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Saturday, September 19, 2015

CASE study: Happy birthday, Meg!

Stampin' Up! Endless Birthday Wishes makes this Taupe and Mint Macaron birthday card unique

This design, for my daughter Meg, is a straight-up CASE from Holly's design. I loved her color combination and use of the handwriting stamps to make her own DSP. I swapped out the stamp set, the die-cut word, and the embellishments to make it my own.

I stole the wooden heart here (and the butterfly I put on a second version of this card) from the Watercolor Wishes kit. I didn't think I'd like chunky pieces on my cards, but I was wrong!

I used the new Fine-Tip Glue Pen to stick the die-cut word on. It's my latest crush!

Stamp sets

  • Endless Birthday Wishes


  • Tip Top Taupe base
  • Mint Macaron envelope paper at 5 1/4" by 4"
  • Whisper White at 4" by 2" plus scrap for the circle
  • Mint Macaron scrap for the die cut


  • Tip Top Taupe

Tools and accessories

  • Fine-Tip Glue Pen (it's in the new holiday catalog)
  • Wooden bits swiped from the Watercolor Wishes kit

What do you do at a card class?

I get this question a lot! Of course the answer varies by demonstrator, but at my classes, here's what to expect.

You'll make some cards

Of course, we stamp! 

At my card classes, we make four designs. For most of the year, we make two of each, but as we approach the holidays, we start cranking up stamp-a-stacks, where we make three of each design for a total of 12 cards.

You bring your favorite glue and scissors, and I have everything else prepared for you. If you run out of glue during class, no worries -- I keep a stash that you can cash-and-carry.

No worries if you've never tried stamping before -- I'm here to help!

Christmas card made at a Stampin' Up! class in Apex, NC.

You can play with new products

My customers like to see the newest products! We use them in the cards we make, but I also put out products that we're not using in class for folks to see in real life. Sometimes, the catalogs don't do justice to some of the fabulous papers and bling that Stampin' Up! creates.

You can enjoy time with new -- and old -- friends

My classes typically have about eight attendees. That's a nice-sized group to feel comfortable chatting in! I provide snacks including a home-infused water (this one is strawberry-basil) and a sangria each time. 

Sound like fun? If you're in the Apex, NC area, you can register for upcoming classes on my Stampin' Up! site. I'd love to have you!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Happily ever after!

Elegant hand-stamped grey and silver wedding card from Pink Paper Bakery

I get completely freaked out over wedding cards. I think because, unlike birthday cards, you (typically) only get one shot at getting them right. So I stress over the perfect perfect perfect design and color palette and ... eventually I give up and make a card.

This one, I made two of. The first was for a friend at work, and was the card from our team. I showed it to my teenager and she said "It's kind of meh." I replaced a silver bow on that version with the pink punched flowers on this one.

And then I didn't show it to anyone other than my stamping group. :-)

Stamp sets

  • Big News


  • Basic Grey base
  • Silver Fancy Foil Designer Vellum at 4" by 5 1/4"
  • Whisper White thick cardstock for the die cut
  • Scraps of Blushing Bride


  • Basic Grey (I don't have the new archival ink yet, so I heat-set this to prevent smearing)

Tools and accessories

  • Glue dots (artfully placed under the vellum's hearts)
  • Dimensionals
  • Apothecary Accents framelits (retired: you could use Lots of Labels)
  • Itty Bitty Accents punch

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sweet birthday wishes

Wish a happy birthday with this summery card that uses Sprinkles of Life and Happy Birthday Everyone

The Sprinkles of Life set has become my go-to set for office birthdays. Here, I've paired it with the gorgeous greeting from the Happy Birthday Everyone hostess set and a layout I cased from Pinterest. I loved how Amy's card used patterned paper and a big Project-Life-styled label.

My version flips the sentiment direction and pops up the ice cream instead of the label. I really like how this came out!

Stamp sets

  • Sprinkles of Life
  • Happy Birthday Everyone


  • Whisper White thick cardstock at 4" by 2 3/4"
  • Scraps of Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, Watermelon Wonder, and Delightful Dijon
  • Cherry on Top DSP at 3 3/4" by 3/4" and 3 3/4" by 4"


  • Bermuda Bay
  • Crushed Curry
  • Watermelon Wonder
  • Delightful Dijon
  • Tip Top Taupe

Tools and accessories

  • Corner rounder
  • Tree Builder punch
  • Dimensionals

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Witching Decor Project Kit: Tips and tricks

Close up of the witch hat made from Stampin' Up! Witching Decor kit

Did you ever fall so helplessly in love with something in the Stampin' Up! catalog that you could barely wait to order it, barely wait to get the package, and barely wait to open it up? Oh my goodness, this witch hat from the new holiday catalog spoke to me in a way that was like "GET IN MY HOUSE, WITCH HAT."

Needless to say, it was the first thing I put on my preorder list, and the first thing I tore into when the order arrived. It. Is. Gorgeous.

If you also fell in love with this kit, but are ordering it during the regular period (starts Sept 1! Yay!) there are a few things I figured out while I was putting it together. Ready?

Halloween centerpiece from Stampin' Up!

Before you start

This kit is actually really straightforward, PROVIDED you watch the video. I watched it one full time through before I even ordered the kit, and then I pulled it up and watched the relevant bits again while I was putting the kit together. The kit comes with glorious full-color photo directions, but the video has great details that aren't in the instructions.

I'd suggest that you break the assembly into a couple of sessions -- it took me about 3 hours to do this one. My suggestion: Do the hat/base assembly, the label, and the fringe in one go, and then come back and do the messy bits (the burlap and the leaves).

Clear a good bit of room on your table to start. I used the cardboard from the package as my work zone, instead of grid paper. You do you.

Gather up all the extra stuff you'll need: Scissors, bone folder, Soft Suede ink, glue, tearable tape adhesive, Memento black or the new archival Basic Black ink.

The hat and base

Follow the video directions, but be SURE you are generous with the measure of the cone for the hat's point. I did mine a scootch too tight and had to do some glue gymnastics to recover. A little big is a thousand times better than than too small, and you really can't make it bigger once you tape (ask me how I know this).

Don't crumple the cone yet. I know you want to, and I know the printed instructions say to. Don't do it. 

The label

You'll be thrilled by how much extra stuff is in this kit! Lots to use on another project later. If you are a thrifty stamper, like me, you'll cut your doily in half. Then you've got a piece for something else. 

Where you might get frustrated: Ink up the GIGNORMOUS Happy Halloween stamp and practice on paper before you use the actual label. I messed up the front and back of two labels before I finally got an impression I was happy with on the third (and final!) label. The kit comes with three labels in this size and three of the size that would fit the other label in the stamp set, so you could swap out if you wanted to. 

Use Memento ink. I know, it says to use the new archival ink. I tried it, and the black was definitely richer, but I couldn't get full coverage on the stamp. If I'd had a brayer, this would have been the time to pull it out, for sure. I used the giant F block, and I stamped onto a piercing mat for extra give. The final version is a little fade-y, but it looks good once the whole thing is together.

Sponge the vanilla label part before you glue on the other bits. 

You can swap up the colors of the little pennants and the "31" piece if you want. I didn't, but I liked that SU! included the option. 

The fringe

Nothing special here -- the instructions are fine. I was worried about the big numbers on the reverse of the fringe paper, but they don't actually show at the end. I did use 3 of the 4 pieces, just as it says in the video. 

The burlap ribbon

If you take nothing else from this post, take this advice: Take the ribbon OUTSIDE and trim it there. When you take off the edging and fray the ribbon, the burlap will leave 3 billion tiny bits of burlap hair all over your table, your project, your rug, and your clothes. You'll have some shedding no matter what, but if you can get the bulk of it outside, so much the better. You're welcome, says the woman who did not get that advice and will be vacuuming for the next month.

The leaves

I followed the instructions and used "about half" of the leaves. If I were doing it again, I'd set aside a couple more of the acorns -- I felt like I was drowning in acorns as I was stringing the garland.

You have two stamps to use on the leaves: A cross-hatch one and a spider web. The cross-hatch one looks great on the acorn caps, but I didn't like it on the leaves. Up to you, of course. I stamped only one side of my leaves and then strung them carefully. I love stamping, but even I have limits.

Crumple the leaves before you sponge -- the sponging will get into the wrinkles and make them look even more aged (what you want).

Do, as it says in the video, tie one of the leaves to the end of the thread as you string. 

Assembling the glorious hat

It is a lovely, lovely feeling to have all the bits ready and just put it all together. Bask for a moment in that glory before you let it go.

Putting the fringe and ribbon on is easy (particularly if you use the tearable tape adhesive). Three bits of fringe is enough to go around the hat twice. Do be mindful of the OTHER end of the fringe, or you'll get it stuck to your craft table. (Cough, cough.)

If you did NOT succumb to the urge to pre-crumple your hat, you'll be able to put lots of glue on the label and tuck it in easily, just as she does in the video. If, like me, you crumpled early, you will want to be a little more selective in where and how you apply glue, because the crinkles don't make for easy sticking. It'll work anyway, but it's a little harder.

Witching decor kit makes a gorgeous 3-D Halloween accent
Premature crinkling

Crumple! With joy and vigor!

Use a dab of glue to hold the string that holds the bell that makes the witch hat festive.

And then delicately arrange your lovely leaves, and you are DONE. Now call your family in so they can admire the wonder that is your beautiful witchy hat! Hurray! 

I hope you have as much fun with this project as I did. If you've put your kit together and have tips to add, drop them in the comments!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

(Still) crazy about you

Using the Watercolor Wishes Card kit and Crazy About You

Today, my husband and I celebrate our 23rd anniversary. He'll spend the day packing up equipment and driving it 8 hours home from band camp with our younger daughter; I'll spend the day kayaking with our older teen. That's what love looks like in our house -- and it means figuring out ways to connect (by texting at 6am). I'll be delighted to pick up the missing half of my family tonight!

Life is crazy right now, as we prep to send our oldest to college in a few days and begin the application process for our rising senior. I haven't had time to breathe, never mind stamp. That's why I'm really enjoying the Watercolor Wishes card kit! It's got everything I need to make 20 cards, including some really cute die-cut and wooden accent pieces. I really bought the kit because I loved the stamp set, but I've found myself reaching for it again and again for quick, gorgeous cards.

For this anniversary card, I took one of the pre-made designs and flipped it. Then I swapped in the Crazy About You stamp set and added a die-cut phrase. All the other pieces were pre-cut (and some of them are stickers, so they're even pre-glued). Clean, masculine, done!

Stamp sets

  • Crazy About You


  • Night of Navy


  • Night of Navy

Tools and accessories

  • Watercolor Wishes Card kit (includes the pre-printed card base, the sequins, the die-cut pieces, and the dimensionals I used here)
  • Hello You thinlets

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Banner birthday wishes

This birthday card mixes the Stampin' Up! Tin of Cards stamp set with the Amazing Birthday set.

I'm still experimenting with brights this week, but I decided it was time to work with Tip Top Taupe, one of the new in colors. Here, I've got brights I can live with -- they're festive and cheery, but I don't feel the need to pull out my sunglasses!

I'm mixing sets here -- combining the greeting from the new Tin of Cards stamp set with the pennant and cake from the older Amazing Birthday. I really like the fonts in the Tin of Cards set -- I bought it to use at my kit class, but I've already found several other places to work it in.

I've seen lots of folks using swoops of sequins, so I added one to tie together the sentiment and the banner. Sparkly!

Stamp sets

  • Tin of Cards
  • Amazing Birthday


  • Tip Top Taupe base 
  • Watermelon Wonder cut to 5 1/8" by 3 7/8" plus scrap
  • Whisper White cut to 5" by 3 3/4" plus scrap
  • Cherry on Top DSP at about 2" by 4' for die cutting
  • Crushed Curry scrap


  • Bermuda Bay
  • Watermelon Wonder

Tools and accessories

  • Banner framelits
  • 1 1/4' and 1 1/2" circle punches
  • 1 3/4" scallop punch
  • Dimensionals
  • Sequins (these are from the winter set)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

One good thing

How do you use the bright palette? Let your DSP be your guide, as in this cheery birthday card from Pink Paper Bakery.

True confession: I can't even with the brights. Give me subtles, neutrals -- even regals, and I can pair them up and make something awesome. But brights? Nope. All the nope. 

I'm trying, though! The Cherry on Top DSP stack is challenging my limits with some brighter-than-bright cheery patterns that I can't resist playing with. Here I'm using the snip-and-flip technique to showcase how the reverse of this paper coordinates beautifully and simply with its partner.

Are you challenged by a color family? Which one? How do you find ways to make those colors your own?

Stamp sets


  • Cucumber Crush base plus scrap for punching
  • Bermuda Bay cut to 5 1/8" by 3 7/8" and 4 1/4" by 1 3/8" plus scrap
  • Cherry on Top DSP cut to 5" by 3 3/4" and 4 1/8" by 1 1/2"
  • Crushed Curry cut to 1" by 4" plus scrap
  • Watermelon Wonder scrap


  • Crushed Curry
  • Bermuda Bay
  • Watermelon Wonder

Tools and accessories

  • Tree Builder punch (Yes, you want the bundle.)
  • Banner Triple punch

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