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!




Falling Flowers

With its fun shapes and modern cuteness, the Falling Flowers stamp set is sure to become a favorite especially when coloring these flirty flowers with your collection of Stampin’ Blends markers.  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.

falling flowers with blends

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, I stamped three large bold flower using Tuxedo Black Memento ink. 

  • After allowing the stamped image to dry for a minute or two, begin by coloring the flower first with the brush end of Dark Pink Pirouette marker.  (Note:  pink provide a natural highlight for the flower once colored.)
  • Next, color the flower using the brush end of the Light Cherry Cobbler marker, and then added shading using the fine tip end of the Dark Cherry Cobbler marker. 
  • Blend the edge where the light and dark reds met, using small circular motions with the fine tip of the Light Cherry marker
  • Blend the edge where the pink and red inks met, using small circular motions with the fine tip of the Dark Pink Pirouette marker. 
  • Color the flower centers using Daffodil Delight.
  • Color and fussy cut the three flowers.
  • On a 4″x5-1/4″ piece of Whisper White, stamp the swirling vines image and a sentiment using Tuxedo Black Memento ink.  (I used the sentiment from Birthday Blooms.)
  • Color the berries with Dark Pink Pirouette and Light Cherry Cobbler, and the leaves with both light and dark shades of Old Olive.
  • Pop up the flowers with Dimensionals, and mat the piece with Old Olive cardstock.

falling flowers card

All of these items are available to purchase using my on-line store, just click on the links provided or use the SHOP tab above. Please note that the Stampin! Blends are sold individually, in combo packages of light and dark shades and in full-collection of 27 markers. 

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


You’ve Got This

Stampin’ Blends are just so easy to color with especially when working with nice big flower from You’ve Got This stamp set.  The other night, I stamped the flower with Tuxedo Black Memento ink on thick Whisper White cardstock and enjoyed experimenting with the various markers.  Each and every flower looked terrific, so I matted them to create four cards!

youve got this many

For the flower on the left, I started with Light Pool Party, then added Dark Pool Party and Light Night of Navy to deepen the color at the bottom of each petal. 

For the flower on the right, I started with light Pink Pirouette — but switched to light Rich Razzleberry instead.  Then I added light and dark Cherry Cobbler to deepen the color at the bottom of each petal.

The Stampin’ Blends can be purchased individually, in a combination pack of light and dark shades or in a full set.  The dual tips — brush tip and fine tip — make blending a breeze.  The brush tip lays down a good wet base coat of color of the lightest shade.  Next lay down a darker shade using light flicks – flicking and lifting the marker from the darker creases towards the lighter shade.  Then use the fine tip of the lightest shade to blend out the darker shade using small circular motions.  

blends full set.jpg

There is also a Color Lifter marker — its colorless solution moves and pulls color from images you colored to add highlights and dimension.  This is a must have item!

There are also two skin tone markers — in Ivory and BronzeWhen combined with light Pink Pirouette, light Crumb Cake and light Smokey Slate — you can blend any color skin tone.

The Stampin’ Blends Collection of 27 markers will make a great Christmas gift to yourself — or right my name and phone number on your Christmas Wish List — and I’ll see that you have a Merry Christmas!

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





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!