Category Archives: Simon Says Stamp

Dropping You A Line (Watercolor Card)

Happy Monday one and all!  It’s a chilly one here in North Carolina, with bright blue skies and a little less pollen filling the air.  The weather this morning made me think of hanging the clothes out on the line with my mother when I was a little girl.  We lived in rural Vermont and didn’t have a clothes dryer until I was probably 7 or 8 years old.  During the long cold winters, my mother would dry the clothes on racks inside the house. A lovely spring day such as this was an invitation to hang clothes out on the line my father built in our backyard.  My mother would sing as she hung the freshly laundered clothes on the line, the bright blue sky over our heads and the tender spring grass beneath our feet.  It was always my job to hand her the clothespins…and to sing along with whatever tune captured her imagination.  There is no perfume on the market that can rival the glorious scent of freshly washed clothes being hung outside to dry!  This memory prompted me to create this fun watercolor card, which I’ve titled, “Dropping You a Line.” (Remember, you can always click on the photos for a larger view.)

016 (2) Here’s a closer look:

017 (2)       I love that she is hanging clothes in her bedroom slippers!  There is something so whimsical and nostalgic about this stamp from Mo Manning. I have had this stamp for quite some time, but have never used it because I was intimidated by the thought of trying to color in this image.  The truth is (cue dramatic background music) I have not been overly successful in my attempts at coloring.  And since this stamp only measured 2.5 by 2.5 inches, I knew it would be a miracle if I could do a decent job coloring it in. So, I decided to try a new watercolor technique that I picked up from Jennifer McGuire’s blog. I’ve linked to it here, but basically, you use the detail nib of a water brush to pick up the color directly from the point of the watercolor pencil. Well, hallelujah!  It worked!

019 (2)My very first successful watercolor card!  Click on image for larger picture.


After stamping the image twice, I watercolored in the background images and everything except the quilt and the lady hanging it.  I watercolored in that portion of the image, dried it, fussy cut it, mounted it on foam tape and then coated it with glossy accents.  I don’t know if you can tell from this photo, but it actually casts a shadow on the background, which is a very cool effect!

019 (3)  I used my Spellbinder’s Large Label die to cut a frame out of watercolor paper and secured the image behind the frame.  I computer journaled the sentiment, “Dropping You a Line” onto this “watercolorish” paper, which I chose because it made me think of clouds in a spring sky.  A fishtail banner flag was cut from complimentary paper, backed with watercolor paper and stitched up on the machine.  Wanting to keep the focus on the watercolored image, I simply ran twine around the right hand side of the fishtail banner and tied the ends through a vintage button.

020 (2)  The inside of the card.  I kept it simple!

So, what did I learn today? Sometimes you have to move on from the failures of the past and embrace a new way of doing things in order to achieve success.  I know my watercoloring is still a work in progress, but for me, this was a huge victory!  I didn’t let my past failure dictate my desire to use this image, which conjures up so many warm feelings of home and memories of my wonderful childhood.  Keeping it tucked away in the box wasn’t at all satisfying.  But seeing it all put together makes my heart sing.  I think I can hear my mom singing, too…

That’s it for me today, folks.  I have my own laundry to attend to.  I hope today’s watercolor card has left you with a smile, rekindled some of your own childhood memories, and encouraged you to take a risk and try to do something you’ve failed at in the past. Sometimes the tiniest changes make all the difference.

Thanks for taking the time to read my little blog, and for leaving me a comment, too.  You know your comments make me happy right down to the tips of my crafty little fingers.  Until next time…



PS…I’m linking this post to The Moxie Fab World Wonder of Watercolor Challenge.

and to the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge: Color

Product used in this project; Stamp:  Stamp A Vie, Mo Manning, “Mummu’s laundry”; Paper, Vintage Button, String from my stash; Staedtler Karat Aquarelle Watercolor pencils; Ranger Industries Glossy Accents


Life’s a Stitch (Crafty Secrets Linky Party)

Hello, friends!  The last couple of days have been fun because the ole Mojo has been flowing.  I can’t believe how much I’ve gotten done, and I’ll be sharing it with you in the days to come. For right now, I have this fun “Life is a Stitch” card that I made for this month’s Crafty Secrets Linky Party.  The theme for this month is sewing. 

Sandy has released a wonderful new set of sewing images and papers. They are all digital designs, which means you can re-size the images, change colors and print as many as you’d like.  I’ve not dabbled much in the whole digital world of paper crafting, but I do have all three of their CD’s: Vintage Papers, Vintage Typography and Vintage Illustrations.  That’s the CD I used to make this sweet card:

Life's A Stitch Card made using Heartwarming Vintage Creating With Vintage Illustrations CD.

Click on photo for larger image. Life’s A Stitch Card made using Heartwarming Vintage Creating With Vintage Illustrations CD.

I printed the paper off in two different sizes: 5×7″ and 8×10″.  Then, I fussy cut the spools of thread and layered them in the lower left hand corner.  I used the Material Girl
stamp set, the Sew Special stamp set and a tag from Sew Nice Creative Scraps.  I cut the tag into two pieces so that I could make it look as though it was being cut by the scissors.

I used my craft knife to cut a slit along the top section of the scissor blade, then tucked the top part of the tag behind the scissor, and the bottom half of the tag below the blades.  It looks so dimensional!

I used my craft knife to cut a slit along the top section of the scissor blade, then tucked the top part of the tag behind the scissor, and the bottom half of the tag below the blades. It looks so dimensional!

The spool of thread was stamped and embossed, then I wound thread around it.  The zipper was stamped at the base of the card, and the safety pins were stamped in the corners.  They look so real, don’t they?

Crafty Secrets Sewing card (18)  With a title like “Life’s a Stitch, I had to come up with a fun sentiment for the inside of the card:

Crafty Secrets Sewing card (17) This pretty paper is also printed from the CD.  In fact, all the papers in this project, with the exception of the pink cardstock, comes from the CD.  I computer journaled the sentiment onto the pink cardstock, stamped the vintage dress form , and then added torn strips of the damask paper that was used on the front of the card.  Quick and easy!

Here are a few more images:

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Crafty Secrets Sewing card (21)

I’m submitting this card to the Crafty Secrets April Linky Party,  and the Simon Says Stamp and Show April 1 “Anything Goes” Challenge. 

Why not share a card of your own in one, or both of these challenges?  But you’d better hurry!  The deadline is coming up really soon.

Thanks again for taking the time to visit my little blog.  If you have a comment, you know I’d love to hear from you!  Your comments make me happy right down to the tips of my crafty little fingers. Until next time,



Products used in this project. Crafty Secrets: Creating with Vintage Illustrations CD, Material Girl and Sew Special Clear Art Stamp Sets, Sew Nice Creative Scraps; Ranger Industries: Coffee Archival Ink, Tattered Rose Distress Ink, Vintage Photo Distress Ink; Core’dinations Whitewash cardstock; Clear Embossing Powder.

Spring Triptych with Gesso ( Step -Out)

Spring is Just Around the Corner

Well, here it is, March already!  I don’t know about you, but I feel as though someone has pressed the fast forward button on 2013.  I know many folks are socked in today with terrible winter storms, and spring seems pretty remote.  But here in North Carolina, even though the weather is chilly, the lovely spring birds are beginning to return to our yards and gardens, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.  In honor of these sweet birdies, I decided to create a Spring Triptych with Gesso, and share the results with you here.  I’m also entering this triptych in the Crafty Secrets March Linky Party and the Simon Says Stamp and Show By the Numbers Challenge.

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Creating your Spring Triptych

A triptych is defined as a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together vertically and used as an altarpiece.   With Easter coming, this triptych would make a lovely centerpiece or home decoration.  So, let’s begin.

You will need watercolor paper, an embossing folder of your choice, a circular die of your choice, gesso, acrylic paints, distress inks, glue, ribbon and stamps for your triptych.  Cut two sheets of watercolor paper measuring 7″ by 10″.  Score each piece at 5″ on the long side and fold with a bone folder.  It should look like this:

001 Now, lay the left hand panel of one card over the right hand panel of the other and secure with strong glue.  I don’t recommend tape for this project, as we will be using lots of water and sprays.  We want this union to hold.  It should look like this: 003  Using your bone folder, really crease these fold lines as follows: right hand panel to center, then left hand panel to center.  It will look like this: 004 (2)  This is now the base for your triptych.  

Use a ruler to find the center point of your front panel.  (2.5″) Mark this point with a pencil.  Then, measure down 2.5″ on both the left and right sides of the triptych and mark with pencil.  Connect the side marks to the top mark using a ruler.  It should look like this: 005 (2)  Use scissors or a guillotine to cut off the two triangles.  When you are done, it will look like this: 006 (2) Voila!  A triptych!

Adding a window to your triptych

To add a window to your triptych, you will need to open out all three panels.  Place a circular die in the top of the first panel and secure it with stencil or painter’s tape.  008 (2)  Run this through your die cutting machine, pop out the die cut and set aside.  You now have a lovely window in your triptych.  Get out your craft mat, because we are about to get messy!

Adding Gesso to your triptych.

I used a foam brush to add thick layers of gesso to the front of my triptych.  Go for a thickness of mayonnaise on tomato sandwich,  but not quite as thick as peanut butter.  Put the gesso down in varying directions, intersecting stroke lines and varying the thickness.  This will add lovely texture to your front panel. 009 (2) While the gesso is still wet, you can add additional texture by scratching the gesso with Tim’s craft scratcher or a fine tooth comb.  Set this aside to dry.  The Studio gesso dries pretty quickly, but it’s best to leave this overnight.

You will also need to add gesso to the die cut portion that we set aside.  Lay the die cut on a Jumbo Shipping Tag and begin to layer on the gesso.  010 (2) Bonus!  When you lift the die cut from the tag, you will have a lovely dimensional image left behind.  Set this aside to dry and use it another day.  Set the die cut aside to dry as well.  Over night is best.

Adding Color to your triptych

At this point, I had to stop taking pictures for two reasons.  One, my desk looked as though a bomb had gone off on it, and two, my fingers were too messy to handle the camera.  You can add color to your triptych by using acrylic paints, as I did, or with distress inks, alcohol inks or even Distress Markers.  I use a divided plastic plate to mix my colors.  and then I just layer them on with abandon.  If a color is too strong, I spritz it with water, and then lift off using a cosmetic sponge.  I use the sponge to kind of “grind” color down deep into the gesso layers.  This part is fun!  Don’t worry for a second about doing it wrong, because you can easily lift the color off.  I do thin my acrylic paints with several spritzes of water.  You want it to be semi-transparent.  Once you are happy with the way things look, use a heat gun to carefully dry the whole thing.  You can go back and add more layers of color, or accent color.  Sometimes, I use a little piece of bubble wrap dipped in acrylic paint to add interesting texture and design.  The idea here is to play…the more fun you have, the better things will turn out. 


Adding papers to your triptych

All the papers I used in this project were printed from Crafty Secrets Creating With Vintage Typography CD.  This CD is loaded with gorgeous vintage images that you can print from your home computer.  I chose my papers, printed and then traced around a triptych panel so they would fit well on the page.  I edged the first panel with a Zig Gold Painty Pen.  019 (2) Here is the first inside fold, covered with paper and the die cut we created earlier.  The die cut has been generously spritzed with copper Perfect Pearls.  The paper was lightly spritzed with clear Perfect Pearls.  It adds a lovely sheen.  The edges were inked with Distress Ink (walnut stain) and edged with gold painty pen.  The center of the medallion was stamped with Sing For Joy stamp set using Jet Black Archival Ink and then heat embossed.  I used this stamp set throughout the project.  The little bird images are some of the dearest I’ve ever seen, and it is a joy to work with.  I also used Crafty Secrets Antique Trims to stamp a border on the front of the triptych.  Images were pulled from the Birds and Botanicals Art Journal booklet.

Finishing touches for your Spring Triptych

Because the finished spring triptych is rather bulky, I needed a way to keep it closed for mailing purposes.  I simply punched a hole on the right hand side of the triptych, then took a piece of seam binding ribbon, folded it in half and ran it through the hole from the backside of the card.  I pulled the loose ends of the ribbon through this loop and gently pulled to close.  Then I tied a bow.  Easy peasy, and pretty.  I created several spring flowers as well.  If you’re still with me, you definitely deserve a peek at some photos!024 (2)

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011 (2) Remember, you can click on the photos for a larger view.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my little blog today.  I hope you were inspired to create your own Spring Triptych with Gesso.  Playing with sweet birds and flowers and soft colors really made me believe that Spring will return one day soon.  Your comments are greatly appreciated….they make me happy right down to the tips of my crafty little fingers.  Until next time, stay warm and think Spring!






A Happy (Card-Making) Accident Chapter 2

Strike While the Iron is Hot!

Yesterday, I shared a happy card making accident.  While the Mojo was flowing, I grabbed another of these laser cut cards and began layering on the gesso and inks.  

001 (2) This time, I embossed the card after the gesso had dried, to add even more yummy texture.   And, I dipped bubble wrap into acrylic paint to create the fun blue dots.  More painting, pouncing and spritzing.  A little hand doodling, ink spattering and general playfulness were employed.  And a handmade flower, watercolored and spattered with ink just kind of set the whole thing off.  The corners were rounded and the front was done.  The hardest part of making this sort of card is waiting for the gesso to dry.  Stamp with Tim Holtz Lost and Found stamp on an embossed Spellbinders Die-D-Lites medallion and your’re home free!  A few more pics: (remember, you can click on the photo for a larger image)

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005 (2)  And the inside:

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009 (2)  Those of you who know me well are aware of my love for the original Winnie the Pooh, and this is one of my favorite quotes.   This is hand-lettered. I was going for whimsy here.  Here are a couple of shots with the decorated envelope:

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I also made another fun discovery while playing with this technique.  I’ll share that with you at a later date…it’s drying right now.  I’m also linking this to the Simon Says Stamp “Anything Goes” Challenge.  

016 (2)  Thanks for taking the time to read my little blog.  I love sharing my happy accidents with you, and would love to hear about some of your accidental discoveries as well.  Please leave a comment… it makes me happy right down to the tips of my crafty little fingers when you do!  Until next time,



Product used in this post:  Paper Wishes laser cut cards; Tim Holtz Distress Inks, Lost and Found Stamp; Claudine Hellmuth Gesso; Acrylic Paint; Spellbinder’s Die-D’Lites Medallions; My Favorite Things Die-Namics Layered Rose

Altered Art Journal: Simon Says Stamp Metal-Ology Challenge

Everything New is Old Again

The good folks at Simon Says Stamp issued a wonderful CHALLENGE this week: incorporate some metal into your project.  I love working with metallic foil, and have a storage case full of Ten Seconds Studio metal foil stashed away in the Closet of Shame.  Since another of my goals for 2013 is to use items from said closet, I decided to join in the challenge.  After some thought, I decided to alter a standard composition notebook using metal foil, Metallic Distress Inks, Tim Holtz idea-ology and some other wonderful metal pieces purchased from The Funkie Junkie Boutique.  I am also entering this album in The Funkie Junkie Sunday Share.

Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 001 (2)Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 001 (3)

Making the Medallion

Once I had decided to make an altered journal, I knew I wanted to make a big, bold medallion for the cover. I selected Ten Seconds Studio Big Daddy 10 mold and a piece of gorgeous chocolate colored metal.  Before there were embossing folders, there was Ten Seconds Studios, and I find there are still things that I can do with one of their molds, some metal, a paper stump and their awesome array of tools that you can’t achieve with a die cut machine.  Besides, I feel really artsy as I push that lovely soft metal into the mold and watch the image appear.  I used their tool sets to add detail and to antique the image.  Once I was happy with that, I used a combination of Espresso, Pesto and Copper alcohol inks to stain the metal and achieve a vintage look.  Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 002 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 007 (2) I love the depth of the embossing, and the way you can make art metal look really vintage with these tools.

Making the Cover: The Details Make the Difference!

I used papers from Graphic 45’s Renaissance Faire collection to cover the notebook, but before I added it, I sanded around the edges and then hit them with some Bronze Distress Stain.  I also used Copper Alcohol Ink to color the black spine of the notebook.   After stitching around the perimeter of the paper three times, I used a distressing tool to tear and rough up the edges.  The paper was glued down and the embellishments were added.  Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 004 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 003 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 008 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 007 (2) The cover was inked, stamped, embossed and I added metal hinges, using my Alterations Hardward Findings die.  These were adhered with Glossy Accents.  The large medallion was adhered with red line tape, which seems to work best on metal.  You can see that I took the time to distress each embellishment. It’s the details that make the difference!

It’s What’s Inside that Counts!

I really like to carry the whole vintage vibe on the interior of the notebook.  Both the front Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 014 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 009 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 010 (2) and the back pages were decorated and embellished.Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 023 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 020 (2) Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 021 (2) As you can see, pockets were added for photos, souvenirs or other ephemera.  These make wonderful travel journals, too!

The back of the notebook is also decorated, covered with vintage map paper. Simon Says Stamp Metal Journal 015 (2) I aged this with Vintage Photo Distress Ink and stitched around the perimeter.

Challenge YOURSELF!

There’s still time for you to enter either of the above challenges.  You don’t have to do anything as involved or elaborate as I’ve done here.  You can use metal buttons, or metallic embossing powder or even metallic pens to qualify for the Simon Says Stamp challenge.  I just like playing with art metal.  I’d love to hear about your experiences working in this medium, and if you have any questions, be sure to ask.  I may not have the answers, but we can explore the topic together.  That’s what it’s all about: sharing and learning and growing in our creativity.

Thanks again for reading my little blog.  I hope you will take the time to leave me a comment.  Your comments make me happy, right down to the tips of my crafty little fingers.



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