February 24, 2015


When Stampin' Up! released their alcohol-based markers, Blendabilities, I had decided I probably would not invest in them. After all, I had a collection of more than 100, well, ahem, Copics. I'd had them for several years. So who needs more alcohol markers?

But then Sale-A-Bration came along. And one choice of the freebies for every $50 spent was the packs of Blendabilities. So, I chose the Old Olive set, just to give them a try. 

Well, let me tell you -- I fell in love! They play together so so nicely. And are lots of fun to use. I must admit that I now own about half the Blendabilities that are available. And am set to order more.

The first time I had given them a try was with the Birthday Birds. They were small and fairly forgiving. 

As you all know, I deeply love the Blended Bloom stamp, which was designed specifically for use with the Blendabilities. Having used the stamp liberally in other projects, I decided to give the Blendabilities a try on this beautiful stamp. 

For my first try, I was very happy with the results, and decided to not waste the lush flower. So I worked it into a card:

I used the "Hello There" sentiment from the Time to Celebrate set (the set with the Birthday Birds) and the Bitty Banners Framelits to cut it out. Working together with the Modern Mosaic Embossing Folder and the sprightly Designer Series Paper cut out with the Floral Frames Collection Framelits made for a winning combination. 

I truly love the fact that not only do they play amongst each other so well. But they also coordinate with ALL of the Stampin' Up! products. Thus you are able to make completely cohesive projects!

Have any of you been tempted to give the Blendabilities a try because you could earn them as a freebie with Sale-A-Bration? Or have you been using them since their release? What are your overall thoughts on the Blendabilities?


February 21, 2015


The Cheerful Critters set came to the rescue once again. Only this time it was just the bunny and he lost his arms! Oh no!

My daughter, Emily, has a birthday this weekend. Because she is a gifted illustrator (see her work here: http://emilybalsley.com/), I am always trying to come up with cards that will please her. Although our styles are quite dissimilar, we still appreciate what each other does with her creativity. 

I love the look of a combination of prints. For this card, I chose a handful of Designer Series Papers that include varying dots in the same color palette. 

I chopped the poor bunny's arms off for this card. Cruel, I know, but it's all in the name of art. A little suffering goes a long way. He had been getting so tired lifting them up all the time that I thought he could use a little rest. And besides that, his sign was so heavy for those skinny arms! 

Since he has no arms to hold up a sign for the sentiment, this time he is sending his wish inside a word bubble cut from the Word Bubble Framelits found on page 230 of the big catalog. 

Adding to the Lots of Dots effect, I drew Wild Wasabi dots around the sentiment with a Stampin' Write Marker. Even more dots were added to the dotted paper his shirt was stamped on. DOUBLE DOTS!

The main colors in the card are Wild Wasabi and Pumpkin Pie. I carried over the stripes of the dots in the background in a couple of additional places. I did this by using the stamp that comes in the Hearts A Flutter set on both the extra banner cut from the Hearts A Flutter Framelit that hangs down from the orange tag from the Chalk Talk Framelits. And once again in the 1/2" white circles on the dotted strip on the left side of the card.

And then repeating the stripes in the Baker's Twine threaded through the white button worked well.

More dots come in the orange and yellow circles I punched and added to the centers of the 1/2" circles.

I talked to Emily on the phone today, and she didn't mention the card. So I'm not sure if it was a hit with her or not. 

By the way, Emily is the mom of my precious granddaughter, Stella.


February 17, 2015


Yes toucan! Yes toucan have fun with the little toucan stamp from the Zoo Babies set! Check out this little cutie on page 78 of the big catalog. The way I love paper piecing, his beak just begged for it!

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, I used Stampin' Write markers to color the stripes of the stamp in toucan colors. I then cut it out and glued it in place over the image I had stamped in black on Daffodil Delight cardstock. Even though it would have looked more realistic (yeah right!) if I had stamped the beak on yellow also, using markers to color in the stripes over yellow would not have yielded true colors. So I opted for a little less realism by coloring onto white.

When I glued his beak in place, it looked like he was wearing a beak mask. Like it was added on over his true beak. 

But, then, looking at a picture of a real toucan, doesn't it appear the same? Like that big colorful beak was slipped into place over his "real" beak?

To pick up a few of the colors in his beak, I chose a couple of Stampin' Up!'s washi tapes to add to the background. I added the tapes first, then ran the whole background piece through my Big Shot inside the Chevron Embossing Folder. That way even the washi tape was embossed. Love it!

By using Stampin' Dimensionals to pop it up in a few places, that added even more depth and dimension.

Just curious: With all my mentions of paper piecing and fussy cutting, have you ever given it a try?

A really fun card to create! Yes toucan too!


February 14, 2015


Are you familiar yet with the exquisite Butterfly Thinlits Dies that can be found on page 26 of the Occasions Catalog? Two of the three dies in the set produce very finely cut-out and detailed butterfllies, in two different sizes. The larger of the dies, measuring 3 3/4" x 4 1/4", fills up the majority of a classic 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card front. That is the die that will be used on this card.

When I first got my Butterfly Thinlits, I had lots of fun making butterflies in an assortment of cardstocks and Designer Series Papers. All of a sudden, it occurred to me that one of these large butterflies cut out of some of Stampin' Up!'s Vellum Cardstock would be really elegant. 

When I pulled out the folder holding my Vellum Cartstock, I discovered to my delight a few quarter sheets of it EMBOSSED! I had done this for a long-ago project, didn't use it all, so stuck it in the folder. And proceeded to forget about it. Until now! 

Just for kicks, I ran this embossed Vellum Cardstock through my Big Shot with the largest butterfly die. It was beautiful. When combined with Blackberry Bliss and Smoky Slate cardstocks on a Whisper White base, the effect was truly beautiful. 

Since the Butterfly Thinlits are new in this catalog, I thought my girls would enjoy recreating this card at my February Stamp-In Workshop. Every time I looked at the completed card, I thought of a title, "It's All About The Texture". Because it really IS all about the texture. Three different embossing folders are used!

The embossing folder I'd used for my butterfly is actually retired, but I think any number of the current folders would give an equally satisfying image. I did like this embossing though because it was mostly swirls, which I thought were very conducive to the grace and beauty of a butterfly.

Another wonderful aspect of using Vellum Cardstock is that, after die cutting the butterfly, the wings just naturally bend softly forward, giving the impression that the butterfly is ready to take off from the surface of the card. It is lacy, lovely and very dimensional.

After I had completed the card, it really bothered me that the butterfly did not have antennae. I noticed that every single card I found on the Internet created with the butterfly die sported no antennae. But this lack did bother me. So I set out to figure out how to add antennae to my butterfly. I tried a couple of things, none of which pleased me at all. The vellum is so crisp and almost stiff, so I wanted my antennae to match in this look. 

Finally, I had it figured out, and I'm pleased with the effect. From the excess Vellum Cardstock after cutting my butterfly, I trimmed off a sliver of vellum, and tied it loosely in a knot in the middle. As I told my workshop girls, we have to be gentle; after all, it IS paper. I then adhered it to the butterfly's head with a bead of green glue.

Here is a close-up of how the antennae look in place on my butterfly. The piece is very sturdy on his head, so I don't think it will be going anywhere.

I thought cutting out this butterfly without too much fuss was going to be a challenge. So I watched a few videos about how to do this in the most efficient manner. It seems the secret to success lies in a very specialized sandwich.

From the bottom:

Magnetic Platform
Cutting Plate
A new dryer sheet (a cheap one from the dollar store)
Embossed Vellum Cardstock
Wax paper in a size to cover the butterfly
Butterfly Thinlit
Cutting Plate

Once you're finished building this sandwich, you are ready to send it through the Big Shot. And . . . voila! a gorgeous butterfly. A little note here: The wax paper butterfly that results is pretty enough to use on another project. The dryer sheet can be used a few times until it becomes too ragged.

How'd you like to try this card? Here's how:

Blackberry Bliss Cardstock
Smoky Slate Cardstock
Whisper White Cardstock
Vellum Cardstock

Big Shot
Butterflies Thinlits
Beautifully Baroque Embossing Folder
Modern Mosaic Embossing Folder
Ovals Collections Framelits
Basic Pearls
Tombow Multipurpose Adhesive, a.k.a., green glue
Glue Dots
Corner Rounder Punch
Wax Paper
Dryer Sheets

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

Adhere a 5 1/4 x 4" piece of Blackberry Bliss cardstock to the card base.

Run a 5" x 3 3/4" piece of Smoky Slate cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Beautifully Baroque Embossing Folder. Round the corners with the Corner Rounder Punch. Attach this to the card.

From a 3 1/4" x 4 1/4" piece of Blackberry Bliss cardstock, cut a 3" x 4" oval with the Ovals Collection Framelits. Run this oval through the Big Shot inside the Modern Mosaic Embossing Folder. Adhere this to the card slightly raised from the center.

Emboss a quarter sheet of Vellum Cardstock with your preferred Embossing Folder. I love the swirls and loops of the folder I used.

Once again, using the Magnetic Platform, this will be your sandwich from the bottom up:

Magnetic Platform
Cutting Plate
Dryer Sheet
Embossed Vellum Cardstock
Wax Paper
Butterfly Thinlit
Cutting Plate

Run this sandwich through the Big Shot. The butterfly should peel off with a minimum of effort.

Adhere the butterfly to the oval with a single Mini Glue Dot. Cover the Glue Dot with a pearl or two or three.

To make the butterfly's antennae, cut a verrrrry thin piece from the scrap vellum from making your butterfly. Trim it to about 2" - 2 1/2" in length. Tie a single loose knot in the center and form the two ends into antennae. Glue in place on the butterfly's head with green glue. Set it aside to dry completely.


February 10, 2015


Stella, Stella, Stella. My honey granddaughter. She so has my heart forever!

As you already know, I try EXTRA hard to create EXTRA special cards for the various occasions throughout the year for Stella. This Valentine's Day was no exception. 

I dug out of my stash one of my favorite stamp sets for paper piecing, now retired, Greeting Card Kids. 

I stamped the little girl's dress and hair ribbon on some retired Designer Series Paper. The heart she holds is stamped on the reverse side of the same DSP. 

This was the second project I used my newly-acquired (from Sale-a-Bration!) Blendabilities. They are really a lot of fun to work with, and give great results!

The mosaic look around the edges of the card was simple to do. I had another sheet of DSP with stripes of the same color palette as that used in her dress. I actually just cut the stripes apart and then used my paper cutter to trim them into 3/4" pieces. 

The important thing about doing a blocked edge like this is to lay it in place before gluing the pieces down. You see, I had envisioned it looking a tad different. But when I started putting them in place, they did not fit the way my mind saw it. So, because I hadn't glued them in place, I could simply move them around so they fit well. So much for planning and envisioning, eh?

The mosaic overlaid on the Happy Heart embossed background offered just enough peeks of the embossed hearts to be effective.

Having simply stamped the image for her dress and ribbon randomly onto the DSP, I was delighted with the serendipitous discovery I was treated to. You see, after I had cut out the dress, I was thrilled to discover the placement of the two white lines on the DSP on the top of her dress. It had landed in just the right spot! What a happy accident!

The layered "buttons" for the embellishment were created by using the retired buttons Embosslit. They had holes through which I could thread some of our Whisper White Baker's Twine and tie it in a darling little girl bow at the back. Stampin' Dimensionals popped it up on the card front.

What are some of your favorite retired Stampin' Up! products/stamp sets that you wish had never been retired? Even though they are retired, do you still grab them and use them to show them the love they so richly deserve?


February 8, 2015


Had you noticed the crazy-looking bird in the hostess set, Time to Celebrate?

As part of my free Sale-a-Bration goodies, I have been choosing the 3-packs of Blendabilities. Never having given them a try before, I thought this bird would be ideal for their debut. So I grabbed the three sets I have so far, Calypso Coral, Coastal Cabana and Old Olive, and went to work, having a great time with such a cute image. 

I must say, they are so much fun to play with! And I plan on getting several more sets.

Besides being fun and easy to color gorgeous images, you know what the best part of the Blendabilities is? They match all the other Stampin' Up! products, enabling you to create a cohesive end product that matches beautifully in every single aspect.

The Blendabilities give truly beautiful and professional-looking results:

Curious about how I got these packs of Blendabilities for FREE?? 

During Stampin' Up!'s annual promotion, 
Sale-a-Bration, for every $50 you spend (before shipping and tax), you earn one free item from their special Sale-a-Bration brochure. And the Blendabilities are part of that promotion! Woo hoo!

Freebies in that brochure include stamp sets, button/ribbon packs, Designer Series Paper, a Project Life collection, a Specialty Designer Series Paper pack, and the BLENDABILITIES! 

One more thing, if your order comes to at least $150, you not only get to choose THREE free 
Sale-a-Bration goodies, BUT you can also get the stamp set, Time to Celebrate, including the crazy bird I colored, as part of your hostess goodies. When choosing how to spend your hostess dollars, besides the bird set, you would still have an additional $14 in free goodies coming to you! Whoa. Just think of all the fun you can have! 

If you'd like to take a gander through the 

Sale-a-Bration runs through March 31. 
And don't forget to tell 'em I SENT YOU! 


February 4, 2015


I went just a little crazy in making my Valentines this year. Just a little. But I had a blast!

The set Cheerful Critters, found on page 14 of the Occasions Catalog, holding their happy little celebration signs, simply BEGGED to be used for a Valentine. Don't you agree?

Since a cuddly little bear seemed appropriate for sending out a loving Valentine greeting, he is the one that I chose. I searched through my scraps of Designer Series Papers for some shade of browns for the bear's body as well as pinks/reds/whites for his shirt. After stamping these features onto the appropriate DSPs, I cut them out to put together and create a whole new bear! I also eliminated the sign he was holding since I wanted to replace it with a sign of my own. 

Besides Cheerful Critters, I used THREE other Stampin' Up! sets. The painterly zigzags, line and heart in the very center came from the Work of Art set on page 165 of the big catalog. The little 
*{love}* came from a retired set. And the black outline heart was taken from the photopolymer stamp set that came with the current Paper Pumpkin kit. The inside sentiment, although I didn't picture it, says "Hugs Kisses & Valentine Wishes", and is also from the Paper Pumpkin kit. Don't they all get along well together? 

Framelits did their part in creating this card also. The two hearts came from the Hearts a Flutter Framelits and, of course, the THREE ovals were from the Ovals Collection. Don't you love how the scalloped oval forms the perfect card? 

The entire card is happily "heart-y" because I ran it through the Happy Hearts Textured Impressions Embossing Folder from page 9 in the Occasions Catalog. That is dimensional hearts gracing the front, back and both insides. It's wonderful!

I entered this card into the Paper Players Theme Challenge #230 they are hosting this week:

How are your Valentine creations coming along? Just curious: Do you ever enter challenges? Which is/are your favorite?