Gelli-madness

I GOT A GELLI PLATE!!!  I’ve been seeing blogger after blogger do amazing things with this thing they keep referring to as a “Gelli Plate” and have been dying to get my hands on one.  I went to Michaels (my go to place for all things crafty) and they looked at me like I had two heads (not their finest moment).  Then, a blogger wrote about an anniversary party for what sounds like an amazing, locally owned craft store in the UK, The Artistic Stamper, and I commented on how it was so great that places like that existed and we should do everything we could to keep them alive.  I discovered they had an on-line store and they were offering free shipping (even internationally) and they sold gelli plates.  So I got one (and a couple stamps, for good measure).  I went with the 6″x6″ one because my space is limited and I tend to do smaller things, anyway.  I hope you’ll check them out:  http://www.theartisticstamper.com/.  They have a huge selection of paper craft materials.

Of course, I went right to work with it.  I don’t have a brayer, so I brushed the acrylic craft paint on with a foam brush.  I tried a couple different ways to make designs in it- dragging the tip of the brush across in lines and waves and stamping with a cool eraser ring I picked up in the back-to-section at Staples (2 for $1).  Here are my first two pages, which I’m going to use for backgrounds in soon-to-be-completed art journal pages:

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As I was using the eraser to stamp on the gelli plate and then on the paper in the empty section, I started to think it kind of looked like the pattern on a turtle’s back.  I had just seen a card challenge with the theme of “Animal Antics” and my wife happens to love turtles and our anniversary is coming up this weekend… so I made her a(nother) card.  I made a stencil out of cardstock for the shell and then loaded up my gelli plate with green paint and stamped the eraser all over it.  I lined it up on the card, stamped, and voila!  It was perfect!!

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Of course, when I opened the card, I realized that the shell was upside-down so I rethought my original concept and stamped on the new phrase.  Sharpies helped make the face, legs, and belly (after Googling images of “turtle cartoons” as a little bit of inspiration).  I already showed it to her and she loved it (she would have seen it in my blog, anyway, and she’s an investigator so it’s impossible to keep anything secret from her).  But I’m not actually GIVING it to her until our anniversary.

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On a roll

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I made another card tonight.  I was so exhausted after the Block Party that all I could do was sit at my table and grab for supplies within reach.  The cool thing is that the event made the news and attracted a ton of people from the congregation and the neighborhood.  Here’s the link to the story:  http://www.wwlp.com/news/local/hampden/spfld-church-hosts-block-party

I made this card as a thank you for my boy’s principal, who helped him get cleaned up last week after a little “accident” at school (suffice it to say, he won’t be wearing a belt to school anymore).  This is another “clean and simple” one for CAS-ual Friday’s Challenge blog:  http://cas-ualfridays.blogspot.com/2013/09/cfc114.html.  The theme was “Back to School”.  I’m also entering Shopping our Stash’s School or Workplace/Office challenge: http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-117-school-or-officeworkplace.html.  My boy went back to school a couple weeks ago and I already posted the card I sent his teacher (here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/beginning-of-the-year-teacher-gift/).  Luckily, the boy’s little accident gave me another occasion for a school card.  (He’s going to kill me for writing about this if he ever decides to read my blog.)

I used black cardstock with a white Pitt Pen for the chalkboard effect.  I also made a little schoolhouse stamp (out of an eraser).  I sketched it on and then had to remember which line I actually wanted to cut around.  I threw the bell in the roof on as an afterthought.  I think I can use it for Christmas cards, as well, by just drawing some snow on the top of the roofs and finding a Santa with his sleigh stamp or sticker to put over a bunch of them.  I traced around them with colored pencil (and then cleaned up some of the lines on the stamp after using it on this card).

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I was inspired to make this stamp by these adorable house stamps made by another blogger but I can’t, for the life of me, find the post.  I hate it when that happens!  They were much more detailed than this one and she had a whole collection of different styles of houses that she put together, in one piece, in all different colors (if this blogger is you, please comment and let me know so I can add the link).

Anyway, I’m sending the loaner shorts back with a couple extra pairs for other kids who may be caught in a similar situation.  It’s my boy’s first year at this new school and so far we’re loving it.  I couldn’t believe it when he said it was the principal who cleaned him up (rather than the school nurse or an aide) but it’s great to see people all pitching in- above and beyond.

Card challenge

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I made another card for a couple challenges.  The themes for each of them, respectively, were “Music” and your “All-Star stamp”.  I’m making the card for a couple of my boy’s friends (siblings) who are performing in “The King and I” in a couple weeks.  He’s going to their dress rehearsal tomorrow, so I thought it would be nice for him to bring a little card for them.  It was also the perfect occasion to use my new film strip punch by “ek”.  I’ve never gotten one before because they’re so expensive, but I needed something to do with my last 40% off coupon at Michael’s (it would have been a crime to just waste it, right?)  I love it because it has a guide that you can line up the already punched portion to keep the pattern going in as long a line as you want.

Here are the challenges I’m entering:

http://addictedtocas.blogspot.com/2013/08/atcas-challenge-21.html – This one is one of my favorite new challenges.  I’ve struggled with the “Clean and Simple” style but it forces me to be really mindful.  I especially liked this week’s theme, “Music”, and it was perfect for the purpose of the card.  I used one of the Design Team’s ideas of putting sheet music behind a die cut shape.  I can’t find the link to her post about the inspiration card, but here’s her blog: http://florenceandfreddiepart2.wordpress.com/.  I really love her style.  My first iteration of this card included a couple stickers on the front with a movie theme.  I love the stickers, but the style didn’t really match and it took away from the CAS style (see, I’m learning).  Luckily, I was able to peel them off and put them on the inside, instead.  Without the stickers, I was left with a blank space next to the writing, so I cut out a little star out of a piece of the music and pasted it on.

http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-stamping-all-stars/ – Another favorite challenge, and their design team usually goes in the totally opposite direction from CAS.  But I love them!!  They’re all about the layers and the dimension and they’re not all cards.  One of the submissions is a bunch of multi-colored tea bags stapled to the back side of a wooden frame with chipping aged wood behind it.  On the side of the frame, she stamped one of my favorite quotes from Marianne Williamson “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.”  Here’s the link to her piece: http://snappingmonsters.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-other-creations-artsy-tea.html  I think it’s absolutely amazing.  It didn’t inspire this card, but it definitely inspired me (and I Pinned it for later.)

The theme for this challenge is “My Stamping All-Star”.  That would totally be my typewriter letter stamps from “Recollections”.  I use them all the time, and I’ve gotten better at them.  I’ve learned how to use a ruler to line them up if I want a straight line and I’ve learned that if I want the edges not to show I have to either wipe off the extra ink with a damp towel or stamp really carefully on a really hard surface.  I didn’t do either of those things this time, but I like the way it turned out.  I used a Craftsmart’s Brick Red ink pad for a little dash of color.

Here are the materials I used (my new paper punch and my “all-star” stamp (collection):

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And my boy’s sweet message on the inside:

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Super cool goings on

So, I don’t really have a project to share tonight (but I’ll try to find a cool photo for the end of the post).  But, I do have some super cool things to share.  First, “I made top 3” at the Shopping our Stash challenge.  I have to admit, the challenge was kind of made for me.  It was using “hardware” in a card- and I LOVE my hardware collection (they, I think, had slightly more refined crafting-specific hardware in mind but seemed to appreciate my literal interpretation).  Here’s the announcement post:  http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/08/saturday-shoutout_31.html.  I submitted an anniversary card I made for my wife.  (Maybe I don’t have to spend as much on a gift now that her card has won an AWARD!)  Now I just have to figure out how to put my prize badge on my sidebar (I seem to have to figure it out from scratch every time).  Isn’t it perty???

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The other super cool new news is that I was nominated for more blogger awards: The Versatile Blogger Award (which I’ve gotten before but one can never have too many nominations) and the WordPress Family Award (which is a new one for me).  Here’s her post (which puts me in some pretty awesome company, judging by her other nominees): http://shutupandcreatesomething.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/versatile-blogger-wordpress-family-awards/ The nominations came from a super cool blogger that I recently started following:  Krissy from “Shut Up and Create Something”.  She has some great art journal spreads, full of color and collage, and just a genuinely fun and unique aesthetic (case in point: http://shutupandcreatesomething.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/hamster-in-a-reptar-wagon/)  Plus, I think she has possibly the best name for a blog EVER!  So, here’s my newest badge (which I’ll also have to figure out how to put on my sidebar).

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So thanks, everyone!  What a great day!!

And here, to “borrow” a phrase from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, is “Your Moment of Zen”.

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Not my favorite card ever

ImageSo, I made a card for a couple of reasons other than having to make a card for someone.  First reason: I needed to try my sewing machine on a non-buttonhole stitch to see if it was still working because I couldn’t get it to work on the buttonhole.  Second reason:  I wanted to make a wedding card for the Stampotique challenge theme of Weddings.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc113-wedding.html  The problem is, I don’t know anyone getting married in the near future.  That’s why, I think, I really don’t love this card.  I wasn’t making it for the someone.  My heart wasn’t really in it.

I went through my scrapbook sticker box and found a pad of velum wedding note papers and a sheet of black and white wedding-looking stickers.  I like either of them individually, but they don’t work too well together (the two blacks and whites don’t match, if that makes any sense).  Anyway, I sewed the velum onto a card with a fun stitch (not the best stitch for paper, but that’s one part of the card I actually like).  (Oh, and the machine does work, I just forgot to bring down the button hole sizing guide.)

I thought it still needed something, so I grabbed some really old silver craft dusting powder.  It’s not really powdery anymore, so I scraped the top a little with the blunt end of my brush and then used the brush end to put some on the diagonal corners.

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I remembered my fun with stencils lately, so I cut a heart out of some heavy cardstock and put a couple hearts on the inside.  I really wasn’t happy with the dusting on the front (I thought it was too dark) so I put more in the inside but I did it through a piece of tulle.  Now that I finally liked.

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What do you do with cards that you don’t love?  Do you still give them away?  Do you keep working on them until you do like them?  Do you scrap them altogether?  I’m not sure what to do with this one.  Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

But here’s something you can win:  a new stamp set from Paper Smooches.  Check out their blog and comment for a chance to win.  http://papersmooches.blogspot.com/2013/08/august-dt-blog-hop.html  Then, join in their super fun blog hop.  So much inspiration, so little time!

Update:  After sleeping on it, I woke up in the morning thinking I should just try taking off the heart sticker.  That was the biggest thing that I didn’t like.  And (what do you know?) it peeled right off!

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A few cards for a couple challenges

ImageFirst off, more Christmas cards!!!  (Thanks, Spike, I’m still on a roll.)  I’ve gotten a little collection started and I’m having so much fun.  Addicted to CAS (i.e. clean and simple) is doing a Holiday challenge this week, so what better excuse to add to my collection?  http://addictedtocas.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/atcas-challenge-20.html

I made these out of the same handy-dandy tree template I used in this previous card creation: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/20/easy-peasy-christmas-cards-inspired-by-spike/ (Hence, the earlier credit given to Spike.)  I used our Bingo ink daubers (my wife is a REAL Bingo fan) to fill in the whole inside of the trees.  I like that it’s not a solid green with the little bit of variation in saturation that the dauber created.  Actually, I picked the colors (green, aqua, and orange) for a challenge that I missed by a couple hours, but I still think they look nice together.  The “Peace” is a stamp I did with orange marker and the aqua button is from the Paper Pumpkin kit I got recently (talked about in the above  post).  It’s hard to tell, but I secured it with glitter glue.

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I started off with the trees being just the green but thought they were missing something.  I wanted to keep it simple, so I grabbed a wire screw cap from my box of doo-dads and used it to stamp little circles on the trees for ornaments.  The first one I used an orange marker for ink but it was too light, I thought, so I used a dark green stamp pad for the second one.  And then I just left it alone (see, I’m getting better at this “clean and simple” thing).

And then there are these:

The Drunken Stampers challenge for the week is a Person: Party Planner (http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/person-party-planner-drunken-stampers-challenge-138/)  The challenge is to design cards for any kind of party.  On Friday, two of my favorite front office staff are leaving for school and part time positions.  We’re having a little “onward and upward” party for them- it’s not going away because they’ll still be with the agency but they won’t be with us as much (which is very sad- great staff are hard to come by).  So, I made these cards:Image

I actually cut apart the card my dad gave me for Valentine’s Day a couple years ago (yeah, I still have it) for the banner, arrows, and swirly punches.  The yellow striped banner is from the aforementioned Paper Pumpkin kit (I’m getting a lot of mileage out of this thing) and the stamps are from a bunch of random collections.  I made the little arrow and attached it with a brad as a little suggestion of the many possible directions life could take them.  On the inside, I used a couple more stamps and then made my own out of another eraser (the pseudo Chevron/Charlie Brown-reminiscent zig zag).  I was thinking of an abstract way to suggest upward movement (or maybe I just had Peanuts on my brain).  Image

I don’t think I’m ever going to stop loving carving these eraser stamps!

Beginning of the year teacher gift

A fun blogger turned me on to the idea of a beginning of the year gift for teachers.  http://brenbearcreations.com/2013/08/23/back-pack-to-school/  It’s such a great idea and my boy’s starting a new school this year so I thought it would be a great new tradition.  His teacher even sent us letters, one addressed to us and one addressed to him, to introduce herself and let us know about the supplies he would need.  She also included a “wish list” for her classroom, so we’re putting together a little care package for him to bring on the first day.  I’m starting it out with a little Thank You card I made.  I’m thanking her for the letter and for her service as a teacher, in general.

ImageI just picked up these cute letter stickers at Michaels.  (They were on sale because two of them were missing.)  They remind me of a circus, so I’m entering the card in the Simon Says Stamp Blog’s Carnival Challenge this week:  http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-carnival/

I’m also putting some of the supplies she requested into a little basket we’ve had kicking around for ages (from the raffle at our Jill and Jill, I think).  We totally scored with the post-its at RRIE yesterday (check-out my post about that awesome place here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/)  I hope she likes it (and I hope our boy likes her)!

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“Easy-Peasy” Christmas cards inspired by Spike

I’ve been telling myself for months that I’m going to take a page from the awesome “Blog that Spike Built” and start making Christmas cards early this year.  http://spikescreativeside.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/easy-peasy-christmas-cards-63-many-merry-christmas/.  She is totally cool and a major inspiration- from her Drunken Stampers stuff to her Art Journal pages to this here “Easy-Peasy Christmas Card Pinterest Board” http://pinterest.com/spikescreative/easy-peasy-christmas-cards/.

And I finally did!!!  Here are my first 2:

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And they were totally “Easy Peasy”.  I made a Christmas tree stencil with a piece of heavy paper and then used a stamp I made out of an eraser with 4 circles.  I stamped a bunch of circles in different colors to fill in the template.  For red and green one, I used a Season’s Greetings rub-in and for the multi-colored one I used a “Joy” stamp with Tim Holtz Distress Ink.  The colors for the “Joy” one are actually from the Stampotique Designers Challenge this month: purple, orange, and yellow.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc111-color-challenge.html  I love the color combo!

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My favorite part is the “star” at the top of the tree, which I did with my boy’s borrowed pinky finger.  I used a Sharpie to put a little starburst in it.

I felt like I’m on a roll, so I made a few more today.  I’m actually not really thrilled with the first 2, but the last one totally floats my boat:

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I got my first Paper Pumpkin Kit from Stamping the Moon yesterday and it was like opening a treasure chest!  http://stampingthemoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/paper-pumpkin-limited-time-offer/  It came with a little stamp pad, an acrylic block (which I’ve wanted for forever), a bunch of charcoal gray cards and yellow-polkadotted papers that fit, envelopes, a sheet of flag and accent stickers, and 2 stamps.  There were instructions on how to make a sample card, but I hate following instructions so I pretty much did my own thing.  For the top one, I used a Stampsmith “H” stamp (which I love) with the new acrylic block and then stamped the rest of the letters to spell “Happy Holidays”.  I kind of blew it with the snowflake stamp using a bingo dauber.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  The Christmas tree one is the innards of the stencil I used in the first batch of cards.  I used another Bingo dauber to stamp around it.  Then I used a couple gift stamps, which I colored with my handy dandy Sharpies, a star stamp (that I made with an eraser), and a “Happy Holidays” stamp that came with the above-mentioned snowflake.  Like I said, those aren’t my favorite.  This one, however, is:

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I don’t know why I like this one so much, but I do.  I made the Gingerbread Man stamp with one of my boy’s old erasers.  It had a Buzz Lightyear sticker on it, so it was kind of shaped like a man, and I just carved this little guy.  Here’s my first test page with him:

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Then, I stamped the circles with the circle eraser stamp that I had used previously to fill in the Christmas tree.  I traced the little guy and drew swirls in the circles and then, just because, I stamped a similar swirl in the corner.  I wrote the little phrase on the card and Voila!

I’m going to submit the second batch, that one in particular, to the this month’s Stampotique Designers Challenge: Polka Dots.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc112-polka-dots.html

I originally made the first one for their color challenge but you can only submit one and I really like that one best.  “Run, run, as fast as you can.  You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man.”  🙂  Christmas, here I come!

My first commission!

Well… in all honesty, I was talking with a friend at work whose employee’s last day was coming up.  She said that she was going to get a special card and gift for her (she’d been with us for 4 years, which is a long time for our program).  So I said “I know!  I’ll make you a card.”  She didn’t really protest so I assumed she was good with it.  And here it is:

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Our coworker’s favorite color is orange and I asked my friend what she wanted me to write on the card.  She suggested “Shining stars never fade” on the outside and “Twinkle on” on the inside.  I love that!

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I already had the wooden star and I made the stamp out of an eraser (my new favorite hobby).  I’m doing it very low tech, with just an X-acto knife which I use to cut around whatever I want the design to be (after drawing it on with a trusty Sharpie).  Then, I cut the rest of the background out, slicing horizontally through the eraser about 1/8 of an inch down.  I do a couple practice stamps to see if there’s anything I want to change on the image and if there’s any of the background that’s not deep enough, and I’m good to go.  I’ve made about 5 of them so far. I also put a button on the front because when our coworker was pregnant a couple of years ago she didn’t find out the gender of her baby so we all called it “Button”.  And, I have to admit, she really is as cute as a button.

I also found a challenge using die-cuts on the Simon Says Stamps Monday Challenge blog:  http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-make-the-cut/.  The Design Team’s samples are amazing- many of them are so intricate and the die-cuts really make them “pop” (literally).  I don’t actually have any die-cuts myself, but I made a banner for the text on the front of the card kind of looked like one.  One of the Design Team members for the challenge used cardboard in her die cutter and I loved the effect, so I tried to mimic it using my handy-dandy X-acto knife again and origami paper.  I also used a paper punch (which is the same principle as a die) to make the little swirls on the inside.

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I love the dimension from the button, star, and cardboard.  And gluing them on with silver glitter glue gave it a fun twinkle (which I kept going by using it as the tale of the shooting star, as well).  I used pastels in yellow and orange to color around the edge, having cut the orange background paper a little smaller than the card on purpose.  As a side note, the orange paper was a gift from another work friend.  She was cleaning out her childhood home and came across a whole box of this really beautiful, heavy, colored artists’ paper which she gave me.  I love it!

I used my Tim Holtz‘ Distress Ink pad for the text (with my stamp press) and stars but then had to go over the letters on front with a black Sharpie because they were a little too “distressed” to be able to read them clearly.  I have to get a plain black ink pad for things like this.  I sprayed the whole thing with  a high-gloss spray fixative to make it shiny and keep the pastels from smudging.  Also, the spray adhesive I used on the origami paper was still a little sticky around the edges so that helped cover the sticky up.

All in all, it was a lot of fun to make and my friend loved it.

Birthday Card Ministry

So… I’ve been loving making these cards.  I keep thinking I’m going to stockpile cards so I have a bunch to choose from whenever an occasion comes up, but as soon as I make one I want to give it to someone.  I just so happen to go to a church with a huge congregation and every month the “Carillon” (kind of like a newsletter) lists all the congregants’ birthdays for the month.  So I decided to start sending them to people in the church.  I can do them for other occasions, too, like weddings and funerals.  There will always be some occasion to make a card for.

Here are the ones I made today:

ImageI went with this theme specifically for the Drunken Stampers’ challenge this week: Beaches.  http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/place-beach-drunken-stampers-challenge-136/  This “term” their themes are People, Places, and Things, so there are tons of possibilities.  I had so much fun with the 3 cards I made for their movie-themed last term.  I love the way these ladies think.

Anyway, the “Life’s a beach” is kind of a play on “Life’s a (some other word that begins with ‘b’ and ends with ‘ch’)”.  Unintentionally, but perfectly enough, I stamped the “e” upside-down on my first one.

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I used a couple stamps from a cheap set that I just got at a local discount store for the “Have a Great Day” and palm tree (with this challenge in mind).  It didn’t stamp very well (I guess I know why it was at the discount store) so I went over it a bit with my trusty Sharpies and also added a couple coconuts while I was at it.  I used my awesome stamp-press to put down the letters for “Life’s a Beach”.  I used Distress Ink for the black, hence the “distressed” look, and combinations of stamp-pads, magic markers, and Bingo daubers for the tree and sun.  The sun is one I made recently and am still pretty proud of it.  (Here’s my post about that, if you’re interested: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/08/i-made-a-stamp/)

I’m also going to enter it into Our Creative Corner’s “Words, Words, Words” challenge: http://ourcreativecorner6.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/words-words-words.html.  This will be my second entry for that challenge (they allow a max of 3) and my first entry also had a little mistake in it.  I hope they don’t think I mess up everything but if they do, that’s okay, too.