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Heading Home

I left you last to anticipate the final leg of our journey. On Friday we left our cozy hotel in Natchez and began the trek northward and home.

Our first stop was to be at the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest tracts of bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Delta, and the area where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was last seen for certain. Might we perchance be fortunate enough to see one? Unlikely, but……you never know! We will definitely be looking, and listening.

On the way there we were moving along and saw a man fishing off to the right of the highway. Upon looking closer through the trees we could see hundreds of Great White Egrets. There was a wide shoulder where the fisherman had parked, so we, too, pulled over.

The Egrets were the population of a rookery! (or colony, if you prefer). We saw several on nests, some building nests, some doing their mating dance, some flying around. Wow! What a treat.

In scanning the area, Therese spotted another bird, black and down low in the trees bordering the road. We all had our binoculars and tried to spot it, finally being successful. It turned out to be a Common Gallinule, a rather secretive bird I have only seen a couple of times.

Common Gallinule

Knowing we had a good trip ahead, we finally left this spot behind.

We took a winding road that, according to GPS would take us ultimately to the visitor center, instead of going the long way around on the highway. Well, as we all know, sometimes the GPS isn’t to be trusted. The turnoff that we were to take was a MUD road, so we kept to the one we were on, knowing it would eventually get us to the visitor center. It was, as you will see, a good thing we were on this road.

There were a couple of turnoffs that we did take, mostly out of curiosity to what we might see. You know, maybe an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Now THAT would be a find! We did see several Little Blue Herons and other assorted birds, but nothing earth shaking.

As we were nearing the final two or three miles before the visitor center, we saw a man walking, and a parked pickup ahead. Seeing that he was wearing camouflage and carrying a camera, binoculars and more, we stopped. Gay asked the fellow what he was seeing. His response, ” Ivory-billed Woodpecker.” Quickly followed by, “I’m kidding.”

We knew he was kidding, because if he had actually seen one he wouldn’t be nearly as calm as he was. Anyway, a conversation ensued. Turns out he lives an hour or so from there and was a fount of information of the area. Then, he said, “I called a Prothonotary Warbler earlier.”

I could barely contain my excitement at these words because I have never seen a Prothonotary Warbler. He told us if we would wait for him to get to his pickup, drive down and turn around, he would take us to where he saw it. Of course, we waited! I think Therese was the only one of us who had ever seen one.

Well, he did, we did, and he pulled over and stopped about 3/4 mile from where we had been. He pulled out his speaker and played the call. Immediately a bird popped out and flew across the road in front of us. It was a Prothonotary! I took a couple of really lousy shots, because a really lousy shot is better than no shot. Then, as the bird seemed to cooperate and sit rather still, I took the time to get my tripod set up and try for some better images.

Folks, this is what those of us who look for birds call a ‘Life Bird’. That simply means it is a bird you have never before seen in your life. It is always a pleasure to see a life bird, and even better to be able to photograph it.

Well, we spent so much time there that we never did make it to the visitor center, or the rest of the 80,000 acres we did not see. One could spend several days in this area and not see everything. We did also see a Loggerhead Shrike, which, on any other day would be quite a find. After the Prothonotary Warbler though, the Shrike took a back seat.

Loggerhead Shrike

We crossed back over the Mississippi River and spent the night at the Clarksdale, Mississippi Hampton Inn. We couldn’t stop talking about our good fortune in meeting Stephan Pagans who found the Prothonotary Warbler for us.

Saturday we planned to cross over the Mississippi River into Arkansas and spend some time in the St. Francis National Forest and Mississippi River State Park. Highlights here were some Savannah Sparrows and a pair of Carolina Chickadees cleaning house preparatory to nesting.

After a couple of hours meandering back roads and seeing several birds of note, we hustled northward, planning to stop at “Lamberts’-Home of Throwed Rolls” in Sikeston, Missouri around 3 p.m. for late lunch/early supper. HA!

We were left wanting, for when we arrived the parking lot was full and people standing around everywhere. I went to the front to ask what the wait time would be, and was told “2 hours.” FORGET IT! There isn’t a meal I would wait 2 hours for, especially since we had only snacked on chips, candy and beef sticks since breakfast. So, on down the road we went, planning to stop south of St. Louis somewhere for the night.

Best laid plans you know. It was Saturday. It was Spring Break. It was post government incentive checks. Whatever it was, there were no rooms where we stopped. Finally, in St. Charles, north side of St. Louis, (third try) we found a hotel with 3 rooms available. We took 2 of them and were glad they were next to an I-Hop where we could get dinner without fighting traffic. We were all tired, especially Gay, who did all the driving. (Birding is hard work!) Note to self-book the room ahead, or don’t try to find a room on a Saturday night during spring break!

Sunday morning. Last day on the road. We planned to stop again at Ted Shanks Conservation area south of Hannibal to see what changes there would be in bird population since the week before. What a surprise! While the week before there were numerous ducks, there were not nearly as many this day. We did check out the north end of the area which we hadn’t taken the time to do the week prior.

Lo and behold, a large bird we thought at first to be a Turkey Vulture, as it got closer to us, was determined to be a Golden Eagle! Now, this is not a bird one sees frequently here as it is only found during migration, and not very often. It was soaring in front of, to the side and above us for quite awhile, giving us good looks. It was a juvenile, with white underwing patches and tail feathers, which the adult does not have. Still, it was quite the find and made our day.

The other item of note, birdwise, was a Great-horned Owl nest in a tree. It was probably a hawk’s nest that the owl took over. We did turn around to get a better look at it to be sure it was what we thought.

It was later in the day than we had planned when we arrived home, but it was still afternoon and not evening, and we were home, safe and sound, with some great experiences to talk about. And, I was happy to see the birds at home had been cared for by my 2 neighbor children who rode their bikes down every day to fill my feeders.

Really, who could beat a Golden Eagle and a Prothonotary Warbler as well as several sightings of Pileated Woodpeckers and Owls among the 100+ bird species we saw on this trip? I am certainly not complaining. Throw in a bit of history, good food, add in the fun of being with like-minded friends and you have the makings of a great road trip, storms notwithstanding.

We did joke about taking too much luggage and decided we should do a repeat of the 1 day road trip of the year before ( the 1 day that turned into 6!) to minimize the stuff we lugged with us.

I hope you have enjoyed our wanderings. Maybe someday we will get clear to the coast to see what birds we can find there.

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Southern Road Trip Continues….

A few days ago I left you after our auto tour of the Vicksburg Battlefield National Park.

Leaving the park we stopped for gas, a bathroom and then some lunch and on to Natchez. One thing about traveling with my 2 friends….we stop frequently. Mostly we stop for birds, but we also take bathroom breaks and snack/coffee breaks as often as necessary! Believe me, it is often necessary!

Funny thing we do when traveling, we look for those brown signs on the side of the road. You know, the ones that say So and So State Park, or Historic Marker, or Museum, or whatever. If we see one that looks interesting the car goes that way.

After leaving Vicksburg we saw a brown sign that said ‘Emerald Mound’. It was a short distance and our curiosity got the better of us, so we checked it out. Basically it was a small flat-topped hill in the surrounding flat land.

Who knew?

Another of the signs we saw was for the Natchez Trace Parkway. For the uninitiated, The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents.

We did a short walk on this portion of the Trace. It was awe-inspiring to walk where our forefathers may have traveled, even if it was for a short bit of the trail.

                                      The portion of the Natchez Trace we walked.

From the Parkway website: “Whether famous, infamous, or anonymous, travelers of the Natchez Trace relied heavily on this wilderness road. The Trace was a road home, a path of exploration, and a link to the growing population of the Old Southwest. Over time, new roads and population centers were developed and steamships carried people and supplies upstream. The Old Trace fell out of use. Reestablished as a unit of the National Park Service in 1938, the Natchez Trace Parkway was completed in 2005. The route still serves as a connection between population centers, and allows modern travelers to explore and discover the history and culture of earlier generations.”

After stopping to walk the Trace and increase our knowledge of said trail, we continued on to Natchez, in all driving about 20 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

We got our room and settled in after deciding to find an Italian restaurant for dinner. The one we decided upon was called Pearl Street Pasta, located in a very old building. The directions on my phone said it was .4 mile to the restaurant, but with our unfamiliarity with the area, one way streets and poorly marked streets, it was more like 2 miles! Another possibility was my direction giving, but I don’t think that could have been the problem!  It was a bit frustrating, but we got to see some lovely old buildings we hoped to have time to check out later. Dinner was delicious and the trip back to the hotel was actually about .4 mi.

Wednesday was hot and humid and there were severe storms predicted for later in the day. We decided to proceed as planned to go to St. Catherine Creek NWR south of Natchez, at least for the morning, then check the weather again. It was a short birding morning and the birds apparently knew there was a storm approaching as they were a bit on the scarce side. If you can believe it, I did not take one bird photo that day! Unfortunately, we did not have time to spend an extra day to explore more of the nearly 25,000 acre complex.

We returned to Natchez about 12:30 and the hotel graciously moved us from the 4th floor to the 2nd, as we really didn’t want to be at the top of the building in case of a tornado. We had some lunch, did a bit of sightseeing in town, then returned to the hotel until morning. The predicted arrival of the storm at 3 was pretty much on target with heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightning. A tornado did touch down about 20 miles south, but we were snug and safe, and dry, at our hotel.

I love the old Live Oak trees of the south. Some have Spanish Moss hanging from them and some have ferns growing on their branches, giving them a fuzzy look. These particular ones were in the churchyard of  St. Mary Basillica, dedicated in December, 1843. It is seen in the background. The image below was taken between lunch and the arrival of the storm at around 3 p.m.

Live Oaks

After checking our maps and hotel availability in the area of Louisiana just across the river where we would spend Thursday, we decided to stay at our current hotel one more night before heading on north. Having taken care of that change in plans Thursday morning, we crossed the Mississippi into Louisiana and the Bayou Cocodrie NWR, and Red River State Wildlife Management area.

This proved to be a good outing with us finding more birds than expected, and MUCH cooler weather. The high was 23 degrees cooler than the day before.  There were some areas we could not access due to flooded roadways from the previous days rains, but it was still a good day. Probably the highlight bird-wise, was the Little Blue Heron, of which we saw at least 5.

This is a view of a part of the Bayou.

After leaving the Bayou, we headed a bit southwest, again following the Mississippi River, at times on the top of a levee next to the highway. We saw numerous ducks from that vantage point and it was a nice drive to the Red River State WMA, a 78,000 acre area manned by only 3 people. We were fortunate enough to see the only person at the visitor center area as he was just getting off work. He told us we could drive through on the highway, but if we wanted to go on any of the side roads, we would need to get a permit. It was an easy process, and no cost involved, but due to the lateness of the day we opted to not do that and headed back to Natchez.

I will leave you here to anticipate the rest of our travels northward and back home, with a last look at one of the birds we saw that day, a Red-shouldered Hawk.

 

 

 

 

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Southern Road Trip

 

It is always good to get away, but it is especially nice to get back home.

Last year (2020-remember that year??) before the pandemic I wrote in this space about our day trip that turned into a 6 day trip. What a riot! This year those same two friends and I planned a little better and headed south hoping to see some great birds.

When we first began talking about the trip and where to go, we knew we would need a week to go to Louisiana and Mississippi. Of course the discussion led to what birds we might see and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker came into the conversation. Some think it is extinct, but there is evidence of sightings over the last few years, so who knows? At any rate, we wanted to include the areas of old stands of hardwood trees where it would be if not extinct. Thus, the need for a week to allow time to look for birds and for travel.

Our first stop was at Ted Shanks Conservation Area south of Hannibal Missouri. There were large numbers of ducks, but also Bald Eagle, woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, etc. My favorite find there were the Hooded Mergansers, which we startled and they took off.

Male Hooded Merganser in front with female as they took off from the water as we stopped nearby. Nikon D4 with 600mm lens. Copyrighted.

What beautiful birds they are! The male is especially attractive, which is true of most bird species. This is intentional design as the female is most often the one sitting on the nest, and, being less conspicuous in her coloration, is less likely to be found by predators.

Also seen there were Northern Pintail Ducks, one of my favorites. Bear in mind, I have a LOT of favorites. These are especially striking and not seen as frequently as some of the other ducks.

Northern Pintail male with female and female Mallard in front. Out of focus in the background is a male Mallard. Nikon D4 with 600mm lens. Copyrighted.

From there we planned to head further south, perhaps to either Sikeston or Cape Girardeau, Missouri. We didn’t get quite that far, stopping at Perryville, MO. Next morning our goal was to Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. What a beautiful area for spending some time, with a variety of habitats. Here were MANY turtles sunning themselves on shore and on logs. There was also a good variety of birds, including another favorite, the Wood Duck. These ducks like backwaters and water with plenty of places to hide, and are quite difficult to photograph out in the open.

                                This is the male Wood Duck. Female is out of sight.

Moving on, we decided to just drive for a bit to find a place to spend the night, then cross the Mississippi River into Mississippi the next day. We ended up staying in Helena-West Helena, AR. and had dinner at Sonic. It was Sunday evening and the restaurant we had chosen for dinner was closed for the day, so, Sonic it was. Actually, the meal was quite good.

On Monday we headed east to Mississippi and Moon Lake where we met a lovely lady when we stopped near her house to watch the Purple Martins on the other side of the road. Her name was Cheri and she invited us to park in her driveway and sit in her yard to watch them. She told us how she came to have 3 Martin houses and said she has a 4th that her husband hasn’t put up yet.

 

She inquired if we would like something to drink or anything, so we asked to use her bathroom. She invited us in and told us they had lived there for 6 years, a lovely spot with a great view of the lake. She had a little shop in the back where she paints metal birds made by a friend. These she sells through craft fairs, but we bought some from her shop. This little owl was unpainted but so adorable.

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After driving on down the road, (by the way, we don’t just drive, we stop and look at birds along the route) we found ourselves at Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge. By now it is 1:30, but we planned to spend the night at Vicksburg, MS, another 2 hours drive time, and knew we couldn’t see the whole refuge. That was too bad because we only did a short loop and the refuge is quite large, almost 10,000 acres. Still, we were there and it is a potential ‘return to’ place. Highlight of that visit was, for me, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This tiny bird hardly sits still long enough for me to depress the shutter release, but I did get an image. When excited he shows the red on top of his head, but I guess he was pretty calm.

Upon leaving the refuge we drove on to Vicksburg, arriving too late to attempt the auto tour at Vicksburg National Battlefield, one of the sites of the Civil War. We did discover that the Visitor Center was closed due to Covid 19, but the auto tour opened at 8 a.m.

We asked about places to eat and discovered a great Barbeque place very near our hotel. Great food and very friendly staff. Next morning, Tuesday, we drove the Battlefield.

The auto tour was 16 miles long with numbered stops where you could use your cell phone to call a number and input the sign number to listen to a recording (complete with rifle fire) about that particular area.The red signs designated Confederate lines and the blue signs were Union lines. This is a map of the tour. It was nearly 1 p.m. when we left the park.

There are numerous memorials from all the states who fought in that battle. This is the Iowa Memorial, but throughout the park are smaller Iowa Memorials and markers telling where certain units fought.

In addition to the recordings, there are many descriptive signs explaining what occurred there from March 29-July 4, 1863. To read these signs, just click on the image.

There are also signs giving names of places of battles, and casualties of both North and South units.

While everything there is quite sobering, the area is beautiful now. The redbuds were just starting to bloom and there are a lot of birds there as well. We saw MANY people walking various portions of the park, and one man stopped to visit with us twice. He was very knowledgeable and answered a lot of our questions.

                                      These were Union cannon on a ridge. Trench to the right.

 

I leave you with these thoughts:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Abraham Lincoln

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the Southern Road Trip.

 

 

 

 

Christmas, Uncategorized

Stampin’ Up! Toile Christmas for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

 

Good Thursday ‘week after Thanksgiving’ morning to you!

It doesn’t seem possible that a week has passed already and Christmas is getting ever closer. Next thing you know it will be 2021, which HAS to be better than 2020. Right? I am praying that it will be so. Meantime….

Our team has some very talented, creative souls who will share their gifts with you today. Come on along and hop with us!

Our Hop theme for today is:

My answer to the theme is a faceted gift box. I also make jewelry, and often give it as a gift. While trying to find some unique ways to package the jewelry instead of the typical flat jewelry box, I came across an older You Tube tutorial for a faceted box. You can find the video here

Here is my version of the faceted gift box:

To begin you will need a 12″ x 12″ sheet of card stock. I chose Real Red from the Regals collection for this box. Cut it down to 7 7/8″ x 11 1/2″ and stamp whatever design you desire all over it randomly. I chose the berry branch from Toile Christmas, and stamped it in Real Red.

Next, you will take out your Simply Scored Scoring Tool and score this sheet on the patterned side. This might look scary, but take your time. It isn’t hard at all.

With the short side up, score at 2 1/2″, 4 5/8″,and 7 1/8″.

Rotate the card stock so the narrowest horizontal line is at the top and score ONLY to the SECOND line at 2 1/2″, 5″, 7 1/2″ and 10″.

Rotate 180 degrees and score to the first score line at 1/4″, 2 3/4″, 5 1/4″ and 7 3/4″

Your paper will look like this:

Turn it over and it will look like this:

Now you will score on the diagonal, matching up the vertical scored lines like this:

When you flip the paper to the back side and make pencil lines where the score lines are, it will look like this, with the shaded areas being the ones you will cut away.

After cutting it will look like this on the patterned side

And like this on the back side:

Next, cut the vertical lines to the horizontal scored line. (cut three at the bottom and one at the top). You will also need to trim the narrow flap at the top so it will close properly, and take a couple of small wedges off the bottom flaps so they will fold easily. Now fold and burnish all score lines. It will look like this.

I know, it sort of looks like a holy mess doesn’t it?? Never fear, all is well and you will soon have a box with a square top and bottom and 8 sides!

I used Tear and Tape, but you could just as easily use Stampin’ Seal or Stampin’ Seal+. See those 4 bottom flaps? Turn your paper so they are sitting on your table and begin to fold them in on one another to form the bottom of your box. You can decide which ones on which you will use adhesive. I put 3 strips on the WRONG side of the first one, which became the very bottom. Then I folded in the next 2 and put adhesive on the RIGHT side of the last piece as it folded in on top of the other 3. The funny little triangle on the side also was adhered with Tear and Tape under the larger triangle. Then your box looks like this:

Yep, looks weird doesn’t it? But it really is a square box with 8 facets. Pretty cool! You will have everyone thinking you are a genius. Fold in the side flaps and close the lid:

Here is is closed:

And a side view of it closed:

Now for the real fun….decorating the top. Remember, it is a small square, about 2 1/2″, so you will want to keep everything small, including the tag. I cut 2 berry branches from the scraps of Real Red using the dies in the Poinsettia Petals Bundle, and fussy cut one of the smaller flowers from the Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper. I used my Paper Snips Scissors to cut apart one of the berry stems and used Liquid Glue to attach them to the back side of the flower. A couple of Stampin’ Dimensionals adhered this to the top of the box.

The sentiment is from Toile Christmas and is stamped in Real Red on Whisper white. This was cut with a die from Ornate Frames, then edged with my Real Red Stampin’ Write Marker. A couple of Stampin’ Dimensionals adhered it in the corner of the box top.

This finished the box, but I wanted to show you how I used it. I placed some fiberfill in the box, then added the bracelet.

I think this makes a very nice, unique gift box for any small item that needs a special box. Don’t you?

I know this was a rather lengthy post, but I did want you to see it step by step as I don’t do videos. Of course, you can always watch the one I found, by going to the link at the beginning of this post. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave comments below! To go on with the hop, just click on the ‘next’ button, or on any name to go to her blog.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston – You are Here

 

 

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Stampin’ Up! Snowflake Wishes for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

 

Good Thursday everyone! I had planned to visit my daughter in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, but the weather for that weekend included a SNOW storm, so I didn’t go until this past weekend. Which is all to lead into today’s theme for our Thursday blog hop, which is SNOW.

So, come on along on our SNOWY journey, bundle up and stay warm.

I love the SNOWFLAKE WISHES BUNDLE, and all the other elements of the SNOWFLAKE SPLENDOR SUITE…the designer series paper, the embossing folder, just everything.

Here is our theme

 

and here is my card.

I decided to enter a challenge, the Dream Valley Challenge, which is to use dies and/or punches.

I also entered Ike’s World Challenge # 139. This month’s challenge is the letter W, for White on White/Anything Goes.

I think my card also qualifies as an entry in the Try it on Tuesday Challenge. This one is Embossing, either dry or heat. My card has both!

The Snowflake Splendor Suite is such a beautiful suite, and there are so many lovely ways to go with any of the elements. I chose to use the dies and stamp set.

I like monochromatic cards, and white is a good choice for snow, don’t you think?? I paired the white with a bit of silver and some rhinestones, and I really like the result.

To begin, I spritzed some Thick Whisper White card stock and ran it through the machine in the Winter Snow embossing folder. While it dried, I cut the card base from Whisper White card stock.

Using the So Many Snowflakes dies I cut 2 smaller fancy ones, one in Silver Foil Sheets and one in Whisper White. I cut 3 of the larger plain one in Thick Whisper White. The three plain ones were adhered to each other with Liquid Glue. The silver one was adhered to its mate, then to the larger plain one, also with Liquid Glue.

By now the embossed panel was dry, so I cut it to fit the card base and adhered it to the front of the card base with Liquid Glue. I rounded the corners with the Detailed Trio Punch.

Before stamping the sentiment, from Snowflake Wishes, I rubbed my Embossing Buddy over the panel to prevent the embossing powder from sticking where I didn’t want it. The sentiment was then stamped in Versamark on Whisper White, heat embossed with Silver Embossing Powder, and cut with a die from Stitched So Sweetly.

This was glued with Liquid Glue to a panel of Silver Foil Sheets for a mat, which was fussy cut. This was pretty much straight cuts, and easy-peasy.

Using the Beautiful Boughs dies, I cut 2 of the smaller and 2 of the middle size from Whisper White card stock. In the end, I only used 3 of them, arranged under the sentiment. You know, pine boughs, when covered in snow, are white!

I dry fit everything to the card front, and when satisfied with the look, I used Liquid Glue to attach the boughs to the snowflake embossed card front. The silver matted sentiment was attached over the boughs with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

The snowflake was attached with a double stack of Mini Stampin’ Dimensionals on the four points that do not cover the sentiment panel. The final element is the attachment of 3 small and 1 large Holiday Rhinestones Basic Jewels in the Coastal Cabana color. I was going to use regular Rhinestones, but thought the small touch of blue was elegant.

For the inside, I cut a panel from Silver Foil Sheets for the mat, and a panel of Whisper White for the liner. Both panels were given rounded corners with the Detailed Trio Punch. The liner was stamped with the snowflake group in the Snowflake Wishes stamp set, in Versamark. Silver Embossing Powder was heat set with my Heat Tool. These panels were Liquid Glued into the card base.

I chose to not put a sentiment on the inside to leave room for a personal note of thanks.

The envelope flap received a piece of Silver Foil Sheets, and the Snowflake group was heat embossed in Silver on the front.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston

CARD CUTS: Whisper White: card base 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ scored at 4 1/4″, inside panel 4″ x 4 7/8″, pine boughs 3″ x 5″ or use scraps, small snowflake 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″; Thick Whisper White: embossed panel 4 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ (spritz, emboss, let dry and trim to fit card front), snowflakes 3″ x 9″, sentiment 2 1/2″ x 3″ Silver Foil Sheets: sentiment mat 2 1/2″ x 3″, small snowflake 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, inside mat 4 1/8″ x 5 1/8″, envelope flap 2 1/4″ x 6″

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Peaceful Boughs Fun Fold for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

 

Good Thursday morning everyone, and welcome once again to our Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop! It has been a chilly week here in the heartland, but today is WARMER, as in summer warmer. However, it won’t last 😦 as temperatures tomorrow are predicted to be lower by 30 degrees!

Today we have for you a color challenge, or, inspiration as I prefer to call it. We are instructed to use a minimum of three of these colors.

You probably took one look and knew what I am making. Yup, Christmas. How did you guess?

My friend Mary, who is also hopping today, did a fun fold recently that I am also using as inspiration for my card. Go here to see that inspiration card, and a video detailing the steps. I could see no point in re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, when her video shows it all.

This card is not at all what I had in my mind’s eye before I actually started the card. I wanted to use plaid and the Poinsettia Petals bundle, but the colors dictated otherwise. None of the plaids matched up with the colors in today’s challenge, so I simply switched paper and stamp sets.

All products used for this card and card cuts are below. So, let’s get going! 

I began with a card base of Garden Green and some of the lovely Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper. Actually, I used two of them, the wood grain and the pine cones. I think this matches up perfectly with the Peaceful Boughs stamp set and Beautiful Boughs dies.

I started with a Soft Suede mat, which is also the ‘fold’ part of ‘fun fold’. Over this I used Liquid Glue to adhere the wood grain Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper as well as the folded up flap. The inside of the flap is the Pine Cone paper. Liquid Glue was used to adhere this to the card front.

The smaller card is a Soft Suede base (also acting as a mat) with the Pine Cone Poinsettia Place DSP on the front and on the inside. The Pine Cone paper is also on the inside (when it is folded up) of the flap

Adhere all DSP panels to their respective backgrounds with Liquid Glue. Adhere the small card on the card front with the fold folding up over it.

Decorate the front of the small card with 2 die cuts of the larger pine bough and one of the single bough, 3 die cut pine cones (all from Beautiful Boughs), one red berry branch from Poinsettia dies, and one stamped and die cut pine cone. I also used a length of Linen Thread wound behind the sentiment.

Stamp the sentiment from Peaceful Nativity in Real Red and use the smaller die from Beautiful Boughs to cut it out. Use your Old Olive Stampin’ Write Marker to make a line around the edge of the sentiment piece. Mine is a squiggly, broken line but you can make it look like stitches if you like.

Dry fit all the elements and when you are satisfied with the arrangement, begin adhering with Liquid Glue. The large pine cone and sentiment piece are adhered with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

For the inside of the small card, use the small pine cone stamp in Peaceful Boughs and stamp off the Soft Suede Ink once before stamping your Whisper White panel. Over this stamp the sentiment from Peaceful Nativity in Real Red.

Inside the large card, on a Whisper White panel, stamp the pine bough from Peaceful Boughs in stamped off once Old Olive. Stamp two small pine cones in stamped off once Soft Suede. The sentiment is also from the Peaceful Boughs stamp set and is stamped in Real Red. This panel was cut with the largest Stitched Rectangles die. Liquid Glue adheres this to a Soft Suede mat and into the card base.

The papers, card stock and inks were all looking brown and green and I wanted a pop of color. I didn’t think the Bumblebee was quite right, but the Real Red adds some relief.

I really like this style of card, and it is much easier than it looks.

To finish, I stamped a full strength Old Olive pine bough on the front of the envelope and used more of the Designer Series Paper on the flap.

Now, I still will make the one I originally intended with the plaids, so maybe next week you can look for that.

A BONUS for you, if you like the lovely Designer Series Papers that Stampin’ Up! has. Many of them are on sale until the end of the month at 15% off. This is a very good deal, so get yours while they last.

Now on with the hop. You know the drill…click next, or any name to hop to a blog. Please leave comments below. If you do not have a demonstrator and wish to re-create this card, you may click on the button that says ‘Shop with me Online’ to go to my store.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston-You are Here

 

CARD CUTS: Garden Green: card base 4 1/4″ x 11″ scored at 5 1/2″, pine boughs 3″ x 5″; Soft Suede: fold up mat 4″ x 7 12″, scored at 5 1/4″,  small card base 3 1/4″ x 8″ scored at 4″, mat for inner liner on card base 4″ x 5 1/4″, pine cones 2″ x 8″; Whisper White: large inner liner 4 1/8″ x 5 3/8″, liner small card 3 1/8″ x 3 7/8″, front sentiment 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″; Old Olive: pine bough 3″ x 3″; Real Red: berry branch 2″ x 2″; Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper: large front panel 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″, fold up flap 2 1/8″ x 3 7/8″ (one in wood grain, one in pine cones) front and inside of small card 3 1/8″ x 3 7/8″

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2021 Calendar

Good Monday morning everyone. There is no card on today’s post, so if you are looking for that you can stop reading right now.

Instead, I bring you another of my paper creations. Well, sort of. I made the photographic images and put together a calendar, then sent it off to the printer. I guess that qualifies as my creation, even if I don’t do my own printing.

Here is an image of the cover

The calendar is 12″ x 12″ with 13 different images. There are fun facts about woodpeckers also. I had so much fun taking these images and as much as I love photography, I also love putting those images together for a practical purpose.

I know, you can get free calendars anywhere, so why would you want to buy one? I would hope that it would be that you like my images, and want a few for yourself. There is no pressure to buy, I just want to let you know that they are available.

These top quality, spiral bound calendars will be ready on November 8, plenty of time to get them as gifts or for yourself. The cost is just $20 each with special pricing if you purchase 3 or more. Shipping is $5.

Here is an image of the back, showing all the woodpeckers included.

Yesterday I went birding with a friend and we found 43 different species, including 4 of the ones on this calendar. However, those particular individuals are not on this calendar! 

Iowa has 7 of the woodpecker family. They are: Pileated, Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downey, and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted). All are present on this calendar. The others are from Canada, Minnesota, and Arizona. I have a few other woodpecker images, but there are only 12 months in a year.

Although, I guess I could have made an 18 month calendar. Maybe next time, since I didn’t even think of that for 2021.

In addition to the photography and making the calendar, I have been busy of late doing quite a bit of canning. One of my daughters and her husband grow and weed the garden, and pick the produce. I do the canning. They freeze some of it, but I process the bulk of the vegetables. I froze peaches and strawberries this year too, and made peach and strawberry jam. The jars look like jewels on the shelf. I enjoy doing that and do not like to weed and pick. This arrangement works well for all concerned.

We didn’t need corn this year, but did need green beans, tomatoes and beets. I have another daughter and 3 granddaughters who also share in the canned goods, so it takes quite a bit produce for canning. We are at the end of the garden now, but when I finish with the last picking of tomatoes and green beans, there will still be pears to can.

A friend has a pear tree and they couldn’t use all the pears. As is the norm in Iowa, people give away most of their excess, so I was the fortunate recipient of 10 buckets of pears. My son-in-law and John, the tree owner, picked them, while I sorted through the ones that had fallen. That’s a lot of peeling folks!

This year the problem was jars and lids. Due to the Covid19 Pandemic early this spring, more people grew gardens and, perhaps for the first time ever, did some canning. The result has been a severe shortage of jars and lids.

I have always saved my jars (I have been canning since the 60s) but the lids are not re-usable. I usually have a few leftover from the previous year, but never enough for all the canning. It has been a struggle to have enough to do all that I wanted (needed) to do, but over the summer we have managed to scrounge up enough so far.

Here are a few of the items I have canned.

Left to right, front Beet Pickles, Tomato Sauce, Dilled Beans. Back Row: Soup vegetables, Lime Water Pickles and Vegetable Stock. I also canned sweet pickle relish, salsa, tomatoes and green peppers, green beans, beets and whole tomatoes.

The Soup veggies got their start in the 60s when, at the close of the growing season, I just threw everything left in the garden into the jars and called it “end of the garden soup”.

I grew everything back in those days, and now my daughter sometimes does. Sometimes I end up purchasing one or more of the veggies to add to the mix. Most of this years’ 40 quarts contain green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots and potatoes. Everyone in the family loves this as it makes a quick meal as is, or with the vegetable stock,chicken or beef broth added along with your choice (or not) of meat. Sometimes I add hamburger or stew meat, sometimes chicken or turkey, sometimes sausage or ham. It makes a really quick meal and is SO good on a cold winter day!

To go along with all the canned goods, the zucchini and yellow squash were prolific this year (aren’t they always?), so I made many, many loaves of zucchini bread and froze it. All of it will be so welcome this winter.

I know this is not my usual post, but sometimes change is a good thing. I hope you all have a great Monday. If you are interested in a calendar, please comment or private message me.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Stampin’ Up! Gather Together for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

Good Thursday to you all! We’re back! Well, we, being the Happy Inkin’ Krew, are always here on Thursday to bring you some inspiration for your cardmaking. At least, that is the hope.

Today we are working with PLAID as our theme challenge, so come on along and see what the outstanding, awesome and talented Krew has for you.

Inspiration and challenge

I also wanted to use the sketch from Sunday Stamps Challenge even though I knew their challenge would close before our hop so I couldn’t enter this card. No worries, I just like the design, and thought it was great for plaid. I did fudge it a bit, but I guess that is what a challenge is supposed to do…challenge us to adapt any challenge to our own parameters. Here is the design that challenged, and inspired, me:

And here is my card.

I chose a plaid from Plaid Tidings Designer Series Paper (page 57 in the Aug-Dec mini catalog) with fall colors because I wanted to make this a Thanksgiving card without actually saying Thanksgiving. This Pumpkin Pie, Bumblebee, Shaded Spruce and Rich Razzleberry plaid does just that. And, it gave me the colors to use for this card. That is the nice thing about Designer Series Papers-your color scheme is right there for you. And, by the way, a good selection of Designer Series Papers are on sale now at 15% off!

I want to say here that I would not normally choose to use these colors in a card, but I let the plaid dictate the colors. My usual choice would be browns, golds and oranges with some metallic thrown in. It is good to be challenged to get out of what could be a rut.

My card base is Rich Razzleberry with a front layer of Rich Razzleberry embossed in the leaf design Meadow Moments embossing folder, which is adhered to the base with Liquid Glue. This embossing folder is narrow, so I had to run it through twice to get both sides of the front. I chose it because it reminds me of falling leaves, appropriate for this time of year.

The plaid, as are all pieces that are matted, is adhered to a Basic Black mat with Liquid Glue. The next layer of Bumblebee Designer Series Paper from the In-Color 2020-2022 6″ x 6″ pack in the wood grain is also on a black mat. The two small strips of plaid, from Plaid Tidings in Bumblebee, are the last of the pieces with a black mat. Liquid Glue was used to adhere all these pieces to each other. All card cuts will be found below.

One of the liberties I took with the Sunday Stampers design was to cut the plaid pieces smaller to showcase the embossed card front.

I very lightly sponged a piece of Pumpkin Pie card stock with Rich Razzleberry and Shaded Spruce ink for a little dimension, then stamped the large leaf from the Gather Together Bundle in Pumpkin Pie, and cut it with the coordinating die in the bundle. Also from Pumpkin Pie card stock I cut the tri-leaf image found in the Nature’s Roots dies and embossed it with the embossing piece in the die set. I then very lightly sponged it with Shaded Spruce ink. One of the 3 leaves is tucked under the sentiment circle.

Two small leaves in Nature’s Roots dies were cut and embossed from Rich Razzleberry, as well as a leafy branch found in the Birds and More dies. Using this same leafy branch die, I cut another from the woodgrain Bumblebee DSP left from cutting the front panel. There is a small leaf in Rooted in Nature stamp set that I used to stamp in Shaded Spruce on yet another Bumblebee  In-color 2020-2022 DSP design. It was cut with the coordinating die from Nature’s Roots. The last piece of my leafy collage was cut with a die from Stitched Leaves after I sponged a panel of the Bumblebee Plaid (same as the strips) with Pumpkin Pie, Shaded Spruce and Rich Razzleberry. When real leaves turn color, they are seldom just one color and I was attempting to make this look less plaid, and more like a fall leaf. I think I succeeded and the plaid gives depth where a plain color under the sponging would not.

The sentiment, from Gather Together, was stamped on Whisper White in Pumpkin Pie, then cut with one of the Stitched Shapes circles. The leafy branch stamped in Shaded Spruce is from Rooted in Nature stamp set. In hind sight, which as we all know is 20-20, I think I should have used Very Vanilla for the sentiment circle. You can do as you like.

I dry fit everything until it looked pleasing to me, took a photo with my phone, ‘cuz I KNEW I would forget what I wanted it to look like,  and started to adhere the bits and pieces together. I used a combination of Liquid Glue and Stampin’ Dimensionals to accomplish this. The sentiment circle is adhered with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

The inside Whisper White liner was stamped with the large leaf from Gather Together in twice stamped off Pumpkin Pie. I wanted this to be light enough to see the sentiment stamped over it. The sentiment is from the same stamp set and is stamped in Rich Razzleberry. I didn’t really want to use a large chunk of the precious plaid as a mat, but thought Whisper White on Pumpkin Pie rather plain. There was a scrap of the plaid just laying there, so I used the same small leaf die from Nature’s Roots as I used for the Shaded Spruce/Bumblebee leaf on the front to cut leaves from the scrap. These were Liquid Glued to the corners of the Whisper White, adding just a bit of needed OOMPH. This liner was then Liquid Glued to the Pumpkin Pie mat and into the card base. Card done.

NOT QUITE! In looking over the card front, it too needed something. I looked again at the challenge design and noticed the 3 dots between the strips. Good place for 3 Holiday Rhinestones in the Pumpkin Pie color. Perfect! Rhinestones and plaid? W-e-l-l, maybe a bit more glitz to tie them together? Hmmm. A good place for some Clear Wink of Stella on the Rich Razzleberry leaves. OK. NOW  the card is done!

The envelope front is graced with Shaded Spruce, Rich Razzleberry and Pumpkin Pie leaves. The flap has another piece of the fall plaid to finish the envelope. You know, no naked envelopes!

To shop for these products, just click on the bird at right that says Shop Online with Me. Clicking on individual products will take you directly to my online store.

Now, on with the hop! Click on this button to go to the next blog, or click on any name to go directly to her blog. You will like what you find, I assure you!

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristy Gray

Jaime Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston-You are here

CARD CUTS: Rich Razzleberry: card base 5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ scored at 4 1/4″, embossed front 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″,  leaves and branch 3″ x 5″; Basic Black for plaid mat 3 1/2″ x 4 3/4″, woodgrain mat 2 1/4″ x 3 1/2″, mat for plaid strips one at 5/8″ x 3″ and one at 5/8″ x 1 5/8″; Pumpkin Pie large leaf 3″ x 3″, tri leaf 2″ x 2″, inside mat 3 3/4″ x 5″; plaid tidings Designer Series Paper: orange plaid 3 3/8″ x 4 5/8″, envelope flap  2 1/4″ x 6″, inside small leaves from scraps; Bumblebee plaid for strips, one at 1/2″ x 2 7/8″ and one at 1/2″ x 1 1 /2″, stitched leaf 2″ x 3″; In-color 2020-2022 Designer Series Paper: Bumblebee wood grain 2 1/8″ x 3 3/8″, branch 2″ x 3″, bumblebee allover design small leaf 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″; Whisper White: sentiment circle 2″ x 2″

 

 

 

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Stampin’ Up! Poppy Moments Thank You

Here we are again for a Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop! The weeks just keep rolling around in spite of hurricanes, wildfires and Covid19! I hope all of you are out of harms way and well. If not, my prayers are for things to quickly improve. The farmers in my neighborhood have started their harvest, but it isn’t in full swing yet. OK, enough chatting, on with the hop.

Today we have a color challenge, where we are given 5 colors and have to use a minimum of three of them. I have to say, this one was really a challenge for me. I struggled with what to do and changed my mind at least 3 times. As I write this, I still have a little time, so might change it again! Here are the colors.

They didn’t really ‘speak’ to me like some colors do, so it was a struggle as to which 3 to use. In the end, I used all five.

I have the Painted Poppies stamp and the Poppy Moments dies, but I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I guess the poppies came to mind because most poppies are orange, and Cajun Craze is sort of orange. And, Pretty Peacock is sort of green, so that became the leaves.

Here is my card and how I made it.

The card base is Basic Black. I double matted, meaning there are 2 layers under the card front piece, Whisper White on Basic Black and Blackberry Bliss on the Whisper White.

My card front is Whisper White, embossed with the Pinewood Planks 3D embossing folder.

Using the dies from Poppy Moments, from Pretty Peacock I cut 2 branched leaves, 2 detailed branch leaves, 2 large leaves, and 2 large leaf details. These are adhered with Liquid  Glue.

The large poppy was cut from Cajun Craze twice, and the detail twice. I only cut one of the smaller poppy and its detail once as well. Liquid Glue adhered the detail to the poppy base. I also cut the appropriate poppy centers from Basic Black.

Now to assemble the front. I did a dry fit, then, when all was as I wanted it, I used Liquid Glue to attach the leaves to the embossed Whisper White. To add a little more dimension, I very carefully curled the poppies with my bone folder. Not too much, as I was afraid of tearing the details. The top most poppy was adhered just with a little Liquid Glue in the center, leaving the edges of the petals free.

The other large poppy was adhered below it with a couple of Stampin’ Dimensionals. The smaller one was also adhered with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

The sentiment is from Ornate Thanks and is stamped in Blackberry Bliss on Whisper White. The Paper Trimmer cut it to the perfect size, then I mounted it on a mat of Pretty Peacock. In hindisght, perhaps I should have stamped it in Pretty Peacock and matted it in Blackberry Bliss since the main mat is Blackberry Bliss. You can do as you like.

For the inside liner, I stamped the sentiment, also from Ornate Thanks, in Blackberry Bliss on Whisper White card stock. The field of poppies from Painted Poppies was stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black and colored with my Cajun Craze Stampin’ Write Marker. I deliberately did not color them perfectly, leaving some white area to make it look a bit more rustic. I like this little field of poppies. The liner was directly adhered to the card base with Liquid Glue. I decided not to mat the liner.

The envelopes had to have some decoration too, as I do not like naked envelopes. Again, the poppy field was perfect for the envelope, both front and flap.

Now that you have seen what I did with the challenge, click on the ‘NEXT’ button to see what Amy has for you, or click on any name to go directly to her blog. Thanks for stopping by. Comment below. Also, the products used and card cuts are below the names.

If you don’t have a demonstrator, I would be happy to fill that role for you.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy/

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston – You are here

CARD CUTS

Basic Black: card base 4 1/4″ x 11″ scored at 5 1/2″, scrap for flower centers, approx 2″ x 2″;

Whisper White: front mat 4 1/8″ x 5 3/8″, embossed front 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″, inside liner 4″ x 5 1/4″, front sentiment scrap cut to size, in this instance 1/2″ x 2 7/8″

Blackberry Bliss: front mat 4″ x 5 1/4″

Cajun Craze: poppies one piece about 4″x 5″ will do all the flowers and details, or you can use up scraps.

Pretty Peacock: leaves 2″ x 6″ , sentiment mat 9/16″ x 2 15/16″

 

 

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Stampin’ UP! Love of Leaves for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

Welcome to the Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop, where my friends and I share projects with you, made with Stampin’ Up! products.

Today we are working with a sketch.

Here is the card I created using the sketch as inspiration.

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My card base is Misty Moonlight, the mat is Seaside Spray and the leaves are Silver Foil Sheets and Soft Seafoam. This is how I did it.

Cut and score the card base, then emboss a panel of Misty Moonlight in one of the Greenery embossing folders. You will have to do this twice as the folder is narrow and won’t fill the whole panel. Trim to fit the card base and use Liquid Glue to attach it to the base.

Cut a panel of Seaside Spray and stamp the little dots from the Waterfront stamp set randomly with Misty Moonlight. Some were stamped full strength and some stamped off once. This was then embossed with the Subtle embossing folder.

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Use one of the leaf dies in the Love of Leaves Bundle to cut and emboss the Silver Foil Sheets. Cut a Silver branch with the die from Birds and More dies. Cut another from Soft Seafoam. Cut them apart when you do the dry fit so they lay the way you want them and Liquid Glue them to the panel. Stampin’ Dimensionals adhere the larger Silver leaf to the front and over the branches.

Use the Embossing Buddy to go over a piece of Misty Moonlight, then stamp the sentiment from Someone Special in Versamark Ink. Sprinkle Silver Stampin’ Emboss Powder over this and use the Heat Tool to melt the powder.

Cut to the size you want and cut a mat of Silver Foil just a little bigger. I prefer a smaller edge, so the mat is 1/8″ larger than the sentiment piece. Use Stampin’ Dimensionals and Liquid Glue to adhere to the card front.

Attach Stampin’ Dimensionals to the back of the card front, and adhere to the card base.

For the inside, I cut a mat in Silver Foil, then cut the center out of it leaving 1/2″ border. I really don’t like to waste the more expensive paper by covering it up. I again stamped the dots from Waterfront in Misty Moonlight on my Seaside Spray panel. Ink up the same leaf shape from the Love of Leaves Bundle that you used on the front. I used Misty Moonlight and stamped it off once.

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Use the Embossing Buddy on the panel, then stamp the sentiment from Band Together in Versamark ink, sprinkle with Silver Stampin’ Emboss Powder and use the Heat Tool to melt the powder. Liquid Glue the stamped panel atop the Silver Foil frame, then use Liquied Glue to adhere the completed inside panel to the card base.

For the envelope flap, I stamped the dots from Waterfront on a strip of Seaside Spray, then glued it to the flap and trimmed to fit. On the front, I stamped the leaf in Versamark, sprinkled on the Silver Emboss Powder and heated it to melt. Using a mask (mask made by cutting a leaf from a sticky note with the die) over the embossed leaf, I stamped another leaf in Misty Moonlight.

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I thought the front looked a little plain, so I added a  Rhinestone Basic Jewels to the front sentiment. This card is finished.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave comments below. Card cuts and products used for this card are also below.

If you do not have a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I would be delighted to help you with questions. To purchase products, just click on the Shop Online button at right, or click on any product.

Now, on with the hop. Just click any name, or click the ‘NEXT’ button to see what the talented Amy and the other ladies have done.

Blog hop next button

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston-You are Here

CARD CUTS

Misty Moonlight: Card base 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, embossed piece 4 1/2″ x 5-3/4″ (trim to fit after embossing), sentiment piece 3/4″ x 2 1/4″, envelope flap 2 1/4″ x 6″; Silver Foil Sheets: mat for sentiment 7/8″ x 2 3/8″, leaves 2 1/2″ x 5″, inside mat 4″ x 5 1/4″; Seaside Spray: front 3 1/2″ x 4 3/4″, inside 3 3/4″ x 5″; Soft Sea Foam: 2″ x 4″

 


 

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