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Saturday, August 27, 2016

A jar of cheer. A cheer jar?

Here in North Carolina, it's August and approximately 1 billion degrees. And yet, I'm designing cards for my first holiday class!

I am IN LOVE with this new set from the holiday catalog (which will be live this week)! It includes a jar that can be used with the Everyday Jars framelits set from the regular catalog, and then a ton of festive fillers. I am going to use this greeting a ton -- the font is gorgeous, and it'll work for all kinds of winter holidays.

A learning from my design session -- you'll want to be sure the sides of the jar stamp don't bow out. Test it against a die cut before you stamp and color the filler, or you may have be sad. After my whoops, I started cutting the jars before I stamped the filling, which works just fine.

I also tried the ornament-and-greenery stamp with a couple of color combinations. I settled on stamping dark, coloring lighter. Here, the image is stamped in Always Artichoke and then colored in Old Olive and Cherry Cobbler.

Stamp sets

  • Jar of Cheer


  • Early Espresso base
  • Candy Cane Lane DSP at 4" by 5 1/4" 
  • Whisper White for die cutting


  • Early Espresso
  • Always Artichoke
  • Cherry Cobbler
  • Old Olive

Tools and accessories

  • Cherry Cobbler Baker's Twine
  • Everyday Jars framelits
  • Dimensionals

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A sweet thank you

Stamped chocolate bar wrappers come together quickly with punches

Today's post isn't really about what I made -- though of course I've included the cutting info below -- and my project uses tons of retired items. Today is all about HOW I design. It's less organized and more organic than you might think.

Today I'm finishing up the third of three pillow gifts for band camp volunteers. It's a chocolate bar wrapper. Because band camp is a five-hour drive away from home, I don't actually put the chocolate IN the wrapper, which means it's fun for both me and the camp coordinator.

Last year, I sent these very carefully-crafted box-envelope things, and she got there, bought what I had told her to buy, and then discovered that the size she had and the size I had designed for were not the same. She's resourceful, and she found something that DID fit, but I gave her a little adventure that she didn't need in the midst of hosting 100 teenagers for a week. This year I wanted to give her a little more flexibility and a little less stress -- so I'm sending flat wrappers.

These are designed for either a Hershey bar or a Nestle Crunch bar in the 1.55oz size. I started by cutting rectangles of DSP to 5 1/4" by 6 1/4" ... so I rummaged through my stash for retired paper that I liked and that I had enough of. I knew I wanted some kind of tag on the label, so I looked for the coordinating colors. This is Blueberry Crisp DSP, and it uses Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla, and Sahara Sand. I decided to use Sahara for the tag, and Navy for the sentiment.

Because I am feeling COMPLETELY LAZY this morning, I decided to use the Note Tag punch. I used scrap Sand and punched out and stamped 12 tags. So far, easey peasey. I added the cutest little Navy punched hearts. Happiness!

Then I set the tag onto the label and realized that it looked lost. Argh.

I knew I didn't want to put ribbon onto these, so I started with a strip of Sand. Which was good, but kind of swallowed up the tag. FINE. I tried a strip of Navy -- which swallowed up the heart. Grrr.

Right, strip of Sand ON a strip of Navy. I cut 12 of each, laid them out, and ... lost the tag and the heart in the background. Sound of gnashing teeth.

Finally, I pulled out a circle punch and added some Vanilla. Voila! You can see both the tag and the heart, the labels look like I meant to do it, and they'll still pack flat. Miracles abound!!

I added a strip of tear tape to the back, and called it done. Done!! Hurray!

Now to grab a bar of chocolate so that I can mock one up for a picture! ... Except that we don't have one in the right size. ARGLEFRASTER!!

I wish you a happy and creative weekend -- and may all your adventures end in chocolate :-).

Stamp sets

  • Another Thank You (retired)


  • Blueberry Crisp DSP (retired) at 6 1/4" by 5 1/4"
  • Scraps of Sahara Sand and Very Vanilla, punched
  • Not Quite Navy (retired) at 5 1/4" by 1"
  • Sahara Sand at 5 1/4" by 1/4"


  • Not Quite Navy (retired)

Tools and accessories

  • Note Tag punch (retired)
  • Tiny star punch (retired)
  • Tear tape from my stash
  • Dimensionals

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thanks, with earplugs

Thank you gifts for volunteers, made in a flash with the Perfectly Wrapped stamp set

Today I made the second of the three pillow gifts I'm sending for our Marching Band Camp chaperones. Today's is a little emergency kit that includes tissues, Advil, a Band-Aid, some dental floss pick things, and life savers.

I usually pick up the fillers for these at the dollar store. This year I asked my husband to go with me for moral support (I really didn't feel like going to the store). He was a chaperone for several years, so I asked him what else I should put in the bags. "Ear plugs." Brilliant! He says they are for when you are working with the drum line, but I'd be tempted to put them in at night time so I could get some sleep!

I modeled these after one of the items in our Perfectly Wrapped Project Kit. I used some items from my pantry, though -- 4x9" plastic bags and twist-ties. These have a 4"x6" piece of DSP that is scored at 1" and 3" inside, to give them structure. You can get a better idea of how they're put together in this picture:
Easy gifts using the Perfectly Wrapped stamp set

The one trick in tying these up is to lie them on their backs and just gather the top of the bag together, rather than squishing the top of the DSP by tying as you typically would.

The tags use the stamps set that coordinates with the project kit, Perfectly Wrapped. I've used this one a lot more than I expected to -- it's versatile!

Stamp sets

  • Perfectly Wrapped


  • Daffodil Delight at  2" by 4"
  • International Bazaar DSP at 1 5/8" x 3" for the labels and 4" by 6" for the bag support (this paper is retired, but you can use any DSP)
  • Pear Pizzaz punched 
  • Whisper White scrap for the labels


  • Daffodil Delight
  • Pear Pizzazz
  • Night of Navy

Tools and accessories

  • 4" x 9" treat bags from my stash (SU! carries similar bags in 3" x 6")
  • Daffodil Delight 1/8" ribbon (retired)
  • Scalloped Tag Topper punch
  • 2" and 2 1/4" circle punches (or use the new Layering Circle Framelits)
  • Dimensionals

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A patriotic treat

Patriotic Duet Banner treats

This week, I'm finding myself beset with gratitude -- both for people in my life who are going above and beyond, and for the many ways that I realize that I am blessed every day.

So, I'm focusing on that feeling as I create some treats designed for marching band camp. "WAIT," you say. "Didn't your kid graduate?" Yes, my kid graduated, but I'm obviously a sucker for a gentle plea that involves papercrafting and teenagers. Well, the parents of the teenagers, in this case, but close enough.

Here are a dozen star-spangled treats that whip up in a flash!

Stamp sets

  • Thoughtful Banners


  • Brights DSP stack, at 3" by 3"
  • Dapper Denim for the dies
  • Whisper White scrap for the banners


  • Dapper Denim
  • Real Red

Tools and accessories

  • 3" x 5" zipper bags from my stash
  • Stars framelits
  • Duet Banner punch
  • Dimensionals

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Winging a happy hello to you

Stampin' Up! Happy Hello card uses watercolor and die cuts

This week, I was chatting with a friend who said she was having a difficult time and was finding herself checking the mail for the possibility of something REAL arriving. I know that feeling so very well -- and sometimes indulge myself by ordering something online just to get that little reward trigger in my brain. You've done that, right?

Well, don't let me stop you from ordering up some inspiring paper or ink from the new catalog -- but sending a little note out to a friend who could use a lift is another nice way to set off the happy sparkles! Here's the card I made for my friend.

I was inspired by Bridget Emlay's card, but adjusted the colors and dies. I used our watercolor paper AND our Whisper White together -- not something I always like the look of, but here it works. And I scattered a few White Perfect Accents around, which makes me think of rain and the sun shining on it. It took me a while to warm up to those little clear pearls (like, a year), but I've fallen hard for them now and am using them on EVERYTHING.

Watercoloring is everywhere right now, and is SO easy. Have you given it a try yet?

Stamp sets

  • None!


  • Wisteria Wonder base 
  • Watercolor paper at 3 3/4" by 5"
  • Whisper White for the dies


  • Wisteria Wonder
  • Sweet Sugarplum
  • Soft Sky
  • Lost Lagoon

Tools and accessories

  • Hello You thinlets
  • Butterflies thinlets
  • Retired butterflies cutting folder (whoops!) -- sub in the Bitty Butterfly punch
  • White Perfect Accents
  • Aqua Painters

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Star-studded inspiration

Stars, embossing, and twine on a CAS birthday card

When work and life get hectic, my creative mojo sometimes takes a hike. I've learned that I can kick the brain back into gear by CASEing Pinterest or the Stampin' Up! Idea Book, but this week I tried something new. My upline sent out a tic tac toe challenge. Have you seen these?

Here's an example. (Not the one she used, but same idea.)

I needed a birthday card for my husband, so I blended a great layout from Teri Pocock with the items that I needed to get tic tac toe. The topics I lined up were ribbon/twine | texture | patterned paper. Can you find those in my card?

I probably would not have used embossing or twine on this one without the challenge, but I *LOVE* how they look here.

Where are you finding creative inspiration today?
Stamp sets
  • Happy Birthday Everyone (hostess)


  • Sahara Sand base 
  • Mossy Meadow at 4" by 5 1/4" and 2 1/2" by 2 1/2"
  • Going Places DSP at 3 3/4" by 5" plus scrap
  • Very Vanilla at 2 1/4" by 2 1/4"
  • Gold foil for the stars


  • Mellow Moss

Tools and accessories

  • Stars framelits
  • Decorative Dots embossing folder
  • Star confetti punch
  • Dimensionals
  • Twine (I peeled off one of the two twined threads here)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

CASEing the catalog and other truths

CASEing works best when nobody can see the sample

Today's post is a little exercise in letting go of perfection and embracing the actual. Ready?

There's a GORGEOUS card in the back of the Stampin' Up! Idea Book that showcases one of the reward sets. It floated across my Pinterest feed this morning and I thought "Hm. I wonder if I could make that?"

Somewhere in here was my first mistake. I had barely had one cup of coffee, and the sample card has SEWING. And a doily. And spatter.

Well, I don't do sewing on cards. Don't get me wrong -- it looks lovely. But I have enough tools out on the table without adding a sewing machine to the mix. And I do have some doilies, but I am scared of them. And they're gold.

So. How to tackle this sample without drifting into doom?

I took it apart. The sample has a Crumb Cake base. Easy. Done. Then there's some kind of dotted texture on it. I don't have the set that I think they used, but I do have Sunburst Sayings, and there's a dot stamp in it. Color on color dots. Done.

Then there's a DSP layer. What IS that paper? I flipped through my swatchbooks and found it. OF COURSE it's a paper I don't have, Pretty Petals. In an odd twist, I just ordered this paper yesterday, to make graduation announcements -- but that doesn't help me today. What to do? Don't tell Brian King, but I took the swatchbook apart and stole this piece. It's not as big as the one in the sample, but it gives the same feel.

Right, done. Next up, the top layer. It's a white, and there's painting. I chose Shimmery White, because someone at a swap recently said it was great for coloring. Right here is where things started to go bazookie.

When I put the stamp up on the white paper, I realized that the card in the sample isn't a standard size. I don't know what size it IS, but it's more square than mine. Pfft. I made up some measurements to work with my swatch piece and a regular card.

I couldn't figure out how they outlined the flower (and still haven't), but could see that the sentiment was embossed in gold. I decided that I would emboss the flower in clear and do a stained glass look. And because I am the laziest stamper on the planet, I decided to do the clear embossing and the gold embossing in one heat run. DO NOT DO THIS. I also forgot to prep the paper with the embossing buddy. *sigh. There's gold in the stem of the flower, and there's embossing dust on the face of the card. It's OK, but not picture-perfect.

Then I was going to watercolor the Calypso Coral flower. HA! Surprise! You can't watercolor on shimmer paper. The water just sort of sits on top. Pulled out paper towel, wiped it off, left sort of a really really pale wash on the flower. Fine. FINE!

Pulled out blender pens, colored with that. This worked, but in retrospect, I should probably have had a look at the flower itself versus just coloring it randomly. It looks OK, but nothing like the beautiful sample.

Next challenge -- what the heck is that green on the stem? It's not Mint Macaron, which is the blue-green in the DSP. I threw up my hands and picked Pear Pizzazz, which is my current fave green. I don't think it's what they used (in fact, I'm guessing there are two colors used in the sample), but WHATEVER.

Now, to artfully curl the paper and glue it down. Apparently, artful curling, ripping, and arranging are not in my CAS style. I did it. Sort-of.

And for the finale, some twine and rhinestones. Phew! Done!

Now. Look at my card. It's GORGEOUS. Here's the thing: Nobody who sees my card is going to look at it and compare it to the sample. If I mail it, the recipient isn't going to look at it and say "Well, it's nice and all, but where's that scrap of doily?" True, right? It's beautiful and perfect in its own perfect way.

Just like all of us. Just like you. Just like me.

Stamp sets

  • Best Thoughts (hostess)
  • Sunburst Sayings


  • Crumb Cake base 
  • Pretty Petals DSP at 4 1/4" by 3" 
  • Shimmery White at 4" by 4 1/2"


  • Crumb Cake
  • Versamark
  • Calypso Coral
  • Pear Pizzazz

Tools and accessories

  • Clear and Gold embossing powder
  • Blender Pens (well, and the Aqua Painter, but let's pretend not, OK?)
  • Rhinestones
  • Twine
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