August 18, 2018


I realize that customers cannot order from the upcoming 2018 Holiday Catalog until September 1. But, as a Demonstrator, I was able to preorder product from the catalog so I can prepare samples and projects for September events. One of the perks of being a Stampin' Up! demo: We get to play before everyone else!

Anyway, I was quite taken with the Beautiful Baubles set, found on page 10 of the Holiday Catalog. I was especially drawn to the giant ornament, which just screams to be COLORED! And, besides being a cool set, it is really inexpensive at $17.00!

So far, I don't possess a whole lot of the Stampin' Blends. I have been focusing recently on getting up to speed with new colors of inks and cardstock as a result of the Color Revamp. I will definitely be adding to my collection of the Blends. But, the few sets I do already have will need to suffice for this blog post. And they are not what would be considered traditional Christmas colors.

I thought it would be fun to compare two cards, one colored with the dark Blend of the sets, while the other one with the light Blend. I did no shading. Just straight up coloring. So we could see exactly what the difference is between the lights and darks in each set.

The colors I used are Pool Party. Calypso Coral, Old Olive and Daffodil Delight. The only difference between the two card samples is the light/dark. Otherwise, the cards are as identical as I could make them.

The first card is done with the dark Blends:

The second card is done with the lighter of the Blends:

Another closer view of the dark Blends:

A close-up of the light Blends:

And once more:

There is quite the difference between the light and dark Blend of the color sets. I found that very gratifying. At first, I didn't think they were all that different, but here is living proof. Just right for shading.

Now, which do you prefer? Dark? Light?


August 14, 2018


I could hardly wait for my monthly Stamp-In to be over so I could share this card with you. Well, the Stamp-In was yesterday (August 13), so here it is.

The card, which my girls had a lot of fun doing, features the set All The Good Things (page 151 in the Annual Catalog), which is one of a handful of stamp sets in this catalog that have been labeled
"DistINKtive". These stamps boast an ultra-realistic look, and are quite wonderful to work with.

Another exciting aspect of this card is that it features not one, but TWO techniques! The fish are colored with the Thumping Technique, and the bubbles are added with Masking.

As I was showing the girls how to do the fish, I pointed out the fact that koi are always unique in their coloring, that it was nearly impossible to ruin it.

A little close-up of the fish in their bubbly environment:

These koi intrigued me so so much that I spent one CD's worth of music stamping an entire 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of Whisper White full of the fish. 

Don't they look realistic??

You can see in these photos that I didn't even bother cleaning the stamp in between fish. The same overstamping keeps showing up. No problem. I will be fussy cutting these koi. That's why I was purposely not too careful.

Do you have a hankering to try this card for yourself? Well, hold on to your seats -- the tutorial follows:

Whisper White cardstock
Balmy Blue cardstock
Mango Melody cardstock

All the Good Things stamp set (page 151)
Playful Backgrounds stamp set (page 141)
Southern Serenade stamp set (page 150)

Balmy Blue ink
Stampin' Write Markers in oranges, yellows and black
Black ink

Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Mango Melody cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

YOU WILL BE DOING THUMPING ON THE KOI. Choose your colors from among the Stampin' Write Markers in yellows and oranges. You need a lighter color for your base. For example, in my sample I colored the entire large koi in a light yellow. THEN, THE THUMPING: Choose 2-3 more colors, and using the SIDE of the BRUSH END of the marker, thump randomly on top of the fish stamp, turning the stamp so all your thumps don't face in the same direction. Pick another color and do the same. If you have a third color, continue. Finally, use the black marker SPARINGLY to add some darker accents. HUFF ON THE ENTIRE STAMP, then stamp the image in place on a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Whisper White cardstock.

Repeat the thumping steps with the smaller fish. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO HUFF BEFORE STAMPING WHEN WORKING WITH MARKERS. If desired, use the fine tip end of the black marker and add in some edge lines as in my sample.

Stamp both of the fish on a post-it note, so a good portion of the fish lands on the sticky part of the paper. Fussy cut these masks, BARELY INSIDE THE STAMPED LINES. Once the masks are cut out, cover the stamped fish with them. Ink up the open circles from the Playful Backgrounds set and stamp them swirlingly around the fish. Carefully peel off the masks. The bubbles should be behind the koi.

In black ink, stamp the sentiment in the upper left corner.

Adhere the finished piece to a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Balmy Blue cardstock. Attach this to the card base.

KEEP IN MIND: If you've ever spent any time watching koi, you will have noticed that they are all unique in their coloring. Thus no fish will be "wrong". Embrace your koi -- they are absolutely "right".


August 11, 2018


I subscribe to quite a few lovely blogs, enjoying tremendously perusing what they have to offer. 

Recently I was looking at all the beauty on Lin's cards are always extraordinary, and the one on this particular day was no exception. I was immediately taken with the looks of this card

Without reading how Lin created her card, I proceeded to head down to my Creation Station to see what I could come up with. I just had her card in my mind and that's what I worked from. Huh, now that I look back at her card, there is quite a difference. I like Lin's so much better.

However, it was sort of fun coming up with my own take on Lin's card. I actually created two cards, doing the background a bit differently on each of them.

The first one, below, I think resembles hers the more of my two. First of all, my background sponging was a little darker. Not sure why I did that. But done is done. 

For this one, after the sponging, I ran the piece through the Big Shot inside our woodgrain embossing folder, which, unfortunately, is retired. 

Once the embossing was done, I used a Sponge Dauber and Soft Suede ink to try to carefully make the raised lines of the woodgrain brown. Ugh. So much easier said than done.

For my second card, my sponging was a bit more light-handed. As I said previously, I'm not sure why. Maybe I was tired after all that sponging?? Nope. I dunno.

Anyway, for this card, after I completed the sponging, I took the Soft Suede ink pad directly to the side of the embossing folder that has the words on it. Once I thought I'd covered these lines adequately and evenly. I placed my sponged piece inside the folder and ran it through the Big Shot.

This gave me a pretty contrasting look. 

I then finished off both cards the same way.

My creations are almost always completely original ideas of mine. This time, although I didn't try to repeat her process, it was directly inspired by Lin's lovely card. 

What are your feelings about the need for originality? Or do you agree with the concept of C.A.S.E.? Which stands for Copy and Share Everything. Stampin' Up! encourages, feeling that their catalog is so full of inspiration, they are pleased when we copy our own things exactly as they are in the catalog. 

Share your opinion on Original versus C.A.S.E. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


August 7, 2018


A simple floral motif as the focal point for a card is always appealing, don't you agree? The set, Southern Serenade (page 150) provides a spray of flowers that is so perfect for this. And, then, to set it atop a piece of stamped lace -- the icing on the cake.

The background is a combination of four alternating 1" strips of cardstock that had been embossed with the lovely Basket Weave Embossing Folder (page 222).

Seen up-close details the fact that I used a white gel pen to color in the flowers. Some of the girls at my Stamp-In decided to leave the lace show through the flowers, which looked great too. All just a matter of preference. 

I also used the Light Calypso Coral Blend to color my Basic Pearls before adding them to the floral piece.

The finished card has a modest amount of dimension due to the use of Stampin' Dimensionals, a bit of ribbon and the pearls. 

Because I didn't wet the cardstock first before embossing the background pieces, they don't boast as much dimension as they could otherwise. I was cutting and prepping a lot of cardstock for my Stamp-In, so elected to forego the water spritzing step just to save a little time. So, if you make this card, if you'd like a bit more realism in the embossing, spritz the cardstock first with a fine mist of water on both sides before running it through the Big Shot inside the embossing folder.

I have a set of non-Stampin' Up! dies that are several small words. That's where the "hugs" came from. The rest of the dies were available for the girls to choose otherwise at the Stamp-In -- just in case they didn't want to send hugs to their recipient.

How about a tutorial on how to make this card? Here you go.

Whisper White cardstock
Merry Merlot cardstock

Southern Serenade (page 150)

Powder Pink ink
Merry Merlot ink

Big Shot
Stitched Shapes Framelits (page 220)
Word dies
Basket Weave Embossing Folder
Basic Pearls
Light Calypso Coral Blend marker
White Gel Pen (optional)
White Stitched Ribbon
Stampin' Dimensionals

Fold a 5 1/2' x 8 1/2" piece of Merry Merlot cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Run both 2" x 5 1/4" strips of Merry Merlot and Whisper White cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Basket Weave Embossing Folder. Cut these strips in half so they are each 1" wide. Adhere them, alternating colors, to a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of white cardstock. Adhere this piece to the card base.

On a 3" x 4" piece of Whisper White cardstock, stamp the lacy image in Petal Pink ink. Over the lace, stamp the flower stalk in Merry Merlot ink. If desired, use a white gel pen to color in the flowers so the lace doesn't show through the petals. It takes several coats of white gel pen, letting it dry in between.

Cut this out with a 2 5/8" x 3 3/4" oval die.

Cut another oval with a die that measures 3" x 4" from Merry Merlot cardstock. Adhere these two ovals together. Use a couple Stampin' Dimensionals to attach the oval over the stripes on the card base.

Color three Basic Pearls with the Light Calypso Coral Blend marker and add them to the background as desired.

From Merry Merlot, die cut the word "hugs", or whatever word you prefer. Use the Stitched Shapes Framelits to cut an oval from Whisper White cardstock. Adhere the word to this oval.

Angle the ends of a 3" piece of 1/4" wide white ribbon. Adhere the ribbon to the lower portion of the card, underneath the flower oval. Attach the sentiment oval over the ribbon with a Stampin' Dimensional or two.

Adhere a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock inside the card for writing your message, since the Merry Merlot is so dark. Unless, of course, you wish to write your message in the White Gel Pen!


August 4, 2018


My husband and I were invited to a milestone birthday party for a dear friend of mine. 
It didn't take too much thinking to come up with the theme of her birthday card. 
You see, she loves two things:
  butterflies and purple.

What better supply to use than Brushos 
for a wonderfully funky and eye-catching background?

A close-up of the background of the card:

The butterfly I used on the card is the one from the Beautiful Day set on page 134. The "happy" portion of the card is die cut from Blackberry Bliss cardstock, while the rest of the embellishments, stamping and cardstock are black. 

Because the cardstock was so dark, I added a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock, along with an appropriate birthday verse inside the card.