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.


July 31, 2018


After a longtime passion for viewing and loving others' work in this medium, I have decided to finally give it a try on my own. I present to you my very first 12 attempts, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I won't say anything further, just let the pieces speak for themselves.













I appreciate and look forward to any and all comments -- good, bad, or ugly. Thanks in advance!


July 28, 2018


One of the big phenomena in the cardmaking world lately -- really for some time now -- has been the Eclipse Technique. 

A couple months ago, one of my Stamp-In girls asked me if I could create an eclipse card for the girls to make at one of my monthly Stamp-Ins. 

Not possessing the Large Letter Framelits (page 218), which is what most of the eclipse makers seem to use, and preferring to spend that money on other product, I ended up using other large letter dies that I'd had. 

With not-quite-the-right-letters, this is the card I eventually came up with:

In researching for this card, I checked out lots of tutorials and videos on the Eclipse Technique. I decided to do a few modifications on all the variations out there, and I came up with my own take on the technique. Thus, my name "Faux Eclipse".

And, yes, I did notice -- after the card was completed -- 
that I'd done my "S" upside down. Grrr.

My simplified version of the Eclipse Technique is quite easy and lots of fun to do!

 And, to me, the nicest thing about a card is when it turns out to be perfectly flat -- wonderful for sending through the mail without fear of needing to pay extra postage. Yay!

If you keep reading, I will present to you my tutorial on making this Faux Eclipse card.

Whisper White cardstock
Basic Black cardstock

Large Alphabet dies

Painted Harvest (page 139)

Soft Seafoam ink
Flirty Flamingo ink
Mango Melody ink

Big Shot
Tombow Multipurpose Adhesive (Green Glue)
Post-It Tape

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


Stamp three of the flowers on the cardstock. (Try to do a better job of spacing them than I did in my sample. Several of the girls at my Stamp-In stamped the flowers randomly all over the cardstock and filled in with the little green dots. Looked great!) Stamp the larger, more solid flower first, followed by the smaller flower atop in Flirty Flamingo ink. Add centers in Mango Melody. 

Add a few of the dot clusters in Soft Seafoam ink to the rest of the background.

Once you are satisfied with your stamping, line up the dies to spell "hugs" pretty much centered. (Another change a couple of the Stamp-In girls made was to add the letters in a less than straight line -- much happier and less formal looking!) Once you have the letters spaced the way you want them, you can hold them in place with some sticky tape. 

At the Big Shot, run the piece through.

Mount this piece with the letters missing onto a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of black cardstock. Using miniscule dots of glue, add the letters back in, but shifted just slightly to the right.

Adhere the finished piece to the card base.


July 24, 2018


The July 2018 Paper Pumpkin kit, Picnic Paradise, is cute-ness overload. Every time I look at the components in the kit, my thought is, "FRUIT SALAD"! 

One of the projects in the kit is a set of darling 3" square fruity cards to make. While that size card is adorable, I don't find myself in need of them too often. So, I elected to make at least one of my cards into a traditional A2 sized card. 

Below is what I came up with eventually.

What the cards in the kit are meant to look like if the instructions are followed. 
Please take note of the white envelopes sticking out behind the stacks of cards:

Since I was planning on creating at least one A2 sized card, I wouldn't need one of the envelopes, right? 

I opened up one of the apple envelopes and cut it up. Yup! Courageous, huh? I used just the decorated front of the envelope, adding  the greeting, which came in the kit, in Granny Apple Green ink.

I then trimmed down the envelope front just a bit so I could mount it onto the Crumb Cake card base in the kit. I cut that card base in half, then mounted my envelope piece to it. That was adhered to a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Crumb Cake cardstock (from my stash) with Stampin' Dimensionals for a bit of pop. Then onto a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock, and finally atop a Granny Apple Green card base (both also from my stash).

At this point, I was stumped. Whoa. It was so naked and unfinished looking.

I added the row of vertical lines (stamp in the kit) in Crumb Cake. Well, it balanced it somewhat. But .  . . Not good enough. 

The kit came with diecut apples, strawberries and blueberries. I added one of the apples over the vertical lines. Huh. 

I called it finished at this point. Still not crazy about it. But, what else could I do?

I was sleeping that night, when what to my dreaming eyes should appear -- an APPARITION! This apple desperately needed a WORM! And I had the perfect stamp!

So, the next day I took the poor card back down to my Creation Station, stamped the cute worm on Whisper White, fussy cut him, 

and added him to the bottom of the apple:

Say hello!

After the worm was added, I also stamped in the row of dashes below the sentiment. There! Now I was happy(-er)!

I'm curious: What are your thoughts about 3" x 3" cards? Although the envelopes are simply adorable, they cannot be mailed without putting them into a larger envelope. I see them as being the most useful as enclosure cards for hand-delivered gifts. Please share your thoughts!


July 21, 2018


 Right now, through the end of July, Stampin' Up! has a great promotion going. Basically, any of the Designer Series Papers that are priced at $11 per pack, namely on pages 189, 190 and 191, are BUY THREE, GET ONE FREE! 

Well, if you haven't taken a look at this year's offerings of Designer Series Paper (DSP), quick log on to Stampin' Up!, click on my blog's Shop Now button, or whip out your hard copy of the catalog! QUICK! The DSPs this year are wonderful!

In fact, I ordered my four packs (one free!) immediately: Underneath the Mistletoe, Nature's Poem, both on page 189, Animal Expedition, page 190, and the 6" x 6" pack, Tropical Escape, on page 190.

When Mr. Brown finally delivered my package, I was awestruck as I ripped open those packs and flipped through the many designs! Even though I love each and every pack I'd gotten, I was most anxious to cut into Animal Expedition. You see, there are two sheets of larger-sized animals that I was just longing to take my Paper Snips to.

So, I proceeded to carefully trim one sheet in half. 

From just that portion of one sheet, I got all these animals. I even cut out the tiny flying birdies and the cool chameleons (I think they are).

Notice that the animals are turned both left and right, so that gives even more opportunity and variety for use. 

In getting started making a card, it was a hard choice to decide which of the animals to use. Loving each of the larger animals for a focal point, I decided to go with the laid-back rhino, since I'd cut three of them. Great reasoning, eh?

And this is the card I came up with featuring Mr. Rhino:

I took a short length of the 5/8" Burlap Ribbon (page 200), and fringed both ends. The ribbon is held together with thin nylon (?) filament, so I snipped the filament in order to do some fraying. I added this piece to a 2" circle punched from Crumb Cake cardstock, then popped up Mr. Rhino on top with some Dimensionals.

To continue in the same vein, I added a sentiment from the Happy Birthday Gorgeous set on page 72, added one end of frayed Burlap Ribbon, and flew one of my cut-out birds in the upper left corner. The sentiment was stamped in Call Me Clover to match the solid cardstock upon which our rhino guy has taken up residence.

These few elements popped up give the card nice dimension, although it isn't too thick to send through the mail. I always like when that happens!

I added the rest of my greeting inside the card -- Call Me Clover on top of the Crumb Cake cardstock -- plus one of the chameleons.

Just two more photos showing the soft dimension:

I wanted to specifically point out the wonderful texture on the Call Me Clover cardstock. Nope, that's not the way it came! I used the new Subtle Embossing Folder, found on page 223. This is the one that lots of people are questioning the looks of, since in the catalog the texture doesn't show up very well at all. The texture created by the Subtle Embossing Folder is simply marvelous, and already I've used it many many times!

 Please note the left side of the card. Don't you just love that sheet of the DSP? 
It features leaves, little swatches of triangles, a few flying bugs and 
some of the precious birdies!

After I finished taking photos for this blog post, I went out to the deck and started to demolish the remaining portion of the DSP. Those animals are treasures.

Have you ever given fussy cutting a sheet of Designer Series Paper a try? Many of them are conducive to doing so. Just think of all the little separate focal points you'll have to play with!