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P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! So glad you’ve joined us for this final day of Stamp It! Cards Week. We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek of Stamp It! Cards, and have been inspired to go create your own stamped masterpieces. 

Over the last few days, I’ve enjoyed reading all the reasons why you love stamping. From the versatility to the economical value to the sheer love of inking up those stamps, you’re clearly passionate about your craft. Now I’d like you to be rewarded for your craft by entering our 2010 Stamping Royalty Card Contest

Each year since 2004, we’ve inducted the crème de la crème of stampers into a posh society known as Stamping Royalty. Winners will be royally honored with a prize package containing the latest stamping products from some of the hottest manufacturers. The retail value of each prize package totals over $250! Winners will also have the opportunity to be published in the November/December 2010 issue of Paper Crafts magazine. 

To enter, please create an original stamped card for the following occasions: 

1. Birthday
2. Christmas/Season’s Greetings
3. Hello/Thinking of You
4. Love
5. Thank You

So, do you have what it takes to be crowned royalty? If you would like to enter this stamping contest, please click HERE for the full rules or turn to p. 6 of Stamp It! Cards. All entries must be postmarked by March 24, 2010.

Can you guess what our grand finale giveaway is for this Freebie Friday? Yep, I just happen to have one extra set of this royal prize package! In addition to some amazing stamps, embossing powders and mists, who here would like My Digital Studio from Stampin’ Up! and their very own set of Copic markers? And if that wasn’t a cool enough giveaway, I’m also throwing in the five stamp sets we feature in the Say it with Stamps section (p. 90) of Stamp It! Cards!

One lucky winner will walk away with this fabulous prize package...

AND Ali Edwards' Simply You set from Technique Tuesday

AND Nina Brackett's Elegant Verses set from Gina K Designs

AND Daisy Bucket Designs' Clearly Petite Stamps in I Like You, I Love Your Face and You Are My Sunshine.

AND Lisa Strahl's Birthday Centers set from Cornish Heritage Farms

AND Kezia Whitteker's Card Sentiments Stampology set by Autumn Leaves

Have you died and gone to stamper’s heaven yet? To be eligible for this royal stamping jackpot, leave a comment telling me when your love affair of stamping officially began. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Sunday, Feb. 28

Happy Friday!

P.S. I’m not the only one with an INCREDIBLE prize package up for grabs! Join Cath on Moxie Fab World for her fantastic “Five for Friday(x8+3)” giveaway! Make sure to bring your smelling salts…just in case you faint! 

P.P.S. If you’re having a hard time finding Stamp It! Cards in your local stores, why not take advantage of our special Stamp It! Cards Week promotion? Just visit our online store HERE and enter the coupon code “STAMPIT20” at check out to save 20%. This promotion will run through Wednesday, March 3. 

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Kim Kesti’s Grand Gradients post! 

1. Jennifer R. (Feb. 24, 9:50 a.m.)
2. Sue D. (Feb. 24, 7:13 a.m.)
3. Haidee (Feb. 24, 7:43 p.m.)

Congrats, winners! You’ve each won Inkadinakado’s Branchful of Birds stamp, a set of Ranger Industries’ Adirondack Alcohol Inks and a copy of Stamp It! Cards! I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

Brandy Jesperson

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a bargain shopper. I love stretching a dollar and getting the best possible deal I can find.  

This is precisely why I love the Stamp It! 3 Ways section of our latest special issue Stamp It! Cards. I’m always drawn to the creativity and diversity of three projects that all use one stamp set (talk about stretching your supplies AND your dollar).  

Our designers are experts at thinking outside the box when it comes to techniques and occasions that seem to magically appear from a single stamp set. Take the Grow Love, Plant a Tree set from My Favorite Things:    

Grow Love, Plant a Seed set from My Favorite Things

Michele Boyer, Angie Hagist, and Laura O’Donnell were able to take this stamp set and create their Lonely, Hi Tree and Grow Love cards in three distinctly different styles – genius! 

Turn to p. 85 in Stamp It! Cards for a closer look at these 3-Ways cards.

Have I converted you to the ways of saving money while still making oodles of cards? If not, I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve. The Paper Crafts Go-to Gals have joined forces to show you the diversity of two more stamp sets. Three gals made cards from one stamp set and three gals made cards from another set. Visit each of their blogs and discover how easy it is to maximize your stamps with a bit of technique and a lot of creativity!  

And since this week is all about celebrating stamping, I can’t leave without offering one whopper of a prize. One lucky winner will win ALL SIX STAMP SETS featured in Stamp It! 3 Ways. That’s right, someone will win: 

Everyday Button Bits stamp set from Papertrey Ink

Harmonious Sprig stamp from Unity Stamp Co.

On the Desk stamp set from Cornish Heritage Farms

Margaret stamp set from Kodomo

Spiro Garden stamp set from Technique Tuesday

If that’s not enough, you can enter to win SEVEN TIMES! Please leave a comment here and on the blogs of all six Paper Crafts Go-to Gals. Each time you leave a comment you will be entered to win. As an extra incentive, all Go-to Gals will be giving away copies of Stamp It! Cards on their blogs. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Friday, Feb. 26. 

Happily stamping,

P.S. Today on Moxie Fab World, Cath is featuring an “Ask Around” with Jennifer McGuire. There’s also a chance to win some fabulous Hero Arts stamps! 

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Jennifer’s You, My Friends, Are STAMPERS post! 

1. Kelly Sas (Feb. 23, 7:32 a.m.)
2. Rebecca MI (Feb. 23, 8:31 a.m.)
3. Bev J. (Feb. 23, 7:20 p.m.)

Congrats, winners! You’ve each won a fun prize package from American Crafts and a copy of Stamp It! Cards! Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments! 

Kim Kesti

First of all, those of you familiar with my style know I don’t do a ton of stamping. I really need to be pushed to experiment and try new things. That’s why I was really excited (and a little nervous) to showcase gradient stamping. I think one of the best ways to learn something well is to teach it to someone else.

I know the gradient effect is really trendy in fashion and home goods; I love that we can translate that same trend into our stamping. Since I don’t own any gradient stamp pads, I decided to make my own. I choose three colors of Adirondack Alcohol Inks and grabbed a piece of Ranger Cut-n-Dry Stamp Pad Felt. (Yes, I’ve had this stamp pad felt in my stash for probably four years).

Next, I loaded up the stamp pad with the alcohol inks. I found that I needed to add even more ink after experimenting with some of my stamps. A nice saturation is important. I store the inked stamp pad in a Ziploc bag lying flat and it keeps really well.

I first used my newly created stamp pad as a traditional ink pad; meaning I choose a rubber stamp and stamped an image. But, I didn’t really have a large enough stamp that showed off the gradient effect well. Then, I thought “why not apply the stamp pad directly to my paper?” I’m definitely experimenting at this point. It worked beautifully. I swished my stamp pad left to right across my paper attempting to keep the colors from bleeding too much. This technique really showed off the three different colors of ink.

After letting the inked paper dry, I stamped a bold image in black and embossed it to make it pop a little more. I love how this turned out!

Finishing the card was easy. I printed a sentiment on cardstock, trimmed my stamped block and added it to the card front. I had a great time playing with this technique.

For more info on my Beautiful Birds Card, turn to p. 12 of Stamp It! Cards.

In fact, I didn’t stop there. Please hop over to my personal blog and see how I created another gradient stamp pad and used it three different ways on three brand new cards! I’ll also be giving away three copies of Stamp It! Cards!

Now, leave a comment here about a technique you’re nervous about trying (or one you’ve mastered) and you’ll be entered to win Inkadinakado’s Branchful of Birds stamp, Ranger Industries’ Adirondack Alcohol Inks in Eggplant, Stonewashed and Lettuce (used in my card above) AND a copy of our new Stamp It! Cards. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Three lucky winners will take home this Inkadinkado stamp, three Adirondack Alcohol Inks and a copy of Stamp It! Cards!

Take care!

Paper Crafts Go-To Gal,
Kim Kesti

P.S. Are you feeling the Olympic fever? Today on Moxie Fab World, Cath is announcing the Olympics of Stamping with a blog hop featuring 11 of the most-published designers who will show a never-seen-before stamped card. Readers will have 12 chances to win stamps from My Cute Stamps!

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Kelly’s Meet Kimberly Crawford post!

1. Jingle (Feb. 22, 11:13 a.m.)
2. Kay S. (Feb. 22, 6:33 a.m.)
3. Denise M. (Feb. 22, 12:10 p.m.)

Congrats, winners! You’ve won Flourishes’ Cherries & Peaches stamp set and a copy of Stamp It! Cards. Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

Jennifer Schaerer

It used to be that we only got a peek into the craft rooms of our readers via the survey we circulated once each year. That information was, and still is, like spun gold to us.  

The reason? It’s important that we bring you a series of regular issues and special interest publications showcasing just what you want to see, exactly when you want to see it.  

That right there has always been our challenge, mainly because we work about six or seven months in advance to orchestrate the perfect symphony of new products, trends and paper crafted projects that come together in a way that’s music to your ears.  

But now with this blog, Facebook, meet-and-greets at trade shows and very engaging message boards, we hear what you think on a much more frequent basis. And sometimes? We get feedback within minutes. Minutes.  

One thing we know for sure: you are STAMPERS.  

Lots of stampers swung by our booth at CHA to celebrate the release of Stamp It! Cards.

According to our most recent survey, 85% of you use stamping most often. Naturally, right behind that on the list of techniques is inking and aging, heat embossing and coloring images with markers. You stamp alphabets and backgrounds, but mostly it’s more like images and sentiments.  

Your favorite projects to make are cards, followed in distant second place by scrapbook layouts and then by gifts. If you were in charge of the magazine, you’d be sure that projects were more plentiful than anything else but techniques would be the thing that gave project count a run for its money.  

Here’s what we like best, though — you look through our magazine and decide to make a project you’ve seen because you’re inspired by the style. It’s an added bonus if you have the supplies on hand already.  

So I’m going to make it easy on you, and be sure that you’re both inspired by the style AND have the supplies on hand. How about some bright and cheerful stamps from American Crafts?  

Could you, perhaps, be inspired by the Herbs collection of clear stamps from American Crafts?

And since you’re all about heat embossing too, maybe you need some Zing:  

Meet the color Leaf -- it will be joined by friends Rouge, Wave, Apricot and Silver!

All you have to do is tell me what your stamp style is. Are you more fun and cute, clean and graphic, classy and elegant or shabby chic/vintage? I’m going to snag three of you who comment and send you not only the stamp set and Zing colors I mentioned above, but also a copy of Stamp It! Cards and one of our super duper extra special Stamp It! Cards buttons from CHA Winter. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Wednesday, Feb. 24.  

Maybe you’ll be inspired to the highest level and find your next project on one of our covers, just like Lynn Ghahary did with Stamp It! Cards.  

Cover Girl Lynn Ghahary with her very first showing!

Happy stamping, my friends!

P.S. It’s time to hop over to the Moxie Fab World! I hear the Tuesday Trigger this week comes directly from the pages of Stamp It! Cards. Paper Crafts Go-to Gal Kim Hughes gains inspiration from one of Kimberly Crawford’s 12 gorgeous cards. There’s also an opportunity for two commenters to win four different Gina K Designs stamp sets!

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Magazine Monday and the first day of Stamp It! Cards Week! The one thing I love about stampers is their enthusiasm. While I was reading through the 330+ comments from Friday’s post, I laughed out loud when I stumbled across Sharon Totton’s motto for stamping and for life:  

“If it sits still long enough, Stamp It. If it doesn’t, chase it down and Stamp It.” 

Now why didn’t we think of that tagline? Genius! It really sums up our latest edition of Stamp It! Cards. In addition to the 152 inspiring designs, we’ve even included fun sections like “Tips from the Go-to Gals”, “Stamp It! 3 Ways” and “Say it with Stamps”. We’ll touch on each of these sections this week, as well as show some amazing stamped cards from the magazine.  

Speaking of amazing stamped cards…when we were discussing who should be featured as our designer spotlight for this week, all we had to do was look at the editorial spreadsheet for Stamp It! Cards. One name kept popping up over and over. Actually 12 times! Yes, Kimberly Crawford has 12 gorgeous cards in this issue. Quite a feat considering her first ever publication was last year’s Stamp It! Cards. How’s that for a full circle moment! Go Kimberly!

Kimberly Crawford

1. Where did you grow up?    

On a lake, outside a small town called Moose Lake, MN. But as of 12 days ago, I became a resident of Iowa.  

2. Do you work outside the home? If so, what do you do?   

No, I have the privilege of staying home with my newly four-year-old son.  

3. If a movie were to be made of your life, who would you cast to play the part of you?   

I am going to continue the Jennifer Garner trend because if she was busy working on a film, I could flirt with her gorgeous hubby Ben Affleck. 

4. What song would you choose as the theme song for your life?   

A theme song? I really can’t think of one, but I have a song for everything. I am one of those people.  

5. What is one thing most people would be surprised to hear about you?   

That I used to be a high school softball coach and can throw a softball 72 mph, over hand. I also love to golf and watch hockey. I am a sports nut.  

6. What/who inspired you to start paper crafting?   

My husband. He mentioned this “stamping thing” his mom did when we were getting married. She sent me some supplies and the rest is history. And I don’t let him forget it.  

7. What is your biggest paper crafting challenge?   

Finding time to experiment with all the crazy ideas in my head.  

8. If you were only allowed two items to create a card beside cardstock and adhesive, what would they be?   

A stamp and watermark ink. You can do a ton with backgrounds, cutting images out and mounting them with foam tape.  

9. What is your favorite occasion or holiday to paper craft and why?   

Christmas. I am a Christmas girl at heart. Bring it on in October!  

10. How would you describe your style?    

Fresh and classy with a tendency towards shabby chic and cutesy on some days.  

Kimberly's Take Care Card, p. 53

11. When is your favorite time to craft?   

Naptime and bedtime for my little man. If I didn’t have a four-year-old son for an alarm clock, I would stay up until all hours of the night because after 10:30 p.m., I really get creative.  

12. What sort of music do you listen to while crafting?    

Everything. I love all music: country, rock, Christian, southern gospel, musicals and orchestral.  

13. How does your family participate in your paper crafting passion?   

My husband sweetly supports my obsession passion. He looks at all my projects and provides wonderful feedback. My son has his own stamps and ink pads, and he even knows to clean the stamps off between colors!  

14. When it comes to calls and deadlines, how do you keep yourself organized?   

Outlook on my computer. I enter them all in and then a little reminder pops up every time I check my e-mail. I also keep a printed copy of calls on my desk. You can never have too many reminders or lists!  

15. Do you remember what Paper Crafts issue your first project appeared in? How has your style changed since then?   

It was last year’s Stamp It! Cards, and what a thrill! I am still a pretty simple girl, but I like to think I have learned how to add better finishing touches.  

Kimberly's Always Card, p. 79

16. Have you contributed to any design teams in the past or present? If so, which ones?   

I am currently designing for Spellbinders Paper Arts, Stampendous, Pink Persimmon and am a reporter for The Scrap Review. In the past I have designed for the Flourishes blog team and for two online stores: ScrapLovers and Stamper’s Dream.  

17. Name three designers whose styles you like and why they appeal to you.     

18. Do you have any advice/tips for someone who’s never been published or who wants to submit for the first time?   

Submit, submit, submit. And then submit some more.  

19. Out of your 12 cards in Stamp It! Cards, do you have a favorite? Please talk about the inspiration/design/techniques for one or more of your cards in this publication.  

It would be my Live the Sweet Life Card from p. 17. I love how the card came together. I had this gorgeous peach image that I wanted to use, but didn’t have the correct color markers. So, I had to get creative. I knew I had the right color ink, but how could the ink be applied? Then the thought of letter pressing came to mind. Yay for the results! Sometimes I think I have too much stuff. My best ideas come from being forced to be clever with what is on my desk. 

Kimberly's Live the Sweet Life Card, p. 17

20. Do you have a blog or online gallery? If so, please provide the URL.    

Yes, I do! My blog can be found at  

Thanks, Kimberly! Our friends at Flourishes were nice enough to donate three sets of their Cherries & Peaches stamp set – the same set Kimberly used to create her card above. Please leave a comment and I’ll pick three random winners to receive this set, plus a copy of Stamp It! Cards. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Tuesday, Feb. 23.   

Three winners will take home this gorgeous stamp set!

Happy Monday!

P.S. Cath is featuring Technique Tuesday in her Moxie Monday post today! Head on over for a chance to win six different stamp sets!

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from my Countdown to Stamp It! Cards Week post!    

1. Paulina (Feb. 19, 8:41 a.m.)
2. Viola Miller (Feb. 19, 8:03 p.m.)
Anya (Feb. 19, 12:58 p.m.)  

Congrats, winners! I’ll be contacting you shortly to discuss your prizes and get your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left comments!

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! Has this week flown by or what? Here at the office we’ve been busy with concept meetings, submissions judging meetings and a few product previews. There’s always something brewing, and that is most definitely a good thing. 

If you’re stamper, then I’ve got a very good thing coming your way! Stamp It! Cards Week officially kicks off next Monday. Our goal is to entice you to fall in love with our new special issue Stamp It! Cards. If the love fest is already going strong, then we hope you’ve been inspired to stamp some amazing cards of your own! 

Not only will we have a ton of stamping fun here, but we’re partnering with creative editor Cath Edvalson and her Moxie Fab World blog. Both sites will be doing designer spotlights, showing projects from the issue (as well as a few new ones!) and giving away some amazing prize packages. I think between Cath and I, we’re giving away over 50 stamp sets! 

Click on the cover image to reserve your copy today! Enter the coupon code "STAMPIT20" at check out and save 20%.

Next week on Paper Crafts Connection

Magazine Monday – Designer spotlight on stamper extraordinaire Kimberly Crawford. She has 12 (count ’em, ladies!) gorgeous cards in this issue and get this…her very first project was only published a year ago – in Stamp It! Cards 2009. How’s that for inspiring? 

Tuesday – Our fearless leader Jennifer Schaerer will give you highlights from our Stamp It! Cards promotion at CHA. She’ll also dissect our most recent reader survey and give you data on one of your favorite paper crafting techniques. Can you guess what technique I’m referring to? 

Wednesday – Miss Kim Kesti will show off her Beautiful Birds card from the “Tips from the Go-to Gals” section of Stamp It! Cards. She’ll talk about how she achieved the gradient stamping look and illustrate it with a brand new card. 

Thursday – New momma and managing editor Brandy Jesperson will spotlight some diverse projects from the “Stamp It! 3 Ways” section. Then the Paper Crafts Go-to Gals will show you how diverse they can be with their own Stamp It! 3 Ways challenge. Three gals were given one stamp set; three gals were given another. Stay tuned to see the results! 

Freebie Friday – Not sure if I can top last year’s jackpot of a giveaway, but I’m sure going to try! The Big One generated more comments (763!) than any other blog post…to date. Will Freebie Friday reign supreme again? 

Since I do love my Freebie Fridays, I’ve got some great prize packages today! Stampin’ Up! recently came to our office and left us some sweet stamping goodies. Leave a comment telling me your favorite thing to stamp: focal images, sentiments, backgrounds or all of the above. I’ll pick three lucky people to win Stampin’s Up’s Vintage Vogue stamp set, a stamping block and a charm and necklace set from their Simply Adorned collection. And a little inspiration to go with it…a copy of Stamp It! Cards and our fun CHA button. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Sunday, Feb. 21. 

Three lucky winners will take home this stampy prize package!

Happy Friday!

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner of Jessica’s The Little Letter Sheet That Could post! 

Kimmie (Feb. 17, 5:56 a.m.) 

Congrats, Kimmie! You’ve just won a fun set of Thickers from American Crafts! I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Holly Mills

2009 may be behind us, but the prestige of being a winner of our World Card Making Day Card Contest lives on. Since we just announced the winners in our new March/April 2010 issue, I thought I would take the opportunity to spotlight these talented card makers once again.  

With 936 submissions, narrowing the field to 20 winners in five categories was a huge challenge. Kudos to these ladies for making the final cut. We’re proud to publish your winning cards in the magazine (p.82) and honor you here.  

Let’s roll out the red carpet for: 

Birthday category: 

  • Terri Davenport (Toledo, OH)
  • Ann Marie Pultorak (Romeoville, IL)
  • Debbie O’Leary (Dingmans Ferry, PA)
  • Cindy Holshouser (Edgewood, VA)

Hello/Thinking of You category: 

  • Jenny Harper (Bear Creek, NC)
  • Lynn Kirby-Griffith (Blairsville, GA)
  • Crystal Birr (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Rachael Burdick (Portland, OR)

Thank You category: 

  • Katie McCullough (Tulsa, OK)
  • Kristie Larsen (Valhalla, NY)
  • Susan Mangum (Danville, CA)
  • Cathy List (Peotone, IL)

Love category: 

Season’s Greetings category: 

I just loved the diversity of styles in the winning cards from our Hello/Thinking of You category: 

Great job Jenny, Lynn, Crystal and Rachael!

Congrats, winners! For those of you wondering about this year’s World Card Making Day, mark Saturday, Oct. 2 on your calendars. We’ve got some fabulous ideas up our sleeves for our fifth annual celebration. And look for details on the 2010 World Card Making Day Card Contest in our upcoming September/October 2010 issue. Until then… 

Keep smiling,

P.S. Speaking of fun contests…for those of you who aren’t afraid to get a little ink on your fingers, don’t forget to enter our current 2010 Stamping Royalty Card Contest.  

Not only can you impress your family and co-workers with your royalty status, but winners will each receive an amazing prize package of the latest stamping products (valued at more than $250)! So look into your creativity mirror and say, “I am the fairest stamper in the land.” Did I mention the 15 winners will each receive a sparkly tiara as well?

Jessica Witty

Have you ever seen that TV show called Hoarders?   

I haven’t.   

And let me say, for the record, that I’m not like that.   

But I can appreciate the urge.   

The desire to keep.   

And keep.   

And keep.   

Until you think to yourself, “Now, Self, why exactly was I keeping this?”   

In an effort to ensure that I never start meandering down the little path to Hoarderdom, I’ve challenged myself as of late to use up the various scraps that I can’t bear to part with. Use it or lose it, I keep repeating to myself.    

I also tend to approach products from a “What else can I do with this?” kind of perspective. I gravitate towards items with multiple uses, whether that be stamp sets with themes I can use endlessly, products in colors I always gravitate to or tools that really give me a bang for my buck and lots of function for the space they take up.   

I also make living against veritable Craft Hoarderdom a sort of way of life. My cozy little dining room/craft area will soon be moved to a house a few miles away and relocated in…yup…the dining room. Some customized storage plans will make the space work just fine for me and my commitment to keeping things pared back. {As soon as there are pictures of that little life-changing project, I’ll share, I swear.}   

But…even after all that…there are some things that still confound me with this whole use it or lose it idea.   

Maybe it’s because I’m really a stamper at heart.   

Therefore, scrapbook supplies like letter stickers can still trip me up a bit.   

I mean, how do you ever use them all? Has anyone ever actually used up an entire sheet? Down to the q’s and z’s?    

Just how in the world am I ever going to be able to throw the sheet away if I can never use them all up?   

And, therefore, I attempted the impossible: the use of an entire sheet of letter stickers.   

I present to you, Exhibit A:   

This card would be the sort of entry example into using letter stickers, right? Pick a phrase, design a card and stick ‘em on. {Obviously, I should have picked a longer phrase…something like “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?”} Ah, but wait…I did get a bit creative on the scalloped borders. Those little cuties came courtesy of all of those 3’s, 8’s, B’s, p’s, q’s, etc. Just lay them all down in a nice little line and cover up the edges with another layer. {Yeah, I’m totally on my way to using the whole sheet.}   

And now, for Exhibit B:   

Now we’re getting somewhere. A little town called Letterific, if I do say so myself. This one is sort of a modern take on using up those stickers…white on white, simple design, nothing fancy. I did use my noggin just a bit and tried to take the letters from just one section of the letter sheet, because I already had Exhibit C in mind…   

Ah, the piece de resistance of using up those letter sheets. Obviously, I was using a letter sheet where the negative image is still left on the backing that the letters come on. I just peeled the backing up, stuck it down onto the card base and trimmed off the overhanging edges. {I will admit to going with a smaller 3 ½” x 5” card base because I was not sure how this little experiment was going to turn out and I figured smaller might = easier.} I colored the “hi” in using a marker and yes, I am digging that little brain wave.   

I’m pretty happy with the little results of my experiment. One small letter sheet gave me three cards and three very different paths to using them. However…after all that…I still have something like 1/3 of the darned sheet left. {Oops.}   

Apparently this little Letter Sheet That Could is the sheet that is going to live on in my craft room for all of eternity.    

Any brilliant ideas on how to use them all up?!   

I’d love to hear what all of you do to make the most out of your products…stamps, ribbon, stickers…whatever! Leave me a little message with your brilliant double-duty ideas and I’ll pick one person to win this entire set of American Crafts Thickers. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Thursday, Feb. 18.   

One lucky winner will take home this whole sticker set!

Me and my letter stickers, signing off…

P.S. A little birdie told me that my cards above will be featured as a free make ‘n take at this year’s Creating Keepsakes Conventions! Click HERE to find out if a CKC is coming to a city near you!

Susan R. Opel

Yep, Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday), and no, I’m not calling you fat!

Protestants around the globe are preparing for the beginning of Lent tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is known as the traditional last day of decadence before the 40 days of fasting associated with Lent.

Many associate this day with Mardi Gras in New Orleans complete with King Cakes, parades and beads. Back in 2005, my sister and I took an amazing Spring Break trip to New Orleans, and though we missed Mardi Gras, we were still able to capture the vibe of one of the coolest cities in the country!

One of the highlights of our trip was eating authentic New Orleans cuisine Emeril Lagasse-style!

My sister, Beth Opel, created this layout about New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

You can see more New Orleans layouts from our trip here and here.

But I digress! When I was growing up as a little Lutheran girl, my mom liked to celebrate Fat Tuesday by serving pancakes for dinner (yummo!). You see the word fat is in reference to the idea that all of the remaining sugar, fat and eggs needed to be used up to herald the fasting of Lent. That’s not to say that we fasted, but an excuse to eat pancakes for supper? Count me in!

Another yummy Fat Tuesday tradition in my family came from the large Polish Catholic community in my hometown of Bay City, Michigan, (let’s just say Krzysiak’s was one of our favorite restaurants in town). Paczki (pronounced punch-key) are deep-fried pastries much like a jelly doughnut. There was nothing like licking the dusty powdered sugar off my sticky fingers.

A pile of paczki. Do you see what I’m saying?

And so, after all of those calories and all of that fat and gluttony, Lent begins. You may know of the tradition of giving something up for Lent. It’s not a requirement for Lutherans, but I often choose something. It’s a good lesson in self-control, ya know? And that certainly never hurts. And then, once those 40 days are done, the ultimate is here! Easter! And hopefully full-fledged spring!

My What I *heart* About Easter Sunday layout as seen in Creating Keepsakes magazine, April 2009.

Speaking of spring, today the March/April issue of Paper Crafts magazine hits the newsstands! Dig inside for amazing ideas to bring abundant fresh air into your February life!

Click on the cover image to order your copy today!

Giving you permission to eat paczki and pancakes today!

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Magazine Monday! I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s weekend. Around here, L-O-V-E was definitely in the air.   

I woke up Friday morning to the happy news that our managing editor Brandy Jesperson had delivered her beautiful baby boy. I guess little Cooper Kaleb couldn’t wait for his scheduled Feb. 17 C-section. Both mom and baby are doing great and proud Grandma Tammy (Brandy’s mom) has already updated her blog four times since Cooper’s arrival. (Someone’s not excited at all!) Brandy is still in the hospital, but as soon as she gets home, I’m sure we’ll get more details. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at Brandy’s handsome little man…   

Welcome to the world, Cooper!

While Cooper was enjoying his first few days of life, I was enjoying my rain-soaked cousin’s wedding. It turns out when The Weather Channel says there’s a “60 percent chance of rain and snow”, you can take that to the bank!   

I posted a picture on Friday of the beautiful wedding dress my 75-year-old grandma made for Tanner’s bride. (It’s even more gorgeous in person!) Since many of you commented that you’d like to see the front of the dress, I hope you’ll indulge me with a few more pictures, courtesy of my talented sister. And since we just celebrated Umbrella Day last week, I knew you would enjoy this picture of the happy couple Singin’ in the Rain:   

Not even a little rain could dampen the mood...

Here's a better view of the front of the dress.

And another view. Aren't they a cute couple?

Tanner and Darlene’s colors were black and gold. Tanner and his brothers wore black and gold bow ties with their tuxes and Darlene’s bridesmaids wore black dresses with gold sashes. Like all of you mentioned last week, more and more brides are pairing an accent color with black or black/white. As this wedding proved, you can’t go wrong with this classic color combination. Best of luck to all of you planning your own 2010 weddings. If any of you are looking for that special, one-of-a-kind wedding dress, I do happen to know a gal!  

Happy Monday!

It’s time to announce the winner of my Happily Ever After post!   

Jennifer H. (Feb. 12, 12:15 p.m.)   

Congrats, Jennifer! You’ve won Imaginisce’s brand new To Love & Cherish collection. I’ll be contacting you shortly for your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Paper Crafts Calendar

February 2010

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