November 29, 2010

Treats From Santa

Today I have a homemade treat to share.  This small container is filled with one of my favorite recipes - coated almonds.  I have this package decorated for the holidays, but they make delicious gifts anytime during the year. 

After filling the plastic container with the nuts (recipe below), I created a decorative ribbon attachment to fit the lid. 

To create the attachment, a small strip of white cardstock was stamped with Penny Black’s Letter Background with Vintage Photo Distress ink.  Antique Linen Distress ink was then rubbed over the top.  The stamped image was then pounced with VersaMark Watermark ink and dusted with Gold Perfect Pearls.  A small red piece of red cardstock was attached so that 1/8” was visible on the left edge before being attached to the white cardstock.  I rounded the corners so it fit in the recessed portion of the plastic lid.

I attached a piece of ribbon to the front of the tag, wrapped it around the container and tied a bow at the top.  Antique Santa (Penny Black) was stamped with Tuxedo Black Memento ink and colored with Copic markers.  The image was then trimmed and attached over the ribbon with dimensional foam tape.

These coated nuts are delicious as a snack or as a topping sprinkled over yogurt, ice cream or a warm bowl of oatmeal.

Coated Nuts

2 C. Nuts (I have used pecans, walnuts, almonds (whole and slivered) and peanuts)
1 Egg White – lightly beaten
½ t. Water
¼ C. Sugar
2 -3 t. Cinnamon (optional)

Mix egg white with water, pour over nuts and stir well.
Mix the cinnamon and sugar and coat the nuts.
Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes stirring once during baking.

I hope you enjoy this project – inside and out.

Have a great day,

November 26, 2010

Hide A Smile

My mom always hid little notes in our school lunches when I was younger and I remember how much I enjoyed finding those unexpected treasures. 

These are two tiny cards I made that I thought would be fun to tuck somewhere to give someone an extra smile.    

Finished Size:  2 x 3

Finished Size:  2 x 2 1/2

For both of these cards I used Penny Black's 12 Days of Christmas transparent set.  The images are so versatile you can use them all year round.  I substituted the holiday sentiments with phrases from the Betsy Bluebell transparent set.  The size of the font was the perfect match. 

Enjoy hiding a smile for someone….


November 24, 2010

Holiday Wrapping Ideas

All this week Penny Black is featuring inspiring projects for holiday gift wrapping created by their designers.  There are so many wonderful ideas!  Everything from tags and bags to boxes and cards. 

Today I am excited to share the designs that I created …..

The first is hand-stamped tissue paper.

The elegant Christmas Star paired with Rhubarb Stalk Memento Dye ink turned ordinary white tissue into a festive design in no time at all.  Tip:  I used a dye ink to prevent bleeding in case a couple of stray snowflakes happened to find their way near the package.  You may also want to use caution if wrapping stamped tissue around clothing or fabric items.

This tag could also be a holiday decoration.  The small ribbon loop makes it easy to attach to a gift or display as an ornament.

The adorable polar bear is part of the Snow Kiss stamp.  To take the guesswork out of centering the image on a pre-cut circle, I stamped the image with Tuxedo Black Memento ink then positioned a circle Nestability die around the design and ran it through a Cuttlebug.  A quick bit of Copic coloring, a sentiment from Xmas Snapshots and some crystal gemstones completed the tag!

Many times I have homemade baked goodies that I give as gifts and I like to include a small note with the package.

I thought these mini cards would be fun accompaniments.

Season’s Greetings:
Create a medallion and suspend it in a die-cut circle with fishing line.

Merry Everything:
Create a mask after stamping the first two penguins and tuck in a third for a whole merry group.

Love & Joy:
Add ink directly from a marker to the tree image, mist with water and stamp.  Cut out the tree and ink the words “love and Joy” from the Gift of Peace.  Crystal and Lime Stickles give the tree added sparkle.

Every gift card needs an envelope, so I made this little mini packet.

Penny Black has a wonderful assortment of designer papers and this design is called “Christmas Music”.  I rubbed a bit of Vintage Photo Distress ink (Ranger) over the paper and then sprayed it with gold Sheer Shimmer Spritz (Tsukineko).  The decorative closure was created from the transparent set Winter Whites & Greens.

You can download my small envelope template here.  It is sized to hold a 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ card.

Thank you for visiting and wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. 


November 23, 2010

A Quick Edit

Hello Everyone.

I have a small scheduling change to share with you.

My designer posting date for the gift wrapping projects was rescheduled by Penny Black for tomorrow, Wednesday.

I will have to keep you in suspense for one more day.  


November 22, 2010

Sneak Peek

This week the Design Team for Penny Black will be sharing fabulous ideas for gift wrapping, packaging and tags for the upcoming holidays.  Each day will be filled with spectacular and unique projects.  

I will be featuring my designs tomorrow, one of which will be this festively stamped tissue paper.

I hope you have a chance to return tomorrow when I will be posting my ideas:  a gift tag, three mini gift enclosure cards and a mini envelope with a template. 

Have a great day,

November 19, 2010


I wanted to end this week with a quick idea that could either be a Thanksgiving greeting or a thank you card.    

This is a Penny Black favorite of mine - Earth’s Bounty - stamped in Vintage Sepia VersaFine ink with a quick touch of water coloring. 

After the water colors dried (just a minute or so), I added Sparkle Gold Watercolor Paint (USArtQuest).

The sentiment was created using the Kate Text Lowercase Alphabet set and I converted three gold brads to copper with Ranger's Adirondack Copper Mixative.  The ribbon was a great find at my local craft store.

I am currently working on Valentine projects for Penny Black and I am looking forward to sharing the new designs with you soon. 

Have a great weekend,

November 17, 2010

O' Christmas Tree(s)

This past weekend I was admiring a scrapbook layout created by Lisa Storms in which she had created a really neat Christmas tree using patterned paper and the wave border punch from Fiskars. 

Her tree inspired me to create a few of my own with a twist and incorporate some rubber stamping.  All the stamps used in this project are from Penny Black and I have inserted links for each image if you would like to view the product.

The first piece I created is a place setting card for the holiday table.

First I cut two triangles from green cardstock that measured 3 ¼ x 4 ¾ and 3 x 4 ½.

Then I punched the two long sides of each triangle with the wave border punch and added Bamboo Leaves Memento ink to the edges with a jumbo sponge dauber.  Using the same ink, I stamped Starlit over both pieces to add those fun dots.  The snowy accents are just quick flicks of a white gel pen.

To assemble, I layered the smaller triangle on top of the larger one and punched a small row of holes down the center so I could hand stitch them together.  I elected to hand stitch them so I could use a heavy piece of cotton thread that I custom colored to match the project.  To eliminate the chance of the thread cutting a slice into the ink pad, I applied the ink to a sponge dauber and used that to color the thread.  You could also run this piece through your sewing machine.  Once sewn together, gently bend the smaller panels up.

The star was created from Sparkle which was stamped with VersaMark Watermark ink on white cardstock and heat embossed with gold powder.  The star was then trimmed and colored with Dandelion and Cantaloupe Memento markers.  For extra sparkle, I applied Golden Rod Stickles over the gold embossing and Lime Green Stickles to the dots on the trees.

Here is another tree used on a card.

The patterned background paper started off as a piece of tan cardstock which was stamped with Snow Scroll in Rich Cocoa Memento ink.  The swirls were accented with red water coloring and the whole piece was highlighted with a combination of Dandelion, Bamboo Leaves and Rich Cocoa Memento inks.  The sentiment is from the In A Pear Tree transparent set.

Here is a closer view of the tree with red crystals for ornaments.

As I was working on these projects I thought of some other design variations that would be fun ideas----- 

Add a piece of mat board to the back
of an assembled tree (for stability) and
a small magnet for festive fridge art.


Create two sets of trees and adhere
them back to back with fishing
line for a dimensional ornament.

Be careful, these are addictive to make and before you know it you will be surrounded by a whole forest of art!

Thank you for visiting.


November 15, 2010

Sending Love Around the World

Today I have an interactive card to share with you. 

The Penny Black Design Team was challenged to create a card that was decorated on the inside as well as the outside.  For my design, I decided to make the interior elements part of the exterior by incorporating a “Z” fold into the construction of the card base.

This is the closed view

And this is a view of the card fully extended.

I actually created the two interactive parts from one stamp - Royal Greetings.  I began by stamping the image twice on a separate piece of white cardstock with black Memento ink.  Before making the second impression, I carefully wiped the ink from the stamp that outlined the envelope.  Then I trimmed Mimi and her envelope from first impression and just the mailbox from the second impression. 

The scenery was created from the Xmas Snapshots transparent set and all the images throughout the card were colored with Copic markers.  The sentiment is from the Sending Love slapstick cling set.

To help visually bring more depth to the scene, I added dimensional foam behind Mimi and the mailbox.  With the mailbox elevated, the trimmed drop slot took on more depth too. 

Be sure to check out the Penny Black Blog here for more creative designs featuring cards decorated inside and out.  

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your time.  Your visits and comments always bring a smile to my day. 

Enjoy ----   


November 12, 2010

Simply Merry!

Happy Friday Everyone!

This is a card that I put together with a few bits and pieces that I had on my art table.


I combined two Penny Black transparent sets:  Joyous (30-037) and In A Pear Tree (30-035)

In this closer view you can see that I stamped the brushstroke deer with a green pigment ink and heat embossed it with a holographic powder.  When tilted in the light it is fun to see the various colors sparkle.


I noticed the layout could work several different ways which gave me an idea to develop a sketch.  
I would love to hear from you if this sketch inspired you to create a card!  Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your design. 

This weekend I will be visiting Scrapper’s Attic to teach two Penny Black technique classes and give a Copic demonstration.  I can’t wait to get inky!

Many thanks for your visits to my studio and all the heartfelt comments you leave!
Sending happy thoughts,

November 10, 2010

Pop-Up Gift Card Holder

Gift cards are popular present ideas and today I have a fun way to “wrap” these tiny treasures.  When opened, this little holder pops up to reveal a little scene and has a hidden slot to hold the gift card.

As you scroll through this post I realize it looks quite lengthy, but there are only three pieces and a few simple score lines involved in creating this project!  The additional information includes personal tips and hints that I thought would be helpful.    

To begin you will need cardstock cut in the following three sizes:

Outside Card:  4 1/8 x 6 ¼ (Red)
Inside Top:  4 1/8 x 3 ¼ (White)
Inside Bottom:  4 1/8 x 3 ¾ (Red)

I added the colors that I used, but feel free to change the color scheme to fit your design and/or occasion.


Outside Card:  Turn the rectangular cardstock horizontally and score a vertical line 3 1/8” from the left edge (in this case it is also the middle point).  Do not crease and set aside.

Inside Top:  Turn the cardstock so the side measuring 3 ¼ is horizontal.  From the left edge, score vertical lines at 2 1/8 and 2 5/8.  Do not crease and set aside.

Inside Bottom:  Turn the cardstock so the side measuring 3 ¼ is horizontal and score a vertical line 1 1/8” from the left edge.  Do not crease and set aside.


You’ll notice that I indicated not to crease any of the folds in the previous step.  This is a personal preference for me.  I find it easier to complete my stamping when the cardstock is flat.

The outside front of the card was stamped with a snowflake from Penny Black's Giving and Receiving transparent set in rhubarb stalk Memento ink.  Tiny dots were added to the snowflakes with a white gel pen.  To tone down the brightness of the dots, rhubarb stalk ink was lightly rubbed on top with a sponge dauber.

When the front of the card has been decorated, fold in half on the scored line and use a bone folder to accentuate the crease.  Good, crisp creases help with the mechanics of this card.

Inside view after creasing.

Wise Wishes (Penny Black Owls) was stamped with black Memento ink and colored with Copics.  The highlighting behind the owls was created with chalk.  The image was then matted and attached to the front of the card with dimensional foam.

Front View

At this point you will want to decide if you would like to add ribbon, a loop with a button or magnets if you choose to have a closure mechanism.  In this sample, I used sheer brown ribbon.  One piece was adhered to the inside top and the second to the inside bottom.  These ends will be covered once the inside panels are placed into position.

For the inside bottom portion, the “faux” bricks were created with the present stamp which is also part of the Giving and Receiving transparent set.  When inking with VersaMark Watermark ink, I eliminated inking the bow and stamped a continuous row above the scored line.

Create a “valley” fold on the scored line.  Apply adhesive to the portion below the small scored area and adhere to the inside bottom of the card.  The bottom and side edges will be flush with each other when placing the piece into place.

The sentiment, "A Wonderful Christmas” was stamped with black ink on white cardstock.  Another little owl along with some black dots were added later as accents.

To decorate the inside top panel, a piece of Eclipse Tape (Judi Kins) was placed along the first scored line (to create a mask) and bamboo leaves Memento ink was applied to the remaining portion of the cardstock.  Remove the tape when you have finished blending the ink.

On the second scored line, lightly mark 3/8” from both the left and right edges.  Between these two marks create a slit with a craft knife.  This slit should measure 3 3/8” long.  If you would like to do any additional stamping or dot bordering, add those images before creasing.

I placed a small piece of paper in the slot so it would be a little easier to see in the photo.

The first fold will be a “valley” fold and the second fold (the one with the slit) will be a "mountain" fold.  Apply adhesive above the first fold and adhere to the inside top of the card flush with the top and side edges.  Note:  In this sample, an eighth of an inch was trimmed from the top before inserting.  If you trim any portion from the top edge, you must insert the piece that exact same amount down from the top edge or the pop up mechanism will not work correctly.

The presents were created separately from the Gift of Giving and colored with Copics.  Make sure when you adhere the presents they are positioned just a tad above the scored line to eliminate binding when the card is folded.  Also, the use of dimensional foam behind artwork in this location may affect how compact the card folds.  I like to “dry fit” things with temporary adhesive so I can experiment and test different options before I use permanent adhesive.

The last step……….
This pop up has a small lip on the bottom portion that extends 1/8 of an inch above the slot area.  It gives the design a nice clean edge, but can be a little tricky trying to glue the last two sections together.

What I find that works the easiest is to apply adhesive to the front of the last “scored section” of the top piece then SLOWLY start to close the whole card.  You will want to ease the folded pieces into place and keep the sides aligned while closing then pinch.

Wah Lah!  You're finished.

Instead of a gift card you might want to create your own "certificate".  A small coupon for a dinner and movie, a day spa with a special friend for her birthday or even a frosty ice cream treat for the summer.

Thank you for visiting the studio today.   

Have fun,

November 8, 2010

Snow Bird

I am very excited about today's project and hope you will be too!

I came across this pattern on Jo-Ann’s website and instantly fell in love with the design.  After downloading the free pattern, I made a few alterations to the size of the wings and tail feathers.

(All stamps by Penny Black)

All the pieces were cut from French vanilla cardstock and distressed with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo inks.  Using Snow Scroll and Vintage Photo ink, I stamped a random pattern on all the distressed pieces.  I added fishing line for a hanger and sprayed the finished piece with Gold Sheer Shimmer Spritz by Tsukineko.

Here is a closer view of the holly the bird is holding. 

In the sample shown on Jo-Ann’s site, the bird was holding a flower.  To transition the design more toward the upcoming holiday season, I substituted this holly leaf and berry from Thorny Affair.  A little Glossy Accents to the berry and Lime Green Stickles to the leaf added that final touch.

I think these would make lovely ornaments and plan to create a few more in different sizes for gifts.

I hope you will have time to return on Wednesday – I have a pop-up gift card holder to share with you.

Have a great day,

November 5, 2010

Bountiful Harvest

Fall is definitely in the air!  Here in Michigan the leaves have all fallen (and have been raked) and everyone is enjoying the cool crisp autumn air.

It's the perfect time to create a fall harvest card.  This stamp by Penny Black called Autumnal Gifts (40-037) has such wonderful detail and captures many of the things I enjoy about the season - - -fat colorful pumpkins, big red apples and decorations made from dried corn. 

The design was stamped with black pigment ink and heat embossed with clear powder on a separate piece of watercolor paper and then trimmed.  After water coloring the image, I applied Antares Orange Pearlescent Watercolor to the pumpkins and Solar Gold Watercolor to the shafts of wheat.  These are on pearlescent/pigmented mica watercolor palettes by USArtQuest.  I also added a bit of Glossy Accents to the apples to give them a little shine and dimension.

Here is another view where you can see I added an extra layer to the design to pop out the bountiful harvest in front of the wheat and added a second ribbon.

For some rustic charm, I pierced the perimeter of the card and rubbed Vintage Photo Distress ink along the edges.  The greeting was created from a portion of the sentiment “Joyful Thanksgiving” (4019K).  

Wishing you joyful, warm, healthy and happy everything!