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. 🙂 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. 😀 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. 🙂

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!

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!