Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Autumn Leaves

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 Vickie's turn. She turned our attention to autumn leaves and asked us to include a leaf or leaves on our cards or projects.

I have an Impression Obsession background stamp that I purchased a long time ago, but had never used it. It's called Shaded Leaf. It's kind of a grungy look which lends itself beautifully to ink blending. So I stamped the image on white cardstock using brown ink and then blended a yellow, orange and red ink randomly onto the piece. To contrast the grunge look, I stamped a leaf from a Stampin' UP! stamp set (Gorgeous Leaves) on white cardstock and used it on a panel on the card.

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

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamps: Impression Obsession Shaded Leaf stamped with Memento Rich Cocoa Ink and SU Gorgeous Leaves stamped with Concord & 9th Marmalade Ink

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Cherry Cobbler and Early Espresso, and a scrap of yellow CS 

Ink (for blending): Concord & 9th Buttercup, Cranberry, and Marmalade

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles, Simon Says Simply Thanks, and Stamp Market Quick Strips

Embellishment: Buttons Galore Cherry Rhinestones

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Travel the World - Laos

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...


Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. 

Myanmar and China border Laos to the northwest. Vietnam is to the east, Cambodia to the southeast, and Thailand to the west and southwest.

Geographically, Laos is slightly smaller than Colorado.

There are approximately 7 million people and more than 100 ethnic groups living in Laos.

The Thai and Lao languages are very closely related, so much so that Laos speakers can understand Thai and vice-versa.

About sixty percent of the Laos population is Buddhist.

Monks collect their daily meals from local people at sunrise every morning. This is a daily Buddhist ritual where the Lao people line the streets with offerings of rice, fruit, and snacks for the 200 monks that reside in the city's temples.

Every Buddhist male in Laos is expected to become a monk for at least a short period of his life. Ideally, this would be just after he finishes school but before he starts a career or marries. during this time they are known as nairn or novices.

People in Laos greet each other by putting their hands together in a prayer-like manner known as the nop.

Simply beautiful is the official Laos tourism slogan.

With ideal temperatures and precipitation, flora and fauna of Laos is a luscious paradise. The mountain slopes are covered with tropical forests. Palm trees, beech, oak, pine, magnolias, sandalwood, ad rose are just some of the country's rich flora.

There are 20 natural parks in Laos.

Although Laos is a completely landlocked country in the south part of the country lies one of the most natural attractions known as the 4000 islands. The powerful Mekong River has divided the land of Laos into thousands of exquisite islets. The spectacular islands abound with powdering shores and turquoise waves.

Vang Vieng in Laos is home to the least expensive hot air balloon ride in the world.

The Khone Phapheng waterfall, known also as The Niagra of the East, is located on the Mekong River in southern Laos. It is the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia.

Laos is filled with forests, rugged mountains, rivers and some plains. About eighty percent of the population lives off subsistence agriculture - meaning they grown enough food to support themselves, but that's it. They don't make a profit from it. There isn't a lot of arable land either, with rice being the main crop.

In the words of one enthusiastic tourist, Laos has papayas - lots and lots of papayas - some of which are absolutely ginormous!

Nong Fa Lake - a stunning volcanic lake found at elevated levels in the mountains of southeast Laos, is shrouded in legends, respect and fear. The Laotians refuse to swim or bathe in the waters as they believe that the lake is home to a giant snake-pig that will consume any who dare to wade into its depths.

The lush jungles of Laos are home to a stunning abundance of wildlife and this country is the breeding grounds for King Cobras (the world's longest poisonous snake), white-cheeked gibbons, tigers, and Asian black bears. Other wild animals include sambar deer, sun bears, and leopard cats.

Laos has preserved rare species of animals - marsh lynx, marbled panther, Tibetan bear, and Indochinese tiger, to name a few.

Peacocks walk around in areas of Laos with their tails spread wide.

The wild elephant is considered to be one of Laos' national symbols. In fact, the country used to be called Lane Xang, which translates into The Land of a Million Elephants.

Unfortunately, today there are thought to be just 800 elephants remaining, of which half are kept in captivity.

Irrawaddy dolphins (known for their bulging forehead and short beak) used to be widely found in the Mekong River in Laos. Tragically, in 2012 it was announced that only three hundred dolphins ere left in Laos, meaning the species is functionally extinct in Laos. It should be noted that I also saw an article that said the last Irrawaddy dolphin in Laos had died.

Laos is home to one of the strangest competitive betting sports - rhinoceros beetle wrestling. The first beetle to severely maim, injure, or kill its opponent beetle is the victorious winner. People bet on which beetle they think is most likely to win and in this way rhinoceros beetle wrestling is an enthusiastic and competitive pastime of the locals.

Laos is home to a very mysterious and puzzling pottery site known as The Plain of Jars. The landscape is strewn with thousands of stone jars and no one knows for sure what they were used for but they date all the way back to the Stone Age (500 BC - AD 500). The curious sight has allowed for a great deal of opinions, theories, and stories. Some say the jars are a part of local burial ceremonies, others say that the jars once contained whiskey for thirsty giants who lived in the nearby mountains.

The Vieng Xai Caves in Laos are a network of some 450 shelter caves used during the Vietnam War. The communist Pathet Lao forces were headquartered there. The limestone caves were home to over 20,000 people who used them to escape the bombings. The caves contained hospitals, markets, living quarters, schools, a bakery, a bank, printing presses, government offices, a theatre, and even an elephant enclosure. Today they are a museum that enthralls all who visit.

In the Nam Kan National Park of Laos, you can stay in treehouses that perch 100-130 feet above the jungle below where guests can spot black-crested gibbons in their natural habitat.

Visitors can take an underground boat trip by torchlight down a river in the Kong Lor Cave. This natural wonder is made of limestone and has a river running through it. Visitors can admire rock formations, a pool that glows emerald, and cave ceilings which reach up to nearly 350 feet in height.

The country is rich in natural resources like timber, gypsum, tin, gold, and gemstones.

Mining (mostly copper and gold) helps the country's economy.

Coffee is Laos' biggest agricultural export. The coffee crops continue to grow and expand across the country each year and the high-quality beans are in much demand with the overseas market.

A traditional Laotian iced coffee from the street stalls is served with a large dollop of condensed milk at the bottom, in a plastic bag with lots of ice and a straw.

Laos has a nationwide midnight curfew. In practice, this is not enforced on the people so much, but more on businesses, although many guesthouses will ask you to return before midnight.

Laotian silk is 100% handmade. Laos is famous for its handwoven silk and the finished products can be purchased in various markets across the country. Still today, most weavers are using ancient weaving techniques that result in top-quality silk products.

Laotians consume more sticky rice than anyone else in the world.

There are many festivals in Laos. Festivals include food, dancing, music, and traditional costumes.

Lao New Year is one of the biggest celebrations of the year.

The New Year Festival (known as Pi Mai) in Laos is different that other New Year celebrations in the world because it happens 3 days in April, the hottest month of the year. During this lively festival, people have the opportunity to take part in a unique Water Splash. There is also nonstop dancing and music everywhere.

It is frowned upon to display any form of affection in public in Laos. Even kissing, hugging, or holding hands in public is taboo.

Laotians value foot etiquette. For instance, one should never point a foot at any other person, including Buddha. Moreover, one's feet should never touch someone else and they should never be raised on tables or chairs. Basically, feet should be used for walking, running, or playing a sport. Anything else is considered rude in the Laos culture.

Shoes must be removed when entering temples or homes in Laos.

The most practiced sport in Laos is Kataw. This looks like volleyball, but instead of playing with the hands, they use their feet to kick/throw the ball.

The literacy rate is Laos is 73%.

Laos is the world's second largest consumer of solar energy.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Laos... A common sight in Laos is flocks of brightly colored (and noisy) parrots that fly everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Your Next Stamp Parrot-Ise stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Hammermill 110# White and SU Misty Moonlight CS and other papers from my scrap file

Dies: Mama Elephant In the Clouds, MFT Snow Drifts, and Gina Marie Stitched Rectangles on the inside

Embellishments: Kat Scrappiness White Glass Bubbles

Monday, September 26, 2022

Crafting Happiness 09.26.2022

It's Monday - and what better way to start a week than by checking out the new challenge theme at Crafting Happiness Challenges? There are always two options - a Card option (that goes along with that week's theme) or Anything BUT a Card option (which is anything goes, so long as it isn't a card). Of course those of you who know me know that I almost always make cards, unless it's some Bible journaling. 

This week's Card theme is Trees.

Now it's your turn. I'd love to see links on the Crafting Happiness Challenges blog this week. --> HERE.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Taylored Expressions Simple Strips Background stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Basic Black and Old Olive CS and DP from my scrap file

Inks (for blending): SU Delightful Dijon and More Mustard

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles, Paper Roses Gum Tree, and Paper Roses Stitched Circle

Embellishments: Amazon Nail Art Rhinestones

Sunday, September 25, 2022

It's a Fan Club Christmas - September

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...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp: Crackerbox & Suzy Side Reindeer Large stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Sentiment Stamps/Dies: Taylored Expressions On the Block Merry and On Repeat Christmas stamped with Versafine Clair Nocturne Ink

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Granny Apple Green CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Wonky Stitch Rectangle

Embellishments: Studio Katia Lipstick Red Crystal

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Ink Pad Experiment #6

You might recall that I mentioned I was wanting to invest in some colored ink pads, but am not sure what brand I want so I'm testing some to see which brand best meets my needs. If you missed that blog post, you can check it out - HERE

I'm wanting dye inks that blend smoothly with blender brushes but are also suitable for stamping. 

For today's card I used Altenew ink pads. 

I used a stencil and two shades of green ink pads to make the background. I also used an Altenew stamp/die set on the card.

These ink pads blended nicely, but I'm not a fan of oval ink pads so this will not be on my short list. (Please don't hate me... it's just my preference for me. Oval ones are more difficult for me to handle.)

That being said, I really do like the way this card turned out.

I still have a few brands to try before I decide which I like best.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set: Altenew Blossom & Bloom stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Hammermill 110# White and SU Basic Black CS 

Ink (for blending): Altenew Forest Glades and Frayed Leaf

Dies: Birch Press Big Hello Sugar Script and Gina Marie Pleated Lace Rectangles

Embellishments: Kat Scrappiness White Glass Bubble Mix

Friday, September 23, 2022

BK - Silhouette Pines

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 Silhouette Pines stamp today.

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

Card #1

I stamped the pines directly onto a piece of cloud designer paper for this card.

Some more designer papers and a strip of washi tape complete the look.

Card #2

This crd was so much fun to make. After stamping the image I used the tip of Q-tips and three different colors of green ink to dab color onto the trees.

The word blessings is from the Blue Knight Rubber Stamps Blessing One Line Sentiments stamp 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, September 22, 2022

Double Duty 2022 - Impression Obsession

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 Impression Obsession. I used a stamp set that was designed by Dina Kowal, the Artist in Residence at Splitcoaststampers. 

Blue Footed is such a fun and quirky set. 

I. love. it.

Card #1

Card #2

The inside of Card #1 has a bit of the ink blended stencil in the upper left corner, while Card #2 has that plus an additional sentiment from the stamp set.

The thing/s that are the same on both cards (as per the challenge specifications) are: the papers, stencil/ink, rectangle dies, and embellishments.

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




Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Supplies Used

Stamp Set: Impression Obsession Blue Footed stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Basic Black CS

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Paper Roses Stitched Circles

Stencil/Ink (for blending): A Colorful Life Grunge Dots and Concord & 9th Marmalade Ink

Embellishments: Enamel Dots from an unknown vendor

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A BeYOUtiful Hello

I love paper-piecing. I know a lot of card-makers don't, but for me there is something relaxing about fussy cutting the pieces to create a paper-pieced design.

Often times my images of choice for paper-piecing are people, using designer paper for their clothing. For today's card I tried my hand at paper-piecing a flower.

This idea actually came to me when I decided to use m yInk on 3 BeYOUtiful stamp set. I do not own dies for this set; in fact, I'm not even sure if there are dies for it. BUT the leaves and flowers are separate stamps, so first I thought I'd do some masking to nestle the leaves behind the flower. Then it came to me... don't you just love a Eureka! moment?

I stamped the flower on white cardstock; then stamped the leaves on top of it, without masking since I knew I would cover that part over with designer paper anyway. 

I colored the leaves and stamped the flower on designer paper and fussy cut it to add to the image. 

I really like that look.

I added a paper-pieced blossom to the inside of my card, too...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Ink On 3 BeYOUtiful stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Basic Black CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles, MFT Stitched Tag-Corner Squares, and Paper Roses Hello Layered

Embellishments: Enamel Dots from an unknown vendor

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Travel the World - New Zealand

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...

New Zealand

New Zealand is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. Its closest neighbor is Australia (1,440 miles away) so it is a pretty isolated nation. The two next closest nations being Tonga and New Caledonia.

New Zealand is the third closest country to Antarctica, only after Chile and Argentina.

New Zealand has a length of 1,000 miles from north to south and a width of 280 miles.

There are two main islands in New Zealand and numerous smaller ones. The main islands are called the North Island and the South Island. Many of the smaller islands are uninhabited.

For such a small country, New Zealand has the ninth longest coastline in the world.

New Zealand was the last country in the world to be inhabited by humans.

Most of New Zealand's population lives on the North Island and about one third of the population lives in the city of Auckland alone.

Auckland is by far the biggest and most populous of all New Zealand cities, but it is not the one one worth mentioning. Other beautiful cities in New Zealand include Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, and Hamilton.

New Zealand is one of the countries where the largest and most populous city is not the capital. The biggest city is Auckland while the capital city is Wellington. Both are located on the North Island.

New Zealand's capital Wellington is the southernmost capital in the entire world.

There are three official languages in New Zealand. In addition to English and sign language, Maori is also an official language.

There are many volcanoes in New Zealand. Auckland alone is surrounded by 50 different volcanoes, but others are scattered throughout the islands. Most of the volcanoes are now extinct, and the ones that are active pose no major threat.

No matter where you are in New Zealand, you'll never be more than 80 miles from the seaside.

Thirty percent of the country is a national preserve.

The biggest one-day yachting event in the world takes place in New Zealand. Every last Monday in January, the Auckland Anniversary Regatta occurs, welcoming over 1,000 entries annually. Auckland, or the City of Sails, also holds the record for having the world's highest boat ownership per capita.

One in every four households in Auckland owns a boat.

One must be careful when using the word kiwi in New Zealand, since there are three different meanings for the word. The word kiwi is used when referring to a person who was born in New Zealand, a kiwi bird is a bird that is also used as a national symbol for the country, and there is also the delicious kiwi fruit.

The Kiwi, which is a flightless bird native to New Zealand, lays eggs that are 20% of the size of the mother's body. Kiwi eggs are six times as big as normal for a bird of its size.

The Kiwi fruit is not native to New Zealand. It's actually from China, but it was named after the Kiwi bird.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has a Kiwi as its logo. What makes this fact interesting? Kiwi is a flightless bird.

The New Zealand Kauri tree takes about 200 years to mature.

The town with the longest name in the world is located on the east coast of New Zealand. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturpukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is its name. Its translation from Maori goes something like this: The place where Tamatea, the man on the big knees slipped, climbed and swallowed mountains, know as the land eater, he played the flute to his love one.

New Zealand was the first country in which the vote for women was approved. This occurred in 1893, long before most countries in the world.

Most children in New Zealand start school on their fifth birthday. Students in other countries usually start at the beginning of the school year.

In 2007, a New Zealand couple wanted to name their child 4Real. They were denied by the court, only to settle on the name Superman.

The legal limit for names in New Zealand is 100 characters.

The steepest residential street in the world is located on the South Island of New Zealand. Baldwin Street has a 19 degree slope.

New Zealand's Gisborne airport has train tracks running across the runway which means sometimes a plane must wait for a train to pass before it is cleared to land.

The livestock industry is one of the main industries in New Zealand, particularly sheep. It is estimated for every person living in New Zealand, there are approximately 10 sheep. That is the highest ratio of sheep to humans in the world.

New Zealand is the second largest producer of wool in the world. It only follows after its closest neighbor, Australia.

New Zealand ranks 8th among top dairy producers in the world. Once, the country reached the top five when dairy farmers annually produced 220 pounds of butter and 143 pounds of cheese per person living in New Zealand.

New Zealand's highest-earning exports are dairy products.

The clearest lake in the world is Nelson's Blue Lake in New Zealand, with a visibility of up to 265 feet deep.

With more than 400, New Zealand has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world.

New Zealand is famous for its adrenaline adventures, especially bungee jumping. The first commercial bungee jump was made by AJ Hackett n the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown back in 1988.

The Kea, a bird native to New Zealand, is known for pulling windscreen wipers off cars and eating the strips of rubber from windows. In fact, many tourists suffer damage on their car rentals, thanks to this little bird.

One of the the most delicious means in New Zealand is hangi, which is a traditional Maori meal that is cooked underground. Usually fish or chicken is cooked with vegetables such as carrots or sweet potatoes. These are cooked in a pit which is pot on top of hot stones and then covered with dirt to trap the heat. The meal is cooked for about 3 or 4 hours, which makes the food so beautifully soft. The meat falls off the bone.

New Zealand has over 20,000 earthquakes a year, although most of them go unnoticed.

New Zealand is home to the heaviest insect in the whole world. In fact, theWeta insect is heavier than a sparrow.

New Zealand is also home to 44 species of local reptiles. The largest among them is the tuatara, which grows up to two feet long.

There are no snakes in New Zealand. None!

It is estimated that there are 2.5 million cars on roads in New Zealand. That's quite a few considering there are only around 4.5 million people. The car has always been the number one choice of travel in New Zealand, where roads are good and the scenery beautiful.

In order to demonstrate the intelligence of shelter animals, two rescue dogs in New Zealand were taught to drive a car around a track.

There are more species of penguins native to New Zealand than to any other country.

In the past, New Zealand had a dolphin named Pelorus Jack who guided ships through dangerous waters. Unfortunately, Pelorus Jack mysteriously disappeared in 1912.

The oldest organized sport in New Zealand is cricket.

New Zealand has two national anthems: God Save the Queen and God Defend New Zealand.

There are more Scottish pipe bands per capita in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world.

New Zealand has the most unique McDonald's in the world. The one in Taupo is a decommissioned DC3 plane.

The tallest freestanding formation in the southern hemisphere is found in New Zealand. The Auckland City Sky Tower on the North Island stands 1,076 feet tall.

A man broke into a radio station  in Wanganui and took the manager hostage in 1996. His demand was for the station to play the Muppet song Rainbow Connection.

All television advertising is banned in New Zealand on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas day.

New Zealand is one of only two countries in the world where drug companies are allowed to advertise to the public.

All New Zealand high schools and universities are allowed to keep a pound of uranium or thorium onsite, but they face a million dollar fine if it explodes.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about New Zealand... Bats are the only land mammals native to New Zealand. All of the others were introduced by humans.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Sugar Pea Designs Fangtastic stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Hammermill 110# White and SU Pool Party CS and DP from my scrap file

Ink/Stencil: MFT Pineapple Ink and a Circle Stencil from my college art class days

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Amazon Nail Art Rhinestones