Friday, May 25, 2018

Cards for Sad Occasions

Sympathy Cards

You always want to send love to someone who is grieving, but making a sympathy card can be really challenging.  What colour/s are appropriate? How will the person be feeling? What sentiment is appropriate? What do I write inside? Does it look right?

Thinking of You Cards

A similar difficulty is "Thinking of You" cards or a card for someone with a terminal illness.  It's not appropriate to say "Get Well Soon" and it's not right to send "Sympathies".  What do you say to that?
It seems to me that after birthday and thank you cards the next most common card for me to make are Sympathy or Thinking of You cards. Grief is a fact of life and I can tell you from experience that a handmade card with a brief message of love is always welcome.  

Here are my tips for making Cards for Sad Occasions. 
  • Choose a clean and simple design.
  • If you are going to make one Sympathy card (or other similar card) make a batch so you always have a few on hand.
  • Use muted colours (nothing bright) or neutrals such as white, black/ grey, craft, silver, gold and copper.
  • Second generation stamping gives a soft look.  
  • Keep patterns simple and subtle.
  • Use versatile and simple sentiments such as "Thinking of you", "Sending Love and Prayers", "You are in my Prayers", "You are in my thoughts", and even "With Sympathy".
If you want to see a blog post and video from Catherine Pooler (which inspired some of my cards) click here
I used products from Catherine Pooler Designs and Memory Box (available at Craftie CafĂ©).  I used Rhubarb Stalk and Sweet Plum inks from Memento (both muted colours) and Versamark ink for a subtle watermark on the background.

Happy Stamping...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Best of AGT: The Light Bulb (a poem)

This poem was first published on 4 February in 2011 here at AGT.  In honour of my two 'happy' lists last week, I thought it was time to revisit this poem.  Enjoy
The Light Bulb

Today I saw a Light Bulb
In all its shining glory.
Before you scoff, remember,
Every Light Bulb has a story.

It begins with doubt and darkness,
A task that is unclear.
There might be tears or anger,
Confusion mixed with fear.

This child doesn't get it
It makes no sense up there
'What is the point?' she questions
'I don't even care!'

The teacher frowns, uncertain
Into a smile her lips then curl,
"I'll show you a trick," she says
As she sits beside the girl.

Sometimes a child just can't see.
They think a different way.
This girl feels very lonely, 
The worksheet's suddenly "mislaid."

The teacher talks to others.
She tries lots of games.
She even gives the topic, 
A bunch of other names.

One day the teacher gets it right,
She breaks right through the wall.
The little girl before her
No longer slips or falls

Instead she gets the concept.
Something up there clicks.
This little girl is smiling,
She's finally found the switch!

Then we see the Light Bulb,
It comes on behind her eyes.
Her hand shoots up into the air,
'I know, I know,' she cries.

Today I saw a Light Bulb,
In all its shining glory.
I smile because I'm so privileged,
A character in its story.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Two Lists


Things that make me HAPPY

Listening to music while I walk
Light bulb moments
Seeing my friends smile
Playing with Shelly
Hanging out with my Mum (Don't tell her, though)
Talking to the BFF
Praying (even when I'm sad, it lifts my spirit)
Going to Church
Stamping/ Creating 

Things that I do everyday 

See friends smile
Laugh (I hope I do this everyday)
Play with Shelly
Hang out with my Mum... living with your Mum makes it hard NOT to do this everyday
Sleep- I love sleeping! 

Things I do at least once a week (I am counting this under the everyday list)

Talk to the BFF
Go to Church 
Creating and Stamping

The only thing on my Happy list that I don't do on (at least) a weekly basis is "Light Bulb Moments".  I don't know if I can adjust that one.  There are too many factors out of my control that contribute to Light Bulb Moments. 

Sometimes, there are parts of our life that don't make us happy.  There are often parts of our life over which we have no control.  Focus on the stuff that does make you happy.  Focus on the big picture.  Focus on the little things that you can control and relax.  Have some fun.  Do what makes you happy.  Even if it's only for a minute.  


Friday, May 4, 2018

Mothers' Day Gift Guide (part 2)

Hey Everyone,
It's 9 days until Mothers' Day!
Are you organised? Do you have a card and gift? Have you arranged to see your mother that day?  Want to give your mum an awesome gift this year? Stay Tuned!

If you want to make your own card, or you make cards and need some inspiration, check out Part 1 in this series.  You can also check out my Pinterest board of home made cards.  Here are some gift ideas and gift giving tips to make you the "favourite" this Mothers' Day.


Whether it's her first Mothers' Day or her 50th Mothers' Day, this gift is perfect! There are so many ways you can give ya Mum a rest on Mothers' Day.  You could do any or all of the following:
  • Take over the kitchen for the day - cooking AND clean up.  
  • Get the washing done for the week! 
  • Make some coupons for Mum to use when she needs a break e.g.  "This coupon entitles Mum to a 30 minute nap at a time of her choosing!" (click here for downloads and here for a second option)
  • Give Mum a night out with her Mum.  Let them rest together.  
  • Take Mum out of the house and let her enjoy time with her kids. 

A Spa Day

I know we all can't afford to send Mum off to the spa for a full day of pampering.  Some of us can't even afford to get our toe nails clipped!  There are lots of options though.  It doesn't have to be the whole day.  Choose a treatment you think she will like and book her in.  If you can't manage that, give Mum a voucher for dollar value you can afford and she can book a treatment she wants.  
Is the Spa totally out of the financial question?!  You can do it at home click here for some great ideas for pampering your Mum at home! 


Most mums I know always put their kids first.  They often give up time, money/ a career, little luxuries and Bucket List experiences for the privilege of motherhood.  So, if you can manage to stretch the budget... (or you have siblings who can chip in), the perfect gift is an experience Mum has always wanted.  Check out and for some awesome deals on experience gifts.  
Some ideas:
  • High Tea at a fancy restaurant (this one would be great fun for you to invite friends and their mothers to join you).
  • A guided tour of the closest city.
  • A night at the Theatre - see what's playing at your local performing arts centre or theatre (not the cinema).
  • A Gold Class Cinema experience
  • A ride in a limousine
  • A personalised shopping experience with a stylist and voucher to purchase clothes she loves.
You can find cheaper options... like creating a Drive-in Theatre in your driveway or preparing all the fixin's for high tea at home.  Click Here for more ideas. 

REAL Photos! 

When I say Real Photos... I don't mean digital.  Get yourself organised and print those puppies out.  If you really want to win the gift giving competition you are having with your siblings, you should get them framed or put them in an album (with labels).  Even if you don't talk about it, you are competing with your siblings for 'favourite'... yes you are.  


If you are an adult, I am about to drop some science on you here.  This might just change your life!  There is nothing your mother wants from you more than your time.  She wants your undivided attention.  Think back to when you were a kid and all you ever really wanted was some time with your Mama!  Time when you could just enjoy being together was golden.  Reading a story before bed, playing a board game, going to the movies, painting each others' nails or playing with your trucks were the best things ever.  

Now that you are all grown up, your mother remembers those moments with fondness and wishes she gave you more of them.  Don't be too busy for your Mum this Mothers Day.  You don't have to break the bank to give your Mum what she really wants this Mothers Day.  You just have to devote some time to being with her.  Give your Mum some undivided attention this Mothers' Day and you will be the favourite, for sure! 

Now, Get scheduling, Get reading or printing or creating or whatever, but Get to it! 
I hope your Mothers Day is Magical.  

Friday, April 27, 2018

Mothers' Day Cards (part 1)

Welcome to the first of a two part series celebrating Mothers' Day 2018.

Part One: Mothers' Day Cards

Part Two: Mothers' Day Gift Guide

I have four cards to show you today. I am planning to give one to my mum, and one to each of my grandmothers.  The fourth card is also for my nieces and nephews to give to my mum, so it's a Grandma card.  I am so lucky that both of my grandmothers are still alive and they are both still teaching me in their own way.  Don't forget your grandmother/s this Mothers' Day.  Even if they are no longer living, take some time to remember them and their contribution to your life.

You will notice that none of my cards have "Happy Mothers' Day" on them.  These cards are versatile. A Mothers' Day card is essentially a Thank you card.  You could even use them as "just because" cards or even a "love you" card.  The main things with Mothers' Day cards is that they are usually feminine.

Let's get into these Cards.

A Card for my Mum

I stamped the Doodle Background Stamp from Catherine Pooler Designs in black ink on white card stock. After trimming this down, I mounted it on a strip of black card stock that was 1/8th of an inch larger.  Then, I put this on a piece of red textured paper that was the same size as the front of my card.  I stamped the sentiment in Versamark ink and heat set with white embossing powder.  Then I used the emboss resist technique to colour the paper with Rockin' Red ink from Catherine Pooler.  This came out a bit pink!  I am new at the emboss resist technique so I need a bit more practise. A couple of adhesive backed pearls and that was that. Check out this video to learn more about emboss resist and see the doodle background stamp in action! 

A Card for Nanny

I used a gorgeous Plaid Flower stamp set (by Penny Black) to make this card and paired it with a sentiment from the Lovely Flowers stamp set (by Catherine Pooler).  I used Flirty Fuchsia ink (also by Catherine Pooler) to stamp the flower and Cottage Green (by Memento) to stamp the leaves.  I borrowed some green twine from a friend to finish this card off. Then I decided that it NEEDED to have some iridescent sequins too.  I love the clean and simple design of this card.  

A Card for Grandma

I used the Bloomin' Bouquet stamp set and the Lovely Flowers stamp set by Catherine Pooler to make this card.  Inks were from Memento and Catherine Pooler.  I don't remember which colours!  Sorry.  You might notice that I didn't use any twine, sequins or stickers on this card.  It's also (almost) a one layer card.   I purposely did this because my Grandma gets a bit confused these days.  If I had used twine wrapped around a card panel, she may have tried to untie it and remove it from the card and that would have made a big mess.  I also didn't want any stick on pearls or gems to fall off and possibly be mistaken for tablets that need to be swallowed.  Neither my grandmother or grandfather have great eyesight. Sometimes we need to think about these things! 

Best Grandma Card

My last card (but certainly not the least) for today is the one I will give my nieces and nephews to give to my mum.  My mum loves red and black and white.  So, this card has the same colour palette as my first card.  I wanted it to be light and fun.  Using Rockin' Red ink (Catherine Pooler) and  a polka dot stamp (Love is in the Air SOA), I made some red with white polka dot patterned paper.  Then I went a bit crazy with my Cuttle Bug and die cut a bunch of flowers in different sizes using Eva's Favourite Flowers (by Winnie and Walter).  I used my polka dot paper, black and white card.  Then I layered them and played around with the arrangement until I landed on the one you see here.  
Stamping the sentiment took a little while, as I used the Simply the Best stamp set (Catherine Pooler) and an alpha stamp set for the word "Grandma" which I needed to stamp one letter at a time.  I stamped on white card and then glued them onto black card and cut them out with scissors.  I didn't worry about making it perfect as I wanted it to look like the kids may have made it.  Before adhering the panel to the card base, I added some black glitter washi tape to each long side of the card front so it has a frame.  A few black gems in the centre of the flowers and I was done! 

If you want to purchase any of the products you see here, check out: 

Next Week:  I will give you a few tips with plenty of time to get you organised for Mothers' Day!