Reorganizing Your Craft Space

Have you been binge-watching Netflix’s show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?  People everywhere are enthusiastically talking about Marie’s “Does it spark joy?” method. 

Growing up, Mom had her own version of “does it spark joy”.  Twice a year, she gave me three large garbage bags for hand-me downs, donations and trash!  LOL!  Today, I am still a twice-a-year purge girl – yet, my craft room is a constant challenge.  There are days when every horizontal surface, including my desk chair and the floor have piles of stuff!

With the new Norfolk IKEA store opening April 22nd, now is the perfect time to evaluate your craft space and make plans to reorganize

Here are some tips for reorganizing your craft space:

Step#1:  Reorganize by categories!  Try dealing with all of your cardstock and paper at once, or try dealing with every stamp set you own at once!  It is much easier to tackle smaller tasks and it more rewarding to see progress being made.  Alternatively, you can start with your craft desk and systematically work around the room.  Start by removing everything stacked on/in/under your craft desk, piling it on the floor before you start purging and reorganizing.

Step#2:  Purging Feels Good!  Touch everything!  Assess what you need to keep, what you need to keep close by, what you need to donate, and what you need to toss.  And like Marie Kondo, ask yourself “if it sparks joy”.  This simple question gives you permission to let go!  If you have not used it in the last year or five years, chances are great that you never will.  Crafting trends change over time, and your crafting style changes with it.  It is time to give those neglected items a new purpose by selling, by donating or by making room for something else!

  • Tip: Make your purging decisions FAST and RUTHLESSLY.  Avoid over thinking it!  Find joy in the purging process:  let go of the guilt from unfinished projects, relieve the stress of clutter, and surround yourself what brings you joy!
  • Tip: Purge when no one else is home to avoid the possibility of relocating items from your craft space to another room in the house. 
  • Tip: Clean as you go.  Dust flat surfaces, wipe down walls, cabinets and drawers, and vacuum all those weird nooks and crannies to get rid of dust bunnies and bits of paper.  Having a clean craft space will make you happier!

Step#3:  Create Designated Spaces and Reorganize with A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place!  After purging, it is time to re-organize, re-evaluate your storage, and put things away “logically” where they should go.  Store your things for easy access – both to get them out to use and to put them away when you are done!  Keep frequently used items within easy reach of your work area.  Assign special areas for cardstock and designer paper, ribbon and embellishments, punches and your Big Shot Machine, etc.  Use seal-able plastic containers to keep items dust-free.  Store cardstock and paper out of direct sunlight.  And, plan for growth because it is always better to have too much storage than not enough. 

Step#4:  Label everything!  Craft boxes and plastic bins provide easy and affordable storage and organization solutions.  But, it is easy to forget what you put away in them.  It is much easier to label and read the outside of a box, then to pull down ten boxes from the top shelf in order to look inside.

  • Tip#1: Purchase a label maker from your favorite Big Box Store – that one store that you are in/out of all the time.  This will avoid special trips to an office supply store or having to place special on-line orders for the label refill cartridges.

Step#5:  Put things away every time you use your craft room!  You deserve a fun crafting experience without the guilt and the stress from chaos.  It is easier to spend last 15-minutes organizing and clearing your craft space.  It much harder to work around the clutter and to find the time to clean up after weeks of neglect.  Using designated areas and labeling will make it much easier to automatically put things away as you go!

Final thoughts:

Sometimes you need a fresh start in order to move forward.  I recently did this with my old cardstock – perfectly good stuff in hundreds of retired colors and from many different suppliers.  Donating my old cardstock (and its storage system) to my niece’s classroom made me happy, made my niece happy and gave her second graders hours and hours of joy!  Going forward, I have a new paper organization system and new color-coordinated cardstock and designer papers!

Invest in durable furniture and shelving, upgrade your lighting and personalize your craft space.  You spend a lot of time crafting, so make your craft space as beautiful as the art you create!  When you can afford to, purchase purpose-built furniture and shelving for a more functional craft space, and replace old light fixtures with new LED lights for better task lighting and color coordination.  Finally, personalize your craft space to reflect you – your favorite colors, your artwork, your collectibles, etc. – all things that inspire you and bring you joy! 

Purchase what you need, upgrade when you can and continue to refine your craft space.  Maintain a shopping list and a separate wish list in order to know what you really need and to know what you would like to have As your collection of craft supplies and tools grow, new items come on the market and your crafting style changes, remember the adage: “OUT with the old and IN with the new”.  New purchases make you happy, motivate you to reorganize and clean, and inspire you to create.  As you refine your craft space and evaluate your storage needs in order to make room for those new purchases, take the time to sort through those storage containers, purge and re-label as appropriate, and continue to surround yourself with what brings you joy!

Please let me know about your ideas for reorganizing your craft space and any purchases from the new IKEA store.

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


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!


Tool Tips: Paper Trimmer, Blades & Mats

I love my Stampin’ Trimmer!  

In fact, I have two Stampin’ Trimmers on my desk at all times — because believe it or not, when I am crafting my desktop becomes a disaster area!  So much so. that I loose my trimmer under stacks of DSP.  To divert further chaos, I just grab my other trimmer!  LOL!

What I love about my Stampin’ Trimmer is that it is trimmer that every other trimmer WANTS TO BE! 

Yes, I have tried many trimmers over the last 20+ years.  And, I can honestly say that the Stampin’ Trimmer is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!  It is lightweight and portable, but sturdy enough to make straight and precision cuts every time!  Also, it has an extra wide cutting platform with a 14-1/2″ extending arm for larger projects and scrapbook pages.   It comes with both cutting blades and scoring blades, which conveniently slide along the v-track and out of the way.  And, finally, the Stampin’ Trimmer locks closed from storage or transport.  

If you don’t always get the best edges when cutting with your Stampin’ Trimmer, it may be time for a new cutting blade.   

Tip:  Did you know that you can store extra cutting blades, bone folder and other items on backside of the trimmer? 

timmer backside.jpg

To replace your cutting blade or scoring blades, simply slide blades to the rectangle opening at the far-end of the v-track, and lift out with your paper-piercing tool.  

trimmer how to replace the blade

If you’ve replaced the blade are still having trouble getting a clean cut, inspect and clean your Stampin’ Trimmer Mat.  Simply run your paper-piercing tool gently along the track to remove any shredded paper or paper dust that tends to collect inside, then wipe with a alcohol swap to remove any adhesive and gunk.  You can always flip it over because there is a cutting track on the back side, too!.  If you are still having trouble, the mat is worn and it is time to purchase a Stampin’ Trimmer Replacement Mat.

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





Partial Dry Embossing using Big Shot

The other day on instagram, Mikaela Titheridge (SU Demonstrator @thecraftyoinkpen) posted how to do “Partial Dry Embossing” technique.  It is a simple, yet effective technique to show case your design with any embossing folder.


Use two pieces of cardboard the same size as your cardstock, or bigger, to create a shim. The board at the back of the Designer Series Paper packs is ideal for this. Take your chosen die shape and stacking the two cardboard pieces, run them through the Bigshot with your die in place. This will cut the top layer and leave an impression on the bottom, showing where to position the die when it comes to running through again. You may need to use a craft knife to get right through the board. Stick the two pieces of board together. Depending upon the thickness of your chosen folder and what platforms you have, will depend upon which platforms you use. I used the Multi-purpose platform and thin die adapter, plus one cutting plate. Secure your shim to the outside of your embossing folder using washi tape, insert your plain piece of cardstock and run through the Bigshot. The textured impression will only take where the cardboard applies pressure, leaving the aperture blank for you to add a sentiment, embellishment or decoration of your choice.


The partial dry embossing leaves the focal point smooth for stamping your sentiment and adding embellishments.  Do you love it?  I can’t wait to try it.

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


Quick Tip: Creating Background Paper

Here is quick time for making your own background stamp out of a bunch of smaller stamps! First, lay out all of your coordinating stamps on a piece of cardstock, cluster the images close together and make sure to place the stamps face down. Next, place Block F over your stamps–mounting them on the block. Then just ink up your stamps and stamp onto the cardstock.  (The large clear acrylic block was used for photographing purposes, but you can do the same thing using your Stamparatus.)

For this tone-on-tone example, Coastal Cabana link was used on Coastal Cabana cardstock.  However, using VersaMark ink would provide a softer effect.


For a more bold background, try using Craft White ink, Basic Gray or Night of Navy.

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


Tool Tip: Embossing Buddy

embossing buddy catalog image.jpg

Do you know the benefits of an Embossing Buddy?  This little, anti-static pouch can really be a life saver.  It is used to prevent Embossing Powder from sticking in unwanted places on your cardstock or to minimize fingerprints left behind by oils and moisture. But did you know that it has other uses?

TIP #1:  Try using the Embossing Buddy to de-stick adhesive in unwanted places!  For example, if you getting a little carried away with Snail adhesive or if you have to removed an element from a card, simply pat the area with the Embossing Buddy. It will transfer some of the anti-static powder onto the sticky area, covering it and preventing it from sticking.

TIP #2:  Try using the Embossing Buddy to prevent the shaker elements from sticking to the side of the Foam Adhesive Strips  inside the shaker card.  Simply pat the Embossing Buddy on the thin edge of the strips – not the flat adhesive top part – before adding the shaker elements.

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!


Spruce Up your Card Designs with DSP

The Under the Mistletoe Designer Series Paper is festive yet traditional, and its beautiful  patterns will make the perfect backdrop for your Christmas cards.  

dashing deer - green dsp

Here, I matted a 4″x5-1/4″ piece of DSP with 4-1/4″x5-1/2″ piece of Gold Foil.  I used stamped the sentiment in Shaded Spruce ink on Whisper White cardstock to make a simple banner.  The deer was diecut from Gold Foil with a piece of gold metallic thread tied in a bow.  And, the card front was embellished with some gold metallic pearls.   

DSP - under the mistletoe.jpg

If you are mass producing Christmas cards, you will love using designer series paper pack.  A package of Under the Mistletoe DSP comes with two sheets of 12 different designs — in Stampin’ Up! coordinating colors of Early Espresso, Night of Navy, Old Olive, Real Red, Shaded Spruce, Whisper White.  And, you can precut one sheet of DSP and make six cards quickly! 

TIP:  To simplify card assembly, apply Multi-purpose Adhesive Sheets on the backside of the Gold Foil before die cutting the deer.  Now you will only have to remove the paper backing to attach the deer on the card front.

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