Goodbye, Google Reader!


Today is the last day for Google Reader. I know so many of you, like myself, have been using Google Reader to follow all your favorite blogs. I was a bit shocked when I heard the news months ago. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, many more will open. 

Since the announcement, I have been trying out two different alternatives to Google Reader. So far, it's a tie between Bloglovin' and Feedly - although I think I am leaning towards Bloglovin' as my favorite. 

Here are my top five reasons I am loving Bloglovin':
  1. You can search new blogs easily. I have found several new blogs that I've added to my reader just from searching a topic.
  2. Blogs I follow are neat and organized alphabetically. So if I want to see only a specific blog, just click from the list and I'm there. 
  3. You can "like" or favorite a blog post and Bloglovin' will store it for you. You can go back to your "liked" pages at any time. 
  4. Sharing is easy. Just "share" and you can post to Facebook, Twitter, etc. 
  5. I love the simple image preview. Google Reader never had this one and that was just lame. 

And if you hurry before tomorrow, Bloglovin' will import all your Google Reader subscriptions over with just one click. So don't worry about manually transferring all your subscriptions over. Bloglovin' will do all the hard work for you!

Step 1. Sign up with Bloglovin'. After you sign up, you will see the following message. Click on "Import from Google Reader."

Step 2. Click "Accept" when Bloglovin' asks permission to manage your data in Google Reader.

Step 3. Bloglovin' will import your subscriptions over from Google Reader. It took me a matter of two seconds. Yes, I counted! 

Last, Bloglovin' asked me if I wanted to add an icon to my Chrome browser. I said "yes." It's a nice way for me to see if there are any new blog updates without having to check in Bloglovin'. 

Now don't get me wrong, even though I am recommending Bloglovin' more over Feedly, Feedly is a beautifully designed reader. And I mean, stunning! I just prefer a simple approach to reading blogs. Feedly seams to be fast and so streamlined that I've often skipped several of my favorite blogs because of how fast you can flip through the pages on my iPad. Maybe it's better for browsing on your computer instead? 

I don't want to skip anything - that's why I am choosing Bloglovin' as my favorite reader for now. 

So that's it! Pretty easy, right? I hope you find Bloglovin' a great place to get cozy and catch up on all your favorite blogs. 

And as for Google Reader....change is a good thing. 

Waltzingmouse Stamps Release Day Blog Hop

Welcome to the Waltzingmouse Stamps Release Day Blog Hop! Today is the day - the new stamp sets are available in the Waltzingmouse shop. As a recap, there are eight new sets. 

To celebrate the new release, you are invited to a blog hop party. For those who want to play along, just hop to each of the design team blogs and leave a comment. A randomly selected comment will be eligible to win a stamp set of their choice from Waltzingmouse

If you've been following along the blog hop, you should have arrived here from Karin's blog. If not, you may want to start at the Waltzingmouse blog so you don't miss a thing. 

For my first card, a little summer inspired creation using the new Big Berry Cherries stamps. And yes, those cherries are big! I just love that each of the pieces are separate to allow you to place the stamps anyway you choose. 

To get the gradient colorful cherries, I used three different inks: red, dark pink, and pale pink. By rolling my stamps through each of the colors, I was able to make these cherries have dimension. I just love how they turned out! Good enough to eat!

This next project features a fun set called, Charm Squares. This set will not be available for purchase, but will included as a free gift with purchase. Hooray! Be sure to check out the details for how to get this limited edition set over at the Waltzingmouse blog

Charm Squares features fun quilt style blocks, buttons, and a coordinating sentiment. Here I've added fabric knots, a stick pin, and a mini wooden spool with twine. "Sew" adorable, don't you think? 

Now, there is just one more stop along the blog hop. Don't miss out on Renee's lovely project!

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you've enjoyed the projects along the blog hop today. 

P.S. Google Reader will end on Monday. Continue to follow my blog on Bloglovin to stay updated!

Introducing You're A Doll | Waltzingmouse Stamps Release Day


It's finally time for previews at the Waltzingmouse blog! I am so excited to share with you all the new stamps that will be available this Sunday!

Today, I am introducing You're A Doll and You're A Doll Additions. And oh my...these stamps are gorgeous! Claire never disappoints. 

In the trendiest chalkboard style, I created a frame for my nesting doll (my grandma calls these dolls Babushkas) using white ink, white embossing powder, and a white colored pencil. 

I even added a little chalkboard "dust" by dabbing a paper towel into the white ink and blotting it over the embossed nesting doll image. 

This next card is completely opposite from my first card. It's bright and full of color - just like those pretty Russian nesting dolls. 

Since each one of these dolls are separate pieces, you can choose which patterns to combine into your perfect doll! I love that!

The corners are decorated with flowers and leaves also from You're A Doll. Aren't they sweet?

And below is my inspiration for this card. We have several of these nesting dolls displayed throughout our home. I grabbed this one from my shelf. She was so colorful, I just had to recreate her. 

I hope you enjoyed my preview projects today. There's still plenty more projects to see. Head over to the Waltzingmouse blog and check out more projects from the design team. 

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Google Reader will end on July 1 (this Monday). Continue to follow my blog on Bloglovin' to stay updated!

Seaside Ahoy | Clear and Simple Stamps Release Review

Looks like this blog will be busy during the next week with many more previews of all the new design team assignments I've been working on. I can't wait to show you all the new stamps I've been playing with! 

Today, I am joining the Clear and Simple Stamps blog (and Jennifer Rzasa) to show you the new dies and stamps that have been added to the shop. 

Last year, Clear and Simple Stamps released some of my favorite stamp collections with a seaside theme. Now, they've added to the collection by releasing coordinating dies to go with a few of the stamp sets. Here I've used the new Seaside Filllers dies and stamps to create a friendly summer card and gift box.

The little anchor with polka dots is so sweet. I've added a little baker's twine for that nautical detail.

The gift set is a new die called Party Favor 9 Tea Box. Yes, it fits bags of tea inside the box perfectly. Isn't that a great idea? Oh, and this box assembles with just a single piece of adhesive. I love the quick assembly!

There's more to see on the Clear and Simple Stamps blog. Have a look!

Thanks for stopping by!

A Coffee Lover's Gift Idea | Morning Brew Collection


In my house, we are big coffee drinkers. In fact, that's mostly what I drink - coffee and water. Open the fridge and your sure to find cold water and lots of creamer, or maybe a little caramel sauce for adding a splash of flavor to my cuppa Joe. 

Craving another beverage while visiting my house? Sorry. In this house you'll have to BYOB (that's bring your own beverage)! Otherwise, I will be happy to make you some fresh coffee, or espresso, if you're feeling a bit fancy (raise your pinky finger in the air!). 

So for all you coffee lovers (and tea drinkers) out there, I am happy to tell you about the Morning Brew Collection that Clear and Simple Stamps is releasing today as part of their Collection 7. 

From this collection, I used the Beverage Cozy die, Morning Brew: Coffee stamps, and small Coffee Cup die to create a fun gift set. Notice the pleating pattern on the coffee sleeve? I added some coloring to give it a quilt-like style with lace trim. Pretty!

Next up, a card perfect for a little pick-me-up. My favorite is the cute heart stamp on the coffee cup and the bit of steam coming out from the lid. 

Have you tried the new Starbucks travel packs? Oh my heavens are they yummy! My favorite are the Caramel Iced Coffee singles and the Very Hibiscus Refreshers. They fit perfectly in your purse too (guilty). They also fit perfectly packaged in a small glassine bag with burlap trim. 

And just in case your wondering what the dies from this collection look they are in action. The Beverage Cozy Die is long, but fits perfectly through the Cuttlebug and Vagabond die cutting machines. 

Thanks for stopping by to see part of the new Clear and Simple Stamps collection. There's plenty more to see at the Clear and Simple Stamp blog

P.S. Google Reader will end on July 1. Continue to follow my blog on Bloglovin' to stay updated!

Alpha Monograms | CSS Release Day 3


Hello there! Before we get started, did you see my new blog? If you're viewing this in your reader or email, come on over and have a look. I decided to treat my blog to a makeover. There were some new features and coding that I wanted to try. It's a work in progress. So please excuse my CSS/HTML dust while I make additional tweaks here and there. 

Now on to the show...

When I saw these new stamp sets a while ago behind the scenes at Clear and Simple Stamps, I just knew I HAD to have them! Today, I am so excited to share with you the new release of Alpha Monograms and the Build-A-Wreath series. 

Before these stamps arrived at my door, I had created this sketch on my iPad using the Paper app by Fifty Three. Mostly I share this app with my kiddos on long car rides. We play tic-tac-toe, hang man, or Pictionary. And seriously...we have a blast! 

Anyway, I thought this would be a great way to capture my idea for these cards. And although I don't normally sketch out my cards before creating them, I think it's something I will try more often. 

The Build-A-Wreath series includes all the four seasons, plus a few extra sets. Here I've created a monogram stationery set for the whole year. I just love all the stamping possibilities! This set definitely packs a punch!

Head on over to the Clear and Simple Stamps blog to see more previews of all the new stamp sets available!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Google Reader will end on July 1. Continue to follow my blog on Bloglovin to stay updated!

Hey, Mister!


I can't believe summer vacation has started already. With the kids out of school and the start of the first summer holiday, Father's Day, I decided on creating a card for dad with a beachy themed summer twist. 

When Clear and Simple Stamps challenged the design team to create a masculine card and incorporate a misting technique in some way, I immediately thought of creating ocean waves using only mists. 

To create the waves, I used the large Scallops Border die and sprayed each piece of cardstock with mists. One in aqua blue, the other in more of a turquoise shade. I let the liquid absorb into the cardstock for just a few seconds before dabbing the excess off with a paper towel. 

Then I used a heat gun to set the color and speed up the drying process. (Yes, I am impatient that way☺).

I stamped the large "dad" whale and the little "son" whale using Seaside Sentiments 1. I just love how the little whale is looking up to his dad. So stinking cute if you ask me!

The sentiment came from the same stamp set. To stamp "DAD," I used some selective letters from the other sentiments in the set. Sometimes you need to get creative when you're missing that one word you need to complete your card. 

After stamping the sentiment, I hand drew the speech bubble free-hand. I kind of like that my speech bubble did not come out perfectly round. Let's just say I was purposely going for that "handmade" look (uh, yeah. that's it.)

Either way, I think it really does fit the personality of this card - fun and a bit silly. 

See what the other girls have created for the Hey, Mister Group Project here:

AudreyElenaJenCSS Blog

P.S. Google Reader will end on July 1. Continue to follow my blog on Bloglovin to stay updated!

A Star is Born | Creating a Faux Watercolor Effect


I just love the darling sentiment "a star is born" from the Little One stamp set from Precious Remembrance. For my card today, I am featuring a "star" theme in soft pastels that remind me of watercolors.

First, I used pink ink to distress the cardstock and give it a radiant effect. Next I added washi tape to the bottom of my card. I masked off the wheels from the stroller and stamped the image at the top of the washi tape and replaced the wheels with buttons. I then paper pieced the polka dot patterned paper to give it some color.

Now the fun part! I used the dashed border stamp with a star pattern and gave it a careful curve when placing it onto my stamp block. Curving your stamps is a great way to get even more use out of your images in an unexpected way. I also curved the sentiment to follow the curve of the border stamp. 

To give it the watercolor effect, stamp off the star image onto a scratch piece of paper first to remove the excess ink, then stamp directly onto your project without re-inking. This will leave the remaining ink a softer, more subdued style similar to watercolor. I think chalk inks work best for this effect. Last, I used a glitter pen to trace the edges of a few select star images. I think it adds just the right amount of sparkle. 

Well, that brings an end to my project for today. I hope you'll give this technique a try with your stamps.

Thanks for much for visiting!

P.S. Google Reader will end on July 1. Continue to follow my blog on Bloglovin to stay updated!