Monday, May 23, 2022

Travel the World - Marshall Islands

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. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is an island nation in the central Pacific OceanThe islands are located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

The Marshall Islands – or the Republic of the Marshall Islands – is a collection of 1,225 islands and atolls scattered across the Pacific Ocean. 

The islands and inlets lie in two parallel chains of coral atolls—the Ratak, or Sunrise, to the east and the Ralik, or Sunset, to the west. The chains lie about 125 miles apart and extend some 800 miles northwest to southeast.

The islands are coral caps set on the rims of submerged volcanoes rising from the ocean floor. 

Marshall Islands is the sixth smallest sovereign state in the world in terms of land area with 70 square miles.

The Marshall Islands are scattered over a vast area of ocean about 730,000 square miles; equivalent in size to Mexico.

In total, the Marshall Islands is home to just over fifty thousand people.

Most people live in urban clusters found on many of the country's islands; more than two-thirds of the population lives on the atolls of Majuro and Ebeye.

There are 29 separate atolls in the Marshalls, containing a total of 1,225 islands, 870 reef systems and 160 species of coral. It’s one of only four atoll nations in the world. 

Most of the Marshall Islands are true atolls, consisting of an irregular, oval-shaped coral reef surrounding a lagoon; the islets lie along the coral reef. 

Twenty-four of the atolls and islands are inhabited.

Annual precipitation varies from 20 to 30 inches in the north to 160 inches in the southern atolls. The wettest months are October and November. Several of the northern atolls are uninhabited owing to insufficient rainfall.

Most of the islands are so narrow that there’s just one road running the entire length of them.

There are paved roads only on the two largest atolls of the archipelago.

The average altitude above sea level for the entire country is only 7 feet.

The Marshall Islands are the most endangered nation in the world due to flooding from climate change.

Swimming, surfing, paddle boarding and diving are all popular activities in the Marshall Islands’ waters. Sailing is also a popular attraction for local residents as well as visitors to the area.

The coastline of the islands totals 230 miles in length.

Despite its deserted beaches and superb scuba diving, it’s the second-least visited country in the world.

The country only receives around 5,000 tourists a year.

The clear-blue waters, surrounding the Marshall Islands are home to over 1,000 species of fish and more than 250 species of soft and hard corals. With crystal clear visibility, dramatic drop-offs and several wrecks to explore, it’s considered one of the best places in the world to scuba dive.

The islands and islets of the Ratak chain tend to be more heavily wooded than those of the Ralik. Coconut and pandanus palms and breadfruit trees are the principal vegetation. 

Majuro is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It is also a large coral atoll of 64 islands. Majuro has a port, shopping district, hotels, and an international airport.

American missionaries arrived in the Marshalls in the 1850s, introducing Christianity to the population. Today the Marshallese are predominantly Christian.

The Flame of the Forest is a flower that is present on all atolls, which the locals consider as symbols for blessings.

The US provides millions of dollars in aid annually and still controls the security and defense of the islands. It also rents out the Kwajalein atoll as a base and missile test range. A number of islands are off-limits due to US military presence. As a result, the Marshall Islands is one of 22 countries without a standing military.

The only indigenous land mammal in the Marshall Islands is the Polynesian rat.

The country is brimming with marine life, including more than 1,000 species of fish.

Marshall Islands is home to the world's largest shark sanctuary.

A major attraction for divers is the crystal clear water marine life and sunken ships which can be explored around the coasts. 

Copra, or dried coconut meat, is important to Marshallese economy.

A popular way of greeting long-lost or current friends is by saying; ‘iakwe’.
This translates to ‘you are a rainbow’! It is pronounced ‘yawk-way’!

The Marshall Island produces and exports tomatoes, breadfruit, shells and more!

There are only two hospitals in the entire country.

Transportation among the atolls and islands is by boat or air. 

Majuro and Kwajalein have international airports, and domestic and regional flights link some of the other atolls and islands.

Majuro and Jaluit atolls each have a public secondary school. Majuro is also the site of the College of the Marshall Islands (1993), which grants certificates and associate degrees in a variety of programs.

Males typically perform activities associated with the sea and sky (fishing, canoe building, gathering drinking coconuts, capturing birds) while females dominate activities on the land (digging arrowroot or gathering pandanus fronds). Females also control the domestic sphere and are associated with activities in the village, while men work in the bush lands away from the village and travel freely to foreign countries.

Infants are indulged, with few restrictions on their activities. They are nursed until two or three years of age, or until the birth of a younger sibling. Infants are fully integrated into daily domestic activities, and are carried on the hip by working mothers or slightly older siblings.

By the age of four or five, children become nursemaids. They assist with babies, run errands, and attend to small chores around the residence. Young boys are given freedom to explore beyond the village, and they frequently accompany older siblings, fathers, or mother's brothers on fishing and gathering expeditions. While children are given considerable freedom, they are also admonished with strict shouts of nana! (bad!) when important social boundaries have been crossed.

Recently, many Marshall Islanders have chosen to pursue higher education, usually in the United States where they are eligible for education loans.

In 2008, athletes from the Marshall Islands took part in the Olympic Games for the first time, but did not take prizes.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Marshall Islands... A child's first birthday celebration, known as kemem, is one of the most important celebrations in the Marshall Islands. Extended family members and friends celebrate the occasion with huge feasts.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Whipper Snapper Birthday Pup stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Gina K Master Layouts 1, MFT Stitched Mod Rectangles, and MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Heart-shaped Brad from an unknown vendor

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Double Duty 2022 - Stamping Bella

In January of 2021, my stamping comrades Barb and Kelly and I debuted a new series/challenge. Double Duty was Barb's idea... and it is a GREAT idea! I've had so much fun with this series. Thanks for inviting me to play along, Barb!

This is Barb's description of the Double Duty concept...

Each month, we get to pick a stamp set from a predetermined company. Then, we will use that one stamp set and make two cards from the set.  Different images and sentiments from the same set can be used, or use the same image two different ways—Double Duty either way!  But, as an added challenge, one item must be used on both cards—same color cardstock, same ribbon, same stencil, same something.  Double Duty Again!  Post both cards on your blog on the same day—the 22nd of each month.  See-Double Duty again!  Have fun getting doubly inky each month with a different stamp company.  Let’s have fun!

Over the past year, things have changed a bit in who's participating, but not in the instructions. This year's Double Duty crafters are Barb, Carol, Darlene, and me.

This month's company is Stamping Bella. I used their Mason Jar of Flowers stamp set.

Card #1

Card #2

The thing/s that are the same on both cards (as per the challenge specifications) are: the gold embellishments and washi tape and the sentiment die.

Let's check out the other Double Duty cards, too...




Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Supplies Used

Stamp/Die Set: Stamping Bella Mason Jar of Flowers stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Parakeet Party and Poppy Parade CS and Metallic Gold CS from my scrap file

Dies: Birch Press Design Big Hello, MFT Stitched Rectangles, Pink & Main Stitched Arches, and SU Scalloped Contours

Embellishments: Altenew Washi Tape and Pink Fresh Metallic Gold Pearls

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Something New in '22 - May

I have a lot of stamps - from a lot of companies. When my husband walks into my Play Room, he sometimes looks around and suggests that I'm single-handedly trying to keep the stamping companies in business. Nah! I know many of you are helping that cause, too. 

So why would I start a new series this year that requires me to buy new stamps??? Because it's going to be fun.

Something New in '22

The concept is to find a new (to me) stamp company each month, to purchase a stamp/set and create a card. Once a month. Twelve companies. Twelve stamp sets. Doesn't that sound fun?!?!?!?! (I see your head nodding in agreement.)

This month's company is Stamp Market. I already owned a few dies from this company, but no stamps. I've now added one of their stamp/die sets to my collection.

Instead of coloring the flowers like I normally would do, I decided to use one of the leftover panels from my Hot Mess crafting earlier this month. Truthfully, I probably would like this card better had I colored them, but sometimes I just have to think outside of my norm.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamps/Dies: Stamp Market Cosmo Cluster and Rubbernecker Distress Frame stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and Maker Forte Splatter Square #2 stamped with Ink on 3 Sharktooth White Innk

Reinkers (for Bubble Wrap Technique): SU Real Red, Tangelo Twist, and Real Red

Sprays: AMuse Marshmallow Splash and Wink of Stella (mixed w/ Rubbing Alcohol)

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Purely Pomegranate and Tempting Turquoise CS 

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles 

Embellishment: Taylored Expressions Enamel Dots

Friday, May 20, 2022

Blue Knight - Scenic Lake

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 new Scenic Lake stamp set today.

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

Card #1

This card was colored with Copic Markers.

Card #2

This card was colored with Derwent Inktense Colored Pencils

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, May 19, 2022

It's a Fan Club Christmas - May

It is no secret that I am a fan of Splitcoaststampers. I joined in January of 2008 and it soon became a place that I loved. Many friendships have been made there, I've gained inspiration and been challenged to try new things, I've participated in swaps and challenges and special events. Many of you totally understand what I mean when I say SCS is my happy place because it's your happy place, too. 

I didn't know there was such a thing as an SCS Fan Club in those days, but when I heard about it, I decided to join, thinking I could give back a little bit to the site that means so much to me. Little did I know that I get much more as a fan club member than I ever give. There are just so many fun perks, the monthly Fan Club Christmas/Winter Challenge, being one of them.

Each month you'll find a card here on my blog that I've made with for that month's challenge... but of course, I can't share what the theme is. If you are an SCS fan club member, you can learn all the details there. If you're not, I hope you'll enjoy my card anyway.

Here's this month's card...

Here's the inside:

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Art Impressions Tropical Christmas stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Rose Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and MFT Tag-Corner Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Stickles Glitter Glue and Flip Flop Brads from an unknown vendor

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Pink Peonies

I {heart} SCS.

I'm pretty sure it's no secret - splitcoaststampers is my happy place. It's where friendships are made. It's where inspiration is gleaned. It's where tutorials are found. Oh, and did I mention, CHALLENGES (new ones each day of the week)! 

Each challenge has a few people who know the themes ahead of time and create cards/samples to be shared when the challenge is introduced. I was delighted when I was asked to join the Sketch Challenge design team for six months. Each Wednesday (February - July 2022) I'll share the card I made for the current week's Sketch Challenge. 

This Week's Sketch (#SC906):

Here's my card:

I went with a mini slim line design. They seem to suit my style better than the taller slim line.

I hope you'll check out the Sketch Challenge - HERE - and play along. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Stamps/Die: Sunny Studio Pink Peonies and Stampendous Retro Thinking of You stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Polished Pink CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles, Paper Roses Stitched Circles, Taylored Expressions Petite Scallop Mini Slim, and Taylored Expressions Stitched Mini Slim

Embellishments: Studio Katia Gray Clouds Crystals

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Color Challenge Guest Designer Week 7

I thoroughly enjoyed being a Guest Designer for the SCS Color Challenges last month and was excited when Mary contacted me and asked me if I'd be willing to serve as a Guest Designer in May, too. Of course I quickly said "YES!!!" so every Tuesday this month you will find a Color Challenge card here on my blog. 

This week's "An Evening of Fragrant Pink Freesia" Color Challenge (#CC896) is Fresh Freesia, Evening Evergreen, and Polished Pink, with Vellum as the "dessert" element.

Here's my card:

Here's the inside:

I hope you'll check out the Color Challenge - HERE - and play along.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Stampin' UP! Nature's Harvest stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers 

Papers: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Evening Evergreen, Fresh Freesia, and Polished Pink CS and dotted Vellum from my scrap file

Dies: Erin Lee Creative Chevron Builder and MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Ink Road Clear Droplets

Monday, May 16, 2022

Travel the World - Cote d'Ivoire

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. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

Cote d'Ivoire

The Republic of Cote d'Ivoire (previously known as the Ivory Coast) is an African country bustling with resorts and sandy beaches, making it a great tourist destination for people from all around the world.

Although the country was previously referred to in English as "Ivory Coast", the country has requested that it be called "Côte d'Ivoire" (the equivalent in French). Pronouncing it "Coat di-VWAR" is close enough for an English-speaking person.

It is bordered by MaliBurkina FasoGhanaLiberia and Guinea.

Previously a French colony, the country gained its independence in 1960.

The official language of Cote d'Ivoire is French.

Geographically, it is slightly larger than the state of New Mexico.

It has 370 miles of coastline.

Cote d'Ivoire is mostly flat with mountains in the northwest and a forested interior.

Cote d'Ivoire has two capital cities. Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, but Abidjan remains the administrative capital and the officially designated economic capital. Most countries maintain an embassy in Abidjan.

With a population of 4,800,000, Abidjan is the world’s third-largest French-speaking city after Kinshasa in DR Congo and Paris in France.

Abidjan, one of the many trading ports built by Europeans along the African coast, is located on a lagoon rather than on the sea. 

There are more than 60 ethnic groups in Côte d’Ivoire.

About one-half of the population lives in rural areas.

Agriculture provides a livelihood for more than half the labor force, and locally grown subsistence crops meet most rural domestic needs. Main crops include yams, cassava, plantains, wheat, and corn.

Cocoa beans are the main export crop, cultivated by more than one-quarter of the population.

Most of the country's cocoa beans are grown by farmers of small farms (12 acres or less).

Cote d'Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans, exporting over $3.8 billion worth of beans in 2019.

In addition to chocolate, the Ivory Coast produces bananas, pineapples, fish, coffee, lumber, cotton, palm oil and petroleum.

Cote d'Ivoire is the world's 3rd largest producer of coffee.

The largest Christian church in the world, Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, is located on the Cote d'Ivoire. It can hold up to 18,000 people.

Rural housing in Côte d’Ivoire varies among people and locations. Many houses in the southeastern quarter of the country are rectangular in shape and made of reeds, poles, or dried clay. Traditionally, roofs were thatched; corrugated iron sheets are now more frequently used. Houses among the Kru and other peoples of the southwestern forest zone may be either rectangular or round, varying according to place. Dwellings are clustered around a central open area, which often serves as an evening meeting place and is where councils of elders dispense justice. The Malinke of the northwestern part of the country build round houses of mud and sun-dried brick covered by a conical thatched roof. Fences surround the dwellings, which are clustered in compounds. In the northeastern corner of the country and as far away as northern Benin, distinctive rectangular houses that somewhat resemble castles are built out of mud or brick and are crowned with crenellated parapets built around a flat roof.

Music is a vital part of Ivoirian culture. There is a strong tradition of griots who use music to help tell historical stories. The Senufo use marimbas and tuned iron gongs, among other instruments, to make their music.

Traditionally, singing is a past-time activity that most family members participate in as part of the folklore sessions. Welcoming guests, new seasons, fresh harvest, the birth of a newborn, rights of passage, deaths, and other events involve music.

Cote d’Ivoire was the first non-English speaking country to win an Academy Award. The winning film was entitled Black and White in Color.

As in many other African countries, football (soccer) is a major sport in Côte d’Ivoire. A football field exists in just about every town and village, and there is at least one football club in every city. Côte d’Ivoire also has a baseball federation, and many Ivoirians play basketball and rugby. The chocolate industry in the country forms a huge part of its culture and heritage.

Animal life abounds in Cote d'Ivoire. There are forest buffalo, bongo (a reddish brown antelope), dwarf antelopes, giant forest hogs, red river hogs, lions, elephants, leopards, green monkeys, just to name a few.

There are already over 400 species of birds identified in the country.

Cote d’Ivoire is home to what may be the smallest spider in the world. This is the symphytognathid spider Anapistula Caecula.

By nature, the Ivorian are known for being humble no matter how high their achievements are.

It is said that the people of Cote d'Ivoire are always smiling.

The Ivorians are kind people who enjoy inviting others for dinner.

Ivoirians eat yams, plantains, rice millet, corn and peanuts as staples for their diets. The national dish is fufu (foofoo) which is plantains, cassava or yams pounded into a sticky mass and served with a seasoned meat and sauce called kedjenou (KED-gen-ooh). Kedjenou is made from peanuts, eggplant okra or tomatoes. A typical side dish is a porridge made from grated cassava called Attieke. Meat, chicken and fish are popular among those who can afford it. Many dishes have hot peppers and fresh fruits are a typical dessert.

A popular snack is aloko, fried banana served with onions and chilies.

Maquis (open air restaurants) can be found almost anywhere across Côte d'Ivoire and is the ultimate meeting place for everybody. These eateries are the favorite hang-out spot of the locals whenever they want to unwind with friends, relatives or colleagues after a busy day. Service at the maquis is quite slow and expats should know that the locals eat with their bare hands instead of using utensils. The servers usually offer a bucket of water and soap for hand washing before and after the customer eats.

Only 48% of adults in Cote d'Ivoire can read.

At an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, Mt. Nimba is the highest peak in Cote d'Ivoire.

Lake Kossou is Côte d'Ivoire's largest lake. This artificial body of water was created in 1973 by damming the Bandama River.

Christmas Day (December 25) is celebrated by local Christians with all-night church services that start on Christmas Eve (December 24) and end at 6:00 a.m. During worship, you can expect singing, group dancing, poetry recitation, skits, testimonies, prayers, and a sermon. Ivoirian Christians do not exchange gifts on Christmas, they wait until the new year to signal good prosperity.

Ivoirians always great each other and inquire about a person's health, family, or work. It is considered rude to conduct business without first greeting. Men shake hands with one another; women instead kiss each other three times on the cheeks, alternating sides. At social functions, it is polite to shake hands with everyone upon entering and leaving. Eye contact is usually avoided, particularly between father and child, and it is considered rude to stare. Gift giving is customary, especially to those who are respected in the community.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Cote d'Ivoire... While the country produces more than one-third of the world's cocoa, chocolate isn't a traditional food there. It is a commodity to be sold.

Here's the inside:

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: Kat Scrappiness I Love Chocolate and MFT Dip Me in Chocolate A la' Mode stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Gina K Master Layouts 2, MFT Stitched Rectangles, and Pink & Main Stitched Arches

Embellishments: SU Old Olive Brads