November 30, 2019


I made four ornaments today! A little struggling, but so much fun -- and I love the looks of these little gems. Measuring just 1 1/2" square when they are closed, these tiny guys definitely are little treasures.

Several years ago, I'd made one of these ornaments. I can't find it right now. But, ever since then, I'd been wanting to make another one . . . or four. Seeing a post on Dawn Olchefske's blog prompted me to finally do so. Dawn, a fellow Stampin' Up! demonstrator, often features projects on her blog that I fall in love with. 

Following Dawn's video, I once again learned how to make these cute ornaments. Since she does such a good job on her instructions, I won't talk about how to create them. I will, however, share some little things that I experienced that might help you when you try your hand at them.

Either I missed this in Dawn's video, or it wasn't said, but, to make the Folded Star Ornaments in this size, you need five 3" x 3" pieces of your chosen paper. 

To create the neatest looking ornament, try to be as meticulous in your measuring, cutting, folding and gluing as you possibly can. It is crucial that you use a bone folder for every one of your folds. Also, Dawn uses Snail Adhesive, while I liked the ease of using the Tombow Mono Adhesive (green glue) because it gives you some wiggle room.

The first four photos show each of the ornaments I created today in the closed position. In this position, they resemble little books -- or little star books, if you will. (Now that I shared that second link with you, I am going to have to go back and make one of them. It's been years since I've made a star book.) 

I discovered that if you search for "star books" on Pinterest, one of the tutorials on that first page is for the folded star ornaments. Not having looked at that site, I'm not sure how the directions would vary from Dawn's.

OK. Moving on. Following are the four I made in their closed positions. The first one pictured is the one that most closely resembles how Dawn teaches us to make them.

Once again, this is the first one I made, the one most like Dawn's. In this photo, I have released the button from its closed position and the ornament is ready to be opened.

This is that same ornament in the fully opened position, but not "locked" in place. Notice where the button is.

Now, notice the button's position once again. With the ornament fully opened, slide the button back against the ornament itself. The button locks it into the open position.

It occurred to me that maybe this type of ornament would look cute if made from old book pages. This is the second ornament I have pictured closed at the beginning of my post. Take special notice of the button. I'll talk about that more later.

I'm sure that someone smarter or more experienced than I would not have had the problems I did when using book pages. I considered it important to have the print on the pages facing the same direction when the star is opened. I finally managed it, but after several bad tries. 

In Dawn's tutorial, she suggests using 1/8" wide ribbon with the button. I should have listened to her. I didn't have any thin ribbon that would go well with ecru and black, so I opted to use baker's twine. Big mistake. The twine is too thin to keep the button close to the star, whether in the open or closed position. Just a little disturbing because it seems a little sloppy.

I'm not sure if I like the look of the book pages. What are your thoughts?

After experiencing Dawn's suggestions for using three separate prints of Designer Series Paper, I thought using one single print throughout would add a little more of a unified look. And I was right. This one is my favorite -- in that respect. I did mess up in one spot, and I'd like to help you avoid the same mishap.

I was so excited with the way this star was shaping up that I guess I got careless. I had some pretty Real Red Stampin' Up! ribbon that I thought would look so well with this ornament. Unfortunately, it measures 3/8" wide. Don't go that wide! I think if it had been a thinner ribbon or even 1/4" wide, I wouldn't have had the problems I did.

Following Dawn's instructions, I measured two lengths of the ribbon at 7 inches. It all went smoothly until it came to threading the ribbon through the holes of the button. What a nightmare. With my ribbon scissors, I made the thinnest point at the end of the ribbon to facilitate the threading. It was still too thick and too wide and became hopelessly tattered in the process. I did manage to thread it through, but needed to hack off quite a bit of the tattered ribbon, thus making my button ribbon mechanism a bit too short. It works. But it's not great. You can see in the photo below that it still looks ragged at the end. I was afraid to cut off too much too close to the knot.

By using only a single sheet of double sided Designer Series Paper you get a pleasingly unified looking ornament. Even with the catastrophe I experienced with the ribbon, this is my favorite.

The last photo shows the second one I made with old book pages. This book's pages were pure white, not the ecru coloring you often find in old books. By the time I got to this one, I found it a little easier to make sure the print was all facing the same way. Experience = the best teacher.

The ribbon I used on this one is non-Stampin' Up!. It is a 1/2" organdy ribbon. Being that this is a much thinner ribbon than the previous ones, the extra width still worked. 

Another thing that I did differently on the two book page ornaments is that for the "covers" of the stars, I didn't do any stamping. I simply used a coordinating piece of DSP. I like the looks of that.

Well, I hope I've imparted a few things that will help you to avoid some of the problems I'd run into. Once again, here is the link to Dawn's terrific tutorial video.  Thanks, Dawn, for your expertise!


November 26, 2019


A little over a month ago, October 15, to be exact, I was featured as a guest blogger on Katherine's Corner. Katherine had asked me to create a Thanksgiving card for this blog post. She wanted step by step photos to accompany the process of the cardmaking. 

After the post ran on Katherine's  blog, I was asked by her to wait a few weeks to post the tutorial on my own blog. With Thanksgiving being this week, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share it with my own readers.

I had something of a vision in my mind for a card, but not real details. Thus, what you will be "treated" to here is my thought process while creating a card, whether the "thought" was actually used or not. You will be witness to my trial and error that I typically go through when setting out to create a card. 

The post will include a plethora of photos -- all but the first one and the final three taken in my Creation Station, where the lighting isn't wonderful, and my scrap paper that I work on is an absolute mess. But this is reality. All is part of the process of what I go through when creating an original card.

My first decision came in opting for a traditional fall color palette. To start, I chose a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Crumb Cake cardstock. I planned on doing an emboss resist, so I carefully rubbed my Embossing Buddy, an anti-static tool, over the entire piece of cardstock. Doing this will prevent excess embossing powder from sticking where it isn't wanted. Once I'd used my Buddy, I inked up the more detailed sunflower stamp from the Painted Harvest set (page 128, Annual Catalog) with VersaMark ink. Starting near the center of the cardstock, I stamped my first flower, followed by three more, nearly touching, to surround the first one.

Because VersaMark stamping is difficult to see for placement of subsequent flowers, I chose to emboss these four flowers first. At my Heat Station, I sifted gold embossing powder over the stamped flowers. I then used my heat tool to melt the embossing powder. When heating embossing powder, move the heat tool constantly so it doesn't scorch any one spot, keeping it a couple inches from what you're embossing. The heating process is finished when the entire stamped area is shiny with no powdery residue in evidence.

Since I was pleased with my initial embossing, I forged onward. Using the Embossing Buddy once again, I stamped more flowers, almost touching, around the first four, then heat embossed the new additions.

After this was embossed, I discovered that I needed to do a little edge work to make it look like a cohesive piece. I brought out the Embossing Buddy again, then stamped in VersaMark ink a few more of the flowers along the little spaces at the edges. Once again, I used the heat tool to emboss.

At this point, my original vision for the card saw this portion as finished. Not so. Those big gaping holes in the center of each flower were unsightly, to say the least. However, the flower center that comes with this stamp set almost completely fills in the center. Thinking that would make the flowers entirely too solid looking, I searched through my stamp sets for an alternate stamp with a similar look, but was a bit smaller.

I found it in the Waterfront stamp set (page 125, Annual Catalog)! I used the sun from that set for the centers of my flowers. Below, I have both of the circles to compare the sizes, with the larger one the center that comes with the set, while the smaller sun from Waterfront is the one I actually used.

I was so delighted I went the sun route, because the result was exactly as my mind had seen.

The next step was to start the resist process. I used a stamping sponge and Soft Suede ink, and applied it lightly over all the embossed flowers.

I then used a sponge and Early Espresso ink to add a darker color to just the edges.

Yes! I was happy with that background, so set it aside for now.

Once again my imagination had pictured a traditional golden sunflower as the main focal point. The flower consists of two stamps -- one, a more blobby flower, the other, a little more detail. I chose to do the first layer in Daffodil Delight ink, followed by the more detailed top stamp in Crushed Curry ink. I stamped the real center of the flower that came with the set in Soft Suede, adding the little spots in Early Espresso.

The finished flower was very pretty, so I went ahead and fussy cut the flower.

I knew ahead of time that I wanted to use the Tin Tile 3D embossing folder (page 199, Annual Catalog) on a gold metallic cardstock to add to the card's elegance. After doing that dry embossing, I brought it back to my work table and laid the fussy cut sunflower on top of it. That's what I do -- as I accomplish a step, I just lay things together to see how it's looking.

Well, when I laid the sunflower on top of the tin tile piece, the colors of the flower were almost lost on the gold embossing. That would definitely not do.

Huh. I decided to go with alternate fall colors and stamped the flower again in Pumpkin Pie and Cajun Craze, with the Cajun Craze supplying the detail for the flower. I followed up with the two shades of brown for the center.

After fussy cutting this second flower, I held it against the gold embossed square, and loved what I saw.

To continue with the newly added Cajun Craze, I surrounded the gold embossed square with a narrow mat of Cajun Craze cardstock. Lovely.

It used to make me feel quite intimidated when even just thinking about adding metallic cord or thread haphazardly around an object. To make the process easier, I came up with a way of doing it that works well for me.

I wanted to add some gold cord to the back side of the rusty flower, so I turned it upside down and ran a few rows of Snail Adhesive across the turned over flower. As I made each loop of the cord, I caught a portion of it on the tape. The tape holds the cord in place while you are working on it, but yet makes it easy to adjust the placement if needed.

For a minute there, I'd thought I would place a bow made from the same gold cord on the lower right of the flower. But once I had it laid in place, I felt it was over done, so decided not to use it. That's why the bow shows up in a few of the photos.

To keep with the simple elegance, I die cut a "thanks" from the same gold metallic cardstock.

I thought it would be nice to have my card base also be Cajun Craze to echo the mat around the gold embossed piece. So I laid this new combo out to give it a test try. Yes.

The flower deserved a little more color, so I used the two-step leaf stamp that came in the Painted Harvest set to stamp a leaf in Pear Pizzazz and Old Olive. I used the Leaf Punch (page 187, Annual Catalog) to cut the leaf out.

After adding the leaf to the flower, I placed Stampin' Dimensionals on the back of the flower piece, which included the looped gold cord and the leaf and adhered it to the lower right corner of the gold embossed piece.

Since that looked really nice, as did the rest of the combo I'd laid out, I put the rest of the card together.

The next two photos show the final card from two different angles.

It takes me a long time to design a card from scratch. This one took about 2 1/2 hours. But you can see all the trials and errors I go through during the process. Since this was to be a guest post, I wanted this card to be extra special, so I really took pains with it. Usually, it only takes about 1 1/2 hours to come up with a typical card that I use in my monthly Stamp-In workshops. This card is a bit more advanced and time-consuming than what I would have my Stamp-In attendees create.

I wish you, your family and friends a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Day!


November 23, 2019


I just love it when that happens.When WHAT happens, you ask. Well, when a weird idea that I have actually works out when I try it!

My November Paper Pumpkin kit arrived in the mail a few days ago. Whenever I see a sneak peek on someone's feed before mine arrives, I quickly scroll past. I do not like knowing what it's going to be ahead of time. That's part of the charm of Paper Pumpkin: the wonderful surprise of opening that red-orange box to discover the contents and the projects.

Well, the November kit was no exception to how wonderful they always are. The kits contains tons of stuff to make some really cool Christmas tags. Not needing any more Christmas tags, I looked all the components over carefully, only to realize how easy it would be to make these darling tags into Christmas cards!

I have all my Christmas cards made already for this year, so what I decided to do was punch out all the diecut elements anyway, so they are ready for me to get card making next year. 

The first element I removed from its surroundings was a sheet of snowflakes, 
shown below.

I know most <normal> people wouldn't hesitate to toss the waste in the garbage. Not me! 

What a great STENCIL! 

So I grabbed it and rushed down to my Creation Station, my mind madly swirling with ideas. 

I cut a piece of Night of Navy cardstock to 4" x 5 1/4". I placed my new stencil even with the top of the cardstock and centered horizontally. I used sticky tape to hold it in place while I worked with it. You can see -- if you look carefully -- my white pigment ink pad and my Sponge Brayer in the upper right corner. The sponge brayer can be found on page 181 in the Annual Catalog. 

After inking up the brayer very well with the white ink, I brayered across the navy cardstock through the taped down stencil. I continued doing this until all the snowflakes were evenly inked.

Although I was naive enough to think I was going to get white snowflakes on navy cardstock, the snowflakes actually turned out to be more of a blue. No matter. It worked perfectly!

I then excitedly went to work figuring out how to use this in a card. 

The card below shows my result.

I realize the sentiment I used on my card was retired a long time ago, but it fits so wonderfully across the empty space at the bottom of the card. As I often say, if you love something enough to buy it, why not keep using it? Right? 

Just a closeup of the brayered snowflakes:

And a closeup of the pretty snowflakes I die cut using the snowflake dies 
from the Seasonal Layers set on page 195. 

Did you ever actually check out that die set and the stamp set that coordinates with it, Colorful Seasons, on page 56? If not, take a look. Both sets have so so so much to offer. Including the "just breathe" phrase that I use often in my work.

With the exception of the three Basic Rhinestones 
that I added to the sentiment piece, 
this card is perfectly flat.

From that same Paper Pumpkin kit, I have several more "stencils" to use 
after punching out the elements. I can't wait to give them a try!

Now, be honest. Would you have thrown away this valuable art supply after removing the snowflakes from it? No no. Never Never. Uh uh uh. 

Stay tuned to see what I come up with using the other "stencils" in the coming weeks!


November 19, 2019

#dailycreating JULY

As many of you already know, I belong to a Facebook group called Daily Creating. Led by visual artist and creative encourager Terry Runyan, those of us in the group are treated to a list of prompts each Sunday that will last us the next seven days. Prompts are optional, but many of us follow them, including me. The real purpose of the group is to encourage us to create something every day. 

Since I wanted to hone my drawing skills -- in addition to my papercrafting -- I hopped on board the group a year ago in August. I have only missed drawing for two daily prompts in all that time. I feel that by following each day's prompt -- whether I "like" it or not -- forces me at times to work outside -- sometimes WAY outside -- my comfort zone, thus strengthening my skills as an artist.

I have shared drawings from each of the months so far since I started. Today I am going to share with you a handful from my July drawings. As always, I will put the prompt above each of the pictures.

Mad Hatter







(I am terrified of moths.)



As you peruse the prompts above each of these drawings, I am sure you may have a few questions. 

Terry has designated each Saturday as either Caturday or Dogurday. Since I'm not wonderful at drawing cats, I tend to gravitate towards drawing dogs.

Also, every Wednesday is #thingonthing day. I usually interpret that prompt somewhat loosely. For example, in my drawings, I have "snail on grass" and "koala on tree". 

Many of the days show multiple prompts. That is the case in the koala -- #thingonthing and #treehugger. Often, it is possible to make a drawing that fits more than one of the day's prompts. 

As I mentioned, the daily prompts are simply suggestions and following them is not at all mandatory. Many of the people in the group follow their own muse, which is great. At least, they are creating!

I post most of my drawings, as well as cards and photography, on my Instagram account. I would be honored if you would follow me along on Instagram at

Thanks for putting up with my gallery of drawings instead of a papercrafting project about once a month!

The small print: Please be cognizant of the fact that this is my personal artwork and not to be used by anyone other than myself without my express permission. Thank you for this respect.