Guest Post

Guest Post: The Kiss… by Rachel Van Dyken

My first kiss wasn’t awful…I was one of the lucky ones. I mean I’ve heard terrible horror stories about first kisses. You know the types, teeth knocking, bad breath, misplaced hands, awkward nose touching…the list goes on! 

It’s amazing what your mind remembers or chooses to remember. For one thing, I remember that it was kind of cold outside. The tree I was standing next to smelled really good, and the guy who kissed me was super gentle and slow. 

Again I KNOW thats not the norm 😉

Okay so why is this crazy author talking about first kisses? 

Here it is….call me weird, but I’m always trying to re-life those first life experiences so that I can explain them in my books. 

A kiss is never just a kiss, a touch is never just a touch, a first caress of someones fingertips? It needs to be real. For the reader, it’s a huge moment. 

I’ve always been a fan of those authors that can get your heart to clench in your chest! Or possibly cause you to gasp for breath when something crazy hapens. 

I think my goal as an author is to be able to get people to sigh when they read a kissing scene. So many books this day and age skip the first touch or kiss and go straight to the sex, skipping the build up totally kills the entire scene for me. 

Everytime I write a kissing scene (okay so not everytime but close) I ask my husband to kiss me. He thinks its hilarious, but I’m dead serious! I need it to be fresh in my mind if I’m gong to explain it. 

Reading should always be an escape into a fantasy, whether it be a kiss, a dance in a ballroom, or something else. 

I used to be a teacher/school counselor so I’m all about giving homework 😉 Next time you kiss someone…I want you to actually think about it. Don’t let it be something habitual.

Make it last.

Make it real. 

And relish in the feeling.

Then perhaps next time you read a story, it will be not only real to you, but you’ll get those warm fuzzies. 

AUTHOR BIO:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. 

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandyken.com

Twitter: @RachVD, Facebook: Rachel Van Dyken Author

Guest Post

Guest Post: The Blessing of Autism

Today, I have another guest~Sarah~who will be sharing her family’s experience with Autism. Because I gave her a hard time that her post was one word short of the cut-off (1998 words), I won’t say anything further and let her tell you about her amazing experience with three Autistic boys.

Thank you, Rose, for asking me to write something about my life with my boys during Autism Awareness Month. As some of you may know from my comments on Rose’s blog I am the blessed mother of four wonderful boys, three of whom have been diagnosed with autism. My oldest boys, Matthew and Jonathan, are eleven and a half year old, identical twins who were diagnosed with autism at the age of three while I was pregnant with their now eight year old brother, Luke, who does not have autism, but does have a number of health issues including severe asthma, severe allergies and he is anaphylactic to all nuts. My youngest son, Seth, is three and a half and was just diagnosed with autism last September but had severe developmental delays before his diagnosis. He did not walk until a month before his second birthday. Life with my boys is never dull and has certainly had its share of painful, tearful and almost always stressful moments, but our journey with autism has also been amazingly blessed and full of daily laughter. So I thought I would share with you some of the blessings of autism and some of the amazing things about my boys.

First I should tell you that the twins are considered High Functioning. They are verbal and can sometimes have a little conversation with you. They are both highly intelligent but very slow in doing things. I have had people ask me if they perhaps have Aspergers instead of Autism and the answer is “no.” and the reason for this is the fact that , as Heather pointed out last week, people with aspergers can have “normal” conversations with people as long as it is a topic of interest to them. With autism there is hardly any social interaction at all. Unless the twins need something they will not initiate a conversation with anyone and even then they will hardly look at you when speaking to you. The twins also have a lot of odd behaviors like constantly humming or making noise, moving their hands or arms in repetitive ways and just very awkward movements. This makes for some very interesting outings of which I have numerous stories I could share but I’ll save that for another time.

From the time the twins started talking in sentences I noticed that their words were all things they had heard from television and videos. At the age of two and half they both could repeat entire episodes of Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues complete with inflection and sound effects. I cannot tell you how many mornings I was woken up, with the sun, to the sound of both the boys saying certain episodes in their entirety. It was really quite amazing. My son, Jonathan, at that age also knew all his shapes including trapezoid, octagon, etc. colors, numbers and letters. In fact if numbers were out of sequence he would go into a full blown meltdown. He could spend an hour looking at the face of a clock if it had numbers on it. Matthew was the quieter of the two and while he knew most of this stuff as well he didn’t go around saying it all day and fixating on it. Matthew liked anything with wheels and spent his time lining up cars and Thomas trains and always in the same order. You better watch out if you messed up that order.

At the age of four Jonathan stood at our refrigerator and spelled the word “adventure” using the letter magnets. He knew this from a Sesame Street video we had. He could also play songs on our xylophone just by sitting down and trying out the notes. He could memorize a song heard on the radio after hearing it one time and when he would sing it back he would repeat a part over and over again just to get the note right. Last year in fourth grade he started playing the viola in the school orchestra and is still playing this year in fifth grade. He refuses to practice at home, but when he is tested at school and when they have their concerts he has all his music memorized. He doesn’t have the best form but he loves to play. Jonathan also love to draw and he especially loves to draw using the Paint program on the computer. He mostly draws video game characters. He will pull up a youtube video of someone drawing a character set to music and he will open up the Paint window next to it and draw along with the video. One day two years ago I saw him with his favorite, younger childhood, book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” on his lap sitting at the computer. He was drawing the pictures from the book on the Paint program and had opened up the PowerPoint program and figured out how to paste the picture into Powerpoint and was recreating the whole book in a PowerPoint presentation. I still don’t know where he learned to do that. He simply amazes me on a daily basis.

Matthew, is not as showy with the stuff he does. I like to say he is more laid back than Jonathan but really I think it’s just laziness. He loves to play video games and he is very, very good at it. I love that his younger brother, Luke, will ask him to get past levels for him. Matthew’s favorite things to read are game guides and he loves to go on youtube and watch videos of other people playing the games. He is just as smart as Jonathan is but he really hates doing the work. He is one of those types of people that once he has shown you he can do something he doesn’t think he needs to keep doing it. As his math gets harder and the need for showing your work becomes greater the greater the challenge of getting him to do the work has become. He has the answer, why does he need to show how he got it? Matthew can also be quite funny with the things he does and says. Just thinking about him brings a smile to my face.

Both the twins are generally very happy boys and one of the greatest blessings of them having autism has been the fact that they have never acted like kids their age. They didn’t go through the Terrible Twos, they rarely talk back. When I am around other kids their age it sometimes makes me happy that they don’t act like a “normal” eleven year old and I have felt that way about most ages. They aren’t embarrassed by me and they still love to sit next to me and they love to have their arms scratched or their backs rubbed. Of course, they are still very dependent on me for a lot of daily things that most eleven year olds aren’t but you have to weigh the good with the bad. They also live very much in the present, which is something I think a lot of us could learn to do more of. They don’t care about what happened in the past and only in the last couple of years have they started thinking about future things or occasionally worrying about the fire drill that is supposed to happen at school the next day. Everyone is a friend to them, which again, can be good or bad, but mostly good. They do get irritated with their younger brothers sometimes but that makes me happy, most of the time, because that is a completely normal thing for brothers.

Seth, is still mostly non-verbal. He repeats a lot of what we say to him and we call him our “Little Parrot”. Where the twins repeated phrases from TV, Seth just repeats the things we say to him right after we say it. I walk around with an echoing shadow most days. Seth is one of the sweetest little guys you will ever meet and he has definitely been my happiest and easiest boy of the bunch. He is such a ray of light in our family. One of my favorite things about Seth is that whenever he sees me, not matter if I have been out of his sight for two minutes or most of the day, he greets me like he hasn’t seen me in years. He gets so excited and jumps around and smiles so big and it just melts my heart. One of the amazing things about Seth is that, although he doesn’t do any spontaneous talking, he does spontaneously burst into song. Like his brother, Jonathan, it only takes one or two times of hearing a song for him to memorize it. He sings anything from “Twinkle, Twinkle” to the songs he hears on the radio. He doesn’t sing too clearly and it’s sometimes hard to figure out what it is he is singing but once I figure it out and start singing along he gets so excited and we can sing the same song for an hour or until I get sick of it. He and I have so much fun together.

As for Luke, my “typical” child there really isn’t anything typical about him. He has actually been the hardest of the four boys for me to parent and it pretty much started from birth. I don’t know if it was because he is not autistic but he was my hardest baby (yes even more so than preemie twins). He didn’t sleep through the night until well after a year old and he was very demanding toddler. He started crawling at 6 months and walked at 9 months. He grew up way too fast in my book. The only thing that took him longer to do was talk, but once he started around 20 months he hardly ever stopped. He could pretty much always tell his older brothers apart and when they were younger he knew what worked to calm them down and would try to help them. Now he knows what gets them upset and he likes to bug them. He was thrilled to become and older brother and three years later he still loves his little brother to smothering proportions. Seth is starting to fight back to some of the smothering, though. One of the best things about Luke is his love for his family and of God. He attends a public school but whenever they are asked to write about things they are thankful for and what they like best about something he always includes God in his writings and so far no one has said anything bad about it. He also almost always writes something about his brothers, mainly Seth. He is definitely in a unique situation and it isn’t easy for him. I try to explain to people how he is basically the younger brother with the older brother role. In a lot of ways he is more mature than the twins and I am sure as they get older this will only become more apparent. My hope for him is that he doesn’t grow up to resent the role that life has given him.

If you are still reading this, thank you. I hope I haven’t bored everyone. I wasn’t really sure what to write about but I knew I wanted to share some of the good things about autism. My life has not been an easy one but I know there are so many other out there with worse situations than mine. I am so glad that my boys are happy and for the most part healthy and I try to thank God every day for all the blessings these four boys bring to my life on a daily basis. Thank you again for reading my story and thank you again to Rose for letting me share it.

No thanks necessary, thank you for sharing!

Guest Post

Guest Post: Autism Awareness Month ~ Asperger’s Syndrome

Today’s guest has actually been a reader of mine for quite some time now, she comments here from time to time and I had the privilege to meet here last year at the Romantic Times Convention where she first told me her son had Autism, more specifically Asperger’s Syndrome. Without me having to prod her into this, she emailed and asked if she could post about Asperger’s in April! So without anything more from me, here’s what she has to say:

April is Autism Awareness month and Rose has graciously allowed me to guest post on her blog to promote awareness to her audience. Thank you, Rose for giving me this opportunity to share my own experience and perhaps shed a little more light on the subject.

What is Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)/Asperger’s Syndrome? Essentially, these terms all describe complex disorders of brain development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 1 in 88 children have some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Each year in the United States, about 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with ASD. Additionally, government statistics have shown that more children are diagnosed with Autism each year in the US than juvenile diabetes, cancer, or AIDS combined.

I have known since by son was 3 years old that something about him was “different.” He wouldn’t make or retain eye contact with me or anyone else. However, he was speaking in full, complex sentences. Adults found him charming and engaging because he could carry on a full conversation with them at such a young age. But other children could not relate to him. He was awkward in terms of his gross motor skills and coordination. Basically, he was clumsy. Anything that required hand/eye coordination was just not doable for him. He had issues with physical and social boundaries because he could not read facial expressions (thus, the lack of eye contact). At age 5 he was diagnosed with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder, which encompasses a lot of those things but it never felt “right” to me. I am by no means a professional– call it mother’s intuition or what you will, but I was sure from the beginning it was Asperger’s Syndrome. I had researched all his symptoms and behaviors and they all screamed Asperger’s to me. Sure enough, in January of 2012, he was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

How is Asperger’s different than Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder? Kids and adults with Asperger’s are usually considered “high-functioning.” They do not tend to have delays in language or cognitive development. In fact, my son tested above average in language development. He has an above average IQ. His memory and retention rate of information is astounding. You can verbally give him a list of facts and a week later he can recite those facts word for word. When he has an interest in something, he learns everything there is to know about that subject and can tell you all about it. So what are some of the signs? Of course, the only way to be sure is to obtain a formal diagnosis by a professional. Below are some behaviors that are common, but not present in all cases.

  • Struggling with social relationships, including limited social interaction with others
  • Inability to see things from another perspective or point of view other than their own
  • Inability to understand non-verbal communication (facial expressions, gestures) but are usually above average verbally
  • Having one-sided conversations; usually things that interest them personally
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Repetitive speech
  • Delayed motor skill development

Again, there are probably many other behaviors that are unique to individuals, but the ones listed above are some of the most common and my own son actually displays all of those. He has always had difficulty making friends, oftentimes because they don’t share the same interests. If they don’t play what he wants to he just doesn’t play. Many times in first and second grade, during recess he would go and sit with his teachers and have conversations with them instead of playing. He still doesn’t make eye contact, even if you specifically ask him to. At the age of 10, he still cannot tie his shoes, struggles with buttons and zippers and his handwriting, being brutally honest, is atrocious. I can barely read it at times. Thank goodness he has a wonderful support system at his school via teachers and counselors that let him type his work when he can.

We have been doing various types therapy on and off for several years now, since he was first diagnosed with the Nonverbal Learning Disorder. One thing that was very helpful for us was cognitive behavioral therapy. That has helped him tremendously in school. We also have the benefit of living in a city with an Autism center where he attended a camp last year to help him with social skills. And while you have to pick through information on the Internet, there are plenty of legitimate websites out there with tons of information on it.

There are so many things I don’t know about this disorder, but what I do know is that knowledge is power. I know there is no cure for this and I know that my son will have this for the rest of his life. It will challenge him in ways that I cannot possibly predict. But I am optimistic that through continued research, strides will be made. What I can do, as his parent, is to be as knowledgeable and supportive as possible so I can help him grow up to be as successful and productive as he can be. And I think that’s a commonality that all parents share—special needs children or not.

Note: A lot of the information I have shared has been obtained from Autism Speaks. To learn more about Autism, visit their site at www.autismspeaks.org.

Guest Post

Guest Post: A Love Story

Somehow, I managed to find yet another guest for this special feature, (and all readers and frequent commenters should beware, it might not be you today, but your day is coming!). Today, I have wrangled Angieleigh who runs the Once Upon A Book blog to come and share her love story. So enough of my words, and here are hers:

My husband and I’s love story may not necessarily be unique, but it’s a true testament to the power of the love we share and the love that God has for us both.

When I was eighteen I had a heck of a time finding a job and saw an ad in the paper for a job that sounded just perfect; earn lots of money, travel around the country, meet all sorts of new people…I was too naive to realize that it simply was too good to be true.

I ended up getting talked into the job traveling the country as a door to door magazine salesperson. To be honest, I was good at it because people could see how naively enthusiastic I was about my job. It truly was fun to meet people and see more of the country than I ever would have on my own.

Wayne* was my somewhat-boyfriend’s roommate. He was older – 26 to my 18 – and I didn’t really pay him much attention other than to talk about music – we’re both lovers of hair bands and everything 80’s – and whatever was on TV at the time. Tom and I didn’t work out, but we parted as friends. A few weeks later my roommate and her boyfriend locked me out of our hotel room and I had nowhere to go and didn’t feel like sleeping on the floor in the hallway. Wayne offered to let me stay in his room and that was that…we have been together since May 7th, 1996.

Though I truly believe in love at first sight, our relationship has been anything but easy; our road has had more mountains to climb over, more bumps than I ever dreamed possible. But I would not trade these eighteen years and two children for anything else in the world. Through trial and tribulation, countless separations and reconciliations, we have weathered the storms and come out even more in love than we ever thought possible. I have always known that God chose me to be this man’s wife for one huge reason – to save him from himself. My husband will tell you that the only reason he’s alive is because of me, and my pride will tell you that that is true.

In three years, on our twentieth wedding anniversary, we plan to renew the vows we made to each other. I simply cannot wait.

{*Name changed to protect my husband’s privacy}

Thanks so much for sharing your sweet story, Angieleigh! Be sure to visit her blog Once Upon A Book, there might be something of interest on the front page…

Guest Post

Guest Post by Author Suzie Grant: To Love or Not to Love

Today for my Something-New-Sunday, I have wrangled a friend of mine, author Suzie Grant, to come share a bit about the vikings she loves to write about and appropriately, she’s chosen to discuss their traditions on love and marriage and divorce. 

Viking women were considered among the few who had any “real” rights as women before the women’s rights movement. The Vikings were so far ahead of their time in my humble opinion it’s astounding how little it’s been studied or written about over the years. This culture fascinates me for that very reason. I have a real passion for this particular time period and I hope to share that with you.

The Icelandic Vikings were opposed to a central state dependent on the authority of a lord or King. They founded the world’s oldest, surviving parliament while Britain was mired in feudalism. Indeed, they were far, far ahead of their time for that very reason alone.

But what really captured my interest was the way they treated their women. They gave them more freedoms than any other culture in the world during those times. Women were held in high regard and the men treated them with respect. They managed the finances of the family. They ran the farm and villages when the men were absent. And Vikings created laws that protected women. For instance unwanted attention from a man was forbidden by society and women were encouraged to protect themselves, with force if necessary. And it was considered shameful in the extreme to harm a woman for there was no honor in that. Viking men chose a challenge and looked down on men who chose easy targets like women or children. Should any man be seen striking a woman, he would often be challenged and killed for his actions.

Although marriage was arranged between two families, often created when women were just girls or babies, she still held quite a bit of power. Though she had no say in who she married, if a Viking wife were truly unhappy, divorce was allowed by either party. It was not unheard of for a woman to marry several times in her life. And a woman owned property and when the marriage was dissolved, she took her property with her to return to her family.

The basic procedure for obtaining a divorce was for the couple to declare their intention before witnesses. If only one of the two spouses wanted the divorce then witnesses were called in, the dissatisfied party declared him or herself divorced. The declaration had to list the reasons for the divorce and has to be repeated before witnesses in the couple’s bedroom, in the front entrance to the house, and before a public assembly. The division of property ensued and the woman received one third of their shared property and was allowed to return home with the property she entered into the marriage with.

Marriage was a much more complicated process. Marriages had two parts: the betrothal and the wedding. The betrothal was a commercial contract between the woman’s guardian and the suitor. Interestingly, there are a few instances of the woman turning down the marriage proposal in the Sagas.

The groom’s family agreed to pay a bride price called the mundr and the bride’s father agreed to pay a dowry at the wedding. The two parties shook hands, agreed on a date and the deed was done.

The wedding was an elaborate ceremony. Feasting a drinking continued for several days usually at the home of the bride’s parents. There had to be at least six witnesses. The first part of the ceremony was used to invoke the God’s attention, often by sacrifice. The Groom would then present his bride with the sword of his ancestors, to hold this sword in trust for their future son. It signified the tradition of family and the continuation of bloodlines.

The bride then presented the sword which proceeded her to marriage from her father which represented the transfer of the father’s power of guardianship and protection to the groom. The exchange of swords was very ceremonial. Then came the exchange of rings. Then with joined hands on the hilt of the ancestral sword, they exchanged their vows.

The feast came next and the ceremonial wedding night. The most interesting thing about the Vikings was the morning gift. In the morning the two were separated for a short time and the woman was introduced into the “married woman’s coiffure.” Single women wore their hair loose. And then her hair placed in the hustrulinet. A long, snow-white, finely-pleated linen cloth.

The wife was escorted to her husband and in front of witnesses paid his wife a morning gift, signifying the marriage complete. She received the groom’s keys to his home which symbolized her new authority of mistress of the household.

It’s nice to see some form of woman power in history. It’s refreshing to know there are those who appreciated a woman for the real value she gave to society. Sadly, it took the rest of the world centuries to catch up. While it was unusual during the time period and often something we take for granted today, history has many secret gems like this in her grasp. We just have to take the time to peel back the folds and find them.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing such fascinating details, Suzie. I have to admit I had no idea viking women of all people would have had so many rights and respect back then. Very neat.

Suzie writes a wide array of historical romances including westerns, including the Devil Ryder Series as well as a viking romance titled Valkyrie’s Vengeance.

If you’d like to know more about Suzie, please visit her website at www.suziegrantauthor.com and be sure to comment today for a chance to be one of two people chosen for an eCopy of one of Suzie’s backlist books.

Guest Post

Guest Post: Single’s Awareness Day

After begging and pleading with people for guest posts, I suddenly had a flood of them (but not too many so none of you are off the hook) and this one needs to go up today as it seems most appropriate after I acknowledged the married ladies who might not have super romantic husbands yesterday. Today, Karen who you may know from the comment section, has graciously shared a little about her Valentine’s Day traditions as a single young lady…

Happy Single Awareness Day!

I have a confession to make, out of the 30 Valentine’s Days AKA Singles Awareness Day, I have seen, I have had a “boyfriend” for one of them, and that is when I was 10 so I’m not sure how much that counts, but I’ll take what I can get. By the time I hit high school I was absolutely fed up with the holiday and would make all the typical bitter comments about it being a made up holiday by the card, flower, and chocolate companies.

All that changed my senior year of high school thanks to a friend looking out for me. That year I got a singing Valentine from Henry (not to be confused with Henry Banks!). Now, considering that I was not the most popular girl in school, my getting any kind of Valentine let alone a singing Valentine was going to cause quite a stir especially as people tried to figure out who Henry was. And at that point my snarky side came out and I would just play 20 questions about who Henry was.

When I went away to college, I would still have something waiting from Henry and it would always create lots of questions as to who Henry was. When FB came out I then posted the pictures of the flowers I received from Henry creating even more questions from all my FB friends. If I couldn’t have a boyfriend having people asking all kinds of questions and providing minimum answers became my way of enjoying Single’s Awareness Day.

roses from Henry

The last 2 years I have not been able to receive gifts from Henry for a variety of reasons, but later during the year it has been made up to me. But I continued to post things on FB to garner questions. This year I posted lyrics from the song “Taylor the Latte Boy”. And Rose took the bait and asked a bunch of questions causing me to just giggle as I would respond. After a couple of response I came up with the idea for a guest blog so here it is.

flowers from Henry

Now what I’m sure you a

re all wondering is who Henry is. Henry is the Crown Prince of Haragrace from the story Where to Begin by my best friend. Don’t bother looking for that story on Amazon; she never finished it, much to my annoyance as I have half the manuscript in my possession. But Prince Henry was courting my character in the story, and my best friend in turn would send me Valentines from him.

Valentine’s Day is day about love, but it doesn’t have to be Romantic Love. My best friend made sure that I felt loved on that day for 10 years and that has helped to change my perspective on Singles Awareness Day, as a day to show everyone in your life a bit of love.

monkey from Henry

A note from Rose—I sure did fall for it, and not just a little; when she mentioned “boy” in her post, I flat out asked if this was a cougar-type relationship! 

Thank you, Karen, for coming to post.

Just for Fun

Make your own Valentine’s Day Gift Box!

Today, I have with me Monica Weaver, the creator of Add A Little Dazzle and she’s going to show us how to use stamps and paper to make a fabulous gift box for Valentine’s Day.

Not to worry, if you are anti-crafty, like me, she walks us through it every step of the way.

So, here goes:

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Supplies List

  • Stamp: Itty Bitty Banners (#126257-clear) or (#126255-wood)
  • Ink: Basic Black Classic Ink (#126980), Basic Black Craft Ink (#102192)
  • Paper: Whisper White Cardstock (#100730), Rustic Red Metal Sheets
  • Accessories: Crystal Effects (#101055), Sticky Strip (#104294), Mini Glue Dots

    (#103683), Basic Rhinestones (#119246), Big Shot (#113439), Vintage Wallpaper Impressions Folder (#120175), Bitty Banners Framelits (#129267), Sanding Block (#124304), Trinket Keys & Satin Ribbon (SU Clearance Store), Heat Tool (#100005), Clear Embossing Powder (#109130), Embossing Buddy (#129053), Stampin’ Sponges (#101610)

  • Non-Stampin’ Up!: Metal Earring Hoops, Paper Stump, Toothpicks, Metallic Silver Acrylic Paint, Mini Chocolate Heart Box 1.75 oz. box

Instructions for Vintage Wallpaper Metal Embossed Mini Chocolate Heart

Box:

Step 1 Cut a 4″ x 4″ and a 5″ x 5″ square of Rustic Red Metal Sheet. Note: You can make two heart boxes from one sheet of metal.

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Step 2 Take the lid of the heart box and trace it on the aluminum side of the 5″ x 5″ piece of Rustic Red Metal Sheet with a pen.

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Step 3 Take the inside heart out of the candy box and trace it on the aluminum side of the 4″ x 4″
of the Rustic Red Metal Sheet with a pen.

 

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Step 4 Place the pieces from Step 2-3 inside the Vintage Wallpaper Impressions Folder (red side facing up, one at a time) and run it through the
Big Shot. Note: Don’t worry about the edges that hang outside the impressions folder. Note: The important thing is for you to flip the folder over to the back side to make sure the heart is in the folder area.

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Step 5 Cut out each metal embossed heart. Make sure to cut about 1/8″ outside the line. Note: Start with 1/8” extra on the smaller heart. You may need to cut it down close to the exact size of the heart, but it is better to have more metal than less. Don’t cut the heart down until you get to Step 13.

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Step 6 Cut a 4”x 4” and 5” x 5” piece of Sticky Page and attach each heart to the corresponding piece. Take the white backing you peeled off and attach it to the piece shown. Cut out the two hearts. Note: If you don’t have Sticky Page, place Sticky Strip around the outer edges of the heart and peel the red film.

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Step 7 Take the larger metal heart, peel the red film, center the lid of the heart box onto the traced heart, press down, and attach.

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Step 8 Take the Paper Snips and cut a slit in the center of the heart as shown in the picture. Then wrap the metal around the edges of the heart.

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Step 9 Take your Paper Stump and go over the edges to flatten the metal sheet along the back of the heart.

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Step 10 Take your Sanding Block and sand in a circular motion. Take a Lint Free Cloth and lightly go over embossed piece to remove
metal residue.

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Step 11 Pour some Crystal Effects on a plate, dip toothpick in Crystal Effects, and place the drop on the metal as shown in the picture.

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Step 12 Take a Basic Rhinestone and place it on top of the drop of Crystal Effects. Follow this process for the lid. Let it dry.

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Step 13 Take the smaller heart, sand in a circular motion, peel the red film, and attach to the inside of the box. Go over it with a paper stump to attach the sides securely.

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Step 14 Take piece of Very Vanilla Satin Ribbon and use a Stampin’ Sponge and Metallic Silver Acrylic Paint to paint both sides of the ribbon. Set ribbon aside and allow it to dry.

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Step 15 Take a piece of Whisper White
Cardstock, rub the embossing buddy over it,
Stamp your sentiment of choice from the Petite Pairs Stamp Set, pour clear embossing powder over the image, remove excess, and set with the Heat Tool.

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Step 16 Use the Itty Bitty Banner Framelits or the oval punch to punch out stamped image. Punch a small hole at one end of the tag and distress the edges with Basic Black Classic Ink.

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Step 17 Take the earring hoop, place the tag in the hoop first and then run a Trinket Key through the hoop. Place a Mini Glue Dot underneath the key (to hold it in place) and attach to the tag as shown in the picture.

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Step 18 Take your ribbon, wrap it around the heart box as shown, tie in a bow, and cut off excess ribbon. Attach the hoop to the bow. You are done! Have a dazzling Valentine’s Day!

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A huge thank you to Monica for coming by and sharing her talents with us. If you’d like to see more of her projects and supplies, be sure to visit her website Add A Little Dazzle at http://www.addalittledazzle.com. She’s also on Facebook giving out wonderful ideas almost every day: https://www.facebook.com/AddALittleDazzle?fref=ts