Seas the day

Today starts the “Under the Sea” 3-day blog hop over at Handmade Happiness. Of course, I am kicking off with a mermaid. And since you know I name all my merfolk…meet Bubbles. (aka Mermaid Anya from The Greeting Farm.)

This little cutie was colored with an array of pens and markers. The first go round was with Copics. Then I used a Nuvo Gitter pen in her hair and some Sakura Jelly Rolls on her fins and top. Lastly, I highlighted with a white pen. The gems in her hair were done with Stickles.


Love at first splash

It’s true…I love mermaids! I collect (ahem…hoard…ahem) them. I’m pretty sure I was one in a past life. It started with the Little Mermaid and took off from there. I’ve created a lot of mermaid projects over the years but I was completely smitten with Sassy & Crafty’s new “Salty But Sweet” stamp set. If you’ve not checked them out…GO NOW!!! Forget about the adorable crab, shells and flower, and aside from all the awesome sentiments, the mermaid is captivating. I remember watching the Little Mermaid as a kid and being fascinated by the way her long hair floated through the water and swirled around her face. I got that same feeling when I saw this set. I could not wait to create something with it. I was finally able to find some time this weekend for craft therapy. So “Shelly” (that’s what I named my new mermaid friend) and I have spent a lot of time together. She’s a great listener and helps me forget about all that’s going on in the world. In return, I used a ton of amazing products to make her as beautiful as possible.

I definitely got caught up and lost myself in creating this, but we all need to do that sometimes, right? Let’s start with the background…I used another gem from Sassy & Crafty, Mermaid Tails stencil. This one is running low, so if you need it, act fast! I embossed a piece of white cardstock first with an embossing folder that is supposed to look like falling snow. I turned it around to make it rising bubbles. I used various blue shades of Distress Oxides and the awesome new Cotton Tail blending brushes from The Rabbit Hole Designs. Once I lifted the stencil I filled in the background with a lighter shade of blue.

Next it was on to coloring. Although I have been coloring with alcohol markers for a few years, this was my first time using Copics. I tried to have some fun with pink hair and all the shades of blue/green in the tail. I attempted an opalescent look on the star crown using a very pale blue, purple and pink in the center of each star and then blended out with the blender pen. I added Glisten Stickles which has a very iridescent/prismatic look to it. On the hair I used Wink of Stella Clear Glitter brush pen and on the tail I used Wink of Stella gold.

I love the glittery shimmer that Wink of Stella adds. It’s subtle but sparkles nicely when the light hits it. Unfortunately, that can be difficult to capture in photos. For the hair I brushed the clear glitter over all of it. However on the tail, I used the gold and just brushed a highlight on each scale and a few on the tail. I also used the clear glitter on the shells. I finished off all the colored elements by using a white gel pen to make small dots or “bubbles.”

Once the coloring and highlighting were finished, the real fun began. It was time for bling! Of course I went right to my case of Sparkle Blends from Doodles Paper Playground. I really wanted this card to have an ethereal underwater feel. I chose “Springtime” because there were so many different elements in this blend and I knew the versatility of it would work. Every single sequin and gem on this card came from that one blend. “Springtime” is on low inventory so grab it before it runs out!

I wanted to differentiate the crown from the rest of the “floating” elements. I picked out the pink & yellow gemstones, yellow glitter discs and pink beads to adorn the crown. (Yes! Gems, beads and sequins all in one mix! Why are you still here? Go buy it!) Next I sifted through the blend placing the various pieces around Shelly. I tried to create a sense of depth by placing larger sequins closer to her and smaller ones around the edges and top. As you can see, this was easy to do because of all the different shapes, sizes and colors in the “Springtime” blend. I used the silver curls on the seashells and just a few accentuating details on the flowers. Lastly I used the Glisten Stickles to add some glitter dots or “bubbles” around the background to unify all the different pieces. One final touch is the foil border. It was hard to capture in the photo but the frame around Shelly is actually pink foil paper that I picked up at Dollar General. The rest of the paper is Stampin’ Up cardstock except for the white which is Spectrum Noir paper.

I thought it might be fun to show my evolution of mermaids from over the years. As I mention earlier I “collect” mermaid stamp sets. However since I usually give my homemade cards away, this was the only one I was able to find. Did I mention I love mermaids?


My heart stays true…

…to the red, white and blue! Hello my crafty friends! Can you believe July is here? I’ve been looking forward to this month for many reasons. One of them being so I can share this RW&B card that features products from two awesome companies!

Let’s start with the little shaker beauties you see. Those are “Stars & Stripes” Sparkle Blends from Doodles Paper Playground. I suggest you stop what you are doing now and head on over and grab some! This is a great blend that includes clay stars, polka-dot blue sequins, red squares and lots of other awesomeness.

Next, if you’ve read any of my recent posts, you know that digi-stamps are something new and I kinda fell into them accidentally. These gnomes are from Polka Dot Orchard, a great digi-stamp site with a lot of very original and creative designs. When I saw these two cuties next to each other it reminded me of a flag and I knew it would be a perfect combo with the Sparkle Blends. I colored them with SU Blends. All the card stock and die cuts are from SU, except for the stars which were gifted to me from my sweet friend Cindy who I miss so much!

Thanks for looking! Hope you all have a Happy 4th!!!


June 2020 Sparkle Blends Release Inspiration Blog Hop

Its time for the June Sparkle Blends Release Inspiration Hop and I’m honored to be a Guest Designer this month! Together with the rest of the Design Team, I will be showcasing some of the 7 new Sparkle Blends from this month’s release! We’ve got everything from 80’s Neon to a glow in the dark alien blend in this release, so if you haven’t see them yet, make sure you hop over to the Sparkle Blends Shop and check out Broken Glass, Extraterrestrial, I Love the 80’s, Pawsome Pals, She Sells Seashells, Stars & Stripes and You’re Pand-tastic! If you act quickly, there’s even a couple of discounted release bundles left for order! Want a chance to win one of 3 fantastic prize packs, each valued at approximately $15.00 each? Make sure you leave comments as you hop & you’ll earn one entry for each blog you comment on! See the Doodles Paper Playground Hop Post for giveaway prizes and entry details. Comments must be posted no later than 11:59pm EST on Sunday, June 28th, 2020 to be eligible to win. Open to US residents only who are at least 18 years old. Winners will be drawn Monday, June 29th & posted on the Doodles Paper Playground blog, Facebook page and in the Sparkle Blends Fan Club on FB. Who loves Blog Candy?? We’ve got some in the form of a Discount Code worth 15% off your total order in the shop–some exclusions apply! Use Coupon Code: JUNE15OFF (Excludes June Release Bundle. Can not be combined with other coupons or offers. Can not be applied to previous Purchases. Valid June 26th through June 30th, 2020)


Hop along with us!

Alison, Phoenix & Rhiannon






Gina <<< YOU ARE HERE!


Doodles Paper Playground

This month’s releases were so fun! As soon as I saw “Extraterrestrial” I knew I wanted to create something “out of this world.” I had so much fun making this background. Originally, I wanted it to look darker like outer space. However, once I started playing, I decided to hold onto those colorful tones. The colors were muted enough to make the Sparkle Blends stand out.

I started with Distress Oxides in Chipped Sapphire, Mowed Lawn, Wilted Violet and Speckled Egg. I played around by smudging the colors on my craft mat, spritzing with water and swirling the paper through the ink puddles. I used a microfiber cloth to blot the excess, then eventually used the cloth to pick up some of the darker ink and blot it on.

Next, I used my favorite blending brushes and started blending the edges with Catherine Pooler’s Juniper Mist. Then I started filling in some of the lighter spots with smudges of the ink.

Once it was dry, I grabbed the Shining Stars stencil from echo park. I placed it over my background, spritzed water on it, then used the microfiber cloth to wipe the water and pick up some of the color. For some final touches, I splattered on Frost White All Purpose Ink from Tsukineko. I have to admit, I’ve yet to perfect a splattering technique that doesn’t leave my skin looking like a speckled egg, but I have so much fun doing it. And lastly, I went over the stars with Clear Wink of Stella, by far one of my favorite ways to add shimmer to any project.

The spaceship & alien, both from Creative Vision Stamps were colored with ZIG markers and the sentiment was from a Stampin’ Up set called Epic Celebrations, stamped with Juniper Mist and highlighted with a white pen. The diecut and cardstock are from Stampin’ Up as well. I think it all pulled together perfectly to create this “spacey” card.

Moving in a completely different direction, I used Broken Glass Sparkle Blends on this next card. This was a quick simple card I made with the Hello Floral stamp from Kindred stamps. After stamping it on white cardstock, I fussycut the inside and then stamped again on acetate using Versamark. I lined the acetate to match up, creating a window. The flowers were colored with Stampin’ Up Blends. Cardstock is also from Stampin’ Up.

I hope you are enjoying the hop! Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to comment to be entered win an amazing prize package from Doodles Paper Playground.


Going Digital

Greetings friends, let’s talk digital. I have always steered clear of digital crafts since it’s basically what I do, all day – professionally. Years ago I attempted to dabble in digital scrapbooking. That lasted a few minutes. Digital stamps never appealed to me either. I like to get my hands dirty.

Enter the Coffee Loving Cardmaker’s Summer/Spring Blog Hop. 1,468 entries and I was lucky enough to win one of the 73 prizes. I was super excited. What did I win, you are wondering? A gift certificate to Polka Dot Orchard. What’s that, you are also wondering? A digital stamp shop. True story. Now don’t misunderstand, I was still thrilled. I still won something. And that’s awesome. And, it gave me an opportunity to share with my friend Donna who likes digi stamps. So I let her pick and I ordered a few that I thought were cute. And then I forgot about it.

Friday rolls around and Donna comes over for dinner. What does she bring…the printed digi stamps on various papers. She’s so thoughtful. In my head I am thinking, I guess I am going to have to do something with these. So a few nights later while on my weekly zoom call with my friend Laura in FL, I felt like coloring. What’s sitting right there on my desk? The digi stamps that Donna was nice enough to print out. Since I was worried about the printer ink smearing and I had not used pencils in so long, I grabbed the Prismacolors. I colored while Laura and I chatted. I had forgotten how I enjoyed coloring. By the time we were ending our call, I had a beautiful image to use on a card. I was pretty damn excited.

Needless to say, that night my Graphic Designer mind went haywire with the possibilities this had. Plus, I could not wait to get this on a card. So here is how it turned out…

Since the images were already colored and cut, the rest of the card came together pretty quickly. I used Salty Ocean Distress Oxide with my favorite blending brushes from Picket Fence Studios. I sprayed water on a Vicki Boutin waves stencil from the Wander collection and pressed it down. The sentiment is from Colorado Craft Company’s “Be a Mermaid” set. It is embossed but it is hard to tell in the photo. I used a white pen for highlights. Donna gave me the idea to add shimmer to the fish so I covered it in clear Wink of Stella. The last thing I did after placing the images was use Stampin’ Up Fine Tip Glue to make water droplets.

I have to say, from the point of wanting nothing to do with digital crafts and then completing this card, I am pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Is it possible there will be more digital designed projects in my future? Stay tuned…


She’s definitely a hoot

Has one of your designs ever been inspired by a person? This is a card that I created with my daughter in mind. My original objective was to create this for the June challenge at Picket Fence Studios so the focus was on using their products with the theme being “food & drink.” Whatever my original intentions were, this card soon took on a personality mirrored by my 6 year old diva.

I recently added the “Your’e a Hoot” stamp and die set to my collection and I adore the pair. They are still on sale if you want to snag them. I used the 3 small coffee cups to create a background by arranging all 3 on a block in different directions. I then began from the center and stamped out to fill the background. I used Versamark then embossed with white embossing powder from Ranger. Next I used Picket Fence Studios Life Changing Blending brushes (also on sale!) with Catherine Pooler ink to blend the background. Ink colors were Rose Petals, Peppermint Scrub and Over Coffee. Peppermint Scrub is definitely one of my favorite colors. It’s red I have not really seen from other companies.

For my sassy little owl, I stamped her, her coffee and the sentiment in Over Coffee ink. Then I colored her by dabbing each of the ink pads on my craft mat and using a water brush to pick up the colors and “paint”’the owl. I felt the soft subtle colors were an interesting contrast to the bold and sassy character and design.

For the finishing details, I used dies from Stampin’ Up for the vellum shape behind sassy owl and the branch she is perched on. Her necklace is pearl accents also from Stampin’ Up. I filled her glasses in with Stampin’ Up’s Fine Tip Glue pen to make them look shiny. Finally I added a few sequins from the Champagne Bubbles Sparkle Blend mix from Doodles Paper Playground. One awesome thing about these is how the colors can totally change when the sequins are separated. At first glance, looking at this mix in the bag you would not think it coordinated. Once I removed a few select pieces, they were perfect!

Just like my sassy little girl, this card has a softness to it. One of my favorite design approaches is to contrast ideas, elements or colors. Another example of this approach was the color burst card I created. Check it out if you haven’t already and thanks for stopping by.


Have a Kindred day

Hello my crafty friends, is anyone as excited for Friday as I am? As the weekend approaches I get excited about all the extra time I have to work on crafty projects but then end up spending most of my time with my kids or cleaning up after them. Although, my daughter who is 6, loves to be in the office with me creating. She is also a big fan of Kindred Stamps. She often borrows them to make cards of her own. I’m ok with that, kinda.

As I have mentioned before, most often when I am making cards I have a person in mind they will be sent to or my intentions are for them to be given away. And as we all know, sometimes our original intentions do not produce our final outcomes. Such was the case with these two card designs.

Again, I was trying to push myself and decided to play with some stencils and blending. My original plan was to make a birthday card for my friend Maureen who shares my snark and sarcasm. You will notice most of the people in my life that I am close to, share those same characteristics. Needless to say, it had to be something from Kindred, my favorite when it comes to snark and puns. I chose one of Kindred Stamps Naughty sets, “I Like Your Beaver.

I made this card using Catherine Pooler inks (obsessed–I need them all), Life Changing blender brushes from Picket Fence Studios and masking. First I placed down a square mask made from scraps and placed the Petals stencil from Pink & Main on top. I blended the petals with Mardi Gras ink. I lifted the Petals stencil and blended on Garden Party ink to fill the negative space and blended out towards the edges. I also blended some color around the outer edges. Then I lifted the stencil and square and masked around the outside of the square using purple tape. Inside the square I used the Mini Cloud Edges stencil from MFT and blended with Suede Shoes and It’s a Boy inks. I stamped the beaver and sentiment with Over Coffee ink from Catherine Pooler. Stamping with other colors besides black is something I have been trying to do more of lately. Sometimes depending on the color palette, I think it works better than black. I colored the Beaver with SU alcohol markers and highlighted him with a white pen. All the paper is SU. The flowers were given to me by daughter from one of her slime kits. They seemed to go nicely with the colors and theme.

Once I finished this guy, I loved it but knew right away there was someone better to receive this. This was not Maureen’s card. It belonged to my father in law who’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Perfect. I set it aside but still had to make something for Maureen.

It just so happened that the brand new Banana Box was sitting on my desk filled with fun. Perfect! There was so much goodness inside, I spent quite some time playing around and mixing and matching all the items. If you ever get the opportunity to purchase a limited special edition box form Kindred Stamps – DO IT. You won’t be sorry. In all honesty, I’m not a die hard fan of banana potatoes, but the items in this box were so much fun to play with and well worth the purchase. Everything used on the card was from Kindred except blue & yellow SU cardstock, yellow SU embossing powder and black ink. Patterned paper, denim paper google eyes, and so much more I haven’t even used yet were included. There will definitely be more little yellow guys showing up in future cards!


A bright pick me up

Hello crafty friends,

I imagine that all of you, like myself are feeling the weight of the world’s trauma during this time. I desperately needed a distraction from the pain and sorrow, if only to feel happiness for a little while. Crafting has definitely filled an emptiness for me these past few months as well as being a much needed distraction. I can easily get lost in experimenting and trying new techniques.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have been trying to push outside my comfort zone. I am trying to approach each new creation with the intent of trying something new or doing something differently than what I would normally do. The inspiration for this card came from the “Shake the Rainbow” Sparkle Blends from Doodles Paper Playground. That Blend led me to purchase the PI Color My World stamp set from MFT with which I am truly obsessed. This was one of those sets that as soon as I laid eyes on it, I had a ton of ideas. Even just writing about it I am thinking of more things to do with her.

Once I started thinking about rainbow colors and her paint palette, I instantly thought of color bursts. I love playing with these and I knew this card would create a perfect canvas for them. The Sparkle Blends were bursting with color and I knew the card had to “burst” just the same. I chose to color the girl in greyscale as a metaphor to the sentiment and to contrast all the bright colors from the color bursts and the Sparkle Blends. I wanted it to look like the colors were bursting out of her brush so I painted just water across the paper coming out of the brush. Next I sprinkled on my colors one by one, then spritzed it with more water. I dabbed any puddles with a paper towel.

I had to build the shaker element pretty deep to allow the blends to move. Keep that in mind when using shaker materials with big pieces. The hearts are thick and I didn’t want them to get stuck so I built this shaker using three layers of chipboard. If you look down at the inside bottom edge you can see the stacked chipboard. I like using this method when I can because I feel I have more control over my shaker. Another reason is there is no chance my shaker pieces will stick around the edges. Sometimes with foam tape (or squares or dots) there is stickiness on the edges that the sequins will stick to. However, the number one reason I prefer using chipboard when possible – no little paper backing pieces to peel off!

I embossed the black frame after I die cut it with an old embossing folder from Darice. The cardstock and markers are from Stampin’ Up and I used my favorite black ink from Picket Fence Studios. I definitely have some more ideas for using color bursts so stay tuned! Leave a message and let me know if you were “sweetly inkspired.” Thanks for stopping by.


Bananas for Blends

It’s probably a good thing my husband doesn’t read this blog. I would like to admit that I am so easily enabled by a good sale. I see any number followed by “…% OFF” and I am opening a new browser window. And forget if I see “FREE SHIPPING.” Then it’s time to text my friends. As well as “FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OF $50 OR MORE,” because then I need my friends to get in on the order so I can buy more stuff and not feel guilty. You know who you are.

So, recently I got to play with some new sets that came in the mail from aforementioned situations. Many of these new purchases…uh, I mean products, were strongly influenced by DPP’s new May release Sparkle Blends. These monkeys came from MFT’s BB Picture Perfect. This is definitely one of those sets that make you feel like you got a bang for your buck. Which I definitely did since I shopped a good sale. The set is 6″ X 8,” so these stamps are all a good size to color, not to mention so adorable. When I saw this set, I know it was a perfect pair for DPP’s Monkey Business Sparkle Blends.

I set a goal for all the recent purchases. Most likely to lessen the guilt of spending money. I wanted to make fresh, new card designs. I’ve been trying to push my design limits lately. This is a form of therapy for me. I like to challenge myself to break out of my own style and push my limits. This is like prep work for my professional design and will hopefully give me the confidence to push myself further when designing professionally.

As dramatic as that sounds, I started with something small. Simply put, size. I rarely, if ever stray from the standard 4.25″ X 5.5″ standard A6 card size. The reason being envelopes, sort of. All my cards are made with the intent of being given away. Sometimes I have a specific person or occasion in mind and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel like a nut, and most times I am. How will I mail a card that doesn’t fit in one of those 250 A6 envelopes I have sitting in my closet? I need it to fit in one of those envelopes so I can mail it to someone.

I went a little ape…well, you know. (Gotta love monkey puns.) I made it square. However, I did not make that decision before I made sure there was a variety of square sizes on my envelope punch board. This card is 5″ X 5″. Next time I think I’d like to go bigger (again, size). Cardstock, banana paper and alcohol markers I colored with are all from Stampin’ Up. The brown ink I used to stamp is Catherine Pooler’s Icing on the Cake. If you ask anyone at My Little Scrapbook Store, they will attest to this. Even if you don’t ask them, you should check them out for their live scrapbook and paper crafting sales (Yup, you can watch and shop in bed!) and Bingo nights. Yes, that’s right – live, online Bingo every Friday. Prizes are your choice of amazon or My Little Scrapbook Store gift cards, so the whole family can play. Tell them Gina C. sent you. You’re welcome.

Back to our regularly programmed craftiness. I blocked the center of this shaker so the Blends traveled around the center monkey image instead of falling behind it. The Monkey Business Blends are too cute to hide. I mean c’mon, it has banana slices. Take a look.


Mini Album Madness – Take 2

As promised in my last post, today I am sharing the 6″ X 6″ twine bound mini album I learned from Lyric Lover Crafts. This book was created for another very special person – my friend, co-worker and best scrapping buddy, Dee. Dee celebrated her 60th birthday quarantine style complete with a police escorted drive by. And, as I mentioned in my last post, what better time to make a homemade gift then during a pandemic? And who better to make it for than someone who you know will appreciate it?

Aside from crafting, one of Dee’s biggest hobbies is gardening. So, flowers were a no brainer for the book. I used the “Celebrate the Little Things” collection pack by Becki Adams. This is a very unique set with a bright, beautiful color pallet. If you can’t already tell, I am obsessed with color and color combinations. I love anything unique and unsuspected. Which is basically the opposite of my own style of designing in my professional career. I tend to have a cleaner, sleeker, more organized style of design. Some may say OCD. But once again, I don’t know who. The rest of the embellishments, ribbon and twine were from Stampin’ Up, except the epoxy shapes and the stickers and tags on the inside pages which came with the collection pack.

Again, I used up almost an entire paper pack, but this time I did not need to fill in with any extra pages. I got two folded pages from each 12″ X 12″ sheet. I cut them slightly smaller then the cover which was 6″ X 6″. Each inside sheet measured 11.75″ X 5.75″. Once folded in half and placed inside the book, this allowed the pages to fit neatly within the cover. I would still like to make the changes I mentioned in the last post (smaller spine, inserting pages as you wrap the twine). However, this size album was definitely more manageable and provided a more efficient use of supplies. Not that any of us are lacking on supplies, right? But we all know, the more you use, the more you can buy.