Ode to the Chrysanthemum ~ A Tag

Shading Chrysanthemums

This perennial originates from China, where they have been cultivated for over 2,500 years. Chrysanthemums were used medicinally and for flavoring, as well as for ornamental purposes. Notably, the Japanese have adopted chrysanthemums and used them in their art as a symbol of longevity and happiness.

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My opinion is that the chrysanthemum is associated with Autumn as much as the Poinsettia is for Christmas! It’s a sure sign of the season when they show up in the nurseries and grocery stores. This poem is dear to my heart…

“Lo! in the corner yonder,

There is a gleam of white and gold.

The gold of summer’s sunshine,

The white of winter’s cold.

And, laden with spicy colours,

The autumn breezes come.

From nooks and corners, brightened

By the brave chrysanthemum.”

Eben Rexford

For this project, I wanted to share with you how I color and shade white cardstock to get the most natural looking flowers – which is what I’m known for.


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Victorian Haunted House

Victorian Haunted House…

If you’re noticing the countryside where you live, I bet it’s dotted with pumpkin stands, corn mazes, and haunted houses. It certainly is here in the South and my project reflects one of my fondest memories–a haunted house.


Our daughters were five and seven when we went to a haunted house as a family. Thinking back, it might not have been the best idea with small children, but they wanted to go, so we did. However, at the front door we were greeted by the scariest ghoul and Kelly literally jumped into my arms, buried her head in my chest and remained there until the end!

During the daytime, these houses look as if they’ve been forgotten, but at night, well, you get the picture from my card. I used my CountryScape dies to recreate a charming Victorian, neglected by time, but still has that curiosity factor to entice you in~eek!

Let’s get started…

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Monochromatic Magic

 Before E.L. James wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, my mother painted a watercolor (below) titled  Somewhere in Time. Since the movie Somewhere in Time (starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour) is one of my favorites, she gave the painting to me. It’s a perfect example of working in a monochromatic palette and the inspiration for my card today.


Monochromatic is all about one color; shades and values of that color. It’s been an important component of avant-garde visual art throughout the 20th century. Expressionists painters like Milton Resnick, Ad Reinhardt, and Richard Pousette-Dart have created distinctive works of art in a monochromatic palette.  I was inspired at the ways these artists handled texture and limited color in their paintings. I experimented today with this technique and used my birch tree, split rail fence, and wagon wheel in my scene. Choose a color and see where you can go with a monochromatic palette!

Let’s get Started…

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Garden Club Social – Apple Picking

Take Time…




“Take time to do what makes your Soul happy.”


Above, I’ve posted one of my favorite quotes, which I included in my ‘Seeds of Thought’ stamp collection. I learned this lesson all too well after losing our daughter to breast cancer in 2010. In the spirit of taking time to make my Soul happy, I decided to drive to my sister’s home in southwestern Virginia and spend some time with her.

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November 2015

Over the River and Through the Woods…


For me, November is the start of the holidays. The air has a chill, the trees still have some color, pots of flowering Kale have replaced fading perennials, and squirrels are aflutter gathering acorns for the winter. All of the sudden, Thanksgiving quickly approaches at the end of the month. Some of my fondest memories will always be of helping my mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner in November.

I chose Birch trees as my focal point of this month’s calendar. In every home we’ve lived in, I’ve made sure to plant a cluster of Birch trees – they’re one of my favorites. The leaves turn a beautiful golden yellow as autumn sets in. In front of the stonewall, the Birch trees have created a welcoming entrance to my Grandmother’s house. I hope this calendar brings back warm autumn memories for you as well.

Let’s get started…

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Calendar Girl

As a gardener, calendars play an important part in my life. In January and February, I look forward to the first of many seed and flower catalogues in the mail. When March and April come around, I order top soil to amend my flower beds and mulch to cover them; it keeps the weeds down and moisture in the soil. By May and June, I’m in full planting mode so I can enjoy summer blooms. In late August and September, I’m pursuing nurseries for gardening sales – especially on perennials. The fall months are left for cleaning up the beds and pruning flowering bushes. In December, our home is decorated with cut pine boughs, holly, and poinsettias. I think you can understand why I decided to do a series of calendar projects with my CountryScape dies!

By using my CountryScapes dies to create this series of calendars, I’m bringing back memories of my gardening and telling my story. I have already started with September and October. Later this week, I will post November’s calendar with steps and suggestions. I could have waited to start the year 2016, but I was inspired by the beautiful fall weather – as well as apple picking with my sister in the Shenandoah Valley this past weekend. Plus, wouldn’t these make great keepsake gifts?

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Hope is the Thing with Feathers…

Hydrangea for Kelly

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In 2009, our daughter Kelly was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and one of her favorite quotes, which she posted on her blog after her diagnosis, was:

“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the Soul and Sings the tune without words
and never stops ~ at all.”

                          Emily Dickinson

This quote has become one of my Seeds of Thought stamps because having hope is what kept us both strong. Sadly, she passed away on May 14, 2010, but I still have hope for a cure so that no family should ever have to feel this loss. The other inspiration for this card came from my good friend Bianca Petroschi’s design of a blue bird. Bianca is the newest licensed artist with Elizabeth Craft Designs and shares my love of nature. Creating a wreath from the branches of my birch tree, frames it beautifully!

Let’s get started…

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New Video Tutorials

As you may have heard, I’ve been hard at work creating video tutorials, so that you can recreate my designs for your own projects. I’m so excited to announce that I can finally share all of my new videos with you on the Elizabeth Craft Designs YouTube channel. Visit the Susan’s Garden Club playlist to find 15 new videos. You’ll find videos on Susan’s Garden, Garden Notes, and Country Scapes – And don’t forget, you can always refer to my ‘Tools & Techniques’ video tutorial for extra help.

Check out the galleries at the bottom of my blog for inspiration!

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Welcome to my blog!


I’m so excited to be sharing my love of gardening with you. For almost twenty years, I have been creating 3-dimensional flowers in paper; my passion lies in imitating nature as closely as possible. As a licensed artist with Elizabeth Craft Designs, I have been able to expand my lines to include low-relief realistic flowers for card making with Garden Notes, story-telling with CountryScapes, and a collection of quotes from my journal I call Seeds of Thought. You can find examples of my work in the galleries at the bottom of the blog. I hope these galleries provide a source of inspiration for your future projects.

Welcome3My blog will reflect my love of family, appreciation for nature, and holding dear the memories I have created. Here, I will share what influences and guides my creations. Every week, I will post a new card and show you how to create it. Have fun adding your own special touch to each project.

Don’t forget to sign up and follow for email notifications when a new post is made! Enjoy!