Techniques using Brusho and Pattern Party Masks

Brusho watercolor crystals are fun to play with — simply sprinkle them directly on water-washed paper and watch the colors burst!  Check out this Stampin’ Up! video for several tips and tricks for using Brusho.  Trust me, you’re going to want to add Brusho to your watercoloring supplies.

When combined with Pattern Party Decorative Masks — you will embark on a new way to step up your watercolor technique — plus this technique will give you two background pieces for card making.

First, use washi tape to secure a piece of Thick Whisper White cardstock to your work surface.  Add a light spritzing of water using your Stampin’ Spritzers to the entire piece and then cover with your decorative mask.  Next very little sprinkle with two different colors of Brusho — remember a little goes a long way!  Here I sprinkled yellow Brusho in the top left, and Prussian Blue in the bottom right.  Add another light spritz with water and allow the color to burst and mix.  If necessary, use your Aqua Painter to add drop of water and spread the Brusho watercolor inside the negative openings of the mask.

Prepare a second piece of Thick Whisper White cardstock and add a light water wash with your aqua painter.  Next, carefully lift up the mask from the first piece.  Since the mask is still wet with Brusho — place the mask upside down on a second piece of Thick Whisper White cardstock to transfer the watercolor ink.  Spritz the second piece again and press down on the mask to help transfer the ink.  Allow both pieces to air dry.   You can speed up the process by using your heat gun, remembering to applying heat both sides of the piece to minimize the paper curling.

Now decorate your background pieces to create a card.  Here, I combined my background pieces with diecuts from Butterflies Thinlits (an old favorite product found on page 215 in Annual Catalog) and from Celebrate You Thinlits dies from Sale-a-Bration brochure.

brusho 1

brusho 2

From now until March 31st,  you can receive free exclusive products for every $50 you spend (before shipping and taxes) from the Sale-a-Bration brochure.  Plus, you can earn bigger rewards, like Celebrate You Thinlits dies, when you spend $100.  Check out the amazing Sale-a-Bration products here.

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



Photo-Realistic Stamping with Heartfelt -Blooms

heartfelt blooms catalogVintage photos are often used to make beautiful photo-realistic stamps.  The Heartfelt Blooms from the Sale-a-Bration brochure is one of these amazing stamp sets.  This one-step stamp will create stunning projects whether stamped in one color, or stamped in a neutral color and colored in your favorite shades.  This is a Sale-A-Bration exclusive item, which you can get FREE with a purchase of $50 or more.   

heartfelt blooms 1

In the future, Stampin’ Up! will be offering more photo-realistic stamps from a new line of Distinktive stamps which lay down ink at different opacities, giving the finished image more depth.  The trick to getting a great impression from a photo-realistic stamps, like Heartfelt Blooms, is doing a little prep work and making the right choices about paper and ink!

Prep Work

  • Clean your stamp first using your Stampin’ Mist and Stampin’ Scrub in order to remove any residue from the manufacturing process. 
  • Next, ink and stamp the image several times on some scrap paper.
  • Gentle rub any areas on your stamp that do not leave a good stamped image, then clean your stamp again using your Stampin’ Mist and Stampin’ Scrub. 
  • Once thoroughly cleaned, the stamp should ink up nicely without any puddles or pools of ink on the raised surfaces of the stamp.

Check the wetness of your ink pad

Your Stampin’ Up Classic Ink Pads and Archival ink pads should work wonderfully.  However, you may need a slightly drier ink pad to achieve a crisp detailed image — especially if you recently re-inked your pad.  If your ink pad is too juicy, the ink will collect between the raised lines of your stamp and blur when stamped.  Simple remedy is to pounce your juicy ink pad directly on some computer paper in order to remove the extra wet ink. 

Tip:  Avoid using VersaMark or pigment inks (like our Craft White ink) — these inks are thicker and will puddle between the stamped image lines creating a blurrier image. 

heartfelt blooms 2

Paper Finishes

The smooth finish of our Whisper White and Very Vanilla cardstocks will provide a sharp, detailed image of your stamp.  Glossy White and Shimmery White papers will also work wonderfully because the paper coating allows the ink to sit more on the surface of the paper rather than to be absorbed into the paper.   You will need to experiment with other papers to see if you will get the desired results.  

Inking and Stamping

To get an even coating of ink, I like to pat the ink pad onto the rubber stamp.  Simply place your stamp on its back on your work table, and pat the ink pad onto the rubber.  Hold your stamp up to the light and make sure all the raised surfaces look shiny with ink.

To stamp your image straight down so that the rubber surface touches the paper at the same time.  The stamp positioning tool like a Stamp-a-ma-jig or the new Stamparatus may help you get consistent results.  If you do not have one of these tools, simply press your stamp straight down onto your paper, without rocking and lift your stamp straight up, holding your paper down with one hand. You should have a nice, clear image.heartfelt blooms sample 1

As mentioned previously, this is an exclusive Sale-a-Bration stamp set, which can be yours FREE with a qualifying purchase from my on-line store.

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!



Tip: Preparing Stamps for First Use

Recently, I learned a couple of tricks for preparing your new stamps – both rubber and photopolymer stamps – for their FIRST USE.  This important step is called “priming” that will remove the oily residue that remains after manufacturing new stamps.  The benefits of priming new stamps are:  

  1. Nice crisp stamped image with its first use
  2. Ink will distribute evenly on the stamp surface (no beading up or blotchy images)
  3. Priming will minimize stains on your stamps after repeated use

Priming New Photopolymer and New Rubber Stamps

  1. Place photopolymer and clear-mounted rubber stamps on a clear acrylic block (if you have wood-mounted stamps, adhere the stamp and sticker on the wood block prior to use)
  2. Spray Stampin’ Mist on your Stampin’ Scrub and give your new stamps a good scrub by cleaning and drying them using your Stampin’ Scrub  
  3. Ink up your stamps with VersaMark ink.  The VersaMark ink will act as a barrier.  The clear sticky ink will penetrate this semi-porous stamp and it will help minimize the staining effect with subsequent use.  (If you don’t have a VersaMark ink pad, use the lightest and palest colored ink that you own.)  
  4.  Your stamp is now ready to use.  You can clean off the VersaMark ink before using it for your craft project; or, you can directly ink it up with any colored ink and stamp.  The clear VersaMark ink will not harm your colored ink pad.
  5. After inking and stamping, immediately clean your stamp with Stampin’ Mist and your Stampin’ Scrub which will also minimize the potential for ink stains. 
  6. Enjoy using and loving your stamps.  While you may notice some staining with future use, I promise it will  not be nearly as dark as without using the VersaMark.

Ink Stains do not affect stamp performance

Some inks are prone to staining your stamps.  Archival and StazOn inks are permanent inks that will stain your rubber stamps.  And, almost any colored ink (especially reds, browns and blacks) will stain your photopolymer stamps.  Chalk or pigment inks will leave a ruddy hue on any stamp.  Using VersaMark as a primer isn’t 100% fool proof but, it will significantly reduce the amount of staining on your stamps.

Restoring Stamp Cling

After repeated use and lots of love, your photopolymer stamps and your clear acrylic blocks may acquire a cloudy film that will affect their cling performance.  The natural cling properties of photopolymer stamps will attract dust and link and pick up the oils from your hands.  And because we tend to forget about cleaning our clear acrylic blocks, the photopolymer stamps will pick up any residue left on your clear acrylic blocks from glue or various crafting techniques.  The steps for restoring stamp cling are simple, quick and easy.

For photopolymer stamps, wash both the flat cling side and the stamped image side of your stamp with Dawn dish soap, rinse under running water and allow to air dry or blot dry with an Absorber cloth (a synthetic chamois).  Note:  Avoid blotting dry using a dish towel or paper towel as your freshly cleaned photopolymer stamp will attract a new batch of the lint!

For clear acrylic blocks, clean first with an alcohol wipe, then wash with Dawn dish soap, rinse under running water, blot dry with an Absorber, dish towel or paper towel and store.  

Cleaning your Stampin’ Scrub

It is important to clean your Stampin’ Scrub occasionally to remove the inks, dirt and oils that get trapped in the black fibers of the scrub pads when cleaning and drying your stamps.  Simply rinse both sides of your Stampin’ Scrub under running water until the water is clear.  If your Stampin’ Scrub is really nasty, use a little Dawn dish soap and your fingers to rub the black fibers clean, then rinse thoroughly until the running water.  Blot dry with a paper towel and allow to air dry.  

I hope you find these priming and cleaning tips helpful!

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


Amazing You and Celebrate You Thinlits

We all have some amazing people in our lives and the Amazing You stamp set is perfect for letting them know just what they mean to us.  This Sale-a-Bration stamp set has several sentiments to mix and match in order to create a special message.  And pairing this stamp set with Celebrate You Thinlits Dies, you will create some extra special cards. 

During the Sale-a-Bration promotion, which runs January 3rd through March 31st, you can earn both of these exclusive products for FREE with a qualifying purchase. 

Here,  I used the brush tip of my Stampin’ Blends markers to create a rainbow on a scrap piece of Whisper White cardstock.   

First, I drew two straight lines of Night of Navy then drew two straight lines of Bermuda Bay while overlapping some of the Night of Navy.  I continued drawing two lines and overlapping using the remaining colors in rainbow order — Night of Navy, Bermuda Bay, Soft Sky, Pumpkin Pie, Pink Pirouette and Cherry Cobbler.   The Color Lifter was applied to help blend the colors.   Next, I die cut the word “celebrate” taking care to save all the  “insides” of the script letters “e”, “l”, “b”, “r” and “a”.  

I was able to use both the positive and negative of the “celebrate” die cut to make two very different cards.  The Fine-tip Glue Pen made it easy to attach the word “celebrate”.  Although I had to cut a second “celebrate” to help piece together and align the insides of the script letters “e”, “l”, “b”, “r” and “a”. 

A piece of Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets was applied to the backside of Basic Black cardstock before die cutting the word “amazing”.  This double-sided adhesive made it very easy to attach this delicate die cut.  And, the Stamp-a-ma-jig was used to place the word “Let’s” and “YOU”.   The Rhinestone Basic Jewels were colored with Stampin’ Blend markers. 

You can purchase the Stampin Blends marker collection, the Stamp-a-ma-jig, the Fine-Tip Glue Pen and Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets and earn both the Amazing You stamp set and Celebrate You Thinlits dies.  Just click on the links provided or visit my on-line store.

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!


How to: Adult Party Panda Card

The Party Panda stamp set is a FREE Sale-a-Bration set with a $50 purchase.  This is a super fun stamp set to play with and the trio of pandas can be used individually or grouped together in so many delightful ways!  Yesterday, I shared this Party Panda card that I created using the jolly Half Full stamp set from the Holiday catalog and as promised, here are the details on how to make this card.

party panda drinking wine

To create this card, you really need the Stamp-a-ma-jig which is an inexpensive, must have stamp alignment tool for perfect placement EVERY TIME!  It is only $12 and you’ll wonder how you stamped without it!

  • Put one panda stamp on its own individual clear block  
  • Place the Stamp-a-ma-jig imagining sheet securely in the corner of the Stamp-a-ma-jig handle, and stamp one panda in Memento Black Ink.
  • Rotate the imaging sheet, and stamp another panda.  Repeat with the third panda.
  • To create your card front, use the imaging sheet to stamp the panda with a balloon in the center of your card so that it will be easier to align the other two pandas
  • Position the imaging sheet on your card front to determine the placement of the panda on the left, and carefully slide the handle along side the imaging sheet.
  • Holding the Stamp-a-ma-jig handle securely in place, remove the imaging sheet, align the inked stamp and stamp your image in place!  Repeat the process with the panda on the right.
  • Wipe your imaging sheet clean with a wet paper towel or baby wipe
  • Using your Basic Black Stampin’ Write Marker, color a single wine glass
  • Place the Stampa-a-ma-jig imagining sheet securely in the corner of the Stamp-a-ma-jig handle, huff on the stamp to re-moisten the ink and stamp the wine glass on the imaging sheet
  • Position the imaging sheet over your card front to determine the placement of the wine glass.
  • Holding the Stamp-a-ma-jig handle securely in place, remove the imaging sheet, align the inked stamp and stamp your image in place!  Repeat the process with each wine glass.  For interest, I used the tallest and the smallest wine glass images.

party panda adding wine glasses

  • Repeat the process adding the hearts from Heart Happiness stamp set in Melon Mambo ink and the splatters from Timeless Textures stamp set in Bermuda Bay ink.
  • Color the images using Color Lifter and the lighter shades of Stampin’ Blends in Cherry Cobbler, Night of Navy, Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie and Bermuda Bay.

Party panda adding sentiment

  • For the sentiment from Half Full stamp set, I actually used a three-color, three-step technique with my Stamp-a-ma-jig to ensure perfect alignment — first coloring the word “wine” with my Cherry Cobbler Stampin’ Write marker and stamping it.  Then, coloring the word “friends” my Bermuda Bay Stampin’ Write marker and stamping it.  And, coloring the rest of the sentiment using my Basic Black Stampin’ Write marker and stamping it.  Note:  Please wipe clean the stamp and the Stamp-a-ma-jig during each step.
  • Mat the card front with Bermuda Bay and Crushed Curry cardstock.

party panda drinking wine

Hope you enjoyed partying with these pandas!  As you can see, the Stamp-a-ma-jig made this card come to life!  I will have more card inspiration ideas with these party pandas in the days ahead.  Remember this delightful Party Panda stamp set is a FREE Sale-a-Bration item with a $50 purchase through March 31st.

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




Tips: How to use the Stamp-a-ma-jig

The Stamp-a-ma-jig is one of those must have tools for every stamper who wants professional looking results.  The Stamp-a-ma-jig helps me position a stamped image or sentiment exactly where I want it every time!  There is no guessing, no trial and error, and no mistakes! stamp a ma jig

This 2-piece tool includes the positioning handle and reusable imaging sheet.  The positioning handle features a non-slip base and is made to accommodate both right- and left-handed stampers.  The imaging sheet is 5″x5″ piece of clear plastic, which provides a large work surface when you’re busy crafting and it wipes clean usually with just a damp cloth or baby wipe.      

This tool is so useful, that I keep my Stamp-a-ma-jig front and center on my workstation.  It works great to align borders, to repeat patterns, to center images and to ensure sentiments are straight.  Below, I used the large sentiment from Lots of Love stamp set to create an interesting background for my card design.

And, I often use Stamp-a-ma-jig as part of my design decision process.  I can stamp the image or sentiment on the plastic image sheet and “try” different locations in order to perfect my card design.  And, sometimes, you just need to place a stamped image or a sentiment in a VERY specific spot with little margin for error.  The Stamp-a-ma-jig will help you perfectly positioned the stamped image or sentiment, thus avoiding the risk of starting all over again.  Below, the placement of each berry or leaf from the Lots of Love stamp set was determined using this tool.  

lots of love 1

Cleaning tip:  promptly wipe with a damp cloth or baby wipe promptly.  Sometimes, our Black Archival ink can leave a ghost image or oily residue on the plastic.  If this happens, simply clean using Staz-On cleaner solution, then wash with mild dish liquid and wipe dry with some paper towel. 

For a small $12 investment, you will wonder how you ever stamped without this tool!  I love my Stamp-a-ma-jig and I know that you’ll love it, too!

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


Tip: Die Cutting Foil Sheets

Stampin’ Up! offers several different kinds of specialty papers, including Foil Sheets.  Foil Sheets come in four different colors – champagne, copper, gold and silver.  These foil sheets are great for creating metallic accents for embellishing your projects.

If you are like me, your Big Shot Machine is used often for die cutting and embossing and thus leaving cuts and scratches on your cutting plates.  This is normal wear and it demonstrates that your Big Shot Machine and cutting plates are well-loved! 

Unfortunately, those cuts and scratches may emboss your foil sheets when die cutting.  

To prevent embossing those marks on your foil sheets, simply add a sheet of printer paper to your Big Shot sandwich — start with your bottom cutting plate, add foil paper, die, add a sheet of printer paper and then add your top cutting plate — before running it through the Big Shot machine.  Yes, it is just that simple!  The foil will die cut perfectly without leaving any embossed marks.  

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