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This blog is for sharing a love of paper crafting. You can also check out my Pintrest pages. If you find the ideas here to be helpful, I'd love to hear from you. It is what helps make the time I put into this blog feel worthwhile, and always brightens my day. I love hearing your ideas too!

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happy Birthday - Unfashionably Late!

Today's card is a belated birthday card.  Somehow I missed a friends birthday from way back in FEBRUARY!!!  I hate that!  Anyway, I decided to go with a "fashion" theme for this "unfashionably late" card.  Here's what I did:

Card Front:
  • The background paper is a pretty pink/grey/black glitter paper from DCWV.  I cut it just smaller than the card front so I'd have a white "mat" around it.  It looks scalloped, but that is only because I used some scalloped Thin Line Dazzles around the edge (HOTP). 
  • The focal piece is a white rectangular piece of card stock, on which I stamped one of the prima dolls.  I stamped the skirt on a pretty printed vellum piece (HOTP), heat embossed it with fine black powder, and fussy cut around it.  I colored the doll's flesh and hair with chalk.  The shoes were colored with Smooch ink.  The bodice was colored with pink Stickles.  I ran the Stickles a little below the waist, and along the lace of the skirt, so it serves as glue to hold the vellum piece in place.
  • I used more Dazzles to frame the focal.  The Happy Birthday words were silver Dazzles that I colored with a black sharpie.  I hand-wrote the rest of the sentiment.

For the inside of the card, I stamped some green "grass" using a stamp from the HOTP Four Seasons stamps set, after stamping the girl & her dog (HOTP Jainie's Girls).  I colored the girl & dog with chalks & Smooch inks, and added the hand-written sentiment:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Triple Easel Anniversary Hearts

Today's card is a triple easel card.  It's mostly made of foil so getting a decent picture was a bit challenging.

For the card base, I used this pattern from Cardmaking Paradise.  I turned it into a set of stencils by cutting it out of clear acetate. Then it was easy to trace and cut the card base pieces from white card stock. 

Next I traced & cut each of the three large hearts from red foil poster board - and the slightly smaller ones from white card stock.  Before I glued the white hearts on the red foil ones, I die cut pieces from the centers (can't waste all that pretty foil on just a mat!).  The pieces I cut from the two larger hearts were used to decorate them.

You can see the largest heart a little better in this picture of the card closed:

The center heart was cut with a Spellbinders "Scalloped Heart" die.  I cut the word "Love" out of the center using a Paper Artist die from HOTP ("Love & 5 hearts"), and glued all the little bits back in so that the word "love" shows through in white from behind the red heart.

The middle heart was decorated with a piece of the red foil cut with another of the "Love & 5 hearts" dies.  

For the smallest heart, I stamped a verse that came in a JustRite set of stamps called "With Sympathy", and heat embossed with a metallic red.

The little "Happy Anniversary" tag that holds the small heart in place started with a piece of white card stock that was heat embossed with the metallic red embossing powder, and cut with a die from the "Lots of Pops" die from Karen Burniston - stamp from JustRite's "Royal Antique Labels".  I matted this with a bit of the red foil poster board.

I used some "Red Jewel Border Dazzles" from HOTP to create a border around the base of the card.

This card actually has a hidden message area.  I made two of the large heart card bases and glued them together so that it opens as a regular card underneath the triple easel base.

I didn't have an envelope to fit this card and to make one I needed a larger piece of paper than I had handy - so I used wallpaper from a sample book I had. I used one paper for the main part of the envelope and another piece to line the visible flap area.  Here are a couple of pictures of the envelope starting with the front of the square envelope:

And here's the other side of the envelope:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy 80th - or not!

Here's my first try at a pop-up card - using the build a bouquet pop up dies & stamps from Stampendous.  Here's what I did to create the front of the card (the number 80 was a couple of stickers that I later removed when I decided this card wasn't special enough for the 80th birthday I needed a card for):
  • Using stencils as needed to protect what had already been stamped, I created the bouquet using various of the stamps & stamping with black Versafine ink.  
  • Next, I colored the bouquet with watercolor pencils & a water brush.
  • I fussy cut it out and set it aside.
  • The sentiment was created using JustRite stamps (Friends Antique Labels, Botanical Swirls Labels) and Spellbinders die (Botanical Swirls & Accents) with white glossy card stock.  I colored the card stock with alcohol ink & heat embossed with black powder.  The blue at the bottoms of the card (and the blue inside the card) was cut from an older paper from HOTP and was cut with dies from the Pop-Up die set.

The inside was created as per the instructions for the pop-up die, using the daisy from the Build a Bouquet stamp and die set (Stampendous) and the Rose Bouquet stamp & die set - also from Stampendous (colored the same way the bouquet on the front was colored.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Pile of Cats

Today's card is for a friend of mine who loves cats and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  The base card is black card stock with a lovely glittered pink, silver, white & black stripe from DCWV forming the inside (and the decorative piece on the outside, too - see picture below).  As you can see, this first picture shows the inside of the card with pop-up cats and the cancer awareness ribbon hanging down from the center cat. 

I don't know how well you can see the dimension in this card, but the cats & basket are all "popped up" at different depths.  The cats, basket, and bows are all from the Stampendous Pop-Up Kitties stamp & die set, colored with chalk pastels & Smooch ink.  You can see more about how I colored them by checking several previous posts: Tabby Cats, Brownish Cats, Siamese Cats, and Tuxedo Cats.  I talk about using the stamps and dies in general in the post, Lots of Cats

The Pop-up card itself was made using the Stampendous Pop-Up die set.  The cancer awareness ribbon was stamped onto a pink holographic paper using a stamp from JustRite's "Be Strong" set of stamps, and heat embossed with black embossing powder.

This is what the outside of the card looks like:

The message is a JustRite stamp from "Good Friends Labels Twenty-Nine" - once again heat embossed with black powder.  The small ribbon in the upper left corner is another stamp from the "Be Strong" set - heat embossed on the same pink holographic paper used for the ribbon on the inside.  The decorative rectangles are cut using dies from Spellbinders Decorative Labels Eight.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mailing Your Projects

I often find myself needing to refer back to the USPS guidelines for mailing something, so decided to put the information in a post here so I can find it!.  In addition to the maximum and minimum sizes listed above, they want the ratio of the Length to Height of the envelope to be between 1.3 and 2.5 for regular postage.  If it is a square envelope it will cost more to mail.  Here's the pop-up window that talks about all of this.

There is also a postage calculator on their website to help you know how much mailing will cost for your various projects.  You can find that here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Jar of Roses & Daisies

Today's card again uses the Build a Bouquet stamps from Stampendous.  I started as I've done before, building the bouquet with the stamps on white card stock and then coloring them with watercolor pencils & blending with a water brush.  

This time, when I was done with that step, I ran the whole thing through my Grand Caliber using an M-Bossabilities folder from Spellbinders ("Elite").  I ran a ribbon around the card stock & tied a knot.  I also heat embossed a greeting on a tiny label (die cut using a die from "Lots of Pops" die set from Elizabeth Crafts).  I added the greeting with foam tape - and used foam tape to attach the whole thing to a green mat before adding it to the front of the card.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Today's card started with Stampendous stamps and dies called "Bird Blossoms".  The various pieces were colored with watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons - blended with a water brush.  

The background and matting papers are older ones from HOTP.   For the border, I took a piece of the same paper I used for matting and drew a couple of lines with embossing ink before heat embossing with white powder.  The sentiment was created using stamps from JustRite (Chicken Soup Labels Four, Be Strong) and a die from Spellbinders Labels Four die set.  I cut it from the same paper used for the mat & border & heat embossed with white powder. The bird, flower & sentiment are all attached using foam tape for dimension.

For the inside, I used another flower from the set & more of that blue paper I had used for matting:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Year of the Monkey

I made this card for a Paper Wishes Message Board Swap.  We were to make a card that had and oriental flavor, metal, and a monkey.  I immediately thought of my bamboo embossing folder (Darice) and knew I wanted to use embossing ink on the folder and add gold that way.  I also immediately thought of this "Cute Monkey" Small Stamp from HOTP.  I was eager to get started, but I'll admit that along the way I ran into some difficulties. First, let's talk about what I did - and then the challenges I faced.

Background: I inked up one side of the embossing folder with VersaMark ink.  I had expected to add gold embossing powder and heat emboss it, but I really like the color I get with my perfect pearls, so decided to go with that.  Because it was such a large area, I used a larger brush and more powder than usual when I added my perfect pearls.  This is probably why it turned out the way it did.  While the gold was certainly darker in the debossed areas where the ink was, there was also a light coating on the raised areas - which I hadn't wanted.   And it didn't seem to want to come off either.  Still, it looked gold so fulfilled the "metal" part of the card requirement.  I moved on to make the monkey. 

Monkey: This I stamped in VersaMark ink on white cardstock and again added color with my gold perfect pearls.  This time I used the small brush to apply the perfect pearls and nothing stuck where I didn't want it.  I had done some reading on the web and many sites seemed to agree that 2016 was the year of the "red monkey" so I decided to add a bit of red to my monkey.  I did this with a fine-line watercolor pen.  I decided to color in the monkey's leaves the same way using a dark green.  A tiny dot of black permanent marker helped his eyes stand out more.  I fussy cut around the monkey leaving a bit of white all around it.

Greeting: Using a die from Spellbinder's Labels Twenty die set, I cut out the shape I would to frame my greeting.  Then I inked up a matching JustRite die (Thank You Labels Twenty) and stamped with VersaMark ink and colored with Perfect Pearls as before.  Then I stamped "Best Wishes" (stamp from HOTP "Stamp & Punch") in the center with VersaMark & colored it with perfect pearls.

Now for the challenges - As I was working with the monkey, I saw that some of the gold powder was starting to smear off!  That wouldn't do, so I tried to figure out what to do to make it more permanent.  My first thought was to heat it and see if that would make a difference.  That MAYBE helped, but not enough.  So, I decided to cover the whole thing with VersaMark ink and heat emboss it with clear embossing powder.  That seemed to work okay for the monkey, but when I tried the same with the greeting, I realized I had a problem.  Heating the clear embossing powder made the cardstock turn more creamy translucent instead of staying white.  This meant less distinction between the background and the gold and made the greeting hard to see.

So, I cut a circle shape from white card stock and re-did the greeting to go on top of the "frame".  But how to make it permanent?  I decided to spray it with hairspray, and that definitely seemed to help.  So I glued my greeting to it's frame.  I decided I wanted to mat everything in black.  For the frame, I traced around the cutting die and fussy cut it.  For the monkey, I free-hand drew the same size border on the back of black paper (turned the monkey upside down so I didn't have to worry about my pencil marks showing) and fussy cut it out.  I glued the monkey directly to the black mat & the background. I used foam tape to attach the greeting/frame to the black mat which was already attached to the card.  Finally, I added a red embroidery thread with bow at the top before attaching the card front to the card itself.

By the time I got to the inside of the card, I had done a little more on-line research - this time about how to make perfect pearls permanent!  I wish I had done that first as it is so easy!  Just use a very fine misting bottle with water in it and mist the image after you have your perfect pearls applied.  AFTER I read that I remembered - oh yeah, the perfect pearls package SAID that water made it permanent.  Duh.  :(

Anyway, As you can see, I matted narrow strips of the same background and added a partial monkey for the inside (the monkey was added with foam tape).  Because I knew I wanted a partial monkey, I used a sticky note to mask a narrow edge of the card stock before I stamped my image.  This meant that I could have a white frame around the whole by carefully cutting all around the stamped image (instead of having one side without a white edge like would have happened without the mask).

I like the way this turned out - but I bet it would have been even better if I had used black card stock to create my background & focals instead of white!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I love these hydrangeas made with the Build a Bouquet Stamps & dies from Stampendous.  The sentiment was created using JustRite stamps (Friends Antique Labels One) and dies (Antique Labels One).  The background was from a DCWV mat stack. 

I colored the flowers, vase, and butterfly using watercolor pencils and my aqua painter.  The sentiment was made with white glossy card stock, colored with alcohol inks, and heat embossed with black embossing powder.  The butterfly, some of the flowers, and the sentiment were added with foam tape for added dimension.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Here's my first card using the Hummingbirds stamps & dies from Stampendous.  I colored them using a mixture of watercolor pencils and water color crayons - blending with water, of course.  I added a touch of smooch ink in the centers of the flowers.  You can't tell in the picture, but I also added a thin coat of "Frosted Lace" stickles on the hummingbirds so they shimmer.

The sentiment was made using stamps from JustRite (Botanical Swirls Labels & Friends Antique Labels One) and a die from Spellbinders (Botanical Swirls & Accents).  It was made from glossy white cardstock colored with alcohol inks and then heat embossed in white.

The hummingbirds, a couple of flowers, and the sentiment are all added with foam tape for added dimension. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

More Organizing Notebooks

Some time ago I shared about my stamping notebook.  In it, I stamped all my stamps that had words or phrases on them - organizing them into categories.  After seeing how much help that notebook was, I decided to take the idea a bit farther.

First, I made another stamping notebook  - this one for picture stamps organized by category.  The page you see above is one of my "flower" pages.  This notebook is SOOOO helpful - especially when I'm wanting a particular type of element for a card.  Perhaps the card is going to someone who likes cats - so I look at my "cats" page.  Or maybe the person loves roses so I look through my "flowers".  While it took some time, I now have a system.  Any new stamps I get are immediately stamped into my notebooks before I do anything else with them.  (This also allows me to double check that they are all in good shape.  It doesn't happen often, but I've gotten a couple of stamp sets where the stamps were made or cut out wrong so when I stamped parts were missing.  It's much easier to get replacements if you know this right away!)

My next notebook was of all about dry embossing:
I ran my embossing folders through with plain white paper and then used an ink dauber to rub over the top to make the design stand out.  I then added the pieces to my notebook.  After doing the embossing folders, I did all my stencils in a similar way - embossing them in my embossing machine & using ink to make the design stand out.

My last notebook is all about cutting dies:
Usually the packaging the dies come in has some sort of picture on it.  I just take these parts of the packaging and put them in my notebook in the correct category (this picture is the tags and labels section).  While this notebook can allow me to leaf through and choose a die for a particular purpose, it also makes it much easier when I'm writing about a card I made and didn't get the description written right away.  It allows me to quickly and easily know which dies I used so I can put that in my write up.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Stamps and Matching Dies Storage

For some time now I've been enjoying working with stamps that have matching dies.  For quite awhile, though that has been JustRite stamps where several different stamp sets match their label dies or Spellbinders Label dies.  For those my current storage system worked great with stamps stored in one place and dies in another - because I often used them separately or together with a variety of others.  Recently I've been getting more sets where the stamps and matching dies aren't likely to be used for anything else - dies to cut out stamped birds, cats, dogs, etc.  As I started working with these steps, I realized I REALLY wanted these stamps and dies to be together (along with the stencils that came with some of them.  

My solution is to use the old-style packaging from Spellbinder's dies.  I had kept these figuring the acetate would come in handy for projects - never expecting to use them this way!  If you don't have several of these lying around your house, perhaps what I did will spark another idea for you!

I started by taking the empty Spellbinders plastic packaging and trimming around the edge - leaving as much as possible and still get the two halves apart.  I then flipped one side over and stapled them back together along one long side and the short bottom.  This gave me a clear plastic container that was perhaps 1/2" deep, with the top and one side open so I can easily access the contents.  You can see it lying sideways in the picture below.

This picture also shows my 3 sets of items that all fit into this particular package of stamps, dies & stencils from Stampendous called "Bird Blossom":
  1.  The stamps - For these I trimmed the clear plastic that the stamps were sandwiched between to make it 4" wide so it would fit inside the package.  I rearrange the stamps and outlined each with a permanent marker so I could make sure I got all of them back in the package!
  2. The stencils - These are in a business-size envelope.  I had to cut the sheet in half (okay a rather crooked half since I made sure to cut carefully between the stencils knowing I might want to use the outlines as well as the "innies".  I have also added any additional "Post-it stencils" that I've made to use with the set.
  3. The dies - for these, I attached some stickybacked magnet to a piece of cardboard (in this case, it was the piece out of the stamp set that I cut to 4" wide (I save the one from the dies in a book that allows me to quickly leaf through and see all my dies).  
After preparing these pieces, I just slip them in the package with the dies facing one side of it, the envelope between, and the stamps facing the other side.  (Make sure the cutting edge of the dies is facing the packaging to help ensure there's no chance they'll cut into your stamps!)   Here are a couple of pictures so you can see each side of the package when it's filled.

First up is the side with the stamps.  You can see the envelope behind them.  It's hard to see, but at the top of the package, I've written the name of the stamp/die set.

 This side shows the cutting dies on their magnetic cardboard backing.

I have an open container on my desk that is the perfect size to hold these stamp/die sets (see picture at the top of this post).