Category Archives: Cards

CHALLENGE: PPA 237 Sketch Card + Sweet Start Changes

Hi precious readers! I’m making some changes to the format of my Sweet Start posts. The Bible study portion will still be running, but there will be a link to the study in my creative posts rather than the full text. Additionally, in case you’re a new visitor or have fallen behind in the study, I have created a helpful page with links to each day of material so you don’t have to sift through my whole site to work through the study at your own pace. I hope you like the changes! Here are the links to get your day off to a Sweet Start.

Sweet Start Bible study

Romans, Day 6: A calling and a prayerful greeting

Are you new to my blog or have you fallen behind? Learn more and catch up!

PPA 237 Sketch Challenge

If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you know that I’m a member of the Stampin’ Pretty Pals. If you’re a stamper and you’ve never experienced what it’s like to get a Stampin’ Up! product discount while enjoying the friendships of enthusiastic stampers from around the country, don’t wait any longer to join the Club! Now is a great time with all the extra perks of Sale-a-bration, like free gifts and bonus items in your starter kit. One fun part of being a Pal (anyone who joins Club Social Stampers is automatically a Pal, too!) is that we get access to the Pals Paper Arts challenges in advance for the whole year. Woo hoo inside information! Today the PPA design crew has come up with a card sketch to keep you inspired. Here’s the sketch!


My personal stamp set challenge right now is to use the new Crazy About You set on 2 weeks worth of projects and share them with you. So, I used the PPA237 sketch to come up with a card featuring the awesome sentiments and darling nature-inspired images in Crazy About You. It’s just slightly premature, but why not start thinking about Easter cards, right?? After all, by this time in winter I’m always itching for springtime.

Stampin’ Up! Crazy About You card by Becky Gifford. Inspired by PPA237 sketch challenge. Easter is right around the corner!

Here are a few ideas I used on this card that you can use on your own creations:

  • Tone-on-tone: I stamped the scalloped flower image in Soft Sky ink on Soft Sky card stock to make the lower rectangle layer more interesting.
  • Stamp and cut: Lots of Stampin’ Up! stamp sets have coordinating punches or Framelits dies to make cutting super simple. But, even without a special tool, cutting out a stamped image (like the branch of leaves in my card) is a foolproof way to add an extra layer or embellishment to your projects. I would HIGHLY recommend Paper Snips if you plan to “fussy cut” something, they are extra sharp and predictably cut all the way to the point of the scissors.
  • Ink the edges: Add some color to the edge of any shape of card stock by dragging over an ink pad repeatedly. Sometimes I use a sponge that has been inked on an ink pad to add color to the edges, but in the case of the little punched flowers, I skipped the sponge and went straight for the ink pad. (In case you’re wondering, the flowers were punched with the Itty Bitty Accents punch pack in Whisper White card stock, then colored with Blushing Bride ink.)
  • Add some texture to spice up visual blank space! It’s never good to have so much going on that you become distracted from the focal point of your design. Repeating patterns are a safe bet to fill space while keeping distractions to a minimum, and so is adding some texture! I used this same principle on my PPA234 card. If you have a Big Shot or Texture Boutique machine, you’ll love the Stampin’ Up! line of Textured Impressions Embossing Folders. Today, I used Decorative Dots. It felt Easter-ish to me, maybe because eggs are round-ish? haha! If you haven’t gotten a Big Shot yet, try crumpling your card stock in your hands until it’s nice and wrinkled. That’s a free way to add some dimension!

Stampin’ Up! Crazy About You card details by Becky Gifford. Inspired by PPA237 sketch challenge. Easter is right around the corner!

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you’ll play along with me in some PPA challenges!

Happy Stamping,

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper




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Sweet Start CARD: Romans, Day 4 + A Little Love Note

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 4

We have been on quite a journey together already. Beginning in the first 4 verses of Romans, moving through what Son of David and Son of man mean in regard to the person of Jesus, and now (finally!), the original title that stood out in Romans 1:4: Son of God. This is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will give us the framework we need to get a lot out of the rest of Romans!

Jesus as the Son of God: First of all, let me challenge you, dear reader. If you’ve merely checked the theological box in your mind that Jesus is the Son of God but you’ve never taken pause at the significance, it’s time to wrestle with this a bit. Calling Jesus the Son of God shouldn’t be an “easy” profession! The term implies a lot. Let’s examine some of what caused such an uproar among Jewish leaders at Jesus being called– and calling himself– the Son of God, and why this term uniquely applies to Him in ways it cannot apply to others.

  • It means Jesus is the Messiah: Messiah means Anointed One (the Greek equivalent of “Messiah” is “Christos,” or Christ). In Psalms 2:1-9, the Lord says to His Anointed One, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” The Son is the Anointed One, the Christ.
  • It equates Jesus with God: The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day believed Jesus’ confession of being the Son of God was blasphemy. Here is one example: “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18) Claiming a Godly paternity meant Jesus was claiming the divinity of the Lord God. If it weren’t true, it absolutely would have been blasphemous. Fortunately, Jesus was justified at the Resurrection. Remember the message of Romans 1:4? This is a great tie-in to what we learned there.
  • His Sonship is unique: Jesus is not merely one of many who can be called sons of God. He is the Only Begotten Son of God (John 3:16, for example). The term “only begotten” is translated from the Greek word monogenēs. It means the single of its kind, like the original Mona Lisa. There’s only one original Mona Lisa, it’s the single of its kind. There are many who are called sons (and daughters!) of God, but Jesus is the Son of God in a unique way that makes Him the only of His kind. In Days 2 and 3 I touched on the fact that only two humans have ever walked the earth who can’t claim human paternity– Adam and Jesus Christ. Well, day 5 of our study in Romans will reveal how Jesus is unique in his Sonship beyond that of Adam, and it has to do with who Jesus is as the Lord. For now, you’ll just have to trust me!
  • As the Only Begotten, He is the sole heir of God: This is a precious truth. Although Jesus is the sole rightful Heir in the Kingdom of God, he qualifies us to be partakers in His inheritance– joint-heirs (a talk reserved for Romans 8). His birth gave him rights as an heir, not his labors. Our re-birth in Christ makes us heirs, but similarly not our labors. What an honor! He is the begotten Son of God, we are adopted children. He inherits us (Psalm 2:7-8), so that we can inherit God– not the position of God, but our position in relation to Him; as loved and favored ones in relationship with God rather than our deserved place as sinners, objects of judgement and holy wrath.

The next Sweet Start post will bring us to a place we can plant our feet, in the understanding that Jesus is the Lord. I’m excited to share my thoughts with you! Feel free to leave me comments if you’d like to expand on something or if you see things a bit differently. I love hearing from you!


You Brighten My Day #5

Here’s the fifth project in my stamp set challenge. I got busy creating two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set from the promotional Sale-a-bration brochure, and after those two weeks are up, it’s on to another set and a new challenge!

Stampin’ Up! You Brighten My Day card by Becky Gifford. An adorable little love note!

Today’s card is a little 3×3″ love note, perfect for slipping into a lunch box or pocket as a surprise gesture. I can’t even tell you how easy this card was, and it could easily be made more masculine by switching the Calypso Coral out for Real Red or even a neutral like Crumb Cake. I think that would be really attractive. Lining up the “love” hearts and the trio of tiny hearts all in a row required me to pull out my Stamp-a-ma-jig tool since the set is not photopolymer, but that’s mostly because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I know lots of stampers who would be plenty happy with the results even if the hearts weren’t perfectly lined up, but I know it would drive me nuts if they were more than a teensy bit “off.”

Before adhering the 2-3/4″ square top layer to the 3″ square card base with Stampin’ Dimensionals, I folded an inch or so of Calypso Coral Chevron Ribbon in half, and stapled it in place with my office stapler. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a big statement! Don’t forget that the You Brighten My Day set coordinates with several Stampin’ Up! punches. I stamped the Calypso Coral heart and punched it out using the small heart from the Itty Bitty Accents punch pack (it’s on sale this week!!), then popped it up with a single dimensional. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I am obsessed with the Sweet Dreams Designer Series Paper. Well, guess what? The Washi tape separating the two rows of hearts is the Sweet Dreams Designer Washi Tape. I’m in love with the Sweet Dreams products. Mmm hmm.

Stampin’ Up! You Brighten My Day card details by Becky Gifford. An adorable little love note!

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Here are all the posts in the You Brighten My Day stamp challenge series. Don’t forget to comment and share if you like what I have to offer here at The Social Stamper! Remember also that subscribing will send a weekly blog post digest to your email inbox so you never miss a Sweet Start post. Hope that is a helpful reminder!

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper




Sweet Start CHALLENGE: Romans day 2 + PPA235 Color Combo

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 2

In my last post we began a study in the biblical book of Romans. I mentioned that there are 2 words that really stood out to me in Romans 1:1-4 that I’d like to dig deeper into with you before we proceed to work through the rest of the book. Those two words have to do with the identity of Jesus: SON of God, and our  LORD. Today, we’ll begin to examine what it means that Jesus is the Son of God. I’ll be drawing things out a little bit for the sake of keeping things bite-sized, nobody likes to wake up to feeling overwhelmed, right? I’m going to try to avoid that for both our sakes.

Understanding what the term “Son of God” means is one area where it’s important to shift our minds from a literal/physical place to a spiritual one. Why? Because Jesus is not the literal Son of God in the way we perceive father/son relationships. In other words, Jesus was not procreated by God the Father through a physical meeting of genetic material, if you get my drift. Don’t laugh if that seems beyond obvious to you! There is a reason why I’m clarifying this truth. There are those who teach that Jesus is the literal Son of the Father, based on the Father’s physical union with Mary. So, for clarification, I’d like to break down some of the more earthly descriptions of Jesus, other ways he’s described as a “son,” before we move wholly to the supernatural. Today is the first of two titles of sonship we’ll look at.

Son of David: In Matthew 1:1, we learn that Jesus is called a son of David by his ancestry. In fact, we just read in Romans 1:3 (Day 1) that Jesus is “made of the seed of David according to his flesh.” What can we learn about this title from the Bible? This is where things get really interesting to me. Laying aside too much detail (you’re welcome to study this topic more in-depth on your own), it is historically accepted that Matthew 1 reveals the Davidic lineage of Jesus through Joseph, and Luke 3 through Mary. Pause there for a second. We know that Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, right? Mary was a virgin, yes? Let’s call Joseph the adoptive father of Jesus. Adoption is going to be a repeated theme in Romans, so keep that in the back of your mind.

Now, there’s something at the end of Luke’s genealogical record of Mary that is SUPER interesting, go with me here and prepare for your mind to be blown (okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but this is exciting stuff!) At the end of the ascending list is this gem, “…Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (Luke 3:38, KJV) Adam, the first man ever created, was called the son of God (yet not in a Messianic sense, not THE Son of God)… and what was he formed from? Sperm and egg? Nope! The dust of the ground, according to Genesis 2:7. I believe the terminology “son of God” has more than a little significance when viewed in part as someone whose body is created supernaturally by God, rather than conventionally. There have only been two men who walked the earth who could claim no earthly paternity– Adam, and Jesus Christ. We’ll come back to compare and contrast the two men later on in Romans, and learn more about the Son of God title in day 4.

For now, let’s bring it back to David. As the “dust of the ground” is to Adam, the “seed of David” is to Jesus. God formed the person of Jesus using David’s ancestral genes similarly to the way he formed the person of Adam of the dust of the ground. It was a singularly unique act of creation! To put any human refutation of Jesus’ lineage to rest, to make the promise rock solid that the Messiah would be of the seed of David, God chose a mother whose chromosomes (whether they physically contributed or not, although I believe it’s both logical and scriptural that they did as I’ll highlight in day 3) were Davidic in ancestry, and then caused him to be adopted into the family of King David through his earthly father, Joseph. Jesus was the truest son of David that ever lived, in every sense of the word! Through the powerful creative force of God, through the genetic contribution of his mother Mary, and through adoption into the family of David through his earthly father, Joseph. Cool, right?? The bible is full of really neat stuff if we’ll take the time to stop and dig. Thanks for digging alongside me today! I hope to see you for day 3.


You Brighten My Day #4

Here’s the fourth project in my stamp set challenge, where I’ll be showing off two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set from the promotional Sale-a-bration brochure. Today, it’s a Pals Paper Arts challenge inspired card! PPA235 is a color combo challenge, a really serene palette of blues. Here’s the color combo:


I have enjoyed combining the stamp images from You Brighten My Day with other favorite sets, and this card is no exception. Gorgeous Grunge creates a fun backdrop for the stars from You Brighten My Day, and is a trendy twist on a traditional baby-welcoming card, don’t you think? The sentiment is from Petite Pairs. I find myself using the sentiments from that set a lot more often as singletons than paired up! It’s a good one. I can’t wait to stick this one in the mail to welcome the 3rd son of my sweet friend, Amy. Y’all know I’m a fan of boys!

PPA 235 color challenge: Island Indigo, Soft Sky & Pool Party. Card by Becky Gifford using Stampin' Up! stamp sets Gorgeous Grunge and You Brighten My Day. See more at

Nearly all of the stamp images in You Brighten My Day coordinate with a Stampin’ Up! Punch, today it’s the star punch from the Itty Bitty Accents punch pack. Such a simple little embellishment!

PPA 235 color challenge: Island Indigo, Soft Sky & Pool Party. Card by Becky Gifford using Stampin' Up! stamp sets Gorgeous Grunge and You Brighten My Day. See more at

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Here are all the posts in the You Brighten My Day stamp challenge series.

Come back and see me tomorrow for another Sweet Start! Do you have questions about the card or thoughts about the study? Please take a minute to leave your comments below, that’s how I can get to know you a little better and I treasure that interaction with you.

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper




Sweet Start CARD: Romans, day 1 + A dazzling hello

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 1

I hope you enjoyed the brief 2-day study on the incredibly short book of Philemon, because things are about to get real for the both of us. I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew by diving straight into Romans, but I know the Holy Spirit will help me persevere through this book! I have to warn you, I’m not a “systematic” Bible student. In other words, I don’t really have a formula for the way I study the Word. Really, I just read until certain words, phrases, or ideas catch my attention, and then I focus my study intently until I’m satisfied (at least mostly) with what I feel like the Lord is trying to teach me. Today is a PERFECT example of that, so just stick with me as we dissect some of the finer details of this chapter that I believe will offer a lot of insight as we progress through the study. Here goes! We’ll cover Romans 1:1-4 today for our introduction.

    • The Who: Romans 1:1 tells us that this epistle (fancy word for a letter written by an Apostle) was written by Paul. The book is called Romans, because Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome while he was in Corinth on his 3rd missionary journey. If you’d like to study more about who Paul is and how he became a Christian, read Acts 9:3-19. I HIGHLY recommend the short read if you’re unfamiliar with the details of Paul’s conversion. It’s pretty powerful.
    • The Why: The cool thing about this book is that it’s written specifically to affirm the message of the gospel to the “baby” Christians in Rome. There’s plenty of deep stuff to keep the scholars busy in this book, but there are also a lot of sweet moments of affirmation of a Christian’s position as a child of God. I’m swooning already and we’ve barely opened the pages!
    • Called to be an apostle: Romans 1:1 declares an important fact about Paul: he was called to be an Apostle. What does that mean, exactly? The Greek word is apostolos, and it means a delegate, a messenger, one sent forth with orders. I’m glad I looked this word up in my concordance, because through a train of thought I ended up contrasting it with the word “mathetes,” which we translate as disciple (a student, learner). Jesus had many disciples, but he called 12 specific men forth from amongst his disciples to be “apostolos.” (Luke 6:13) Being an apostle was an important distinction, and though not one of the original twelve, he was certainly sent forth by God with orders to bring the gospel message to the Gentiles.
    • Set apart for the gospel: verse 1 also tells us that Paul was set apart for the gospel. This Greek word is “euaggelion,” and it means good tidings. We oftentimes refer to it as “good news” nowadays.
      • Not just any gospel: There’s lots of news that can be called good. Your best friend got engaged– good news! But, the specific “good news” that Paul preached is detailed in Romans 1:2. It is, specifically, the good news that God promised through the prophets of the Jewish scriptures of the coming Messiah. The good news about God’s SON.
      • Who is the Son? Paul elaborates on who this “Son” is:
        • Jesus Christ our LORD. In case we had any doubts about who the Son might be, Paul settles the matter outright.
        • A descendent of David according to his flesh (see also John 1, Romans 9:5, and Matthew 1:1)
        • The one who rose from the dead: the message of Romans 1:4 is that Jesus was powerfully declared to be the Son of God at the resurrection. In other words, His resurrection proves His incarnation in a powerful way.
  • SON and LORD. Now that we’ve dipped our big toe into Romans, I’d like to side step a bit for the next few days to lay an important foundation for understanding not only this book, but who Jesus really is. Remember how I tend to study things that really stick out to me as I read? Well, these two words that identify the Savior are quite small, yet exceedingly deep in significance. Stick around with me by checking back here daily and subscribing so you don’t miss the details! Until next time, here is a dose of creativity to energize your day!

You Brighten My Day #3

Here’s the third project in my stamp set challenge, where I’ll be showing off two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set. This set is one of the free gift options with any $50 purchase now through March 31st, during the Sale-A-Bration promotion. I’ve really enjoyed working with these images! They’re very versatile and coordinate with a lot of different punches, like the What’s Up Punch. I used the punch for two elements on today’s card: a Basic Gray card stock arrow and a little stamped Soft Sky house. I’m thrilled that Stampin’ Up! re-imagined the arrow, we all love to make our supplies do some leg work by using them beyond the obvious, and in this case the creative-use thinking is already done for you! Gracias, product designers.

Stampin’ Up! You Brighten My Day card by Becky Gifford. Uses "Hello You" Thinlits dies and gold glimmer paper for extra sparkle!

This would be a great “welcome to the neighborhood” card, in fact, I’m going to be on the lookout for an opportunity to introduce myself using this card very soon! It would be easy to make a handful of the same design to keep around since there are very few elements. Here are a few other features you might be wondering about:

  • The sparkly “hello” is made from the new Hello You Thinlits Dies and Gold Glimmer Paper. Gorgeous, right?
  • “So glad you’re here” is the irreplaceable sentiment that makes this card perfect for a warm welcome. It comes from the stamp set Petite Pairs. It’s supposed to pair with “Welcome, baby” but your recipient won’t know that! Shhh, our little stamping secret.
  • Do you love the background paper? It’s my favorite paper that’s been released this whole year, called Sweet Dreams Designer Series Paper. I love that it’s sophisticated but in a trendy sort of way.

You Brighten My Day 1-3 details

If you like this card, don’t forget to pin and share so you can remember the things that inspired you later on!

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper


Sweet Start CARD: Philemon part 2 + Watercolor Emboss Resist

It’s another glorious day of life, let’s begin with a Sweet Start!

Philemon, part 2

We left off yesterday’s study with the introduction to Philemon and my notes up to verse 7. If you haven’t already, you can read that post and pick up with us in Philemon verse 8. Here are today’s notes from my study!

  • As Paul begins his plea for Onesimus in verse 8, he speaks lovingly rather than commandingly. Remember, Philemon is his friend!
  • The first theme that dominates this letter: being a prisoner. Paul begins his letter by identifying himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. He repeats the phrase again in v. 9, before noting Onesimus’ conversion in v. 10, “while I was in chains.” We know that Paul was imprisoned on several occasions because of the gospel message he professed, and through his imprisonment the gospel message was advanced more fearlessly (See Philippians 1:12-14). Paul saw God’s providence in his imprisonment, so while he was technically a prisoner of Rome, he was giving the credit to God who is sovereign over all: God used Paul’s imprisonment to accomplish His purposes. The other thing to note here is that Paul’s physical imprisonments were momentary, whereas Paul’s self-identity as a prisoner of Christ was permanent, following him wherever he happened to be as he spread the message of the gospel. In the context of this letter, it seems to me that Paul is using his identity as a prisoner in part to equate himself with Onesimus and pull on the compassion of his friend Philemon on behalf of them both. Onesimus was an escaped slave of Philemon, a crime that warranted his imprisonment and return to his master, Philemon, who would then have complete control over his destiny. Because Paul is imprisoned in Rome, he can’t physically go and seek the compassion of his friend on behalf of Onesimus, so he equates himself repeatedly with the escaped slave so that Philemon understands (to echo the words of Jesus), “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did to Me.” (Matthew 25:40, HCSB) Paul uses pretty strong language to convey the message of equity with Onesimus, such as, “he became my son,” (v.10) “him–who is my very heart,” (v.12) “welcome him as you would welcome me,” (v.17)
  • I really like verses 15 & 16, “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good– no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother.” First of all, it acknowledges God’s sovereignty in a seemingly bad situation. Maybe it was GOD who allowed Onesimus to run away, so that he could come to faith in Christ. Who can argue with that? How could Philemon punish Onesimus for something that was God-ordained? There is also a sense of fairness in this text. Paul is doing the “right thing” by sending Onesimus back to his master, and he’s hoping that Philemon will do the “right thing” and accept Onesimus back, not as a mere servant, but as a brother in Christ. If social justice is important to you, it might not be totally satisfying that Paul doesn’t comment on the broader issue of slavery here. Regardless, it was revolutionary for him to encourage Philemon to accept his runaway slave, whom he could rightfully put to death for his rebellion, as a loved equal– a dear brother. Isn’t that the heart of the gospel message, though? We have all rebelled against God and chosen to flee His authority. If you think you haven’t, take a quick peek at the 10 commandments and examine how many of God’s fundamental laws you’ve transgressed. We are all sinners. And yet, while we were still in rebellion, Christ Jesus died so that we could be reconciled to God and have our relationship with Him restored (see Romans 5:6-11). Going back to our day 1 study, this letter displays a prime example of living out the message of the gospel, which is GRACE. Grace is undeserved favor, or loving kindness that is not merited. Did Onesimus deserve to be forgiven so thoroughly that he could be considered a dear brother of his master, Philemon? No way! He stole money from Philemon and ran away– in the culture of Rome he deserved to die. And yet, Paul is encouraging Philemon to act out the gospel of grace in regard to Philemon, knowing that Philemon had received the gift of grace himself from a loving God.
  • Paul recognized that Philemon owed him big in verse 19. Why is that? As the person who led Philemon to faith in Christ, Paul is the messenger responsible for his assurance of salvation. Philemon’s eternal life is secure because Paul taught him about Jesus, and he received Paul’s message. “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!” (Romans 10:15, HCSB)
  • In closing, Paul expresses his confidence that Philemon will comply with his request and then some. Philemon must have been a pretty cool guy! The Apostle Paul seemed to think very highly of him. Paul also encourages him to prepare a guest room in anticipation of his release from prison according to Philemon’s prayers. I know that Paul believed in the efficacy of prayer, so again, this wasn’t a mere pleasantry. It was hope. Despite everything that Paul had been through and his current imprisonment, he hadn’t lost hope. He was a pretty cool guy, too.
  • Finally, the letter ends as it begins– with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose gospel of grace Paul, and I, will be ever in bondage to.

Next Sweet Start will begin a study in Romans, excuse me while I “gird my loins” and prepare for the journey of a lifetime as we dive into a much longer and more theologically challenging book. What are your thoughts on Philemon? Any big takeaway points you discovered that will benefit your spiritual life? How has your experience of grace deepened your understanding of God’s love? I’d be honored to hear about it in the comments, sweet sister! Now let’s stamp!

You Brighten My Day #2

Here’s the second project in my stamp set challenge, where I’ll be showing off two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set from the promotional Sale-a-bration brochure. Did you know everything in the Sale-a-bration brochure is 100% free? Yep! For every $50 you spend during the promotion (Jan. 6th-Mar. 31st), you get to pick a free SAB product. Sweet! Do you need an Occasions Catalog or Sale-a-bration brochure? If you don’t have a demonstrator yet, I’d be happy to stick a copy in the mail to you, just shoot me an email to let me know you’d like one.

Stampin' Up! You Brighten My Day card with watercolor emboss-resist technique by Becky Gifford.

Do you love that watercolor emboss-resist background? It was not hard to make, but it is a huge part of why this card is one of my favorites. Simply stamp the light bulb image onto watercolor paper using Versamark ink, and heat emboss with clear embossing powder. HINT! Watercolor paper absorbs the ink really quickly, and while the effect still worked out alright, it might have worked even better if I had stamped and embossed the bulbs one at a time instead of stamping them all and then embossing all at once. After that, I used Soft Sky ink and an Aqua Painter filled with water to paint the background, filling in more color at the top and pulling less color as I worked down the paper. You’ll have to go over the top portion with several layers of color until you’re happy with the saturation, but there’s no need to let the ink dry in between.

Stampin' Up! You Brighten My Day card details with watercolor emboss-resist technique by Becky Gifford.

You can see in the closeup photo that the embossing isn’t as raised and shiny on the watercolor paper, but it still blocks ink from coloring the stamped areas leaving you with a lovely emboss-resist background. Do you see the gorgeous patterned paper with an Ikat pattern? It’s called Sweet Dreams Designer Series Paper. We’ve seen Ikat patterns dominate the fields of home decorating and fashion, so I was pleased to see this DSP in the new Occasions catalog. Wait until you see the stamp set it coordinates with, it’s just plain adorable. I layered coordinating Sweet Dreams Designer Washi Tape over top for a subtle pop of color, I like how it turned out!

It’s hard to believe still that it’s 2015, but I hope this year brings you prosperity, spiritual encouragement, and an abundance of inspiration. Maybe you’d like to subscribe to The Social Stamper blog posts as a part of your fresh start!

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper


Sweet Start CHALLENGE: The Beginning + PPA234

Happy New Year, friend!! Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, we rang in the New Year with our internet service being down for the count. But, it’s still the 1st so technically I’m still on track :o) Welcome to the inaugural Sweet Start post! If you’re not sure what Sweet Start is all about, you can read more details in my last post. I’m really excited about this new venture, yet still a little nervous since it’s so new to me. All the best moments in my life have had this curious mix of emotions– great anticipation with a mountain of nerves. Some notable moments I can recall off-hand (not in any order of importance) would be competing and winning in High School State and College National cheerleading championships, my wedding, and the birth of my children. There was so much excitement in those moments but my heart and emotions sure did get a workout! Without further adieu, let’s jump in together!

Philemon, part 1

When I started mulling over the idea of tackling a Bible Study on my blog, I decided to look at a really short chapter of the Bible that I could get through quickly and easily. (Apparently I am setting my sights low, as Philemon is less than a page long in my Bible. Ha!)  But, I feared, would there be anything to talk about in such a short letter like Philemon? Happily, there certainly is! Let’s take a look. Please read Philemon in your Bible, it’s a quick read!

Philemon opens by telling us who the author is and who the letter is addressed to. Written by the Apostle Paul, probably around 61 A.D., its writing likely pre-dates most of the gospels. I think that’s interesting, because it’s easy to assume our Bibles are chronologically ordered according to when they were written, but that’s just not the case. As an organization junkie, I appreciate the scholars who have put a logical organization to the pages of our sacred text, but it’s also helpful to keep in mind the chapters are not placed in the order in which they were penned in most Bible versions.

For a big-picture rundown, Paul wrote this letter to his dear friend, Philemon. The letter concerns Philemon’s runaway servant, Onesimus, who fled to Rome where he met Paul. Onesimus became a follower of Christ while in Rome, and one can only assume it was Paul’s evangelism that led him to a confession of faith. That’s pretty cool! All Christ-followers today are a part of the vast branching tree of the spreading gospel message, but this man Onesimus was at ground zero of Paul’s ministry. Not as the original convert, but resulting from the direct impact of Paul’s influence in Rome. Is it astonishing to anyone else that we can read about this historical event nearly 2,000 years later in Paul’s own words? Wow.

Here are my notes regarding things that stood out to me, as well as information I gleaned from various commentaries I read:

  • Apphia was likely Philemon’s wife, and as was the custom in their culture, she would have been responsible for overseeing the servants in their household. It would therefore be appropriate for Paul to include her when addressing the letter. The man must have known better than to tread thoughtlessly on a woman’s domain! (I kid, kinda.) Archippus may have been the son of Philemon and Apphia.
  • Philemon 1:3; Do verses like this overlook the Holy Spirit, or make the person of the Holy Spirit of reduced importance among the members of the Godhead? Absolutely not! The Holy Spirit would have been recognized by Paul as the agent or means of delivery when Paul greets Philemon with grace and peace. Without the Holy Spirit as the living and active presence of God at work in the world, Paul’s greeting would be empty words– a mere courtesy. I have never perceived Paul to be a man of pleasantries, merely saying words because it’s the “nice” thing to do. He sends the message with grace and peace because he expects that God will indeed hear and answer that request through the person and power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Philemon 1:6; This was the banner verse of Philemon to me in terms of practical life application. The NIV (1984) translation reads, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” This verse is a perfect example of why it’s helpful to have a variety of Bible translations available. While the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and I believe that every word penned was divinely inspired, there is no such thing as a perfect translation from the original language of the text. At first glance I automatically perceived this verse as referring to evangelism– sharing your faith with others for the purpose of leading them into a relationship with Christ Jesus. For me, evangelism has certainly helped me have a more complete understanding of “every good thing we have in Christ,” precious things like grace, forgiveness, love, strength in weakness, the powerful indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, etc.  While I don’t think that’s a bad application, other translations bring some clarity to the purpose of Paul’s choice of Greek words: “And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” (NLT) Paul is petitioning God, that He would help Philemon put his faith into practice in the situation with Onesimus which he is about to elaborate on in his letter. In living out his faith, Paul recognizes that Philemon will have a more profound experience of the good things found in relationship with Christ, and his actions will in turn contribute to a deeper understanding of those same things. That makes sense in the context of the letter, which I will describe in more detail soon. It also makes sense in regard to my initial understanding of this verse: Do you want to have a more substantial faith and deeper understanding of the good things found in Christ? Put those things into practice! Share what you’ve found with others. Talk about it. Spend time thinking about the impact faith has (or should have) on you personally and those around you. Is there evidence of your faith anywhere but in your mind? If not, you should be rightly concerned. If your godly reputation precedes you, as Philemon’s did (v. 4-5, 7) be even more fearful of hypocrisy and be on the lookout for opportunities to practice what you preach.

Let’s put our faith into practice today, so that we may, together, “understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” Now, let’s get to stamping!

Pals Paper Arts Challenge (PPA 234)

Today’s card is inspired by the Pals Paper Arts challenge #234. Every Thursday, except for odd 5th Thursdays, there is a new challenge, either a color combo or sketch challenge. They’re a fun way to get a spark of inspiration and possibly get some recognition as a Pals Paper Arts pick! Here’s today’s color challenge:


Aren’t those soothing colors? I was in great need of some serenity after landing in the ER with a kidney stone, and also in need of a few thank-you cards for the friends who stepped up to transport me there in excruciating pain, stay with my kids until my husband was able to catch a flight home from a work trip, and even fold some laundry that had piled up. Seriously, my friends are the very best a girl could ask for. This challenge also marks the first of a 2-week series of projects using the FREE Sale-A-Bration stamp set, You Brighten My Day. The thing I like most about this stamp set is that it pairs well with so many of my other stamp sets. It’s fine as a standalone set, but it really shines when used in conjunction with other Stampin’ Up! sets. For this card, I paired it with Four Feathers, which I’m excited to say, is a carryover item from the Holiday Catalog into the new Occasions Catalog that will be released on the 6th. The 6th also marks the start of the Sale-A-Bration promotion, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the info about the best Stampin’ Up! promotion of the year! You get a free SAB product for every $50 you spend, NO LIMIT! Woo hoo! For now, here’s a sneak peek at You Brighten My Day.

PPA 234 Color Challenge: Night of Navy, Wisteria Wonder, and Silver. Card by Becky Gifford The Social Stamper using Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration set You Brighten My Day.

PPA 234 Color Challenge details: Night of Navy, Wisteria Wonder, and Silver. Card by Becky Gifford The Social Stamper using Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration set You Brighten My Day.

I figured out something really helpful that I want to share with you. I’ve had an issue when embossing on tab  of the Big Shot Multipurpose Platform using Whisper White card stock. There was always too much pressure and it caused the cardstock to split open in places, definitely not a clean emboss. So, I tried embossing with all of the tabs open on the platform itself, and although I thought it might not offer enough pressure to engage, it worked beautifully! A perfect impression without any tearing or fraying of the paper fibers. Even with so much white space on this card, the Woodgrain texture really adds a pop of interest. Lovely!

Thanks for stopping by, today, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for a weekly digest of posts sent to your email! I’ll see you tomorrow for a wrap-up of Philemon and my second You Brighten My Day project. If you have a minute, let me know what you thought of the first ever Sweet Start post!

Happy Stamping,

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper



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