Introducing the Bird Ballad Product Suite

Free as a bird coloring

Ooooh, the birds in the Free As A Bird Stamp Set are so darn cute! In fact, the Bird Ballad Product Suite is just precious!  The Bird Ballad Product Suite has coordinating designer series paper, charms, stitched nested label dies and ribbon.  The Bird Ballad Suite Bundle gives you a coordinating selection of products with one simple purchase. 

The Bird Ballad Suite Bundle includes: 
* Free as a Bird Cling Stamp Set (10% off)
* Stitched Nested Labels Dies (10% off)
* Bird Ballad Designer Series Paper
* Bird Ballad Laser-Cut Cards & Tin
* Very Vanilla 3/8″ (1 cm) Scalloped Lace Trim (currently on back order)
* Bird Ballad Trinkets

You are going to want to send hand made cards to all your friends.

And, the images in the Bird Ballad Designer Series Paper were handcolored using Stampin’ Blends for a soft, blended look that will coordinate beautifully with your projects.

Bird ballad dsp

In fact, you may want to use the Bird Ballad DSP as the focal point of your card.

bird ballad dsp sample

Thanks for stopping by today.  Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing fathers and father figures. 

Your impact on the life of other’s is beyond measure!

come sail away in blue

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


Recap: Stampin’ Fun Bingo Event

bingo lisa freeman nicole marshall

A couple of weeks ago, Lisa Freeman, Nicole Marshall and I hosted a Stampin’ Fun Bingo Event at a branch of the Chesapeake Public Library.  We had 20 wonderful ladies join us for sampling lots of goodies, sharing good conversation and of course stamping cards!

bingo playing

We played ten games of bingo with prizes from the new catalog, and there were lots of door prizes.  Everyone walked away with something plus three stamped cards!!!

And, here are the amazing cards designed by:  Lisa Freeman using Good Morning, Magnolia stamp set, Nicole Marshall using Dandelion Wishes stamp set and yours truly using A Good Man stamp set.

We had a lot of fun, and my mother, Gwyn, won the grand prize of a Stamparatus PLUS the cash pot of $130 from the purchase of extra bingo cards!

I certainly hope that you’ll join us for our next special event planned for early fall.  Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


A Good Man

a good man bingo card

Show the good men in your life how much you appreciate them with a handmade, heartfelt card or gift you make using the A Good Man Stamp Set. Great for Father’s Day, birthdays, or any day you want to recognize and celebrate your men. 

I created this card for a recent Stampin’ Fun Bingo event that I hosted with Nicole Marshall and Lisa Freeman.  We had so much fun.  More about that event in another post.

a good man bingo close up

This card features Pretty Peacock, one of the new In-Colors, with Crumb Cake and Pool Party.  I stamped the piece of Crumb Cake with Crackle Paint Background Stamp inked in Pretty Peacock, and sponged the edges with Pretty Peacock.  A piece of Very Vanilla cardstock was first die cut with largest square from Stitched Shapes Framelit dies, and then stamped with Pretty Peacock ink.  The hat, shirt and shadow under the chair were colored with Light Pool Party Stampin’ Blends.  The beach chair and towel were colored with Light Crumb Cake Stampin’ Blends.  And, the man’s shorts were colored first with Light Pool Party and then Light Crumb Cake to create that gray color.  The sentiment was stamped first, then punched with retired 1.25″ circle punch and matted with 1.5″ circle punch. 

a good man bingo card inside

For the inside, the sentiment was stamped in Pretty Peacock (full strength) while the hearts were stamped in Crumb Cake using first and second generation stamping.

If you would like to place an order, please visit my on-line store by clicking on the links provided.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!



Stampin’ Blends

stampin blends markers

If you love coloring, Stampin’ Blends are a wise investment — for both beginner and avid crafters.  Create an artist-quality coloring by saturating your image with solid color is easy and flawless — without the streaks from other markers.  And, create by blending and shading like an accomplished artist.  These high-quality, dual-tip markers will open a whole new world of coloring creativity in 32 of the exclusive Stampin’ Up colors! 

Each color comes in 2 shades — light and dark — to give you the best blending experience out there.   Stampin’ Blends can be purchased individually for $4.50/each, or as a combo for $9 with both light and dark colored inks.  They are not refillable, which is why their price point is lower than other alcohol markers on the market.

Stampin’ Blends are fairly easy to use for coloring and shading.  Coloring is simply saturating the area with one color.  Shading is layering your lightest color first, strategically layering your darker colors next, and then blending the hard edge with lightest color or color lifter.  Here are some coloring and shading tips.

  1. Stampin’ Blends work best with coloring on wet color. Starting with your lightest color, fill in the whole area adding a solid layer of color. While the paper is still “wet”, add a layer of darker colors for shading.
  2. To blend, color in small circles. You will be applying more color (or “wetness”) making it easier to get more even, blended look between the lighter and darker color.  The trick to blending is to blend lighter color on wet darker color.
  3. Leave some areas un-colored for natural highlights.
  4. In the beginning, it is best to only work with two colors at a time. Using the lighter color to blend into the darker color.
  5. Experiment by blending colors with similar hues to create different colors.
  6. As you advance with confidence, you will be able to blend with three or more colors. Start with coloring from your lightest color to your darker color, and reverse the process for blending.  The trick is always the same, coloring on wet color.

a good man bingo card


  1. Color on Whisper White cardstock or Very Vanilla cardstock. The smooth paper finish works best for coloring with alcohol markers and preserves the tips of your markers.
  2. Stamp your line art image using Memento Tuxedo Black ink or Classic Ink Pad.  Recommend stamping using your Stamparatus to get a solid black line image.  Plus, you can re-stamp image after coloring to “sharpen” the line art image.
  3. If you are using different inks and paper products, it may be necessary to heat set your stamped image prior to coloring with Stampin’ Blends. Test the paper, ink and Stampin Blends, then apply color close to the line but not color over it to minimize blurring the line art of the stamped image.
  4. Protect your work surface because the alcohol-based ink will “bleed through” the cardstock. Recommend coloring your project on a piece of grid paper.
  5. When finished coloring and blending, mat your colored art piece to hide the backside so that the “bleed through” will not be seen.
  6. Stampin’ Blends can be used with other mediums like colored pencils and water coloring.

storage by stampin up

Stampin’ UP! has created fantastic storage options for the Stampin Blends.  The Stampin’ Blends storage trays ($14) come with five white plastic storage trays, each holding six markers.  So, one set of storage trays hold 30 alcohol markers.  When first introduced, all of the Storage by Stampin’ Up solutions sold out quickly.  With new inventory available in July, you’ll want to be prepared with your on-line order.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!



New 3-D Embossing Plate

magnolia 3D embossing folder

Create projects using the new Magnolia 3D Embossing Folder.  It’s easy to make a great impression! Just place flat cardstock in this embossing folder, run it through a die-cutting and embossing machine, and out comes cardstock with two big beautiful magnolia embossed images.  Our new 3D embossing folders take embossing to the next level, with deeper, more detailed impressions than standard embossing folders—great for card fronts and accents.  Here is a close up of those two big beautiful magnolias.

magnolia 3D embossing folder catalog

The new catalog also features a new type of 3D Embossing Folder, which is much thinner than the older Dynamic folders.  For best results, use the 3D Embossing Folder Plate with all of Stampin’ Up!’s 3D Embossing Folders; it adds a little more oomph to your die sandwich to make those 3D designs pop.

3D Embossing Folder

The new plate makes up the difference in thickness between the old-style Dynamic Folders and the new-style 3D Folders. The 3D Embossing Folder Plate replaces the Standard Cutting Pads in your 3D embossing folder sandwich for continued high-quality emboss results.

To create your emboss sandwich:

  • Use a die-cutting & embossing machine platform as a base; no matter which machine you’re using, use the standard platform which comes with your machine.
  • Use the 3D Embossing Folder with your paper in the middle.
  • Then use the 3D Embossing Folder Plate on top.
  • Given the differences in machines and platforms, you may wish to add a paper shim to get your desired embossing results.  Start with one paper shim and add more sheets as necessary to get the desire results taking care not to damage your embossing machine.
  • Note:  Remember to spritz your paper with water before embossing.  The water softens and relaxes the paper fibers to maximize your embossed impressions.

If after reviewing the new 2019-2020 Annual Catalog, and you have a wish list of $100 or more, please consider signing up for your NO STRINGS 20% discount on all of those great products.  Click here for all the details and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!  I’ll even walk you through the sign up process over the phone!  How easy is that!

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!



Special Thank You Cards

kindness and compassion with goodmorning magnolia in white

“Let me know if there is anything I can do” – this is something that we all have said to friend who is grieving.  Often we don’t know what to do.  As card makers, there is one simple kindness that we can offer at a moment’s notice and that’s the gift of hand stamped thank you cards as a response to condolences.

kindness and compassion inside

The Stampin’ Up! Kindness & Compassion stamp set is perfect for just this occasion.  It has beautiful sentiments for your grieving friend to acknowledge others who may have delivered food, sent flowers and offered other kindnesses during their time of need.

kindness and compassion catalog

Here is an example of a response to condolences cards using some *NEW* products from the new Annual Catalog available June 4th.  Here, I matted a piece of Magnolia Lane Designer Series Paper with the softness of Perennial Essence Vellum cardstock.

kindness and compassion with goodmorning magnolia in white

Following this same design layout, you can mix and match different Designer Series papers from this same paper pack to create a nice gift set.  And, the beautiful magnolia images from the Good Morning Magnolia stamp set add just a little something extra softness inside the card.

kindness and compassion inside

Unfortunately, we never know when we might need to gift someone a set of these special thank you cards.  Please consider making these response to condolence cards in advance so that you are prepared to offer an act of kindness to someone who is grieving.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes for caring!


New Catalog Today at 2pm Eastern

new 2019-2020 catalog image

TODAY’S THE DAY! Ordering from the 2019-2020 Annual Catalog starts at 2pm Eastern time (that’s 11 Am Pacific, 12 noon MOUNTAIN TIME and 1 PM CENTRAL).  

NEED A COPY OF THE CATALOG?  Just contact me at the link provided above and I’ll promptly send you a complementary catalog.

All of my current Crafting Hug Customers automatically get both the annual and seasonal catalogs sent to them as a thank you for their business support!  

My next stamp camps featuring new products from the new catalog are scheduled for  Tuesday, June 11th and Thursday, June 13th at 7pm.  Contact me if you’d like to attend.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


Saying Goodbye to Lovely as a Tree

lovely as a tree example 1As they say…”all good things must come to an end”. The time has come for Stampin’ Up! to retire their oldest stamp set, the iconic Lovely As A Tree stamp set first introducted in 2001.

It was the first stamp set I purchased and I have used it a lot! In fact, I have two stamp sets – the original with its stained, rock hard rubber that is seasoned with lots of love and a newer one that is also showing signs of lots of love.

In retiring Lovely as a Tree, Stampin’ Up made way for more wonderful new products celebrating nature.  And, you are going to love these stamp sets just as much!

rooted in nature samples

Both the Rooted in Nature stamp set and the Winter Woods stamp set have the same timeless images for creating nature scenes.  They are perfect for a variety of techniques and projects — providing you with more creative options for any season or occasion.  Simply click on the links above to purchase these stamps with lovely tree images.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


Wonderful Moments – Part 2

Wonderful MomentsWonderful Moments in Rich Razzleberry.  The simplicity of this design is the key — bold monochromatic color with a few layers for texture and interest!  

wonderful moments sample with balloons

You can recreate this design with Ruffled Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, Designer Series Paper, Shimmery White Cardstock, Classic Label Punch, ink pad, ribbon and an aqua painter.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!