Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New toys...

I got to play with some fun new toys today. A friend of mine brought over some really neat pens...Parallel play with. I practiced a little bit with them, then decided to make something. Now, keep in mind, I have absolutely NO calligraphy knowledge or experience, but I still had an awesome time playing with these. I can't wait to practice some more. I also had a new set of stamps from Inque Boutique so of course I had to play with both of them together. The parallel pens have a built in reservoir, and you can put all kinds of things in them. Since I was using Distress Inks on this card, I put Black Soot Distress Ink in the pen. Now I get to draw with perfectly matching ink. With my limited skills, swirly flourishy lines were my best bet, and the pen performed beautifully. I just LOVE trying new things!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Well, it finally came...SNOW. Of course we were all very excited. Matt got to stay home yesterday since his school was canceled, and Hannah's school district was delayed, so her morning kindergarten was canceled as well. We had a great time playing together in the snow. Mommy and Daddy wore out long before the kids did. Eventually when noses were completely red and dripping we had to end our outdoor play. By then the kids didn't put up to much protest, so I'm guessing they must have been ready for some warmth again. As I write this, it is gently raining and melting away the beautiful snow. But they say there could be a little bit more to come. I know that all of you who are used to snow think we are a bit silly getting so excited about a little bit of snow, but for us it is always high excitement. Kids are known to have difficulty sleeping (actually parents too, especially teachers) when snow is in the forecast.
In addition to enjoying the snow yesterday, I once again tackled the job of cleaning up my stamping area. I'm so close...just have to take care of all of those scraps of paper that seem to accumulate miraculously. Can anyone identify? Seriously, how do I collect so many scraps?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fluid Chalk Ink Class Samples

At long last, here are some pictures of the Fluid Chalk Ink Card Class. These are 4 of the 6 cards we will be completing in that class. So many fun techniques to explore. Students will receive the Sand Dunes Fluid Chalk Ink Queue as a part of the class. These inks have shown up in my project so much, that it was only a matter of time until they got a class of their own. So here you go...

Friday, January 25, 2008

I took a little break in all of my planning and scheduling today to PLAY a little. I have been wanting to play around with some background techniques. I have a little more tweaking to do before I am completely happy with this, but I had lots of fun playing. I used Ranger Color Wash, Heidi Swapp Masks, Leafing Pens, the Palette Stamp and Stick Gluepad, Gold Leafing, adhesive mesh, Perfect Pearls, and Mini Misters. With that selection, it's hard to go wrong. When I finished creating my background, I immediately thought of a flower I made a couple years ago that I've been needing a great background for...and it matched beautifully. If only I had time to play all day.

It has been so cold lately, I've been waiting for some snow, but so far nothing. My in-laws had snow at their house in Albany (just an hour and a half away). My husband thinks it will snow on Sunday when he is playing in a sand volleyball league...brrr.

Well, I received the email yesterday that I made the cut, and will get to be a part of the Stampin' Cat Studio design team. It should be lots of fun. I can't wait to get my hands on some fun products and start creating. Stampin' Cat Studio is a great store, and I love Lisa (the owner). In fact, a couple weeks ago I declared my own "celebrate Lisa" day. She has done so much to help me gain confidence teaching classes, and has given me great opportunities. And although I have SO much more to learn, I have already learned a lot from her about the industry in general, and various companies. I am excited that Stampin' Cat Studio will be one of the store sponsors for our The Paper Inspired Retreat coming up in May. So Lisa, here's to're amazing...don't let it go to your head (teasing).

By the way, if you haven't seen it yet, Tim Holtz just put some really neat new videos on his blog. The new videos highlight his new Fragments, Design Ruler, and Texture Hammer. To visit his blog, you can click on the link down to the left. As usual great videos, and even better products. In fact, maybe tommorrow I'll make something with the Texture Hammer and put it on here. To many cool little time to play. I'll have to remedy that (and I don't mean by getting rid of tools).

Ok everyone, as we speak, ok, as I write, my husband is out in the garage making more mini mister holders. Some of them will be going to Stampin' Cat Studio, but there may be a couple left. If you are interested, just leave me a comment with your email address, or email me personally (

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Paper Inspired Retreat

I am so excited...I couldn't hold back anymore. Plans are in the works for a really fun event, and I get to be a part of it! Mother's Day Weekend, May 8-10, Drift Creek Camp in Lincoln City, OR will be hosting an awesome retreat. I can't give all the details yet, but there will be classes, time to relax, create, and learn...and all in a beautiful atmosphere. I wish I could give you more of the details now because I'm bursting with excitement, but as things are put into place I will give you details. I'll just mention the name, Brenda Broadbent...a very talented lady, who will be there. Ok...that's it for now, more to come later.

Have you ever painted with Alcohol Inks? The image to the right was painted on vellum with Alcohol Inks, and mounted on mirrored cardstock to add a luminous background.

This is a really random, scattered post, but so goes my life I guess. I am currently reading an amazing book, by an amazing man. The book, To Small to Ignore, is by Dr. Wes Stafford, the president and CEO of Compassion International. I am only a little way into it, but I think it is a very special and powerful book. I encourage you to check it out sometime. Ok that's enough of my random ramblings for now.

May your day be blessed!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shopping success! and other musings

Today my friend Elisha and I got to go shopping...with children...but still, shopping is shopping. And it just so happened that today was a successful shopping day. I love days like that, when you actually find things that you love, that fit great, and some that are even on a great sale too. Since my kids were with me, of course they wanted to try on clothes too. Even my 2 year old son got in on the action. He is so funny. The boy loves clothes, and he actually cares what he wears already. It's funny and cute now, but we'll see how I feel about it in a few years. I let him pick his own shirt today, and he had a definate opinion, and wanted to wear his new shirt immediately. He strutted around, so happy about it.

I use this stamp by Rubber Stamp Concepts all the time, I just love it. This is a tile coaster I made sort of by accident. I initially messed up, so I decided to just go for it and keep adding layers of Alcohol Ink. I stamped some of the images while the ink was still wet, because I was to impatient to wait for it to dry, and it made a really neat ghost image. It is one of those mistakes that turned into something beautiful. It is probably my favorite tile coaster that I have made. This is one of the things I love about art. Even mistakes can be redeemed. I think God does that in our lives too. There are so many life lessons in art...I don't think you can pour yourself into it without experiencing some kind of personal growth.

May your art enrich your life today.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Classes are finalized!

I have met with all of the stores that I will be working with for the first part of this year, and I am scheduled up through April now. You can see the scheduled classes in the lefthand column. Contact stores directly if you would like to sign up for one of the classes. Working with these additional stores is going to be a fun adventure, and I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people during the coming months.

The card I've included to the left includes the same stamp set that I used on my scrapbook page in the last blog entry. I just LOVE these Crillon sets by Li'l Davis. This card is included in the Relief/Resist Images Class that I have scheduled on March 15th at The Peddler's Pack in Beaverton.

I had such a great time with my daughter today. Hannah LOVES to write and draw, so today I helped her learn how to write a "report" on some of her books. She started with the title at the top, then would find each character in the book, write their name, and draw a picture of them. She has so much patience for projects like that, and I thought she did a great job.
Blessings to each of you,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I finally got a chance to scrapbook a little bit again. I was so excited to see this page come together. Pull the flowers to the right you would find a hidden journaling tag under the pictures of the kids. Of course I couldn't work in my craft room without trying something new...the lighter colored cardstock is made with Fluid Chalk Inks(DTP) and Sugar Plum Mica Magic Reinker. I mixed the Mica Magic Reinker with some water and sprayed it with my Mini Mister. I have yet to see how the Mini Mister holds up to that concoction over time, but it misted beautifully, and I loved the result (I needed something that could hold it's own with the Bazzill Bling cardstock).
I am so glad to be out from under the cloud of a deadline that was looming over me. Today was the last day to get my projects in for this particular deadline, and talk about down to the wire...I got to the post office and got it sent out at 5:10pm...wheew.
I am now looking forward to a little bit more relaxed pace for the next couple of days.
Signing off for now...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A very busy weekend is almost over. It has been the best kind of busy though. On Saturday I got to teach my Texture Tiles Class for the first time. This was the first time I've ever taught a class this long, and I think it went pretty well. I did go home and write a couple pages worth of notes for next time though. Now I can't wait to teach it again! I also had an Intro to Alcohol Ink Class, and as usual the Alcohol Ink Class was tons of fun. What a great bunch of ladies! I enjoyed having a mother/daughter combo in each class, it is so neat seeing family enjoying art together. It is SO fun watching what everyone comes up with. Every piece of art is completely individual...I just LOVE it.

Friday was my son's 2nd birthday. I can't believe he's two already. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that we were in the hospital waiting for the doctors to tell us that Noah had grown enough to be born. He 4 lb. 5 oz., and healthy enough that he only had to stay in the Neonatal ICU for a week and a half. You would certainly never know it now. It is interesting always hear about the terrible twos, and I don't believe that, but it just so happens that every day since his birthday has included a temper tantrum just as we were about to head out the door to go somewhere. This is pretty unusual for him, and I must say, I hope he gets over it quickly.
Now I get to go relax with my family and eat the ice cream my husband brought home for me...yeah!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Coming up for air (gulp)

Hi everyone,
I have been so busy lately that I have neglected to write, so it's time to take a little break.
I have been busy getting ready for an awesome new class this weekend, the Texture Tiles Sampler Class. I can't say how excited I am to get this one going. This is a 4 hour long class packed full of information and hands on fun. Of course with this being my first time teaching this class, I want to make sure everything is perfect. For me, that means lots of lists, checking and double checking my supplies, and going over the order and events of the class in my mind enough times that I think I have anticipated every (or almost every) possible glitch. This makes it sound like lots of work, but it's the kind of work that I love.
I didn't have any new photos I wanted to share today, so I am sharing a card from my Adirondack Paint Dabbers Class. I really love this card. The image is from the Chere Amie set by Rubber Stamp Concepts.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Life moves on...

Vacation is officially over. Our family managed to ease back into the swing of things fairly easily. Hannah and Matt were back to school today, and I was expecting the usual stressful rush trying to get Hannah ready and to the bus on time. However, we were blessed with a little bit of a snowy surprise, and Matt's school was delayed 2 hours. So I had a little extra help getting back into our routine this morning.
Yesterday I got to work on a challenging project. I love these kinds of projects that take me out of my comfort zone, and help me grow. Well...sometimes I love them. I was given a piece of patterned paper, a fleur-de-leis embellishment, and a piece of ribbon, and asked to use these pieces and 1 stamp to create something beautiful. A couple months ago I had picked up some square shadow boxes at the dollar store. They were filled with some cheesy saying, but I definately saw potential. This was the perfect base for my project. Add some grungeboard wings, wire antenna, Gunmetal Stickles, Eggplant Dimensional Pearl Paint, and some beautiful microfine glitter, and...I think it turned out pretty good. As usual, my lacking photography skills don't do it justice, but I think you get the idea.
Are you all back in the swing of things now that Christmas and New Year's Day are long gone?
Hopefully you are scheduling in some time to try new things,
Valonda L.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Guess what

My husband is amazing. I showed him a picture of a really neat Mini Mister holder that was given to Robin Beam by Kim DeRonde (, and he made one for me yesterday. I LOVE it. It holds 30 Mini Misters. I think he did an awesome job.
As I was going to sleep last night, a cool new technique came to me. I could barely sleep last night because I couldn't wait to get down to my craft room this morning and try it out. I can think up lots of techniques in my head, but they don't always work out as planned. This time it did. I can't give away all of my secrets yet, because after I work with this a little bit more, it will be showing up in a class. I can tell you that it involves Embossing Paste, UTEE, Distress Inks, and Paint. Anyway, here is a peek at what I made this morning.
Well, I can't play in my craft room all day. I get to pack up the kids and go watch my husband's volleyball team play today. It should be exciting...their first tournament of the year. Maybe I'll even get some good pictures.
Have a great day everyone,

Friday, January 4, 2008

Huge thanks to all of you!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated by commenting on my blog. It's such a small world, and it's fun to connect with people all over the country (and beyond). I wrote out the names, my husband held them, and my daughter drew out a paper. The winner is...Elisha! Now, for those of you who know me, you know that Elisha and her husband are some of our closest friends. So Elisha, we can talk about what you would like to have for a prize when you get back home.
I was very impressed that more than half of the comments were from people I didn't know at all, so I just had to draw a second name. And our second winner is...drum roll...Vernell. If you can shoot me an email with your address and favorite color, I will get something sent your way. You will receive a package of embellishment goodies, and your choice of a pack of 6 handmade cards or a piece of handmade jewelry.
I hope you all will stick around, and I will hear from you again sometime. Keep checking back for future drawings, possible contests, etc.

Now, on to other topics. I am continually working on organizing my craft area and finding better ways to store things, so when I was shopping some of the after Christmas sales and came across this neat tin, I just couldn't pass it up. It has four stacked tin containers, and came full of tea, cocoa, cappuccino, and coffee. I was able to take the little labels out of it and put in my own, and it now sits on my desk, holding some of my most commonly used supplies. I love finding inexpensive, nice looking surprises like this.

Do you have any neat storage ideas, or any re-purposed items that you use for storage? I'm always looking for more ideas. Someday I'll post pictures of my full-to-overflowing craft area, but until then,
Thanks again for coming to visit,
Valonda L.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It could be your lucky day!

I was inspired today by an invitation from Kim Hughes for people to visit her blog ( So in honor of her blog, I am going to offer someone an opportunity to get lucky today. If I receive 10 or more comments on my blog today, I will draw a name, and send out a prize to some lucky person (who lives within the continental U.S.). Winner will receive something handmade and something new (can you tell that I haven't decided on a prize yet?).
Well, this being an art related blog, it is only fair that I post a picture of something, is a sneak peak at an upcoming class. This picture really doesn't do the colors justice, but this is part of a Valentine Accordian Gift Card I will be teaching January 26th in Salem, and February 9th in McMinnville. The stamps I used are from some of my favorite sets, Crillon I and Crillon II, by Li'l Davis Designs.

I visited my local stamp store today, so I am off to play with my new supplies.
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My Word for the Year

Our family took the picture above for our Christmas picture this year. It's amazing how difficult it is to get two children to look in the direction of the camera and smile. I can't imagine how people with 4 or 5+ children manage a Christmas picture. I guess they don't try to do it by themselves, with a timer. Anyway, on to the purpose of this blog entry...
I have picked a word for the year! I was visiting a blog by Scrapbook Artist Ali Edwards ( and she wrote about choosing a word for the year. As I thought about it, I realized that without being intentional about it, I did actually have a word like that last year. Last year throughout my daily activities, the word "authenticity" kept popping up, and it became my goal to be authentic and real in all of my interactions with others. As a matter of fact, that will continue to be something I think about and aspire to.
It didn't take me long at all to realize what this years' word was going to be. I am in the midst of planning out my year, designing classes, etc. Naturally, I am thinking about how to balance my life with my family, my faith, my responsibilities, and my artistic ventures. Last year, I ended up overbooking myself at various times and creating stress for myself and my family. a word that will be helping to shape my decisions and plans for 2008.
It is amazing how much just a little bit of focus can change our decisions and outlook on life. It will be so interesting to look back at the end of this year and gauge how choosing to "prioritize" has changed the outcome of my year.
Blessings to each of you,

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Beginning

Hello Friends...
I have been thinking for some time now of starting a blog to keep those who are interested updated on the goings on of my life and art. And to have a place for people to keep up to date on my scheduled classes, etc. So here goes...
As I am starting this up, I am accutely aware of the fact that I am rather technologically challenged. So please bear with me as I figure this thing out.
My hope is that this will be a gift to myself, and to you who read it.
Welcome to my adventure!