Happy Mardi Gras!

Mardi-gras-postHappy Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras, French for "Fat Tuesday," is a traditional Christian holiday that marks the day before the start of Lent, a period of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter Sunday. It is celebrated with parades, parties, and festivities in many countries around the world, but is most famously associated with the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mardi Gras is known for its colorful costumes, elaborate masks, and vibrant street celebrations, which include music, dancing, and the tossing of beads and other trinkets to parade-goers. The holiday is a time for fun and feasting before the solemnity of Lent begins, making it a joyous and festive occasion for people of all ages to come together and celebrate.

Although the city of New Orleans is most famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations, our area in Southeast Texas has its own Mardi Gras celebrations.

Mardi-gras-miaThis past weekend, we attended a parade and a dance and had so much fun with our family.

Mardi-gras-parade

Have a great Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras)!


The Joy of Paper Crafting: Unleashing Creativity, Finding Relaxation, and Building Connections

joy-of-paper-crafting

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, finding a creative outlet can be a true blessing. For many, paper crafting is a delightful way to express themselves artistically. Jump into the world of paper crafting as we explore the benefits that make it such a loved activity, perfectly tailored for our creative souls.

Unleashing Creativity

At its core, paper crafting is an art form that allows individuals to unleash their creativity and bring their imaginative ideas to life. Whether it's designing handmade cards, creating beautiful scrapbook layouts, or crafting personalized gifts, the possibilities are limitless. The experience of working with paper, combined with the colors and patterns available, transforms each project into a unique masterpiece.

Relaxation and Therapeutic Joy

In the fast-paced world we live in, finding moments of peace is essential for maintaining balance and well-being. Paper crafting offers a therapeutic escape, allowing crafters to immerse themselves in a calming and mindful activity. The process of cutting, stamping, and assembling can be meditative, providing an opportunity to de-stress and find joy in the present moment. The sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a project adds an extra layer of satisfaction to this therapeutic journey.

Building Connections through Social Crafting

While paper crafting often starts as a personal endeavor, it has the incredible power to bring people together. Joining a crafting community or attending workshops and events creates opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for creativity. The joy of swapping ideas, tips, and finished projects turns paper crafting into a social activity that fosters friendships and a sense of belonging. Together, we celebrate the beauty of handmade creations and the shared love for this art form.

As we embark on this journey of creativity and self-discovery through paper crafting, let's relish the unique benefits it brings into our lives. Whether you're a seasoned crafter or just beginning to explore the world of paper, there's a wealth of inspiration waiting to be discovered. Happy crafting!


Celebrating Christmas Card Day: A Joyful Feast for Paper Crafters

Happyy-christmas-card-day

'Tis the season for joy, gratitude, and, of course, Christmas cards! As we gear up for the most wonderful time of the year, it's only fitting to celebrate Christmas Card Day—a special occasion close to the hearts of paper crafters and card makers. For our creative souls who find and delight in the art of crafting, Christmas Card Day is not just a date on the calendar; it's an invitation to immerse ourselves in the magic of handmade greetings.

On December 9, 1843, the world's first Christmas card was ordered to be produced by Sir Henry Cole, the first Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

From the Bath Chronicle:

He commissioned John Calcott Horsley to design two cards, a coloured example that cost people sixpence, and an uncoloured version for fivepence.

The uncoloured one, depicting a Victorian family eating and drinking, was sent to a lady called Marinda Cundy, and (was) passed down through the family since that Christmas (for) 170 years .

First-christmas-card

It was sold at an auction for 4200 pounds in 2013.  Read more about that first Christmas Card HERE.

And, that's where this much-loved holiday tradition all started! 

Crafting Connections, One Card at a Time

For those who find joy in crafting, Christmas Card Day is an opportunity to connect with others who share our passion. It's a day to come together, virtually or in person, and revel in the beauty of handmade art. Whether it's through a card-making workshop, a crafting circle, or a simple exchange of cards with fellow makers, the sense of community and camaraderie elevates the joy of the season.

Unwrapping the Spirit of Christmas

As we "celebrate" Christmas Card Day, let's revel in the magic of creating something truly special. It's not just about the final product; it's about the journey of crafting, the love put into each cut and fold, and the joy of knowing that our creations will adorn the homes of our loved ones and friends. So, here's to the magic of Christmas Card Day—a day dedicated to the art of giving, the personal touch of handmade greetings, and the crafting connections that make this season truly magical. Let the festivities begin, and may our cards spread warmth and cheer far and wide!

 

Embrace the Spirit of the Season: A December Full of Joyful Activities!

Copy of December 2023 Elite Template Pack

As the wind begins to chill and the scent of cinnamon and baking cookies fill the air, it's time to jump into the festive spirit of December. Here are some heartwarming activities to add to your calendar, perfect for creating cherished memories during the most wonderful time of the year:

  • Caroling Delight: Gather friends and family for a magical evening of caroling in your neighborhood. Bring the joy of Christmas right to the doorstep of your community.

  • Crafting Magic Moments: Engage in Christmas crafts with your children or grandchildren. Try handmade ornaments with your crafting supplies and create timeless keepsakes.

  • Deck the Halls: Transform your home into a winter wonderland with delightful decorations. Use your creative knowledge and fill every corner with the season's warmth.

  • Candlelit Church Socials: Attend church socials and festivities for a spiritual and heartwarming experience. The unity and love shared during these events truly capture the essence and spirit of Christmas.

  • Harmony in the Air: Immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies of Christmas concerts. Whether it's a local choir or a grand symphony, let the music of the season resonate in your heart.

  • Sparkling Tree Lightings: Witness the magic of your town coming alive with the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. Attend tree lighting ceremonies for a special start to the holiday season.

December is not just a month; it's a collection of moments that become treasured memories. Embrace these activities to make your holiday season truly special and stay tuned for more ideas from Ink and Inspirations to help make your holiday extra special!


The Great Gratitude Card Challenge - Let's Send 100 Cards!

Gratitude Card ChallengeAre you up for the Challenge?
In our creative community, the Ink and Inspirations Stampers Group on Facebook, we've set a heartwarming goal to send out at least 100 cards expressing gratitude.

The twist?

We aim to achieve this collective goal in the next two weeks. With over 800 members in our fantastic group, we believe this is more than achievable!

Join us and let's make this world a brighter, happier place one card at a time. If you are not a member of our group, click here to request free membership.  All you need to do then is answer two simple questions!

Look for the photo in the group announcing the challenge (as seen above) and to participate, post the number of cards you send or hand out as you send them. Together, we can reach that magic number - 100 cards by November 4th.

Let's do this!


Gratitude: The Powerful Art of Thankfulness


Copy of October 2023 Elite Suite Canva Templates
Gratitude, the simple act of being thankful and appreciative, is a powerful force that can transform lives. It's more than just saying "thank you" when someone holds the door for you or hands you a gift; it's a mindset, a way of looking at the world with appreciation. The importance of expressing gratitude cannot be overstated, as it has a profound impact on our well-being, relationships, and overall happiness.

Gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have. It encourages us to see the positive aspects of our lives, no matter how small they may seem. This change in perspective can significantly improve our mood and overall outlook.

When we express gratitude towards others, whether through words or actions, it strengthens our connections. People appreciate being acknowledged and valued, and this can lead to more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.  Our handmade cards expressing gratitude really can make a difference.

Gratitude has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of relaxation. When we focus on the good things in our lives, our stress levels decrease.  Let's try to look on the bright side!

With all the positivity associated with gratitude, let's make an effort to use our craft to spread it far and wide.  And, we can take notice of all that we have to be grateful for. 

In a world that can sometimes feel chaotic, expressing gratitude is a simple yet profound way to find moments of peace and happiness. It's a reminder that even on the toughest days, there are things to be thankful for. So, take a moment each day to reflect on the blessings in your life, express your appreciation to those around you, and watch as gratitude transforms your world.


A Mistake and Why This Is Still On My Bucket List!

Quotes(9)In the months and weeks just prior to my dad's passing last year, he often talked about how wonderful life is. He would tell us, "It's a Wonderful Life. Enjoy it! Every day you wake up; it's wonderful. Make the most of every day."

I can't tell you how many times he repeated that to us. He wanted to be sure that we understood and cherished our time with family and had many enjoyable experiences.

Shortly after his passing, my husband told me if there is something that you really want to do, we need to do it! We need to enjoy our life.  Taking that cue from my dad, we didn't want to let time pass without experiencing those things that we really wanted to do together and with our family.

I must mention that I had started a bucket list prior to this time. And, on that list was to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. So I started looking for opportunities to make that happen.

Then, some good friends of ours invited us to join them on a trip out west to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore, to Big Sky Montana to experience a part of that beautiful state,  and then down through Wyoming and on to Estes Park, Colorado.
Surely, I thought, there may be a chance to find a one-horse open sleigh ride excursion at one of those stops. We were going to be traveling at the end of winter... we might be able to make my sleigh ride happen!

I started searching the Internet and found a place in Keystone, that had sleigh rides excursions. We all agreed that it would be fun! It was a sleigh ride to a restaurant where we could enjoy dinner before riding in the sleigh back to our vehicles. We reserved it right away and all were excited about this part of our trip!

Our first big stop was in South Dakota near Keystone.  When we checked into our hotel, we said "Where's the snow?" (I felt like the two couples in White Christmas while disembarking the train in Vermont!) The admissions clerk replied, "Well, we haven't had snow in a while!"  to which I replied, "Well, we're supposed experience a sleigh ride in Keystone.  He had never heard of it. (Insert Red Flag here.)
Our friend said, "Oh, don't worry. We'll find the location tomorrow morning."

Morning came and we started looking at a map trying to find the location of this sleigh ride. We just couldn't find it anywhere. My friend noticed there was a Keystone, Colorado, too. So, I called to let them know that we were having trouble finding where to meet for the sleigh ride...in Keystone, SD.  She responded, "it's on a main highway in Colorado!"

 "Colorado??? I'm in South Dakota!!!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am.  This is Keystone, Colorado."

Oh my goodness. What a mistake!

Now, just to give me a little credit, the email confirmation for the sleigh ride DID NOT mention Colorado...anywhere! Nor was it mentioned on the site.

I was not a seasoned traveler. I had no idea that there was a Keystone, Colorado. She said we should have known by the area code! (No way!)  After some communication with this company and the credit card company, we received a partial refund.  What a mistake! But, now we just laugh about it!

So, that item is still on my bucket list and you can imagine what a reminder it was when Stampin' Up! released the One Horse Open Sleigh Suite!  Stay tuned as we share projects with the Horse and Sleigh Bundle and the One Horse Open Sleigh Designer Series Paper this week!

 


Fun Facts About Independence Day

Happy 4th

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a patriotic holiday celebrated across the United States. On this day, Americans commemorate their hard-fought independence from British rule. Beyond the dazzling fireworks displays, barbecues, and parades, here are some historical nuggets that add depth to the celebration.

  • Declaration Day vs. Independence Day: Did you know that the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, 1776? However, the adoption of Thomas Jefferson's meticulously drafted Declaration of Independence happened two days later, on July 4th. Consequently, July 4th became the official date for celebrating America's independence.
  • The Liberty Bell's Fateful Crack: The iconic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is a symbol of American freedom. However, contrary to popular belief, it did not ring out on July 4th, 1776, to announce independence. The bell's famous crack actually appeared years earlier in 1752. Today, the bell remains a cherished historical artifact, housed in the Liberty Bell Center.
  • Celebratory Salute: Every year on Independence Day, a powerful 50-gun salute is traditionally fired. This salute represents the 50 states of the United States.
  • A Presidential Tradition: Since the time of John Adams, it has been customary for U.S. presidents to host an Independence Day event at the White House. The first recorded celebration took place in 1801 when President Thomas Jefferson opened the doors of the White House for a public reception, marking the beginning of this beloved tradition.

Independence Day is a day of national unity and a time to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices made by those who fought for American Independence. As we gather with family and friends, enjoying fireworks and barbecues, let's also appreciate the historical significance of this holiday.  Happy Fourth of July!


Ink and Inspirations Birthday Week Craft Candy Giveaway 6

Craft Candy (6)

Ink and Inspirations Birthday Getaway Giveaway Craft Candy 6 with Lisa Brown, Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

There are two ways to enter to win Craft Candy 6 for June 2023.

Beginning on my birthday, June 4th, I will be posting prizes on my blog, inkandinspirations.com, for my Birthday Getaway Giveaway!  

For six consecutive days, I will post Craft Candy, and there are two ways to enter:

  1. One entry for every $25 in product ordered (before shipping and tax) between June 1st - June 13th.  Use Host Code: 3TZ33ZPV
  2. One entry for a comment left on each on the blog posts on inkandinspirations.com June 4th- June 9th. Only 1 comment per blog post is allowed. 
  3. ***Names drawn will be announced June 15th. 
    ***Offer good only through U.S. orders placed through Lisa Brown, Ink and Inspirations.Be sure to visit the blog every day next week to leave a comment on the Craft Candy Blog posts.  Place an order of $25 or more for additional chances to win!

Host Code(1)


Ink and Inspirations Birthday Week Craft Candy Giveaway 4

Craft Candy (4)

Ink and Inspirations Birthday Getaway Giveaway Craft Candy 4 with Lisa Brown, Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

There are two ways to enter to win Craft Candy 4 for June 2023.

Beginning on my birthday, June 4th, I will be posting prizes on my blog, inkandinspirations.com, for my Birthday Getaway Giveaway!  

For six consecutive days, I will post Craft Candy, and there are two ways to enter:

  1. One entry for every $25 in product ordered (before shipping and tax) between June 1st - June 13th.  Use Host Code: 3TZ33ZPV
  2. One entry for a comment left on each on the blog posts on inkandinspirations.com June 4th- June 9th. Only 1 comment per blog post is allowed. 
  3. ***Names drawn will be announced June 15th. 
    ***Offer good only through U.S. orders placed through Lisa Brown, Ink and Inspirations.Be sure to visit the blog every day next week to leave a comment on the Craft Candy Blog posts.  Place an order of $25 or more for additional chances to win!

Host Code(1)


Ink and Inspirations Birthday Week Craft Candy Giveaway 2

Craft Candy (2)

 

Ink and Inspirations Birthday Getaway Giveaway Craft Candy 2 with Lisa Brown, Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

There are two ways to enter to win Craft Candy 2 for June 2023.

Beginning on my birthday, June 4th, I will be posting prizes on my blog, inkandinspirations.com, for my Birthday Getaway Giveaway!  

For six consecutive days, I will post Craft Candy, and there are two ways to enter:

  1. One entry for every $25 in product ordered (before shipping and tax) between June 1st - June 13th.  Use Host Code: 3TZ33ZPV
  2. One entry for a comment left on each on the blog posts on inkandinspirations.com June 4th- June 9th. Only 1 comment per blog post is allowed. 
  3. ***Names drawn will be announced June 15th. 
    ***Offer good only through U.S. orders placed through Lisa Brown, Ink and Inspirations.Be sure to visit the blog every day next week to leave a comment on the Craft Candy Blog posts.  Place an order of $25 or more for additional chances to win!

Host Code(1)


Ink and Inspirations Birthday Getaway Giveaway Craft Candy Giveaway 1

Craft Candy-1

Ink and Inspirations Birthday Getaway Giveaway Craft Candy 1 with Lisa Brown, Independent Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

There are two ways to enter to win Craft Candy 1 for June 2023.

Beginning on my birthday, June 4th, I will be posting prizes on my blog, inkandinspirations.com, for my Birthday Getaway Giveaway!  

For six consecutive days, I will post Craft Candy, and there are two ways to enter:

  1. One entry for every $25 in product ordered (before shipping and tax) between June 1st - June 13th.  Use Host Code: 3TZ33ZPV
  2. One entry for a comment left on each on the blog posts on inkandinspirations.com June 4th- June 9th. Only 1 comment per blog post is allowed. 
  3. ***Names drawn will be announced June 15th. 
    ***Offer good only through U.S. orders placed through Lisa Brown, Ink and Inspirations.Be sure to visit the blog every day next week to leave a comment on the Craft Candy Blog posts.  Place an order of $25 or more for additional chances to win!

Host Code(1)


Why I Started Stamping

Stampin-up-backstage

Everyone has their own unique story of how they got started with stamping. Today, I want to share my own journey and how I discovered the joy of stamping and memory-keeping.

Back when our girls were in high school, they were involved in numerous extracurricular activities, which meant we had a ton of photos to cherish. Alongside their school activities, they were also passionate about dance classes, resulting in even more precious memories captured through photographs.

Realizing I had all these wonderful moments captured on film, I decided it was time to do something with them. Although I had dabbled in scrapbooking as a young girl, it had been years since I engaged in any serious memory-keeping.

In the spring of 2006, my daughter invited me to a rubber stamping party hosted by her friend. I had never heard of Stampin' Up! before, and I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about the whole idea of rubber stamps. Little did I know that this event would completely change my perspective.

As soon as I inked up that first stamp and pressed it onto the paper, I was hooked. We created a cute card, and I instantly recognized the creativity and versatility of stamping. I realized that cards would always come in handy, and I wanted to explore this newfound passion further. My daughter and I decided to place an order together so we could share our new "stash" of stamping supplies.

But it didn't stop there. A short time later, the same demonstrator who hosted the party reached out to me and informed me about the Starter Kit, an opportunity to get even more stamping goodies. Intrigued by the idea, I didn't hesitate to invest in the kit. I was eager to expand my collection and explore new creative possibilities. The demonstrator also mentioned that becoming a demonstrator myself was an option, though I initially had no plans to demonstrate anything.

When I received my Starter Kit, I was filled with excitement. I couldn't wait to incorporate stamps into my scrapbooking projects and create beautiful cards. Then, one day, my demonstrator friend asked me to conduct a "party" on her behalf. Initially hesitant, I eventually agreed, and that experience sparked a deep love and passion for sharing the art of stamping with others.

Now, almost 17 years later, I continue to share my passion for stamping. It's incredible how one invitation to a rubber stamping party completely transformed my perspective and opened up a world of creativity and connection. I genuinely love what I do and the joy it brings to others.

I would love to hear your own "Why I Started Stamping" story. Feel free to share in the comment section below or reach out to me via email. Let's celebrate our stamping journeys together!


National Letter Writing Month

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April is National Letter Writing Month, a time to celebrate the art of writing and sending letters to loved ones near and far. With the rise of digital communication like texts, messaging, and social media, it's easy to forget the power of a handwritten letter. But there's something special about receiving a letter in the mail, especially when it's accompanied by a handmade card.

Handmade cards add a personal touch to any letter, making your recipient feel loved and appreciated. Whether you're writing to a friend, family member, or pen pal, a handmade card is a thoughtful addition that will be well-received.  Also, creating handmade cards is a fun and easy way to add creativity to your letter writing. 

We should not let the art of letter writing be lost.  I love watching older movies and seeing how letters or handwritten notes were so treasured by the recipients.  Has the world changed so much that this "gift" from another is no longer appreciated?  I think not. 

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Bella Grace Magazine has an article on their blog entitled "30 Letters in 30 Days", a way to "bring back this charming art" during National Letter Writing Month. In their post, they've included a list of 30 ideas for 30 letters.  Here are a few along with some ideas that came to mind...

  • Someone you admire
  • An older relative
  • Your children or grandchildren
  • Someone who is far from home
  • A local business that's been helpful
  • A person who needs some encouragement
  • A former teacher who had an impact on your life
  • Someone whom you've met through your travels

You get the idea!  Here's an easy card idea that will be just right for sending your letters. Just change the sentiment according to your reason for writing the letter.
You can see the full list of letter writing ideas from Bella Grace magazine HERE.

Mystery Host Party!(1)In a world where digital communication is now the norm, taking the time to write a letter and create a handmade card can make a big impact. This National Letter Writing Month, take the opportunity to connect with loved ones in a meaningful way and celebrate the art of letter writing with a handmade card.

 


Stampin' Up! Last Chance Promotion Begins April 4th!

Last Chance

Every year Stampin' Up! makes room for beautiful new products as we say goodbye to some in the Last Chance Promotion

Beginning April 4th, many items that are leaving are discounted and some are up to 60% off!

This special promotion begins soon and supplies of the retiring products are only available while supplies last!  Don't delay in ordering your favorites and stocking up on your favorite papers!

Click these links to download these lists and start your own!

2022-2023 Stampin' Up! Annual Catalog Last Chance Products

2023 January - April Mini Catalog Last Chance Products

If you have questions or need up with your order, please let me know!

The Stampin' Up! Last Chance Promotion begins April 4, 2023!