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P. Kelly Smith

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Freebie Friday! As you probably already know, we take holidays very seriously around here. Maybe it’s because we put so much thought into covering them in our regular and special issues (usually six months ahead of time!), that when the real holiday comes around, we feel like we have to acknowledge it a big way – just so the circle is complete.

Here at the office we’re finalizing the details for our team Halloween costume. And while I can’t reveal what the actual theme is (there’s a lot of Creating Keepsakes spies around here!), I can tell you it’s absolutely perfect for our team of eight women and one man. (I know some of you think you know, but it’s not what you think!) Let’s just say when next Friday rolls around, we’re going to give the CK team a run for their money in our company’s annual Halloween costume contest. We’ll show you pictures the following Monday!

For all of you moms and grandmas out there who plan on making your child/grandchild’s costume, I tip my hat to you. My own grandma is an amazing seamstress and made so many of my costumes growing up. Sadly that sewing gene was not passed down to me – even despite her best attempts to teach me. I wonder what happened to that little sewing machine she bought me?

Back to the kiddie costumes… I was leafing through our September/October issue and came across Davinie Fiero’s Boo Crew Halloween Decor on p. 32. Is that not the cutest picture/project you’ve ever seen? And it’s 5 steps or less! Make sure you click on Davinie’s blog to read the cute story behind the photo and to see the layout she created using a similar image.

Davinie Fieros Boo Crew Halloween Decor from our Sept/Oct. issue.

Davinie Fiero's Boo Crew Halloween Decor from our Sept/Oct issue.

Recently I came across this team picture from last year’s Halloween festivities. I’m thinking about recreating Davinie’s fun project and instead of the cute kiddos, it will be the groovy PC chicks! What do you think?

Beware...dangerous hippies up ahead!

Beware...dangerous hippies up ahead!

So while I won’t be sewing my costume this year (or any year to come!), I can definitely have fun paper crafting my priceless memories. For today’s giveaway, I have three sets of the Craft Fair collection from American Crafts. For all you crafty sewers out there, this collection is right up your alley! And even if you don’t sew, it’s still some cool product to play with! To be entered to win, leave a comment telling me a talent you possess. Whether you’re a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, I want to hear all about it! All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Happy Friday!

P.S. If you plan on making some fun Halloween projects this weekend, why not enter them in our October Gallery Challenge? We have almost 400 entries so far! The deadline is midnight (MDT) on Monday, Oct. 26, so don’t delay!

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the winner of Kim Kesti’s The Christmas Rush post!

1. Heidi Stock (Oct. 21, 2:48 p.m.)

Congrats, Heidi! You’ve won all of Kim’s cards featured in this post! I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

P. Kelly Smith

P. Kelly Smith

Welcome to Magazine Monday and day one of Holiday Cards & More Week! As I mentioned last Friday, we’ve once again teamed up with Cath and her Moxie Fab World blog to celebrate our latest and greatest special issue: Holiday Cards & More, Volume 4!

On sale tomorrow, this festive magazine features nearly 300 holiday projects for everyone on your list. And since Christmas is only 123 days away (yikes!), we know you need to get started on those holiday cards. This year we added more pages to the cards section, so you now have over 100 designs to jumpstart your imagination!

Each day this week we’ll be spotlighting projects from this merry magazine, as well as giving away some fantastic prizes (including free issues of Holiday Cards & More!). As always, make sure you check back with us for our grand Freebie Friday giveaway.

Between now and Friday, you can buy HCM, Vol. 4 for 10% off. Click on the magazine image to reserve your copy today!

Between now and Friday, you can buy HCM, Vol. 4 for 10% off. Click on the magazine image to reserve your copy today!

Today we’ll be spotlighting the talented Jennifer Beason, who is the creator of the gorgeous nutcracker that appears on the cover. Can you believe this is her first published project in Paper Crafts?! When we first set eyes on this little piece of holiday heaven, we just knew it had to appear in THIS magazine. And truthfully, it wasn’t hard to pick it as one of our three cover projects. Who wouldn’t want this jovial little guy in their home around the holidays?

So without further ado, let’s get to know Jennifer Beason!

Jennifer Beason

Jennifer Beason

1. Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in England and then moved to Florida with my family when I was 16.

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

No, I’m lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom.

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

I would cast Jada Pinkett-Smith. We don’t look anything alike, but I’ve always loved her.

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

“This is Heaven to Me” by Madeleine Peyroux.

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

I’m not sure… maybe that I’m only five feet tall.

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

I’d have to say my kids. After my daughter was born, I began scrapbooking all of the photos I had taken of her. I then started making cards, and now I’m doing altered projects as well.

7. What is your biggest paper crafting challenge?

Not having enough time!!!

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

A knife and patterned paper.

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

I love to decorate my home at Christmas time with things that I’ve made. I also enjoy making gifts for my friends and family. Christmas is the perfect time for homemade gifts.

Heres Jennifers Festive Nutcracker that can be found on p. 133 of HCM.

Jennifer's Festive Nutcracker can be found on p. 133 of Holiday Cards & More.

10. How would you describe your style? 

Playful and fun!

11.When is your favorite time to craft?

Late at night… when the family is asleep.

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

Anything soft and mellow – Sade, Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot are some of my favorites.

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

They give me great ideas, especially the kids. Both of my younger kids enjoy making crafts, so I have a specific area in my craft room just for them. We are now able to work together.

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

I have one of those huge desk calendars hanging up in my craft room. I write down all the calls that I want to try out, along with all my assignments. This way I can see at a glance what’s due and when.

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

My nutcracker was the first to be published in your magazine. My style really hasn’t changed much. However, I’m consistently trying to improve my technique.

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

I have been on the following design teams: 

One Heart One Mind, Eyelets Etc. and Helmar USA. Currently, I am on the Pink Paislee design team.

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

  • Danielle Flanders – she has a knack for making everything she creates simply gorgeous. 
  • Linda Albrecht– her work is beautifully detailed. I saw some of her altered projects at the recent CHA in Orlando, FL. I’m definitely a fan for life. 
  • Rachelle Anne Miller’s illustration style really inspires me because it’s so whimsical and cute.

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

Just go for it! What you create may be just what the magazine is looking for. You won’t know unless you try.

19. What was the inspiration for your nutcracker that appears in Holiday Cards and More? How long did it take you to create it? Any tips for people who want to recreate it? 

The patterned paper was actually the inspiration for the piece. I was planning to make something different. Then the pattern in one of the papers started to look like a beard to me. I had the nutcracker laying around, so I started playing around with it. It took me a while to make, over the course of several days, and between other projects. One tip I would offer is to try and avoid covering large areas of the nutcracker with paper all at once. Use small sections of patterned paper instead.

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

I do have a blog ( Please hop on over!

Thanks, Jennifer! Our friends at Pink Paislee were nice enough to donate three sets of their Tinsel Town collection – the same collection Jennifer used to create her nutcracker above. Please leave a comment below and I’ll pick three random winners to receive this collection, plus a copy of Holiday Cards & More, Volume 4. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Tuesday, August 25.

Three lucky winners will take home this holiday-infused prize package!

Three lucky winners will take home this holiday-infused prize package!

P.S. Because I’m feeling so jolly, I just had to share a couple more projects from the home decor section of Holiday Cards & More. It looks like hot pink and lime green are going to be the “it” colors this holiday season!

Heres Davinie Fieros All Hearts Come Home Frame (p. 132).

Davinie Fiero's All Hearts Come Home Frame (p. 132)

Claire Brennans Christmas Tree (p. 135 and on the cover!)

Claire Brennan's Christmas Tree (p. 135)

Are visions of sugar plums dancing in your head? If not, head on over to Moxie Fab World for some more holiday inspiration. And make sure you check back with us tomorrow as Jennifer spotlights the gifts section of Holiday Cards & More, Volume 4!


P.P.S. It’s time to announce the two winners from Susan’s Tips, Tools, & Techniques Trivia post, the winner from Brandy’s Memories Made post and the two winners from my Holiday Cards & More Week post! Here they are in no particular order:

Susan’s winners:

1. Jenn Coker (August 18, 10:15 a.m.)
2. Sue Blondin (August 19, 5:27 a.m.)

Brandy’s winner:

Jamie Greene (August 20, 6:46 a.m.)

My winners:

1. Nancy L. (August 21, 10:41 a.m.)
2. Leslie (August 21, 11:42 a.m.)

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

Susan R. Opel

Susan R. Opel

I’ll never forget the day that I first talked to Brandy Jesperson on the phone before I moved from Indiana to Utah to start my job at Paper Crafts magazine. I accepted the position on April 1st but had to finish out the school year and fulfill my duties at my teaching job before I headed west; however, Brandy wanted me to get my feet wet by writing a couple of sections of Card Creations 6.

One day a box arrived on my doorstep with a VERY large binder inside. Tucked in ten protective sleeves I found cards from Jennifer Hansen, Ashley Harris, Kandis Smith, Tracey Odachowski, Stefanie Hamilton, Davinie Fiero, Becky Olsen, Danielle Flanders, Michele Boyer, and Debbie Olson – the entire Congratulations and Easter sections of Card Creations 6. It was pretty amazing to be able to touch these beautiful creations that would be going into this special issue.

Before I could get to work writing, I had a garage sale to conduct, a house to pack up, and finals to give, but when my good friend Tina Albertson (a talented scrapbooker and card maker whose card was on the cover of Card Creations 5, BTW) came to my garage sale in Fort Wayne, IN, I pulled out that big binder, and we looked at everything with awe.

I slaved over writing the instructions and supply lists for my two sections giving each card a snazzy and befitting name and trying to very carefully follow all of the directions. Brandy would probably agree that it wasn’t stellar, but it was such a whole new ballgame to me! And I was trying to write it all while administering final exams. Shh – don’t tell my former principal.

Fast forward to early June of 2009… and it’s time to introduce Card Creations 7 to the world, and now I am a full-fledged part of the Paper Crafts team. It’s been so fun seeing this issue through from the concept meeting to the call for submissions to the submissions judging to the projects rolling in to the writing (which I am MUCH better at now – I did more than 20 cards this time!) to the hand off to the proofs to the copy of the issue on my desk. And what makes it SUPER cool is that this time I have 12 of my very own creations in this issue. I thought I’d share three of my favorites!

Susan R. Opels Fabulous Card from CC7

Susan R. Opel's Fabulous Card from CC7

I’m pretty darn dramatic (if you hadn’t already noticed!), so this Heidi Swapp damask sticker really spoke to me. I decided to pair it with some lustrous damask paper from Hambly, black satin ribbon, and some sassy red alligator paper from Fibermark. Pop on some contrasting and cute American Crafts letter stickers and you have a great card to send to your long distance BFF!

Susan R. Opels Good Luck Card from CC7

Susan R. Opel's Good Luck Card from CC7

This card was totally inspired by the cherries (also from Heidi Swapp). I tried to think out of the box on this one and steered clear of “Life is a Bowl of Cherries” or “Happy Birthday with a Cherry on Top.” Instead, I channeled my inner Vegas girl (I lived there for three years) and went with a casino theme. The inside of this card reads: “Hope you hit the jackpot!” I sent this to a friend who recently started a new job.

Susan R. Opels Life is Good Card from CC7

Susan R. Opel's Life is Good Card from CC7

Pair this amazing graphic paper from GCD Studios with some bling and a fun phrase from Scrap In Style TV (one of my favorite spots on the web), and you’ve got yourself a quick and funky card for many occasions. Hmmm, looks like I was on a little bit of a red, white and black kick, huh?

From the three cards I shared, you can probably tell that I like dramatic and graphic cards best. But you’ll find a multitude of styles in Card Creations 7 – that’s what is so AWESOME about this definitive card idea book. From shabby to girly to fun and cute to classic to pretty to simple, we’ve got what you’re looking for!

Leave me a comment and tell me what YOUR favorite style is. I’ll choose three lucky winners who will win a copy of Card Creations 7, as well as the Label Love, Morning Milk, and Window Shopping paper collections (all used in CC7!) and the Rainbow Sushi Phrase Stickers used in my Life is Good card from Scrap In Style TV and the delicious Chianti paper collection (used in my Life is Good card) and epoxy stickers in Ravishing Reds and Shades of Black from GCD Studios. Get those responses in by midnight MDT on Sunday, June 28, and Kelly will announce the winner on Monday!

Three lucky winners will take home this fabulous prize package!

Three lucky winners will take home this prize package from SIStv and GCD Studios!

Bravo for Lucky Card Creations 7!

P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Brandy’s Tickled Pink post! Here they are in no particular order:

1. Laurel (June 23, 7:20 a.m.)
2. SMK (June 24, 2:58 p.m.)
3. Amber R (June 23, 2:58 p.m.)

Congrats, winners! Each of you will receive a copy of Card Creations 7 and Making Memories’ Rouge Paperie collection. Kelly will be contacting you shortly for your mailing addresses. Thanks to all who left so many pink comments!

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