June 29, 2014


This card came together fairly nicely, without just too much strain on the brain. 
I had planned that the end result would be a play on the American flag. 

Gorgeous Grunge was used in two spots on the card. Of course, the red stripes are quite apparent. Then, you may recognize the big ink blot from Gorgeous Grunge in the stars.

But, wait. What's that? That is NOT how the Gorgeous Grunge stamp is.

To achieve a bit of extra texture and interest in the stars, I did a technique Stampin' Up! refers to a REVERSE KISSING. 

I first inked up the ink blot stamp with Pacific Point. Then, before stamping, I took a DRY STAMP of polka dots left over from a previous Paper Pumpkin kit and stamped into the ink. That lifted a bit of the blue ink and gave it its interesting look. 

The dots were actually INVERTED rather than OUTVERTED(????). Uh huh. I just mean that the dots themselves were sunken into the stamp rather than protruding. Oh Linda, just go down to your Creation Station and grab the stamps so they know what you're talking about!


Puff puff. I'm back. Here are the stamps:

You can see the big ink blot from Gorgeous Grunge, covered with the leftover Pacific Point ink.

To give it the kiss of dots, I took the UNINKED circular photopolymer stamp from a Paper Pumpkin kit, and pressed it against the inked stamp. 

NOW, since the dots were sunken rather than protruding, it was the area around the dots that pressed against the inked stamp. Thus, you get a much different look than if the stamp was just the reverse, with the dots protruding and the area around them sunken. Do you know what I mean? 

Do you notice the ink residue solely on the surrounding areas? 

Oh man.

OK. Here is your assignment: Try this Reverse Kissing technique with two different dotted stamps: one with the sunken dots like I used, and another with protruding dots. Report back the difference you see.

Anyway, here is the close-up result you get with inverted dots: 

I do love the interesting, lively look the Reverse Kissing technique gave to these stars.


June 25, 2014


In the 70s, I was really interested in needlepoint, and stitched up lots of it, including a gigantic sun that I designed, then needlepointed, and framed in a bright yellow frame my dad made.

One type of needlepoint that is especially interesting, and that I did a few times, is Bargello. Most of the time, Bargello designs are peaks and valleys, flame-type looks. 

This morning, I was browsing through a Stampin' Success (the wonderful magazine we Stampin' Up! demonstrators receive in the mail bimonthly) from 2010, and came across an article about recreating the Bargello look in paper. Wow! Cool!

Basically you use striped paper and cut it into strips. I was excited to run down to my Creation Station and give this a try. (OK. Maybe I didn't run. Stumbled??) Digging through my retired Designer Series Papers, I chose one I thought would work up well. 

I cut four pieces of 3 1/2" x 5" of cardstock to use as a base for my paper Bargello. The DSP was cut into 1/2" strips, and I went to work. 

Before gluing the strips in place, I covered the whole piece of cardstock with strips in my proposed design, just to make sure it all would work. That gave me lots of wiggle room. If I did not like how the design was proceeding, I just pushed the strips off, and started all over. THEN once you are satisfied, you make the commitment of gluing the strips down.

And these are the four backgrounds I came up with:

I found myself talking out loud the entire time I was doing this. For example, in the last instance, I kept saying, "Orange under the light blue". That way you are sure to have your design come out just right. That is, IF you listen to yourself. :>)

Well, I was interested to see how it would look with this as a background for a card. So I randomly picked one of my four designs, and set out to create a Bargello Background Card.

I think the next time I try this technique, I may cut my DSP into 1/4" strips. That way I can get a bit more detail, and maybe form more of the peaks and valleys as found in traditional Bargello.

What are your thoughts on all this?


June 22, 2014


Back in the day -- around the time I started college as a nontraditional student -- I was enamored with my Prismacolor Pencils. They were my medium of choice for a long, long time. However, I gradually developed arthritis in my hands, and holding a pencil or any kind of writing implement for any length of time became painful and nearly impossible.

In fact, I had started college with the intent of becoming a children's book illustrator. When it came time to hang up any thoughts of illustration because of my hands, I turned to the darkroom and photography. Which is how I finished college, with an emphasis in photography.

Anyway, I digress, I know. I just wanted to set the scene so you realize how important this post is to me. I cannot remember how long it's been since I picked up a colored pencil to do any serious coloring. Years and years.

Oh, And, by the way, everything I colored during that long ago time was something I had drawn myself.

But, I guess it's a whole new day for me.

As you already are well aware, I LOVE Blended Bloom. And I have shown you a few ways that I have used this beautiful stamp.

But . . . the other day, I decided to simply stamp it in Black StazOn ink, and add the color with my beloved Prismacolor Pencils. I took my time, and this is what I ended up with:

My technique has definitely changed since I last used my Prismacolors. It is considerably more delicate and thus probably more feminine. Which is OK. 

I guess the main purpose of this post is to show the incredible versatility of Blended Bloom. I'm sure I'll come up with many more ways to present this image to you. Bear with me.

Better yet, why don't you add one to your own stash so you can have as much fun experimenting as I am with something so wonderful!


June 17, 2014


I recently decided to revive the origami-type folded frame with an enclosure for the focal point. Usually the instructions for this frame call for it to merely be folded, which is what I would normally do. But, in this case, I wanted it to look a bit more tailored. To achieve that tailored look, I put adhesive underneath the areas that form the four corners, and just left the center flaps unglued.

I like this effect. It seems that the butterfly is emerging from a window set into the background of the card. 

When I added the beautiful 5/8" Organza Ribbon, my intention was to add some sort of bow. I created a few types of bows, none of which thrilled me. I finally decided that, since that ribbon is so beautiful in and of itself, just the simple strip of it was absolutely perfect. No need to junk it up with a bow that would have detracted from the beauty of the focal point. 

To create the multi-layered butterfly: the blue butterfly is the largest of the Beautiful Wings Embosslits butterflies; the white butterfly is punched out with the  Bitty Butterfly punch; and, finally, the sparkly silver butterfly was also made inside the Beautiful Wings Embosslit with Glimmer Paper. I especially love the delicate embossing on the largest butterfly. Don't you?

To extend the embossing a little further on the card, I embossed the background with a[n] (unfortunately) retired embossing folder. 

By gently bending the wings upward, the flying action of the butterfly meshes well with the fluttery flaps of the "window".

You have probably noticed that I often omit any kind of sentiment on the fronts of my cards. The biggest reason for this is I think that frequently the card front is enough to stand by itself as a design and something wonderful to look at. I've even been told that my cards are pretty enough to frame. I feel that is because it actually is a miniature work of art. 

Also, this makes a card that much more versatile. This one in particular can be used for almost ANY occasion. You have the option of decorating the inside to fit the occasion, complete with an appropriate sentiment.

I used this card for an anniversary greeting. 


June 15, 2014


Do you remember the May Paper Pumpkin kit? The GUY KIT?? 

I created my first card from the kit for my brother-in-law's May birthday. Now, here it is -- FATHER'S DAY time! 

I wanted to make the card for my dad a little different than the birthday card I had already created. In doing so, I changed up the Paper Pumpkin kit quite a bit:

Other than using the components included in the kit, that's pretty much where the likeness stops. In the first place, I gave my Father's Day card a landscape orientation and flipped one of the tag layers. I formed X's with the baker's twine. And made the little Dad tag a star in its own right.

But, I think the change I like the best is that I cut apart the divider piece from the blue sticker and applied it to a strip of textured Wild Wasabi that I had left over from a long-ago project. I then finished off this embellishment by adding the cute Candy Dots that came in the kit, only mounted on top of little Very Vanilla paper punched pieces so they look like they are framed/matted.

I'd like to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there -- and, as somebody posted on Facebook -- to all the single moms doing double duty! 

^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^ 

Speaking of Paper Pumpkin, did you know that you can now prepay your subscriptions??!!??  Besides, the ongoing month-to-month option that was originally available, there are now also 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year prepaid subscriptions! 

One of the coolest things is that when you order a prepaid 1-year subscription, you qualify for HOSTESS BENEFITS! You can read more about that in the second link below.

To have all your burning Paper Pumpkin questions answered, check this out: https://mypaperpumpkin.com/en/faq/


June 11, 2014


At a recent Stamp-In, my girls had fun with lions and the circus -- er, I mean circles. To tell the truth, it was a fun card to design!

I think any kid or kid-at-heart would enjoy receiving this happy card.

Of course, I HAD to pop up the lion's head. Isn't he just the cutest little guy?

In the mood to make a little Ring Around the Lion card yourself? Here's how!

Zoo Babies stamp set
Sweet Essentials stamp set

Whisper White cardstock
Pumpkin Pie cardstock
Crushed Curry cardstock
Melon Mambo cardstock

Melon Mambo Stampin' Write Marker
Pumpkin Pie ink
Crushed Curry ink

Handheld paper punch
1/8" Handheld paper punch
Big Shot
Circles Collection Framelits
Word Bubbles Framelits
Corner Rounder punch
7/8" Scallop Circle Punch
Stampin' Dimensionals

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

To make the circles, I nested several of the Circle Collection Framelits inside each other on Melon Mambo, Pumpkin Pie and Crushed Curry cardstock and ran it through the Big Shot. All those nested circles simply popped apart and you have lots of circles with only a few run-throughs on the Big Shot.

Adhere the circles and dots as you wish atop the card front. Let some of them hang over the edges so they aren't just confined to the center of the card. Snip off the edges flush with the sides of the card. This makes it look so much more natural.

Use the Corner Rounder Punch to round all the corners of the card.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock stamp the lion in Crushed Curry. On a scrap of Crushed Curry paper, stamp just the head in Pumpkin Pie. Punch the head out with the 7/8" Scallop Circle Punch. With a Stampin' Dimensional, adhere the head in place over the Crushed Curry body. Cut out this piece with the 1 1/2" circle from the Circles Collection Framelits. Adhere the lion to the center of a wide Melon Mambo circle. If desired, use the hand punches to create the little yellow and larger circles. Adhere these "fried eggs" in an arc on the pink circle. (They are not absolutely necessary, but I thought they added a little extra zip.)

Attach the pink circle onto the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals. Yes, that's right. Just put him right over some of the circles you had already adhered to the card front.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp "make a wish" in Pumpkin Pie ink. Cut out this word bubble with the appropriate Framelit in the Big Shot.

Use the Melon Mambo Stampin' Write Marker to add dots around the word bubble, as well as around the edges of the card in between the circles.

Attach the word bubble to the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals.


June 6, 2014


OK. Fine. I give up.

Do you remember a few months ago when, in this post, I pleaded for your help?? I had made a card using the Black Magic technique:

BLACK MAGIC: On a dark-colored cardstock, stamp a solid image -- as opposed to an outline image -- in White Craft Ink. With your Heat Tool, make sure the white ink is completely dry, no shiny spots remaining. Once it is dry, use colored pencils to color the image, covering the white ink completely. After coloring, further decorate your design with white dots and lines. 

I thought the card I had come up with was completely hid-ee-us. And I asked for suggestions to help me make it better. And I promised I would utilize some/all of your suggestions to try it once again.

Some of you were so --kindly, I'm sure -- complimentary about my creation. But, a few of you actually did put your thinking caps on and shared some wonderfully constructive criticism on how I could improve the looks of my card.

First of all, thank you to all of you who posted comments on the card, whether they were "nice" or helpful. As promised, I did take some of the suggestions in an attempt to make it better.

A few that I incorporated:

The distraction of the white dots
Popping up the flowers
Adding texture as a design element that had been missing
Paper piercing the borders

OK. While I didn't do EXACTLY as you suggested in all the cases, I did try to put my own spin on them. Without success.

Even though I spent about TWO HOURS on this travesty, I think it is even more hid-ee-us than my first attempt:

When I finished it, all I could think was "blecch". What a blah, characterless card. At least, the many white dots made my first attempt a little more lively. (Personally, I didn't like the white dots either. Thus I eliminated them completely. Maybe that was my mistake.) This one deserves a funeral.

Honestly, when I looked at it, I was dismayed at how really dead -- lifeless -- it looked. What could I do to give it a bit more sparkle??? Hmmmm. SPARKLE!

So I dragged out a pen I had from Sakura and sparkled up all the black lines in the flowers. I then placed the pen inside each of the pierced holes around the edge of the black frame to extend the sparkle a bit more. 

The only way you could see this "improvement" -- if you could generously call it that! -- was to hold it at an angle. 

Anyway, as you can see, I added texture in two places, replaced the white dots around the edges with piercing, popped up the flowers, and completely eliminated the distraction of the crazy white dots.

Here are the two cards side by side:

Will you all be attending the wake? Because, seriously I give up. I guess I'm not meant to be a Black Magic kind of woman. 

Now, it's your turn to prove that YOU -- if not I -- can be a Black Magic kind of (wo)man. 

Come up with your own version of a card utilizing the Black Magic technique. C'mon! I know you can do lots better than I did! Email your card to me, and I will feature all the Black Magic cards I receive from you on a future post. OK? Please give us all some eye candy to drool over! Show me up! 


June 3, 2014


Ah, the beautiful month of June -- and June brides! 

Here is a dimensional card I created for a wedding we are attending this weekend. Talk about FRAMELITS TO THE RESCUE! I used three different sets of Framelits to make this card: Hearts A Flutter, the Ovals Collection and Apothecary Accents.

Do you see the Basic Pearl on the heart surrounded by what appears to be a white circle? 

It has a purpose. I joined two identical hearts together with an eyelet and set the pearl inside the eyelet to give it a more finished look. 

Since it's not readily evident, I plan on including a little note telling the bride and groom that the top heart swivels away from the stationary bottom heart. Two hearts become one. See?

I am also submitting this card to this week's Paper Players challenge #198, which is for a wedding card.

To Brian and Amanda: Happy Wedding, Happy Life!


June 1, 2014


I had so much fun creating my Grungy Goose card! Pure pleasure from start to finish.

As soon as I saw the sketch for the latest Freshly Made Sketches challenge, I knew EXACTLY what I was going to set out to do. And I did it.

Don't you just love this majestic goose from the Wetlands stamp set? I surely do! I stamped him on Naturals Ivory in Early Espresso and VersaMark, then embossed him with clear embossing powder. I then cut him out, leaving just a whisker of white margin outside the embossed edges.

His little background tag is made from Always Artichoke and my favorite from the Chalk Talk Framelits. The tag was embossed inside the Houndstooth embossing folder. 

Then I dragged out a couple more of my favorite stamp sets: Gorgeous Grunge and Off the Grid (so sad it's retired!), adding some grungy effects to the tag and the Naturals Ivory card base with Always Artichoke and Early Espresso, some of it stamped off first, some of it full strength. 

I then utilized a very personal tool, one that I am very attached to: my fingernail. I used my fingernail to rough up the edges of the card. To add to the grunge, I sponged the edges and into the card itself with Early Espresso. 

I knew I wanted to use a brown button on the top of the tag. So I grabbed my jar of brown buttons. Sigh. Starting to go through the vast assortment, I tried several as possibilities. Until I got to this gorgeous grungy antique button! Perfection personified! I used a snippet of the Artichoke Denim Ribbon (retired), wound a length of Linen Thread around the base of it, then threaded it through the button holes, and tied it in a knot. The completed embellishment was adhered to the tag with a couple of Glue Dots.

I mean, REALLY, isn't that button PERFECT?!?

I had purposely left the space at the bottom of the card less cluttered with the intention of adding a sentiment. "Happy Father's Day" was the natural option for this card. But, I was so pleased with the way it turned out, sort of a little piece of artwork, that I opted for no sentiment. You can always stamp something appropriate inside the card.

Here is the sketch my Grungy Goose card is based upon:

So, share with us: Do you participate in any challenges? Once in awhile or on a regular basis? Which challenges are your favorites? Do they really help get your creative juices boiling?