Friday, January 29, 2016

Lil' Inker Designs January 2016 - Day 3

Welcome to our final blog hop day for the Lil' Inker Designs first release of the year.  Today I focused on Valentine themed cards.

I was really looking forward to Valentine's day with Ellie.  {Who am I kidding...I was looking forward to everything with Ellie.}  I would have loved kissing her all over with bright red & pink lipstick, and taking the cutest photos of her.  I would have loved dressing her up in the softest, pink & red, covered in hearts outfits for the first 2 weeks of the month.  Friends...these firsts are just really hard.

If I could send both of these cards to Heaven...I would do it in a heartbeat.

The first one is a shaker card, and I used the previously released Diamond Lace cover up die to create the background.  Then I added the shaker feature to the top of that.
Card Challenges:



For my next card, I created the background using the previously released Stitched Woodgrain cover up die.  I stamped the lips directly to the background using last year's Smooches stamp set.  Then I embossed the sentiment, added the diecut pinwheel & accented with jewels.
Card Challenges:

For your shopping convenience, I have provided a link list with all of the newly released products on it.  I will only be linking Lil' Inker Designs product for today's post, but if you have questions about anything else that I used...please leave them in the comments & I will reply.



Lil' Inker Designs January 2016 Product Release



As is the case every month, this is a blog hop.  Here is today's order so you don't miss a thing!

LID Blog http://www.shoplilinker.blogspot.com/
Lea Lawson http://www.lealawsoncreates.com/
Lisa Henke http://mylittlecreativeescape.blogspot.com/
Maureen Merritt http://www.mamamostamps.com/
Jennifer Carter http://jensinkspot.blogspot.com/
Amy Kolling http://stamp-n-paradise.blogspot.com/
Karen Baker http://thebalddragonfly.blogspot.com/
Sarah Jay http://www.criminalgrace.com/
Heather Hoffman http://housesbuiltofcards.blogspot.com
Chrissy Larson http://chrissycards.blogspot.com/
Link to Store http://lilinkerdesigns.com/

I hope you've enjoyed the past three days of showcasing the newly released product from Lil' Inker Designs.  You have until the 31st to leave a comment on all three of the blog hop days, which will make you eligible for winning 1 of 3 $15 gift certificates.  So don't forget to comment on each blog to increase your chances.

Until later,
~L.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lil' Inker Designs January 2016 - Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of the January release for Lil' Inker Designs!  I've got a couple more cards to share with you today.  These cards are more product oriented than yesterdays, with more focus on dies than stamping.

I am always really drawn to the colors I used on this card.  They were the main colors of the nursery I planned for Ellie, and what I gravitated to in her wardrobe.  They are also really pretty for a love themed card.  I used the new Valentine Word Tags to create the sentiment, and the Dual Dotted Hearts as accents. 


Card Challenges:


It's still winter in my neck of the woods, and my next card is a fun shaker card using the new Coffee Cozy stamps & dies.  I also used the previously released Dual Dotted Tags to help create the shaker accent.
Card Challenges:


For your shopping convenience, I have provided a link list with all of the newly released products on it.  I will only be linking Lil' Inker Designs product for today's post, but if you have questions about anything else that I used...please leave them in the comments & I will reply.

Lil' Inker Designs January 2016 Product Release



As is the case every month, this is a blog hop.  Here is today's order so you don't miss a thing!

LID Blog http://www.shoplilinker.blogspot.com/
Sarah Jay http://www.criminalgrace.com/
Jennifer Carter http://jensinkspot.blogspot.com/
Lea Lawson http://www.lealawsoncreates.com/
Lisa Henke http://mylittlecreativeescape.blogspot.com/
Heather Hoffman http://housesbuiltofcards.blogspot.com
Chrissy Larson http://chrissycards.blogspot.com/
Karen Baker http://thebalddragonfly.blogspot.com/
Maureen Merritt http://www.mamamostamps.com/
Amy Kolling http://stamp-n-paradise.blogspot.com/
Link to Store http://lilinkerdesigns.com/

I will be back tomorrow with our final day of projects for the January release. 

Until later,
~L.

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lil' Inker Designs January 2016 - Day 1

For the first time in a long time, I am joining in on this month's full release of new Lil' Inker Designs product.  Laura has been wonderfully supportive, and kept me part of the team while I stepped back & took the time that I needed.

I've got two cards to share with you today using some of the brand new products.  A friendship card seemed fitting to share as my first one, in honor of so many people, Laura especially, in this industry that have reached out to me in some way.  I may not have responded back, but know that I have read every comment, private message & email...and I have appreciated them.

I thought that watercoloring inside of the stitched circles would make it look a little bit like the sun, which seemed fitting for the sentiment.  You will also see in the instructions that I misted the entire watercolor block with Heidi Swapp Color Shine in white.  It is impossible to photograph, but because this mist isn't opaque, it just leaves a nice shimmer to the entire card.  It is a quick & easy way to add the shimmer, and dries fast.
How to create:
  1. Trim & fold A2 card from black cardstock, then set aside.
  2. Add the stitched edges & circle stitching to the middle of a watercolor block.
  3. Watercolor the inside of the stitched circles with distress inks in yellows & oranges.
  4. Dry with a heat gun, then sprinkle water droplets to the watercolor paint.
  5. Let sit for a moment, then pick them up using a paper towel.
  6. Flick droplets of orange, yellow & black paint to the front.
  7. Stamp the sentiment to top of the watercolor circle.
  8. Mist the entire front of the watercolor block with white Heidi Swapp color shine.
  9. Adhere the watercolor block to the black cardbase,
  10. Accent with a gold bow, black enamel dot & sequins to finish.

For my next card, I made a kid-friendly valentine using lots of the little critters in the Lovie Friends stamp set.  I don't have the supplies nor skills to color in these adorable critters, but I really wanted to use them.  So, I did the next best thing and watercolored them in a rainbow gradient.  I thought about how much Ellie probably would have loved getting this card when she was a bit older, and how I hope she would have my same affinity for rainbows.
How to create:
  1. Trim & fold A2 card from black cardstock, then set aside.
  2. Stamp & heat emboss the critters to a watercolor paper block.
  3. Tape the block to a hard surface, then wet the critters down with clean water.
  4. Paint the critters in a gradient rainbow using distress inks.
  5. Once dry, trim the top & bottom edges of the watercolor block & adhere to the black cardbase.
  6. Stamp & heat emboss the sentiment to black cardstock, then trim.
  7. Cut a banner edge to the left side, & adhere to the right corner of the card with foam dots.
  8. Accent with clear jewels to finish. 

For your shopping convenience, I have provided a link list with all of the newly released products on it.  I will only be linking Lil' Inker Designs product for today's post, but if you have questions about anything else that I used...please leave them in the comments & I will reply.

Lil' Inker Designs January 2016 Product Release



As is the case every month, this is a blog hop.  Here is today's order so you don't miss a thing!

LID Blog http://www.shoplilinker.blogspot.com/
Karen Baker http://thebalddragonfly.blogspot.com/
Heather Hoffman http://housesbuiltofcards.blogspot.com
Lea Lawson http://www.lealawsoncreates.com/
Sarah Jay http://www.criminalgrace.com/
Chrissy Larson http://chrissycards.blogspot.com/
Amy Kolling http://stamp-n-paradise.blogspot.com/
Lisa Henke http://mylittlecreativeescape.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Carter http://jensinkspot.blogspot.com/
Maureen Merritt http://www.mamamostamps.com/
Link to Store http://lilinkerdesigns.com/


I will be back tomorrow for Day 2 of the release!

Until later,
~L.

Monday, January 25, 2016

My World is Brighter Because of You

I tried to start up cardmaking again in December, and it just wasn't the right time.  The holidays weren't easy for me, and I was going through too many firsts without Ellie.  It was overwhelming & I just didn't want to sit at my crafting area.  So I did the right thing, and closed it up again.  I chose to just focus on surviving the holidays without any additional stress.  January has also had some firsts that I needed to deal with....moving into a new year without her & turning 36.  I was supposed to have an almost 4 month old when my birthday came around this year.  In some really illogical ways, I just felt like a failure.  We did some small things to celebrate my birthday, but for the most part...I just needed to let it pass by.  The good news is I've come out on the other side mostly unscathed, and feeling a bit more inspired to pick up my crafting supplies again.

I've actually got a card to share with you today...and I actually like how it turned out.  (Falling on the floor fainting over here.)  It's pretty simple in design, but uses one of my favorite things....rainbow colored watercolor.
How to create:
**Supplies will be linked below for your shopping convenience.**
  1. Trim & fold an A2 card from Cupid's Bow cardstock, set aside.
  2. Stamp & heat emboss the Origami Map to a piece of watercolor paper.
  3. Tape the paper block to a hard surface, then wet down the inside of the embossed map.
  4. Paint the inside of the map in a gradient rainbow using distress inks.
  5. Dry completely with a heat tool, then sprinkle some water droplets to the front.
  6. Let the droplets sit for a moment, then pick them up using a paper towel.
  7. Adhere the watercolor block to the Cupid's Bow card front.
  8. Diecut the word 'hello' from aqua glitter paper & adhere to the front with foam dots.
  9. Stamp & heat emboss the rest of the sentiment to black cardstock, and cut into a thin strip.
  10. Adhere the strip to the top of the 'hello' diecut word with foam dots.
  11. Accent with colored jewels to finish.

Here are a few more detail shots of the card:

Well, that is my first card of 2016.  It took 25 days to get it done, but it is coming a bit easier to me now.  And that is a good thing!  I am sure my creativity will ebb & flow as I continue down this road of firsts, and learning how to live and grieve my daughter.  As I was making this card, I kept thinking about how true the sentiment is in regards to Ellie.  Though her death & absence has left me heartbroken, my world truly is better because of her existence.

Supplies:


Until later,
~L.


Challenges:
 
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). When we think of this verse, we usually think about “good works” as ways we can help others, and that’s true. Remember though: In the beginning when God was getting creative and bringing everything into existence, He evaluated His creation and decided it was “good.” Creativity can minister to a person’s heart the same way a meal or a hug might.
SOURCE

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

6 Months


I have officially lived without Ellie for longer than I had with her.

I was really indifferent, perhaps even hesitant for 2016.   I usually love New Years Eve, but this year... this year it just wasn't my thing.  Partly because leaving 2015 felt a bit like leaving Ellie behind too.  And partly because of the unknown.  I don't know what will transpire this year and after the doozy that was 2015...fear about the future can bring me to my knees sometimes.

When I look back on 2015, I can honestly say it was the worst year of my life.  It started with so much hope & so much joy, but then it all came crashing down around us.  I've hurt in this life, but never like this before.  Never so deeply, and never so raw.  In all my life, I've never been so broken.

And in all my life...I've never been so honest.  I've never been very forthcoming with my feelings, until they were just too much to keep in.  This honesty has been most prevalent in my relationship with God.  I have gotten to the point where I can lay it all out there and say, "Here I am, Lord.  Do with this mess what you think best."

2015 was pretty awful.  But it was pretty beautiful too.  I was graced with the presence of my precious daughter for 25 weeks & 3 days.  I got less than half a year with her, but gained a lifetime of love for her.  I will miss her every single second of every single day for the rest of my life.  I sometimes think about the day that will be my time to go home to Heaven.  About how after I bow before my precious Jesus in worship, I will look Him face to face and ask Him where she is.  I will see her, and she will know me, and there will be no more tears because we will be reunited and living with our beautiful Creator forever. 

What a day that will be, my friends.
  
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." ~Jesus (John 16:33)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dear Santa,


Dear Santa,
There is just one wish upon my list this year,
That you will take the time to call on someone I hold dear.
My precious child was deemed to be too beautiful to keep,
And so it's in God's nursery she spends this night asleep.
 
And though its many miles away, on such a busy night,
Please find the time to call on her among the stars so bright.
Oh Santa, stroke her sleeping face, and softly kiss her head,
Then leave a little stocking hanging there upon her bed.

And whisper that the gifts in it were sent by us with love,
Until we walk the golden path that leads to Heaven above.
And when she wakes and sees that she has been visited by you,
  She will know that it is Christmas day for little ones in Heaven too.
 
Merry Christmas, Arabella Grace.
We love you & miss you every day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

His Power in my Weakness


"You are so strong."
"Your strength amazes me."
"I don't know how you have the strength...."

I've heard these comments a lot in the past 5 months.  I know that people mean well when they say it.  I just often don't know how to respond.  Most of the time I say an awkward semblance of a thank you, and then change the subject.

I don't feel strong.  I feel broken.  Incomplete.  Shattered.  Most of the time I think that if they had seen me earlier that morning, or just a moment ago when I was alone in my car...they probably wouldn't say those words to me.

In the past, I might have smiled at comments like this.  I might have felt proud of myself, or victorious in some way.  But there is something about having your entire life shatter around you....there is something about hitting complete & utter rock bottom that shreds every single possible thread of ego you might have once had.  Now I just realize how completely & utterly untrue those words are.

I am not strong.  I am weak.  If all of this had been left to me...I would have curled up into a ball the night that Ellie died and never unwound myself.  If it had been left up to me, I would have ceased to live the moment that her heart stopped beating.  I say that because alone, this is too much for me.   

There is a quote that says we are never given more than we can handle.  That, my friends, is total & utter crap.  I'm learning that God did not create us to handle this life on our own.  God created us to be in commune with Him.  To cast our cares and our burdens upon Him.  To rip open the death grip we have on our hurt & fear & anger and leave it at the foot of the cross, where we can look upon it and see redemption in it.


Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10,
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I'm not where Paul was when he wrote that.  I do not delight in this.  I wish with every fiber of my being that my story was different.  That my baby girl was healthy & sleeping in my arms right now.  I can't listen to or sing the hymn "It is Well with My Soul", because well....it's just not.

I am not strong.  I am a woman that you see with tears rolling down her cheeks for no apparent reason.  It might be at church.  Or in a store.  Driving my car.  Pretty much anywhere can trigger that deep hurt & yearning I feel for my sweet Ellie.  But through those tears, I ask God to help me take just one step further.  And then another.  And another.  To help me get through the next second.. minute.... hour... day... whatever I need at that moment.

I am not strong.  But when I give Him my weakness, He gives me His power.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

LID December Release - Day 2


This is my final day of the Lil' Inker Designs December release, and I have one more card to share with you using some of the new items.

I didn't do any stamping on this card, but used some of the new 6x6 papers & one of the new dies.  I think it turned out pretty cute!

I grew up in Tucson, Arizona...so I'm pretty fond of the So Prickly papers.  I've added a little bit of gold to my card, because I pretty much think that everything needs a touch of gold these days.

Here is the blog hop list so you can see all of the projects today:

LID Blog http://www.shoplilinker.blogspot.com/
Lea Lawson http://www.lealawsoncreates.com/
Heather Hoffman http://housesbuiltofcards.blogspot.com
Lisa Henke http://mylittlecreativeescape.blogspot.com/
Chrissy Larson http://chrissycards.blogspot.com/
Karen Baker http://thebalddragonfly.blogspot.com/
Sarah Jay http://www.criminalgrace.com/
Laura Williams http://lauralooloo.blogspot.com/
Maureen Merritt http://www.mamamostamps.com/
Jennifer Carter http://jensinkspot.blogspot.com/
Amy Kolling http://stamp-n-paradise.blogspot.com/
Link to Store http://lilinkerdesigns.com/

And here is a link list to all the new product to make your shopping easy!


Thanks for checking out my couple of cards for my first release back. 

Until later,
~L. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

LID December Release - Day 1


So, I am participating in 2 of the 3 days of Lil' Inker Designs December release.  I'm still fairly slow when it comes to creating right now, and it isn't second nature like it once was....but I will get there.  I'm only going to have 1 card per day, and probably will not use all of the new products this time around...but Laura is graciously letting me ease back into this.  :)

I alluded to the fact that part of starting up again was making it feel safe.  Part of that is finding ways that I think of Ellie while I create.  So, for today I created a sympathy card.  When we lost Ellie, there were very few moments during a day that I looked forward to.  But I did look forward to getting the mail.  I treasured each & every single card that was sent, and I looked at them a lot during those first 8 weeks.  I don't look at them as often now, but I do still have them.  And they will stay with Ellie's box of items forever.

I never realized how important it is to send sympathy cards.  And I will never, ever forget to send one from now one.  There are some really beautiful items in this release that can be used for them, and here is what I created:

I chose an elegant white, black & gold color palette for my card, & kept it quite simple.

Here is the blog hop list so you can see all of the projects today:

LID Blog http://www.shoplilinker.blogspot.com/
Sarah Jay http://www.criminalgrace.com/
Laura Williams http://lauralooloo.blogspot.com/
Heather Hoffman http://housesbuiltofcards.blogspot.com
Chrissy Larson http://chrissycards.blogspot.com/
Amy Kolling http://stamp-n-paradise.blogspot.com/
Lisa Henke http://mylittlecreativeescape.blogspot.com/
Maureen Merritt http://www.mamamostamps.com/
Karen Baker http://thebalddragonfly.blogspot.com/
Lea Lawson http://www.lealawsoncreates.com/
Jennifer Carter http://jensinkspot.blogspot.com/
Link to Store http://lilinkerdesigns.com/


And here is a link list to all the new product to make your shopping easy!

I will be back tomorrow!  Thanks for checking out my card today. 

Until later,
~L.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hang a Shining Star

I made a card this weekend.  I don't know how I feel about it.  Sitting at my crafting area, which has been closed & packed up for months now, felt vaguely familiar but so very different.  As I sat at my desk uninterrupted, I grieved over the fact that Ellie wasn't here to pull me away from it when she needed me.  This isn't how it's supposed to be.

I didn't know where to start.  I perused the list of challenge sites on my blog, and checked out the blogs of some of my favorite stamp companies.  Finally I pulled out some products to use, prompted by a challenge to use a specific stamp set from WPlus9.  I'm thankful that it is a stamp set that makes me think of my Ellie...how I would have loved to watch her hang ornaments upon our Christmas tree each year. 

And this is what came of it.
Eh.  It's okay.  Not a masterpiece by any means, but...a start.  Products used?  Well, I have no desire to create a link list right now, so if you want to know something specific...ask in the comments & I will reply. :)

I know I probably sound a tad apathetic about this.  In a way...that is the truth.  I've become indifferent to a lot of things that once meant more to me.  Some of that indifference is good, because those things that I thought meant something were really of little to no value.  I know that isn't the case with creating.  I know there is value in it.  I don't want to be indifferent to it.  So I am trying to find a way to make it feel safe...like I am not moving on or past my sweet baby girl.  I am trying to make it instead, synonymous with Ellie.  That I think of her while I create.

Things about this card that make me think of Ellie?  Well...the cute little girl hanging the stars for one.  And the gold.  Her nursery was going to be blush pink, gold & white/cream.  With hints of mint.  It would have been a really pretty nursery.  Soft & sweet....just like her.

Challenge info: