January 30, 2018


I have a card for you today that is lots of fun -- 
both to make and to look at!

It would be perfect for various occasions, but is right on the money for Valentine's Day, which is coming up quickly.

I especially love how the embossed background 
mimics the black diecut piece.

Following is a tutorial on how to make a Love & Hugs card of your own.

Sunshine Sayings (page 96 in the big catalog)

Basic Black cardstock
Whisper White cardstock
Crushed Curry cardstock
Watercolor paper

Tuxedo Black Memento Ink

Watercolor Pencils (page 201)
Aqua Painters (page 200)
Paper Snips (page 204)
Big Shot (page 209)
Sunshine Wishes Thinlits (page 216)
Swirly Scribbles Thinlits (page 216)
Seaside Embossing Folder (page 210)
1/2" Circle Punch (page 207)

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

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Seaside Embossing Folder.

Also using the Big Shot, die cut a piece of black cardstock with the Swirly Scribbles Thinlits die. Adhere this about 1/2" or so from the left edge of the embossed piece. Trim off the edges that extend beyond the white. Adhere this piece to the card base.

Stamp three of the flowers in Tuxedo Black Memento Ink onto watercolor paper. Using an Aqua Painter and Watercolor Pencils, color the flowers as desired. Fussy cut the flowers, leaving a white border. 

On a scrap of Crushed Curry cardstock, stamp the flower in black. Then, use the 1/2" Circle Punch to cut three flower centers from the stamped flower. Adhere the centers to the flowers.

Arrange the flowers as desired along the black "trellis" and adhere them flat.

From black cardstock, cut the word "love" using the die from the Sunshine Wishes Thinlits. Adhere this to the card front using the liquid glue sparingly..

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp "& hugs" in black ink. Fussy cut randomly around the stamping. Adhere it to the card underneath the large word.

OPTIONAL: Inside the card, add a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock to make writing easier. Otherwise, use a white gel pen to write directly onto the black inside.


January 27, 2018


In the new Occasions Catalog, Stampin' Up! (finally) introduced Brusho Crystal Colour (page 26 in the catalog). The description of Brushos in the catalog goes like this: "Watercolor ink crystals -- mix with water to make watercolor washes and designs. Sprinkle directly on water washed paper and watch the colors burst. ... Acid free."

I've been using Brushos for quite awhile now, having ordered them from Dick Blick. But it's awesome that they are now available through Stampin' Up! The video below is from Stampin' Up! and shows interesting ways to use the Brushos. Be sure to check it out!

Yesterday I decided to do a little experimenting with the Brushos. And, I must admit, I had a blast.

If you check out the previously mentioned page 26 in the Occasions Catalog, you will discover a delightful stamp set that works well with the Brushos, Beautiful Day (#145912/145915). 

Using the butterfly from the set, my creation is done on 140 pound cold press watercolor paper. This is very heavy/thick paper, so it responds to the excessive amounts of water without warping too much. I did not tape the paper down before working because I wanted to have the freedom to manipulate it. And it stayed reasonably flat throughout the process.

Below is the end result of all my experimenting.

I first embossed the butterfly in gold on the watercolor paper. I know it doesn't look too metallic in the photos; the light was weird. But by embossing the image first, it gives the look and feel of leading in stained glass. Which is great, as it compartmentalized each of the wing sections, making this very technique simple to do.

To get the wings to be such a vivid color, I used my Aqua Painter. 

I first worked on the green sections by loading each of those areas with water with the larger of the Aqua Painters, filling the entire individual compartments. I then carefully tapped green Brushos into just those areas. Then, using it like a concentrated watercolor, I "painted" the color within the sections with the Aqua Painter. When I was satisfied with the look of the green, I carefully cleaned off my Aqua Painter and moved on to the blue, repeating the process. I didn't move on to the blue though until the green had been thoroughly dried with my Heat Tool.

The photo below shows a close-up of one of the wings after completion. From what I just finished describing, this is NOT the look you end up with. Read on.

I wanted the background to have a similar look, only not as specific and having more freedom and less vibrant color. 

What I actually did was sprinkle a little of the yellow Brusho onto my craft mat and added water from my Aqua Painter to that. I then proceeded to dip the piece into the resulting large droplets of yellow. Unfortunately, it did not go quite as I had planned. Picking up the yellow reactivated the color in the butterfly's wings, adding blue and green to the background mix. 

Oh well. I continued dipping and dripping, drying it in between, then continuing the process. When I had enough on the background, there was lots of pooled color on the piece. So, I folded a paper towel and blotted the excess liquid. 

Uh oh. Now the wings had a very mottled -- and unattractive -- look that I did not care for whatsoever. Since the color was still somewhat wet though, it was easy to even out the color with the Aqua Painter, once again being careful to do each color separately to preserve the blues and greens. 

The photo below shows the background a little closer. It is quite subtle, but a nice complement to the starkness of the butterfly.

Once I had the butterfly's wings back to normal, they seemed too flat and characterless to me. To remedy that situation, I spritzed water into the palm of my left hand, then picked up water with the fingers of my right hand and flicked the water onto the butterfly. After letting those water droplets sit for several minutes to dry naturally, I ended up with a look that I really love:

Because the butterfly was embossed in gold, I matted the piece onto a metallic brushed gold cardstock, then onto a square of Pacific Point cardstock.

The possibilities with Brusho Crystal Colour are almost limitless. And the playing and experimenting are loads of fun! 

What do you think? Have you ever used Brushos? Have you had good experiences with them? 

If you have never used them, now is the time to join in on the fun without spending a whole lot of money. The product number for the Brushos is 144101. Watercolor paper, #122959, can be found on page 194 of the big catalog. Finally, a necessity in any stamper's stash, whether you use Brushos or not, the Aqua Painters (#103954) can be found on page 200 of the big catalog. 

And guess what!?! You can order it all from my store! Just click on the Shop Now button on my blog.

While you are making your purchase, keep in mind that, until the end of March, Sale-A-Bration is in effect. During this time, for every $50 you spend (before shipping and tax), you can choose one freebie from the Sale-A-Bration catalog. Just click on Catalogs to access all the current Stampin' Up! catalogs, including the Sale-A-Bration flyer.


January 23, 2018


I usually don't get many questions in my Comments section on any of my blog posts. But, this post elicited a few queries about what Gelli printing was all about. The subject of the aforementioned post was this print:

Well, I so appreciated your comments and questions that yesterday I descended to my Creation Station to do a little more Gelli printing, to give you a few more examples, and explain the process a bit.

All the following are the results from yesterday's printing session. They are not wonderful, but at least they made the cut from either the wastebasket or the pile of prints to continue printing on.

A gelatin plate for monoprinting can be made in the kitchen. Yes, the kitchen! The ingredients are simple: glycerin, unflavored Knox Gelatine and hot water. Watch this quick video on how to make your very own gelatin printing plate. 

I found an interesting article that compares a homemade gelatin plate, as in the video, to a manufactured gelli plate, which is what I use and will be talking about.

There are now several companies that make Gelatin Printing Plates. But, the first one that I heard about and was drawn to a few years ago was the GelliArts plate. Here is a link to the GelliArts website, where you can find a plethora of exciting ideas, projects, videos and other products.

Before I allowed myself to become submerged in the actual printmaking, I watched many videos and read books on the subject cover to cover. 

My first Gelli Plate was huge, way too huge for me to make any sense out of. Bought used from a friend, it measured 12" x 14", and retails for $72.99. After my first foray into Gelli Printing with this giant, I was ready to call it a lost cause.

Awhile later, I was at Hobby Lobby and discovered a student grade 5" x 5" plate. Using my 40% off coupon, it was affordable, and I was on my way to attempt Gelli printing once again, this time with a plate size that I thought I could handle.

The 5" x 5" size turned out to be just the ticket to keep me interested -- and printing my head off. Since then, I've also invested in  3" x 5" and  5" x 7" plates. Among those three sizes, I really don't have a favorite. For yesterday's printing session, I was using the 5" x 7" plate.

After about two years of Gelli printing, I feel like I'm still learning and experimenting. So I don't consider myself qualified to give too much advice on the rights and wrongs of Gelli printing. 

After watching several artists' videos and reading my books, I have kind of developed my own system and style. If you want to watch a very accomplished Gelli printer in action, I suggest you check out Birgit Koopsen's YouTube channel. She lives in The Netherlands, and, in my eyes, is the best of the best at this type of printing. You will learn a lot from her!

The basic tools you need for my style of Gelli Printing are: a Gelli Plate, a brayer, (you are supposed to use the flat of your hand, but mine is so arthritic that it doesn't go flat, so I use a bone folder), a plexiglass mat, acrylic paints -- I use both tube and bottle acrylics -- stencils, baby wipes, and any type of paper. 

In fact, yesterday, before I started my printing session, I was about to recycle last year's telephone book, but then looked at it, and questioned the wisdom of getting rid of it. So, I tore the cover off and I'm now using the pages for printmaking. I'm not sure yet how I like it, compared to a more traditional weight of paper. Some people like using deli paper for their prints. I, however, find it to be much too flimsy and unsatisfying.

Each time you pull a print (make a print), the result will be a monoprint. You will never be able to reproduce the same print. If there is ink remaining on the plate after you pull a print, you can pull another "ghost" print. Sometimes these ghost prints are even more appealing than the original print. 

My basic process is: Drop a small amount of acrylic paint on the Gelli plate (a little goes a long way), brayer it out until it is well distributed and even. Unless, of course, like me, sometimes I leave the paint a bit streaky with some of the previous prints' paint showing through. 

I then lay a stencil over the paint. At this point, you are supposed to use your hand, but this is where I smooth over the stencil with my bone folder. Gently pull the print away from the plate and set aside to dry. After removing the stencil, you can pull a ghost print directly from the paint left on the plate. 

To me, a finished print consists of layer upon layer of paint and design. Sometimes, I would be willing to bet there are as many as 15 layers of paint. If it becomes too muddy or discombobulated, it ends up in the trash. But, even these "failures" can be used in papercrafting with punches or dies. Very little paper actually gets thrown away. 

I keep my favorite prints in sketchbooks with black paper. I love looking through these on occasion to watch the evolution of my Gelli Printmaking journey.

Oh. And I never clean anything off. It's always so cool to be able to pick up from either the brayer or the plate remnants of previous prints. If your brayer is so thick with layers of paint and doesn't roll anymore, soak it in a container filled with Murphy's Oil Soap overnight. It softens the paint so it can be peeled off. Not an easy task, so I just let it go as long as I can.

In fact, the photo below shows how I left my space after today's printing session. All the papers you see are pieces that will be used for subsequent printing forays.

If you have any further questions, please ask me. I will try my best to have an answer for you.

I hope I have made the process at least a little bit clear for those who have never heard of Gelli printing.

Gelli Plate printing: definitely my happy place.


January 20, 2018


The December 2017 Paper Pumpkin kit boasted the most wonderful components. I talked about the kit in THIS POST initially. Specifically this card:

There were several really wonderful diecut "frames" in the kit, including an extra four because they had been cut incorrectly (compared to the directions), so Stampin' Up! kindly enclosed an extra packet of them cut correctly. But that gave me an extra four frames to work with. When I'm not following the instructions in the kit, it doesn't matter which way the fronds face. So, yay me! More fun!

This time, I grabbed one of the Lemon Lime Twist frames to use in a card front. Once again, I sought just the right Designer Series Paper pattern to place behind the fronds. I had lots of good possibilities in my stash, but as soon as I held this particular one to compare, it screamed, "Love me! Pick me!" So I did. It was ideal.

I popped the frond portion away from the DSP with Stampin' Dimensionals to give it some needed depth. I love how the leaves cast shadows against the background.

Not wanting to clutter up the composition too much, I kept it fairly simple so the fronds could speak for themselves and be the stars of the creation. 

Adding just a touch of Crushed Curry cardstock around the green frame, and then repeating it with the smidgen of Crushed Curry ribbon, was just the right contrast for the green/turquoise combination. 

I used one of the stamps, the "Hello", that came in the Paper Pumpkin kit, in Night of Navy ink on Lemon Lime Twist cardstock.

Three of the Adhesive-Backed Sequins in Lemon Lime Twist (page 29 in the Occasions Catalog) added just a bit of glitz and shine to the card. As well as another subtle shape.

The finished card measures 4 3/4" x 4 3/4".

The best part is that I have lots and lots of goodies left over from the December Paper Pumpkin kit to keep creating with! How many more variations can I concoct?


January 16, 2018


What do you think of the card shown in the photo below? Somewhat striking, eh?

To create the background on which my diecut floral silhouette resides is incredibly easy. Misleadingly simple. Keep on reading, and I'll teach you how to do it!

The following two photos show the background a little closer:

Ready to give the "watercolor" background technique a try? OK then. Here goes.

I used a non-Stampin' Up! cardstock with pink flecks in it (you could use Very Vanilla)
Basic Black cardstock
Peekaboo Peach cardstock
Very Vanilla cardstock

You've Got This stamp set (page 101)

Black ink
Flirty Flamingo ink
Peekaboo peach ink

Big Shot
Floral silhouette dies
Clear Block H
Water to spritz

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

Adhere to this a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Peekaboo Peach cardstock, then on top of that a 3 3/34" x 5" piece of black cardstock.

You will be using a 3 1/2" x 4 3/4" piece of a non-Stampin' Up! cardstock with pinkish flecks in it. You could substitute this piece with Very Vanilla, however. Take the H block, which measures 4 7/16" x 1 5/8", and with the Flirty Flamingo ink pad, stamp directly onto the top half of the block, followed by the Peekaboo Peach ink on the bottom half. Mist this with water very lightly and stamp it onto the piece of cardstock, a bit left from center. Lift the block straight up. Let it dry. 

When it is completely dry, spritz some water into the palm of your hand, then with the fingers of the other hand, dip into the water and flick droplets onto the inked portion. Do this as many times as needed to get the look you prefer. Let the water droplets dry completely.

Choose a floral silhouette die cut from black cardstock, and adhere it centered onto the inked area. Remember to use glue sparingly -- just dots of it.

In black ink, stamp the sentiment partially on and partially off the lower right portion of the inked area.

Add a few coordinating sequins to finish it off.

AN ADD-ON OPTION: If you don't have access to diecut silhouette floral stems, you could also substitute the diecut with an appropriate stamp in black ink. Stampin' Up! makes lots of this type of stamp. That would be equally as beautiful.

There now. Wasn't that technically taxing? 

If you have any further questions about this -- or any other -- technique, please reach out to me!


January 13, 2018


I am always on the lookout for new <to me> techniques that I can share with all of you. 

A technique, called Double Embossing, results in a very charming look. Especially when you do it with Designer Series Paper. That adds just a little bit more of a WOW factor.

Never having tried this technique before, and not at all sure of how it was going to turn out for me, I dug into my stash of snippets of retired Designer Series Paper. I wanted to do the embossing in white, so I was looking for a paper with strong color and a subtle background since my embossing was going to be very busy.

I was so pleased with my results, I decided to go ahead and create a card with it. 

Just a couple days ago, I had finished a pile of cute flowers. From a really old set, I stamped the doodle-y flower onto various scraps of DSP I had in my stash. Then, on car rides, I worked on fussy cutting the flowers. When I'd finished cutting them out, they were cute enough. But they beckoned me to do some additional coloring on them. The result was minimal coloring to match the DSP, but I think it adds so much.

Grabbing a handful of these flowers, I held various ones up to my background. This one that I ended up choosing complemented the background beautifully, in that the flower too boasted polka dots. And since my embossing was a cute flower and leaf combo, my fussy cut flower was just right. Add to the combination the sunny look of white and yellow . . .

To do this easy technique: 

I didn't do it, but I strongly recommend rubbing the DSP first with your Embossing Buddy. I spent an inordinate amount of time with a teeny brush getting rid of stray embossing powder. I think this could be, for the most part, alleviated with the use of the Embossing Buddy. Even with diligent, time consuming work with the brush, I wasn't completely successful. So, learn from my bad experience!

Anyway, after you rub the DSP with the Embossing Buddy, open your VersaMark ink pad, and, with a clean brayer, run it across the surface of the ink several times, always going in the same direction, rather than back and forth, which causes the ink to cover the brayer unevenly. So, always either go forward, forward, forward. Or backward, backward, backward. One direction. 

Once the brayer is well inked with VersaMark, brayer across the portion of the inside of an embossing folder on which the images are RAISED. Usually, this is the side that does not contain the words printed on the outside of the folder. Re-ink the brayer a few times and roll it over the embossing folder, so you have good coverage. Use a light touch to keep from inking beyond the raised images. 

Carefully lay your DSP across the inked embossing folder, close the folder, and run it through the Big Shot like you would for any other embossing project. The raised side of the embossing folder will transfer the sticky VersaMark ink to the surface of the DSP.

As soon as it is embossed, sprinkle the inked/embossed DSP with embossing powder. I chose white because I wanted it to show up really well. Experiment with clear or metallics too for a different sort of look. Use the heat tool to melt the embossing powder. Don't overheat, but make sure that all the embossed areas are shiny and set.

There! You've done DOUBLE EMBOSSING!

Below is the Designer Series Paper I started with for my Double Embossing. 

You can also do this same technique using plain cardstock. I hadn't tried that; I went right for the fancy stuff -- using Designer Series Paper. The look, of course, would be quite different. But, it is certainly worth exploring!

Have fun using your new creation as a cute and frivolous background for a cheery card. Be careful that whatever you add to the rest of the card doesn't clash with your busy background. Keep it fairly simple.


January 9, 2018


A bit of an off-the-wall post today, but I think it is past due.

First, falling down the steps right after Thanksgiving, and then having the flu-that-never-ends right after Christmas, has kept me away from my other obsession, Gelli printing.

A few days ago, I couldn't stand it any longer, so I got out all my Gelli printing supplies, put on an Eric Clapton (with Cream) CD, and went to work with my Gelli plate and acrylics. I know I could continue to work with my Gelli Plate until the cows come home. But, I realize that I really need to limit my printmaking sessions. So, that's what I do. I allow myself the length of one whole CD to print. Then I need to stop. Enough. 

The first day I got back into it, even after a whole CDs worth or printmaking, I ended up with pure garbage. Nothing worth keeping. That's OK. That's how life is sometimes.

However, on Sunday, with Eric accompanying me once again, I had a few prints that I consider successful. The print pictured above is one that I am happy with and plan to keep for myself. 

Do any of you do Gelli Plate printing? If so, what is your favorite size of plate to create with? What is your favorite medium? Do you use your flat hand to rub to make the print? 

Do you have any questions about Gelli Plate printing?

It is so  nice to be back in the saddle again . . .


January 6, 2018


The December Paper Pumpkin kit was wonderful to unpack, as those red boxes are each and every month. My husband always knows that he will make me smile when he walks into the house bearing a Paper Pumpkin box that the postman had delivered.

Having had the flu for more than a week after Christmas, I didn't feel up to crafting until just a few days ago. So, to start out slowly,  I grabbed my Paper Pumpkin box to create something that wouldn't take too much creative juice to produce. 

I'd checked out the contents of the box the moment it entered the house (shortly before Christmas), but with the Holidays fast approaching, that's all that I had time to do. Just a quick peek. Since I was now in creation mode, I dug in. 

The components that came with the kit were so cute, and offered so many possibilities. One of the cards, if made according to the kit's instructions, would look like this:

I opted to change things up a bit from the directions. From the kit, I used two of the stamps, one of the banner tags, and the wonderful diecut Crumb Cake card base.

Thinking that the leafy fronds surrounding the window of the card could be shown to better advantage, I searched through my Designer Series Papers, and found the PERFECT DSP to complement the card:

In addition to the components I've already mentioned from the Paper Pumpkin kit, I added the beautiful jungle-y DSP, a few of our new self-adhesive sequins (page 29 in the new Occasions Catalog that just went live January 3!) and some seam binding ribbon from my stash.

The way the DSP is surrounded by the diecut fronds, which are echoed again within the paper, make for a truly wonderful look.

The banner tag that came with the kit had the tails on both ends, but, as per the kit instructions, I snipped off the tail on the right, and butted it against the card's edge. I also added a few of the leaves, stamped off first, in Crumb Cake with the leafy stamp that came with the kit. 

I was not sure at all what to do with the seam binding ribbon. After lots of playing around, I accidentally hit upon this look, which I think works because it continues with the flow of the diecut leaves and the DSP leaves. 

Are you a subscriber to the monthly Paper Pumpkin kit? Well, now is even a better time than usual to start a Prepaid Prescription! 

Why? you ask. It's Sale-A-Bration (until March 31), and during this time, 

* with a 3-month Prepaid Subscription, you get for free one Level 1 Sale-A-Bration item;

* with a 6-month Prepaid Subscription, you not only save $1 per month, but you get TWO free Level 1 Sale-A-Bration items or one free Level 2 Sale-A-Bration item;

* with a 12-month Prepaid Subscription, you save $2 per month, and you also receive FOUR free Level 1 Sale-A-Bration items or TWO free Level 2 Sale-A-Bration items, PLUS you receive hostess benefits!

Woo-hoo! To subscribe, go to this link. And you will have a ton of monthly fun for as long as you choose!


January 2, 2018


 Before I show you the finished product that is the subject of this blog post, I am going to take you on a little journey of the process for creating a reverse masking snowflake.

Ready? Grab your travel togs and let's get going.

I first cut a piece of copy paper (not cardstock; it must be thin like copy paper) to 5 1/4" square. I centered my snowflake die on this piece of paper. Because dies and the Big Shot are meant to be used with thicker paper, such as cardstock, or, at least, Designer Series Paper, I ran it through the Big Shot three times to make sure I had a good clear cut. I could also have added a shim, but this worked just fine.

After running it through the Big Shot, this is the mask you end up with. The reason you need to use the thinner copy paper, rather than cardstock, is that the thickness of cardstock prevents the creator to get clean edges from the masking process. You end up with a little halo.

I cut the piece of cardstock that I was going to be working with at 5" square. I centered it on one side of the mask piece and secured two sides with tape so it didn't move while I was working on it.

After it was centered and secured with tape, I flipped it over, and I was ready to go to work!

I used three different snowflake stamps in varying sizes with Dapper Denim ink. I wanted this snowflake to really pop. That's why I chose a darker blue like Dapper Denim. I started with the more open snowflakes, finishing up with a much smaller denser snowflake to fill in the white spots a bit more. I was especially careful around the tips of the snowflake because I wanted to have the tips be as precise and finished as possible. 

When you are stamping like this, with so much overlapping, it is difficult to know exactly what you are going to end up with. Now, that the stamping is finished, it looks like sort of a mess. Right?

After I removed the mask, I was pleasantly delighted with my resulting snowflake, created with the Reverse Masking technique.

I wanted to preserve all this hard work and leave most of the stamping exposed. 

So I used the larger of the snowflake dies from the Seasonal Layers Thinlits on page 216 of the annual catalog and Silver Glimmer Paper to cut a gorgeous sparkly snowflake. When I held the snowflake against the busy masked snowflake background, it virtually disappeared. 

I needed to remedy that. Deciding to use the snowflake as a spotlighted focal point by mounting it first on a circle of white cardstock, then onto a matted circle in Dapper Denim. I then popped it up with three Stampin' Dimensionals.

I offset the sparkly snowflake to the right side a bit because, well . . . because I wanted a bit of asymmetry to show off my stamped snowflake. Remember what they say about "dead center"?

I did end up cutting my cardstock piece down to 4 1/2" square from the 5" square. Once I'd finished my stamping, it just seemed like there was too much white space around it. The card base is made from Dapper Denim cardstock, and measures 4 3/4" square. 

Have you ever given Reverse Masking a try? Were you happy with your result(s)? If you haven't yet tried it, will you now attempt it since you now know how easy the technique really is and the unique design you can create? 

After having successfully completed your journey, get out some copy paper and give Reverse Masking a try!