Boo!!! It’s Halloween!

I’m not normally a big fan of making Halloween cards. Not sure why — maybe t’s just not my favorite color scheme.

But this year I got some cool new stamps from Artistic Outpost* and somehow, I was scaring up a storm of cards!

(The punched border is actually this lattice border from EK Success. See how I cut the top? Is it scarier this way? Grin.) (Here’s another way I used the lattice chain punch)

(same set, but the sentiment is from Hero Arts. This is for a friend whose birthday is on Halloween!)

Another one:

(The background for the house was made using alcohol inks on glossy card stock.)

And one more,  just because I love this image! The main image is from Inkadinkado.

Happy haunting!

*Disclaimer: The Halloween set was a gift from Artistic Outpost.

Hybrid Stamping

It’s Christmas already?! Well, it is in the magazine world. The December holiday issue of Crafts ‘n things is out already and my feature article in this issue is all about hybrid stamping — combining digital images with rubber-and-ink stamping.

Does this cover make you want to hang your stockings by the chimney with care and break out the Hanukkah menorah? It sure makes me want to craft!

Anyway… I was not into digital creating at all when I proposed this article, so I had a huge learning curve putting it together. (You can read about my personal — and pathetic — learning curve in the sidebar to the main piece.)

To start by hybrid adventure, I began with an easy project, just printing a background on card stock. Then I stamped and embossed the Aloha and the butterfly on scrap card stock, colored the butterfly, cut out both and added them to the card with dimensional foam. 

The digital background is from, the images are from Rubber Stamp Plantation.

Then I decided to experiment and thought, “Well, heck, let’s play with color!”

Wow! That was fun! Same images, stamped and cut, then colored to match.

For my next experiment, I decided to go entirely digital, which was super easy, but just to be sure, I started with a single image that fit the entire card front:

The hardest part was figuring out the printing parameters so the image lined up in the center of the card. The tulip above and deco lady below are both from Twisted Papers. Both are colored with watercolor pencils. (When using an ink jet printer, you have to be careful not to get the ink wet or it can bleed. Don’t ask me how I learned that lesson….)

(To get the lovely texture, I ran the base card through my Sizzix using a Cuttlebug embossing folder.)

For my last card, I used a digital kit from Basic Grey:

I stamped, colored and cut out party hats from Hero Arts.

And there ya go! I still have a looooooooong way to go before I feel comfortable with digital cardmaking, but at least I have a toe in the new technological waters!

Do check out the December issue for lots of great holiday ideas. And come back next Friday for some Halloween cards.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fabulous Finds Friday — Punch It Out

I love border punches! They offer so much crafty-goodness because they can be so versatile.

Border punches are becoming bigger and better, so today my Fabulous Find are two new border punches from EK Success:

These two are Floral Chain and Lattice. Look at all the ways you can change them! (We’ll come to that in a bit.)

I already used the lattice punch in this card from last week, but here are some more selections:

So fresh in yellow! (Image and black rhinestomes by Hero Arts.) The other fun thing about the floral border is that you get a bonus — the center punches out a perfect daisy! How cool is that?

The punches can be a bit tricky to use — I had a few problems with them getting stuck, especially if my paper is either too flimsy or too heavy. I get the best results using a sturdy  paper or lightweight cardstock. I also stand when I punch so I press down fully (using my considerable body weight as leverage!) You may need to play with them a bit to discover what works best for you. I also punched through a piece of waxed paper to give a little glide — I don’t know if that really works or if it is just an old wife’s tale (but then again, I AM an old wife!)  But it can’t hurt.

The designs are pretty easy to line up when you punch a long border, but every so often I slip and this is what happens:

See the little bobble where it doesn’t quite meet? Not really a problem, though — I just covered it with an embellishment:

(stamped frame by Hero Arts; sentiments by Inkadinkado)

I have one other trick up my sleeve: I found that by cutting the punched strips, you can get different designs.  For example, here I cut the flower border down the center to create scallops:

It’s hard to see, but I added rhinestones to the center of the “scallops” and Stickles Ice to the centers of the flowers. (Flowers and sentiment by Technique Tuesday; stripes by Hero Arts.)

And here I cut the edges off the lattice:

(flowers by Technique Tuesday; sentiment by Inkadinkado)

Thanks for stopping by! I’ve been having so much fun, I may post some more cards during the week.)

Fabulous Finds Friday — Artistic Outpost

I am a sucker for the unmounted sets from Artistic Outpost. I love the vintage feel, the way the stamps form a theme, the design possibilities.

Combine that with my love of  lighthouses, and how could I resist this set, *“Beyond the Sea”

I must admit, I am not always the most imaginative stamper; sometimes I have a hard time implementing my “vision.” Oh, who am I kidding? Sometimes I have a hard time getting a vision at all! So I need to stamp and play a lot to get a feel for the images and what they want me to do.  Sometimes I get a … here it comes… creative block.

I am also impatient, and I wanted — NEEDED — to stamp something from this set as soon as it arrived. My first attempt at making a card had me flumoxed. I have this really cool blue-grey paper that has subtle sparke in it. I envisioned the lighthouse stamped and embossed in white on this paper. 

I stamped the lighthouse using VersaMark, then embossed in white. My idea was to mount the entire panel on another card, but it just didn’t work, especially with the punched corners (dumb idea!). I didn’t think this through, I was too impatient to stamp. I played around with various background cards and finally just decided to cut the darn thing out and start all over. Here is what I finally came up with:

(The blue is not quite that vibrant in person. It really blends better with the blue grey!) The music background is from the same set; the sentiment is by Rubber Stampede. The lacy border is a new punch from EK Success — which I will talk about next week! Love these punches!

I played around some more with the lighthouse and came up with these:

I do like this one above — I white embossed the lighthouse over a piece of background paper made with alcohol inks.

I finally gave up on the white embossing and stamped the lighthouse with other backgrounds:

(other images are from same set. Anyone remember that Bobby Darin song? Hum along with me… “Somewhere, beyond the sea….”)

(Found the above scrap of blue paper — it seemed like a good fit.)

Then I decided to take a risk and add this image to the scene:

To make the border, I used drafting tape to mask off the margins on my white cardstock. I colored the scene with Pebbles’ Pearlescent Chalk.

Whew! I haven’t even touched another great image in the set — a man and woman in a gondola!

Thanks for stopping by.

(*this set was a gift from Artistic Outpost)

Farewell to Petey

This post is a departure from my usual crafty fare, but I wanted to pay tribute to our beloved family dog, Petey, who died this week at the ripe old age of 16.  Petey was a Staffordshire Terrier, rescued from the streets when he was a pup.


He didn’t stay that small forever! Within a few weeks he had outgrown his doggie bed:

Even when full grown (he got to be nearly 60 pounds at his prime — all muscle!) he loved to crawl into small spaces (like under the coffee table) and into the laundry basket — clean or dirty, he didn’t care:

Here he is napping with our other dog, Ginger:

He was a regal animal, smart and loyal, and will be missed.

Gift Giving

Undergoing chemotherapy is no fun. And since I find stamping, coloring, cutting and glueing therapeutic and relaxing, I thought my friend — who is not a stamper but has expressed her appreciation for the hand made cards I’ve been sending — might like some creativity-in-a-box to help pass the time.

I wanted to create a very portable kit that would be easy to tuck into a purse or bag, so first I looked for the perfect box and found a great plastic pencil case at a dollar-type store. (It is important to find the box before you make the cards because the materials must fit inside!)  Then I cut some gift tags (making sure they would fit in the box), and stamped them with fun images.

Digging into my scrap bag, I punched some shapes:

I tossed in some colored pencils and a glue stick and packed the box…

…then wrapped it with some pretty tulle (which I told her can also be cut and used on the tags!). I added  more tags to the front, then tied on a larger tag that had simple instructions:

The box was a big hit — and I may have converted another stamper!

How have you used your stamps to cheer up someone?