March 28, 2023


I have for you today a beautifully simple card that could be used for virtually any occasion, except probably something masculine.

Because of the versatility of the card, I purposely didn't add a sentiment.

The card, which is an unusal size, 4 1/4" x 6 1/4", is especially simple to make because the card base is preprinted, and they have gorgeous envelopes with gold foil designs on both front and back, and a coordinating print inside the envelope. I found this set of card bases and envelopes on the Stampin' Up! Clearance Rack, a good place to find terrific deals, especially when there is a new refresh.

I stamped a lovely floral image on a piece of white cardstock and embossed it in gold. It would also have been beautiful if I'd colored in the image with Stampin' Blends. But I decided to just go with the elegant embossed look. A trio of  Polished Dots  and a snippet of Petal Pink ribbon were just right to complete the card.

Stampin' Up! card bases and envelopes
White cardstock
Petal Pink cardstock

Beautifully Happy (stamp set from Sale-A-Bration)

VersaMark ink

Heat Tool
Embossing Buddy
Gold Embossing Powder
Polished Dots
Petal Pink Ribbon

This card measures a normal 4 1/4" wide, but is 6 1/4" long. It would be easy to tweak it a bit to fit on a standard 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card base.

Cut a piece of white cardstock to 2 3/4"' x 4 3/4". Rub an Embossing Buddy well over the entire piece. Centered on this piece, stamp a large flower outline stamp with VersaMark Ink. Heat emboss the flowers with Gold Embossing Powder.

Mount the embossed piece to a 3" x 5" piece of Petal Pink cardstock.

Wrap a length of 1/8" Petal Pink ribbon around this piece about 3/4" from the bottom. Tape the ends of the ribbon to the back side. Cut another piece of the same ribbon and tie it into a bow. Use a Glue Dot to attach it to the center of the folded-around ribbon.

Adhere this finished piece centered onto the card base.

Some cause happiness wherever they go;
others whenever they go.
- Oscar Wilde -



March 25, 2023


In the world of stamping, have you ever heard of the technique referred to as "thumping"? A really useful technique for certain situations, it gives you a unique look every time you do it, no matter how hard you try to duplicate your efforts.

Read on, and we'll talk about how to do some thumping.. It's a very easy technique, but, as I said before, it is completely unpredictable. It is actually perfect for subject matter such as fall foliage, as I used in my card.

You can get the variegated look of a fall leaf  by doing thumping. To do this, you need your choice of water-based markers. Stampin' Write Markers are perfect for this. You need a solid stamp, such as this large maple leaf and its little seed helicopters. 

Choose maybe 3-4 colors that will work well for what you intend to accomplish. The first step is to lay down a base color. I used the lightest color, which was So Saffron. I simply inked up the stamp with this color in the conventional way

Starting with the lightest color of the markers, So Saffron,  and holding the stamp facing up in your nondominant hand, thump all over the stamp randomly using THE SIDE OF THE MARKER. Turn the stamp as you thump so not all the color strokes are in one direction. Taking the next lightest color, do the same thing in parts you hadn't thumped with the first color. Continue until you run out of colors. Remember to keep turning the stamp. When you've used all the colors, go back and fill in some of the spaces where there is no color.

In "normal" thumping, at this point, you would huff over the inked stamp. Then, before the stamp goes dry again, you stamp your image.

My card, however, was done a bit differently. When the "thumping" was finished, I spritzed it sparingly with water. Then I stamped it. By doing it this way, the colors bleed and blend differently. 

As shown in the photos below, I tried FIVE different times to get the look I was hoping to achieve. To be honest, I wasn't completely happy with any of the five.

Before trying thumping, I attempted something a little different on this first leaf. I simply inked up the leaf with the ink pads themselves. While the colors were good on this one, I did not like the lines made by the ink pads.

It was at this point I decided to try the thumping technique.

In the next photo, I once again inked up the stamp with the So Saffron base. I then thumped with Stampin' Write Markers in Merry Merlot, Pumpkin Pie and Old Olive. I didn't mind it too much, but wish the color had been more evenly distributed.

The next leaf showed the veins nicely, but I still wasn't thrilled. Should I give up?

The photo below compares all my attempts:

I finally ended up using the one below, even though it was far from satisfactory.

After cutting out the leaf with a die from the Seasonal Labels dies. I wanted to mount this to a background of the same color, but wanted to jazz it up somewhat. 

First I embossed a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of the cardstock with the Painted Textures 3D Embossing Folder. While this added some interest to the background, it was still too drab for my taste. 

I remedied that with a little light ink added to the peaks of the embossing with an Embossing Brush. Keeping the light touch with the ink was key to a successful background. I popped up the leaf diecut with a couple Stampin' Dimensionals.

The card was finished by adding the textured panel to a card base made from the same cardstock.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever used the thumping technique yourself? Were you happy with the results? Do you have any other variations you could add?

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.
- Emily Bronte -



March 21, 2023


If  you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you probably already know two of my favorite papercrafting techniques that I love to do: Coloring with my Stampin' Blends on black and white Designer Series Paper and fussy cutting. Those two time consuming activities are the best possible Creative Therapy for me.

In today's card, I did both of my favorite things. Yesss! 

The photo below shows a few interesting things. 

First of all, look at the far left of the photo. Notice the partial sheet of little colored flowers. Well, I have every single one of the Stampin' Blends ever made. I needed a way to keep them all in order and well at hand. Thus, I found a cute little open flower stamp and stamped rows and rows of them onto white cardstock until I had just the right amount to match the number of markers I possessed. I'd purchased enough of the Stampin' Blends Storage sections to accommodate my huge collection. After sorting all my Markers according to rainbow order -- ROYGBIV -- I also store them with the light variation first. 

Next step was to color in the rows of little flowers in that exact order, after which I labeled each flower with the Marker color name as well as L or D (light or dark). This organization takes up two sheets of cardstock that I put back to back into a sturdy sheet protector, part of which shows up in the photo. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of times I have grabbed this handy resource. This way I know exactly what each color looks like on white cardstock, as well as where I can find specific markers in my Storage tower, since that is set up with the same number of rows as my resource. 

The photo also shows a large portion of the black and white DSP I'd been coloring, as well as the finished coloring on that area. You can see that I chose not to color a portion of this cluster of flowers, in that the fronds were excessive for what I hoped to accomplish. The Designer Series Paper was from the Perfectly Penciled pack in the Annual Catalog.

Finally, the photo indicates which Stampin' Blends I used in my coloring: Dark Daffodil Delight, Light Soft Succulent, Light Mint Macaron, Light Balmy Blue, Light Just Jade, Dark So Saffron and Dark Petal Pink. Obviously I never get rid of any Blends that retire. I keep them all!!

The photo below shows the card held in the closed position with a small clothespin. In an upright position such as this, the card doesn't stay closed completely. I wanted to show how the fiussy cut colored portion lies against the white backdrop.

In the following photo, you can see how uncooperative it is when it's not held shut. But this also shows the detail of the fussy cutting.

A closeup of the whole card:

In order for the fussy cut portion to hover over white, since my card base was in Balmy Blue, I cut away 1 1/4" of the card front, and lined the inside of the card with a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of white cardstock. I had to be very careful in my gluing so that the fussy cut edges lined up exactly. 

I added a tiny diecut "hello" in Petal Pink cardstock, as well as a trio of Polished Dots I'd found on the Clearance Rack. 


I must have flowers, always, and always.
- Claude Monet -


March 18, 2023


Here's a quick and easy way to make a card without too much thinking or planning. The secret is to make use of Designer Series Paper.

With white cardstock as your card base, as well as on the sentiment label, all you need is a bit of coordinating cardstock and a bit of bling. And maybe ten minutes. Ready?

White cardstock
Pool Party cardstock (or any color that coordinates with the DSP you've chosen)
Celebrate Everything Designer Series Paper (page 87, Mini Catalog)

Sassy Salutations stamp set 

Coastal Cabana ink

Die Cutting/Embossing Machine
Festive Pearls (page 83, Mini Catalog)
All That Dies (page 64, Annual Catalog)
Stampin' Dimensionals

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

Cut a piece of Designer Series Paper to 2" x 5 1/2".

Cut a coordinating piece of cardstock to 2 1/2" x 5 1/2". Adhere the DSP and the coordinating cardstock together. Add this piece centered onto the white card base.

In coordinating ink, stamp a greeting onto a scrap of white cardstock. Use one of the label dies from the All That die set to cut out the sentiment.

Use the two small flagged pieces from the same die set to cut two pieces from the colored cardstock. Add these two flagged pieces to the back of the sentiment label so equal amounts extend beyond the edges of the label.

Use Stampin' Dimensionals to add the strip on the card about 1 1/4" from the top of the card.

Add a Festive Pearl, or whatever piece of bling you'd like, to either side of the stamped sentiment.

In case you ever foolishly forget, I am never not thinking of you.
 - Virginia Woolf -



March 14, 2023


If you've been stamping for awhile, you are probably aware of the existence of the BAG-A-LOPE. Right? It's such a cute way to use a simple envelope. You can so easily make an envelope -- of any size -- into a darling gift bag!

One of the Paper Pumpkin kits from awhile back included the prettiest decorated envelopes you've ever seen! If you're like most people, you will probably just toss the envelope that contained a card in the garbage. I thought these envelopes were just too wonderful to be tossed away after they did their job of transporting a greeting. 

I decided to make one into a bag-a-lope! So simple and easy! And they look like a million bucks for a small gift. 

I seem to find myself truly enjoying the videos of Jessica Taylor from Ink It Up With Jessica. She is so personable and concise in her projects. Rather than me reinventing the wheel, you can watch Jessica's brief video on how to construct a bag-a-lope here. She uses a plain business envelope cut in half and decorated with stamping. I love her bag! But, if you have a cute already-decorated envelope like I had, you can skip the stamping steps and get right to the construction.

To finish off my bag-a-lope, I added a cute diecut tag with sentiment. I also added ribbon handles and a flurry of yellow tissue. 

The dimensions of my bag-a-lope are about 3 3/8" wide, 5 1/4" tall, and 1" deep. It's surprising how much this size bag can actually hold!

Give a bag-a-lope a try! I think you will have fun with this simple projecct. And your recipient will be so impressed!


Yesterday's the past,
tomorrow's the future,
but today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present.
- Bil Keane -



March 11, 2023


Sometimes when I go downstairs to my Creation Station, I want to do something a little more detailed and time-consuming. Recently I had rediscovered a card I'd made several years ago that fit the detailed/time-consuming bill perfectly. (You can see the card I'm referring to at the right in the photo below.)

I had always loved that card, so, I thought I would try to reproduce it. (The reproduction is the card on the left)

The photo shows my updated card.

To start my project, I looked through all my scraps of Designer Series Papers to see if I had a selection that would work well together. I decided to use greens and white in my card, tones resembling Old Olive to be concise.

The next step was to use strips of varying widths, ranging from about 3/4" - 1/4". I cut them into pointed pieces with my paper trimmer.

I cut a piece of DSP in Old Olive to 4" x 5 1/4" to use as my base. I did this just in case I wasn't able to snug the pieces tightly together. Then, at least, the proper color would show through. 

After deciding where I wanted to place my oval with the sentiment, I started building up my starburst. Where all these points meet can be a little crummy-looking, but not to fret because that area would be covered by the oval.

Since I didn't have a lot of strips with the obvious white, I tried to keep those pieces separated nicely in my layout.

Once all the strips were in place on the foundation, I turned the piece over and snipped off the pieces that extended beyond the edge.

You can see in the photo below the nice spacing of the white strips. It balances it out well. I think it would have been a little boring without the white breaks here and there.

Once all the strips were in place and trimmed, I added the 4" x 5 1/4" piece to a white card base.

I love the sentiment I chose for the simple oval, and stamped it in Old Olive ink. I added a leafy embellishment and a little tail to the oval, and attached it with a couple Stampin' Dimensionals.

Even though it was time-consuming and a little messy -- and sometimes somewhat frustrating -- I really enjoyed this Creative Therapy and am happy with the end result.

Judgments prevent us from seeing the good 
that lies beyond appearances.
- Wayne Dyer -


March 7, 2023


How do you feel about gatefold cards? Are you familiar with them? Basically, a gatefold card doesn't open the traditional way. Instead the recipient opens the card by the middle of the card, so two "gates" open to either side.

Personally, I love gatefold cards. They are a fun fold, easy to create and look a little more special. Usually I like to add panels of Designer Series Paper to each of the two gatefolds. In this card, however, I opted to make my own DSP by using a loose outline stamp in a coordinating color to provide the design on two strips of plain white cardstock.

Another thing I did a little differently is that I stamped in black over a gray and white DSP for both the flower and the sentiment tag. I love that look!

Read on for a tutorial on how to create a gatefold card similar to this one.

White cardstock
Designer Series Paper

Beautiful Day stamp set (retired)
A retired birthday sentiment stamp

Smoky Slate ink
Black ink

Gray ribbon
Oval punch or die
Die Cutting/Embossing Machine
Layering Circles dies
Stampin' Dimensionals

Take a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of white cardstock, and, with the Simply Scored, score it at 2 1/8". Turn it 180 degrees and score again at 2 1/8". Crease on the two score lines to get your card base. The two flaps should meet nicely in the center.

Cut two pieces of white cardstock to  1 7/8" x 5 1/4". On these two pieces, stamp an open image (I used the flower) randomly in Smoky Slate ink. Adhere these to the two gatefolds.

In black ink on a section of the DSP, stamp the flower in black ink. Fussy cut this flower, leaving no white borders. 

Cut two 4" pieces of gray ribbon. Crisscrossing the pieces on the back of the fussy cut flower, tape the ribbons in place. Trim the ends at angles.

From white cardstock, use a circle die to cut a 2 3/4" circle to fit the flower on. Adhere the flower with ribbons to the white circle.

In black ink, stamp your sentiment on another piece of the DSP. Use the oval punch or die to cut this out. Because the other side of the Designer Series Paper will show when the card is open, use the same oval with white cardstock. Adhere the DSP oval and the white oval.

Adhere the two components to the flaps of the card. Add Stampin' Dimensionals to the flower only on the right side, and mount it to the righ hand flap about 1/2" from the top.

Repeat with the sentiment oval, putting Dimensionals only on the left side and mounting it to the left gate about 3/4" from the bottom.

The world is all gates, all opportunities, 
strings of tension waiting to be struck.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -



March 4, 2023

#365birds JANUARY 2023

My #365birds project is going really well, and I'm enjoying it all for the most part. Some days it's a little more difficult to get myself psyched up to draw a bird. But, I always manage to get one done.

For those of you who do not know, on November 3, 2022, I embarked on a personal journey to draw a bird each and every day for a year. Thus #365birds was born. Before I began my challenge, I'd typed out and cut into strips the names of 365 birds. Each morning upon waking, I randomly reach for one of the slips. This is the bird for the day.

In this blog post, I will feature 15 of my bird drawings from January 2023. As I always do, I will note the name of the bird above each drawing, as well as any pertinent information I have on each specific bird, usually the area of the world in which the bird can be found.

day 60 - plate-billed mountain toucan

south america

day 61 - southern yellow-billed hornbill
south africa

day 62 - sultan tit

day 63 - emperor penguin

day 66 - hill partridge
foothills of the himalayas

day 71 - green and black fruiteater
subtropical south america

day 72 - ground roller
europe, africa, australia

day 74 - australian ringneck

day 76 - bare-throated bellbird
brazil, paraguay, argentina

day 77 - nightingale
europe and the palearctic

day 80 - helmeted hornbill
brunei, indonesia, malaysia, myanmar, southern thailand

day 81 - seven-colored tanager
northeast brazil

day 86 - cassowary

day 88 - red-backed fairywren
northern australia

day 89 - pale-headed rosella

And there you have it. If you're interrested, I most often use Derwent Inktense Pencils, along with some Posca Pens and Copic Markers. My blacks come from Pigma Micron Pens, as well Derwent Line Makers. 

Please don't make copies of my drawings. If you are interested, contact me and I will have prints made for you.

.No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings
- William Blake -