September 30, 2017


Welcome to my very first real shaker card! It is a mashup of a Stampin' Up! kit and a Paper Pumpkin kit, plus a few of my own extras:

Some time ago, I had purchased a cute kit (now retired) that Stampin' Up! had for sale. It was called "Enjoy the Little Things Project Kit". Maybe some of you remember it. I mostly fell in love with the standing clipboard that came in the kit. Each of the 13 pieces that you could make with the kit was meant to be displayed so cutely upon this clipboard. 

While I liked some of the 13 projects, I LOVED the clipboard. Simply adorable. Really.

Well, I put together a handful of the projects and dutifully displayed them on the cute clipboard. The kit continued to sit there without the remaining projects being finished. 

There are some awesome supplies contained within this kit, and since the undone projects didn't thrill me all that much, I decided to harvest various of the pieces from projects I didn't think I'd ever put together, at least, as the kit instructed.

I stole the sunray piece and the kraft cardstock from the project shown in the photo below.

I also took possession of the components to make the shaker balloon in the middle of the project pictured below. In the little inset photo, you can see how the creator is adding the bluish balloon piece over the white shaker base. Since that was the wrong blue to go with the sun ray I was planning to use, I decided to just leave it white. 

What a mistake! Boy, was that ugly! I let it sit for a few days while I tried to figure out how to salvage this poor shaker balloon.

Finally I settled on a somewhat out-of-the-box solution.

I punched out many many 1/8" circles from matching cardstock and adhered them to the plain white frame all willy-nilly.

Weren't the dots covering the utilitarian white balloon frame a cheery solution? 
And I love how it looks.

Since I was making a shaker balloon card, it needed a sentiment to match the mood. Flipping through sentiments from past Paper Pumpkin kits, I opted for the "Celebrate" that I have used many times in other projects. I stamped it on a leftover banner from another Paper Pumpkin kit.

Thanks to Stampin' Dimensionals, 
this card has lots of depth and dimensional interest.

The sequins that adorn the sunrays had been filched from the mix that I used inside the balloon. To bring in a little more of the color from the sequin mix, I matched the card base and the ink on the sentiment with Calypso Coral.

The string on the balloon was actually three pieces of the Baker's Twine that I braided to give it just a bit more weight than the Baker's Twine alone.

So, what do you think of this mashup of Stampin' Up! kit, Paper Pumpkin kit and stash stuff?


September 26, 2017


We have been contending with unseasonable weather here in central Wisconsin -- in the 80s and 90s -- as well as the wonderful humidity that often accompanies temps like these.

I thought that by sharing this cool and shady card, we all might experience some relief from the weather. Don't you just feel drawn in to sit under this leafy bower and relax among the pillows? Maybe Mr. Bird would even stick close by to keep you company . . .

The looks of this card is very deceiving. It appears to be a tall and narrow card, doesn't it? Just an optical illusion, as it measures the standard 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". It must be that wide expanse between the tree branches and the swing seat that gives it that feeling.

The bower was a struggle for me to design. I still am not sure it is a success, but my husband and my Stamp-In girls liked it.

Anyway, to get the leafy effect, I sponged Wild Wasabi through a retired leafy-looking mask that Stampin' Up! carried a few years ago. I kept moving the mask around and sponging so it would look a little more natural.

When I finished the sponging, I still didn't like the look. So I drew in some vague leaves.

At my Stamp-In workshop, I told the girls that for this card, they could do a little Interior Design. Ahem, Exterior Design. I set out a basket filled with bits and pieces of cardstock, and allowed them to choose their colors. 

Using the pillow stamps from the set, Sitting Here (page 55), the girls then added designs to their chosen swatches. The square and rectangular pillows needed to be fussy cut (easy!), but the round pillow could be punched out using the 3/4" Circle Punch.

The two end pillows were merely adhered to the swing, while we used a Stampin' Dimensional to pop up the round pillow. Looks really REAL, doesn't it? . . .

Narrow strips of Wild Wasabi-colored Designer Series Paper decorated the side edges of the card, while the main portion was popped up over them.

Would you like to try your hand at re-creating this card -- just to get you through the summery autumn days? Check out the instructions below.

Whisper White cardstock
Marina Mist cardstock
Wild Wasabi Designer Series Paper
Assorted cardstock scraps for pillows

Sitting Here stamp set (Page 55)

Black ink
Wild Wasabi ink
Marina Mist ink
Basic Black Stampin' Write Marker

3/4" Circle Punch
Paper Snips
Stamping Sponges
Retired mask (or any leafy stencil you have)

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

Add 1/2" strips of Wild Wasabi Designer Series Paper along the fold line as well as along the long opening edge.

You will be doing your main work on a 3" x 5 1/2" piece of Whisper White cardstock. 

Start with the leaves on the top. Using the leafy-looking mask, sponge through with Wild Wasabi, moving it several times to make it look as leafy and natural as possible. You will be using up about a 1 1/2" to 1 3/4" at the top of the piece. Once you are finished sponging through the mask, use a Basic Black Stampin' Write Marker to draw in the illusion of leaves.

Stamp the swing so it looks like it is coming out of the leaves. Stamp the bird on the back of the swing.

Choose three colors for your pillows. Stamp the pillows and cut out the square one and the rectangular one. You can use the 3/4" Circle Punch on the round pillow. Arrange the pillows on the swing seat. You can use Stampin' Dimensionals to pop up any of the pillows you'd like.

With the sponges, sponge Wild Wasabi ink along the edges with the leaves, followed by the remaining side edges in Marina Mist.

Stamp THANKS at the bottom in black ink.

Adhere this completed piece to the card base.

If you desire, stamp a cat or dog or nothing or whatever inside the card. (Being a cat lover, I stamped the kitty inside my sample.)

Stay cool!


September 23, 2017


 In my last post, I introduced you to the first of two similarly-styled Autumn Color cards, shown below:

The difference between these two cards shows in a few key places: the first one was embossed with copper embossing powder, then ink was sponged over the embossed images. The ink in the first example, however, was not nearly as solidly applied as in the second card. 

Look at the first image and notice the areas of sponging: some are much lighter than others, giving the piece a much more "popped" look in its coloring. 

The second example, pictured below, was embossed in pewter embossing powder. This is more silvery in its appearance than the copper embossing. I still used the metallic copper for the embellishment elements as well as the matting surrounding the piece.

The sponging over the embossed images is much more uniform, more evenly applied than it was in the first example. It gives the appearance of unity, a constant show of fall colors without the lighter touch of color in areas to give it the pop that the first card exhibits.

In the photos below, it is obvious that the embossing is a different color than the embellishments. Because it has a more silvery appearance, even though the sponged color is more evenly applied, this gives it a different sort of contrast. Not the pleasing pop of the first card, but more a difference in its radiance.

The fact that I added a bit of copper cording and a copper diecut leaf to this one in place of the copper-colored ribbon of the first card, is of no obvious difference between the two cards.

To me, the major difference between the looks of the two cards is, first of all, the variance in the colors of the embossing powders, as well as the lighter/heavier sponging of color in the first card versus the uniform application of the sponged color in the second.

One more close-up of the second card:

Below are the two cards side by side. Now, it's up to you to consider each of these cards and comment on which one is the more effective card of the two. 
In your comments, please add your reasoning.

Have fun with this! I'd love to get a discussion going.


September 19, 2017


With fall only a few days away, I was moved to make a couple of fall-themed and fall-colored cards. I was hankering to do an emboss resist, so . . .

For this card, I embossed the leaves from the Vintage Leaves stamp set on page 125 of the catalog in a gorgeous copper color. Then, using a Stampin' Sponge and the autumn colors of Cajun Craze, Crushed Curry, a little Cherry Cobbler and Old Olive, I did my resist thing. I varied the intensity of the sponging to achieve a nice contrast of light and dark. 

I used a soft copper metallic cardstock as a mat to complement the copper embossing. Very sharp. The card base itself is Sahara Sand.

Have you noticed the beautiful diecut leaf from the Seasonal Layers Thinlits (page 216)? Cut from metallic copper cardstock, it is exquisite in and of itself. However, layering it atop the busy emboss resist background, it simply disappeared, sort of being absorbed in the busy-ness. 

In order to allow it to have its own importance, I diecut the solid maple leaf from Sahara Sand and attached the copper leaf to the solid leaf just by adding glue to one spot: the circular area just above the stem. This allows the rest of the leaf to flutter freely -- not that it actually does. But I like the feel of the leaf not being attached flat.

I added a bit of sheer and silky copper-toned ribbon to the bottom right of the leaf to finish it off.

The play of the copper metallic is so sharp, isn't it?

A couple of shots that show the subtle dimension of the card:

The following photo shows how the sponging was built up over the copper embossing. For this card, I increased the strength of color with further sponging, while leaving some of the areas only softly colored. This contrast allows the beauty of the embossed leaves to show through in various intensities.

The sentiment is also embossed in copper onto Sahara Sand cardstock.

Now, in my next post, I am going to present the second card, a card that is similar to this one, but with a few notable changes. I'd like to hear from you the pros and cons of each of the cards. 

In the meantime, Happy Fall 2017 starting on Friday! 


September 16, 2017


 Fall is almost upon us. I heard two flocks of geese honking their way overhead today. A sure sign. The leaves on the trees are slowly changing their colors to become vibrant and radiant in hue. This is one of the best parts about living in Wisconsin.

I had gotten my hands on a die set by Paper Smooches of four little leaves awhile ago. With the oncoming autumn, I decided I would make a miniature fall scene using these dies. I dug through all my tiny scraps of leftover Designer Series Paper, selecting the ones that depict the beautiful season the best. I moved my Big Shot to a table in front of me so I could sit and cut out piles of autumn leaves. And what a good way to use up the tiny scraps of DSP that I just did not have the heart to throw out!

On Monday, my Stamp-In girls had enjoyed a project that utilized the Shaving Cream Technique. All the supplies were still out, including a small pile of precut white cardstock. 

Since I didn't have to drag out all the supplies, I decided to use this technique to create a fall sky and proceeded to select a blue/turquoise combo of retired Stampin' Up! reinkers for my creation. 

I had a blast and probably made close to 20 sky pieces. Some were delightful, some not so much. Just like life, eh? A few, although quite beautiful, did not portray an autumn sky just as I'd wanted them to.

Sifting through my dried sky pieces, I came upon the one that I thought would be the perfect choice as the backdrop to my precious autumn leaves. You can see it below. 

The photo below also shows a bit of the cool paper I found to surround my finished leaf portrait. At first glance, you would think it might be a piece of really rough cork. I'm not sure where I got the paper, but I've had it forever, just saving it for the right project. You understand, don't you?

Anyway, it truly IS paper, obviously a very thick, dimensional handmade paper. I thought it complemented my autumn tableau admirably.

My pretty leaves obviously needed a tree, right? I used the branch from the Seasonal Layers Thinlits, found on page 216 of the big catalog to die cut the branch from Early Espresso cardstock. After adhering the branch against the sky, I then added my leaves to it.

 Sometimes life can get to be a bit overwhelming or frustrating or . . . whatever. So I decided to add the sentiment, "just breathe" from the coordinating stamp set, Colorful Seasons on page 147. I stamped it in Early Espresso.

Just another close-up of the pretty leaves upon the fall sky:

Initially I had intended that this would, of course, be made into a card. But the longer I worked on it, the more I decided that . . . no, not a card. Maybe something I could frame?

I have enough new frames in my house that I could probably open my own framing shop. So, I went downstairs to my stash, and shopped for the perfect frame. After I had decided to make it into a non-card, I proceeded to make the finished size a standard 5" x 7", knowing full well that I would be able to find something in my personal frame store that would work well with this image.

I managed to dig up a beautiful elegant frame that consisted of a nice combination of fall-ish colors.

And, here it is in its new home:

Does that ever happen to you? You have a good idea for a card and you set out to turn your idea into reality. As you are working on your "card", you see that it just needs to be framed instead. A card would just not suffice. So, framed piece it evolves into. Ah. Just breathe.


September 12, 2017


Before I get started with my blog post for today, I need to make an announcement. As promised in my last post about my 5-Year Blogiversary, a winner has been randomly chosen by my unbiased husband. And the winner of the set of four cards is ANGIE CHURCH! Angie, please contact me with all your pertinent information so I can get your prize out to you. CONGRATULATIONS, ANGIE!

A new product in the annual Stampin' Up! catalog is Embossing Paste (page 201) and its accompanying accessories, Pattern Party Decorative Masks and the Palette Knives, also pictured on page 201.

Being a mixed media type of girl, I was anxious to get my hands on all of these products. To introduce this new item to my Stamp-In girls, I created a card that features it:

Borrowing stamps from the Happy Birthday Gorgeous set on page 77, 
I was able to add even more fun with the spotty balloon and 
the awesome birthday greeting.

I used the diamond-shaped mask for my dimensional background. 
I was not at all careful or precise about my application of the Embossing Paste. 
This was totally planned. Really. 
I wanted it to blend in with my "confetti", so I did want any regularity at all.

The rest of my confetti came from the dots and circles in 
the Playful Backgrounds set on page 150. 

Tying baker's twine to the balloon adds a lot of realism, right? 
Stampin' Dimensionals also add to the dimensional look of the card, 
along with the Embossing Paste.

It's just such a fun and lively card, it is sure to make the recipient smile.

Would you like a tutorial on how to re-create this card? Just catch the supplies list and instructions that follow.


Blushing Bride cardstock
Calypso Coral cardstock
Whisper White cardstock

Playful Backgrounds stamp set (page 150)
Happy Birthday Gorgeous stamp set (page 77)

Calypso Coral ink
Real Red ink

Big Shot
Stitched Shapes dies
Embossing Paste (page 201)
Pattern Party Decorative Masks (page 201)
Palette Knives (page 201)
Baker's Twine
Stampin' Dimensionals
Heat Tool

Fold a 4 1/4" x 11" piece of Blushing Bride cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

You will be building a background base on a piece of Blushing Bride cardstock that measures 4" x 5 1/4". Randomly stamp the open circles in Calypso Coral, followed by the solid circles in Real Red.

Now, you will be adding the texture: Lay the diamond mask over the cardstock. With one of the palette knives, gently scrape small amounts of the Embossing Paste through the mask in random places. You don't want to actually build up a pattern; this is just to add some interest and dimension randomly.

IMPORTANT: As soon as you finish the previous step, wash off your tools with warm water!

Hit the Embossing Paste briefly with the Heat Tool. Set this aside to dry completely while you finish the rest of the card pieces. The Embossing Paste really does dry quite quickly.

On a medium-sized Whisper White Stitched Shapes oval, stamp the sentiment in the center. First stamp it in Calypso Coral. Clean the stamp and ink it up with Real Red ink. Since this is a clear stamp, visually align the stamp over the first image, but moving it JUST SLIGHTLY to the right, and stamp, to give the sentiment a shadow effect.

Glue this piece to the largest Stitched Shapes oval, cut from Calypso Coral.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp the dotty balloon in Real Red. If you have the balloon punch, use that to punch it out. Since I don't own it, I fussy cut my balloon leaving a fine white edge around the balloon shape.

From Blushing Bride Baker's Twine, tie a small bow, and glue it to the bottom of the balloon. Tape one end of a small length of the same Baker's Twine to the back of the balloon.

Put the card together: Use Stampin' Dimensionals to adhere the confetti layer to the card base. With Stampin' Dimensionals, pop up the oval piece against the confetti backdrop. A Dimensional will finish it off with the balloon being added to its spot. Add a drop of glue to the bottom of the balloon string to secure it to the card.


September 9, 2017


The Bandana Technique is one that adds a bit of simple fun to a stamped image. For my example, I stamped this oldie paisley image and stepped it up with the Bandana Technique. 

It's so simple! Just fill in certain portions of the image and add dots and/or dashes of your own with a white gel pen!

While this image -- which works so well for the technique! -- is no longer available (unless you have it in your stash of faves!), there are several in the new catalog with which it would work so well: the wreath and the flowers in Hello Friend on page 17; Flourishing Phrases, page 24; Flirty Flowers on page 25. You could have fun with the images from Big on Birthdays, page 73. Bloomin' Love on page 88 offers a couple of images that would be even cuter with the Bandana Technique. Imagine the dots on the filigree images in Inspired Events on page 111. The snowflakes from Flurry of Wishes, page 116, would look even prettier with this technique. How about Paisleys & Posies, found on page 128? The beautiful flourish could be even more beautiful with white gel dots added, page 143. The dots could be incorporated into a colored version of the Hello Color images on page 168. 

These are just a few examples of current stamp sets that would be lovely with the Bandana Technique. Browse through the catalog to discover other options that I didn't mention! Maybe you even have something in your stash that would work great. It is so easy -- and so fun!

When embarking on an experiment with the Bandana Technique, it is important to use cardstocks that are medium-hued. Anything too dark will, of course, not allow the stamped image to show up enough, and if the cardstock is too light, the white dots would be difficult to see. Experiment! See what works best for you! And, most of all, have fun!

Grab that gel pen and have a grand time!