Birthday Penguin Slimline🐧

Hello friends!  There are SO many things going on this month and I’m having such a hard time keeping up with all of it!  After having some computer issues and trying to figure out what’s going on…I realized how far behind I am with my crafting!  I have waaay too many new things I want to play with too!  Really hate it when that happens!🤨😅  Totally missed out on World Card Making Day this year…however…

..before the WCMD “Inspired By” challenge ends over on the Whimsy Stamps Inspiration Blog, I wanted to be sure to play along which is using one of the design team’s projects for inspiration to create your own project:

I have made this fun slimline card using the Whimsy Stamps Penguin Poop stamp set along with the Whimsy Stamps Slimline Connected Bubbles die for my card today.  I am a huge penguin fan and these guys crack me up so much!

When I saw the lovely and talented Bev’s slimline card design, I was immediately inspired to create based on her beautiful and sweet card you can see here:

I’m not sure what inks Bev used in her design, but for the background of my card, I wanted to keep the colors in a cool tone.  Over a piece of Bristol Smooth watercolor paper, I’ve cut it down to fit over a black side folding 3.5″ x 8.5″ slimline card base.  (I use the 8.5″ measurement because I find the size easier to use with a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock.  Then I only need to cut at 7″ on the long (11″) side and score in half at 3.5″ on this same side.  I am then left with another piece for layering over the slimline card if I choose.)  It’s easier to remember also…which is something good for me right now! LOL!  I digress…

I’ve used the Pink and Main blender brushes to ink blend Weathered Wood, Shaded Lilac, Broken China and Stormy Sky Distress Oxide inks for the background and then I used a water spritzer to make the droplet pattern over it.

I’ve cut the Slimline Connected Bubbles die from some Brutus Monroe Mermaid Glitterstock and glued it over the ink blended background.  I had a left over border of a punched out goo drip from white glitterstock, so I used the die to cut out pieces to glue over top of some of the circles from the die.  I stamped the sentiments inside a couple of the circles where I wanted with black ink and then used some foam dots to pop out the stamped and fussy cut penguins.

Lastly, I’ve taken a black marker to make some stitch marks along the edges of the ink blended panel and glued on some clear sparkling crystals.

Here’s closer view of one of the penguins.  It was very easy to grab a couple of Copic markers to color them in with and they were pretty easy to cut out along with the balloon.  I’ve used a black twine to connect the backside of the balloon and added a dab of glue to the penguin’s hand.

I used a glitter brush pen over the balloon and then added some glossy accents to both of the penguin’s big eyeballs.

This was such a fun card to create and it will be perfect for a winter birthday I will have coming up soon!🥳  The way I’ve been crafting behind, this will help out to have ready on hand when I need it!

Thanks so much for stopping in today friends!  I hope you’ve enjoyed my slimline card and that it has brought you a smile!  I’ll be seeing you again soon!

Challenges:

  1. Whimsy Stamps Inspirations – WCMD Inspired By challenge (Bev’s card)
  2. Shopping Our Stash – #430 On Trend Slimline
  3. Crafty Animals – #43 Anything Goes + animal
  4. 2 Crafty Critter Crazies – #43 Anything Goes + animal
  5. Moving Along with the Times – #123 Animals and/or Birds
  6. Cute Card Thursday – #654 Anything Goes
  7. Craft Rocket – #75 Add Sparkle
  8. 613 Avenue Create – Anything Goes optional winged things

Sports Reminder for {Cupcake Inspirations} Challenge

Hello friends!  Stopping by with a reminder today that there are still a few days left to join our “Sports” themed challenge over at the {Cupcake Inspirations} blog!  Hope you will join in the fun with us!

It’s that time of the year over here in the U.S. for Fall football season and I have some male family members that enjoy watching it along with having birthdays around this time which brings me to making these type of cards for them!  So this challenge has worked out really well for that!  So here’s my second card for this challenge:

I’ve pulled out this older Stampin’ Up! stamp set that I refused to part with just for this reason because I knew that I would be using it down the line…which is the “Great Sport” stamp set.  (I think it’s maybe circa 2013?)  I have elected to use the colors of my brother’s favorite football team The Chicago Bears for my color scheme.  (His birthday is coming up shortly so this will work out nicely.)

I think the embossing folder is just as old if not older than the stamp sets that I’ve used as it has that pattern on it that would remind you of the football texture.  (pigskin leather as the guys say)  I’ve recently picked up some sport themed decorative papers and thought I would use a strip down the center of my design and then I’ve also used the same pattern to stamp the wings and football images over that were all fussy cut out with scissors.

For the navy banner in the background, I’ve used a die cut to cut it out with and then stamped some stars with white ink over it and then sponged around the edged of it as well.  I took another strip of orange colored cardstock and stamped a fun birthday greeting over it and then added some stars around it that were punched out from navy cardstock.  All of these layered were attached over an A2 sized top folding navy card base.  

Really thought it would be fun to add an interactive detail to this card as well by adding a wobbler to the back of the football image.  So when you put your finger along the side of the ball, it will wobble.🏈😂  (something fun for the birthday guy to play with!)

For the decorative papers I’ve used, I took a sand block to distress the edges a bit and smooth out the edges of my fussy cutting details.

Hope this will help bring a smile his way and add a bit of luck to his football team for this year to do well too!

Be sure to stop by the {Cupcake Inspirations} blog to see more inspiration from the design team and I hope you’ll be able to join in the fun with us for this challenge too!  Thanks so much for dropping in today and I’ll be seeing you soon friends!

Challenges:

  1. Watercooler Wednesday – WWC291 5th Week Anything Goes

2.  Krafty Chicks – #527 Stamp Act

3.  Love to Craft – LTCCB51 October Anything Goes

The “Power of Practice” Blog Hop

Hello friends! I’m so excited to be sharing a special collaboration blog hop with my fellow crafty friends collab FB group as we share our own personal progression on how practice over time can help to increase your confidence and skills within your crafting journey. (blog hop links are at bottom of post.)

So please grab your favorite beverage and join us in this fun and informative blog hop that shows how “the power of practice” can be utilized in your own crafting! (highlights are done in red.)

  • I would like to start off by stating each person’s experience is their own journey and will run on it’s own pace which is something that we all need to be aware of and patient with.  Some particular skills will take much longer to grasp than others and you need to take it easy on yourself without harsh judgement.  Just enjoy the process and have fun with it!  (That was and still is the hardest thing for me to learn.)

Although I’ve been paper crafting for the last 20 years or so, I’ve been involved in several different crafts throughout my entire childhood or since I could hold a crayon in my hand!  My grandmother as well as my mother has passed down their experience with crafts which I learned from and picked up many others along the way including what I love today.  So some things I do may already come naturally for me without recognizing where it came from because it was taught to me long ago.  There are some things, however, that I’ve had to spend the time learning.

Now taking classes aren’t the ONLY way to learn something for sure!  Good ole “Trial and Error” are great for learning and gaining personal experience from…which I tend to learn the most from actually!😁  Another thing that helps is new tools/products to help make the process easier or look more “finished” or “professional” in nature.  When I first started with my stamps, there was not a common heat tool for instance.  I had to heat emboss over a stove!  So times have changed as well as techniques and inspiration. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE over the Internet too!  Many people have so many clever ideas…I wish I could keep up with them all!  Some things may not be of interest to you and others may intrigue or intimidate you.  Find what interests you the MOST..at the time…and work on it because you will love learning about it which means you will gain more knowledge from it.  You don’t have to share with others what you do as long as YOU enjoy what you’re doing.  Do what feels right to you and your journey.  It’s never about others, it’s about YOU!

 

I feel like I could write an entire book on just this matter, but since this is a visual craft, it’s better to “see” with your eyes sometimes or show how things can come together…or not!🤨

I’m starting with a photo of a card I had made back in 2007 when I had already been a year into having a blog and was still a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator at the time.  Even the technology of simply taking a photograph has improved tremendously over the years…

crafting encouragement singleNeighborhood_by_basement_stamper

I no longer have most of the products used here and I had to lift the photo from my Splitcoaststampers gallery as they have stored my oldest photos I have anywhere.  This was the first place that I shared anything I made online. (There are 124 pages of my gallery and if you look through, you will see the progression over time.)

 

Now I could really criticize myself and pick this all apart, but it was part of my process at the time.  And at that time, I was happy with it.  It looks like I’ve colored with ink pads and a blender pen, cut out the images with scissors as well as cut fringes of the grass border. (tools have improved since and many purchases have been made as well!😊)    As we move forward, I can share how I updated that design today:

Vicki-CraftyChefs and POPhop

What I have decided to do was to take the photo of the older card above and make an updated version of the same design, but with the mindset and techniques that I’ve learned since.  You can see that my coloring has improved as well as the different tools and items that have been updated to help with my design execution.  I still used similar colors, similar layout design as well as coloring an image, but just maybe updated the look from the practicing of not just the coloring over time, but the practice of just cutting the layers and putting things together as compared to years past.  Just meerily putting together card after card has helped me with the practice and made me better aware.  So you can see how just putting together a card in general, with practice, can help improve skills!

  • Another tip I find helpful is to join your fellow crafty friends in groups and collaborations like this blog hop as well as other groups which is what I’ve also made this card for, called “The Crafty Chefs“, where we take turns coming up with a new “recipe” to follow each month.  There’s no pressure, just a group of friends coming together, learning from each other through challenges, and inspiring one another as we enjoy our love of crafting!  For me, this is a huge deal.  Check out the link above if you’re interested in joining with us!  It’s still fun to craft, but it’s even better when it’s shared with someone.  So here’s the September Crafty Chef’s recipe that our head chef Linda has come up with for us to use:

Crafty Chefs Sept recipe

(I have used ALL of the “must do” items and then added a couple of pearls from the “can do” items.)

I have found that within the last several years, many people enjoy watching video tutorials on You Tube..which makes sense because seeing someone actually doing something or putting something together is a better way to learn rather than just seeing a finished photo of a project.  So to see how I’ve made my latest card for my son’s birthday, check it out below or CLICK HERE to view on my You Tube channel:

Hopefully through the video you were able to learn a few things that you can incorporate into your own card making.  Sometimes we can improve upon ourselves by even trying to recreate something we’ve done in the past and add some new things you’ve learned along the way.  It’s a great way to see how far you’ve come along and not be so critical of yourself to remind you that you are always learning, as I still am right now as well.

 

I have to chuckle at this card for my son’s birthday as he is a fun-loving jokster that will appreciate this along with the fact that it’s a bear image.  He was nicknamed “Bear” in his school years, so I thought these Big Grumpy products from Taylored Expressions would work perfectly for this!  I’ve also used the Big Grumpy Birthday stamps to go with him along with the other products used in my video above.

For the sparkle, I’ve taken some Stickles Star Dust glitter and added to the birthday hat as well as the center of the bow in the present.  I used a glitter brush pen over the balloon and bow.  I added dots to his cheeks, hat and the present with a white gel pen.  I forgot to mention in the video that I’ve added a couple of brown pearls to the blue strip so that I added something from the “can do” list for the Crafty Chefs recipe!😉

I really hope that this post was helpful as well as enjoyable for you and that you received some benefit for taking the time to read over it.  I know that I will be looking forward to seeing what my other crafty friends have to share and inspire me with!  I think there is something to learn from everyone no matter how long you’ve been doing it.  

  • The power of practice simply means, to me, being able to refine your skills into something that you want to be better at, take in more information or take it to the limits of your ability.  This is done by repeating often and over time to increase or add to your knowledge of what you’re trying to improve upon. If we are not trying new things, then we are not learning or growing as individuals.

Please be sure to check out the following crafty friends’ blogs below to see their take on this blog hop concept:

Thanks so much for stopping by my friends and I’ll be seeing you again soon!

Challenges:

  1. Inkspirational – Birthday PhotoChallenge221
  2. Crafty Friends – Anything Goes
  3. Crafty Calendar – Anything Goes
  4. Lil Patch of Crafty Friends – Anything Goes
  5. Dragonfly Dreams – Happy Birtdhay Traci!
  6. The Corrosive Challenge – #9 Sept Anything Goes
  7. Creative Moments – #198 Anything Goes optional:  Make it Funny
  8. AAA Birthday – #17 Animals & Critters#17 bottom badge
  9. Creative Craft Cottage – #133 Include and Animal
  10. Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge – Humorus/Fun Card

{Cupcake Inspirations} Bithday Celebration Day 12 -Party Ending Soon!

Here we are friends!  This is my final day of inspiration to share with you on Day 12 of the special celebration over at {Cupcake Inspirations} for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!!  WHAT A PARTY IT HAS BEEN!! WOW!🧁🎉

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting with our last but not least sponsor Inky Stamper – Please check out the challenge blog for more details about this sponsor.

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The DT was generously given a stamp and die set to use for our creations:

Vicki-CIC500-Day12-InkyStamper

I have used this Oh so adorable Cupcake stamp and die set for my 4.5″ square card design.  So I thought it would be fun to create a fun little scene where you have the mouse coming out of his little “mouse hole” in the wall where he discovers this delicious looking cupcake with the sprinkles falling about! 😂

I started by masking off the middle of the square panel and created the “floor” by ink blending from the middle out.  I then moved my masking by covering that area up and used the negitive from an oval die cut area to ink blend the “mouse hole” on the scene.  Lastly, I wanted it to look like a “wall”, so I just took a brick stencil and inked over it to go around the “mouse hole”

I stamped, colored and die cut the image and then popped him up with foam tape over the scene and stamped the sentiment underneath him.  I just glued on the sprinkles for the card.  I mounted the image panel over a die cut scallop square and then added a strip of sparkle washi tape over the card base.  (The scallop square panel was popped up with some craft foam.)  Hard to see in the photo, but I’ve brushed some glitter over the cupcake frosting!

**REMEMBER YOU ONLY HAVE A FEW DAYS LEFT TO ENTER THE “BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION” CHALLENGE OVER AT {CUPCAKE INSPIRATIONS} TO QUALIFY FOR A PRIZE FROM ONE OF THE WONDERFUL SPONSORS WE’VE BEEN SHARING – GO ENTER AND BEST OF LUCK TO ALL!!**

Thank you so much for joining me here every day to check out the inspiration I’ve made from each of our sponsors.  I’m so glad that you took the time to celebrate right along with us!   I’ll be seeing you soon!

Challenges:

  1. The House That Stamps Built – A2620 Anything Goes
  2. Simon Says Stamp Wednesday – Anything Goes
  3. Cute Card Thursday – Inky! (used distress inks, masking and stencils for background)
  4. Creative Knockouts – #365 Anything Goes

{Cupcake Inspirations} Day 10

Hello friends!  I’m back again with more celebration fun as we continue with our celebrating over at {Cupcake Inspirations} for another feature of sponsors for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!!  YAY!

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting Digital Delights by Louby Lou – Please check out the challenge blog for more details about this sponsor.

Digital Delights Logo

The DT was provided with images from this sponsor to use for our creations:

Vicki-CIC500-Day10-DigiDelightsLoubbyLou

Isn’t she a cutie?!  I have used Cupcake Josie for my image here that was colored with Copics and cut out with a stitched rectangle die.  I used some fun birthday papers I’ve found in my stash to layer my design with along with a sentiment that was white heat embossed and die cut with a banner die that I’ve attached over the design.

I’ve added some glossy accents over the cherry on her cupcake as well as some dotting with a metallic gel pen for the sprinkles as well as for her bows.

Please be sure to add your birthay/celebration creations in the gallery soon before the challenge ends in a few days!  We look forward to seeing them all!

Thank you for popping over here today friends!  See you tomorrow!

Challenges:

  1.  Creative Moments – #197Anything Goes optional pretty papers
  2. Pammie’s Inky Pinkies – PIP2034 Anything Goes

{Cupcake Inspirations} Birthday Celebration Day 7🧁

We are rolling now!  We are on day 7 of celebrating over at {Cupcake Inspirations} with another feature of sponsors for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!! Super cool!!

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting Riley and Company – Please check out the challenge blog for more details about this sponsor.

I have loved this little moose for many years and have collected some stamps from them over the years including some recent ones and I always get a chuckle from either the moose or the “Funny Bone” sentiments! So I had to help with featuring this sponsor:

I had to combine this funny sentiment with the cupcake theme and I thought it would be so fun to have little Riley peeking out from the edge holding a cupcake!😂

I took one of the images from the Basic Dress Up Riley, colored him with Copics and cut him out with coordinating dies. The sentiment was white heat embossed over a strip of black that I added Riley partially to the back of before attaching it to the background paper. I’ve also added a couple of banners and tied some black twine around the top of the card. I used a cupcake image from my stash, colored and cut it out and popped it up with a foam dot over Riley’s hand.

I finished the card with some sequins and some clear glitter Stickles.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my inspiration card for today’s sponsor and be sure to play along with us soon! Thanks so much for dropping by and I’ll see you again tomorrow!

{Cupcake Inspirations} Birthday Celebration Day 6

Hey there friends!  We are on day 6 of celebrating over at {Cupcake Inspirations} with another feature of sponsors for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!!  FUN FUN!

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting Bugaboo Stamps & Lawn Fawn – Please check out the challenge blog for more details about these sponsors.

Bugaboo logo

logo

So on our first day, I had used some fabulous products from our sponsor Lawn Fawn and you can check that post out HERE.  But for today’s post, I wanted to highlight our other sponsor Bugaboo Stamps

Vicki-CIC500-Day6-Bugaboo

Now how stinkin’ CUTE is this little guy with his ginormous cupcake coming at you?!

I printed out this Picnic Ant-Cupcake2 from Bugaboo Stamps and colored him up with Copic markers.  I sponged some clouds behind him and colored some grass with my markers too.  I used my oval dies to cut the image out with along with the scallop oval layer behind it.

Found some fun papers from my stash along with the rectangle die, sentiment die, ribbon, twine and button to complete the card.

I “dressed up” the cupcake with some liquid applique that was heated up to make it “puffy” and then added some glossy accents over the cherry on top.

Really had fun with this cutie and I hope he brought you a little smile today friends!  Thanks for joining me!  See you again tomorrow!

Challenges:

  1.  Catch the Bug Challenge – End of Summer (what could be better than celebrating a picnic?!) 
  2. Little Red Wagon – Use a Stencil (cloud background)
  3. Creative Knockouts – #364 Something to Say
  4. Aud Sentiments – #258 Anything Goes + Sentiment
  5. Colour Crazy Craft – Anything Goes + Coloring

{Cupcake Inspirations} Birthday Celebration Day 5

Let’s keep on celebrating!  We are on day 5 of celebrating over at {Cupcake Inspirations} with another feature of sponsors for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!!  Yeehaw!🥳

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting Newton’s Nook – check out the challenge blog for more details about this sponsor.

NND

I adore the stamps from this company and already own some faves..including retired ones that I refuse to give up! LOL!  I have recently gotten some new ones to party with though!  Check it out…

Vicki-CIC500-Day5-NewtonsNook

Winston is one of the cute characters I adore!  I’ve used the Sending Hugs stamp set with the coordinating dies.  And the special thing about the coordinating dies is that they cut out the arms of each of the characters within the set so that they can be holding different objects!  I think that’s too cute!

So I’ve colored up my Winston character with Copics and for the item he’s holding, you can see he has a cupcake, which is included in this set!  I stamped, colored and die cut an additional cupcake next to the banner sentiment which was included with the set as well.

For the background, I’ve done some fun watercoloring.  I’ve used a balloon image from a retired set “Winston’s Birthday” which is also where I’ve got his party hat from as well.  Love it along with the “Winston’s BBQ” set that I won’t give up either! LOL!!  I pull it out pretty much every Father’s Day!  (I made a cute apron card with it this year and forgot to take a photo of it! Sigh….)

I photographed the card laying flat so that you could see the fun shaker contents inside the square frame!  Lots of sprinkles, little cupcakes and balloon sequins in there!  I thought it needed a pink glittery frame along with metallic shine on the party hat too!  I finished it off with a metallic clear ribbon bow at the bottom.  So fun!

Please be sure to check out the challenge blog for more inspiration using products from this sponsor!  Hope you’re having fun with the inspiration so far and I’ll see you again tomorrow!

Challenges:

  1.  2 Crafty Critter Crazies – Anything Goes + animal
  2. Papercraft – #61 animals
  3. Crafty Animals – Anything Goes + animal
  4. Pammie’s Inky Pinkies – PIP2033 Anything Goes
  5. Simon Says Stamp Wednesday – Oh So Cute

{Cupcake Inspirations} Birthday Celebration Day 4

Ready for more celebrating!?  We are on day 4 of celebrating over at {Cupcake Inspirations} with another feature of sponsors for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!!  Yipee!🥳

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting Varada Sharma – check out the challenge blog for more details about this sponsor.

1

Our DT has been generously provided with an entire new release collection from this sponsor!  There were so many fun things to play with, so I did some combining:

Vicki-CIC500-Day4-VardaSharma

How fun and yummy is this?!  There’s just something about cupcakes that are so fun to decorate with frosting, sugar crystals, sprinkles, fruit, etc etc and so why not do that with crafting too?!

I started with the background and decided to take the Hanging Banners Background image and print it out over some teal cardstock and then I used a Copic marker to add some shadowing around the images.  I cut it out with a stitched rectangle die and layered it over a piece of yellow cardstock to match the sentiment banner…which actually looks green in the photo, but it’s yellow IRL! LOL!  Then I mounted it over another A2 sized side folding teal cardstock base.

I sized and placed together the two different cupcakes from the Cupcakes, Cake Slices and Toppers set, printed it out and then colored them in with Copics.  I’ve cut them out with a circle die, layered it over another circle layer cut from some silver mirror cardstock.  I sponged some teal ink around the edges of the cupcake circle, added some stitch lines with a marker and then cut off the excess from the edge.

I used some glitter, glimmer and shine to add details to the cupcakes! (The photo is not showing all of the fun details at all!) Bummer…

I added a thin strip of that silver mirror cardstock across the bottom of the card front and then took the sentiment that I put together from the Celebration set, printed it out over white cardstock and then used my yellow ink to sponge over it.  I fussy cut it out and then popped it up with foam tape over the silver strip.

This is going to make a fabulous card for someone’s birthday.  If you need to add to your birthday card stash, come play along with us and you might win!

Challenges:

  1.  A Bit More Time to Craft – Anything Goes
  2. Lil’ Patch of Crafty Friends– #140 Anything Goes
  3. Crafting Happiness – #62 Anything Goes

{Cupcake Inspirations} Birthday Celebration Day 3

Hello again friends!  We are on day 3 of celebrating over at {Cupcake Inspirations} with another feature of sponsors for our 500th “birthday celebration” challenge!!  Yay!

CIC500

Today, we are highlighting Crafty Scrappers & Gerda Steiner Designs – check out the challenge blog for more details about these sponsors.

craftyscrappers logo

Gerda Steiner logo

The DT was given images from Crafty Scrappers to use for our creations:

Vicki-CIC500-Day3-CraftyScrappers

Isn’t she the cutest with her oversized cupcake and glasses?!  I’ve used images including the sentiment from the Ms. Cupcake stamp set provided by our sponsor.

I had so much fun coloring her up with Copic markers and then adding lots of details to it like the gold glitter shimmer over the ribbon on the cupcake, the shimmer over the frosting and then some glossy accents for the chocolate syrup, cherry on top and over her glasses too!  I’ve also used a white gel pen for highlights on areas.  I actually fussy cut her out and popped her up over the circle die cut panel with foam tape.

I thought she fit the circle nicely and would work for a circle easel card design.  I matted her over a purple fancy circle die cut layer and then made the circle easel base a pink color.  I cut a strip for the sentiment and layered that over purple cardstock for the inside which is helping to keep the front layer propped up.  I’ve also added some gold sparkle crystals over the design to match her ribboned cupcake.

(I would normally add more photos to show you a closer look at the details, but I just had SO many creations and posts at once…please let me know if you have any questions!)

Thanks for dropping in today friends and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Challenges:

  1.  Dream Valley– Add Gems/Pearls or both
  2. As You Like It– Favorite Color to Pair With Pink and Why? (Purple is my favorite color, but I think it’s amazing with pink because it gives a wonderful feminine look…and it’s great for princesses and unicorns too!)
  3. Creative Knockouts – #363 Finish the Inside (my inside is propping up the front of card!)
  4. Alphabet – ‘J’ is for Jewels or Jewlery
  5. Creatalicious– #193 Anything Goes with optional: Anything but square or rectangle