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Autism Matters Blog Hop 2017

autismbloghopcandyrattrayWelcome to a Very Special Blog Hop!  I'm honored to team up with some very talented Stampin' Up! Demonstrator Friends from all over the country to shed light (#lightitupblue) and bring awareness to autism. April is Autism Awareness Month.  You are at Candy Rattray, blog.  If you get lost at any time along the way, I have all the blog hop participants listed and linked blow.  So just scroll down...

Did you know:  1 in 50 Children living in the US has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Many of us know families (or are those families) with children on the spectrum.  I invite you to help me show support for those with autism as well as their caregivers (usually parents). While you're being inspired with the simple beauty of the special card I designed for #lightitupblue autism matters, I hope you find it in your heart to donate even a tiny amount below.  Simply click my Donate Button, and the full amount of your donation will go directly to Autism Speaks.

lightitupblueautismawarenessflourishingphrasescandyrattrayEvery $1 matters, so please don't hesitate to give...large or small!

My card for today is blue--of course!  #lightitupblue is the national campaign to help bring awareness to the challenges of autism.  So my color scheme was predetermined.  I chose the group of dragonflies in flight to symbolize the freedom of imagination that all of us--even those with autism--can enjoy.  I love the way they sparkle since I cut them out from the Silver Glimmer Paper!  They light up the card!  And I chose the sentiment aka words from the Flourishing Phrases stamp set because it speaks of the uniqueness of individuals with autism and the blessing they are to our world.  It's actually a quick and easy card--my usual style!

In sharing autism awareness, did you know that in the United States, one in 98 boys are diagnosed with autism, and 24,000 people are diagnosed with autism for the first time every year?  It is increasingly common, and awareness helps all of us to more effectively embrace these special ones into our community and lives.  

Dogs have been shown to improve autistic children’s quality of life, independence, and safety. The presence of a trained dog can reduce aggressive behavior, calm the child, and serve as a link to the child’s community.  As a huge dog-lover, this does not surprise me.  Man's best friend helps so many people!

You can DONATE NOW to Autism Speaks and help this worthy cause.  

By teaming up with other Stampin' Up! Demonstrators across the USA, we can make a bigger difference, because together, we can do more!  Please consider giving even a small amount.  Every dollar helps.

All products used in my card are listed and linked below.  That is something I do in all my blog posts for your convenience and information.

Thanks so very much for stopping by today.  Again, you are at Candy Rattray, blog.  Now, head on over to the next stop on today's Autism Awareness Blog Hop and get more creative inspiration and autism awareness information! #LightItUpBlue!


Thailand Achievers Blog Hop, April: OnStage Highlights

Thailand Blog Hop, Candy Rattray Shreveportonstageteamgiftscandyrattray

Welcome to the April installment of the Thailand Achievers Blog Hop!  I am thrilled to be teamed up with Stampin' Up! Demonstrators from all over the globe!  Each of us has earned the Stampin' Up! Incentive trip to Thailand and will meeting there in July.  I can't wait!  In the meantime, we do monthly blog hops to inspire YOU!  You are at Candy Rattray,  The full line up is at the very bottom of this post, so if you are feeling lost at any time, just scroll down to find your way:)

My closest OnStage Local (Stampin' Up!'s convention) was Shreveport, LA.  So 15 of my Southern Sweet Stampers team carpooled and caravanned to Shreveport for a fabulously fun girls weekend.  It was a blast!  My first pic is the little gift I made for each of my team members heading to Shreveport. They all loved it!  Stampin' Up! Clear Mount Stamp Cases can hold lots of goodies, and this idea can be adapted to many events.  

Shreveport-CentrestageWe arrived Friday afternoon, and I attended CentreStage that evening--a special Stampin' Up! event for those at Silver Elite and above.  It was a super nice steak dinner plus a great training for us by Lisa Robbins Young. We had time to connect with other demonstrator leaders and Stampin' Up! staff, gifts!!!, our OnStage bag, and our copy of the new catalog!  Of course, the highlight of any OnStage is getting our hands on the new catalog (in this case, the big 2017/2018 annual catalog!)  Receiving it the first night (even before the main event on Saturday) was extra special.  It was a full evening, a sweet reward for us leaders:)  I love the way SU spoils us!

While I was receiving extra pampering and training, my Southern Sweet Stampers were having plenty of fun via a Shoebox Swap at the Hilton restaurant.  The staff there made a huge table for 14, and each SSS member brought everything needed for their teammates to make their project, neatly arranged in a shoebox, hence the name Shoebox Swap!  Jeanne Cook headed up this operation which means it went smoothly, without a hitch, and everyone had a great they left with 14 new cards!

Shreveport Onstage

Saturday was a very full day with:

  • fabulous event bag packed with a new stamp set, cute post-it notes, pen, notebook
  • new product reveals and demonstrations
  • recognitions for demonstrator achievements
  • lunch
  • amazing display boards that had us all drooling
  • prize patrol-free, brand new products!
  • and stamping-of course!
  • using new dies, punches, In Colors, and more!!!
  • so much laughing, fun, and joy! 

Every one of us was so thankful we had come, enjoyed having so much time together, loved all the stamping, and were treasuring every single page of the new catalog:)  OnStage is excellent value.  Several of my Southern Sweet Stampers in attendance had been to other OnStage events.  But this was a first for over half my girls there.  

At any gathering of Stampin' Up! demonstrators, you will find swapping!  I participated in two organized swaps (meaning you sign up for them in advance), and these are the swaps I created. 

TimelesstexturesstampinuponebigmeaningcandyrattrayThe first one features One Big Meaning and Timeless Textures rubberstamp sets.  Both are returning, so they are in the big, new, annual catalog:) Actually, the only item on my handmade card that is retiring is the Falling Petals Embossing Folder I used on the Copper Foil Sheets.  I love pairing Copper Foil Sheets with Peekaboo Peach.  My boldly contrasting colors needed a bit of a sweet touch to tie everything together, and I turned to Lace Trim for a truly eclectic look.

My second card also featrures Timeless Textures and One Big Meaning again.  I was on a roll with these super versatile rubberstamp sets!  Every single thing on this handmade card is returning in the 2017/2018 annual Stampin' Up! Catalog!

All items used on my swap cards are listed and linked below for your convenience--as always on my blog.  I hope you enjoyed my memories of #OnStage2017.  Now, there are LOTS more demonstrators sharing their #OnStage2017 memories from different venues all over the world.  Check them out here, and thanks so much for stopping by today!


Remarkably Creative Blog Tour, April-Urban Underground Suite

Thanks so much for joining me today on the Remarkably Creative Blog Tour where some very talented Stampin' Up! demonstrators are inspiring you with the Urban Underground Suite from the Stampin' Up! Occasions Catalog.  You are at Candy Rattray,  All the blog tour participants are listed and linked at the bottom of this post, so if you get lost--just check there.  You will want to click on all the posts for maximum inspiration!

My favorite part of the Urban Underground Suite is the colors--I'm already mourning the retirement of Delightful Dijon.  As a big fan of yellows, this is one of my faves of the soon retiring 2015-2017 In Colors.  Add any yellow to any gray, and I'm there!

I created this handmade card for my son-in-law's upcoming birthday.  To me, the Urban Underground Suite makes it a cinch to create masculine cards and projects--although you can also make some fabulous feminine ones:)  The Urban Underground products I used here are:  Urban Underground DSP, Urban Underground Washi Tape, and Urban Underground Embellishments.

urbanundergroundsuitestampinupoccasionscatalogcandyrattrayI wanted this masculine birthday card to have a light and cheery feel, so I went with the Birthday Blast bundle for a fun factor.  That springy, silvery piece reminds me of fireworks and is perfect for my fun-loving son-in-law.  Birthday Blast bundle is perfect for the young and young at heart.  

Although the Urban Underground Suite can look...well, urban and organic--it can also go in different directions as I show here.  My masculine birthday card has a serious color scheme mixed with some fun elements.  That makes it a bit eclectic and unexpected--again, perfect for my SIL.

All Stampin' Up! supplies are listed and linked below for your convenience.  Now head on over to the next blog on the Remarkably Creative Blog Tour for more Urban Underground Suite inspiration.  You are now leaving Candy Rattray,  I hope you liked my take on the Urban Underground Suite.


Stampin' Up! Retiring List 2017-Top 10 Picks, Accessories

This is my third and final installment of my Stamping' Up! Retiring List 2017 blog post miniseries.  The full list is here in all its glorious 10 pages!  I don't know about you, but I need bite-size pieces:)  Everything on this list, except the packaging items, is discounted and only available while supplies last.  

As in my previous Top 10 Pick posts, I'm giving you reasons for my picks.  I feel that you need reasons!


  1. Lace Doilies-These are the doilies in the Occasions Catalog, and they are fabulous!  The fact that they are Very Vanilla on one side and Whisper White on the other is foremost reason I adore them!  I also really like the open lacework design.  And at a discount!  $3.15 for 24! Here's an example.
  2. Cupcakes & Carousels DSP stack-Gorgeous colors, vintage feel, versatile images...all these things make this DSP stack extremely versatile.  Yes, it coordinates perfectly with Carousel Birthday stamp set--which is on my Top 10 Stamps list here.  But this DSP works with so many other stamps and projects.  Plus it's discounted 33%!  What a steal! You can see peeks here.
  3. Cupcakes & Carousels Embellishment Kit-This little kit of creativity is just awesome.  At the regular price, it was great value.  At 33% off, you must get it!  The ombre ribbon alone makes this a stand-out kit.  My favorite elements are the ribbon, the gold accented labels, and those darling mini Pool Party bows:) Here's a sample for you.
  4. Blushing Bride Glimmer Paper-Our glimmer papers are fabulous.  Soft pink sparkles...need I say more???!!!  Plus it's discounted.  $3 for two 12 x 12 sheets.  You better go and get you some!!! You have to scroll down in this post, but there are 2 great samples that really show off this Glimmer Paper.
  5. Emerald Envy Ruched Ribbon-I love all the ruched ribbons but had to narrow down my color choices to keep in my Top 10:)  Use the Emerald Envy for everything from Christmas to birthdays.  Love it!  More 33% off discounts!
  6. Peekaboo Peach Ruched Ribbon-See above comments!  This coordinates beautiful with all our copper elements (embossing powder and copper foil sheets:)  Can you say 33% off??!!!
  7. Delightful Dijon Mini Striped Ribbon-Again, I had to narrow my color choices for a ribbon that I truly adore.  I used this one for my Christmas Magic Christmas Card Class, and it has a very elegant, lush look and feel to it.  It's like a soft gold that work with vintage, masculine, wedding...anything that needs an elegant touch.  $5.60 for 10 yards-a true bargain!
  8. Cucumber Crush Mini Striped Ribbon-Although Cucumber Crush is a very bright, vibrant green, this ribbon is soft.  That is because there is a white throughout the ribbon which really tones it down and gives it--dare I say--an elegant look!  Check out my sample here!  Plus at $5.60 for 10 yards-a true bargain!
  9. White Gift Boxes-These gift boxes are so very versatile!  Like all our packaging, they are food safe.  That means I can fill this baby up with a cupcake or macarons or cookies or other homemade goodies.  Or I can make it into a little window box that gives a sneak peek of what's inside! Check out my mini video tutorial here!
  10. Petite Cafe Bags-Again, this little packaging wonder is food safe.  In appearance, it reminds me of the bags that Starbucks used to use for coffee beans--before it was all pre-packaged at Sbux:(  Perfect for treats!

Okay, that's it for my Top 10 Accessories/Everything Else list for the Stampin' Up! Retiring List 2017.  I must tell you that it has been hard to narrow down my choices to 10!  But at least I had 3 categories to put them into, giving me a grand total of 32 (no, my math is not off!  I sneaked an extra 2 items into my Top 10 Stamps List!)

Everything is listed and linked below.  Please remember that all accessories are while supplies last.  


Stampin' Up! Retiring List 2017-My Top 10 Dies & Punches



There are so many great stamping supplies on the Stampin' Up! Retiring List 2017!  Many are discounted, so they are selling very quickly.  Most of us love anything on sale; and if we have been wanting something, that reduced price puts us over the edge and gets us to push submit on that order!

I like things broken down--it helps my ADD brain cope with a plethora of information.  So here is my Top 10 Must-Haves for dies and punches with pale yellow highlights for all links to samples using the products.  And here are my reasons:

  • Bakers Box-Makes a large, stylish box for treats with window options.  Make it simple or jazz it up--either way it's super cute and holds quite a bit.
  • Balloon Pop-Up Thinlit Dies-This is the bomb for making pop-up birthday cards!  Interactive cards are guaranteed to bring smiles.  Top that off with some great balloon and bow add-ons for fabulous texture and customization.  Plus it's half price!!! Here is a scrapbook layout I made with it.
  • Curvy Keepsake Box-Endless possibilities for creativity!  Just look it up on Pinterest!  In addition, you can make one with a single sheet of card stock:)
  • Christmas Greetings Dies-Small, simple, perfect for Christmas cards and memory keeping
  • Perfect Pines-This coordinates with Peaceful Pines which is on my Top 10 Retiring stamps.  Even without the stamps, it makes adorable Christmas trees--again with lots of customization options
  • Stylish Stems-This is quite new, Occasions Catalog 2017, but I just love the flowers and leaves!  Although it coordinates with a stamp set, I actually use it mostly without the stamps as shown here:) Plus it's at a huge discount!  I think 40%!
  • Acorn Builder Punch--This is a must for fall!  It has a really cute coordinating stamp set--Acorny Thank You.  But even on its own, the little punched out acorns are fabulous.  I love that you can do the acorn top and bottom in different colors and/or textures. Here's a fall treat. They look fabulous in glimmer paper!  Plus it's at a huge discount!  
  • Elegant Butterfly Punch--This is so appropriately named!  This elegant butterfly stands alone...or layers beautifully with the Bitty Butterfly punch. Add a rhinestone or pearl, and you have simple perfection!
  • Bitty Butterfly Punch--See above!  LOL!
  • Snow Flurry Punch--Flurry of Wishes stamp set (a true Christmas fave!) is NOT retiring and this punch coordinates.  If you have the stamps, or are planning to get them, I love having the coordinating punch.  Here's a snowflake birthday card I made with this punch! And a Christmas card!

So those are my Top 10 Picks for Dies and Punches from the Stamping' Up! Retiring List 2017.  

They are also listed and linked below for your convenience.  I try to make it easy for you!  Please let me know if you have any questions at all.  You can email me here.  

Order here with this host code: QKHP7UM4 to receive a bonus gift from me this month-April!

Stampin' Up! Retiring List 2017-My Top 10 Stamp Sets

The much-anticipated Stampin' Up! Retiring List has been published. You may see it here (I love that we now have OC-Occasions Catalog and AC-Annual Catalog page numbers!).  It is a vast document--10 pages!  So I have my Top Picks here to help you find what you must have before these items head off into stamping retirement.  

I'm doing this in 3 separate blog posts:  Top 10 Stamp Sets, Top 10 Dies & Punches, Top 10 Accessories.  This is the first in the series.

So here are my Top 10 stamp sets as well as 2 bundles.   I added the bundles because I love the stamps, but they have coordinating dies that I really love as well!  They fit best into my Favorite Stamp Sets Category:)  

stampinupretiringlist2017candyrattraytop10So here are the reasons for my Top 10 picks.  I've put pale yellow highlights on all links to samples of the stamps.

  • Birthday Fiesta Bundle--I live in San Antonio.  Need I say more??!!!  If you live in south central Texas, Fiesta (it is a month long celebration in our city, sort of a big city-wide party!)is huge.  The cactus, llama, and paper picado images are perfect for the whole of the Southwest USA and lovers of southwest art and imagery.  Here's a Christmas card I made with the dies. Just get the stamps and dies--you will love them!  Ole!
  • Birthday Blast Bundle-This is quite new, one of the Occasions Catalog bundles.  The stamps are perfect for quick and easy celebration/birthday cards as shown here.  And the dies make a very fun, element that is almost like a spring jumping off the card!  This brings delight to any age:)
  • Barnyard Babies-This stamp set is aimed at kids, but the whimsical art style and fun, punny words evoke smiles for the makers as well as the recipients!  I love this stamp set for 3D projects.  Check out my Easter treat video here using this stamp set.
  • Carousel Cupcakes-Again, this stamp set is aimed at the young but is perfect for the young at heart!  The artwork is just gorgeous and is full of really lovely, retro circus images.
  • Friendly Wishes-I have used the heck out of these large phrases in lovely fonts! Here's one of my cards with Friendly Wishes.
  • Joyful Nativity-If you like sending inspirational Christmas cards, this is a must-have.  You can make elegant Christmas cards in just minutes.
  • Kinda Eclectic-The images in this stamp set are so very versatile. The sunburst is my favorite as shown here. The butterflies coordinate with the Elegant Butterfly and Bitty Butterfly punches which are on my Top 10 Dies & Punches list here!  Here's a sympathy card I made with it, too.
  • Peaceful Pines-Again, if you like to make inspirational Christmas cards, this is a great stamp set for you!  In addition, it coordinates with the Perfect Pines Dies which are on my Top 10 Dies & Punches list.  Get them both--you won't regret it!
  • Strength & Prayers-If you like making inspirational cards to share the love and care of Jesus Christ, this is a must-have and absolute bargain.  At just $13, you can't go wrong!  In addition, you can use the gorgeous dove on Easter cards.  You can purchase my Online Strength & Prayers Class this month which includes the stamp set--then you will have all you need to get started making awesome inspirational projects with Strength & Prayers!
  • Suite Sayings-Word stamp sets are a staple for any avid crafter.  The wide variety of sayings and fonts in this one are outstanding.  Check out my Easter card here that features Suite Sayings stamp set.
  • Traveler-If you are a fan of vintage style, Traveler is for you!  In addition, these are great images for masculine cards--something many of us struggle with. Here's one of my simple masculine cards with this set. The artwork in Traveler is truly beautiful.
  • Wetlands-This nature stamp set is perfect for creating lovely scenes with classic images, classic words, and classic fonts.  Again, it is great for masculine cards which are always a need.  But it is also perfect for the ladies.  I think Wetlands makes some of the prettiest sympathy cards.

All the pictures below are linked to my online store.  Remember, things are selling out already.  Order sooner vs later to avoid disappointment.   

Remarkable InkBig Blog Hop, April-Retiring In Colors

Thanks so much for joining me today on the Remarkably InkBig Blog Hop where some very talented Stampin' Up! demonstrators are inspiring you with the Retiring In Colors (2015-2017) from the Stampin' Up! Annual Catalog. You are at Candy Rattray, All the blog hop participants are listed and linked at the bottom of this post, so if you get lost--just check there. You will want to click on all the posts for maximum inspiration!

I'm already mourning the retirement of some of the 2015-2017 In Colors!  In fact, I shared about my grief over losing Delightful Dijon in a blog post here.  So in thinking about my other big loss of this round of In Colors, I decided to share a card featuring Mint Macaron.  What's not to love about its cool, calm color?!!  I love greens in general, and Mint Macaron brings a calming presence or soft accent to just about anything.

I created this handmade card to celebrate some special people on my team of Stampin' Up! demonstrators, the Southern Sweet Stampers.  Celebrating the accomplishments of those we care about is a very fun aspect of card-making.  The stamp is from Birthday Blast rubberstamp set in the Occasions Catalog.  All other items are from the main, or annual, Stampin' Up! catalog.  I took my color scheme directly from the Blooms & Bliss Designer Series Papers.  The colors are soft, sweet, and pretty.  Flowers, butterflies, and soft colors--that speaks to me of springtime prettiness!














All Stampin' Up! supplies are shown below for your convenience.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope I helped you love Mint Macaron even more than before!  Now hop on over to the next blog on the Remarkable InkBig Blog Hop for more inspiration using Retiring In Colors (2016-2018).  You are leaving Candy Rattray,



Balloon Adventures Scrapbook Pages

Today I'm sharing the 12 x 12 scrapbook pages we made in my scrapbook club in San Antonio in February.  My stamp club in San Antonio has 2 "tracks".  You can choose to card-making or scrapbooking.  I love options!  For my scrapbook club peeps, we mix it up between traditional 12 x 12 scrapbook pages, like those shown here, and pocket style (aka Project Life by Stampin' Up) pages or my favorite--a mixing of both.

For this 12 x 12 two-page layout I used the Party Animal suite of products from Stampin' Up! Occasions Catalog.  Product suites provide perfect product coordination and make scrapbook pages come together with a cohesive look in just minutes with minimal effort.  I'm a quick and easy crafty girl, so Stampin' Up! product suites are a great fit for me!

Party Animal suite has versatile colors and images I can use for boys, girls, men, and women.  the colors are bright and cheery, working for anyone of any age.  The images of balloons and streamers and gifts are universal for celebrations.  So whether I'm celebrating an accomplishment or a birthday, Party Animal suite is perfect.  

One more thing I would like to point out to you before I sign off today is that the Balloon Bouquet Punch (main aka annual Stampin' Up! catalog) perfect fits and coordinates with the Balloon Pop-Up Thinlit Dies.  Talk about options!  This increases your balloon-making options exponentially!  And all without taking all your breath away and making you feel light-headed (that's what always happens when I blow up balloons!).  

Check out all the details of my scrapbook club in San Antonio here.   With 3 different times to meet each month, there are options to fit your schedule.  We would love for you to join us!  We are a friendly and happy bunch:)  See all the Stampin' Up! products used in my scrapbook pages below.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  

Stampin' Up! Easter Treat Bag Free Video Tutorial

I'm super excited about my foray into the world of You Tube.  I'm having fun!  Now, I must warn you that my you tube videos are raw footage aka unedited.  If I had to edit and add flash music and such, it would never get done for this very non-techy girl!  My new mantra is, "Done is better than perfect!" That is how I came to share with you today my Stampin' Up! Easter treat bag free video tutorial.

This was the 3D project for my stamp club in San Antonio (click to check out the details of my stamp club!) this month.  We always make 2 cards or 2 scrapbook pages (members choose which one they want) plus a 3D item at my stamp club.  I really love this little Stampin' Up! Easter treat bag because it takes minimal supplies and holds one mini Easter treat.  That is easy on my time, easy on my supplies, and easy on my wallet when purchasing Easter candy.  Win, win, and win!

Once again, I used a favorite color combo:  Rich Razzleberry and Sweet Sugarplum (one of the 2017-2018 In Colors).  I used the Playful Palette DSP stack in my original and switched out to the Blooms & Bliss DSP for the one I shared here on my free video tutorial.  I hope you enjoy it and make a bunch of Easter treats for the peeps in your life (no pun intended:)

All the Stampin' Up! supplies are listed and linked below for your convenience.  And please subscribe to my you tube channel as I'll be sharing 1-2 per week as I press on with you tube!