Elizabeth Cooper
In a few days, I'll be leaving to visit a friend I haven't seen in about 8 months. I'm planning on bringing her a hostess gift, along with this cute little card:

I wanted something girly and pretty, with a personal touch (hence the handwriting, such as it is). Everything I used on this card is from Jillybeansoup's September 2011 Card Kitchen kit. I love, love, LOVE her kits!

I started with a piece of Navy Beans paper, which I cut into two pieces. The first piece I adhered with the flower side up at the top of the card, using foam adhesives. The second piece I turned over so the green stripes showed. I added a piece of green ribbon, which I tied into a bow, and adhered it to the card front using foam adhesives.

Then I took a die-cut shape that came with my card kit and spelled out the word "friend" using letter stickers. I used my own handwriting to finish the sentiment.

Finally, I added faux stitching in black gel pen to the sides of the card.

Elizabeth Cooper
Since I didn't have time to follow along with the Holiday Card Boot Camp, I'm trying to catch up now. This card was based on a tutorial from Day 3, in which Jennifer McGuire created a pretty window card. I didn't have the same supplies she used, but I substituted a few things and I'm quite pleased with the result.

I started with a piece of pattern paper from the Basic Grey Nordic Holiday 6x6 paper pad. I love all the wonderful words, as well as the colors. Lovely! Once I adhered it to the card, I cut out a window using my 1 inch EK Success punch.

I stamped the gift from Fiskars What a Hoot stamp set, and colored it using Martha Stewart glitter markers. Then I cut it out and adhered it behind a strip of pattern paper (also from Nordic Holiday), on which I'd stamped a sentiment (again from What a Hoot) and embossed it using silver powder.

I secured the sentiment strip onto the card using two brads from the Recollections Brads: Pastel Medium Squares collection. Lastly, I wrapped some silver ribbon around the bottom of the card for the finishing touch.

Elizabeth Cooper
I wanted to do something for this week's extended CAS-ual Fridays challenge. The sketch is simple and lovely, and I really wanted to work with it. Here's what I came up with:

I started with a lovely metallic green cardstock from Recollections. Then I cut out a piece of pattern paper from an ATD Christmas Specialty collection pack. I just loved the cute glitter on the toes and at the top of each sock. I adhered the paper to the card front, and moved on to the stamping.

For the snowflakes, I used Frost White Colorbox ink and stamped directly onto the cardstock. At the end, I added some tiny beads of Liquid Pearl in Silver Pearl.

I punched out a circle out of white cardstock using my 1 inch EK punch, stamped the sentiment, and then went over the letters with a green glitter gel pen. Both the snowflake and the sentiment stamp sets are from Inkadinkado's Christmas Characters stamp set. I inked the edges using Distress Ink in Evergreen Bough, and attached the sentiment circle to the card using a brad from Recollections: Pastel Medium Squares.

Finally, I created a border for the patterned paper using Stickles in Mystic green, and added three pearls under the sentiment using more Liquid Pearls in Silver Pearl.
Elizabeth Cooper
My best friend's sister just passed the Bar Exam, and I wanted to send her a pretty card to acknowledge her accomplishment. I wanted a fun, feminine feel to the card, and this is what I came up with:

I started with the pattern paper. The vanilla strip and mat are from the DCWV Old World Stack, while the others are from the Reflections: Graceful paper pack. After cutting all the papers to the appropriate size and adhering them to the card front, I moved on to the main images.

I must admit, I stamped and re-stamped these a few times until I was happy with the color and the stamp choices, but in the end, I'm quite pleased with the overall effect. I used two stamps from Fiskars' Girls Night Out stamp set. I stamped them using Memento Tuxedo Black ink on white cardstock, and colored in the images using watercolor markers and a blender pen. 

Then I inked the edges of the image panel using Distress Ink in Festive Berries, and I adhered it to the card using foam adhesive. I also added some rhinestones from the Fine and Dandy Blue Blue Bling pack by My Mind's Eye. Lastly, I covered the martini glass in Glossy Accents for that "glass" look, and stuck a bow on top.

Elizabeth Cooper
I'm relatively new to Pinterest, having only created my account a few weeks ago. Already, it's become one of my favorite daily digital stops. Pinterest is a "virtual pinboard", a way for people to share photos of all the wonderful things they find on the web. And then, in true social media style, everyone else gets to see and enjoy those things, too.

After spending some time (all right, a LOT of time) on Pinterest, I realized my love for the site comes down to these 5 reasons:

A card I pinned on my inspiration board

1. Inspiration. I don't know about you, but I'm always on the lookout for things that inspire me. Maybe not consciously, but if I see something that catches my eye, I'll immediately start thinking about ways I can use it. Can I make a card using the color combination in a piece of fabric? Can I create wall art from an old magazine? Can I decorate a cupcake using the general shape of a scrapbook felt flower? On Pinterest, I can find more ideas than I know what to do with!

Another card from my inspiration board

2. New pretties, all the time. Every morning when I log in to Pinterest, I'm amazed by the wonderful things that are showing up in my feed. It's a little bit like reading the newspaper to learn what's new, except instead of being bombarded by bad news, I have beautiful things to look at and absorb. I can't think of a better way to start my day.

A vintage French label necklace that shows my style

3. Learning about myself. I've never really given much thought to my style. I know what appeals to me, but that's about it. Ever since I've started browsing Pinterest, I've started making sense of the styles that call to me. For example, I didn't realize I like vintage and "shabby chic" motifs and much as I do. And I wouldn't have thought I liked grunge designs, but I really do! Armed with this knowledge, I can use those styles in my own designs and push my creativity more than I would otherwise.

A Christmas card tree project

4. New project ideas. When I started out as a paper crafter, making a card seemed difficult. Now I'm contemplating branching out into other crafts. So when I see something I'd like to do, but don't think I have the skill to pull it off yet, I'll pin up the project idea on Pinterest. I'd love to go back next week, next month, or even next year, and try my hand at some of those more complex projects to see how far I've come.

Cheesecake-stuffed strawberries

5. Collecting recipes. I've tried many different ways of organizing recipes I've found online... from bookmarking them to importing them into software specifically created for that purpose, nothing's really worked for me. But Pinterest allows me to pin up the recipes that interest me, and then shows them to me using mouth-watering images. They say you eat with your eyes first, so what could be better than seeing a bunch of incredible looking food when looking for something to make for dinner tonight?

These are just a few of the reasons I find Pinterest a wonderful website, and wholeheartedly recommend it. I'd love to hear from you... Do you have an account? Do you love it as much as I do?
Elizabeth Cooper
For this project, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Originally I'd envisioned just a simple stamped image, but, well, I couldn't resist adding a button, some twine, and a bit of ribbon just to brighten things up a little.

Each of the notecards is going to a different person, but the sentiment inside is the same for all of them. So I thought having the notecards be part of a set, yet using different colors for the embellishments, would work well. if I'd had more time I would have colored the stamped image, but I like the way it looks like this, too.

The stamps are from the Fiskars Terrific Tags stamp set. I used Colorbox black ink, and some random buttons and ribbons from my stash. The twine is from Jillibean Soup.

Elizabeth Cooper
When we bought our house nearly 3 years ago, one of the most important criteria was office space. Since my husband and I work from home, it was imperative that we both have offices we love. Over the years, I outgrew my space, especially as I became more involved in my crafting hobby.

I'm sure all of you know exactly what I mean when I say that my crafting supplies started spreading on the floor, against the walls, and all over my desk like weeds! I loved being surrounded by all those colors and textures, but finding anything in that mess was a real challenge.

And then hubby decided he'd had enough, and insisted it was time I had an office upgrade. Well, who am I to argue?

We spent all of last weekend putting together furniture... And this was the result:

Gotta love all that storage!

My work space

My crafting space (the desk is 10 feet long!)

No coffee and tea here! Only buttons and ribbons.

Crafting goodies: stamps, paper, etc.

Another view of my crafting table, and the storage space underneath.

Those bins hold punches, embellishments, and other crafting goodies.

That bookcase used to be crammed full of junk before the office revamp.

Various resources I need for work: books, notebooks, etc.

Your turn! Are you happy with your workspace? If you could make any changes to your existing crafting space, what changes would you make?
Elizabeth Cooper
I love challenges almost as much as I love swaps. Not only do I get to try new things and push my creativity to the limit, but I also get to see how other people interpret the same theme. Their end results are always so different than mine!

Today's Splitcoaststampers challenge required participants to use three colors, plus a neutral white or vanilla. The colors (using Stampin' Up names) were: Blushing Bride, Pear Pizzazz, and Marina Mist. Furthermore, we were asked to use these rather non-traditional holiday colors to make a Christmas card, if possible.

Here's what I came up with:

I managed to mix those suggested colors, both among the buttons and in the colors I used to shade the cute little characters. Oh, and also in the background.

But let's start at the beginning. I used a piece of textured cardstock from Die Cuts With a View's Old World  Stack. I thought the paper was a close match for SU's Marina Mist color, so I layered that on top of my card base to create the background.

Then I stamped 3 characters from Inkadinkado's Christmas Characters stamp set on white cardstock, cut them out, and colored them using colored pencils. I then stuck them to the background using foam adhesive.

The sentiment also comes from Inkadinkado's Christmas Characters stamp set. I stamped it directly on the background using Frost White Colorbox ink.

Then I added a bunch of random buttons below the characters, and finished off the card by using Stickles (in Lagoon and Glam Pink) and Liquid Pearls (in Peacock) to accent the cute little Santa, penguin, and snowman.
Elizabeth Cooper
I spent the entire day putting together a whole set of new furniture for my office/studio. I'll have pictures to share next week, once I have everything set up just the way I want it.

In the meantime, here's a quick, drive-by post showing off some new artist trading cards I've created. All of these were made for various swaps.

"See the World"
A mix of: paper, glitter, Stickles, and a chipboard embellishment

"Chill in the Air"
Created with this gorgeous image from The Graphics Fairy, using Stickles, Liquid Pearls and a Prima flower.

"Cute Bird"
Isn't he adorable? The bird is part of a Fiskars Christmas stamp set (the name of which escapes me at the moment). I stamped him on a die-cut from Jillibean Soup, colored him using watercolor markers, and added some other embellishments. I used Martha Stewart glitter markers to finish off the card.
Elizabeth Cooper
It's my dad's birthday on Monday. His present is a gift certificate, so I knew I wanted to create a card that also indicated the present was inside... even if it didn't double as a gift certificate holder.

And this was the result:

Almost everything I used came from the September 2011 Jillibean Soup Card Kitchen Kit. I also used one of their designs for inspiration, but I changed a few things to suit the occasion.

I started with the pattern paper, by using Navy Beans at the top and bottom, and Green Stock paper for the center piece. Then I added a die-cut border, and drew some dashed lines with a black Gelly Roll pen. 

I took the "Autumn Traditions" die cut piece from Jillibean Soup's Apple Cheddar Pea Pod Parts, then, using two stamps from Fiskar's Happy Birthday stamp set, I stamped the sentiment and the gift using Studio G purple ink. I went over the sentiment with Gelly Roll Metallic pen #524 (a purple color). I wrapped green ribbon and brown-and-white twine (both from Jillibean Soup) around the die cut piece, and adhered it to the card front using foam adhesive. Then I took a sticker from Jillibean Soup's Watermelon Gazpacho set, and added the "4U" letters, as well as the sticker in the shape of a button. I drew stitched lines on the alphabet stickers with my black gel pen.

Lastly, I stuck a Jillibean Soup sugar pin through the bow of the ribbon, added a butterfly cutout (also from Jillibean Soup), and finished it off with a yellow gem from My Mind's Eye Fine and Dandy True Blue Bling pack.

I think this is a cute card / gift indicator. The "4U" and the gift stamp make it clear there's something extra special about this card, and will hopefully entice my dad to open it quick! :)
Elizabeth Cooper
I take part in a lot of swaps. There's something about being given a particular theme and asked to create that brings out the best in my inner artist.

Today, I sat at my crafting desk with the intention of making an artist trading card for a swap. The theme was simple: glitter. I love glitter, and I knew I wanted to use it in a number of different ways.

So this was born:

Can I just tell you how much I love this ATC? The colors, the glitter, the charm, the ribbon... they all speak to me. I find the end result absolutely inspirational. So much so that I'm considering keeping it instead of sending it out into the world. That means I'd have to make a different ATC for the swap, but it would be worth it to keep this little beauty around a little while longer.
Elizabeth Cooper
I signed up for the fabulous Holiday Card Boot Camp, but life interfered and I didn't get a chance to start watching the videos until today. I'm giving myself a personal challenge of crafting one card for every instructional video I watch as part of the class, and here's Card #1.

It's quite a bit different from Kristina's example, but that's one of the things I really love about participating in these types of workshops. We can all be as creative as we want with the materials we have!

I used kraft cardstock, which I stamped with a Fiskars Layer Away Dots stamp using Versamark ink. Then I cut out two pieces of pattern paper from Basic Grey's Nordic Holiday collection, and used two different distress inks on them. The strip on the right is stained with Tim Holtz's Evergreen Bough Distress Ink, and the one on the left is stained with Tim Holtz's Iced Spruce Distress Ink. (These are both part of his limited edition holiday set.)

I added a sticker from the Reflections Dimensional Stickers Christmas Set, then punched a hole in the front of the card and tied a piece of SewEasy Fancy Floss from their Glitter Tertiary pack into a bow.

Finally, I punched another sheet of pattern paper from Basic Grey's Nordic Holiday collection, and stamped the sentiment using Colorbox Frost White ink. The stamp is from Inkadinkado's Christmas Characters stamp set.

And that's it for Card #1!
Elizabeth Cooper
I love swaps, especially themed ones. Like challenges, they test my creativity and allow me to go outside my comfort zone. Very often, I'm surprised by what I create and usually very pleased. That was the case with this little gem:

The theme for this swap was the letter "K". We had to make a card using that letter as the main inspiration for an element on the card: either a flower, an animal, or a color starting with "K". After thinking about it for a while, I decided on "K"ittens. Because really, who doesn't love kittens?

I ended up going through my stash of crafting supplies, and not finding any kittens I was happy with, so I turned to the Internet for help. I ended up choosing this fabulous image supplied by The Graphics Fairy. She has the most amazing variety of vintage images up for grabs, so if you haven't checked her out yet, be sure to drop by.

Using the image as my starting point, I chose papers from Jillibean Soup's 6x6 Apple Cheddar paper pad. I used a subtle edge punch for the orange strip of paper (the Dotted Scallop Medium edger punch by EK Success), added some ribbon and ran a piece of twine through a button (all from Jillybean Soup), and finished off the card with some Paprika Stickles for the little girl's headband and belt. I know you can't see the effect very well in the picture, but it looks great in person!

Elizabeth Cooper
My husband's birthday is in two days, and I realized I needed a card to go with his gift. Since I had been working with the lovely Jillibean Soup September Card Kitchen Kit all week, I decided to use some of the papers and embellishments in that package for this card.

The paper is Jillibean Soup's Green Peppercorns. I also used one of the kraft envelopes, some of the orange ribbon that came in the kit, two pretty leaf pins, and a wood clothespin. Both the brown circle and the scalloped-edge circle around the sentiment are from Jillibean Soup's Apple Cheddar Pea Pod Die Cuts.

I used a stamp from Fiskar's Birthday Party set and stamped the sentiment in black ColorBox ink directly on the envelope. Then I added a vintage button to the ribbon, and finished off the card by punching some more pattern paper using the Martha Stewart Christmas Stamp and Punch, and used Stickles in Paprika and Firefly to finish off the "gift". Finally, I used Liquid Pearl in platinum to draw the heart on the brown circle.

That's it! Hope hubby likes it. :)