Friday, November 25, 2016

FRIDAY FREEBIE - Sympathy Card

I wish the need for Sympathy cards were not a part of life... but then there would be no life to celebrate.

The mother of one of the ladies in a writing group I belong to passed away a couple of weeks ago. The card I sent was inspired by a card designed by Lisa Ku on SCS. I loved the soft green tone she used. Very serene. This is what my card came together as:

Sorry. I just realized I hadn't cropped this picture. Also apologize for the bit of glare. I took these late at night so I could get them scheduled. I'm as tired of not having anything on the blog as you are of not seeing something new :-D

I used Whisper White and Mint Macaron from SU. The ribbon is from my stash (non-SU) 

I used Thoughts and Prayers from SU. I did a ghost stamp of the image first, then re-inked and stamped directly to the card in a slightly different spot for the layered effect. 
For the 3 accent flowers, I punched those out of Mint Macaron using the tree builder punch then brushed the flowers with stickles and let them dry. Took a matter of seconds. After I adhered them to the card with glue dots, I added the medium SU pearls. 

I used a sentiment from Love & Sympathy on the inside. 

What is your go-to stamp set or color choice when you need to send condolences? I'd love to know.
Creative Blessings!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I hope everyone has a Blessed day. I'll have contractors here for dinner. They are also good friends and I am blessed to have them. 

Monday, November 21, 2016


I saw this fabric at my local store, The Hideaway Quilt Shop, and knew I had to bring some of it home. At the time I didn't have a clue what I'd use the fabric for but I wanted some anyway. 

Then yesterday, when I remembered I needed to get a photo up on the blog I had a thought. These will be perfect as a tactical element on the alphabet pages in the Junk Journal I still intend to do. You can see the explanation of that project HERE  Since the signatures are already in place in the book, I can't stitch to the page but I'm thinking of cutting the tiles out, stitching around them then adhering to the page so they'll have that 'stitched in place' element. 

I thought it funny that after I snapped the picture, I noticed the word EAT stands out. Hmmm.. Does this fabric company have our number or what? LOL

Jean  always gets the neatest fabrics in and I have to contain myself every time I walk in her store. Trust me, as much as I love fabric and that is not an easy task. When we lived in Peoria I could wander JoAnn Fabrics for hours just fingering all of the different fabrics. I've even incorporated fabric into the book due to my editor in just a couple of weeks. My heroine is a fashion designer and she explains why she loves fabric.  

I'm busy with contractors this week but will try to post at least one more time. Yes, I have contractors coming on a holiday weekend. If you'd like to know that story, hop on over to my Journey blog... 

Creative Blessings!

Friday, November 18, 2016

FRIDAY FREEBIE - Sympathy Card

I had cause to make not one but two sympathy cards last week. A lady who was my very first daycare child in IL - her grandfather passed away. I'd met him a few times. Very nice man. And his personality flowed down through his family.  I knew I wanted their card to be extra special. I found THIS one on Pinterest. The card can also be found on Stef Perry's blog - Perry Papercrafts

Here's my card:

I chose SU Crumb Cake as my base and added Very Vanilla and Night of Navy. The stamps were from SU sets - Thoughts and Prayers, Love and Sympathy.

The paper is from an old SU mini slab - Print Poetry. Though you can't see it well in the photo I embossed the front of the base with the wood grain EB folder from Paper Studios. The ribbon is from SU Very Vanilla Stitched Satin. I also used the new Stitched Framelits die - Ovals from SU.  I love the softness the Very Vanilla provided.

I'll have the other sympathy card for you next Friday.
Creative Blessings!

Monday, November 14, 2016

MIXED MEDIA MONDAY - Weekly Planner Makeover

I'm back!

This month has been absolutely crazy! Part of the reason is the inspiration for this project. I believe I told you in one of my last posts that I had been given a regular column in a cowboy/ western theme'd magazine called Saddlebag Dispatches. This past weekend I was added to the masthead as Director of Marketing. To help keep track of people I contact and when, I wanted a planner just for Saddlebag stuff... not my main day planner I'll be showing you soon.

I started with this inexpensive weekly planner from Dollar Tree. Normally, I am not a 'weekly' planner person but just for keeping track of who I contact and when.

A couple of weeks ago when Bob and I were in Springfield, I found this Cowgirl slab from Paper House at Hobby Lobby:

You get a sense of the patterns from looking on the cover strip. Lots of yummies plus a couple of cut aparts with sayings on them. I may use some of those on the inside to pretty the pages up but for now I was focusing on creating the cover. I chose these two:

Since this is a 6x6 pad and the planner is 7.25 x 5, I needed to do some piecing for things to fit. I cut the piece on the right in half horizontally, using just the Born & Raised Country.

Then I added pieces from these sheets:

From left to right... the back cover, front cover (both of the remaining two)  

I cut just the swirls from the one on the right to act as accents on the cover. This is what the finished project looks like.

The rose-colored heart paper was cut from an 8.5x11 sheet I've had for ages. The embellishments are from Karen Foster. If you look in the bottom left of the screen you'll see a spot.. That is actually one of these:

I used the brown cowboy hat with the pink band (top center) and cut out a shape to match from a brown scrap from the back cover. I sandwiched lengths of brown and white embroidery floss left over from SU Paper Pumpkin kits between the hat and the matching shape to create a bookmark. I glued the tail onto the spine of the planner before adding the heart paper binding. 

I am not playing a lot until this manuscript is off to my editor.. the same editor who gave me this new job. LOL  Casey and I think alike and have the same work ethic.. nuts LOL

I did get a couple of cards made over the weekend that I'll be showing in future posts. For now, I have a manuscript to edit.

When you leave a comment, tell me what you're working on. I'd love to live vicariously through the rest of you. 

Creative Blessings!

Monday, November 7, 2016

MIXED MEDIA MONDAY - Conference Gifts

Last week I told you about attending the writing conference in Eureka Springs AR. The Ozark Creative Writer's conference is a multi-genre conference and more like a family reunion for me than business. I get to see friends I only get to physically visit with on this particular weekend every year - Always the 2nd weekend in October.

Each year, anywhere from two - four of us share a room. I always put little gifts on the beds for my roomies the day we arrive. Here's what I put in this year:

I was inspired by the treat tubes from the Stampin' Up September Paper Pumpkin kit. I included a single serve instant coffee in each tube. (the second one over is hot cocoa for the non-coffee drinker)

I put a tube in each coffee mug, along with an ink pen, a Linder Truffle, Coffee cup shaped Paper Clip from The Paper Studios and a flash drive. The coffee mugs were from Dollar Tree.

The candles were special this year because of the 50th anniversary of the conference. Each 1/2 pint mason jar holds a led tea light candle. I printed out a verse on Velum:

It' a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together
Then OCW 2016 to mark the occasion.

I wrapped the neck of each in a strip of burlap ribbon and orange ribbon. The wooden leaf shapes are left over from the August Paper Pumpkin.

Little gifts do n ot take much but can bring a huge smile or warm fuzzy to someone. One of the gals who received a candle jar is my very best friend of all the board members at OCW. Chrissy's husband, Mike, has terminal bone cancer. They say he is on his last round of the meds they can give him... possibly no more than 6 months left. We all hope and pray Mike is with us longer but each day is a whisper to Chrissy of what is to come. She sent me a message after she got home and unpacked, thanking me again for the candle and how much she is blessed.

How can you bless someone with your creativity? I hope you'll create, post and share what you've made. Inspire us all!

Creative Blessings!

Monday, October 24, 2016

MIXED MEDIA MONDAY - Happy Birthday to Me!

Sorry I've been absent for a couple of weeks. After my last post I attended a writers' conference in Eureka Springs AR. This was our 50th anniversary and I've attended the past 25 consecutive years. This year was a banner year and my life has been on a tilt - a- whirl ever since.

News From Conference:
Beginning with the spring issue of Saddlebag Dispatches, I will have a regular entertainment column. My first deadline is Nov. 1!!

I pitched a manuscript to the editor. He wants the full manuscript in his hands by December 1-ish. I have some rewrites to incorporate points we discussed. Going to be a busy November.

I've been asked to speak at the Storyteller's Conference in March... on Blogging. Now that I have 8, I think I've got this one figured out. I've also spoke on blogging to a much smaller group so I'm good. No real prep for this one.

The same editor has also asked me to help with the social media aspect of the publishing house.

The day after I got home from conference... Bob came home 2 days early. So not a lot of crafting/ work going on. He may leave out on Wednesday. We're waiting for confirmation.

With all of this on my plate, I will try to keep updated here but posts will be spotty until after that Dec. 1 deadline. Immediate business will come first, followed by reconstructing the manuscript. Card making/ crafting time will be my 'breather'.

Speaking of Crafting....

Okay... so my birthday was two days shy of a month a go. I'm going to claim I've been celebrating all month long. I didn't even open my birthday cards until after Bob got home two weeks ago so we could look at them together.

Thank you to everyone who sent a card and/ or well wishes on FB. They really made turning 55 pleasureable.

So today's post is all about the FABULOUS creations that arrived in my mailbox.

Karen and Catherine

Linda and Kathy

Sharon and Maggie

Shirley and Ann

This last card - I have to show you the inside as well as the front. Jan has become one of my bestie buddies. She lives in Spain but is stateside a couple of times a year for extended visits with her grandsons. She made this card and mailed it while they were in the states over the summer.  The detail not just in the stamp but in her coloring is just amazing!

I asked Jan about the stamp she used. Here was her reply:
The card is made from La Pashe CD, it prints all the parts out and you have to fold the card and add the parts

I've enlarged this one so you can see the details. I especially like the card stuck to the crafters bottom. LOL.

I'm trying to get some cards made this week and up on both blogs. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

FRIDAY FREEBIE - Blog Planner Inside

Last week I gave you a slideshow of my blog planner. Now I'd like to talk a bit about my planning process and why this format works for me.

A quick reminder. All of the printables I used are available at 
Specifically, the planner pages can be found HERE

Pretty, Inspiring Dashboard

(not pictured)
To provide content on a regular basis that will inspire others while acting as an on-line resume for freelance opportunities.

The Monthly Blog Tasks are not set in stone. Rather they are nudges of things I need to do each month to keep on track: 
* deleting blog posts that are no longer relevant
* correcting/ deleting dead links 
* linking older posts to current/ up-dated posts
* Set guest posting plan for coming month
* Plan and promote future promos, giveaways or special features
* Set editorial calendar for coming month
* Set blog, brand and business goals for next month

Daily Blog Tasks include:
Reviewing Daily Tasks
Brain dumping new ideas as they come to me that I can incorporate into the Weekly Tasks 
Pin Original Content
Share/ Repin content from others
Tweet - both mine and others
Respond to comments on my blog
Respond to email queries
Make sure posts for the next day are clean and ready to go

Weekly Blog Tasks:
Clear out the email box - making sure all follow-ups have been attended to
Check analytics
Promote upcoming week
Spread Brain Dumps from the daily into appropriate 43 folders system
Set Posting Schedule on sidebar for the coming week

Daily Schedule:

I used to think that working from home meant I didn't need one of those 'time-spread' schedules where every minute was accounted for. However, after reading Time Management 2.0 By Hank Reardon (unfortunately, out of print) I realized that some form of time management is important to staying on task. Here is my breakdown from a post I did on my Angela Drake blog at the time: 

Up at 6:30 (note only a 1/2 hour earlier than I'd been getting up)
          I use this time to boot up the computer, make the coffee, check on all the critters, etc.
7:00-8:00 I ENJOY my coffee and cruise sights like art boards and Pinterest - not to work but to ENJOY!
8-8:30 I exercise. 
          I use a variety of things from videos, to Wii Fit to just walking on the treadmill while I watch something           on the DVR. Then a quick shower.
9 -10 All about the email. 
          This usually doesn't take an entire hour - for all 3 email accounts. 4 if I sign into Yahoo to do Groups
10 - Brunch
           Sometimes in this hour I will also get outside for a bit but usually I am multi-tasking household chores
           like doing dishes, hanging laundry, running the sweeper.
11 - You'll notice the exampled says Party List Part 1. 
        That's a Wednesday only thing. I have one blog post that must be on my music blog by 7 a.m.                       Thursday mornings for various radio stations. The post takes me all day on Wednesday to do. 
        The right hand side is for doodling and art work. 
        On other days I work on contest entries and critiques for other authors 
1 - It's lunch time. 
        I'll also spend this hour multi-tasking around the house and walk down to get the mail
2-5 - I'm back on the Party List post (Wed.)
        This part of the Wed post requires adding over 50 links to artist/ venue websites within the post before          uploading. Sometimes I'll move to the sofa for this part and let a movie play in the background.
5 - Final check of email.
        I respond to anything needing a response and take care of others. But no longer than an hour.
6 - Computer is shut down for a couple hours.
      I fix and enjoy dinner, take clothes off the line and anything else I can do.
8 - I'm back to write fiction for a couple hours.
      I do this by word sprinting with long-time writer buddies on Yahoo Instant Message. 
      Very productive time.
By 10 p.m. (sometimes 9) I am DONE for the day. I can sit on the sofa, put my feet up and enjoy some of my favorite shows - with or without Bob home. I'm not working til 11 p.m. or midnight AND I'm getting my projects done AND fiction time in.

Next in the binder is my Monthly on 2-pages

I liked that Melissa offered this as non-dated so that I can use the same file every year. 

The next two pages are behind each Month On Two Pages.

I have a page that comes next behind each month that I failed to photograph the front side. The page is This Month At A Glance. There are 4 boxes - each broken down into Monthly Statistics for Social Media, Top Post/ Page Views, Notes/ Google Analytics. I can also make a note as to what my Goal for PageViews is so when I go back and do this summary, I can tell if I'm on track and what I need to adjust.

The back side of that page is: 

This page breaks down the individual Social Media avenues.

Next is a front and back page for braindumping. This lets me keep all of my thoughts in one spot instead of on pieces of paper scattered everywhere.

Now, it's time to break the binder down into the individual blog categories. I have six. That's why this Blog Planner is a necessity in my life.

I turned the file folders into blog dividers. You'll see each blog separately in a minute.
Behind each tab, I have a page for each month. Each page is broken down in the dates of Monday - Friday. I post specific topics on set days of the week. This allows me to write down what the topic will be for each day during my planning sessions. When I sit down to write the post, I know where I'm going.

These last pictures are of the blogs and each shows the Editorial Calendar for each blog:

Two Not Shown:
Angela Drake - this blog is under construction right now so not sure how the Editorial Calendar will flow.
Cauldron Cafe - Not sure why a picture didn't wind up of that one. Hmm

Once the blog post is written/ scheduled, I put a spot on the coordinating post on this Blog Board. This is a visual for me so I can see at a glance what I am missing.

And a close-up:

Now that I have a plan in place, I am already finding myself tapping away on the keyboard trying to get as many of those dots moved into place as possible before Bob comes home on October 12th. 

Whether you have one blog or ten, having an Editorial Calendar in some form is important. A magazine without one would fail miserably and your blog is your magazine. 

You do not have to be as OCD as I am.. but being organinzed in a form that FITS YOU is critical to the success you are striving for. 

Creative Blessings!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WOYWW #383

That's my desk? What's on yours? When you are done visiting me in the Ozarks, please hop on over to Stamping Ground where Miss Julia has a long list of other studios you can peek into. No standing on an up-turned milk pail to look in the window. We open the doors wide and welcome you. We won’t touch.. just look. J  I can't wait to peek but we have a busy weekend ahead so I may be late again getting 'round. Please leave your number and you'll be first on my list.

Monday, October 3, 2016

MIXED MEDIA MONDAY - World Cardmaking Day!

World Card Making Day

Image courtesy of

Did everyone play on Saturday? I did.  In past years I've always planned to do nothing but make cards on World Cardmaking Day but then I'd get household chores and whatnot out of the way. By then the day was pretty  much gone and no cards to show for it. I decided 2016 was going to be different!  I dove in right after breakfast and didn't stop except for life-breaks until after 10 p.m.

Most everything I made was to get ahead of blog posts for the Stampin' Up blog (where you'll find all the details for each card set over the next few weeks) but I thought I'd showsome of them enmasse here:

This first 'bakers dozen' Christmas cards were from a One Sheet Wonder pattern I have on my Pinterest Board

This set was from the Holiday Project Life set.

This was a design from my up-line, Brandy Cox - BrandysCards

And this last one is for a Pinterest-inspired post. I used Petals & Paisley's scraps

I kept crafting most of the day yesterday. I have 16 cards from a One Sheet Wonder to put together. Everything is cut/ punched. Just needs assembled and stamped.

I also made these adorable ornaments from Dazzling Diamonds Glitter Paper and the Merry Tags Thinlits. These are perfect for adding to a card without increasing your postage:

Friday, September 30, 2016


I am so thrilled to finally have this complete. I had one last year but the binder just didn't feel right and there didn't seem to be enough information or inspiration for me to actually put the planner to use.  As I've been studying planners this past year and finding a day planner that finally fits me and everything I need a planner to do, I realized what was missing from my original blog planner. Here's a picture of one of the planning pages from last year:

Nothing fancy. Just a sheet of notebook paper with the month at the top, the dates down the lefthand side. Monthly tabs were done in the color coordinating with that blog and each blog separated by their Washi Tape color code. Not real inspiring. 

I really like the feel of the new planner and see myself using the system on Sundays when I sit down to plan my week ahead.

I have to give a shout out to Melissa Ringstaff at A Virtuous 
Melissa has an amazing array of printables both in her Etsy shop and for Free (such as this blog planner that I used).  If there is ANY type of your life you need a tangible way to keep organized, Melissa probably has the perfect printable. 

Now, here's my slideshow of my blog planner:

I used a 2" binder with a viewable cover. The Cover, Spine, Filetabs were created from a filefolder set purchased at Hobby Lobby called Multi-Pattern Chevron. I used the same folders for my 43 Folders A5 binder so that everything coordinates. I'll use the same colorscheme in my DayPlanner for next year.

Next Friday I'll walk you through the individual components and why I've chosen to use this particular format.

So tell me, How Do You Plan?
Creative Blessings!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WOYWW #382

I tried 3 times to bring this picture up rotated to the left. The picture shows vertically in the files but keeps uploading in horizontal. Thus is my morning. 

As you can see, the desk is quite full. Remnants of a weekend project I'll be showing later in the week on my SU blog. I'll link you to that one next week. 

For now, the Paper Pumpkin box still un-opened. I got caught up in a project and refused to do anything else until that one was finished. The book and CDs from Bill Anderson. I have that interview to transcribe and book review to get posted ASAP and a hodge podge of a little of everything.  Today is all about blog posts and the creating that goes with them. 

Speaking of blog posts, I have the blog binder finished. I need to upload the pictures to Kizoa in a slide show format but that is NOT going to happen right away this morning. My head hurts and I'm still working on my cup of cocoa. But here's a sneak peek at my visual blog board and why the Blog Binder is so important:

A full shot of my blog board. I can see all of my blog posts for 6 weeks. 
The board is made from a 24x36 poster frame that Bob put a sheet of flat metal into, creating a magnetic base. All of my date stickers, the blog post titles and the markers are made from strips of magnetic sheets used for vent covers. 

All of my blogs are color-coded. 
The magnetic markers are placed on a strip when that day's post is done

That's my desk? What's on yours? When you are done visiting me in the Ozarks, please hop on over to Stamping Ground where Miss Julia has a long list of other studios you can peek into. No standing on an up-turned milk pail to look in the window. We open the doors wide and welcome you. We won’t touch.. just look. J  I can't wait to peek but we have a busy weekend ahead so I may be late again getting 'round. Please leave your number and you'll be first on my list.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

TECHNIQUE THURSDAY - Criss Cross Chopped!

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in Tickle A Teapotter. This is part of the Teapot Tuesday but on a month with five Tuesdays, we are given the name of a fellow teapotter to send a card to. This month's hostess is a fan of all things FoodNetwork, especially CHOPPED.  I am also a fan of the show. I spent several days with the card in my head, planning everything out so that I could bring the components together.

I knew I wanted to do a Criss Cross card. You can find the tutorial HERE on SplitcoastStampers tutorials.

Since I didn't have any basket weave patterned paper left, I used what is more of a birch bark print from a retired SU DSP - Frosted Lodge. I matted the paper against SU Soft Suede.

One thing that will get a contestant chopped quicker than anything is lack of seasoning. I used the S & P border strip from retired SU DSP - Domestic Goddess. The bowl with the 'adding' ingredients is also from that collection.

For the inside card, I borrowed graphics from the Chopped website.
The front of the mat shows Host, Ted Allen, announcing the basket ingredients to be used in the Entree round of competition. I used the mini curly label punch (Retired SU) as the tab for the card and accented with a timer cut from the Domestic Goddess paper:

As in chopped, once the 30 minutes is over, the Judging begins:

Will you be chopped?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WOYWW #381

My desk hasn't changed a lot since last week as I've been working on my Blog Planner binder. (I'll be showing that in a separate post next month) I should be able to wrap that project up this morning then move on to that orange box that arrived yesterday. That is the September Paper Pumpkin kit from Stampin' Up. I've seen peeks on YouTube and know I have Halloween goodies in there to play with. 

And as promised, here is a better picture of my Girl Scout memorabilia shelf. This is above the East window in my office. In the far upper right you'll see a brown box (there's a little chalkboard propped in front of the box). That contains swamps from a Leader Camp. I finally found a shadow box frame at Dollar General yesterday so I can display those items. 

That's my desk? What's on yours? When you are done visiting me in the Ozarks, please hop on over to Stamping Ground where Miss Julia has a long list of other studios you can peek into. No standing on an up-turned milk pail to look in the window. We open the doors wide and welcome you. We won’t touch.. just look. J  I can't wait to peek but we have a busy weekend ahead so I may be late again getting 'round. Please leave your number and you'll be first on my list.