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,” Stampa 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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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!

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. 🙂