The little things that make me happy here on Bliss Road~~Emily Keaton

Friday, December 30, 2011

Neighbor Gifts for FWF

It's the last Friday of 2011--bring on the Friends with Flair! Be sure to check the Unity blog for a complete list of participants (there's a randomly drawn prize for commenting!!).

Today I'm sharing one last Christmas project! We have a great neighborhood--our neighbors invite our kids to swim in their pool, support our kids' Girl Scout and Cub Scout fundraisers, take turns with me walking the elementary kids to school, and keep an eye on one another's homes. Christmas is a great time for my family to let everyone know how much we appreciate them, so I like to remember everyone with a gift--but with six families in our neighborhood, it has to be something that doesn't break the bank. I keep the costs down (way down!) by making treats to give in pretty handmade packaging.

This year I made peppermint bark as our neighbor gift. So easy! I start by crushing 8 full-sized candy canes. My kids love doing this part! After they've unwrapped the candy canes and dropped them in a plastic bag, I hand them my heavy-duty ice cream scoop and let them go to town. While they crush, I melt a pound of vanilla candy wafers (I use Melting Wafers from Make 'n Mold) in the microwave. Once the wafers are smooth and melty, just stir in the crushed candy canes, then pour the mixture out onto a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. After spreading out and smoothing the mixture with a spatula, just pop the tray in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes or so. When it's all set up, break the peppermint bark in to pieces, and that's it. Done! (Each recipe makes 20 ounces of candy.)

I bought the candy wafers for our peppermint bark at my A. C. Moore store before Thanksgiving when they went on sale for $1.67 per pound. I snagged candy canes as soon as they started going on sale, too. That meant I could give our neighbors about a pound of peppermint bark candy for less than $2 per family. Now that's something I can get behind! I picked up some Wilton Cookie Totes at A. C. Moore using some 50% off coupons--these were perfect for packaging the peppermint bark, and I love that they are resealable. All that was left to do was add a handmade gift tag:

At the beginning of the month, I helped a friend make tags and gift bags to package Christmas cookies. We had a few large tag shapes left over, so I used those as the basis for these tags but used images from my new Greetings of Christmas stamp set from Unity. I love how these turned out! I'm linking up this tag to the Unity Gift Wrapping challenge (which includes gift tags), the Simon Says Anything Goes Challenge, and over at Paper Sundaes Challenge #100: Celebrate.

Here's what the complete package looked like:

And here's a closer look at that yummy peppermint bark showing through the treat tote window:

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For a purple lover

A dear friend gave me a lovely collection of gifts for Christmas, including some lovely cocoa-dusted almonds, Choxie truffles, tea bags, and a new paper punch (EK Success's Daisy Chain)--some of my very favorite things! I already have a nice collection of thank you cards made up for my family to use for post-Christmas thank yous, but my friend's favorite color is purple (and none of the cards I've made so far feature purple), so I made her a special card using my new punch and her favorite color.
I heat-embossed this pretty flower from my favorite {ippity} set, Now & Always (it's getting a lot of use lately), and got busy with my watercolors to dress it up. The sentiment is from {ippity}'s Just Wanted to Say, and the patterned papers are from the lovely Lily Bee Design's Picket Fence pad which I won as blog candy a while ago from my sweet friend Pam. I just noticed that you can pick up this fabulous paper pad from her online store This and That Paper Crafts for just $4.50 right now as part of her year-end sale! (And she offers free shipping on a $50 purchase!)

I used this sketch (#11) from Chick Challenges with {ippity} as the design basis for my card. I'm also playing along with the {ippity} Challenge to make a thank you card and the Simon Says Anything Goes Challenge.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some gift tags to share

Just a quick post to share a few Christmas tags--it's finally safe to blog about them!! I made these to decorate gift-card boxes for a number of recipients on my list.

The first one is also my entry for the December Christmas Spirit challenge at Flourishes. The challenge was to create a card with Santa in mind. I have a several Flourishes Christmas/winter stamps sets now, but none of them are Santa-related! I had to think hard about this one, but finally came up with this tag:

The sentiment is from the Paperwhites set from Flourishes. That cute Santa is a digital element from the Echo Park Everybody Loves Christmas Digital Element Pack available from Jessica Sprague. I loved working with these elements--just print (re-sizing for your project is so easy!) and trim--and ended up making a whole set of gift tags. Which worked perfectly because I had a whole stack of gift cards to give! I'm also entering this over at Paper Sundaes Challenge #100: Celebrate.

(This snowman tag uses more Flourishes stamps: the snowflakes and sentiment are from Warm Winter Wishes. My connection to Santa with this one? I was "playing Santa" when giving the gift attached to this tag!!)

I hope your Christmas was a fabulous one. Ours was the best!!

Thanks for dropping by,

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Tag for FWF

Today is my kids' last day of school before Christmas AND for all of 2011! I have lots to accomplish on this last day with the house to myself, so I'll keep this brief.
I made this tag for my son to tie onto his Christmas gift to his teacher. I used the Unity Itty Bitty Merry and Bright for the image and sentiment, and that fun dotted background comes from the {ippity} set Love in Return. I'm linking up this all-Unity creation to today's Friends with Flair hop and the Unity Gift Wrapping challenge, which includes gift tags.
My son had fun decorating the gift bag he gave his gift in. I gave him a plain green handled gift bag and he went to town with some foamie shape stickers. For once, I remembered to suggest that he lay out all of his design before sticking them down--which he did! And ended up with such a cute scene. He was so proud of his work. What a sweetie!

Thanks for stopping by today! I'm wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Have fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Thanks

I'm still adding to my collection of Christmas thank-you note cards!
I made this for the current (but about to end) Chick Challenges {with Ippity} using this sketch:
I'm also adding this to the {ippity} Challenge to make a thank you card, and Paper Sundaes Challenge #100: Celebrate.

As you can see, I went totally traditional with kelly green and Christmas red on this card, keeping it light with stamping in white on the solid colors. The entire card came together around that gorgeous panel of embossed poinsettias. I found a whole stack of these in the fabulous SU scraps bag that my dear friend Colleen sent me. Thanks so much, Col! I was vibrating with excitement when I found those and am thrilled to be using one for the first time. :D

Oh, before I forget: let me tell you about the stamps I used!! Can't believe I almost forgot. They are all {ippity} by Unity stamps--the frame and sentiment are from Just Wanted to Say, and the flowers and leaves are from Now & Always.

OK, off to cross this off my to-do list for today and keep plugging away! Thanks for stopping by for a little slice of happy today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Spreading Some Christmas Joy

My 7th-grader adores her teachers. Now that she is in middle school with a whole set of academic teachers rather than the single classroom teacher she had in elementary school, it would be easy to call it quits on teacher gifts. But she'll have none of that. Last year she wanted to give a little something to her core academic teachers for Christmas, so she made them THESE little sets of holiday gift tags. She made similar sets of gift tags for her Girl Scout co-leaders this year and packaged them in little glass jars (sadly, we forgot to take photos before she presented them!). But with six school teachers she wanted to remember with gifts and four Sunday School teachers (a teacher and helper for each of my kids), we had a list of 10 folks that we wanted to do a little something for, which left me scratching my head.

Luckily, all that head scratching struck during my daughter's Girl Scout fall candy & nut sale. This is an optional fundraiser that her troop tried out for the first time this year. I spied these fabulous cans of candy fruit slices ($5 for 14 oz), and decided that with six cans, we could repackage the candy with some fun handmade packaging and spread a little sweet Christmas joy to all 10 teachers. It was a win-win situation: we found a great product to turn into a meaningful gift AND supported her troop at the same time. Here's how our gifts turned out.
The handstamped gift bags and tags were inspired by this fabulous creation made by my sweet blogging friend Emily Niehaus. I loved how she took a plain paper bag (far cheaper than a handled one, which start at 59 cents each at my A. C. Moore) and gave it an upscale look simply by creating handles with an oval punch! I found a package of 10 plain white "craft sacks" by Paperbilities (measuring 4.75" across by 8.5" tall) at A.C. Moore for $1. Yup, that's just 10 cents each!!

My daughter and I worked together assembly-line style to stamp each bag with some candy stamps from The Angel Company (which I've had forever!) and the fruit slice stamp from Stampin' Up's Tart & Tangy set, using ink colors to match the candy. We repackaged the fruit slices in clear cellophane treat bags which are now nestled inside the white gift bags for giving.

All that remained was to tie on some coordinating gift tags. I had the best time creating these with digital papers and elements from Cosmo Cricket's Jolly by Golly collection and Echo Park's Everybody Loves Christmas collection. The sentiment is a stamp from Unity's Greetings of Christmas kit, and the frame is from Just Wanted to Say, an {ippity} by Unity kit. I'm entering it in the Unity Gift Wrapping challenge, which includes gift tags. Here's a closeup:
In other news, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent good wishes my way after being featured as Moxie Fabber of the Week over at Paper Crafts' Moxie Fab World yesterday. I am completely honored, as well as flabbergasted, to have been chosen!! When Cath Edvalson emailed me back in October to say that she wanted to feature me, you could have knocked me over with a feather. In fact, I'm still pinching myself!! And as exciting as all of this has been, I have been even more overwhelmed by the ensuing avalanche of warm words and congratulations from so many folks either by email, comments here, or comments on the MFW post. Warm fuzzies are the best :). THANK YOU!!

Thanks for sticking with me through this loooooooooooooong post. And, as always, many thanks for sharing my little slice of bliss!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm officially addicted . . .

. . . to making this petite-sized card! They measure 3.25" x 4.25", and they are perfect for my family to use for post-Christmas thank you notes. Here are the results of my new addiction:

for this month's Theme Challenge: Christmas over at DeNami Design. The sentiment is from the Everyday Greetings stamp set, and the sweet Christmas light is the Curly Bulb stamp (it's currently on sale for $3.98!).

more for DeNami's Christmas challenge! Same sentiment, different image--this time it's the Small Solid Holly Leaves, which I received as a free bonus stamp in my last DeNami order! What holly would be complete without some blingy holly berries? Here the role of berries is being played by some fun rhinestones and pearls.

Penguins are really big favorites in my house, so I'm already imagining the arm-wrestling matches that will result when the rest of the family spies these penguin notes as choices amongst the thank you note cards.

This trio uses some Mary Engelbreit dimensional stickers and ME clear stamps that I picked up on clearance for 90% off at Michael's last year after Christmas.

And this last set features some more dimensional penguin stickers, this time from Recollections (another bargain bin find). The sentiments are from Tradefish Designs' Attitude of Gratitude set, which I adore. I think this last set of cards may be my favorites of the bunch!

The size of these cards will be perfect for the shorter thank you notes to be written, and I finally got to use some bargain loot! But the best part of these little cards? I was able to whip up 13 of them in less than 90 minutes. For a gal who's not known for her cardmaking speediness, that's definitely something to write home about. And I was smiling the whole time. They were fun!

Thanks for checking out my little slice of bliss today!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Global View Teacher Thanks

I seem to be on a thank-you note kick here recently!
I was inspired by the Get Inspired by Home Decor Challenge in the Moxie Fab World, which has this photo as its inspiration piece.
The stamps are from TradeFish Designs (which, sadly, is closing its doors). I colored the globe using my Prismacolor pencils.

I'm also entering this in the Tangled Twine challenge over at Ribbon Carousel Challenge.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 16, 2011

{ippity} Kid Thank Yous

Just a couple of thank you note cards for my kids. They each have a birthday thank you to write. These were very quick and easy. I love {ippity}'s Alphabetically Adorable stamps! I'm entering these in {ippity}'s Free-for-All challenge.

Thanks for stopping by!

FWF: Enjoy the Ride

A new Friday means a chock-full-of-inspiration Friends With Flair blog hop over at the Unity blog. I'm linking up this card:
This clean and simple masculine concoction is already winging its way to my father-in-law, whose birthday is Monday. I used three stamps in the Authentic Man stamp set from {ippity} by Unity, some twine for the Tangled Twine challenge over at Ribbon Carousel Challenge, and not a whole lot else! I was inspired by the Potpourri Challenge in the Moxie Fab World, which offers this photo for inspiration:
I love that bold monogram on the mug, and picked up that idea for the start of my sentiment. I also latched onto that neutral color palette. :)

Finally, I'm adding this to the mix over at
{ippity}'s Free-for-All challenge.

Can you believe that we are heading into the last weekend before Christmas? We are all pretty excited here. Luckily our preparations are all under control. Both of my kids are in our Sunday School Christmas pageant, which will be this Sunday. Should be fun!!

Thanks for stopping by for a little slice of bliss today!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ornament Grid Thank You

My Christmas cards are all sent, so now I'm focusing on making Christmas thank you notes!
I made this card for the second Flourishes December Release Week noontime challenge: the Perfect Pear Challenge, a which is a color challenge to use light green, deep rose, and cream.
I used Stampin' Up's Certainly Celery and Rose Red cardstocks and inks, along with a bit of cream-colored cardstock for my label.

I scored a grid on some white cardstock and filled each grid square with a stamped ornament from Flourishes' All That Glitters set. The sentiment comes from Flourishes' Tag Lines set.

Making a grid like this is one of my favorite techniques for using smaller stamp images. Quick and easy, but lots to look at!

Thanks for stopping by!

Pine Boughs at Night

The first noontime release-week challenge over at Flourishes is called Night & Day, and the challenge is to show a time of day in your creation. It gets dark so early around here at this time of year, so I was inspired to try to capture the look of snow-dusted pine boughs at dusk.
I used Meg's fabulous Poor Man's Spectrum Pad technique with a brayer to create my dusk sky, then stamped the pine branches from Flourishes' All That Glitters set in black to create a silhouette. I glittered up the boughs with some glitter glue and did some scoring on a panel of Marina Mist to give my scene a subtle background. The sentiment, from the Flourishes set Country Charm Labels, is stamped on a panel of vellum.

It's a simple card, but hopefully elegant--that's what I was going for, at least! It will do nicely as a post-Christmas thank-you card.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daffodil Thanks

Today I'm sharing a card that I made for Flourishes Timeless Tuesday Challenge #148: to use the same image and make two cards/projects with two totally different looks, styles, themes, or colors. I made a very frilly Get Well card yesterday with a sweet daffodil stamp from Flourishes (A Year in Flowers Set 1), and while it was still out on my desk, I decided to use it again to make a second card with it in a very clean and simple style:
And for comparison, here is my frilly version from yesterday once again:
I just love the contrast, don't you? I always need thank you notes, so I'm pretty sure this one won't be in my stash for long. :) By the way, that pretty "Thank You" sentiment is from Flourishes' Tag Lines, and I colored the image with my Prismacolor pencils.

I hope your Wednesday is off to a great start! Thanks for stopping by to check out my little slice of bliss.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feminine Flair

I'm so excited that this is another release week at Flourishes! I love seeing each month's new sets and playing in all of the release week challenges. This time around the week-long release challenge is to add a little Feminine Flair to your project. I needed a get well card for yet another friend who is having surgery, and today's card will be perfect for her.
This card all started with a lovely piece of patterned paper that my dear, dear friend Colleen sent me (along with a delightful collection of SU scraps and diecuts that she picked up from her fabulous SU demo. Thanks a million, Col!!). I have no idea what it's from, but it was sized perfectly for folding into an A2-sized card. And I love that the back of the card will be patterned, too! My daffodil image is from Flourishes' A Year in Flowers Set 1. I stamped it in Versamark ink and used my Stampin' Pastels to reveal the image. I'm sure you can spy the feminine flair I added: a paper doily, vintage lace trim, a pearl stick pin, and lots of adhesive pearls. I realized that in my collection of Flourishes stamps I don't have any "Get Well" sentiments--something I should take care of fixing soon! So I used this perfectly sized "Take Care" instead. I can hand-write a "get well" message inside. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Thank Yous for my 9YO

I rounded out my son's collection of cards for writing his birthday thank yous with these:
The robots are from The Angel Company (which, I just learned, went out of business in August. So sad!) and the "thanks a million" sentiment is from the Attitude of Gratitude stamp set by TradeFish Designs. I'm entering this in Go Fish Challenge #6. I was inspired by the color and layout of the stockings!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Seeing Circles at Christmas

I have a really fun Christmas card to share that I made for this month's Theme Challenge: Christmas over at DeNami Design!

My circle-centric design and colors were inspired by this week's Tuesday Trigger. I just had to play off the round shapes of all of those shiny Christmas ball ornaments!
I stamped that fabulous Whimsical Merry Christmas sentiment--from DeNami, of course--on vellum. The patterned papers are from the My Mind's Eye Be Merry collection, while the sparkly pink glitter paper is from American Crafts.

Thanks for popping in for a little slice of bliss today!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kid-Friendly Thanks for FWF

Time to share a little something for Unity's Friends With Flair blog hop. Be sure to check the Unity blog for a complete list of participants!

My baby turned 9 years old at the beginning of the month {sniff!} and he needed some fun cards for writing his thank you notes to our far-flung family. I came up with a couple of designs to keep things interesting. I'll share the other design in a few days, but here is the first one:
The letters spelling out THANKS come from {ippity}'s Alphabetically Adorable set. This was my first time inking it up, and I LOVED it!! What a fun set; the letters are just super sweet. The patterned paper is from Bo Bunny's Blast Off! collection. (Thanks, Jessi!! And more thanks for the fantastic sparkly star diecuts.)

I used the new sketch from Chick Challenges {with Ippity}:
I'm also linking this up for the current {ippity} Challenge, which is a free-for-all one.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Masculine Thank You

A quick post to share a masculine thank you card. I'm playing along with the November/December sketch challenge over at The Craft's Meow. I used stamps from the TCM set Timeless Tags. The sheet music is from an old hymnal I acquired for just such a use!
That gorgeous picot-edge diecut was a gift from the ever-so-sweet Pam Loris. Thanks, my friend! It was just perfect for this sketch. Can't wait to use the rest!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Set of Thank You Note Cards

I LOVE the Attitude of Gratitude stamp set that I won from TradeFish Designs last month. It was perfect for the whole mess of thank you notes I made yesterday (and already five out of the six have been used and mailed off!). I'm loving the size of this card, too: 3 1/4" x 4 1/4". Perfectly petite!
I was inspired by Go Fish Challenge #6 and am entering it over there.
Here's a closeup of my favorite card from this set:

The dotted patterned papers are digital papers from Echo Park's Dots & Stripes--Metropolitan collection. I used several different punches to make my flowers, but the leaves were all drawn and cut out by hand.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Delft-Inspired Take Care

I'm trying to keep this short--my wrists are still bothering me (typing/scrolling/clicking), but I couldn't keep away any longer! (I can craft with little or no trouble, but working at the computer puts a real strain on things.)

I needed a get well card for a friend who just had surgery, so I decided to play along with this week's Timeless Tuesday Challenge #147 at Flourishes, which is a sketch challenge. I used three Flourishes sets: Paperwhites, Country Charm Borders, and Tag Lines.
Like the crocheted frame? My blogging friend Jessi makes these! I am in awe of her crocheting (and quilling, too!). She's such a sweetie--she made me a whole set of these lovelies, and I'm finally allowing myself to dip into my much-hoarded stash. Thanks, Jessi! I love how this looks. It really makes the card!

For some reason I had Delftware, which I love, on the brain today and thought that would be a great way to go for this get well card. I searched for and was inspired by this lovely plate. Doesn't it work well with the sketch?
I've missed blogging, surfing, and commenting. Just this post has put all kinds of strain on my tender spots, so it may be a while longer before I can get around to visit your blogs. I miss all of you!