Crafting Forever and Angel Policy

The Crafting Forever stamp set is perfect for sending to your craft-loving friends.  It has classic images of paint brushes, scissors, stamps and fountain pens, plus it has great sentiments for stoking your creative fires.

crafting forever catalog image

Here are some colorful samples using the pot of paint brushes and ink pens.

crafting forever green

crafting forever sample

crafting forever navy pens

And, this stamp set is approved for use in conjunction with the Stampin’ Up! Angel Policy. It comes in clear-mount and wood-mount — every ready to meet your crafting needs!

What is the Angel Policy?  Stampin’ Up! welcomes all crafters who would like to use their copyrighted images on artwork and other projects on items for sale at retail stores, craft fairs, community fundraisers and internet sales.  All Stampin’ Up! asks s that your homemade, handcrafted items for sale be marked with the “(c) Stampin’ Up!” image.  For more information, just click on this link.

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




Different Types of Stamps

I am often asked which type of stamp do I prefer — red rubber or photopolymer.  Truthfully, I love both.  Each has unique properties and advantages.

I love the precise detail of a red rubber image that provides classic line drawings and photo-realistic images.  With red rubber stamps, the images have been etched or molded onto the rubber.  It is long-lasting and can withstand high temperatures like when you press them into molten embossing powder for deep embossing techniques.  In general, a red rubber stamp provides a crisper image with finer details than a photopolymer stamp.   And the built-in foam cushion backing for a red rubber stamp provides a more evenly stamped image, even when stamping with larger-sized background stamps.  If stamp positioning is important for your project, then using either the Stamp-a-ma-jig or the new Stamparatus alignment tools are recommended for the best results!  Stampin’ Up! offers wood-mount and clear-mount red rubber stamps.  Wood-mount are permanently mounted on maple blocks, while clear-mount will cling to acrylic blocks.

I love the ease of photopolymer stamps because their transparency makes it easy to line up repeating patterns and to perform two-step stamping with minimal adjustment.  Photopolymer stamps are flexible and bendable, and can be curved around an image or diecut for more creative options.  Multiple stamps can be placed on one large acrylic block or your Stamparatus for creating more detailed scenes.  It is perfectly normal that your photopolymer stamps will stain.  Therefore, it is best to “season” your stamp with VersaMark ink or another lightly colored ink to minimize the staining effect.  The photopolymer stamps will cling and stick to any smooth, clean surface — making them easier to lose on your desk!  So maybe a little staining is a good thing — making them easier to find!  LOL!

Of course, your needs and desires are different from mine; therefore, I simply recommend purchasing the stamps that you like working with best!

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


It’s National Puppy Day – March 23rd

Today, we celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives.  National Puppy Day is also a day to bring awareness to the need for care of and homes for orphaned pups as well as to educate people about puppy mills.

What better way to celebrate National Puppy Day, then to show some cards using the darling stamp set, Bella & Friends, and make your best friend’s day.

bella and friends catalog

This darling card is quick and easy to make using Stitched Shapes Framelits paired with Layering Squares Framelits and to embellish with a few Pearl Basic Jewels.

bella and friends pacific point

bella and friends melon

And, you can step up your design with a little watercoloring using your aqua painter and little ink from the inside lid of your inkpad. 

bella and friends sample 1

Here are a few ways to celebrate National Puppy Day:

  1. Adopt a puppy from your local shelter, rescue or pure breed rescue organization
  2. Donate money, food, old towels and toys to your local shelter
  3. Have a puppy party and invite all your friends and their puppies!
  4. Volunteer some time at your local shelter 
  5. Buy your puppy a fun, new puppy toy and throw away an old dirty one
  6. Give your puppy a bath and a good brushing
  7. Install a car safety harness to keep your puppy safe during your travels
  8. Microchip & I.D. Tag your puppy so the shelter can locate you if he gets lost
  9. Make an appointment with the vet to insure your puppy has all required vaccines 
  10. Teach your puppy some fun tricks
  11. Take your puppy to an elderly community and spread some love
  12. And last but not least – pledge to be patient and kind and to give your puppy lots of love and praise every day

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs , inspirations wishes and lots of puppy kisses!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

st patricks day card finished

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by millions of people across the globe.  People wear the color green, drink green beverages and decorate houses and businesses in shamrocks.  In fact, the wearing of the green is a tradition that dates back to a story written about St. Patrick in 1726.  The truth is that St. Patrick (c. AD 385–461) was actually known to use the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity and to have worn green clothing.

Today is celebrated as a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Currently Stampin’ Up! only carries the “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” sentiment in Teeny Tiny Sentiments stamp set — it’s one of 24 sentiments in this must-have stamp set.   However with a little creativity, it is possible to turn the santa image from Cookie-Cutter Christmas stamp set into a delightful leprechaun!  I used a rectangle blog image from Lovely Inside & Out stamp set to create the traditional shape of a leprechaun hat.  A little blending with the Emerald Envy stampin’ write marker, Lemon-Lime Twist stampin’ write marker and the Blender Pen made the rectangle blob a more solid color.  I used the fine tip of my Basic Black stampin’ write marker to outline the image and create some contouring.

st patricks day card hat

You’ll find yourself with a whole new set of friends with lots of personality using this Cookie Cutter Christmas stamp set — reindeer, Eskimo, teddy bear, Santa, gingerbread man and now a mischievous little leprechaun.  What other delightful friends can you find with this stamp set?

st patricks day card finished

Wishing you lots of shamrocks and fun shenanigans on this St. Patrick’s Day!


National Panda Day – May 16th

party panda catalog sample

On March 16, conservationist and animal lovers celebrate the Giant Panda and spread the word about one of the world’s most endangered animals.  National Panda Day brings together the efforts of World Wildlife organization and the international community dedicated to protecting and restoring the giant panda’s natural habitat.  

party panda in jungle

Pandas live mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of it every day.  It is a formidable task to eat that particular diet of all green leafy vegetables!

This peaceful creature with a distinctive black and white coat is considered a national treasure in China and adored by the rest of the world.  Today ,it is estimated that there are only 1,800 pandas living in the wild with another 100 living in zoos around the world. 

party panda in jungle

For today’s card, I stamped, heat set and then fussy cut three pandas from the Party Panda stamp set  and stamped the sentiment from Hello Fried stamp set using Basic Black Archival ink   The Lemon-Lime leafy die cut was left over from December 2017 Paper Pumpkin kit called Flora & Flutter.  The piece is matted with scraps of Pear Pizzazz and Basic Black cardstock.

These adorable pandas make happy cards for family and friends — of all ages!  The Party Panda stamp set is an exclusive Sale-a-bration product that is only available while supplies last until March 31st It is available free with a qualifying purchase of $50 or more from my on-line store. 

Until next time, sending crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


More Watercoloring with Waterfront

Escape into your craft room for a vacation from the rubber stamping and create your own landscapes with interchangeable stamps from new Waterfront photopolymer stamp set.  Combine them to create tropical islands, tranquil lakes, majestic mountains and valley floors with beautiful sunsets and moon lit scenes.

waterfront plank with beach circle

Here, I created a simple scene with Waterfront stamp set  with a sandy beach with palm trees with Sahara Sand, Soft Suede, Wild Wasabi, Dapper Denim and Calypso Coral.  I used the Stitched Shapes Framelits dies to draw attention to the scene, which was matted on piece of Sahara Sand cardstock stamped with Soft Suede ink on Hardwood Background stampTo give the Hardwood Background a more distressed look, I sponged Sahara Sand and Soft Suede and stamped distressed wood edge image from Timeless Textures stamp set.  

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



Simplicity of Design

Sometimes you just need a quick card.  This card layout can be made a hundred different ways just by changing up — the sentiment, the colors, the embossing folder and the coordinating punches or die cuts.  Essentially everything!  That’s the beauty of this card layout — it can be elegant and sophisticated, classic and traditional or whimsical and fun.   

lots of love in crumb cake

So how will you change up this card layout?  All of these products and more are available to purchase from my on-line store.  Just use the links provided or click on the SHOP tab above.  And, during the Sale-a-Bration promotion running now through March 31st, you will earn FREE products with each $50 purchase.  

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


Stampin’ Blends

10.17.17_STAMPINBLENDS_SHAREABLE1_DEMO_NAHave you added Stampin’ Blends to you inky arsenal?  

Stampin’ Blends are very popular because of their ease of use, blending capabilities, and permanent properties which is why paper crafters love them and why they are a must-have item in your crafting arsenal.  These high-quality, alcohol-based, dual-tip markers come in 12 exclusive Stampin’ Up! colors. Each color comes in 2 shades to give you the best blending experience out there.  Stampin’ Blends may be purchased individually, as a combination of light and dark shades of a color or as a collection of 27 pens.

blends full set

Stampin’ Blends have some very special coloring capabilities.  For instance, the different shades of colors and different colors can be blended together without streaking.  A darker color can be used to create a shadow; a lighter color can be used to achieve a smooth the gradient (streaks) between shades of the same color; and the Color Lifter can be used to create highlights because the clear alcohol solution to push dye ink away in order to lighten or to erase it completely. 

remarkable you blends one flower front

Stampin’ Blends are also permanent on most surfaces — this allows paper crafters to create coordinating products using their existing craft supplies.  You can color chipboard, metal and wood embellishments, plastic buttons, pearls and rhinestones, glass, beads, acetate, ribbon and fabric.  With a little experimentation, you’ll be really surprised how you can alter and customize your crafting supplies.  

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



Taming the Chaos in Your Craft Space

After making all of my Christmas Cards, gift tags and crafting boxes, my craft room was a disaster!  I had stuff stacked up on my desk and boxes of supplies on a folding table.  There was absolutely no room to do anything – including checking emails on my laptop.  So, it required me spending some time to clean up the clutter, do a little housekeeping and find places to store stuff!  And, since becoming a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I have purchased a lot of new crafting supplies — because I never want to be without!  LOL!

While I was cleaning, I realized this might be a useful blog post especially since today is Martin Luther King Day.  Many of us will have the day off and the holiday provides the perfect opportunity to do a little cleaning.  Here are some thoughts that I jotted down  as I thought of them.  They are in no particular order, but hopefully you’ll find these ramblings helpful in taming the chaos in your crafting space.  


#1: Optimize your organizational system.  This will provide the biggest motivation for cleaning your craft room.  Instead of dreading the clutter, you will be excited about the organizational process!  Consider purchasing some new photo storage boxes, creating vertical storage with new IKEA shelving unit or investing in a new rolling cart.  If it gives you a larger work surface or more convenient storage – then, go for it!  Consider re-purposing items – but only if – you absolutely love it, it’s practical and functional, it creates more work space, and it creates more storage.  Otherwise, consider that re-purposed item as a “temporary solution” until you can purchase exactly what you need.  The goal is create an organization system that makes you happy!

#2:  Getting started.  Grab two empty laundry baskets (or large reusable shopping totes) to temporarily store items that need to be put away.  Start by removing the clutter from your work surfaces and putting everything inside the laundry basket.  Systematically work clockwise around the room – open every box and container, empty every cabinet and closet – remove things that do not belong – sort and consolidate – put items in the laundry basket, pull items out and put them away when you discover the best place for them.  The laundry basket will save your back and your steps, plus you can stop and resume the sorting and organization process at any time.  The second laundry basket is for things that don’t belong in your craft room or things that you plan to donate or give away.  As you work around the room – reorganize, consolidate and purge. 

#3: Keep your work surfaces clear of clutter.  This is easier said than done.  It is so easy to let things pile up, especially after holidays, crafting marathons and even when cleaning your crafting room.  But, your work surfaces should be used only for crafting!  A clean work surface helps to clear your mind and gives you lots of elbow room to work.  Clutter is distracting and interferes with the creative process.  Resolve to take the time to clean up as you craft.  You will spend less time searching for that item that you just held, spending more time crafting and have a smaller mess to clean up! 

#4: Label everything!  Labeling will help you keep track of everything you have and where it is located.  This will definitely save you time when searching for things and will help make your crafting less stressful.  Consider purchasing an inexpensive label maker at Walmart.  After all, you are in/out of that store all the time.  Why make a special trip to an office supply store for labeling tape.

#5: Cut 12″x12″ designer paper into smaller 4″x6″ or 6″x6″ pieces.  This is truly one of the hardest things to do because we love our pretty papers!  But 12″x12″ paper is heavy and takes up a lot of space.  The best thing to do is cut these pretty papers into smaller  pieces while paying attention what’s printed on the backside of those papers.  I promise you won’t die!  After the first few cuts, you will recognize that these pretty papers need less storage space and that you are more likely to use them.  TIP:  Store these smaller pieces with coordinating colors of 8-1/2”x11” cardstock – so they are readily available to include in your project design.

#6: Sell, give away or donate.  Let’s face it, craft techniques are somewhat trendy and your crafting style changes overtime.  If you haven’t used some of these crafting supplies it in a while, then chances are you won’t.  Let someone else enjoy these wonderful crafting supplies.  It is a WIN-WIN.  Everyone benefits – they get to play with new craft supplies and you gain valuable storage space.  

#7: Test and consolidate pens, paints, glues and other mediums.  Take a few minutes to gather and test the products that you have been hoarding in the back of your craft closet.  You will find that many can be thrown away because they are bone dry or rock solid!  With the remaining useful items, refer to #6/Sell, Give Away or Donate.  For example, if have an assortment of markers or discontinued cardstock, consider donating them to a local school, church or Girl Scout troop as they are sure to love crafting with them and you will gain valuable storage space.

# 8:  Do a little house cleaning as you go.  As you tame the chaos, do a little light housework – wipe your baseboards, dust behind things and vacuum.  I promise you that this process is worth the effort and you will look forward to spending more time in your happy place!

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


Design Tip: Creating a Focal Point

One of the most important things you can do to improve your card design is to create a distinct and deliberate point of interest, otherwise known as a focal point.  

The focal point is the part of the card design that catches your eye first.  The stronger your focal point is the more pleased you will be with your final card design. 

Today’s design tip is to allow yourself “time to play around” with your design and wait to adhere it until you’re happy with the design!

What is a focal point?  Typically, a focal point is….

  • the largest element on the card
  • the area on the card front with the most detail 
  • an element placed in the center of the card or offset in some direction — either up,  down, left or right of center
  • typically a stamped image, but may be a sentiment or an embellishment
  • may be a cluster of smaller elements grouped together to create a focal point
  • may be a special element like a die cut or even a die-cut window on the card front.

How to create a focal point?

  • add strong contrast in color or texture near it
  • frame your focal point with a die-cut such as Stitched Shape Framelits
  • cluster or overlap several elements in one area of the card front 
  • use uneven numbers of embellishments like pearls and rhinestones

What are some design tricks to emphasize your focal point?

  • try eliminating or removing other design elements that may be competing with your chosen focal point.
  • try changing the orientation of your card
  • try changing the size of the card.

Now the back story behind today’s design tip….I was designing a retirement card using the Adirondack chairs die cut from Seasonal Layers Thinlits Dies and the stamped water image from High Tide stamp set.  I had trouble creating a pleasing focal point for my “River House” card design — in the south it’s pronounced “Rivah Haus”.  I had all the right design elements, but was struggling with the design execution.  I tried the above suggestions and it still didn’t look quite right.  After about three hours, I had to stop, turn off the light and go to bed.  Then next day, I simply changed the orientation — from portrait to landscape — and SHAZAM!  The design came together like magic!  The problem was the placement and spacing of the elements in the focal point of my design.

And the final design…

retirement card for Gary

Other Stampin’ Up! products used in the design:  Smoky Slate Gingham Ribbon, Wood Textures designer series paper stack, Pinewood Planks embossing folder  and Stitched Shape framelits dies.  The sentiment is from Wild About Flowers stamp set.  To get the desired card length, I simply ran the cardstock and embossing folder through my Big Shot Machine twice and then rubbed the ink pad across the raised embossed image to make the woodgrain appear darker.  This card used a full sheet of 8.5″x11″ Whisper White thick cardstock.

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