Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dana!

Although Dana is soaking up the sun in Cuba right now, I know she'll return to frostier weather. I wanted to warm her up with a little Flopsey and hot cocoa for her birthday. My daughter Morgana and I have been making pillow ornaments using fabric, stamps and a touch of glitter so I thought I'd make one for Dana too with the same image as the card (actually, it was the other way around--I made the ornament first). Colours are inspired by the Basic Grey urban prairie weather vane paper I used--Sorry Karen, I forgot about the of Dana's favourite colours. Ooops.

We got on this pillow kick after my entry for the Unity Bachelor final challenge. They're so simple and easy and are both greeting and gift in one, I think.

Have a fabulous birthday, Dana!!

Other friends playing along today...

Thanks for stopping by...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Celebrate BIG!--2nd Day of Sneak Peeks at Taylored Expressions

Today the TE Design Team is sharing their sneaks of a new set called Sweet Occasions concepted by Jami Sibley. I was lucky enough to be involved illustrating this unique addition to the Whimsical Wishes line of stamp sets. Get ready to colour!!! Jami wanted four large images with fun and inspiring words--call this the outie--paired with an innie, additional sentiments with mini images for that special touch on the inside of the card.

I've chosen 'Celebrate' and matched it with 'Happy Birthday with a cherry on top!' and the mini ice cream sundae included in the 14-image set. I used a previous TE sketch (TECC59) to get the juices flowing. I need more colourful cards for the kids occasions in my stash, so this one is perfect. Henri probably talked me into buying this fruit-infused, patterned paper--it's quite a departure from my usual style! I pulled green, purple, pink and black from the paper for my colour scheme and coloured the image with copics to coordinate.
Thanks for dropping by on your way today!

See Beyond Today

Just in case you didn't see this one yesterday, I thought I'd move it up...

A dear friend of mine is struggling with news. One of her 11-year-old twin girls (the twins are my daughter's friends too) has been diagnosed with crohn's disease and is learning how to use a feeding tube at Sick Kids this week. I made this card for my friend and her daughters. I hope they can 'see beyond' the pain and anger right now, recognize it for what it is and focus their energy and faith on healing. Easy to say...but I know a little about the power of the mind and positive healing, I think.

I used the Mojo Monday #114 sketch from last week and many of the same materials and accents as in my earlier sneak peaks--I just love this silhouette image in black! The butterflies are cut with spellbinders, stamped first in versamark and lightly highlighted with pearlescent chalk.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So excited about this sneak peek

Every 3 months TE introduces a new set in the TE Giving Tree Program. Each set supports a different charity for 3 months after release. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this program months before the sets are even released. Discover Your Wings is the newest set that I designed for the TE Giving Tree Program. $7 from the purchase of each set will be donated to the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation at

The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation is a charity that administers a network of almost 7000 photographers in the US and 25 other countries who volunteer their time to gently provide a helping hand and healing heart to families who have suffered the loss of an infant by offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner. NILMDTS is there for parents and families to help them in their healing, bring hope to their future, and to honor their child. They believe that it is through remembrance that a family can truly begin to heal. Taylored Expressions is honored to help support the work of this wonderful charity. I encourage you to go to their website and learn more about their wonderful work.

I have two cards today (well, actually three--I just added one in a post below). The first one I created quickly this morning using this week's Mojo Monday #115 sketch and yesterday's Splitcoast colour challenge (black, vanilla and soft suede). I'm not fond of soft suede but it works in this almost monochromatic colour scheme (I think). I added a little pearlescent chalk and basic grey half pearls to the dragonfly's wings.

A little while ago I created a Get Well card for my best friend's mom. She passed away in November just a few weeks ago and this is the card I made for my friend. Again, the silhouette is from Discover Your Wings; the sentiment is one I created just for this purpose. The card is simple--writing inside was not. But I now have the perfect stamp set for difficult times. I also see myself creating cards of encouragement and celebration too, as my kids 'discover their wings,' or just when I need a beautiful card for a gift or thank you. I know I'll be using resist with the silhouette and maybe a little bleaching technique too!! The day I started this set, I couldn't resist the urge to work with butterflies, the symbol for other charities too. I think I can safely say that Taylor was thrilled with the set with a little tweaking and has chosen a worthy charity for this time of year.

Can't wait to see what the talented Design Team has for us! Although you're just getting sneak peeks today, Discover Your Wings will be available for purchase Friday, December 4th at 8:00 am PST.

Be sure to leave some love along the way because one lucky commenter will win a Discover Your Wings stamp set! How cool is that?All you have to do is leave a comment on each Baker's Dozen blog today for the best chance to win! One lucky winner will be chosen at random from all of the comments on one of the blogs, but the trick is that nobody knows which blog it will be! You have until 6am PST on Thursday to enter. The winner will be announced Friday morning on Taylor's blog.
Thanks for stopping by on your way! ~Nancy

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wowsa!! I won!!

I've been checking the Unity blog throughout the day, but didn't back up to the main page to get the most recent post until now. I won!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! Check out the other six amazing projects. Here's the letter I wrote and the pictures I took of my pillow ornaments before sending them to my boyfriend BRO:

My dearest Bro,
I’m sending you this gift as we come to the end of our exciting journey. What a process. I’ve loved every minute of it and wanted to reflect on each of our dates. I know six other special, talented ladies are also vying for your attention. Will this gift be enough? I thought now that we know each other better, it’s time for "pillow talk." I also hope you like the satin sheets!
Won’t these look fabulous on our holiday tree year after year? I took sentiments from various KOTM sets, stamped in Momento black tuxedo ink with some copic highlights and mixed fabrics in the colours and textures you love to create seven unique pillow ornaments—as unique as you and each of the female finalists. You’ll recognize something from each of the seven challenges in each of the pillow ornaments. I really wanted to send you a homemade twig tree using dogwood from my garden but I don’t think customs would let my project through. So I took pictures of what I had in mind and am sending them along too. The satin bag can either be a tree skirt or just a great memory of our final date!!

Affectionately yours,
Nancy xoxo

I'm guessing Bro or someone at Unity loves chocolate or else my package was opened at customs because there was a chocolate bar in the pocket of this pillow (you know, like the chocolate on the pillows of fine hotels) and it's gone!!

The card was a little experiment in handstitching after doodling Bro's name with a copic pen on the fabric:

and I packaged the project in a large pillow with plaid fabric:

Hope you feel inspired! Please leave me a little sign that you were here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanks for stopping by today!

I've just realized that there's a blog hop for my birthday, so I thought I should post something quick. This is such an amazing online world of friends. So I have to say thanks to Karen Motz for introducing me (and so many of us) to stamping...I wouldn't have a load of stamping stuff, be a blogger or be designing stamps for Taylored Expressions if I hadn't met Karen. Taylor met me online because she spotted Karen's blog banner...and I think this is soon almost one year ago.

Today, I hope to visit you on my blog hop; do something fun with Henri (or maybe drag him along while I shop for a little 'sumpin'); get some time to stamp and create; and eat Baskin Robbins jamoca almond fudge ice cream cake tonight with the kids and Kim. Sounds good, doesn't it?!

Here's a question...Kim (that's my hubbie) is getting me a camera for my birthday. I've asked for a Canon Rebel. What do you use and recommend??????

Thanks for being part of my day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Christmas card for Noah

Many of you know my story or rather my Henri's story and his fight with a life-threatening immune disease. Henri is five and he is cured. I read about Noah today on the Unity forum over at Splitcoast. This little boy is also five and Angela wrote "Noah Biorkman is in the last stages of a 2 1/2yr battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer. The family is celebrating Christmas next week and Noah's request is to get lots of Christmas cards..." So, today I created this card for Noah:

You've seen this monster through the window before. Originally I created him for a Halloween card and then reused him for my daughter's birthday, but I always had different wreaths in mind hanging from his door. Today he's looking for Christmas. I think his Christmas hat puts a little Grinch in him, but Henri assures me he's not scary--he's a santa monster! Again I printed my monster (I'm thinking of selling a digi set...would anyone be interested???) on Gina K pure luxury cardstock and coloured with copics. I printed the image again on red cardstock and used my largest Large Labels nestie to frame the door.

Wishing you Christmas Joy is in a font called A Little Pot--I didn't name it!!...but I think it's a fun, youthful font and the sentiment is exactly what I want to express to this family. Celebrate Christmas whenever it brings you joy and with the people who mean the most.

Please consider sending a card to Noah. I understand the address for cards is
Noah Biorkman
c/o Scott Biorkman
3480 Petoskey Way
Milford, MI 48380

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Char!

Well, Charlene celebrated a birthday this week and her friends are surprising her with a birthday hop today. Here's my card for you, Char, I remember you telling me that yellow makes you happy, so here's a little Papertrey yellow, buttons and fun to make you smile.

I think this started with Wendy and the Loonie Stampers...
Dee -
Regan -
Jewels -
Maria -
Wendy -
And Char of course –

but more of Charlene's friends are playing along too...

Have a great one, Char!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Celebrate Life today and everyday!

I hope you've seen what the TE Baker's Dozen has to share's release day and they are featuring Celebrate Life, a new addition to the Whimsical Wishes line I design for Taylored Expressions. This set is not just for Autumn occasions-it has real potential for times for celebration and encouragement throughout the year. When Taylor was brainstorming the name for this set, I suggested "Celebrate Life" because for me autumn is both wonderful (the colours, the air, back-to-school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays,...) and a time when I remember people I've lost. I choose to celebrate their lives and mine too. Here's an Autumn Blessings card I created with this set using the pumpkin, pumpkin leaves and two sentiments from the set and gorgeous Indian Summer patterned paper:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monster wants cake too

November is birthday month in our house...a den of Scorpios (yes, that includes me) and our one little Gemini. Poor thing. Tomorrow the twins turn 11! This is a card/package for Morgana inspired by this week's Weekend Sketch Challenge #104. I pictured the treat bubble as soon as I saw the sketch and contemplated ribbons but opted for lines of "happy birthday," "have your cake and eat it too!" and "xoxoxoxo"... The colour scheme is really a result of today's SCS colour challenge, using neutrals with a pop of colour only in the image and embellishments. I love kraft and bright pink together!! I raided the kids' Halloween stash for smarties looking for only pink and brown ones. My bad!
I added a cake to my original monster, coloured with copics and sponged the background with Distress ink in antique linen. Brought out the pink stitching again and PTI raspberry fizz ribbon, black button and rustic thread. Although I haven't yet, I'm tucking in a gift card for lululemon in the top...can you believe an 11-year-old in lululemon?!!!!
Here are two pictures showing the full card with and without smarties (11 smarties to be exact):

Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hat in the wind

Here's my card for today's Mojo Monday sketch #111. I'm not sure how it came together...I looked through my Papertrey sets and found Made of Snow, which I've never inked up, and decided to build my little snowman to be reaching for his top hat blowing away in the wind. He's coloured with copics and prismacolor pencils with gamsol on Gina K pure luxury ivory cardstock.

Other details: Cosmo Cricket Jolly by Golly breezy freezy patterned paper; retired SU wild wasabi cardstock; basic grey opaline half pearls; SU soft sky ink (sponged around the edge of the image); Spellbinders Labels One and Circle nestabilities; Cuttlebug Swiss Dots and D'Vine Swirl embossing folders

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Help Yourself...if you dare

This is my Halloween packaging using green, purple, orange and black for the UNITY Bro Challenge #7:

I used the penny candy store stamp from the August Kit of the Month (remember HAPPINESS) and had some fun with copics and googly eyes. I masked out the text from the sign and added my own...HELP YOURSELF if you dare to 'spooky-it-up' a little. The double-sided patterned paper is Basic Grey eerie reaper. I repurposed a clear box, which used to hold envelopes from Gina K; cut out the window from my patterned paper sleeve with the largest Spellbinders Labels Four die; and scored and wrapped so you can see the reverse green through the window. I couldn't decide if I liked the jellybean-filled 'trendy tubes' from Papertrey Inc. all decked out with ribbon on the necks or just simply plain so I have included pictures of both versions:

I also thought I'd show you how the tubes are standing in the box...I scored and folded a type of stand with 3 circles cut out with the smallest Coluzzle circle.

Thanks for looking! Be sure to check out some of the other entrees for Bro's challenge on SCS too.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hope you can come out to play soon!

My dog is absolutely depressed! She's not sick...she's just bummed. Her best friend and next door neighbour, Butzi, has been out of commission for months because of a muscle injury in her back legs. Butzi is a boxweiller (just discovered that term for a boxer/rottie cross) and is an absolutely gorgeous dog. She had surgery at Guelph University, a well known veterinarian school, just this week and I don't yet know how it went. I made this card for her and her humans:

I started with my MFT Gone to the Dogs! set, but there wasn't really one that suited my lovable mutt Phoenix and I wanted her to face Butzi. So...I made my own Phoenix in Illustrator and printed on Gina K pure luxury 120lb cardstock. I stamped Butzi in Memento tuxedo black but removed the tail with a wet wipe before stamping, then drew in her stubbie with a copic pen. To make her 'cone of shame,' I cut out a half wedge of vellum paper with my circular Coluzzle template, sliced the focal image above and below Butzi's head and inserted the cone. Although fuzzy, this picture gives the idea...

While I was stitching around the panels, I thought Butzi needed some pink stitches too. Hope you can see them! She's also brindle just in case you thought my copic colouring was worse than!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Viva la Verve! October Week 4 {10/24/09} turned out to be a straight sketch challenge with no twist. My Whimsical Wishes (Taylored Expressions) stamps needed some love, so I reached for Spooky Expressions to fill the circles in the sketch. I also heat embossed my images for a change. The paper is from a Recollections pad from Michael's and the spidey brads came in the Spooky Expressions bundle from Taylored Expressions. Colouring with copics, sponging, thread...but it wasn't until I sewed the contrasting zig-zag stitching that the card looked complete. Sorry the photo tonight didn't turn out better. The orange and sponging should look more orange...

a colour twist

The twist for the Viva la Verve! October Week 2 {10/9/09} challenge was to avoid orange and brown so I stuck with the Golly by Jolly papers and printed the Verve digi image (available as a freebie last week) in black so I wouldn't be tempted! I used the wrong paper for copics so they bled-I'm telling myself that my mittens are just fuzzy and more cozy this way. What I do like is the same PTI rustic thread I used on the buttons as string for the mittens and the pink rolling hills in place of the horizontal panel.

A twist of shabby

The twist for Viva la Verve! October Week 1 {10/2/09} challenge was to take this sketch and go a little shabby with sponging, edge roughing, sewing, light, delicate colors,...

I needed a 'get well' card for a close friend's mother and a more muted look seemed perfect. Sorry I can't remember the name of the paper-it's lovely with an almost modern Toile de Jouy pattern.

fabric friend

Today I'm playing along with Viva la Verve! October Week 3 {10/16/09} over on Splitcoast and plan to catch up on the other three challenges this week. The twist to the sketch was to use fabric, real or faux, on our cards. Since my recent manly kilt was both faux and fur, I thought I'd raid my Amy Butler (there's that name again) fabric stash. I think this is the first time I've used my SU simple friendships set. The mauve/pink colour in the fabric is hard to pinpoint but I stamped the butterfly on PTI lavender moon and matted the fabric and focal piece with Gina K pure luxury chocolate and PTI aqua mist. The ribbon is actually Martha Stewart 1/2" craft seam binding in pink sand. Instead of using the three embellishments in the sketch, I added Bella baubles to the corners on the focal panel. I was going to add them to the scalloped border too but enough is enough...
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Love a man in a kilt!

This week's Unity Bro Challenge #6 was to use ONLY pink and brown (a sweet theme but manly) together with Unity stamps. I searched the internet for manly men in pink for inspiration and found this:

Gerard Butler in a kilt and pink. I certainly think he fits the sweet theme! And Scottish too, so I ran with it and created this card:

The only thing Sir Hot was missing was his sporran, so I used my Unity Vicious Circle stamp to create one, cut out the centre with my Coluzzle circle template to reveal luscious fur (don't worry, it's faux-no animal was harmed in making this card) and made the base and flap with nestie 'labels four' in two sizes. I also embossed the flap with one of the folders from the Cuttlebug Fancy Corners Embossing Set before adding a Celtic-looking button and tassel with a bead I picked up a Michael's. To create the faux leather look, I sponged SU close to cocoa cardstock with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in walnut and tea dye, them crumpled the paper up in a ball and carefully unraveled it. To create my manly kilt (don't you love a man in a kilt?), I folded the paper in a type of slanted accordion fold, then stitched along the pleats.

Even though my name is McKinney, I'm really a Ferguson, which means my sentiment had to be Scottish (hmmm, just like Gerard Butler). In Scots Gaelic, Slàinte Mhath apparently means 'Good Health' and I added the English sentiment so it makes sense to the non-Gaelic. I used Aon Cari Celtic and Adobe Garamond Pro fonts to create my sentiment and printed on retired SU pink pirouette cardstock.

Just one more picture because I'm not sure which gives the best detail...

Slàinte Mhath (may we all see a hottie in a kilt soon)...

Friday, October 23, 2009

VERVE Release Week Challenges

Henri was home sick today--the day I planned on actually creating FIVE cards to play along with the Verve Release Week Challenge. I thought the deadline was 5pm today but I've got to call it quits. We were given five fabulous sketches and a free digi download. What fun!

With just a few hours I managed to get three of the five done and used these sketches:

I used the digi mittens and sentiment for Sketch VSOCT09C:

The paper is S.E.I. paired with retired SU soft sky and ribbon. I played a little with the sketch, so I hope it works.

For Sketch VSOCT09D, I used another digi image but this time by the talented Mo J. Manning at Digital Pencil Too.

When I saw this Sheep on hills image, I couldn't resist. It reminds me of our trip to Scotland and Wales when I was a kid and the sheep that wouldn't move even when the tide came in--they were stuck on those hills until tide change. This is also one of two cards I did for Dawn McVey's Raspberry Suite Color Challenge #18 this week. I paper pieced the hills using PTI New Leaf cardstock and coloured the flowers and image with copics. Love this sketch and colour combo!

And finally, here's my card for VSOCT09E and also for Dawn's challenge. I've actually stamped the Papertrey stems and sentiment from the Everyday Button this set and everything I've seen done with it! I kept it quite simple given my time constraints and punched out flower tops from the patterned paper. I added stitching to complete the look while still keeping it simple.

Thanks so much for looking!