Category Archives: home for the holidays

i’m not late…really

Here is the first in a short series of last-minute Christmas cards designs. I always get motivated right before the big day and here is one result:

Sleigh ride, anyone?

PAPERS: Bazzill Metallic card stock in Silver (framed bell.)  This was not the mirror card stock I was hoping for, but it has a nice soft shine and looks like matte silver (or could pass for pewter with the right background.) It cuts beautifully so this might lead me to buy more paper from them. The red mat is American Crafts Specialty Foil card stock.  I never get tired of AC foil and love the texture.  This photo looks like it is a bit distressed but is not in reality. The vibrant emerald-green mat is from Colorbök (available at Target.)  I’ve used a few papers from this company lately and really like their colors. As usual, I used Staples 110 lb. card stock for my card base, but I chose gray this time to coordinate with the muted silver of the top layer.

Would you like the svg file for the framed jingle bell?  Please help yourself right HERE.

I just thought of a wonderful use for this design: thank you cards.  You should be able to re-size this panel to fit any square card you like.  See, I’m not late.

I’m going to the Mall now to do some last-minute shopping.  Wish me luck with the crowds.

i have a little dreidel

I couldn’t resist making one more group of Chanukah cards. Here is the first one.

This card was very difficult to photograph well because of the high shine of the gold mirror card, but I love the look.

MATERIALS: Best Occasions Metallic card stock (gold), American Crafts Specialty Foil card stock (turquoise textured mat), American Crafts Glitter card stock (turquoise glitter mat).

Here is the other version of this card:

This one is a bit easier to see because the contrast is greater.

MATERIALS: Best Occasions Metallic card stock (gold), DCWV glitter card stock (cream mat, light green mat).

Both cards have a card base of Staples 110 lb. card stock (white or cream colored.)  You can’t beat the price on this stuff and it cuts and creases very well.  And of course, I used Scor-Tape to adhere the layers.

Would you like the svg files for these?  Please click HERE for the single dreidel version and HERE for the panel with the dreidel trio.

For those of you who are celebrating Chanukah, may your candles burn brightly in the circle of your family.

it’s Christmas time again

I’ve been working on a set of Christmas cards and wanted to show you what I came up with.  Here is the first one.

Can you see the reflection in the front of the card?

My one problem with these is that I can’t seem to keep the mirror card stock completely clean and undamaged. Does anyone have any ideas about this?

If anyone knows where to buy more mirror card stock (especially in silver), I’d be eternally grateful. Wal-Mart doesn’t stock this any longer.

Would you like the free svg files for these cards?  Please CLICK HERE.

Just to give you a peek at what’s coming, here’s a screen shot of the four cut files in SCAL 2. All four come in the same svg, and you can cut all four at once by using 6 inch square pieces of card stock in different colors. They are four-inch square panels. You can mat them on anything that suits your fancy.  I thought of using these for coasters or small framed holiday pictures to decorate your house.  I think they might make neat gifts for friends or relatives who invite you in for the holidays.

One design, four variations

Please come back and see the cards I made using the other versions of my design…and tell me how you like them!

spinning top

Several people sent me some wonderful comments about my Menorah Card (Thank you!!!) so I’ve been motivated to design a few more Chanukah cards and files for you. Here they are:

I found that this was a great way to make use of tiny scraps of card stock. The file contains the panel with dreidel cutout on one side of the mat and the embellishments on the other.  I put all four Hebrew letters in the file and you can choose how many to use.  HERE is the svg file.

Once I got the dreidel cutout part done, I thought I’d do a variation with four of them on one card. This design was inspired by the work of artist Andy Warhol.

The file contains the embellishment panels for each dreidel and all four Hebrew letters. I decided that I’d rather not use the tiny letters and just let the minimalist shapes speak for themselves.

HERE is the file if you’d like it.

If you’d rather just make the cards without the tiny embellishments, HERE is a file with two of the card panels but no embellishments.


Single Dreidel card: DCWV Shimmer Stack (blue mat with cutout), Best Occasions Prismatic Paper Pack (gold mat), American Crafts Specialty Foil Card Stock (Silver mat, Silver letter cutout), AC Foil (tiny black embellishments)

Four Dreidel card: American Crafts foil card stock (black mat), Recollections glitter card (Marine Blue mat), American Crafts foil card stock (silver mat), Best Occasions Mettallic paper (hot pink embellishments)

Anybody up for a game of Dreidel?

festival of lights

The birthday card with candles that I designed made me think of the upcoming holiday that (part of) my family will celebrate: Chanukah (or Hanukah, or Hanukkah.)  The eight-day celebration is filled with traditions that include fascinating history lessons (about the Maccabees who were freedom fighters against the Romans in the 7th century B.C.E.), delicious foods (latkes!) and fun (the Dreidel game.) The holiday commemorates a miracle that occurred many centuries ago. The story of Chanukah also symbolizes hope in the face of adversity, and that concept is timeless.

For those of you who observe Chanukah, here is my take on one of its important icons: a menorah. The modern Hebrew word for this is Chanukiyah. The menorah has eight candles that symbolize the eight days during which the Eternal Light in the synagogue burned when there was only enough purified oil to last one day. The ninth candle in the middle (called the Shamash) is used to light the others.  Each night, one more candle is lit, until on the last night of Chanukah, all eight candles are burning brightly.

brightly shining lights that celebrate the season

DESIGN: I did this entirely in SCAL 2, using the available shapes in the software. The more I experiment with this program, the more I want to discover what is still unknown to me. It is really a fun adventure.

MATERIALS: Top layer (American Crafts white 80 lb card stock), Blue layer (Recollections Marine Blue Glitter card stock). Silver layer (American Crafts Specialty Foil card stock), Card base (Staples 110 lb card stock, lots of Scor-Tape to secure the menorah cutout panel to the glitter mat.  If you haven’t tried Scor-Tape, I highly recommend it.  It comes in many different widths, and the 1/8″ tape is fantastic for getting into tight places (like between the candles.)

I generally belong to the “less is more” school of design, but I’m thinking of adding a small clear gem to each candle flame.  What do you think?

I’ve discovered that there are not that many Chanukah cards out there, so here is one that you can share with your loved ones.  Please CLICK HERE to download the Menorah Card Panel I designed. If you do use it, I’d love to see the results.

No matter what holiday you celebrate this season, may it be filled with joy and peace.

making the season merry

Here is the second of this series of cards with a single word on the front.  I like this way of focusing on a single thought that has to do with the holidays.  Depending on how you view the card or where you mind chooses to go, there are unlimited ideas that can spring from that one greeting.

I’m finding the bright red foil a bit hard to photograph and I admit that I’m too lazy to get out my photo studio and lights.

The papers I used for this card are all from American Crafts (red, green and gold foil and white glitter.)  I used Pops Dots to create another layer for the tree. I couldn’t resist adding a tiny bit of bling with the royal blue star (from K&Company.)

All the pieces are contained in the svg file.  Please CLICK HERE to download it.

I’m really getting in the mood for the holidays by crafting.  It’s good for my soul.

celebrate the season

Where did the time go?

It seems like yesterday I was wondering when the temperature would drop out of the high 90s, and here it is November already.  I’ve already started rehearsals for my favorite Christmas shows and am looking forward to hearing holiday music on my I-Phone.

Before it gets any later, I thought I’d better get more Christmas cards done.  This design is an all-purpose one that could be done in a variety of color palettes for whatever holiday you and your loved ones enjoy.

The red and silver card stock comes from the American Crafts Specialty Foil line.  AC is one of my favorite craft supply companies. Their paper cuts so well, even with small details.  The wide ribbon is from Michaels and is left over from a roll I bought last year. I love all the different metallic hues running through it, like lights on a Christmas tree.

I attached the panel using (my usual) Scor-Tape, but also used a small amount of spray adhesive on the back of the letters to make sure they stayed flat on the mat.

This is the first of s series of similar designs I’m working on, so please come back and visit again soon.  I’ll have more.

If you’d like the svg “Celebrate” file, please CLICK HERE.

Let the celebrations begin!

going batty for boxes

It’s been too long since I designed some boxes, so I thought I’d make up for that today.  I wanted to give some special treats to volunteers who work for me; but I needed a suitable container to put them in.  Here is what I came up with.

treats for the ghosts and goblins

The two boxes pictured above are one piece creations.  I love this type of box because it’s easy to put together and just right for a small present or other treat. Each box is approximately 2.5 inches square and 1.25 inches tall.

Here is a photo that shows the scorelines and tape placement on the box.


Be sure to start your tape close to the inner edge so the corners of the box stay put.

Attach the middle flaps first then the top ones.  That forms the bottom of the box.  Each box snaps together like a miniature cake box and closes with a snug fit.

You can use contrasting paper or vellum underneath the cutout on each box.

Would you like these files?  Please click HERE for the pumpkin cutout box and HERE for the bat version.

I’ll do some of these boxes for the upcoming holidays.  If you have a favorite cutout in mind for one, just let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.

Anyone know any good ghost stories?

happy birthday, america!

I’ve been busy all weekend rehearsing for the annual broadcast of “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS. The headliners have prepared their performances for tonight’s live show from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building.  I’ve done this show for many years and am always excited and awed by the spectacle. I feel privileged to be able to take part in this annual celebration of our nation’s birth.

Since I have come home every night completely wired from the activity, I’ve been staying up to design a new Fourth of July file. Even though it’s a bit late to use this for Fourth of July cards, I hope you like it and will consider using it next year. You could also size it as a scrapbook page overlay and put a photo in the star opening.  See, I’m not that late.

If you size this file as 5 inches square, you can weave 1/4″ ribbon through the holes for a neat embroidered look.

For now, I’ll just post a screen shot of the file; but later I’ll post a card that makes use of it.

You can thread narrow ribbons through the slots for an embroidered effect.

If you’d like the svg file of this card panel, please CLICK HERE.

It’s time for me to get ready and report to the stage in DC.  I hope your July 4th is filled with fun and joy!

it’s the holiday season

I finally got to sit down and design most of my Christmas and other holiday cards last week.

Because I am a singer as well as the executive director of a large chorus, the weeks before Christmas are usually filled with non-stop rehearsals and performances.  The only change this year was that I did not do any television shows.  I missed that a bit, but had plenty of other activities to occupy my mind and voice.  I was part of a small group that sang four National Symphony Orchestra pops concerts with Marvin Hamlisch.  For those who may not be familiar with his work, he wrote the famous musical A CHORUS LINE.  I have been privileged to know Maestro Hamlisch for several years and savored another wonderful experience watching a master showman put together a concert that appealed to all ages.  At the same time, I produced The City Choir of Washington’s annual Music for Christmas concert, a heartwarming program of Christmas music that ranged from classical to jazz to a little gospel thrown in for good measure.  We were fortunate enough to have as our musical partners a superb group of high school singers who literally stole the show with their stunning artistry.  Our December performances ended with The City Singers performing for an audience of guests at the Willard Hotel on December 23.  There’s nothing like hearing Christmas music when you’re away from home for the holidays, and our listeners expressed their joy with enthusiastic applause.

And now to my personal reward of the season: late night crafting.  Here are some of my favorite designs from this year.

I’ve had this ribbon (from Michael’s) since last year but hadn’t figured out how to best use it. I was exploring options on SCAL 2 and it suddenly occurred to me to take advantage of the graphic element presented in the ribbon.  I haven’t done much designing in SCAL 2 yet but this was really a fun exercise.

I’ve included a side view below so you can see how I created some depth with this design.

I used Pop Dots to mount the second cutout directly above a duplicate after adhering the first one to the card with the help of my Zyron.

The next card also used a tree motif, but this time it was based on the little squiggly ones in the ribbon I chose. In this case, I used a total of four cutouts (two of each color) and kept adding them on top of each other to build a stack.

I actually started the first card by making a single tree based on the proportions of the trees in the red ribbon, and had cut both red and green versions of the tree and a shadow.  I later used the negative cuts of both of these for this card. Here are the resulting cards.

My second theme this year was jingle bells.  After having sung literally dozens of arrangements over the years (including my own version that the City Singers did last year), it seemed like the right thing to do.  Martha Stewart had just the right punch to make this happen.  Here are some of my card designs that used that punch. For the first of the bell designs, I also used my new QuicKutz Geometric Circles embossing folder (on a soda can.)  I’ve been wanting that folder for weeks and finally gave in to my craving one night on Ebay. (See card below on the right.)

The second card has ribbons of different colored foil with jingle bells mounted with more Pops Dots. (See card on the left)

The last card in this series used a different color palette as well as three different MS punches.  The stars were created with a new type of punch from MS that can be used to punch anywhere on a page – a VERY neat idea.  I also embossed the shiny background with a Cuttlebug Snowflakes folder.  The combination was a bit more embellished than I usually do but it seemed to work. (Below on the right)

My last card on this post was inspired by watching the snow fall very late the other night.  The white glittered card stock made me think of the MS punch that is called “Rose Window.” (Below on the left)

So there they are, finally ready to go in the mail to some people I hold dear.  Designing and creating these cards made me relax and think of all the things I am grateful for this holiday season. Most of all, I am grateful for the wonderful life I have and the love that I can share with so many family and friends throughout the country.

May your stars burn brightly and your joy ring true.  Happy holidays, everyone.