Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hardest Job I've Done...

I have no stamping to share with you today.  Today was my friend's funeral and I did the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

A few days ago my friend's husband called and asked both Kevin and I to be pallbearers at the funeral with two other couples who are close friends.  We were both honoured to be asked to play such an important roll in the service.

Last night I went to bed knowing that today would be a really tough day...even tougher than the day we found out she died.  I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach, but pulled it together, showered, and got ready (complete with my trusty waterproof mascara!).  When I came downstairs, ALL three of my boys told me I looked sweet.  I dropped my boys off at a friend's house and proceeded to the church to meet Kevin there.  He met me with a big hug in the parking lot, we both shed a few tears and he told me to be strong and that I could do this for her even though I just wanted to go home and crawl back into bed.  We went in, met with the family and received our instructions.  It was so sad, and I will say that the most difficult moment was when they opened the door to the hearse, we pulled out the casket and carried her into the church.  The ceremony was nice.  When the church service was over, we headed to the cemetery, and when we got there I realized that I was very, very wrong about the most difficult moment.  That moment is actually a bunch of moments...the ones where you carry your friend from the hearse to her grave and then along with her family members place a rose on her casket and say a final good bye.  Heart-wrenching sorrow was painted on everyone's tear stained faces.

I spent the rest of my day trying to remember her laugh and focus on the good memories of fun times we had together.  Life goes on for the rest of us and we will now focus on creating new memories.  The healing has begun and each day will get a little easier than the one before although I know it will take a long time for my feelings of grief go away.

In all of this a new friend has emerged.  We knew each other a bit before, but we share so much now.  What we have in common is that both of us lost a good friend and both of us had the experience of carrying our friend to her final resting place.  We are both feeling the same sorrow, hurt and anger and I know we will lean on each other and heal our broken hearts together.  I knew this as we stood together looking out over the coulees, shedding tears and sharing a package of kleenex as we talked about what happened, what could have been and what the future holds.  Together we will look out for our friend's girls and make sure they have someone to turn to for anything they need as they begin a new chapter in their lives.  I am positive that our friend, somewhere out there, had a hand in bringing us together to mourn and begin the healing process.

I'm going to close today with the same thing I said in my post after we found out she had died because I think it's so important and worth sharing again.  Hug your kids tight (if you have any), tell those who mean the most to you that you love them, keep in touch with old friends, be kind and thoughtful and live with no regrets because you never know when something will happen that can change everything in an instant.  Have an inspired day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jam Session

I want to thank each and every one of you who left a comment or sent an email or called with words of encouragement.  It truly has touched my heart.  I will admit that I'm not dealing with this tragedy very well...I think I'm experiencing all the stages of grief at the same time.  And, of the 5 people we have said good bye to forever in the last 9 months, this is by far the most least it is for me.  Each day gets a little better than the last, one step at a time, but the shock of everything has still not worn off.  Now, I'm bracing myself for a really hard day on Monday when we attend the funeral which we have been asked to play a role in...that is going to be a tough day.

Let's get on with some happy stuff.  I had Taylor choose a number for me to determine the winner from my first celebration post (here) and he chose 2, which is Angela!  Congratulations Angela!  I will have your prize for you once the celebration is over next week.

Are you wondering about my title today?  It has nothing to do with music!  Today is all about jam!!!  Kevin and I had a jam making day a couple weeks ago and we made about 80 jars of jam...I know, that will last us for about 5 years!!!!!  But we do plan to give some away as gifts and today I will show you how I've decorated some of them up, but first check this out...

It's like a jam highway!!!!!

And, here they are all lined up on my breakfast bar!!!  I had to stand way back to get them all in the picture!!!  You can kind of see the different colors...we made Mixed Berry, Nectarine, Blueberry, Apricot, Raspberry, Cherry, Strawberry and Nectarine Pear (which is my favorite!).  Some people have a wine cellar...we have a JAM cellar...LOL!!!  YUM!!!!

Here are a few all decorated up.


I cut some Scallop Circles out of the Spice Cake Designer Fabric, placed them over the sealed part of the lid and then put the other part of the lid back on.  I tied a piece of coordinating ribbon around each of the lids and finished it off with a fun little tag.

The tags were done with the Best of Everything set.  I colored the stamp with Stampin' Write Markers (More Mustard, Soft Suede & Cherry Cobbler), stamped on Naturals White cardstock and punched them out with the Curly Label punch.  I punched a small hole in the corner and attached it to the ribbon bow with some Linen Thread.  On the backs of the tags I wrote what kind of jam it is.

Ok, I have a decorated jar of Mixed Berry jam up for grabs today.  To win be the first to correctly answer the following questions.

What charity does Stampin' Up! support, what is the stamp set to support said charity this year and how much has Stampin' Up! donated to date to said charity?

Remember, you have to correctly answer ALL of the questions to win.  Good luck!

Have an inspired day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Hi friends.  My stampaversary celebration is on hold and the post that was set to publish today has been moved to another day.  Today is a waterproof mascara day.  Let me explain...

Yesterday started out as a great day.  We went to the parade, the kids had a blast, they were thrilled to have McDonalds for lunch, we played outside and we just had a really good summer day.  Fast forward to yesterday evening.  I was checking email and received an email from a good friend (we've been friends since we were 8!) saying that she had had baby #2 and it was a girl!  I was just emailing back a congratulations to her when the phone rang and Kevin and I found out that one of our very good friends had passed away suddenly.  Our lives have been intertwined since we were all very young...Kevin and her have been friends since Kindergarten.  We grew up together in the same small city...went to the same schools...had the same teachers...and some of the same friends.  Her brother and mine played hockey together; her mom and my mom worked together for many years; we have kids the same age (who are friends).  We spent many evenings together playing cards and games, laughing, reminiscing, talking about the future, sharing meals and just watching our kids play.  She showed up on our front step one day with an ultrasound report and three baby blue balloons to tell us that our third and final baby was going to be another boy and not a girl like we thought!  We often commented that we were more like family to each other than friends...especially since our extended families live quite a distance from us.  She was only 35...way too young for something like this to happen.  It's tragic.

To say that we are in shock is an understatement.  We are numb.  We are devastated.  We are emotionally exhausted.  I feel like this is all a nightmare and I will wake up soon and everything will be back to the way it's supposed to be.  My heart is breaking for her family...her brother, her parents, her husband and most of all her two sweet girls who will have to grow up and go through so many experiences without their mom.  I can only imagine how they are all feeling right now.  My heart is breaking for everyone whose life was touched by her, as I know we are all feeling the same overwhelming emotions right now.

Last night was a night of very little sleep (for both Kevin and I) many emotions, so many memories, so many thoughts running through our heads, lots of tossing and turning, lots of tears.  In times like this, I'm thankful to have a family and friends to turn to for support and I'm thankful to have my stamps.  I know that sounds silly, but it was very calming in the wee hours of the morning, when I was unable to sleep or concentrate on my book, to just pull out my stamps and create something.  Something that is mine, something that nobody can take away from me, something that brought a small smile to my face when it was finished, something that made me feel a little better.

Sympathy cards are a type of card that I usually rarely have a need for.  It seems kind of morbid to have them on hand and it's sometimes hard to make them when you need them.  Since November, this is the 5th one I've made.

The Gently Falling set from the upcoming Holiday Mini is what's on my desk right now, so it was what got used last night (or should I say this morning).  I chose More Mustard, Cajun Craze and Bravo Burgundy for my card with some Early Espresso, Crumb Cake and Naturals Ivory.  I'm not going to go into more detail today, but if you have questions about what I did, ask and I will answer.

Well, that's all for today.  I sincerely hope that your week is going better than mine!  I have posts set to publish for the next few days and the winner from yesterday's post will be announced tomorrow. left us too soon.  You are greatly missed and will not be forgotten.
Hug your kids tight today (if you have any), tell the people that mean the most to you that you love them, keep in touch with old friends, be kind and thoughtful and live with no never know what could happen to change things in an instant.  Have an inspired day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Birthday + Chocolate = FUN!!!

I have a fantastic project to share with you today!  I really wanted to use the new It's A Wrap set with my clubs this month, but it's almost impossible to find Hershey Nuggets (the chocolates that this set was designed to wrap around) in Canada.  I dug around in my stash and found some other chocolates that it fits around...YAY!!!  So do you want to see the project?

Can you guess what I used to make it?  I'll give you a's a Big Shot die and it's one of my favorites.  What do you think?  Did you guess the Two Tags die?  If you did, you're absolutely right!!!  I cut two of the scallop topped tag and scored them both 1 1/8" from the bottom straight edge (the one opposite from the scallop edge).  Then the two scored areas were glues together, and the long sides folded up so the scallop edges met to form the little pouch.

Before the folding, I stamped the candle from the Create A Cupcake set.  It was stamped with Regal Rose ink (the cardstock is Regal Rose too).  The top was embellished with a scallop circle punched out of Early Espresso and then I made a cupcake with the Build A Cupcake punch.  I love the bling sprinkles!  They were done with a 2-Way Glue Pen and the pink glitter from the Fine Supernova glitter stack.

The top stays shut with a sweet Mini Library Clip tied with a scrap of Regal Rose 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon.  So cute!

The chocolates were wrapped with Avery Labels.  I don't know the number, but they come 30 per sheet.  Each label was stamped with the birthday stamp, from the It's A Wrap set, which was colored with Early Espresso, Daffodil Delight and Regal Rose Stampin' Write Markers to create the multicolor image.

And, here's a close up of the chocolates I used.

I found them in a ginormous bag at Costco!  I think they come in such a big bag so that you can eat a lot of them and still have some left over for craft projects!!!!!  The label doesn't fit all the way around the chocolate.  There is an area on the bottom that doesn't get covered, but there's allergy info in that area so I figure it's ok to leave that part exposed!!!

So, at the end of this month I will be celebrating my 9th anniversary as a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator.  WOW...those 9 years have flown by!  I have learned so much about myself and what I'm capable of over the last 9 years.  I've also met some very inspiring ladies and made some life long friends...I think this is what I love the most about Stampin' Up!.  I'm celebrating my anniversary by giving away stuff each day until then on my blog and on my Facebook Page.  So, "like" my LA Stamper Facebook Page (link to the right) and on Friday you could win big!!!

To win the prize today, you must answer the following question.  I will randomly draw a winner from each of the comments left.  I will announce the winner on tomorrow's post.  Good luck!

What do you love about Stampin' Up!?

Have an inspired day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pretty Purple Flowers

Stampin' Up! rewards demonstrators each year for sales, recruiting and leadership with free stamps and a pin.  This year I got stamps for all three of those categories and one of the stamps I got was the Sweet Floral background stamp.  I will admit, I wasn't thrilled with this particular stamp, but I figured it should see some ink since it was a  reward for hard work!  I set out for some inspiration on Stampin' Connection (like Facebook for demonstrators...full of so many ideas and chatting, and another great reason why you should become a demonstrator!) and wouldn't you know it, I found lots (and LOTS!) of inspiration.  Here's what I came up with.

I stamped my image with Basic Gray ink on some First Edition DSP (note...this one is considered Speciality DSP so it's not included in the sale this month...found that out the hard way...lets just say it pays to READ the Idea Book & Catalogue!!!).

After stamping the image I used Sponge Daubers to color it.  I gently swirled the colored ink onto the stamped image (I used Wisteria Wonder and Old Olive ink).  Then I sponged around the edge with Basic Gray and added some splatter (which you can't really see in the picture...sorry!) with my Basic Gray Stampin' Write and the Color Spritzer Tool.  I then layered it on a piece of Elegant Eggplant cardstock, added a ribbon and tag and then put it on a Basic Gray base with some Stampin' Dimensionals.

To make the tag I used the "just for you" from the Teeny Tiny Wishes set.  I just colored the "for you" part with a Basic Gray Stampin' Write.  It was stamped on Naturals Ivory cardstock, punched out with the Small Oval punch and sponged around the edges with Basic Gray ink.  I embellished it with an Elegant Eggplant flower (Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack) and a sweet, teeny, tiny pearl.  It's attached to the Wisteria Wonder ribbon (sooooo pretty!) with one of the fabulous little safety pins found in the Vintage Trinkets (loooove those!).

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how this card turned out.  Now I feel the need to think of other ways to use this background stamp!!!

Have an inspired day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Well Worn

I loooooooooooove the new Well Worn DSP in the Idea Book & Catalog!  It's perfect for so many projects, but especially for all the masculine cards and scrapbook pages I do.  And, this month if you buy 3 packs of DSP you can get one FREE!  It's a great time to stock me to place your order or you can order online in your PJs in the middle of the night (when you can't sleep and are up at 2am stamping...don't try and deny it, I know some of you do that!!!) and have your stuff come directly to your door through my website!

Ok, on what I want to share with you today.  Like I said before, I make a lot of masculine cards and since I love the Well Worn DSP so much and it's on sale, I decided to do a card with it with my clubs this month.

I know the picture is kind of was REALLY sunny when I took the picture (not that I'm complaining...summer is short!).  Anyway, I was inspired by my card here (I've made a few different versions of this card over the's a great way to use scraps of DSP) and by a card that Robin Merrimen showed on her blog.  And, as you can see I went masculine this time by using the Well Worn DSP, the Twill Tape (see how I did just a knot...that's very masculine!!!), and the new Stripes Embossing Folder.

My sentiment is from the Best Dad Ever set and I stamped it after my whole card was put together with some River Rock Craft ink...that was flipping it over if it didn't turn out because it was already stuck together!!!  I will say, it looks waaaay better in real life then in this picture!

So, have you decided which packs of DSP you're going to order during the sale?  Well Worn should definitely be on your list!!!  And, remember to stock up before the end of August so you can get some FREE!!!

Have an inspired day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


My favorite berry is by far the strawberry!  I love almost anything strawberry and this year I was excited to add some strawberry plants to my garden.  We got the hanging variety and the strawberries are soooo yummy!!!  I made the mistake of letting my boys eat some right off the plant and now they raid the plants ALL the time.  The first time Carter had one, he took a bit, went "mmmmmm" and then had a puzzled look on his face.  He looked at me and said, "Mom, there's something wrong with my strawberry.  It's not white in the middle."  To which I about laughed myself silly and told him that this was how strawberries were supposed to be not like the ones we get in the store in the middle of winter!!!!  Anyway, you didn't stop by for strawberry stories, you came for some fabulous stampin' projects, didn't you?

Last month, my stamp clubs did a super fun strawberry basket project!  The version I'm going to show you today has some extras added from the project that my clubs did courtesy of me finding stuff on my desk while cleaning that I thought would be perfect for this project.

The basket is made from Soft Suede cardstock with a Soft Suede Striped Ribbon handle.  The ribbon was fed through some holes in the sides of the basket and then tied with some Linen Thread.  The paper shreds are Wild Wasabi.  I just cut the cardstock into small strips (1/8"), ran them through the crimper and then crunched them up before putting them in the basket.  I added a tag and some buttons (because they were laying on my desk!).

That Linen Thread is holding the ribbon handle, the tag and the button on the project...I love it, no adhesive or brads or anything required!  So the tag was made with our two tag punches that layer together perfectly...the smaller is Whisper White and the bigger is Real Red.  I stamped the strawberry from one of my favorite new sets (Best of Everything).  It was colored with Garden Green and Real Red Stampin' Write markers to get the dual color image.  Then I stamped "friend" with Soft Suede...the "friend" is from the Fabulous Phrases that set!

I learned how to make the basket at Convention this summer.  You can come to Convention with me next year...just join my team and you can come on the BEST girls road trip ever next July!!!!  Contact me for more information!

Ok, so, you start by cutting one of the Facy Favors with your Big Shot.  I then cut the fancy edge off the top and cut from the top down to the score line along the bottom every inch (be careful not to cut through that bottom score line!).  I also cut two 1x12 strips of cardstock.

I chose to cut everything at 1" because it was easy...but you could to it at 1/2" intervals or for a fun look, don't cut all your strips the same (it also looks super cute!).  Or, you could weave different colors into your basket...or even try weaving ribbon into it!  Oooh, the wheels are turning now, aren't they?!?!?!?

Once you've done the cutting, you just weave, trim any ends you need to and glue the ends down. 

Now, you just assemble the box/basket like normal...crease all the score lines, adhere the ends together and fold up the bottom.  You can then add a handle if you so desire.  Your handle could be ribbon like I used, or you could use cardstock.

On to the strawberries!  There are tutorials for these ALL over the web...this is my take on it.  I used the Flower Folds die, but you could use the Island Floral Die or the Flower Fusion Sizzlit for tiny strawberries! 

Cut out a flower and score it between all the petals as shown in the picture below.

Do you see the hearts that the petals make?  The next step is to cut one of the hearts out like this...

After I did this, I ran the flower through my Big Shot again with the Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folder.  Then I glued it into a cone shape by overlapping two of the petals and punched holes in the top of each petal.

You can see that I also curled the tops of the petals a bit (with my finger).  To finish it off, I wove a piece of Garden Green Grosgrain ribbon through the holes and through a 5 Petal Flower that I punched from Garden Green cardstock to complete the berry.  Before closing it up, you could definitely put a little treat inside (like a Hershey Kiss or one of those strawberry hard candies).

Cute, eh?

Each of my club girls got to do 3 strawberries for their baskets.  Mine did have 3...but one got a dog...'nuff said!

Have an inspired day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Watercolor

Today's card uses one of the prettiest sets from the Summer Mini.  I just love the flowers in a jar's perfect for watercoloring!

Pretty, eh?  Here's a look at the rest of the card.

It was designed by my friend and downline Sunita for our Summer Mini swap a while back.  I love the color combination, the way the ribbon finishes off the card and of course the flower image!

Have an inspired day!

Designer Series Paper Anyone?

For the month of August, Stampin' Up! has a fantastic special on our beautiful Designer Series Papers.

Yep, that's right!  Buy 3 packs and get 1 FREE!!!!!  You can see the whole collection of DSP here.

The fine print:
-there's no limit to the number of free packs you can earn (buy 3 get 1, buy 6, get 2, buy 9 get 3, etc)
-speciality DSP and hostess DSP do not qualify for this promotion

Contact me today to book a DSP workshop to learn some fun tips and techniques using our gorgeous DSP. 

Orders can be placed directly through me or through my website.

So, what are you waiting for?  Contact me today to stock up on all your favorite DSP!

Have an inspired day!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Simple Leaf

Today for Simple Card Sunday I have a fantastically simple card for you.

A Crumb Cake card with a beautiful leaf stamped on it.  The leaf image is from a new set in the upcoming Holiday Mini Catalogue (and let me say, the Holiday Mini is 40 pages of fabulous!).  I added a little sentiment from the new Petite Pairs set.

I used a fun new product from the Holiday Mini.  Can you guess what it is?

Have an inspired day!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Little Recognition

Last week I had a BBQ with my downline.  Since the Stampin' Up! year just ended/started, it was a perfect time for a little recognition!

I recognized my downline for three in Sales (Tara), top in Recruiting (Lee) and highest growth as measured by sales (Sherri).  Congrats ladies!  Each of them got a Stampin' Up! travel mug.

Cute, eh?  That grow stamp is one we got at Convention and I just love the saying on it..."Don't go through life, grow through life".

Sadly, only one of the girls was able to attend the meeting, so I will have to get in touch with the other two to give them their special gifts.

We had a great pot luck BBQ meal and then Sherri did a fantastic demo.

And, Angela provided us with a fun make & take!

It was a fun evening!  If you would like to join my team and come to these fun group get togethers please contact me for more info!

Have an inspired day!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Christmas Cards Already????

Well, it's time for my Get Ahead for the Holidays classes to start!  I know, it seems too early to be thinking about Christmas doesn't it?!?!

I will run 5 of these classes from August to December.  Each class will feature 2 different card designs and you will make 5 of each of the cards for a total of 10!  Envelopes are included, but you must bring your own adhesive.

Here are the two cards for August!

If you're interested in coming to this class please contact me.  Cost for this class is $15.  This class will be on August 12 at 7:30pm at my house (there will be no kits for people unable to come this time).

Have an inspired day!