A Sustainable Future

A Sustainable Future

I know most of us are feeling overwhelmed with the current state of today. If you are not, lucky you. But sustainability is a core pillar in my job as an animal scientist. I must pick the best management and nutritional strategies to ensure a long-term future for my producers.  Many people think of sustainability as lowering Green House Gases, having less pollution, etc. But with every choice it also must be economically viable. The livestock industries have made leaps in bounds in the last century in lowering our emissions and environmental impact in face of lower profitability.

But I also put sustainability decisions into my daily life. I have enjoyed sharing and teaching card-making over the years. But I have decided that I will also be keeping up with scrapbooking. Working on my son’s books once a year at a retreat is not enough. So, I thought I would share a few pages I created using Stampin Up’s Pocket Pages and Sail Away Suite….I bet you were thinking I was giving up card-making, but there is more to come.

The Pocket book and pages that carried over into the new catalog are for a 6” x 8” page. The Lake Springdale page is a 12”x12” layout from a different event. My plan for the smaller album is to just scrap our 10-year anniversary trip to Las Vegas. But the memories and more cards and stickers make quick additions to complete several pages of your scrapbook. I even used one card on the full 6”x8” page as a title for page. I used several of my dies from different sets to create a nautical look. I also stamped the Balmy Blue with a net stamp for some texture.

The Pocket book and pages that carried over into the new catalog are for a 6” x 8” page. The Lake Springdale page is a 12”x12” layout from a different event. My plan for the smaller album is to just scrap our 10-year anniversary trip to Las Vegas. But the memories and more cards and stickers make quick additions to complete several pages of your scrapbook. I even used one card on the full 6”x8” page as a title for page. I used several of my dies from different sets to create a nautical look. I also stamped the Balmy Blue with a net stamp for some texture.

I want to point some elements in my design that can also be used with cards. Let us take the Night of Navy Framed Picture for an example. You can see I used my stitched-rectangle nesting dies to create a frame. I then used the stickers and vellum seaweed die-cuts to accent it. This same technique could be used with a scene creation from one of our many stamp sets, such as waterfront for a perfect card.

In closing, I hope I inspired you to get more out of your supplies and come up with new ideas either for your card-making or scrapbooking. But I also want to leave you with a thought, if we all try to make a difference, we can change the world. Our oceans and planets are at great risk, not due to animal agriculture, but of mankind and lifestyle. I urge you to help start making personal changes to help keep our planet sustainable for future generations. And a possible funny note, I think I will be hanging out in a shark cage underwater someday with Arthur, as he still loves these creatures.

Trying something new – Basics to WOW!

Trying something new – Basics to WOW!

Learning and being adaptable is part of my everyday life. As a researcher I was trained to conduct my tasks by specific standard operating procedures to ensure there was no human error or bias that occurred in our trials. The goal of every good researcher is to create repeatability. We measure the likelihood of repeatability by statistics and the holy grail of a “P < 0.05”. But the real world of animal nutrition is not so rigid, but fluid and ever changing.

Making cards is an outlet for me to channel the right-side of my brain and creativity, but following simple steps also ensures that the look or effect you are after is repeatable. Thus, I have changed my Sunday classes to incorporate basic techniques to help the beginner card-maker into a class on design to turn the basics into WOW! I forget how the little things and slight changes we can make can turn a simple design technique into a WOW card. But just a warning…I have said it before that practice makes perfect or at least close enough to perfect. Preparing a class on the basics reminds me that even the best of us need to revisit the basic techniques and practice.

Arthur has been doing this as well, practicing his writing of letters and numbers, even though he hates it, he is becoming better and better every day. On a side note he is also a LEGO builder and can spend hours building different machines and every week his builds improve and his ultimate wish is to become the next LEGO Master! He spends hours watching people build different items, while I spend hours researching my next card or class. So, I hope you enjoy these two classes I have created with starting from the basics

Card Bases

I focused on the standard A2 card base as that is my go-to size, like many of us. I explained cutting on the landscape and portrait sides of the cardstock to make two bases and then taking a top-fold base and stepping it up to a Z-fold card. Within the design I made a simple addition of a piece of DSP (4”x5.25”) cut at 2” and flipped for a two-paper look with a simple sentiment in the middle. Then I stepped the design up by using a strip of 1.25” (depends on sentiment) x 5.5” cardstock that I stamped the same sentiment on, but also used a border punch to add to the strip of cardstock for a nice look. My Z-fold card stepped it up further with the same papers but used a die-cut and stamped strip for the sentiment. I even made a present out of paper and ribbon.

All About Mats

For the Mat class I went through how to make mat size templates for design with different colors of cardstock. Then I demonstrated how a beautiful piece of DSP from the Ornate Suite can be enough for a WOW card with a simple mat and a colored card base. Then I stepped it up and talked about nesting dies and demonstrated the triple mat card using the stitched rectangle dies to give your DSP or stamping an extra level of WOW.

What type of research do I conduct?

For my job as an animal nutritionist we must run laboratory, feed mill, and animal trials to bring a new feed ingredient to market. We test the safety, the benefits of the product on digestibility or gut health, and ultimately the impact to the animal’s performance and efficiency. Most of the trials I run are with the live animal to demonstrate the efficacy and value of a feed additive to the producers. I love working in new product development because if there is a new way to bring value to the animal and producer, while making agriculture more sustainable it is extremely rewarding.

Next time…let us talk about sustainability and what that means to an animal nutritionist. Have a blessed day.

Water Escape or Groundhog’s Day

Water Escape or Groundhog’s Day

Is it just me or is the current state of today feel like you are living in a Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day”? I have had a few people say the exact same thing to me lately. Weekdays blend into weekends and its simply hard to keep the week straight. The only pillar of time I have currently is my Sunday Design Classes on FaceBook Live. I have evolved these classes into starting a beginner’s class and then combining the two as I am struggling to keep pace with my 3-4 jobs I have at the moment.

If you are interested in the classes, they will be on my FaceBook Page (The Scientist’s Art) on Sundays at 3pm CST. The class is now called “Basics to Wow” as I forget how simplicity is also beautiful as well and you do not need to spend an hour making one card. The videos will stay up on my page and will eventually be integrated into my YouTube channel.

Over Open Waters

Can you believe this was my first attempt at a bridge card? I have been meaning to make one of these cards for a while now but needed to find the right design. For this design it is part of my May Kit and I showcased this card and technique on one of my Facebook Live videos. In the video I water colored with Stampin’ Up Inks, but in this picture, I used watercolor paints, either option gives you a beautiful look.

The Story of the Pig in Boots

For my doctorate studies, I researched sow lameness and longevity. I had the pleasure (lets keep it at that) of measuring hundreds of sow feet and evaluating them for different lesions that could impact their gait or ability to walk freely. Their feet are cloven hooves (split in two toes), which is the most common, but there is a breed called the “Mulefoot” that has a single hoof similar to a horse or mule. But the hoof is made up of similar components to our fingernails and their phalanges (our fingers) are bones in their hoof and the metacarpals (our wrist bones) are further up into their ankles. Thus, I have always loved the picture of a pig in boots or this figurine I have, as its my passion to create nutritional and management strategies to reduce lameness in my beloved sows.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Cardstocks and Inks: Balmy Blue, DSP, and Silver Foil Cardstock.
  2. Stampin’ Up: Sailing Home Bundle and High Tide Stamp Set.
  3. Alternative Sentiment Stamps.
  4. Adhesives: liquid glue, tape runner, and dimensionals.
  5. Assorted red, blue, yellow and grey markers and inks (and/or watercolor paints).
  6. Aqua Brush


  1. Card base (Balmy Blue): 4.25” x 8”. Long side: Score at 1 ¼”, 2.5”, 5.5”, and 6 ¾”.
  2. Bridge: 5.5” x 1 ¼”. (Balmy Blue) – See Below for further directions.
  3. DSP: 1” x 4” (x2) for side panels. Bridge would be 5.25”x1” (I used silver embossed in hammered metal).
  4. Layering Bridge: 4” x 1”; score at ½” on each end for tabs. Adhere to Balmy Blue Panels to maintain card shape.
  5. Water Scene: watercolor paper or white paper to stamp scene on. 2 7/8” x 4 1/8”.
  6. Stamp 2 small and 1 large sailboat, 1 light house in black momento ink on white cardstock. Color as desired. Cut out. Use a ½” wide strip of Balmy Blue to stamp desired sentiment and dimensionals to adhere to bridge.
  7. Water Scene: use paint brushes, water, ink (or watercolor pencils or paints, etc). Stamp with waves or use markers to add distress (watch May 10th class video for inspiration and tips). Adhere panel to center of card.
  8. Adhere DSP pieces to coordinating panels.
  9. Adhere Bridge across front and connect on 2 outside panels only. Notice the card will fold back up to go into an envelope.
  10. Use Dimensionals and adhesive to add boats to your water layer and layering bridge.

Hope you enjoy making this card as much as I did and can’t wait to get up to Michigan again soon and visit Lake Michigan again to visit the place that inspired this card for me.

Practice Makes Perfect: Repetitive Stamping

I know it’s a cliché, but practice does make perfect or at least you end up with inky fingers like me. This cliché is a quite relevant in my life now, from card-making to developing my new business streams. I remember designing my first website over 20 years ago my freshman year in college, but today it is a totally different ballgame. I have also been perfecting my PowerPoint slides and preparing for the opportunity to visit customers once again in person. Needless to say I am finding joy and release in my card-making versus being an animal nutritionist at the moment. It is a difficult situation for all parties involved, but hopefully there will be a rainbow after the storm passes.

For the Month of May I am focusing on Water Scenes and the Sailing Home Bundle. I pushed the envelope on my stamping patience versus expertise. As you may have guessed I prefer coloring over stamping at times. But I wanted to demonstrate repetitive stamping and how the stamparatus is a great tool for that need.

In my practice run I made the card with a T-ruler and patience (and several pieces going into the trash can). But in my FaceBook Live Class I demonstrated how the Stamparatus makes things so much easier. The removal binder plates make it easy to incrementally move your stamps up to continue a repetitive stamp process without having to reposition the stamp. You can change colors and stamps to keep a repetitive process going to give it a totally different look each time.

Beginners Tip

What if you do not have a Stampartus?

Use a T-Ruler and a piece of acetate. Tape down your card front or mat to your work surface (with removable tape). A grid surface makes the next part easier but line up your T-Ruler and place a piece of acetate over your mat and line up block on T-Ruler and stamp on acetate. If you like the placement then remove acetate and stamp again in the same spot, if not adjust your stamp, block or T-Ruler.

Want to learn more beginner tips, check out my FaceBook Live Classes starting Sunday, May 10th at 3pm CST (The Scientist’s Art Page).

Watching the replay from the Sunday, May 2nd class?

Here are the supplies you need for the project:

  1. Sailing Home Bundle (151066, 10% off until June)
  2. Swirly Frames Stamp Set (146519)
  3. Peaceful Moments Cling Stamp Set (151595)
  4. Subtle Embossing Folder (151775)
  5. Stitched Rectangle Dies (148551)
  6. A2 Card Base (Whisper White, Night of Navy or Real Red)
  7. Night of Navy, Real Red, Balmy Blue, Mango Melody, Versamark Ink
  8. Night of Navy, Real Red, Whisper White Cardstock
  9. Come Sail Away Designer Series Paper (149481, hurry retiring)
  10. White Embossing Powder (109132)
  11. Vellum (101856)
  12. Baker’s Twine (149483, hurry retiring)
  13. Stampartus (146276)
  14. Sail Away Trinkets (149482, hurry retiring)
  15. Foam Adhesive Strips (141825) or Dimensionals (104430), liquid glue or tape runner

Want the May Card Kit ($15 + S&H) Please email (cbradleybecker@gmail.com) me for more information.

Hope you enjoyed my video and for my next blog can you guess what pigs and water have in common? I will share the importance of water for pigs (and all living creatures) and how they love baths. Remember practice makes perfect or close enough!

Magnolia Blooms

One Sheet Wonder made with the Good Morning Magnolia and Swirly Frames Stamp Sets

We all maybe stuck home, but hopefully you all have some type of tree that blooms in the spring. I am still awaiting my gorgeous Tulip tree to bloom even though it makes such a mess. I found a few blooms yet, but I think the late freeze and constant storms have caused it not to live up to its glory this year. But I had 4 other trees (apple and unknown) share their beauty. Spring is one of my favorite seasons and the birds singing and new babies warm my heart. I got my calf fix in via Facebook from my friend Sarah. She had a Maybelline number two born this spring (white with black eyeliner) and if she grows up anything like Maybelline, she will be another beauty.

Meet Magnolia…since Sarah did not name her yet.

Did you know?

Did you know traditionally cattle producers only bred their cows to calf in the spring? But with better management practices and milder climates, producers in the south can now have calves born in the fall and spring, thus I will hopefully be able to get my fix again this fall. Also, a cow carries her calf for 305 days and then is usually rebred 30-90 days after giving birth. A baby girl calf is called a heifer (a female that has not had a baby) and male calf is a bull calf (daddy). A lot of boy calves are castrated before they are weaned and then are called steers. Most steers are raised for those yummy steaks we eat.

But back to my Magnolia Blooms…which is carrying over into the new catalog. I designed my April class to go with the Magnolia Bundle and Bulk DSP. I will give directions to the two cards I made in my Facebook Live class, but if you would like the full PDF for all the cards please email me and it is only $5. I am still learning how to make videos, post to different outlets and then create my online store so please bear with me.

Spotlight Card

Bloom Colored with Flirty Flamingo and Mossy Meadow Blends; Gold Embossing Powder.
  1. Card Base: A2 White; side fold.
  2. Mat: Magnolia bloom DSP: 5.25” x 4”. Adhere to card base.
  3. Mat: White: 5”x3.75”.
  4. Brush down white mat with embossing body.
  5. Stamp with Versamark ink the large magnolia flower. Make sure to line up just right to fit onto the mat. I used a Misti or Stampartus to do this.
  6. Emboss in Gold Embossing Powder.
  7. Use circle die or punch (mine was 2.75”) to cut out the majority of the flower part. The size of die or punch is up to you as it’s how much of the flower you want to highlight.
  8. Color only the die cut image out with Stampin Blends (I used Flirty Flamingo and Mossy Meadow sets).
  9. Emboss white mat (not image) with Subtle folder if desired.
  10. Adhere white mat to DSP (card front).
  11. Use dimensionsals or foam tape to pop up circle. Be careful to line-up to match mat.
  12. Stamp sentiment on provided die-cut oval and adhere with dimensionsals.
  13. Embellish as desired.

Casey’s Take on the Spotlight Technique

One Sheet Wonder Stamped; Cut down with circle nesting dies.

Within the class every card has a circle within the design to bring forward the focal point. But in this design I made a one-sheet wonder card and used the “Swirly Frames” to make gold highlighted spotlights in my design.

Circle Easel Card:

  1. Card Base: Start with A2 Side Fold in White. Use a 4.25” circle and offset on fold to leave a little bit for the fold (watch Facebook video if you do not know how to align die). Score top fold in half for the easel component.
  2. Early Espresso Mats: 4.25” and 4” circle.
  3. White Mat: 3.75” circle; cut in half and adhere to inside brown mat at top to write or stamp sentiment.
  4. One Sheet Wonder Mat: 4”. Adhere to 4.25” brown circle. Adhere to only bottom half of top of card base (if you put adhesive all over it will not be an easel card). Note: watch my video for how I designed my sheet and made a spotlight with gold embossing powder.
  5. Die cut floral image out of dies in magnolia suite…bottom layer in petal pink, top layer and leaves in gold foil. Assemble and pop up with dimensional on inside of card. (It must have a dimensional or height to the image to help the easel layer stand up).
  6. Die cut out sentiment frame (wild rose bundle) in petal pink and stamp with petal pink for a tone on tone look with large magnolia flower.
  7. Die cut mom or other word in small letters in gold foil. Adhere to sentiment frame; attach sentiment frame with dimensionsals to card front.
  8. Tie bow in petal pink ribbon and adhere with glue dot on top of card front.
  9. Embellish as desired.

Teaser Alert!

My May class kit with be using the Sail Away Suite. The classes are a mix between designs and product shares. As long as I can still order the baker’s twine, trinkets and DSP I am taking orders for the kit now until May 10th. But you will get 3 each of Balmy Blue, Night of Navy and Soft Suede Cardstock, a half sheet of each of the DSP, 5 yards of twine, and 4 trinkets. You will receive directions for a minimum of 6 cards as well. My kits are $20 plus shipping. I also normally die-cut a lot of elements for you if you don’t have a big shot or the dies (especially if they are not part of the bundle). If you are interested please email me and if you want to order the bundle before the 10% discount goes away please visit my shopping site and the item number is 151066. Please use the May hostess code (QBDJ7QBW) to help us earn May Door Prizes from the new catalog!

In Need of Fresh Air

In Need of Fresh Air

I am sorry it’s been forever since I wrote a blog and sadly do not remember where I left off from. I have been through a major career change in the last month. I was laid off back in February and have been scrambling ever since to start my own business. Due to the current state of today I took a part time job, while I work on other income streams.

Don’t feel sorry for me though….as it was a great thing that happened for me and just possibly the right push at the right time for me to live my dreams. I have always wanted to scale back and spend more time with Arthur and now I hope to have that flexibility. But due to the change I have had to devote a lot of time and energy into the “New Me”.

Continue reading “In Need of Fresh Air”