Lotus Blossom Gift Card Set

Lotus Blossom Set

Hi All!

I’m so excited to be using one of my new Stampin’ Up! products. When I saw the Lotus Blossom set, I was really excited to try it. The truth is, I recently purchased another company’s flower builder set and had a lot of trouble using it. I spent at least an hour on it and then gave up. I just couldn’t figure out how to successfully line up the images. When I saw the Lotus Blossom set, it just looked like it was going to be easier. I’m happy to report back that after just a few minutes of practice, I had it down to a science and every image came out perfectly lined up. Yay!! Here are some close-ups:

Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom

Here’s the trick to getting a nice set of colors… just use two. Finding three separate colors that blend together without water is very hard to do. I used all Stampin’ Up! inks and Stampin’ Up! paper. The Stampin’ Up! paper is really important – it gives the best ink saturation. I did a little comparison of Stampin’ Up! inks and paper HERE awhile back if you would like to check it out. I did, however, use my typical Neenah Solar White for the card base.

Here is a diagram of where to focus your eyes when lining up the stamps:

Lotus Blossom Instructions

Making these cards has renewed my appreciation for Stampin’ Up! inks. They performed really well in my Dye Ink Comparison but for some reason I haven’t been reaching for them as much lately. I’ll need to do that more often.

Another interesting realization during this card video was how “stamping off” differs significantly among brands. I took comparison photos of Hero Arts, Simon Says Stamp, Memento, Ranger Adirondack, and Stampin’ Up!. I will post the results later today in a separate article so if someone needs to reference it later, it won’t be buried in a card video post.

There’s one more thing I need to tell you about this set… it’s in the Sale-a-bration catalog. So what does that mean? It means the only way to get it is to buy $50 worth of Stampin’ Up! products. Then you can have it for free. Not a bad deal, especially since my sister donates 20% of every order to foster kids. If you’re just not into Stampin’ Up!, then be patient. This trend is just getting started, so I’m sure there will be more products like it in the near future.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!


Note: If you are reading this post in an email, go to my blog to view the video.


To purchase at Ellen Hutson, click the EH link. To purchase at Simon Says Stamp, click the SSS link.

Stampin' Up! Lotus Blossom
Stampin’ Up! Lotus Blossom
Stampin' Up! Borderettes
Stampin’ Up! Borderettes
Elegant Eggplant
Elegant Eggplant Ink
Wisteria Wonder
Wisteria Wonder Ink
Pacific Point
Pacific Point Ink
Marina Mist
Marina Mist Ink
Rose Red
Rose Red Ink
Pink Pirouette
Pink Pirouette Ink
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie Ink
Stampin' Up! So Saffron Ink
So Saffron Ink
Stampin' Up! Garden Green Ink
Garden Green Ink
Stampin' Up! Wild Wasabi Ink
Wild Wasabi Ink
Simon Says Stamp Black Ink
SSS Black Ink
Stampin' Up! Whisper White Cardstock
Stampin’ Up! White Cardstock
Stampin' Up! Basic Black Cardstock
Black Cardstock
Ranger Craft Sheet
Craft Mat
Stampin' Up! Dimensionals
Neenah Solar White Cardstock
Neenah Cardstock

Talent vs Skill

Hi All, hope you’re having a great week. :)

During the process of migrating my content from DarleneDesign.com to LiveLoveCards.com, I went back and viewed my very first blog post. Oh my. Those are butterflies punched out of patterned paper. I thought I was so creative because the butterflies looked like they were “flying off” the page. You know what? I had already been cardmaking for two years when I created that card.

My photo was so bad that you can’t even see the clear embossing I did on the black cardstock. My video was shot at an awkward angle, and the light was so bright that there are shadows everywhere.

So why draw attention to this post?

I wanted to point out that with time and practice, plus a heaping dose of patience, improvement can be dramatic. A lot of people tell me they just aren’t creative. They ask me where I come up with my ideas and are so kind in their appreciation of my “talent”. In my head, I am as talented as the girl who created that first post. The difference is just time and practice. So, for those of you who think you’ll never be able to match colors or do a cool technique on your own, check out my first post and don’t give up. :)

A big thank-you to those of you who have signed up for my new site, LiveLoveCards.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I’ve already posted two cards this week, and this morning I posted a tutorial on how to get the look of 3 Copic markers with just 2. Here’s a sneak peek:

Blending with Two Markers

If you missed my announcement about this new site, you can view it HERE. Have a wonderful weekend!


Stampin’ Up! Spring Catalog Released Today, Plus it’s Sale-a-Bration!

Sale-a-Bration 2015

Hi All!

Today is a big day at Stampin’ Up!. The Occasions catalog is released PLUS the big Sale-a-Bration promotion begins. During this promotion, you get a free product from the Sale-a-bration catalog for each $50 you spend, no limit.

There are some really adorable and fun items in the 51-page catalog that was released today. I already placed my order! Here are some of the products that caught my eye…

There are two punches I think are incredibly useful: the Confetti Heart Border punch and the Star Border punch:

Confetti Heart Punch

Confetti Stars Punch

You could punch out all the hearts or stars and use them for a shaker card, you could punch out the pieces and form them into a larger image using an adhesive, or you could use them how they are intended – as a border punch. Great for both cardmaking and scrapbooking.

I absolutely love the colors in the Stacked with Love Designer Series Paper:

Stacked with Love

I rarely buy patterned paper, but I love contrast and this paper has a lot of it. So I got it.

The catalog shows this photo of a beautiful framed piece of art:

Framed Flowers

It was created using this Painted Petals set:

Painted Petals

UPDATE on 1/7/15: Um, I was wrong in my assumption actually (thank you Rachelle for pointing this out to me). If you read the small caption under the framed art in the catalog, it seems that this piece of art is simply a sheet of patterned paper that has been framed. Honestly, I think it’s a little deceiving when it’s right next to the stamp set in the catalog. But in any event, I still love the set and am determined to build something beautiful with it!

I think it will be fun to build some pretty card flowers with this set. Another set I love is Celebrate Today:

Celebrate Today

The biggest reason I love it is the shape of the decor. You see the stars and dots that are meant to stamp on the inside of the balloon? See how they get smaller toward the edge? It’s more realistic-looking. There are also some matching dies for this set.

Okay, this is hands-down my favorite product in the catalog. The From the Herd stamp set:

From the Herd

I don’t know how the artist did it, but those faces are just the most hilarious animal faces I’ve seen. The goat with his head turned and the llama with his mouth crooked just makes me laugh. All those huge bug eyes looking at the recipient. Plus the included sentiments are great.

For those of you looking for a very practical sentiment set, the Crazy About You set is a good one:

Crazy About You

There are lots of different ways you can use the words to create almost any sentiment.

As far as the Sale-a-Bration catalog goes, I am VERY intrigued by the Lotus Blossom set:

Lotus Blossom

I love the triple-stamping of the flower. I got it, so hopefully I’ll be creating a video with it soon. Because it’s one of the Sale-a-Bration products, you can only get it for free as part of the promotion for spending $50.

Since I spent over $100, I also got the Irresistibly Yours DSP:

Irresistibly Yours

This cardstock is white with a glossy white pattern. I thought it was be fun to experiment with different ways to color it.

I hope you’ll check out the catalog, because these are just a few of the great items in it. You can also go directly to the online store for shopping!

Just a reminder that my sister is a demonstrator, so all my links go to her store. She donates 20% of every sale to Foster Kids Charity, so you can feel good about spending money on crafty items. :)

Have fun shopping!


*BIG* Announcement!!


Hi All!

I cannot tell you how excited I am about today’s news. It has been 6 long months in the works!

After recording and posting videos on my blog here for 5 years, I am launching a new site, LiveLoveCards. On this new site, starting today, I will be posting at least two videos per week! Yay!!

I have recorded a video with the details, so please view to get the scoop on this new adventure of mine. I also have more information below the video. I hope you will join me for the ride… :)

Note: If you are reading this post in an email, go to my blog to view the video.

Some of you may be asking, why? And, why now? There are a couple of reasons. First, realistically, with more readers and more traffic, the costs of my site have gone up. So although I have provided all my content for free for 5 years, I feel a little pressure to help defray costs. Second, my kids are getting older, leaving me more time during the day to focus on something I love. And, of course, I really love card-making. I thought I would use this time to provide even more content, thereby making the nominal cost worthwhile for everyone. :)

For answers to more questions about this new site launch, see the LiveLoveCards FAQ page.

Of course, I am launching with a special incentive… Get the first month for just $1 by joining before January 19th! Use code ilovecards at checkout. AND…everyone who joins before January 19th will be entered into a drawing to win a Stampin’ Up! Heat Tool (love this heat tool with 2 settings)!
Stampin' Up! Heat Tool
You can also save $5 on a yearly membership by signing up before January 19th (just $25!). Use code ilovecards at checkout.

Now here’s a peek at my first video post over on LiveLoveCards:

Offset Arrows

Please feel free to email me with any questions. I’ve kept the price of membership very low and affordable ($2.50/month, less than the price of a Starbucks coffee!), so I hope you will consider joining.

I sincerely wish you and your family a blessed, happy, and healthy 2015! :)


Merry Christmas Eve!

Hi All,

I’m taking this week off to celebrate the holidays with my family. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. I will be back on Sunday with some hints on my big news! :)

Here’s a photo of my youngest daughter and me after we built our snowman over Thanksgiving in Colorado. Happy Holidays!

Courtney and Me