Archive for designer paper

Renewed passion

Sorry that it’s been quite awhile since my last post. Motherhood has been a huge — great, but huge — time suck. But, recently, I have been inspired to carve out some “me” time. Two things happened that got my creative juices flowing.

First, I offered to deliver birthday cards for all staff at my son’s elementary school on behalf of the PTA. The principal’s birthday happened to be one of the first of the year, and I gave her a card assembled from some of the scrapbook elements swaps I hosted eons ago. She was so delighted that I was itching to design original creations.

Then, this past weekend, I got my chance. I had auctioned off a card-making party at heritage camp this past summer and a friend who owns a post-adoption services organization purchased it as an activity for her twice-yearly adoptive mom’s retreat. Quite convenient since I had planned to attend anyhow! I talked her into letting me do something beyond cards, so I made three fun, simple projects that were adaptable to a variety of tastes and crafting abilities. The retreat was this past weekend and my nine fun-loving companions seemed to have a ball with the crafts, despite the fact that I was completely off my game (because I was extraordinarily sleep deprived and admittedly rusty).

Here are the projects we did, with simple instructions. I wish I had taken photos of the ladies’ finished creations, because they were all unique and wonderful!

Joy Fold Card – Click here for instructions

Mini Cork Board – Click here for instructions

Explosion Box – Click here for instructions


Tulip “Bouquet” for Teacher Appreciation Day

I found this cute “from the whole class” idea at Family Fun, so I offered to make something similar for Teacher Appreciation Day at my son’s preschool, which, incidentally, is today. (Actually, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, but I’m delivering these bouquets first thing in the morning.)

After much brainstorming and trial-and-error, I came up with what I think is a significantly improved version of the “gift-card flower.” I created a self-pocketing tulip, opted for patterned (and textured) paper, and skipped the green plant in favor of a cute metal garden planter and chocolate. Really, who wouldn’t want chocolate?


My lacking photography skills really don’t capture how charming these turned out (despite my considerably-less-than-perfect flower arranging skills, which rival only my photographic prowess–ha!), but you get the idea.


The only problem may be that there are too many flowers, which make the bouquets look a little cluttered, especially since I have so many patterns at play. Given that these particular tulips, however, are stuffed with grateful words and goodies from appreciative families, I think that’s just fine. If I were to make this bouquet for a different occasion (say, for Mother’s Day or a bridal or baby shower), I might limit the total number of tulips per planter to somewhere between 6-10 for a cleaner look, or fewer if you want the look to be crisp and modern.

Here are basic instructions to make a dozen-flower bouquet.


12 pieces single-sided patterned scrapbook paper, each cut to 3-1/2″ x 7″
12 large bamboo skewers (or long floral picks)
green floral foam
medium-size garden container for base (e.g., planter, bucket, watering can, etc.)
crimping tool
adhesive tape runner
single-sided tape (e.g., Scotch tape)
individually wrapped candy
wire cutters or other tool that can cut through bamboo skewer
Optional: large corner rounder
12 pieces of cardstock, cut to 2-3/4″ x 7-1/2″
small corner rounder



With wire cutters, trim bamboo skewers on flat end as follows: trim 2″ from 2 skewers, 3″ from 2 skewers, and 4″ from 1 skewer. Leave all remaining skewers at full length.

For each tulip, score patterned paper sheet at 4-1/2″ on the long side. Adhere tape runner (glue) to edges only of the smaller section. Hint: to create a narrow adhesive strip with a standard size tape runner, place papers tightly side-by-side (patterned side down) and apply tape runner to seam. Then separate and continue. Fold at score mark and press glued area shut, creating a pocket. Fold pocket in half lengthwise (without a hard crease). Use scissors (or large corner rounder) to round bottom (folded side of pocket) and cut tips of petals at opposite end by cutting what is essentially a curvy “V.” (I personally prefer the variation that comes from cutting freehand, but if you really, really don’t think that you can do this without a template, leave a comment and I’ll try to post something to share.) Unfold and run through paper crimper. This texture adds a nice dimension, hides any creases that may have been created, and helps to give the flower a more curvy shape.


To assemble flowers, run pointed end of skewer through middle of pocket and poke through bottom. Use a piece of Scotch tape to adhere top of skewer to inside front of the pocket. Do not adhere to back or flower will fall forward. Hint: if using multiple patterns, determine flower arrangement prior to inserting different length skewers.


To create the card insert, score the cardstock on the long side at 3-3/4″ and fold in half. Use corner rounders to snip the corners on the non-fold edge. Write a note, decorate the card, insert gift card or other small, flat favor, and insert, open-end down into flower pocket. Optional: some gift card holders are small enough to fit inside the pocket without protruding and you can write a note on the blank side of the gift card holder instead of making a card insert.

To assemble flowers in container, first fill container with floral foam, leaving 1-2″ of space at top of container. Arrange flowers by inserting skewers firmly into foam. Use flowers with shorter skewers at the front and fill in with progressively longer “stems” towards the back. Once completed, arrange candy to hide foam.



I also wanted to thank a few special staff who have been so very kind and loving to my son, so I whipped up a handful of single-stemmed options just from our family. The inspiration for these came from my former flower creations like chocolate vases, in which I created flowers from assembling punched shapes. This simple sunflower is made from 20 oval punches (petals), 2 large circle die-cuts (center), and medium and large oval tag die-cuts (leaves, which fell down for this photo, but normally sit somewhat upright). I particularly love the way the thinner single-sided scrapbook paper lets the light shine through.

There are about a million ways to vary these ideas, so feel free, as always, to CASE (copy and share everything). Please just link to this page and give credit to the concept (Family Fun) and my original designs. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, friend!

It’s my friend’s birthday today (Happy Birthday, Bobbi!). So, I sat down the other day to make her a card. To get my crafting gears lubed up, my philosphy has been, quite simply: keep it simple! So I made a card with “stickers” (from a retired SU! Simply Scrappin’ kit), colored chipboard, a wild vintage button from my collection, and a simple orange flower brad on SU! Regal Rose cardstock (sorry, I could not get the color adjusted on this first photo at all). Then, I made a second card because I really wanted to see what that giant flower sticker would look like sort of hanging off the card (and, well, I had the extra card already cut out and scored…).


And then…What started out as a one-card naptime effort turned into a Nap Scrap Challenge. Basically, I challenged myself to make as many simple but attractive cards as I could during the rest of my son’s nap using only “scrap” embellishments…leftover stickers, flowers, brads, ribbon, etc. from other projects. These six cards were the outcome. Baby steps! (The cardstock for these cards were various shades of coral and rose, all textured, makers unknown.)




Here comes the bride (and groom)

Engagement - outsideMy brother is getting married this summer and I think it’s pretty safe to post my card ideas since I doubt he reads my craft blog. (His fiance came onto the scene after my blog hiatus began, so she’s not likely to see these either.) I heard through the grapevine that the wedding colors were “purple,” but I wasn’t sure if that meant true purple, or a lighter lavender. Then I ran across a single textured sheet of pretty purple cardstock and decided to have a go at an engagement and wedding card anyhow.

Engagement - inside

The  “Congratulations on your engagement” card (which I completely winged with no visual inspiration) is a basic, vertical, almost envelope-style tri-fold. I added a strip of gold cardstock under the flap (to lengthen it) and scalloped the gold. I added a ribbon to mask the transition between the two cardstocks and embellished with layered flowers and a tiny lavender flower brad. (The circular bronze paper clip was just there to hold the card shut for the photo, but I kind of like it and may work it into the card if I can.) Then, I wanted to incorporate some old Sell-a-bration stamped images that I had in my stash (already colored and decorated with dazzling diamonds!), so I first added a lavender layer to the inside of the card, then punched a circle in the lower flap, and glued on the “Congratulations” image to the inside of the card, lining it up to show through the window.

Wedding cake card

For the wedding card, I found my inspiration in Paper Crafts magazine (an older edition). I used the same base purple textured cardstock for a 6×6 card (12×6 folded in half), then layered with silver and shimmery white cardstocks. I used a fancy corner punch on the shimmery white, stamped and embossed in silver the word “love,” then cut three graduating rectangles out of a retired patterned vellum to create a wedding cake shape and glued onto the shimmery white. (Hint: run vellum through an adhesive machine for a perfectly even coating; otherwise, you may see the adhesive under vellum.)

I then embellished with paper flowers and small jewels (and probably overdid the jewels!). I may add more to the top of the cake to make it look more finished. I may not.

In hindsight, I wish I had converted the word “love” to a flower stem rather than placing the flower off to the left (which is how it was in the inspiration card). I could nit-pick this card to death, but it’s still rather pretty (especially in person) and I had fun making it. Isn’t that the point?

Yes, I did fall off the face of the planet

I’ve been in heaven! I became a new mom a little over two weeks ago. You can read all about my beautiful new baby boy (and see lots of pictures, more of which will be posted shortly) on our family blog. I’ll respond to Sale page requests and pending emails shortly!

On the stampin’ front, I whipped up this quickie 5×5 altered book for my friend’s baby shower before the stamp room gets packed up for the move. (And I did it wearing my baby!)

I wanted a little notebook where guests could write in advice to the new mom and this 5×5 was the perfect size (and with 20 pages, the really really perfect size).

Patterned paper is a combination of the not-yet-released new designer series paper and some spring paper from 06, I think. Crafty postings will resume in July once we get settled in our new house.

You may not hear much from me here in the next several weeks, but I promise to come back with lots of new ideas once the new catalog is released in July!

Baby favors

favorboxesjmbaby007-web.jpgI mentioned before that I was addicted to explosion boxes, didn’t I? They’re just so easy and fun to open!

Well, I had to come up with favors for a friend’s baby shower, so explosion boxes were the obvious choice. And given everything else going on in my life, I needed it to happen quick and easy so I could ship them out asap. So…

I made 2″ explosion boxes out of double-sided designer series paper (from spring 2006, I think…) and decorated with a big retro flower punch and buttons.

The biggest problem for me was coming up with a decoration for the top. My friend is having a boy. And my mind was drawing a blank when it came to “boy” stuff. Besides, I really (really, really) wanted to use this flower punch, so I compromised. favorboxesjmbaby005-web.jpg

I used (baby) boyish colors (celery and bashful) and mostly patterned papers (even for some of the flowers). Given that the favors are for women, I decided that flowers — simple flowers — were a good choice.

Now I need to figure out what to include inside the boxes. I can’t ship anything meltable (chocolate, candles). Hmmm…. Any great ideas?

Next up…thank you cards appropriate for business. Stay tuned…

The art of CASEing

Explosion BoxOne of the fabulous things about the rubber stamping community is that we’re crafters who love what we do so much that we always encourage others to try new things. And we never hesitate to show others the ease and beauty of our crafts. One of the best ways to expand our horizons and improve our skills is to push our limits. To do that, we often Copy And Share Everything, or CASE.

The bevy of projects in the annual (and soon to be semi-annual, woo hoo!) Stampin’ Up! Idea Book & Catalog is a great starting place to CASE others’ ideas, but sometimes I need different or new fodder to spark my creativity. Sometimes I find great ideas for patterns in catalogs or advertisements. Sometimes I turn to stamping or paper crafting magazines or other publications. But often I find myself surfing the Web and I always end up at splitcoaststampers.

Last week, Beate did a tutorial on one of my favorite projects: explosion boxes. I already knew how to make these in any size, but I found inspiration there nonetheless. I loved her use of Au Chocolate designer series papers along with Mixed Bouquet.

I wanted to give Mixed Bouquet, one of my favorite retiring sets, a final farewell. Besides, I needed the inspiration for my first-ever {blog candy} that Alison won a couple of weeks ago. (Yeah, yeah, I did it backwards. Next time, I’ll make the candy first, then give it away…I get it.) I hope she thinks it’s worth the wait (fingers crossed)!

Nesting Explosion

Nesting Explosion Boxes openSo I decided to CASE Beate’s project, but with a little twist. I used one of my favorite colors ever, Cool Caribbean, which is also retiring along with the rest of the In Color lineup (another adieu). Then I looked over at the little Russian nesting doll in my stamp room and it occurred to me that maybe a nesting set of explosion boxes could be a fun thing too.

So this is what I came up with. If you like it, feel free to CASE it for personal use. Shake it up, change it, make it your own. Have fun and share it with a friend. (Just be nice and tell folks where you got your inspiration, especially if you post in on the web.) Complete recipe and cutting dimensions available here.

Folks, my apologies for the long delay since my last post and delays in my responses to any personal emails. I expect to be able to reply to emails shortly. Custom orders may be delayed, but you will receive an email from me in the next several days if that is the case. Life is, once again, in overdrive. If you’d like to read about the crazy stuff in my personal life, you can visit my adoption blog.

Something for mom (or grandma, or…)?

Mother Clipboard

This is one of the projects we made at my last stamp class. I couldn’t resist this gorgeous color combination in shades of sherbet (click on image for recipe).

The basic layout is the same as my Chipboard Clipboards, but this time I used the double-sided paper from the Spring mini. Aren’t these stripes just scrumptious?? As with the previous edition, these are intended to be photo magnets. Perfect for the fridge!

Here’s an idea: simply replace the word “mother” with “daughter” or “son” or “family,” trim a favorite photo to 3×3 and clip in for a Happy Mother’s Day! Or, make for each of the (grand)kids and I’ll bet they find a favored spot on the fridge!

Alternative: the clip is completely removable, so you could alter both sides with different (seasonal?) colors. Then mom/grandma can flip it over for a change of scenery!


magnet-tin-outside-web.jpgYou may remember that Target carried these little magnetic checkerboard tins around the Easter holidays. I jumped on the bandwagon and bought one then. Just one. This is what I created (gift #5 for my generous friend). The outside is simple enough: your basic altered tin decorated with cardstock, designer paper, stamps, ribbon, and other embellishments.

The inside of the container is another story. I had these groovy thin 4″ cork coasters with rounded edges that fit perfectly inside the container. I layered four of them — no glue (that’s how great they fit) — to create the corkboard. (Unfortunately, you’d be hard-pressed to find these cork coasters today…they’re about 3 years old from IKEA. But, you could cut thin cork sheets to size and layer for the same effect.) magnet-tin-inside-web.jpgThe thickness of the cork perfectly accommodates the glass marble tacks (thumbtacks, 1/2″ stamped circles of cardstock, flat-backed glass marbles, and Crystal Effects).

On the left inside of the container, I layered a piece of cardstock over the tin, then used my Xyron 900 with a magnet cardtridge to create some little magnetic inspirational sayings (shown in storage mode) that could easily be moved around to the front, back, or inside lid of the tin — or used anywhere a magnet could go.

wish for simplicity

Trifold Wish CardIn keeping with my simple theme, I made this trifold tab card for mystery project #4. It’s a versatile card and there’s plenty of room for inside sentiments. If you’re not accustomed to using a Hobby Blade (X-acto knife), I recommend practicing on scrap paper first.

To make the tri-fold, simply cut cardstock to 5-1/2 x 11. Score the longer side at 3″ and 7-1/4″.

To make the tab, lay card flat so that the larger outside flap is toward you.wish-card-open-web.jpg Approximately 1/2″ from the first fold, use a hobby knife to make three cuts: make a 1-1/2″ cut approximately 1-7/8″ in from the left side. The cut should be perpendicular to the fold. Repeat approximately 1-7/8″ from the right side. Then cut between the end points — the ends furthest from the fold. (See image to right for example of approximate tab location.) Use small corner rounder on tab edges (you may need to remove the guard).

For the front flap, cut your designer series paper to 3″ x 5-1/2″ and adhere to smaller flap. Lightly sand edges if desired. Stamp “wish” (or desired phrase) onto cardstock and use 1-1/4″ circle punch. Adhere to tab. Cut coordinating cardstock to 5/8″ x 5-1/2″ and adhere above tab. Embellish as desired.

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