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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

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Large numbers birthday

Large birthday framelits make this masculine birthday card pop

My dad had a large number birthday this month, so what better time to pull out the large numbers dies? This card was inspired by a design I saw online (but then couldn't find again -- if this looks like a card you made, let me know and I'll tag you!), with a color scheme straight from the Going Places DSP stack.

I have used these numbers on SO MANY CARDS. I really recommend this bundle (the stamp set and dies are discounted if you buy them together) from the spring Occasions catalog.

I'm seeing tons of cards with trimmed sentiments like this. It's funny -- I'm not the most meticulous stamper, but cutting out the "happy" here made me a bit nuts about getting the margins sort of even. I sure hope Dad had a happy happy happy birthday!

Stamp sets

  • Number of Years


  • Mossy Meadow base 
  • Going Places DSP at 4" by 5 1/4," plus some trimmings for the circle, stripe and dots
  • Scrap Very Vanilla for the numbers and sentiment


  • Mossy Meadow (I am going to be so sad when this color retires in a couple of months!)

Tools and accessories

  • Large numbers framelits
  • Circles framelits
  • Dimensionals 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Birthday girl!

Birthday card using Stampin' Up! Hello stamp set and watercoloring
Have you seen all the cards out there that are using watercoloring? There are some beauties, and it got me inspired. Before I teach this technique in a class, though, I needed to learn it for myself!

Here's my first ever attempt, and I found a lot to like.

I started with a piece of watercolor paper, and then embossed the greeting in black. Then I went over the page with plain water, using the SU! aquapainter. Finally, I added some drops of ink from a reinker, and brushed that into the water. At first I was really nervous about how dark it looked, but it dried into this beautiful range of blues. Next time I'll try not to get giant blobs where I drip the ink, but overall, pretty.

After I made this card, I hunted down some technique videos, and found one where it recommends that you put a little water and ink into the lid of a stamp pad before washing onto the card. I'll try that next and see which version I like better.

Have you experimented with watercolor washes? Any tips?

Stamp sets

  • Hello (hope you grabbed this one before it retired!)


  • Pacific Point base 
  • Basic Black at 4 3/8" by 3 1/8" 
  • Watercolor paper at 4 1/4" by 3"


  • Versamark
  • Pacific Point

Tools and accessories

  • Black embossing powder
  • Heat tool 
  • Aqua painters
  • Dimensionals (because of course dimensionals)

Monday, February 15, 2016

You brighten my day!

This all-occasion masculine card uses the Stampin' Up! Cups and Kettles framelits and the Going Places DSP

It's a little chilly here in North Carolina today, but this card brings a warm greeting that's perfect for a cold Monday. I guess it COULD be that the person you are giving the card to brightens your day, but really, I'm talking about coffee. Coffee brightens my day EVERY day!

I'm mixing up some products from the Occasions catalog -- there's lots to love in there! The Cups and Kettle framelits include this awesome mug (I want to figure out how to turn it into a beer mug, but that's a project for another day). I rolled in some of the Going Places DSP and the sentiment from the Sunburst Sayings set.

This card used my very last sheet of Mossy Meadow. I'm gonna need to order some more before this very favorite in-color retires in June!

Stamp sets

  • Sunburst Sayings


  • Thick Whisper White base and 5" by 3 3/4," plus a scrap for the "steam" die cut
  • Basic Black at 5 1/4" by 4" 
  • Going Places DSP at 5" by 1 1/2" and for the die cut
  • Mossy Meadow scrap for the die cut


  • Archival Basic Black

Tools and accessories

  • Cups and Kettle framelits
  • Dimensionals
  • Metallics sequins
  • Detail glue

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Happy birthday, sunshine!

I made this card on a gray January day when I really needed some sunshine! The combination of Daffodil and Honey here lights up the room and brings a smile to my face.

When we make this card in class, I'll show everyone how to rock and roll the center round stamp to get that nice shading using two colors of ink.

This card also uses quilted Hello Honey ribbon. It's so soft and gorgeous that I had been hoarding it. No more! Time for this ribbon's day in the sun!

Stamp sets

  • Ray of Sunshine


  • Daffodil Delight base 
  • Whisper White at 5 1/4" by 4" plus scrap for die cut
  • Hello Honey for the die cut


  • Daffodil Delight
  • Hello Honey

Tools and accessories

  • Hello Honey quilted ribbon (retired, alas!)
  • Squares framelits

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Enjoy the little things!

Everyday card using the Enjoy the Little Things stamp set and Cups and Kettle framelits

Happy new year! I hope you had a joyful holiday season. I gave myself the gift of two weeks of vacation at the end of the year, and enjoyed doing a whole lot of not very much. It was wonderful!

This card, which I'll be making with my January class, reminds us of that kind of joy -- sipping tea while reading a book or nibbling holiday cookies is such a quiet gift!

I've mixed up several sneak peek items here -- these are from the 2016 Occasions catalog, which goes live January 5. I am so in love with this die set -- it includes two teacups and a nice mug, plus a teapot and silverware. The coordinating stamp set is cute too and has the tea bag I've added. The DSP that goes with this set is bright and joyful. Finally, I pulled in a sentiment from a new kit that makes the most adorable clipboard calendar. There's lots to love in the new catalog, particularly during Sale-a-bration!

I made a version of this without the tea bag first, trying to keep it simple. It's not nearly so cute! Funny how tiny details make a big difference, hm?

Stamp sets

  • Enjoy the Little Things
  • A Nice Cuppa


  • Bermuda Bay base 
  • Crushed Curry at 5 1/8" by 3 7/8"
  • Whisper White at 5" by 3 3/4" plus scrap for die cuts
  • Have a Cuppa DSP at 1/2" by 5" plus a piece for the die cut


  • Bermuda Bay
  • Crushed Curry

Tools and accessories

  • Cups and Kettle framelits
  • Twine
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