Sky is the limit

So while I don't sell Stampin' Up!, I am a pretty good customer! I knew that this set, called Sky is the Limit would definitely have to be added to my stamp stash as soon as I saw it in the Sale-a-bration catalog! 

So ya know what that means, right? Yes, it was a free set! Free stamps with purchase! Gotta love that!

So here's my first card: 

and the inside...

And scrapbook page...

The planes are easy to trim out and wouldn't be right without pop-dots. I used the 3/4" circle punch to make a vellum circle over each propeller area. 

I am looking forward to making a couple of Father's Day cards with this set as well.

Happy Friday!



So a stunning announcement was published today--Basic Grey, a pillar paper company of legendary proportion in the Scrapbooking community is moving away from paper and reinventing itself for other markets.

I distinctly remember the very first time I picked up a piece of paper from a "new company" named Basic Grey. It was a special piece of paper and quite honestly, it represented something monumental in the scrapbooking industry at the time.

Three things actually.

Basic Grey was the first major patterned paper producer to print patterned papers on cardstock-weight paper. I remember my personal discovery of this and the feeling of potential it represented. It was amazing to watch how quickly this became the industry standard.

Basic Grey was the first major paper producer to print double-sided paper. Options are always a good thing and printing a different but complementary pattern on each side definitely improves one's paper-crafting options!

Basic Grey was also the first major paper player hit that $1 per piece price point and didn't get slammed back into reality by consumers. It was that beautiful!

Sidenote: I was visiting a small scrapbook store in Jackson, Mississippi many years ago when the funniest thing happened to me. I collected up a few papers to purchase. The cashier sorted my selections into two stacks. She rang up the first stack at one price and then I noticed she was ringing up the second stack by charging me twice for each sheet. I inquired what the difference was and she said "We charge double for double-sided paper since its like you are getting two sheets."

Umm, no, sweetie. It's still just one sheet of paper.

That store didn't last long.

Anyway, over the years Basic Grey has become a staple in the industry. Their paper designs were considered more adult and their collections adaptable to many styles of scrapbooking and paper-crafting.

I've heard people say "scrapbooking is dying" quite often lately. And while that stabs at the very core of who I am, I can see it.

Ok. Well not really but I can see some major shifts.

I can not concede that scrapbooking is dying. Even if I thought it was, I wouldn't say it out loud. Having first started scrapbooking in 1996, when papers were limited to 8.5x11 in size and mail-order catalogs and one lone direct marketing company were our only resource options, that's just not a thought I'm willing to entertain.

I do see that many people are changing the way they scrapbook. Pocket scrapbooking has found it's stride with many who were previously into the 12x12 way of life and perhaps more importantly, many who resisted the 12x12 big heavy album way.

Many people are embracing the ease with which digital scrapbooks (ok, photo books) can be created and published. Last year I made a digital photo book on my phone while sitting on the plane coming home from our cruise. Two days after I got home, it arrived in my mailbox. How's that for one and done?

In the same vein, scrapbook stores seem to have run their course and are fast becoming a thing of the past. I can't tell you how much I hate this. There is truly nothing like walking into an independent scrapbook store, inhaling the smell of paper and knowing immediately that you are among your people by the size of the Bazzill display, the wall of ribbons and the loads of inspiration hanging on the walls!

The scrapbook store in our town closed up at the end of December and it broke my heart. Currently, the nearest stores are both at least a hundred miles away, and not in the same direction. This makes me so sad, mostly because I have seen it repeated in so many different areas.

The magazines are gone.
Two Peas is gone.
Many stores have closed.
Photos live in phones now.
Manufacturers are closing.

Yesterday I picked up some pretty tags I am going to use in my paper crafting at World Market, of all places. Is that what my beloved hobby is coming to?

It's a dismal day on many fronts. However, the stories remain. However creative people choose to tell their stories is fine with me. There will always be pen and paper. And maybe Facebook. :)

My very first cruise scrapbook was done using Basic Grey's Color Me Happy line of beautiful tropically-perfect papers. Here are a few pages from it, just to say a fond farewell to my good friend.



No water required water coloring

As stated previously, I do enjoy the prominence of watercolor techniques seen so often in Scrapbooking and card-making, but I have to admit to a bit of trepidation when it actually comes time to bring a bowl of water into my craft room. See, I happen to be a little on the accident-prone side and spillage in a room full of paper is never a good thing. 

A few days ago, I was playing with paper and ink and stumbled across a solution to this problem. There is a lovely stamp image in Stampin' Up!'s Gorgeous Grunge stamp set that makes the perfect watercolor impressions--without the water!

I expect this stamp set to start getting a lot more usage at my stamp table! 

Stay warm and stamp, y'all!


Stampin Friends Lots of Love January Hop

Hear ye!
Hear ye!

I'm participating in a new {to me} blog hop sponsored by the Stampin' Friends Facebook Group. On the third Thursday of each month, we will "hop" from blog to blog, sharing handmade goodies from a central theme.

The theme for January is Lots of Love!

This month, we have three guests with us, participating in the Lots of Love hop. Check out their work too!

If you are following the hop, you probably arrived here from Andrea Tracy - Tucker's blog -- .

With Valentines Day approaching, I've been crafting more than a few cards that fit our theme. I've been drawn lately to the very classically pretty cards and embellishments from Heidi Swapp's planner line and Project Life's Southern Wedding kit from Becky Higgins. Both have lots of pretty flowers and pinks and are super easy to work with together. 

I am loving the ease with which Project Life cards can become card-making elements. Creating (greeting) cards with the 3x4 cards designed for pocket scrapbooking is a natural progression. Certainly, I could stamp these images but since Heidi Swapp and Becky Higgins went to all this trouble to design such fabulous cards...why not make use of them?!

I love Valentine's Day! We don't do lots of presents or celebrate it really, but I like that for one day, people think about love a little bit. Joal and I have been together for more than half my life...hes the best thing that ever happened to me and has been since the day I met him. He makes my life right.

One of the current hot trends in card-making and scrapbooking is watercolor painting. It's everywhere. Perhaps that's why I was drawn to this pad of paper produced by Craft Smith and available only at Michael's a while back. 

This is not ordinary patterned paper--it's heavyweight and while it's not actually textured, you can see some of the texture through the painted images. (It's only printed on one side.)

Not only does it feature very pretty watercolor patterns, but also several sheets of elements that can be cut apart and used as additional elements or accents. I love the "all in one" aspect. 

I'm a scrapbook girl at heart, but lately there has been some struggle to put things on pages. Oddly enough, this page came together so easily I felt like I was somehow cheating. :) I've decided that for 2016 I am going to incorporate song titles into my page titles -- music is an integral part of our lives and I want to reflect that in my scrapbook pages this year. Love's the Only House is a song recorded by Martina McBride! I love the message it carries:

Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in this world

There's not much more to it than that. Love's the only house big enough for all the pain we endure in life.

There are many new participants in the 2016 hops, so you'll have many opportunities to be inspired. Don't miss out!

Sarah Devendorf -- that's me!

Andrea Pancrazio

Kim Smith

To continue hopping, you can visit Andrea Pancrazio's blog --

Watercolors paper pad by Craft Smith, available exclusively at Michael's.
Ribbon by Offray.
Wooden heart by Stampin' Up!

Don't forget --
Leave a comment right here on my blog and you will be entered into a drawing for all sorts of project goodies from the blog host collective. Leave a comment and add the hashtag #SFJANHOP for inclusion in the drawing.

Happy Stamping and paper crafting everyone!!



Overcoming with Laughter

Sometimes I have to take a minute and write down moments of extraordinary accomplishment so I don't forget them--so I don't let the pass me by.

My oldest son, Julian, is 19. Julian faces some developmental and emotional challenges in life so in many ways, he's my little boy in a man's body. 

Julian's life is driven by his obsessions, of which there are three. Fire extinguishers, music and plumbing. If you visit our garage, you will see many fire extinguishers, most empty and in many various states of repair. At least twenty. Maybe thirty. I've lost count. 

Fortunately, we don't buy them all--he's made friends with the fellows and Miss Peggy at the local fire extinguisher service yard and they let him raid their bone yard from time to time. 

It's often been observed that if ever a fire breaks out at our house, the house will be doomed to burn to the ground while we rush around trying to find one of the thirty fire extinguishers that might actually be functional.

Such is the life we live.

Julian excels at many things--he can change out a hot water heater and talk you through many other tasks related to plumbing and home repair. He's fluent in the stock at Lowes and quizzes Siri about the price of pipes and fittings regularly. 

His vocabulary has been greatly expanded by watching hundreds of videos on YouTube about plumbing and various home repair jobs, however, math has never been a subject he could grasp. Math--specifically money and time--just do not compute.

He doesn't understand the concepts of paying for some item and getting change...and more than that, he doesn't care that he doesn't "get it".

He would rather have four one dollar bills than a ten dollar bill any day. Of the week.

We have tried to explain it and demonstrate it, hundreds of times, but he just doesn't grasp the concept of a single ten being worth more than five ones.

So the other day, I gave him the usual $3 in ones before work, for purchase of snacks at the convenience store "with the guys". Julian works two days a week on a lawn care crew and one of their rituals is a daily stop at the gas station for snacks and drinks. 

Being among "the guys" has quickly encouraged him to get his game together in regards to the skills needed to make purchases on his own--something he never previously cared about.

On a typical day he purchases a honey bun and a Coke, however on the day before this particular day, he confessed to having purchased 2 honey buns. I don't mind that he deviated from his usual but the consumption of 2 honey buns was enough to make me raise an eyebrow. No one really needs two honey buns, right? 

(Ok, no one really really needs a honey bun at all...but it's not a hill I'm willing to die on at this point.)

So as I was handing over the three dollars, I casually mentioned that perhaps two honey buns were "a bit too much in the junk food department" and suggested that today would be a good day for purchasing just one honey bun and a water. He grumbled a tiny bit and shoved his dollars into his pocket.

I didn't expect a great deal of cooperation, frankly.

Hours later, I picked him up from work. On the ride home he was pretty quiet. I've learned that when social stuff--incidents that he's not used to--happens at work, it takes a while for him to process it, even enough to formulate stories to share with me or questions to ask. I give him space and he invariably comes around to share tidbits about his work day with me.

On this particular day, he came around later to inform me that he had indeed heeded my advice about not purchasing two honey buns at the convenience store.

"I didn't buy two honey buns today." He stated with a grin.

"You didn't?" (Insert an air of surprise and disbelief.)

"Nope. I bought a Coke, and one honey bun...and a cheese Danish."

And then he laughed and laughed. And honestly, so did I. 

Because laughter and humor haven't always been a part of our lives together. Julian has struggled through some serious problems and we haven't always been able to see humor in them. Sometimes life is hard and messy and being a parent without answers and not a lot of hope is no laughing matter. 

About this time two years ago, Julian was in a very dark place emotionally. In a particularly ugly round of anger and rage, he held the tip of a large kitchen knife to his stomach and screamed at me "I'll do it." He was 17 and spent seven days in a psychiatric hospital soon after. 

I refuse to hide the struggles we endure. No one ever told me that about half of all young adults with Autism will, at some point, spend time in a psychiatric hospital. That's not a statistic that parents of sons and daughters with Autism really want to think about, much less discuss. Because life is heavy and confusing and over-loading. And sometimes it's just more than a person can cope with--whether you are the person with Autism or his parents.

Today I'm grateful to be down the road from that a ways. And I'm grateful for a boy who can pull a verbal prank on his mom and laugh at it. I'll take that any day of the week! 

Overcome with laughter, as often as possible.


It's not rocket science it's cardmaking

It's a well-known fact. I am a simple card maker.

If it's so clean, it practically squeaks, I'm your girl. This is my genre.

However, if you take a look at the decorative elements in my home, you will see that I embrace the feel of a beach house. I like rustic things that have had a life before they came to me. I like vintage old things. 

This too is starting to show up in my paper crafting from time to time.

Recently Michaels put their selection of Project Life kits on half price and I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so I purchased a Jen Hadfield Cottage Living Core Kit. 

These designs are lovely for card-making!  In two evenings, I crafted 15 casual cards, using this kit and embellishing with sequins, a few stamped sentiments, some bakers twine and some rhinestones.

Fifteen cards!! Here are a few of them.

Happy Monday!


I let my pictures tell the story and other nonsense

So I participate in several social media groups for scrapbookers and crafters. In one of those groups today, a member posted this phrase:

"I don't journal much. I let my pictures tell the story."

Imagine me wearing my incredulous face.

If I could reach through my screen and smack some sense into her, I would.

Pictures rarely actually tell a story. Hello. And what if you don't have a picture that goes with your story? What happens to that story?

Maybe a photo tells a small portion of the basic story. Ok. A birthday is pretty obvious. If you get a shot of the cake, maybe you get the "Happy Birthday G" that adorns the cake...so you probably know who and maybe that he's turning 6. If you have subsequent pictures, you can deduce that his party was Lego-themed and that there were a bunch of people there.

What are the photos not telling you? 

Do the photos tell you that his mom stayed up all night long the night before his birthday making his cake and cupcakes and all the snacks? Do the photos tell you that his incredible parents get along well enough to have a joint celebration even though they are divorced? Do the photos tell you that the people who attended this party, in the midst of December, have known him all his life and been faithfully attending his birthday parties since his very first one? Do the photos tell you that a very special lady in his life is not there this year because she went to be with Jesus a few weeks ago?

No. They don't.

So yes, I'm going to wear the incredulous face and say it: "that's nuts". There's so much more of the story to be shared and just what's visible in the photos. 

Please don't under estimate the value of your stories--sure some things are obvious but I dare say the most valuable stories are the ones that the photos don't "tell"...the stories you can't deduce by looking at a photo.

Chances are great that G is not going to forget the memories of his fantastic 6th birthday...but what details will he have missed, as an enthusiastic overwhelmed 6 year old boy, that he might come to treasure when he looks back in twenty or thirty years?

Don't deprive your viewers (those who will view your scrapbook) of the details and the stories. 

See that photo of a boy in a fire department shirt? Well there's a story behind that shirt...a special story that is a glimpse into what makes that boy tick. But if I'm depending on the photo to tell the story, I'm goin to miss out on the best part.

I promise...you won't regret investing yourself in recording your stories along with your photos.


Random thoughts about paper-crafting

So it's no shock to anyone that I move in crafty circles, especially on-line. There are several paper-crafting websites I visit daily to keep up with all things scrapbooking and stamping. Today, while doing that I ran across a message board post from a scrapbooker that prompted me to write down a few notes about journaling on scrapbook pages.

The gist of her post was "I have hundreds of layouts that are finished but I can't put them in an album yet because I haven't journaled on them. I don't know how to journal, what to write, and I hate my handwriting."

The "problem of journaling" is common among scrapbookers and the topic of journaling as it relates to scrapbooking is one that I have strong feelings about. To me, a scrapbook page isn't complete until the written story is recorded. 

Yes, a good photo can elicit emotions of many kinds, but unless the details of the story are written down, the story may fade away in less than a generation. A pretty scrapbook is just a pretty scrapbook unless you write down the story too. 

Since most people who enjoy scrapbooking are very visually-oriented, it's not uncommon for the written story to get treated as a lesser element because it's not as visually "pretty". 

While the embellishments and the pretty paper and the fabulous photos make a scrapbook page feel like a visual treat, it's the story that it records that gives it value and depth. 

Five tips for improving your journaling strategy:

1. Don't think of journaling as the last  piece of the design puzzle. Journaling shouldn't be an afterthought. Every scrapbook page deserves balance--photos, title, story and "the pretty". ("The pretty" is what I like to call the scrapbooker fun stuff--the paper, embellishments, ribbons, brads, and  any other element that is included as support for the story.)

2. Change up the voice from which you normally journal. If you feel stuck in a journaling rut, change up your approach. Have you ever written a letter in your scrapbook? A poem? Used the lyrics of a hymn or quoted a Bible verse? 

3. If you aren't sure where to physically place the journaling on the page, snap a photo of the page in progress and look at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes an image on a screen can present a fresh perspective. 

Also, if you can't dedicate enough space on the page to tell the story you want to capture, there is nothing wrong with creating a page of journaling--either by making a spread or by including the journaling on the back of a layout.

4. If you aren't sure what to write, grab a voice recorder (or an app) and imagine that you are showing this page to someone whom you don't know. Speak into the recorder what you would want them to know about these photos and this page. Look for things to share that may be not-quite-so-obvious. When you are finished recording, transcribe what you said onto paper and use it as your journaling.

5. Play word swap. If your journaling  reads a little lack-luster, pull out a thesaurus and find alternate words for a few of the key descriptors. 

Pictures are important--on this most all scrapbookers agree. However, journaling is vital. Writing the story captures the details that may otherwise be unknown, neglected or easily overlooked. Go the extra mile to preserve and share your stories with those you love.


Mastering Masculine Cards



We all have some of them and they all have birthdays and other card-worthy events. If you ask a bunch of card-makers which kinds of cards give them the most challenge to make...invariably they will say "man cards"!

I suppose people find it challenging because you can't just slap a flower and some ribbon on it and call it good. I don't know. Nevertheless, we are going to jump head-long into the topic of man cards because it's a topic I care about. Deeply. Because there are many men in my life! And they require cardage from time to time! 

If you want the easy answer, I'm going to spill the beans right here at the start.  My genius card-making skills summed up for all mankind--

You can never go wrong with stars!

If you truly are stuck on the creation of a card for a man of any sort--old young, tall, short, baby, teenager, warrior or writer...you can never go wrong with a design based on stars. Think of it like this: stars are to man cards what flowers are to feminine cards.

Stars can be simple or complex, 
one or an arrangement of many,
A single color or a rainbow,
Large or small,
Glittery or not.

Am I right?

For any holiday...or occasion. Stars can do the job!

Truly. Star cards rock!


Making use of photopolymer stamps--an extra tip

Have you ever noticed that the clear index sheet that photopolymer stamps come with can be used in the design process? When deciding if a stamp will fit in a certain space of it looks right, lay the index sheet over your project, placing the image over the spot where you might want it to go.

For example, in the cake project above, the index image allowed me to see that the flags would indeed fit over the top of the cake on the card.

Learn as you go...

Build a Birthday and so much more

Invariably, when a new Stampin' Up! catalog is released in the summer, one or two stamp sets are insanely popular right out of the gate and, like an over-played song on the radio, they get tons of airplay and not a lot of variety. Build a Birthday is such a set, especially among demonstrators.

It's an awesome set that is great for all kinds of card-members--from beginners to advanced card-makers. 

Hundreds of users have already created the birthday cake made of mixed layers stacked on the cake stand and adorned with candles or flags. A basic search of Pinterest reveals many many incarnations. Here's my first interpretation:

Pretty basic stuff. Fun and festive. Excellent for any recipient--male or female, young or old. Any birthday, any time!

I did a few of these and then I got a little fascinated with building a fanciful cake out of multiples of the largest "layer".

Like this:

And these:

And then just using it as an element to ground things, this happened:

Don't forget to look for alternative, out of the box uses for individual stamps within the sets. Don't get locked into just the obvious.

Build a Birthday pairs well with many sets but especially Love is Kindness. 

Live a scrapworthy life!


Inspired by a Table

A few weeks ago, my brother who is both talented and skilled in the art of wood-working, built this table by request of a friend.

As rustic, farm tables go, this one is a fabulous one. It's beautiful and sturdy and just waiting for a hundred years of family dinners and deep discussions. 

I love the table's design and I also happen to love the guy who built it and the friend who now has the pleasure of owning it...so of course, it inspired a little card-making.

I have about three more cards waiting on my desk for assembly. I think this is going to be a go-to design for a while.

For the stampers amongst us, here are the details:
Hardwood Background Stamp and Fall Flair by Stampin' Up!
Card stock: Whisper White, Coastal Cabana and Crumb Cake (all by Stampin' Up!)
Patterned Paper: October Afternoon (I think)
Washi: Tim Holtz
Inks: Soft Suede by Stampin' Up and Momento Tixedo Black 
Twine: Darice

Live a scrapworthy life!


Three cards for Father's Day

The fathers in my life are all coffee-lovers so I chose this as theme for this year's Father's Day! 

Have you tried the painter's tape ink transfer method? How very fun (and remarkably inexpensive, as techniques go) is this!!

I couldn't stop at just one incarnation of this...so here's a similar birthday style.

I can't wait to play with Stampin' Up! Hardwood background stamp some more...it's awesome!

Live a Scrapworthy life!


Inspired by a chair and a rug

So I participate in a Facebook page called HGTV Fixer Upper Show Followers. It has many thousands of people who love Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines lovely sense of style. We talk decor and re-do quite often. Farmhouse chic is the major theme.

A member named Wilson Jasna posted this photo and it immediately jumped out at me as a fabulous use of that new Stampin' Up! In Color Delightful Dijon, which, until now, I have absolutely detested.

The rug (from Target) is awesome and I love the mix of patterns between the chair and the rug. The table and chairs were picked up at the Goodwill and refinished and reupholstered. What an awesome bit of renewal!  

Alone, Delightful Dijon just reminds of cleaning up after the cat had an intestinal mishap, but paired with gray and black, I definitely love it.

Who knew?

live a Scrapworthy life!


Scrapbook Easy

So many people think of Scrapbooking as a huge, overwhelming task that takes forever and costs a fortune. While it can be all those things, it certainly doesn't have to be. 

After 19 years, I know a little bit about scrapbooking and paper-crafting in general. Sometimes not having more than a handful of option allows one to be creative without inducing an overwhelming bout with indecision. 

With my current pages, I'm going for a single thought, expressed boldly, illustrated by a single photo, on a kraft paper 8.5x11 base.

Confession: for many many many years I have collected and hoarded these black chipboard letter from Heidi Swapp. I adore these. I've held on to them for so long that the adhesive has long-since given up it's stickiness. In order to get them to stick, I peel off a layer of the backing and paint on matte Gel Medium with a tiny paintbrush. It's tedious but I love them.

Live a Scrapworthy life!