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

Monday, April 29, 2019

Lavinia World Announcement

Exciting News to Share!
I'll be jumping outside my (proverbial design) box and into the
Lavinia World of Fantasy, Whimsy, Beauty and Love.

Put these things together and what do you get?
A new Design Team of talented artists AND A NEW CHALLENGE BLOG!
While the store is already open, the challenge begins May 23.

Hope to see you there!

The design team
(click on the Designer's name to be directed to their blogs)

Anne Temple - DT Coordinator
Donna Ellis - you are here

We are all busy getting ready for our first challenge, which will be
May 23, 2019.   

We can't wait to share these amazing stamps with you so mark your calendars now!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Early Spring in Florida

Good Morning!
Sharing a few photos of our early Spring this year. 
Photos were taken in mid-March.

First for Bunny, our early caladiums. In our area, we leave caladiums in the ground or potted all year. They are planted about 6 inches deep to prevent squirrels, mice and voles from digging them up. Our red caladiums pop up first, usually around mid May. But this year, the Miss Muffet's have been up since mid March, and some even tried emerging as early as December! Here are photos taken in mid March EARLY in the morning:

These are sun loving varieties and would not do well in shade. (White Wings on the right, Miss Muffet on the left) They are also dwarf size and will thicken up considerably as ground cover (for my Florida Friends, when we purchase bulbs we buy from Caladium World - shipping anywhere in the US):

Miss Muffet with Angel Wing Begonias (will prune begonias when other plants begin to flower but pollinators need food during warm winter months):

Miss Muffets emerging in 3-tier planter amongst the Pentas. I pruned the pentas down in February and they are coming back thickly. This photo is March, it is now April 24 and they are already blooming heavily:

Because of ants and certain night creatures, I have resorted to container gardening except for landscape plants. My Coleus below are already blooming just 4 weeks after this photo. The pots are 16 inches (40.5cm) across:

My friend Verna, lives on a far-to-the-north farm, so our little garden will seem like a play pen to her. But we planted our "summer harvest" in January and February due to the warm winter. A few times we had to cover the bell peppers and green beans with sheets to protect from a frost - no small feat - but then the next day, the extra-warm temperatures came back, so that's why we did it. A warm winter means early arrival of plant eating bugs:

Just after dawn when the sprinklers kicked on:

We even planted Black-eye Peas in February. They are traditionally a summer crop (growing June - September) because they tolerate bugs, humidity and heat. Cucumbers growing up the trellis way in the back center, Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers (sweet), Squash in the front, and Green Beans.

We have been feasting on green beans, Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers and cucumbers since the beginning of April. SO GOOD and fresh!

The big tree in center back is a blooming magnolia (you can barely see a few white blossoms on the bottom right. SO FRAGRANT I can smell it all the way down the hill to my house (sorry so dark - the sun was just rising):

An experiment this year. Our greatest problems are from squirrels and birds. This year, we are using some of our enclosed pool area for "determinate tomatoes". This means the bushes only get 3-4 feet tall (1-1.2 m) and they produce all at once (1-2 week span). This photo is about 3 weeks old - Jack planted 6 bushes and then 6 more 3 weeks later (still to move some of them in) - we had to move the bushes under the lanai for a few days before Easter because of the violent winds and rain, which caused us to lose power on two separate days. The sun is just coming up (old cow pen in the background):

And that's a little of what's happening here. It's crazy-wonderful how different our world is with plants that only grow in certain areas! How fascinating Life is!

Wishing you the loveliest of days!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

That Spring Feeling at Moving Along With The Times Challenge

Does it feel like Spring yet for all of you in the northern hemisphere?
We had about 2 weeks of Spring here in early March where everything bloomed ahead of schedule. (I wrote this post in mid-March). Even our May-June caladiums have been popping up since the first week of March! Especially the "Little Miss Muffets" have been popping up prolifically. Yikes! Still, it's a welcome site compared to frosted ice and too much snow...

That Spring Feeling is what I wish for you this week:

It's time to share a Project for the new Moving Along With The Times Challenge!

Challenge #95's theme is THAT SPRING FEELING - for the next 2 weeks upload your creations that feature Spring in some way!

My card features SheepSki Designs Wild Roses, colored with Copic and Prismacolor markersThe coral color from DLArt Spring Combo crinkled ribbon set was woven through Tonic Ribbons and Bow die set.
The green and Coral background layers were embossed and inked, with a little distressing on the coral done in Irish Spring Embossing Powder which contains a liberal amount of glitter:

The glittery leaves are bursting from the scene (as opposed to the seams).

Lastly, a coordinating corner was created for the inside of the card using the same image:

Some Products Used: Images: SheepSki Designs Wild Roses, SNS Ornate Greetings - Embossing Folders: Craftwell Delicate Dots, Craftwell Love Triangles OtherIrish Spring Embossing Powder (distressing edges), White Brilliance Ink, Mowed Lawn Distress Ink, Ribbon: DLArt Spring Combo, Dies: Tonic Ribbons and Bow set, Spellbinders Foliage Shapeabilities.

Challenges I'd like to play in please:

SheepSki Designs FB Challenges  (3-20 4-19)  AG Sheepski    5/1
ScrapyLand Challenges #111 AG SL dies (SB, TS) 4/24
Creative Craft Cottage #117 No Patterned Paper (my layers are inked and embossed) 5/5

Thanks for stopping by (like my impish smile below?)
Stamping Hugs,

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Monochromatic Theme at Christmas at Sweet Stampin' Challenge

Good Morning, fellow crafters!
I'm starting the day with lots of glitter - are you surprised?

Today begins a new challenge at 
Christmas at Sweet Stampin'!

My marvelously brilliant teammates have fantastic samples to share! We hope to see your imaginative artwork each month in our "Anything Goes Christmas" Challenges. The challenge is for ANY Christmas theme craft project. April's Challenge is open until May 7 and has an option of monochromatic theme.


if you're reading on my blog, enlarge the photos by clicking on them:


Having watercolored with this technique frequently, I was surprised at a huge boo-boo this card ended up having. Where the "crack and peel" portion of the sticker paper had been, some watercolor puddled there, leaving a visible line:

After waiting overnight, and the line not disappearing, I tried fixing it by hiding part, and adhering the other part. You can still see it a little bit when the light hits just "so":

The brads were dipped into the same pretty Mediterranean Star embossing powder as the frame.

To customize the "snowy" background, I used the same ink as the sentiment on an embossing folder:

All Done! It's quite sparkly in person:

Some Products Used:
Images: Penny Black Winter Song, SU Beauty of the Season, GlitterCloud Nine Microfine Glitter, Inks: Staz-On Azure Blue Ink, Adirondack Pool, Warm Breeze VersaFine Clair, EPMediterranean Star embossing powder, Dies: Surprise Creation Polygon Square Double Stitch die set, SB Grommet Tag Set

Challenges I'd like to play in please:

  1. Sparkle N Sprinkle Creative Challenges (April) Use Glitter and EP 5/1
  2. Classic DT Open Challenge (April #4) AG DT 5/1
  3. Sparkles Christmas Challenges #93/99 Feature a Creature 5/1
  4. Tuesday Throwdown #429 AG (rubber stamp on glitter) 4/23
  5. Holly and Ivy Christmas #47 AG Christmas 4/23
  6. Merry Little Christmas #9 AG Christmas 4/30 (sep post 5/5)
On a Personal Note:
Early Spring Morning last week facing the tree line as the sun greets me with a myriad of birds singing "Good Morning!":

Thanks for popping by today!

Monday, April 01, 2019

2 Crafty Critter Crazies with Digi Doodle Love Birds

Hello, sweet blogging friends!
Thanks for stopping by today.

It's time for a new Challenge at Two Crafty Critter Crazies 
where we love to celebrate any project with a critter on it! Critters include mythical creatures, animal toys and everything alive (except humans and flora)! Our very generous sponsor this month is:
Digi Doodle Studios.
My project features this darling Little Love Birds image.
They could not be tweeter, could they?

I especially like the little hearts cascading from the sweet little girl birdie.

Revealing the steps below shows how this image is pretty without much embellishment:

After dry embossing my card and adhering the sweet Little Love Birds image (colored with Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 Color Pencils with Gamsol, Distress Oxides (Broken China, Cracked Pistachio) with water, I stamped the sentiment with Warm Breeze Versafine Clair ink and heat embossed with Clear Detail Powder:

Spellbinders Scalloped Edge Frame was woven with shiny Really Reasonable Ribbon's double faced satin ribbon in aqua:

Then I added some foliage (Cottage Cutz Greenery 4x4) in turquoise vellum, flowers and a handmade bow.

Such a sweet, texture-laden card which was fun to make start to finish!
Yikes! No glitter! (giggle)

Hope to see your critter entries in the challenge!

Some Products Used: 
ImagesLittle Love Birds, Hero Arts Mini Sentiments, Dies: SB S5-011 Scalloped Edge Frame (one of the very first SB dies ever!), Spellbinders Bow Elegance, Cottage Cutz Greenery 4x4,  Colored with Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 Color Pencils with Gamsol, Distress Oxides (Broken China, Cracked Pistachio) with water, Warm Breeze Versafine Clair ink, Embossing: Dry Stone Wall by Crafter's Companion and Clear Detail Embossing Powder, Really Reasonable Ribbon Double Faced Satin in Aqua.

Challenges I'd like to Play in Please:
  1. Crafty Gals Corner #188 "Spring Is Here" 4/7
  2. The Sisterhood of Crafters (March 27) "Let's Celebrate Spring" 4/10
  3. The Alphabet Challenge (Mar 29) "A is for Animals" (birds) 4/11
  4. Creative Fingers Challenge #160 Anything Goes 4/6 (check #162)
  5. Crafty Friends #106 "Use Spring Colors" 4/3
  6. World Wide Open DT Challenge #3 (AG DT) 4/15 
  7. Classic DT THIRD BIRTHDAY Challenge (AG DT) 5/1 
  8. Craft-Dee BowZ (April) AG with handmade bow 5/1
  9. Digi Doodle Studios #15 AG with Digi Doodle 5/1
  10. Digi Doodle Studios FB Challenge 5/1

On a Personal Note
What does your family do with Easter Eggs?
I have some tips on my Recipes Blog here.

Happy April to you!