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Archive for March, 2012

I used to teach elementary school.  Sometimes life offers up twists and turns that you feel like you are supposed to take until you find yourself in a place that you never imagined but is exactly where you are supposed to be at that time.  That’s how I became a licensed designer.  When I first started my scrapbooking company, we specialized in photo organization.  I had a team of people and we would help a client take their boxes and drawers of photos and organize them.  Sometimes they just wanted everything stored in folders or envelopes.  Sometimes they wanted everything scrapbooked.  We helped them with whatever they decided they wanted to have done at that time.

I started offering 8″x8″ mini-albums with specific themes.  This helped clients to focus on an event or birthday instead of trying to tackle all of the years of memories they had stored.  I asked each client to choose various phrases or quotes that they wanted to accompany their photos in these albums.  Many of the quotes came from lists that I gave them with one of their own put in here or there.  I realized that I had a knack for finding just the right words for different photos.

I took this skill with me throughout my scrapbooking career.  One of our first products that we manufactured years ago were 12″x12″ vellum sheets with various quotes printed on them.  We were the first to do this and the industry picked it up and ran with it.  Now you can find quotes on just about anything.  I believe that it is because of one simple reason – the beauty of a good quote will tell you what you feel or think or wish in words that we may not be able to pen ourselves.

I haven’t created a lot of quotes or phrases for the Silhouette store yet so I decided to go back to my roots this week and give you some.  Click on each image to find them in my store.  A few have to do with Easter like these:

Pair these next two files together by creating a carrot patch of three carrots where the last carrot has a bite taken out of it.  Then add the word “yum” to the end of your patch for a darling springtime decoration or card.  You can layer the carrots or not for a two-toned look.  Everything is included in one file in my store.

The rest are more applicable to living everyday life.  Many would make fabulous wall art.  Just cut it out with vellum and attach it directly to a wall or door.  Or mount them on wood, sheet metal or anything else you can come up with for beautiful but simple home decor.  Did I mention they would look great on cards or framed?  Sure.  Go for it.

Finally, don’t look Grandmas! This one is in plenty of time for Mother’s Day.  My own little Cole has lots of friends and many people who love him and he loves them right back.  But his cousin Claire is three months younger than him and they are like two little peas in a pod.  They get to Grandma’s house and are each other’s shadow as they run and play and laugh.  I hope they stay like that forever.  To celebrate the relationships we develop as cousins, I have created this file.  It comes with each line joined or separate so that you can layer the words if you choose.  I think that’s what I am going to do.  I haven’t decided quite yet.

Enjoy the green peeking through the ground during this time of year.  We’ll probably get another snow but for now we are basking in the sunshine with short-sleeved shirts and buds on the trees.  Happy Spring!

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Today you will find me over at Ali Edwards’ blog with a tutorial on how to use my new Teeny Tiny Card Kits offered in my Silhouette store.  Click here for complete instructions on creating your own glassine envelope notecards using wax paper.  Yep.  Wax paper.  You’ll get a free SVG file or printable template if you want to cut out the shape by hand, plus a free printable to make your project complete.

Here are a couple more ways to use my Teeny Tiny Card Kits that you are going to love.  As I was relaxing in the sunshine with my sister for our birthdays two weeks ago, I mentioned to her that I was going to make little envelope and card sets for my next round of shapes.  She immediately piped up with, “You know what I wish I had?”

I love that question.

Anyone who is in the business of creating wants to know what you wish you had – so we can make it for you!  Often times my expertise doesn’t cover whatever it is they want (an app for folding your laundry or a robotic cook to prepare dinner every night – not an option) but this time, I actually could deliver on her request.

“You know how when you wrap a gift then you want to attach a little card and envelope to it so it doesn’t get lost and you end up having to either tape it to the gift or punch a hole through the whole thing to tie it on?  It doesn’t look cute that way.  I wish I could attach my card to my gift in a cuter way.”

That was the request.  I thought, “Hey, I can do that.”  So I did.

My Teeny Tiny Card Kit instantly went from containing a little card and little envelope to having two envelopes – one with a hang tag and one without.  And for good measure I threw in an extra card – you can either use a flat card or a folded one.  Both fit into either envelope.  To make it even better, if you purchase different card kits of the same size you can mix and match all of the cards and envelopes within each size.  Click here to go to my Silhouette store.

Ta-da!  The perfect little card and envelope set with the hang tag for easy tying.  I used a dimensional butterfly from the craft store to embellish my envelope, tucked a note inside and tied it to my gift.  Simple but gorgeous, don’t you think?  And no chance of that little card getting lost between now and when I deliver the gift.

I used double-sided patterned cardstock and cut out all four shapes simply turned an envelope and card over to get two different but coordinated sets from one file.  Here’s how I used the second envelope – the one without the hang tag.  I created a printable for these little white cards in the 2″x3″ size for Ali’s blog and I have them here for each of the other sizes of my Teeny Tiny Card Kits.  I wrapped a strip of washi tape around the top of the card, popped it in the envelope and was done.  Beautiful sentiments with lovely design and just the right size.  Click on each image to download printables in every size and be sure to head over to the tutorial at Ali’s for the other files.

Teeny Tiny Cards – 2″x2″

Teeny Tiny Cards – 2 1/2″x4″ A

Teeny Tiny Cards – 2 1/2″x4″ B

Teeny Tiny Cards – 3″x3″ A

Teeny Tiny Cards – 3″x3″ B

Teeny Tiny Cards – 2″x3″

Looking for all 10 of my Teeny Tiny Card Kits?  Just click on each name below to be sent directly to the Silhouette file.  And remember, I am in the process of setting up an SVG store here on my blog so all of you who have SCAL software that uses SVGs can purchase shapes here soon.  Don’t worry, I’ll add everything to the shop so you won’t have to miss out on things I offer between now and then.

Here are the links to each file.  Note the image below this list for a visual on each kit.  Enjoy!

Teeny Tiny Card Kit – 2.5″x4″ Bracket

Teeeny Tiny Card Kit – 2.5″x4″ Rounded

Teeny Tiny Card Kit – 2.5″x4″ Scallop

Teeny Tiny Card Kit – 2″x2″ Bracket

Teeeny Tiny Card Kit – 2″x2″ Rounded

Teeeny Tiny Card Kit – 2″x2″ Scallop

Teeny Tiny Card Kit – 2″x3″ Bracket

Teeeny Tiny Card Kit – 2″x3″ Rounded

Teeny Tiny Card Kit – 3″x3″ Rounded

Teeny Tiny Card Kit – 3″x3″ Scallop

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Ahhh…. I’m pretending that I am still sitting under the palm trees with the ocean breeze keeping us cool.  Nice.

Something else that’s nice are these monogrammed notecard sets that I cut out as soon as I returned home.  One is a birthday gift and the other two are thank yous for lovely grandmas that kept Cole while I was away.  He had the time of his life with doting grandparents to cater to his every whim.  Life is rough for this three-year-old.

To find the “Flourished Monogram” file links, click here or go to my Silhouette store.

Two cards fit on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of cardstock so I cut two at a time and made sure my blade was positioned far enough down to keep the cuts clean and thorough.  I had two mats going – one cutting and one that I was removing the cards and scraps.  It kept things rolling and I was able to create three personalized gifts in less than an hour.  The flourishes are pretty enough that all you need is a ribbon and a tag and these are ready to give.

Want just the flourished monogram letters?  Each card file comes with the letter as well – visit my Silhouette store here to purchase shapes.  I am working on setting up an SVG file store here on my blog so that these files can be available for non-Silhouette users who have SCAL or other SVG software for their electronic cutters.  Check back often to see what else is new.

Coming Soon: Exclusive tutorial on Ali Edwards’ blog next week where I will be sharing a free SVG file and project instructions.  Stay tuned for more info.

Enjoy!

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Yes.  I’m on a letter-size card kick.  I just love the perfection of this size of a notecard and how easily it fits into a regular business-size envelope.  Simple.  Oh, these look so yummy all lined up together – a phrase for everything.  Possibilities?  Yes, these create possibilities.  And love.  They are all about giving love.  Simply.

This week in the Silhouette store you get 10 sets of cards – all with a different theme and unique phrases.  Here’s what I would do.  Throw those puppies into your cart, get them in your library and cut out a couple of each.  Then stick them in a business envelope so that you can see the words when you flip through them and slide that envelope into a special spot in a drawer or on a shelf to reach for all year long.  Any occasion, any time of year, pop out one of those cards, jot down a note, stick it in a business envelope (or have some of these envelopes cut out already!) and you’re ready.  All it needs is a stamp and an address – or not, depending on where it is going.

Done.

Sometimes we don’t have time to cut out a new design at each moment that we need something to give. These cards solve that problem.  (Whether you need them to or not – they will solve that problem for you.)  Click on each of the above images to head straight to the store.

You will also see some delightful little swallows (Vintage Swallow, Vintage Swallow Perched and Vintage Swallow Perched 2), the perfect Bracket Frame Set and a Thick Flourish Set that match my monogram cards.  A little bit of everything this week.  Click on the name or image to find them in my store.

Oh, how could I forget my favorite shape of all – “Thank You Lace.”  What?  What does that mean?

lace + thank you = Thank You Lace.

This collage of gratitude bundles up all that you would want to say in one 5×7 shape. Perfect for a card but I’ll show you how I’m going to use it in a couple of weeks.  I think it deserves to be framed.  More on that later….

Happy cutting!

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I’m here sitting by the pool with the sun shining down and a pile of books loaded on my Kindle.  What could be better than that for the birthday girl?  I find myself settling into my vacation – physically, mentally, emotionally letting go of stresses or deadlines, lists of things to do and not enough sleep to make it happen.  That gentle easing of the mind and body that happens when you have the chance to let go for a minute.

Someone said to me before I left, “You deserve a good break!”  After almost two years of battling back to reasonable health and some sense of normal life, that is probably true.  But I find myself today thinking about that idea of getting a break and I’ve decided that it doesn’t really describe how I feel about my vacation.

After waiting for 16 years to have our little Cole, you can imagine my desire to savor every second of motherhood.  That doesn’t mean that I love every second of it.  It simply means that I don’t want to miss a thing.  This is my one and only chance to watch a little person develop and to have a hand in the process.  The changes and stages fascinate me as I witness someone grow before my very eyes.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t get tired.  I do.  You already know this.  However, I’d rather describe this week away from responsibilities as something other than “a break” from motherhood.  A break seems like such a harsh word with its jagged edges and severed pieces.  I’m thinking of it more as a little rest – with my heart still attached to the ones I love across an ocean of miles.  I want to reach out and touch my boys with one finger, just to make sure they are still there.  Still a part of me.  Still my life.

When I was in the throes of recovery from my pancreatitis, I couldn’t lift Cole.  I also couldn’t hold him near me because of the risk of elbows and knees and hands bumping my swollen belly.  When I was able to start holding him, he would have to climb up onto the chair or sofa next to me.  One day I was trying to put him down for a nap.  He usually goes right down without any fuss but this day he exercised his independence to let me know that in bed was not where he wanted to be.  As he wailed both verbally and physically in my lap, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it through that moment.  His wrestling hurt my belly and I didn’t have the strength to fight the wiggles.

I remember joining him as he cried, both of us with tears running down our cheeks.  Him wanting anything other than a nap and me just wanting it to stop.  I cried as I spoke softly to him, “Cole, please.  Mommy can’t do this.  I need your help.  Please help mommy.”  His 18-month-old mind didn’t understand.  And I wish I could say that a special miracle happened and he settled right down simply because we both needed him to.  But he didn’t.  He kept wiggling as I kept praying and we both kept crying.  Finally I had to just put him in bed and walk away.  He fell asleep soon after and we both took a nap.

Motherhood is stressful.  It’s tiring and taxing.  But even in the worst moments of my illness I have never wanted to give it up.  I have never wanted to make that break from this child of my heart.  But I have wanted to rest.  Needed to rest.  We all need to rest.  From whatever fills our days – whether it’s work or a spouse or children or not.  We all need to take moments where we can sink into a state of peacefulness and let go of some of the stresses that make up daily life.

You deserve a rest today.  Or at least in the near future.  I hope to return home with even more love in my heart and more strength to carry out that love.  Just a little rest.  Enjoy it.  I’m loving mine.

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I like names.

I like initials.

In my years as a school teacher or youth leader or women’s instructor and committee chair, I have learned that everyone likes their name.  Well, they may not necessarily like their name but they like their name ON STUFF.  Or their initial.  Everyone likes stuff personalized.

It’s why people actually stand in front of those little license plate displays and slowly turn it.  Looking.  Looking for their name.

Mine is never there.  Even if I spelled it with a “C” like most Colettes, it’s still not going to show up on any products that I can buy in a convenience store.  So when someone takes the time to put my name on something I usually end up saving it.  Right after I feel really, really good because I got my name on something.  A collection of Kolettes.  Right here in my office.  The white wood board is 35 years old and was painted by my mother.  It had hooks in it and hung in my room when I was a child.  It’s still in my room.  That’s saying something.  Yep, it’s saying my name.

This week in my Silhouette store I wanted to make it personal.  I have created flat letter-size cards that are monogrammed.  I love the how the flourish is part of each letter in the alphabet and it extends as part of the card itself.  It’s like taking personalized stationery to a whole new, textured and lovely level.  They are called “Flourished Monograms and Cards – a,b,c“…then the same but “d,e,f,” “g,h,i,” “j, k,l,” “m, n,o,” “p,q,r,” “s,t,u,” “v,w,x,” “y,z,heart.” Yes, I finished out the alphabet with some love.  Click on each title for the corresponding file in my store.

My first project with these files will be cutting out a set of “K” cards for a birthday gift.  She’ll love them because she loves anything with her name on it, too. Most of us do. Add the “Letter-Size Flourished Envelope” to create a single card or a set of 6 or 8 or 12.  Tie a bow around the set and you have a gorgeous gift.  Then use some baker’s twine and on of my “Whimsical Tags” to complete the look.

I’ll show you what it looks like next week since this week I am celebrating MY birthday away with my sister right now.  Her name is Kara.  Don’t look, Kara.  You’re going to love your gift.  We share a birthday week and decided to spend it together.  In the sun.  And I didn’t bring my Silhouette or my baker’s twine – so the picture will have to wait till I return.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the monogrammed cards that you can find in my Silhouette store.  They come with the matching flourish letters (cardless versions).  I can think of about a hundred ways to use these in my home.  Be sure to get the whole alphabet so you are ready for any celebration, thank you note or home decor project.

And the envelope.  Well, of course you need the combo, right?

While you’re at it – the “Whimsical Tags” are a must-have for a touch of fun that works for every gift going out your door.  Enjoy!

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I’m not much of a gambler but I love the word “lucky.”  I don’t really think there is such a thing as luck, actually.  I believe that luck is really a blessing.  A gift of some sort from someone or some being.  I was born in March and although I don’t care much about actual St. Patrick’s Day, I do love the word lucky.  And I FEEL lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.  Don’t you think it’s the perfect sentiment for anyone, any time of year?  I certainly do.

So, for my first batch of designs that I submitted to the Silhouette online store this week (click here) you will see that I decided to offer a little luck to the experience by whipping up some things for March.  In the past, I designed the artwork for the Gypsy that works with the Cricut along with other Cricut cartridges and truly enjoyed learning how to work in shapes and cuts and lines while doing those projects.  It was a great growing time for me in my technical skills and ability.  And now it’s time to move on to other opportunities – this one in the form of my new little friend, the Silhouette Cameo.  Why did I end up even buying one when I have a fab Cricut sitting right here?  It was all because I wanted to be able to cut whatever I designed – for Cole’s birthday party.

The Silhouette’s designer edition software let’s you do that.  So I bought one.

One thing led to another and after three days and multiple superhero capes later, I was hooked.  I contacted the Silhouette team while I was at the CHA tradeshow a couple weeks ago and started the process of joining the Contributing Artist team at Silhouette America.

Here’s why I decided to do it:

  1. They sell shapes one at a time for $.99 each.  Like iTunes.
  2. I get to decide how many designs I want to submit each week instead of having to create hundreds for one cartridge.
  3. I can skip a week.  Or two.  Or none.
  4. I get paid on how many people buy my designs so I get immediate feedback on what I should design next.
  5. I can design more individualized shapes instead of dozens for a specific theme. If I want to design one party hat, I can design one party hat. (Of course, who wants just one party hat? So, I’ll do more than one….sometime.)
  6. The flexibility and possibilities all fall right in line with my desire for emergence this year.

You get the picture.

Want to see what hit the store this week?   The “So Lucky” card and “Lace Shamrock” from above (yep, the Silhouette cut that puppy out).  And just a little something to protect you from all those pinching fingers on the 17th – try cutting this one out using Siser Easyweed Iron-on Heat Transfer Vinyl, applying it to a simple t-shirt and voila!  You’re ready for the whole month.  And add some rhinestones to those dots in the letters while you’re at it.  Bling.

To complete the March holiday season, create a shamrock-cut banner by mixing-and-matching all these shapes (just $.99 for all of them!) or fill a ziplock or any plastic bag with treats and top it with this custom bag-topper.  Easy-peasy.  Click on each of these images to find them in my store or search in the store using the title.  By the way – skip the green on the bag topper and it will work for any time of the year as a congrats or good job or even welcome to your new home!

Finally, I want to introduce you to my favorite size envelope in the world.  Here in the US it’s called a #10 or letter-size because it fits a regular 8.5×11 sheet of paper tri-folded.  I don’t know what they call it outside of the US – someone tell us, please.  Therefore, if I love this letter-size envelope so much, then I must also love letter-size cards.  You are exactly right.  This week I did a “Letter-Size Happy Birthday Script Card Kit” and an “Letter-Size Owl Card Kit” to fit into my “Letter-Size Simple Flourish Envelope.”  And don’t forget the “Owl Sentiments” to go along with the owl card.  Bam.  Done.

Check back each week and I’ll let you know what I’ve been cooking up or you can head straight to my store by clicking here.

Happy cutting, lucky ducks!

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