Life Is All About The Gumballs…

Today’s card is a tip of the hat to the days of our innocence. I had so much fun putting it together, I felt like a child (which of course is an accusation I’ve faced previously). There is something about gumball machines that just makes a person happy and gives you one of those perma-grin smiles. When I was exploring the handbooks for the latest batch of Cricut cartridge releases, this image just jumped out at me. I used the “Wrap It Up” cartridge and my Cricut Imagine to create the layered image. This is one of the first times I’ve experimented with using the built in color palettes that come with each Imagine cartridge to “color” my image layers (as opposed to using various colors of cardstock). Using the print and cut function, I ended up with the colored layers that were quite easy to piece together. As I was putting the image together, I had a thought about the gumballs themselves. Of course, the cartridge prints out different colored circles to lay out as your gumballs with this image. But, I wanted a bit more pop and interest with the overall look. So, I rooted through my stash of mini round head brads and found some sparkly “gumballs”. I used a paper piercer to punch through the layered image and attached each brad. (The back looks like an accident in a dental brace factory!)

The base cardstock for this card is Stampin’ Up! in Brilliant Blue. The decorative paper (which recalls the gumball theme) is from American Crafts. The ribbon is from Papertrey Ink’s “Enchanted Evening” collection. For my sentiment, I created a scalloped badge out of felt (also from Papertrey Ink). Inside the card, I used a piece of decorative paper from Crate Paper that looks like those pages we all learned how to write on (Big Chief, anyone?). I thought this paper echoed the whimsy of the gumball machine–and I think the stains and smudges in the print are simply charming.

As a further note, I should add that I highly recommend the Cricut “Wrap It Up” cartridge. If you are one who tries to limit your cartridge buying (i.e. NOT like me, lol) to necessities, this is one to add to the “must-have” list. There are some terrific images, the layering is fairly simple and the artwork is highly versatile for many different events and uses. This is also a great cartridge for a Cricut Newbie.




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In The Midnight Hour…

Inspiration is a fickle bedfellow. Sometimes, you really never know what time of the night (or early morning) he’s going to strike. Last night in between watching ‘Criminal Minds’ on my DVR and goofing with my Gypsy in bed (wait, did that sound strange?), this card just sort of magically came together. I love the cleaness, the color way and the multi-purposeness of the final design.

The design inspiration came from the Cricut ‘French Manor’ cartridge (which is an exclusive release to Cricut Circle members). I slightly modified one of the card designs (with the Hide Contour feature on the Gypsy) to simplify it a bit. The base cardstock is a mica paper from Stardream’s So…Silk! Collection in the color Fair Blue. The glitter underlayer is American Crafts glitter cardstock in Midnight Sapphire. The decorative overlayer card mat (which was cut in my Cricut Expression) is from My Mind’s Eye and their “Breaking Free” Collection (Wild Ride Hot Dots Paper). The inside sentiment block paper is from Pink Paislee.

With the sparkle added from the combination of the glitter and mica cardstocks, there wasn’t much need for additional embellishment. I did, however, add a Doodlebug Striped button which I topped with some Jenni Bowlin Powdered Sugar mini-pearls. The button was adhered with some KI Memories Gloo adhesive.






Caged Bird

For my second exploration with Tim Holtz’s new Alterations line, I decided to use the Sizzix Bigz die entitled “Caged Bird”. I also wanted to make a home décor piece instead of my usual card. I have to confess that I’m actually not through with this project, but I was so excited with the results thus far that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I will be framing this in a thick dark wood frame as it is meant to be a small wall hanging.

The “Caged Bird” steel rule die will cut three pieces when run through your Sizzix Big Shot or ProvoCraft Cuttlebug. You will get the birdcage frame, the bird’s body on a branch, and a bird wing. Instead of working with cardstock (and since this was intended to be a home décor piece and needed to be a bit sturdier), I chose to use a piece of thick chipboard as my base and Tim Holtz Grungeboard to cut my pieces from. The chipboard is a very sturdy piece from a Die Cuts With A View (DCWV) assorted chip board stack. The 4″ x 6″ chipboard is covered on both sides with a textured cardstock in a dusty rose color. The Grungeboard was a 4″ x 6″ sheet as well, though it had a “dots” texture to it. I would have preferred a plain piece when I started, but in the end, the texture added some nice highlights to the elements.

With my Grungeboard pieces cut out via my trusty Cuttlebug, I used some Tim Holtz Distress Inks and my applicator to color the pieces. The cage was colored with Black Soot distress ink. The bird body and wing were colored with Mustard Seed; The legs and branch were colored with Walnut Stain. I was pleased with the look of the cage. The Black Soot gave it the look of an ornamental iron piece that had seen some use and wear. The bird’s body, however, just didn’t pop enough for me with just the inking. I decided my caged bird needed to be a focal point. I used some adhesive and canary yellow glitter to coat the body and wing. After they were completely dry, I used some Smooch ink to accent his eye and his beak.

One of the main reasons I chose to use Grungeboard was for the pliability and dimension of the material. All along, my theme was to have the bird “breaking out” of his cage to leap to his magical flight. That’s why I sort of threaded his body through some of the bars of the cage and made sure his wing was exposed from captivity. This type of manipulation would have been difficult without a material that had some give to it and did not permanently bend or crease. The wing and the cage are attached to the backdrop chipboard using Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals–which again emphasizes the dimensionality of the project.

The die for “Caged Bird” punches out five holes on the bottom of the cage as a decorative detail. In my mind, I had already pictured hanging some crystal chandelier drops from the holes. But as I worked on the project and developed the theme of the bird breaking out of his cage, I though some Tim Holtz typewriter key charms might be a better bet. With the sentiment of “FLY” in mind, I chose three charm backings and used the circular alphabet stickers for my word. Originally, I wanted all of the charms to be the creme color. However, I couldn’t find a “Y” in that coloration and had to use a black sticker. At first, I was disappointed with the look. But upon further study, I really like the off-kilter lettering. Not only does it tie into the cage color, but it sort of identifies that “breaking out” theme by achieving your goal no matter what it takes (like the wrong color letter). Once you place the letters in the charm frames, you use an adhesive acrylic bubble to cover the charm. I used some Tim Holtz jump rings to attach the charms to the cage. For the two holes that did not have dangles, I covered them with rhinestones.


The final touch on the project was the hanging chain atop the cage. Again, the chain is from Tim Holtz. I attached it to the cage with another jump ring. To anchor the chain, I chose a fabric and crystal covered brad from K & Co. to complete the look. I pierced a hole through the chipboard and inserted the brad. I think once I mount this piece in a frame, it’s really going to set off the look. I will try to remember to photograph the finished piece and share it with you later.






Garden Greetings

Well, hello there!

I bet you thought I’d finally been confined to that psychiatric hospital for the craftily insane hung up my ATG714 adhesive gun and called it quits. It’s been so long since I’ve posted that I forgot my own password! I really have no excuse for my absence other than laziness–and a period of lack of inspiration.

The good (?) news is that I’ve found my mojo again. I’m really going to make a concerted effort to post more of my projects and keep the blog fresh. So, I hope you will bear with me.

Recently, I finally succumbed to the temptation (after spending the equivalent of the GNP of a small developing country) and became a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator. I know, I know… It seems like everyone and there mother is a demonstrator these days. But, give me a bit of credit–I’m a MALE Stampin’ Up demonstrator (lol). Seriously, I’ve been so impressed with the products and company that it is an honor to be a demonstrator. I know you have many options when looking for your Stampin’ Up! products, but I hope to provide great service, perks and fun along the way. So if you are in the market for something, please keep me in mind. But enough about that. Let’s make something.

I was itching to try a project with one of my new stamp sets–and yet wanting to do something “different”. So, this is the card I came up with:

Materials List:

–Stampin’ Up! Garden Greetings Set (#113716)
–Stampin’ Up! Stamp Pad in Basic Black (#101179)
–clear transparency sheet
–mica cardstock
–decorative paper
–brads (4)
–adhesive
–EK Success corner rounder punch
–Tim Holtz piercing tool

To begin the process, I choose a lovely and large bloom stamp from the Stampin’ Up! Garden Greetings set. Using the Basic Black Stampin’ Pad, I cut a piece of clear transparency into a 3″ x 4 1/4″ block.

I then stamped the image several times in random places on the transparency and allowed it to dry completely.

The base of my card is going to be a standard A2 size. Therefore you need a piece of cardstock measuring 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. I chose to use a beautiful piece of mica cardstock that has an incredible sheen to it (that unfortunately does NOT photograph well). For the element pieces of my card, I needed a decorative paper measuring 3″ x 4 1/4″ (to mount my transparency stamping on). The paper I chose was from the Basic Grey Two Scoops collection. It has lovely pinks in it that compliment the base cardstock and the swirls provide a great backdrop to my blossoms.

To attach the transparency film to my decorative paper block, I decided to use brads–in this case four (4) Doodlebug Sugared brads (two pink, two white). Not only will the brads hold my elements together, they’ll do double duty as stamen in my flowers. For easy attachment, I used my Tim Holtz piercing tool to make holes through the transparency and decorative paper where I wanted my brads to attach.

Once all four brads are in place, the element is ready to be adhered to the card base.

As a final decorative touch for my card, I decided to round the corners of my card using an EK Success punch.

Here’s a look at the final card and a close-up of the detail.


Well, I hope this inspires you to think Spring! I know the weather is not cooperating in many parts of the country, but it’s definitely time for us to put some flowers into our lives!

See you soon…and keep crafting!

Card Spotlight: Stamping

For this card project, I wanted to use a couple of new stamp sets I recently acquired. It’s a simple card with a bit of bling.

I used an A2 sized piece of smooth white DCWV cardstock. The images and sentiment are stamped using Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Pigment Ink in Jumbo Java. The crown stamp is from an Autumn Leaves clear acrylic set called “Gypsy Style” by artist Rhonna Farrar. The “Live With Intention” sentiment is from a limited edition Hampton Arts clear acrylic set entitled “Intention” by artist Marah Johnson. The border stamp I used is from Sassafras Lass and it was stamped with Tsukineko Brilliance Ink in Coffee Bean.

For a bit of bling and visual interest, I used a Sakura Quickie Glue Pen and some Doodlebug Sugar Coating in bronze to highlight a portion of the swirl below the crown. I also used a Sakura Gelly Roll Glitter Pen in Clear to highlight the crown.

As a final touch, I used the same border stamp to stamp the inside of the card.

This was a quick and easy card project that took on a bit more sophistication with the addition of the glitter touches and double border stamping. Don’t forget to use your stamps on the insides of your cards–as well as the outsides.

Create–and keep crafting!

Mosaic Tile Postcard

This project is modern take on the traditional postcard. It is done with a chipboard base, stamped images and distressing techniques. Your finished project will look something like this:


front side

reverse side

To do this project, you will need the following tools and supplies:

–a piece of chipboard measuring 4.5″ x 6.5″ (I chose to use a piece from the DCWV Chipboard Mat Stack Brights (wine), as it is already finished on both sides. If you use bare chipboard, you can choose to cover it with decorative papers that will match your stamped image or solid cardstock)

–a piece of white textured cardstock measuring 4″ x 5″ (I chose Bazzill corduroy textured cardstock in Snow)

–a rubber or acrylic stamp of your choosing (I chose an Inkadinkado stamp from “Affair of the Heart” Collection)

–ink pad matching your base chipboard color (I chose Cat’s Eye Queue in Ruby)

–a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad (I chose the color walnut stain)

–several pieces of Kleenex or tissue

–adhesive of your choice (I used the Xyron 510 and Zig pen)

–glitter (I used Doodlebug Sugar Coating)

–a sheet of coordinating solid color paper

The key technique for this postcard is a trick using your favorite scoring device. I love my Scor-Pal. The use of textured cardstock also adds a lot of character to the distressing of this piece.

You want to take a piece of white textured cardstock and trim it to 4″ x 5″. Using your Scor-Pal (or other device), you want to score your cardstock at 1″, 2″ and 3″ on the shorter side. Turn your cardstock 90 degrees and then score the 5″ side at the following intervals: 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″. What you will end up with is a grid pattern of one inch blocks which will create the illusion of mosaic tiles in your finished piece.

Before stamping your chosen image, make sure that you stamp the side on which your scored your textured cardstock. It creates a deeper furrow on your scores and breaks up your stamped image for the desired effect. I chose to stamp the image multiple times to fill the cardstock.

Allow your stamped images to dry completely. Then you want to take your Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad. The secret tool you want to use for application is two pieces of Kleenex (or other tissue) balled up for hand application. You want to dab your tissue on the ink pad and then hand apply with strokes going in the same direction on each application.

The amount of distressing you want to apply to your stamped images is a matter of personal preference. You obviously don’t want to use so much stain that it totally obscures your stamped images. However, the more ink you use the clearer your scored channels will be accentuated creating the desired mosaic effect.

Once you’re happy with the distressing and all of the inks have dried, you can now adhere your cardstock to the chipboard base. I found it easy to run the cardstock through my Xyron 510. I then used a white rub-on (the word “LOVE”) to accent the corner. Any further embellishment is up to your heart’s desire. But, rememeber, you want your mosaic to be the centerpiece of the postcard and draw the most eye-attention.

On the reverse side, I simply glued a piece of solid pink paper and added another Inkadinkado stamped image to the corner. This leaves you the bulk of the space to do your writing.

Keep experimenting with this mosaic stamping technique. You’ll be surprised what a versatile (and easy) technique it is. But, it will look like you spent a long time to achieve the effect. Afterall, who doesn’t love immediate gratification more than crafters?

Keep Crafting!