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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Monday, September 13, 2021

Perhaps they are not stars (and freebies)

Waving "hello" to you all, my dear friends! 


Today's card is for a sweet friend whose husband passed away a few months ago. Instead of saying "sympathy", I'm using a different salutation. This card was months in the making.

I had an idea for masking to try, but I probably went about it illogically, doing things the hard way (giggle).

First, I created masks. The "negative" mask was used for inking. The larger positive mask was used for stamping. The card is 5x7, so I cut the negative mask to fit a 5x7 panel, and centered the die cut:

After inking the background, my VIRGINAL SU Francais background script was inked, face up, and the panel was pressed atop. Several VIRGINAL stamps were used in making the custom background paper. Then the VIRGINAL Penny Black Sunflower stamp was inked with VFC Shady Lane, and colored with Zig watercolor markers:

Here is the masked panel, and a three layer frame (for dimension):

The white card stock is also virginal, SU Sparkle White. Can you see the sparkle show through the colors:

The sentiment was heat embossed, and some grass was added:


Products Used: Stamps: Penny Black Hello Sunshine Flowers 3874K, Stampin' Up En Francais background script, SU Elegant Cheer sentiment, SU Petite Patterns background, Impression Obsession C2041 Sm Flourish Four (background), IO B2010 Sm Paisley Two (background), Dies: IO Grass DIE038-J, SB Labels Four & Grand Labels Four, Inks: DI Forest Moss, Shabby Shutters, Sq Lemonade, Scattered Straw, Tea Die, Versafine Clair Shady Lane, OTHER: Freebie Digital images, Clear Detail EP, Zig Watercolor Markers (I do not recommend), Paper: SU Sparkle White, Mossy Meadow, Celery

Challenges I would like to play in, please:

  1. Cut it Up Challenges #234 Fall is in the Air 09/22 (sep post)
  2. NBUS #30 (most of the stamps have never been used before) 10/1
  3. Creative Inspirations Challenge (Sept 2) Fabulous Fall or Happy Halloween 11/1
  4. Paper Funday Challenges #33 AG with optional twist Autumn/Fall 10/2
  5. Crafty Gals Corner #223 Hello Fall 10/3
  6. Crafting Happiness #113 AG 9/20
  7. Pammie's Inky Pinkies #2137 AG 9/20
  8. Dies R Us #176 AG dies they carry (SB & IO) 9/15 (sep post)
  9. Penny Black Friends Saturday Challenge (Sept) AG or Flowers 9/30
  10. Tic Tac Toe Challenge #130 (bottom row) 9/16 (sep post)

My gift to you - Sentiments for use on the inside or outside of your projects. Please do not sell the Sentiments. Use on any of your projects, including projects involving any design teams you might be on.

Click on the image to bring it to full size. Because of the changes Google Made with Blogger in 2020, your image will appear to be solid black. Don’t panic. Right click and do a SAVE. Once it is saved on your hard drive, you can open it and it will have a transparent background. I create PNGs instead of JPGs so they can be placed anywhere on a scene or project, and so backgrounds can be made using them. Please let me know if you have any problems. I hope they serve you well!


The first sentiment can be used for wedding, friendship, thank you, sympathy - it's pretty versatile!

ON A PERSONAL NOTE (please don't let this happen to you or a loved one):

I have been severely ill the past several months, relegated to the bed and wheelchair. Some different tests were finally run, with results showing some inflammatory factors higher than my doctor ever remembers seeing. So far, they have determined I have an autoimmune disease called PMR Polymyalgia Rheumatica. The good news is that it is treatable and normally takes 12-18 months to go into remission. Unfortunately, I am having extreme reactions to the medication. Those reactions are disabling in themselves, but I have no choice. I'm grateful for some badly-needed pain relief. It is important for all of us who already have certain diseases/conditions to not allow ourselves to be "pigeon-holed" into thinking "oh, this is probably just such-and-such". Looking back, we believe this has probably been a gradual issue for me for nearly 3 years or so, but we blamed it on my other diseases - so be aware of that for yourselves and your loved ones, to keep an open mind that it could be something different happening, even when the symptoms are similar to what you already deal with, and regardless of what doctors may say.

Leaving you with hugs and friendship,


Kathyk said...

Fabulous make and I'm sure your friend will love the card. Look after yourself and I hope things will improve for you


StampinwithAnita said...

Wonderful, well designed card and very well thought out. My best wishes for you and hope for continued improvements in your health. Health is everything!

cotnob said...

A beautiful card Donna, a gorgeous stamp and fabulous design. Thank you for the lovely sentiments.
I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering at the moment, what you say is so true, even more so during the current climate, we must learn to listen to our bodies more, thank you for sharing your experience and I hope you find some relief very soon.
Pauline - Crafting with Cotnob

crafty-stamper said...

Sorry to hear you have been so ill Donna,quite a lot of things are getting overlookes/missed due to covid and hope you feel better soon.Absolutely gorgeous card love the stamped background and beautiful layered image with the die-cut frames
Carol x

My Paper Epiphany said...

A very beautiful card! I love the attention to detail. I'm sure this will be appreciated by your friend. Thanks so much for joining us at Penny Black Saturday Challenge:)

Janette said...

I am sorry to read how ill you have been, I hope very soon you will start to feel so much better.
Your card and sentiments are really beautiful. Take care.xx

Mac Mable said...

What a thoughtful card with fabulous stamping and the design looks amazing Donna x.
Thank you for the personal note at the end of your post, which is great advice and I am sure lots of us attribute things to ailments we already have x. Please take care of yourself and given time, I so hope you will feel so much better and the pain will subside x. Sorry about the side effects and extreme reactions to the medication, that is so unlucky x. Sending hugs and love Donna x.

Chris said...

Hi Donna, so sorry to read how ill you've been recently, it's devastating to have your life and mobility restricted by a painful condition, no matter how brave a face you put on. It's good that the tests have been done and the condition is treatable but 18 months is a long time when you're in pain. Hopefully the side effects of the medication will subside as your body gets used to the drugs- keep your chin up and look after yourself.
Almost forgot to mention your stunning card- it's gorgeous as always and I enjoyed the step by step explanation.
Take care Donna, big hugs xxx

Sue said...

Hi Donna, I am sure your friend will be comforted by your lovely card.

Sending heaps of positive healing thoughts and gentle hugs (((Donna))). I've been fighting medication induced upset stomach and now vertigo, so sympathise with not feeling at all good.

You take care

Donna Phelan said...

This is lovely! I am sure your friend will be comforted by your thoughtfulness. I love the layered frame as I love dimension! Beautiful image and beautiful design. Good to see you crafting! xo~

Conniecrafter said...

Oh my Donna that is a gorgeous card, so much work and I am sure a lot of love went into that and I am sure your friend was very touched by it. Lovely stamping and coloring, and nice to get some use out of those new stamps! Lovely framing!
I wrote you a private message this morning before I saw this. Sorry to hear of your reaction to the medication. It is hard when we have to take one thing to help something and it causes other things. I know it is hard when things sneak up on us slowly and so we don't notice as quickly that we are having troubles until it has gotten really bad. You continue to be in my prayers.

NanaConnie said...

Beautiful masking, Donna, and I do love the end result! Great colors and stamps you chose for the background. Love the sunflowers. It's so good to know you finally have a diagnosis and your advice to us is good. Thank you. :-D

Gina's Cards said...

Such a beautifully designed card! The frame really makes the image pop. I am sure your friend will treasure it. Thank you for joining in the fun at Creative Inspirations, good luck.
Gina xx

Shona Erlenborn said...

Oh my, I'm so sorry to hear this news, Donna. So glad that hopefully you are now correctly diagnosed and that the treatments will help and get less disabling as time goes on. I'll be praying for a speedy recovery. Such a beautiful card that you have managed to put together, even feeling as bad as you are. The masking is so beautiful and the coloring is exquisite. Remain strong!

cuilliesocks said...

Hi Donna, your card is so beautiful, it's such a super design and lovely colours, I'm sure your friend will find it comforting.

So sorry to hear that you have been so ill, I do hope you are feeling some way better now. How unlucky to have adverse side affect from the medication, I hope it all settles down for you.
Thank you for the little aware note, I do agree that i'ts so important to insist with doctors that there is something wrong with you, I've had to do that when I was told that what I was experiencing was do to having diabetes, and it was not at ll. I sometimes think that the older one gets the less doctors want to be bothered. Anyway, you look after yourself Hugs Kate x

Chrissy said...

Beautiful card Donna and loved the step by step process, love the frame and floral patterns and of course the beautiful sunflowers..
I am so sorry you are having such a rough time but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel, I hope you can cope with the side effects,or they find something to help you, take care and stay safe..


Lori m said...

Donna your work is superb.

Always stunning designs and thank you for sharing all you do.

I'm so sorry, to hear your dealing with so much pain and illness, tossing you prayers and lots of soft hugs, so they don't hurt you.

Hugs, Lori m

Bunny said...

Fabulous card. The colors are beautiful.

You know that I'm praying for you and your health.

Thanks for the beautiful freebies. You're always so sweet to think of others. [Bunny]

Pia S said...

This is so pretty. The centre panel with the beautiful flowers is well designed, but I think the edging is so impressive too.

KraftyKoolKat said...

This is so beautiful and a lovely make to send to your friend sweetie in her time of sorrow. Thank you so much for the two beautiful freebies. I am so sorry to hear about your health issues, I hope you will begin to get better in the very near future. It is easy to Pidgeon hole symptoms wrongly.

Leslie Miller said...

Donna, there is so much beautiful detail in your card and mostly all done with your clever stamping. I dearly love the outer border as well as the focal image with script background. My favorite grass die, too. Thank you so much for two more beautiful sentiments which I'll save and use, as I have your other shares. They make into the most lovely cards. Your note at the end is generously shared, as well. Thank goodness this latest is something that can be fixed, and in the meantime you have some pain relief. We'll talk soon. Sending hugs.

Anne Buckingham said...

Such a delightful card. As usual, it is a creative masterpiece.

KarinsArtScrap said...

this is a very beautiful card Donna
Gr Karin

Joanne James - The Crafty Owl said...

What a pretty card Donna - I loved reading how you created it and that sponged area shows off your flowers beautifully. Take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing with us over at TicTacToe this week!

Vicky Hayes said...

How beautiful this is Donna, with so many details and layers of ink. I have no doubt it was much appreciated. Thank you for coming to play with us at Tic Tac Toe! Vicky x

PS couldn't leave without saying how sorry I am that you’ve been so ill. Sending lots of love and best wishes.

Janis Lewis said...

This is so cute! Thanks for linking up at Crafting Happiness Challenges. I try to comment on every visitor's entry (but not multiple entries by each visitor). I appreciate you sharing your talent in my challenges!
Smiles! :) Janis
Owner & Design Team @ Crafting Happiness Challenges

Beebeebabs said...

Hello my friend - your card is absolutely beautiful - you did a great job as always thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!!!

creativearts said...

Donna, It is so good to run into you again! I am so glad you will be stamping agan and giving people hope. You will be ill for a little while but don't let this new illness get you down. You have pulled through so much and survived with your beautiful smile that I know you can do the same again. I now 80 and still stamping but not as much. We have moved to a new small house so I don't have much cleaning. Love talking to you and keep me posted as to your health. God bless.

Eleanor Jenkins

Jeanie Ellis - Scrapbookingmamaw said...

What a gorgeous card for your friend! And I'm sorry to hear about your illness! Hugs!
Thank you for joining us this week at
Crafty Gals Corner Challenges .
Scrapbookingmamaw {My Blog}
Blessings! Jeanie Ellis, DT, Crafty Gals Corner

Margarets designer cards said...

Beautiful card, i love the sunflowers

I had polymyalgia, and was treated with steroids, which left me in remission, but now I fibromyalgia which is more painful and the poly is also back, I try not to get cold as that makes the pain worse, I fully understand how you feel, im not in a wheelchair yet, i fight everyday, i get up no mater how i feel, this illness may not have a sure but iam not going to let beat me. take care sending you a hug

Aimeslee Winans said...

Donna, your card is beautiful and I thank you for the freebies~! I was so hoping this would be your magic bullet, now I will pray these reactions will get less severe/more bearable over time and this actually works. In addition to my usual neck/lower back pain, I've been waking up to just horrid pain all over lately even though no change in my sleeping environment. Also my big toe tendons stay really sore all of the sudden. LOL I think sometimes there's a little pain devils inside me running around going where will I strike today? LOL Take care, xoxo

Vickie Y said...

Beautiful design and card. Thank you for sharing with us at The PIP Challenge.

Monica C. said...

Donna, your card is beautiful. I love the detail you have put into it. The two masks you created is such a great technique. Thank you for sharing your process. It is good to see you on your blog again.
Hugs Monica

Cut It Up Challenge Blog said...

This turned out so pretty and I'm sure your friend will appreciate it very much. Sunflowers are always such a beautiful way for fall to begin.

Thanks for sharing your Autumn-themed project with us at Cut it Up!


Shandy Davis said...

Donna, you r cards are always gorgeous. I love the layering and the die you used. The image is beautiful, I absolutely love sunflowers for any occasion! Thank you for joining us over at Paper FunDay,Shandy,DT

Darnell said...

Thank you for your personal warning, Donna, which I wholeheartedly second. As someone with seven different specialists, I know that we have to be our own best advocates and become familiar with every.single.part of our beings so we KNOW when something isn't right. It's hard to speak up and contradict doctors when we are of a generation that was taught to keep quiet and respect professions like doctors, teachers, and police, but sometimes we must, especially in these current times when doctors aren't always equipped to connect the dots like old-timey GPs used to be able to do for us. I'm sorry you are having to deal with yet another thing, but glad you finally got an answer and it is something treatable. Keep on keepin on!

Your card, as always, is more than a card. It is a stunning gift for your grieving friend and she will cherish it always and be comforted. Thank you for sharing with everyone at NBUS! Hugs, Darnell

Janis Lewis said...

WOW! This is absolutely gorgeous! I'd frame that if it was sent to me. LOL It's so pretty! About your diagnosis and warning - I am so sorry this happened to you, but glad you are getting somewhat some relief even if that in itself has some side effects. Hang in there. Maybe it will get better soon. I do the same thing though thinking whatever is ailing me will go away on it's own sooner or later. Took about 6 months or so for my husband to convince me to go see the doctor about my abdominal pain. It would come and go, so I kept thinking maybe it wouldn't come back. And it was so severe when I had it. Come to find out, after lots of blood work and tests and ruling out cancer, I had to get a complete hysterectomy's because there was no cure for the rare problem I had. Well, the cure was to remove it all. Wasn't something that healed or could be treated, so I would have never gotten over it, and it would have never gone away, just gotten worse. You'd think I'd learned my lesson, but that was about 2 years ago, and early this year I did it again. Kept thinking my pain and itching on my right back, neck, arm, shoulder... would just go away. After 3 weeks, once again, I went to the doctor. I had shingles. She said she couldn't believe I had waited that long since it's so painful and people usually show up after 2 days with it. Since I waited so long, I have some scarring and it took longer to get rid of it. I still have some sandpaper areas that will probably never go away. Sorry so long, but just wanted you to know I understand exactly what you were trying to say. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Hope to hear from you again soon.

pam said...

Beautiful card you created Donna.
Thank you for sharing your very personal problem with us, happy you might get so relive eventually, we all don`t contradict what doctors tell us as we think they know best..lesson learnt reading your note Donna.
Thank you and big hugs Pam x