House Mouse “Musical Mice” Birthday Card

A musical birthday card for a musician celebrating a milestone year.

I took a break from Christmas cards to do up a few birthday cards that I needed to deliver or mail. One of them went to my aunt, who is a supremely talented pianist. I had thought of using this focal image for her ever since I first got my hands on this cute House Mouse stamp. 

I grabbed a premade base that was of a larger size, since the stamp itself is basically the size of an A2 card front. No room for the music note paper I wanted to use behind it. But this larger card size worked well for the idea. 


First I put down a layer of silver foil cardstock (cutting out the inner portion with snowflake and winter-themed word dies that I can use on other projects). The music paper I placed on top is from Echo Park’s “Be Mine” line. I then stamped, colored, and cut the House Mouse image so I would know what size to cut the Silver Glimmer Paper (glittered cardstock) from Stampin’ Up, which I placed behind the image as a mat. 


I think I might need to work on my coloring skills, or at the very least shading, but I’m pleased enough with my creation. πŸ™‚ I used three sets of watercolor pencils, an AquaPainter, and Ranger’s Jet Black Archival Ink to stamp and color the image. I topped it off with some gold Smooch Paint for the knobs on the violin and the lettering of “Mauschen,” the name of the piano. I had looked up the stamp online and found the colored image from House Mouse, so I tried to imitate those color choices. (Each of the mice are named and has their own coloring specifications.) I think next time I might try a black piano, however. 

I had the most trouble finding and placing a sentiment on the card due to limitations in space and supplies. I had to revise my initial idea several times, and the more I hurried to finish it (since I needed to be leaving the house), the worse it got. Isn’t that always the way of it? Eventually something worked, although I realized an hour later that I’d forgotten to include the milestone number she was turning, as I’d intended. But maybe she doesn’t need that advertised. πŸ˜‰ 

So, the tag is from the American Crafts “Everyday” line, the “Just a Note” sentiment is from Rubber Cottage, and I couldn’t read my handwriting on the back of the tiny music notes I added to the tag, so I can’t say who made that. The black lace ribbon is from Stampin’ Up. I stamped the sentiment with Jet Black Staz-On ink because the tag was chipboard with a shiny top and water-based dye inks just wipe right off of those. I used my heat gun to speed up the drying process as well.


The inside of the card finished the thought begun on the front (“Just a Note”) with “Wishing You Happy Birthday.” Again not quite what I’d intended to say, but time really was of the essence, so I made do with the first couple things I found rather than creating a custom sentiment. And I’m the only one who overthinks these things, so it probably doesn’t matter. πŸ™‚ The stamp sets I used for the inside are from Stampin’ Up (“Wrapped in Warmth”) and Close to My Heart (“Gracious Greetings”). I also embossed piano keys for the bottom border. The embossing folder I used is 5×7 and entitled “Keyboard,” from Cuttlebug. 

Coloring always takes a bit of time, and I really do need to perfect some shading skills (here’s wishing I could go back to art class), but I’m generally pleased with the images once I’m done. I always enjoy seeing how the lines swirl and blend together when I’m watercoloring. Perhaps I’m really a Renoir at heart. πŸ˜‰ 

That’s all for this birthday card. The others I created were simpler, of course. But details are my specialty. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

Season’s Greetings with Snow


Hello, all! It’s November now, but all I’ve been hearing for hours is rain. Still, there are Christmas cards to create. I have a couple of custom orders for them along with my own this year. This card, I’ll use for one of the orders. 

I feel like I made it out of practically nothing. Or, rather, it cost me practically nothing to do it, by the time I divide out all the pieces in the packs, etc. The card base from Die Cuts with a View was bought several years ago on clearance, and with this card I finally used up the pack (sad face here, as I loved them and have been hoarding them). It has a scalloped edge on the front of the card with two lines of glitter above the scallops and dots of glitter inside each curve. 

I have mentioned that crafters are a generous bunch. Both the embossed snowflake background and the die-cut snowman came free of charge from such generous crafters in one or two of my Facebook groups. (And the good news is that I still have a few more embossed backgrounds, though I am sadly out of snowmen.) I may have traded some of my own supplies for them, or perhaps they came as Happy Mail or a RAK (Random Act of Kindness). Either way, I’m happy to make use of them. Though I have no idea which companies to thank. The snowman looked as though he was exceedingly happy and welcoming something, so I figured he would like a snowfall. πŸ™‚

I sized up the snowflake background to the card base and realized I’d have to cut it down a bit to keep it above the glitter lines. I backed the embossed piece with some textured purple/mauve Gauze Paper from DCWV. The snowman got a little color enhancement with some Stampin’ Up inks and a Blender Pen. I tried to give him a sort of muted vintage look to coordinate with the other colors. (And I wasn’t sure if he was stamped with archival ink that doesn’t bleed when touched with waterlike substances, so I had to color him carefully just in case it was a dye-based ink.)


I had a few sentiments that would fit the upper corner, but I had trouble deciding on one until my tiredness and the hour made the decision for me. (“Slap it down and move on,” my friend A likes to tell me. I actually listened this time.) I found this “Season’s Greetings” in a pack of rub-ons from American Crafts, so I put it on a scrap of vellum hanging out on my desk, punched it out with Stampin’ Up’s retired Word Window punch, ran it through my Xyron Sticker Maker, and then needed a way to make it show up, since vellum is see-through. Enter a remnant of gauze paper, which I’d cut out of the center of the mat for the embossed snowflake background. (Why waste perfectly good material and hide it where no one will ever see? Craft supplies aren’t cheap!) I used a Spellbinders Die to cut the simple border, which fit the vellum rub-on sentiment perfectly. And this way we got to see a little more texture of that cool paper, since the mat behind the snowflakes is small by necessity. 

To echo the glitter that came on the card base, once I knew how much room I had to play with at the sides around the front piece, I stamped a border (bought from Oriental Trading) in VersaMark, poured on some retired Iridescent Ice glitter embossing powder from Stampin’ Up, and heat set it, one on each side. 

I kept the inside of the card simple with a “Let It Snow” stamp from SU’s “Snow Place” stamp set and a couple of snowflakes from SU’s retired “Letterpress Winter” set. I used Pale Plum ink (also SU, retired) and more of the retired Iridescent Ice glittered embossing powder.

Fairly simple card overall, though some of the pieces took a bit of fiddling. I enjoyed this one and may try to make more of them with different snowmen and sentiments. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Warmth and Cheer with Northern Flurry

It’s time to start making Christmas cards! Okay, it’s probably past time, and I’ve been creating them for a couple of weeks, but here’s my first blog post about one.


It may be October, but for crafters, it’s Christmas card season!

The other day, hubs and I figured out a new way to keep each other company while I remained productive with crafting. The result was the outside of four winter/Christmas cards finished. They’re pretty simple, but simple can be elegant sometimes. Our wedding, for example. (Or at least that’s what I was trying for back then.) 

Pardon the mess behind my desk, but this is the only shot of the four together so far.

I have two custom Christmas card orders right now along with the niggle of something bigger in the works (we’ll see if it goes anywhere), so I figured all four would go one place or the other, or I could split them up. 

I used all Stampin’ Up materials for these except for the bling – Whisper White cardstock, the retired Northern Flurry embossing folder, paper strips cut into banners from one of their retired 6×6 Christmas paper packs (I didn’t write down which one), Soft Suede and Early Espresso inks with matching cardstock, and the “Wishing you a season filled with warmth and cheer” sentiment from the set “Wrapped in Warmth.” The rhinestone bling is from Michael’s, SU, and CTMH.

I’m still stamping the insides of three of them. So far I have “Merry Christmas to You and Yours” (from SU’s “To You and Yours Too” set) on the inside of the Soft Suede version, shown below. 


I love how the embossing just pops off the card. I had originally wanted the snowflakes to come cascading from the upper-left corner but realized after I cut the cardstock that that wasn’t going to be possible because of the direction I’d cut it. And I had thought to only have a smaller 1/4″ strip extending from top to bottom but didn’t like how that interrupted the little snowflake down there…so after some brainstorming with hubby, since he was in the room, this is what we decided looked best. And I’m pleased with it. I think it like it better than my original idea. (Not that I won’t try that original idea again some year. πŸ™‚ )

Thanks for reading! If I can make Christmas cards for you sometime, send me a note or visit thelittlewhatnotshop.etsy.com. πŸ™‚

Hope You’re Feline Better (“Cozy Cat Occasions” CTMH)

I decided to show you a card I made for my mother-in-law several years ago when she was feeling poorly. It was my first time using any of these supplies and I was sort of just throwing things together and making it up as I went along, since I was still a relatively new cardmaker, but I liked (and still like) the end result. Hope you do too. The banner that sticks out off the card wasn’t a problem because I handed her the card instead of mailing it. πŸ™‚

I used retired Stampin’ Up Lucky Limeade cardstock for my card base. I try to make all my card bases with SU cardstock, which is 80-lb weight paper. I like the variation of the older textured papers too. Sometimes a girl just needs a little texture in life. Also, Lucky Limeade is one of my favorite colors that Stampin’ Up has ever made. I wasn’t buying from them when it was a current In-Color; I came upon it after it had recently retired. But it has proven to be one of my go-to colors ever since. I even like it instead of Old Olive most of the time.

I also have a thing for square cards. This tends to be a problem because they cost more to mail, as they are considered an unusual or irregular size. (Yeah, don’t ask me how a square card can be irregular, but there it is.) They have trouble going through the mail machines, apparently. So because I love square cards but don’t generally want to mail them, I give them away in person a lot or I make them for people who will be doing the same. This particular card happens to be a 5×5.5 size.

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The cat paper I glued on top of the Lucky Limeade card base is from KI Memories (“Pet Shop Here Kitty,” 2022, (c) 2008), and it is awesome. It has this great pearlized, creamy metallic sheen to it. (And I apparently got it on clearance for $.10, now that I dig it out so I can write up the brand name. Which is even more awesome.) I distressed the edges of the paper a little bit before gluing it down because I also have a thing for distressing stuff.

At this point I left the back part of the card and went to the front. I stamped the large cat stamp from Close to My Heart (“Cozy Cat Occasions” A1140) in Stampin’ Up Craft White ink (yep, just plain old “White,” from a long time ago) on a textured tan piece, and I think I heat-set it. They dry faster and better that way. Then, being a new cardmaker and not having things like watercolor pencils, shading techniques, any shading knowledge at all, etc. (my, how things have changed!), I just colored it with a couple of Stampin’ Up Markers and then used Waterfall Stickles and Gold Smooch Paint on the collar.

I matted the tan piece with a miscellaneous light blue/turquoise color before stamping the “Hope you’re feline better” sentiment and doodad lines on white cardstock in SU Tempting Turquoise ink and hand-cutting it into a banner. I then hand-stitched the banner onto the tan/blue pieces with embroidery floss (because I’m also a cross-sticher and have scads of it around here). If I remember correctly, I was having trouble figuring out where to place the sentiment on the card. I didn’t like any way I tried it until I just decided it would have to branch out, literally.

I took a Lucky Limeade cardstock remnant and placed it behind the horizontal mats for some height variation and visual interest. Finally, I grabbed a remnant of the hand-punched border piece I’d done for the inside of the card–I hate to waste anything, and this was what I had cut off–and I pinned it to the top of the center pieces with a WRMK glitter brad. That little section reminded me of a flower, and I just couldn’t throw it away. πŸ™‚ I did not glue it down, so it swings a little bit as the card moves.

That’s it! Pretty simple–just a bunch of rectangular papers and a few details. Just like a mini scrapbook page. πŸ™‚ Happy to report that she loved it. But then, she was a cat owner. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by!