Thursday, December 14, 2017

It's Your Day

One of my favorite color combinations to use is  two shades of green paired with any combination of bright colors . . .

 . . . it's such a refreshing, happy mixture that always makes me smile.  I hope it does for you too!

Cardstock:   American Crafts Primaries: Green, Beckett Moonlight,
                        Generic textured White      
Stamps:       Brutus/Monroe Watercolor Background, Art Gone Wild
                        Tiny Bouquet 2
Inks:             Distress Mowed Lawn, Twisted Citron, VersaFine Onyx
                        Black, ColorBox Frost White
Colorants:    Inktense Fuchsia, Fern, Sicilian Yellow, Stabilo #8043
                        (Dark Green)
Watercolors:   Zig Clean Color: Light Green, Green Shadow, Green,
                           Fluorescent Green, Yellow, Carmine Red
Emb Powder:   Sweet Stamps Fine Detail White
Dies:            Lil Inkers Stitched Mats Rectangles, Mama Elephant
                        Femme Frames, Frantic Stamper Woodgrain Card 
                       Panel, Memory Box Stitched Rectangle Trimmings           

Monday, December 11, 2017

You & Me

There was a time when I thought I had to know exactly where I was going with a card's design before I could actually sit down and make it happen.  Those constricted days are long gone, thank heavens.  They were exhausting.  It's a lot more fun to pick an element I like and just run with it . . .

This one started out with a sponged panel in green and blue, over which I gold embossed the leafy background.  The Muse took a little while to produce the other elements (she drags her feet a lot), but they eventually came together very peacefully.  The part I like best is the finish on the gold embossing powder - instead of the usual smooth and shiny look, this powder cures to a textured appearance that looks like hammered gold.  I love it so much that I bought an 8 ounce jar so that I would never run out!

Cardstock:   Bazzill Admiral, Strathmore Soft White   
Stamps:       Impression Obsession Greenery
Inks:             ColorBox Gold, Distress Chipped Sapphire, Pine Needles
Emb Powder:   Ranger Gold
Dies:            Spellbinders A2 Distressed Edges, Memory Box
                        Timberland Collage, Cottage Cutz Birch Trees and Deer,
                        Spellbinders You & Me
Doo Dads:    Pilot Marker Gold     

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Button Tree

Here is a picture of this year's Christmas gift, destined for two of my friends who love and appreciate handmade efforts . . .

The original idea came from artist Shari Carroll who posted her instructions for this stunner of a button tree last December.  I knew right away that this would be my gift choice for this year.  Here is her excellent video on the procedure . . . 

I enclosed both an easel and a Command hanging strip so they'll have a choice as to whether to hang it or display it on a side table.  It was a really fun project to do and I expect I'll be making several more in future . . .

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ornaments 2017

Every year, I have fun carrying on a tradition my mother started decades ago with her two grandchildren:  making ornaments the kids could use through the years, and then take with them when they moved into their own homes.  Here are this year's ornaments for two of my young grandchildren . . .

The addition of die cutting to a stamper's bag of tricks has made this effort a whole lot easier to pull off.  This year's background reflects my current rage:  gilding flakes!  There are scores of great videos showing how to apply these lovely pieces of light:  one of the easiest is to take double-sided tape, apply it to piece of cardstock, peel off the remaining release paper and start adding the flakes.  Cover completely, burnish with your fingers to get the major excess off, and then burnish firmly with a stencil brush to remove the rest of the bits.

A little of these flakes goes a very long ways, and these collections come tightly packed in the jar, so you'll have enough to play with for years.

Cardstock:   Wausau Firecracker Red, Generic Green          
Dies:            DieNamics Stitched Mini Scallop Rectangle, DieVersions
                        Christmas Word Tree, Punch Bunch Star               
Doo Dads:    Sparkle & Sprinkle glitter Fantasy Gold, Enchanted Creations
                        glitter Moondust, Mark Richards Metals Gold & Silver, Gold
                        and Silver cords 

Dies:            Papertreyink Bulk Mail Envelope, Memory Box Alphabet
                        Soup, Tim Holtz Alphanumeric (numbers)
Doo Dads:    Past Time Stamps Ultrafine Glitter

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Dream, Sparkle

My love affair with gilding leaf continues . . .

I had a scrap left over from a previous card so I decided to overlay it with a spray of bamboo shoots that were also covered with the same gilding leaf.  I strongly recommend doing the leafing before the die cutting:  it's much easier to work with a solid piece of cardstock as opposed to a delicate cut out.

The background was going to be framed with one of the four frames that this one-piece die provides, but I forgot to use the metal plate needed for added pressure when cutting intricate dies.  Therefore, none of the cut out pieces in the frames were cut all the way through, so I decided to leave them in place for a textured look that didn't compete with the bamboo shoots.

There's a lot of glitz and glitter on this card and I'm debating about whether or not to tone some of it down.  We shall see, but for the moment, it's safe from the chopping block  . . .

Cardstock:   Generic Bronze Metallic 
Stamps:       So She Stamps “Dream”, Stampin’ Up “Sparkle”
Inks:             ColorBox Gold
Emb Powder:   Ranger Gold
Dies:            Frantic Stamper Fancy Frames #1, Memory Box
                        Bamboo Shoots                
Stencil:        The Crafters Workshop Mini Cubist
Doo Dads:    Amy’s Magic Leaf Sea Spray, Marigold glitter

Monday, November 27, 2017

So Special

The spectacular background on this card came from a serendipitous incident that Pat Huntoon of Technique Junkies stumbled across one day . . .

Pat calls this technique Stenciled Glittery Gilding Flakes and it's quick and easy to do.  Go here for the 10 minute video on how she did it. 

Here's a quick preview:  remove the liner paper from one side of a piece of double-sided glue tape and stick it down onto a piece of cards stock. Peel off the liner paper and lay a  stencil down over the sticky side.  Press firmly to secure, and spread gilding leaf over all.  Burnish with your fingers, then with a stiff brush.  Peel off the stencil and dust some glitter over the remaining sticky areas.  DONE!

Cardstock:   Bazzill Aqua 
Inks:             Wink of Stella Clear
Dies:            Spellbinders Classic Rectangles Large, DieNamics
                        Pierced Rectangle Frame, Mama Elephant Peek a Frame,
                        Spellbinders Floral Berry Accents, Tattered Lace
                        Everyday Sentiments: “So Special”, Papertrey Ink
                        Angled Labels                
Stencil:        The Crafters Workshop Mini Cubist
Doo Dads:    Amy’s Magic Leaf Sea Spray, Marigold glitter

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I Lift Up My Eyes

When encouragement in needed, it's hard to beat this verse from Psalms . . .

I tried a little 2nd generation stamping here with the mountain image.  After inking the stamp, I stamped it off once lightly and then stamped onto the 
deckle-edged panel.  The text was stamped full strength, and the slightly 
lighter mountain range makes the text pop.  It's subtle but in real life, it does make a difference.

The puffy white clouds were stamped with a marble patterned image which made for a nice wispy design.  They are very white and needed a little balance at the bottom of the layout, so I used a white Prisma pencil to emphasize some of the lighter surfaces in the mountain range.

Lastly, I know that these particular birds are more typically suited to be living at the ocean, but I'm hoping the recipient isn't into ornithology and will be just as pleased with this soaring trio of grace and freedom.

Cardstock:   Neenah Desert Storm        
Stamps:        Our Daily Bread Keep Climbing: mountains and text,
                           Waffle Flower Layering Marble
Inks:               VersaFine Onyx Black, Papertrey Ink Fresh Snow
Colorants:    Prisma pencil White
Emb Powder:   WOW White Puff
Dies:              Impression Obsession Sea Birds
Emb Folder: Taylored Expressions 

Monday, November 20, 2017


Fall is not my favorite time of the year, but I do love the colors . . .

The happy surprise for me was finding out that watercolors can actually be blended to some extent.  Working with just the right half of the maple leaf, I colored the lower part with Red, and then right away, did the tips with Yellow, continuing down into the Red and back up 2/3 of the way in order to blend.  Then I repeated on the left half of the leaf.  It worked much better than I thought it would.  Maybe I'm beginning to get the hang of this coloring gig after all!

To all who celebrate, a blessed Thanksgiving to each and every one of you . . .

Cardstock:   Marcos Jute  
Stamps:        Hero Autumn, Vippie’s Dotty Snow
Inks:               Papertrey Ink Classic Kraft, VersaFine Vintage Sepia,
                           Distress Gathered Twigs, Ground Espresso
Watercolors:   Zig Clean Color Geranium Red, Orange, Yellow,
                              Brick Beige, Blush
Emb Powder:   Distress Walnut Stain
Dies:              Hero Autumn, Goodculler Stitched Rectangles, Essentials by
                           Ellen Stitches Cover Plate, Impression Obsession Branch,
                           Arich Rounded Corners Stitched Rectangles

Thursday, November 16, 2017

From the heart

I'm working on December birthday cards at the moment and while there's usually a tendency to tie into the traditional holiday colors and images,  I always try to fight that.  People whose personal major events are right next to big holidays deserve to avoid getting lost in the shuffle . . .

So for this December birthday card, I used frosty white leaves touched with gold, some Kraft-colored cardstock to ground things, and a winter butterfly in burgundy and gold.  A little burgundy shimmer here and there, and done . . .

Cardstock:   Bazzill Crimson, Neenah Desert Storm, Strathmore
                           Soft White         
Stamps:        Marianne Banners & Text: “From the heart”
Inks:               VersaMark, Ancient Page Bordeaux
Emb Powder:   Ranger Fine Gold, Vippies Transcendence
Dies:              Sheena Geometric Cutout, DieNamics Falling Leaves,
                           Lil Inker Stitched Mats Rectangles, Elizabeth Small
                           Butterfly, Marianne Banners & Text 
Doo Dads:    The Art Institute Glitter Burgundy  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Explore, Nurture, Treasure

After our North NJ State Fair, I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed about my work by our local newspaper.  Reporter Kathy Stevens did a wonderful job with the article and I'm hoping it encourages other potential stampers in the area to give this wonderful hobby a try.  During the interview, Kathy shared her love for leaves, so a couple of those were what I used for her card . . .

The treatment with the leaves was my first attempt with a technique Jennifer McGuire re-hashed from an earlier post a year ago.  The easy instructions and both videos can be found here . 

After setting up your die cutting machine to emboss - not cut - dust your piece of cardstock with anti-static powder and set it down on the embossing pad.  Then lightly tap a detailed die with a VersaMark pad.  Lay it down carefully onto your cardstock, being careful to not let it shift.  Roll through, remove the die, and sprinkle with metallic embossing power.  Tap off the excess and heat.  So easy, and so gorgeous!

To keep the leaves puffed up, I applied embossing paste to the backside and leveled it off with my palette knife

I also tried Jennifer's method of embossing with water spatters!  Just use a wet paintbrush and tap it against your finger to distribute the drops.  Then dust on your embossing powder.  The result is a light, lovely, and randomly artsy dispersal. Try it!     

Cardstock:   Bazzill Dark Olive, Marcos Aquarelle, Stedner Bright White   
Stamps:        Starving Artistamps Positive Words
Inks:               Distress Vintage Photo, Rusty Hinge, Festive Berries,
                           Fossilized Amber, Peeled Paint, Shabby Shutters
Emb Powder:   Ranger Fine Gold
Dies:              Prima Forest Leaves, Memory Box Stitched Rectangle 
Doo Dads:    Tulip Glitter Gold     

Thursday, November 9, 2017


While working on a couple of 9" x 12" projects I'm making for Christmas presents, I began wondering if I could translate some of the techniques into a smaller layout suitable for a card . . .

After gluing down some wrinkled tissue paper over the entire card front, I gessoed over the surface and let it dry.  Then I overstamped with a text background, and stenciled with a wonderfully gritty paste.  A few die cuts smooshed with some warm Distress colors, some fibers across the bottom, and I'm reasonably happy with the results . . .

Cardstock:   Strathmore Kid’s Paint Pad, Soft White, tissue paper   
Stamps:        Heartfelt Creations Large Elegant Word Background
Inks:               Gesso, Distress Barn Door, Spiced Marmalade, Mustard
                           Seed, Brushed Corduroy, Walnut Stain, Wink of Stella
Dies:              Tim Holtz Fall Foliage, Impression Obsession Grass, Banners
                           & Tails, DieVersions Hint of Lime              
Stencil:          The Crafters Workshop Mini Tile Texture
Doo Dads:    Glittered twig, various cords, Art Anthology Dimensional 
                         Paste Sandstone

Monday, November 6, 2017

What the?

Here's some more fun with Tim's Crazy Birds:  there are six in the set and I plan to play with all of them . . .

The most exciting discovery I made while working on this card was discovering the joy of Strathmore's Bristol paper.  That stuff is awesome, especially when it comes to moving color around.  The pad cover says that it's not designed for work with water, but you can toss that limitation right out the window.  Its heavy weight keeps it from warping and even after working the water brush extensively, it didn't pill. 

A couple of years ago, I tried coloring with Distress markers and then using my water brush to move the color around.  Mostly, none of the colors budged, even after trying them out on Beckett cardstock and watercolor paper.  But on the Bristol, they moved like a dream.  This method is the way I've always wanted to color and I am so excited to find that it actually works!  The cardstock really does make the difference . . .

And here's another perky look with a few changes in coloring and 
accessories . . .

The Yellow card:
Cardstock:   The Paper Cut Brown Umber, Strathmore #100 Bristol           
Stamps:        Tim Holtz Bird Crazy, Crazy Talk
Inks:               Distress Carved Pumpkin, Brushed Corduroy, Mustard
                           Seed, Gina K Charcoal Brown, Ancient Page Chocolate,
                           Pine, VersaMark 
Colorants:    Distress Markers Carved Pumpkin, Mustard Seed, Mowed Lawn,
                           Frayed Burlap, Walnut Stain, Antique Linen          
Watercolors:   Inktense Cadmium Yellow, Zig Clean Color Yellow
Emb Powder:   Distress Walnut Stain, WOW Clear Matte Dull
Dies:              Lil Inkers Stitched Mats Rectangles, Tim Holtz Crazy 
Stencil:          The Crafters Workshop Mini Ledger + Golden Light Paste

The Orange card:
Tina’s card:
Cardstock:   The Paper Cut Brown Umber, Strathmore #110 Bristol           
Stamps:        Tim Holtz Bird Crazy, Crazy Talk
Inks:              Distress Carved Pumpkin, Brushed Corduroy, Gina K 
                          Charcoal Brown, Ancient Page Chocolate, Pine, VersaMark, 
                          VersaFine Olympia Green 
Colorants:    Distress Markers Carved Pumpkin, Mowed Lawn, Frayed Burlap, 
                          Walnut Stain, Antique Linen, Zig ColorBrush Leaf      
Emb Powder:   Distress Walnut Stain, WOW Clear Matte Dull
Dies:              Inkers Stitched Mats Rectangles, Tim Holtz Crazy Things
Stencil:          The Crafters Workshop Mini Ledger + Golden Light Paste

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Here's another twist on the expensive men's shirt I saw last week . . .

My dear friend David is looking at right hip and left knee replacements and the pithy saying seems to cover those events rather well . . . sometimes, there's no way out of trouble and you simply have to go through it.

Love the colors on this:  black, tan, and cream just seem to do it, I think . . .

Cardstock:   Bazzill Raven, Strathmore Bristol, Generic scraps Black        
Stamps:        Stamp Oasis Four Square Graphics, Hampton Splatter,
                        Stamp Warehouse Squiggles, Magenta Leaf Row, Large
                        Dots Pattern, Starving Artistamps  Number Row, Stampa
                        Rosa Flower Weave, Stamp Diva Primitive Leaf, The Stamp
                        Bug Bubble Flourish, Red Rubber “Life has got to be lived…”
Inks:               Hero Black, VersaMark, StazOn Jet Black, Distress
                        Brushed Corduroy
Emb Powder:   Antiquities Ochre
Dies:              Gina Marie Stitched Rounded Squares              
Doo Dads:    Inkssentials Enamel Accents Black covered with 
                         Black embossing powder           

Monday, October 30, 2017

Trick or Treat

My long overdue love affair with Tim's Crazy Birds may have gotten off to a late start, but oh boy, am I ever making up for lost time . . .

The set of Crazy Things (stamps and matching dies) makes it so much fun to play with these wonderful birds.  Kristina Werner designed these accessories and she covered all of the major holidays with various motifs:  in this case, a pumpkin, broom, and witch's hat.  Along with a large variety of useful images including hats, glasses, and balloons, this means you make these birds work for just about any event you can name! 

This is really the most versatile collection I've ever owned . . .

Cardstock:   Bazzill Blueberry, Strathmore #100 Bristol, Kid’s Series
                           Paint Pad   
Stamps:        Tim Holtz Bird Crazy, Crazy Things, Crazy Talk
Inks:               Distress Carved Pumpkin, Dusty Concord, Shaded Lilac,
                           Black Soot, ColorBox Black
Emb Powder:   Distress Black Soot
Dies:              Tim Holtz Bird Crazy, Crazy Things, Spellbinders A2
                           Distressed Edges
Doo Dads:    Glossy Accents        

Thursday, October 26, 2017

It's Your Birthday!

The coloring on this card was inspired by a beautiful $96 men's shirt I saw in a catalog.  At that price, I will never be gifting my darling hubby with it, even though he deserves it - and much more . . .

The fun thing for me on this card was the three black embellishment dots.  I used Ranger's Enamel Accents which I love because they form perfect little shiny domes easily.  However, for this card, shiny wasn't what I was after.  So while the glue was still wet, I sprinkled on some black embossing powder and tipped off the excess.  No heat gun, of course - that would have just made everything shiny again.

I will forever be grateful to the blogger who suggested using embossing powder over glues and tapes but not  heating it in order to achieve matte finish results.  SCORE!

Cardstock:   Strathmore Bright White, Soft White, Generic scraps Black    
Stamps:        Peddler’s Pack Swirly Roses & Leaves, Swirly Rose Leaf,
                           Wild Rose Leaf, Stampin’ Up “They say it’s your 
Inks:               Distress Walnut Stain, Brushed Corduroy, Hero Black,
                           ColorBox Frost White
Emb Powder:   Distress Black Soot, WOW White Puff, Sweet Stamps
                                Fine Detail White  
Dies:              Mama Elephant Peek a Frame                
Doo Dads:    Inkssentials Enamel Accents Black, covered with 
                          Black Soot EP     

Monday, October 23, 2017

Same Direction

This anniversary card features a favorite quote that I usually use on wedding cards . . .

 . . . but it's also perfect  to give to a couple looking back on several decades of a very loving and successful marriage.

I used dark green along with a fresh Spring green on the reverse die cut leaves.  This was meant to suggest both old growth and new.  As all really great marriages involve plenty of each, I thought it would be fun to imply that in the artwork.  Then again, the two shades of green look pretty together and perhaps that's enough . . .

Cardstock:   Bazzill Rain Forest, Parakeet, Beckett Candlelight       
Stamps:        Stampin’ Up Itty Bitty Backgrounds, Impression
                           Obsession Same Direction, Sweet ‘n Sassy
                           Decorative Frame Toppers           
Inks:               Distress Mowed lawn, Peeled Paint, Ancient Page Pine,
                           Hero Black, Gelly Roll Clear Star                       
Emb Powder:   Vippies Transcendence  
Dies:              Frantic Stamper Reverse Cut Leaves, Gina Marie
                           Stitched Rounded Squares, Marianne Butterflies                 
Emb Folder: Spellbinders Blistered                    
Doo Dads:    Karen Foster Loopy Brad              

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Harvest a Blossom

The background on this one came out of my beloved scrapbox, and the colors of brown, black, and white dictated those I used on the bouquet . . .

Inking an image in multiple colors by using standard-sized ink pads used to be difficult - that is until Tim Holtz led the way with his wonderful Mini Ink Pads.  They've made this multiple-coloring technique so much easier to do!

Cardstock:   The Paper Cut Brown Umber, Strathmore #90
                           Watercolor paper      
Stamps:        Hero  Zig Zag Pattern, Local King Thankful Flowers,
                           Red Rubber “Harvest a blossom of love”
Inks:               Distress Black Soot, Walnut Stain, Brushed Corduroy,
                           Ground Espresso, Tea Die
Emb Powder:   BMuse Eggshell White 
Dies:              Local King Thankful Flowers, Spellbinders A2 Distressed
                           Edges, Avery Elle Wonky Stitches, Papertrey Ink
                           Sketched Shapes
Doo Dads:    May Arts Jute, Perfect Pearls Mist Burnished Bronze, 
                            Oriental Trading pearls Bronze, Wink of Stella Gold