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! 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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. 🙂 Please contact me if you have questions.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I truly appreciate my readers. ❤️ 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. 🙂

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 the rest of the month since it’s in the Occasions catalog (retiring March 31).

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…. 🤷‍♀️ 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.” 🙄🤦‍♀️

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. 🤦‍♀️🤪 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. 😊 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. 🤷‍♀️ 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. 😂 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. 😊)

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. 🤔🤷‍♀️

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. 😉

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

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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Wonderful Moments Bride Card for Bridal Shower, Wedding, or Anniversary

A bridal card for love-themed needs!

 

Welcome to another post for Amy K’s Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop for Tuesday, January 8! This month we are featuring the theme of love with Stampin’ Up products.  I’m making wedding and anniversary cards for my local gift shop right now (along with other themes and random custom orders), so I was very excited to join this hop!

For several days now, I thought I knew what I was going to create for this blog. In the end, I did stick to my original (barely fleshed-out) idea, but did I ever find ways to complicate it. (I always do.) I definitely should have started on it earlier. But I had craft room organization on my mind this week and I got to it when I got to it.

I was able to use several current SU products as well as a couple of retired products and ones from other companies (oops!). The focal point of the card is the bride stamp from the “Wonderful Moments” stamp set, set off by a lace oval from the Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper pack and a background of Petal Promenade DSP.

The laser-cut paper is vanilla on one side and white on the other. Since my card base was white and the bride’s dress would be too, I chose to use the vanilla side of the lace oval. And then I decided it needed something else. It felt too plain and too neutral. I kept “seeing” pink with this stamp and card, but the last two wedding cards I created had pink hues in them, so I tried to use other colors.

I have to keep trying. I did manage to sneak in an orange and a dark purple…but there’s still pink. So when I was looking at the oval and trying out colors in my head, I started sponging Bundled Sage Distress ink onto it, thinking winter colors. But then I picked up Tattered Rose and sponged it on too. (Evidently those colors should have gone on in the reverse order.) I added a second layer and different sponging before I was done. And then I got an idea, when I realized that the ink was drying slowly enough to get onto my hand as I held the card. (This is subconscious Pinterest at work in my brain, I think. Lol!)

One of the retired products in my stash that I need to use more of is our Iridescent Ice Stampin’ Emboss Powder. I’ve only used it in small bits until now…but I remembered seeing others do a whole-scene kind of treatment with it. I wasn’t even entirely sure I remembered how this product worked since I bought it late in the game, but the paper was definitely ready to be treated – it was still inky. My friend E assured me that I could indeed use Distress inks for embossing. So I got out my catch-all tray and my coffee filter and proceeded to pour the Iridescent Ice powder overtop (hoping I was making the right decision and not ruining a lovely piece of paper) and then heat embossed it, as the label suggested, three times  before I finally saw the powder changing and understood what it was going to look like or do.

Turns out I love this look. It reminds me of our Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Paper except it’s not as thick and has slightly different colors. I’ll have to try this technique again sometime. I also appreciate how the pink and green sponged inks are still coming through the translucentness of the embossing powder. It’s faint, but it works.

With the lace oval paper finished, I turned my attention to the bride stamp. I chose Archival Basic Gray ink because it felt like black would be too harsh and bold against the soft oval. I had to stamp the bride several times with my stamp platform because it was the first time I’d used the stamp and I hadn’t prepared it (even though I know better). So my outline got a little thicker than I’d intended, but I’m choosing not to remember. 😉

After she was stamped, I watercolored the bride’s hair, skin, bow, and flowers with watercolor pencils and used an AquaPainter on those places afterward. For the dress, I decided to experiment with some Nuvo Crystal Drops (Ivory Seashell color) new to my stash. Since that is also translucent, I was hoping it would soften the lines of the dress if I covered them with the liquid. I later went back over the dress again, using a paintbrush to smooth out the Drops on the paper. I also took Wink of Stella to the bride’s bouquet (though I erred first and grabbed my White instead of my Clear. Once it dried, I realized what I had done and went back over the bouquet with Clear as well.) It sparkles more in person than in the photo.

So I had one finished oval and one watercolored, Nuvoed bride. I wasn’t sure how to treat the background behind her. In my mind I had seen her on white, but that seemed far too plain now. I thought of putting a watercolor pencil down as a background but couldn’t settle on which color. Blue for sky? (So she’s out in the open, looking at nothing?) Or some kind of background stamp to imitate wallpaper or wood planks? I then decided to think about the Graceful Glass vellum and hit upon an idea I’ll use at a later date, before the vellum led me to looking through my current DSP. I ended up fussy-cutting around her and placing her on patterned paper so I wouldn’t have to mask her for a background stamp or risk ruining something.

The paper I chose to use feels most like a sunset in front of my bride, and it even matched the flowers, hair, and bow I had colored before viewing this paper pack. (That actually happens to me a lot!) Because that was my best background option thus far, I cut (and then recut, due to first error) a notecard/A1 size of paper where the jagged stripe in the paper best flowed beside her dress and body posture. Once I had the background paper glued to the notecard card base, I played with the placement of my bride, attempting to center her and play off the “sunset stripe” to its best advantage while trying to cover the bottom of the dress with the sentiment I intended on using. (Many thanks to patient E for this stage, who was with me on video chat while I created the card!)

Something then made me think about the Rose Metallic Thread I had stored with my baker’s twine, and I decided to do a bow of some sort.  I think I’m not very good at bows with delicate threads quite yet. I ended up laying ATG tape on the back of the sentiment and looping it around and sticking to the tape however it looked the best to me.

The gold-and-white “Best Wishes” sentiment came from a resist coloring pack from another maker. I just left it as is, since I had enough color going on already. It fit with the “brown” tones of the card anyway. The gold on the sentiment appears to have been embossed, though it came that way in the pack and I merely cut it out. I popped up the sentiment with its new metallic loops with Stampin’ Dimensionals foam dots, placing it right above the hollow circles at the bottom of the oval.

The last touch on the front of the card was the tiny little mini pearls I used on the buttons of her bridal dress. I had SU’s white mini pearls from the Notes of Kindness card kit on her dress originally but later changed to even smaller ones from Recollections.

The inside of the card has been kept simple to be size-appropriate for the notecard and also to leave room for the sender to write. I used the retired Petite Pairs stamp set with its “for the new Mr. and Mrs.” sentiment on a bit of the Petal Promenade DSP (from the first piece I’d cut the wrong direction by accident), the current Fresh Fig ink pad, and the gorgeous Stitched Labels Framelits Dies. And then I added two more mini Recollections pearls on the sides of the inside tag. 🙂 (Side note: the Petal Promenade DSP pack is one of my favorite things in this catalog. The papers are just so beautiful!)

If I had set out to create this exact card, even with all the detail, it wouldn’t have taken me very long. But creating from scratch and using trial-and-error means that sometimes happy accidents have to happen to lead the creator to the next step, which later seems so obvious. 🙂 I’m really quite happy with this card now, but there were moments when I wondered where I was going with it. Maybe you’ll find even faster ways to recreate this card. I’d love to see what you come up with! I think this card could be used for a bridal shower, a wedding card for the couple, or an anniversary card. It just depends on which sentiments we use. 🙂

Below are the current Stampin’ Up products I used on this card. If you need any of the supplies, just click on the thumbnail to go to my store or visit this link. I’d be happy to become your demonstrator! Sale-a-Bration (from now until March 31) is the best time of the year to stock up on products and earn others for free! Please use code JJBCPS4W for a free gift when you shop with me! (You can continue with the hop participants below the thumbnails.)

 

Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper, 146907
Wonderful Moments stamp set, 147529
Rose Metallic Thread, 146915
Fresh Fig Classic Stampin’ Pad, 147144
Petal Promenade Designer Series Paper, 146913
Stitched Labels Framelits Dies, 146828
Stampin’ Dimensionals, 104430

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog! To continue with the hop, see what Karen Finkle created by clicking on the Next button or visiting her link below. To go back to see Sue Prather’s card, click Previous or her link above mine. See you next time!

  1. Shirley Gentry: https://stampinwithshirleyg.com/?p=3079
  2. Jaimie Babarczy: https://wp.me/p79UhD-2sD
  3. Julie Johnston: https://wp.me/p8SzmQ-29L
  4. Karen Ksenzakovic: https://wp.me/paaNf4-h4
  5. Mary Deatherage: https://wp.me/p5snyt-70J
  6. Sue Prather: https://wp.me/p5yitZ-XU
  7. Connie Troyer: You are here!
  8. Karen Finkle: https://karenscardkorner.blogspot.com/2019/01/stampin-up-nine-lives-for-amys-inkin.html
  9. Amy Koenders: https://wp.me/p2SFwf-cTD

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 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). 🙂

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

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. 🙂

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!

Personalized Wedding Card for Carolyn and Matthew

Throwback to a custom wedding card made last year for a couple I’ve never met.

In late 2015 I started accepting orders for custom-made cards. This fact still kind of boggles my mind. I never figured I’d be a cardmaker at all. I’m a scrapbooker–since the mid-nineties. Cards were confusing. Such a small canvas on which to put so much stuff! Give me a 12×12 page any day, thank you. But somehow with the purchase of my friend’s used Cricut, cards suddenly made sense, like that proverbial light bulb over the head. Someday maybe I’ll show those first three cards I made as I attempted to figure out the chirping machine.

So fast-forward a couple of years and suddenly I’m at the point of taking custom card orders…? Um, okay. If you say so. Indeed, it seems that’s what I mostly do now. Instead of creating cards for fun, for friends, for a local church group, for Hospice, etc., like I imagined I might do, family and friends and a particular lady in North Carolina have kept me very busy making cards for them ever since August 2015. And I’m grateful. (Though still boggling.) Here is one of the examples I made for a relative, so she could give it to a couple with a wedding gift. It is a twist on a version I made for my NC lady the year before that (why recreate the wheel if you don’t have to?), but in this version, I personalized it with the recipient couple’s names.

I used a premade, glittered card base from DCWV (5.5×5.5 size), added some light blue/grey patterned paper on top of it as a mat, and then ran some dark blue Recollections paper through my Fiskars handheld (hand-cranked) paper crimper tool. Their wedding color was dark blue, and I thought it would pair well with the Soft Sky color I’d used in the earlier NC version, which was still in my head.

On top of the now-corrugated dark blue paper, I placed a die-cut I’d made from a local friend’s Bloomin’ Heart Thinlits Dies from Stampin’ Up (she and I share supplies so we don’t have to buy as much individually and then have an excuse to get together to craft!). I used Stampin’ Up’s Silver Glimmer Paper for the heart – and found out the hard way (i.e., remembered) that it is best to cut on the back side of that glittered paper rather than trying to get the die to cut through the glitter on the front. (Let’s just say “Lesson learned”!)

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I decided I didn’t like the look of it by itself on the corrugated paper, not to mention that it is a delicate thing and would be hard to glue on top of the corrugation, so I glued the heart die-cut to another piece of the dark blue Recollections paper (that I did not run through the crimper). I then stamped out the little matching flowers of the corresponding Bloomin’ Love photopolymer stamp set in Soft Sky ink, die-cut them with the matching thinlit, and glued them on top in the appropriate places. I actually found it difficult to die-cut those without one edge or the other slipping and not staying centered where I put it. I have a number of rejects I didn’t deem “good enough” for the card. Must need more practice.

Before I glued the heart die-cut down, I laid it out to see where I wanted it, marked it, removed it, and then wrapped some Soft Sky Seam Binding ribbon twice around the corrugated paper and tried to tie a bow off to where the side of the heart would be. This step was trickier than I thought it would be, but I do like the effect. And I used up some of my seam binding ribbon, which pleased me immensely. I think it’s pretty as a whole, but I struggle with using it because it is so delicate. I feel like using the word “fragile,” actually. It catches on things easily, gets holes easily, and is almost see-through. I feel like glue or strip tape can be seen underneath it as well, so I have a hard time finding ways to use it that aren’t simply bows. So this worked. (And after I use up my seam binding stash, I will never buy any again.) I think I actually made the bow separately from the ribbon wrap because I couldn’t get it to lay right. I believe I attached the bow with Zots after gluing down the heart.

Then came the fiddly stuff. I stamped the tag that says “Always” from the retired SU Too Terrific Tags set in Soft Sky, cut it out (I don’t own the matching punch), and set it aside. Next I got out my retired Word Window punch and took it to some white cardstock. I then used some very retired SU Brilliant Blue eyelets from way back when, with my Crop-a-Dile at the tops of the “Always” tag and oval windows. I hand-wrote the couple’s names (more than once) and strung the three tags from the top ribbon with some SU Silver Baker’s Twine. I actually double-strung the “Always” tag to keep it the direction I wanted. And then because it was still not cooperating, I stuck a pop-up dot to the back of it and told it to stay put. The names still dangle sweetly as I imagined.

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The inside of the card was simpler. “The best is yet to come” sentiment came from my retired SU “Best Thoughts” Hostess stamp set, which I stamped on white cardstock in SU Night of Navy ink and punched out with my retired SU Decorative Label punch. I edged around the punch with my matching Night of Navy marker to highlight the edges since it was white on white. Then I stamped the “May your love” sentiment from the current SU Floral Phrases stamp set. (Yes, I do have some current items! 🙂 )

All in all, I was pleased with the way this “version 2” card came out. Just for fun, here’s “version 1” that went to NC, in Soft Sky, kraft, white, and Crumb Cake. Version 1 also uses some distressed, stamped-on canvas.

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Thanks for stopping by! Hope I’ve given some inspiration for your own wedding cards. 🙂