Friday, August 30, 2013


Brandy and I both struggle with time commitments, juggling work and home while trying to carve out crafty time.  The past several years have been particularly hard on Brandy who often works 60+ hours a week.  We're a loyal type- dedicated to team and personal success.

Still, this crafting thing is it's own thing.  Crafting is a source of joy, a clear release of stress.  Both of us are better when we are creating.  We just don't always get a chance to chase that joy or relive that stress.

We do occasionally, and often in short bursts, pin interesting and inspiring things on our Pinterest boards.  If you aren't already following, you can check us out:

Follow Brandy on Pinterest

Follow Andie on Pinterest

We're soon to celebrate our third year anniversary in blogging.  Brandy hasn't always written here in her own voice, but I can tell you that we both sincerely appreciate every single comment, encouragement and view.  The ability to share our creativity and hopefully "infect" you with this crafting bug or feed your own "disease" is such fun.  We are grateful for each of you.  THANK YOU!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mini Memo Book

My co-worker, Jan- who will forever be know as crafty, shared this lovely gift with me and I thought I'd snap a few pictures and share with you.  The envelope is made from a piece of felt that was cut with pinking shears.  A simple seam up each side and a slit cut for the button (which is sewn on and the twine added later) and you have a delightful container for ....

A handmade journal.  The journal contains kraft paper pages with no adornment.  This lovely gift was given to Jan by a close friend and she shared it with me as we often discuss my crafty endeavors.  She has thought this gift to be so thoughtful and useful that she agreed to let me photograph it for the blog.  I don't know exactly where it was purchased but we suspect Jan's friend picked it up at a local craft show.

The book appears to be bound with twine in a fashion similar to the instructions I found here.  The front embellishment appears to also be handcrafted with more felt pieces cut with a pinking shears and a wire hand in heart piece attached with white thread.


What do you think my friends?  Lovely, no?  I'm so glad that Jan shared this gift with me.  I've filed it in my ideas list and intend to use it for a gift sometime soon.  If I get around to it, I'll post the results for you to enjoy too.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Huge Flower Soft Thank You

On a recent night of bff fun, Brandy brought a bunch of her Flower Soft products.  Quite some time ago, she had become enamored with their products and purchased a wide variety of kits and supplies.  Oooooh the fun to be had.

One of the supplies they offer is their pre-printed card toppers.  This beautiful lantern is just one such product.  The kit comes with several of the same card topper, so Brandy generously offered me a couple to play with.  She also had some duplicate containers of Flower Soft, so I received some Flower Soft to play with.  You've seen some of that product on cards recently posted.  I didn't get around to doing anything with the card toppers until recently.

I randomly applied the Flower Soft to the card topper and rubbed a little Scattered Straw Distress Ink into the flame.  Completing the topper took very little time, but resulted in a sophisticated result.  The patterned paper is from Carta Bella's Traditions collection. I fussy cut the scallops from a piece of the paper and coordinated with a red/orange cardstock.  The sentiment stamp was done with my CTMH Cranberry ink and cut using my ancient CM oval cutters which are like a decade old.

White ribbon was inked using Scattered Straw Distress Ink to create the bow.  I simply pressed the ribbon directly onto the ink pad using a scrap of paper.  It took a couple of passes to get this rich color but it works well with the color scheme.

The inside was decorated with patterned paper and a border stamp with some Scattered Straw Distress Ink.

This card made it into the stash.  I don't often use this size card, as it intimidates me.  However, I sure am pleased with how well it turned out.

The second (and sadly, last) topper I received as a gift is this lovely birdhouse.  To highlight the amazing versatility of Flower Soft's product, the same Flower Soft Spring mixed color was used on this card.  At first glance, this mix looks heavily yellow and leans towards the warm colors (thus the color scheme chosen for the card above).  However, this topper leaned heavily toward a soft pink rose theme.  I simply used a bit less flower soft, randomly dotting the pre-printed vine that winds itself up the post. 

If you look at this close up, you can see the yellow/warm color influence.  However, it really works in the final product.

The sentiment was created using my Tilted Banners die and stamps.  I simply trimmed the white banner to match and fit on the die cut pink banner.  The ink used was a small Brilliance Ink. 

The inside was dressed with a small Vintage Floret stamped flower and a piece of the white ribbon.  Another card for the stash.  Yeah me, I'm really feeling the using up the stash these days...  Thank you, Brandy.  Your generosity was put to good use.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some More Flower Soft Fun

I'd mentioned that Brandy shuffled some duplicate containers of Flower Soft product my way.  One of them was a container of Flower Soft- Spring.  This mixed color Flower Soft is versatile.  I knew just the supplies I wanted to combine to create a card set.

I started these cards with a set of 10 Hallmark gift cards that I'd picked up at a clearance sale.  The entire box cost something like $1.25.  They came with embossed envelopes and were an off-white color.  Next I sought out a La Blanche stamp I'd picked up for a smokin' deal a couple years back.  I've tried to use this stamp a couple times, but my combinations just didn't work and I ended up abandoning the work I began.

These cards started with the framed flowers being stamped with brown Archival ink onto some white cardstock.  Because I was shooting for the antique look, I used my Ink Blending Tool to apply some Scattered Straw Distress ink to the interior of the frame and some Vintage Photo Distress ink to the edges of the frame.  After applying the ink with the blending tool, I fussy cut the frame and colored the flower with either Worn Lipstick or Scattered Straw Distress ink.  I wanted a soft water color ink so I actually smeared the ink pad onto my craft sheet and applied the color with a water pen.

After the images were colored, I used some Glossy Accents to dot thin lines and splotches of glue on the stem and leaves portions of the image and quickly applied some pre-fluffed Flower Soft.  I pre-fluffed the Flower Soft into a kitchen bowl being sure to loosen any clumps that may have existed from the storage container.  After applying the glue, I simply sprinkled the Flower Soft over the bowl and let the extra drop into the bowl.

The sentiments were first die cut using my Tilted Banners Die and then stamped using the Titled Banners Sayings stamps.  They were also colored using Scattered Straw and Vintage Photo Distress inks applied with the Ink Blending Tool.  The sentiments were stamped with brown Archival ink. 

Some green patterned paper was located in the stash and used as a background for the frames, all edged in Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

I ended up sending a set of 5 of these cards to my Grandma who still does a fair bit of correspondence via the mail.  I thought she might be able to put them to good use.  I kept a set for myself and intend to use them to great effect in my own card sending.

I've linked one of these cards up over at Make It Monday: #154 and Word Art Wednesday's: Challenge #94.  Come join the fun!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Card

A while ago- while I was distracted with my scrapbooking effort- one of my blog friends graced me with an unexpected gift.  You might remember Loly.  She was the winner of our first ever blog candy award. You can check out Loly's work at her blog, Card Ville.  I recognized her name in a post at Paper Crafts Connection as a winner.  In part because I like to live vicariously, I promptly jumped over to her blog and posted a comment congratulating her on the win.  She responded graciously offering me one of the prizes.  Apparently Loly already was the proud owner of a set of Stampin’ Up!’s Essentials Paper-Piercing Pack, Pierce Mat, and Paper-Piercing Tool.  I couldn't let it stop there, so I ended up shopping on the Stampin' Up website. 
Thus, this card was born.  The sentiment frame is made using Loly's gift and the matching frame die I picked up at Stampin' Up.  The sentiment is stamped with Worn Lipstick Distress ink which was also used to color and edge the frame.  I just love how this made a perfect match to my patterned paper which came from the stash- so old that no manufacturing information is printed on it, ha ha.

The medallions were stamped using my Worn Lipstick Distress Ink and the Mosaic Madness stamp set and colored with my Scattered Straw Distress Marker.  The frilly crochet ribbon is a small leftover scrap I picked up at a local ribbon store (can you say ribbon and fiber heaven?).  The bow is made from a piece of white ribbon that I colored using my Worn Lipstick Distress ink.  I used a piece of paper to press the ribbon down onto the stamp pad and colored both sides.  It ended up a little ombre, happy accident!

On the inside I thought to take a page from another blog friend, Karon who blogs over at Karon's Krafty Korner, and decorate the inside.  That little medallion was fussy cut after stamping and coloring.  All papers are edged with Scattered Straw Distress Ink.

I really like how this card turned out.  I wanted a chance to publicly thank Loly for her generosity and let her know how useful I'd found her gift.  Thank you, Loly.  You're one classy, generous lady.

I've linked this card up over at Make It Monday: #154.  They have a weekly Anything Goes challenge just for fun.  It's a great place to go for inspiration and to share your creations.  Check them out.  

I've also linked up to the Creative Corner Challenge: Anything Goes and Word Art Wednesday's: Challenge #94.Come join the fun!

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Finished!

The gardens were so colorful and vibrant, we spent a great deal of time walking through with amazement. My young (at the time) daughter just loved all of them, skittering from plant to plant pointing and exclaiming.

More posing in front of displays, These two pages are accented with my Heartfelt Creations Delicate Aster stamps and dies and accented with the Spellbinders Floral Flourish dies.  The closest we made it to gambling was an afternoon stint at Circus Circus.  Since this was a trip when financial challenges abounded, we resisted the temptation to spend money on entertainment.  Two exceptions were the trip to the M & Ms store where we bought some expensive (for M & Ms) hand selected varieties of the candy treat and some game playing at Circus Circus. 
This is where I have to disclose- my husband is highly competitive.   I think I've mentioned his stint as a softball coach.  Occassionally, his need to win comes out and he successfully "beats" young girls.

This layout is proof that he doesn't always win.  The entire family played this racehorse game.  The object was to slide balls into targeted holes to move your racehorse along the course.  You've probably seen this game at the county fair.  When the race was over, the man walked over and handed our daughter a toy giraffe.  She was the winner. 

Since I didn't leave much room for journaling on this page, the story is relegated to the back of the page (with a highlight on the front page story). 

All in all, I'm so pleased to have finished this.  I have a few cards that I now have to get photographed and posted.  It seems this is the season for weddings and birthdays so I've a few requirements to meet before I can think again about getting some more planned projects finished and maybe catch up a bit on my scrapbooking.

This picture of the front page was snapped in order to get the post up.  I've typed out a vacation "story" that will fill the space under my title. It seemed wiser to get this all posted than to wait until I get that story down.  Thanks for bearing with me during these longer posts and the amount of time that it took me to get them posted.  I appreciate all the kind comments.  They've seriously encouraged me!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Volcano

For the most part we stayed inside after dark.  Walking around Vegas in the daylight was its own kind of special with young children.  Walking around at dusk waiting for the volocano show, nighmarish!  It is fun people watching, but one wonders what it taught my children.  I'm thinking less than I thought, but more than I expected, ha ha.

The fountain at the Bellagio was the same kind of special.  The musical light display was certainly captivating.  Let's face it folks, we were a bunch of certified tourists for the week.

Whether it was the white tigers at the Mirage or the Lion enclosure at the MGM Grand, both kids have always enjoyed a good zoo-like display. 

Freaky eyes, dude!  If this scrapbooking effort wasn't inherently worth the time, seeing how far I've come on the picture taking front was worth it.  Some of the errors were tool based- the first point and click digital cameras weren't that great.  However, a lot of the issue had to do with my use of the camera.  Yet, there is nostalgia in these photos that our current level of detail and perfection can't achieve without actual skill.  Yeah, that's what I'll claim... nostalgia.

Thanks for bearing with me as I get these all loaded and edited.  I'm working through this!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Craftiness is truly contagious

I thought I'd slide a little post in that is about a craftiness of a different kind.  I'm hoping in the end that you might laugh along with me and so the post won't seem as pretentious as it might on first glance.

See, it all started a little over a week ago.  My office at work has one wall which is almost entirely window.  It looks out on a beautifully manicured rock bed of trees and bushes and ultimately over the entire parking lot.  The sunlight pours in all day and I've made a habit of opening the blinds all the way to let in the sunshine.  Often (because I'm probably a workaholic) I don't even notice the outside.  However, when the sage bushes are in bloom I so love the green (my favorite color!) and purple explosion of flowers that I often extoll the virtues of the sage bush.  This happened last week.  The bushes right outside my window were a riot of color similar to this picture.  I happily chirped to my office co-workers how very much I loved the flowers which bloom in a rather random fashion.  I further detailed how very much I love them when they bloom because blooming ruins the shaped grooming that is so prevalent in public and corporate landscaping here in the Southwest.  "The visual asymmetry of the blooming sage is a sight to behold" I might have said enthusiastically.  One might have wondered why I have so much time on my hands to go on and on about the sage bushes.  In my defense, I'm relatively passionate about it. 

Cue the next day.  I'm happily working away (having opened the blinds upon arrival and privately thought to myself "How beeautiful!") when the buzz, hum sound of trimmers fills the office.  Sure enough, the groundskeepers had arrived for the routine grooming of our landscaping around the office.  I watched as one by one my colorful bushes with their sporadic shoots full of blooms were cut off only to fall on the ground as useless waste.  Because I am just that weird, several co-workers now had to listen to my dismay.  "Isn't that too bad", "I was just saying....", "All those beautiful flowers..."

...and another night and morning.  I arrive at work, open my blinds and low and behold, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the sight that greets me outside of my window.  You'll notice all the perfectly manicured bushes.  This bush nearest to my office has sprigs of small purple flowers!  Oh Happy Day!  I probably did an internal dance of joy.  No kidding... no exaggerating!  My co-worker, Jan, stopped by.  I exclaimed, "Look, Jan!  These buds must have been missed.  Can you hardly believe that the only bush they missed just happens to be right outside my office?"  On and on I went.  I pulled another co-worker into my office.  Same story.  We're a small group of 8 or so on any given day.  At least half of the folks heard from me.  The other half probably heard me from afar.  For days, I opened my blinds each morning to find that no one returned to fix their bad job of bush trimming.  My purple flowers were still there.  Joy, on the order of daily hearing an internal rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.  Please click the link.  You will be stirred emotionally just like I was, every day!

So, imagine my combined embarrassment and amusement (big belly laughs resulting in a red face!) when Jan came to my office yesterday.  She mentioned my bush was still blooming.  She pointed out that it was still the only bush with flowers.  She highlighted the fact that it happened just outside my office, as though it was a blessing meant only for me.  She encouraged me to look closer to see if I could still see the Michael's price tag.


Yes, this lovely woman who is simply the most decent person I have ever had the pleasure to work with had purchased a small stem of fake purple flowers, arrived at the office before me, and stuck those flowers in my bush the day after the landscaping was finished.  She meant it to bring a smile to my face.  When I was so very pleased, she didn't have the heart to point it out right away thinking I'd be wise enough to eventually figure out those flowers weren't going anywhere and maybe weren't real.  After more than a week, she figured I needed a little push to see what was right in front of my window. 

Needless to say, the entertainment lasted a few minutes as more and more people heard our loud guffaws and exclamations.  Soon, more than half of our small group knew my gullibility.  As detailed oriented as I am (and I can manage to keep quite a few details up in the air at the same time), I can be so focused on the trees I've no idea I'm in a forest. 

We use crafty and craftiness here at Contagiously Crafty quite a bit.  If you Google the definition, it doesn't usually include in any definition a mention of paper crafts, etc.  Here's another definition from

crafty  (ˈkrɑːftɪ)
adj  , craftier , craftiest
1. skilled in deception; shrewd; cunning

Yes, my friends, Jan is definitely crafty.

True Beauty

Just a couple more pages to share today.  The Bellagio's Conservatory was probably some of the best times on our tour.  We went back more than once.

The lobbies of each of these hotels have stunning flower displays.  My little rose was not outshown by their beauty. 

Thanks for patiently viewing my layouts.  I've had fun finishing this project and sharing with you.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Front Cover for Heartfelt Creations Die Storage

I thought I might interrupt this week's posting of the scrapbook pages to show off a little bit of creativity that leaked out around finishing up the scrapbook pages.  The front covers of my Heartfelt Creations storage was so bland and boring I couldn't leave them alone.  Plus, the scrapbooking effort wasn't heavily laden with flowery goodness and I was missing my Heartfelt Creations creativity.  Out busted these blue little beauties.

 The flowers were created with my Heartfelt Creations Vintage Floret stamps and dies.  I used a black archival ink to stamp the flowers and die cut the flowers out.  The swirls come from a couple of different die sets, Spellbinders Floral Flourishes and Sizzix Decorative Swirls.

I now have two books of these stamp and die sets.  With this weekend's arrival of the leaf sets, I may be expanding to a third book. It feels like a good problem to have, but sometimes I wonder if I'm truly just a craft tool junkie.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Millers

Today includes one of my favorite family photos ever.  A very kind stranger offered to take a photo of all four of us right in front of the fake Eiffel Tower.  Instead of snapping one or two, the stranger snapped quite a few, so I have these series of similar photos and I honestly can't figure which I like best.

I finally just picked one to be highlighted and made this super simple layout leaving the photo the star.

Lots of cheesy smiles as we wandered the town doing the wholesome, free activities.  It's good that my little ones were raised to be tourists from a young age.  They were super happy to stop at each site along the way.

Just a few more pages to the album.  I feel a little like Dory... Just keep snapping, editing, editing...