Everything You Need to Know About Stamps

Everything You Need to Know About Stamps

Most card makers stamp their images onto their handmade cards. Stamping is one of the quickest and easiest ways to create highly personalized cards over and over again. Forget spending 5 bucks  or more for a card at a local store. Purchasing a stamp set gives you an endless amount of creative potential.

Stamp sets are essential to your repertoire and come in thousands of sizes, designs, and styles. They’re easy to use, easy to clean, easy to store, and quickly become addictive! For card making, choose a set (or 2, 3, or as many as you’d like) of either Photopolymer or Rubber Cling Stamps. Both types will work well for you, it’s up to you on which you prefer.

If you’re new to stamping, I recommend this convenient resource: “Getting Started with Card Making” series where you can learn everything you need to know about How To Get Started with Card Making all in one place.

I recently recorded a video showcasing all you need to know about Stamps.  You can watch that below.

For those who rather read about different types of stamps and how to choose what stamp sets to purchase.

What’s the difference between photopolymer and cling stamps?

Photopolymer stamps are transparent, so you can see completely through them.  They come attached to an acetate sheet, but without any support or backing (no wood blocks like traditional red rubber stamps have).  An acrylic block or stampartus is needed in order to use the photopolymer stamps.

To use, the stamp is taken off the acetate sheet, then put onto the block or stamparatus to begin stamping.  Because they are clear, you can see exactly where your stamp will be positioned on your paper or project.  You can stamp or emboss with photopolymer stamps.

Getting Started with Card Making: Stamps

Rubber Stamps are the red stamps that are typically mounted to a wood block or come without a wood block (also known as cling stamps) and you can mount them to an acrylic block similar to photopolymer stamps.

Red rubber stamps are more durable and typically high-quality, making them more versatile with heavier substances.  A downside to wood-mounted rubber stamps is that you cannot see through them to view the exact placement of your image.

Red rubber stamps work wonderfully for stamping and embossing.

How to Assemble your Cling Mount Stamps

I have a quick video demonstrating “How to Assemble Your Cling Mount Stamps”

What is an Acrylic Block?

Acrylic blocks are a tool used with photopolymer and cling mount stamps.  These are sold separately from the stamps and you can save 10% when you purchase your acrylic blocks in a bundle .

Acrylic blocks are transparent blocks that come in a variety of sizes to suit different sized stamps.  A clear, photopolymer or cling mount stamp will cling to a stamping block, then you can use the block to press the stamp onto your paper, fabric or material of choice.

Deciding Which Stamp Set to Purchase First

If you new to stamping, trying to decide which stamp set/s to buy can be somewhat daunting, especially when faced with a 220 page catalogue.  Here are a few things to look for when purchasing your stamps so you can get the most use out of them.

  • Pick a stamp set that has both greetings and pictures.  This will save you buying two (2) stamp sets. Plus every card you would want to place an image and a greeting.
  • A stamp set that can be used more than once.  Example don’t just pick a fun Birthday set because all you can do is Birthday cards.  What else can you potentially do with it.
  • Try to think of 5 different ways you can use the set first.  This will ensure you get maximum use

Let’s look at this Balloon Celebrations Stamp set below

Here are a few things I can do with this Birthday Stamp Set

  • Balloons to create a fun Birthday card
  • Cloud image top left I could use as a top of a cupcake
  • Balloon strings (bottom right) I could add the inside of the balloon (image just above the strings) and create a bouquet of flowers.
  • There are multiple greetings that could make all these ideas possible.

What else can you create with the stamp set?


My challenge for you, is to look at your stamp sets, or if you’re purchasing your first stamp set look through the catalogue and pick a stamp set that you can maximize your uses of it.


Now that you know all there is about stamps to help start your card making journey, you’ll be ready to dive in and have everything you need to create beautiful, meaningful handmade cards time and time again.

The 6 Types of Adhesives Every Paper Crafter Needs

The 6 Types of Adhesives Every Paper Crafter Needs

If you’re a paper crafter, it can be overwhelming to learn about all the various adhesives that are on the market. We’re breaking down the most popular types of adhesives for paper craft projects, and giving you the run down on what, when and HOW to use each one!


Tape runners are the most popular type of adhesive in paper crafting. These tools come pre-filled with a roll of adhesive tape. As you run the dispenser along paper, the tape will apply a smooth line of adhesive. The tape runner device is typically reloadable, and refills snap in easily. Tape runners are great to use for photos, card stock and scrapbooking. They are portable, convenient and give you excellent control over where and how much adhesive to use.



For little intricate embellishments try liquid adhesive. Once dry, these adhesives can be very strong and give your project the extra strength it needs, but also allows you time to get that embellishment in the perfect spot before the adhesive dries.  Use caution when using this adhesive on photos or paper, as it can apply unevenly and warp your paper.



Adhesive in sheet form is another excellent option for gluing down intricate die cuts. To use, trim a piece of the sheet adhesive to the approximate size of your die, apply the sheet to the card stock and run through your die cut machine. The end result will be a die cut “sticker” with adhesive applied evenly to one side. Simply remove the backing paper and adhere to your project.



For items that need ultimate hold, heavy-duty craft adhesives are your best choice. These can be found in many forms, Tear Tape by Stampin’ Up!. Trim the tape to desired length and apply one side to your project. To adhere, remove the paper backing from the tape or glue dot and apply even pressure. These are great options when making pages for a mini scrapbook album, gift boxes or anything else that will be handled frequently.



For embellishments with dimension, such as buttons, flowers, brads, bows or wood veneer, try glue dots. Once dry, this adhesive can be very strong and give your project the extra strength it needs, especially if you’re sending handmade cards through the mail.



Adding dimension to paper crafts can produce stunning results. Foam adhesive is the best way to quickly add dimension to any project. You can find foam tape in small ready-made squares or in large rolls, which you can cut pieces from. Foam adhesive is also offered in various heights, allowing you to add small hints of dimension or bold statements of height on your project. Foam is best used with small embellishments and heavyweight card stock that will not bend or bulge around the foam.


I hope that gives you a better understanding of which adhesive to use for which project.
Tell me in the comments what you’re favourite adhesive is?

Getting Started with Card Making: Gathering Your Supplies

Getting Started with Card Making: Gathering Your Supplies

Ask any card maker you know and they’ll tell you that the craft of creating cards from scratch is exciting, challenging, extremely fun, and most will even agree therapeutic.

One of the most overwhelming tasks faced with when beginning card making is figuring out which supplies you need in order to get started on your new and exciting card maker’s journey.

I want to take the guesswork out for you. I’ve recently started a new video series “Getting Started With Card Making” you can join me each week via my Facebook  Page

Below, you’ll find the essential card making supplies you want to have at hand to help you start on your card making journey.


I have summarized below everything that is in the video above for those who prefer to read about “Gathering You Supplies”

Paper Trimmer

Paper Trimmer


Card maker: meet your new best friend, paper trimmer. You two are really going to hit it off. Having a paper trimmer at hand is one of the best investments you can make, as a card maker, but also as a crafter in general.  It keeps your edges straight and square, and makes cutting so much faster.

There are many paper trimmers and cutters to choose from, from guillotine style to sliders on tracks, it’s a matter of which you prefer.  Here’s a few things to look for when purchasing your trimmer.

  • Your paper trimmer should have a trimming tool (for cutting paper) and a scoring tool (for creasing paper).
  • Right side grid for cutting thin strips
  • A ruler along the top.
  • Extendable arm to cut 12″ x 12″ paper or card stock

White Cardstock 

White cardstock is essential as it will be the base of majority of your cards: the layer that ends up holding all of your creative explorations, sentiments, embellishments, and more! Because cardstock is your card’s foundation, it’s worth investing in.

When you need a piece of paper for a project, consider the project you’re making and what exactly that piece of paper will be doing in that project. Is it acting as a base for a card you plan to cake with embellishments? You’ll want to choose a heavier weight cardstock. Is the piece of paper acting as a border for a picture? A lighter weight paper will suffice. Generally, paper weight ranges from 100-300g  (10-140 lbs).

As you move along in your card making pilgrimage, you may find you want to invest in specialty papers, patterned papers, handmade papers, and more. Don’t be afraid to try new papers!


One of the tools I use over and over is a ruler.  Yep, as simple as it may be there are many reason why a ruler should be an essential part of your Card making tool kit.  I have ruler that measures in both inches and centimeters.  A rule is great to 

  • measure where key elements are to placed on your card
  • draw lines
  • line up die cuts and sentiments
  • score cardstock
  • and more

If you’ve been following my for awhile you would know that I prefer to work in inches, plus I ‘ve come across many papercrafters who are unsure how to read a ruler.  So here’s a break down of the measurements in a ruler and key measurements that I use often.

In the video at the top of this post I will explain how to read a ruler.

Pencil & Eraser 

Some people create paper cuts freehand, without drawing them first.  However, I find that perfecting the design is half the fun, so I always use a pencil first.


You’re going to need a variety of adhesive types for your card making journey – and you’ll find that you go through adhesives a lot more quickly than you ever thought capable. There’s really no way around it. Adhesives are usually in an affordable price range and different types complete different tasks, so there’s a fair bit of cross-use.

When attaching photos and paper to cards, scrapbook pages and gift bags, you can’t just use school glue or tape. What you want is something lightweight but strong enough to hold paper together. An adhesive runner, like SNAIL, or Tear Tape does the trick.


Even though you have a paper trimmer, nothing can replace a nice pair of scissors. From cutting thread to embellishments, or fussy cutting around the edge of a sentiment, a pair of clean, sharp scissors is going to be a desk-top favourite of yours.

Nowadays, scissors come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and types, so pick the one that best suits you!

Bone Folder

So what’s all the fuss about bone folders? Simply put, this basic craft tool is the “multi-tasker” of tools. It does it ALL. Bone folders are ideal for making cards with great folds, invitations with perfect smoothed liners, stationery with clean creases, scrap booking scores for recessing photos, and virtually anything in the realm of bookbinding. A bone folder makes anything you create look more professional.

Two (2) of the most popular things a bone folder is used for is –

  1. Scoring your paper crafting projects to create score lines for Cards, boxes and other paper crafting projects
  2. Burnish a fold

Grid Paper

Clean up quickly and easily when you use grid paper / scrap paper to protect your work space.  The added bonus is it’s ruled in both inches and centimeters, so you can use it to measure as well.


Gather your key essential supplies for card making, as described above.


Now that you know all of the essential supplies for starting your card making journey, you’ll be ready to dive in and have everything you need to create beautiful, meaningful handmade cards time and time again.

Join me next week were I will be sharing with you all about “Stamps”

Getting Started with Card Making!

Getting Started with Card Making

Getting Started with Card Making!

If you’ve never made cards before then you don’t know what you’re missing!  Making your own greeting cards is a wonderful hobby that you can enjoy either on your own or with family and friends.

I find that card making is becoming more and more popular as time goes by.  Once a novelty, hand made greeting cards are becoming more and more mainstream.

Why pay $5 or more for a card (and that’s considered cheap now-a-days) when you can make a card for less than $0.50?

Besides, cost-savings aside, in this era of instant messaging, emails and text, people really appreciate the fact that someone took the time to make them a card. It’s more personal, it’s more individualized and it really shows someone you care.  And guess what?  It’s also incredibly easy to make your own cards.

You don’t have to be creative and you don’t have to have a lot of time.  You also don’t need a whole lot of supplies.  You can start making cards with a few basic things, then add to your supplies as time goes on.

So, now that you know all the reasons why you should start making your own cards, what next?  How do you actually get started card making?

That’s where this series of tutorials comes in! I’ve designed these card making tutorials to help beginner or “wannabe” card makers get started.

During my workshops, I find that first time rubber stampers and card makers often feel overwhelmed at the thought of making their own cards.  Common questions are “Do my card kits come pre-cut for me?”, “How do I cut my cardstock?”,  “How do I decide what size to cut my mats?”, “Where do you get your ideas for your cards?”, etc. etc.

One of the things that I discovered as I’ve been surfing the web is that although there are a ton of phenomenal tutorials out there on blogs and websites that showcase awesome techniques and 3D projects, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot on how you actually get started making cards, and basic stamping techniques.

So it is my intention to attempt to fill that need.  My tutorials will  provide step-by-step directions with pictures, and video tutorials and will cover all aspects of card making using rubber stamps.

It’s my plan to add segments weekly or bi-monthly if time permits.  All products used in the tutorials and on the projects are from Stampin’ Up!.

You can view these tutorials at https://www.kristycoromandel.com/getting-started-with-card-making all in one place

While there are many awesome products on the market, as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, these are the products that I represent and hence specialize in.  Besides, regardless of the fact that I am a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I find that Stampin’ Up!’s products are extremely high quality, and I’m always pleased with how my projects turn out.

If you’ve found these tutorials helpful, be sure to check out the rest of my blog and my Facebook Page (www.kristycoromandel.com/facebook) for more project ideas and for the latest information on Stampin’ Up! customer classes & specials.

What’s all the fuss about the Bone Folder?

What’s all the fuss about the Bone Folder?

So what’s all the fuss about bone folders? Simply put, this basic craft tool is the “multi-tasker” of tools. It does it ALL. Bone folders are ideal for making cards with great folds, invitations with perfect smoothed liners, stationery with clean creases, scrap booking scores for recessing photos, and virtually anything in the realm of bookbinding. A bone folder makes anything you create look more professional.


The old tried-and-true “basic” bone folder (traditionally made of animal bone –the way old fashioned bookbinders have been for using them for centuries) has two ends with specific purposes. One end is narrowed to a softer point, which makes them great for deep scoring of heavy-weight paper and indenting for marking on book board. The tip can be sanded to the desired roundness depending on the project.

Two (2) of the most popular things a bone folder is used for is –

  1. Scoring your paper crafting projects to create score lines for Cards, boxes and other paper crafting projects
  2. Burnish a fold

Watch the videos below to show you how to do each technique

Introduction to the Bone Folder

In this video you will be introduced to Stampin’ Up!’s bone folder.

How to Score using a Bone Folder

In this video you will learn how to use your bone folder to create a score line in your paper crafting projects.  Why might you need to do this?  If you don’t own a paper trimmer that has a scoring blade, or you have lost your scoring blade you will still be able to get a nice clean fold line using your bone folder.

How to Burnish using a Bone Folder

In this video you will learn how to use Stampin’ Up!’s Bone Folder to burnish a fold.

Multiple ways to use your bone folder in your crafting projects.  You can purchase one in my online store on this link HERE

Colour Theory

Colour Theory

There are so many important decisions to make when it comes to card making, but one of the first most important decisions that you need to address once the theme has been decided upon is colour. Now there are a lot of things to consider when choosing colour, and the purpose of this post is to direct you on some ways to choose your colours as related to paper, embellishments, and colouring of images. First we will be addressing some key terms, next we will move on to the relationships between colours, and we will finish off with some great tips to achieving a winning colour combination.

Key Terms:

  • Hue: refers to the purest form of the colour ( for instance red, orange, magenta are all hues)
  • Temperature: the temperature of a colour is classified as either warm or cool. Any amount of blue in a colour will give it a cool classification. The rest are considered warm. There are warm and cool reds, warm and cool yellow’s, and by the nature of its colour, blue will always fall to the cool side, even when it has the characteristics of a warm colour (anything with the smallest amount of blue is considered cool).
  • Intensity: This refers to the brightness or dullness of a colour. The brightest of any intensity of a colour is called its Hue (so ink or watercolor crayon with little dilution). As you darken or grey down the color, you are dulling it down and reducing its intensity.
  • Value: refers to the lightness and darkness of a colour. The lightest form of the colour is the tint, and the darkest form of the colour is a shade. Shades are achieved by adding more black or darkness to a colour.

Primary Color Wheel:

The primary colour wheel shows the most basic hues in our colour system. All colours can be made from these three hues (Red, Yellow, Blue), but no colours can create these three hues.


Secondary Colour Wheel:

The secondary colours are the colours which are created when you mix two primary colours together. So Red and Yellow create Orange, Blue and Yellow create Green, Red and Blue create Violet. These secondary colours are also called hues. Now if you look at the colours represented in this wheel, you will notice that specific colours lay opposite each other. These opposing colours are called Complementary Colors, and they are the colors which intensify each other. So if you look at all the complementary pairs, you will see that Red and Green are complementary, Yellow and Violet, and finally Blue and Orange. Each of these combinations will make the other seem brighter and more vibrant.

Tertiary Color Wheel:

The next hues we are going to look at are called the Tertiary colours. These colours result when we mix a Primary colour with one secondary colour which lies directly to the Left or Right of it. In this photo, we have shown the names inside of the corresponding colour. The complementary colour theory tightens even more over here as we view for instance the Blue-Green being complementary to the Red-Orange.

Here is the final view of the completed colour wheel, which shows the different values along all the colour relationship. Remember, the value refers to the lightness and darkness of a colour. This will be a visual guide when viewing the complementary relationships. You will also see a dividing line which shows off the cool vs warm colours. The colour labelled Crimson, can also be referred to as Magenta.

Please remember that in using some of these colour combinations, you are applying it to the whole card or project, not just a section.  So combine these within the image, the cardstock, and the embellishment.


colour theory

  • Do use strong contrasts in your card.  Whether this is used within the paper image relationship, or just the image or just the paper.  Strong contrasts can create bold eye catching designs whereas using all the same value (such as everything done light or everything dark) can create a visually boring creation. Highlighting with a gel pen emphasises this idea of highlighting with a light colour to emphasise and bring forward a certain area.
  • Do use complementary colours, but not necessarily with the same intensity.  Two bright complementary colours are definitely vibrant, but often, can be too vibrant.  They become hard to look at after a period of time.  Instead try pairing a bright hue, with a toned down version of its complementary companion.  This can be done either with sponging or picking a duller version of the same hue.  (its is not to say that the all bright never works, just that it may not be the most ideal).
  • Remember that cool colours visually appear to move back within a composition, and warm colours visually appear to move forward.  When colouring, this can be an important trait for emphasising your image.  In terms of CS choice, it is prefered to stay within the same temperature range (so all cool, or all warm)
  • Try out a monochromatic colour scheme, where you are using the different values of one hue within the same composition, and then pair it with some sort of neutral
  • Do try Analogous colours, or colours which are located next to each other. So for instance Red, Red-Orange and Orange-Yellow would all look great together, as would other colours which lie next to each other.
  • Do rely on the colours used within Designer Paper, they have chosen out harmonious colour combinations.
  • Do pick up a colour wheel which can show you interesting ways of using triangles and rectangles to create harmonious colour combinations. These combinations are known as Triad’s (triangle) and Tetrad (square). By drawing a Triangle which touches three colours, and a square or rectangle which touches four colours, you will achieve successful combinations.

Analogous Colour Scheme

Analogous colour schemes use colors that are next to each other on the colour wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. Analogous colour schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Make sure you have enough contrast when choosing an analogous colour scheme. Choose one colour to dominate, a second to support. The third colour is used (along with black, white or gray) as an accent.

Triadic Colour Scheme

A triadic colour scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Triadic colour schemes tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues. To use a triadic colour scheme successfully, the colours should be carefully balanced – let one colour dominate and use the two others for accent

Rectangle or Tetrad Colour Scheme 

The rectangle or tetrad colour scheme uses four colours arranged into two complementary pairs. Tetrad colour schemes works best if you let one colour be dominant. You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colours in your design. It is a rich colour combination.

How to Make a Standard Card Base for Greeting Cards

How to Make a Standard Card Base for Greeting Cards

To make a greeting card, you first need a card base. This is a plain piece of cardstock that’s been cut and folded into the shape of a card. It’s called a ‘card base’ because it’s the base onto which you stamp images, layer papers, etc. to create your greeting card.

Although you can buy pre-made card bases, they’re also very easy to make! Today I’ll show you two (2) ways to  make a standard card base from a sheet A4 cardstock, using just a few basic tools.

What is a Standard Card Base?

standard card base — also sometimes called an ‘A6’ card base — is one that measures 105 x 148mm (10 x 15) when finished. This size of card base is the most common one that stampers use to make greeting cards.

Once you learn how to make a standard card base, you can apply the same technique to make card bases in any size you like.

Watch this short video while share with you 2 ways to cut your cardstock to create a cardbase

Want to see more quick tips?  Be sure to subscribe to my youtube channel and be notified each time I upload a new video,

The Ins & Outs of Inking

The Ins & Outs of Inking

Are you puzzled by the many options and different uses of stamping inks that are available to crafters?  Rest assured you’re not alone.

Ink Types


Dye inks are great for basic stamping.  Dye inks will penetrate into your cardstock and leave a nice, clean, image.  These inks dry rapidly, which is perfect for when you want to stamp and quickly continue on with your project without having to wait for your ink to dry

Classic Stampin’ Pads

Ink pads

Features: Firm foam pad with flip-top that stores ink upside down to keep the pad moist. Coordinates with exclusive Stampin’ Up! Cardstock, Stampin’ Write Markers, and Classic Stampin’ Ink Refills.  Acid Free, Archival.

Best For: Basic Stamping or tone-on-tone look when stamping on coloured cardstock



Classic Stampin’ ink Refills

ink refills

Features:  Refresh Stampin’ Pads to keep the pad fresh and well-inked or use for various techniques outside of stamping.  Acid Free, Archival.

Best For: Refilling pads, dyeing, spritzing, or colouring

Tips:  To refill pad, put a few drops of ink onto pad and use a bone folder to spread the ink around the surface

Stampin’ Write Markers

Stampin write markers

Features:  Dual-tipped including a .5mm fine point for details and journaling, and a flexible brush tip for colouring and inking stamps.  Acid Free, Archival

Best For:  Writing, and colouring directly on stamps and paper.

Tips:  After colouring on stamps, breathe on it to moisten before stamping.  Store markers horizontally.


Memento Ink


Features:  Fade resistant, alcohol resistant, and fast drying

Best For: Good with fine details and even coverage for bold images

Tip: Keep the ink pad fresh with the Memento Refill




Solvent inks are great for nonporous surfaces such as acetate, glass, metal and glossy cardstock.  Solvent inks dry quickly and do not need to be heat-set

Stazon Ink



Features:  Crisp, permanent ink, Acid Free, Archival

Best For:  Stamping images that you can watercolour or for nonporous surfaces like Window Sheets

Tips:  Clean stamps with StazOn Cleaner


Pigment inks are also great for basic stamping applications.  Pigment inks have a thicker consistency and tend to sit more on the surface of cardstock.  Because of these attributes, these inks take longer to dry.  Pigment inks are great to sue for heat embossing, because they stay wet long enough for you to add an embossing powder.  Pigment ink used with a clear embossing powder creates a great, ridged design with stamped images.

Craft Stampin’ Ink

craft ink


Features:  Rich, permanent pigment, Acid Free, Archival

Best For: Embossing or to create an opaque look on dark cardstock.  If heatset, you can use to stamp on cloth

Tips:  Allow plenty of time to dry before continuing with project


watermark ink has no colour and leaves a subtle tone-on-tone image when stamped on darker cardstock.  This ink is great to use for creating a nice subtle stamped background for your projects.  Like Pigment inks, watermark ink can be used for heat embossing.

Versamark Ink



Features:  Versatile clear ink, Acid Free, Archival

Best For: Embossing or creating tone-on-tone or watermark effects

Tips:  Use with a Heat Tool to adhere embossing powder to stamped images



Don’t let the mystery of inks intimidate you.  Just have fun and enjoy experimenting with different types of inks and techniques.  You’ll be creating beautiful, perfectly inked projects in no time!


The Myth of Creativity 

In all my years of blogging and teaching paper crafting – and in teaching hundreds of card makers  around the world – the #1 thing that I hear, over and over again is this:

“I am not creative”, “I am not artistic”, “I can’t come up with my own ideas”,  “I don’t know how to take an idea and make it my own”.

Different ways of saying it – but ultimately all saying the same thing.  “I am not creative!”

I am here to tell you that this belief is absolutely, NOT TRUE!

There is a wide-spread misconception about creativity that is perpetuated almost everywhere we turn.

The first definition of creativity you see when you look at the  online dictionary is “the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.”

Below that, it lists the “Full Definition of Creativity” as the quality of being creative, the ability to create. If you dig further and look at “create,” the dictionary states that to create is “to make or produce something, to cause something new to exist”

Most people mistakenly interpret “new” as “original”.  They are NOT the same thing.

When something is “original” it is “the first of it’s kind”

Whereas when you make (i.e. create) something – you are making something new. “New” meaning – you brought it to life, so to speak. It was not in existence, in EXACTLY the same way before you made it.

In the grand scheme of humanity and the billions of humans that populate the earth – there are relatively few things that are truly unique and original.

Let’s bring this a little closer to home. Let’s look at this in the context of crafting. Almost all of our “hottest trends” today – right now – are things that have been trendy in the past – either in exactly the same form, or in a slightly different form. Sometimes from within the same industry, other times from another industry.

Look at Multi-layered stamping – it used to be called 2-step stamping.

Or look at watercolouring or other mixed media techniques – they have taken the paper crafting world by storm in the last few years – but these products and techniques have been around forever in the art industry.

Remember paisley and plaid?  First we saw them incorporated into fashions. Then they made their way into papers and stamps. Then they disappeared, then they emerging in clothing again.

None of these things are “original” or “unique”. Does that mean they are not creative? Or that they are not being used creatively?

Absolutely not!

Creativity is not a talent. It’s not a gift. It is an element of every thing that you do.

It is a part of who you are.

Creativity is not something you learn.

Look at a child. Give them crayons, colour pencils, markers, scissors, glue and paper, and they create.

Certainly you have to teach them how to hold a pencil and how to use a pair of scissors safely,  you have to teach them to colour on paper instead of a wall. You may even have to teach them a few techniques (how to draw a circle, a square a triangle).

What you do not have to teach them is how to express themselves creatively.  They just do.

It’s when people come along and starting giving opinions, critiquing, maybe even criticizing – not necessarily maliciously – perhaps with total love and intent to help. But it’s when that begins to happen that they start doubting themselves and what they are creating.

Over time, that child becomes the adult, who no longer “feels” or believes they are creative.

You ARE creative. Believe it, wholeheartedly.

It is there – inside you – you just need to learn how to release your creativity.

That’s what I am here for.

I have been where you may be now.  Believing that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body.

Look at where I am now – embracing my creativity, and continuing to grow and develop creatively.

How did I get to where I am now?  Trial, error and experimentation, learning, trying, reflecting and then starting over as many times as necessary. Eventually I created a process for myself.

It’s not one step, or two steps, it can’t be accomplished in one day, a week or even a month. It’s ongoing and ever-evolving.

But it can be done, and I will be showing you how.

In the meantime though – this is the truth I want you to embrace – you are creative.

Tell yourself this: “I am Creative”

Every day. Write it out, type it out or stamp it out using some fun fonts and colours. Create multiple copies. Stick it up everywhere you spend time – stick it to your bathroom mirror, in the kitchen, place it on your night table, or frame it and hang it up above your bed.

As many times as it takes – until you stop telling yourself (or others) that you are not creative.

Now go and do it.

Right now!

If you need to kickstart your creativity – join my free 5-day ecourse to help jolt your Creativity Back into Gear!  CLICK HERE to sign up now.

Building a Focal Point

Building a Focal Point

Clean and Simple card design requires one and only one focal point. A clear place that your eye is immediately drawn to.

Look at your card and imagine it in three equal parts, your focal point should be placed in the first or third part or between 1 & 2 or 2 & 3 as shown in the pictures below. Your focal point should never be placed the the center of that 2nd panel, it is said to be unappealing to the eye and does not draw your eye in as a focal point should.

Once you place your focal point, you have more freedom design-wise. Here you can do your embellishing, as much or as little as you’d like. Everything should be built around your focal point, adding to it and not drawing the eye away from it.

Let’s look at my sample…

140219 - Building a focal point


I have placed my focal point between the 1st & 2nd panel. My butterfly serves as my focal point. The contrast of the Powder Pink cardstock against the Early Espresso and Whisper White really makes it pop.

Now, I kept my focal point simple, but you could do so much here …embossing, patterned paper, a row of rhinestones, a few small flowers…as long as you keep the rest of the card clean (white space!) you can go crazy on your focal point! You can even stamp your sentiment on the card base leaving you more room to add interest to your focal point, like I have.

The card above uses one of my fall-to-layouts! I use this design often, moving my focal point to different areas. Here are a few sketches to help you get started.

Your sentiment can be placed on the strip, just below the circle or in the circle.

I hope I’ve helped you define a focal point in CAS design!
If you have any questions, please ask!

Smart Shopping

Smart Shopping 

Do you consider yourself to be a smart shopper? I have one thing I always keep in mind when I do my smart shopping and it’s a secret I call  “5 before I buy”.  Before I buy something I make sure I can think of five (5) ways of using it.  This way I can make sure I make wise choices plus it also helps me with my creativity.

So here’s the secret, whenever I get a new catalogue and find a stamp set that I  like … I often will put a sticky note on it with some ideas including sketches on how I want to use it.  So this is great for when my creativity is just out of whack  I can grab this off the back and I know where to start.

Smark Shopping

I put the sticky note on the back of the product before I put away, so that when I’m ready to create I just grab it out and I have some ideas ready.  Again, I don’t always do the post-it note trick but I find that when I do it, it really helps me to use that product, so I’m trying to get into the habit of doing it every time I receive my order to add a post-it note with ideas.

5 Before I Buy

Here are 5 tips to help you come up with 5 ways to use a stamp set or product before you buy.

  1. Can I alter?  The first one is can I alter this product, can I do something to change the look of it or can I use it to alter something I already have?  Then I can get more uses from it and other products.
  2. Can I use with a tool? Can I use this in combination with a tool I already have.  Can I use this in combination with my die cut machine, or an embossing folder, a punch or my Stampin’ Blends.  I find I can get more uses if I combine my tools.  Because tools never go away.  Say the product I’m considering is a tool for example a die, I try and think of different ways to use that die.  If I can use it with things other than paper, like maybe felt or fabric, so I try  to get multiple uses out of it.
  3. Can I use a technique?  I love techniques, they’re a great way to stretch your product and stretch your creativity, so I try to think if this product would be good to use with a technique
  4. Is it my style? Sometimes its fun to buy things that ain’t my style but sometimes that limits me creatively.  Or if its something that feels like it works with me, I know I will use it alot more in the future.
  5. Do I LOVE it?  Sometimes you just gotta get something because you absolutely love it.  But this tip I usually put on the back burner I try to think about how I can use my stamp set with the other tips I’ve given.

So what better way to show this than with an example.  I’ve taken one stamp set and share with you five (5) different ways to use it.  The stamp set I’m using today is “Birthday Wishes for You”  


Creating a Watercolour Wash with ink pads and aqua painters.


Colour blocking – stamping across two solid colours of cardstock


Colouring image using Stampin’ Blends


Stamping directly on patterned paper


Watercolour Pencils and Blender Pencils


Next time you’re looking to purchase a new item, brainstorm multiple ideas.  Use the five tips I’ve shared to help come up with new ways to use your stamping products.



The Basic Card Making Supplies Every Stamper Needs

The Basic Card Making Supplies Every Stamper Needs

While you could dive into the world of paper crafting with a pair of scissors, some construction paper and a bottle of white school glue, a few basic paper crafting tools can really take your craft to the next level. By investing in a few beginner card making supplies, you’ll be creating projects with professional results and a lot less frustration!

Here, I’ll walk you through the basic tools every papercrafter needs

Paper trimmers

A paper trimmer is a must for card making and scrapbooking. It keeps your edges straight and square, and makes cutting so much faster. Your paper trimmer should have a trimming tool (for cutting paper) and a scoring tool (for creasing paper).

I recommend using a paper trimmer like the Stampin’ Up! Paper Trimmer. First off, I have to say that every tool from Stampin’ Up!  is really great quality. I haven’t tried a tool of theirs yet that I wouldn’t recommend.

Why this particular trimmer? Full 30.5 cm cut or score cards for easy folding.  1 cutting and 1 scoring blade.  I love the ability to cut and score all with one tool. Ruler and grid protected by durable plastic cover.  Point on cutting / scoring handle for precise measuring.   Right side grid for cutting thin strips Plus, it has paper trimmer must-haves, like a ruler along the top.

The size of this trimmer is nice, too: It’s a great size for easy storage and has an extended arm ( 36.5cm) when you want to cut or score a full 12″ x 12″ piece of paper.

Circle punches

I have a small collection of circle punches that I use often.  I would recommend getting a variety of sizes of circle punches. They’re great for layering papers for tags and other embellishments on cards. Circle punches come in a wide range of sizes — Stampin’ Up! have handheld punches that measure 1/16” to ¼” which I love, too.

Tip: Flip the punch upside down so you can see the area you are punching out. This will help you get more out of page and punch your circles more accurately.

You can also buy punches for other shapes, but you’ll find circles to be very versatile, and you’ll love how crisp and perfect the results are.


Every paper crafter needs a stapler, and I love this little stapler.  I usually use it to attach small tags or other ephemera to gifts bags and cards. The size adds a special touch to every project. The thin design helps you to get into tight places that would be hard to reach with a regular stapler.

Handheld Stapler

Handheld Stapler


When attaching photos and paper to cards, scrapbook pages and gift bags, you can’t just use school glue or tape. What you want is something lightweight but strong enough to hold paper together. An adhesive runner, like SNAIL, or Tear Tape does the trick.

Before trying this tool, know that SNAIL it’s not strong enough to hold everything. I don’t use it for gluing on thick embellishments like chipboard or holding together any 3-D projects like boxes, but Tear Tape works a treat.

Liquid glue

For 3-D projects like gift boxes or thicker card embellishments, you’ll need a strong liquid glue. I discovered the Multi purpose Liquid Glue and love it! Once this glue dries (and it dries quickly — only a minute or two to set), it holds everything perfectly in place. None of my boxes or other 3-D projects fall apart when glued with this adhesive. 

This particular bottle has two dispensing ends, which makes it a versatile choice for whatever project you’re working on. I always use the thin pen tip because I am usually gluing small areas. It also has a broad tip, similar to the size of a glue stick, for larger projects.

Foam adhesive dots (Stampin’ Dimensionals)

Stampin’ Dimensionals great for emphasising embellishments. Because of the foam, they elevate elements off the page, really making them pop. Put them behind a sentiment, flower or another embellishment on a card to really bring it to life. They are a great alternative to a hot glue gun with some materials.


To craft with paper, you definitely need, well, paper! I like to keep a supply of A4 smooth, Thick white cardstock on hand for making cards. Cutting one of these pages in half and folding it makes the perfect sized card. Hint: You can also buy “Note Cards & Envelopes” which are pre-cut and pre-folded cards to save yourself  a step.

I prefer smooth cardstock for the base of my cards because you can easily write your sentiment on the inside. However, textured cardstock is great for decorating and embellishing.

Patterned paper

I love stampin’ Up! Patterned paper, The paper packs often include coordinating embellishments, ribbon and more. It makes creating a cohesive card or project so easy.

With these supplies, you’ll have enough to get started. Once you’re comfortable using these, you might even graduate to more advanced supplies like Die Cutting or Heat embossing.

For more Back to Basics ideas check out my Resource Library HERE

How to Clean Your Stamps

Back to Basics: How to Clean Your Stamps

One of the best habits to get into, is to always clean your stamps in between colours and once you’ve finished using them  before putting them away.  By taking that extra little time you will ensure you don’t contaminate your ink pads and/or get muddy images when you stamp.

I’ve created a video series to help share with you different methods for cleaning your stamps

General Tips for Cleaning Your Stamps

Getting into the habit of cleaning your stamps is essential – in between using different ink colours as well as before you put them away. This video will share with you the general things you need to know about cleaning your stamps.

Cleaning Your Stamps with Baby Wipes

In this video you will learn how to clean your stamps with baby wipes as well as the pros and cons of using this method of cleaning.

Cleaning Your Stamps with a Paper Towel

In this video you will learn how to clean your stamps with a paper towel  as well as the pros and cons of using this method of cleaning.

Cleaning Your Stamps with Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Mist and Stampin’ Scrub

In this video you will learn how to clean your stamps with Stampin’ Up!’s Stampin’ Mist and Stampin’ Scrub.

Click the images below to purchase your Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist in my online store.

I’ve shared a few different ways you can clean your stamps.  Comment below and let me know which method your prefer to clean your stamps,