Saturday, February 17, 2018

It's time to get your Jingle on Christmas card

Christmas card featuring It's time to get your Jingle on From the Heart digital stamp, by Paperesse.

This card features From the Heart's Jingle Bell Birdbrain Chick digital stamp and sentiment. I enjoy From the Heart stamps; they are cute and humorous and touching, all at the same time – like this very French Mustache Birdbrain birthday card (one of my favorite digital stamps), or this VW Snowman Christmas card. These stamps always bring a smile to my face, as I'm sure they do my card recipients.


Recently, I was in the mood for some new stamps and visited the From the Heart website. It was there that I learned From the Heart's owner/designer, Faith Skrdla, passed away last summer. I know that her designs touched – and will continue to touch – a lot of cardmakers out there. I am saddened by her passing. My heart goes out to her family.


The Christmas patterned paper on this card is long retired (like the majority of my Christmas paper). The center die-cut is a new no-brand Chinese one, as is the circular border. I like the border, but am less pleased with the center one. I think there's too much space between the layers, which is why I filled in the red layer with a pearl marker.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, patterned paper
Digital stamp – From the Heart Jingle Bell Birdbrain Chick
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – No-brand Chinese center and border dies
Embellishments – pearl marker

I'm linking up with: Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge #373 – ATG Christmas, Winter Wonderland 16/02/18 – ATG Christmas, 2 Crafty Critter Crazies #11 – ATG with a critter, Christmas Crafts All year Round Feb. – Use Mainly Red, and Christmas at Sweet Stampin' Feb. – ATG Christmas.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I woolly love ewe so very much Valentine's Day card

I woolly love ewe so very much, Valentine's Day card, by Paperesse.

Happy Valentine's Day all! May you feel joy in the love of those dear to you. Valentine's day to me isn't a day just for couples, it's a day to tell everyone you care about you love them, and for those no longer here, to remember and be thankful for the love you shared and still have in your heart. I always gave my mother a Valentine's Day card and she always gave one to me. This year I sent Valentine's Day cards to my grandmother and my niece, in addition to this one – my hubby's card.


Just to be different, I decided to ditch the pink and red on his card this year. I suppose some would say it's more masculine.  But really, what's masculine and feminine? The older I get, the less I like those labels. Normally, my husband gets pink and red and likes it (like this one).


The digi stamp is Flossy, from Doctor Digi. I paired her up with a sentiment from Barbara Williams Punny Animal Sentiments One sheet. Paper is Tactile Studio digital from the Lacey, Newsprint, and Splattered paper packs. Embellishments are textured gray hearts (I knew I'd use these one day!) and metal dots.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Tactile Studio Lacey, Newsporint, and Splattered digital paper packs
Digital stamps – Doctor Digi Flossy, Barbara Williams Punny Animal Sentiments One sheet
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – Die-namics circle stax
Embellishments – textured hearts, metal dots

I'm linking up with: Watercooler Wednesday #157 – All About Occasions, Little Red Wagon #433 – Love, Fab 'n' Funky #381 – Babies, Children, Men, Crafty Gals Corner #159 – Add a Heart, and Crafting by Designs 14/02 – Be My Valentine.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Fleece Navidad Christmas card

Humorous Christmas card featuring Fleece Navidad Whimsie Doodles digital stamp, by Paperesse.

It's easy to be in a Christmas-y mood here today. It's been cold and snowing. It's so calming, looking out the window and watching it fall. As long as I don't have to drive in it. That I don't like.


Today's card features a humorous digital stamp from Whimsie Doodles – Fleece Navidad. This is the second time I've used this stamp; you can see how it looks with softer coloring on this 2015 Christmas card. My paper isn't Christmas it's Lake District Sheep and Diagonal Plaid by Marisa Lerin, free at Pixel Scrapper. Embellishments are a little ribbon, a felt snowflake, and button – all nice and flat and easy to mail.


The cut circle die is another no-brand inexpensive Chinese one purchased on Amazon. You're probably going to be seeing quite a few of these lately as I had two Amazon gift certificates to spend after Christmas and that's pretty much what they went towards.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Marisa Lerin Lake District digital paper
Digital stamp – Whimsie Doodles Fleece Navidad
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – no-brand Chinese cut circle die
Embellishments – ribbon, felt snowflake, button

I'm linking up with: Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas #372 – ATG Christmas, Jingle Belles 09/02 – A coloring We Will Go (any medium), C.R.A.F.T. Challenge #454 – Christmas Humorous, Addicted to Stamps and More #278 – Holiday, and The Merry Christmas Challenge #6 – ATG Christmas.

Friday, February 9, 2018

How to use an inexpensive no-brand Chinese swing card (half-cut) die and a Valentine's Day card

 No-brand inexpensive Chinese swing card die tutorial and a Valentine's Day card, by Paperesse.

First up today, a Valentine's Day card for my niece. I created this card with a new inexpensive no-brand Chinese swing card die I recently purchased. This is my first time to use it. I thought that having the die would be easier than measuring and half-cutting a standard die. It turns out that's really not the case, but more of that later.


The Kitty Butts digi and sentiment are from the now defunct Meljen's Designs.This is the perfect digi for a cat lover like my niece. I used it on another cat loving friend's birthday card HERE, complete with paw print paper. This paper is from Tactile Studio's Hugs and Kisses digital paper pack.


I colored the cats to match the two my niece has – charcoal gray and white. Embellishments are wooden hearts, buttons and enamel dots. I wasn't quite sure where to place my message space, but decided on the back side of the front.


It's a cute card and I was pleased with the design. In real life that is, it's hard getting it to look right in a photo.

ATTENTION! Quit reading here (assuming you've bothered to read anything at all) if you have no interest in knowing how to use a no-brand inexpensive Chinese swing card die.

Now on to the second part of this post –  a tutorial. If you buy these inexpensive no-brand Chinese swing (half-cut) card dies on Amazon, eBay, etc., you will receive this when your order arrives:


That's it. No instructions. So you Google it. No instructions there either. Hmmm.

Even though I knew how to make a swing card with a standard die, I admit to being stumped at first. I had to think about it a bit to figure it out. Which is why I'm doing this tutorial, as a public service to all thrifty crafters who have purchased this die and have no idea how to use it. Here we go! On y va !

1) Create your card base. A 14.5cm square card was used here.


2) On the front side of your card measure a half-way point and make a pencil mark. It's at 72mm on this card; see that little pencil mark there? Yes, I know, I should have made it bigger. Take the fold part of the die, line the 'legs' of the die up with your mark and secure to your bottom die-cutting plate, exactly as shown above (the back of the card is hanging off your plate).


3) Take your top die-cutting plate and make your sandwich in such a way that the top plate goes just to the legs of your metal die, but does NOT go over it. This is very important! If your top plate goes over the legs you'll cut the card front in half. Make your sandwich more stable by securing the edges with washi tape. Feed the sandwich through your die-cutter.


4) Fold the right edge of the card front back to meet the left front edge. It will look like the above. If you cut off the right side, you went over the legs of the die when you ran it through your machine.


5) Cut a piece of your card front patterned paper to half your card front measurement – width and height – this one was 7.2cm x 14.5cm. Place it patterned side down next to your card front, as shown, making pencil marks to show where the rectangular open area of the card front is located.


6) This is a bit tricky, but arrange the fold die cutting side up on your top sandwich plate and place the piece of patterned paper patterned side down on top of the die, making sure you don't go over the legs, lining up your pencil marks as shown. Secure with washi tape. Place your bottom cutting plate on top and run through your machine this way; it will still be cutting on what is normally the bottom plate. If for some reason your die-cutting machine can't do this, just flip the sandwich over and run through as normal.


7) This is what you'll have after #6. Cut another measure of patterned paper for the inside part of your card (the striped paper on this card).


8) Take the rectangle die and cut your card's focal point. Notice the note under the stamp? I create a template for card sizes/dies in Craft Artist so that I know approximately what size my digi needs to be to fit. I just replace one stamp with another the next time I use it. Saves me from having to guess my digi size and a possible waste of paper if it isn't right.

So, there you go! Hope that helps if you bought this die and don't know how to use it.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Tactile Studio Hugs and Kisses digital paper pack
Digital stamp – Meljen's Designs Kitty Butts digital stamp
Color—Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – no-brand Chinese swing card die
Embellishments – wooden hearts, buttons and enamel dots

I'm linking up with: Show Us Your Pussies Cats Only Challenge #27 – Cats + Love, Cute Card Thursday #516 – Love, Pause Dream Enjoy #6 – Valentine Cards or Treats, Deep Ocean Challenge #174 – Love is all Around, and Try it on Tuesday 05/02 – Love is in the Air.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Snow Time Bear Christmas card

Christmas card featuring 2 Cute Ink Snow Time Bear digital stamp, by Paperesse.

Just so we don't forget it's still winter, our weather Formally Known as Mild, has decided to turn cold. Brrrrr. Which puts me in a Christmas-y kind of mood. I'm trying to be thrifty and use up some stamps and sentiments I printed out probably two years ago and just never got around to coloring. The Snow Time Bear stamp is from 2 Cute Ink, while the sentiment is part of the From the Heart No Snow Birdbrain set (you can see where I used this sentiment with its humorous matching stamp on this Christmas card).


Paper is more from the Christmas Delivery paper pad I wrote about with this Christmas Joy card. It's such pretty paper; I'm enjoying it.


The dies are of the no-brand inexpensive Chinese variety – stitched rectangles and snowflake banner. I measured the size of the smaller inner white rectangle of the die-cut stamp and sentiment, then added 5mm for an extra red layer between the black die-cut and white die-cut.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Echo Park Carta Bella Christmas Delivery 6x6 paper pad
Digital stamps – 2 Cute Ink Snow Time Bear, From the Heart No Snow Birdbrain (sentiment)
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – no-brand Chinese stitched rectangles and snowflake banner
Embellishments – pearls

I'm linking up with: Addicted to Stamps January Challenge – Baby It's Cold Outside, Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge #371 – ATG Christmas, Di's Digi Challenge 27/01/18 – Winter, Crafty Animals #11 – ATG Animals, and Sparkles Christmas Challenges #85 – Outdoor Fun.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

World Valentine's Day card and World card sentiments

World Valentine by Paperesse.

The world die used on this card is another new no-brand inexpensive Chinese die acquisition. I justified buying this one by thinking of all the different sentiments I could use it with. Such as:

'You mean the world to me.'
'You are out of this world!'
'Where in the world have you been?'
'What in the world have you been up to?' (variation of the above)
'Happy Earth Day!'
'Joy to the World'
'You make the world a better place.'
'You are the best ---- (insert recipient's relation to you) in the whole world!'
'To the world's best ---- (same as above)'
'You rock my world.'


It cut well and I'm pleased with the look. Or rather, I was pleased. My pleasure was dimmed somewhat by the geographic genius I live with who pointed out to me that it was not an accurate representation of the earth's continents. He's got a point, but given that most of my family or anyone else I might possibly send this to is geographically challenged, I'm not going to worry about it. Especially this one that's going to my Granny, I know she won't notice.


With yet another no brand die, I cut a big heart in this long retired MME Lush Red Damask paper to frame the world (a smaller die-cut from this same set is behind the button). I created the curved sentiment on white card with Lucinda Calligraphy font and placed it behind the cut-out. To find out more on creating curved sentiments see this Penguin Christmas card.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, MME Lush Red Damask paper
Dies – No-brand Chinese world and heart dies
Embellishments – button

I'm linking up with: Lemon Shortbread Challenge #60 – ATG, Unicorn Challenge #28 – ATG, Through the Craftroom Door 30/01/18 – ATG, Everybody Art Challenge #418 – Circle or Square, and Die-Cuttin' Divas #354 – ATG with a die-cut.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Champagne Mice Christmas/New Year card

Meilleurs Voeux Christmas/New Year card featuring Di's Digi Stamps Champagne Mice stamp, by Paperesse.
This card is the French version of a combo Christmas/New Year card. In France, many people do not send holiday cards that say 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year' specifically, instead they send cards that say Meilleurs Voeux, a kind of two for one, blanket holiday greeting that literally translates to 'Best wishes'. Since champagne is synonymous with any French festive occasion, this Champagne Mice digital stamp from Di's Digi Stamps is infinitely appropriate. Di's stamps are some of my favorites. If you search the blog you'll see a lot of them. They seem to work well with French themes, like this Cheesy Mice on the Moon anniversary card I made for my husband, it's one of my all time top picks.


If you're thinking this card's constructed a bit wonky, you're right. The fold would have been better on the top of the card instead of the left (and would have photographed a whole heck of a lot better, too), but yours truly didn't cut it that way and I didn't want to waste the cardstock; so, left fold it is!


Paper is Tactile Studio Christmas digital paper pack. Embellishments are gold pearls and crinkled paper ribbon. The sentiment is my own creation.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Tactile Studio Christmas digital paper pack
Digital stamp – Di's Digi Stamps Champagne Mice
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Die – Die-namics circle and oval stax
Embellishments – crinkled paper ribbon, pearls

I'm linking up with: The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge #22 – ATG Christmas, Watercooler Wednesday Challenge #154 – All About Christmas, The Merry Christmas Challenge #4 – ATG Christmas, Pause Dream Enjoy Challenges #4 – Mouse, and Sweet Stampin' Christmas January Challenge – ATG Christmas.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Happy National Handwriting Day! in support of cursive handwriting instruction in American schools


It's National Handwriting Day and once again it's time for my annual post (rant?) on the importance of cursive handwriting instruction in our society, specifically the United States. Writing in cursive has very real, proven benefits. Children who are taught cursive handwriting show improved motor skill development, while student notes written in hand help generate ideas and allow greater retention of information received. For more specifics and sited sources, I encourage you to read my original 2015 National Handwriting Day Post and if you're passionate about penmanship this Ted Talk video, by the artist and calligrapher Jake Weidmann, is a must (his work is amazing!).

Under the educational Common Core Standards adopted by most states, handwriting instruction isn't mentioned at all – only 'legible manuscript writing' in kindergarten and grade one, followed up by the requirement that students demonstrate keyboard proficiency by the end of the fourth grade. Given that major companies stand to profit from Common Core implementation and testing, perhaps that's why keyboarding is mentioned specifically, and handwriting not at all. Google which companies are profiting from Common Core Standards and you'll quickly see what I mean. Not all states, however, agree with this egregious omission.

Many states in the US have taken the initiative to pass supplemental legislation or standards requiring handwriting instruction as part of the public school curriculum. According to the Southern Regional Educational Board fourteen of its sixteen members require handwriting instruction – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Some of these states have passed legislative statutes to help insure that handwriting is taught, while others have adopted standards, although standards tend to be assessed at the local level, making it difficult to judge progress. Still, they're steps in the right direction.

This movement isn't limited to just southern states. Arizona adopted foundational writing standards in 2016 that make cursive part of the curriculum in all public schools, while the State of Illinois passed HB2977 in November of last year, requiring that every public elementary school and high school include cursive handwriting instruction in its curriculum. The largest school district in the country – New York City Department of Education – initiated a new cursive writing directive in 2017.

It's interesting to learn that this later came about as a result of  New York state assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis's experience watching an eighteen year old sign a voter registration form in block letters. When told he had to actually sign the form with his signature, he replied he couldn't, he'd never learned to write script.

I find that downright sad.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Basset Hound masculine round get well card

Masculine Basset Hound round get well card, featuring Dearie Dolls free Basset Hound with Flower digital stamp, by Paperesse.

I needed another get well card for a male friend and as the recently posted Laptop Kitty card worked so well I figured another animal image was in order (it's not so easy to find get well cards for guys you know). The image here is a freebie from Dearie Dolls – Basset Hound with Flower. I know the recipient is a dog lover, so I think he'll like it.


I haven't made a round card in a while so thought I'd do that and change things up a bit. The masculine look paper is from Tactile Studio's Fatherly digital paper pack.


I used a little crinkled paper ribbon and some CANDi dots to dress it up. The sentiment was created with Dancing Script OT font. The die-cut banner label surrounding the sentiment is a new no-brand Chinese one picked up for a song on Amazon. Well, not a song exactly, but not for much.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Tactile Studio Fatherly digital paper pack
Digital stamp – free Dearie Dolls Basset Hound with Flower
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – No-brand Chinese banner label, Artemio extra large circles
Embellishments – crinkled paper ribbon, CANDi dots

I'm linking up with: Little Red Wagon 17/01 – Round Up Time, Sweet Stampin' 20/01 – For Men, Lil' Patch of Crafty Friends #74 – ATG, International Art & Soul #25 – Do Something Digital, and Dragonfly Dreams January – ATG.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Jalapeño Pepper Christmas card


It's Friday and I'm in a festive mood – all ready for another Christmas card, this time with a Southwestern theme. The merry jalapeño pepper is a digi from the now defunct Meljen's Designs.


Such a pity, she had some really cute (and funny!) stamps, like the one on this 'No butts about it you're the cat's meow' birthday card. Tactile Studio's Cinco digital paper pack stays true to the Southwestern theme.


What do you think about the little bows? Aren't they cute? This is a new no-brand Chinese die I bought with a Amazon Christmas gift certificate. There are three bows in the pack and this one is the largest at about 2.5cm (1 inch in American). I'm beginning to get a rather good collection of these inexpensive dies and I daresay, they cut very well. Silver metal dots dress up the bows.

Supply List
Paper – cardstock, Tactile Studio Cinco digital paper pack
Digital stamp – Meljen's Designs Holiday Chili Pepper
Color – Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils
Dies – Die-namics fishtail banner dies, no-brand Chinese bows
Embellishments – silver metal dots

I'm linking up with: Christmas at Sweet Stampin' January 2018 – ATG Christmas, The Merry Christmas Challenge #3 – ATG Christmas, Christmas Crafts All Year Round January 2018 –Christmas/Thank You, The Twelve Months of Christmas Link Up #37 – ATG Christmas, and The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge #22 – ATG Christmas.
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