Monday, December 31, 2012


I’ve a lovely friend in her mid-90’s who’s now in a Care Center.  We’re on opposite coasts so visiting her is a challenge.  Still, I wanted her to know that she is very much in my heart.  As I think she may be having some issues with vision, I wanted to make a card with a lot of touchy-feely stuff on it . . .

 . . . once again, my newly renovated Scrap Stash came to the rescue.  My bag of Green pieces yielded not only the frame but also the spattered background.  It wasn’t wide enough to fill in the frame, so I pieced it and covered up the seams with two rows of die cuts – anything for ever more dimension, right?

Cardstock:                     Bazzill Green, Sprout, Beckett Iceberg,
                                       watercolor paper  
Stamps:                           Unknown Calligraphic “Hello”
Inks:                                  Adirondack Bottle, Lettuce, Eggplant, ColorBox Frost
Emb Powder:                Judikins Detail White
Dies/Punches:               Memory Box Small Tilda Swirl, Sizzix Jelly Roll Frame,
                                              Cheery Lynn Cuties 3
Doo Dads:                       Narrow White satin bows, Studio G Green Glitter
                                       Glue, Pearl Pen Ice White

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fresh Daisies

When my beautiful ninety-nine year old Mother left this world on December 9th, I needed to send notes to her former caregivers to let them know and to invite them to her memorial service.  Time is always very limited during passings but I am not known for instant card compositions.  Enter those wonderful Distress Stains of Tim’s . . .

 . . . after misting the card, I simply dabbed the three stains diagonally, misted again to blend, and heat dried.  Then came a spritz with Perfect Pearls Mist which I also heat dried, followed by a quick sponging around the edges with Chipped Sapphire ink.  After that, a lovely die cut, a stitched ribbon knot and some crystals and I was done.  LOVE those stains and am grateful to Tim for making them happen . . .

Cardstock:   Bazzill White, Marcos White Linen, Generic 5” Manila  
Inks:            Distress Stain Faded Jeans, Peeled Paint, Chipped
                             Sapphire (both the stain and the ink pad), Perfect
                              Pearls Mist
Die:             Memory Box Fresh Daisies
Doo Dads:    Blue crystals, stitched Blue ribbon

Monday, December 24, 2012

Royal Thanks

When my husband was hospitalized repeatedly for kidney problems this Fall, our staunch friends and neighbors brought over a goody bag filled with treats that were designed to keep his spirits up.  It worked beautifully, and I’m sure that his recovery is progressing faster because of their kindness.

I decided that a Royal Thanks was called for and that means banner dies and lots of purple are summoned for a command performance!  My newly created Scrap File yielded a variety of useful pieces from previous creative sessions including sprayed Silver webbing, Polished Stone technique, Clear Embossing, and the ever-enjoyable fun with ink sprays.

Cardstock:         Bazzill Medium Green, various Purple & Green Scraps
Stamps:              Stampin’ Up ‘Thanks’
Inks:                    ColorBox Silver, Various Purple and Green inks, Perfect Pearls Mist, Silver marker
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Silver
Emb Folder:       Cuttlebug Mesh
Dies/Punches:   Wplus9 Label Trio, Verve Ribbon Banner
Doo Dads:          Silver Nailheads

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Gift

Time for another wonderful idea from my favorite Guest Artist – Carol Chiaramonte!  When it comes to gorgeous gift wrapping, Carol’s ideas are always at the head of the line.  Want to create a lush gift box with simple materials you may already own?  Here’s a beautiful gift wrap idea for a special person on your list . . .

Either make a box from pre-printed 12”x12” cardstock (or stamp your own design on plain cardstock that’s at least 80#), or buy a ready-made box to save time.  Punch out three layers of the Kraft paper for each flower, crumple them for realistic dimension, secure with a brad, and glue to your box top.  If so moved, spread a little glitter glue on the petals.  Stamp a small manila tag with an image or two in colored and black inks, and fancy-up the bottom edge with a decorative border punch.  Sponge the edges for a softer appearance, and write your To/From’s on the back.  Wrap the box with coordinating baker’s twine and embellish, using linen twine to tie on the tag.  Gorgeous . . . simple . . . genius!

Cardstock:         pre-printed cardstock, small manila tag, Marcos                      
                             Green Grocer Kraft
Stamps:              Victorian Greetings Man in the Moon, Hero Arts text
Inks:                    Ancient Page Plum Wine, Document Black
Punches:            Recollections Eyelet Border, two sizes flower punches
                            Fiskars decorative border punch
Doo Dads:          Sundance Black/Cream bakers twine, Cream                             
                                   waxed linen,  Gold brads, Stickles Glitter Glue

Monday, December 17, 2012


While this one is definitely not a time-saver, it was wonderfully fun to do anyway, and when started well in advance, it’s good fodder for assembly-line production . . .

 The background is watercolor paper that was misted with water, streaked with Distress Stains, and then sponged with the same colors from the matching ink pads.  The stains put down a lot of color fast, and then the sponging intensified the colors very quickly.  Blending took place almost of its own accord, thanks to the preliminary misting.  The complete coloring process took about 45 seconds total for each background.  After heat-drying, I stacked the backgrounds and weighted them down overnight.  Then I dusted them with anti-static powder, White-stamped/embossed the Wise Men, and misted with Perfect Pearls for a pearlized shimmer. 

Cardstock:         Generic Cantaloupe, Purple, Dull Gold, Watercolor paper
Stamps:              The Artful Stamper Three Wise Men, Unknown “Journey”
Inks:                Distress Stains/Ink Pads Wild Honey, Barn Door, Dusty Concord,
                               ColorBox Frost White, Adirondack Snow, Perfect Pearls Mist
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail White
Emb Folder:       Cuttlebug Mesh
Dies/Punches:   Spellbinders Labels 8, Wplus9 Banner Trio, EK Success Star

Thursday, December 13, 2012


This one is tailor-made for assembly-line production . . .

Start with a full-sized sheet of Black cardstock and brayer all of it with VersaMark.  Scatter small piles of three of your favorite colors of PearlEx and smoosh around with a large soft brush.  You cannot goof with this technique, so don’t get stressed by it.  Mist lightly with water to set, and heat dry.  Cut to the size you want, then stamp and Gold emboss the text and image.  Spritz with glitter mist if you like, outline with your Gold marker pen, mount to your card and you’re done!  Easy peasy . . .

Cardstock:         Beckett Moonglow, Generic Black Linen
Stamps:              Posh Impressions Mother and Child, Just For Fun Rejoice
Inks:                    ColorBox Gold, Marvy Gold Marker
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Fine Gold
Mica Powders:  Pearl Ex Blue, Purple, Gold

Monday, December 10, 2012

Stained Glass Window

Although the background on this is not strictly music, it gives that impression as the style is quite similar and its ornate design makes it a perfect choice to use at this time of year . . .

Depending on the amount of time you have, the stained glass window can be partly colored in, glittered, or left unadorned as I’ve done here.  In many big box stores, huge rolls of metallic ribbons are available at give-away prices, so I feel justified in wrapping the ribbon all the way around the card front and covering the join with the focal point.  This adds another design feature to the inside of the card and it looks pretty!

Cardstock:         Generic  Black Linen, Dull Gold, Beckett Iceberg
Stamps:              Clarity Star Window, Tin Can Mail Ornate Text
Inks:                    ColorBox Gold
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Fine Gold
Doo Dads:          Gold mesh 1.5” ribbon

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Since we’re rapidly approaching the Panic Point regarding Christmas preparations, I’ve decided that the next four posts will involve various solutions to shrinking amounts of time.  SPOILER ALERT:  on Monday the 17th, I’ll be featuring this year’s card, so if you’re on my card mailing list and don’t wish to see a preview, cover your monitor with a black cloth and you’ll be just fine.

Most of the first three designs fall into the Clean and Simple category that is almost mandatory for large amounts of mass-produced cards.  There is some semi-fussy cutting involved on one layout so I’ll start with that one . . .

The fussy cutting around the angel Gabriel went way quicker than you might imagine and rather than the usual straight edge, I liked the softer outline that the deckled scissors provided.

Cardstock:         Generic  textured Wedgewood Blue,  generic scraps White
Stamps:              River City “Peace”, Gabriel, Stampinks Large Star,
                                Stampin’ Up Itty Bitty Background
Inks:                    ColorBox Gold, Marvy Gold Marker
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Fine Gold
Dec Scissors:      Family Treasures Deckled

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Music of Life

Although music backgrounds are popular to use at Christmas, I think they work beautifully all year ‘round.  They provide textural interest without being intrusive, and the subtle statement they make works well on just about any kind of card and for any recipient . . .

 . . . although I’ve stamped the music in the traditional black for this card, go for it and try red, white or any zingy color that complements the rest of your layout.  You’ll probably love the results!

Cardstock:         Generic textured Kraft, Beckett Moonlight, Bazzill Rainforest
Stamps:              Impression Obsession Music Background, Verve Floral Symphony (flower
                               and text), Stampin’ Up Itty Bitty Background
Inks:                    Distress Antique Linen, Archival Jet Black, Stampin’ Up Garden Green
Emb Powder:    Ranger Gold
Pencils/Markers:  Prisma Poppy Red, Orange, Violet, Burnt Ochre, Gelly Roll Clear Star
Punches:            Punch Bunch Flowers

Thursday, November 29, 2012


In my ongoing quest to unearth never-used treasures hiding in my admittedly excessive stamping stash, I was delighted to come across a beautiful set that could be used for my annual Christmas ornament project for two of our grandchildren . . .

 . . .  while there is a coordinating Spellbinders die set for these images, triangles are not a challenge to cut with a craft knife and a ruler.  So I’ll save my slim budget for dies with more intricate shapes.  From this lovely JustRite set, I chose the two largest images, matted them on black, and glued one of each back to back with the hanging ribbon in between.  The set also has medium trees, small ones, and lots of lovely medallions and other useful shapes you can use for coordinating embellishments.

Cardstock:         Bazzill Raven, Beckett Iceberg
Stamps:              JustRite O Christmas Tree
Inks:                    ColorBox Black, Copic Markers R39 and YG17, Gelly Roll Clear Star pen
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail Black
Dies/Punches:   Prickley [sic] Pear Flowers, Spellbinders Scalloped Circles
Doo Dads:          ¼” silver ribbon, crystals, Pearl Pen, Prisma glitter

Monday, November 26, 2012


Finances have been so scary-tight lately that I have not treated myself to any stamping supplies whatsoever:  food and bill paying have been the extent of my purchases over the last four months.  Boring  – and definitely not a whole lotta fun.  BUT this may be one of the best lessons in gratitude I’ve ever had.  Not only do I already have a ton of toys to stamp with, I’ve also got a heap of stuff in my stamping stash that I’ve never used:  breaking it out now is like I’ve just gone shopping and have a whole new collection of goodies to play with!  Like the adorable die cut fence below . . .

 . . . that fence is going to see a lot of use from here on out!

My next post will show some ornaments I made for our grandchildren.  They use a beautiful Christmas stamp set I’ve never played with before and have fallen in love with all over again.  I am so enjoying this journey through my stash of forgotten purchases.  As there are plenty of nooks and crannies in my stamping lair, I expect to be busy with re-discovery for quite awhile . . .

Cardstock:         Bazzill Admiral, Beckett Iceberg, Ranger Manila Tag
Stamps:              Impress Row of Flowers, All Night Media ‘Hello!’
Inks:                    Distress Faded Jeans, Peeled Paint, Chipped Sapphire, ColorBox Frost
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail White, B’Muse Brilliant Lemon
Dies/Punches:   Impression Obsession Fence
Emb Folder:       Cuttlebug Mesh
Doo Dads:          1/8” yellow/white grosgrain ribbon, blue crystals

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Miss You

The senior member of our stamp club has moved nearly four hours away and we all miss her like crazy.  I thought a card that said so would not be amiss . . .

 In my November 15 post, I noted that embossing Black on Black was worth a try and I’ve suited action to words by doing that here.  The results have an almost cut velvet look which works great on a card, I do believe:   a little texture, a little shine . . . what’s not to like?

Cardstock:         Bazzill Intense Yellow, Beckett Iceberg
Stamps:              “Miss you like crazy” from Verve Hope Blooms Set
Inks:                    ColorBox Black, Ancient Page Coal, Copic Y19 Napoli Yellow
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail Black
Dies/Punches:   My Favorite Things Heart Trio, Cheery Lynn Build a Flower #1
Doo Dads:          Sparkles Buttercup glitter glue, black and white gingham 3/8” ribbon

Monday, November 19, 2012

Purple Butterfly

Inspired by an idea I found on Jennifer McGuire’s blog awhile ago, I tackled my four-container, disorganized conglomeration of twelve years of saved scraps and organized them by color – each to its own clear plastic bag.  Each bag contains a variety of solid color, heat and dry-embossed, multi-colored scraps and leftover die cuts.  There’s a whole lotta inspiration there when I open a bag and spread out all of its treasures.  What a boost to card creation they are . . .

 . . .  my productivity has zoomed because each bag contains scores of already-made materials which gives my oft-balky Muse a kick in the creative chops and gets me a wonderful head start.  The background on this card was the jumpstart for the rest of the layout – other cards have used two and even three elements I might not have thought of had I not seen them.  I love my Scrap File and wish I’d put it together a lot sooner . . .

Cardstock:         Bazzill Intense Yellow, Watercolor paper, Beckett Iceberg, Generic Dark
Stamps:              Only on the inside!
Inks:                    Distress Stains Concord Grape, Broken China, Mowed Lawn, Mustard
                               Seed, Spiced Marmalade, PaperTrey Ink Fresh Snow, Gelly Roll Clear
                               Star pen, Perfect Pearls Mist
Dies/Punches:   Spellbinders Petite Scalloped Ovals Small, Joy Butterfly, Cheery Lynn
                               Lace Corner Deco B, Memory Box Fresh Daisies, 3/8” corner punch
Doo Dads:          Viva Pearl Pen Ice White

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Ever since morning talk show host Regis Philbin began wearing ties that precisely matched his shirts, I’ve been wild over the idea of such subtle coloration and dimension.  I often use the same cardstock for the background layer as I do for the card itself and I love the look just as much now as I ever did . . .

I don’t know if the camera will pick it up but I’ve outlined the background layer with a single line of glittery ink which makes a nice, subtle border.  This idea works whether you dry emboss the background layer or not – experiment to see what you prefer.  Any color can work with this same-color idea.  Oddly enough, black on black can be a wonderful combination:  try heat embossing with Black ink and powder, or as in this case, dry emboss an allover pattern on the layer for added definition . . . elegant to the max!
Cardstock:         Generic Olive Green, Navy, scraps
Stamps:              Printworks “Celebrate”
Inks:                    VersaFine Majestic Blue, various Distress inks sponged on scraps
Emb Powder:    Vippies Transcendence
Dies/Punches:   Memory Box Lorelai Leaf, Lorelai Leaf Outline, two frames from the
                             QuicKutz Pocket Set, Memory Makers 1/8” corner rounder punch
Brass Stencil:     Dreamweaver Leafy Background L1825
Doo Dads:          Pearl Pen Navy, Gelly Roll Clear Star Pen

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful Hearts

I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as a truly original artist.  That’s because inspiration is absolutely everywhere and if we strive to be attuned to it, our work cannot help but be influenced by it.  And that’s a good thing!

The background on this card was inspired by a banner headline on an email I got last week.  As so often happens, my interpretation looks nothing like the original – which is somewhat annoying as I really was striving for a particular effect – but that’s OK:  at least no one can ever accuse me of plagiarism!  Still, I think I’ll go back downstairs and try again to come up with something closer to the original piece of art:
I really did like that header . . .

Cardstock:         Bazzill Raven, Beckett Candlelight, Generic Red
Stamps:              Just For Fun Two-Sided stamps: Hawthorne, Oak, Sawtooth Edge,
                              Smooth Edge, CC Rubber Stamps Fibers, Stampers Anonymous Skeleton
                              Leaf, Above the Mark Leaf Background, Hero “Thankful Hearts”
Inks:                    Distress Barn Door, Mustard Seed, Wild Honey, Archival Jet Black,
                              Ancient Page Coal, Perfect Pearls Mist
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Devil’s Food Delight
Dies/Punches:   Cheery Lynn Tropical Leaves, Wplus9 Banner Trio, 1/8” corner punch
Emb Folder:       Cuttlebug embossing folder Mesh

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Best Wishes

November’s tag from Tim Holtz here brought back a favorite technique and as it’s been awhile, I jumped at the chance to use it!  There are several variations and titles for this technique:  I call it Batik Resist as it does both . . .

The process is simple, quick, and not messy, and the results are unique to each project, which is part of the fun!

Stamp your image in Versamark and Clear emboss.  Sponge on several colors of  Distress Inks, blending as you go.  Flick water drops from your hand for added textural interest and blot or heat dry as desired. 

Cover the image with a sheet or two of plain paper and iron on the Wool setting until all of the embossing is absorbed by the paper.  Keep the iron moving and shift the paper to a clean spot as needed.  This entire process takes about 30 seconds.  While always best to use a dedicated craft iron for this, I’ve never had the slightest problem with damage of any kind.

Cardstock:             Marcos Natural Linen, Generic Light Green, Manila tag
Stamps:                  Leaf Spray from Prima Songbird, Stamp Out Cute Music
                                 Background, Hero ‘Best Wishes’
Inks:                       Distress Broken China, Spiced Marmalade, Wild Honey,   
                                    Perfect Pearls spray mist, Versamark Watermark
Emb Powder:         Vippie’s Transcendence
Dies/Punches:       EK Success Butterfly punch, Cuttlebug Mesh embossing
Doo Dads:              Teal pearls, hemp twine

Monday, November 5, 2012

Treasure Box

In the early days of my mania for stamping, Dawn, the owner of our local rubber stamp store and instructor for our loosely formed stamping club gave us a challenge.  Handing out three wildly different materials, we were encouraged to make something – anything – with the three items.  These were a length of Japanese rice paper, a piece of aggressively gold-bordered gauzy ribbon (ie: let’s face it, it was sleazy), and a rubber stamp of three rectangular shapes.  The only rule was that this was not multiple choice:  all three items had to be used.  I freaked, because that ribbon stopped me dead in my tracks.  And then, I threw all caution to the winds, and proceeded to learn a most useful tenet . . .

 . . . minimize whatever you don’t like by distracting the eye with items you DO like!  So I went to town with fun things from my stash of favorite bits and pieces:  wooden buttons, a Chinese coin, twigs, a paper button, shells, brass charms, cigar labels, and more.  I turned it into a triptych that stands on a living room shelf.  As for the ribbon?  Two tiny pieces of it are lurking behind the face upper left and the starfish.  Hiding in plain sight:  a most useful ploy . . .

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Over the last week, my husband and I have had way more drama than we needed in our lives.  Igor just came home after 8 days in the hospital due to renal failure brought on by a medication he was taking for arthritis pain.  Then to help us celebrate what will soon be a full recovery, Hurricane Sandy came over to play.  She did not play nicely.  The damage is unspeakable and much of it irreparable.  Mercifully, other than a short power failure and a few leaks, our street was spared the mighty devastation that is spread out over the rest of NJ and everywhere else in her horrific path.  Therefore, I decided that a Thank You card pulled from my stash was an appropriate choice for Thursday’s post . . .

While I love using natural materials on cards, they break down over time and one’s artwork eventually looks like Shabby Chic without the Chic.  Enter a wonderful product called “Dragonfly”, a Japanese tissue ‘paper’ made from rayon.  One source is here  Dragonfly is whisper-thin, sheer, and almost disappears when glued to the surface of your project.  It has a few fiber swirls here and there for added interest and so it was perfect for this project.

After drying and pressing the leaves in my Microfleur flower press, I covered two of them with black acrylic paint for added contrast.  I brushed the entire piece with PPV glue and laid down the Dragonfly tissue, smoothing it out and covering with another coat of PPV.  If you’ve ever done decoupage before, the process is exactly the same. 

After gathering a bazillion leaves three autumns ago, I made up at least 40 card fronts.  Three years later, the remaining card fronts in my stash look exactly the same as they did when I made them.  None of the leaves are broken and all of the colors have remained true.  This is a good thing!  Unfortunately, the framed "Thank you" did not photograph well . . .
Cardstock:         Bazzill Black, Watercolor paper, Japanese Tissue paper “Dragonfly”
Stamps:              Thank you, Mesh, Stampin’ Up Itty Bitty Background
Inks:                    Archival Jet Black, ColorBox Gold, Pilot Marker Gold
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Pale Gold
Dies/Punches:   EK Success Corner Adorner Slot Punch
Doo Dads:          Memory Keepers Antique Brass frame, Inkssentials Crackle Accents

Monday, October 29, 2012

Twiggy Witch

 . . . while I enjoy using traditional colors for all of the seasonal events we celebrate, once in awhile, it’s fun to go in another direction:

  . . . I was hoping to capture the look of dusk at a frosty time of the year, when both witches and bats take to the skies and scare the daylights out of the rest of us.  Purple and blue may not be the standard go-to colors for this major event but that’s OK – I plan to eat more candy corn to make up for the switch!  When it comes to scoring candy corn, I can justify any excuse . . .

Cardstock:  Bazzill Festive, Black, PaperCuts watercolor paper
Stamps:       Lost Coast Silhouette Witch, Bats from EZMount
                           Halloween Set
Inks:             Distress Stains Chipped Sapphire, Dusty Concord,
                             Archival Jet Black, Gelly Roll Clear Star
Emb Powder:  Vippie’s Transcendence Clear
Dies/Punches: EK Success Corner Rounder Flames punch
Doo Dads:    Candi Dots from the Blackjack Collection

Thursday, October 25, 2012


 . . . I warned you that I was going to wear out my new Cheery Lynn Hummingbird die . . .

This card started out with a desire to showcase the bird along with a wonderful inky background technique from Tim Holtz*.  It wound up with five die cuts and no stamping.  Creative journeys are certainly fascinating – especially since I never have the faintest idea where I’m going to wind up!

* Ink up your craft sheet by pressing various colors of Distress ink directly onto the sheet.  Use the end of a brush to add two or three very small piles of Perfect Pearls powders here and there.  Mist sparingly with water and dip your cardstock into it.  Heat dry and repeat until your craft sheet is clean – this will give your background wonderful layered depths.  Make sure to always heat dry each layer . . .

Cardstock:         Bazzill Light Orchid, cut-down old file folders, generic Dull
                            Gold cardstock
Stamps:              None – oh the shame!
Inks:                    Distress Dusty Concord, Peeled Paint, Broken China, Faded
                           Jeans, Pilot Gold Marker pen, Gelly Roll Clear Star pen
Dies/Punches:   Spellbinders Deckled Rectangles Large (2 sizes), Cheery
                                  Lynn Hummingbird, Simon
                               Says Oh Happy Day, Memory Box Grove Branch
Doo Dads:          Distress Rock Candy Stickles, Perfect Pearls Powder, Gold