A Sympathy Card

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One of my new supervisees’ grandfather is really ill and not expected to make it.  I made this card, thinking of her, but knowing that if he did make come-back I could keep it for another such occasion.  The theme at the Twist of Faith Cards challenge this month is “Harvest”, and that just seemed to fit really well sympathy card (http://twistoffaithcards.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/challenge-60-harvest.html).

I found the photo of cross-shaped grave markers in the tundra in an old National Geographic (my go-to magazine for beautiful images).  Even though the colors certainly don’t scream “harvest”, I was just really drawn to the picture.  I searched for “harvest” references in my Bible app, knowing that there would be one that was related to the end of life, and found the quote from Matthew 13:39 “The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.”  Even though the reference was to a much larger ending (a foreshadowing of Revelations, it seems), I think it works really well with the passing of an individual, especially one who has lived a long and rich life.

I wanted to get some color in the card, because my coworker’s grandfather has been ill for quite some time (both with dementia and with physical ailments), and in cases like this death can be somewhat of a blessing- both for the person who’s finally passing after years of suffering and her/his loved ones who have had to bare witness to that suffering.  Just like there is some beauty in autumn, with the colors of the leaves and the bounty of the harvest before the cold barrenness of the winter, there can be beauty in passing, surrounded by family and friends, after such suffering.

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Quick Tip Tuesday: Spice up your gift wrapping

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It is possible to be environmentally conscious and still present a well-wrapped gift that doesn’t get newsprint all over the fingers of the recipient (and the wrapper).  The best bet is to use upcycled paper bags or craft paper.  At the very least choose wrapping paper without the glossy coating so it can be recycled (as shown here).  Typical gift ribbons can also be replaced by real ribbon or, in this case, bias tape.  It gives the gift a much more polished look and can be reused by the recipient in a craft project or to wrap another gift (or stolen back by the giver to use again).

Also, you don’t have to wrap every part of the gift.  I made a nice little arrangement, with a couple wrapped gifts and the card, and some extra gifts (that would have been hard to wrap or taken a lot of extra paper.

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Of course, parents and grandparents always love things that are decorated or written on by their kids/grandkids.  For this one, I had our boy label the packages and then color on some warmed-up rocks with crayon (it makes a nice, melty effect).  The rocks served as the “bows”.

ImageAnd incorporating something unexpected in your wrapping, like the palm branch from a recent Palm Sunday, is really the icing on the cake.

My first postcard swap

I’m so excited!  I’m participating in Do What You Love’s Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap (http://dowhatyouloveforlife.com/blog/2013/09/the-great-big-stitched-postcard-swap-is-back-design-course-giveaway/).  It’s my first “swap” of any kind and it’s so much fun.  I’m swapping a postcard (as the title suggests, it has to have some kind of stitching on it) with someone in New Zealand.  This is especially fun because my parents have vacationed in Australia and New Zealand a few times and I’ve heard so many stories/seen pictures that they brought back.  This makes it feel even more “close to home”.

So, here’s my card:

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I used a few pieces of scrapbook card stock paper as a stiffish background (knowing that it would be going a LONG way).  I cut the butterflies out of another piece of paper and glued them on then sewed over the top in a kind of a flight pattern.  I used butterflies because of the airmail connection (you know, because butterflies fly).  I can’t find the normal foot for my machine so I used the “N” foot and a stitch that’s made for elastic.  I actually kind of like the way it came out.  I used a metallic thread on top and a dark green in the bobbin- which made for a neat contrast.  The theme for this swap was “Celebrate!”, so I stamped on that word with the subtitle of “Fly Free” (to go with the butterflies).  I’m celebrating my first swap!

I taped a piece of white cardstock on the back to cover up the stitching and write my message and used washi tape around the edges to firm it up (and as a bit of a border).

I can’t wait to get MY card, and I’ll be sure to share it when I do.

Oh, and just for the heck of it, I’m entering my card into a few challenges:

Created With Love Challenges’ “Sewing- Real or Faux” challenge (http://createdwithlovechallenges.blogspot.com/2013/10/cwlc-62-sewing-real-or-faux.html).  I absolutely love sewing on paper and there are some great entries in this challenge.

Twist of Faith Cards’ “Things with Wings” challenge.  The butterfly is such a powerful symbol of inspiration (rebirth and resurrection) that I think this is perfect for their challenge.  (http://twistoffaithcards.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/challenge-59-things-with-wings.html)

Ooh-la-la Creations Challenges’ “Things with Wings” challenge (http://ooh-la-la-creationschallenges.blogspot.com/2013/10/things-with-wings-at-ooh-la-la.html)  I love all the birds and butterflies in this challenge, but my favorite is a winner from the last challenge, Marina, with a little girl with wings.  Her card is stunning.

It’s been a while… and a few cards

As promised, my new job has been somewhat overwhelming.  But the launch of our department is tomorrow, so hopefully all the hard work will pay off (or it will be a complete disaster, I’ll get fired, and I’ll have all the time in the world to craft and blog).  Today was a holiday for us, Columbus Day.  It’s actually one of my least favorite holidays, because of the tragedy of his story that we end up glorifying and celebrating, but who can knock a day off?  I ended up working about 3/4 of the day to get ready for tomorrow, but I spent the rest of my time off making some cards.  I needed that.

Here’s what I came up with, and the challenges that inspired them:

ImageI made this for Sketch N Scrap’s  http://sketchnscrap.blogspot.com/2013/10/card-sketch-11-special-prize-alert.html.  This has been one of my favorites, as having the sketch gives me a nice backbone to work off of.  I made it for my new church birthday card ministry.  I’ve sent cards out to about 4-5 people each month for the past couple months and it’s been really fun.  Now I have to go to my list and find some October birthdays that haven’t already passed.

The colors in this card came from The Paper Players’ color challenge this week (http://thepaperplayers.blogspot.com/2013/10/pp167-jaydees-color-challenge.html).  Jaydee chose Midnight Muse, Pool Party, and Whisper White.  I found perfect great paper for the background in a huge book of origami paper my wonderful wife bought me last weekend in NYC (I go to NY and one of the only things I got was actually from the Barnes & Noble that we hung out in to kill some time before our dinner reservation).  It had that perfect Pool Party color, so I popped it on the background (also, the sketch had a really neat polka-dotted background, so I thought this worked well).  I used a midnight blue stamp pad for the small letters on the stamps, the Sharpie-drawn partial frame, and the ribbon.  Funny thing about the frame is that was actually the side of my sewing tin that I traced.  It was the perfect shape for the sketch:

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The Whisper White is in the background of the background paper and the white Pitt Pen I used for the first letters of “Happy Birth Day”.  I love those little tags but they’re ordinarily so expensive that I’d never spring for them.  They were one of my finds at Resources for Rhode Island Educators (https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/).

I’m also entering this card in the Simon Says Stamp Blog Wednesday Challenge  (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/wednesdaychallenge/).  The challenge was to use Rubber or Clear Stamps.  I used my favorite set of clear cling stamps from Hero Arts for the small letters.

The second card I made this afternoon was inspired by the Paper Craft Star photo challenge  (http://papercraftstar.blogspot.ca/2013/10/challenge-165.html).  They post a photo to use a photo for inspiration, and the photos are always really neat.  I’ve checked out their challenges before, but never been able to think of anything that seemed to work.  This week’s photo was a great autumn massage storefront scene, complete with pumpkins and foliage.  People seem to be making a lot of Halloween cards, but, to tell you the truth, I’ve never really given a Halloween card.  I didn’t think of it as a “card” holiday.  So, instead, I made a birthday card using the colors.

ImageThe background was a page out of the aforementioned origami paper book.  The paper’s all square (for obvious reasons), so I used the piece I cut off to add a little accent (folding it to give it some dimension before taping it on and then adding some ribbon on top of that).  The folded paper is one of my favorite ways to add the ribbon look for gift wrapping (and might just be my Quick Tip Tuesday tip for tomorrow, if I can get around to posting about it.)  I used some awesome Tim Holtz cardboard letters I’ve had tucked away for just such a look and glued them on.  I really love this color scheme, and the challenge was the perfect way to show it off.  I’m also entering it in Tammy Scrapin’ Corner’s Fall Colors themed challenge:  http://www.tammyscrapincorner.com/2013/10/challenge-84-at-tammy-scrappin-corner.html and House of Gilli’s Anything Goes/Fall theme challenge:  http://houseofgilli.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-54-anything-goesfall.html.

Finally, I made a nautical themed card for the Simon Says Stamp Blog’s MONDAY CHALLENGE (I love that they have 2 challenges a week on two different blogs named for the days they’re posted- it’s always easy to know when they next one will be up).  (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-nautical/)

ImageThis was my least favorite card of the bunch, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.  The theme was “Nautical”, and it’s not something I’ve done much with.  But, I happened to have this ship stamp and the “Bon Voyage” in my collection, so I figured “What the heck?”.  I used a 3rd piece of origami paper (trust me, there were over 800 pages, so I have plenty left to actually use for origami).  I used my midnight blue stamp pad to color the edges a little and then stamped it up.  I finished it off with a square knot at the top.  I didn’t really make this for anyone in particular, but it can go in my card box for the next time I need a going away card in a rush.

Baby Cakes (and a bouquet)

My much bragged about diaper cake is done!  My lovely wife got some baby goodies to decorate it so I was able to finish it off.  But first I’ll start at the beginning.  I found this excellent tutorial already written on this “Crafty Chic’s” blog (http://craftychicsblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/diaper-cake-getting-started.html) (and in much better, more precise detail than I’d every use) so I’ll just run through the highlights of mine (and alterations):Image

I started off by flattening the box the diapers came in as the platform and I used some awesome paper I got at Resources for Rhode Island Educators to cover the top (see my post on this amazing place here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/).

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I rolled about 60 diapers and tied them with embroidery floss.  Keeping them rolled while I tied was not as easy as I was hoping, so I grabbed a pipe cleaner to temporarily hold them closed while I tied (the instructions suggested rubber bands, but I didn’t have any and I had this vision of a rubber band snapping and whacking my friend’s baby in the head at 3am).  I used a really plain ribbon to hold each layer together but then decorated them with a fancier ribbon.

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The top layer is just one diaper in the center with about 6 others around it.  For the middle layer, I made a top layer again and then put a row of diapers around the outside.  For the bottom layer, I made the middle layer and then put another row of diapers around that (Crafty Chic really broke this part down to a science).

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Then, I piled them all up and put a skewer down the center to make sure they didn’t all topple over in the car or something.  Like I said, I tied much prettier ribbons with nice bows around each layer (I really tried to make the bows as fancy as I could, but they’re definitely a skill I need more work on).  And I added all kinds of fun baby stuff as decoration: baby spoons; wash cloths; a little set of keys; travel-sized lotion, shampoo, baby wipes, butt cream, and baby powder (I actually pulled out the middle diaper from the top layer and stuck the powder in there).

Voila!

 

I also promised the bouquet I made for our other friend who’s having a baby:

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I took a few left over diapers from the box and rolled them a little more loosely, tying them with just one string.  I stuck them on skewers that I had tied and glued pieces of ribbon to as “leaves” (really, just to hold the diapers up).  I stuck spoons in some of them (just because they were one of the goodies my wife brought me to add), put some washcloths around the outside as “greens”, and filled the vase up with some more travel size baby stuff.  Another little bow finished it off (I did better with this one).

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I’m actually entering the cake in a Craft-Dee BowZ September challenge, because there’s a bow-making kit up for grabs: http://craft-deebowz.blogspot.com/2013/09/september-challenge.html.  I could certainly use it!

Oh Baby, part II

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Here’s my second baby card.  For this one, I used title of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books:  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go“.  (My absolute favorite is “The Lorax“.)  People give the book for graduation presents all the time, but it’s a perfect theme for a new baby, too (I think).  The other bonus- Dr. Seuss shares a birthday with my lovely wife AND is from my very city.  Yes, I’ve been on THE Mulberry Street (it’s no where near as exciting as he portrays it to be, unfortunately).

I used a map I picked up from a brochure stand on our recent weekend in Vermont for the “O” and Sharpie for the rest of the letters and the road and water.  I cut the pictures out of an old Highlights magazine (I’ll be so sad when my boy is no longer young enough for me to justify a subscription).  The “grass” around the bike is non other than my famous glitter spray.  Oh, and the background is my homemade spray ink (see here for details: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch).  On the inside I just wrote “Welcome to the world.”  My diaper cake is almost done and I’ve gotten started on the diaper bouquet for the parents of today’s kiddo’s card.  Stay tuned!!

I’m entering this card into a few challenges:  http://chocolatecoffeecards.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-48-anything-goes.html – How could you not love this blog?  Coffee, chocolate, and cards (3 of my favorite things)!

http://bunnyzoescrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/september-challenge-something-blue.html – A “something blue” challenge, this month (good thing the baby’s a boy).

http://cutiepiechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/challenge-53-cute-one-for-boys_22.html – The Cutie Pie Challenge is not something that a lot of my cards would necessarily work for, but I definitely think this one is “cute”- and it’s for a boy.

http://cardmakinmamas.blogspot.com/2013/09/cmm74-for-kids-sponsored-by-bugaboo.html – The Card Makin’ Mamas “For the Kids” challenge is another fun one.  I’m loving all these kid cards at the “back to school” time of year.

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http://cisforchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-6.html– The theme is “make is sparkle”.  I’m hoping my glitter glue will count for that.  The prize is 6 meters of white lace.  (I’m not quite sure how long a meter is, but I really like lace!)

And, just for fun, here’s a photo from the Dr. Seuss Memorial sculpture garden near our house.  (Yes, that would be Horton.)

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UPDATE:  Shoot!  I just realized that the car’s on the wrong side of the road.  Maybe we should move to England before the baby’s born.

Oh Baby!

My wife’s work spouse’s spouse had a baby last weekend.  Baby Isaias was born pretty prematurely and is in the NICU, but he’s a trooper and is getting better by the day.  We’re all praying for him.  Of course, they haven’t wanted to have the baby shower until he was doing better, but I can’t wait to give them this card I made and the diaper cake that I’m almost done with.

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I used a page from this great old middle school music primer I got at a tag sale at the beginning of the summer and, since it was for a baby, crayons to add some color.  I don’t know why it’s so fun to use crayons- I guess it brings out the kid in people.  I stuck on a few lines from the song “Beside Thy Cradle Here I Stand” (having no idea how perfect it would end up being for his first week).  Then, I glued on scraps of the embroidery floss I used to tie the diapers for the diaper cake (which, when finished, will have its whole own post).  (I know that disposable diapers are pretty controversial in some circles, but even if they end up going with cloth it’s always handy to have some as backups.)

I’m entering it into the Totally Papercrafts challenge: Happy Birthday Baby! (http://totallypapercrafts.blogspot.com/2013/09/ch185-200913-lisa-happy-birthday-baby.html)  The Design Team’s samples in this challenge are so cute and creative, but, then, there’s something about baby cards that are just automatically adorable.

I’m also entering Card Making Mamas (cause that’s kind of what I am, too!) (http://cardmakinmamas.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/cmm74-for-kids-sponsored-by-bugaboo.html)  Their theme is “For the Kids”, so I guess a baby card counts.

Finally, just for the heck of it, I’m linking to the “Anything Goes” challenge on Jo’s Scrapshack.  (http://www.jwscrapshack.blogspot.com/2013/09/ffc-18-anything-goes.html)  There are a couple cute Halloween cards from the Design Team and the host that I really like.  I’ve never made/given a Halloween card, but it such a fun idea.

Another of my wife’s work friends is having a baby soon, too.  I’m making a diaper bouquet (and a card).  I better get cracking on those.  (Stay tuned!)

Many Thanks

I received a new Paper Pumpkin kit and immediately got to work (https://mypaperpumpkin.com/en).  The base cards were kraft paper brown with a neat bullseye kind of pattern on the front.  There was some white baker’s twine (I’ve been wanting to play with that stuff), some little index card-shaped die cuts and some V-shaped die cuts, some wooden-colored buttons, and a couple celebratory stamps.  The ink pad was midnight blue, a color I’ve really wanted.  There were also some little foam double-sided adhesives to give cards some dimension, something I’ve really felt I needed to do more of lately.

Of course, I didn’t follow the directions for the suggested sample card (I’m not so good at following directions), but here’s what I did make.  The theme for all of them was “Thank you”, as I needed to make a thank you card for my parents and wanted to make a few so I could choose the best for them.  They watched our dog while were out of town celebrating our anniversary (which was an absolutely amazing weekend).  Plus, you can never have too many thank you cards.  Here’s what I came up with, along with some challenges I’m entering them into:

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This one is for the Make My Monday challenge:  Swirls and Pearls (http://mimchallegeblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/swirls-and-pearls.html).  It’s pretty clean and simple, a design I’m really starting to like.  I used scrapbook paper for the background on a plain off-white card (for the “swirls).  Then, I stamped the “thanks” on the mini-index card with the navy ink, added the baker’s twine (another little swirl), and embellished it just a bit with some scrapbooking pearls.

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This one was was for Shopping Our Stash’s “Oldest Flower” challenge: http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-119-oldest-flower.html.  The background was the card from the Paper Pumpkin kit.  I added the stamped index card and then pulled these flowers out of a drawer.  I actually got them right after we got engaged (so they’re almost 2 years old, now) and had planned to use them for something at the wedding.  I didn’t have a specific idea for them, but I knew purple was going to be one of the wedding colors and I was excited to start shopping.  Of course, we ended up not using them (I think I actually put them away somewhere and forgot all about them).  I glued them down just in the centers, so they still have some dimension, and used the adhesives on the card.  They have just a touch of glitter, which is hard to see in the photo.

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This one was made for Creative Corner Challenge’s “The Leaves are Falling” theme:  http://creativecornerchallenges.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-leaves-are-falling.html.  I actually tried a new technique on this one, based on one of the Artists in Blogland Design Team’s ideas:  http://artistsinblogland.blogspot.com/2013/09/techniques-on-tuesday-with-jessica-sporn.html  She used actual leaves as stamps, which I loved (see, especially, the woman she did with colorful leaf stamps as hair).  She used watercolors for a much more soft, pretty look and I used stamp pads (I like hers a lot better, so I’m going to definitely try that sometime soon).  I’m also linking up to their Show and Tell with my take on their technique (http://artistsinblogland.blogspot.com/search/label/show%20and%20tell%20saturday)  The button is from Paper Pumpkin.  I’m saving the other 4 for something special (I really like the wood-look).

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And this is the one I decided to give to my parents!  I like how clean and simple it is and I really like the geometry from the Paper Pumpkin elements (actually, everything except the actual letter stamps are from the Paper Pumpkin kit).  My dad’s an architect, so I think he’ll like it.  I actually didn’t have a challenge in mind when I made this one (maybe that’s why I like it the best- it’s all me).

I’m also entering the Hero Arts “Game, Set, Match” challenge (http://ablognamedhero.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-32-game-set-match.html).  They suggested making 3 (or more) identical, or really similar, cards at once (which I do all the time, especially when making holiday cards).  I didn’t use any Hero Arts stamps in these, but in going through my collection afterwards, I realized that I do have quite a few.  I’ll definitely use one for their next month’s challenge!

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So, now I have a few thank you cards for next time I need one.  Which one is your favorite?

(p.s. While our dog was staying with my parents, my brother took some amazing pictures of him.  Here they are on his blog:  http://lorrinbaker.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/bear/.  Thanks, Lorrin!)

Last 2 anniversary cards (I think)

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This one was made for another couple challenges.  The first one is Shopping our Stash’s “Favorite Stampy Technique”.  (http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-118-favorite-stampy-technique.html).  I used a fun Hero stamp I got from one of my favorite bloggers on the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge design team, who was thinning her stash and selling some of her old stamps for about 1/2 price.  (http://cheironbrandon.typepad.com/my_weblog/stamps-stuff-for-sale.html).  My “Favorite Stampy Technique” is using Bingo ink daubers to ink the stamps.  I tried it when I first started experimenting with stamping because I only had a couple ink pads.  My wife has a ton of Bingo daubers and she actually introduced me to Bingo (which I have to admit I rather like).  I just randomly inked different sections of the stamp with different colors and plopped the card on top.  (I stamp “upside down” when using these, because they tend to be a little drippy.  I’ve found that when you stamp down on the card some of the ink that drips into the crevices drips down onto the paper.  If you stamp “up” by putting the paper on the stamp, this can be avoided.)  I love how bright the colors are!

The second challenge comes in with the quote stamp.  It’s from Stampsmith (some of my favorite stamps are from them).  Their challenge is to create something that’s “Inspired by a Song” (http://thestampsmithchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/tsc46inspired-by-song-using-at-least.html).  This was a perfect theme to make a card for my wife for, who’s laying next to me singing as I type.  This quote made me think of the song of “What A Wonderful World”, which I wrote on the inside of the card and which we played at our wedding (the “Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” mash up by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_DKWlrA24k).  It’s one of my favorite songs.)  The flowers seem to have a kind of Hawaiian theme.

This card is perfect for our anniversary because I really did marry my best friend.

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And this is the last card I’m making (I think).  I used another Stampsmith stamp (aren’t they great?  So detailed!) which I colored with colored pencils.  I used my hand-made zig zag stamp on the sides and a cute phrase on the bottom with Sharpie.

And another…

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I made this card to remember our Jill and Jill.  In case you haven’t been following along, I’m making a bunch of cards for our first wedding anniversary, coming up this weekend, because it’s the “paper” anniversary (and because I couldn’t think of anything else to get).

We had a beach themed party (NOT to be confused with a Hawaiian theme, which my wife was dead set against.  Ironically, when I went to get the postage for our “Save the Date”, the only ones they had were “Aloha” stamps.  She thought I was conspiring against her.)  We made a cornhole with bare feet on it (posted about here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/09/08/have-cornhole-will-travel/) and strung flip-flop lights from the bar with little beach glass/twine/seashell candle holders from Christmas Tree Shops on the tables.  (Oh, by the way, I found out from someone that a “cornhole” is called that because they DID used to throw bags of corn in the hole, but then the corn got mushy or eaten by critters or something so they switched to synthetic pellets).

I made this card to enter into this week’s Drunken Stampers challenge “button” theme: http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/thing-buttons-drunken-stampers-challenge-140/.  I grabbed a metal button from my stash and used some of my fabulous glitter glue to make it into a disco ball.  Here it is halfway covered:

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I used black cardstock for the background (pasted onto the white card), a piece of shiny silver wired ribbon with stars, and some 3D  stickers.  I used more glitter glue to put beams of glory shooting out from the disco ball and dots all over (I even put dots on the back of the card in order to wipe off my fingers and the glue tip).

I love the dimension in this card and it’s almost as fun as the party was.  We had an awesome DJ, Lori B from Martini Productions (http://martiniproductions.wordpress.com/), and I totally just found out that she has a blog as I was looking up a link to post for her!  So many of our friends made raffle baskets and I made a couple crafts to raffle, as well.

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I hope the card brings back as many great memories for my wife as it’s brought back for me making it and writing about it.