Paper Crafting Essentials

To enjoy your paper crafting adventure, it is essential to have good basic tools to work with and to use quality paper and adhesives.  Twenty years ago, I began my crafting journey in a corner of the living room and acquired cardstock, tools and paper over time.  And while new stuff comes on the market all the time, these are the essentials that I reach for every day.  In fact, these things are stored within easy reach from my desk chair — so that they are always handy!

  1. Paper Snips — One of my favorite techniques is fussy cutting and these sharp scissors are the best for precision cuts.  The thin, short blades make it easy to cut in small areas.  I love my paper snips so much that I own numerous pairs!!!
  2. Bone Folder – Another inexpensive tool for scoring, burnishing and distressing paper.  The thicker the paper, the more important it is to burnish the score line for a smooth line.
  3. Stampin’ Trimmer – with smooth grid surface and precision measurements, this lightweight, portable trimmer makes accurate, straight cuts.  It has a cutting blade and a scoring blade, that conveniently slide out-of-the-way.
  4. Heat Tool – I love water coloring and heat embossing, and this tool is slim, sleek, and easy to hold.   It has two heat settings: low for drying ink, high for heat-setting embossing powders.
  5. Punches – I have quite the collection because they are quick and easy to use for embellishments.  I particularly love the different label punches and variety of sizes of circle punches.  And, many of the Stampin’ Up! punches coordinate with specific stamps sets and designer papers — like the daisy and cat punches.
  6. Stamp-a-ma-jig – another inexpensive tool that helps with precision stamping especially for red rubber stamps and our well-loved and subsequently stained photopolymer stamp sets.
  7. Simply Scored with double ball stylus.  This board is essential for creating crisp score lines, reducing paper cracks and giving your project a finished look.  It works great for making cards, boxes and other 3-D projects.  TIP:  use the larger ball end of the stylus to create a wider score line, then fold the paper opposite of the valley created by the score line.  In other words, fold it with the mountain side inside and the valley side outside.

Of course, it does go without saying that it is essential to use good quality cardstock and papers for your projects.  We spend a lot of time creating something special for someone so it needs to last and not fall apart when handled or mailed.  Stampin’ Up! cardstock, specialty papers and designer series paper are the best on the market.  They coordinate with the ink pads, markers, washi tape and embellishments to make a sharp sophisticated presentation.    As a paper crafter, you can feel and see the difference.  

All of these tools are available for purchase from my on-line store.  Please click on the links provided or the SHOP tab above.

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




Scrapbooking with Memories & More

While Memories & More card packs make great cards, they also make memory keeping a snap – whether using pocket pages or traditional scrapbooking.  These card packs coordinate with Stampin’ Up! Product Suites – so you have coordinating stamp sets, dies, embellishments, designer papers and 12×12 cardstock.  All of the guess work is done because everything coordinates to make great scrapbook pages or complete an album.  All you need to do is create 2-page spreads using your photos!

 Not convinced, look at these scrapbook pages…


These products and more are available from my on-line store.  Just click on the SHOP tab above or click on the links.

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


Background Bits

The delicate floral themes of the Background Bits Stamp Set lends itself to elegant themed cards and projects. Perfect whether the stamps create your background, your focal point, or anything else.  Background Bits stamp set is a host stamp set.  They are exclusive, time-limited (based on the catalog sales period) and an exceptional value!

Below, I used Berry Burst, Emerald Envy, Crumb Cake to design a tag for a gift bag and a coordinating note card to dress up a plain white gift bag.

background bits 3 bag and tag

Although host sets were designed to encourage you to host a party and invite your friends over to stamp, here are two options for earning these wonderful stamp sets without hosting a party.

Option 1:  Place an order of $150 in Stampin’ Up! products and automatically earn Stampin’ Rewards just as if you had hosted a party!  You will earn 10% of your purchase in Stampin’ Rewards and have your choice of products from in the current catalog, including the exclusive host stamp sets.  Or,

Option 2:  Book an on-line party with me.  I will provide you with a host code and shopping instructions to share with your friends.  It usually it only takes one or two small orders — in addition to your own — to reach that magic $150 mark and earn those Stampin’ Reward benefits!

However if you like the social aspects of hosting a party, we can do it at your house or at my house!  Just let me know how you’d like to earn those benefits.

Host sets come in an array of styles – so there is something for everyone.  Host sets can be found on pages 219-223 in your catalog.

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


Sneak Peek: At Home with You Bundle

Open the door to your creativity with this “a-door-able” bundle, containing the At Home with You Stamp Set and coordinating At Home Framelits Dies.  

In this 3-minute video, Brandi shows you some of the creative possibilities with this bundle.  Whether you are designing a Christmas card or a congratulations on you new home or something else — you’re going to want this bundle on your wish list because it is just adorable!  

Here is a sample of what you can create.  


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


Sneak Peek: Color Theory Product Suite

You are going to love this new product suite in the 2017-2018 Annual Catalog by Stampin’ Up!  With it, you can create cards and projects for every season. The products in this suite feature beautiful brushstrokes with nature-inspired colors and images. 

While I can’t show you the catalog, here is a sneak peek 3-minute video showing the stamps, dies and designer papers with a few of the new embellishments to tempt you.

Click here to watch the video. 

I had so much fun playing with my pre-order especially the Colorful Seasons stamp set and Seasonal Layers Thinlit Dies.  Here are some of the cards that I made.   For the card on the left, I used 2-step stamping technique and my stamp-a-ma-gig tool to create the sling-back chair using Dapper Denim and Soft Suede. 

As for the card on the right, I just love those Adirondack chairs die cut from Crumb Cake cardstock, and then sponged using Soft Suede to add some character to those chairs.  I used Soft Sky and my watercolor background stamp, and then stamped the sentiment in Dapper Denim.  I really love the font and the message of those sentiments!

This stamp set has many more great sentiments, including:  “May all your tomorrows be as happy as today”.  Trust me, this is going to be a bundle that you’ll have on your wish list from the new catalog.  And, here is what is “new” in the new catalog…..


Good news!  Stampin’ Up! is mailing out the new catalogs this week!  How exciting is that!  All of my current customers will receive a copy of the catalog by mail — so be on the look out for it.  I can’t wait to hear what you think.  I know that you’re going to love it!

If you do not have a demonstrator or are new to Stampin’ Up!, I would love to be your demonstrator.  Please send me an email at, and I’ll be happy to send you a complementary copy of the new catalog, too!  There is nothing more fun that sipping your favorite beverage and flipping through the new catalog for the first time!

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


Tip: Stampin’ Up! Color Code Chart

Here is a handy chart that you’re going to want to download, print, and slide into a page protector for easy reference!

The RGB codes are great for personalizing a sentiment on the inside of a card blank using Microsoft Word or other editing programs.  Now, the colors on the inside of the card will match the Stampin’ Up!’s colors of the your card front adding the finishing touch!

The HEX Color Codes are used for HTML to match the exclusive Stampin’ Up! colors on websites, emails, etc.  Enjoy!  

Download the RGB & HEX color code chart by clicking the picture on the left or here:  Marie’s SU! RGB & HEX Color Codes.

Until next time, sending crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


Lots of Possibilities with Foxy Friends

What does this cute little fox say? She says that you’re invited to a forest party! This bundle lets you make foxes, raccoons, wolves, squirrels, rabbits, deer, and the forest to boot. Do you hear your furry forest friends are calling?

Now look at the possibilities….

foxy friends examples 2

And if that wasn’t enough, look to see what Joanne Hogge, another independent Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator, has created.  There are just hundreds of possibilities for cardmaking and scrapbooking.

foxy friends examples

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


Introducing three new 2017-18 In-Colors


The other day, Stampin’ Up! announced some new products that will be released May 1st, in advance of the new annual catalog.  As a demonstrator, I was able to place an advanced order so that we will get to play with these three new In-Colors and the Eastern Palace suite of products very soon!

Fortunately for you, a very talented demonstrator named Brian King from Atlanta cleverly figured out how to post these colors so that I can share them with you!

Lemon Lime Twist is a totally new color to add to your collection, while Fresh Fig and Tranquil Tide are new richer shades in the purple and aqua color families that will give you a new fresh look.

And here is how these colors fit in with our existing colors…..

eastern Lemon-Lime-Twist-CompairsonEastern Fresh-Fig-Comparison-1

eastern Tranquil-Tide-Compairson

I love these new 2017-2018 In Colors and I am very excited to see the other two new In-Colors. So, what do you think about these three new In-Colors?  Do you have a favorite?

Tomorrow I’ll post some of Brian’s new color combinations that are sure to inspire you!

Until next time, happy crafting!


Practical Tip: Color Code Your Glue Dots

We’ve all got them – glue dots – super sticky, instant dots of adhesive.  They are very handy because they require absolutely no drying time.  Glue dots come on identical cardboard rolls, but in various sizes – small, medium and larger.  This makes it quick and easy to attach anything from tiny sequins, small bows and even larger 3-D items.

But when you have two or three rolls of glue dots sitting on your craft desk, can you tell which size is which?  This drives me nuts – not that that’s a long trip – but inevitably, I grab the wrong roll at the least opportune time.

A while back, I saw a brilliant blog post from another demonstrator – I wish I could remember who – with this practical solution.  Using some pieces of ribbon – in various colors and widths – I color coded my rolls.  Now, when I want a small glue dot, I grab the roll with the thin red ribbon.  If I want the larger 1/2 inch glue dot, then I grab the roll with a wider green ribbon.  You get the idea!  This is such a simple and elegant solution!

I hope your find this tip helpful.  If you know the original poster of this brilliant idea, I hope you’ll let me know.  While copying and case-ing are a high form of praise, I always wish to give credit when credit is due.

Until next time, happy crafting!




Video – Comparing Three Black Ink Pads

During my February stamp camp, I realized that I needed to order another black ink pad.   While this seems like a simple task, I quickly realized that I needed to do a little homework to select the right ink for my purposes.


Here is my first video — it’s about 6 minutes and it compares StazOn Jet Black, Stampin’ Up! Archival Basic Black and Memento Tuxedo Black ink pads.  All three ink pads were brand new, just out of the wrapper.

Click here to see the video.

These days, the Stampin’ Up! catalog offers three different black inks because the different black ink formulas offer unique advantages which better support our crafting needs.  Here is a quick summary of what I learned about the advantages of each type of black ink pad:




Basic Black is rich bright ink, while Memento has a softer gray tone.  Note:  the Memento Ink started to bleed when water was applied with an AquaPainter.

Basic Black Archival Ink

  • Special solvent-based ink formulation that is acid-free, archival-safe and water-proof
  • Permanent  Ink (so while it will stain your stamps, this does not affect their performance)
  • Works amazingly well with both photopolymer stamps and red rubber stamps
  • Recommended when using embossing powder
  • Heat setting is recommended or allow a little extra time to air dry
  • Recommended for water-based techniques like water coloring, and when using AquaPainter, Stampin’ Write markers or other dye, water-based markers
  • Easy clean up using Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist
  • Of the 3 black ink pads, this is the most bright, true black color
  • Not recommended for Copic or other alcohol-based markers because the colors will bleed

StazOn Jet Black Permanent Ink

  • Solvent-based ink when stamped, shows the fine details of a stamped image 
  • Permanent ink (so while it will stain your stamps, this does not affect their performance
  • Acid-free, archival-safe and water-proof
  • Perfect to stamp on designer paper and cardstock (it is absorbed into the paper)
  • Works great on non-porous surfaces like:  glossy papers, Window Sheets/acetate, glass, metal, vellum, wood, plastic, laminated paper, cellophane bags, polymer clay, terracotta, ceramics, buttons, foils, leather, etc.
  • Heat setting is recommended as the drying time may vary based on the stamping surface and the humidity.  The manufacturer suggests air drying stamped paper for 3 minutes or other surfaces for 5 minutes to avoid smearing the wet ink)
  • Recommended for water coloring with AquaPainter, Blender Pen or watercolor brush
  • Needs to be re-inked more often as solvent-based formula tends to evaporate quickly (this is why the stamp pads have an inside plastic liner)
  • Requires a special StazOn cleaner.  Because the cleaner is oil-based, it is best to wipe off the cleaner with paper towel and then clean your stamp with your Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist Cleaner to remove any oily residue and to protect and condition your stamps
  • Not recommended for photopolymer stamps
  • Not recommended for Copic or other alcohol-based markers because the colors will bleed

Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

  • Water-based dye ink that is perfect for most stamping projects
  • Great for sentiments and images
  • Recommended when working with Blender pens, Copic markers or other alcohol-based markers
  • Fade resistance and acid-free
  • Fast drying ink
  • Easier to use with the Stamp-a-ma-jig positioning tool
  • Easy to clean using Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist
  • Not recommended for water coloring (not water-proof)

Bottom Line:  Eventually, you probably will want to own all three ink pads because of the extra flexibility in your crafting.   However, if you only want to purchase one at a time, here are some quick tips to help you prioritize your purchases:

  • Purchase the Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad if you mostly use photopolymer stamps
  • Purchase the Basic Black Archival ink pad if you like to color with your Stampin’ Write markers
  • Purchase the StazOn Jet Black ink pad if you like to watercolor.

And… matter which ink pad you decide to purchase, it is always best to purchase a matching ink refill at the same time.

I hope you enjoyed the video.  Until next time, happy crafting!