Red Foxes in Winter Special Birthday Card

Back in the summer, I was asked to make a special birthday card for a special friend’s son who has a fondness for foxes—all shades and types. She gave me free creative rein and said she didn’t care what I did with the idea, but that he might like a red one. I considered several different fox stamps and stickers but finally chose a particular stamp that shows foxes in a wintry scene since his birthday was in February (“300-16 Red Foxes and Birches,” Stamps Rosa).

I’ve never really thought much about foxes in my life, other than thinking they’re beautiful animals in general, so I had no idea how to shade one. Coloring is something I’m still not comfortable with, because I feel like the concept of shading is one I haven’t begun to learn. Luckily for me, the wooden stamp I was using had a colored picture on the front that I just had to attempt to recreate! ๐Ÿ™‚

First I had to choose the right paper, though, which evidently was not the bumpy watercolor paper I tried to stamp on first (twice). I knew that, but I was thinking of using my water-filled Aqua Painter on it and felt the paper would handle it. I liked the textured look of the watercolor paper too, but the image was too detailed to stamp cleanly with the bumps in the paper. Then I remembered Stampin’ Up’s Shimmery White cardstock, a must-have in my collection. It’s not any thicker than the rest of their cardstock (other than the aptly named “Thick” cardstock in the line), but it’s smooth and somehow holds up great with watercoloring–and it’s sparkly to boot (hence the “Shimmery” part of the name). Bonus for me was that the paper helped my snow scene sparkle.

Once I had the paper figured out and the stamp stamped correctly, I took my watercolor pencils and tried to emulate what I saw on the wooden stamp block. I had to mix a few shades to get that red fox coat color with the darker spots. After using the watercolor pencils, I took my Aqua Painter to it as planned and went back and forth between the two tools a few times until it felt right (because I have no idea what I’m doing, really. I’m assuming I’ll get better as I learn by trial and error).

After I was satisfied with the colors and the paper had basically dried, I went over the snow and snow-covered branches with my Clear Wink of Stella brush marker to bring back the sparkle to the snow that I’d ended up coloring over with the white pencil. (The sparkle shows through the color a little, but I really wanted the snow to glimmer.) Then I set aside the piece to dry while I figured out the rest of the card.

My favorite crafty thing to use these days are metal cutting dies. They’re simple, quick to use, and make things prettier or more elegant than I could come up with on my own. (They’re also faster for me than my Cricut.) I hang most of them on my wall and the back of my door on large magnetic sheets or vent covers so that I can easily walk over and try different sizes and shapes with whatever I’m wanting to cut out, rather than taking time to flip through a box and take die sets out of envelopes.

For this card, I looked at a bunch of large shapes, trying to decide whether to cut it into a type of oval or a fancy square or a rectangle. I ended up using one of my new sets from Spellbinders that hadn’t yet made it to my wall (Art Nouveau Designer Series “Water Lilies Decorative Element”), because it fit the image perfectly without making me cut it down too much (after all that hard work in coloring, I hated to do that!).

I debated whether to use a SU Cajun Craze cardstock base or a white base and which color to set off where. I ended up cutting several different colors of cardstock with the frame die to test them and see what worked. The card finally fell together color-wise when I brought in the darker wood-grain paper (SU “Country Lane” DSP) as a background to echo the dark shading in the picture. The dark complements the darker orangish-brown Cajun Craze well enough while keeping the same tones. With the white base, there was too much contrast and the frame jumped out at me rather than letting me focus on the colored image. So I ended up using a Cajun Craze base but covering the entire front with the wood grain and using a Cajun Craze frame on top and beneath the white colored image. (It’s a solid piece that gives a mat to whatever is inserted into the sides.)

This particular frame die acts like a gift card holder where the center flowers are, gently opening up and holding whatever is placed in the solid middle. That took some thinking, trying to measure and cut down the colored image so that it fit into that space under the flowers just right. The opening/middle rectangle is much larger than a gift card, but it’s the same idea…though this is only one way to use it.

The one thing I forgot to do to the test pieces was to make sure they were embossed well also. (One reason I love Spellbinders is because they have awesome sections of the dies that are intended to be embossed to give it a little something extra. I miss that feature when I use other brands.) So the embossing could have been done a little better in parts here, because I forgot to take that step to make it pop. I didn’t remember it until I’d mailed the card and noticed it in the pictures. In the photos above, perhaps you can see that the center flower pieces are more deeply etched than the corners above and below them. Next time…I shall remember next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

My customer wasn’t picky about what to say on the inside either, other than asking me to write his name and theirs in it and mail it straight to him. So I had to dream up something based on other things she had said to me. After adding fox washi tape to the bottom of a white piece and then matting the paper onto a different kind of wood-grain patterned paper from a 6×6 pad (can’t remember which one now), I used three different stamp sets and another die to make the sentiment section. “A little expression of love” is from SU’s “Painter’s Palette,” “just for you” is from SU’s “From the Herd,” and “Happy birthday” is from MFT’s “LJD For the Boys” (part of the “Happy Birthday, Handsome” stamp). The die is among those in a retired nested set from SU called “Deco Labels.”

I used my stamping platform and its grid to line up the sentiments on the die-cut and stamp out a couple of test pieces in Cajun Craze ink to make sure they sat where I wanted them. (I had tried stamping right on the matted liner paper but I accidentally got ink where I shouldn’t have, so at that point I just had to cover it up because it was already adhered.)

After the sentiment box was stamped, I edged around the die-cut with my Cajun Craze Stampin’ Write Marker so it would stand out against the white paper. And, once again too late, I saw that the double fox spot on the washi piece. I didn’t create that intentionally; it’s just how it came off the roll. I wish I had seen it sooner; it bothers the part of me that prefers symmetry. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also added two gold glitter hearts from MME (“Niche/On Trend Foam Stickers”) in the white space of the sentiment box.

I like how this one turned out even though it tested me at times and there are a couple of things I wish I could do differently. It’s always easier to make a similar card a second time. Maybe I’ll try to do one for the local gift shop. After all, I’m not completely convinced that winter is over with where I live.

Some of the Stampin’ Up items I used on this card are retired, but you can purchase the ink, cardstocks, and other current items through my online store if you want to try them (please use code 6WPHJ2MC at checkout unless your order is over $150). The thumbnails below will take you right there…and this is an awesome time to get them since Sale-a-bration is still going through the end of March. For every $50+ order before tax and shipping, you get to pick an item out of a select group of almost two dozen items and Stampin’ Up will send it to you for free with your order! Plus you’ll also get a free gift from me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Please contact me if you have questions.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I truly appreciate my readers. โค๏ธ Have a lovely day! #neverstopmaking #mftstamps

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Celebrate Spring with New Babies! (“Perfectly Paired” for Amy’s Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop)

Welcome to another blog post for Stamp with Amy K’s Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop! We have a very talented lineup for you this week. Thanks for stopping by to see what I created. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our theme this month is “Celebrate Spring,” in whatever way we want to interpret that. Because I’m also making cards for my local gift shop, I chose to go with the “new birth/baby” idea. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Stampin’ Up’s “Perfectly Paired” cling stamp set when it came out—it’s all about babies and features a Noah’s Ark image, one of my favorite themes for little ones. This stamp set (so far as we know) is only available for a couple more months since it’s in the current Occasions catalog.

Since I knew this would be a nice card and likely given with a gift, I started off by grabbing a lovely, thick envelope from my stash and then made the card base a 5×7 size to match it, using SU’s Shimmery White cardstock. I chose Shimmery White because I wanted to color the image.

Well, as usual, although I was aiming for simple, I evidently have to complicate things. And I made plenty of mistakes to cover up. My “MO,” I’m starting to think.

It occurred to me that there were waves under the ark in the stamp but I thought it might look a bit “adrift” all by itself on a flat card base. So I got some of my new Ice Blue Matt Mirror Luxury Cardstock (Crafter’s Companion) and cut it down, leaving about a 3/8″ border of white on the base for the “shimmery” part of the “Shimmery White” to show. Then I embossed some waves onto the mirror card with my Cuttlebug (“Musical Flourish” embossing folder).

My piece of mirror card was slightly longer than the embossing folder, so I embossed both ends and then attempted to hide the faint line the edge of the folder left with some retired 1/2″ SU Pacific Point ribbon. I wrapped the ribbon around the edges to give it a neater, more finished look. I believe I used my 1/4″ Scor-Tape down the middle of the back of the ribbon.

I didn’t actually cover the line left by embossing because the ribbon wasn’t wide enough, but hopefully I distracted anyone from looking too closely. I tried to keep the embossed design from overlapping when I ran it through the Cuttlebug, and the embossed line really isn’t that bad, but it’s mirror card so everything shows…. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Whether I needed the ribbon or not, it was an attempt to make the card look better, and I built the rest of the design from there.

After fiddling with the layout, I decided to also mat the mirror card with Pacific Point cardstock to bring more of the ribbon color in for balance. I left 1/8″ of the mat showing, glued the mirror card to the mat, and then glued the combo onto the card base. I used my ATG tape gun for these. Then I set aside the card so I could concentrate on the image. And here’s where things got interesting.

I wasn’t sure whether to use my Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers to color it or my usual: watercolor pencils with either an Aqua Painter or a Blender Pen. I figured I’d do one of each type of coloring and leave the extra in my “card parts” bin for faster cardmaking later. Because those mediums require different inks to control the color, I stamped the ark image from “Perfectly Paired” once in Memento Tuxedo Black (for the alcohol markers) and once in SU’s Archival Basic Black (for the watercoloring). I labeled the backs with a pencil so I’d know which went with what…and then promptly started coloring the wrong image with the wrong medium because I was “doing,” not “thinking.” ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ

Surprisingly, the Archival Basic Black didn’t smear too badly with the alcohol Blends, but I had been careful about not coloring over the lines, just because I was carefully coloring. It wasn’t until I smeared the lions’ whiskers a little that I even realized I’d switched the pieces. (Live and learn?) But smearing lines is why we are supposed to use Memento ink with alcohol markers. Lesson learned.

And then I discovered that I don’t yet have enough Blends to finish coloring this particular image. ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคช I’ve been building my collection a little at a time, and although the Smoky Slate and Basic Black Combos have each made it to my purchasing list at least once, I ended up dropping them for things I wanted more. (Sacrifices!) Therefore, I have to stop coloring the image until I can get those and finish. For the record, though, this was as far as I got, and I really like this medium. (If you look closely, you can spot my whiskers accident.)

So I had to put all that away and regroup. I couldn’t remember whether Memento would smear if I got it wet (since it is a water-based ink), but I just wanted to get something going that I could use. I mentally crossed my fingers and dove in. I could always stamp another one if I had to.

Fortunately, it worked just fine—no smearing that I can tell. My coloring isn’t perfect, but at least the lines didn’t move. I went with the Aqua Painter to smooth out the watercolor pencil lines too…though in hindsight, I should have tried the Blender Pen, for better control in small places. Or just chucked it all and gone straight for my stash of Stampin’ Write markers. (I hope you’re learning from my mistakes! This veteran scrapbooker is still learning so much about cards!)

I will admit to a little cheating as well. I knew I had a Pacific Point chalk in my arsenal. As my retired SU watercolor pencils are unlabeled, I went for the chalk to color the water (with my Aqua Painter) so I could be all matchy-matchy instead of throwing off the shades by introducing some other blue. ๐Ÿ˜Š Also, I lightly colored the background a sky blue so that it wasn’t stark white paper. If I was coloring waves, I had to color sky too, right? But it’s hard to see in the picture.

So this is where I ended up with it (including doctoring the zebras with white Smooch paint and a Memento pen in desperation after watercoloring and black got the better of me). Coloring was the longest part and why it may be better to use some sort of marker next time. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Another lesson learned!

The main focal image, colored.

Once the image was done and dried, I covered a good portion of the back of it with my 1/2″ Terrifically Tacky Tape (TTT), which is just like SU’s Sticky Strip. I did this to combat the curvature of the paper that happens once water goes onto it. Then I peeled off the tape backing and centered it in the section above the ribbon on the card front.

I had found some black, glittered chipboard faux photo corners when I was debating about the layout, so I glued those overtop the corners of the image with my Art Glitter liquid adhesive. And then I pulled a metal bar sentiment (“celebrating your arrival”) out of the heap of baby ephemera in front of me on my desk, and I adhered it to the top of the ribbon with more 1/4″ Scor-Tape. The front was done. Finally. And I’m even happy with it. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I especially love how the foil look of the matt mirror cardstock shines and changes depth and color in the light. I so love using specialty materials to make cards pop.

(Oops! You can see that faint embossed line in this pic! Well, it’s not that noticeable in person. ๐Ÿ˜Š)

For the inside of the card, I used the “Two by two we welcome you” sentiment from “Perfectly Paired,” stamping it with VersaMark on Shimmery White cardstock before heat embossing it with “Blue Tinsel” embossing powder from my stash. (No idea who made that; I’ve had it for years.) It was the closest embossing powder I could find to the Pacific Point color I’d been using, and it does actually look glittery, like tinsel, and has some texture to it once embossed. I then backed the white sentiment piece with a die-cut Pacific Point cardstock tag from a Spellbinders die (“Fancy Tags Two,” I believe. #neverstopmaking). I think it turned out quite lovely.

To finish off the card, I took a strip of dotted blue (SU Pool Party) cardstock from the retired Tutti-Frutti Cards and Envelopes pack and attached it to the bottom of the inside. I also cut off a small strip of matt mirror cardstock to top it. And then I found two goofy pink flamingo stickers in my stash from Sandylion and stuck them to the bottom right corner just for fun, to carry through the theme. I was looking for my smaller Noah’s Ark stamp for the corner, but I have to keep looking. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

I haven’t decorated the envelope yet, but I’m thinking of stamping a row of various animals across the horizontal bottom (under the address section) as a sneak peek to the theme.

Below the list of hop participants are the current products I used in my card (or similar ones) that you can purchase through my online Stampin’ Up store if you wish to own any. (Please use host code 6WPHJ2MC when you check out.) Don’t forget that we have until March 31 to get free gifts from Stampin’ Up through Sale-a-Bration with orders of $50 or more before tax and shipping! There are some awesome reward products available! I also give free gifts to those who order through me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks again for visiting today. I hope my mistakes keep you from making your own! Feel free to post questions or comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

To continue with our hop and visit Jaimie Babarczy’s blog offering, click Next or her name in the list below. To view what Karen Ksenzakovic created, click Previous or her name. Thanks for hopping along with us!

 

 

 

 

  1. Karen Ksenzakovic
  2. Connie TroyerYou are here!
  3. Jaimie Babarczy
  4. Sue Prather
  5. Julie Johnston
  6. Mary Deatherage
  7. Karen Finkle
  8. Shirley Gentry
  9. Amy Koenders

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Yes, Another Sympathy (a Decoupage One This Time)

A dry decoupage sympathy card using Stampinโ€™ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 Bakedย 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 Polar Bear Christmas

Playing along with a Stamps, Ink, Paper Challenge (128) with a Snowy Polar Bear Christmas card and matching thank-you note.

Here’s another adorable card with matching thank-you note that I created for a custom card order needing to be mailed soon. I think it fits the Stamp Ink Paper 128 challenge, shown below:

http://stampinkpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/SIP-Challenge-128-Let-it-Snow-NEW-800.jpg

So here are my matching cards.


I’ll tackle the main Christmas card first. The embossed snowy background was given to me by a crafty friend, and I flipped it over so that the debossed side was showing. I matted it with some current SU Emerald Envy plain cardstock on a Thick Whisper White card base. The paper-pieced polar bears and trees are 3D stickers from a “Holiday Time” series – I think they might be from Walmart. They’re actually pretty cool, using poms for the tails and the ends of scarves, and the tree is glittered. 

I was having trouble fitting all three on the A2 card base, so I thought if I had one peeking over a snowbank as if he were watching the scene, I could put them a little closer together. My “snowbank” is made out of two strips of shimmery translucent vellum paper, which I cut by tracing a Card Creator Spellbinders die and then cutting it out by hand (hubby was sleeping and I was trying to minimize the noise, plus I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted the mounds to go, so I traced/cut it especially long and then positioned them where I wanted them). I popped up the vellum in parts for effect and to fit the back polar bear in without squishing him (trying to reduce that whole “translucent” thing). 

I had thought of using white handmade mulberry paper instead of vellum, but I didn’t feel like making a bunch of noise and rooting around in my “specialty paper” drawer since it was late and I was only supposed to be “fiddling” (i.e., going to bed soon) as opposed to outright intentionally creating. 

The “Happy Holidays” sentiment above the scene is from a 2016 Hampton Art stamp and die set (SC0718). It bugs me a little that the font sizes of the two words is not the same, but as the set is either photopolymer or acrylic (read: see-through), it was easier to line up than others. I inked the stamps with Stampin’ Up’s Emerald Envy ink overtop a strip of polka-dotted paper from American Crafts/Dear Lizzy “5th and Frolic.”


I kept the inside of the main card simple with a “Warm Wishes This Holiday Season” sentiment from Close to My Heart’s “Scandinavian Wishes Stamp of the Month,” (SU Emerald Envy ink), punched it out with my retired SU Scallop Oval punch, and matted it with my SU Decorative Label punch in Emerald Envy cardstock. 

The thank-you note, on the other hand, is simply a SU Whisper White notecard size (3.5×4 7/8) with a background of gold snowflakes on vellum from SU’s “Winter Wonderland” Designer Vellum Stack. I laid an Emerald Envy cardstock piece embossed with  the “Thanks Words” Cuttlebug folder (371134) on top (putting the glue for the vellum underneath where the cardstock layer would hide the adhesive) and then cut another “snowbank” out of the gold snowflakes before finally adding the last sticker in the Holiday Time set. (Yay, another thing used up in my stash! I really am trying, hubby dear.)

These cards were ones that were simple, thought-provoking, and yet fun to create – my favorite kind. It was my first time trying to create “snowbanks” even though I’ve seen them used with regularity this season. And I’m fairly pleased with how it all turned out. Unfortunately, they’re another two cards I can’t duplicate unless I find another pack of stickers (thus then adding to my stash). ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you’ve enjoyed this offering! Thanks for stopping in. 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

That’s all for this birthday card. The others I created were simpler, of course. But details are my specialty. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Thanks for reading! If I can make Christmas cards for you sometime, send me a note or visit thelittlewhatnotshop.etsy.com. ๐Ÿ™‚