Sneak Peek and Must Have Crafty Tools!

Hey Y'all!

I'm back today with another installment of a sneak peek.  Tomorrow, on the Butterfly Reflections, Ink blog, I'll be sharing the full reveal of this "punny" card that I had a lot of fun creating.

Today I'd like to talk about some of my favorite crafty tools. These items are a life-saver when card-making, and I believe that it's important to invest in something that actually helps you in your creative process. In my opinion, spending money on something that is going to help you increase your productivity is not a waste, but a wise use of your crafty allowance! :) All of these products are available at the Butterfly Reflections, Ink Shop.

How awesome are all these layering stamp sets that are out there on the market? I am a sucker for anything that gives a realistic image, and there are lots of floral stamp sets that give gorgeous results when you layer them up in different shades of ink. The MISTI Stamping tool is very useful for layering stamp sets, mostly because of the time it saves you. Once you place the stamp on your project one time, it will always be in that spot, so the guess work is taken out of the positioning process! If you are mass-producing cards, using the MISTI is especially helpful.

I am one of those total weirdos that likes fussy cutting my stamped images out. Sometimes when my creative juices are running dry, this is a great activity to do to stay productive and build up your stash of ready-to-use images. So, I'll camp in front of the TV and just cut out a bunch of images that I've stamped and colored. Matching die sets are wonderful, and I definitely have my fair share of them, but there's something extra polished about the look fussy cutting your images gives you. Having a pair of spring-cut scissors with fine needle tips is essential in getting good cutting results. These scissors can get you DEEP into the nooks and crannies of stamped images.

Distress Inks are pretty much the best thing ever, am I right? If you're on the fence about whether or not to invest in the blending tool and foams, take the plunge. You won't be sorry! Sometimes when I'm not even making a card with distress ink techniques, I'll look at the finished product and think, "This needs a liiiiiitle.....something." I pull out my antique linen distress ink and my blending tool, and BOOM! Instant depth and variation in color that adds a lot of interest to the card and makes it look more put together. This tool is designed to work well with a heavy or a light hand when applying inks to your paper. I like that they are small and can fit under the base of the mini-distress ink cubes. 

On any given day, I am reaching for these three tools more often than not. They are a great addition to your crafty stash and some of my favorites to keep close at hand. 

Thanks for stopping by today and don't forget to check out my card on the blog tomorrow!

Sneak Peek + Holiday Traditions!

Hey Everyone!

We're at another Friday and there is much rejoicing!

So, tomorrow on the Butterfly Reflections, Ink craft blog I'll be sharing a special Christmas in July card. Here is a sneak peek!

Because I'm doing a holiday card, I thought it'd be fun to share our favorite holiday traditions.

In my thirty something years of life, I've never known a year that we haven't done these traditions. Some people would say that's ridiculous. I think it's wonderful. My siblings and I are all married with our own families, yet we still carry on these traditions together and then individually in our own homes. Not only have we continued the same traditions since we were kids, we've added new ones since adding new family members! 

Although the months of November and December are just one long marathon of parties, events, traditions, and celebrations, I love it all and wouldn't want it any other way. 

The holiday season officially kicks off with Black Friday shopping and we still get up super early, even though the stores have already been open for at least 5 hours. We don't like to rush through our evening meal on Thanksgiving meal, and so we just get up early on Friday instead. And in recent years, it's been working out great since most of the stores are totally empty at those hours since all the REALLY crazy people went out at midnight.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, we put up the Christmas tree at my parent's house. My parents have been collecting ornaments and knick-knacks since we were all babies, so needless to say, the tree is quite full. It's always fun to pull out all the ornaments from their custom-made storage boxes that my dad has fashioned from cereal boxes and newspaper and remember the stories behind them. 

On Christmas Eve, we gather at my parent's house for a meal that consists entirely appetizers. So basically, it's my favorite meal of the entire year. What is this magical meal called, you ask? 

Finger Foods. Because clearly, we are super imaginative at naming our favorite meal of the year. 

We hang our stockings at my parent's house (there are currently 9 stockings to be hung every year between the children, spouses, and grandchildren.), and also watch a holiday movie and play games.

On Christmas Day, we gather at my sister's house and open out gifts to each other, and it's always a sweet time. We also spend an inordinate amount of time taking holiday photos in front of the tree, and that is my brother's favorite part (and by "favorite part", I mean he hates it so much and complains like a 2 year old). 

We also eat a very traditional Christmas feast of ham, veggies, and other delicious side dishes--and then we finish off the meal with 16 different kinds of pie, so it's essentially a great day. 

These traditions have been a staple since I was a child, but it's been fun to add the new traditions over the years, too. A few years ago, my sweet sister-in-law started hosting a Christmas Eve brunch, and we've been going that for several years running now. My sister and I started a tradition over ten years ago of running around like crazy women the week before Christmas picking up stocking stuffers for our husbands. Ten years ago, I was keeping her company while she got stocking stuffers for her husband. But for the last couple years, I've been joining in the fun of picking up last minute things for my guy, too. 

My dad and I always cram as many holiday movies into the evenings between Thanksgiving and Christmas that we possibly can, and that is another highlight of the season for me. Because.....Muppet Christmas Carol--HELLO?!?!?

Christmas is always a special time for us, and I'm grateful to have a loving family that enjoys being together. 

Thanks for reading about my love for the holiday season, and maybe this blog post has made you forget about the scorching heat of summer for a few minutes!

Only 23 more weeks til Christmas!

Have a great weekend!


Sneak Peek + Returning From Our Wanderings

It's Friday, people.

Don't get me wrong, I'm super thankful to have had a day off on Tuesday, but is it wrong of me to still be glad it's Friday??

I submit that it is not.

So my husband and I have returned from our summer travels (for the most part), and now I'm in full panic mode over some deadlines at the office and other deadlines for my card making business. The sign of a totally beneficial and worthwhile vacation is that you come back from your time away and suddenly realize that the calendar kept moving while you were gone. I hate it when it does that!

Before I dive into relaying our vacation adventures, let me share my sneak peek of my card that will be up on the Butterfly Reflections, Ink blog tomorrow.

Our time at the beach on the East Coast was just as magical as it always is. For the last couple years, my husband and I have had to drive down a day or so later than everyone else because he is still in school. And I am not very patient when it comes to waiting for him to be done so we can hit the road. 

Me: "Honey, do you have your stuff all packed? I want to leave as soon as you are done with school."
My husband: "Yeah, for the most part. I'll just finish the rest tomorrow."
Me: "Are you sure it can't be done right now?"
My husband: "Yes."
Me: Proceed to throw it in his suitcase anyway. Surely he can go without his toiletries for one morning.

We drove through a few minutes of a very heavy rainstorm, and that is always a highlight of the trip. I use the word "highlight" a bit sarcastically, as I was honestly concerned we'd have to call the Coast Guard to send us a boat so we could sail the rest of the way to our destination. 

When we got to Edisto Beach, I could immediately tell that the shoreline had changed significantly since last fall when a major hurricane came through the island. And ironically, it had already been raining there for a little while when we arrived, so there was LOTS of standing water all over the one main road that goes through the island. Cue the Coast Guard concerns again. But we finally made it to our beach house, where all my sweet nieces were waving at us from the window. Now, unfortunately, I missed it because I was too concerned about making sure we pulled into the covered drive way far enough that our car wasn't sticking out and thus making our unpacking chore a lot more....soggy. But my sister told me 20 minutes later that they were all waving from the window, and I could perfectly picture it in my mind, so that's pretty much the same thing, right?

The week was full of laughter and memories, way too much ice cream, and just enough body boarding to burn off about 1/16th of the calories we consumed. Perhaps the most comforting thing about our annual beach vacation is that we don't have to say goodbye to each other at the end. We all live in the same town, and that is something I am very thankful for.

After our great week at the beach, my husband stayed on the coast to attend some training classes at the Citadel while I headed back to Greenville to an empty house. But we're just gonna pretend that that week never happened.

Our next trip was out to Oregon for my sister in law's wedding. Based on my previous experience with being in Oregon during July, you can imagine my excitement to get back out there and experience some cooler weather in June. However, it was 100 degrees for the first part of our stay. We did what any self respecting person would do in Portland in the middle of a heatwave and in the middle of a wedding. We wore sleeveless and wondered why the good people of Oregon don't have air conditioning. In their defense, it's rare that they get that kind of weather. But they obviously hears that the South Carolinians were coming and wanted to show off. 

Anyway, after the wedding festivities were over, we packed up our cars and headed to Tillamook Bay. Where the weather was in the 60s. We had a BEAUTIFUL house that had a GORGEOUS view of the bay, and it was a wonderful time spent with the rest of the family. We missed my brother in law because he had just returned from an overseas assignment with the military. But we got to spend lots of good time with our other family members that we don't see nearly enough. There was even some clamming involved, in which I promptly avoided participation. Because....shellfish. I love the ocean, but I'm not so much a fan of purposefully hunting for creatures that LIVE at the ocean. They are some of the most mysterious and frankly....grumpy animals in the world. But my husband is a scientist, so clearly these types of things are his cup of clam chowder. We also visited Lincoln City Beach and took some epic pictures and I watched while people touched prickly stuff and bothered poor defenseless hermit crabs. Someone has to be the voice of reason, here. 

Both our trips were wonderful and super fun. I'm so grateful to have a loving family who actually want to spend time together. 

Thanks for stopping by today and reading about our traveling adventures! Have a great weekend!