Innovation Station | Stampin’ Blends

Hello my crafty peeps and welcome to another Innovation Station post, a monthly feature focusing innovative tips and tricks. Each month I share an innovation that I find myself going to again and again. 

This month’s innovation was going to focus on watercolor backgrounds, but instead I wanted to share about the new Blends alcohol markers. When the new Blends markers were announced a couple of weeks ago I was resolutely in the “I’m not going to invest in these” camp for the simple reason that I have hundreds of COPIC markers. I love my COPICS, they are by far my favorite for coloring medium and I thought, “I don’t need more alcohol markers…”. I stayed in the “no” camp until late Sunday two weeks ago when I decided I would order the set to do a comparison: COPICS vs Blends. I’m so glad I did. The left photo shows the first images I colored on Saturday and the right shows the images I did specifically for this post.


I wrote up my comparison on the demonstrator FB group this past weekend, but decided to dedicate this blog to the topic as well since I’ve played a bit more and as the discussion unfolded on FB, I refined my opinion. For those who want the bottom line right away, here are the pros (in green) and cons (in red):

For those who like the details, please feel free to review the below for additional information:

  1. The compound in the Blends drys faster than COPICS, which means you have to work in smaller increments, going back and forth between light and dark. The main time this is an issue is when working in very large areas (see the coffee cup).
  2. The brush tip on the Blends isn’t as flexible or resilient as the COPIC brush tip. As I was working on the coffee cup I noticed that when using the flick technique to blend the light and dark shades, the brush tended to fracture and get “bent out of shape”, creating uneven strokes.
  3. In some of the color groupings, specifically Bermuda Bay and Cherry Cobbler, there isn’t really any difference between the light and dark shades meaning the light is very saturated and dark. This means achieving shadows and depth can be challenging, especially in small areas. That being said, both colors are lovely despite being too close in saturation level.
  4. The BIGGEST benefit to the Blends, and it’s an important one, is their simplicity. If you know anything about COPICS, you know there is a very complex letter and number system and you must understand this system to choose blending colors properly. You can’t just blend any two greens together. It is probably the most daunting thing about COPICS (aside from the cost). Fortunately, SU has engineered the Blends in blending groups and with the exception of the two colors listed above, all the duos blend beautifully. No muss, no fuss, and zero confusion. For anyone new to alcohol markers this is HUGE!
  5. COPICS were originally a fine artist tool. Crafters came along and began using them, but they can be expensive and are not really designed for crafters. Take the nibs, COPICS come with a brush and chisel nib. I NEVER use the chisel nib (does anyone). COPIC finally introduced a bullet nib, but you have to buy and replace the chisel nib and that is just more expense. Blends have the best nibs for crafters, the brush and bullet, and that is another BIG selling point.
  6. COPICS come in over 300 colors. While that is an amazing array of color, it is often daunting and also overkill for most crafters. The initial set of Blends creates a good palette and if (here’s hoping) they add a few more colors the Blends will be a solid coloring set of markers, far fewer than the 350 or so in the COPIC family, which makes Blends more accessible than COPICS.

I did my initial testing on Neenah Solar White 80# card stock (the left photo above) because this is what I use for all my Copic work. I went back and did all the tests again using Whisper White and Thick Whisper White card stock (photos below and the right photo above). The clear winner: plain WHISPER WHITE. The colors tend to deepen, losing shadows and light, on thick whisper white — a lighter hand with the markers might help with this. Thick WW tended to have more issues with “bloom”. Alcohol markers tend to seep into the paper slowly and that can cause bloom (where the color goes outside the lines of your stamped image). Bloom happens a lot when you are going over an area multiple times blending colors.

Some bloom can be corrected with the Color Lifter, but you have to be careful because the Color Lifter doesn’t really erase ink, it actually pushes ink, which is why you can come back to a piece that you used the Color Lifter to correct bloom and have a “halo”, a ghostly looking edge of color slightly beyond the area where you had bloom. Halo can happen on any type of paper (see the top orange pot for an example of halo).

I did several tests trying to lighten the dark colors, especially Bermuda Bay, using the Color Lifter:

  1. going over the image with the Color Lifter after the light and dark were laid down (see poppies in left photo above)
  2. scribbling the light or dark marker on a craft sheet and picking it up using the Color Lifter (side-facing poppy on TWW below)
  3. and laying down a layer of Color Lifter before putting either the light or the dark color down (the other 3 poppies in the image below)

Technique 1 did lighten the color, but in a very splotchy way, technique 2 ended up with bloom and halo, and technique 3 resulted in lighter color and smooth blending. The clear winner: technique 3

There are a lot of neat things you can do with the Color Lifter, but one of the simplest is using it to create patterns in your colored images. Here is a simple example of this. I will delve deeper into the Color Lifter in a future post.

HINT: alcohol coloring tends to smooth out over time. You might be convinced that something is a disaster, but I encourage you to set it aside for a few hours. You will likely be surprised how good it looks when you pick it up again. I was really unhappy with this pink flower, but after an hour or so, the color had settled and I thought it looked much better!

Overall, I am happy with the new Blends. I do have a few wishes: lighten the lights in Cherry Cobbler and Bermuda Bay, add a few more colors, make the nibs replaceable, increase the quality of the brush nib, and the marker refillable. I have a secret hope that the refill (if available) will not be a bottle of liquid but a new internal cartridge. If you’ve ever refilled a COPIC and had ink go everywhere but inside the marker, then you know why I think this is the way to go. 

A word about paper and ink. I’ve tried Whisper White with my COPICS and never really cared for the results. I think this may have something to do with how long COPICS stay wet. I’ve had issues with warping, pilling, and bloom when I’m really working on blending several layers. I have not had these same issues when using the Blends on Whisper White, I actually prefer it over Neenah Solar White. I have two inks I use for all of my COPIC work: Memento Tuxedo Black and Simon Says Stamp Intense Black Premium Dye ink. Both produce crisp results with no danger of bleeding once you begin applying color. For all of the examples here I used Memento Tuxedo Black ink since that is what is available from SU.

Thanks for hanging out with me, and learning (or relearning) a fun innovation! Join me next month for another of my go to innovations, shaker cards. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”


Supplies Used:
Stampin’ Blends Alcohol Markers
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Card Stock: Whisper White & Thick Whisper White
Stamps: You’ve Got This, Coffee Cafe, Crafting Forever, & Oh So Eclectic

Fun-n-Crafty | A Painted Harvest

Hello my crafty peeps! I’m happy to be here again this month as part of the Fun & Crafty blog hop. This month’s theme is Fall or Halloween! It seems like only yesterday we were in the middle of summer. This past Friday was the official first day of Fall, but here in Seattle, we don’t seem to have gotten the memo (it’s been sunny and warm for the past hew weeks). I went shopping at Trader Joe’s bright and early Saturday morning and was amazed. It was like the entire place had been hosed down with pumpkin spice … overnight. Pumpkin spice cake, cookies, pasta, fudge, caramel corn, cereal … you name it and TJ’s probably has it … even the dogs were included with pumpkin spice dog biscuits! I love fall, and pumpkin spice, so a few things (the caramel corn was delicious) may have made their way into my basket!

This month I decided to focus on one of my favorite suites in the new Holiday catalog, The Painted Harvest. It includes a wonderful layering stamp set with these dreamy floral and leaf images, some “thankful” sentiments, and best of all a coordinating leaf punch. There is also a beautiful pack of 12 x 12 DSP and some wooden elements. This is a very versatile suite of products with color combinations for fall, the holidays, and spring.


I decided to combine this suite with a cool technique, eclipse. I love this technique with the Stampin’ Up! large letters framelits. I began with an A2 Whisper White card base, a 5.25″ x 4″ Chocolate Chip mat, and a 5″ x 3.75″ thick Whisper White panel for stamping. This set has that “artistic” look (the base stamps don’t stamp solid) and sometimes I think, “Oh, no, it’s going to look terrible!”, but it never does! HINT: I use the Stampin’ Pierce Mat to make sure I get good coverage from photopolymer stamps.


Beginning with the base flower, I stamped three on the panel in Crushed Curry. Next, using the detail layering image, I stamped over the large flower in Cajun Craze ink. I also stamped a flower onto a post-it note and fussy cut it to use as a mask for stamping the leaves, which I stamped in Pear Pizzazz for the base and Old Olive for the detail. I also stamped the flower middle using Chocolate Chip ink. Lastly, I stamped the sentiment, “I am thankful for you” in Chocolate Chip.


Now, it’s time to create the eclipse. Using the Y – O – U letters, I centered them on the panel and secured them in place using post-it note tape. I ran this through my BigShot and then popped them out. HINT: Make sure to keep any letter centers (like in the O) to adhere to the matte panel. To make sure you get it centered, first put the letter in its place, put adhesive on the back of the center piece, and put it down. Then you can lift out the letter. Using the foam adhesive strips, pop up each letter inside its space on the card.

There is a ton of inspiration throughout this hop. Since you started here, I encourage you to grab a favorite beverage, perhaps a pumpkin spice latte, and visit the other talented team members listed below to leave them some blog love! Next up is the amazing Merit. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”



  1. Tobe — The Craft Sea
  2. Christine — Artful Musings (you are here)
  3. Merit — MB Squared
  4. Jennifer — NW Stamper
  5. Susan — Stampin by the SF Bay

Supplies Used:
Stamps & Dies: Painted Harvest (144783) & Large Letters Framelits (141712)
Card Stock: Whisper White (100730) & Chocolate Chip (102128)
Ink: Crushed Curry, Cajun Craze, Chocolate Chip, Pear Pizzazz, & Old Olive
Foam Adhesive Strips (141825)

Innovation Station | Washi, Washi, Washi

Hello, crafty peeps and welcome to another Innovation Station post, a monthly feature focusing innovative tips and tricks. Each month I share an innovation that I find myself going to again and again.

This month’s innovation is washi tape. I seriously need a 12-step program for my washi tape addiction! Thin, thick, glittery, transparent, opaque … I LOVE washi! There are some wonderful tapes on the market today and some of my favorites are from SU! I especially like the face that SU coordinates their washi in complimentary color families. Today I’m going to share two of my favorite washi techniques: the washi die cut and the washi background. Both are super simple, yet add so much to your card making!

Washi is super thin which when layered over card stock makes it perfect for die cutting and background techniques. When I sat about choosing suites for this month’s cards, I knew what I wanted to use for each technique, but beyond the washi element, I wasn’t sure what the cards were going to look like. I almost scrapped both cards because I wasn’t happy with how either was coming together. Does this ever happen to you? Fortunately, inspiration struck and I am pretty happy with the way both cards turned out.


For the washi background card, I used the Delightful Daisy suite. I love this suite! From the stamps, to the DSP, to that great daisy punch … it’s one of my favorite suites in the annual catalog. I knew I wanted to “knock out” the daisy image (sort of the reverse of what might be expected) and have the washi showing through. In some of the photos you will see a version with two daisies that ended up getting scrapped (it was way too busy) in favor of the final card. I began with a Pool Party A2 card base. Using a corner rounder I rounded the upper left and lower right corners of both the card base and the Whisper White panel (4″ x 5.25″). I cut out a daisy in the upper middle of the panel using the Daisy Punch and added two leaves using the companion two-step stamps.


I cut a 2.75″ x 2.75″ piece of Whisper White and using the new Basics Pack 3 washi tape, added rows until the entire piece was covered. Using my bone folder, I burnished the washi down and using adhered it behind the daisy opening with Fast Fuse. I put one of the new clear Faceted Gems n the center of the daisy. Next, I cut a 4″ x 1.75″ piece of DSP from the Delightful Daisy DSP and a 3.73″ x 1.5″ piece of Whisper White, on which I stamped “Thank You” in Night of Navy ink. I rounded the corners of the white piece and adhered it to the DSP, which then was adhered to the main white panel. Inside I stamped “…for your kindness.” in Night of Navy ink. HINT: I could have applied the washi directly to the card base, but since washi is semi-transparent I didn’t want it to show the card base color so I opted for a Whisper White panel instead.

For the die cut washi card, I wanted to use the new “Happy Birthday” die, the coordinating stamp set, and especially the Foil Frenzy specialty DSP. I am in love with this kraft card stock foil paper! It is so beautiful and screams happy birthday! The process for die cutting washi is very simple. Begin with a piece of card stock large enough to accommodate your die and apply washi. Place this piece washi side up on your cutting matte and put the die face down over it. Add the other plate and run it through your Big Shot. Voila, you have die cut washi!


For this card I began with an A2 card base in Berry Burst. Using the largest solid layering oval, I cut a window out of the front of the card. In this opening I adhered a piece of polka dot foil frenzy card stock. I also cut the happy birthday out of a piece of Basic Black card stock. I glued the washi die cut to this black piece slightly offset to create a shadow. Once that was dry, I popped it up using the new mini dimensionals, cutting them in half to make sure they didn’t show. Using VersaMark ink and white embossing powder I added the sentiment “it’s your day” to the front of the card below the oval. For the finishing touch, I added a few flat backed gems by Little Things from Lucy’s Cards.

Thanks for hanging out with me, and learning (or relearning) a fun innovation! Join me next month for another of my go to innovations, watercolor backgrounds. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”


Supplies Used:
Washi: Basics Pack 1 (144221) & Pack 3 (144223)
Happy Birthday Gorgeous Bundle (145301)
Foil Frenzy Specialty DSP (144125)
Daisy Delight Bundle (145361) & Delightful Daisy DSP (144137)
Card Stock: Pool Party, Berry Burst, Whisper White & Basic Black
Ink: Night of Navy, Lemon Lime Twist, Old Olive & VersaMark
Extras: Clear Faceted Gems (144142) & Flat Backed Gems

Stampin’ Up Holiday Catalog

Hello, crafty peeps! I hope you are pouring over the newly released Stampin’ Up! holiday catalog, picking out all your favorite items. As a demonstrator I had this opportunity last month and, though it felt like a Herculean feat, I decided to order just a few things.

I know I’ll place another order soon for a few more of the things I LOVED — truly there is so much to love in the catalog. In the meantime, thought it might be fun to share my Top 10 favorite items with you as well as a couple of the things I’ve made using some of these new goodies.

Beanie’s Top Ten Holiday Catalog Favorites

  1. Spooky Night DSP (p 53)
  2. Spooky Cat Stamps (p 53)
  3. Cat Punch (p 53)
  4. Merry Little Christmas DSP (p 12)
  5. Merry Little Labels (p 12)
  6. Everyday Label Punch (p 12)
  7. Year of Cheer DSP (p 37)
  8. Year of Cheer Washi Tape (p 37)
  9. Mini Pizza Boxes (p 44)
  10. Mini Tinsel Trim (p 21) & Quilt Top Embossing Folder (p 5)

The first card I want to share is called “Spooky Kitty Surprise” and uses the new Cat Punch, Spooky Night DSP, and the Spooky Cat stamps. Recently Stampin’ Up! has begun coordinating some of their dies and punches with images from designer series papers. I love this. There are a few different punches and thinlet dies in the holiday catalog that have this ability, Spooky Night DSP being one. The cat image on the DSP is sized perfectly to punch out using the new cat punch. For my card I decided to punch out the cat from the words DSP paper.


The card is very straightforward, with one *small* exception … the surprise. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I’ve always loved adding little extras whenever possible. In perfect Halloween fashion, the surprise appears when the lights go out and you see kitty glows in the dark! To achieve this I used Wow! glow in the dark embossing powder and Versa Mark ink. First, I smeared VersaMark ink all over the punched cat and then poured on the embossing powder, which is transparent (allowing the paper to show through) but also applying a glow in the dark look. I’m not the best photographer, but this was what I was able to capture, it doesn’t even come close to doing justice to the effect and I’m sorry for that. Kitty gets a witches hat (fussy cut from the DSP) and a little tag (cut using the Coffee Cups framelits).


Next up, a couple of other items, one card and one treat bag, featuring the Spooky Night Suite – arguably my favorite of the new catalog. I made these at a recent demonstrator event here in the the Pacific NW. I am loving the new black rhinestones as well as the new Everyday Label Punch. The card shows the versatility of the moon and stars die from the Card Front Builder set.


Finally, I would like to share a Christmas card I created using the Quilted Christmas Suite. After designing and making 8 kits and 9 complete cards I can say with 100% certainty I have a love-hate relationship with this suite. I LOVE the images and the coordinating dies are awash with possibilities, one being paper piecing, which is the focus of my card. Hate might be too strong a word, but after making all these kits and cards for a shoebox swap, I know that getting the coolest cards using this set takes work. Fun work, to be sure, but not a quick card. I used the Quilted Christmas DSP for my quilt pieces and once it was all pieced together ran it through the Big Shot with the Quilt Top Textured Impressions embossing folder – it adds that perfect finishing touch to the quilt block, don’t you agree?


Thank you for sharing a bit of your time with me today. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”


Supplies Used
Christmas Quilt Bundle (146026) & Quilted Christmas DSP (144617)
Quilt Top Textured Impressions Embossing Folder (144687)
Spooky Cat Bundle (146014) & Spooky Night DSP (144610)
Black Rhinestone Jewels (144639) & Vintage Crochet Trim (144611)
Dazzling Diamonds Gilmmer Paper (135315) & 3″ x 6″ Cellophane Bags (141704)
Dies: Coffee Cups (143745) & Layering Squares (141708)

Innovation Station | Don’t Lose Your Marbles

Hello my crafty peeps and welcome to another Innovation Station post, a monthly feature focusing innovative tips and tricks. Each month I share an innovation that I find myself going to again and again.

This month’s innovation is the rolling marbles technique. This technique reminds me of a Jackson Pollock splatter painting and it’s so simple and fun. Honestly, I’d sort of forgotten about this technique (I used to use it all the time) until a friend demoed it at an event recently. I came home after and began searching for my marbles (literally, not figuratively). Once I’d found them I began playing and couldn’t really seem to stop.


One of the things my friend, Jennifer Blomquist, demoed was using a container (a half wood mount stamp case from Stampin’ Up!) to create this background. I always did this technique in a box and it was messy and sometimes uneven. Needless to say, I thought the stamp case idea was brilliant. The half wood mount case will work for smaller pieces (max size in this case is 3 1/4″ x 4 3/4″), but often I want to do a larger piece so I decided to try using the full wood mount stamp case from Stampin’ Up!, and it was perfect for the larger pieces (max size in this case is 4 3/4″ x 7″). HINT: marble to reinker ratios … half size case between 5 & 7 marbles and 2 — 3 drops of reinker, in the full size case between 9 & 11 marbles and 4 — 6 drops of reinker.

For my first card I wanted to use the new host set, Tranquil Tulips. I love this set! It is both a layering set as well as a mixed media style set, meaning the images aren’t designed to stamp solid, they have a dreamy quality to them. I began with a Mint Macaron A2 card base and cut a matte panel out of Powder Pink (4″ x 5 1/4″) that I mounted to the card base.


Next, I cut the marble panel out of Whisper White (3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″) and marbled it using a full wide stamp case, 9 marbles, and about 6 drops of Mint Macaron reinker. I put the marbles in the case and then the reinker drops in the middle. I closed the case and moved the marbles around until they were covered in reinker and there weren’t any big drops of reinker remaining. Next, I opened the case and secured the Whisper White panel to the lid using some low tac painters tape. Close the case and flip it over so the panel is now on the bottom with the marbles on top. Begin moving the marbles around the case until you are satisfied with the coverage. HINT: You can add additional reinker if needed by flipping the case back over (so the panel is on top and the marbles on the bottom). Once that was done I ran the it through my BigShot with the border from the Card Front Builder dies.


I also the tulip panel is 3 3/4″ x 4 1/4″ and the Powder Pink matte is 3 7/8″ x 4 3/8″. I stamped the tulips, stems, and leaves using Powder Pink, Lemon Lime Twist, and Smokey Gray. HINT: I stamped the stems first, followed by the tulips and finally the leaves. You could also stamp the tulips first, but for optimal placement on the panel, I preferred stamping the stems first. Once dry, I covered the tulips in clear Wink of Stella for a bit of shimmer and shine. I custom dyed some seam binding ribbon using Mint Macaron and Powder Pink reinkers. As I began layering all the pieces together I felt something was missing and decided it needed a sentiment, but I was stuck on where and what. As I looked over some of my sentiment sets, I came across the new bundle, Tabs for Everything, and knew just what I needed! Using the coordinating punch, I punched a tab out of Lemon Lime Twist card stock. Next, I stamped “hello you” on a piece of Whisper White card stock and punched it out using a hole punch. I stamped the scalloped frame from the stamp set onto the tab and mounted the circle using a mini glue dot. I tucked this between the tulip panel and the Powder Pink matte. I think it pulls the card together nicely!

For my second card I wanted to use another marbled background I’d created using Pacific Point so I turned to the Birthday Delivery bundle since Pacific Point is one of the coordinating colors for this suite. I love giving special birthday cards to friends and I knew this would be the perfect card for a friend who loves foxes. I was very excited when I realized that in addition to matching the stamps, the dies cut elements from the coordinating DSP. I also like that there are stamps curved to fit inside the flag banner that the fox holds. There are a bunch of amazing embellishments in this suite, including pop-up honeycomb balloons. I knew the card needed one of these inside and that is how the poodle (I call her Lola) came to be hanging out inside!


I began with an Old Olive A2 card base and I stamped the present randomly in Old Olive in for a tone-on-tone effect. I die cut the fox and banner from the DSP and also cut the following strips: striped DSP (1 1/4″ x 4 1/4″), Pacific Point marbled card stock (1″ x 4 1/4″), and Pacific Point card stock (3/4″ x 4 1/4″) onto which I stamped the sentiment, “Let’s Celebrate Your Day,” and layered all three pieces together with snail. Using the dies, I cut Lola and two balloons from the DSP and stamped the balloon strings on the left inside panel, positioning them so they looked like she had them in her mouth. The honeycomb balloon has adhesive, making placement a breeze! HINT: For perfect honeycomb placement, place it last and follow these steps: expose one side of the adhesive and place it flush with your center score line then you can expose the left side and simply close the card for the proper placement every time! I finished it off with the “SURPRISE” sentiment and some thin strips of DSP.

Thanks for hanging out with me, and learning (or relearning) a fun innovation! Join me next month for another of my go to innovations, washi techniques. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”


Supplies Used:
Full Wide Stamp Case (127551) & Half Wide Stamp Case (127552)
Reinker: Mint Macaron, Pacific Point, & Powder Pink
Card Stock: Mint Macaron, Powder Pink, Lemon Lime Twist, Old Olive, Pacific Point, & Whisper White
Birthday Memories DSP (144118), Balloon Honeycomb (144124), & Glass Marbles
Stamps & Dies: Tranquil Tulips (143767) & Card Front Builder (144674)
Bundles: Tabs for Everything (145364) & Birthday Delivery Bundle (145294)

Christmas in July | Carols of Christmas Blog Hop

Hello, crafty peeps! I hope you are enjoying the Carols of Christmas blog hop. You should have arrived here from Jennifer’s blog, but if you started here that’s okay, the links to all the talented designers are at the bottom of this post. This hop is focused on the new Carols of Christmas stamp set, which is part of the new holiday catalog.

Beginning on August 1st Stampin’ Up! customers will have the opportunity to purchase this set or the bundle, which includes the stamps and coordinating dies. I love this bundle. The stamps are lovely with these large sentiments that create great focal images for your holiday creations. The Card Front Builder dies are quite innovative with a beautiful border, a night sky, some poinsettia corners and other wonderful elements.

I know, I know, I know … Christmas already, it’s still summer! Decorations and treats seem to arrive earlier and earlier each year. On the positive side, it’s a great chance to get a jump on your handmade cards and gifts.


The Merry Little Christmas suite is being called a “mega” suite as there are two stamp sets, a die set, and a punch, not to mention two coordinating DSPs and several trims and embellishments all coordinated together. The suite is located on pages 10 – 13 in the holiday catalog. Today I used the Carols of Christmas stamp set, the Card Front Builder dies, and the Merry Music Specialty DSP. I also used some of the new Boxwood Wreaths and the Silver 3/8″ metallic edge ribbon, which I dyed using my Cherry Cobbler reinker.

My first card uses the largest stamp in the set, Deck the Halls, as the focal image. I began with an A2 (4.25″ x 5.5″) Cherry Cobbler card base. I cut a piece of the white Merry Music DSP to 4″ x 5.25″ and mounted it to the base. Next, I cut a 2″ x 3″ piece of the black Merry Music DSP and using the Banner punch, created a banner. I die cut the largest oval from the Layering Ovals out of Cherry Cobbler and the largest scalloped oval out of Whisper White and stamped “Deck the Halls” on the scalloped oval in Cherry Cobbler ink. I adhered the scalloped oval over the Cherry Cobbler oval. I wanted a matching trim, but none of the red ribbons I had looked right. What to do? Dye white ribbon, of course! If you haven’t dyed your own ribbon, you’re missing out (check out this post for more on dying ribbon).


Once the ribbon was dry I cut two pieces and attached them to the back of the oval using mini glue dots. HINT: I prefer mini glue dots over liquid glue or tape runner for adhering ribbon and other trim to paper. I find it holds faster and better in the long run. I adhered the oval and ribbons to the banner and finished off the front with one of the new Boxwood Wreaths, which I glued down with mini glue dots.

For my second card I decided to make a shaker card. I began with an A2 Whisper White card base. I cut a Garden Green panel to 4″ x 5.25″ and ran it through my BigShot to cut out the three trees. Using multi matte medium, I glued a piece of acetate in place behind the trees, creating the front of my shaker card. Using the small star cluster stamp from the Carols of Christmas set, I stamped it all over the front of this panel using Garden Green ink for a tone-on-tone effect. HINT: Rotate the stamp to maintain an “organic” feel on the panel. Next, using the largest Layering Circles die I cut a panel in Whisper White and stamped “Peace on Earth” in Garden Green ink. I also cut the largest scalloped circle in Cherry Cobbler for a matte. I glued these two panels together and sat them aside.


Now it’s time to build the shaker. I wanted to make sure the shaker bits stayed within the tree shapes so it was the Stampin’ Up! Foam Adhesive Strips to the rescue. These strips are perfect for getting into small nooks and crannies and creating custom shaker cards. I filled in the rest of the panel using standard foam tape. Using a paint brush and my anti-static embossing buddy, I went around the inside edges of the foam tape. This helps reduce static between the acetate and the shaker bits and neutralizes any adhesive on the side of the foam tape. HINT: Make sure to do this step BEFORE you expose the adhesive. I added shaker bits (if you’re like me, you’ve glued the backing panel on with no shaker bits inside at least once) and adhered a piece of Merry Music DSP to the shaker panel. The final touch, a deer die cut out of sparkling silver paper.


There is a ton of inspiration throughout this hop. Since you started here, I encourage you to grab your favorite beverage and visit the other talented bloggers listed below. Next up is the talented Diana. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”



Supplies Used:
Carols of Christmas/Card Front Builder Bundle (146037)
Banner Punch (138292), Layering Ovals (141706) & Circles (141705)
Card Stock: Whisper White (100730), Cherry Cobbler (119685), & Garden Green (102584)
Ink: Cherry Cobbler (126966) & Garden Green (126973)
Paper & Embellishments: Merry Music Specialty DSP (144623) & Boxwood Wreaths (144176)
Foam Adhesive Strips (141825) & Silver 3/8″ metallic edge ribbon (144213)

Fun-n-Crafty | Christmas in July

Hello my crafty peeps! I’m happy to be here again this month as part of the Fun & Crafty blog hop. This month’s theme is Christmas in July! I know, I know, it’s still summer, but for better or worse stamp companies release their holiday products in August and September.

On the positive side, you can get the jump on your holiday cards and handmade gifts! Beginning in August Stampin’ Up! is offering everyone a chance to pre-order one of the new suites, Carols of Christmas, in August before the holiday catalog goes live on September 1st.


I really like the stamps and dies in this product suite. The dies are innovative and the bold sentiments are the perfect focal images for all of your holiday creations. I think my favorite element is the card builder border, followed closely by the night sky die. Both are perfect for all sorts of cards, not just holiday and I think that is why I like them so much! In my sample I created a background using a paper piecing technique called herringbone. This can be done with washi tape and also, as shown here, with patterned paper like the Be Merry DSP. It’s a great way to use your DSP and show off all the wonderful and coordinating patterns.


This technique may look complicated, but it is actually very simple. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to apply the paper that creates the pattern. You begin with a base layer (a piece of card stock that you adhere the strips to) and the strips of DSP. For this sample my whisper white base is 5″ x 3.75″ and I used .5″ strips. Normally, I cut two, 6″ x 2″ pieces of each pattern (this yields four, 6″ x .5″ strips) and I apply edge-to-edge adhesive (Using Stick It! or my Xyron). Once I have the adhesive on, I cut down the piece into four .5″ strips from each pattern in the pack. I leave the backing on one side of the strips so I can mock up the placement before I expose the adhesive and stick each strip down permanently.


Once I’m ready to begin, I place three strips running diagonally across the middle of the base (left photo above), alternating the patterns and trimming off the excess on each side. HINT: I like leaving a little white space between the strips, but you could also place them side by side. These strips serve as an “anchor” making it easy to place the remaining strips. After the three center strips are down, I add the next three above them (right photo above), oriented vertically (the opposite of the first three strips). Next, I add three more next to those vertical strips, this time oriented horizontally (left photo below). I keep working in this manner until the entire base is covered (right photo below). You may need to add a few small “triangles” here and there to fill in some edges, but otherwise you are done. I will repeat patterns a couple of different times, if needed, but place them in different parts of the base.


One of the things I love about Stampin’ Up! products is the color combinations. Each pack of DSP lists the coordinating colors on the back. This is super helpful when choosing card stock and other embellishments. The coordinating colors for the Be Merry DSP are Cherry Cobbler and Garden Green so my inks, card bases, mattes, and accents were those colors. I began with a side-folding A2 card and cut a 5.25″ x 4″ matte (if the card is Cherry Cobbler then the matte will be Garden Green, and vice versa). The herringbone background is adhered to the matte and then the matte to the card base.

The large sentiments in this set are the perfect focal point for your card. I cut 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares in Whisper White for the “Peace on Earth” sentiment and stamped it using either Cherry Cobbler or Garden Green ink. I also cut a 3.5″ x 3.5″ matte out of Cherry Cobbler and Garden Green card stock. Using the Layering Circles, I die cut the sentiment using the largest circle and then using the largest scallop, cut the mattes. I adhered the sentiment to the opposite color scalloped circle (Cherry Cobbler sentiment on a Garden Green scalloped circle and vice versa) and I adhered it to the herringbone background using pop dots.


Both Cherry Cobbler and Garden Green are darker colors, so I decided to finish my card with a Whisper White panel inside and I used the card builder border die to add a little extra touch to this panel (see above right). These stamps and dies are wonderful and I hope my card inspires you to purchase this bundle for yourself!

There is a ton of inspiration throughout this hop. Since you started here, I encourage you to grab a cup of coffee and visit the other talented team members listed below to leave them some blog love! Next up is the talented Kathy. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”



  1. Christine – Artful Musings (you are here)
  2. Kathy – Stamp-a-blog
  3. Merit – MB Squared Designs
  4. Susan – Stampin’ by the SF Sea
  5. Jennifer – NW Stamper
  6. Stacey – A Work of Carte

Supplies Used:
Stamps & Dies: Carols of Christmas Bundle (146036) & Layering Circles (141705)
Card Stock: Whisper White (100730), Cherry Cobbler (119685), & Garden Green (102584)
Ink: Cherry Cobbler (126966) & Garden Green (126973)
Be Merry DSP (144111)

Innovation Station | Inlaid Die Cutting

Hello my crafty peeps and welcome to another Innovation Station post! This is a monthly feature, focusing innovative tips and tricks. During the 2nd week of each month I plan to share an innovation that I find myself going to again and again.

This month’s innovation is inlaid die cutting. Inlaid die cutting is the process by which you place the negative space pieces back into the die cut creating a one layer background. This technique works well with background dies, but it also works with shapes and words. Inlaid die cutting adds color and interest to full panel die cuts and allows you to create many different looks. Inlaid die cutting is pretty straightforward, which is what makes it such a wonderful card making staple. Basically you run the item through your die cut machine over and over, using different card stock and/or pattern papers. It’s really that simple. I have come up with a few tips that I find helpful, which I share at the end of this post.

Now onto the cards. For the first card I used the Hello cover plate from Poppy Stamps. I started with a top folding card base and I die cut the plate into the card face. I set those letters and inserts (the inside of the O’s and E’s) aside. Next, I die cut the plate from several pieces of card stock in the new InColors (lemon lime twist, tranquil tide, powder pink, berry burst, and fresh fig) and I cut a slightly smaller backing for the card front, which I turned into a sticker by adhering it to a piece of Stick It! adhesive and placed it behind the card face. Finally, I began inlaying letters, making sure to include the white inserts for the O’s and E’s. For the finishing touch, I added two silver enamel hearts to one of the O’s.


For my second card I die cut Winnie & Walter’s Multifaceted cover plate out of a piece of Emerald Envy card stock and also out of a piece of the Pick a Pattern DSP. Using Stick It! adhesive, I turned the Emerald Envy die cut into a sticker and adhered it to a Flirty Flamingo card base. Next, I began placing all the shapes from the DSP using the outline version to help me figure out which pieces went where. I stamped the label frame in Emerald Envy and the sentiment in Flirty Flamingo and colored in the letters using a Flirty Flamingo marker. Using my Flirty Flamingo reinker, I dyed a piece of white seam binding and also punched out the frame using the new Pretty Label punch and popped it up on dimensionals over the ribbon.


I took a friend to the airport at 4am this morning and I was leaving the house when I remembered another style of inlaid die cut I had planned to show: using smaller dies to create a background. The wheels were turning (both my car’s and my brain’s) and by the time I returned from the airport this card was almost completely designed! Bonus! I created it using the Frozen Treats dies and it shows how creative you can get with inlaid die cutting. HINT: To get a seamless one layer cut for the ice cream cone follow these steps. Cut the cone out of the white panel first and then overlap the ice cream die so it looks like one clean cut (see below left). Next, place the panel back on the BigShot’s magnetic platform, inserting the proper cone in its spot and placing the ice cream die in position in the hole left by the first time you die cut it. Run that through the machine again and voila, the cone and ice cream meet up and look seamless. I finished off the card with one of the sentiments from the Cool Treats stamp set cut out using the Layering Ovals.


TIPS & TRICKS: A few things I’ve learned along the way… If the die has a lot of pieces I often adhere my frame to a piece of Stick It adhesive sheet so that thin, edge to edge adhesive is showing through the negative spaces where I will put the die cuts in. I love Stick It! because it’s double sided adhesive so you can glue your panel to the card front and the negative spaces also have adhesive! When I do use glue I tend toward Multi Matte Medium or SU! Fine Tip Glue Pen as both provide pinpoint application, dry clear and give a strong bond. I will sometimes die cut something out of a lot of different colors and patterns and save them up for future cards. I will often store these die cuts in the pocket with the dies. With intricate full panels I will often us the version I cut out of DSP to help me figure out where all the little pieces go. The best thing about inlaid die cutting is that you can dress them up with a sentiment, but visually they are interesting enough to carry the card without needing much more.

Thanks for hanging out with me, and learning (or relearning) about inlaid die cutting! Join me next month for another of my go to innovations, marble backgrounds. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”


Supplies Used:
Dies: Winnie & Walter Multifaceted, Poppy Stamps Hello, Frozen Treats (142756), & Layering Ovals
Card Stock: Whisper White, Emerald Envy, Flirty Flamingo, Lemon Lime Twist, Tranquil Tide, Fresh Fig, Powder Pink & Berry Burst
Designer Series Paper: Pick a Pattern (144163) & Cool Treats
Stamps: Pieces & Patterns (143843) & Label Me Pretty (143861)
Inks & Markers: Emerald Envy & Flirty Flamingo
Extras: Metallic Enamel Shapes (141678), Stick It!, Tweezers, Pretty Label Punch (143715) & Seam Binding

Fun-n-Crafty | Let’s “Lemon Lime” Twist Again

Hello my crafty peeps! I’m happy to be here again this month as part of the Fun & Crafty blog hop. This month we are highlighting the new 2017-19 In Colors from Stampin’ Up. I am always amazed at how well the new colors weave into the existing palette as well as coordinating with one another. These new In Colors are no exception. I decided to focus on my favorite of the five new, Lemon Lime Twist. This color is a light and vibrant green that works well with many other colors including these: Pool Party, Island Indigo, and Melon Mambo. To see the full range of In Color combinations for all the new In Colors, please click here. Today I am presenting two original cards. 

For the first card I began with a Whisper White A2 card base. Next, I ran the Split Chevron cover plate from My Favorite Things through my Big Shot three times: once in Lemon Lime Twist card stock and two times out of Lemon Lime Twist Fresh Florals DSP. I love inlaid die cutting and decided to fill up the Chevron pieces using these three colors and letting the Whisper White show through in some spots. For the finishing touch I wanted to add a die cut sentiment in Pacific Point card stock but realized I didn’t have any on hand. Fortunately, I have the ink pad and using a dauber, I was able to turn Whisper White card stock into Pacific Point card stock. Because the background is inlaid (essentially one layer) I decided to add some dimension for the sentiment so I die cut it three times (twice in white). I glued these together with the inked one on top and, ‘Voila!’, dimension.


For the second card I began with an A2 Whisper White card base. I added a Lemon Lime Twist mat (4″ x 5.25″) and then cut Fresh Florals DSP strips in various sizes. I glued the DSP strips down to the mat leaving a place for the sentiment. Using my MISTI I was able to stamp the whole sentiment at once, making sure it was well positioned within the allotted space. There are several great hostess sets, and Dare to Dream is one at the top of my list.


BONUS: over the past month and a half we (the Fun-N-Crafty team) have been playing with the new SU products. Below are two cards I made at recent events, one from a shoe box swap with my SU team (card by Kathy) and the other from a catalog party I helped a fellow team member with (card by Nicole). Both cards feature Lemon Lime Twist along with Berry Burst.


There is a ton of inspiration throughout this hop. Since you started here, I encourage you to grab a cup of tea and visit the other talented team members listed below to leave them some blog love! Next up is the talented Pamela over at Stinky Tofu. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”



  1. Christine – Artful Musings (you are here)
  2. Pamela – Stinky Tofu
  3. Kathy – Stampablog
  4. Merit – MB Squared Designs
  5. Susan – Stampin’ By the SF Bay
  6. Jennifer – NW Stamper

Supplies Used:
Card Stock: Whisper White, Lemon Lime Twist, Berry Burst, Chocolate Chip, & Kraft
Ink: Lemon Lime Twist (144086), Berry Burst (144083), & Pacific Point (126951)
Stamps: Thankful Thoughts (141522), Dare to Dream (143769), & Colorful Seasons (143726)
Dies: Seasonal Layers (143751) & Sunshine Wishes (141489)
Punches: Banner Punch (138292) & Pretty Label Punch (143715)
Paper: Fresh Florals DSP (144131), Vellum (101856), & Metallic Doilies (138392)
Embellishments: Bitty Bows (144217) & Silver Thread (138402)
Extras: Paper Trimmer, Score Board, Adhesive, Big Shot, Sponges/Daubers & Scissors

Innovation Station | White Washed

Hello my crafty peeps and welcome to another Innovation Station post! This is a monthly feature focusing innovative tips and tricks. During the 2nd week of each month I plan to share an innovation that I find myself going to again and again.

This month’s innovation is white washing as a coloring technique. White washing is just what you might think, it’s the process of coloring an image with white chalk ink using a water brush and then using markers (Distress, Stampin’ Write, or ZIG Clean Color) or ink pads to add color over the top of the “whitewash”.


You start off by rubbing your embossing buddy over your card stock and then stamping your image in VersaMark ink. Pour white embossing powder over your image and then heat set. HINT: Let your heat tool heat up for 8-10 seconds before putting it over your image and the embossing powder will melt faster and cause less paper warping. Once the embossing powder is cooled you can begin white washing a layer of craft white over the image using a water brush and ink in the lid of your stamp pad. Never put your water brush directly onto the stamp pad.


Once the white washed layer is dry you can begin adding color using ink in the lid of your stamp pad and a water brush. I typically lay dark color in the corners and then using the water brush pull it through the space. Once you are satisfied and it is dry you can use a damp cloth to wipe the ink off the embossed areas. Typically this technique is done on kraft card stock, but I’ve also had fun results on gray so I’m showing that as well. Here are flowers, two on kraft and two on basic gray card stock. Both sets use Calypso Coral and Lemon Lime Twist over the Craft white. The colors look different over the gray versus the kraft, don’t they? Lastly, I will sometimes add some clear Wink of Stella over the image for that little bit of shine.


Open stamps work best for this technique and it is perfect when paired with floral images because it adds a dreamy quality to them, but it will work with any stamp with large open spaces.


Thanks for hanging out with me, and learning (or relearning) a fun innovation! Join me next month for another go to innovation, inlaid die cutting. Until next time, remember, creativity and imperfection live together in all we do. “Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”


Supplies Used:
Stamps: Thinking Of You, Beautiful Bunch, & Butterfly Basics
Ink: Versa Mark, Calypso Coral, Lemon Lime Twist, & Berry Burst
Embossing Powder: White
Tools: Water Brush, Heat Tool, Embossing Buddy
Card Stock: Kraft & Basic Gray