Monday, December 30, 2013


Last year, I saw an adorable idea using giant paperclips (4” long!) topped with Spellbinders’ Decorative Dress Forms.  The Paperclip Bookmark inspiration was on Splitcoast Stampers [HERE]* and I decided these would make perfect Christmas gifts for six of my nearest and dearest, including the members of my stamp club.  So here they are . . . 

The more I did, the more I wanted to do, so like Topsy, the project just grew!  As I’d die cut plenty of dress forms, I had leftovers and decided to use them to decorate the gift bags as well.   Unfortunately, the bags have a slight sheen which produced a glare no matter how I angled the bags, so please forgive the poor photography.

I had a ball with these little ladies and I’m looking forward to making more of them!

Cardstock:      Marcos Jute, Antique Linen, Bazzill Raven, assorted designer
Stamps:           Creative Catalyst Tweed Border, Frog’s Whiskers Straight
                                & Narrow Border, So She Stamps “Dream”      
Inks:                Distress Old Paper, Antique Linen, Brushed Corduroy,
                               Papertrey Ink Chai,  ColorBox Black           
Dies/Punches:              Spellbinders Decorative Dress Forms, Fancy Tags, Fancy
                               Tags 2, Memory Box Pippi, Isabella Butterflies
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail Black
Doo Dads:        Martha Stewart Border Stickers, K & Company
                                 Adhesive Trims, brads, paper flowers, Staples Mega
                                Clips, aquarium  gravel (to weight the box and make
                                 it more stable), crystals, Black gift bags

* The Splitcoast Stampers Tutorial at this link features a different project, but the accompanying video shows clear instructions on how to make the decorated paper clips featured on my blog.  I added a few steps to the original instructions in order to give the box and the giant paper clips greater stability – anyone interested in the details is welcome to write me for further instructions.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Birthday

Take Two!  Today’s card uses the same embossing folder that was used on my previous post, but the look is quite different  . . .

This time, I used the embossed side which was highlighted by rubbing the ink pad lightly over the surface.  I varied the pressure a bit so that the background also picked up some of the ink.  I was shooting for a sort of aged, whitewashed look.   I think I actually got there, don’t you?

 Cardstock:       Bazzill White, watercolor paper
Stamps:             Wordsworth Happy Birthday, Stamp A Mania Line Background             
Inks:                   Distress Broken China, Tumbled Glass, Mowed Lawn, ColorBox
                                Frost White                                                   
Emb Powder:  Judikins Opaque White            

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Birthday

How I love embossing folders!  There are hundreds of gorgeous designs out there and they are so low in price that you can afford to indulge yourself.    I also like being able to have a choice as to which side I use:  the embossed or you can turn it over to use the de-bossed side.  Of course, that means any text or numbers will be reversed, but any other design will work beautifully.

 For today’s card, I used the de-bossed side and traced the grooves with my Clear Star pen for some shimmer and sparkle, which the camera will undoubtedly eat as usual . . .

My next post on Thursday will show the exact same folder but with a completely different look and color scheme.  Y’all come back and check it out!

 Cardstock:       Bazzill Black, watercolor paper
Stamps:             Wordsworth Happy Birthday, Starving Artistamps Blanket
                              Stitch from her Altered Stitches Set
Inks:                   Distress Wild Honey, ColorBox Black, Frost White
Emb Powder:  Judikins Detail Black, Opaque White, Stamp Zia Black Sparkle             
Emb Folder:     Stampin’ Up Flower Garden                 
Doo Dads:        Candi’s brads from the Savile Row set


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Star Struck Deer

As we send out over 90 Christmas cards, it’s a challenge to come with a layout that has at least some of the dimensional elements I love to use, but that can be completed in this lifetime.  I also want to keep the theme focused on the reason for Christmas.  Yet there is a wide range of fantastic stamped art opportunities available at this time of year and they are hard to pass up. 
Solution . . .

 . . . put a delightful image on the card front, and use a message of faith inside. 
Mission accomplished!

The message in this card says,
In all of the laughter,
In the midst of fun,
Know the reason for joy
Is the gift of God’s Son. 
Christ is born . . . Glorify Him!

Cardstock:       Wausau Firecracker Red, Beckett Iceberg, Generic textured White 
Stamps:             The Artful Stamper Star Struck Deer, Alias Smith & Rowe Swirl Frenzy,
                             Another Stamp Company “Merry”, Speedball Mesh Brayer, Hero
                              Tiny Ink Spots
Inks:                   Stamp Zia Spray Water, Distress Stormy Sky, Superior India Ink Black,
                               Lemon Tree Mica Powder Silver, PaperTrey Ink Fresh Snow,
                               Adirondack Cranberry, Ultimate Glitter Pen Silver, VersaMark 
Dies/Punches:   Carl Double Leaf punch, Fiskars Small Rectangle      
Doo Dads:          Crystal (glued to his bow tie)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday

There are two favorite tree branch dies I like to use a lot;  last week’s post showed the slim and elegant Grove Branch from Memory Box, and today’s has my other favorite from Impression Obsession that I like to use when something a little more on the gnarly side is called for.  The sponged panel and matting under the text was a find from my beloved Scrap Stash, about which I cannot say enough:  such card-starting inspiration it contains!  Even the smallest pieces can spark an interesting new direction . . .


 As Jennifer Maguire has often noted, thin strips of cardstock can really finish off a design nicely.  She has used them to cover the seam on adjacent cardstocks or to keep a bare edge from ending so abruptly.  Here, I’ve used them to create a frame:  sliced from the sponged panel, they help connect the panel to the layer underneath and keep it from looking so floaty . . .

Cardstock:       Bazzill Dark Purple, Marcos Jute, Generic Dull Silver
Stamps:             Stampin’ Up Happy Birthday
Inks:                   ColorBox Silver, Various Purple and Pumpkin shades sponged on
                              and spritzed with Perfect Pearls Silver mist, Gelly Roll      
                              Clear Star                               
Emb Powder:   B’Muse Silver 
Dies/Punches:  Impression Obsession Bare Branch, 1/8” corner rounder            


Thursday, December 12, 2013


Perhaps I should refer to my work as Leftovers, Inc, as I just love finding ways to use up scraps from previous projects . . .

My October 21 post shows this year’s Halloween card which yielded the leftover scraps I used for this card.  Usually, I put together a weaving with narrow strips like these, but this time, I thought it would be fun to angle the ends and arrange them side-by-side.  It came out in sort of an ombre-gone-wild effect which I like.  Hope you do too!

Cardstock:       Bazzill Simon, Watercolor paper
Stamps:             Starving Artistamp “Romance”, Ladder Stitch from the Altered
                               Stitches set
Inks:                   Distress Dusty Concord, Stormy Sky, Spiced Marmalade,
                             ColorBox Gold, Gold marker                                                  
Emb Powder:    Ranger Detail Gold      
Dies/Punches:  Spellbinders Classic Hearts, Labels 8, My Favorite Things
                                Mini Pennants 
Doo Dads:          Deckled scissors, Gelly Roll Glaze Yellow, 2 crystals, Gold floss

Monday, December 9, 2013

She Drew Recklessly

Having no burning inspiration about what I wanted to create today, I went diving into my Scrap Stash and came up with . . . TA DA! . . . PURPLE!  Also a little Blue . . .

I’d already stamped the Butterfly Girl while working on some samples for Red Rubber Designs:  I was preparing a product review for that company for publication in Rubber Stamp Madness last year and this stamped piece was left over.  A few more Purple scraps to enhance the general purple-ness, some White to brighten things up a bit, and voila:  some Purple Whimsy served up to enhance your day!

Cardstock:       Bazzill White, Generic Black, Watercolor
Stamps:             Butterfly Girl and text from Red Rubber Designs Art Gave
                             Her Wings set, Running and Argyle stitches from Starving Artistamp
                             Stitches and Labels Sheet
Inks:                   Archival Jet Black, Distress Dusty Concord, Stormy Sky,
                              Ancient Page Coal, ColorBox Silver, Marvy Silver marker, Gelly Roll
                              Clear Star                              
Embossing Pwdr:  B’Muse Detail Silver
Dies/Punches:   Memory Box Grove Branch, Resting Birds                   
Doo Dads:          Marquise crystals

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Asian Thank You

A few years ago, my friend and stamping buddy Carol and I drove 3 ½ hours to get to an all day creative frenzy with Fred Mullett in two of his extraordinary classes:  “Spritz Me Baby” and “The Elegant Mess”.  Totally worth the effort, these classes were dreams come true for both of us.  Lots and lots of laughter, superb teaching, and we both came home with new ideas, enhanced talents, and some really usable artwork . . .

The semi-gilded lattice was made by dipping a finger dauber into a bit of VersaMark and just very lightly dabbing over various areas at random.  Then I scattered the gold EP over it and firmly tapped off the excess.  I was going for a textured rather than a smooth appearance and for the most part, that’s what I got.  Ranger’s Gold Embossing Powder can eventually become smooth if that’s what you’re after, but if you want to stop at a textured, hammered gold look, this terrific powder lets you do that.  It’s a staple in my stash for just that reason:  and as a hedge against running out, or God Forbid, a formula change that would “improve” what is already perfect, I sprung for the eight- ounce size and am probably set for life . . .

Cardstock:      Marcos Jute, Beckett Iceberg, Generic Purple          
Stamps:           Fiskars Mesh brayer, unknown Asian “Thank You” text      
Inks:                 Various sprays and stains from Fred’s class, Pilot Gold
                                marker, Hero’s Soft Brown, VersaMark              
Emb Powder:    Ranger Gold  
Dies/Punches:  Dee’s Distinctively Lattice 2            

Monday, December 2, 2013

Falling Leaves

My outlook on life tends to be a very structured and literal one.  This attitude can be useful for many endeavors . . . however, it is often the kiss of death for one’s growth and development in artistic pursuits.  Letting loose and striving for a more unstructured, random feel to my work has been a real struggle, albeit an extremely rewarding one.  Still, once in awhile, I do like to revert to my structured comfort zone:   this card was published in Paper Creation’s Winter 2013 issue, so I guess they were happy with it too . . .


I have fallen in love with label dies and have collected a number of them.  But I’d give anything to find a set of layered labels dies.  Failing that, my current work-around is to take the die I’ve used for the top layer, turn it over, trace around the edges onto the back of contrasting cardstock, and cut it out.  This gives a very slim margin and looks pretty good, I’d say. 

Cardstock:      Bazzill Pomegranate, Cheddar,  Beckett Moonlight
Stamps:           We R Memory Keepers Leaves, The Stamp Pad text
                               “Falling Leaves” set, Stampin’ Up Itty Bitty Backgrounds
Inks:                VersaFine Onyx Black, Ancient Page Coal, ColorBox Frost White             
Emb Powder: B’Muse Eggshell, Transcendence Clear
Markers:         Marvy Wet Looks #7, #64
Dies/Punches:  Papertrey Ink Angled Labels
Doo Dads:      Colored brads, eyelash fibers, 1/4 “ corner rounder


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Cat

On this American Thanksgiving Day, a frosty window scene with a grateful cat perched on the sill seems like a good choice for today’s blog! 

Kittie Caracciolo’s blog is a feast for the eyes and the paper crafting mind.  It’s also a wonderful source for excellent tutorials which clearly show how she makes such magical works.  In one of her recent blogs, she noted that she had over thirty window projects listed!  I decided to start off with a simple window frame I had in my stash but hadn’t yet used.  Kittie’s right:  they really are fun to do . . .

The scene through the window features the last of the coloring exercises from my Memory Box class with Dave Brethauer – it seemed tailor-made for use with the window die.  A fanciful bow, a cozy cat grateful to be inside rather than out, and we have ourselves a sweet little scene!

Next project:  a door die I have in my stash and also have never used.  Stay tuned!

Cardstock:      Bazzill Medium Blue, Beckett Iceberg, Memory Box Silver,
                            generic watercolor paper
Stamps:           Memory Box Snowy Branches, Zim Prints Cat, Stampin’ Up
                             “Thanks So Much!” 
Inks:                ColorBox Frost White, Perfect Pearls Mist             
Emb. Powder: Judikins Opaque White
Dies/Punches:  Quickutz Window, Bow from Die-Namics Spring Wreath
                                Set, Label from Spellbinders Tags & Flags Set     
Impression Plate: Papertrey Ink Woodgrain

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful Butterfly

Wish I’d gotten this stamp of these whimsical trees while it was still being sold . . .

What I REALLY wish is that stamps would never be retired!  How hard is it to keep the original molds and drag them out as needed?  Isn’t everything computerized by now anyway?  So that means that storage isn’t really a problem anymore.  It also probably means that I haven’t the faintest idea of what I’m talking about.  Oh well – perhaps this will teach me to enjoy what I’ve got while I’ve got it . . .
Cardstock:  Memory Box Key Lime, Bazzill Julep, Beckett Moonlight,
                            generic textured cream scrap
Stamps:           Memory Box Row of Trees, Savvy “Thank You” Trail
Inks:                VersaCraft True Black, Distress Brushed Corduroy
                           Gelly Roll Clear Star             
Colored Pencils:  Prisma
Dies/Punches:    Die-Namics Wavy Edge, 1/8” corner rounder, Papertrey
                                  Ink Angled Labels, Family Treasures Squiggle,
                                  Marvy Butterfly           


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanks So Much

Here’s another card from the Memory Box Coloring class I mentioned earlier . . .

If you look closely at the center of the flower, you will find a smidge of Flower Soft, an utterly delightful textural material available in a wide range of colors.  I didn’t happen to have black, so after it was glued into place, I dabbed at it with a black marker.  Perhaps I should not be so timid with my next foray into the use of Flower Soft – it really can make a much more wonderful statement than the rather timid little squeak I allowed it to utter here. 

Stay tuned . . .

Cardstock:      Memory Box Key Lime, Bazzill Rain Forest, Beckett
                                Moonlight, Generic Parchment scrap               
Stamps:           Memory Box Poinsettia, Stampin’ Up “Thanks So Much”   
Inks:                Archival Jet Black, Memory Box Cream White
Colored Pencils:  Prisma
Emb Powder:   B’Muse Eggshell White                                   
Emb Folder:     Darice Thin Lines
Dies/Punches:  Die-Namics Sentiment Strip, 1/8” corner rounder  
Doo Dads:        Cream brads, red hemp cord, Flower Soft        

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Simple Thank You

Here’s yet another card from Dave Bretbauer’s coloring class.  We did five cards in two hours, so a couple more are coming your way . . .

I was going for a simple color scheme with a mellow feel to it, so even though I’ve never seen a brown snowflake before, I went with it because I thought it suited the card very well.  This is what I love about stamping:  most of the time, WE get to make the rules!

Cardstock:      Memory Box Key Lime, Bazzill Cocoa, Wausau Firecracker Red,
                                  generic Sand
Stamps:           Just For Fun Fractured Background, Memory Box Decorated Deer,
                                  Our Daily Bread Sparkling Snowflakes, Hero A Simple
                                  Thank You                
Inks:                Ancient Page Light Brown, Sage, Distress Brushed Corduroy
Colored Pencils:  Prisma
Dies/Punches:     Die-Namics Labels and Tabs, Our Daily Bread Sparkling
Doo Dads:      Pure Glitz Ruby Slippers Stickles


Thursday, November 14, 2013


Once upon a time, it dawned on me that I could enjoy the aftermath of the Christmas hassle a lot more if I had my thank you cards made up ahead of time.  Then all I had to do was write the note and DONE!  So I pulled out several cards from a fabulous Memory Box class on coloring that I took at the Creative Corner in Glen Spey NY a few years ago.  The class was packed with truly useful ideas and I wound up paying more attention to the techniques than I did on getting the cards actually put together.  I’ve decided that this is a good thing:  bringing my cards home unassembled means I can do better work unhurried at home, and I can also put something more of my own spin on the cards.  Such as with this one . . .

This card began with just the card base and the colored focal point.  I decided on the Square Lattice embossing folder for the background because it looks a lot like a cozy knitted sweater which really goes with winter-themed cards.  A diecut frame and a few other doo dads later, and here we are . . . ready to tackle those pesky Thank You’s!

Four more examples are comin’ up – brace yourselves . . .

Cardstock:    Memory Box Wassail, Generic Parchment, watercolor paper
Stamps:         Memory Box Bird with Holly, Amy’s Magic Leaf, Too Much
                                Fun “Thanks”
Inks:               Archival Jet Black, Distress Brushed Corduroy, Gelly Roll
                                Clear Star                                    
Colored Pencils:   Prisma
Dies/Punches:  Spellbinders Classic Frame, Tags Trio
Emb Folder:  Stampin’ Up Square Lattice         
Doo Dads:     1/8” Burgundy ribbon, Cream brads     


Monday, November 11, 2013


As today is Veteran’s Day in the United States, the thankful theme of today’s card couldn’t possibly be more appropriate . . .

 . . . while butterflies are not all that common in November, I am taking artistic license here.  A dab of orange in a nod to the season and voila:  a fall butterfly! 

Cardstock:       Neenah Desert Storm
Stamps:            Stampin’ Up Fall Fun set, text from Creative Imaginations Thankful set
Inks:                   Memento Cottage Ivy, Pear Tart, Tangelo, Cantaloupe,
                               ColorBox Gold, Marvy Gold marker                                 
Emb Powder:   Ranger Gold                  
Dies/Punches: Papertrey Ink Take Three, Cheery Lynn Small Exotic Butterflies #1  
Impression Plate:  Papertrey Ink Linen
Doo Dads:        1/8” corner rounder punch