Monday, September 22, 2014

A Video for CAS-ual Fridays Stamps Blog Feature

Hey friends! Today is my turn over CAS-ual Fridays Stamps Blog.
Can you believe that I was crazy to do a video after my big trip...I didn't think that was going to happen. BUT with the new CAS-ual Fridays Stamps' new release, I felt so inspired! So here you go!

Video link:  Christmas Card with Non-Traditional Pattern Paper

Soon it will be Christmas Day
soon it will be Christmas Day
Supplies: Sleigh Bells and Bell Tag Fri-Dies, Studio Calico, silver confetti (Pretty Pink Posh)

About this card: I used Peerless watercolors to add the rich colors to the wreath. Gold embossing, gold strings and gold colors are prefect for fall.  
on this Thanksgiving...
About this card: First I stamped the pinecones in the corner. I stamped the lightest shade first with Mint colors. Then I added the darker green to the design.
Season's Greetings
Please leave me your comments and feedback over CAS-ual Fridays Stamps (see here). If you can give me a thumbs-up/comment over my video here, that will be extra AWESOME!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Traveling with .... Virginia's Pet Cat Alexia!

Hi, this is Alexia! As some of you know, Virginia takes me EVERYWHERE when she travels with her family. I know, life can't get better than this. Well, today I am taking over Virgina's blog to share our traveling with you.

Our trip started in Venice! After arriving to our hotel via the super expensive water-taxi, we were pleasantly surprised by an upgrade to a suite that faced the Grand Canal. The view from our room was amazing! Needless to say, Virginia's family was feeling spoiled. The included breakfast at the Principe Hotel was also great. Virginia particularly liked the coffee machine that could make 8 types of coffees with the push of a button. How convenient, eh?
 As you can tell from the photos, Venice is GRAND! But it is also very old and expensive! Lots of buildings were sitting pretty and vacant. With 4 days in Venice, the Lu's visited (and paid a hefty price) to see the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, Rialto Bridge, Correr Museum, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Accademia Gallery, Campanile, Bridge of Sighs, etc.

This was the treatment I got when we visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Very funny, everyone. Yes, I may have indulged in some gelato while in Venice...
 Athens, Greece was next! With one day to sight-see, they visited the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Arch of Hadrian, Plaka (Athen's Old Town) and a lookout over Lykavittos. Phew!

It was one of the hottest days during the trip, but visiting the Acropolis Museum (with AC) helped to ease the scorching heat while we went from one amazing place to another.

After that was Istanbul, Turkey! It is definitely not the place to go if you want a quiet and relaxing place to visit. David called it "hectic",but Stephanie enjoyed it because it felt most "exotic" to her. The Lu's had quite an adventure there as soon as they got a taxi to see the sights. They went to the Underground Cistern, Hagia Sophia (pronounced eye-ah soh-fee-ya, or hah-gia so-phi-yah if you're David...), Blue Mosque, Tokapi Palace...and ended up unexpectedly in a carpet store! Our taxi driver's "nephew," who first acted as a personal tour guide turned out to be the owner of a luxurious hand-woven carpet store. Hm, was that planned?!

Even though the carpets were exquisite (especially those silk ones, wow!), we couldn't help but feel a bit surprised by the immediate pressure we felt to buy one. Because they cost thousands of dollars, Dr. John had to tell the owner that the Lu's saved their money to travel and had no budget for a Turkish carpet. Sorry! Virginia also had to add in the fact that all our carpets at home are from the luxurious IKEA. By looking at the owner's face after she said that, I think he got the message!

  After a few tense moments and awkward silences while drinking up our Turkish coffee, our taxi driver returned to take us to the ship. Can you see David's "nervous" smile? Although our carpet experience seems to be a common one for tourists in Turkey, it definitely added a bit of suspense and excitement to our visit. The next day, I went along with Virginia, Stephanie and David to the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar (see here).

Apparently Virginia was having too much fun in having me pose for photos!
Of course, when we weren't busy sightseeing, we were enjoying our time on Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam. We stuffed our faces with delicious food, took relaxing naps on the balcony, and appreciated the wonderful service on the ship.

They say "Save the best for the last". It was happening for us in Santorini, Greece.
 Virginia finally got to meet her long time blog friend Vicky (the guest designer for Virginia's View Challenge) and her awesome hubby Aris (the brain behind InLinkz and now HangATag ).

I had fun photo-bombing...look at the happy smiles! Need I say more? Vicky and Virginia chatted about card-making and blogging! Meanwhile, Dr. John was helping Aris scout out the perfect house in Santorini. Perhaps some day... after Aris makes his millions with his ingenious and innovative programming. Aris was not convinced though. 
It was a super hot and busy day in little Santorini. But I sure can see why this place is so iconic and popular as it was full of tourists like myself!
Well, with this magical photo, I am finishing this post with a high note!
Hope you enjoy the trip as much as I did!
Bye ...until next time I travel :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Penny Black Collage Stamp

Hello, I am popping in to share a Christmas card! This detailed and fabulous collage stamp (Enchanted Forest) is one of the Penny Black Stamps for Christmas release.
It really is enchanting, isn't it?

First thing I did was to treat the white card stock with Sheer Shimmer Spritz (silver) by Tsukineko. After it dried,  I took out Distress Markers to color the detailed image. After spending good 5 minutes in coloring, I sprayed a few spritz of water...and stamp!
This is my first card with this stamp. I hope that I can come up with more ways to use this wonderful collage stamp.
 Today's random photo share...
 This handmade stationary store was amazing. We went in and browsed some and admired. I wonder if anyone bought some.  Like all things in Venice, they are expensive.
A small piazza near the market

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, September 19, 2014

CAS-ual Fridays Stamps New Release (Day 6 )

 Today is the last day of the CAS-ual Fridays Stamp new release. The featured set is "Hanukkah Fri-Dies". This set is the matching set with the previously released 8 Happy Nights. Since the Fri-Dies are so easy to use, I made several Dreidels easily.
Happy H.
I first white-embossed the Dreidels, then I colored them with Distress markers, then I used the water brush to cover the entire image. It was so easy and fun to do. Then I used the Fri-Dies to cut them out. Assemble, voila!

Since the Fri-dies come with three dies and I felt so inspired, I made another..
Happy Hanukkah
I made two die cuts with silver and navy blue card stock. The tiniest stars were stamped in Delicata with the 8 Happy Nights set.  I assembled the Star of David like a puzzle. 

Today's random photo share...
Looking down from the top of St. Mark's Basilica
One of the many narrow streets in Venice
 I hope that you check out my design team mates work on these Fri-Dies (see here).
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CAS-ual Fridays Stamps New Release (Day 5)

Today is day 5 of the CAS-ual Fridays Stamp New Release. The featured stamp set is called "Sleigh Bells and Bell Tag Fri-Dies"!

Merry Christmas 
For my card, I tried to use as many stamps from this set as possible. So I took out the shorter sentiment and made my own text patterned paper. Then I stamped the bell image over and used the die to cut it out. Easy! In order to give the bell some shine, I chose the silver glitter paper (DCWV) to add some accents to the design. I then used the silver confetti (from Pretty Pink Posh) and also added a bow and fine silver string to decorate the bell!

Today's random photo share....

My daughter Stephanie took these photos...aren't they breath-taking?
We came across this lovely cafe while we wandered around the tiny paths in Venice. The buildings are beautifully coloured. My daughter said it's "like a J.Crew catalog but decaying".

 A cafe in Venice

I hope that you check out my design team mates lovely work on this stamp set (see here). 
 Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge # 281

This is my 2nd post for the day. For CAS-ual Friday's new release stamp post, please scroll down or click here

Welcome to another week on the Simon Says Stamp Challenge !! Thank you for joining us for the  Create Your Own Background Challenge and we hope you will all join us again this week too :-)

This week the challenge is...

Tag It 
 you can make a tag or add a tag to a card/project.

We are using Tim Holtz Products (Ranger) this week. You don't have to use them to join in but if you have some, we love to see them used :-) 

I used Tim Holtz Layering Stencil Cargo for my project.
hi lovely
This tag was easy to create. I laid out the stencil and secured it with Washi Tape. I mixed the Wendy Vecchi Embossing Paste (white) with three favorite Distress Inks ( Picked Raspberry, Peacock Feathers,
Mustard Seed) . The stamp set I used is a Simon Says Exclusive Friendly Flowers.

As always, Simon Says Stamp will be giving away a $50 voucher to shop at the fabulous Simon Says Stamp Store!
So now it's YOUR turn ! Happy Crafting !!
There are fabulous Give Aways and inspiration from fabulous designers on a daily basis over on the Simon Says Stamp Blog . If you haven't subscribed by email, you may want to do so you don't miss out.

You have until Wed. 8am Eastern Time to join in :-)
I hope you check out the DT's work!  I can't wait to see what you create!!
Thanks for stopping by! 

CAS-ual Fridays Stamps New Release (Day 4)

Today is day 4 of the CAS-ual Fridays Stamps New Release. The featured stamp set is called "Pine-cones"! How fun is that!?
Pinecones are the blessings
This set comes with two sizes of pinecones and boroughs.The images are intricate and detailed. It comes with great sentiments and sayings, you can easily create a text background like I did here. I stamped the pinecones in Delicata Golden Glitz. I used small red gems to complete the design. Add a Martha Stewart ribbon--done!

More random photo sharing...We are going to look at a few GRAND designs.

photo credit: Stephanie Lu (see Flickr here)
Grand Canal (Venice): this "main street" of Venice is more than two miles long, nearly 150 feet wide and nearly 15 feet deep. It is the city's largest, lined with its most impressive palaces.
 St. Mark's Campanile: This is a marvel of 10th century architecture until 1902, when it toppled into the center of the piazza. It was rebuilt 10 years later with its golden archangel Gabriel who always faces the breeze. We later took a lift to the top for the best view in Venice.
And... this was the view from the top of the Campanile
I hope that you check out my design team mate's pine-cone creations (see here). 
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CAS-ual Fridays Stamps New Release (Day 3)

Today is day 3 of the CAS-ual Fridays Stamp New Release. The featured stamp set is called "Snowflakes"! 

I  ADORE the snowflakes in this set. They come in many different sizes and designs.

I chose assorted blues (Tumble Glass, Broken China and Faded Jeans) and a bit of silver (Delicata Ink)  to create the snowflake scene!  I also bent the sentiment to make the design if the snowflakes are falling down all over the place....
Ding---> when creating a cascading/flowing design: first, decide where the open space is, then stamp around the space with various intensity. Make sure you stamp the edges to make the design more defined.
I have been sharing our travel photos with you. Here is some random eye candy for ya!
(photo credit: Stephanie K. Lu. See more Flickr photos here)

This photo was taken at the market in Venice...see those fresh produce? They make me want to COOK right now.
 Treats we bought in Venice... I still have the pistachio one in the wrap!
  I hope that you check out my design team mates' beautiful work (see here).
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, September 15, 2014

CAS-ual Fridays Stamps New Release (Day 2)

Today is day 2 of the CAS-ual Fridays Stamp New Release. The featured stamp set is called "Snowflake Splendor"

 I decided to let the snowflake tree speak for itself and chose to stamp the image in Neon Inks.  
 I added three small strips of glitter paper and sequins to complete the design.
Speaking of JOY, my kids really know how to take simple and mundane things and make them JOYFUL . During the cruise, our cabin steward always made us the most immaculate beds with amazing towel folding. These cute animals were always the highlights...before you know it, the kids turn them into part of the studio photo sessions...
Seeing them smile gives me JOY!

I hope that you check out the Snowflake Splendor created by my design team mates (see here)! 
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

CAS-ual Fridays Stamps- New Release (Day 1)

Hello! For the next few days, we are going to be sharing the new release from CAS-ual Fridays Stamps! Woohoo! Today is Day 1 and the stamp that is being featured is "Wheat Wreath". It has this intricate design of a wreath. You really don't need to embellish much with an image like this.
I absolutely love it!

love and blessings
 As you can see, there is a bit of shimmer inside the circle diecut. I had previously sprayed Gold Shmimmer Spritz by Tsukineko and after it dried, I stamped the sentiment. For the wreath, I simply embossed it in gold and made the hollow diecut circle. Add sequins and dyed ribbons (thanks to Donna Mikasa). Done!

What do you think? Join the fun and check out the new stamped designs that my talented fellow CAS-ual Fridays Stamps Ink Squad have created for you.

Here's to love and favorite photo of our family trip to Europe.
 (on the lookout in Lykavittos Hill in Athens, Greece. You can see the Acropolis in the background)
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Grand Bazzar in Istanbul

As you may know....I just got back from a big trip, namely to Venice, Istanbul and Athens. Here is my first travel post.  I have lots to catch up....I didn't think that I was going to play any challenges any time soon. BUT when I saw the pattern paper (Grand Bazaar) in my craft table, I thought the fox paper will be perfect for the latest Moxie Fab World  (see Foxy Foxes Challenge) . I just can't help myself... LOL.
just because
 In order to"calm down" the busy and colorful paper, I embossed the fox image in mint on the black card stock. I added a few small strips of paper and vellum to give the design a bit of pizzazz. Lucky that I have the mint sequins! Also, I stitched the white-embossed sentiment in gold thread. And of course, you've got to have GOLD if you are in the Grand Bazaar!  I also throw in a cork heart for good measure!

I know it is a super busy pattern paper....just like THE Grand Bazaar. Istanbul was the 4th city that we visited during the Mediterranean cruise two weeks ago. When I bought the pattern paper Grand Bazaar (Basic Grey) more than a year ago, it didn't occur to me that I would actually go to THE Grand Bazaar! Isn't that funny? 
So, you must wonder what the Grand Bazaar is are a few photos to give you some ideas.
It was a hot day in Istanbul when we walked from our cruise ship to the famous Spice Market and then to the Grand Bazaar. So many displays and foreign signs. Lots and lots of shops were selling everything from T shirts, purses, handmade laces, tea sets, home decor.... In fact, after walking in the Grand Bazaar for half an hour, we decided that we needed to find our way back to the cruise ship. We don't want to miss the big boat, do we?
 David had our trusty Rick Steve's guide book in his hand.  Still, there are so many unmarked paths (from the Spice Market) leading to the Grand Bazaar, it is very easy to get totally lost! The Turkish culture is truly foreign and exotic! Surrounding ourselves in these shops and displays, we were absolutely mesmerized and overwhelmed. Thankfully, we didn't have any trouble wandering around!
 Stephanie was checking out the famous tulip-shaped tea cups...

The choices of spices, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, sweets and food that I do not recognize/know .... are astounding. I ended up buying some nuts, tea and coffee. They are SAFE!
 Alexia at the Spice Market
 And now you can see why I have to make a card with the Grand Bazaar pattern paper with the fox?
 See those small hanging packets? Those were tea and spices in assorted flavors. We did buy some of those and have yet to sample them.
Thanks for stopping by!