August 27, 2013


To honor this venerable time of the year, Back to School, I thought I'd share with you a few composition books I have "altered" the past few years. You know, composition books:

This first was one we did at a Stamp-In Workshop a couple years ago. It is fairly simple:

It incorporates stamps, punches, cardstock, Designer Series Paper and ribbon. 

The next one I made for myself.

I opted for a variety of jewel tones that went well with the blue binding strip that I left unaltered on the notebook.  a page from the Piet Mondrian portfolio,

I cut my chosen papers into a Mondrian-like composition. I then turned to various of the Stampin' Up! embossing folders, and texturized the shapes. When I laid the shapes in place, they looked so very flat, so I decided the solution to that was to sponge all the edges with the same color inks to match the pieces. This gave each piece more of a dimensional appearance.

With a bit of space between the shapes to let the black cardstock "leading" show through, combined with the embossing and jewel tones, I think it resembles stained glass.

The next composition book is another one we did at a Stamp-In workshop.

A simplified version of the previous sectioned background was used, as well as the beautiful image, Pleasant Poppies. The image was stamped in black ink onto Naturals White cardstock. The various poppies were then stamped once again on the three background colors: Melon Mambo, Cherry Cobbler, and Tangerine Tango. Then they were fussy cut and adhered over their counterparts on the original stamped image. Once again all the edges were sponged with their matching ink colors.

Finally, I just could not resist attempting a scaled-down version of this on the tiny composition book shown in the first photo:

Only using one color this time, I treated these miniature pieces the same way. It was a little tougher, however, in that I did not leave any of the black "leading" between the pieces, so they abutted one another, making it more of a challenge to get them exactly the correct size. Leaving the black between the shapes allows for a bit more leeway in placement.

Also, this notebook was covered with some of the Stampin' Up! Core'dinations paper. So, once each piece was embossed, I lightly sanded the raised portions, then sponged all the edges. What I thought would be maybe a half-hour project ended up taking more than an hour and a half. 

I tied a bit of the sweater trim in a bow around the little treasure. Since there is a little stretch in this trim, it can be slipped on and off without untying and retying the bow each time.

Now, once school has started, you can go to your favorite school supply store and buy these precious composition notebooks for a song. OK, maybe a little money too.


August 24, 2013


I had never tried any of the Fab Friday challenges, but thought I would change all that and submit my own take on their current challenge:.

An order arrived from Stampin' Up! this week, and in the order were two new stamp sets that are really cool. First of all, Gorgeous Grunge -- I even love the NAME! -- and on page 19 of the Holiday Catalog, you will find a set that I immediately fell very hard for: Truly Grateful. 

The Fab Friday sketch is clean and simple:

I was anxious to get to work on my design, the result of which is shown at the top of my post. Since fall is coming right around the corner, I wanted to use the images from the aforementioned stamp sets and give the card a truly autumn feel.

When I first saw the Truly Grateful set, the wood-look panel struck me, followed immediately by that aDORable acorn. So, for this card, I opted to use the wood panel as the backdrop for the wheat image.

I was thinking the wheat image stamped in Crushed Curry alone would be sort of lusterless. If that's a word. Well, you know, not much character. What a perfect image to use with THUMPING!

Can you see that, by adding thumps of Soft Suede and Early Espresso to the Crushed Curry, it gives the wheat more dimension and makes it more real-looking. 

And, of course, you KNOW I can't resist paper piecing. I took the opportunity to stamp the raffia wrap on a blue Designer Series Paper, cut it out and adhered it over the original stamped bow. 

I like the way the embossed chevron design on the card base echoes the chevron look in the wood panel. Brings it together nicely, eh?

The stripy lines and ink blots come from Gorgeous Grunge. I think I'll be grabbing that set a lot!

Of course, Framelits finish off the sentiment and the shaft of wheat. 

Tell me what you think!


August 20, 2013


I was recently commissioned to create a very special wedding card. Amazingly, an image of what the card would look like popped into my head immediately.

Not being scheduled to work today, I decided I would tackle the card, and that's how I spent much of my morning. At times, it seemed like there was a conspiracy against me finishing the card. Everything went wrong that could go wrong. You heard of Murphy's Law of Cardmaking? Well, it was at work today.

But, after many trials and errors, I was happy with the end result:

It was nearly impossible to get this shot of the card in the closed position. It kept popping open. So I used some temporary adhesive to hold it closed. I tried to limit the amount of adhesive I was using, so it wasn't a perfect closure.

The original concept I had in mind for the card was, first of all, white on white. And I wanted it to be loaded with texture. But, most importantly, I wanted to use the classic wedding concept of "two hearts become one". I accomplished this by:

. . . placing two identical hearts on each side of the gatefold. When the card is completely closed, the hearts line up perfectly and appear to be only one heart.

Of course, even though I was very careful about the temporary adhesive I used to keep the card closed for a photo, I ended up with an undesirable side effect. Some of the texture of the embossing on the reverse side showed on the pure white of the inside of both gatefolds. Grrr.

I ended up "lining" both the gatefolds with another layer of paper adhered in place over the indentations. Which is fine. It simply adds to the elegance.

Even though I contemplated leaving the inside of the card blank so the giver could write her own personal message, I decided against that. I found two beautiful stamps that were perfect. But . . . I wanted to stick with white on white. Remember? I knew white embossing on white would not show up well enough. What to do. I ended up creating the sentiment in silver embossing. Elegant, yes? 

I was so enamored with the texture, texture, texture of this card, I am including a few more photos that show the drama of the embossing.


August 18, 2013


I turned to MDS -- once again -- to make this sophisticated hybrid card. Only the main focal image was generated through MDS.

The old bike image from the recent Sale-A-Bration stamp set Feeling Sentimental was perfect for what I had intended. Not possessing the actual stamp set, I turned to the set I had in my MDS arsenal of wonders.

I chose a Designer Series Paper that fit with the antique feel of the image, decreasing the opacity of the DSP so the sketchy bike showed up better.

After printing out the image, I headed down to my creation station to finish the card. The Chevron Embossing Folder added more dimension and a masculine touch, as did the color scheme of (retired) River Rock, Cajun Craze and Basic Gray, with a spark of copper in the brads.

Happy Birthday to my son-in-law, Stephen!


August 14, 2013


The winner  of the very first Build Your Own Challenge (BYOC) is ready to be announced! Are YOU ready?

First of all, I would like to say that I received some really wonderful entries into this first of our Challenges. It was really a challenge in itself to come up with a winner. Impossible, in fact.

THUS . . .

I have declared THREE winners!

The above beauty was created by Marge. Her embedded embossing is very effective. And I love how she incorporated printed papers in her diecuts. It adds another dimension of interest. The movement of this card front is wonderful and perfectly balanced.

Christina's entry was a bit more complicated than I expected from submissions. While it is beautiful fully closed, I had to include a photo of her creation open:

The three tiers in this little treasure are, each and every one, unique and precious. The top layer of the card features one of the new Expressions Thinlits Dies as found on page 36 of the Holiday Catalog. "Love" is wonderfully appropriate when speaking of friendship. Wouldn't you agree?

The third winner was created by Joyce. The lovely little bird and its accompanying flowers give lots of charm to this card front. Basic Rhinestones add just the right amount of bling. Paper piercing around the circle and each of the scallops on the outer circle finish off the focal point beautifully. And I love how she matted the wonderful quote by Thoreau, finished by an echo of a flower. 

Girls, you all did an awesome job meeting the parameters of this challenge. A prize will be going out to all three of our winners! Congratulations!!

As soon as the building blocks of the challenge were finally arrived at, I was anxious to get down to my creation station to do my own version. This is what I came up with:

I must say this Build Your Own Challenge was really fun. I will probably do another one in the near future. If you have any additions/subtractions/comments/suggestions about the second challenge, please share them with me. 

Stay tuned.


August 11, 2013


Doesn't a Bermuda Bay Pool Party sound like fun right about now? You know, sum-mer-time . . . Cool and refreshing . . .

A great summertime color combo actually is Pool Party, Bermuda Bay and Whisper White. Crisp and clean.

Combine this combination with chevrons and the blossom punch and stamps for the perfect anytime card.

By punching out not only the stamped Mixed Bunch flower, but also another from Bermuda Bay cardstock, and staggering the petals of both punched flowers, it gives the flower a little more body and interest.

The 1/8" silver mini brads add just the right amount of subtle bling. And the chevron stamping on the oversize banner echoes the chevron in the background embossing.

To make this easy card:

Hearts A Flutter stamp set
Mixed Bunch stamp set
You Are Loved stamp set

Whisper White cardstock
Pool Party cardstock
Bermuda Bay cardstock

1/8" Silver Mini Brads
Paper Piercing Tool
Big Shot
Chevron Embossing Folder
Paper Snips
3/4" Circle Punch
Blossom Punch

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

Adhere a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Bermuda Bay cardstock to the card front.

Run a 3" x 3 3/4" piece of Pool Party cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Chevron Embossing Folder. Adhere this over the textured paper, leaving equal borders on the sides and bottom.

Add a 2 1/2" x 4 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock about 1/4" from the top of the Bermuda Bay piece.

In Pool Party ink, stamp the striped flag with an even border on the right, top and bottom on a 1 1/4" x 3" piece of Whisper White. Add the sentiment in Bermuda Bay ink over the stamped flag.

About a half inch from the unstamped end, lightly pencil a dot in the center. With Paper Snips, cut from each corner up to the dot to mimic the flagged end of the stamping. Add this piece to the 1 1/2" x 3 1/4" piece of Bermuda Bay cardstock.

With the Paper Piercing Tool over the Piercing Mat, poke a hole inside the flagged end of the white and insert a silver mini brad. Adhere this piece to the card front, being careful to leave an even edge of the white showing at the bottom.

From a scrap of Bermuda Bay cardstock, punch a flower with the Blossom Punch. On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp the flower from the Mixed Bunch stamp set in Pool Party ink. Punch it out with the Blossom Punch. On a scrap of Whisper White, stamp the circle center in Bermuda Bay ink. Punch this out with the 3/4" Circle Punch. Adhere all these pieces together, staggering the petals of the two flowers. With the flower lying on the foam mat, pierce a hole in the center and insert a small silver brad.

Use your fingers to slightly lift the petals of the top flower. Adhere completed flower to the card with adhesive of choice. 

Hope you have fun at the Bermuda Bay Pool Party!


August 7, 2013


If you haven't yet discovered the magic that is MDS (My Digital Studio), maybe it's time you did!

Stampin' Up!'s MDS sells for a mere $19.95, and gives you an endless multitude of possibilities for your paper creating pleasure.

Recently I created a birthday card for a very special friend:

While I'm working on a project, I just keep on trying a variety of things: digital brush stamps, colors, DSP, punches, embellishments, etc. If something seems to work, I keep it. If it doesn't, I just undo it. Very neat and easy. Gradually you build up your projects, and at the end, you're not sure what you exactly ended up using in the project.

That is easily fixed. Simply go to "Check Project" and select "Supply List". There, in excruciating detail, is a list of each and every "supply" you used in your digital masterpiece. For example, I wanted to give you a few details about my Make a Wish card, and discovered that I had chosen the Big Bold Birthday stamp brush set, using Summer Starfruit, Primrose Petals, and Midnight Muse as my color palette. I also incorporated a square punch and the ever popular word window punch. My background is from the Patio Party Designer Series Paper. Cool, huh?

Every Tuesday, Stampin' Up! releases a handful of new digital downloads. This week, there were EIGHT new offerings! There is still lots of time for barbecues, school is starting soon, and it's time to begin getting your thoughts together for the upcoming holidays.

Now, even though my "baby" is 29 years old, and I obviously don't have youngsters in school anymore to get too excited about ordering and using this Do Your Best download in the traditional sense:, I still took a closer look.

When I discovered that, for only $2.95, I would also get a 25-piece SVG stamp brush set, 27 embellishments and 3 punches, whoa! I was EXCITED! I can't wait to get started with all those new stamps, embellishment and punches! There are so many possibilities for these components besides leaving cute little messages in your child's lunchbox.

And, the coolest thing is that, you can order it (and NO SHIPPING!), download it, and be playing in a matter of seconds!

Do your creativity a favor and jump on the MDS bandwagon! You'll never look back.


August 4, 2013


Recently I repinned a pin on Pinterest that intrigued me. Carissa from Creative Green Living taught us How to Make Stamped Art Rocks here.

I know the basic premise of Paper Seedlings is to plant creative PAPER ideas in your brains. But, I thought this would be a really ROCK SOLID project. After all, it does involve using Stampin' Up! STAMPS! So we're stamping on rocks instead of paper.

I meandered through our landscaping to choose appropriate subjects for my artistic endeavors.

Since Carissa suggests using unmounted (clear) stamps that are able to contour to the shape of the rock, that's how I started too. Even using these malleable stamps, on a few, I had a difficult time getting a completely clear impression. Since it seemed to be sort of a hit or miss proposition (at least, with my arthritic fingers), I decided to give wood mount stamps a try, with equal success. I ended up "wasting" three rocks that I simply tossed back into the landscaping.

Anyway, here is a handful of pretty rocks I came up with:

And, closeups of a few of my faves:

and, my most favorite:

I don't plan to seal these little treasures since they are no longer residents of the landscaping outside, but will now reside inside the house. 

Just a little inspiration to run across here and there throughout your day.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

I know this post had a little bit of a rocky start, but I also wanted to remind you all of something:

Only through August 31, new subscribers can join PAPER PUMPKIN for only $10 for each of the first two months! After the introductory two months, the price will go back to the regular price of $19.95.

To get this phenomenal deal, go to and join. You must click "Add Promo Code" and then enter PUMPKINDEAL in the Promo Code field when you sign up. Remember to name me, Linda Kilsdonk, as your demonstrator. 

You must join by Saturday, August 31, to qualify for the two months at only $10 each month.

I must admit that I took advantage of this special promotion myself, and can't wait to get my first Paper Pumpkin delivered to my house! One of my local customers signed up when Paper Pumpkin first started, and she's been bringing her projects and kits to my Stamp-Ins and making us all jealous.

Time to treat yourself to a monthly creative getaway!