Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New (green) Year!


Hi Everyone,

Here's a card to start 2009 off on a green note. Over at EnjoyMichaelStrongstamps Yahoo group we're finishing up our latest card challenge. Each card must have an element that you would normally throw away. Can you guess what I used? I hope we can all be a little "greener" in 2009!

All the best,

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Hello Everyone,

Here's a picture of what Carla did today. A counter full of delectible Christmas cookies lovingly made for our Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow. Of course I had to test each kind!

We want to wish each and everyone a Joyous Christmas and the happiest New Year ever!

Love to you all from The Strong Family
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Life of the Party


Here's my office mate wearing a lampshade! It's a little chilly today so Stella likes to sit under the lamp and catnap. I disturbed her taking the picture and she wasn't too happy about it.
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stamp,color,cut, glue,assemble


Hi Everybody,

You can see what we will be doing this weekend, making our Christmas cards! All the pieces are ready to be put together and mailed. This is a happy chore we love to share. We wish you all the happiest holidays ever!

Mike & Carla
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Carol Duvall Holiday Workshops

Happy Holidays everyone,

HGTV is running Carol's Holiday Workshops again this year. They were the most fun shows to do because of the live audience. If you would like to take a look at my projects go here:,1806,HGTV_3822_35381,00.html or here:,1806,HGTV_3822_27368,00.html

Monday, December 1, 2008

Challenge #3

EnjoyMichaelStrongstamps Yahoo Group card Challenge #3

Express this theme: Happy Green Year!
Design a card using any MSRS you may own. Make a happy New Year card in shades of green, (other colors may be added if you wish). The only other restriction is that a component of the entry must be something you would normally throw away. Be creative and think outside the trash can! Let’s start the new year thinking about being kinder to mother earth!

The deadline for this challenge is Jan. 3, 2009. Three winners will receive a swell prize. Good luck!

Squared Away winners

Thanks to all who participated in this challenge. Special thanks to the three talented ladies represented left to right below: Kathie McGuire, Birgit Edblom & Tammy Joyce.

Tammy Joyce
This is my favorite nostalgic entry. Tammy’s card evokes a memory of a time gone by. Before we had access to today’s wonderful array of craft supplies, we made things with what we had around the house. Tammy’s card has a delightfully cheery homemade quality, which I love. Well done Tammy!

Birgit Edblom
This gorgeous card in cool shades of blue and white is my favorite composition in the group. Its simple look employs many sophisticated design principles. Notice how Birgit placed the flower on a plain blue background, which is counterbalanced by the four striped panels on the left. She also did a neat balancing act with the two different kinds of ribbon. Finally, the understated use of one triangular piece in the upper right guides the eye back to the heart of the composition, the subtly embellished flower. Well Done Birgit!

Kathie McGuire
This is two in a row for Kathie. The sheer exuberance of this card made me laugh out loud. Just look at those little butterflies escaping the pot. What a fun card this is! Once again, Kathie’s workmanship is impeccable. It’s not easy giving a static medium spontaneity but she has. Well done Kathie!

Squared Away winners!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Squared Away card

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Squared Away

Hi everybody,

I was inspired to do a square card by all of the artists who have submitted entries in the latest challenge at EnjoyMichaelStrongstamps yahoo group. I had a few spare minutes this afternoon so I stamped my frame stamp onto gold cardstock, cut it up into 16 pieces, added glitter and ribbons and assembled what you see. Remember, the deadline for the Squared Away challenge is Nov. 30. Cheers!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Card Challenge

Hi Everybody,

The latest card making challenge at the Yahoo group EnjoyMichaelStrongStamps is on!
Join the group here to participate.

Here's the lowdown: The challenge is called "Squared Away". Make any size card as long as it's square. Use any MSRS you have. There are no color restrictions this time and you can embellish the card to your hearts content. The only other requirement is that you must use two different types of ribbon to adorn the card. The challenge ends on November 30. Three artists will be awarded with the brand new "Snow Pals" rubber stamp set. Have Fun!

Jazi Fun!

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Jazi Fun!

Hi Everybody,

What a fun day I had yesterday. I was at Jazi Crafts in Oceanside for the second annual Artist Retreat. The theme this year was "Whimsy". Michelle Peard (such a talent!) and I teamed up to help our participants make a very whimsical holiday keepsake project. Everyone arrived at the store at 9:30 and received their goody bags and had breakfast(yum). Fortified, half the group began in the "Gilded Cage" workspace making a really awesome 6 X 6 Acrylic book designed by Michelle and the other half began in the "Igloo" workspace making a whole bunch of cards, gift tags and bookmarks designed my me. All these things fit into pockets on each page of the book. After a Delicious lunch (yum yum) the groups switched workrooms to complete their project. All day long, whoops of joy echoed through the store as door prizes were awarded (I'm pretty sure everybody got a prize!). Goodies were distributed all day long including ice cream sundaes(yum yum yum)in the afternoon. I truly had a blast. It was a pleasure spending the day with such a fun group. Thanks to David and Michelle Jackson and the staff at Jazi Crafts for making the day so memorable! Can't wait for the next retreat!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Snow Pals

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Snow Pals

Hi Everyone,

Here's a picture of a card I made using my new Snow Pals set. I'm having fun designing a new line of character stamps. I would love to have some suggestions for additions to the new "Whimsy" collection. I'll be using these little guys in the second annual Artist Retreat at JaziCrafts in Oceanside California on Saturday November 15. I'll post some pictures of the event next week.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Cloisonne Dog

Doggone it! I seems like forever since I placed a "coming soon" spacer on my catalog page for the Cloisonné Dog. It took me a while but here he is. I'll be using the stamp at the big anniversary party at The Stamp Addict on Saturday November 22. Come by and make a free card any time between 9:30 and 11:00. See you there!
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The winners

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Black & White Beauties

Hi Everybody,

Here are the three winners of the first card challenge at EnjoyMichaelStrongstamps Yahoo group. Congratulations to (from left to right) Willow Ciarrochi, Herma Fichte and Kathie McGuire! All the entries were amazingly creative. I want to thank everyone who participated. I'll give you a little break until the next card making challenge which will begin on November 17.
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Friday, October 24, 2008


Posted by PicasaI know it's a little early to be thinking about Christmas but I'm doing a class next month called "Elegant Christmas" so I'm making samples. Here's a challenge for you. Make a christmas card in non-traditional colors. This one is in shades of brown (my favorite!) What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008


Hi Everybody,

I've been inspired by the beautiful cards submitted to EnjoyMichaelStrongstamps forum for the black and white card challenge. Here's a sample of one of the cards we'll be making in my class this month called High Contrast High Style. Check out my classes and appearances page for dates and times. Have an inspired day!

High Contrast High Style

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beautiful Black & White

Hi Everybody,

My friend Hetty who lives in The Netherlands has started a Yahoo group called enjoyMichaelStrongstamps ( So far she has about 50 members. To thank her, I put out a card making challenge to the members. Create a card using any MSRS stamp you may own. The color palette is restricted to black & white. You may add text and any embellisments you wish as long as they stay within the color parameters. The cards are to be 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" and there must be a recycled item included on the card. The deadline is Oct. 31 2008. I get to choose my three favorites and the winners get a special prize from me. Take a look at the submissions so far
Now, go make something black, white and beautiful!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Danger boy

Hi everybody,

October 1 is my brother Gary's birthday. Happy birthday Bro! There are three Strong brothers Gary, Patrick and me. Patrick and I are alike in a lot of ways, We look alike, we have similar temperaments, we live in the same city and get to see each other often. My brother Gary is not like Patrick or me. He is the family adventurer. Think of an exciting or dangerous job and Gary most likely has done it including the #1 rated most dangerous job on earth, fishing for King Crab in Alaska. Currently, he lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Janet and a large extended family of cats. I miss Gary. I wish we could hang out more. I miss his raucous sense of humor and his explosive booming laugh. I'll call him later this morning and catch him on his lunch break. He works on high voltage electrical lines now. See, dangerous. Oh, I forgot to tell you that he was born on my birthday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back to the lounge, hooray!

Hi everybody,

We're back from a few days in Los Angeles taping brand new episodes of The Scrapbook Lounge. I know you'll love the new shows! Tricia, Judi, Jami, Tamara and I welcomed a new designer to the show, Stephanie Sheets from Kodomo Inc. Kodomo makes beautiful stamps and papers and Stephanie did a great job. I think you'll love her project. I'm not sure when the new shows will start so be sure to check out often so you won't miss any premieres. Keep a look out too for a really special surprise!

Monday, September 8, 2008

autumn leaves

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Where has the year gone? The changing seasons in San Diego are very subtle and although September in San Diego is very summery our thoughts are turning to the coming fall season. The leaves on the Liquid Amber trees that line the streets around our house will soon be turning color. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. To mark this change of seasons, I'll be teaching a class at Stamping Details on September 24th devoted to Fall. Here's a sample of one of the cards we'll make. The technique is from my book "Paper Greenhouse". Stop by and have a cup of warm cider and say hi!
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Monday, August 25, 2008

good work

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Little miracles

I went out to get the paper this morning and noticed this spider and web which was not there yesterday. Overnight this little creature created a thing of beauty for me to take a picture of. I'm sure that's what she was thinking. Anyway, I appreciate her effort.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

the new vase

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summer flowers

Hi everybody,

We went to Mesa Arizona over the weekend to visit with dear friends and attend the Rubber Stamp & Scrapbook Expo. I was so happy to meet you all during our make & take in the Sunday International booth. We released my brand new Cloisonne Vase stamp at the expo. Thanks to all who bought one!! Here's a summery card I made with the stamp. As you can see, I stamped the vase with black dye ink onto pale green cardstock and stippled some rose colored ink over it. I cut the vase in two pieces (I cut the arms off!) and layered them on a black background adding some punched flowers to the bowl. The tall jar in the back is the bottom part of the vase turned upside down. I'm having fun playing with this one, hope you will too.
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Friday, August 1, 2008


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backyard salad

Hi Everybody,

Happy August! Here's our cat Stella enjoying a little "salad" in the yard. Normally she stays inside because we have coyotes living in the hills and canyons of our neighborhood. They like nothing better than a tasty cat. So, Stella was on a supervised trip to the backyard salad bar. I can't blame her for wanting to get out of doors. We've had a spectacular summer so far.

I took a break from teaching classes during July for family events but now I'm back at it with 16 classes this month. That means getting ideas out of my brain and onto the drawing board, cutting up cardstock and making kits. Take a look at my website for classes and appearances and if you can come by and say hi.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A New Life Together

Hi Everybody,

It was back to work for me today. After five days of joyous wedding events, the newlyweds are gone on their honeymoon. We had such an amazing time. I promise to post some more pictures. Thanks to all of you who sent good wishes to the new Mr. & Mrs. Strong as they begin their new life together.

Mr. & Mrs. Strong

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Here Comes the Bride (and Groom)

My son Colin is getting married on Saturday. We are in full wedding mode around here. Thursday we'll host a block party barbecue for all our neighbors and friends. Friday, Carla and her wonderful helpers will pick up the flowers for the church and the reception. When I say pick up the flowers, I don't mean pick up the flower arrangements, oh no, team Carla will be making all the church flower arrangements and all the table decorations for the reception and all the bridesmaids flowers. Friday evening is the rehearsal followed by the rehearsal dinner. This should be fun! Since both the bride's family and the groom's family claim Ireland as the old ancestral home, it's fitting to have the party in an Irish pub, well as Irish as a pub in California can be. Music will be provided by my new daughter-in-law Kerry's dad and his Irish band. Saturday is the wedding day. A 5:00 pm ceremony in the lovely little church Kerry attended growing up followed by a big party with Irish music and Mexican food. It's California, what can I say? Sunday, everybody will be back to our house for brunch and we'll all get to watch the newlyweds open some gifts. Sunday night we collapse from joyful exhaustion! We are so lucky to be getting a new extended family who we really like and a new daughter who we really love. Updates after the wedding.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Thank you!

Hey everybody,

I just want to give a collective thank you to all of you who purchased my new Cloisonne Mosaic Frame stamp since its debut on The Scrapbook Lounge on June 27. To date we have received over 700 orders, WOW! Please be assured we are shipping the orders out as quickly as we can. It'll take some extra effort to get all the stamps shipped but we're not complaining! Thank you all for your patience and support.


Friday, July 4, 2008

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stamping details

Cherryl Green DiAnn Ogawa and me at the Endless Possibilities workshop. So much fun!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Friends: new & old

Hi Everybody,

What a weekend! Friday was the premiere of "Endless Possibilities" on The Scrapbook Lounge over at (take a look if you haven't seen it yet) and Saturday I used my brand new Cloisonne Mosaic Frame stamp in a couple of workshops also called Endless Possibilities at Stamping Detail, just about the best stamp store on the planet. Not only did the owners, Michael & DiAnn Ogawa sponsor my Scrapbook Lounge episode, they threw me a premiere party at the workshops complete with red carpet,Tinseltown decor, photo-ops and the best cake I ever ate! We had so much fun. To top it all off, my friend Cherryl Green, The Executive Producer of The Scrapbook Lounge came to take the workshop. Cherryl and her unbelievably talented photographer husband Rich came back to Casa Strong for dinner and great conversation Saturday night, stayed over and left for Los Angles after breakfast on Sunday. Tonight we had a delightfully laid back barbecue with our dear friends Glenn and Carmen and most of our kids who have all grow up together. Lots of history there! An extraordinary weekend with friends new and old!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Hi everybody,

I had a flash of nostalgia today. I received a couple of cards from my friend Hetty in The Netherlands. She used gesso on them to give them a painterly look. When I was in college, a LONG time ago, I used gallons of gesso preparing my canvases for painting assignments. I can still recall the smell of gesso without opening a jar. What a luxury it was to spend a month or more on a single canvas, although back then I didn't really appreciate time as a luxury. Now and then I wish I had time to take up painting again but I have no regrets. I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to do what he loves for a living thanks to all of you! Maybe I'll pick up a little jar of gesso and keep it on my drawing table as a reminder of how blessed I am.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Paper lace card

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Funny looking stamp

Hey everybody,

I have a new stamp for sale and it looks a little funny for a reason. It's the Cloisonne Square. If you notice, it's pretty densely packed with design elements. You'll also notice that there are a lot of connecting lines. This is because this stamp is intended to be used with my toilet paper lace technique. Yes, you read that right, toilet paper, classy huh? Here's how it works. Ink the stamp with versamark pigment ink or a white pigment ink pad. Stamp onto a single ply of toilet paper. Sprinkle on some white embossing powder and shake off the extra. Heat until the powder is melted and shiny. Be carful not to burn the TP! Place the embossed paper into warm water. After a while (time varies) the only thing left will be the embossed portion. All the "in between" areas will desolve away. Carefully lift the paper out of the water with a spatula and flip it onto a paper towel to dry. Let it air dry, do not reheat with your heat tool. You may blot with a paper towel to speed up the drying process. So, you probably figured out that all the funny looking connectors function as stablizers to hold the "lace" together. I like to glue the "lace" over a square hole in a card. It looks very pretty and nobody need to know about it's lowly origin. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Down Time

Hey everybody,

I just thought I'd check in and let you know what's happening. Somehow I scheduled 9 days in a row without a class or a road trip or a convention somewhere. So here's how I spent my downtime so far: Went to Adrian's graduation party. Adrian is my future daughter-in-law Kerry's brother who graduated from San Diego State University. He'll be a trainer intern with the Kansas City Chiefs during training camp. Hooray for Adrian! Organized my stacks of mixed up cardstock. This took me all day Sunday! It was actually fun and relaxing. Sorting and putting each color into it's own drawer was very satisfiying. My daughter Amanda gives it a month until they're all hopelessly mixed up again. Went to the movies. Carla and I actually went out to see a movie instead of popping in a Netflix DVD! I want to recommend that you run to see "Young At Heart" if it comes to your town. This is such an inspiring, funny and touching movie. It's about a group of rock & roll singers preparing for a concert. The singers range in age from 74 to 92. They are my heroes!!
Today, Stella (our cat) and I stayed upstairs while we had new kitchen countertops installed downstairs. I got to play on the computer designing a new print ad for Scrap & Stamp Arts Magazine (September issue-look for it!). I also got to play Tetris, Yea! my favorite game, until my wrist started to hurt, Boo! Now Carla and I are about to go out for Mexican food. I love downtime.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Heavy Metal!

Hi everybody,

Check out my newest episode on The Scrapbook Lounge. This was a fun one to tape. I love punches (I've got 148 of them, all different!) so I was in my glory. If you do this project, you'll discover just how easy it is to use aluminium from recycled cans. Have fun!

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Thursday, May 8, 2008


Hey everybody,

Last weekend Carla & I participated in the 7th annual Great Stamp Escape sponsored by The Cat's Meow. This is one of our favorite events of the year. 100 stampers and crafters get together to take classes and share in the creative atmosphere. Once again, Sharon Fitzgerald and her staff at The Cat's Meow put on a flawless show. We gathered at The Pines Resort in Bass Lake California just minutes from Yosemite National Park, a beautiful setting for an unforgetable weekend. I want to thank all the wonderful artists who attended my classes this year. What a fun and interesting group you are! We can't wait to be with you all again in 2009!

Monday, April 14, 2008

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Little wooden shoes

My friend Kay sent me this picture from our visit to the little shoe factory in The Netherlands. This is a fresh batch of children's shoes piled up for drying. The shoes are made from Willow which has a high moisture content making the shoes easy to carve. It was fun to see that the people really do wear them in the garden. My neon orange ones are surprisingly comfortable!
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Friday, April 11, 2008


That's Dutch for Greetings! What a beautiful country and such warm and welcoming people. The stamp convention was a blast! As you can see from the pictures below, we went to a little wooden shoe factory where we got shoes (size 42!) to decorate ourselves. We had a nice picnic near a canal in the countryside. Can you tell it was cold! I think there must be more bicyles in Holland then there are cars. I'll have more to say and more pictures to share later. For now, I'll say Dikke Knuffel!

bicyle parking lot

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