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Susan R. Opel

I can’t remember the last time I was so inspired! Last Tuesday I cruised around the Go-to Gals & Friends Blog Hop like many of you, and what a spectacular hop it was! Seeing so many different styles and takes on each sketch was like unwrapping gift after gift at an extravagant birthday party.

That night I opened Go-to Sketches and marked over 20 sketches that I can’t wait to use. The funny thing is that I’ve worked on this issue since its inception last September, but seeing your reactions has been so exciting. I’ve created an album on Facebook where I’ll share my Go-to Sketches Quest.

And you know what? I really needed this push. I’m afraid I’ve become more of a supply collector, organizer and purger than an actual paper crafter. It’s been a long time since I set up a challenge for myself (honestly, I haven’t had a good goal for myself since I tried out for Creating Keepsakes magazine’s Hall of Fame and Scrapbooker of the Year contests). There’s a bit of a misconception that we are creating cards in the office every day. And the answer to that is: not so. There’s much to do in our corporate office environment.

Here’s a card I created for my Go-to Sketches Quest.

It’s based on Go-to Gal Teri Anderson’s sketch on pg. 16.

While I know that this special issue with 66 sketches will keep me busy for a while, you can be assured that the ideas will never run out. Go-to Sketches is actually based on a regular column in the magazine. Each issue offers two new sketches and ten examples of the sketches in use (eight in the magazine and 2 online). As a matter of fact, here is one of the sketches in the May/June 2010 issue that is officially on sale today!

I love this sketch (designed by Go-to Gal Jessica Witty), especially for the balanced design. By using the rule of thirds, the sentiment ends up in the “sweet” spot in the bottom right third of the card front.

And as you learned last week in this post over at the Moxie Fab World blog, sketches can be turned every which way! I love how designer Sarah Martina Parker rotated the sketch 90 degrees to the left, not to mention her gorgeous color combination and heart-stopping houndstooth butterfly!

Take any sketch and make it your own!

How would you like one last chance to win a copy of Go-to Sketches so that you can join me in my Go-to Sketch Quest? Leave a comment telling me about any of your paper crafting goals, and one person will win this sought-after issue! All comments must be received by at midnight (MDT) on Wednesday, April 14.

*Shhhhhhh!!! Don’t tell anyone, but I think I might sneak out of the office early to create!*



Brandy Jesperson

I know it’s cliché, but time flies when you’re having fun. I distinctly remember talking with the Paper Crafts team and dreaming up a blog full of interactive challenges, beautiful pictures and prizes galore! Sure enough, two blinks of an eye and one year later here we are! 

One of our goals when we concepted this blog was to encourage people to serve those around them. After all, card making is innately generous. We make cards for our loved ones to celebrate events, give condolences and simply say “hi.” 

As I think back over the past 12 months, we’ve not only had the chance to give back, but we’ve also had a lot of fun doing it. So put on your magical time machine hats (you’ve all got one, right?) and join me for a quick trip down memory lane.  

Last Fall Kelly joined forces with some crafty friends to crop for Cystic Fibrosis. Not only did all the proceeds go to a great cause, but it was also a chance to meet new people and create into the wee hours of the morning!

Here's Roxanne (Becky's sister), Kelly, Megan, Brenda and Becky.

In November we continued our tradition of decorating and donating a tree (complete with oodles of donations from manufacturers and designers) to the Festival of Trees. All the money raised at this event goes to the patients at Primary Children’s Medical Center, and over the past three years our trees have made more than $5000 for this great cause. 

Ta da! What do you think of our finished tree?

Even our Go-to Gals got into the act this year! Ms. Maren shared a delicious assortment of chocolate-covered creations (accompanied by a hearty dose of papery goodness) ideal for teacher gifts. With two former teachers on our team, we love and respect the fine people who teach our children each day.

Switch out the tag and you've got a yummy Valentine's treat!

In December we joined forces with Creating Keepsakes magazine and Creativity Heals. This program encourages people to donate time, creativity or extra crafting supplies towards improving the lives of others. We invited all of you to donate cards to Operation Write Home and were blown away by the generosity you showed on our blog and Facebook pages. We’ve been associated with this charity for years and love their support for our nation’s armed forces. We also donated hundreds of cards to this charity following our World Card Making Day Card Contest in October.  

All of these cards were sent in to Operation Write Home.

At each turn we have been struck by the kindness and willingness to give all of you readers have shown. Thanks for making 2009 a year of giving back. As a thank you I’d like to give ONE lucky person two copies of our new special issue Stamp It! Cards, two Fiskars stamp sets and two of our sassy Betty t-shirts. All that I ask is that you keep one prize package for yourself and give the other to a friend. To be eligible to win, please leave a comment telling me how you like to give back to those around you. Perhaps we’ll be able to take something YOU do and work it into 2010. All comments must be received by midnight (MST) on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Thanks and love,

P.S. It’s time to announce the 10 winners from Jennifer’s Sharing the CHA Goodies post and the five winners from Kelly’s January/February I-Spy post!

Jennifer’s winners:

1. Diane S. (Jan. 29, 7:59 p.m.)
2. Carisa (Jan. 28, 3:17 p.m.)
3. Brandy Jarvis (Jan. 28, 2:12 p.m.)
4. Tammy Wisterman (Jan. 28, 8:08 p.m.)
5. Carol (Jan. 28, 3:31 p.m.)
6. Iris Soscia (Jan. 28, 1:48 p.m.)
7. Diana N. (Jan. 28, 6:40 p.m.)
8. Sue B. (Jan. 29, 7:56 p.m.)
9. Letisia Chubbuck (Jan. 28, 6:43 p.m.)
10. Jennifer Hansen (Jan. 28, 11:15 p.m.)

Kelly’s winners:

1. Carol H. (Jan. 29, 9:53 a.m.)
2. cards4ever (Jan. 29, 10:39 p.m.)
3. Wendy M. (Jan. 30, 8:47 a.m.)
4. Kerry A. (Jan. 31, 9:43 a.m.)
5. Mary Ashby (Jan. 29, 8:04 a.m.)

Congrats, winners! Kelly will 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 on this very merry day! I hope all of you are tucked inside your warm, cozy homes and are surrounded by those that mean the most to you.

I was bragging on Facebook the other night that I was loving the 64*F weather in Texas. I left very chilly temperatures in Utah, so it was so-o-o nice to immediately shed my heavy winter jacket upon landing in the Lone Star State. I enjoyed a whole day of spring-like weather and then last night a cold front blew in and we actually have snow…on Christmas Day!

Even though my Christmas cards have yet to go out, I’d like to share a beautiful story with you today. I used to include it with my holiday cards because I simply love its message of it’s better to give than receive. When our designer Holly showed this wreath picture in her A Few of My Favorite {Holiday} Things blog post, it instantly reminded me of this story, and I knew that I wanted to share it with all of our readers.

Photo courtesy of Country Living

The Christmas Orange

I’d like to tell you a story my grandmother told me when I was six or seven years old. We had gone to her home for Thanksgiving dinner and the drive was rather a long one. I had filled the time with making a list of all the things that I wanted for Christmas that year.

Later that evening after I was ready for bed, I showed the list to my grandmother. After she read it, she said, “My goodness, that really is a long list!” Then she picked me up and set me on her lap in the big rocking chair and told me this story:

“Once there was a little girl who came to live in an orphanage in Denmark.” (Now my grandmother was from Denmark, so this story might even be true.) “As Christmas time grew near, all of the other children began telling the little girl about the beautiful Christmas tree that would appear in the huge downstairs hall on Christmas morning. After their usual, very plain breakfast, each child would be given their one and only Christmas gift: small, single orange.”

At this point I looked up at my grandmother in disbelief, but she assured me that was all each child would receive for Christmas.

“Now the headmaster of the orphanage was very stern and he thought Christmas to be a bother. So on Christmas Eve, when he caught the little girl creeping down the stairs to catch a peek at the much-heard-of Christmas tree, he sharply declared that the little girl would not receive her Christmas orange because she had been so curious as to disobey the rules. The little girl ran back to her room broken-hearted and crying at her terrible fate.”

“The next morning as the other children were going down to breakfast, the little girl stayed in her bed. She couldn’t stand the thought of seeing the others receive their gift when there would be none for her.”

“Later, as the children came back upstairs, the little girl was surprised to be handed a napkin. As she carefully opened it, there to her disbelief was an orange all peeled and sectioned.”

“How could this be?” she asked.

“It was then that she found how each child had taken one section from their orange and given it to her so that she, too, would have a Christmas orange.”

How I loved this story! I would ask my grandmother to tell it to me over and over as I grew up. Every Christmas, as I pull a big, juicy orange from my stocking, I think of this story. What an example of the true meaning of Christmas those orphan children displayed that Christmas morning. How I wish the world, as a whole would display that same kind of concern for others, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. ~Author unknown

Doesn’t that story just warm your heart? Santa heard there was some very good paper crafters out there and literally left a whole sack full of fun product at my desk! Leave a comment telling me the best thing you’ve ever received in your Christmas stocking. One lucky winner will take home this entire Christmas-themed collection from Me & My Big Ideas! All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Sunday, Dec. 27.

One lucky winner will take home this ENTIRE prize package!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

P.S. This little elf was so busy yesterday, she forgot to wish Paper Crafts Go-to Gal Teri Anderson a happy birthday! Teri, you know I love you, girl! Hope your day was extra special!

P.P.S. There’s still time to upload your Christmas cards to our December Gallery Challenge! Three lucky winners will walk away with a free subscription (or special issue of their choice) and the opportunity to be spotlighted on this blog on Monday, Jan. 4! Click HERE to upload your cards today! The deadline is Monday, Dec. 28!

Melinda Dann

Hello again, it’s your lovable design intern! And Happy Button Day!

Back to blogging! I can’t say I’m hooked, but it’s pretty fun. (And not quite as scary the second time around!)

When I was told that today was Button Day, it raised a lot of questions. What is Button Day? What kind of buttons are they talking about? Are they metaphorical? Is it a day for pushing people’s buttons? What about flair? My Facebook flair collection is fairly large…perhaps the day should be celebrated by doubling it? (Sadly, Wikipedia is of no use in this case. Whatever shall I do?)

And why are we celebrating buttons? It’s not that buttons aren’t useful or fun, but do they need a whole day to celebrate? What about Zipper Day? Snap Day? I’m just saying…maybe there are other things we could have celebrations for. It’ll catch on, right?

Of course, there is definitely a lot to be said for buttons in paper crafting. I have seen so many cards with buttons made into balloons, flowers and birds. There are really cute ideas that I would never have thought of before, and some of them even incorporate the design on the button into the new design. Too cute! Just like Former Paper Crafts Pro Alisa Bangerter’s Birthday Buttons Card from our new resource book A Card a DayI would love to receive a card like this for my birthday!

Birthday Buttons Card by Alisa Bangerter

Okay, maybe I’m starting to see the need for Button Day. (For more button inspiration, click HERE to see how our 2009 Gallery Idol finalists incorporated buttons into their card designs. Pretty amazing, huh?) I bet you’re saying you could really use some buttons about now. Your wish is my command! Leave a comment telling me why you love buttons so much and I’ll pick one winner to win this assortment of colorful buttons from American Crafts! All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

One lucky winner will take home ALL of these buttons!

Your Paper Crafts Design Intern,

P.S. Ok, now that my gushing is over, I want to encourage everybody to come back tomorrow to this here blog. I’ve been working on something for Paper Crafts that is going to be posted tomorrow! It was a challenge to pull together, but I’m really proud of how it turned out! Make sure you come back and see it!

P.P.S. It’s time to announce the three winners from Susan’s We Are the (Moxie Fab) World post and the two winners from Kelly’s Living in the Now post!

Susan’s winners:

1. Marla H. (Nov. 12, 4:53 p.m.)
2. Cheri Howard (Nov. 12, 5:44 p.m.)
3. Mary D. (Nov. 13, 3:23 a.m.)

Kelly’s winners:

1. Wendy (Nov. 13, 4:51 p.m.)
2. Charlene G. (Nov. 13, 1:09 p.m.)

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


Susan R. Opel

Remember in 1985 when we all marveled at the famous group of people who sang We Are the World? A-list singers, comedians and stars joined hands and voices to aid African famine relief. Today, we’re joining our hands in celebration of the Moxie Fab World’s one year blogiversary! So I’m pulling out my microphone to sing the praises of one of the coolest, trendiest and funnest places in the blogosphere.

The Moxie Fab World blog is the brainchild of Paper Crafts magazine’s very own creative editor Cath Edvalson. Inspired by her trend-watching column Moxie Fabs, Cath saw the need to share trends, teach trendiness and show the non-trendy that they really, truly CAN be (and often are) on-trend.


Ms. Moxie Fab herself

None of us knew how far this new blog would go, but little by little the readership grew. Sure, Cath gives away pretty cool stuff on Moxie Mondays, and there are tons of great interviews with top designers of product and projects. And definitely, her Five for Fridays leave us drooling with inspiration. Her Moxie Fab World Challenges get designers flexing their fingers to try something new, and those special issue weeks knock our socks off. Cath went all over the world (via blogs) finding card-making talent from every corner of the planet for her World Tour of Card Making. Holy cow – I don’t think any of us can wrap our heads around the hours of work that must have taken.

But in my eyes, none of those things are what REALLY make the Moxie Fab World so moxie fab. It’s Cath. Her voice. Her sense of fun. Her connection to the readers. Her obvious love of what she does. Her insistence on making everyone feel like her contribution matters. She pours her heart and soul into each and every post, and it must be said that being as cute, witty and bippy as Cath is in each post isn’t simple. She works hard, and she deserves a standing ovation. She spends many of her waking hours cooking up the fabulosity that is this blog, and it must be working because she’s got one heck of a loyal following and a growing Facebook fan page.

I think we knew that the Moxie Fab World had “arrived” when Nichole Heady dubbed it the Design Sponge of paper crafting, and at CHA summer when people clamored for Moxie Fab World buttons, and recognized Cath as the Moxie Fab lady telling her, “I read your blog every day!”

So happy birthday to you Moxie Fab World!

Happy Bird Day Card by Betsy Veldman

Betsy’s card appeared in the May/June 2009 Moxie Fabs column dedicated to woodgrain which spurred on one of my favorite Moxie Fab World Challenges – Wood You? We’re feeling festive around here and want to give three fabulous stamps from Cornish Heritage Farms (including the Wood Grain Backgrounder used on Betsy’s card) to three fabulous commenters. And we’re throwing in one of those coveted Moxie Fab World buttons for each winner as well! 

Three lucky winners will take home these Cornish Heritage Farms stamps and the coveted Moxie Fab World button!

Leave a comment and tell us what you love about the Moxie Fab World blog! All comments must be received by midnight (MDT) on Friday, Nov. 13. If you’ve never visited before head on over for a look and come back with your first impression – today Cath is showing all of the moxie fab banners from the last year and you can vote on your favorite. And apparently there’s a prize involved there as well. 😉

We Are the (Moxie Fab) World!

P.S. It’s time to announce the winner of Brandy’s These Are the Days of Our Lives post!

Karin (Nov. 10, 4:15 p.m.)

Congrats, Karin! You’ve won K&Company’s new Evergreen collection! Kelly will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing address. Thanks to all who left comments!

Cath Edvalson

Cath Edvalson

I’m coming up to my four-year anniversary as creative editor here at good ol’ Paper Crafts magazine and I’m amazed at how much things have changed in that amount of time.

One of the most obvious changes has been in our staff. I miss Stacy, Jennafer, Megan, Junko, Neko, and Marissa, but I love working with Brandy, Susan, Kelly, Matt, and Jennifer. Brenda and Stace have been here since before I arrived—and thank goodness for them! They are the keepers of our history and we turn to them often for continuity as we grow our brand.

Back in the day, we had columns such as Gifts from the Heart, Celebrations, and Paper Finishes; while now we have columns such as the Joy of Card Making, Moxie Fabs, Photo Finish, and Get Inspired–with new ones in the works for 2010. (Sshh…that’s a secret!)

But perhaps the biggest change I’ve seen in the four years since I started here is in the many ways you can access Paper Crafts magazine and the people who put it together.

Like this fun blog, in point of fact. Here you get to go behind-the-scenes, get important info, get to know our Paper Crafts Pros, win prizes, and participate in super fun challenges with the winning projects being posted for all to see.

Our other blog, Moxie Fab World, focuses on the trends in paper crafting. It’s a spot for inspiration, contests, Q&As with your favorite designers, and lots of chances to win fun prizes.

In addition, all of the editors and most of our Pros have their own personal blogs, so you can get to know what really makes us tick.

We’ve also got a group on Facebook. You can become a fan or join our group and receive updates and hot bits of news. I like this type of access because it’s an instantaneous reminder of the fun things we’ve got going on here at Paper Crafts. And of course, you can become a friend of all of us editors on Facebook, too—just look us up and ask!

We’ve even got a new, slick way to submit your projects to our calls. We’ve got a call out right now for our January/February 2010 issue, so why don’t you give it a try by clicking here. Talk about access—we publish brand spanking new designers in every issue, maybe one of them will be you!

You can enter our sweepstakes contests in every issue, download cool sentiments and patterns, check out our online bonus projects, and soon you’ll be able to upload your cards to our World Card Making Day web site. You can email your questions for our Pros here, you can give us feedback here, and you can comment today on your favorite way to access Paper Crafts magazine! Leave a comment by midnight MST on Wednesday, May 20 and I’ll select one random winner to receive an Easy Stamp Press from Fiskars along with their new clear stamp set called Tartan ‘n Time.

Will you be the lucky one to take this home?

Will you be the lucky one to take this home?

Maybe, like me, your favorite way to access Paper Crafts is by finding it in your mailbox and flipping through its pages. Whatever your preference, we sure are glad you’ve found us, for without you it just wouldn’t be the same.

Yours in celebrating four fun-filled years,

Susan R. Opel
Susan R. Opel

After almost (but not quite!) 40 years of living, I’ve met a lot of amazing people. And after living in a total of five states, I’ve left friends behind that impacted my life greatly. It’s sad to let go, but sometimes we lose touch.

On a particularly long road trip not too long ago, I came up with a little game that not only helped pass the time, but it also called up memories of those long ago friends. The object of the game was to think of a woman or girl’s name (first or last) that I have met for every letter of the alphabet. It was such fun to call up memories that had been buried for far too long. Granted, coming up with someone for every letter wasn’t easy, but I substituted names for some of the tough letters. I loved this little exercise so much that I even blogged about it here so that I could remember it.

Indeed, I was so inspired, I even made a layout paying tribute to what I dubbed My Sweet Sixteen. These were the 16 ladies that I felt had most influenced my life – from childhood friends, to influential teachers, to college roommates, and colleagues. Though I didn’t have a picture for each person, I was still able to put down thoughts about her in a little pocket so that I can remember her forever and how much she meant to me.

If you want to see the journaling or the supplies for this project, you can look here.

What about you? Do you have friends who have gone out of your life that you cherish dearly? Have you reconnected through Facebook? What if you sent her a handmade card today to let her know how special she is to you? I can guarantee that she’d love to hear from you!


P.S. You are invited to join us on Facebook as a Paper Crafts fan and in the Paper Crafts Facebook group. And while you are there, why not hunt down some of your long lost friends? You’ll be glad that you did!

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