Friday, September 28, 2012

Fabulous Fall Card - Freshly Made Sketches Challenge

Today's card is made for the challenge at Freshly Made Sketches. Rather than using a flower, I decided to cut a doily using the Cricut Artiste (I LOVE that cartridge) and then stamp a maple leaf from the Fall Harvest Stamp Set. At this time of the year in our area, the leaves are changing colour very quickly. On my chilly morning walks, I can see a difference each day as I often walk through the woods. And, of course, the maple leaf is so significant to Canada, so I had to choose that one! I haven't hand cut a shape for a long time - that is almost a foreign concept now that we have these two awesome Cricut cartridges! 
The sketch is shown below the card. 
Enjoy, 
Alyson

Products used are all Close To My Heart

Paper: Flirty Paper Pack, Colonial White Cardstock, New England Ivy Cardstock, Bamboo Cardstock
Stamp Set: Fall Harvest
Inks: New England Ivy, Goldrush, Autumn Terracotta, Olive
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Foam Tape, Autumn Lane Assortment

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Base and Shade Stamping Video

Kristine and Monica from Close To My Heart are here again, this time to teach you how to use the Base and Shade Technique in your stamping. It is such a versatile technique and can be used in many different ways! 

Enjoy, 
Alyson

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Easel Christmas Card

I'm back! I decided to try something new today - an easel card! I have never made one of these before but I see them all over Pinterest and I really wanted to try one. It wasn't difficult, but more time consuming than anything else as I was learning as I was making it. 
The Heart 2 Heart Challenge this week was to make something for Christmas so this is a Christmas card, plus it uses the sketch from the Mojo Monday Challenge, so it meets two challenges. One thing about doing a scalloped easel card is that it is difficult to get it to line up properly as the scallops have to line up so you are limited with how the card has to fit on the background. Knowing that for next time, I would check the alignment before I began working on the card! 
The Mojo Monday Sketch is below the card.  


Enjoy, 
Alyson

Supplies are Close To My Heart unless otherwise noted: 

Paper: Avonlea Paper Pack (include cardstock available only with that paper pack), Slate Cardstock
Stamps: Perfect Fit - Holidays, Blessings of Peace
Inks: Slate, Twilight Pigment Ink
Accessories: Art Philosophy Cartridge, Cuttlebug Embossing Folder (not CTMH), Baker's Twine - Neutral Assortment, Clear Sparkles, 1 1/4 Inch Punch, Green Ribbon (not CTMH), Copic Markers (not CTMH), Foam Tape, Prisma Glitter, Clear Detail Embossing Powder, Heat Tool, Foam Tape

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

At the Zoo - Studio J

Dave and I spent some time in Florida last spring and he made me go to Gatorland. The last time I was there was when I was 11 years old with my family. I am terrified of snakes but am ok with gators and crocodiles so as long as we stayed away from the snake displays, I knew I would be alright. He had been there as a young boy but between the two of us, neither had any real memories of our previous visits plus several things had changed in the many years since we had last been there. 

As expected, there were alligators everywhere you looked! Dave had to hold one, which is the main photo on the left page. It was actually a pretty interesting place to visit and both of us learned a lot about reptiles in general. 


Enjoy, 
Alyson

Monday, September 24, 2012

Video - Bend It, Curve It, Stamp It!

This is the most amazing video! Kristine and Monica from Corporate will show you how to take a stamp that is very "normal" and totally think outside the box! I never would have thought to do what they are going to show you how to do! Talk about great minds! But then again, this is Close To My Heart - great minds abound! 


Enjoy, 
Alyson

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kelsie as a Puppy - Studio J

I am away for a few days, visiting family but I wanted to leave some posts for my faithful followers. 
This layout is of my little dog, Kelsie, who we just recently lost. These were taken when we were picking him out from the litter. He was just three weeks old at the time. I thought he was the most beautiful puppy I had ever laid eyes on and I could not wait to bring him home! 

Enjoy, 
Alyson

Friday, September 21, 2012

Studio J - Love Story

I don't use Studio J very often but this is one of the layouts that I prepared for the Convention package that we were provided. I really like the way it turned out. Surprisingly, the papers are actually patterns from the Mischief Paper Pack (last year's Halloween papers which I didn't even purchase...) It really is amazing what you can do in Studio J when it comes to changing colours to suit your needs! I used a lot of the stitching options on this layout as well - am really loving that option!

Enjoy, 
Alyson

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Video - Stamping Across Multiple Surfaces

Kristine and Monica from Close To My Heart's Corporate Office have another video - this time about how to stamp across multiple surfaces. It is awesome - just take a look! 

Enjoy, 
Alyson


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Peace and Joy Card - Merry Monday Challenge

The Merry Monday Challenge is a new one for me but it is designed to help you get ahead on your Christmas cards, so that's always a good thing. I never have enough Christmas cards and always end up rushing to make more at the last minute every year!

This is my first real attempt at colouring with alcohol markers so please be patient with my efforts.. I know the final look is not the greatest but I am learning. I had to resort to some of my Copic markers to do the hair since we still don't have the neutrals from CTMH in our hands yet. 
The sketch is shown below the card. 


Enjoy,
Alyson

Products are Close To My Heart unless otherwise noted:

Papers: Avonlea Paper Pack, White Daisy Cardstock, Saddle Cardstock
Stamps: Angelica Blessings, Snow Flurries (ret.)
Inks: Saddle, Saddle Pigment Ink
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Clear Sparkles, Ribbon (not CTMH), Cuttlebug Snowflake Embossing Folder (not CTMH), Markers - Honey, Cotton Candy, Twilight, Sky, Copic Markers - E27, E97 (not CTMH)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

La Belle Vie Star

I have had this star since I returned from Convention but just haven't had time to do anything with it and I really wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with it, either. Finally, after seeing a few finished ones, and having a template to work with, I finished mine. The tulle in the center took me three tries to get it right... the basting stitch came out the first two tries (the first time, I pulled the floss too tightly and broke it and the second time, I didn't stitch far enough but didn't realize that until after I had cut the floss... very frustrating, especially since I was stitching by hand). 

I love the intensity in colour of the La Belle Vie paper colours which is why I chose the pink and the black patterns. To cover the little imperfections where the papers meet, a piece of Baker's Twine was placed at each "intersection" and I think that adds a nice finishing touch. 
Enjoy, 
Alyson

Products used are all Close To My Heart

Paper: La Belle Vie Paper Pack
Stamps: None
Inks: Black Distressing Ink
Accessories: My Creations Star, Black Tulle Ribbon, Baker's Twine - Neutral Assortment, Embroidery Floss - Neutral Assortment, Rhinestone Designer Brads

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dakota Christmas Card - H2H Challenge

FINALLY, I have a working blog once again! I had to consult a specialist to get it repaired and he ended going through lines and lines of code, but the problem is now repaired. It came down to a "free" background that I had downloaded a few months ago that mysteriously disappeared from my blog about a month ago. All I can say is don't visit Hot Bliggity Blogs for your background - it will screw up your blog like it did to mine and it's not worth the hassle! I am just so thankful that mine could be repaired and I have all my functions back once again :)

The Heart 2 Heart Challenge this week is a sketch and I love sketches! And who would have thought that Dakota papers could be used for Christmas cards? I am loving these papers more and more (and quickly running out of them) and this Flakey Friends stamp set is becoming a favourite of mine. 
The sketch is below the card.


Enjoy, 
Alyson

Products used are Close To My Heart unless otherwise indicated: 

Paper: Dakota Paper Pack, White Daisy Cardstock, Pacifica Cardstock, Crystal Blue Cardstock
Stamps: Flakey Friends
Inks: Pacifica, Black Pigment Ink, White Daisy, Versamark
Accessories: Art Philosophy Cartridge, Clear Sparkles, Markers: Sky, Crystal Blue, Pacifica, Orange Sharpie (not CTMH), Brown Sharpie (not CTMH), Clear Detail Embossing Powder, Prisma Glitter, Corner Rounder, Foam Tape





Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wishing You Blessings - Freshly Made Sketch Challenge

This week at Freshly Made Sketches, they are celebrating a year of sketches and you can choose any sketch from the past year to use. I love the one that I selected! It is shown below the card and it worked perfectly with the "Blessings of Peace" Stamp Set that I have been dying to use!
I tried a number of techniques with this card before I finally settled on using the Glitz Glitter Gels. I tried stamping the dove in Cashmere Pigment ink but it was way too light. I then tried embossing it with Clear Embossing Powder but it just turned it into a sheer image and you couldn't see it at all unless it was turned into the light. I also tried using Smoothie Pigment ink but that wasn't dark enough either, surprisingly. I finally settled on Colonial White ink and then went over it with the Glitz Glitter Gels. I guess you never know what works until you try...

Enjoy,
Alyson

Products are all Close To My Heart

Paper: Pear and Partridge Paper Pack, New England Ivy Cardstock, Smoothie Cardstock
Stamps: Blessings of Peace
Inks: Colonial White Dye Ink
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge,Olive Ribbon (ret.), Buttons - Pink Assortment, Baker's Twine - Paradise Assortment and Harvest Assortment, Glitz Glitter Gels - Red, Green, Stardust and Almond, Sparkles from Avonlea Card WOTG Kit, Foam Tape

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Message for my Followers...

I have been experiencing a lot of problems with my blog lately... particularly issues related to colour, backgrounds, links and disappearing posts. I cannot get any assistance from Blogger help forums or from media boards as no-one else seems to be dealing with this except me. 

I am in the process of trying out another blog with Blogger to see if it is just this blog or my entire account that has been affected. I will also try out Wordpress but would prefer to stay with Blogger as I am familiar with it. Consequently, I likely will not be posting for a few days until I can get this issue resolved. 

If I end up changing blogs, I will post something here to indicate that and I ask for your support in following me to my new blog address. If things remain the same and I stay here, even better.

Thank you for your support! 

Alyson

Mojo Monday - Yet Another B-Day Card

I promise this is my last birthday card for a while. 
This card is created using the Dakota papers. I love the thick ribbon through the ribbon slide. Sometimes I can find it very difficult to create masculine cards but this one came together quite quickly.
The sketch is shown below the card.  
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4YXYqYfRn5E/UEz7PBYfB4I/AAAAAAAAJcA/D4U9n0nz_pA/s1600/Mojo258Sketch.gif  
Enjoy, 
Alyson

Supplies used are all Close To My Heart

Paper: Dakota Paper Pack, Whisper Cardstock, Slate Cardstock, Black Cardstock
Stamps: Just a Number
Inks: Pacifica
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Slate Satin Polka-Dot Ribbon, Ribbon Slides

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Precious Kelsie...

The past two days have been among the most difficult I have ever experienced. Our beautiful teacup Yorkie, Kelsie, had to be put down this afternoon after a very short illness that came on very suddenly just two days ago. He was fine until Monday at noon and then began acting out of character for him - very cuddly and needy. I took him to an all-night vet at 4am early Tuesday morning and was told to get him to a dog neurologist ASAP as he was walking very unsteadily. His condition worsened significantly in the following four hours, to the point where he was unable to stand at all. His back legs were extended beyond his front legs. 

I was able to get an emergency appointment in Toronto and was told that Kelsie had likely dealt with one of two things - either a cervical spine issue (but there should have been previous symptoms with that) or he had suffered a stroke. Either way, if things were to improve, he required surgery to happen ASAP. However, the prognosis from surgery was not good - a 10-15% chance that he would regain feeling in his feet and a less than 10% chance that he would walk again and it would likely be unsteady at best. He would also likely not gain control over his urinary or bowel system either. 

We are talking about a dog who loves to run and play. He went on my morning power walks with me. He would not be content to be a lap dog. Neither Dave nor I could see this being a realistic possibility. So, with extremely heavy hearts, we decided to forgo the surgery option and bring Kelsie home. We chose to put him out of his misery and send him to doggie heaven instead. For people who do not own pets or people like us who do not have children and our pets are our children, this is the most heart-wrenching decision you can possibly imagine. We went together to our own vet and had him put to sleep. I know that he is in a better place, running around, chasing birds and balls like he loved to do and that helps me to cope a little better with the pain of losing him, especially at such a young age as he was only 2 and a half years old - barely past the puppy stage of life. 

"I love you, Kelsie. You were my precious little puppy and you always will be. I loved your kisses, your excitement when I walked through the door and your intense love for your goose, your most favourite toy. Know that you will be missed by both Daddy and me and we will be thinking about you always in your new home where you are running free, without pain or discomfort. And I will be there in due time to gather you in my arms in a big hug and receive your kisses on my nose once again.
                                                                                                            Love, Mommy"
  

Sweet Stop Challenge - Avonlea B-Day Card

I have a ton of birthdays in the month of October - and then a pile of time passes before I see another one on my calendar. Funny how that is sometimes... 
Today's card is for the Sweet Stop Challenge this week. I love their sketches. And the recipient of this card happens to be getting up there in years so I finally have a chance to use the sentiment from the stamps set "Just a Number" that I have always wanted to use without feeling guilty (well, REALLY guilty, anyways...) I think it is cute. Even the words "Happy Birthday" inside the card are set on a slant to represent a bit of a hill to go along with the saying. Too funny! 
The sketch is shown below the card. 
Enjoy, 
Alyson

Products are all Close To My Heart unless otherwise indicated: 

Paper: Avonlea Paper Pack (includes cardstock available only with that paper pack), Chocolate Cardstock
Stamps: Just a Number
Inks: Chocolate
Accessories: Art Philosophy Cartridge, Neutral Button Collection, Colonial White Waxy Flax, Green Ribbon (not CTMH)

Monday, September 10, 2012

H2H Challenge - Birthday Card

Today's card is a birthday card in a 5x7 size to meet the Heart 2 Heart Challenge this week. The challenge is "biggie cards" this week.
I love the Avonlea papers and decided to use those for my card today. They can work for both masculine and feminine cards but I added some ruffled ribbon so I think this is more on the feminine side. I SO wish we could get this shade of dark teal as I am just in love with this colour so I am trying to use it sparingly but it is so hard when you love a colour like that as much as I do!
Enjoy, 
Alyson

Supplies used are Close To My Heart unless otherwise indicated: 

Paper: Avonlea Paper Pack (including cardstock available only with that paper pack), Slate Cardstock
Stamps: Avonlea Cardmaking Workshop, Cricut Collection Birthday
Inks: Slate, Twilight Pigment Ink
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Avonlea Canvas Shapes, Slate Mini-Medley, Mint Ribbon (unknown), Grey Ribbon (unknown), Colonial White Waxy Flax


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Christmas Mini Cards - H2H Challenge

When I saw the challenge at Heart 2 Heart this week, I knew I couldn't get away with making just one card - I had a project in mind. 
This took some time... I had to play around with the Artiste cartridge for a number of things - to find a box that would fit my 3x3 cards, and then I had to find a card that was scalloped at the bottom, preferably with holes. The only one I could find wouldn't cut at 3 inches wide and 6 inches long so I had to cut it at 4 inches wide so it would be long enough and trim it down the sides. Then, after adding paper to the front, I had to trace that and cut it out, repunch the holes... you get the idea. This was a lot more time intensive than it appears.
The inside of each card has a 1 inch strip across the bottom so the holes show a different pattern when the card is closed. 
I love the way teh rub-ons work with this paper - they are so effective and I can't wait to do the workshop that goes with the Pear and Partridge paper!


Enjoy, 
Alyson

Products are all Close To My Heart unless otherwise indicated: 

Paper: Pear and Partridge Paper Pack, New England Ivy Cardstock, Olive Cardstock, Cranberry Cardstock, Cashmere Cardstock, Colonial White Cardstock
Stamps: Pear and Partridge Card WOTG
Inks: Cranberry, New England Ivy, Cocoa
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Pear and Partridge Rub-Ons, Cocoa Designer Ribbon Collection, Cashmere Ribbon and Red Sparkles (both from Pear and Partridge Card WOTG), Cranberry Grosgrain Ribbon (ret.), Harvest Baker's Twine, Sparkles, Red Button Collection, Cranberry Waxy Flax (ret.), Hole Punch (not CTMH)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just Sittin' Here... Card - Dakota Papers

I have been trying to post as often as possible but find I am falling behind... my goal is 5 posts a week (without the help of videos or other things from corporate) but that's a really tough pace to maintain, especially when you miss a day in your studio! 

Today's offering is a card using the Dakota papers. I also got out my sewing machine. I do not sew (other than on my cards and layouts) and it caused me a LOT of frustration to do the seam binding at the bottom of this card. I was just about ready to toss the machine and all its parts through my window this afternoon... Because the ribbon was so narrow, I couldn't adhere it with adhesive first or it would jam up my machine so trying to hold it in place was a real task. However, it eventually got done. 
I think the sentiment is perfect for this card - I can just picture a cowboy on his horse, speaking these words while waiting for his lady. Maybe that's just my mind working overtime because I'm so tired today... 
Enjoy, 
Alyson

Products used are Close To My Heart unless otherwise indicated: 

Paper: Dakota Paper Pack, Barn Red Cardstock, Pacifica Cardstock, Black Cardstock, Whisper Cardstock, Corrugated Cardboard (not CTMH)
Stamps: Card Chatter - Sympathy
Inks: Pacifica, Barn Red, Black Distressing Ink
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Edge Distresser, Burlap Ribbon, Hemp, Buttons - Basic Assortment, Colour Ready Seam Binding, Sponge Dauber, Foam Tape, Sewing Machine and Black Thread (not CTMH)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Christmas Cards

I have been starting to work on Christmas cards. When you make all your own cards, you can never start early enough to get them all made in time! However, these are two cards that I will be offering in my annual Christmas Card Workshop. The ideas for both come from Pinterest (Oh, how I love that site!) 

The first card is not particularly difficult to make but it is time consuming. It takes a while to layer the branches and to tie the ribbons just right. 

The second card uses Avonlea paper but I added Twilight to the mix as I needed another cardstock colour and I knew I wouldn't have enough of the Avonlea Teal for a large group. There is a lot of Cricut cutting for this card plus the chance to play with some of our new markers as well. 

Enjoy, 
Alyson

Supplies are Close To My Heart unless otherwise noted: 

Card #1 (Bird)
Paper: White Daisy Cardstock, Cranberry Cardstock, New England Ivy Cardstock
Stamps: Pear and Partridge Cardmaking WOTG
Inks: New England Ivy
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Baker's Twine - Harvest Assortment, Cranberry Grosgrain Ribbon (ret.), MS Punch (not CTMH), Black Marker, Foam Tape

Card #2 (Snowman)
Paper: Avonlea Paper Pack, Slate Cardstock, Twilight Cardstock, White Daisy Cardstock
Stamps: Flakey Friends, Christmas Love
Inks: Black, Black Staz-On
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Art Philosophy Cartridge, White Grosgrain Ribbon (ret.), Wrangler Assortment, Markers - Twilight, Sky, Orange Sharpie (not CTMH), Brown Sharpie (not CTMH)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Friendship Like Coffee Card - The Sweet Stop

I am liking the Sweet Stop Challenge site more and more! Their sketches are just detailed enough to be a challenge but to leave room for interpretation. 
This card was created using Flirty - one of my favourite paper packs. I incorporated some additional cardstock outside the Flirty colours this time to create a rainbow of pinks - some Hollyhock and Cotton Candy. My flower was partially hand created by spritzing the bottom piece with a mix of reinker and water and the middle piece was a flower from a really old collection that CTMH used to sell ages ago but it matched perfectly. 

Some of you have emailed me and asked why I don't show the insides of my cards and there is a reason for that. I never complete the insides of my cards until I know who the recipient will be. At that time, I go back and create the inside of the card to reflect who it is going to receive it and I add the sentiment and the additional details at that time. I hope that answers your questions. 

The sketch is shown below the card. 



Enjoy, 
Alyson

Supplies used are all Close To My Heart

Paper: Flirty Paper Pack (incl. cardstock available only with that paper pack), Hollyhock Cardstock, Cotton Candy Cardstock, New England Ivy Cardstock
Stamps: Cup of Cheer
Inks: Cotton Candy, Chocolate, New England Ivy, Hollyhock Reinker
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Cotton Candy Markers, Blending Pen, Hemp, Autumn Lane Assortment, Petals Paper Flowers, Spray Pen, Pink Flower (ret.), Foam Tape

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Celebrate Today Card - Freshly Made Sketches

The sketch at Freshly Made Sketches this week is one I really like - enough detail to be creative yet not so much that it was overwhelming.
I chose to use the Dakota papers  for my card - a paper pack that I don't turn to very often. I love the blues in this paper pack and wanted to showcase those colours along with the wood grain background. The Slate accessories and ribbon go so perfectly with this paper pack as well.
The sketch is shown below the card. 

Enjoy,
Alyson

Supplies used are all Close To My Heart

Paper: Dakota Paper Pack, Pacifica Cardstock, Black Cardstock
Stamps: Casual Expressions
Inks: Pacifica
Accessories: Artiste Cartridge, Slate Mini-Medley, Slate Satin Polka-Dot Ribbon, Foam Tape, Black Waxy Flax

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Video - Patterns from the Heart

Close To My Heart has always been known for its outstanding How-To Books and in the new catalogue, there is a new book called Make It From Your Heart. It is a fabulous publication and, although it is smaller than the previous books, it still packs a lot of punch! I have already used mine several times and I love it! 
Amy from the corporate office is here to show you some examples from the new book so sit back and enjoy her presentation! 
Enjoy, 
Alyson


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