Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dried Flower Thank You

While in the floral department at ACMoore one day, I noticed that the young leaves on the eucalyptus sprays were heart-shaped.  As these leaves were treated with some sort of solution to keep them flexible and not brittle, I thought they could be put to good use on cards. 

Once again, the camera has hijacked many of the Gold dots surrounding the torn edges of the background paper which I used to visually transition between the two papers.  Eventually, some techie genius is going to find a way to photograph metallics and other glittery stuff, and I live for the day.  Meanwhile, the use of two shades of Kraft cardstock makes the sentiment stand out and the low levels of the embellishments make this one an easy mailer.  The Terra Cotta background paper was also used for the note inside, making for a nicely unified design.

Cardstock:         generic Kraft in two shades + Paper Direct Recycled Terra Cotta
Stamps:              Hero ”Thank you”
Inks:                    ColorBox Gold, Gold marker
Emb Powder:      B’Muse Gold
Dies/Punches:    1½“ scalloped square punch
Doo Dads:           Eucalyptus leaves, knotted paper raffia, pine needles, Gold spacer bead

Friday, March 30, 2012


While scrounging around Michael’s one day, I came across a roll of foiled florist’s paper used to wrap flower pots for festive occasions.  It was so beautiful that I bought it without the slightest inkling of what I was going to do with it.  My Muse was kind to me one day and I got the idea to wrap the foil around a layer of cardstock for stability and then use it as a background.  The foil is textured which really adds to the shimmer.  Duplicating the colors for the word stamp took a little time but once I hit on the right ones, it went pretty fast.  Now I just need to know what to do with the leftover gazillion feet of florist’s paper . . .

Cardstock:         Beckett Iceberg
Stamps:              Stampin’ Place Stained Glass Cross, “Alleluia”
Inks:                   ColorBox Silver, VersaMark
Other Colors:     Pearl Ex Spring Green, Flamingo Pink, Duo Red/Blue, Reflex Violet, Carbon Black      
Emb Powder:    B’Muse Silver 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sunrise Mountain

As there is always a hue and cry for Guy Cards, I thought this one would be a good design to post.  This image is a colorist’s dream – or nightmare, depending on your skill level.  Mine was Rank Beginner at the time I did this, but the image had such clearly defined areas, I thought I’d give it a try anyway.  The Stone Wall stamp wasn’t long enough to cover the width of the card, so I pieced it in back of the biker.  The asphalt actually glistens, thanks to a  silver glitter gel pen I rubbed on my finger and applied, but as usual, the camera has decided to keep all the goodies to itself.
Cardstock:         Beckett Iceberg, generic Tan      
Stamps:             Beeswax Sunrise Mountain, Rubber Baby Stone Wall & Woodgrain, 100 Proof   
                           Press Biker
Inks:                   Archival Black
Colored Pencils:  Bruynzeel Pastels

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Grateful Crow

This one may be a lesson on letting basic/neutral colors be the backdrop for simple but stunning images.  Both the whimsical crow and the deceptively simple background need no further competition from color in order to make their unique statements.  However, I am a fan of both eyelash fibers and charms, so I tied them on anyway.  Once in awhile, it’s fun to try and get away with too much of a good thing . . .

Cardstock:         Bazzill Black, generic Khaki, generic Dull Silver    
Stamps:              Stamp A Mania Line Background, River City Crow with Star, Hero “Thank you very 
Inks:                    ColorBox Black, Silver marker
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail Black
Doo Dads:           Silver cording & Black eyelash fibers, Silver feather charms

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Word

This card shows one of my favorite new techniques:  edging with UTEE.  I’ve put together a little kit that takes up almost none of my limited tabletop real estate and keeps things handy for ease of use.  Into a shallow repurposed embossing powder jar, I squeezed in a few drops of VersaMark reinker and with the lid in place, it’s easy to store.  Right next to it I have a dedicated foam finger dauber I keep in a very small clear cap saved from a non-aerosol hair spray bottle – fits perfectly and takes up no space. 

The technique is simple:  pour a good bit of UTEE into your embossing tray.  Starting on one side of your card or layer, dab the reinker into the VersaMark and stroke upward towards the corner (if you start at the corner, it’s too easy to tear the foam).  Stroke the other way without trying for a ruler-sharp line:  a little free-form movement is the objective here.  Angle the dauber to keep the VersaMark on top of the card instead of allowing the foam to smoosh around to the back, as this will collect unwanted UTEE and make the card stick to your work surface when heating.  Ask me how I found this out.  Do two sides and then dip both into the UTEE.  Heat until almost but not completely melted for some interesting texture.  Repeat with the other two sides.  When an edge doesn’t look quite finished and needs a little something (but you don’t know just what), this will very often do the trick!
Cardstock:         Bazzill Orchid, Beckett Iceberg, generic Lilac       
Stamps:              Stampendous Easter Cross, Mesh Brayer            
Inks:                    Ancient Page Amethyst, ColorBox Black
Emb Powder:    Cloisonné  UTEE Sterling Silver, Judikins Detail Black        
Emb Folder:       Cuttlebug Distressed Stripes
Doo Dads:          Silver Dot Stickers

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Simple Thank You

When it comes to doing Thank You notes, I tend to keep the designs on the simple side, as I want the emphasis to be on the note inside, rather than on the card.  This is fertile ground for the Clean and Simple concept that was so beautifully introduced via a superb online class held this past winter.  Jennifer McGuire, Julie Ebersole, and Kristina Werner did a fantastic job in getting tons of inspiration across to students interested in learning more about this often difficult design concept.  Clean and Simple can be harder to do as there are so few elements you can use to hide any errors or cover up bad design.  Think of most of us in a swimsuit as opposed to fully clothed and you’ll get the idea . . . 

This card uses two peaceful colors of textured cardstock, a lovely piece of crocheted trim, two punched flowers and a single small piece of text.  With different color options, it’s a great design for mass produced Thank You’s following  tmas, a shower or wedding, or any other major event.

Cardstock:          generic textured Kraft and Dark Grey, a small White tag
Stamps:              Silver Crow Thank you   
Inks:                    ColorBox Gold
Emb Powder:      B’Muse Gold
Dies/Punches:    Two sizes of daisy punches     
Doo Dads:           textured Antique Brass loopy brad, Ecru floss bow     

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Easter Egg

As Easter is just around the corner, it seems like a good time to focus on Easter themes for this most glorious of Christian celebrations.  Look for a few more Easter cards over the next several days . . .

When wanting a little dimension for a punched or die cut element, I sometimes opt for punching/cutting out extras and then stacking them.  It’s easy enough to glue them together, positioning the layers while the glue is still wet.*  After it has dried, I usually ink the sides in black or the dominant color in my design.  For the cross on this card, I used five layers.

My new Corner Rounders from Crop-A-Dile are doing a land office business these days:  as seen in this card, rounding the corners on even just one layer is a subtle touch that can change the look tremendously.

* This is also a great way to make faux buttons.  Use maybe three layers, punch the thread holes before assembling, and glue a dry embossed layer on top.  Ink with a coordinating color or use a metallic ink for a realistic metal look.  This will go through the mail more easily than many of the thicker metal buttons out there.

Cardstock:     Bazzill White, Black, generic Taupe & dull Silver cardstock, Beckett Iceberg
Stamps:         Impression Obsession Easter Egg 1
Inks:                 H2O’s Hot Cinnamon
Emb Powder:  Judikins Detail Black
Dies/Punches: Cross punch
Doo Dads:       Silver Stickles

Saturday, March 24, 2012


While I used to be hauled into holidays kicking and screaming (because they all showed up way too soon), stamping changed all of that.  I’m happy to stamp anything at all and at any time of the year.  So what if it’s only March and today’s card is all about October?  Makes no never-mind to me!

The inspiration for this card came from a super market magazine featuring a quilted/appliquéd pumpkin on the cover.  The fact that the pumpkin was black really rocked me as I’d never thought out of the standard-issue-orange box before.  Hope the camera picks up the frosty gleam from the black embossing on his happy face . . .

I like the corner webs so much that I’m trying to find ways to use them on a whole lot more of my cards.  Not having much luck . . .

Cardstock:         Bazzill White, Black, Yam, Beckett Iceberg
Stamps:              Just For Fun Giant Web, Eureka Mosaic Pumpkin, Stampers Anonymous Cleo’s  
                            Floor (cut into shapes for the eyes and mouth), All Night Media Corner Web,  
                            Stacy Stamps “BOO”
Inks:                    ColorBox Black, Frost White
Emb Powder:    Judikins Detail Black, OpaqueWhite
Doo Dads:          Black plastic dollar store creepy spider

Friday, March 23, 2012

You Cannot Not Evolve

Both the fairy and the lily are done with glossy cardstock which I usually shy away from.  But they seemed to work in this case, so this time, they got to stay in town at my place.  To make her seem to emerge from the water lily, I used my craft knife around just the points on three of the petals, and then I glued down  the lily by putting glue around the edges only.  This kept the center of the flower free and clear so that I could poke a few small pop dots down into the base of the petals.  That rounded the cut petals a bit and provided a little more realistic dimension.

Cardstock:         Bazzill Black, White, Paper Cut’s Matte Coated
Stamps:              All stamps by 100 Proof Press: Biggest Squiggle, Counter Culture Fairy, “You   
                            cannot not evolve”, Water Lily Side View
Inks:                    ColorBox Frost White,  Staz-On Jet Black
Emb Powder:    Judikins Opaque White
Coloring:            Craf-T Glimmer Chalks, I-Kan-Dee Basic Brights Chalks

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Escape Reality

No one does Clever Whimsy better than my friend Carol Chiaramonte, and this card of hers is the delightful proof!   This is Clean & Simple Stamping at its best.  The Jo Rango Zoo series allows stampers to do art work that looks like kid’s stuff – but it’s really for grownups – and the results are always uniquely witty and entertaining.  For anyone in danger of taking herself too seriously, I recommend an afternoon with Rango Zoo images:  these will soon put your out-of-kilter outlook back into kilter.  Or something like that . . .

Cardstock:         White Linen, Glossy White, Marcos Red Sparkle (now discontinued, drat!)
Stamps:              Silver Crow:  Escape Collage, Escape Reality;  Jo Rango Zoo:  Horse, Snake,
                            Small Motif
Inks:                    Document Black, Ancient Page Henna Red, Pink, various Tombow markers

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Man with Ginkgo Leaves

While sprayed backgrounds can be done before or after stamping the images, I often prefer to spray beforehand and stamp on top of the results once everything is dry.  This allows me to choose the area that will best compliment the images I want to use.  One of the best ways to do this is with Evo’s (Evolving Images) fantastic templates.  These are six or seven piece sets made of acrylic graduated pieces in standard shapes (squares, rectangles, etc) and they come in dimensions geared for any size card.  Because they are clear, you can move them over your background until you find just the area you want.  Then, your craft knife makes quick work of the cutting out.  These allow you to easily make layers of consistent size without having to measure or mark up your cardstock.  I own just about all of her sets and can honestly say that I wouldn’t be stamping today were it not for these clever and useful mega time-savers.  While she has retired, you can Google to find several sources for her products.

Although the eyelash fiber is an exact match to the Teal cardstock, the camera went and got creative on me and is not telling the truth here.  Lastly, the strip on the bottom was an afterthought – without it, my kneeling man looked as though he was levitating.  Who knows . . . the Orient can be a mysteriously fascinating place, so perhaps he was!

Cardstock:         Bazzill Teal, Sprout, Aquarelle White
Stamps:              All are 100 Proof Press: Ginkgo Leaves, Japanese Script, Chinese Kneeling Man
Background Inks: Adirondack Bottle, Stream, Lettuce,  Moon Shadow Mist
                             Burnished Brass, Glimmer Mist Spiced Pumpkin
Other Inks:        ColorBox Gold, Black
Emb Pwdr:         B’Muse Detail Gold, Judikins Detail Black
Other Coloring:  Twinkling H2O’s Douglas Fir, Golden Jade, Sea Glass, Egyptian Gold; 
                             Prisma Colored Pencils for skin tones and shoes
Doo Dads:          Teal eyelash fibers, Gold brads

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wedding Wishes

The several marriages for which I made this card are all surviving and thriving, so I like to think that more than good wishes go into the envelope with this one!  Black and White cards with minimal coloring are a favorite of mine, not only because they have such a wonderfully striking quality to them, but also because they are great for mass-produced cards.  Only six of the flowers in this floral carpet were colored with chalk – all of the rest were intricate enough to make their own statement.  With various changes via coordinating ribbons and cardstock, any color at all would work with this design.

Cardstock:         Beckett Iceberg, Thai Silver Momi paper (gorgeous stuff:  feels just like fabric!)
Stamps:              Inkadinkado’s Flower Carpet
Inks:                   Document Black
Chalk:                 Bruynzeel Blue #877
Punch:                Fiskars Hearts Corner
Doo Dads:          Crystals in three of the flower centers, wire-edged Silver mesh and White organdy ribbon, Silver art deco button       

Monday, March 19, 2012

Berry Tree Thank You

May the heavens bless the genius who invented spray inks and the wonderful misters used to apply them.  As with snowflakes, no two backgrounds ever come out alike, which keeps the interest level elevated when mass producing a design.  If you’re using dye inks, you can flick some water from a soggy paintbrush over the background and entirely new artistic possibilities will emerge.

My upscale spray booth is a three-sided cardboard box with a designer label:  it says “Bush’s Baked Beans” right there on the side, and it does the job perfectly.  When this box dies from a case of Terminal Warp, I’ll go shopping in the same dumpster that provided me with the original box.  Then I’ll head for The Creative Corner in Glen Spey NY and buy another stamp with the money I saved . . .

Cardstock:         Light Brown Bazzill
Stamps:             Wendy Vecchi’s Berry Tree, Silver Crow’s Thank You
Inks:                   Adirondack Denim, Stream, & Eggplant Color Washes, ColorBox Frost White,
               edged w/Distress Brushed Corduroy
Emb Powder:    Judikins Opaque White 
Dies/Punches:   Scalloped ¾ x 1 ¼ rectangle punch
Doo Dads:          Antique Brass brads, Taupe upholstery trim*       

* Perhaps this stuff is way too thick for a card, but the color matched and I’m a texture freak.  I’d probably glue tree bark and pebbles to my cards if I could find a way to make them stick . . . and not have any problems at the P.O.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thinking of You

While I loved the silky textures on the pale Washi papers that my friend Carol recently gifted me with, I wondered what could be done with the colors, as I am generally not a pastel person.  So, Direct-To-Paper to the rescue!  After smudging away with various colors, I spritzed with my Perfect Pearls and water mister (a la Jennifer McGuire!) and used the heat gun to speed up the drying.  The result is a still-textured piece of background paper with a lovely shimmer that the camera doesn’t pick up.  You'll just have to trust me on this.  Next time, I’ll try this with Distress inks so that I can have even more fun with color migration.

Double-layered flying creatures really make a lovely statement . . . the secret to their success is to cram a teensy weensy piece of glue-backed foam under the wings and right next to the body.  Do this for both layers and the wings will truly survive their imprisonment in an envelope along with whatever the post office does to them.

Cardstock:     Oyster Bazzill, Plain Washi paper, Printed Washi Paper, re-purposed Gold paper  shopping bag (great color and weight, and the price was right!)
Stamps:        “Thinking of you” & “Get Well Soon” [unknown]
Inks:                EK Success American Girl Pink, Salmon, Yellow, Green, Purple, ColorBox Gold, Gold mister (Perfect Pearls and water), Gold marker
Emb Powder:   Ranger’s Gold
Dies/Punches: Butterfly, Cheery Lynn Large Window Frame, Spellbinders Large Label
Doo Dads:       Gold sticker dots, Gold pearls

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ye!  And the afternoon and evening as well!  Look out for the Leprechauns and keep your eyes open for that lovely pot of gold:  you’ll need it in order to buy gas this summer, if all of the dire predictions turn out to be correct. 
I think I’ll just stay home and stamp . . .

Cardstock:     White Bazzill, generic Kelly Green, Iceberg Beckett
Stamps:         Creative Catalyst Tweed Border, Mesh brayer, PSX Shamrock; Outlines Bits &     Pieces Collection #6 “Seeds”, Studio G [March 17]
Inks:              ColorBox Black, Copic G07, Silver marker
Emb Powder:  Judikins Detail Black
Dies/Punches: Spellbinders Grommet Tag, 1.5” scalloped square, office hole punch                  
Emb Folder:     Cuttlebug Victoria
Doo Dads:        Green grosgrain shamrock ribbon, crystal

Friday, March 16, 2012

An Elegant Corset

Although I have limited use for images of ladies in their underwear, I thought this elegant lady  was perfect for a try at a turn-of-the-century card.  I do believe she’s gone at least one better than Scarlett O’Hara’s famous 17 inch waist – she’ll probably be able to keep on breathing as long as she doesn’t move across the room too quickly.  Anything more athletic than that is obviously out of the question . . .

This is a throwback of a card for sure . . . no heat embossing, no punches or die cuts, and no embossing folders – just straight and simple stamping with a few gewgaws for embellishment.
It’s good to remember our roots and get back to basics on occasion, yes?

Cardstock:     Bazzill Black, Marcos Kraft, Beckett Candlelight, generic Parchment      
Stamps:        Treasure Cay’s Woman in Corset, Rubber Baby’s Rule,
                          Above the Mark’s Women’s Patterns
Inks:               Archival Jet Black
Doo Dads:      Ecru lace, wooden/glass bead fringe, Black stitched Brown bow

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Butterfly Trio

This card shows one of my rare forays into the use of pre-printed papers.  Using non-stamped papers always feels like cheating to me, but there’s no denying that they are gorgeous to the max.  There are many lovely collections available and those that come in the 6” size seem to be the best ones for cardmaking as the designs are usually scaled down to card size.  I’ve recently bought a couple of packs on sale to play with and I suppose it won’t be long before I’m squandering my shekels and stuffing my stash with these too.  Sigh . . .

Cardstock:     Black Bazzill, Beckett Candlelight, Black/White printed paper
Stamps:          Hero’s Envelope Pattern, Heartfelt Creation’s Elegant Word Script, Lost Coast’s   Happy Birthday
Inks:                ColorBox Sky Grey, Distress Black Soot
Embossing Powder: Judikins Detail Black
Dies/Punches:  Joy Butterflies, Spellbinders Ribbon Tags Trio       
Doo Dads:       Black pearls, Black & Cream twill ribbon (from the dollar store – YAY!)          

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weaving with Paper

One of the brightest ideas I’ve ever been smart enough to put into practice has been my Background Box, AKA: “BB”.  BB has rescued me more times than I can count:  her coffers are full of sizable scraps left over from previous projects and they have served as great inspiration and starting points when my oft-cantankerous Muse has up and left me for the time being.  She’s a wily witch, that one, and frequently needs to be coaxed back into my playroom.  BB has won her over more times than I can count and I am grateful.  When the well has run dry, I rummage through the box and never fail to find something that gets my creative juices flowing once again.

My good friend BB produced all of the scraps that wound up in the weaving on this card.  And for more information, I am excited to announce that the Summer 2012 issue of Rubber Stamp Madness will be carrying my first published article, tentatively titled “Weaving with Stamped Papers”.  I hope you will pick up a copy and check it out for further details . . .

Cardstock:     Generic Teal, Bazzill White, plus assorted scraps
Stamps:          Mesh brayer, Journey [unknown]
Inks:               Assorted
Emb Powder:   Copper
Dies/Punches:           Butterfly, 1½” Scalloped Square
Dry Embossing:         Corrugator      
Doo Dads:       Gold mini beads, brass paper clip twisted into antennae     

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Your Prerogatives

As a Guest Artist for 100 Proof Press two years ago, I was quite happy to have ten of my cards posted on their site for a two month period.  They are always looking for Guest Artists who wouldn’t mind acquiring a little more than the usual 15 minutes of fame – a two month posting of one's work is a generous deal indeed.  Go to their website (, click on the Gallery, and find out the easy details.

Today's card features one of the ten posted during my Guest stint at 100 PP.   If nothing else, the images below make me awfully glad that the formerly voluminous workout clothing has been pared down – although we do seem to have gone to the other extreme.  Some workout gear does give a new interpretation to the “Less is More” theory!

Cardstock:    Navy Bazzill, Wausau Firecracker Red, Beckett Iceberg      
Stamps:        All are from 100 Proof Press:  Millie Barbells Up, Millie Barbells Out, Moiré Rectangle  Large, Left Flourish, Right Flourish, Circle of Dots, “Exercise Your Prerogatives”.
Inks:             ColorBox White Frost, VersaFine Majestic Blue
Embossing Powder:   VIP’s Transcendence, Judikins Opaque White
Dies/Punches:           Sizzix Large Jelly Frame, EK Success Arrows               
Embossing Folder:     Cuttlebug Distressed Stripes 
Doo Dads:     White brads, Red floss

Monday, March 12, 2012

Come Play With Me!

The stamping club I belong to is called the “High Noon Club” because that’s exactly when we meet – at noon on Sundays in alternate months.  We take over the corner table in a wonderful  Chinese restaurant and the indulgent owner lets us stay as long as we like.  I think we provide free entertainment for the other patrons.  There are only seven of us and our very informal get-togethers (it’s really a stretch to call them “Meetings”) consist mainly of Show and Tell, great food, and lots of laughter.  All of us have had the fun of finding our work in several magazines, two-and-a-half of us are published writers (my first article comes out this Summer!), two of us have done national ads for stamp companies, three of us have been the cover artists for Rubber Stamp Madness, and lucky for us all, one of our group is actually the owner of a rubber stamping store!  OMG:  talk about enabling.  Surely the multitude of fortune cookies we’ve cracked open over the years has worked in our favor!

The card below was my submission for the “Pets” theme we had one month.  It was one of my first forays into the world of neon color and I spent most of my time squinting while working on it.  I kept trying to find a way to tone it down until I finally threw in the towel, added Black cardstock to the mix, and decided that it was better to emphasize the color instead of backing away from it.  I did the same card in Loud Lime, Yellow Fever, and Shriek Pink – all of which caused my worktable to vibrate.  I’m serious!  But I had fun anyway . . .

Cardstock:   Bazzill Black, generic Neon Orange, Lustro Dull White
Stamps:       Art Impressions’ “Play”, Stamp Cabana’s Schnauzer, River City’s Paw, Stampin’ Up’s Itty Bitty Backgrounds
Inks:             ColorBox Frost White, Black
Emb Pwder: Judikins Opaque White, Detail Black                
Doo Dads:      Orange brads       

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thank You

Cardstock:     Bazzill Light Olive, Marcos’ Kraft
Stamps:          Papertrey Ink Flower Fusion #6, text (unknown)
Inks:                Memento Pear Tart
Embossing Powder:  Vippies Transcendence
Dies/Punches:           Papertrey Ink Flower Fusion #6 die, Spellbinders Tags Trio #2
Embossing Folder:    Cuttlebug Argyle
Doo Dads:                  Jute twine, metallic Khaki sheer ribbon, pearls

Tip of the Day, plus two more (such a deal!):
~While I often use very narrow twine for embellishment, sometimes it’s too thin and gets lost in the layout.  One solution is to double or even triple the strands so that your knot or bow makes more of a statement.
~Pearls are easily colored to match with Copics or any alcohol inks – use two or three coats as needed.
~The slots on the ends of the tag were too wide for the ribbon I wanted to use.  After threading the slots with the ribbon taped at an angle on the back, problem solved.  Creativity wins again!