought a little more interest to the outfit than just the tank alone and the black color tied in with the black pants quite nicely.

 For jewelry I wore a silver peacock feather with a blue stone inside of it.
 The shirt has a nice little gathering and tie detail in the back.  My only problem with this shirt, is I've washed it according to instructions and I've never been able to get the wrinkles out so it looks like new. Any ideas anyone?  I might toss this shirt this spring if no one is able to offer any suggestions, because I've ironed it to death, and still can't get the wrinkles out.
 I wore a classic wool trench coat with a fur collar for my outwear and I carried a leopard print clutch.
 I have to show you the only designer clothing item I own:  a pair of Michael Kors gloves.  Aren't they beautiful?  My daughter gave these to me for Christmas, and I actually CRIED when I opened the box and realized what they were.  Can you believe that?  I said, 'Oh my goodness, I can't believe I own something by Michael Kors!'.  My tears weren't for shallow, materialistic reasons, but because not only did my daughter know me well enough to know what I would like, but she actually LISTENED to me.  When Ashley and I were in Chicago this past fall, we saw a Michael Kors store and we looked at all his beautiful purses in the window (I was too timid to go inside, because I knew I could never afford anything ).  I remember telling her that he was my absolutely favorite designer and I found everything he created to be a work a art;  and even though I would probably never own anything he made in my lifetime, I still like to just look and admire his beautiful creations.  Well she obviously was listening, because this was my gift.  I will treasure them forever!
 I am one happy momma blessed with thoughtful, kind, generous, children.
Have a great day!  Amy

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poppy Anniversary Cards

Hello!  Poppies are one of my favorite flowers even though they are very short lived in the garden.  I just love their large, papery blooms, the deep black centers, and their funky seed pods.  So when MFT came out with the new Poppy stamp and dies a few months ago, I just had to buy them!  This is what I created:

I love that there is no coloring with this stamp.  Flowers are so difficult to color, I mean, who can possibly duplicate God's amazing coloring skills of a flower?  No one.  So best leave it to Him, and just stamp a single color.  My card is very CAS, just the way I like them.  I did color the center of the flower with Copics, the flower is also popped up a bit using the die and a small dimensional.

 My next card uses pre-printed Kraft paper on the left side and I added some brown flocking to the flower centers.  I didn't like this look as much as coloring the center.  The sentiment in both cards is very old and I don't remember where I got it from.
Have a great day!  Amy