Use Stampin’ Blends like an Expert

humming along avid crafter


To achieve different blending techniques like adding highlights and adding dimension, you will want to add a “colorless” Color Lifter Marker to your collection of Stampin’ Blend Markers. In fact, I have several color lifter markers so that one is always handy.  Color Lifter Markers are useful for many different blending techniques because the colorless ink helps to push the colored ink around on the paper.  Here are some tips for using your Color Lifter Marker.

  1. For coloring large areas, first apply a colorless layer from your Color Lifter Marker, then apply the colored maker while the area is still wet. This will make it easier to get one solid color, or to blend two colors together.
  2. For a lighter shade of color, simply touch the tips of two markers together (the colored marker and the color lifter marker) and you will transfer color onto your color lifter marker – this is also called “color tip transfer”. (Note:  the darker the actual color, the less ink you need to transfer to the color lifter marker.)
  3. For the dark to light effect – Use the color tip transfer technique above. With color on the tip of the color lifter marker, drag the tip in a straight line. The beginning of the stroke will be darker and will fade as the stroke continues. You’ll want to do this in a quick motion to get the desired look.
  4. For the circle technique – Similar to the color tip transfer from dark to light effect, use a circular stroke instead of a straight light. If you start in the center of a circle, your darkest area will be in the center and gradually get lighter as you move outward.  If you start around the outside of a circle, your darker area will be around the outside of the circle and will gradually get lighter towards the middle.
  5. For lightening dark areas – In general, you should limit how much color is added to dark areas to avoid over-saturating the paper with ink and over-blending!
  6. For creating color highlights, simply touch the nib of your color lifter marker on the colored image to create highlights or texture.
  7. For erasing stray marks outside the lines, use the colorless ink of your Color Lifter Marker to “push” the color back in the lines with a blender. Let dry and keep repeating to lighten the color.
  8. To clean your color lifter marker, simply scribbling away any color on scrap piece of cardstock.

hey love - ape sample inky angels


Stampin’ Blend markers are high-quality, alcohol-based, dual-tip markers.  They come in the exclusive Stampin’ Up! colors. Each color comes in 2 shades to give you the best blending experience out there.

Stampin’ Blend markers 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’ Blend markers 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. 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.

blended season - blends poppy parade


  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. 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’ Blend markers can be used with other mediums like colored pencils and water coloring.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this incredibly long post.  I hope you found the information useful for getting the most out of your investment in your Stampin’ Blends markers.  Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!


Design Tips for Embellishments

rule of three

I love simple, easy design tips — and the Rule of Three is perfect for embellishing your card designs.  The Rule of Three is a classic design principle — simply because objects look better in a group of three.  The next best thing to Rule of Three is the Rule of Odd Numbers — using an odd number of items — like one, five, seven, or nine — simply because objects look more natural and not forced.

rule of odd 5

Embellishments add an element of interest to you card design.  And, embellishments tend to enhance your design when you use the Rule of Three or the Rule of Odd Numbers — whether it is three pearls in a straight line or five scattered rhinestones.  Plus, the Rule of Odd Numbers allows you to mix and match embellishments for a little extra design flair – same type of embellishment in a different color, material or size — like the green card above.

rule of three clusterd

Stampin’ Up offers a large array of embellishments to jazz up your card design and to accent the focal point.   Some choices for embellishment are:  pearls, rhinestones and faceted gems, enamel shapes, sequins, buttons, beads, brads, clips, metal charms and trinkets, doilies, corrugated cardboard pieces and wood elements.  If you’d like to purchase anything from my on-line store, simply click on this link to see all the wonderful embellishments that Stampin’ Up offers.

Until next time, sending crafting hugs and inspiration wishes for embellishments




What in the world are Reinkers?


Reinkers are cost-effective way to refresh my ink pad when it starts to dry out.  You can re-ink your inkpad many times using one bottle.  To re-ink, simply place the reinker tip on the ink pad and squeeze some ink across the surface of the ink pad using a back & forth, up & down pattern.  Then use a plastic spoon or an old gift card to spread the ink evenly through the ink pad.  You will notice that the color or the ink pad surface will change to a more uniform color.  Always double-check that the reinker color matches the ink pad color!

However, reinkers have many, many uses:

  1. Reinkers are helpful when you anciently contaminate an ink pad with another color ink. Yes, it will eventually happen and it will not be the last time either.  Gently blot the contaminated area with a paper towel to absorb the wrong color and to minimize pushing the wrong color deeper into the ink pad, then re-ink with the correct color. 
  2. Refresh the ink from your Paper Pumpkin ink spots or add ink to the new uninked Stampin’ Spots (#141822, Price $9.00 for a pack of five ink spots) in the exact colors you need. Ink spots are great for ink-to-paper techniques, stamping on the go and inking stamps using your stamparatus. 
  3. Reinkers can be used to refresh your Stampin’ Write Markers.
  4. Reinkers can be used on moist baby wipes to create your own custom ink pad. Simple add a couple drops on a moist baby wipe.  The moistness will allow the colors to blend nicely, now you just need to ink and stamp. 
  5. Reinkers can be used to dye ribbon in the exact coordinating color you need.
  6. Reinkers can be used to create colored embossing paste to complement your design
  7. Reinkers can be used to create a watercolor palette for various watercoloring techniques
  8. Reinkers can be used in many fun techniques and lots of talented crafters have posted tutorials on the internet such as: misting and masking using stencils, applying a watercolor wash, creating fun backgrounds using marbles or shaving cream, and adding ink splatters, drips and rings.

Tip when purchasing:  Always add the reinker to your order when purchasing new ink pads; or use your Stampin’ Rewards to purchase reinkers at your next opportunity.

Tip for color coding your reinker bottle for easy identification:  Using a regular hole punch and corresponding color of cardstock, punch a small circle, add a glue dot and apply to the cap of your reinker bottle.

Reinkers incolors 2017 2019

Stock up on Your Favorite 2017-2019 In-Colors

If you love Powder Pink, Lemon-lime Twist, Tranquil Tide, Berry Burst and Fresh Fig – these colors will be retiring in June when the new 2019-2021 In-Colors are introduced.  Please stock up on your favorite In-Colors very, very soon.  Why you say?  Every year, inventories on retired products go quickly, and I would hate for you to miss out on stocking up with your favorite color!  Please order NOW while supplies are available AND earn those fabulous Sale-a-Bration gifts, too!  Please visit my on-line store here to place your order.

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


More Seize the Day cards

seize the day - hank eacho retirement card

The Seize the Day stamp set makes a perfect masculine card.  Recently, I needed an extra large retirement card for my boss.  The stamped image is stamped in Soft Suede and Pear Pizzazz, matted for a regular A2 card and wrapped with Linen Thread.  The card design was enhanced by the extra white space of an A6 card and a piece of Nature’s Poem DSP for the larger card.

Here is a close up of the A6 card.

seize the day - lisa

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


Lilypad Lake

Lilypad Lake is one of my favorite stamp sets from the annual catalog.  The heron, the sailboats and lilypad images are just so peaceful.  

lilypad lake by sandy alexander step up cards

Here are two versions of the card — one advanced and one simple.  The images were stamped on 1.5″ squares of Whisper White cardstock, colored with Stampin Write Markers of Pool Party, So Saffron and Pear Pizzazz.  The stamped images were matted with Pool Party cardstock with additional layers of cardstock in So Saffron and Pear Pizzazz.  The more advanced card used Linen Thread and extra layer of Sahara Sand cardstock.

lilypad lake catalog

The “Happy Birthday” sentiment is from Perennial Birthday stamp set, while the “to see far…” sentiment is from the Lilypad Lake stamp set.  I used my stamparatus for the sentiments in order to get a crisp and solid black impression using Stazon Jet Black ink.  

lilypad lake by sandy alexander step down

Here’s a close up of the other card.

lilypad lake by sandy alexander

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


Festive Kraft Pillow Box

kraft pillow boxes - snow is glistening

With the holidays ahead, these die-cut pillow boxes are perfect for gift giving and those last minute gift emergencies.  You get 10 adorable white polka dot boxes for $5!  Add a little festive decorations and slide in a gift card and some Hershey kisses and you’ve got a terrific gift for someone special.

Here I used the limited edition Snowfall Thinlits dies to die cut snowflakes in Whisper White, Cherry Cobbler and Tranquil Tide.  Add some Tranquil Tide ribbons as a belly band and embellished the snowflakes with Snowflake Trinkets and it is ready to fill with some holiday cheer.

Need a different color to coordinate with your festivities?  Simply sponge or drag the ink pad across the flattened box and wipe away the excess ink.  The white polka dots partially resist the ink, giving you a tone on tone box in the color of your choice.  

kraft pillow box - make it 2

And abracadabra, you have blue pillow box!

kraft pillow box - make it 5

These kraft pillow boxes are a must for your crafting stash.  If you’d like to purchase these for holidays ahead, simply click on the links provided.

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


Tutorial for Scalloped Self-Closing Box

scalloped self-closing bags with lotions

Today, I’m going to show you how to make these adorable self closing boxes because we  love to buy girlfriend gifts.  And sometimes, those girlfriend gifts are difficult to gift wrap — like those regular 8 oz. lotions and 10 oz. body scrubs from Bath & Body Works. 

Here is a wonderful and creative way to make a gift box.  And, it is a great way to use your stash of 12″ x 12″ designer series paper! 

scalloped self-closing bags 00

For this project, you need your 12″ Stampin’ Trimmer, a bone folder, a ruler, your paper snips, the Detailed Trio Punch and a very strong adhesive — like tear & tape adhesive, and one sheet of pretty 12″ x 12″ designer series paper.  TIP:  If you paper has a directional pattern with an upside, add a paper clip to the top!

Starting with the top of the designer series paper (the one with a paperclip) against the rails of the trimmer ruler, score at 5.5″ and 11″. 

scalloped self-closing bags 01

Rotate the top of your designer series paper counterclockwise (left), so that the top is on the left side of the scoring track.  Score at 1.5″ and 10″.

Rotate the top of your designer series paper counterclockwise again, so that the top is now furthest from the rails of the trimmer ruler (or upside down in the trimmer).  Score a partial score line down to the first score line at 3.75″ and 9.25″.  These partial score lines will form the base of the box.  Fold and burnish all score lines.

scalloped self-closing bags scoring instructions

Put your trimmer away, and grab your ruler and bone folder to make some diagonal score across the two large rectangle panels — score from the top score line to where the partial score line meets the bottom score line.  Repeat with the other large rectangle panel.  You should end up with two upside-down triangles.  Gently pinch along each of the four diagonal score line to give the box its unique self-closing contour.

From the bottom, cut up to the first score line to create four tabs for the base of the box.  Add tear & tape to three for the four tabs.

On the right side, remove the two small rectangles at the top and bottom edge.  Add two strips of tear & tape to the pretty side (outside) along the edges of the long 1″ rectangle.  Remove paper backing from the tear & tape.  To prevent the seam from showing, attached the tear & tape to the backside of the pretty paper.   Now attach the bottom tabs for form the base of the box.

Pinch the top of the box closed.  Using the corner rounder in the Detailed Trio Punch, press firmly through the two thicknesses of designer series paper in order to round the top corners for a finished scallop look.  Decorate your box as desired.  

scalloped self-closing bags 11 - three bags

As you can see this works great with thicker Specialty Designer Series Paper as well as the regular Designer Series Paper.  Just remember to score with a light touch when using the regular Designer Series Paper to minimize the potential for tearing.

It is a great way to use designer paper from your paper stash.  If you’d like to purchase any of the products used in this tutorial, please click on the links provided.  

If you found this tutorial helpful, please leave a comment.  I love hearing from you! 

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






Tutorial for Making a Gift Box using the Envelop Punch Board

envelope punch box with abstract floral butterfly.jpg

Isn’t this just sweetest little gift box?  Do you know someone who would love to receive this gift?  It is just the right size for a few Lindt Milk Lindor Truffles — you know the ones, in those pretty foil bags in the store.  Well, if the chocolates survive the trip home, you can slip a few into this sweet gift box for a special someone.

envelope punch board

For this project, you will need an envelop punch board and a 6″ X 6″ piece of designer series paper.  Slide your paper under the punch, and punch at 1.5″ and insert your scoring tool into the slot and score.  Rotate your paper, this time punch at 3″ and score.  Rotate your paper, punch at 1.5″ and score.  And, finally, rotate your paper and punch at 3″ and score.  You should have one punch on each of the four sides, and four score lines that will create the base of your gift box.

Next, put your scoring tool away — you won’t be needing it again.  Slide paper under the punch, and align the score line with the Score Guide and punch.  Rotate, align the next score line with the Score Guide and punch.  Repeat until all four sides have two punches.  Note:  you now have two small corners and two large corners — these will become the flaps on the top of your box.

Next insert the points in the corner rounder (the Reverse Punch on the backside of the board) — and round all four corners for a more finished look.  Fold and burnish the score lines.  Using your paper snips, cut to the first score line along each side the two large corners — these will create the tabs to form the gift box base.  Select a small punch, something that is slightly larger than the metallic brad that will be used to secure the top.  (Recommend using a punch that is smaller than 1/2″.)  Center punch on the front flap and punch.  

Place mini-glue dots or use your favorite adhesive on the four tabs, attach on the inside of the large corner flaps to form the base of your gift box. For the dome top, gently press in the two small corner flaps, then curve in the back large corner flap and fold over the front corner flap. 

Using a paper piercing tool, create a small  hole by inserting the piercing tool through the punched opening on the front flap and pressing through the paper.  This will insure that the metallic brad is located in the right spot to hold the gift box securely closed.  Tip:  Use Stampin’ Blends to color your brad to match, or heat emboss brad using VersaMark and a coordinating color of embossing powder.

Insert brad and attach loosely.  To secure gift box, slide front flap over the brad and tuck the hole punch underneath the brad.  Next, decorate your gift box.  I used 1/4″ silver trim ribbon and butterfly foil die cut from Springtime Impressions Thinlits.

envelop punch board box 14

envelop punch board box 15

This is one of my favorite uses for the envelop punch board.  While the punch board has instructions for making 66 different sizes of envelopes, I have found there are many other uses for it — like this gift box.  It is a great way to use designer paper from your paper stash.  If you’d like to purchase any of the products used in this tutorial, please click on the links provided.  

If you found this tutorial helpful, please leave a comment.  I love hearing from you! 

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



Dandelion Wishes

dandelion wishes catalog image

Dandelion Wishes stamp set is perfect for sending wishes of luck, love and happiness.  Do you remember how to wish on a dandelion?  First, look for the fluffiest white puffball that you can find and pick the stem carefully to retain the magic.  Next, determine the direction of the breeze to ensure good flight for your wish and hold that fluffy puff ball near your mouth.  For the strongest magic, you must blow away all of the seeds in breath. Now take a deep breath, make your wish and blow.  Taking the time to watch until the last seed is out of sight helps the wish come true.

dandelion inky sample

When is the last time you made a wish on a dandelion?  Or sent someone dandelion wishes?

No one knows for sure how or why people started making wishes on dandelions.  These flowers have been around for thousands of years, and there are the many folklore superstitions that have been attached to dandelions such as granting wishes when you blow on those fluffy white puffballs.  Some include dreaming about dandelions or carrying dandelions in a bridal bouquet will bless you with good luck.  Many people believe that if you blow every seed of the dandelion off while thinking of a person you love, it means that they love you back.  Another legend is that your loved one can feel your love – when blow those white seeds in their direction.  Conversely, if you then blow on the bloom and there is at least one remaining seed on it, it means your loved one is thinking of you too.

Dandelions have many secret meanings behind that bright yellow flower.  It is known to have nutritional and healing powers that rejuvenate our bodies.  Its bright yellow color symbolizes the power of the sun.  Since dandelions thrive in even the harshest of conditions, they are considered as symbols of survival and overcoming the greatest hardships in life.  Bright, yellow color of a Dandelion flower is a perfect symbol of happiness and joy that brings back fond memories of our youth playing in summer time.  And finally,  dandelions seeds have been used to make a wish for as long as we can remember. Picking up a flower and blowing to make the seeds fly into the air, and then making a wish is something I did as a child and probably you have too.

How many of these superstitions hold any truth? You can be the judge. The one thing that is for sure, scientifically, is that blowing a dandelion’s seeds into the air will have consequences. Where those seeds fall on fertile soil, there will likely be new dandelions in the future!

dandelion inky sample

This card features the Bokeh Dots background stamp, that has been colored using Stamparatus and Sponge Daubers in Merry Merlot, Old Olive, Gray Granite and So Saffron.  

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


Kraft Pillow Boxes

I love having things on hand to create small gifts.  For those planned events and those unexpected happenings, these kraft pillow boxes with white polka dots make a great party favor, treat holder or gift card packaging.   These pre-made, kraft pillow boxes are easy to dress up and are very affordable.  You get 10 boxes for $5.  Add some ribbon, a belly band or diecut — and you’ve got a really cute gift in minutes. 

kraft pillow box - make it 5

It is really easy to change the color, too.  Using the direct to paper technique, I applied Blueberry Bushel ink by dragging the ink pad across the pillow box. 

kraft pillow box - make it 2

At first, it looks like an inky mess.  Using a tissue or paper towel, spread the ink into the creases and folds, and then wiped away the excess ink to make those polka dots pop!  I just love polka dots.  And, this two-tones of Blueberry Bushel ink are just fun!

kraft pillow box - make it 3 wipe it

For the belly band, I used a strip of Granny Apple Green cardstock cut 2″ wide by 8.5″ long.  I folded and pinched the belly band around the pillow box, taking care to ensure that it would slide off easily.  Then, I applied some tear & tape adhesive to secure the one end of the belly band over the other end.

kraft pillow box - make it 4

To dress it up more, I tied a bow with some of the Gorgeous Grape 1/4″ Mini Striped Ribbon and added a rainbow foil diecut from Celebrate You Thinlits.  

To create the rainbow foil, I scribbled by Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers on silver foil card stock and allowed it to dry before die cutting.  Rainbow colors I used are:  Lovely Lipstick, Flirty Flamingo, Pumpkin Pie, Pineapple Punch, Granny Apple Green, Bermuda Bay and Night of Navy. 

coordinate using blends - silver foil die cut

I applied some fine-tip glue pen in the middle of the diecut word “celebrate” and attached it to the belly band.  Alternatively, I could have applied a small 1″ x 1-1/2″ piece of Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets to the area directly behind the letters “ebra” of the diecut word “celebrate”.  

kraft pillow box - make it 4

Now, this festive packaging is ready for the next special occasion that comes my way!  It is just the right size for adding some goodies and a gift card — something I know that the recipient with enjoy!  

All of these items are available to purchase from my on-line store – just click on the links provided.  If you do not have a demonstrator, I would love to assist you on your crafting journey!  Just click on the “CONTACT” tab above. 

Until next time, sending crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!