Berry-and-Blue Birthday 3D Decoupage Quilt Card

A quick decoupage birthday card I created before bedtime.

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

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

I’ve also started keeping a new organizational system for pieces I can grab and adhere to cards quickly, trying to speed up my creative process. So before I stacked any layers together, I turned to my “Card Toppers to Use” drawer and this 3D flowered circle was the first one I pulled out. And it even mostly matches. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just had to decide how to utilize the card front’s space.

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

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

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

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

This card feels supremely satisfying to me. It didn’t take me long at all to create it from start to finish – maybe 20-30 minutes? – and even though I was just throwing bits of random things together, it turned out to be something pretty. I think that method is actually my favorite way of creating and also turns out my most creative works, making something out of nothing missing any semblance of sense at the start. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not sure who is going to end up with this card, so it’s currently for sale if someone wants it. It may end up at the gift shop otherwise, if they like it enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Mystifying Mermaid Shaker Card (with Bookcase Builder, Hardwood, Sliding Star Framelits, and Flourish Thinlits)

And this is how a unicorn led me to a mermaid.

Thanks to my niece’s unicorn birthday card, I got in a few more custom card orders. One of those was for a special mermaid birthday card. I get the craziest ideas in my head sometimes, without any inkling of how I’m actually going to accomplish them. And then, through trial and error and time and SMH-at-myself moments, eventually they come together–and hopefully I’m even pleased and kind of impressed that the whole thing didn’t flop. Such was the case with the mystifying mermaid.

I could see it in my head–a cute little mermaid on the outside of a wooden ship, peering through the porthole to see what she could see, much as I imagine Ariel would have done had she not been collecting artifacts in her grotto or spying on the dancing taking place on the deck of Prince Eric’s ship. The trouble was that I didn’t quite think through all the steps of just how to create it.

The ship wouldn’t be a problem to create, as I own the Stampin’ Up Hardwood stamp (current catalog) and the porthole and mermaid were only going to be so big (I didn’t have to create the entire ship). I began by cutting down a piece of Stampin’ Up Chocolate Chip (retired) cardstock to 6″x12″, scored it 6″ up, and folded it. (And then shortly thereafter I cut down that card base to 5.5″x5.5″.) I used SU Early Espresso ink (current) to stamp overtop the Chocolate Chip so the wood grain could be seen. I then looked at several circle dies on my die wall and decided that the double-circle die from SU’s “Sliding Star” Framelits (retired) had the spacing I wanted for the porthole. I centered the die on the now-smaller card base, put another piece of cardstock behind the card base so the marks in my die-cutting plate wouldn’t transfer to the inside of my card base, and ran it through (forgetting until then that the die would cut through both the base and the extra piece. Oops! Goof #1!).

(Side note: There are at least two ways to create a shaker card. The way I know best, I didn’t do. It would have been easier to cut a separate 5.5″ piece and make that the porthole piece with foam strips rather than cut through the base and do it all backward. But I didn’t think that far ahead. Goof #2.)

Once I had the hole cut into the card base, I had to make the porthole cover, which would need to extend over the hole slightly. I went back to my Chocolate Chip cardstock to find a remnant that would fit, placed the die on the paper, and traced around the inside circle. Then I grabbed one of my most favorite and very old tools (a layering tool from Stampin’ Up from waaaay back), put the smallest layering circle against the die, and dragged it around the die with a pencil through the center of the layering circle (it rolls around objects to make slightly larger mats). Then I cut the now-slightly-larger circle out of the cardstock by hand. Once I had both circles cut, I embossed the new porthole with a wood grain embossing folder, decided I wanted the debossed side up, marked where the mini brads should go, punched the necessary 1/16″ holes (it’s easier than forcing brads through the paper by hand), and placed my chosen brassy mini brads in their spots. And then I glued the porthole onto the card base.

But that still didn’t get me the shaker feature. And that’s when I realized that I was once again taking the hard road by not doing the way I already know (albeit not well). So I conferenced with my friend E, who happened to be on video chat with me while I crafted (there are some days I love technology!). And she proceeded to explain to me how to use my much-desired Fuse tool that I’d purchased, longed to use, put off using, and then started looking at in a rather intimidated fashion. Apparently one can make shaker pockets with a Fuse tool! I’d heard that somewhere but had never attempted it. And fortunately for me, I’d happened to find some Fuse Project Life pockets on clearance the last time I went to JoAnn Fabrics. Even better, I found them in my craft room without too much looking.

While the Fuse warmed up, I revisited the shaker elements I’d gathered a few days prior–different colors and shapes of sequins (the stars reminded me of starfish, and the gold, clear, and rose were the perfect shades); seed beads in clear and marine colors and clear Stampin’ Up microbeads (retired) for space in the shaker pocket; leftover gold, green, and red long confetti flakes from a Stampin’ Up card kit; gold, white, and green mica flakes (that I’d never tried using); gold glitter hexagonal flakes; and some white Rock Candy Distress Glitter from Ranger. I spooned various quantities of these things into the pocket–and put in too many (goof #3?)–but actually managed to work the Fuse tool correctly on the first try. The second try wasn’t as good, but I’ll practice now that I’m no longer scared of it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I cut away the excess of the filled shaker pocket and asked E how to hide the thing in the card.

Since I wanted my mermaid to be looking at something inside the ship, I cut a large circle in a lighter color and stamped the background of a bookshelf and human objects with SU Bookcase Builder (retired), which would be seen through the shaker pocket; then I glued that to the back of the acetate piece in what I hoped would be the right position (since the shaker elements would and did move around). Then I took another remnant of Chocolate Chip cardstock, placed foam dots around the edges, and put it overtop the background and shaker pocket. And then I breathed a sigh of relief, because the thing actually shook around the way it was supposed to, even if I did probably put too much in it. I was hoping it would look like the outside of the porthole had collected some sea stuff there on the ledge as it moved through the water…but Miss Mermaid got what appears to be the amount that collects in a shipwreck! Oh well. Live and learn and stuff another envelope later.

So my porthole was done–and I’d previously colorized my little mermaid and her friends with watercolor pencils, an Aqua Painter, Adirondack Dimensional Pearls, Stickles, Nuvo Glitter Drops, and Distress Glitter Stickles. I’d actually tried to stamp her tail on some very nice flaked cardstock that reminded me of scales, but that didn’t work like I’d thought it would (and I should have known better anyway–another goof), so watercoloring and two layers of glitter glue ended up working for the tail instead. I fussy-cut them all out, glued the mermaid to the card front in between two of the mini brads in the porthole, and started trying to figure out my seaweed issue. In my head, I saw things floating near her on the outside of the ship, like her friends or the occasional sea life. I ended up with more things there than I’d intended, but I think it’s cute anyway.

I found some retired Stampin’ Up ribbon in Emerald Envy, Pistachio Pudding, and Coastal Cabana that was ruched or ruffled, so I thought that might work for seaweed. I didn’t think I had any seaweed dies or stamps–but I found dies that would have worked better after the card was done (goof #5). Too late. So I trimmed up the ribbon (cut some of it in half and twisted others) and found some greenery dies on my wall that I thought could pass for seaweed. I used a couple of miscellaneous green vellum sheets of paper with the dies and then attempted to glue them all together with Zots and Tombow Multi (green and white) Glue.

But I couldn’t stop there. I had to add beads and microbeads and mica flakes to the outside bottom edges too. The inside of the shaker can’t have all the fun. Plus, I was hoping to hide some of the glue marks on the vellum pieces. ๐Ÿ˜€ I also found a little gold heart die-cut for the mermaid to hold, a gold compass for the inside of the card, and a black-and-gold die-cut anchor piece inside a random pack of travel/beach die-cuts I’d just received. I let it all dry overnight but had to go back in the morning, shift a couple of things, and reglue. My twisted seaweed had righted itself, and one of the taller seaweeds I’d cut by hand was tilting precariously.

After the front was done, I had to do the inside. Thanks to guidance from the client, I knew which sentiment to use. I had just enough green vellum remnant left to cut out a tag that had a wispy or ocean feel to it, and I stamped the “Wishing You Oceans of Joy” sentiment from Elizabeth Craft Designs with SU Lost Lagoon ink (not normally something one can emboss with–goof #6). But it held okay on the vellum, at least long enough for me to pour Green Tinsel embossing powder over it and heat it all. It joined the compass on the inside of the card and I resisted the temptation to create more seaweed or pour more microbeads onto something. ๐Ÿ™‚

I probably spent far too long on this card, but it was fun to work with the vision I had in my head and see it all come about. Now I just have to hope that the little recipient doesn’t shake off all the beads immediately!

Embossed Red Roses on White with Rose Wonder Stamp Set

Sometimes simple equals beautiful.

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I have a lady who periodically orders cards from me and enjoys seeing whatever creativity comes through, rather than give me specifics on how she wants the cards done. Her style–clean and simple–is sometimes a challenge for me, as I naturally tend to complicate life, but sometimes it’s also really refreshing to not have to overthink every little thing. Sometimes it’s just so nice to find a few simple bits and put them together quickly in a pleasing arrangement–leading me to wonder why I don’t do that kind more often. ๐Ÿ™‚ This “embossed red roses” card was one of those for her.
A crafty acquaintance gave me this embossed panel, so I donโ€™t know the designer, but the sentiment, ink color, and baker’s twine are from Stampin’ Up (Rose Wonder stamp set, Real Red ink, and Candy Cane Lane Metallic Baker’s Twine, respectively). I also used Stampin’ Up’s retired Candy Dots Brads and a Thick Whisper White card base. This is one card where I feel like simple still equals beautiful in my book. I later decided to add a little red rose in one of the corners on the inside.
#thelittlewhatnotshop #forstacy #thanks #redroses #embossingfolder #kaisercraft #tagsandshapes #simpleequalsbeautiful #cleanandsimple #duplicatable #debossed

Flowery Hello Card “Inside” Using Just Add Text and Bordering on Romance Stamp Sets

The inside of a card can be just as beautiful as the front.

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The inside of the flowery Hello card, watercolored. Stamp sets used are #justaddtext and #borderingonromance by @stampinup with #crispcantaloupe ink. #thelittlewhatnotshop #coralandgreen #encouragement #thinkingofyou #forstacy

A Simple Hello Card Using the Sweet Soiree Memories and More Card Pack

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I grabbed a 4×6 printed piece from my Sweet Soiree Memories and More Card Pack from Stampin’ Up and adhered it to an Old Olive card base for this clean-and-simple hello card for Stacy. The peach ribbon is from Recollections but matched perfectly, and I also colored in the “Hello” and the centers of the flowers with a Clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen. Quick and easy card.
#thelittlewhatnotshop #forstacy #hellocard #glimmers #flowers #sweetsoireememoriesandmore #a6 #customcardorders

One Embossing Folder, Three Looks (Including SU Hanging Garden)

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Three different looks to using the same Darice embossing folder and SU Orchid Opulence cardstock. Two of the cards have embossing, and my favorite has debossing. All were glittered with Wink of Stella Clear, white, and/or gold glitter pens. All ribbon and twine is Stampin’ Up too. Sentiments are Sticko stickers, a Stampin’ Up stamp (from “Hanging Garden”), or gold Dazzles. The card with the lace has a set-on, popped-up front.
#thelittlewhatnotshop #forstacy #fordixie #darice #embossingfolders #stampinup #winkofstella #orchidopulence #etsysellerofinstagram #bakerstwine #laceribbon #coloringwithmarkers #embossing #debossing #flowers #dazzles #hanginggarden #sticko #customorders

Lessons in Stampin’ Up’s Embossing Paste

Well, my first foray into using Stampin’ Up’s Embossing Paste was certainly interesting. It’s been sitting on my desk patiently waiting for me to get to it. I finally got the paint palette and palette knives, and I already had ink refills to tint it with, should the mood strike. This won’t be too hard, right? I thought. Hmm.

Tonight the mood struck, when I was permitting myself a little dabble time before attempting to go to bed at a reasonable hour (since I’m on book deadline again). I had a salt-and-pepper love-themed notecard I wanted to add some hearts to as a border, and I thought the thick embossing paste would show up better rather than ink of the same color on a stamp I was waffling on.

Well. Apparently I have to figure out how not to let it bleed underneath the stencil. That seems to be my main problem. I had washi-taped down the edges of the first stencil (and card), which was created from an edge punch, and even kept my hands on all of it as secondary security, but still I erred. The heart borders weren’t terrible, though I don’t like the smudges at the bottom. I think I went over them three times. And once the paper is smudged with the color, it’s definitely hard to remove it.

I forgot to mention that I had put a little bit (probably too much) with my palette knife into my paint palette and added a drop – and then two drops – of Sweet Sugarplum ink refill (SU, current product, In-Color). I’m going to guess that one drop is enough. I was trying to match the color of the SU heart enamel shapes because I already had one on the card. Two drops definitely made it darker. So then I thought maybe I should add more paste to spread out the color more and make it the lighter shade I was going for. That meant there was a whole lot of embossing paste in my palette tray, more than six hearts would require. And mixing all that with my metal paint palette was difficult and sounded like scratches on a chalkboard. Perhaps a foam board or toothpick next time.

I started looking for other stencils I could use while I had all this goop I didn’t want to waste. I found a DCWV 6×6 stencil (EM-033-00012) that had both “LOVE” and “Be You” on it, and since this is the season for Valentine’s Day cards, I thought they’d go nicely with my current projects. I pulled two heart stencils too. Ambitious, apparently. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And no, my paste didn’t stretch that far. ๐Ÿ™‚

But in doing the “Be You” stencils on cardstock and then on DSP, I had a lot more problems with runs beneath the stencil. Granted, things were starting to dry while I searched for more stencils to use up the excess I’d made, but I thought I had time. Maybe I should have added a drop of water to keep it thin? No idea. Will have to research that.

I did find that once the paste was partially dry, I could take a tool and scrape off the excess around the letters…and the piece of black background/polka-dotted paper hid that a little better than the grey cardstock. Still not perfect, though. But manageable. At this point I’m thinking of taking my Cutterbee scissors and fussy-cutting around the gray cardstock example. Seems like it’s drying pretty quickly. I can’t scrape off anything around the hearts anymore. It would let me pat the “Be You” letters back into place by hand when I was trimming those with my Creative Memories sticker placement tool (use whatever you’ve got, right?).

Then I tried to wash off my tools. I think I should have done that immediately. I stood at the sink scraping off the stencil (which had been used twice then) with my fingernail, under running water and even soaking it in the sink. I couldn’t get it all off, and I bent a bit of my stencil as well.

So, I’m looking for tips on just what to do or not do with stencils and embossing paste. I’ve figured out that a little ink goes a long way and the paste dries fairly quickly, and obviously I need to clean the stencil earlier – but how do I get it to stop the bleeding? Thinner, repeated layers? I like height. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I couldn’t see how to washi the close parts down either. If you have advice, I’m all eyes. Thanks in advance. It has to get better than this! It leaves such a cool 3D look when it’s actually all smooth.

I’ve wondered, too, whether the embossing paste (tinted or not) would work in silicone molds like SU’s retired pressed clay molds or the current Mod Podge molds sold in various locations. Any clue?

Pics attached so you can see my mess. ๐Ÿ™‚ And thanks for the help! I feel like such a newbie. ๐Ÿ™‚

Connie