Yes, Another Sympathy (a Decoupage One This Time)

A dry decoupage sympathy card using Stampin’ Up for everything but the main image (at last!).

The hits keep coming. Two more sympathies on my to-do list, along with a celebration theme for a blog hop. For these two, at least it’s a celebration of sorts, though sad now. Still, I feel muddled. My heart aches for them, so I went looking for something that spoke to me and seemed to reflect the people I’m thinking of. My “card toppers” bin bailed me out for the one I’m blogging about today. (The other, yet unmade, will focus on Stampin’ Up’s Graceful Glass vellum DSP and alcohol markers, so stay tuned for that.)

My mother used to say that I was “an accident waiting to happen.” She’d probably still say that, given the chance. That phrase came to me as I wrestled with this card. I began to feel like it was one accident after another. I love how it turned out in the end, but my goodness, the process! (This means there’s hope for me, right?) Another case of “when things don’t go well.” Please tell me you’d never know. 😉

One of my husband’s coworkers lost her dear husband last week, and it’s been such a sad thing. I wanted to make a beautiful card – part masculine in remembrance and part feminine for her – but had no idea where to start. Since I often clean or organize when I have a problem to mull over, that’s what I ended up doing, which led me to the main cross piece seen on the front of the card today.

Finding a brown card base to match the topper was easy; Stampin’ Up’s Baked Brown Sugar, a retired color, matched the foiled copper/silver/gold/burgundy/blue cross the best. I only have so many browns, and I usually use SU for my card bases since I like how the 80-lb weight cardstock stands. (I grab premade bases only if I start with the base first rather than the main image. It’s just easier to match it that way rather than working in reverse.)

During my cleaning spree, I was also looking at and putting away some new SU Designer Series Paper. So when I tried to find paper the cross could match, the blue piece was fresh in my mind and looked prettier than any other neutrals I put next to it. The blue paper is from the Tranquil Textures DSP pack in the current Annual Catalog from Stampin’ Up. It’s not a solid blue, but it it hard to tell that with the dry embossing I put on top of it to give the card some texture. I used the “Oxford” Cuttlebug folder for the textured design. I wanted something light and barely textured like Stampin’ Up’s Subtle embossing folder, but I don’t own that particular one yet.

Here’s where things got tricky. The card is a 5×7 because the cross is so tall. But because it’s narrow, there was a lot of “white space” around it. I don’t like white space (even if it’s blue). So I started to wonder what I could do or put next to the cross to take up the width. A sentiment would only be so big, as well as being awkward to work with around the 3D leaf layers toward the bottom, so I wasn’t sure that was the answer. I thought maybe I could make a decorative edge to the card front at the right instead. I could see it in my mind but wasn’t sure how to achieve it (story of my crafting life, btw). That seemed to be the best thing to try…but all my dies were too small to stretch across 7 inches. Nothing felt right. So that night I went to bed frustrated, having made only the card base and embossing the paper.

The next night I attempted to keep going on the card while I was on the phone. I should have known better. I spotted a long Spellbinders die on my die wall and got all excited because it would fit lengthwise. I didn’t think about the fact that ALL of the edges of the die does indeed cut…until I wrapped a card base around a Cuttlebug plate (so that I didn’t cut through the second layer), positioned the die, and wondered why an inch of the card base separated from itself after I ran it through the machine. (*insert facepalm here*) To my defense, I was still on the phone. LOL

So suddenly I had a card base with one side shorter than the other. That was not what was supposed to happen. Not to mention, the magnetic plate dinged up the middle of the card base, and the B plate left marks on the back side of the base, making it warped and weak. Sigh. Time to rethink. Maybe I needed to make a new card base.

I tried to process where to go next. The decorative edge thing hadn’t worked and I couldn’t think how to make it work other than an edge punch – if I made a new base. I’ve never tried the popsicle sticks I’ve heard about, to keep part of it from cutting, so I wasn’t sure how to do that either (again, on a new base). But I hated to destroy the one I’d just cut. What I did manage to do after thinking was flip the card base around (even though I’d folded it correctly after scoring the first time). That would give me a chance to add paper atop the marked-up part to hide it and also add some stability with the extra paper layers. I hoped. I also took my bone folder and tried to work out the middle bumps and crease it sharply.

Once the base was salvaged, I decided to play with the pieces and arrange them just to see what I could do. I ended up liking a little bit of breathing room between the die cut and the now-shorter edge of the card base, rather than placing the die cut right up against the piece it had just been cut from. And obviously if there’s a peekaboo die, something needed to peek through it underneath. I grabbed more blue DSP and left it as is on the inside of the card rather than embossing it for texture like the front.

I also realized that I needed to run the textured piece through the Cuttlebug again, as one side has trouble with a piece of paper I got stuck in the roller years ago. Part of the paper was hardly embossed, so I realigned it in the folder, flipped it around to the other side that impresses better, and ran it through again. Came out perfectly that time.

The trouble was that when I left that breathing room space between the die cut and the base, it was not centered once the card was opened. I didn’t like that. But it looked like I had enough room to add 1/8″ of ribbon or something else. I chose SU’s gold and white ribbon to match the cross and the browns and loved how it looked.

But then I couldn’t get it adhered. The ribbon is thin enough that the line of Art Glitter liquid glue I laid down soaked right into the ribbon. I wasn’t confident it wouldn’t end up slightly sticking to the inside of the card once it had been closed for a while. But as I told a friend last night, when a person has too much product in her house, she will find a way. I decided to use my Cosmo Cricket Glubers Adhesive Strips. I rarely use them, but sometimes they’re just the best option. They are 1/4″ strips, though, so I took my nonstick microscissors from CutterBee and cut right down one of the strips, eyeballing it to just under 1/8″. And then I placed it with my tweezers and stuck a new piece of ribbon to it. I was much happier with the inside then.

I decided not to stamp a sentiment on the inside yet. I needed to finish up and get to bed and I wanted to really look through my stamps to figure out what I wanted to say on the card. I will probably go back and add one later, but right now it’s blank.

I’ve spoken about dry decoupage in past blog posts. A reader had asked me to do a tutorial on how to do it, and I am working on that currently. I hope to post one soon. For now, here are a couple of closeups to be able to see the decoupage layers that make up the cross. I should have trimmed off the little perforation bumps more as I was making the topper, but it’s probably too late to fix it now.

The cross has several layers of dimension to it in the squares as well as the leaves, which made it interesting to put together. And the leaves are the top layer.

Thanks again for coming to visit my blog! I appreciate your readership!

A Quick-and-Easy Thank-You Card for Amy’s Inkin’ Krew

For my second time “hopping” with Amy’s Inkin’ Krew on Tuesdays, I chose a simple thank-you card that anyone can make.

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Hello! It’s time (somehow) for my second team blog hop with Amy’s Inkin’ Krew! This month’s theme is “Giving Thanks,” so I have a simple thank-you card to share today. It didn’t take much time at all, and it’s one anybody can make!

I’ve remarked in past posts how difficult thank-you cards seem to be for me to get out on time. I found a new way to help speed up the process. This kind of card always brings out the scrapbooker in me. First, there is no stamping on it at all. And second, I used a front piece that is part of a 12″x12″ piece of decorative paper from American Crafts (item # 320490) that I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics in the open-stock paper section some months back. The paper included twelve different “seed packets” that said various things. All show flowers or a type of plant. You can see another example of one here. I merely cut them apart with my trimmer and sorted them by type before filing them for later. They weren’t all about gratitude, but I did set those aside so I could reach them quickly in an effort to get them onto cards and out the door faster. 🙂

So since I knew what main piece I was using, I just built the rest of the card from there, using the colors I saw. I had a retired piece of Stampin’ Up 80-lb cardstock (possibly Bashful Blue) that I cut into two bases, using one for this card and saving the other for later. I chose it because of the tiny little circle flowers behind the orange poppies (if they are poppies). I had to try out several versions of patterned paper for other layers between them to see what looked best. The little orange-and-yellow flowered patterned piece directly underneath is from a pack of retired Designer Series Paper from Stampin’ Up. I had always wondered what I was going to use that scrap piece for. It fit just right. 🙂 The neutral chevrons are from an Art-C Ephemera Pack. It was the only cardstock in the pack and I just wanted to use it up so I didn’t have to keep awkwardly storing it in the package. A bonus was that it toned down the orange flowers and grounded everything with its “neutralness.”

It was actually hardest to figure out the arrangement of the pieces after I knew what matched. I was not following a sketch, instead just making it up as I went along. I rearranged things several times and eventually decided that it was too plain as is – no embellishments?? – so I wanted to add the Pool Party Thick Baker’s Twine (the closest color I had to the blue base)…but I didn’t like any place I put it overtop the seed packet design. And the layers were a little too boring for me just one after another. (Though, granted, that would have been even easier and faster to make!) So I placed the seed packet piece above the chevrons and left a large space for the baker’s twine to go across as a decorative detail. Thankfully I thought ahead a little bit, because I realized before I glued it down that the baker’s twine (rightfully called “Thick”) is difficult to place underneath patterned paper without gaining a large bump in the paper and awkward gluing. That’s where the foam pop-up dots come in.

I used my ATG tape gun to adhere the seed packet to the chevron piece, leaving the top portion unglued, so that it essentially became one piece instead of two. Then I put pop-up dots on the back side of both papers regardless of where they overlapped. Before taking off the backing paper of the pop-up dots, I fed the twine under the chevron layer and arranged where I wanted it to lay in the end. Then I carefully took up the unattached background and pulled off the pop-up dots before placing it down just as carefully (and hopefully straight). I tied the ends of the twine into a bow and moved on.

To bring a little more detail to the card, I wanted to bring out the little dots in the centers of the orange flowers (Merriam Webster tells me those things are called “anthers,” so I learned something tonight). My first thought was to use my liquid Ranger’s Inkssentials Enamel Accents bottle of black, which dries nicely with a bit of a 3D idea off the paper; however, I didn’t have a lot of time and I would have had to move other things to get to it. I had a bottle of Ranger’s Adirondack Dimensional Pearls in the Espresso color nearby that I hoped was dark enough to get the look I wanted without being too off-color. It is more like a lovely chocolate brown, but it seemed to dry a little darker, and since there wasn’t much of it on the card anyway, it worked out well. So well that at first I thought I had used the Enamel Accents after all, when I started writing this post. 🙂 I just slowly worked a little out of the bottle and dabbed the tip near or to the so-called anthers, before putting it aside and letting it dry overnight. They still dried a little “puffy” like I had wanted for texture.

With the inside, I knew I would be writing a long note, because it was also going to be a “catching up on life since I haven’t called” kind of card. So I just used the smallest scrap of chevron paper and glued it horizontally on the bottom of the inside. (And then I ended up writing on it anyway, so I probably should have just left it off.)

So that’s it. To recreate the card, just find one of those 12″x12″ sheets (I’ve seen several kinds now since I bought the first one), cut it apart, and find paper and string to match it. And decorate otherwise if you wish. Easy-peasy. 🙂

Thanks for joining me today! To continue “hopping” with the Krew, you can click the “Next” (forward) button to view Shirley Gentry’s card or the “Previous” (backward) button to view Linda Richenberg’s takes on “Giving Thanks.” I have such amazing team members who do wonderful work. Please be sure to check them out. 🙂 See you next time!

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If you get lost or want to hop around the participants, here is the lineup of Krew members:

  1. Julie Johnston
  2. Karen Finkle
  3. Karen Ksenzakovic
  4. Jaimie Babarczy
  5. Linda Richenberg
  6. Connie Troyer (you are here!)
  7. Shirley Gentry
  8. Mary Deatherage
  9. Sue Prather
  10. Aurora Lopez
  11. Amy Koenders

Cornflower-Blue/Cream/Tan Anna Griffin Sympathy Card with Gold Foil

Another sympathy card to share.

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Although I do have other themes than just sympathy coming up (I promise!), it’s sort of where I’m stuck for a few more days. Just so many of them to make lately 😦 , and I’ve hardly had any time in the craft room because of editing projects. I have a feeling it’s going to be a busy fall too. But. I do have this simple offering tonight (that I have to post before I start “hopping” around elsewhere), mailed a few weeks ago now.

This card was for a dear friend/former roommate who lost her young husband recently. I wanted something reminiscent of a masculine idea but also to incorporate blue, as that was always her favorite color. And I wanted something that hearkened to their relationship, something beautiful and giving an idea of romance. And I didn’t have a lot of time to create it. (I actually worked on it in at least two snatches of time.) Tall order, I guess.

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I started off by going to my “cheat box”: a photo box I’ve filled with premade or prescored card bases, so that when I’m short on time, I can simply pluck one out of there. I’ve either already done the work on it or bought it usable. Although I prefer to use Stampin’ Up cardstock (80-lb. weight) for my card bases, I do also have a stash of printed American Crafts and DCWV bases (thank you, Marijane). So I found one that was flowery (romantic), tan (somber/masculine), and blue (the whole point) and hoped I could make it work.

I find printed bases harder to create with. There’s not much difference between a plain base that I top with patterned paper or a printed base, but I always find the latter harder to pull together into a card. But they are lovely and useful, so I keep trying.

I had a random scrap of blue flowered paper hanging around that seemed to match the color on the base fairly well, so I wanted to use it somehow. (I think it might be very retired SU DSP.) And I had sorted through my set of Anna Griffin sentiment tags and toppers beforehand to pull out ones that could work with sympathy cards, since it seems to be the “season” for that. This one spoke to me the most for her because of what she means to me and how the news affected me. Plus I liked how the gold foil in the sentiment matched the tan in the base.

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So I found some SU cardstock that coordinated, used an EK Success edge punch on one side of a long strip for the middle, and matted the sentiment with the same. (I think it’s either Crumb Cake or Tip Top Taupe cardstock.) And as I look at the pictures here, I’m wondering if I didn’t match the top and bottom bronze pearls after all (both in size and color). I meant to…. I remember thinking that the smaller size of pearl looked better next to the flowers; it didn’t take up as much room. And I already had the big one stuck at that point. Must have been more in a hurry than I thought and forgot to switch it out. (Or maybe it’s the angle of the pictures?) Erg. Well, I can’t ask for it back now. I never claimed to be perfect anyway. It’s handmade, right?

I did have some fun rummaging through my random flower canister for ones I could use on the front of the card so it wouldn’t be so plain. I nested a tiny cream one inside a couple of layers of white ones to bring in the cream-colored background of the sentiment and topped it off with a champagne-colored pearl. And of course I had to use blue flowers. This arrangement and color scheme seemed to work best. The dark blue flower is fabric ribbon with a gem in the middle of it, and the light blue rose is a rougher blend.

I chose the same SU cardstock from the front for the inside, since the inside of the card base was white. I matted the left-hand sentiment with cream for contrast. Both stamps were inked with an Encore Gold Metallic pad and heated with a heat gun afterward. The left-hand sentiment is from a retired SU set called “Words of Wisdom,” and the one on the right is from the retired SU set “Thoughts and Prayers.” I used a gold border strip from the retired SU “Painted Love Gold Vinyl Stickers” from the last catalog down one side and edge-punched the other with the EK punch from the front.

So that’s it for this one. I’m glad I’ve actually managed to mail it. Still working on that for some of the others. 😛 More to come later. Back to my edit for now. The juggling continues!

Berry-and-Blue Birthday 3D Decoupage Quilt Card

A quick decoupage birthday card I created before bedtime.

Last night I attempted to go to bed a little earlier, but I still had some time to kill before actually turning in (the brain was still restless, looking for something to amuse itself with).

I had wandered into the craft room for something else and ended up stumbling upon this Log Cabin quilt paper remnant on the desk while putting some things away. And oddly enough, there was matching SU designer series paper and cardstock right beside it in a heap intended for quilt cards for the local gift shop. Not for the particular card they ended up creating, but at least they’re being used, right?

I’ve also started keeping a new organizational system for pieces I can grab and adhere to cards quickly, trying to speed up my creative process. So before I stacked any layers together, I turned to my “Card Toppers to Use” drawer and this 3D flowered circle was the first one I pulled out. And it even mostly matches. 🙂 Just had to decide how to utilize the card front’s space.

This was the arrangement that seemed most pleasing to me – and I even ended up using a very retired color of SU cardstock for the base and middle layer as a plus! (No idea what color it is…it was an In-Color back 10-15 years ago! I haven’t researched it.)

The 3D pieces are some of my favorite ones to make. It’s so relaxing to sit there and fiddle while talking or listening to something else. And they’re pretty impressive up close.

I had a pack of gold Dazzles sentiments on my desk in the heap as well, so I cut apart a “Happy Birthday” one to make it fit better, and it went on easily. I refrained from adding any Wink of Stella or bling bits, as the card front is busy enough already.

The inside of the card is simply a scrap of border paper from a UK magazine (love those!) and a sentiment from a Studio 112 clear stamp set on top of a remnant of white. I used Stampin’ Up’s Sweet Sugarplum ink for the saying.

This card feels supremely satisfying to me. It didn’t take me long at all to create it from start to finish – maybe 20-30 minutes? – and even though I was just throwing bits of random things together, it turned out to be something pretty. I think that method is actually my favorite way of creating and also turns out my most creative works, making something out of nothing missing any semblance of sense at the start. 🙂

I’m not sure who is going to end up with this card, so it’s currently for sale if someone wants it. It may end up at the gift shop otherwise, if they like it enough. 🙂

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. 🙂 )

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