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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sew and Sew {Cardz 4 Galz}

Hello, blogging friends and visitors! It's great to see you this morning, and I hope you are doing well.
It's typical summer weather in Florida - HOT AND STEAMY!
But I love where we live, and it would take something very important to make us move away.
Time for a new challenge at Cardz 4 Galz Challenges today!
Badges are awarded for the Spotlight Winner and Top Picks.
Challenge #50 is chosen by teamie Caz -and the theme is:

  Sew and Sew  

Show us your sewing themed cards using any technique and medium!
Challenge ends on July 5.

Today's design celebrates the birthday of a very special friend who has been there for me time and again! It's different from anything I've made before, and anything she would expect; however, I am using her favorite citrus colors - tangerine, lime, lemon - those are colors she loves.

The collage is comprised of freebies from The Graphic Fairy and Create with TLC,
then colored with Copic Markers and Distress Inks.

A little stitching down the side of the lacy punch panel, and a couple coats of clear EP on the butterflies to help them match the gloss on the buttons:

Products Used:

  • A collage created with several images from "Create with TCL" and "The Graphics Fairy"
  • sentiment computer generated
  • colored with Distress Inks, Copic Markers
  • SW pierced rectangles
  • rick rack and buttons from my Great Aunt Agnes
  • Clear EP on the butterflies for texture, embossing folder triangles
  • Stitching on the black card stock panel punched with MS border lace punch

Challenges I'd like to play in please:
  1. A Perfect Time to Craft Open Challenge #6 - Anything Goes 7/1
  2. Butterfly Spot Challenge #14 Bingo Card (Buttons, Butterflies, Bows - rick rack) 6/28
  3. Classic Design Team Open Challenge #15 - Anything Goes DT 7/1
  4. Crafting With An Attitude #28 - Anything Goes 7/6
  5. Crafts Galore Encore JUNE - Anything Goes 7/1
  6. Crafty Girls Creations - Anything Goes 7/6
  7. Dragonfly Dreams (June) Make it Sparkle 7/2 (green frame is glittered, butterflies are coated with clear EP to make them shine)
  8. Making Memories Crafting #6 Anything Goes/Bingo Board (diagonally from top right BLING - IMAGE - DIE CUT  7/7
  9. World Wide Open Design Team Challenge #23 - Anything Goes DT 7/15
  10. Path of Positivity Challenge #50 (please read below)

Although the theme FAITH, HOPE, LOVE are not wedding related in my card,
they are about the importance of RELATIONSHIPS.

I was inspired by my treasured friend during the creation of this project (especially the asymmetry, colors, and vintage style). It is nothing like she would expect, nor anything like I've made in the past.

Although symmetry is what many of us prefer in our lives, this card is a reminder that the best times in our lives are unexpected, occurring when and where we least expect them, and coming from the least likely source(s).

The “base” is a digital collage including:

Friendship based on a firm foundation similar to sisterhood. The vintage aspect reminds us of long-lasting events and friends. The older, antique “tools” (sewing machine, scissors, dress form) remind us that as we age, our hearts remain young if we only embrace the new “lifestyles” that find their way to us - whether it be in new friends, new material things, new thoughts, RENEWAL.
  1. Sewing represents the fabric of our lives - the stitches that hold it together, or might even require pulling out, and restitching where necessary. The rick rack from Great Aunt Agnes’ sewing stash, was used to cover up sewing mistakes, and to adorn everything from potholders to baby clothes. The rick rack of our lives is our willingness to be flexible, to roll with the changes Life brings us, to transform what we can about ourselves, and to accept the rest. 
  2. Buttons hold openings together - but always, buttons can be undone, accidentally lost, and even changed to modify styles. They come in different sizes - some shiny and dull. Buttons are the stays - little gifts - that keep our lives interesting yet held together. Some of them are bright and shiny, like good times with family and friends, and happiest of memories. Some are dull and unlikeable, symbolizing the darker, unhappier moments of our lives. On this card, one of the buttons is on a butterfly’s body, ready to accept its transformation.
  3. The butterflies remind us of freedom and beauty. We can allow ourselves to be held prisoner by the “dull buttons” of our lives, or we can find freedom through those hardships by flying off, changing our perceptions, and becoming the beauty of who we are no matter what happens. The dress form reminds us that one form will fit many, but it is the custom tucks and trims that make us each unique.
  4. The Sparkle (glitter) and Lightness (feather) we bring to our lives, and the lives of others, is all dependent upon our choices. We can make ourselves and others feel guilty and “small”, or we can free ourselves and others by moving forward constantly, setting an example by growing continually, and being content with the preciousness and joys in our lives.
  5. My friends are those Precious Joys in my life - they bring out the FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE. Friends are color and buttons, butterflies and rick rack, vintage and contemporary - all things beautiful and valued.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Mermaid to be Friends {Sparkle N Sprinkle}

Welcome to the Sparkle N Sprinkle June Blog Hop featuring new stamp sets!
We are now hopping on the 15th of each month.

Blog Hop Order this month is:

Donna (hey! that's me!)

My teamies have created some wonderful examples with these pretty, whimsical stamps. We hope you will be inspired and show us your creations in the new Challenge Group.

EASIER AND BETTER THAN EVER the SNS Creative Challenge is back. Now on Facebook, a blog is NOT required.  Just upload photos of your cards, layouts or projects for a chance to win a $15 gift card or a Top 3 badge. (please use at least one SNS image and say what it is in the comments section of your photo)

For a summer activity, 
we would love seeing your children and grandchildren play along.

Challenge Guidelines and FREEBIES are found here.

In addition to


this month the SNS store introduces Hampton Arts clear layering and card making stamp sets.


June's flutter-ific Video Kit Club includes a Tonic Die Set, Glimmer pens, the new Swallowtail Butterfly Rubber Stamp Set, Mirror Cardstock, and 3 detail embossing powders:

to help my email followers, here is the link for June's VKC:


Umbrella Friends Digital Set, and Rubber Stamp Set
Baby oh Baby Digital set, and Rubber Stamp Set
Swallowtail Butterfly Digital Mega Bundle, and Large Size Rubber Stamp Set
All the new digital and rubber stamp sets are 20% during their debut from June 15 - 20.

Can you find the starfish?

All kinds of Sparkle:

I colored the mermaid and her water with Copic Markers. 
If purchasing the Tropical Mermaid Alana Digital Set, you will receive this colored image, as well as a white background with colored image. 
Alana is accompanied by two sweet sentiments, a little scallop shell, and a darling starfish in both rubber and digital formats:

A close up of the embossing powders:

White Detail on the sentiment (on dark teal cardstock).
Mediterranean Star on the frame (white cardstock).
Mediterranean Star on the orange cardstock (different colors of paper change the look of the EP).
Mediterranean Star on the starfish (on white cardstock)

I have also used this versatile stamp for the background, embossed with Mediterranean Star embossing powder (sigh - I love this stamp):

Leafy Flourish Rubber Stamp Set

The finished card:

Sparkle N Sprinkle Products Used:

Challenges I'd like to put this card in please:

Playing in the Paper Play Sketches color challenge with this card.
  1. A Perfect Time to Craft Open Challenge #6 - Anything Goes 7/1
  2. Allsorts Challenge #419 "Use at least 2 Dies" 6/15 (Tonic Layered Leaves 8x8 - used 3 dies, and SB Fleur de Elegance die set) sep post 6/22
  3. Classic Design Team Open Challenge #15 - Anything Goes DT 7/1
  4. Crafting With An Attitude #28 - Anything Goes 7/6
  5. Crafting With Friends #45 - Anything Goes
  6. Crafts Galore Encore JUNE - Anything Goes 7/1
  7. Crafty Girls Creations - Anything Goes 7/6
  8. Dragonfly Dreams (June) Make it Sparkle 7/2
  9. Glitter n Sparkle #243 Use Bright Colors 6/18
  10. Making Memories Crafting #6 Anything Goes/Bingo Board (diagonally from top right BLING - IMAGE - DIE CUT  7/7
  11. Pammie's Inky Pinkies #1724 Anything Goes 7/7
  12. Paper Play Sketches (Wed June 14- #45?) Color Challenge 6/20
  13. The Fairy and the Unicorn Challenge #4 Anything Fantasy Goes 6/19
  14. World Wide Open Design Team Challenge #23 - Anything Goes DT 7/15

Here are two more photos of what happens when the "fire season" drought ends in central, rural Florida, and rains grace our environment once again:

Wild Morning Glories spring up! Apologies for the shaky hands:

I love their vibrant, purply-magenta throats and their pure white petals!
We cannot grow "regular" Morning Glories here. Only the wild, indigenous flowers make it through the drought, and spring forth in the steamy Florida summers.

Aren't they so delicate and sweet?

stamping hugs,

(I see you!)

Cards For Little Hearts - Card Drive for Children's Hospital

It's approaching that time where the 
card drive takes place!

All the details are found here for card guidelines and fabulous prizes.

Not only will you cheer the heart of a hospitalized pediatric cardiac patient (ages 0 thru 19),

but you'll have chances at winning several great prizes donated by a number of sponsors.

I will be having blog candy here as well, 
kindly donated by Bugaboo Designs accompanied by fun, new sentiments, 
during our blog hop which will begin on August 1!
The card drive is from July 1st thru August 25th so get ready to make those cards.

Please be sure to read all the guidelines before sweetly creating for little children!

Here are two cards I'll be sending, just to give you an idea of how simple these thoughtful gestures can be:

Precolored snowman with additional shading and coloring with pastel chalks:

Here is the same snowman in pink and brown, sporting a heart on his vest, and shedding a little hopeful light with the starry night and candle. I love those rosy cheeks!

On a personal note:

Thankfully, about 2 weeks ago we came out of our Fire Season (drought) with wonderful daily rains, so well known in Florida's hot, humid summertime. Today's unusually overcast morning provided the perfect opportunity to show a few photos of what happens after 3 or 4 days of drizzle and/or rain. (apologizing in advance for my very shaky hands)

The cap on this white mushroom is about 4" across. It was not here yesterday.
It grew so quickly, that the damp leaf and twig debris covering the ground is sticking to the cap as it grows!

Despite the severe drought, the 8 foot-tall (2.5 meter) gardenia bushes are amass with fragrant blossoms. Each blossom is about 3 inches across (7,6 cm). Mmmmm, smells yummy!
The older, yellower blossoms don't look as pretty, but they are far more fragrant!
Kind of like the people and pets in our lives! (giggle)

These staghorn ferns are over 35 years old. They have moved with us 3 times and adjusted to their new environments. Even here when the temps dip below freezing, they not only survive, but allow squirrels to make winter homes in the middle! The squirrels climb down into the "hole" in the top center of the plant. It's way too hot for summertime habitation, but perfect in the winter. The ferns are at least 6-7 feet across (2 meters) during the "end-stage" of winter. Their fronds will thrive in the summer humidity, and grow even more. The remnants of our winter/spring vegetable garden are in the background:

For my favorite part!
I love the wood mushrooms. They are colorful and always artistically arrange themselves. They usually grow out of a lightning wound in a still-living (oak) tree. But sometimes, we have to take trees down as they age or are damaged. These mushrooms were growing out of a tree "stump" remnant from years ago:

The cluster grew in a matter of days because the old stump was damp, and ripe with "rot".
In case you cannot see the stump, it is below ground level. The following smaller cluster is from the same tree, but growing out of an old "surface" root a few feet away:

Such interesting color patterns - each cap growing from ivory to rusty hues. I wonder if a wood mushroom's coloring is similar to the interior of a tree, since that is what it is feeding on?
Whatever, they are amazing, and prolific, too!

Wishing you loveliness no matter what the weather or circumstance.
We can usually see beauty if we take time to look for it.

Challenges I'd like to support:
  1. The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge #8 anything Christmas Goes 6/28
  2. Christmas Card Challenge #14 anything Christmas 6/25
  3. Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge #337 Non Traditional Colors 6/17
  4. Jingle Belles Christmas Challenge (June 9) All Bundled Up (using more than 3 layers) 6/22
  5. A Snowflake's Promise #41 Anything winter/Christmas Goes 7/11
  6. Crafting from the Heart #163 Anything Goes 6/19