Beautiful Days with You

floral essence lisa with wild rose dies

Homemade cards are hugs folded and mailed.  They bring instant joy and happiness to the recepient.  For this card featuring Floral Essence photopolymer stamp set, I combined the softness of Daffodil Delight and Mint Macaroon with Rococo Rose.

While the Floral Essence photopolymer stamp set coordinates perfectly with both the Perennial Flower Punch and the Leaf Punch, I choose to use the delicate leaves from Wild Rose die set for soft color.

floral essence stamp and punches

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


Bird Ballad Laser-Cut Cards

bird ballad laser-cut card decorated tin image

The Bird Ballad Laser-Cut Cards & Tin includes 12 lacy laser-cut cards and 12 very vanilla envelopes ready for your finishing touches in a lovely storage tin. 

bird ballad laser-cut cards and tin catalog image (2)

And, this gift tin makes the perfect box for storing your ready made cards!  Simply add some lovely cardstock, images using your favorite stamp set and dies or punches and a few embellishments for a gorgeous card.

bird ballad laser-cut card inky angel

Here, Balmy Blue cardstock showcases the intricate lacy design of these Very Vanilla cards.  Simply embellish with the Leaf Punch, the Perennial Flower punch, a Gold Faceted Gem, and gold embossed the flower from Floral Essence stamp set and the sentiment banner from Woven Heirlooms stamp set, you have a lovely card.

If you would like to purchase any of these items, simply click on the links provided and visit my on-line store.  And, thank you for supporting me and my business!

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


Take Your Pick Die Brush Tip


take your pick tool in use

Last year, Stampin’ Up introduced the Take Your Pick Tool — this multi-purpose pickup  simplifies meticulous tasks.  Tacky putty end easily picks up sequins, paper accents, and other small objects; twist to dispense more putty.  Other end has 2 changeable, double-ended tips with paper piercer, mini spatula, small stylus, and large stylus.

Now, Stampin’ Up is introducing a new Die Brush Tip attachment to add to your Take Your Pick Tool.

The brush is designed to easily remove those bits and pieces remaining in your die cut piece as well as from the die itself!  If you own a diecutting machine, you are going to want something to make your crafting time more enjoyable.

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


Using Vellum in Your Card Designs

vellum overlayVellum is a perfect addition to your stash of crafting supplies.  Vellum is a plasticized cotton fiber material that is very durable and stable, and that adds a delicate, translucent design element and creates visual interest for your projects.  It is often used to add depth and dimension, to create a focal point or to add softness.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for crafting with vellum:

  1. Use layers of translucent vellum to add dimensions to your paper crafts. With vellum, you can add layers of depth without adding a lot of bulk to your project.
  2. Create an ombre effect by layering multiple sheets of colored vellum of different lengths and sizes
  3. Add a subtle border by matting stamped images or diecut shapes
  4. Add a vellum overlay to soften and tone down a brightly colored or busy background
  5. Dry Emboss vellum to add subtle texture to your design
  6. Trace designs using a stylus tool – either using a ruler, die cuts or templates
  7. Heat Emboss for various coloring techniques – using Stampin’ Classic inks, colored pencils or Stampin’ Blends to get the color effect you’ll love.
  8. Make see-though pockets to hold gift cards, photos or memorabilia
  9. Superimpose writing or quotes onto your project. If using your markers or your computer printer – allow sufficient time for your ink to dry.
  10. Wrap it around a design element and secure it on the backside.

vellum wrap it around

Tips for Working with Vellum:  Because it is made from a plasticized cotton, vellum requires a little more care and attention than cardstock.

  1. Wash your hands to avoid leaving fingerprint smudges.
  2. Allow extra drying time for inks, paints and liquid glues because vellum is less porous than regular paper. 
  3. Vellum can crease and tear easily. Recommend using sharp scissors and new trimmer blades for sharp cut edges.  Also, recommend sharpening your punches with aluminum foil and wax paper before punching vellum for best results.

vellum heat embossing and coloring

Tips for Attaching Vellum:  Vellum can be tricky to attach because of its translucent nature; and, some adhesives do not work well because of the plasticized finish.  Try these simple tricks for attaching vellum to your project:

  1. Use Glue Dots and Tear & Tape – this method hides glue dots and tear & tape behind small embellishments like pearls, rhinestones and sequins and larger design elements such as frames, tags and die cuts.
  2. Use ribbon, twine or brads – this method adds one or two small holes using paper piercing tool or hole punch, and secures the vellum to your project with ribbon, twine or brads.
  3. Use staples – this method uses your household stapler as a quick and effective fastener that also passes as a design elements. Remember Stampin’ Blends can be used to color your staples in a coordinating color before stapling!
  4. Use Dimensionals and foam adhesive stripes – this method adds dimension and creates the illusion that your design element is floating!
  5. Use Multipurpose Liquid Glue – this method works great with the translucent quality of the vellum by applying a thin, even layer of glue on the backside of vellum.

I hope these tricks and tips give you the confidence to play and to design with vellum.  Stampin up carries two different vellum products — Graceful Glass Designer Vellum and White Vellum Cardstock.  And coming in June, new colored vellum – in Daffodil Delight, Old Olive and Petal Pink – for more design options!  Isn’t it gorgeous?

perennial essence vellum

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



Organize Your Paper, Use Your Scraps!

cm paper logo

As card makers and paper crafters, we love to purchase pretty paper.  And when we actually chop those pretty papers, scraps happen!  In order to diminish the stress that can come from card making and paper crafting, we need to have a paper organization system to store our papers and to take advantage of those scraps!  

paper organization - ziplocks job ticket folder and label maker

Over the last twenty years of stamping, scrapbooking and paper crafting, I have tried various methods for organizing paper and scraps.  Because I invest in quality paper to obtain the best paper crafting results, I like to use those scraps!  I want to get the best value from my purchases.  I do not like to feel guilty or to be wasteful.  And, I really, really do not want to deal with chaos or clutter in my crafting space!

Interestingly, once I learned how best to store my cardstock, designer paper and scraps, I became more resourceful.  Instead of feeling guilty, I accepted the left-over bits and pieces as part of the creative process.  And by storing whole sheets and scraps TOGETHER, I regularly use my scraps first!

No matter how many sheets of paper or scraps that you hope to use one day, you will be happier in your crafty place with a paper organization system.  After all, paper hoarding is an occupational hazard that every paper crafter must face. 

paper organization - job ticket pockets

If you would like a better paper organization system and to regularly use your scraps, follow these simple steps for a solution: 

Step 1: Purchase a label maker, Job Ticket Holders for storing 8.5”x11” cardstock and large Ziploc bags for storing 12”x12” paper.  Label and sort each holder and Ziploc bag.  Some people sort their cardstock alphabetically (ABC), by color family (Regals, Brights, Neutrals, Subltes) or in rainbow order (ROY G. BIV).  Do what works for you

Step 2: Sort your paper deciding what to keep and what to toss (or donate/recycle).  Recommend applying this rule of thumb – toss pieces smaller than the size of a 3”x3” post-it note, and toss (or donate/recycle) anything bent, discontinued or ugly.  Trim “used” pieces to useable sizes (those extraneous pieces get caught and mess up other pieces that you’re trying to save).  With this system, you see how many scraps you want to keep or to use up really fast!  

Step 3:  Store whole sheets and scraps together in labeled job ticket holder or labeled Ziploc bag.  I love coordinating products, so I made the decision a long time ago, you use exclusively use Stampin’ Up cardstock and designer series papers.  So while I could store all my red cardstock together, my preference is store each color separately!  Now when I want Cherry Cobbler, I simply pull that paper holder from my shelf.

Step 4: Decide how best to store those Job Ticket Holders or Ziploc bags.  Consider various storage container options from your favorite big box store:  baskets, crates, totes and shelving/cubbie systems.  Consider what works for your crafting need, your crafting space, and what complements the room decor.  Consider options that will support growth and that are easily expandable.  You know that you will purchase more paper, so plan for it.  LOL!

paper organization - IKEA Kallax shelf

Multi-Color Paper Scraps

Typically, I purchase coordinating paper packs from my Stampin’ Up cardstock.  Therefore, I store whole sheets and scraps of those 6”x6” paper stacks or 12”x12” paper packs in Ziploc bags.  Note: For easy reference, store the label packaging which lists the coordinating cardstock colors inside the Ziploc bag.

To order 9″x12″ Job Ticket Pockets from Office , use this link.

To order 13″x13″ Ziploc Bags (4 mil) from Clear Bags, use this link.  Note:  for durability, I recommend ordering a thicker plastic such as 4 mil so that it lasts, and the wider bag to more easily slide your cardstock or DSP in and out.  

To order 7″x7″ Ziploc Bags from Clear Bags, use this link.  Note:  this bag only comes in the 2mil thickness, but it 

paper organization - ziplocks job ticket folder and label maker

This is exactly how I store my paper and scraps.  By maintaining this paper organization system, I know that you will be able to tame the paper chaos, regularly take advantage of those scraps and recognize when you are getting low on a particular favorite color of cardstock.     

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


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!