Dec 23, 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah

Wishing all of you peace, love, and health.

And crafts supplies!

Woke up early a couple of weeks ago with a craving to color and this is what I came up with -- strawberry and pistachio ice cream cones. YUM!

I wanted to practice using my Copics and the Big & Bold Sweetest Birthday Cone is perfect for that. There's Nuvo Crystal Glaze on those cherries -- finally a product that does not clog. Thank you, Nuvo. 

While this is the only stamping I've done in a month or so, I remain engaged in the industry -- following all the developments and what you all are making. Don't think I'd be happy to totally walk away from stamping, so we'll see where it goes. 

MOOD WHEN DONE: It felt good to be in my craft room again. Hopefully, the mood will strike again soon. In the meantime, thanks so much for visiting my blog and/or my IG page. That connection is fun and meaningful.

The holidays can be very difficult for some. Traditionally, I dread them and can't wait for Christmas to be over (even though I'm enjoying it too. weird!). This year, I'm just enjoying it. Life's not perfect, but I'm seizing on all the moments. I hope you can too. 

Nov 24, 2019


I've had my eye on a hot foil system for a while. My friend got one and I saw her results and really loved them. So I've asked Santa for one.* At the same time, I've also been thinking -- a lot -- about packing up all my supplies and turning my craft room into a I have-no-idea-what room but not a stamping room.

Makes no sense, but I'm just not that into stamping anymore and not that into posting my stuff (made a bunch of Christmas cards that I haven't posted). It's not that I don't have any mojo, I've just lost interest. 

This is a serious problem.

But before we get to that, I got new eyeglasses. They are red. I love them. And I went on a road trip with my SIL and took this picture somewhere in the middle of the desert where we stopped for something. I love her.

1. The Crazy

Stamping takes up almost all the crazy in my head and calms it down. Turn on the TV or music, pick up a stamp, and I'm lost in a good way. Concentrating on the crooked layers or the messed up Copic coloring stops my brain from its non-stop worrying and obsessing about all the things. Studying the masters, like Julie Ebersole or Laura Bassen keeps me sane (but also a little frustrated but that's another story).

Truth: Mike is extraordinarily neat. As in he never ever leaves anything where it doesn't belong, for even a minute. (I know, it's sad.) So when he left his shoes in the living room, I googled brain tumor symptoms. Turns out brain tumors can cause unusual behaviors and I started looking up brain tumor doctors in Dallas. That took up 5 minutes of my life, and was promptly followed by worrying about something else. Stamping stops this. For a while.

2. My Life at Stake?

It's hard to eat and stamp. You can't eat a piece of cake or a fudgy brownie with an ink pad in your hand. Ok, I'm proud to say that if anyone can, I can, but it's not easy. Plus eating in my craft room could attract one of the 856 bugs that love Texas. So if I give up stamping, I'll eat more crap and die earlier surrounded by bugs. It's a life and death issue.

3. Can This Marriage Survive?

I'm retired. Except for Wednesdays, when I volunteer, I literally have nothing to do.***  Mike got alarmed when I told him I was thinking of giving up stamping. His exact words were:

"Unacceptable. You will stamp whether you like it or not."

Suspect he's afraid that if I give up stamping I'll have more time to try and get him to talk.***

So what to do? Do I invest in a hot foil $y$tem and all the crap that goes with it or walk away? 

* The chances that Santa will understand that I want the system that is compatible with my Gemini Jr and that I will also need hot foil plates and hot foil foil is nil. I'll find the link for Santa and email it to him. Not sure that this is how gift giving at Christmas should be but I've de-linked "Christmas" and "should."
** Don't hate on me. I put in my time working and taking care of everyone. I've earned this.
*** Truth. It's the holy grail of marriage. If he ever shares his true feelings, I'll really be googling brain tumor symptoms.****
**** Now, I'm worried that by joking about brain tumors (seriously a horrible disease) I'm bringing the wrath of karma on my house. PLEASE I'M JUST KIDDING.

Nov 10, 2019

Metallic Paint on Colored Cardstock: 5 Cards

Inspired by this card, made by the fabulous Kristina Werner. Isn't it gorgeous?

Kristina used Altenew metallic paints on black watercolor paper. However, I decided to u$e what I have -- black cardstock and Prima Marketing Metalic Accents-Basic watercolors and was happy with the results. 

Whenever I copy someone else's card, I try and stick to the original card as much as possible, and then branch out. I love how Kristina made her sentiment -- she painted the black paper with red metallic paint and then embossed the sentiment on it. So I did that for the first card, but then I got lazy and decided to stamp and emboss directly on the card. Making lots of cards will do that.

These cards use The Ton's Poinsettia Wreath set. The top card uses a sentiment from Penny Black,  but I substituted a sentiment from Concord & 9th for the rest of the cards because it fit perfectly inside the wreath.

As you can see, changing the color of the cardstock (the card above is navy), the embossing powder, and the shade of metallic paint makes a big difference.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Great! This was fun. Metallic paints do not blend the way watercolors blend. The metallic pigment prevents that. However, the shine from the paint and the sequins is really fun, particularly for Christmas cards. I'm leaving on Tuesday for a road trip with my SIL to California. My first time seeing the West. I'll let you know how it goes.

Nov 1, 2019

Merry Santas

Been seeing a lot of colorful Christmas cards, particularly some really fun ones by Laura Bassen and I had to give it a try. Not your typical Christmas card, but I love all this fun color.

Chose a not-realistic (can there be such a thing???) Santa image from an old Hero Arts set, and blended a variety of Distress Oxide inks in an ombre pattern, embossed in white, and die cut. The sentiment is from an unlabeled set that Laura sent me and it works so well with these fun Santas. 

After I popped up each Santa, I waited until November 1 to go to Joann's and buy the white pom-poms. I spent ZERO $$ on papercrafting during October (and I'm still alive), but I was at Joann's right after it opened today! The pom-poms make the card, so I was glad I waited. I adhered them with mini glue dots, and I think they'll stay on through the mail if I wrap the card with tissue paper.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Merry! After a month of no spending, I'm looking forward to buying a few things, but gosh, there is so much to choose from.  Designers are continuing to produce some really fun products so it's hard to choose. I wish they would all take a month off!

Oct 22, 2019

Before and After: 2 Cards with The Ton's Poinsettia Wreath


Stamped The Ton's Poinsettia Wreath around the sides of an aqua card base, colored with Copics, and then restamped in Versamark and embossed in white. This technique is time consuming, as you have to work on one image at a time, but I love the results. Learned this technique from watching Yana Smakula's videos. HERE is a video where you can see how she stamps and image, colors it, then restamps it in sticky ink and embosses. 

But the sentiment is hard to see -- stamping it first and using a different color would have helped. Speaking of which....


Similar technique, although this time I stamped the sentiment first, used gold, and of course, a pink and red color scheme. Much easier to see the sentiment.


As you may have heard there was a serious tornado in Dallas over the weekend. We were out of town so missed the sirens. Luckily for us, the tornado missed our neighborhood by a few miles. It also missed my son's place by a couple of miles. Mike's family also was spared.

Oct 18, 2019

Gathered Together

This Colorado Craft Company Thanksgiving set called Lovely Legs - Give Thanks is very different from anything I own. I love the suggestion of a family gathered around the table celebrating the holiday. It's got a Normal Rockwell feel that I find very comforting.

Colored the image with Copics in fall colors and popped up on plaid paper.

Thanks very much to The Colorado Craft Company for sending this set to me. I LOVE that company's sets -- all different than usual. They asked if they could send a set and I wasn't sure what set it would be until I opened the package. A mini Christmas!! Very kind of them.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Well, grateful! No matter how stressed out I get, my one day a week gig at the International Rescue Committee reminds me of how much I have.

Oct 15, 2019

Modern Graphic NOEL

Took me several tries to figure out what to do with these fun bright NOEL letters made with Altenew's Bold Alphabet Die. Since the "L" is out of proportion with the other letters, it made more sense to use them horizontally, but I wanted this layout.

First, I tried a plain white background. Snooze.
Then I tried pattern paper. Meh.
Finally, I bumbled across this cross stitch die from Paper Smooches. Provides just enough detail without being distracting.

Added a sentiment from Penny Black's Christmas sentiments and decided to stop.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Great! Recently "celebrated" the 2 year anniversary of heart surgery. Lots happened since then and it was a good time to look back. Then I decided looking back and pondering life was taking time away from crafting, so I put an end to that pretty quick!

Hope you are having a good week!

Oct 9, 2019

Christmas Sweaters

Love the set 'Tis The Season by Julie Ebersole. It's retired, but so are most of my holiday sets. (Have you seen the deluge of new holiday sets? Wow, so much talent out there!)

Made a fun background by repeatedly stamping the sweater on pale gray cardstock. Colored them with Copics in an ombre design of sorts. These sweaters are hand knit so that's my explanation as to why they aren't identical (ha).

The stamp includes a black star on the top of the tree, but I added some clear glue and fine white glitter over each star as the sweaters needed more white to pop off the gray background. Colored the collars with a white gel pen for the same reason.

And that's one more card for the stash!

MOOD WHEN DONE: Good. I've haven't stamped much lately and briefly thought about packing it all up and putting it away, but Mike just stared at me when I suggested that. I guess that would be the end of life as we know it, so I'm glad I came to my senses...

Oct 8, 2019

The Blandos

The small TV in the kitchen is on. From my seat in the living room, I can't hear what show is keeping him company, just the background sound. I bet it's an HGTV rerun.

I hear him drying the dishes. It bothers him to have pots and pans and my plastic drinking cup, with its hard plastic straw, drying on the counter. Even when he was working, drying the dishes was a priority. He'd get up from his desk in DC and walk to the subway, hop on, transfer trains, all the while carrying his heavy black backpack full of office work that he'd look at after dinner. Then, once in Virginia, he'd walk to the shuttle bus, wait, and board the bus for the 10 minute ride home. He'd hop off, walk home, and climb the stairs to the kitchen. After kissing me hello, he'd park the backpack by the stairs, and still in his suit, pick up a dishcloth and dry the dishes I had placed there to air dry while I was cooking.

It is important to him to have clean counters, to have everything in its place, to have our lists of things to be done checked off one by one. Once -- once!! -- he left his shoes in the living room and I immediately knew something was wrong. I wondered if he had died. (He just forgot them.) The world, he, must be fine, as the counter is empty, the bills paid, the credit reports reviewed, the trash taken out, the furnace filter changed -- all on schedule. It's taken me awhile, but I'm on board. Routine is our joy. Sometimes I dry the dishes too.

Someone once called us The Blandos. It wasn't meant as a joke; rather as an insult. But I knew, even at the time that the words were spit out, that they came from jealousy. The person dismissing our life  had a life in chaos. I understood.

But it got to me. Bland. Tasteless. Boring.

I used to worry that we were missing out on life. We haven't been on a safari or a cruise to Alaska. We don't eat out much and we stick close to home. Staying up past 9 is a distant memory. But I don't worry about that anymore. Sometimes nothing is more sweet than listening to the same sounds every day, eating the same meals, watching the same TV shows, all with someone you love.

Perhaps that's why the past few years have pushed us off kilter. Living in Belgium for a few months, hospital stuff, surgeries, the move to Dallas -- this isn't the life of The Blandos. But here we are, back to a routine. It's a new routine. We miss our old one. We miss our friends and our neighborhood and the DC skyline. There's a lot to miss. But, one year later, and there is a lot to embrace, particularly our son. It was the right move.

Now I hear him turn off the kitchen lights and turn on the back porch light and the alarm system. He's walking to the living room, carrying his tiny white bowl of wavy potato chips, a beer, and two (not one, not three) Hershey nuggets. I'm in my seat on the sofa near the lamp and in a few seconds he'll join me on the sofa in his seat, on the opposite corner. We turn on Lester Holt and the NBC Nightly News.

Life, gratefully, is bland again.

Oct 1, 2019

Poinsettia Wreath (The Ton) #1

The title of this post says it all -- I'm making a bunch of Christmas cards with the beautiful set, Poinsettia Wreath, by The Ton.

I colored this one with Copics. It took a long time, especially when I got distracted, left the caps off some green Copics overnight, and had to start again with different shades of green. Since I got distracted by having to cook dinner, it seems to me that cooking should be crossed off my to do list until after Christmas ... right?

This is a very large wreath, and the entire wreath will not fit on an A2 card, so you have to select which parts to feature or make a larger card. I started using this set by borrowing a layout from the amazing Vera Yates.  Look at this gorgeous card she made using this set.

When a stamp has a lot of detail, I have a hard time distinguishing between leaves, flowers, and the spaces between them, particularly when I'm leaning over to color the image. To avoid coloring a flower petal green, I colored all the leaves at once, and then did the flowers. (Translation -- I screwed up the first time I colored this image.)

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy to add to my Christmas 2020 stash. So far, I think I have 5 cards. Better get moving!

Sep 25, 2019

So Mini Hellos on the Foiled Fox Blog

Sharing 3 cards on the Foiled Fox blog today. You can find the post here. They all use a set I love, The Stamp Market's So Mini Hellos.

Had a lot of fun with this set and you can read all about it and some tips on using it.  Thanks for checking it out!!

Sep 23, 2019

Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum

The calendar says it's autumn, but Dallas has its own ideas! It's still hot and sunny. No complaints though - after watching what is going on in Houston and the Bahamas, I don't think I'll be complaining about the weather again.

When we moved here last year someone told me that the trees would go from green to brown and that there would be no fall colors. That certainly wasn't true in our neighborhood -- but not until mid November. Since September has been warmer than usual, I'm not sure we'll get enough cool weather to turn the leaves this year, but it will be fun to wait and see.

In the meantime, there's the fall festival at the Dallas Arboretum. The arboretum is our favorite place in the city. Dallas isn't a tourist destination -- it doesn't have the natural beauty that other places have. But it does have White Rock Lake and the Arboretum that runs along the side of the lake.

Mike ran a race there the other day, and instead of running (never going to happen),** here are a few pictures I took.

An arch of crepe myrtles.

Pumpkins line most of the main walkways.

There are numerous sculptures of children throughout the park. I think they are all for sale. So fun!

Another mini waterfall tucked away off the main paths.

There's a Pumpkin Village with a Charlie Brown theme that is darling and perfect for kids (and adults!). Open for the next few weeks.

Gourds everywhere.

Lucy's on the job.

I do wonder how all these pumpkins and gourds will withstand the hot sun, but in the meantime, they are beautiful.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Grateful!

It's been a year since we moved into our house. It's been a bumpy transition year, but we are so happy to be near our son. That has really worked out well.

I hope to be back soon with a card, but only after I can take a decent photo. None of them are coming out - grr.

** Have you seen the movie Brittany Runs a Marathon? Highly recommend and based on a true story.

Sep 17, 2019

Hello (Rainbow Style) on Foiled Fox

I'm on the Foiled Fox blog today (Tuesday) with this little number. You can find the post here.

Fun to make and fun to write about it. Hope you check it out! Thanks.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Well, happy! Hope you are too.

Sep 10, 2019

Copic Colored Thank You (Power Poppy)

I still had the Power Poppy Strong and Beautiful set on my table, so why not make a couple of more cards? Used a sentiment from Penny Black.

Stamped with Memento and colored with Copics; masked and blended some pale blue ink over the card, particularly near the flowers.

Also colored this with Copics and then colored the background with a blue Copic. I wasn't 100% happy with the background so I blended some blue ink over the background (and a bit of the flowers).

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Happy! I'm not sure about the pink and blue combination. Part of me loves the bright fun colors, and the other part feels like it's too much pastel in one card. Got an opinion?

These both took awhile to make -- but even longer to photograph! All my cards, regardless of light source, camera or phone camera, white settings, etc. have a gray cast. I finally started using the Dodge tool in PicMonkey and my pictures are improving and look more like the cards themselves. It's a work in progress.

In addition to working on photo editing, after years of floundering, I am getting my Copics in shape and using them! Most were dry, and/or the nibs were no longer working well. Little by little, I'm getting reinker$ and new nibs. Focusing on a relatively small number of colors, as trying to collect all of them and keep them all inky is ju$t too much. I'm using colors recommended by Yana Smakula in this post.

Later this week we are going to Fort Worth to see a Monet exhibit. It's the last few days of the exhibit and we would be foolish and sad to miss it, so I am glad we cleared our calendars to make time.

And that's it! Hope you are having a good week.

Sep 1, 2019

Have an Incredible Birthday

Totally inspired by Yana Smakula and some floral cards she's made recently. Here's one example. Love, love, love, her cards.

Copic-colored this beautiful image from the Strong and Beautiful set by Power Poppy. Marcella Hawley draws the most gorgeous florals -- I want them all (but no, I will not have them all). Sentiment is from the same set.

Isn't that shade of yellow fun? It's from somewhere. I really need to organize my cardstock when I get it....

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy. It was good to be back in my craft room. I need to spend more time with floral stamps!

Can't remember whether I've mentioned it, but I started volunteering at the Dallas office of the International Rescue Committee. It's good to get out and feel more connected.

Speaking of Dallas, we left Northern Virginia a year ago this weekend. It's been great being closer to our son, but man it's hot here!! HA.

Aug 19, 2019

Just Throw It Under Running Water....

I wanted to watercolor the set Sketchy Floral ** from Altenew in red and green, with a little gold, so that I could use it for a Christmas card. Started by painting the leaves with gold metallic paint and the flowers with red ink.

I didn't like the first version. So, I just threw the whole piece under running water. I mean, are you even a stamper if you haven't walked away from your stamp space in frustration and just threw your watercolor panel under water?

The gold mostly washed off the leaves, but the flowers ended up pale pink with a bit of the metallic left from the gold paint that had washed over the flowers.

That got me curious, so I painted the flowers with Picked Raspberry Distress Oxide ink and painted the leaves with gold again, and rinsed them off, waiting for something special. The flowers were a darker pink and the leaves had just a hint of the gold.

At this point the watercolor paper was soaked, so I let it sit for a few minutes on a towel. Interestingly, it didn't warp. Finally, I painted the wet paper with a wash of Candied Apple and Twisted Citron Distress Oxide Inks and just let the inks soak into the wet paper -- no more rinsing.

The ink spread in a few places and you can see some of the pink peeking through. The leaves ended up a golden green and there is still a metallic shine on the red from the gold that washed over those petals (you'll have to trust me).

After the panel dried, I splattered it with watered-down white gouache paint, added a sentiment from Penny Black's Christmas Sentiments, and then adhered a few gold jewels.

A few suggestions if you decide to just throw it under a running faucet:
  • When you hold the watercolor paper under the faucet, move it around so that the water goes in different directions. 
  • You only need to keep the water flowing as long as it takes for the paint to run off. It's just a few seconds. You'll want to do this in a sink -- a hard flow of water is the trick, not a spray of water. 
  • The Canson 140 cold press watercolor paper never warped. Don't use a heat gun and keep it out of the sun and it will stay flat (at least mine did).
  • Let me know if you try this. Leave me a comment here or tag me on instagram at dearpaperlicious. Would love to see what you think.

MOOD WHEN DONE: This was fun!  ** The Sketchy Floral set is one huge image and a bunch of sentiments. I love it and found it on sale. However, thought I'd share that you cannot use this set unless you have a large stamp positioner (or are willing to cut it in pieces). That image is huge!

Aug 15, 2019


Remember when cupcake stamps were everywhere?  Never caught on with me, but fast forward, and I see Yana Smakula make this card using the Sweet Friend Cupcake from a newish company called Colorado Craft Company and I fell in love.  It's part of a series of Big & Bold stamp sets, all of which include a very large image. While these images may not be as versatile as smaller images, they are so much fun and pack such a punch!

My version is, of course, inspired by Yana's. Colored with Copics, hand trimmed, and finished it off with Nuvo Crystal Glaze (so far it isn't clogging!) on the strawberry and a sentiment from Pinkfresh Studio.


MOOD WHEN DONE: Excellent! I started my volunteer job yesterday. It's at the Dallas office of the International Rescue Committee, and I'll be writing more about that later. So far, it's great.

Jul 25, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Peet Roeven (Day 2)

Hi. My next (and last) study of the terrifically talented Peet Roeven is up on the Penny Black blog today. I hope you will check it out!

Here's a bit of my card --

Jul 22, 2019


I was very fortunate to be able to purchase one of the de-stashing boxes that the amazing Laura Bassen had for sale a few weeks ago. For just the cost of shipping ($15), Laura packed the box with dozens of stamp sets, dies, and stencils.

I made this card with two of the items in the box -- Altenew's Cherished Memories (the sentiment) and Build A Flower - Carnation. I usually buy sympathy cards, but I decided to make a few to have on hand. I prefer keeping them as simple as possible and this fits the bill.

Colored with a few Copic markers and added some black dots as it seemed a bit empty. Now I need to buy some clear plastic protectors for my cards as too many of them are ending up damaged.

MOOD WHEN DONE: I'm good. Hope you have a great week!

Jul 19, 2019

All About Color (and Life!)

Had so much fun coloring this card! It's all Copic, including the yellow background. This is a very large image -- you need a large stamp positioner to use it, and even with that it's not easy to ink up. But 3 or 4 presses with Memento Tuxedo ink did the trick. A few gold gems finished off the card.  

Supplies: Altenew Sketchy Florals; Penny Black Leaf Stitched Frame Die; Copics; gold gems; foam tape.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy. This was a fun, and surprisingly easy card to make.

It's been awhile since I posted and it occurred to me the other day that I'm just coming out of some post surgery funk. I think two procedures within a month just knocked me out, both physically and emotionally. I am so happy to have that behind me. Most of the time I forget I have a defibrillator inside my heart -- and that's a good thing. But, man, I think it took a toll, as evidenced by my more than one melt down.  Grateful to have a loving and patient husband.

We went away for a few days this week and returned yesterday, and I think a different location helped. I came back energized to get moving. I took about 2/3 of my stamps (!!) and put them in a box in a closet in my craft room. They aren't going anywhere, but having less cluttering up my eyesight is refreshing. And then today I sat down and made a couple of cards, including this one.

Next week I'm being interviewed for a volunteer position and I'm pretty excited about it. I've looked into a few since we got to Dallas and none of them were a good fit. Then all the medical stuff messed up my plans. So, if it works out, I'll let you know what it's all about.

Thanks for still being here and reading this blog!

Jul 18, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Peet Roeven (on Penny Black Blog)

Returning from a short vacation today and have limited internet, so here's a quick link to my post on the Penny Black blog.    This is one of the two cards I made inspired by Peet Roeven.

Can I just say that Peet Roeven is amazing and if you unfamiliar with her cards, then are you even a stamper??


Hope to be back with more cards and talk soon! 

Jul 1, 2019


I love this sentiment so much -- it's from Voices in My Head by Julie Ebersole at Essentials by Ellen. Know a few folks (I mean pretty much everyone, right?) who could use some positive thoughts.

Decided that this My Favorite Things stencil would work great with the sentiment. Placed the stencil over watercolor paper and masked each section one at a time. Rubbed Distress Oxide inks onto an acrylic block, spritzed with water, and then picked up the paint and watercolored each section over the stencil.

Made a second card, using essentially the same technique, except I used a blender
brush to color in with the same Distress Oxide inks onto Neenah Solar White cardstock.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  I'm good. Like the cards and really enjoyed making them and that's what this hobby is all about, right?

Jun 27, 2019

Alcohol Marker Background

Decided it was time for some bright fun colors. The blue panel and pink flowers are one panel -- stamped, masked, and colored with Copic and Altenew alcohol markers, including the blue background.

Supplies:  Altenew Smile More  and Beautiful Day. Assorted markers, sequins, etc. White splatters from white gouache, water, and a paint brush.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  This. was. fun. I have no idea what I'm doing with alcohol markers, but I like the result and I hope the recipient does!

Jun 24, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Kate Shudrova (Day 2)

This post is a part of a series on improving my card making by studying other designers' cards. If you're unfamiliar with this series, you can learn more about it here

Today I'm continuing my study of the super talented Kate Shudrova. By the way, Kate's has been posting a bunch of new cards on her Instagram feed. You don't have to join IG to see them. Check them out here



  • Using a kraft card base with the popped-up burst of flowers is a fantastic combination.
  • Placing the sentiment in the lower corner is unexpected and it works. I wouldn't have thought of that.
  • Adding white to a kraft card always brightens up the kraft.
  • See the stitching on the left of the card? It's another unexpected detail that adds visual interest without detracting from the clean and "simple" look. I also like how Kate only stitched over edge of the floral arrangement but kept the rest of the arrangement popped up.
  • It's gorgeous!! 

  • Haven't used a kraft card base in awhile and I think I'll use them more often. It's a nice change from white.
  • Love the placement of the sentiment. Kate's works a bit better because her main image is larger and almost points to the sentiment. But I like mine too. I'll use this layout again.
  • My focal image is smaller than Kate's and when I placed the hydrangea against the kraft panel it looked a little lost. It needed something to tie it to the sentiment. So I added some white gouache paint speckles and I think that worked well. 
  • Kate's card has a beautiful selection of reds and blues. I decided to mimic that by varying the colors of the petals. It's not a particularly "realistic" rendering of a hydrangea, but this is me, and I'm not Hallmark!
  • Keep reading....
Supplies for my card:  Essentials by Ellen by Julie Ebersole Mondo Hydrangea stamp and die (an all time favorite); sentiment from Abstract Builder by Pinkfresh Studios; and Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Well, this was quite the process. I started out studying this gorgeous card that Kate recently posted: 

Everything about this card speaks to me -- the shine, the one layer, no embellishments. You could walk into an upscale boutique and find this. 

Despite numerous attempts, using different sentiments, papers, watercolors, metallic paints, and ink pads, I just couldn't make anything that I would send to anyone or share online. A lot of paper died in the effort. 

I learned that to make a card like this, you need the perfect sentiment, the ability to paint in just the right spot, and the right combination of paper and metallic paints. Kudos to Kate, but it will be awhile before I'll try this again!

EDITED TO ADD:  Breaking news on Kate's card. Turns out she used foil to add that gorgeous shine. Kate told me that she used a digital brush or image, printed out on a laser printer, and then foiled. Genius.

Jun 20, 2019

Positive Mental Vibes

I just love the set Voices in My Head by Julie Ebersole! I also love Pinkfresh Studio's Abstract Builder. As soon as they came, I started fooling around with both of them and ended up with this quick card. Used a small splatter type stamp to frame the sentiment in two colors and added the heart embellishment.

Busy day, so I'll cut this short.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  No complaints, except for the heat. Yikes! BTW, I need a Voices in My Head by Julie Ebersole, Volume II!!

Jun 18, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Kate Shudrova (Day One)

Learning Through Inspiration is back! This is a series on improving my card making by studying other designers' cards. If you're unfamiliar with this series, you can learn more about it here.

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Today I'm introducing some lessons learned by studying Ekaterina a/k/a Katherine (Kate) Shudrova, who blogs at Little Things. It's the perfect name for her blog as every one of her cards is a little piece of design happiness. Kate is also on Instagram as Thingiewingie, and on Flickr.

Kate lives in Russia. Lately, I find that some of my favorite new-to-me designers are from outside the US, particularly in Russia and the countries nearby. There's a style to their work -- light and airy -- that I love.

Kate is not new to me -- I've been a huge fan of Kate's work for a long time, and am always thrilled when she posts a card -- which isn't as often as I would like! If you check out her cards, you'll see that they are "clean and simple," but often have an unusual layout or an interesting use of dies. She adds fun details, and the result is fun and fresh. I love everything she makes! 



  • The layout -- I never think to cut a layer on angles. It adds a lot of interest without a lot of bulk. 
  • The sewing on the top and bottom white layer is the perfect touch. Again, as her blog is titled, it's those little things that Kate does that I love so much.
  • Solid flowers -- Kate uses a lot of solid images and it's a refreshing break from all the coloring I've been seeing and been doing.
  • White and kraft is a great combination. 
  • Except for the sewing, this card is reproducible. I can do this! 


  • I pretty much set out to copy Kate's card. Along the way, I made a few changes, some were intentional and some were not. Take a moment to look at both cards. Can you spot the changes?
  • I learned that these changes make a difference. In general, everything Kate did added to the softness of her card, while mine ended up bolder.
  • The color and placement of my flowers differ. Kate used blue and yellow and I substituted a pink/coral combination for the blue. Kate's colors are a bit softer and that's a personal preference. Either one works.
  • But notice where Kate placed her yellow flower. It's slightly higher than the blue flower. When I stamped my card, I didn't notice that and placed the flowers on the same plane. Kate's is a bit more interesting -- the eye moves around the card more easily.
  • Kate added a few light splatters on her card and I opted not to do so. I just didn't want to risk messing up the card, and I don't think it made a big difference -- although the light splatters add to the softer look of Kate's card.
  • Kate chose a finer sentiment, which is consistent with her paler colors -- mine is bolder and goes better with my color palette. 
  • Kate added some fun sewing with loose threads on the top and bottom of the white panel. I don't sew. While I prefer her cleaner look, this is another style preference. It's neater and easier to mail and just plain fun. 
  • Finally, look at the bottom of Kate's white panel. The lower left corner does not extend all the way down the length of the kraft cardbase. Mine does. I think this does make a difference -- Kate's card looks more balanced. 
  • It's amazing what you notice when you really study a card. Go ahead and look at a card you like, close your laptop or phone, and make a copy. See what you notice about the first card after you are done! It's a great exercise.
My supplies: Altenew A Beautiful Day. Sentiment is from Concord & 9th.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy! I so appreciate Kate's willingness to let me post her card. I'll be back with a couple of more posts focusing on Kate's fantastic cards. 

It's so great to be back stamping. I'm feeling 100% and am thrilled to say that! 

Jun 13, 2019


Recently bought Timeless Tulips from Mama Elephant. (Part of my pre surgery binge!) It's an older set, but I've had my eye on it for a long time. It's, well, timeless! No regrets on this purchase.

Decided to keep my first card with this stamp simple -- stamp on watercolor paper, emboss in white, and add some watercolor. Then I added the little heart and the sentiment, trimmed, and adhered with foam tape on slate cardstock.

MOOD WHEN DONE: I'm sitting here feeling particularly grateful for every single good thing. I hope you all have enough good in your life to feel grateful!

Spent a couple of hours yesterday sending cards to some folks who need a lift. I find that sending all this paper, rather than let it clog my craft room, is a wonderful lift for me! If you want a card, feel free to email me at and I'll put you on my list! 

Jun 7, 2019

Flora & Fauna Thank You

Went on a crafty shopping spree before my recent surgery (it's the new hidden cost of health care!), and wow, I have a lot of new-to-me things in the house. So, when I needed a thank you card, of course I reached for a set that I've had for a long time because nothing I bought sang to me.

I have limited ability to shop smart.  I take a long time to decide what to get, often filling up shopping carts at multiple stores (sorry), and then very carefully pressing spend. And I still make mistakes! Some of the stamps I bought are much larger (or much smaller) than my brain processed. Or they don't seem as versatile as I first thought. Or, I try them and am not happy with the results.

--->  Minor life issue, but I would love to hear how you wade through the onslaught of new products. It's not just that there are so many products, but I miss being able to eyeball the products in a brick and mortar store. 

In any event, for this card, I masked off a space for a watercolored background and then stamped images and a sentiment from Flora & Fauna's Graphic Flowers set (which appears to be retired) on watercolor paper.  No coloring required with this technique.

And then I was done.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Good! All quiet over here. Recovery is going well...