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February 14, 2014
This post was shared from Anna Bradshaw:

Love is in the air, and lately I’ve been thinking of, well, things I love! Specifically, “things” I feel like I need. Things, that aren’t really things at all; like my family, cuddles and snuggles, creative time and space, good nutritious food, healthy communication… all the important stuff that gets me through life in as effervescent state as is possible. But “the greatest of these… is Love.”
It’s all I really need.
Everyone knows that Valentine’s is the perfect occasion for getting a loved one a little something, like chocolate, or perhaps a beautiful card, maybe dinner out at a fancy restaurant, or my dream: A DIAMOND 😮
However, there are a few people out there who look at this special day more as a marketing gimmick than as an opportunity to make it magical. Those kind of people believe in spoiling everyday, not waiting for holiday occasions, and I’m lucky enough to live with a guy like that.
My sweetie has always been great at making dreams come true. He is usually willing to pick me up a box of chocolate – it fuels my creativity- when he’s at the store. He loves to spend an hour or more gazing into my eyes as we dine on an exquisitely prepared entrée while dining out. However! He is completely against the purchase of diamonds because of the hardship their extraction places on miners in impoverished countries. What a Bummer for me!
Enter… my new favorite website to wish list on! The considerate folks offer Beyond Conflict Free diamonds, meaning, not only are they considered conflict free, mined ethically and with respect for people, but for the environment as well! According to their website, they even track their diamonds from the source to the store, ensuring they arrive without being entangled in the corruptive practices that can profit from these valuable stones. Brilliant Earth even goes so far as to incorporate recycled and reclaimed gold, silver, and platinum. Wow, I think that’s an awesome way to create beauty out of what someone else can’t use anymore.
Hmmm… maybe I’ll just casually place honey’s name on their mailing list…

Here’s how I created my Valentine’s layout:
 I find it easiest to mix and match patterns and colors when I’m using papers that are all from the same collection. I’m in LOVE with the SEI Alpine wood grain patterns and color tones, so I knew that a few of these tones and wooden textures would form the neutral base of my page. I had this idea of highlighting the “O” and using a heart shape instead. I found a cute double heart on the cut apart sheet, which gave me some more ideas about the colors and embellishment choices to come.
  I also envisioned polaroid style frames around my new Posterboard alphabet stamps by Close To My Heart. Stamped in Chocolate ink on this cream and red grid two or three times to get that dark solid outline, and then shifted the stamp slightly without re-inking to achieve the shadow effect. Then I used my square punch to create identical openings in three brown, kraft flocked rectangles.
I ended up with a lot of these little strips of paper and thought it would be cute to staple them all together and do … something with them! My staples didn’t quite work the way I envisioned, though, and I’d love for you to comment with a use for my little whatever it could be.
To highlight my heart shape even more I framed it in red gingham, and backed it with a square of red. There was a line border pattern going around the red square, and only one line of the box shows… and that is just fine to me! I fussy cut with my exact-o knife around the outside of the heart shape and popped up the outside border with two sizes of dimensional adhesive; thin at the top and bottom, and thicker pop-dots on the sides. I thought it would look more dimensional that it did, so maybe if you try this yourself, either leave off the thin top and bottom dots, or double up the side pops.
Once my polaroid style frames were adhered atop stamped-letter-topped grids, I considered how I would dress them up. Some of my ideas included tying twine around the edge or bottoms, or adding enamel dots or brads, but in the end I added some red chipboard arrows on top of a sticker that I cut into three edge pieces and stuck to the left of each letter. From what was left in the middle of the sticker, I punched two hearts and placed them at the bottom right of my heart’s polaroid.
For contrast to all the warm colors, I added some silver Mr. Huey’s ink to the background, and then layered silver ribbon, dots, and hearts stickers to each of  my framed groupings. A double dose of hand cut hearts and a peach woodgrain in between put the focus on “L O V E,” and left me a little room for my handwritten title add on, “it’s all I need.”
It’s true. Despite all the things I want (chocolate, more washi tape, and yes,Diamonds) and feel I need; time with friends, being surrounded by family, having a creative escape daily, it all boils down to the fact that withoutLove, I’d be lost.

Check out the upcoming March edition of Die Cut Crazy to see even more fun ways to use the heart shape, Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy a Happy Valentine’s!

I love you, Law!

 This post was shared from Anna Bradshaw:

Happy Valentines Day!! 

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