My blog is called "Creative Smiles" because my designs are the result of incorporating mistakes. With fumble fingers that drop whatever they are holding - repeatedly, it takes a lot of giggles, smiles and creative patience during my crafting process. xx

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Contemporary Christmas

YAYYYY! You're here! And just in time!
(I hope you're enjoying a week that is holding promise and anticipation.)

Double YAYYYY! Autumn has finally arrived to our neck of the woods!

Pssst! I'd like to remind you not to forget to sign up on my blog for my blog candy! 
It is for my regular bloggy visitors such as yourself.


Oh yes! It's time for a new Cardz 4 Galz challenge!

Badges are awarded for the Spotlight Winner and Top Picks.

so get crafting and show us your modern take on Christmas!

There are many traditional elements incorporated into my modern take of Christmas, 
including snow, presents, a tree, snowflakes and ribbon!

It's been years since I played with acetate, so I stamped some modern presents with VersaMark and heat set with some SNS white detail EP. Painting the back side of the embossed presents with SNS Brushable Glue, I then applied some SNS microfine glitters:  Jasper Blue Velvet GM2012, Orchid Rose Velvet GM2016.


Front side:

Little dancing present popped up on card:

A little Mediterranean Star EP to pretty-up my round frame:


I love sharing my BOO-BOOs with you!

I VersaMarked my "modern" IO Swirly Christmas tree, and stamped onto some inexpensive watercolor paper. Because I wanted a sparkly tree, SNS Sparkle EP was heated. It is a semi-transparent powder with semi-transparent glitters. 
It worked pretty well
a white EP with glitters would have worked better...
or perhaps a clear EP with white mica powder and glitter.
A white pigment ink UNDER the Sparkle EP instead of VersaMark.


Because a tiny bit of the color seeped UNDER the heated EP. Since the EP is not opaque, some of the color bled through the paper under the image, dulling the embossed image.

I've only used my Color Burst Powder colors one other time.

I forgot about them LOL

See how dull the white image appears?
Brilliance Sky Blue ink was used on the dry embossed white area and the sky around the tree:

Here is my clean-and-simple version.
Is this considered CAS?

See the difference in the bright white embossing powder for the sentiment compared to the semi-transparent powder used for the tree?

Thanks for stopping by today!

On a Personal Note:

We gratefully receive the Gentleness of Autumn here in central, rural Florida.
Our mornings have dipped into the 50s - 60s (15-20C), while our afternoons glide into the low 80s (27C).
Before the sun rises, I open the sliding glass doors to the screened lanai, breathing in the dewey freshness.
All is quiet, undisturbed - SILENT.  Our Barred Owl community has apparently retired for the day.
Barely hearing the highway traffic a few miles away, I hear
ripened acorns drop from the oak trees, on the barn's metal roof, for some hungry squirrel to discover and hide as their winter reserve.
But then, a single Barred Owl tentatively shares his greeting, erupting into bold cackling, making me giggle at heart. If you have ever heard the guffaws of these incredible birds, you know what I mean.

During the evening, he and his mate have been quite vocal with their neighbors.
There are several owls in the area. Frequently they are right outside the house.
Their conversations are incredibly lively, from softly muffled background singing, to something that resembles outright laughter! I wish this sound bit picked up how lively they become! (wait about 15 seconds into the sound bite)

Everything smells fresh as the dew sets, and a neighbor's rooster begins to rouse the neighborhood.

Slowly, one by one, other birds awaken.

Some resent the intrusion on their last hour of sleep,

others quickly awaken to get an early start.

Before long, it sounds like an orchestra deafeningly tuning all their instruments simultaneously!

And now, the Sun finally animatedly reveals her multi-color glory.

This is Autumn in my Florida.

Products Used:
  • Images: Great Impressions G245 Presents, Impression Obsession Swirl Tree J2004 Leigh Hannan, Hero Arts Christmas C1722
  • Sparkle N Sprinkle: Embossing Powders (White Detail EP298, Sparkle EP107, Mediterranean Star EP429), Embossable Acetate, Brushable Glue, Microfine Velvet Glitter (Jasper Blue GM2012, Orchid Rose GM2016), VersaMark Ink
  • Die Cuts: Spellbinders Grand Stately Circles, Spellbinders Grand Circles
  • Inks: VersaMark (for embossing powder, Brilliance Sky Blue (for falling snow), 
  • Embossing Folders: Crafter's Comp Elegant Snowfall, Regency Swirls by Die'sire, Craftwell Delicate Dots
  • Watercolor: Color Burst Powder Watercolors

Challenges I'm supporting with these cards:
  1. Christmas at Sweet Stampin Challenge (Wed Nov 9) "Anything Goes Christmas" 12/7
  2. Crafty Gals Corner Challenges #97 "Use a Sentiment" (my 2nd card) 11/16
  3. Inspiration Destination #111 "Anything Goes" 11/16
  4. The Crafty Addicts #28 "Anything Goes with the Winter Blues"11/23
  5. A Snowflakes Promise #32 "Seasons" (Christmas) 11/14
  6. Cardz4Guyz #145 "Oh Christmas Tree!" 11/14
  7. Holly Jolly Christmas Challenge #84 "Trees or Christmas Trees" 11/13  (10)
  8. Craft-Dee BowZ (Nov) Anything Goes with a hand-made bow 12/1 
  9. Crimbo Crackers #119 Shaped Christmas Cards 11/17 (sep post end of month? several challenges announced at once)
  10. Sweet Stampers Challenge #1 "Christmas" 12/10

Happy Hugs,


Babs said...

Morning doña , I love your contemporary take on Christmas, your creation is so wonderful the colours are so lovely , and like you its years since I have used acetate too, must have another play some time soon

Hugg Babs x

coldwaters2 said...

Donna your post today has brought a little of your magic into my life, I love how you have described 'Your Autumn' my imagination was at work picturing the view and sounds that you hear, it is awesome, I listened to the video the sounds are something that we never hear here in my neighbourhood, so envious, sigh......Donna your pictures of the cards are amazing I love how you have created the wonderful background also that lovely contemporary Christmas Tree is is truly full of festive delight, thank you for sharing your beautiful work and the sounds of nature.
lorraine x

Pamellia said...

Oh Donna, your card is just delicious! I love the blue and purple combo for a wintery card and that background is amazing! What a great technique you used for the little gift, the glitter really does add a wonderful holiday flair! Stunning frame, wow, amazing way to showcase that incredible Christmas tree. Love it, and I love your CAS version too!!!

The weather is still holding nicely here too. Like you, I love the mornings the most. The light, the dew drops and the quiet of the world before the hustle and bustle of life begins. Glorious!! Sadly there are no oak trees left here thanks to a horrible disease, making the squirrels job of finding food that much more difficult. Owls are incredible creatures, we don't have any around here so I can only image how wonderful it would be to hear one in the mornings!!

Today I am heading out on a search to see if I can find any of my missing squirrels. It has been a hard summer for the wildlife around here and I worry about them all so very much! Wish me luck my friend. Sending big hugs out to you and yours! :)

Chris said...

Your card is so beautiful Donna, the swirly embossed tree looks so pretty against that gorgeous blue/purple background, lovely glittery details in the frame and the little present.
Wow, those owls are incredible, it really does sound as if they're laughing. Wonderful to listen to them in the early morning...not sure how keen I'd be listening all night!

Joan said...

A fabulous card Donna, love that tree and the beautiful colours of the background. I also love your little video of the laughing owls , I've never heard of them, they are just so funny !


SD pooja said...

The delicate and swirly Christmas tree looks Awesome against the dark colored bg ! I loved the glittery frame too..I have started using them on my cards too ;)
I got the same results ,while using clear embossing powder on dark bg its better to go for white EP then Clear !

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

Gorgeous cards Donna, you would know of course that I love the colourful, inky backgrounds along with the contrast to the white embossing. Both designs are fabulous, love the glittery circle frame. Your description of the Florida 'fall' is fabulous. Our fall is much more chilly in the mornings and of course cooler during the day. The Owl video is awesome, I love it. Actually it almost sounds like you are living in the Everglades :) How wonderful that you are enjoying living in paradise. Take good care & big hugs, Shirleyxx

Lisa said...

Oh wow, Donna, your cards are absolutely gorgeous!! I love the beautiful colors!! They look amazing!! The sparkle is so fabulous!! The gift and the circle shimmer beautifully!! These are spectacular my friend!! I love, love them!!

I so enjoyed how you described a Florida fall!! The owl video is awesome!! I live outside of town on a hill surrounded by trees and I've yet to see an owl. I think I hear them sometimes but then I think it might be a mourning dove!! It's been so beautiful here, too but the chill is starting to creep in and the nights are getting frosty. Snow is on the way weather I want it or not!!

Have a wonderful, happy Thursday my dear friend!! Big hugs :)

A Mermaid's Crafts

Shona Erlenborn said...

Beautiful post my friend! Thanks for letting us see and hear part of your world! The owl sound track is awesome! Beautiful cards as always, love the contemporary look and your little acetate presents are a lovely addition! The white ep is more bold, I have to say, but had you not mentioned it, I would bet not one of us would have noticed!!! But then, you wouldn't have had a boo boo to talk about!! LOL

KarinsArtScrap said...

what gorgeous Donna, and fabulous colours, love the glitterrrrrrrrr
Gr Karin

Linda Simpson said...

These are both gorgeous Donna, love the backgrounds and wonderful trees. Gorgeous colours and sparkle.
Linda xxx

Unknown said...

Ooh I adore your creative and sparkly presents--who wouldn't? I also love that this is a round card--how FUN! I like that swirly tree, it doesn't look flat from here, just fantastic--so there! Oh and regarding those pearls, phew, glad they looked straight I usually have a tough time of getting them that way lol :) Have a happy day! xo~

craftieodmae said...

Gorgeous as always!!

Linda said...

Donna, I love Christmas, and I absolutely love your card! Your creativity and sweet soul always touches me, thank you so much for sharing!

Sue said...

Hi Donna, I love the card. Great colours and sparkles.

Those owls sound like monkeys to me:)

Sounds like your autumn is lovely. Ours seems to be hurtling along and definitely feeling more like winter with the low temps we've been having.

Hope you have a lovely day. Sue

Jackie T said...

Hi Donna your cards are gorgeous i love the designs and the colours are just stunning. Take care. Hugs Jackie

Anne Temple said...

Love these. The colors look amazing too. I forget to use my Color Bursts too, but you've inspired me. How fun to hear the owls talking to each other all the time.

Beebeebabs said...

Good afternoon my friend - such a beautiful card love everything about it - love the tree and die cut and cute little sparkly presents - another great creation thanks for sharing!!!

Leslie Miller said...

And here I was thinking how pretty the tree on your first card is... then you go and show us a second one. Yes, a brighter white, but both are pretty. Isn't it fun to discover things in your stash? Love your rich Color Burst background and all that gorgeous sparkle! Now, I've really enjoyed the time I spent in your screened lanai, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn in central Florida. The Barred Owls do raise a ruckus, and such a treat to hear! We have mostly tweety birds, Chickadees and sparrows, and the like, but they're everywhere, their sweet little voices surrounding me when I step outside. Stellar's Jays and squirrels tune in with them sometimes. Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared Doves. Great Gray owls we hear at night. Isn't it lovely to be so close to it all!

Patricia St Martin said...

Hello my friend hope your day has been good! I have enjoyed both of your stunning cards. The colors are so beautiful. Makes a wonderful background. I have not purchased any of the Color Burst Powers, how do you think they rate as far as other watercolors and do you think they are worth the money?
All the EP looks great, love the gifts with the extra touches and the sparkles.
How fun it is to have Barred Owl enjoyed the video. When we get an Owl the Black Bird drive us crazy because they follow the Owl all around. So far in the new house we have a large bursh in backyard that a LOT of Sparrows have made their home. Have added several feeders and hoping I can attract other winter birds. I so much enjoy them, only thing we do not have any big trees. I will miss that. Take care!
Hugs Pat

Ann Greenspan's Crafts said...

Love that Swirl Tree stamp and your glittered presents. The whole card is striking with the background. Makes me want to get out my stamps and try this.

Verna Angerhofer said...

I love it. CAS and so very gorgeous. Wonderful colors and I just love how you decorated the beautiful frame. And, speaking of beautiful, I so adore the card you sent me. Wow! What an awesome beauty that is. Thanks so very much.

pam said...

Hi Donna, love your gorgeous creations! those background colours are beautiful. What a lovely curly tree design, must admit I think both cards are perfect.
Great sound track, must be amazing being woken to that chorus.
Really cold now in UK we had snow yesterday, but did not stay long as we had heavy rain too..
hugs Pam x

Carole J said...

Donna, your Florida Autumn description is delicious! And how fabulous to have all the little creatures and owls in your garden and neighbourhood!
Love you cards - especially the round one! The colour burst backgrounds are gorgeous and the beautiful contemporary tree stamp is so elegant. x

Debi said...

Donna, I thoroughly enjoyed your post today. The 'On a Personal Note' section is positively poetic. Thanks for the owl video with sound. I never knew owls to be so vocal. We miss the Florida Autumn as we don't migrate until after the holidays. Now, about your cards.... positively gorgeous as always. Love the glitter and the cute packages. Hugs, Debi

NanaConnie said...

Love your musings your autumn days and that new masthead is glorious. Love the color combo on this card, Donna! Wish I could type more superlatives but this has already taken nearly 10 minutes. :-D

Sandra Wright. said...

Hi Donna....just to let you know I have added the follow by email gadget to my Go Tag Thursday Blog...

Loving your christmas projects and your blog post...

Vicki said...

Gorgeous cards, Donna! Love the background you have created on both of them. Lovely bow! Thanks for joining the Craft-Dee BowZ November Challenge, "Anything goes and include a handmade bow".

Linda Vich said...

Hi Donna! Love both your cards and the background colors are lovely! I really like the blue you achieved in your CAS card—ColorBursts are fun, aren't they? Thank you also for sharing your Autumn with us as well as the sound clip of the owls. Quite a cacophony!

Karenladd said...

I rarely stamp on acetate because I always have problems with my stamp slipping and making a messy image but I may have to start practicing after seeing your beautiful results! I love the glitter added behind the embossed images! Your contemporary round card is absolutely spectacular with the gorgeous blue background, and I got a kick out hearing the barn owls calling! I always love seeing your creative projects.

Abfabdesigns said...

Love both sparkle cards ,and your take on Auttumn I was there with you as I was reading this post .
What an amazing dawn chorus

Kuni said...

Wonderful card.
My new challenge blog started yesterday, the card fits well with the topic. I hope to see you.

Becky said...

Beautiful cards, De. Don't you just love the color burst powders? I got a really great deal on them on ebay awhile back, but have only used them a couple of times. I've been so busy doing other things, but I promised myself I would get back to them after Christmas. A friend tried the ice cube technique using them and the results were very pretty, so I want to give that a try, too. Have a happy week.

Conniecrafter said...

Beautiful, that background is just stunning, and love the glittered presents, who doesn't just love a sparkled present :) Love both versions of the cards!
how neat to have those owls just outside your door and to sit back and listen to their conversations. We just went to the bird sanctuary in Missouri yesterday and saw a few different owls, one of them was quite vocal :)

wannabcre8tive said...

I love the beautiful background you created with the blues and purples.
The embossed white tree looks fabulous on it.

Kuni said...

This is such a wonderful christmas card, i love it.
Thank you for joining us at the Sweet Stampers challenge and i hope to see you again.

Sonny said...

Gorgeous design in beautiful colors - alovely card.

A wonderful christmas card.
Good luck! Hope you will join us next time.

DT Sweet Stampers

KraftyKoolKat said...

Such gorgeous creations sweetie. I love your description of your autumn, can we swap locations please as it is freezing here. 5 - 7 C during the day some of the days and -C over night.

Mrs A. said...

I love using acetate and your heated embellished piece here looks fab. Love the card with the embossed trees and the contemporary colours. Brilliant makes. Hugs Mrs A.

SewPaperPaint said...

WOW! I can't put into words how much I love these! What a gorgeous idea to use the acetate with the glitter this way. And the entire card shape and elements work together so well! I love your choice of color palette. So very inspired by this post, sweetie, and thank you sincerely for your kind words about my dh. It means a lot. Hugs, Autumn

Oh You Made Me Ink said...

Great Christmas Tree card! I really love the colors! I think it is fabulous! Thanks for joining us at Cardz 4 Guyz! Cyndi, DT


Hi Donna!

What a stunning creation you have made for the challenge at Cardz 4 Galz! Love the tutorial and try too make something like yours!

I also like the weather in Florida! Here it's around 5 degrees C. Brrr cold!

Have a great weekend!
Hugs Aly

Sian said...

Lovely card! This is a great technique, and I love that stamp!

Janice said...

I love both of your cards Donna. Such a gorgeous swirl Christmas tree, with a beautiful coloured background, and I too love your glittery parcels!
You give a wonderful insight into your nature life, it sounds wonderful! My nephew and his wife are currently on holiday in Florida, yesterday they were kayaking at Cocoa nephew fell in the water apparently! Today they are at the Florida Gators football.....I just love Facebook to keep up to date with their travels 👍

Mari said...

Very beautiful card! Thanks for playing with us at The Crafty Addicts :) xx Mari

cotnob said...

These are gorgeous Donna, a fabulous contemporary image and beautiful colours - I never think to use acetate - stunning designs.

CdeBaca Crafts Gallery said...

Wow such an awesome christmas cards. That color is so amazing! Very nice autumn post!

aussie aNNie said...

Lovely creation and tut as always De and love the fabulous style and design.xx{aNNie}

MaryH said...

I think your white tree shows up great on the Brusho background (which is quite magnificent). Enjoyed reading the adventures, however, and I do get confused on the different properties of the EP's. That's a gorgeous tree image, so swirly and graceful, and a good one to top the brusho work. Liked the way you've sparkled up the circle too. Enjoyed reading about your nature neighbors and I expect the freshness of the cooler fall air is most welcome just now. TFS & have a great upcoming week

Sue said...

It's always such a joy to read your blog posts Donna, thank you so much!
Your creations are gorgeous, the colours are so beautiful and I love the sparkle.
hugs, Sue xx

crafty-stamper said...

WOW absolutely stunning Donna love the parcels on acetate,beautiful embossed tree and fabulous Brusho background and all the sparkle---Very special Autumn mornings in Florida
Carol x x

KT Fit Kitty said...

I am intrigued by the little sparkly gifts you made! Never would have thought to do this! Both cards turned out beautifully! Your Brusho backgrounds are very pretty with the white embossing! And yes, the second card is CAS! I enjoyed your barred owl video - it's amazing how you captured the sights and sounds - wonderful! Hope all is well with you, my friend.

Crafty Amy said...

What brilliant creations. I do love a happy accident :D
It would be great if you could join us for our first ever challenge and DT call at Crafty Purple Frog (
Thank you for the inspiration.


Amy x

Lynn (aka Lynnpenguin) said...

Wow...wonderful creations Donna. Thanks for joining us for our Christmas Tree Challenge at Holly Jolly. Good Luck. Hope to see you again soon.
Lynn, Holly Jolly DT

Pia S said...

As always there's so much inspiration and tricks to learn over here. I really like to read about the steps taken, booboos made and rescue operations, very useful. The result is stunning. The colors and sparkle are really eye catching!

McCrafty's Cards said...

This is stunning Donna I love the white tree and the fabulous colours wonderful design
Kevin xx

Cazro said...

Wow! Donna, your card is amzing, I love your colours and design. Super to see how you used the acetate. Thanks for joining in the fun at Cardz 4 Guyz. Caz DT.

Wanda said...

Beautiful colors and design! Thanks for sharing with us at Crafty Gals Corner.

Patricia Alvarez said...

Very beautiful card. I love the first one! Great colors and the have to try that!! Thank for sharing your process. Thanks for sharing with us at Inspiration Destination this week. Good luck!!! Patricia

Sue said...

You certainly have a way with words, and I enjoyed everyone of them. What lovely cards, love them both. I see what you mean about the brightness of the second one, but if you had not pointed it out I would have thought the first card was how you had planned it. I also bought some color burst powders in August at a show and have not touched them. We are knee deep in a Diy project, sprucing up our bedroom in anticipation for a new King sized mattress tomorrow. Nearly done, at the fun part, decorating with new curtains, etc.
Beautiful cards as always. I will try to get a few simple cards off to your friend by the 10th.


*Vicki* said...

I have missed this post, but I'm catching up a bit now! :) Really stunning Christmas design here my friend!! LOVE the color choices on it and your sparkle adds a wonderful detail and helps compliment the entire design!! You always add such special touches to make your cards stand out nicely!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post! HUGS

Monica said...

You are truly a writer and I am so impressed with your poetry and expression. Your card is lovely and thank you for the demo of stamping and heat embossing on acetate.

Lots of love to the writer in you,