Tuesday, August 31, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 34

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...


Lebanon is a sovereign state in Western Asia.

It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across from the Mediterranean Sea.

The name Lebanon is the oldest name of any country in the world. It has not been changed for over 4,000 years.

Lebanon is one of the world’s oldest countries with thousands of years of history.

The country is 30 times smaller than Poland.

Tied with Thailand, Lebanon has the world's third-highest number of public holidays. With 16 public days of holiday per year, only India and Colombia with 18 holidays have more.

Lebanon is currently shelter to some 450,000 refugees. The majority of these live in the 12 refugee camps set up in Lebanon. These refugees suffer from poverty, unemployment, bad infrastructure, and poor housing conditions.

Lebanon is one of the highest cigarette consumers in the world with over 2,000 cigarettes smoked per person each year.

Mount Lebanon is a mountain range in Lebanon which averages above 2500 m in elevation. The name of the country, in fact, comes from this mountain range.

The official language in Lebanon is Arabic. The country in nearly trilingual though, with French and English being well used in addition to Arabic.

Lebanon is the third smallest country in the Middle East after Bahrain and the Palestinian Territories.

Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, Beirut is the country’s largest and main seaport. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, inhabited more than 5,000 years ago.

The Lebanese capital was home to the world's first law school.

There are now 42 universities in Lebanon.

Lebanon has a doctor to patient ratio of 1:10. To put that into perspective, Europe and America have a doctor to patient ratio of 1:100.

During the 1960s, Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, was known as the “Paris of the East” due to its image as a playground for the world’s most affluent tourists.

Legend has it that Beirut has been rebuilt from the ashes seven times, making it an “urban phoenix in mythology”.

In 2020, a massive explosion in Beirut killed at least 200 people, injured over 6,000 and leveled a huge area of the city. The blast – estimated at one-twentieth of that of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima – was caused by the ignition of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a port warehouse.

Lebanon's Jeita Grotto is a system of two separate, but interconnected, karstic limestone caves spanning an overall length of 5.6 miles. Few caverns in the world approach the astounding wealth or the extent of those of Jeita. In these caves and galleries, known to man since Paleolithic times, the action of water has created cathedral-like vaults beneath the wooded hills of Mount Lebanon.

Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East that does not have a desert.

It does see snowfall every year and even has ski resorts that remain open for as long as three months a year.

Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East.

Over twice as many Lebanese live outside the country than those living within its borders.

The country's last official census was taken in 1932.

Compulsory education begins at age 6 in Lebanon and lasts for 9 years. Over 70% of the pupils are educated in private schools.

Lebanon has 140 miles of coastline.

The country has 22 rivers, all of which are non navigable. This is because they are fast-flowing, straight, and generally plunge down narrow mountain canyons to the sea.

There are over 4,440 miles of paved roads in Lebanon, including 106 miles of express roads (0.01% of all roads in the world).

There are 250 miles of railroad tracks in Lebanon.

The Lebanese work week is 48 hours long.

Agriculturally, Lebanon produces apples, grapes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, tobacco, sheep, and goats.

The country's industries include tourism, banking, food processing, jewelry, textiles, mineral and chemical products, cement, oil refining, metal fabricating, and wood and furniture products.

Since 1945, it is illegal to raise any foreign flag in Lebanon.

Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities, has been inhabited since the Neolithic period (10,000-4,500 BC). Its buildings date back 8000 years and demonstrate several millennia of constructions.

Lebanon receives almost 80% of its yearly rainfall between November and March.

There are over 3,000 species of flora in Lebanon.

In Lebanon, a piece of land can have two legal owners. The piece of land is owned by one and the crop growing on the land is owned by other.

Testimony from a pigeon clapper (one who claps his hands together to influence the flight patterns of nearby pigeons) is not valid in court in Lebanon. As the work of this nature is considered unethical in Lebanon, people who do this job are considered inadequate for marriage, as well.

In Lebanon "women" can get married as young as 9-years-old and "men" at the age of 13.

Lebanon is the first Arab country to permit private radio and television.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Lebanon... There are 21 major daily newspapers that serve the audience in Lebanon. However, the media is at the mercy of political parties for funding, which is also why most of the newspapers offer a biased view of the news.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Stamping Bella Uptown Girl Nancy Reads a Newspaper stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Cougar 110# White and SU Soft Succulent CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Rubbernecker Rectangle with Pierce

Embellishments: Michael's Enamel Dots

Monday, August 30, 2021

From a Kit Series - Take 2

I started a new series on my blog last month. The idea was born from the fact that I have a lot of unused card/stamping kits just waiting to have some attention. Sheesh! Seems as though I buy them and they just sit... so it's time to take action.

My first post in this series can be seen - HERE. But let me warn you... it is NOT a pretty card. In fact, it's horrible and most of the items from that kit ended up going in my donate box and are now no longer in my stash.

This month I pulled out the Spellbinders August Kit of the Month. I purchased it on clearance long after it was current. These kits come with papers, dies, embellishments and such - but no stamps.

I considered using one of my own stamps with it when creating a card, but decided against it, since I kind of want to keep this series all about the kits.

I don't hate my card, so that's better than last month. One thing I do like about using these kits is they tend to move me out of my comfort zone and force me to do something other than my normal style.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

In addition to the Spellbinders August Kit of the Month, I used CS for the card base (SU Old Olive) and some dies (MFT Stitched Rectangle and MFT Stitched Mini Scallop Rectangle)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

I Miss Time with Friends

One of my favorite crafting tools is my Misti. It makes stamping nearly stress-free because if I don't get a complete/crisp stamped image the first time, I can stamp again - and again, if needed - until I get the look I'm wanting. That is especially helpful with more detailed stamps like the one I used on today's card.

Do you own a Misti? If not, I'd highly recommend you get one. Better yet, want to win a gift certificate so you can purchase one? If so, check out the MISTI Monday challenges on SCS. Someone wins each month (I've been a fortunate winner)... it could be you! 

The current challenge is found - HERE.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Colorado Craft Company Girlfriends and Coffee stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Cougar 110# White and SU Cinnamon Cider and Lemon Lime Twist CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies/Punch: MFT Stitched Rectangle Die and SU Wide Oval Punch

Embellishments: Brads from an unknown vendor

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dies, Dies, and More Dies

One of my favorite challenge groups is the Challenge Your Stash group on SCS, under the capable and organized leadership of my friend Barb. The idea is we can't shop for anything when making our monthly challenge card (which we post on the 28th of each month). 

We take turns choosing the theme. This month it was Maggie's turn. She challenged us to make a card using dies/punches but no stamps. I do have a lot of dies and punches, so you'd think this would be an easy challenge for me. Think again. EEK! I do love to color, so not using stamps (and my beloved Copics) made this quite challenging.

I do love a challenge!

It doesn't show up well, but the two stems of leaves are not the same color. The taller one is black and the one on the right is a dark green. I used the same two colors for the nesting die (behind the "Hello").

I hope Maggie, Barb, and the other Challenge Your Stash gals like my card.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Dies: Gina Marie Big & Little Chain Rectangles, Paper Roses Hello Chunky Double Layered, SU Eclectic Layers, and SU Meadow Dies

Papers: Cougar 110# White, Recollections 110# Black and SU Evening Evergreen CS and DP from my scrap file

Embellishments: SU Gingham Ribbon

Friday, August 27, 2021

Blue Knight - Train Tracks

Fridays are special days - who doesn't love TGIF, right? But here on my blog Fridays are also special because they are the day I get to post as a design team member for Blue Knight Rubber Stamps.

I used the Train Tracks stamp set to make this week's cards. This stamp set has a gorgeous image and two sentiment stamps, too.

You can check out the stamp set in the Blue Knight Rubber Stamps store - HERE.

I usually make two cards with each Blue Knight stamp set, but this time I just had to make a third one.

Card #1

This is one of those cards that looked better in my head. I went with monochromatic ink blending and stamping.

The clouds were created using the Heidi Pettie Cloud stencil that can be purchased from Blue Knight Rubber Stamps - HERE

After stamping the image I used a Sizzix oval die to cut it out and layer it on the ink-blended background. I also blended some ink around the edge of the oval.

Card #2

This card I focused on coloring - with Copic Markers. I added a sentiment from the stamp set, coo. The dies I used are all from My Favorite Things - Stitched Rectangles.

Card #3

I used a stencil and Copic Markers (not ink) to create the sun/rays on this card.

I used a rounded corner die on the image of this card for an extra touch. It's the Rubbernecker Necker Rectangle with Pierce die set.

I think it's amazing to see how one stamp looks so different depending on how it's used. 

* * * * * 

You can find each of today's featured stamps HERE, at the Blue Knight Rubber Stamps web store.

And... don't forget to join us at the Fan Group and YouTube Channel:
Fans of Blue Knight Rubber Stamps (Facebook group) is HERE
and the Blue Knight Rubber Stamps YouTube Channel is HERE

Jeanette Cloyd, Design Team Member

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

You Are In my Thoughts

I've been a member of the Technique Tuesday Greenhouse Society for a long time now... receiving the club flower stamp set each month. I hoarded them for a while, then started a series on my blog, committing to using them. 

I thoroughly enjoy this series because flowers are my favorite thing to color. 

This month's Greenhouse Society stamp set is Cornflowers

I wasn't sure what a cornflower looks like, so I followed the example on the Technique Tuesday site for color choices. It's not a color I would normally associate with flowers, but I do like the color.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Technique Tuesday Cornflowers stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black and Ink on 3 Shark Tooth White Inks and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Cougar 110# White, Recollections 110# Black and SU Pear Pizzazz CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies/Punch: MFT Stitched Rectangles Die, SU Scalloped Contour Dies, and SU Wide Oval Punch

Embellishments: Eyelet Outlet Enamel Heart and Ribbon from an unknown vendor

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Slimline Poinsettia

I discovered the Dirty Dozen Christmas (Sketch) Challenges on SCS this year and have enjoyed making a card each month. The card I made with this month's sketch is extremely simple... but that's okay. Sometimes that's just what I need.

The poinsettia on the card was created with 2-step stamping. When I first got into card-making/stamping, I did a lot of these kinds of images so this is kind of old-school. I do love to color and don't see myself giving up that enjoyment, but I also like the look of 2-step stamping.

This month's sketch:

Here's my card:

I did color the flower center (with a single Copic Marker) but it really doesn't show up much because I added three rhinestones to that area.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: SU Watercolor Winter stamped with Memento Lady Bug, Rhubarb Stalk, and Tuxedo Black Inks

Papers: Cougar 110# White and SU Garden Green and Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Kat Scrappiness Double Stitched Nesting Slimline and SU Stitched Shapes (Square)

Embellishments: Michael's Rhinestones

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 33

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...


The Republic of Benin is a small West African country. It covers an area of 44,310 square miles and is home to about 11 million people.

Benin is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.

It is the 100th largest country in the world in terms of land area 

In terms of area, Benin is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania. 

The country measures about 202 miles at its widest point.

It gained independence from the French on August 1, 1960 and celebrates independence day on August 1st every year.

Formerly known as French Dahomey (or Dahomey), on November 30, 1975 it was renamed Benin, after the body of water on which the country lies.

Benin is one of the most politically stable countries in the West Africa.

The terrain of the country is mostly flat to undulating plain with some hills and low mountains.

The country has about 75 miles of coastline.

Benin’s only seaport and international airport are in Cotonou, which is also the largest city in the country.

While other West African countries export oil and cocoa, Benin's largest export is cotton. It accounts for 80% of its exports.

The high prices of legal petrol forces the locals to buy it illegally for cheap. Petrol is illegally sourced from Nigeria and is sold in the country. Petrol stations are scarce in the country.

Mont Sokbaro is the highest point of Benin, with an altitude of 659 meters, or 2,159 feet. It’s located on the border between Benin and Togo, and is part of the Atakora Mountains.

Forest cover accounts for 40% of the land and agriculture accounts for 35%.

Benin is a tropical nation that’s highly dependent on agriculture, with substantial employment and income coming from subsistence farming.

The country has fields of lying fallow, mangroves, and remnants of large sacred forests. In the rest of the country, the savanna is covered with thorny scrubs and dotted with huge baobab trees.

Because of the extreme heat during the summers in the country, people tend to wear jackets to protect their skin from burns.

The village of Ganvie, located on Lake Nokoue in Benin, has been dubbed the “Venice of Africa” as it was built entirely on stilts.

There is at least one open-air market in every town of the country.

With a median age of just 17 years old, Benin has the 10th youngest population in the world. Almost 65% of the population is under 25 years old.

People generally eat rice, vegetables, and meat. Food is prepared at least twice a day. A variety of fish is eaten in the south while beef is more popular in the north.

Young Beninese like to eat packaged food items that are mostly imported. They perceive their traditional diet as monotonous and like to eat imported food, instead.

Unlike in most parts of the world, snakes in Benin are revered, particularly the Royal pythons. They even eat and sleep in people homes. (FYI, news sources say that Royal Pythons are not dangerous.)

The Temple of Pythons is in Benin. It has 50 Royal Pythons. The Temple measures 130 square feet.

It is considered a sign of good fortune if a snake crosses one’s path.

Benin is also home to Fulani herders who move their livestock over long distances in search of grass. These herders are locally known as the Peul.

The largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Voodoo and

The voodoo religion originated in Benin where National Voodoo Day is celebrated annually on January 10th.

Benin has a literacy rate of 38.4%.

Due to illiteracy levels, only 4.5% of the population can access and use the internet.

When leaving or entering a room in Benin, it is considered respectful to shake everyone's hand.

Benin has a high fertility rate with approximately 5 children per woman.

One of the largest collections of carved wood is found in Benin.

Benin woodcarvers are well known. Their work is extremely authentic. It is a tradition handed over from one generation to another spanning several centuries.

The country is famous around the world for its carved masks.

Crime rate is low in the country. However, theft is a problem and many wealthier homeowners generally hire a night watchman.

There are two national parks in Benin.

The Pendjari National Park lies in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Named for the Pendjari River, the national park is known for its wildlife and is home to some of the last populations of big game like elephants, West African lions, hippopotamuses, buffalo and various antelopes in West Africa. The park is also famous for its richness in birds.

The W National Park is a major nation par in West Africa. It derives its name from the River Niger that meanders through the area in a shape like a "W". The park includes areas of three countries - Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso - and is governed by the governments of all three of those countries. The park is known for its large mammals including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotami, African leopards, West African lions, serval, and warthogs.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Benin... People in Benin don’t like to be photographed as they believe that a photograph can be used to cast a spell or a curse.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: MFT Picture This and Red Rubber Designs It's Your Day stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Cougar 110# White and SU Calypso Coral CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and MFT Stitched Rounded Rectangles

Embellishments: SU Faceted Gems

Monday, August 23, 2021

Stay Pawsitive

I love to send encouraging cards so when I saw the Stay Positive sentiment in the Inky Stamper Dog stamp set, I knew I wanted to use it on a card. Of course, I also wanted to use the dog stamp. So I did.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Inky Stamper stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Cougar 110# White and SU Cherry Cobbler CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangle

Embellishment: SU Resin Heart