Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Catch Up Club - November 2022

About a month ago, Barb, Darlene, Terry and I were texting and the subject came up how we were all behind in some cardmaking projects, many of them from virtual classes that we'd signed up for and partially completed but still had much to do. Rather than just grumble about it, we decided to take action and from that conversation the Catch Up Club was formed. On the last day of each month (beginning this month) we will each be sharing a cared that we were late in making. It might be from a virtual event that was held, a challenge we are late with, a group that we did not post on time - anything that we are behind on! 

For my first Catch Up post, I've made one of the cards from this summer's C9 Summer Camp. It was a great event... I loved the cards/supplies, and while I watched the classes I had not yet made a card.

Where to start? The first card of the even, of course.

Cardscapes with Laura Bassen

Brighter Days Card

Be sure to check the other Catch Up Club members' blogs, too...




Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Travel the World - Maldives

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...


Nestled southwest of Sri Lanka and India, Maldives is an archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean and also the smallest country in Asia.

The islands extend more than 510 miles from north to south and 80 miles from east to west. The northernmost atoll is about 370 miles south-southwest of the Indian mainland, and the central area, including the capital island of Male (Male’), is about 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka.

Maldives is the world's flattest country.

The Maldive Islands are a series of coral atolls built up from the crowns of a submerged ancient volcanic mountain range. All the islands are low-lying, none rising to more than 6 feet above sea level

The 1,200 islands in Maldives are less than two feet above sea level on average, making the area more prone to rising sea levels, erosion and other environmental factors. As a result, the country is slowly sinking into the ocean. 

Maldives has some of the smallest islands in the world, only a few square feet in size.

Of the 1,200 islands as clusters and atolls in Maldives, only about 200 are inhabited, and 110 are reserved for tourism. The rest of the uninhabited islands are used for agriculture and other sources of livelihood.

Maldives likely formed from a sunken chain of volcanoes.

Maldives lies just across the equator. Since it lies on the equator, sunlight hits the country at a 90-degree angle. A very high sun protection is needed to prevent the risk of sunburn.

Unlike most “white sand” beaches that have yellowish sand, the beaches of Maldives have true white sands. The sands of Maldives beaches are made of coralline. Other beaches often have sand from quartz with a yellow tinge. Coralline sands are rare and only present in around 5% of beaches worldwide.

Maldives is the smallest Muslim country in the world.

More than half of the population of Maldives is considered rural. With the exception of those living in Male, the only relatively large settlement in the country, the inhabitants of the Maldives live in villages on small islands in scattered atolls. 

Only about 20 of the islands have more than 1,000 inhabitants, and the southern islands are more densely populated than the northern ones.

Maldives has the biggest whale shark population in the world. It is also one of only a few places in the world where whale sharks can be encountered all year round.

Its seas are home to five of the seven marine turtle species in the world. You can see loggerheads, leatherbacks, Olive Ridley turtles, green turtles and hawksbill turtles when you visit popular dive sites in the country.

The underwater marine world of Maldives displays clownfish, jellyfish, parrotfish, pink whip rays, and zebra sharks.

There are many land animals too in Maldives, too. For instance – flying boxes, cats, deers, elephants.

The coconut tree is the national tree of Maldives, and you’ll see it on their flag. These trees can last for at least a hundred years and grow up to 100 feet tall.

Traditional Maldivian houses were originally made from corals due to coral mining. These houses used coral rocks from shallow reef flats. Since most citizens used lumber and coconut leaves to build their homes, coral was reserved for mosques, tombstones and monuments because they were a symbol of opulence.A house made of coral was a sign of luxury and prestige. Even though coral reefs are now protected, you can still see old coral houses in Maldives.

Bodu Beru is a local music and dance show accompanied by a wood drum made from the coconut tree trunk. The Inhabitants of Maldives believed that the BoduBeru concept was started by the sailors from the Indian Ocean. 

The shape of the famous traditional Maldivian boat, the dhoni, might have been inspired from the ancient Arabian sailing dhow, commonly used as a trading ship in Indian Ocean around the 11th Century. 

Seasoned dhoni captains and crews still refrain from using GPS or compasses to navigate the various atolls and islands. Instead, they observe the movement of water in the lagoons to avoid dangerous reefs. Sometimes they navigate the waters by looking at the stars.

Fishing, long the traditional base of the economy, has been far surpassed by tourism as the main source of gross domestic product (GDP). While the sector still produces the bulk of the country’s exports and continues to grow (albeit at a slower pace than the tourism industry), it employs less than one-fifth of the labour force and contributes less than one-tenth of the GDP. 

Tuna is the predominant fish caught, traditionally by the pole-and-line method, although a good deal of the fishing fleet has been mechanized. Most of the fish catch is sold to foreign companies for processing and export.

Those willing to spend $50,000 for the night can stay in luxury underwater accommodations that include such luxuries as round-the-clock butler service, flights to the villa’s own private seaplane jetty, as well as the use a speedboat for the duration of its guests’ stay. Above the waterline, the top floor houses two bedrooms, a sun deck, infinity pool and a bathroom with an ocean-facing bathtub. The living room and king-sized master bedroom are 16.4 ft below the sea and feature transparent acrylic domes that look directly onto the surrounding coral reef and sea life.

Maldives' former president Mohammed Nasheed held an underwater cabinet meeting in Girifushi. On October 17, 2009, Nasheed and 13 other government officials participated in the first underwater cabinet meeting. The agenda was to address the looming threat of global warming. The officials signed a document asking all countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and prevent climate change during the meeting.

The cuisine of Maldives, like the lifestyle, is dependant on the sea. Therefore, fish is an integral part of the culture of Maldivies. Another primary ingredient used in Maldivian cuisine is coconut and its products, such as coconut oil and milk. 

Unlike the majority of the countries that consider Saturday and Sunday as the weekend, Maldives have their weekends on Friday and Saturday.

Maldivian women run the household while men fish for tuna.

Maldives has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 98%.

The legal age for marriage in Maldives is eighteen, although half of the women marry by age fifteen. Marriages are not arranged. 

In accordance with Islamic law, a man can have four wives at any time if he can support them financially, but polygamy is uncommon. 

Maldives has one of the highest divorce rates in the world; according to a 1977 census, nearly half of the women over the age of thirty had been married four times or more.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Maldives... The Maldives often attracts honeymooners as a romantic retreat perfect for honeymoons and secluded getaways. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: SU Wonderful Moments stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

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

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Sizzix Domes

Embellishments: Studio Katia Sparkling Crystals

Monday, November 28, 2022

Celebrate the Past; Enjoy the Present

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 Pansy's turn. She challenged us with these words... Celebrating the Past, Enjoying the Present - Try to evoke both on your card.

I will admit I struggled. While I love the idea behind Pansy's theme, I was stumped. I thought and thought and thought some more. Then I had an epiphany and I felt so foolish. It had been so simple. (I guess I was over-thinking the theme.)

We celebrate the birth of Jesus each year, something that happened a long time ago. As a Christian I believe He came to earth as a baby, grew to adulthood without sin, died a brutal death on the cross and paid the price for my sins. Because of my relationship with Him, I can enjoy the present. He walks with me through the trials of life and brings joy into my life in the good times. Not only can I enjoy the present because of Jesus, I can look forward to the future; a future in heaven with Him.

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

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: Maker Forte Oh Holy Night stamped with VersaFine Clair Nocturne Ink and Our Daily Bread Names of Jesus stamped with Concord & 9th Wheat Ink

Ink (for blending): Concord & 9th Wheat

White Pen (for specks): Sakura Decorese

Papers: Fun Stampers Journey Oatmeal Cookie CS 

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishment: Amazon Rhinestones

Sunday, November 27, 2022

From a Kit Series - Take 15

I started a new series on my blog in July of 2021. 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. That just shouldn't be so I'm going to commit to using a kit once a month for this "From a Kit" series.

This month I used the Simon Says Santa's Helper kit.

It included a variety of items - stamp set, designer papers, cardstock, crackling gel, a glitter marker, and more.

Here's the card I made:

The gingham paper was a pinkish/red and white color, which didn't work real well with my design... so I colored it with the Spectrum Noir glitter marker that was included in the kit.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

In addition to the Simon Says Santa's Helpers kit, I used some dies (MFT Stitched Rectangle and MFT Stitched Tag-Corner Rectangles) and Glitter enamel dots from an unknown vendor.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

It's a Fan Club Christmas - November

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 Set: Unity Small Stuff Christmas stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Hammermill 110# White, Recollections Black and SU Shaded Spruce CS and DP from my scrap file

Distress Ink (for blending): Ranger Antique Linen

Dies: Gina K Master Layouts 2 and MFT Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Gina Marie Glitter Enamel Dots

Friday, November 25, 2022

BK - Regal Buck (or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

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.

For today's card I used the Regal Buck stamp set today. 

You can check out the stamp set in the Blue Knight Rubber Stamps store - HERE. The sentiment on my card is from their Pine Cone Swag stamp set.

I used Copic markers to color the gorgeous Regal Buck. Of course, with Christmas just one month away, I had to color the deer's nose red.

* * * * * 

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, November 24, 2022

Sketch #SC933

I just had to play along with this week's Sketch Challenge on SCS (Sketch #SC933) because when I looked at it, I saw Santa Claus. Am I the only one?

Of course, I have been decorating for Christmas for about a week now; maybe that's affected my eyesight. 

See what I mean...

Here's the inside:

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

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

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Real Red CS and Paper Studio Green Happy Holidays DP

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Paper Roses Stitched Circles

Embellishments: Buckle, Buttons, and Ribbon (all from unknown vendors)

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Gratitude In Every Moment

I've been busy decorating our home for Christmas. I know. I know. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We do celebrate Thanksgiving, but we don't do it at our house. So... I have traditionally decorated for Christmas early. 

That being said, it seems to get more tiring these days. I work at it more slowly. In the evenings I sit and create a card, because truthfully, I'm almost too worn out to do anything that requires standing/moving. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Last night I wanted to color flowers so I searched through my "uninked" category in my Evernote inventory of stamps I own and found the perfect one. The image is definitely Christmas, but the sentiment has a gratitude theme. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Set
: Simon Says / Memory Box Beautiful Moments stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Hammermill 110# White, Recollections Black, and SU Real Red CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Pink Fresh Diagonal Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Studio Katia Sparkling Crystals

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Double Duty 2022 - Northwoods

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 Northwoods. I'll admit that until the last year I didn't own many Northwoods stamps at all. They are so detailed and coloring the images intimidates me. BUT... my sister has quite stamping and she gave me her vast collection of Northwoods stamps so I had many to choose from for today's Double Duty series. I ended up going with one that I'm calling Christmas Candle (I wish Northwoods would put the stamp name on the wooden block).

Card #1...

Card #2...

The thing/s that are the same on both cards (as per the challenge specifications) are the rhinestone embellishments. I also only used dies from My Favorite Things on both cards.

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




Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Supplies Used

Stamp: Northwoods Christmas Candle stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Papers: Hammermill 110# White and SU Pear Pizzazz and Sahara Sand CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and MFT Wonky Stitched Rectangles

Embellishments: Amazon Rhinestones

Monday, November 21, 2022

Travel the World - Slovakia

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...


Slovakia is a landlocked nation located in central Europe.

Slovakia borders Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Ukraine.

It is a fairly small country. In fact, it is only about twice the size of New Hampshire.

Slovakia could fit within the boundaries of Minnesota three times.

Slovakia is noted primarily for its mountainous nature. The Carpathian Mountains are in the north, and various lowlands are in the south.

Slovakia’s climate is humid at lower altitudes. This includes warm summers and humid winters. At high altitudes, however, the climate is subarctic and alpine.

The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, lies on the borders with Austria and Hungary. That makes the city the only capital in the world that borders two independent countries. 

Slovakia has the world's highest number of castles and chateaux per capita. Just imagine an incredible number of 180 castles and 425 chateaux in a country with the entire population far smaller than the city of New York! 

More than 6,000 caves have been discovered in Slovakia.

With more than 1,300 mineral springs, Slovakia has incredible sources of mineral water and healing thermal springs. Most of them are actively used for therapeutic and recreation purposes within 21 spa resorts.

Forty percent of the country is covered with forests.

Slovakia is home of the highest wooden altar in the world. This remarkable work was created by Master Paul. It is located in Church of St. James right in the historical centre of Levoča. The altar was made without the use of a single nail!

There are numerous churches in Slovakia that are made completely of wood. Most don’t have a single nail in them. For numerous centuries, non- Roman Catholic churches were forbidden by law, to use any hard materials like metal and stone in their construction. This is one of the very few countries in the world that has preserved these marvels so well.

Since November 2014 all children, full-time students less than 26 years old, widowed or disabled pensioners under 62 and seniors 62 and older are eligible to travel by train for free using the Slovakian national railways. It is available only for citizens or permanent residents of countries that are member states of the European Union.

As with many European countries, the family is very important in Slovakia. It is not uncommon for families in rural areas to have children, parents, and grandparents under one roof. This arrangement allows grandparents, especially grandmothers, to help care for children so their parents can work.

The varied landscape of Slovakia supports a wide variety of animal life. This includes bears, wolves, lynx, wildcats, marmots, otters, and minks.

A popular site in Slovakia is what is commonly known as Devil's Rock. This unique natural phenomenon can be found at the nature trail near the Budča village. The large round boulder standing on a tiny area of a high cliff is extremely photogenic.

Slovakia has 9 national parks and 14 protected landscape areas.

The highest statue of a horse in the world is located in Slovakia's Sport and Congress Center in Šamorín-Cilistov. It is made entirely of stainless steel, rises to a height of almost 30 feet and weighs 20 tons.

The national tree of Slovakia is small-leaved lime.
Slovakia is one of three countries in the world where Coca-Cola is not the most popular drink. It gives way to Kofola, which was introduced in the 1960s.

Shops in Slovakia do not stay open particularly late, close early on Saturday, and are definitely closed on a Sunday.

Slovakia has a solar clock that shows the accurate solar time and it is the only one of its kind. It is located in Stara Bystrica. 

Slovak Folk Dance is one of the most fascinating things about the country. The different styles and colors of the costume is an inspiration from the region which it belongs to and a certain way of life. As a matter of fact, there are numerous folk groups in the country. The dances are marked by features such as briskness, temperamental, and following the tunes of the instruments such as cymbalo, violin, and bass. The folk performances can be witnessed at the community festivals during the summer times.

Slovakia is often mistaken for a similar-sounding country – Slovenia.

The team of Slovak and Slovenian embassies gathers once a month with their associates to swap wrongly-addressed letters.

December 6th (the feast of St. Nicholas) is impatiently awaited in Slovakia, especially by children. On this day St. Nicolas visits households accompanied by the devil, gives sweets or toys to children who were good. The sweets are put in boots that children prepare before they go to bed. St. Nicholas gives naughty children onions or coal instead.

Many customs in Slovakia are related to the Christmas holiday. Although it is a Christian holiday, Christmas is celebrated not only by Christians, but by nearly all families. Christmas is most beloved by children, who look forward to it all year. People clean their households, bake honey cakes, and decorate their homes long before the holiday. Children especially look forward to the Christmas tree decorated with sweets, which is not-to-be-missed. The first course at Christmas dinner is composed of Christmas wafers with honey and nuts or garlic, so that those eating it would be healthy all year. An apple is then picked and cut open – when the seeds form a regular five-pointed star it means good health. The menu differs depending on the region. Cabbage or pea soup is usually served, followed by fish and potato salad. After dinner the family unwraps the gifts under the tree, carols are sung, or Christmas tales are watched on television.

fujara is a large folk shepherd’s flute from central Slovakia. It is typically played standing up and is especially popular during folk festivals and celebrations.

May 1 is a national holiday in Slovakia, and there is no school or work. Instead, the men go out into the forests to find tall trees to use as May poles. The Slovak traditional May pole is a tall tree which has been stripped of all of its branches except the very top two to three feet which are left intact to look like a small Christmas tree. To these branches, Slovaks tie colorful ribbons which symbolize love, new life, and good growth. The May poles stay up in neighborhoods and in front of community centers until June 1, when they are taken down with another day of celebrations, bringing friends, family, and neighbors together.

Whether in a restaurant or at home, Slovakian meals always begin with soup. Some soups are broth based with veggies, while others are cream based. Some soups just pique your appetite, while others feel like entire meals.

Native wildlife in Slovakia includes chamoiswolves, martens, marmotsbears, and otters.

Slovakia’s native birds include wild geeseducks, storks, partridges, pheasants, and many raptors.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Slovakia... The backbone of the Slovak economy today is the automotive industry. Slovakia produces the largest number of cars per capita in the world – 191 per 1000 inhabitants.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Unity On All Cylinders stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

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

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and Simon Says Sentiment Labels

Embellishments: Amazon Rhinestones