A Post With No Pictures

Well hello stampers and happy late Friday to you. This will be a post with no pictures! That is what happens when you are at your parents’ place and all of your day is occupied with taking care of two elderly and sometimes frustratingly stubborn parents. Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond grateful to still have them both and to be in a position where I can drop everything and be there for them. But still.


When the Light Fades


It is hard to see your formerly strong and vibrant father sitting in his chair in the corner of the kitchen with the light fading from his eyes. He just looks so soul weary. Sometimes he says quietly, I just want to go home to heaven. I try to joke with him a bit and tell him that he doesn’t have an appointment. The thing is, he does, he just doesn’t know when. I think that is the hard part. The not knowing. I have a new respect for my mom. It can be quite the grind being a caregiver twenty four seven.


A Bright Moment


There was a bright moment this morning when I was sorting through my stamping stash getting ready for my YouTube live video tomorrow morning at 10am. I was explaining to them how my Parcels in the Post works. I had some pretty designer series paper called (fittingly) True Love and some Blends so I gave some to Mom to colour. Pap was also sitting at the table and before long he was giving mom advice on which colours to use. So I gave him a piece of True Love paper and told him he could colour his own.

I’m not very good at that says he. No worries say I. It’s extra paper and it doesn’t matter if you ruin it. As a Dutch person who has been through the war and through grinding poverty, there isn’t much greater sin than waste. So this was all he needed to get going. The moment was so imbued by love and peace that I felt moved to take a video. This was a side of my father I had never seen and it was also one that resonated so deeply with me.


Not Artistic


You see, I never thought I was artistic either. I think I actually felt some deep seated shame and insecurity about it. Everyone should be able to draw, but I couldn’t. That is why I fell in love with stamping. The drawing was already done for me by the stamp design artists. I could do the rest! I know that many people , and perhaps you feel this way too and it is my great joy to share creativity with you and to show you that yes, you can be artistic too.


The Video


So here is the very short video that I made of the two of them colouring quietly at the kitchen table with the winter sun making the snow sparkle and drenching the kitchen in beautiful light. I am blessed indeed! Even when Pap asks for fruit and when I bring it to him he says that no, he doesn’t want it after all.



Off To Bed


So now I am off to bed with one ear open in case I am needed throughout the night. We are now living one day at a time and we are thankful for each precious moment. Thanks for joining me today. Big hugs and sweet dreams and maybe tomorrow we’ll have a super day.


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Warm & Toasty Fancy Fold Card

Hello stampers and happy Friday to you. Today’s card is a Warm & Toasty fancy fold card from my Happy Mail in Holland contest. This is honestly so much fun! To get happy mail is already great, but when there are handwritten letters and beautiful cards too, that just makes my day. What I am really liking as well is that people are starting to tell me the favourite things about their home town. Let’s take a look at the card and the town. Are you curious?


Warm & Toasty Fancy Fold Card


I must confess; I do not have this stamp set. That is why it is so nice to be able to blog about it. It is new to me too! The fold is also one that I have never done, so you can bet that I am going to give it a try as well. In the meantime, here is the card made by Lou Davis and her twin sister.


Warm & Toasty fancy fold card


I know what you are thinking. This is a really cute card! It is, but there is more. Do you know the feeling when you get happy mail and the envelope is thick? Then you take out the card and it feels thick too? Perhaps there was something else in the envelope, but now you know that this is going to be a card with a surprise inside. Indeed! When I opened it up, this is what I saw. I don’t know what this fold is called, but you can be sure that I want to recreate it now.


Warm & Toasty fancy fold card inside


Here is another view of this card so you can see how the fold mechanism works.


Warm & Toasty fancy fold card inside mechanism


Beaufort, South Carolina


I love that Lou included a letter with her card telling me about her hometown and what she thinks is special about it. Now I also know that it is pronounced “Bu-fort”. I would have said “Bow-fort”. There are also two towns with this name in South Carolina, so it is a good thing that I was pointed in the right direction!! Lou’s hometown is not far from Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA and it was instrumental in both the Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War.


Here is a short video that shows how pretty Beaufort is. I found out that it is the second oldest city in South Carolina, chartered in 1711. While I was looking for some nice pictures to share I came across this interesting article.  I am sure you have heard that during this whole COVID pandemic people have been baking a lot, especially bread! In Chatham there was no yeast to be found in the grocery stores and flour was also sold out. This 79 year old  Beaufort man decided to make models of churches instead. How beautiful!



Southern Charm


Many years ago I earned an incentive trip to Hilton Head Island, and I am quite sure that Beaufort is quite close to this pretty island as well. Beaufort is known for its antibellum mansions like the one below. Lou, you are one lucky woman to live in this pretty place.



Here is a streetscape view. I have never been in one of these southern mansions, but you can be sure it is on my bucket list. Gerard has family in North Carolina, so we will be close!





Thanks so much for sending in your beautiful card Lou. Be sure to thank your sister too. This contest helps us all get to know each other better and that is wonderful. We need all the connection that we can get these days. I pray that this virus will soon be put behind us or at least contained with a vaccine. Stay safe. Have a super day!!


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Gnome Christmas Tags

Hello stampers and happy Wednesday to you. Today I am going to show you the very cute Gnome Christmas tags that I was working on yesterday. The more I work with the Tag Buffet kit the more I see the potential for this great little box. If you are looking for a meaningful and fun experience for the whole family then this is it.


Two Options


As I see it you have at least two great options for this kit. You could choose to just get the Tag Buffet Project kit without the coordinating stamp set. The coordinating set does have a great class Merry Christmas stamp in a lovely font and size as well as some other great images and greetings, but if you already have some lovely Christmas stamps that will work, then I would suggest option two.

The second option is to combine this great kit with the Gnome for the Holidays stamp set. The gnomes in this set are just so fun to colour and they are not too tricky to fussy cut, especially if you cut off the greenery from the one gnome with the striped hat.

I know that Rachel Tessman has played with this set and has made more than 90 cards with one of these kits. I have no intention of doing this, but I thought you might like to know the possibilities and definitely the value.


Score Yourself a Deal


Did you know that today is your lucky day Yup. Stampin’Up! had some technical difficulties yesterday so they are extending their 24 hour sale by one more day. That means that if you were procrastinating yesterday (and I just happen to know that most of you were doing just that!) you can still save 10 percent today. I know it doesn’t knock your socks off, but it is gratifying to see a lower price show up on your order screen with each item you add. Plus you will get a free tutorial from me and those cute embellishments that will look so nice with these gnomes! My embellishments were buried somewhere so I didn’t add them, but I will add them later and do a little Instagram video on them. Are you following me on Instagram yet? You should!!


Free embellishments with purchase today


Gnome Christmas Tags


Gnome Tags using tag buffet


Ok. You have to admit. These tags are stinkin’ adorable. If you are more of a traditional Christmas person like I usually am, then you might want to make the tags per kit instructions. You can see them in my blog post here.


Gnome Christmas tags


If you ink up this cute gnome or his girlfriend and grab your favourite Blends colours, you will soon forget the world and all its troubles. This is what I call colour therapy. Do you see the gnome tag in the middle He has had a little trim work done. His hat is now unadorned! Not only is he still super cute, he is also much, much easier to cut out. That makes me happy. I think I am going to organize a stamping party with Gerard’s sisters and nieces this coming week.


Tag Buffet stamp set


For The Love of One Stamp


Do you see the tag on the far right? I bought the Tag Buffet stamp set just for this particular stamp. I love the saying and it is applicable to more than just Christmas cards. It would be good for a birthday, an anniversary or even a wedding! Have you ever purchased a stamp set to get just one stamp?

Here you can see the amount of product included in this kit. The Blends are not included but this is just a snapshot of what was on my desk so you can see a bit of the creative process as well. I love how you can separate the white tags from the colourful ones. They were originally intended to be used together, but if you don’t do that, you have way more options and styles available to you. I didn’t even explore the option of turning them into cards! Maybe I will another day. I did remember to bring embossing folders with me this time!


Christmas tags


Video Tutorial


If you want to see how I put some of these tags together, you can watch this video from YouTube.





Thanks for joining me today, I hope you were inspired to create with your family and friends in a COVID friendly way. If you love any of these projects, please share them on Pinterest! I hope you have a super day and happy shopping with a bonus sale day. If you live in Canada and want to have some creative fun, just click on the links below to go to my online store, or you can also click here if that is easier for you. Remember, your best value is ALWAYS the starter kit. Click here if that makes sense to you. I have a wonderful team and you would make a great part of it!


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Brightly Gleaming Christmas Card

Hello stampers and happy Friday to you. Today’s card is a Brightly Gleaming Christmas Card. It is actually a beautiful card that I made last year. It was in my stash of Christmas stamps from last year’s holiday catalog. Brightly Gleaming is actually a carry over stamp set that was so popular last year that both the stamp set and the patterned paper sold out.


 A Question for You


I am curious. For some reason I never go back to a stamp set that has carried over from the year before. Does that make me fickle? Do you have the same thing? For me I play with a stamp set a lot, I use all the patterned paper and then I am done with it. Maybe it is different when you are a demonstrator and you want to showcase new products to get people excited. I decided it was time for me to show you this forgotten stamp set because it really is lovely. My favourite stamp in this set is the gorgeous holly leaves and berries. Take a look.


Brightly Gleaming Christmas Card


Here is my brightly gleaming Christmas card. It does use copper foil paper which is now retired but everything else on this card is current. The beautiful brushed metallic cardstock would look fantastic on this card so don’t worry, you can still recreate this beauty.


Brightly Gleaming Christmas card


The holly berries and leaves are perfect for colouring with Blends. I used Mossy Meadow and Cherry Cobbler as well as a bit of Wink of Stella on the berries. If you want to see more cards made with this bundle check out this blog post.


Brightly Gleaming Christmas Card


Thank-you Present for 15th Anniversary


Thanks for joining me today. I was hoping to write a longer post about my fifteenth anniversary as a Stampin’Up! demonstrator but this has been a crazy week with so much happening and I simply ran out of time. What I would like to say though is THANK YOU!! Without you there would be no stamping journey for me. As a thank you I am giving away the Press On stamp set with a $100 online order. The stamp set is worth $30, and with shipping and tax that comes to $36.90. You must use the host code 7ABPXNFB. This offer will go until November 5.

Have a super day!


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Happy Mail in Holland Prized Peony Bundle

Hello stampers and happy Wednesday to you. Today I have two great cards from my Happy Mail in Holland contest that use the Prized Peony Bundle . The Prized Peony bundle is beautiful but can be overwhelming, so if you need inspiration, I have a fantastic tutorial for you! You can find it here.

Thanks to both Luba Balycz and Sharon Meyer for their lovely cards!


Luba’s Card


Prized Peony card

What makes Luba’s card so beautiful? First of all, she sponged the edges of all of her die cuts to create a great 3D effect. To enhance that look even further, she used mini dimensionals between the layers. I love the unexpected touch of the white branches above the green leaves and the yellow stamens barely popping out of the centre of the peony. Do you see her perfect little bow?! The background whisper white was embossed with the Subtles embossing folder. Peonies are so beautiful!


Rochester, New York


Luba comes from Rochester, New York. It was one of the first boom towns in the United States due to its flour mills. It played a significant role in both the Abolitionist movement and the Women’s Rights Movement.



Sharon Meyer’s Card


Sharon also made a beautiful card using the Prized Peony stamp set. Her card focuses on the stamp set rather than the dies. I love how she contrasted a soft, subtle background with a bold and vibrant peony. I love peonies!! The card base is Soft Sea Foam with a mat of Peony Garden paper. The peony was coloured with Magenta Madness Blends and Shaded Spruce Blends if my guess is accurate. Sharon’s use of stitched dies is also a very nice touch.


Prized Peony card


Farmington, New York


Isn’t it a coincidence that both of today’s artists come from New York State? If my memory serves me correctly, Sharon has participated in other Happy Mail in Holland contests. If you want to read more about Farmington and also some of Sharon’s other work, check out this blog post.

Some of you have wondered why I spend so much time in Holland. If you don’t know the story of Gerard and I, then you can see it in this post. You can also see another one of Sharon’s cards as well as read a bit more about her hometown.


Hattem, the Netherlands


A little while ago, on our way home from Zwolle, we stopped in Hattem, another Hanzestad. I wanted to go to the Anton Pieck museum as I was familiar with some of his work. He is quite iconic. I did not know that he was such a huge part in the creation of the Efteling theme park for children. I went there with Rachel when she was 8 years old! Another thing I learned there is that Anton was a twin and that both brothers were artists and they both used there skills in the Resistance during World War 2.





Anton and Henri Pieck



In the museum it was said that Anton was born with a pencil in his hand. When he was three his mother found him crying because he could not draw the rain! During World War 2 he used his skills to falsify identity cards and other important documents. His brother worked as a spy for Russia and ended up in a concentration camp for his efforts. Thankfully he survived, but while in Buchenwald he drew what he saw.



Thanks for joining me today! I hope you are enjoying traveling along with me. My blog posts are light on stamping and heavy on travel these days! No worries, by the end of August, the pendulum will once again shift the other way. Have a super day!


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Happy Mail In Holland

Hello stampers and happy Wednesday to you. Today I am going to share some Happy Mail in Holland contest cards with you. I had a bit of an internal debate because these two cards do not use current product. They are beautiful cards though and I am guessing that you might still have some of these great products lying around from saleabration too. I am not going to do the homework of finding out the names of everything as it doesn’t help. You either have it or you don’t and you can’t buy it any more!


Elfie Kron’s Card


Elfie’s card was actually the first card I received and it made me very, very happy. I met Elfie at a Stampin’Up! event. I believe it was a half day business building seminar in Mississauga and we all went out for supper afterwards. Elfie has a big smile and a hearty laugh and I love her spirit. Her home town of Guelph is where I went to middle school for four years (grade 7 though 10) Emmanuel Christian High School on Sussex Street. That was an exciting time of my life, especially since it wasn’t common for grade seven and eight to be combined with high school. The first two years the school went up to grade 12 but then the community could no longer afford it.


Happy Mail in Holland


The flowers were cut from what I believe was called Flowering Foils paper and they are coloured with Calypso Coral and Petal Pink Blends. Elfie used a decorative mask to make the background and the butterfly was cut with a die and vellum that was also sponged or coloured with Blends and the blinged up with Wink of Stella. Thanks so much Elfie!!


Sandy Allman’s Happy Mail in Holland Card


Sandy’s card is made from the beautiful butterfly paper that was also either a free saleabration item or a saleabration coordination product. I love the colour combination of blushing bride and basic black. So many pretty details on this card including the pearls that were coloured with Blends. Sandy is from the beautiful city of Prince George British Columbia and is also a regular contributor to my card contests. I love it!!! If you want to read more about Prince George and see Sandy’s other creations, check out this blog post. There is actually a link in that blog post that will take you to another blog post that has the actual pictures of Prince George.


Sandy Allman's happy mail in Holland contest card



I love the layout of your card Sandy! You definitely pay attention to all the little details. Here is a shot of the inside of the card.


Happy Mail in Holland


The final finishing touch (other than the patterned paper on the envelope flap) is this cute signature on the back of the card. The recipient definitely knows that they are receiving a work of art. Doesn’t she just have the most beautiful handwriting?


Happy Mail in Holland artist signature


#itallaboutthetreats video


I thought it would be fitting to share a video of my favourite Dutch bakery here. It would be so wonderful to be able to share these amazing treats with all of you. Not only are their gebakjes (pastries) divine, their bread is also great and of course they make simply the best krentenbollen (raisin buns).





Thanks so much to everyone who is participating in my Happy Mail in Holland contest, it warms my heart. So nice to read all of your messages inside your beautiful cards. It seems that now it is only taking a week for a card to get here so that is great news. Don’t forget about the Bonus Days! Until July 31 you will get a $6 bonus coupon to spend in August when the Holiday catalog goes live. If you want a Paper Pumpkin for July, let me know, I have a few extra and I also have someone who can put one out on the porch for you. Have a super day!!




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