Thursday Tips (8)

Here is a collection of the Thursday Tips (and others) which have been sent to the OSA mailing list. Many of these can be found under the Techniques section as well.

2008: November, December
2009: 1st Page, 2nd Page
2010: 1st page, 2nd page, 3rd page, 4th page
2011: 1st page, 2nd page, 3rd page
2012: 1st page

  • This is a tip for the time when amongst your huge stash of card and paper you can’t find the exact colour to match your coloured image.This happened to me last night while making a non oriental pansy card.I coloured my image using promarkers and searched and searched for card the same colour as the pens.Then I had light bulb moment LOL .I cut the layers in the same cream card as the image – used the bullet end of the pen and coloured a wide border [not the middle as this is a waste of ink] . I imagine this would work with copics – let me know if it doesn’t and would work with H20s , watercolour paints etc. hugs Leo
  • Pansy card with promarker layers jpg.jpgFor a long time, I’ve collected oversprays from glimmer mists and color washes on color-family background papers. I hate to waste all that extra color! This tip is a variation on that idea, and it comes from Cheryl Darrow of Ten Seconds Studio. If you work with acrylic paints, keep a few spare canvas boards or papers around so you can use up any project leftovers. Just paint randomly on the boards – grouping colors you like together. Not only do you save your paints – you start a background for a great collage or other project and avoid the paralyzing “blank canvas syndrome” that goes along with facing an empty surface at the beginning of a project.If you are working on a project using acrylics of any sort – paints, mediums, mod podge, etc. – and don’t want to have to clean up and throw away your products during interruptions or delays in finishing, put the container holding your materials along with your brush into a zip-loc bag and seal. I’ve come back to my small palettes of specially mixed colors weeks after putting them away and started working again. This works really well when you have to do multiple coats. Just come back, open the bag, and you are ready to go. You can let leftover watercolors dry on their palettes and reconstitute them again by adding water.Of course we all know NOT to dip that brush right into the jar – right? These products don’t get better by sitting open for long periods of time, and they are easily contaminated when you introduce the wrong color or stray particles into a jar. Pour them into a disposable cup or a small palette – plastic container lids, single serving applesauce containers, lemonade/ice-tea mix cups, or just plastic bathroom cups that can be bought by the hundreds. Wash or recycle when finished
  • Hi Stampers,
    Today’s tip has to do with studio maintenance. I don’t know about you but I tend to create in a frenzy and use (and abuse) my tools. Every few months do a tool check. Sharpen your scissors, replace blades in cutters and sharpen and lubricate your punches by punching them through aluminum foil and wax paper. I bout an inexpensive scissors sharpener by Fiskars that works like a dream at Joann’s and you can’t mess it up. For specialty scissors you can call your local fabric store and ask when they will be sharpening scissors and take them in to get sharpened at the fraction of the cost of a new pair. Also you can use nail polish remover on the blades to remove adhesive gunk, It dries quick and should be safe for most metal, goo gone works well too for this.If you have a die cutter that used sticky mats (like the cricut) wash them in warm soapy water and let them air dry and they will be like new (for the first few times you do this) then if that doesn’t do the trick tape the edges and spray with an even coat of quilters basting spray. I got a 12 oz can at wal mart for $8 and it lasts a long time!
  • Sort all of your paper and cardstcok scraps by color and put them away (I use a plastic crate from Target that takes hanging folders and I always check there first before getting new sheet) Or if you don’t bother with scraps collect all of the leftovers in a box and when it is full take it to your local preschool or library so they can make crafts with the young children. While you are at it go through your drawers and fill a box with tools and supplies you don’t want, need or will never use and give or swap with a friend, if you have no takers you can always sell it on ebay or donate it. I have a hard time getting rid of anything that might have a future craft purpose thoughThink of how much fun it will be to create in a clean perfectly functioning studio.
    happy crafting,
  • One from experience…when layering, (matting), your card and papers, do it BEFORE you drink your medicinal glass of vin rouge, (red wine but it sounds more medical in French…). It is well known, (apparently), that mathematical problems arise with whey-hey margins after every sip. If you have been stricken by this side affect, take your craft knife and cut your masterpiece into an ATC or inchies. No one but you and the cat, (except I haven’t got one of those), will ever know….well perhaps not…
    Darcy (hic!) :O)
  • Hi Everyone,Reusing, repurposing, reinventing, recycling, and redoing are ways of saving money and helping our planet. As stampers, we see objects as possibilities. Who among us has not considered stamping and decorating an old wooden serving tray discovered at a tag sale or creating something new from a found object that heretofor has never seen the hand of an artist? Discarded objects have value if we choose to see that value and those objects can be given a new purpose with a bit of cleaning and artistry.Do you have an elderly lamp that has seen better days? Use the lamp’s scars and dents to advantage. Fine or coarse sandpaper can “distress” the nondistressed areas of the lamp to give it an all-over aged look. Use up those leftover dribs and drabs of acrylic paints to add color. Experiment with colors by mixing a few drops together on a paper plate until you like the color. Two lighter coats of paint work better and take less time to dry than one thicker coat of paint. Use the paper plate later as a background for a card.Once the paint dries on the lamp, decoupage stamped tissue paper to areas that serve your overall design. Mod Podge. Gesso or Golden’s Acrylics will adhere the tissue. PPA and PVA can also do the job. Allow the paper and adhesive to dry completely before adding a top coat or the tissue will bubble. Use a hair dryer to dry the layers if you need to speed up the process. Mod Podge comes in mat, satin, and glossy finishes.Do send us scans of your repurposed Oriental designs.~~~~~
    Happy stamping,
    Annette “:O)
  • If you use a stainless steel pin you will find the pin won’t rust in the bottle or leave a brown stain. These are not as easy to find but are around. As someone said before, if it has a glass round head, even better especially for pulling out.I have one or two of the stainless steel pins and find they work well, and have had them in the bottles for ages.Anne
  • Re. Using Quilt Pins or Safety pins in bottle topsSomeone had suggested this idea to me a couple years ago and I enthusiastically tried it.Unfortunately when I went to use it again a few weeks later, I found that the pin had rusted in the bottle!I had to take a chunk of product out too.Maybe I did something wrong, but I haven’t tried it since.Cindy Connell J
  • Hi All,Play with your ribbons. Find new ways to use them on your cards. Weave them in and out of slots you’ve made in your background paper with punches. Learn new ways to tie it.This is a new way I learned in my Centralia card group. Punch a slot using the rectangular punch that only makes one slot (Stampin’ Up!’s punch does two rectangles – you don’t want to use that one). Do this on the left side of a piece of card stock you want to place on top of your card that a ribbon will fit on. Then do another about an inch to the side of it (on the long side). Then take one piece of ribbon, put it through the hole from the front to the back and tape that end to the back. Then string the ribbon across the long part of the paper and anchor it on the back with tape as well. Then take another piece of ribbon and feed both ends through each hole from the front and pull all the way through. Then reverse the ends and feed them back from the back to the front – in the opposite holes (are you still with me? Meaning you cross them over). So what you should have now is ribbon between the two holes (tight) and the two ends sticking out front. So now take the right loose piece and, bringing it over the area between the two holes, fold it over like you are making a loop to a bow. Don’t tie it – just lay it together as a loop. Then, using one of those wooden craft sticks (for using YES glue, etc.), poke just beyond that loop down into the right hole. Don’t poke the end of the ribbon down in – just poke however much excess ribbon you have on that side down towards the back so all you have in front is the loop for the bow and the tail end. Do the same for the other side; bring the ribbon as a loop over the part between the two holes, push down on the ribbon over the left hole until you have ribbon on the back. Once you have the amount of loop and tail you want, tape down the excess ribbon on the back side. Attach that piece of card stock to your card with foam tape. The area to the left of the ribbon as you look at the card, has no ribbon on it but the tail of the ribbon covers that up so it looks perfect.Here’s what the finished product will look like. Sorry this isn’t an Oriental card but it shows you how beautiful this ribbon technique is. I just made this card to show ladies in my card group how to do it.You can see the card at:’m sorry I can’t include it in the e-mail because it’s not Asian so you dial-up people can’t see it unless you click on the link – sorry about that.Give it a try and see if you can also make it work. It sure does a nice bow – especially for people who have trouble tying bows.Sincerely,Rli
  • Okay here is my tip for the day.I went to use some memories acrylic paint, they had the old metal tops on and I couldn’t for the life of me get the silly cap un-done as it had stuck hard,
    so I put some boiling water into a small cup placed the paint pot upside down so the top was in the water, left it for a couple of minutes, out it came and the top came off no toruble.,Mary xx
  • Blocking out the room light when scanning a three-dimensional object can sometimes be a problem. But it needn’t be if you have a “scanning box.” This hi-tech device is nothing more than an ordinary cardboard box several inches high and that will fit on the scanner. Throw away the cover and make sure the edges of the box are smooth. Place your object on the scanner table and put the box over it. You may want to paint the inside of the box black, but I haven’t found it necessary.
  • Hi all. Had a routine checkup with a heart check too. The little round stickies were left on m chest and when I got home found them. They are round, white and in the middleis a little red heart on each one. Kept them and will use them for something on a card,etc. This would have been good for the throw away mingle but didn’t have them then.So, look at things you might throw away and who knows what creative project you might come up with. Marge in rainy Bar Harbor
  • By accident I found that a 1/2 sheet of glossy card stock is the BEST when catching your glitter or embossing powder…it slides easily back into your container,and with a tap there is no residue left on your glossy card stock so it’s ready for your next glitter/embossing session. How cool is that!!!! I always hated to waste a piece of copy paper, or have to wipe out one of
    those plastic trays…glossy card stock…problem solved!Jan Castle
  • As I am cleaning out my stamping supplies, and continuing to unmount my stamps, I find there are things I really do not use. I keep my trash & recycle cans by the desk, also I am putting a boxes for friends on the floor. When I find paper, stamps mounted OR unmounted that I no longer love or use often, I am popping them into one of the boxes. One friend makes hundreds of cards a year for ill children, so she gets all the teddy bears, puppies, etc. She has her own box. I find this helps by having it right by the work area, otherwise I might get sidetracked! lolHugs, Pat
  • can personally attest to the fabulous-ness of this tip! Yesterday in the mail I received one of Pat’s castoffs, and I’m still grinning and feeling oh-so-grateful for her kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, and darn good idea! You never know when something you don’t need or want anymore will make someone’s day – or week – or more!In addition to a beautiful card that I’ll share with you when my scanner is replaced – tomorrow I hope – she sent me the stamp I’ve been wanting and looking for and everything but begging for. Well – I might have even begged a little! She had one of the Hero Arts Ornamental Flower stamps she had unmounted. Barbie had graciously made me some impressions with hers after I raved over the card she made with it, but I’ve been looking all over. And there it was yesterday, in my mailbox, waiting for me when I got home after a long day of meetings.I’ve given the back of it a good soak with some goo-gone, and all the residual adhesive gunk has been washed off. So, Pat, if you have other stamps in the unmounting process, try that. Load it up and just leave it for a while; and you can usually just rub the remaining adhesive right off. It really does work. So that will be my tip for today. Along with Pat’s – somebody is going to love something you will share with them! GUARANTEED!
  • Hi Everyone,Keep acrylic paints ready to use and avoid waste by turning the jars upside down one month, right side up the next month, and repeating each month. The movement keeps the paints mixed and ready when you are. If you have ever opened a bottle of paint and found a glob of dried paint or a layer of clear liquid inside, the paint will need to be mixed and the dried glob removed before it can be used. Save yourself time and money by rotating them 180 degrees each month. Store paints in stackable plastic shoe boxes so if paint leaks, it will do no harm. Dried acrylic paint usually pops off plastic with a fingernail or a tweak of the plastic. If all else fails, put the plastic container (sans the paint bottles) in your freezer for five minutes and the paint will pop off the plastic jiffy quick. You may wish to set your kitchen timer so you remember to remove the container.This technique works with any waterbased paints.Happy stamping,
    Annette “:O)
  • I was punching the corners on a panel for a card yesterday with a decorative punch and took a good look at the punched off pieces. I thought they would make nice corner embellishments for photos. So now when I punch corners on cardstock I’m going to run the corners through my Xyron X sticker maker and save them to use as decorative corners later on. When I say I throw nothing away, I mean it. :)Kathy Nycz
  • ok here we go you take a onion YES I said onion yellow or red and you use the out side skin.. of the onion and you let it dry good for about 4 days and you will need about 3 or 4 skin’s off the onions and then cut a heavy JUST USE THE SKIN’s ONLYchipboard like a 4 x 4 or bigger or the bigger you need more onions also. you will need to use mod-podge on the chipboard then put the skins on the mod-podge as a glue then add it over the top of it to stick this will make a beautiful back ground after it dry’s you can paint it or just use it as the color of the onions, are real beautiful…..This will be a beautiful background…..Mary Redford
  • Meeting deadlines for submissions and working into the night can bring us to a screeching halt if we run out of the materials we need at 3:00 in the morning. If you run out of the right color of paint, add food coloring to white paint for a brilliant color. Mix small amounts of lighter colors with darker colors until the color matches what you need.
  • Iridescent acrylic paints can be achieved by adding a wee bit of mica powder to a small dollop of paint and mixing them together. Powdered Pearls, Mystic Mists, Fairy Mists, and other sprays have mica suspended in them, so add a bit to the paint and experiment until you are satisfied with the result.Annette “:O)
  • Highlighting Technique:Add a new look to your images, old and new, with this technique and help the planet, too. You probably already have the materials required for the highlighting technique and will not need to purchase anything new: cardstock and images, inks, white school glue/PPA/PVA/Mod Podge or any glue that dries clear or opaque, glass slide/rigid clear plastic packaging cut to the desired size/mica pieces/or an inkjet transparency, markers or any favorite color medium of your choice are all you need.Get started by layering the background and stamping the image on your card front and coloring as desired. Stamp a second identical image on a scrap of cardstock and color it with your choice of medium. Allow the image to dry if necessary. Apply a thin coat of glue to one side of the glass slide or plastic and adhere to the prepared image where you want to ‘highlight’ it. Allow the glue to dry, then trim away the excess. Speed up the drying time using a hair dryer or place several slides on a foil-lined cookie sheet on the keep warm setting of your oven for 10-15 minutes with the paper side up.A gold leaf pen or metallic tape can be used to frame the edges of the slide if desired and give it a finished appearance.Align the slide over the stamped image on the card so the slide fits in place perfectly over its likeness. Glue in place. The focal point of the card is now ‘highlighted’ with the prepared slide.Notes: Inkjet transparencies can be expensive, so do check out the rigid clear plastic packaging of grocery purchases and art supplies. They are usually discarded when we open the package. Rethink how they can be reused, repurposed, and recycled.Plastic transparencies do not require extra postage, as a rule, and do not break in the mail, so choose plastic if you plan to mail several cards using this technique or add bubble wrap inside the envelope to protect glass slides on your cards.Annette “:O)
  • My kids just finished their school fall fundraiser where they sell candles and that beautiful wrapping paper that costs $3 a square foot (LOL!) So before I tossed the fundraiser cataloges in the recycle bin I tore out the wrapping paper swatches (there were 20 3″x5″ swatches of lovely paper, many of the sheets were metallic, double sided and embossed) ans saved them to use on cards. The double sided ones will be pretty for tea bag folding on cards and the others will make lovely mats. If your kids or grandkids are selling wrapping paper for school this year ask if you can have the cataloges when they are done, trash to treasure, gotta love it! So, does anyone want to buy dome boy scout popcorn or girl scout cookies…..
    Happy crafting,
  • When you receive unmounted rubber stamps, immediately grab a Sharpieor other permanent marker and identify the company on the back.If you use Easy Mount, put the I.D. on the Easy Mount. Because some stamps are quite small it is a good idea to develope a
    short form for each company. About Art Accents could become AAA for example.Keep a list of the companies and the short forms you choose and keep it handy. 🙂
  • To make an interesting 3 dimensional butterfly, stamp your chosen butterfly twice and colour it as you wish. Cut them both out and then cut one in half along the left side of the butterfly’s body and the other along the right side of the body. Now you can layer one of the “bodiless” butterfly wings under a bodied one and showing a bit under the other wing. Do the same with the other two pieces. I hope this makes sense! I made two butterflies today and I’d upload them but the card isn’t finished.Diane Young, Victoria, BC
  • I’ve already sent in my Thursday Tip but just wanted to add to it. In the last tip, I mentioned scanning or photographing your card when you are ready to add “one more thing” to it that might be too much.I had an extra background piece that I ran through my embossing machine. I had sponged it (my other suggestion) and thought it “just needed one more thing”. I wondered how it would look if I edged the upper side of the leaves and branches with my white pen to give it more depth. That turned out to be too much of a contrast. At the time I wondered what would work better, using the white pen or just glittering the upper side of the leaves and branches. So naturally I did some of the branches with the pen and others with just the glue pen and glitter. The white was too dark and the glitter was too light. So I did the glue pen OVER the white pen and glittered it – PERFECT!!Rli
  • I had wondered if this would work, and when my printer/scanner died last week I had a chance to try it out. Everybody else may already know this, but it does work.All of us have items to post that either don’t scan well or are 3-D in a way that they won’t fit on a scanner bed. Getting a photo without a flash is sometimes difficult; but using the flash flattens, bleaches, and reflects off the finished work if you don’t have a camera that lets you bounce the flash. You can take a pale gray (preferable) or white piece of foamboard and position your Ott light (or other daylight spectrum bulb) so that it shines on the front of the board. Add some tacks to set your card onto the face of the board or set your object up against it or in front of it, and adjust the light source so that it doesn’t glare on your art. There’s plenty of light for a flashless photo indoors. You don’t even have to clean off your work table if you work it just right!
  • Don’t you just hate it when you go to heat emboss something and to get stray embossing powder stuck here and there on your paper? You can use a paintbrust to fick away the strays, or you can buy an anti-static pouch or you can make one for free-here’s how:1. take a scrap of thin cotton fabric fold it in half (right sides together) and stitch around 2 of the open sides. Turn the pouch inside out.
    2. Place a tablespoon of corn starch or baby powder in the pouch.
    3. Turn in the raw edges of fabric (for a neat professional look) and stitch it closed.These would make great gifts for stamping buddies too!

    Lazy option: Take a 6″ circle of fabric, place a spoonful or cornstarch in the middle, gather up the fabric edges and secure with a rubber band. It works just as well but is not as pretty;)

    Have fun,

  • Free is a good thing and dryer lint is, indeed, free. Lint is sterile, nontoxic, and handy. White lint from your dryer’s lint trap can be used for Santa’s beard, snow, snowmen, and clouds. Blue jeans and darker lint can enhance your designs, too. A wee bit of silver or gold glitter will make the lint sparkle. Use lint underneath a layer of cardstock to had dimension to a section of your card. Attach lint with a thin film of white glue. Use tweezers to get wee bits of lint into crevices and small areas that need a bit of fluff. Another faux technique can be achieved using Gesso and Golden acrylics. Both come in colors and white and can also be used for faux applications for Santa and winter scenes. When colored green, red, blue, or other colors using food coloring, reinkers or acrylic paints, Gesso and Golden acrylics can be swirled and layered much like putty or frosting on a cake. Use whatever thickness works for your creation and add sparingly or generously to achieve the effect you desire. Golden acrylics also come in iridescent and interference colors that need no color added. Drying time for thin layers is under and hour. Thicker layers may take overnight.Gesso and Golden acrylics are available at art supply stores and come in sizes from 2 to 32 ounces. Both mediums last for at least a decade when stored away from heat and cold and sealed tightly. Use Vaseline on the lid threads so the tops come off easily each time you use the mediums.Annette “:O)
  • Piggybacking on Bonnie’s great tip:Taking pictures in the shade outside can give you exactly what is needed when photographing art or people. The shade allows for natural sunlight without harsh sunshine. The camera will know automatically if the flash is needed. Combing shade with the camera’s flash allows for no redeye and maintains the depth and dimension of what is being photographed. I learned this technique from a seasoned professional photographer, Jim Theiss, whose photographs were always true to color and had dimension and depth by simply photographing in the shade.Happy stamping,Annette “:O)
  • When using embossing powder,
    1) remember to place ink on your card first.
    2) tip your excess powder onto scrap paper, not onto your table.
    3) once you have finally gotten your excess powder into its pot, don’t forget to screw the top back on BEFORE using your heat gun…especially when you’ve knocked it over in the process…..
    4) don’t pick up your image whilst still wet….those thumb marks remove the embossing powder.
    5) Lastly, NEVER use embossing powder if you have a cold…achooo!
    It is possible to make a card…but sometimes it just seems to take forever…. :O)
    Happy stamping!Anne :O)
  • Using different embellishments can dramaticaly change the look of your card. Tying jute string around your card creates an earthy feel. Feathers added to cards add interest. You can gather supplies such as sandpaper, plaster and paint chips from your hardware store to enhance your card art. If I go for a walk and see a pretty leaf I pick it up and insert it in a telephone book. After a week it is flat and dry and is anice embellishment for fall cards.Chris B.
  • Reading the tips Cris gave (great tips) reminded me of an oldie but goody.I will sometimes use fine grit sandpaper for cranky punches. You get a shape with interesting texture to use in your artwork and often a less cranky punch. You can color your sandpaper punchout with a bit of ink sponged or stippled on or spritz it with one of your color sprays. Add it to your artwork. An interesting, inexpensive, light, flat bit of texture for your art.Don’t forget you can use it for sand or desert hills on your cards too.Ruth
  • My tip is in a way the reverse of water colour stamping. Instead of applying colour to your stamp, spritzing it with water and then stamping I create a paper splattered with water colour and stamp with a stamp that has been spritzed with water alone.
    I’ve attached a photo that I hope shows what I’m talking about. It leaves a muted image that creates a nice background paper. Yeah I know the colours are kind of ooky but I was just playing around.
    Cheers, Linda B.
  • lol Piggybacking onto Anne’s tips yet again:Please forgive me if someone has already stated the obvious. There are times that embossing powders can be recalcitrant and refuse to cooperate, so try following Anne’s steps 1 – 4, then heat the cardstock from the bottom of the paper. Heating from the bottom avoids any errant bits of embossing powder from flying around the room. The powder will ‘seat’ better if it melts onto the cardstock from the bottom up. I have found this technique to be especially helpful for metallic embossing powders.For the holidays, mix glitter and embossing powders, small amounts for single projects until you get a feel for the process, and emboss ornaments, cards, and decorations. Glitters come in ultra fine, fine, medium, and coarse grinds. Fine and ultra fine (powdered) glitters work best with embossing powders unless you want a prickly effect on holly or a wreath. Coarse glitter can become fine or ultra fine in a dedicated coffee grinder/mill with a 30-60 second stint in the mill turned on the high setting. Mix white EP with silver or gold metallic glitter, Red and Green EP with a bit of white glitter, red EP with brown glitter for gingerbread cookies, or any mixture that suits the holidays and winter.
    Happy stamping,
    Annette “:O)
  • Howdy Stampers,
    I am full of tips today!Make your die cuts pop! When working with die cut shapes, before you glue the parts together ink the edges with a soft brown ink (I like chestnut roan chalk ink in the cats eye size) to add extra depth. after you have glued all of the layers together add highlights with white gel pen (ranger inksentials is the best I’ve tried) It really make a difference in the look of a die cut embellishment!Print 12″ paper on a standard printer: I was scrap booking yesterday and I wanted to use digital paper on my 12×12 layout but I only have a regular 8.5″x11″ printer. Then I thought “Hey! My printer takes legal size paper {8.5″x14″) so I could get 12″ wide paper using that feature” and it worked. Just loaf 8.5″x14″ paper into your printer. Open the digital paper you want to print (most digital papers are 12″x12″) then click print and choose “legal” as size, “center on page” and set the scale to 100%. I just use the everyday general setting an the paper looks great!

    Cheap ink: OK, so the thought of printing sheets of paper makes you cringe due to the cost if ink. No worries, I used to be an ink snob only buying HP but then I saw on a set of ink cartridges for my printer-6 cartridges for $12 shipping included- and decided to give it a try because one cartridges costed about that much. I was delighted, the ink worked just as good and I can print as much as I want. What’s more is I can still recycle my ink cartridges at Staples and get $2 back each and be helping the enviroment at the same time-that is like free ink! do a search for your model printer on amazon  with the words “off-brand ink” and see the deals!

    Here is something else fun-paper brads. I saw the tutorial for paper brads on splitcoast stampers last week, all you do us punch circles from cardboard (like cereal boxes) and paper and glue them together. Then use a large ball end stylus (or a big bead on a skewer) to shape the cardboard/paper circle. I took a drill bit guide (thanks hubby) and placed it ona foam mat and put my paper circle in one of the holes in the guide and started to rub it with the stylus. The first few times were very awkward but they came out really nice. I rubbed them with wax paper after to give them shine. The best part is you can make them with scraps!

    If you want to see examples of today’s tips please visit my blog: my scrapbook page is about a bowling birthday party and not oriental so I did not post it here:)
    Well, I have a few dozen cupcakes to bake and I better get to it:)
    have fun,

  • Recipe for Stamp Cleaner1/3 Simply Green  to 2/3 water – put solution in a recycled spray pump from hairspray2 small meat trays2 paper towelsPut 1 folded paper towel in each tray.  Spray solution on paper towel in one tray and leave other towel dry.Swish the stamp around the wet one (it actually forms up), then on the dry one.

    It even works pretty good on permanent ink if you use the solution right away.

    The hardware stores and Wal-Mart sell Simply Green in lg. bottles so it will last forever!

    Chris B.

  • Fall leaves are beautiful and make wonderful backgrounds when scanned and printed on cardstock.Gather leaves of different colors, wash, dry, and place inside a plastic sleeve to secure them.Scan at different dpi until you like the results.  Then print.Stippling (bouncing the tip of a paintbrush onto an ink pad, then bouncing it onto paper) helps to create shadows and depth in our art.  For the holidays, consider pulling out your leftover (already paid for) Valentine paper doilies and stippling a card using the doily as a mask.  The effect might surprise you and add a bit of something extra to your design.
    Happy stamping,
    Annette “:O)
  • Hey Ladies,
    I have a few tips for you today on storing your ample supply of ribbon (my stash just got more ample because AC Moore has the narrow satin ribbon spools on sale 4 for a dollar this week) so here is how I store mine:I craft in the basement so I have exposed floor joists above me, I simply screw hooks into the joists (beams) and place a wooden dowel on the hooks. I can take down the dowel rod to slide my spools on the rod and pull down the ribbon as needed. Please be warned that this method, while very cheap and efficient, is very tempting to little ones. I’ve come into my craft area before to see puddles of ribbon on the floor and guilty looking children next to them, they can’t resist pulling on the dangling ribbons LOL!

    Another method if you have wall space is to go to the hardware store and buy white PVC rain gutter. It comes in 10 foot lengths I think but you can cut it to the length you want. I recommend making a few 3′-4′ shelves, that way if you decide you want to store punches or heaver items in then they wont sag. Basically you cut the rain gutter to the length you want and put and end cap on each end. Screw 2 or 3 rain cutter brackets to your wall to hold the gutter in place then fill with ribbon spools. The spools will line up in there nicely and will still spin so you can pull the ribbon out the top.

    For my homemade crinkled seam binding I save larger candy containers from Sam’s Club, they are large and clear plastic so I can see at a glance where the ribbon I want is. I just toss the dry ribbon in there so it will keep the crinkle I want. Big cheese balls containers are great too, just wash them well first!

    Some prettier solutions: Hans a birdcage from the ceiling and fill it with loose ribbons feeding the ends out between the wires of the cage for quick access, how stylish! A vintage cake stand would be so pretty with spools of ribbon inside and if it has a clear lid it will keep any dust away. Wrap loose ribbons on old fashioned clothespins and store them in a large glass jar (It ain’t no cheese ball container but it works LOL!) Cover a shoebox with fabric and set grommets in the sides (one grommet for each spool of ribbon you want to store inside) then place the spools in the box and feed the ribbon through the holes. Close the box and you have a pretty container that keeps them neat and out of sight.

    OK, no I am inspired to clean my craft room!
    Have a great day!

  • It happens, your sellotape sticks to itself, not the card; the ink isn’t dry and it smudges; the layering goes wonky; the EP over heats & flattens then smudges;the glue goes everywhere but where you wanted it and despite all that care you find a neat thumb print on your card. You try to erase it but it smears even further……. Do you remember when you first started stamping and that demonstrator in the store, (you know the one, layered make-up, glow-in-the-dark teeth and immmaculate french manicure), told you to just cover your mistake? So you try it…and get in even more of a mess. After 3 days her words rattle amongst your little grey cells. “remember,mistake are fine, it’s what ‘handmade’ is all about” . Well, forget what the know-it-alls say…..CHUCK IT have some chocolate and start again another day…the frustration isn’t worth it!
    Enjoy your chocolate!
    Anne :O)
  • I have found that the backing paper for EZ Mount cling foam is perfect for holding cut pieces of foam mounting tape. I cut my tape into a variety of shapes — squares, triangles of various sizes, rectangles, etc. — and place them close together on a small piece of the backing paper until I fill it up. This is something that can be done while watching television or listening to music. When I need some foam tape for a project, I have a ready assortment of homemade “pop dots” to choose from. No cling foam backing? No problem. Use wax paper or parchment paper instead. This really saves time when I’m working on multiples of a project such as when I’m preparing kits for my volunteer senior citizen’s crafts class.Always and All Ways,
    – Gitana, the Creative Diva
  • Hey stampers,
    I’m going to post my Thursday tips a couple hours early (hey, it must be thursday somewhere right?) but first I want to thank the vendors for the great tip prize that came in the mail today: Beautiful origami paper from Hanko, A lovely fan stamp from About Art Accents and embossing powder from Stamps ‘n Stuff. Thanks so much, They will be put to good use!Tip #1-Make quick work of faux postage by making masks you can use again and again. You can cut them from transparency film or cardstock. Just cut square, rectangle or triangle windows from them and place them on your paper to sponge or spray in through and stamp over. Here is an example: [ fauxpostagehowto] [ fauxstamps]
    I hope you can see the images as I am on my laptop and embedding them from my blog. If you can’t see them because you are on digest you can see full instructions on this post:

    tip #2: Inexpensive ink jet printing-I was a devout believer in buying the HP cartridges for my photosmart printer but got fed up with the cost of ink rising and rising when I know there is only pennies of ink in the cartridges so I took a chance and ordered off-brand in through (just search you model printer plus the word recycled ink cartridges and you will see a lot to choose from) A 6 pack was $12 (My ink carts cost $12 each at staples) with free shipping and I took a risk, it prints just as well and I think the ink lasts longer too. I love printing paper at home, I tend to hoard the papers I really love but if I use digital paper I never run out! I have issues I need to work out with my growing stash of basic grey paper I can’t seem to cut in to LOL!

    Tip 3: Get a head start on Christmas/Holiday gifts: I came up with a great idea today, I had purchase a bunch of 2011 tear away calanders from skybluepink during the summer and did not know what to do with them. Then I remembered some old 6″x12″ wood frames I bought years ago with grand intentions. I cut cardstock to fit the frames, added pattern paper, pretty embellishments, a tear away calender and a photo of my darling children and viola, a custom desk calender to give as a gift to relatives, teachers, scout leaders, you name it (and I can use up some of my ample stash of hoarded supplies which is always nice:)
    I’ll embed an example of a calender too, more examples and detailed instructions will be on my blog later tomorrow if you care to look:)
    [ xmasframedcalendar2]

    Well that’s all for this tip Thursday, I have a painting group tomorrow morning and hubby has some vacation days to use up so I think I’ll let him take to lunch:)
    Have a great night,

  • Hi Everyone,
    2011 is the Year of the Hare (Rabbit) and many of us will be creating artwork with this theme.  Faux fur for rabbits, cats, dogs, and jungle animals can be achieved with no expense by repurposing cotton batting from vitamin bottles.*  Stamp your image, apply a modicum of glue to the faux fur areas, then add bits of cotton using tweezers until you have the desired effect.  Note: Using tweezers will keep the cotton from sticking to your fingers and allow the cotton batting to be attached to the tiniest areas necessary.*Color the cotton batting with dye inks by tapping the cotton on an ink pad.  Use rubber gloves with protect your fingers from the dye or use dedicated tweezers to hold the cotton as you tap it on the pad.

    A second faux fur application can be achieved with suede paper.  Suede paper has the feel of suede (leather) but no animals were harmed in the process, and can be punched out or cut with scissors.  Stamp the image on cardstock and glue the cut suede paper pieces to areas as needed.  Stamp directly on the suede paper when the entire image is ‘furry’.

    Hint: Suede paper is pricey, so consider purchasing white suede paper and coloring it with dye inks to replicate fur.  Direct-to-paper stamping using a dye ink pad works best.  Stippling with a paintbrush (bouncing an inked paintbrush up and down) on the faux suede will give a mottled effect.

    Did you ever read “Pat the Bunny” to your children or grandchildren?  This tip will make those wee fingers want to pet your card.  Do you have scraps and trimmings of faux fur fabric?  Cut off the faux fur from the fabric backing and apply the trimmed fur pieces a few at a time using tweezers.  Dip one end of the fur in inexpensive white school glue and apply the fur from the bottom of the stamped animal image and continue layering the fur to the top of the image to make the faux fur appear as realistic as possible.

    Another fun faux fur option is patterned tissue paper.  Dollar stores carry patterened tissue papers with striped zebra print, tiger print, and leopard print.  An overlay of several layers of patterned tissue can give the illusion of fur.  Crumple the paper before applying to the stamped image to achieve a completely different look to your card.  If you wish, cover the card front with the tissue paper, then stamp the animal image using pigment ink and heat emboss.  The embossing will make the image pop!

    Have you tried punching shapes of faux fur?  A rabbit stamped in black or brown ink on white or tan cardstock can have a spot or two of brown/black faux suede fur to add a highlight to your design.  Faux suede paper works best for this technique because most punches refuse to cooperate with thicker papers or fabrics.

    Whatever technique you choose, faux fur is fun and worth the effort.
    Happy stamping,
    Annette “:O)

  • Hi All,I believe I gave this tip some time ago but I’ll do it again because I struggled with it this week.  If a Challenge comes up that you either don’t have a stamp for or can’t get your mind around what to do for that Challenge, be sure to go to all the links and look at examples of the challenge item.  If it’s a theme challenge, the links given by the host should give you a ballpark idea on what the theme challenge is looking for.  Remember you can download a picture and use it on your card, just mention you got the picture from the “web”.  A number of people recommended with this week’s theme that I can make flowers using flower punches (which I have done in the past).  I wanted to do something “new”.  So I learned some time ago to “think outside the box”.  Try to find things that your brain doesn’t normally jump to and see if you can do something “different” on that card.  I, like many others, get stuck in the rut of centering my layers, no matter how many layers I create.  And making the focal point one image instead of many.  Our Layout Challenges are to stretch our minds to give more eye candy to our cards – more images to focus on – more layers to draw the eye.For you newbies, and you “oldies” as well, give the challenges a try.  When I first started my art was very simple.  As we learn and try the challenges, we develop more skills and our talent grows.  Don’t be afraid to experiment in this group.  The members are very kind.I recently gave two people suggestions on their cards – one asked for it and the other didn’t.  I normally don’t offer suggestions unless they are requested but I thought this “newby” would appreciate what another did for me when I first arrived at OSA.  Hopefully I wasn’t out of line.  VSN had an entire article on the subject and many from OSA participated in that article.So, my tip is, try new things.  Experiment by taking the Challenges.  Share new things you learned with the group.  If you made an error in your art work but found that it created something totally new and different, share, share, share.Sincerely,
  • Faux tidy.
    I could’nt stand my crafting mess any longer There are things that I find help to create an illusion of tidy and organized.
    When you leave your craft area,close all the drawers.
    Often those photo boxes go on sale at Michael’s. Often the ones on sale are not the what I would ideally choose.
    I am going to quickly decoupage the outside of these boxes all in one neutral color. When really dry, I will take the stamps stored in that box I am working on and stamp on the neutral decoupage covering so I know which stamps are in which box for finding and putting away. This has become necessary due to the fact I have several boxes of stamps that are labeled “ASIAN” for example.
    I find if the boxes are the same color,it appears to look more tidy .If you have heard of “FLY Lady” ( a house work organizer – she organizes the jobs needing to be done in an organized ,workable time frame.She advises to shine your sink before you go to bed.I t makes for a happier morning.
    I tweeked this to——-tidy your craft worktable every time you finish a session. If everything has a place to live,it only takes at the most 5 minutes..Next session you will not spend time looking for things you want to use,They will be in their home. 🙂
    Put a sign in your craft area saying. “Is it time to purge ?”
  • Remember when you received free CD’s to join AOL or other places. Well I have found a use for them finally. I tape the end of fancy ribbon to them and wind it over and over. I have as many as five different ribbons or fancy cords on a square cd holder. The best part is that the ribbon do not wrinkle the card board must keep it from doing so. They also stack nicely.
    Also one of my kids found very fancy note cards in packages for 2.00 and they are so beautiful all they need is a stamped message or a butterfly to make them perfect. So keep an eye for something to alter things for just a few cents. You could not buy the paper for that price.
    My final tip for today is never forget the easy use of DYMO tape machines. I use it to add words I do not have a stamp for. Or in the case of a swap to explain what I have done. Anything and they come in a varied range of colors.
    So I hope this helps someone.
    Big hugs, Nancy
  • 1.  I like to wrap my ribbons around cardboard tubes and hold them in place with a pin.You can use different color tubes for each shade.  This way you can see exactly what you have.2.  As an alternative to ribbon you can use embroidery thread, raffia, string or leftover yarn.3.  Save ribbon from clothing and wrapping paper.  They provide a very cheap and excellent wayof embellishing your cards.Chris


  • To add to Annette’s suggestion on suede paper. You might go to framing shops and see if they have any leftover bits of suede matboard from a framing job.  You can remove the suede paper from the matboard and use it on your cards.
    Linda B.
  • Do you sometimes find that the only paper you have that’s a perfect colour for your stamping project is a heavily textured cardstock that won’t stamp very well? Or that your beautiful backgrounds prepared with shaving cream or other wet techniques leave the paper with a slightly roughened texture that defies a sharp stamped image? I’ve found that running textured cardstock through my Cuttlebug before stamping almost completely smoothes out the texture. I run it through twice, turning the paper 90 degrees before the second pass. When I do this with shaving cream or water coloured backgrounds the paper comes out with a silky smooth, almost glossy texture. It just takes a bit of experimenting to get the right pressure for the thickness of your paper or cardstock. I’ve attached a sample with images stamped ‘before and after’.
    My very first tip…hope its helps someone.Allison MacKay
    Ontario, Canada
  • Are your fingers not as, “nimble,” as they used to be? Do you have problems  applying glue to the entire underside of heavy items like buttons – without getting adhesive all over your fingers? Do you then have difficulty placing that item on your project exactly where you want it to, “land,” without it slipping out of your fingers before it gets to your designated area????My solution! Attach a small piece of scotch tape (could be masking tape, removable tape, etc.) to the topside of your object before turning it over and applying the glue to the underside of the object to be attached . PLEASE, be sure that is is FIRMLY attached – (feel free to ask me how I know this!!!!) – and make sure that there is a little, “lip,” of tape extending over one edge of the piece you wish to attach. Lift it up by the, “lip,” attach it exactly where you want it to be, wait for the glue to dry completely, and then. remove the tape. . . . . .And now you know the Rest Of The Story. . . .Barb W.
  • Useful storage tip:  When I found these 99 cent plastic pencil boxes at Staples, I thought I would use them for pencils, pens, art tools, etc. but they also are useful for storing the miscellaneous cables for your cell phone, ipod shuffle, ear buds & memory card reader–all the important stuff laying around my computer. The boxes are 7 1/2″ x 3″ x 1″. The inside box slides in & out and snaps close on top. Stores right under my computer monitor. Or slip them in your tote bags with your stamping/scrapping tools.How many times have you forgotten your user id or password for a particular website?  And how many times do have to create new ones?  Keeping a cheap address book next to your computer & using the alphabetical index will help store those passwords when you need them by website name, i.e. S for Sprint, Shutterfly, Scrap’nfontsI always look for journals or blank books with the large coil binders as in Zutter coil. It’s wide enough to hold a clip on pen so you always have a pen handy to write notes & keep a log of web sites & blogs to revisit. Michaels usually has them in the dollar bins. Even nicer when they give you a 20% coupon off everything—that’s when I head for the dollar bin.Lynn L
  • This is an extention to the gluing small items tip.
    I have a long toothpick with Tack-it on the end. I put the glue where I want the item and pick up the item, for example rhinestone, with the Tack-it toothpick, but this time the glue has enough tack to grab the rhinestone.Notice no glue fingers. I have a piece of plastic straw with one end melted closed that I use to protect my Tack-it tool until next time. I have used this tool for better than 4 years.
  • Howdy crafters,My first tip today came out of necessity. I was scoring some cardstock on my scor-pal and notices that my scoring tool had worn down (from improperly holing it at a 90 angle instead of a 45 like Diana Crick told me to LOL) instead of tossing it I decided to see if I could sharpen it and I did! Simply use an emery board (the disposable nail files with a gritty surface) and sand each blunt corner until it comes to a dull point and you are back in business. This will work with any plastic “bone” folder. Emery board are handy for other things in the craft room too like smoothing and distressing edges of paper covered chipboard and sanding embossed paper that has a white core. Honestly i use my emery board a lot but I cannot remember the last time I used it on my nails!I was at the dollar store the other day and there are a lot of Christmas decorations that would be great to take apart and use for embellishments on cards. They had plastic candy cane garlands, silk flower poinsettias with shimmery and velvet finishes, plastic glittered snowflakes and lots of kids craft kits to keep the little ones busy and happy too!One of my most requested gifts is a box of generic cards. People can use these gifts, simply make a set of cards and envelopes but do not add a sentiment to them, instead stamp sentiments on small rectangles of matching cardstock that can be adhered to the cards as needed (For instance I’ll make 6 cards and include 4 stamped happy birthday panels, 4 thank you panels, 2 sympathy panels, congrats etc.) so they can have the cards for the occasion they need at all times.Well, I’m off to clean the house, the entire family caught a fast acting stomach bug this week and I need to de-germ everything, Lysol here I come!
  • When your project includes coloring the edges of a die cut, color the area first, then cut out the shape.  Coloring first will eliminate uneven colors around the edges of scallops and other shapes that are difficult to color.Annette “:O)
  • Sometimes you have some “designer paper “.>>>some of the pretty paper you buy and don’t have to stamp…and don’t have enough to make more than a few cards. You can always try to “make some of your own”, depending on the design.
    I had this happen a couple of  weeks ago. I teach classes and needed enough pieces to make 16 cards. So I took the designer paper, and since it had polka dots on it..and some “muted” colors. I did the following;
    My designer paper had rows of polka dots and some muted background colors.
    Run a similar color of cardstock through an embossing folder . I used the Perfect Polka dot embossing folder from Stampin’ UP.
    Then take a couple of different, but coordinating colors of ink and wipe across the top of the raised embossed image. Next you take your stamp pads and just sort of “pounce” the edge of the pad onto the cardstock, giving it a scratched distressed look.. Depending on your original paper, you can end up with a good “faux” design.  Here’s an example of what my “faux” designer paper looks like. The final image is the “faux designer paper” attached to the finished card.–
    Connie Smith, SR Supv SU Demonstrator


  • Howdy Stampers,
    One of my favorite crafting products are ink jet transparencies, you can put them in your printer and print whatever you like on them. One thing I like to do is print a bunch of frames or sentiments on the clear film and keep them on hand for when I am cardmaking. Just cut out the one you want and stick it to your card with acrylic paint on the back for an artsy look, or a brad or you can staple it to your card depending on the look you want. I found some really nice dingbats of kanji charecters to print and use on cards here. I do love my fonts:)
    Have a good one!
  • Hi everyone,Do you have punches that have not seen the light of day in awhile?  Many of us purchase punches because we love the shapes and know exactly what we can do with the die cuts.  We stand there in the store imagining all of the beautiful art we can create with the punch and we toss it in the shopping cart with a knowing smile and a feeling of triumph that we discovered a new toy for our studio.  When we get home from shopping, life’s demands get in the way of using the punch immediately and the punch is relegated to a shelf or drawer for later when we have time to play with it.Now is the time to play!  Pull a paper punch or two from the drawer and get ready to play.  Experiment with the punch using scrap text weight paper and cardstock.  Testing on thicknesses of paper gives you an idea of what each punch can and cannot do.  Try punching on leftover gift wrap, brown paper bags, plastic film, foils*, and lighter weight cardboard.  As a general rule, small and tiny punches that are less than 1″ in size punch text weight papers.  Medium sized punches about  2″ in size usually accommodate text weight and medium weight cardstock.   Mega punches of 3″ or larger will punch thicker materials.**  Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, so do test each punch to learn its particular traits.Using up smaller scraps of cardstock and paper in punches is a snap.  Attach the scrap to a piece of text weight paper using repositionable tape, punch, and remove the text paper.  The useless scrap will now be part of your arsenal of embellishments.  Scraps are paid for, so reuse, repurpose, recycle them and save money at the same time.Use the practice die cuts to experiment with masking, direct to paper stamping with an ink pad, and stippling by loading a paintbrush with ink on the tips and bouncing the bristles up and down to add color.  Attach the mask with repositionable tape or hold it in place with the tip of a finger.  Use dye and pigment inks for different effects.  Change colors to add depth and blend colors for even more variety.Crumpled papers that have been flattened can be punched and add depth to designs.  Stamp papers and cardstock before punching and see the variety of images you can create using the same stamp and different die cut shapes.

    Cut a piece of brown grocery bag about the same size as a piece of cardstock.  Stamp images in a theme all over the paper on one side.  Use pigment ink and heat set without embossing powder.  Crumple the brown paper, stand on it to make sure the creases and wrinkles are impressed, open up the paper ball, dip in a tub of water, and lay it flat on newspaper to dry.   Weight the paper with a book or a cookie sheet if you want the paper to be flat when it is dry.  Use a portion of the prepared paper as the background for a card.  Punch out shapes from the remainder of the paper that coordinate with your chosen theme.  Complete the card, add the die cuts, and stand back to admire your handiwork.

    *Florist’s foil and textured foil can be used in medium to large punches.  Reuse foil from flower arrangements.  Give the foil a simple wash under the kitchen faucet and allow it to drip dry.  Use with punches, as the eye in iris folded designs, as backgrounds, and as mats for your art.

    **Sharpen punches by punching aluminum foil several times.  Punching layers of wax paper several times can loosen a punch that sticks and does not release the die cut.  This sure beats throwing the punch across the room at the wall.  lol   (These tips are printed on some manufacturers’ packaging.)  Place punches in your freezer for 5-10 minutes if they refuse to release.  Set a kitchen timer to remind you to remove the punch.

    Happy stamping,
    Annette “:O)

  • Hi everyone,well, I was actually at the sewing-machine at the time I thought about sending this tip. Nothing new I suppose but a “AHA” for me :)). During my last visit in the library I stumbled across some music cd´s from a series called “chill with …..and then following a classical composer. I had to smile because “chill” is one of the favorite new words of my teenage DD … Chill , Mom, she says, if I get upset, you know. Now in the library I had to smile thinking of DD and grabbed “Chill with Debussy” Listened while sewing and there was a piece called “Estampes: Pagodes”… I´m not into classics just pick sometimes here and there… Anyway this music evoked pictures over pictures of Japanese gardens and cherry blossoms and much more…. I know we are all inspired by different Asian arts.. listening to this piece of Debussy was fantastic…. even though I was only sewing a curtain… so my tip listen to your favorite music for inspiration if you go to your stamping desk the next time … it will set free your fantasy.Hugs,
  • Hi everyone,Have you ever wanted to use an image for a project but it is too small for the format you are using?  Consider stamping and coloring the image, then cutting it into quadrants and gluing the image to the card leaving a margin between each piece.  A small image, cut into four pieces, then glued to the four corners of a card front will give the illusion that the image is larger.  Another option is to cut the image in strips vertically or horizontally and glue the strips with spaces in between each strip for another completely new look.With multiple strips, be sure to number the pieces on the backs so your puzzle comes together more easily.Annette “:O)
  • Howdy stampers!
    Here is my tip this week: Make gifts with your stamps! Here are a few ideas:Remember Magnetic Poetry? (words printed on magnets that you could arrange on the fridge to make poems and messages) well, drag out all of those little alphabet stamps and magnet sheets and make your own! You can get scraps of magnet sheets at a banner/sign shop or purchase magnet sheets at a craft store. Simple stamp out words with permanent ink like staz-on, cut the words into strips and you are done. Oh and all of those AOL metal CD tins you have been hording (oh yes, I know about them, don’t deny it!) they are the perfect housing for these little sets because the magnet sheets will stick to them. These make perfect gifts for young kids starting to read or existential collage students-magnetic poetry is very Zen you know:)

    Do you save canning jars? I do, I can’t part with them (it seems as though my husband can however because when I went to find my canning jars for this project most of them had disappeared:) I wanted to make a sweet treat in a jar and I thought how about cupcakes? I am also a bit impatient so I thought “how about microwave cupcakes?” And since I am also health conscious I thought “How about vegan low fat microwave cupcakes” and I did it and they were delish! Here is how:
    They were really easy too! You will need cake mix and soda (I used Diet Coke) and a microwave safe container such as a mug or a jar. I used a cute little mason canning jar. Fill a measuring cup halfway with cake mix then add enough Diet Coke to moisten the cake powder. Whisk it up good with a fork. You want it slightly thicker than a normal cake batter (as it will cook quick and not dry out as much as oven cooking) then fill the jar you are going to cook it in about 1/3 of the way full, it will expand big time! Place the jar in the microwave and nuke it on high for 45 seconds-1 minute, check it by sticking a toothpick in, if it comes out clean it is done, if the batter sticks to it nuke it for 30 more seconds. Use a pot holder to remove it from the microwave and let it cool before decorating.

    Use your stamps to decorate a label for the jar, tie a spoon to the lid of the jar so the recipient can enjoy it right away…These are so good, I let my kids try some after breakfast and my son said that they were the best cupcakes he ever tasted!

    I have attached a photo of the cupcakes in a jar:)

    Those are a few ideas to get you started! Happy holidays!

  • Hi everyone,This week’s tip comes from a second-grade classroom, so it is child’s play and ever so easy.You will need cardstock, inks, stamps, a brayer or canned food of some kind with the label removed or a metal rolling pin, and a few minutes of your time.Ink your image and roll the brayer, rolling pin, or soup can over the image to pick up the ink.  Experiment to see what amount of pressure you need to achieve the best result.  Roll the brayer on cardstock and without reinking the image, brayer it again and roll the brayer on the cardstock in a different direction.  Continue doing this until all of the ink is used and reink the image with a darker or lighter color ink and repeat the steps.  You will create some wonderful backgrounds.Try stamping directly on the background you created with the same image used with the brayer.  Heat emboss for added texture and depth.

    Try using colors in the same family: shades and tints of blue, shades and tints of red, et cetera.  Add a bit of white or black for a dramatic effect.  Highlight with a metallic marker.

    Use a painter’s sponge brayer with stencils.  Stamp first, then brayer or brayer first, then stamp.  The choices are myriad and the fun is stellar!

    Annette “:O)

  • Hi everyone,Mix epsom salts and water 50/50.  Dissolve completely.  Speed up the process by boiling the water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.  Add the salts and stir.  Start with 1/8 cup water and 1/8 cup salts unless you are doing several dozen cards.
    Stamp and emboss your cards, then apply the super saturated mixture to areas where you want to have snow crystals or powder.  A light brushing of the liquid across the paper will create a slight hint of snow.  Dampening the paper with the mixture will give you crystals on crystals and your bright colored stamped images will show through, although muted.  The crystals last on paper for about 1-3 weeks, longer in damp climates, and then the crystals turn to a powder as warmer weather arrives and the moisture dissipates.
    Color the water with acrylic paint, a wee drip, to create sandy colors for beach scenes.Annette “:O)
  • When I have embellishments on a card that I think will cause a problem in the mail, I run a piece of paper through my crimper to put on top of the card.  However, I have found an even better way – at least I think so.  I received a card from a lady on another group and instead of crimping her card stock, she used an embossed piece.  So now I have an embossed panel that I can use on a card (in addition, I do not own that particular embossing folder so it was a win-win!!Faith in Florida
  • Hi All,
    If you have a stamp with more than one image on it, keep in mind you can use just one of those images at a time or stamp the whole image and cut it into sections.  For instance, I have a stamp that has 3 flamingos on it.  I stamped it, colored them, and then cut the card into 3 parts.  I mounted the three sections on solid colored card stock and staggered them on my card.
    So my tip is, look at your stamps and see what different images you can uese on the stamp.  You can also stamp the stamp on two pieces of card stock, color one in and punch a circle out of that one.  Mount it over the uncolored image.Rli
  • This week I have been admiring the grid cards.but since I did not have any of these dies I used   a  die cut for squares made by Sizzex.  This time instead of using the squares for my project, I used the backing which I always throw away.   On the left hand corner I turned the square into a rectangle by adding a rectangle piece.  This can also be done using the Sizzex Circle die cut. Below is a picture of the card.So my tip this week is to look at items we already have and try to use them in different ways.Chris
  • Hi again.  Forgot to add this tip.  Take white non embossed backing from sticky seals and use punches on these and you have some gorgeous new punch cuts.  These can be colored or just left plain white but at least these backings are not thrown away.  Very easy and very cheap.
    Marge in still snowy and beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
  • Hi all.and found this kind of by accident.  I was using some sticky backed seals and getting ready to discard the white backing they came on when I noticed the same design on the seal had been embossed onto the backing.  I got out my Pearl Ex and covered this embossed area and voila, there is the new colored design and what a gorgeous imprint it was.  Cut around the sides and you have something more to work with.
    Have fun from Marge in snowy and chilly Bar Harbor, ME.
  • Howdy folks,
    If you are like me you are busy making batches of Christmas cards to send. I like to make shaped cards with my Cricut machine and computer software, this way I can see how a shape will fill my mat and arrange the shapes for little waste. Sometimes though I have spaces around my design that would go to waste because they would be too small or odd sized to save. Well, before I hit “cut” I add in tag shapes to those odd uncut spots so when I am done cutting my desired shape I have some bonus tags as well.If you use a Cricut but you work strait from cartridges you can still save that would-be-wasted precious paper, simply use a tag punch to punch the odd leftover parts into gift tags (or whatever shape you like!) I keep a basket of tags on my craft table so if hubby or the kids want to wrap a gift they can easily find a tag.

    OK here is another tip-organize all of your wrapping paper, tags, tape, ribbon, pens, gift bags and other wrapping paraphernalia (ours lives in my craft room) so other people can do some of the wrapping this year! My Hubby used to walk into my craft area and get this glazed-over look whenever he went down there for something, now at least he can wrap a gift;)

    have a great one!

  • Howdy Stampers,
    I was looking for a cool way to package a gift and I saw someone on the Cricut message board fill a 2 liter soda bottle with gifts by cutting a hole in the side, filling the bottle then putting a new label on top. So I tried it too! I put movie theater candy and bags of microwave popcorn to make a movie night in a bottle kit. I will give the bottles with a couple wrapped up DVDs as Christmas gifts. I’ve attached a pic of how to put it together.Take a look in your recycle bin and see what you can find to alter and put a gift in this year!
    Take care,
  • Isn’t the attached image of the tea cup beautiful?  That image can certainly be used for an Asian Tea swap. I cut the image out from a paper coffee cup which was given to me at a coffee shop.  All coffee cups now have lovely patterns and be reused.  My tip today is look at things before you throw them out and maybe it can get cut and transformed into something that can be used in swaps.Chris
  • As an add-on to Annette’s tip, if you print out your own images, don’t forget to set them with workable fixative to prevent smearing or running of the images if you add wet medium to them.Ruth
  • Making a card the other day I wanted to add some glimmer to the paper but didn’t have some of the usual ingredients. I put on my thinking cap and came up with the idea of adding some FW Pearlescent inks to water in a mini mister.  Just one or two drops was all I needed and it gave me the glimmer I wanted.  I also wanted to stencil some letters on the card and again used the inks but to beef up the glimmer I would dip the tip of my tiny paint brush into some PearlEx and paint it on.
    Merry Christmas everyone. Just 2 more sleeps (at least in North America). Linda B.
  • I always have a roll of plain white paper on hand and if I need wrapping paper I just spritz it with whatever spray colors I have handy. Smooch, Glimmer Mist, Color Wash or even make your own with water and re-inkers. It dries fairly quickly and you have some nice hand made wrapping paper. You can even use the brown kraft paper and spritz it with burgundy, navy or dark green and make a country looking wrapping paper which is nice for a guy gift.Kathy Nycz
  • I always get so excited when I come up with a tip! I haven’t hardly been able to contain myself since yesterday!I was going through my room trying to make room by getting rid of packaging. I know everyone is talking about upcycling with your packaging (whatever happened up the word recycling?) I was opening some Tim Holtz charms to put in with a bunch of other similar charms when I realized that the acetate packaging had been formed in the shape of each of the charms. Bird, heart, crown, etc. I like to use UTEE to make stuff to put on cards and mixed media projects and I thought this was a wonderful find. You usually pay for molds like that. That got me thinking about those packages that might just make a thin disc, circular or even rectangular or square. That could make an interesting base for something on a card or other piece.Thanks for reading my tip. It may be several months before my brain lands another one!
    Laurie H.

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