Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thank you for all your well wishes for my recovery from surgery! All went well, and am feeling more like myself every day! I was actually able to spend some time at my computer today to gather this week's iPICKS where I post a selection of my favorite cards and projects found during my blurfing (blog surfing) and SCS stalking for the week. There's no formal rules or guidelines ... just inspiring projects that catch my eye, clever ideas, and exceptional designs. These are projects that inspire me and I hope they inspire you too! Here's my iPICKS for Week Three ...

Sharon Johnson's Christmas Card Collections ... White Gold, Masculine Metallic, Silver Blue & White (No Time To Stamp?).

Jessica Rone's Pretties Wednesday Pearls Card (Can You Say .... Addicted (to stamps)!!!

Laura Fredrickson's Colour Inspired Christmas Card and Versatile Versamarker Card(Scrapnextras).

Dawn Easton's Sugarplum Snowy Scene Card (Treasure Oiler Designz).

Amy Sheffer's Winter Wonderland Card and Christmas Church Card (Pickled Paper Designs).

Shelley Hopps' Gift Card Holder (Mocha Memories).

Linda Bullard's Glittered Ornament Card (labullard on SCS).

Jen del Muro's Happy Thanksgiving Card (i{heart}2stamp).

Connie Collins' Christmas Tree Triangle Ornament and Jingle All The Way Plate (Constantly Stamping).

Amy Rohl's Winter Post Card (rohla on SCS).

Nancy Littrell's Season of Friendship Simplicity Card (nancy littrell on SCS).

Christine Okken's Sweet Bella Jalene Card (ChristineCreations).

Kelly Lunceford's Victorian Christmas Card (Flutter by atomicbutterfly).

Karen Motz' Season of Friendship Card (Paper Playhouse).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'll be away from my blog for a few days, as I'm having surgery on my foot this morning. I'll be away until I'm feeling up to hobbling on over to my computer on crutches!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your family!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


One of my very best customers recently moved to Simi Valley, CA. She is looking for an active Stampin' Up! Demonstrator in her area that conducts regular stamp classes with a stamping style similar to mine. If you fit this description, or know someone who does, please e-mail me at


Here are two beautiful RAKs I received in the mail recently. The first is from my cyberspace friend, Wendy Bond, Bond Girl Bliss.
This next card is from Cheryl Smallsreed, our newest weSTAMP member.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Welcome to Week Two of iPICKS where I post a selection of my favorite cards and projects found during my blurfing (blog surfing) and SCS stalking for the week. There's no formal rules or guidelines ... just inspiring projects that catch my eye, clever ideas, and exceptional designs. These are projects that inspire me and I hope they inspire you too! Here's my iPICKS for Week Two ...

Fran Sabad's Winter Post Tag Gift Set, and Punch Pals Tag Gift Set with measurements HERE (franticstampers).

Jenn D's Punchy Penguin Gift Tag (Stamp Your Heart Out).

Karen Giron's Cupcake Birthday Card, Christmas card, and Baby card (the sweetest thing).

Chat's Chocolate Cupcake Card and Pearly White Card (Me, My Stamps and I).

Lori Froehlich's Pearly Poinsettia Joy Card and Baroque Poinsettias card ( Inspired Designs).

Jenna Millsap's Merry & Bright Card (A "Sap" for Stamps).

Libby Hickson's Snow Globe Cards HERE and HERE (Libby's Little Addiction).

Amy Sheffer's Thankful Hearts Card and Joy To The World Card (Pickled Paper Designs).

Vicki's Autumn Vine Baskets and Merry & Bright Card (It's A Stamp Thing).

Donna's Happy Thanksgiving Card (Butternut Sage Designs).

Michelle's Razzle Dazzle Wedding Card (Stop and Stamp the Roses).

Patti Lee's Bags In A Box ... Santa style, Mrs. Claus style, and Elves (Creations by Patti).

Nancy Morgan's Punch Art Designs (Paper Smiles).

Michele Force's Winter Post Christmas Card (The Stamp Link).

Lynn's Cardinal Christmas Card (LW Designs).

1GirlTwinBoys' Pattern Paper Card on SCS.

Mercy Kerin's 'Tis the Season card (Lord Have Mercy!).

Laura Fredrickson's Simply Said Weekend Sketch Set (Scrapnextras).

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Since this post showing glimpses of my studio, I've received many e-mails with questions about my pegboard system, stamp pad organizer, and more. As much as I love hearing from my readers, answering each individual e-mail has become quite time consuming. If you have questions about my studio, please refer to these posts that explain everything in great detail. If your questions aren't answered in these posts, feel free to e-mail me.






Thursday, November 20, 2008


I was so excited to see that Kristina Werner had extended the deadline for her Color Inspiration Challenge #31! I haven't been able to play along since I started working, and the extended deadline gave me the extra time I needed. Kristina's colors this week are CLOSE TO COCOA, ELEGANT EGGPLANT, PUMPKIN PIE, SO SAFFRON, and WHISPER WHITE. GREAT color combo!!!!!

I tried to play off of the inspiration photo of the autumn wreath. The Dew Drops (non-SU) added the dimension I needed for the large stamped image (Season of Friendship) and resemble the berries on Kristina's wreath. The circle paper piercing on the 1 3/8" Close To Cocoa CS was done using the Priceless Classy Brass Template, and the Punches Plus Classy Brass Template was used to paper pierce the So Saffron Scallop Circle. I used a Corner Rounder to round the corners of the sentiment from Holidays & Wishes.
Season of Friendship, Holidays & Wishes
Paper: Summer Picnic DP, So Saffron, Elegant Eggplant, Pumpkin Pie, Close To Cocoa, and Whisper White CS
Ink: Elegant Eggplant, Pumpkin Pie, and So Saffron Classic
Embellishments: Elegant Eggplant 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon, Dew Drops

Tools: Priceless Classy Brass Template, Punches Plus Classy Grass Template, Corner Rounder, 1 3/4", 1 3/8", and Scallop Circle Punches
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals

Monday, November 17, 2008


This sketch is Jen del Muro's Sketch For You To Try 11/15/08. I used an unusual combination, didn't I? ... Season of Joy stamp set with Manchester designer paper. Stampin' Up!'s Season of Joy has GOT to be one of the most brilliantly designed stamp sets I've ever owned ... one of my all-time favorites for sure! I really wanted to use this image with something that I'd never seen before, and something that wasn't so "obviously Christmas". Manchester DP with the colors of Baja Breeze, Always Artichoke, Sahara Sand, and Very Vanilla seemed like the perfect choice.

Did you know that some of the elements of the Priceless Classy Brass Template also coordinate with the stamp set Season of Joy? That's how I was able to paper pierce the Always Artichoke CS circles behind the three snowflakes. The snowflakes are stamped in Baja Breeze ink onto Very Vanilla CS and a dew drop (non-SU) adorns the center.

The main image from Season of Joy is stamped in Always Artichoke Classic Ink onto Very Vanilla CS, then again with Baja Breeze Classic Ink onto another piece of Very Vanilla CS. The three Baja Breeze poinsettia images were punched out with the 1/2" Circle Punch and the snowflake in the center of the "O" was punched out with the 3/4" Circle Punch. All were popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals, and a dot of Diamond Stickles (non-SU) was placed in the centers. Always Artichoke Brads are the "O" in "SEASON" and the dot of the explanation point. The Baja Breeze "&" was also cut out and popped up on a Stampin' Dimensional.
Season of Joy
Paper: Manchester DP, Baja Breeze, Always Artichoke, Sahara Sand, and Very Vanilla CS
Ink: Always Artichoke and Baja Breeze Classic Ink Pads, Versamark
Embellishments: Always Artichoke Brads, Diamond Stickles (non-SU), Dew Drops (non-SU)
Tools: Priceless Classy Brass Template, Paper Piercer & Mat Pack, 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4" Circle Punches
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals

Thanks for all the sweet comments you've been leaving lately! They mean so much to me! I can hardly wait to get home after work to see if there's any new comments waiting for me! Sounds like you really like the concept of iPICKS in my previous post ... I hope you've been inspired by those awesome projects as much as I have, and I've already begun creating next week's list! Have a FANTASTIC day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The time I spend reading other stamping blogs and lurking on has, and continues to be, my greatest source of inspiration and stamping education. Each week, I'll be posting a selection of my favorite cards and projects for the week. There's no formal rules or guidelines ... just projects that catch my eye ... projects that I find exceptional or inspiring. Here's my iPICKS for Week One ...

Anthonette Chavez' Movie Ticket Holder replicating Danny Zuko's leather jacket from the movie, Grease (Chavez Designs).

Lynn's Cracked Harvest Home card (LW Designs).

Snow Falling On A Tree card by Crafty Girl Designs.

MJ Albright's A Happy Heart card for her DH (beauty lies within).

Advent Calendar by Dena Rekow, A Little Piece of Art Stampers.

Snowman Soup by Angie Kennedy Juda, Chic 'n Scratch.

A Crop-a-dile tip from Marie, Marie Loves To Stamp.

Gift Card Holder using the 5-in-1 Template by Tammy Fite, Stamp with Tammy.

Wendy Bond's Mojo sketch card (Bond Girl Bliss).

Jodi Collin's Hip-Hippo-Ray!!! card (Stamping A Latte).

Jill Hilliard's Button Up for Christmas card (Jill's Card Creations).

Kay Kalthoff's Envelope Tea Bag Holder with tutorial (Stampin' To Share).

Chat Wszelaki's Eastern Pacific card (Me, My Stamps, and I).

Laurie Froehlich's Snowflake Wishes card (Inspired Designs).

Kathy LeDonne's Merry & Bright Tree Box.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I've used a flipped version of SCS Sketch Challenge #202 for this card. The stamp set, Season of Friendship, and the designer paper, Autumn Vine, are both from the Holiday Mini Catalog. The sentiment is from the Level One Hostess set, Best Yet. The leaves are stamped in Sage Shadow, Really Rust, and More Mustard, cut out, and popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals.
Stamps: Season of Friendship, Best Yet (Level One Hostess)
Paper: Autumn Vine DP, Really Rust, Sage Shadow, Chocolate Chip, and Whisper White CS
Ink: Chocolate Chip, More Mustard, Really Rust, and Sage Shadow Classic Ink Pads
Tools: Paper Piercing & Mat Pack, Scallop Circle Punch, 1 1/4" and 1 3/8" Circle Punches, 1 3/8" Square Punch
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals


I've had several iSTAMP readers e-mail me lately asking how I photograph my artwork. I'm extremely flattered that they think my photographs are good enough to share my process with others. You will probably laugh when you see the unsophisticated methods I use! There are many stampers/bloggers whose photographs I look at with great envy! What I have learned, I've learned from others ... AND everything I do is a result of alot of experimenting! I have tried the photo cubes and other methods, but this process is what works best for me ...

EQUIPMENT. I do not own a fancy, expensive camera. I use my Nikon Coolpix 5200 point & shoot digital camera.

WHERE. I take most of my photos at my stamping workstation ... see photo below. I wanted to point out a couple of things in this photo. First, the window with the blinds open. I have found that the more natural light I have coming in the room, without it being direct sunlight, the better. I also have fluorescent lighting under the cabinets and an OTT-LITE lamp that provides natural light.
THE BACKDROP. This next photo zooms in closer to show you the unsophisticated "studio" I easily rig up for each photo. I use two white cardboards from Stampin' Up!'s Designer Paper Packs ... one lies flat on my work surface, and the other is used as a backdrop (it just leans against my pegboard.LIGHTING. I try to let as much natural light into the room as possible. The fluorescent lighting under the cabinets provides light on my artwork. My craft room has a ceiling fan & light in the center of the room. For some reason, my photos turn out better with that light off (when shooting the photo, that light would be behind & above me). I position the OTT-LITE (natural light) BEHIND my artwork, a key component. It does not shine toward the artwork, it shines directly down, behind it. I never use a flash on my camera (disaster!).

CAMERA SETTINGS. I use a simple "Point-and-Shoot" mode and the Macro Close-Up option (tulip icon). Again, I never use a flash.

POSITIONING. I rarely photograph my artwork straight on ... I almost always angle the artwork slightly to each side. I also tend to photograph each piece with my camera slightly elevated.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. When photographing artwork I take MANY photos of it. It never fails ... I usually think a card will look great photographed from one side better than the other ... and the opposite is usually the case. So, I take many photographs from many different angles to get the best photo. Don't you just love digital for this very reason?!

EDITING. The next step is to choose the one photo from many that I think is best and edit. I use Adobe Photoshop 6.0. First I crop the photo, then play around with the lighting. I always to go ENHANCE, ADJUST LIGHTING, LEVELS. I play around with the Input Levels, and sometimes the Output Levels to get the best lighting. Sometimes, I go to ENHANCE, ADJUST LIGHTING, BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST and adjust the lighting there too. Again, lots of trial and error.

ADD YOUR MARK. Lastly, I add a watermark as an overlay to the photo, the white lettering that says "designed by Nancy Riley". I think this is such an important step as a designer, as I've seen some artists' photos/artwork used without permission. Get a watermark to protect your beautiful artwork! I've had a couple watermarks designed by Beth Silaika, Freckled and Fun. She has lots of great designs to choose from!

As a final note, I encourage you to experiment, especially with lighting. A photograph should enhance your beautiful artwork and really show it off!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Two weeks ago, twin girls were born to my cousin Mark and his wife, Holly. So exciting! I know this card has been done a zillion times but I just had to make one for them with a twins twist to it! I think the original designer of this awesome card is inkydigits on SCS ... you can see her card HERE.

I'm not sure if you can tell in this photograph or not, but the bottom Whisper White CS panel is meant to look like wanes cotting by scoring every 1/8" inch with my Scor-Pal. The hangers were created using Wire Works, a retired SU product. The Duckies Stampin' Around Wheel was stamped in Versamark onto the So Saffron CS, and the onesies from the stamp set, By Ones & By Twos (retired) were stamped in Basic Black onto Pretty In Pink Prints DP (retired), cut out and popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals.

Edited to Add: Tracy, a loyal iSTAMP reader, made the hangers with a standard paper clip and said it worked perfectly!

Stamps: By Ones & By Twos (retired), Duckies Stampin' Around Wheel (retired)
Paper: Pretty In Pink Prints DP (retired), Pretty In Pink, So Saffron, and Whisper White CS
Ink: Basic Black Classic Ink Pad, So Saffron and Pumpkin Pie Stampin' Write Markers, Versamark
Embellishments: Pretty In Pink Taffeta Ribbon, So Saffron Brads, Wire Works (retired)
Tools: Word Window Punch, Large Oval Punch, Scor-Pal (non-SU)
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This sketch ...SCS Sketch Challenge #200 ... was a great excuse to use my new Scallop Square Punch and this beautiful pattern from Sweet Always Designer Paper! The Pumpkin Pie Flower Fusion are on 1" Whisper White CS Circles with a non-SU White Brad. (I've never understood why SU doesn't carry white brads. To me, they seem like a pretty basic stamping necessity. Guess I better shoot them an e-mail about that one!) The sentiment for this card is from the retired stamp set, Small Sayings.

Thanks for stopping by and have a GREAT day! RECIPE
Stamps: sentiment from Small Sayings (retired)
Sweet Always DP, Pumpkin Pie and Whisper White CS

Ink: Pumpkin Pie Classic
Embellishments: Pumpkin Pie Flower Fusion, Pumpkin Pie Striped Grosgrain Ribbon, White Brads (non-SU)
Tools: Scallop Square Punch, 1" Circle Punch
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've seen many of these Origami Christmas Trees, and was finally motivated to try one after seeing THIS ONE by LeeAnn Greff . LeeAnn also provides wonderful, easy-to-follow instructions on the same post. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make!

I chose to keep the overall card fairly simple and let the dimension of the tree be the focal point. In case you're wondering, the tree easily lies flat to fit into an envelope. I chose to use designer paper from the I Wish Simply Scrappin Kit. The star and the sentiment (LOVE & HAPPINESS each day THROUGH THE YEAR) are both self-adhesive die cuts from this kit. I used the Priceless Classy Brass Template to paper pierce the Real Red CS 1 1/4" circle behind the sentiment. The scallop borders created by the Scallop Border Punch are also paper pierced which is difficult to see in the photo. I used my Scor-Pal to score the designer paper squares for the tree, but you could fold and use a Bone Folder to crease. RECIPE
Paper: I Wish Simply Scrappin' Kit, Old Olive, Real Red, Chocolate Chip, and Whisper White CS
Tools: Scallop Border Punch, Priceless Classy Brass Template, Paper Piercing Tool & Mat Pack, 1 1/4" Circle Punch
Embellishments: Self-Adhesive Die-Cuts from I Wish Simply Scrappin' Kit (sentiment & star)
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is one of those cards that I couldn't get to look quite right last week. Originally, I was using Jen del Muro's Sketch For You To Try from last week. Jen's sketch from this week (on the left) seemed to bring this card together for me.

The tree from Season of Friendship is embossed with White Embossing Powder. The snowflakes are stamped in Baja Breeze, punched out with the 3/4" Circle Punch, popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals, and Diamond Stickles (non-SU) were added to the centers. The designer paper is called Manchester from the current catalog and idea book.

Stamps: Season of Friendship
Paper: Manchester DP, Baja Breeze, Soft Sky, and Whisper White CS
Ink: White Craft, Baja Breeze Classic
Embellishments: Little Felt Flurries, Clear Dew Drops (non-SU)
Tools: Heat Gun, Embossing Buddy, 3/4" Circle Punch
Supplies: White EP, Diamond Stickles (non-SU), Tombo Adhesive, Stampin' Dimensionals

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I think my mojo is back, as I was able to complete three card designs this morning. I'll be sharing them with you throughout the week.

This card is a case of THIS CARD by Wendybell, SCS Featured Stamper #92. The changes I made include using a different Cuttlebug embossing folder, adding Silver Stickles, using different ribbon (Baja Breeze 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon), and a different stamp for the sentiment (mine is from last year's Sale-a-Bration stamp set, So Many Scallops), and I flipped the sketch. Ignore my one Stickles smudge on the left side ... ugh!RECIPE
Stamps: So Many Scallops (retired Sale-a-Bration)
Paper: Baja Breeze, Not Quite Navy and Whisper White CS
Ink: Not Quite Navy
Embellishments: Styled Silver HPH, Baja Breeze 5/8" Striped Grosgrain Ribbon, Silver Stickles (non-SU)
Tools: Cuttlebug and Snowflake Embossing Folder
Supplies: Stampin' Dimensionals

Friday, November 7, 2008


My lack of posts this week has been a result of lack of mojo. I've created a couple of cards that have ended up in the garbage or are still sitting here unfinished because I don't know what to do to make them look "right". Hopefully, this weekend my mojo will return and I'll have something suitable to show!

Lucky for me, my blogging friend Laura Fredrickson, Scrapnextras, mailed this gorgeous RAK (Random Act of Kindness) to me and I'm able to use it for "blog post material"! Laura and I were conversing via e-mail a couple of weeks ago, pumping each other up about the other's amazing talents when we finally decided to call a truce as honorary members of the Mutual Admiration Society! LOL!
Poor Laura got an earful from me that night after a really crappy day. Not only did she send cyber hugs but followed up with the folded kind! Isn't she awesome?! Her designs and talent continually blow me away! I just love it when her blog, Scrapnextras shows a new post on my Google Reader! .... it is ALWAYS a pleasant, unexpected surprise when I visit!

Monday, November 3, 2008


I've used Beate's Weekend Sketch Challenge #64 for the layout of this card, and used my new stamp set Party Hearty. I love how this image fits perfectly into the Scallop Circle Punch! The possibilities are endless for layering this circle image! I also used my favorite designer paper, Sweet Always.

Stamps: Party Hearty
Sweet Always DP, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, and Whisper White CS

Ink: Chocolate Chip
Pink Pirouette Flower Fusion Too, Pink Circle Rhinestone Brad, Regal Rose 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon

Scallop Circle Punch, 1 1/4" and 1" Circle Punches, Paper Piercer & Mat Pack, Scallop Border Punch

Stampin' Dimensionals


Last Tuesday was our monthly weSTAMP Demonstrator Group meeting and swap ... good food, great fellowship, and awesome swaps! Our swap theme this month was to make a standard A-2 card with a Christmas theme.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I've been bustin' at the seams to tell you this news! TODAY, I have a featured tutorial on SCS for their Holiday Tutorial Blitz! In fact, it's the Top News of the day on SCS's homepage!

Remember these altered junior legal pads/wish lists I made last Christmas? ... click HERE to see more. Beate Johns asked me to write a tutorial for them for Splitcoast! You can see the tutorial HERE. All week, SCS will be having their Holiday Tutorial Blitz with a new holiday project and tutorial every day.

It was an honor to be asked to write the tutorial, and Beate was such a pleasure to work with! She was very patient with this inexperienced tutorial writer!

The icing on the cake was this gorgeous RAK I received from Beate Johns! Beate used the Stampin' Up! Statement of the Heart stamp, along with the color combination of Pink Pirouette, Kiwi Kiss, and Chocolate Chip and Dazzling Diamonds on the stamped flower image.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I haven't abandoned my blog ... just real busy being a mom of a senior in her last couple of weeks of marching band season! Last night was the last home football game, and it was also SENIOR NIGHT! The seniors are given crowns from Burger King, spray painted gold to wear that evening ... I know - sounds silly, but it is a big deal for the seniors to get to wear their crowns that night. During pre-game, each senior is announced, along with their parents/significant other family members, and their future plans. The seniors and their escorts walk onto the football field for special recognition. Here's a photo of John and I with our daughter, Allie. Allie plans to attend ASU to study the field of architecture.
This morning we headed to Flagstaff, Arizona for the Northern Arizona University marching band competition. Our kids' performance knocked our socks off! They were amazing, and only a half of a point away from receiving the much deserved rating of "superior". They also received a caption for music performance.

After the competition, John drove me to the famous Flagstaff scrapbook store, About Memories & More! I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Kirsten Mead. What a treat! Kirsten is just as sweet and talented as she appears on her blog, About Memories & More ... AND, her store is AWESOME - FULL of the latest and greatest scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies! Kirsten and I have been following each other's blogs for quite some time. I can't tell you how fun it was to meet in person! She is a doll !!!!!!!!!!

Kirsten Mead and Nancy Riley