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Category Archives: Challenge

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!

PPA237

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! www.thesocialstamper.com

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! www.thesocialstamper.com

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

 

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for a weekly digest of posts sent to your email, I’m adding a subscriber perk soon that you won’t want to miss out on. Stay tuned for details!

Sweet Start CHALLENGE: Romans day 5 + PPA336 Sketch

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 5

Before moving on in the book of Romans, I think it’s really important to set a foundation of understanding who Jesus is in terms of how Paul describes him in Romans 1:1-4. In previous days, I’ve dug into what it means that Jesus is the Son of David and Son of man, leading into a discussion of the title Son of God. Today, I’m going to set up the stage for who Jesus is as our Lord. What exactly does that mean? Let’s work through this together! Just like in previous days, there’s a lot of depth to who Jesus is that is worth our time exploring.

Let us stoop: Here in the New Testament, which was written primarily in Greek, the English word “Lord” is translated from the Greek transliteration, “kyrios.” This word has a sense of a master, as in someone who has possession or ownership of someone or something. Furthermore, it is a term of reverence and respect, just like you or I might call someone “sir,” keeping the sense that the person being addressed is of a higher position than oneself.

This is a somewhat ridiculous example, but my husband is part of an organization called the “Chiefs,” and they have “Chiefs parties” that are probably similar to a frat party (and yes, we’re talking about grown men. Don’t get me started…) So, in response, the wives have Princess parties, complete with an Old Great Princess (OGP, for short) who wears a massive Native American headdress to the Princess naming ceremony. You get your princess name at the second party you attend, and until you are named, you are merely a “girl,” not a full-fledged Princess. At the ceremony, the girls must never stand so their head is higher than the OGP’s head, which means that for most of the night, the girls walk around in a stooped position. It’s really hilarious to see grown women stoop-walking. But, my point is this: when you recognize that someone is in total authority over you, it’s proper to stoop! In an exceedingly more substantial way, Jesus is Lord over all. By Him all things were made (Colossians 1:16), so therefore it is proper that all things are surrendered to His sovereign authority. That is what it means to fear the Lord– not to be afraid of Him, but to respect His authority over everything! Although I would discourage stoop-walking for the sake of your spine, spend some time thinking about what a stooped heart looks like. How should we act as Christians, as people whose hearts are bowed down to the Lord Jesus?

The Lord is God: The Bible tells us that there are many who are called “Lord” or “god” (1 Corinthians 8:5, Psalms 82:6-7), but there is only one true God, the Lord God (Jeremiah 10:10). We are commanded to “love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:13) “LORD” in Deuteronomy 11 is the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH, sometimes written as Yahweh or Jehovah. The name YHWH was/is so holy to our Jewish friends that they stopped pronouncing it altogether, replacing it instead with the word Adonai (another word for “Lord,” but not the most holy name of Almighty God, the great name I AM revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14). We find YHWH in verses such as Isaiah 45:5 (NASB), “I am the LORD and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” If you have a King James Version of the Bible, anywhere you see the word LORD written in capital letters, you can be sure that it is translated from YHWH.

So, is there a connection between the Lord God of Deuteronomy– the Lord who is the only God according to Isaiah– and Jesus who is the Lord? YES! Let’s look at Isaiah 40:3 together. “A voice cries, ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (ESV) In John 1:23, John the Baptist tells the men questioning him about his identity that he is the voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. And who was John preparing the way for? Jesus! (John 1:30-31)  1 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “God was manifest in the flesh.” John 1 says that the Word, who was with God and was God, became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is most assuredly the LORD, not just someone who is called “Lord” out of reverence.

Is Jesus exclusively the Lord? You might be asking yourself, “well if Jesus is the Lord (the Lord who is God), what about the Father and the Holy Spirit?” This is an important step in understanding the nature of God. When Jesus prays to the Father, He begins, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” (Matthew 11:25) Clearly, according to Jesus’ own profession, the Father is also the Lord. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 3:17 explicitly says, “the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (ESV) Thus, the Lord God is most fully known in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But, there is a little bit of a catch here: it is impossible for us to come to know (come into a relationship or become one with) the Father or the Holy Spirit without first accepting Jesus as Lord, now that God has been revealed through the person of Jesus. It brings glory to the Father that every knee should bow to Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11), who has been declared King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus is what aligns us in proper submission to the will of the Father and the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, who makes us a new creation from the inside out. While Jesus is not exclusively the Lord apart from the Father or the Spirit, to us “there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Bowing to King Jesus has the effect of putting us in a place of surrender to the Lord God, in full. Try to bow first to the Father or request the work of the Spirit by passing over the Lord of lords, and miss the mark completely. It matters that Jesus is the Lord.

While today’s study was a little longer than I typically write, I hope it helps you understand the importance of accepting Jesus as the Lord. We will return to this idea in Romans 10, which might take awhile at the pace I study, but I pray the foundation is firmly in place to help us more fully grasp the message of Romans. Praise God for revealing His nature in Jesus! Now let’s get to some stamping!

Crazy About You #1

Ready for a new stamp set challenge? Here we go! My last set of projects featured the free Sale-a-bration stamp set You Brighten My Day, but today I’m kicking off a new round of projects featuring the stamp set Crazy About You from the new Occasions Catalog. My favorite thing about this set? It’s got tons of sentiments to mix and match, but also three adorable floral-inspired images that can be used in so many ways. I can’t wait to start showing off some of the fun techniques I’ve used while working with this set.

My card was inspired by the Pals Paper Arts sketch challenge, PPA236. Pals Paper Arts is organized by demonstrators in Mary Fish’s group, the Stampin’ Pretty Pals. I am directly under Mary’s leadership, which means anyone who joins my team also has all the perks of being a Pal! We have the most amazing support group. If you haven’t tried out all the benefits of being a part of my demonstrator team and the Pals group, you don’t know what you’re missing! Product discounts, rewards and freebies, recognition, lots of new stamping friends… I could go on and on. (Don’t forget that there are extra perks right now for purchasing a starter kit! Your choice of a free Occasions Catalog kit or 2 free Sale-a-bration products. Woohoo!) I’m allowed to get excited about free stuff, right?? For now, here is the PPA236 sketch:

PPA236

The technique I used on today’s card is called “kissing.” Seasonally appropriate, right? Valentines Day is right around the corner, so I’d say it is (wink wink). Stay tuned for a webinar recording that shows you how I did the kissing technique on this card, along with some other projects you could make using this set and technique.

Stampin’ Up! Crazy About You card by Becky Gifford. Inspired by PPA236 sketch challenge. Kissing technique! www.thesocialstamper.com

The color combo Melon Mambo, Pool Party, Crumb Cake, and So Saffron is so bright and happy, don’t you think? I inked the layered flower image with Pool Party Ink and “kissed” it onto my Dictionary background stamp that had been inked with Crumb Cake before stamping onto the card front. I really love the look of text layered with floral images. It’s a little hard to see the “kissed” image in the big photo, so here’s a closeup! You’ll also notice the tone-on-tone Dictionary stamp as a backdrop for the sentiment words, and the delicate crinkles of the Crumb Cake seam binding ribbon. To make the seam binding ribbon textured with wrinkles, simply spritz with water and crumple up in your hand. When it dries, it will hold the texture! I folded mine for a pleated look in addition to the wrinkles.

Stampin’ Up! Crazy About You card details by Becky Gifford. Inspired by PPA236 sketch challenge. Kissing technique! www.thesocialstamper.com

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Be sure to subscribe to my blog to get a  weekly post digest sent to your email so you don’t miss a single one! When I have more posts up for this challenge round, you’ll be able to access all the posts featuring Crazy About You by clicking this link.

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:

PPA235

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 www.thesocialstamper.com

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 www.thesocialstamper.com

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 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:

PPA234

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. www.thesocialstamper.com

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. www.thesocialstamper.com

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

 

 

CHALLENGE: “With Sympathy” Card

Are you looking for card making inspiration? Check out Pals Paper Arts, a fun way to get inspired, show off your creations, and possibly win some recognition as a Pals Paper Arts Pick! New PPA challenges are released the 1st-4th Thursday of every month, and if you’re wanting to upload a card for the contest, entries are due by the following Tuesday. Today is the start of a color challenge, PPA 218. PPA218 on www.thesocialstamper.com

Recently I’ve been in need of several sympathy cards. My husband’s friend and coworker lost his mom, my dad’s wife lost her father, and another friend lost her grandmother unexpectedly. They say bad news comes in three’s, so I’m praying my circle of friends gets a little break from experiencing loss.

This string of difficult news has prompted some pretty deep conversations with my 4-year old. Interestingly, it comes around the same time that he’s started noticing and inquiring about cemeteries. We’ve talked a lot about how dying and being buried is a lot like a seed being planted in the ground. 1 Corinthians 15 teaches us, “when you sow a seed in the ground, it does not sprout to life unless it dies. And what you sow is a bare seed, perhaps a grain of wheat or some other grain, not the full-bodied plant that will later grow up… This is how it will be when the dead are raised to life. When the body is buried, it is mortal; when raised, it will be immortal. When buried, it is ugly and weak; when raised, it will be beautiful and strong. When buried it is a physical body; when raised it will be a spiritual body.” (Verses 35-37 & 42-44, Good News Bible)

Oh, how thankful I am for the knowledge of the resurrection! To have full assurance that this life is a mere vapor, and everything amazing about this life and our incredible bodies will pale in comparison to what is ahead– like an unimpressive apple seed compared to a vibrant, fruitful tree. My husband laughs at me, but I’ve told him before that I want my gravestone to read, “Merely Planted.” What more can I say about the place my body is laid to rest? It’s not a final resting place, nor is it just a memorial of my life, but it’s the place that my physical body awaits the moment when God causes life to burst forth from my dry bones as only He can. What a glorious event!

Even in light of the resurrection, death of loved ones still causes such a deep pain. I am drawn to the phrase, “with sympathy,” because it shows the person that you are sympathizing with their grief, that you are in the trenches of heartache with them to offer help and comfort. That’s the sentiment I chose from the Stampin’ Up! set Teeny Tiny Wishes, which is a long-time workhorse in my stamp collection. This is a little longer post than I normally write, but without further ado, here is my PPA218 inspired card.

PPA218 inspired card by Becky Gifford www.thesocialstamper.com. This card uses the Stampin' Up! sets Everything Eleanor, Gorgeous Grunge, and Teeny Tiny Wishes.

My friend and customer, Missy, inspired me recently to stamp on vellum. In this case, I stamped the Dictionary background stamp with Crumb Cake ink onto my vellum paper and dried it with a heat tool just to make sure the image didn’t smear. Considering what I just wrote about the resurrection, I kind of like the symbolism of the opaque paper; like there’s something more that’s being partially hidden from view. Here’s a helpful tip for assembling this project: to adhere the vellum over top of the splatters, I used Snail adhesive. I wouldn’t recommend a liquid glue because it will cause the vellum to wrinkle and might even show through the opaque paper.

These cards were an extra labor of love with all the fussy-cutting. That’s a term I’ve heard, and I feel it accurately describes cutting a stamp image out with scissors vs. a punch or Big Shot die. It’s a little high-maintenance, but never disappoints. I fussy-cut the flowers from Everything Eleanor and the angled stripe image from Gorgeous Grunge, which I think was totally worth the effort. Pop up the big flower with a few Stampin’ Dimensionals and it makes a gorgeous focal point!

PPA218-inspired card (details shown) by Becky Gifford www.thesocialstamper.com. This card uses the Stampin' Up! sets Everything Eleanor, Gorgeous Grunge, and Teeny Tiny Wishes.

You may not have noticed, but I strayed a little from the color combo in the challenge. It called for Hello Honey and Blackberry Bliss, but I substituted So Saffron and Rich Razzleberry. It’s a lovely color combo, maybe even one of my all-time favorites! I think the recipients will enjoy the splash of color, don’t you?

If you’re motivated by showing others you care and you love to be creative, I know for certain you would love to be a part of my Stampin’ Up! demonstrator group, Team Social Stampers. In addition to being embraced into my group, you’ll be a part of the Stampin’ Pretty Pals group as well, which is where the PPA challenges originate. The Pals are some of the most supportive and enthusiastic stampers around! If you’d like to learn more, here are links to visit my Becoming a Demonstrator FAQs page and an informative Opportunity page.

Praying your days are filled with love, and I’ll see you next week for a fresh Pals Paper Arts challenge!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

 

CHALLENGE: Letterpress Winter Love Notes

Are you looking for card making inspiration? Check out Pals Paper Arts, a fun way to get inspired, show off your creations, and possibly get some recognition as a Pals Paper Arts Pick! New PPA challenges are released the 1st-4th Thursday of every month, and if you’re wanting to upload a card for the contest, entries are due by the following Tuesday. My card today is based on the recent sketch challenge, PPA 217.

PPA 217 Card Sketch Challenge

Now that the Holiday Catalog is in full swing (yay!!), I’ve been busy with holiday creating. One of my favorite elements for winter crafting are snowflakes– I have been fascinated by the symmetry and uniqueness of snowflakes since childhood, and when they’re drawn in a swirly fashion they’re extra whimsical in my opinion. This year’s Perfect Snowflake Stamp Set award goes to the Letterpress Winter, because the snowflakes in this set are big and bold and slightly non-traditional. Absolutely perfect for any of your winter projects! Here is a graphic of the stamp images, you can click on the picture to visit my online store for pricing info.

Letterpress Winter Stamp Set by Stampin' Up!

Notice that the swirly frame, “You’re Invited,” “Thank You,” and “For You” stamps are completely NOT seasonally-specific. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of this set! Now, here are my little 3″x3″ love notes that I plan to slip into a gift this Christmas!

Stampin' Up! Letterpress Winter Love Notes by Becky Gifford www.thesocialstamper.com. Inspired by Pals Paper Arts sketch PPA 217

The biggest snowflake is heat embossed with white embossing powder. White embossing over any color makes such a statement, even if the background color is neutral! To make the smaller snowflakes sink into the background a little more, I stamped with Whisper White ink, which is pigment-based so it shows up more solid than other ink colors. The Whisper White flakes are still winter-fabulous but not quite as bold as the embossed image. Here’s a closeup!

Stampin' Up! Letterpress Winter Love Notes by Becky Gifford www.thesocialstamper.com. Inspired by Pals Paper Arts sketch PPA 217

If you’re excited about the Pals Paper Arts challenges, you might be extra excited to see the sketches and color combos ahead of time! My team has access to the PPA challenge challenge schedule for the whole year, plus lots of other exclusive perks! See new catalogs and pre-order Stampin’ Up! products a month early, get news about upcoming promotions to help you plan your spending the most efficiently, and earn promotional stamp sets (like the current Good Greetings set) before the promotion begins. Being a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator is great for so many reasons, whether you want to build a business or just get all the benefits for making your own purchases. Want to learn more about becoming a member of Team Social Stampers? Click the links to visit my Becoming a Demonstrator FAQs page, and an informative Opportunity page.

See you next week for a fresh Pals Paper Arts challenge!

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

 

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