Friday, December 25, 2009

Digital Doodling

I am working this morning so I'd like to spread some Christmas cheer! Here's a Christmas gift for you! I found this blog, Digital Doodling, and it has some of the greatest freebies I've seen in a long time! So, head on over to the blog and check out some of her great doodles and layouts.

Have a Merry Christmas and I'll post again next year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sometimes, store-bought actually means more

(This is an old post that I forgot to release, you may now enjoy the sweetness of it for the holidays! It's from November 15, 2009)
He's not here and he doesn't read my blog. I guess it's now safe to talk about my hubby. :) The other day, Friday to be exact, I was pleasantly surprised by my husband...and a pizza. I'm sure you want to know the story, and why I think store bought cards can mean more than handmade.
My guy's not the kind of rare crafty guy you might find at a scrap expo but rather, the rare door-holding type that you might find in Montana. He is a sweet, nerdy guy who married me for "all the right reasons" and I reciprocated. Still, no matter how happy you are in a marriage, it's the occasional sweet gestures that are remembered.
As you know, Friday was "Friday the 13th" and my Friday actually ended up being more like the "Monday from Hell!" Alas, I'm not here to complain. As I went into hour 3 of my 7 hour work shift I decided that, instead of having meal 13 of lasagna, we would order pizza from a local pizza place. So, I ordered the pizza and asked the hubby to pick it up and we would eat together at my workplace.
He picked up the pizza, and I was hoping that he was surprised by the breadsticks that I had ordered for him. I knew that I was being a real pill to be married to so I ordered the breadsticks as a treat for him.
Nearly an hour after I placed our order, he showed up at work. I opened up the breadsticks and handed him one. Keep in mind, I was pretty grouchy. (Stressed from school, work, and the job interview I was about to fly to Seattle for.) The hubby made a comment that the breadsticks were cold and that he hoped that the pizza was still warm. I'm now glaring at him. I thought to myself "you could have been quicker" and "they aren't really cold, whiner. Like I said, I was grouchy.
I opened the pizza box to find a piece of cardboard laying across my pizza. (Yes, that was what I noticed first!) A second look gave more information -- the cardboard across my pizza was protecting the rose he had brought me and a store bought card. The card said that he loved me and wished me good luck on my interview. So sweet! It made my night and helped me through the anxiety of my interview. After I opened the pizza, he asked for the breadsticks back. He said that they really weren't cold, he just wanted to be in the room when I opened the pizza. :P I love you honey!
The flowers are long gone and so is the pizza but, it's now December 6 and, the card is still on display atop the entertainment stand. That's why store-bought sometimes means more than homemade. It really is the thought that counts. :)

Fearless four card swap!

Here it is. My "card". Boy howdy, there's a lot on this beast! (Ok, for me, this is a lot of stuff on one piece of paper!)

I, being the queen of thrift, only added things that I got at garage sales or on clearance. I also decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to try my hand at making a sheet card for someone.
Here's what I did...I used the fun glittery polka dotted paper on the top and bottom. the strip on the bottom is a bit wider, it's to help ground the card. Then I cut out two of the brown dots that were on the edge of the page, I used these, with the blue brads, to "attach" the ribbon that says "Thank you" on it. Because the ribbon was very light (in color and weight) I used the plain white ribbon I received to up the opacity of the ribbon. Otherwise, the blue paper made it too hard to see what was written on the ribbon. (I guess, since I was using the ribbon as my sentiment, it was important to be able to read it!)
I accented the back with some of the cut out glittery dots and the super cute metal flower I had been given. All of it was carefully designed with the pocket fold in mind! I popped the card into its new home and carefully attached more "thank you" ribbon to the front. I used a huge flower with a bright pink "dot" of a brad to hold/hide the ribbon's end. To seal the card I used a piece of double sided tape that I destickified with my finger. (I wanted it to hold the pocketfold shut, not permanently attach it to itself!)
After all of that hard work, I defaced it by writing on the back and sent it to Laurie and Steve as a thank you card from the NY Marathon!
Be sure to check out the other's crafty surprises!
December is my month to send out the supplies to the other girlies so I'm looking forward to what they do in their next swap posts!

My First Tuesday Morning Sketch

Here it is!
My first "challenge" card ever! I took a look at the Tuesday Morning Sketch last night and decided that I could do this one. I'm doing the Tuesday Morning Sketch because I'm not brave enough to actually be judged yet. My hubby thinks I'm awesome and so do my friends. I won't clue them into what others can least not yet!
On to the card -- The base is a trillion pieces (ok, maybe just a lot) of winter themed 1" squares (cut from the Holiday Collection DCWV paper pad) arranged on point to look like a quilt. Over the top I placed a matching sheet of blue vellum. I used Making Memories superfine glitter on my snowflake and "it's a holiday party" stamps. I attached the two with vellum tape from 3M; the hero of all things sticky!
This is the front side of the 15 New Year's Eve party invitations that I will be sending out soon. Good thing it was fun!
Thanks for looking!

And now, I'm idiotically giddy!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's a COOKIE exchange!

Updated: 12/5/09 8:33 pm

Official Invitation:

It’s a cookie exchange and craft swap!

Date: December 20, 2009
Time: 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Place: Debi Hall’s Holiday Cookie Shop - 4986 Helene, Butte

It’s cold out there! Who wants to run out to buy ingredients for all of those different types of cookies you need to make for Christmas? Not me! Here’s the deal: make a bunch of your favorite cookies, bring them to the exchange, and leave with a variety of cookies! (We’ll tell you how many to make by December 16.) Easy, no?

That’s only the beginning of the fun! We’ll also being doing some crafty “workshops” of sorts. Think of it as “stitch-n-bitch in teaching mode.” If you’d like, bring a holiday craft that’s quick, easy, and fun. (Or 2 out of 3 works! You know, fun and quick or quick and easy!) When you RSVP, tell me what the craft is, and what people will need to bring to do your craft. If you have enough projects to work on, bring something crafty with you! I’ll post all of the crafts on my blog, along with a supply list, by December 16.

Lots of love,

You must RSVP to be a part of the cookie exchange by December 15

To RSVP you can:
Call Stephanie at 406-498-5270
Email Stephanie at
Leave a comment on my blog at
- There’s a post about the cookie exchange,
I’ll update it with information regularly!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The first Thank You cards

 A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away, I made two thank you cards for some people named "Stephanie". True story! I could have sworn that I had sent these cards two months ago; when I made them! Oops!
I found them recently and took photos. I think that they turned out pretty good. (Let's face it, I like any pink card!)

I did some fun things with these cards and I'm excited to share them with you! I'll start with this blue card. I made this card using a 12x12 sheet of single sided scrapbook paper (Colorbok). I cut it to 8x12 and made a 4x6 card that matches inside and out! I also used my Sizzix Garden Delight alpha die set to cut out the letters on DCWV adhesive card stock. The result: floral, pink, alpha goodness! I slapped a length of $1 bin trim on under the "Thanks" and called it good. I'm a simple kind of girl! Inside I wrote my note and "bordered" my words with more flowers from the alpha set (think dots from an i and !). Voila, it matches!

The second card was more fun! I made a sticker! Woot! So, it was really an accident. See the flower on the top right? I though that the embossing folder was just an embossing folder not a CUTTER! I made do with my new flower by using Cat's Eye Chalk to enhance the image and did the same on the "Thank You" that I also embossed using a Sizzix embossing folder. Inside, I used this die to make an insert to write on and stuck it in the fold. I really should have taken a photo of the inside of this card too! Oh, well!

Hope this makes those of you who harassed me (Laurie!) happy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Embossing is exciting!

I have a secret confession. Sometimes I make cards that I don't like. What's worse is that I give the cards I don't like to people that I would otherwise buy cards for. I think Belinda can relate to the phenomena of spending so much time on a card that you can't bear to give it away let alone think of what the recipient might do with it.
So, I'm sure you can guess the background behind this card. I had just received multiple crafty items in the mail all at once and I felt that I had to try them all out at once. So, I used my new rollerstamp (PeachyCheap), my new clear inkpad (The Scrapbooker's Schoolhouse), my new embossing heat gun (Joann's), and my new metallic embossing powders (Joann's) all on the same unsuspecting 5x7 card. It never saw it coming!
I must admit though, it was a good exercise. I figured out how much I need to heat the powders, played with new stamps, and felt redeemed because I hadn't technically wasted paper. (A real pet peeve of mine is wasting supplies such as paper and ink.) I had also forgotten about a friend's birthday. So, I grabbed the "card" and a random bottle of booze off of the bar (unopened, thank you) and had an instant birthday gift put together for her. Fortunately, I chose to give it to my least crafty friend who thought it was an amazing feat that I was able to handmake the card. I think it was amazing that I was able to pull off unloading that card! :P
While making this card I did learn that there should be a limit to the amount of embossing powder that can legally be applied to one sheet of paper! Oh, and that if you heat it for too long your embossing powder will bleed through your paper. Most importantly, I learned that embossing is fun, and exciting! Although I think I may need to steal Laurie's ideas for decking out my next bottle o' booze!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A quick (belated) thank you!

I did it! I finished the New York City Marathon (7:46) on November 1 and I had your support to carry me through. This thank you goes out to every individual who had kind words for me and even those who angered me into trying harder!

Much love and many thanks!


PS - Cards are coming for those who supported my financially in my NYC Marathon endeavor.

And now, please return to your regularly scheduled life

Wow! I had no idea that running a marathon would change my life, but it has. It has been a long journey of self-discovery and rediscovery. The last year has taught me a lot about myself, the world around me, and the way I let my environment affect me. I am smart though; I learned from my mistakes, trained, and prepared for every situation I thought I would encounter. I've been on a constant running high since June. Now, a week after the marathon, I feel the distinct onset of depression taking hold.
Preparation got me through 26.2 miles but it is going to take a lot more willpower now to suck it up, move on, and graduate. Maybe I'm not feeling depressed, maybe it is self-sabbotage. I am scared to death to graduate. I'm not ready to grow up and move on. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. After all, I've been married for two years, own a house, have a dog, and carry enough in debt to prove that I'm an American. But, I'm safe and comfortable. I so desperately want to "spread my wings and fly"; to see the world and go out on my own but I'm not making any movements to get there.
I'm falling behind in classes and dreading my upcoming job interview. I can't take anymore rejection from the company I'm interviewing with. There it is, that fragility, that's the dead-giveaway that it's probably depression. I'm being a victim of sorts, helpless and hapless. It's really pathetic. What's really strange is that I'm watching this happen. I can feel it. I can see it. I can't seem to stop it though.
After I finished the marathon I felt physical relief but there was this emotional emptiness. I cried a lot in the last 4 miles of the marathon. I was emotionless when I crossed the finish line. I had moved on. I was beyond the marathon. So now, I'm trying to fill the hole, self-medicating (if you will) through exercise and chocolate. I'm going to sign up for the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon in Orlando. I need to do this for myself instead of the naysayers. Maybe it will make me happy. Maybe doing my homework would make me happier. I guess both options are worth a shot.
I know that very few people read my blog, but it really is nice to have the Internet as a quiet, patient, friend to listen while I type this. I'm sure there will be comments of judgement from others, as there often are, but for now, this is nice.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mariah's Challenge

On November 1, 2009 I will be running in the NY Marathon for Mariah's Challenge, a non-profit in Butte, Montana aimed a curbing underage drinking and promoting responsible of-age drinking. Mariah's Challenge was founded nearly two years ago after a (underage) drunk driver struck three teen girls in a residential neighborhood: Mariah McCarthy, Valerie Kilmer, and Kaitlyn Okrusch. The driver left the scene. Had he stayed and summoned emergency assistance immediately, Mariah may have survived. Instead, the McCarthy family had to bury their child at 14-years-old. Leo McCarthy stood at Mariah's funeral and issued a challenge to the citizens of Butte to learn from this lesson. Out of tragedy, the city of Butte has found purpose. Please help support me as I run in the greatest race in the world for the most determined non-profit I've ever volunteered for!

Any little bit helps as I venture into the frightening world of distance running. I've been running since June and I've lost 30 pounds! I've ran as far as 20 miles and I'm eager to run the full 26.2 miles!

You can send donations via PayPal to stephanie(dot)gruss(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thank you in advance for supporting both Mariah's Challenge and me! Now, onto the cards!

So, if you follow me on Twitter much (@sagruss) you may have noticed that I've been working on a mass mailing of handmade cards. I present to you "begging in style"!

I am raising money for Mariah's Challenge and I wanted a classy way to request funds from my friends and family. (Look out, the low down FB posts, emails, tweets, and calls are coming soon!) I designed and created 80 of these tri-fold cards and learned some things along the way. The picture inside is of me at the Montana Governor's Cup in Billings, MT.

1) Double sided tape, glue strips, and glue dots are superior to liquid glue in an assembly line.
2) A punch is far less work than using a circle cutter.
3) A circle cutter will not stand up to 240 cuts well. That included expensive circle cutters (I went through two).
4) Just sit down and do them all at once, this shouldn't have taken the week it took to do them all.

Overall, I think the cards turned out well.

-- Stephanie

The first of many "card swap" posts

I am happy to bring you the first of many card swap blog posts. Laurie, Belinda, Ren-Yi, and I are now on a crafty adventure! Laurie and Belinda are exhilarated and enthused. (Of course, they've been entering card competitions!) Ren-Yi and I are just frightened! (But eager, we did agree to this!) So, here's how it works: each month one person sends the same supplies to the other three people and we all post our creations using the same supplies. This is month one, I promise nothing.

So these are my cards. I recently bought an embossing tool and some buttons so I used those on the cards for the first time. Oh, and thanks to my CutterBee piercing bug, that is real stitching on the lower card. :)

I like the one with multiple buttons better. I used a nice blue and green pattern with the buttons and actually sewed them to the paper (the glue was failing me). The one with the star on would have looked better if I had used an embossing powder that was visible to the human eye. But, hey, I'm calling it a "creative decision" and chalking it up as a "learning experience". In other words, I'm not going to emboss on paper that has already been glued to the card anymore!

The supplies we were sent (that I wasn't smart enough to photograph) were 2 6x6 patterned papers, a green paper star, a length of blue ribbon, and some green and yellow square brads. I didn't use the ribbon or brads and I have a sliver of paper left. I may be posting another card soon! :)

Hope you are enjoying this little adventure of ours! I know I am!


The blog list, so you can see what the others have created for your viewing pleasure!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Crafty people are giving people!

I had never heard of Polycystic Kidney Disease before reading about it on my friend Belinda's blog a few months back. This was also the same blog where I first heard of "blog candy", another new term for me. Now, Belinda's bringing the two together to raise some money for PKD research. Here's a link to her post (Belinda's Blog) and some information about the disease.

Polycystic Kidney Disease is one of the most common, life-threatening genetic diseases, affecting 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million people worldwide. PKD is more common than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and sickle cell anemia - combined. Polycystic Kidney Disease causes fluid filled cysts to form on both kidneys. Over time, these cysts grow and multiply, sometimes dramatically in size. For most patients, their PKD ultimately causes the kidneys to shut down. Once that happens, dialysis and transplant are their only options to prolong life. Parents with the dominant form of PKD have a 50% chance of passing the disease on to each of their children. For the recessive form, ARPKD, parents have usually never heard of PKD until their newborn is diagnosed with it. For 30% of newborns, ARPKD is fatal.

Although there is no treatment or cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease, there is hope… Stacey's dad has had 2 kidney transplants in the last year (the 2nd kidney is doing very well and as of June 30th he's past the 3 month post transplant mark!). But even though he now has a functioning kidney, the battle is far from over. He has other PKD related health issues to deal with on a daily basis. Plus, both Stacey and her sister each have a 50% chance of getting PKD. Please consider joining our fight — by donating to the cause, registering for the walk (and raising funds) — or both! Every little bit helps!

Donations to Stacey T and the PKD Foundation can be made here:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wow! So much for that goal!

It's been a long time since I blogged last. I was living in CA and working full time. I didn't have tons of homework to do and I was missing Butte! Wow! A lot has changed but much has stayed the same. I'm still a student and I'm graduating this year. I'll always owe Lucy a hike and Molli lunch. And more often than not, I miss Ryan while he's at work and I'm in class!

On to the real reason I started this blog: crafty goodness! I've started to beg people to donate money to me for Mariah's Challenge. I'm going to be running in the New York Marathon on November 1 and I still have some fundraising to do. If you'd like to help, let me know! The whole point is that I've been busy making thank you cards for the people who have given me money. Follow the Picasa link below to see them! Lovely, eh? (There were more but I got too excited and sent them without taking pictures! :P)

Thank you cards

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another "long" week

I am glad it's Monday. That means that at the end of today I will be 1/4 of the way to a three day weekend. Unfortunately, it's also another Monday with no hubby to go home to and no Lucy to drool all over me. I miss Ryan but that's all I can say because thinking about it more makes me want to cry.
Since it is June 1 I only have 30 more days before I see Ryan again! Yippee! I owe Lucy a hiking trip too and Molli lunch. I never thought I'd miss Butte like this, it's not just the people this time.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A new old hobby

Quite some time ago I started picking up scrapbooking supplies. All with the intention to scrapbook my wedding photos. It's been two years now and I haven't even started on the scrapbook for my wedding.
Now, I'm living in CA with Laurie and it turns out she scraps quite a bit (See some of her cards, pages, and other crafty items at: So, I've made a couple cards now and I'm hoping to start a book for our second anniversary (which is today!) as my practice book.
(These are the cards I did and the cross stitched/embroidered hand towels and afghan I made for Ryan as anniversary gifts.)

First blog post!

So, I am attempting to start another blog. Maybe this one will work out better than my others. I have a lot going on right now and a lot more coming up. I'll be running in the NY Marathon in November, I've just moved to CA for the summer, and I'll graduate in less than a year. I think life is about to get hectic but I don't want to miss any of it!