Stampar - WHAT?!?


STAM•PA•RAT•US: Noun. 2017-2018 (and beyond); < rubber-stamper lingo; Latin stamp + apparatus>  1. a feature-packed device to assist rubber stampers with placing stamped images exactly where desired  2. a gizmo used to perfectly align up to 4 stamped images  3. a doo-dad which allows another attempt at stamping a fully-inked image if the first was unsuccessful  4. an amazing tool that all rubber stampers will want to own in order to make their stamping adventures more fun, easy, and oops-free. Synonym: "the most advanced stamp-positioner on the market"

Well, we've waited a whole lotta years, but it's finally (almost) here! Stampin' Up!'s feature-packed stamp positioner that blows all other similar devices currently on the market right out of the water! Why? Because once again, Stampin' Up! has created a tool designed FOR stampers BY stampers (LOTS of 'em, actually!)

So what's up with this gizmo with the funky name?

Well, I recommend downloading this PDF flyer for a quick overview.......


and then checking out this video to see the Stamparatus in action:

Soooooo...... now that you have an idea what this little gem can do, we'll assume that by now you know you need one of these puppies for your very own self. (I mean, who wouldn't? Right?) So listen-up while I share how to be among the very first to get your mitts on one of these coveted treasures..... (Yeah, yeah, it's a little bit complex, but I think we can all catch on eventually...)

Stampin' Up! recognizes that this is expected to be a hot, hot item, but wants at the same time to avoid the disappointment of a potentially protracted back-order situation, as these Stamparatuses [Stamparati?] can only be manufactured and stocked at a finite pace. Therefore, Stampin' Up! has designed a clever "reservation" system that will allow you to (sort of) preorder yours before it is even manufactured. There will be 3 limited preorder/reservation periods between now and when this tool appears in next summer's Annual Catalog, and you may order up to one device during each of the 3 periods - while supplies last. The limited preorder periods will run during the following dates, but only until the maximum number of available reservations has been reached. (In other words, those who preorder early in the period stand a better chance of successfully reserving a unit than those who wait until later).

Preorder dates

As you see, the first reservation window opens this coming Thursday, Nov. 16th. At 2:00 pm, Mountain Time, to be exact. (Barring any hiccups like crashed websites and other technicalities, of course.)

To place your reservation you'll go to my online store and  look for the "Reserve" link on the Stamparatus page. (You must already have an online customer account set up in order to proceed; if you don't already have an online account, I urge you to go ahead and set one up now to be ready.) Then follow the simple instructions shown in this tutorial. Note that you must have a credit card available in order to place your reservation, but you won't actually be charged until your Stamparatus comes in.

Then when the approximate shipping date nears (better put it on your 2018 calendar right away so you don't forget), be sure to keep an eagle-eye on your email inbox (including your junk box, too), as Stampin' Up! will notify you when your Stamparatus has been placed into your shopping cart. And at that point you'll go into your order, add more items to your cart if you wish, and then submit your order. Be very careful not to accidentally delete your Stamparatus from your cart because there will be NO way to add it back again

So be ready to act quickly on Thursday to be among the very first lucky owners of a Stamparatus! I'd be VERY surprised if available reservations last until November 30th.... or even anywhere close to it!

Please note that the "sale" of this item will not actually take place until you close out and submit your order next February (or March or April, depending on which reservation period you used). Your "reservation" will NOT count as a sale, and as I understand things currently, I won't even be able to see that you've reserved one. (But you might wanna tell me anyway.....)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ok, so yeah, that was a whole lotta words, so here's the Cliff Notes version:

  1. Recognize you want need a Stamparatus.
  2. Make sure you have an online shopping account already set up so you don't have to fiddle with it on Thursday. (You probably do have if you've shopped online with me before, but no harm in double-checking:
  3. Set an alarm to reserve your Stamparatus ( at 2 pm (Mountain Time) this Thursday, Nov. 16. (Or as soon thereafter as you can, being aware there are a limited number of reservations that will be accepted.) You'll need to provide a CC number at the time, although it won't be charged at the time of reservation. (BTW, if the system crashes due to high use, please don't give up; just continue to try again a few times every 10-15 minutes or so.)
  4. Mark your calendar to keep an eagle-eye out for an email from Stampin' Up! (approx. Feb. 1), that lets you know your Stamparatus has been added to your shopping cart.
  5. When you receive that email from Stampin' Up! go into my online store again ( and complete/submit your order. (Remember THAT is the point that you actually purchase your Stamparatus.)

Thoughtful Branches - Fall Leaves


Yep, this time it's a fall card! Again, a "Lynda version" of a card that's been all over the 'net, and I loved the contrast between the die-cut lacy leaves and the solid, multi-color ones. Some versions of this card "out there" use a fun, but rather messy inking technique. But since I had designed my version for class, "messy" wasn't something I particularly wanted to tackle.


So here's how WE got a similar multi-color, autumn effect.  It's a pattern that you repeat for each individual image:


  • Start with a clean stamp. (Good idea to keep a damp paper towel handy.)
  • Ink up the stamp with Daffodil Delight, but do not stamp with it yet.
  • Lay out all your remaining leaf color inks in order from light to dark, left to right, and have a sponge dauber at hand for each one. (At my class we laid out Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive & Soft Suede.)
  • Onto your yellow-inked stamp, "daub" (is that a real word?!?) a couple of other colors directly onto small areas of the stamp..... one at a time, and always working from lightest to darkest. So because of the order we'd laid out the inks, that would mean Pumpkin Pie followed by Old Olive, OR Old Olive and then Soft Suede.  Pay attention to where you daub each color on the stamp so you don't overlap sections entirely.
  • Once that was done, there would be 3 colors on the stamp (Daffodil Delight + 2 others), and after "huffing" on it, it was time to stamp the image (onto a scrap of Whisper White cardstock).
  • Clean the stamp and get ready to repeat the process for the next leaf.

We stamped (and then die-cut) enough of these colored leaves for not only the front of the card, but also one or more for the inside, too. 

And we followed the same process for those little "flowery-leafy-thingies", too. 

After layering up the main pieces on the card front, we made the banner with the sentiment and anchored that in place.....

And then the lacy-leaves (cut with the corresponding stem-and-leaves die from this bundle - from Gold Foil paper) were laid in place to give a general shape to the layout. And finally, all pieces were tacked down with either strategically-placed dots of glue from the Fine Tip glue pen or the Tombow Multipurpose glue. (Repeat after me, Lynda's cardinal rule of glue-use:  "Less is more. Less is more. Less is more!")

A large (retired) pearl finished it off (and ensured it would cost an additional 21-cents to mail)!

Fall leaves card

Thoughtful Branches - A spring/summer hydrangea


At my card classes earlier this month we capitalized on the versatility of the Thoughtful Branches Photopolymer Bundle and stamped up cards representing spring/summer, fall and winter. (See an additional fall card here.) Today I'd like to share our spring/summer card. Isn't it fascinating how the same stamp/die combo turned one way and stamped in orange can be a pumpkin....


 yet  flipped over and stamped in a different color becomes a hydrangea?!?  Yes, I do believe this bundle from Stampin' Up!® is truly one of the top most creative and versatile they've produced. And I'm so sad that in only 3 more days it will go away. 


The color palette for this card is simple and fresh - generally monochromatic with its Whisper White, Basic Black, Pool Party & Bermuda Bay. The basic idea was something I'd seen online, but then I added my own tweaks, including the jaunty angles of the layers for an extra punch of fun.

For the hydrangea, we first tinted a piece of Whisper White cardstock a light shade of Pool Party with one of our new sponge brayers.  Then stamped over that with Bermuda Bay before die-cutting that wonderful lacy shape. Then layered that piece over an oval (of Pool Party cardstock) to provide the sense of dimension.... just as I'd done with the pumpkin.


The stem & leaf were die-cut as well (Basic Black), and the stem adhered to the underneath oval with tiny spots from the Fine-tip glue pen. To back the leaves, we traced the shape of the die itself onto scraps of Pool Party and cut them out by hand before adhering behind the detailed black layer. The black polka-dotted layer comes from Pop of Pink Specialty Designer Series Paper, a HOT DSP package found in the still-newish annual catalog. (You can never have too many polka dots, can you? And when they're black they go with EVERYTHING!)

And here's a fuss-free tip for cutting a banner exactly the right length for your sentiment:

  1. Cut a piece of cardstock as wide as you wish your finished banner to be, and plenty longer than you want its finished length to be.
  2. Notch one end with the Banner Triple Punch.
  3. Orient the notched edge according to your ultimate design, and stamp your sentiment close to the notch.
  4.  Then clip off any extra length - to yield a perfectly-sized stamped banner!

Stay tuned for the "fall" and "winter" examples -  from our card classes earlier this month!

  Product List


When the packaging's just gotta coordinate with the contents

Packaging collage

I had occasion recently to wrap a baby gift. Now, this wasn't just some random baby gift, but rather, in celebration of the upcoming arrival of my 2nd granddaughter. So if there's ever a reason to spend a little extra time wrapping something, I figure that that would qualify. I'd picked out this adorable little 3-piece set - 2 onsies and a coordinating pair of pants/leggings. Yes, I know the pant legs will be too long; manufacturers have had DECADES to figure out babies' legs aren't proportioned to the rest of their bodies yet, but for some reason they refuse to adjust accordingly. But I digress. I had this cute little clothing ensemble and it needed to be wrapped. Appropriately.

So the first thing I reached for was cardstock in colors close to those of the clothes. Minus purple, of course; I already knew that wasn't
gonna happen. But I was Botanical-Builder-Box-close-up-800-wmsurprised to see how tough it was to match the other colors, too! Especially a yellow-green. Came up empty-handed there, too. But eventually I ended up pulling out some scraps of retired In Colors: Strawberry Slush, Pistachio Pudding and Coastal Cabana...... and then added Bermuda Bay, Pink Pirouette, Wisteria Wonder and So Saffron to round out my options. 

To determine the size of the box I folded (and refolded) the 3 items until I
could stack them up into a size I could create a box for (using only 8-1/2" x 11" cardstock, 'cuz that's what I had available). Luckily, I determined I could do that with a box 5-1/2" x 7-1/2"..... and 1-1/2" deep. YAY!  So I just trimmed a half-inch off the bottom of a full sheet each of Wisteria Wonder (for the box bottom), and Pink Pirouette for the box top. (Leaving me with 8-1/2" x 10-1/2".) Scored 1-1/2" borders all the way around for the bottom, and just the teeniest smidge narrower for the top.  (This technique leaves the box top just that itsy-bitsy bit larger so it'll fit over the bottom.) 

Botanical-Builder-Box-800-wmAfter assembling the box I determined that that much surface looked just a little bit  "flat", so I added a layer using the Brick Wall embossing folder. Figured that made a decent base to work with, and the fun was about to begin.

Now, I have to confess that I love flowers (DUH! Those of you who know me aren't surprised, are ya?), and after 20 years of working with flowers in the paper and ink world I've figured out it's not likely I'll ever tire of them. And whenever I can combine flowers with DIMENSION, so much the better. So it's really no wonder the Botanical Builder Framelits have become my "go to" faves these days. 

So this is the result. I shaped the flower petals and leaves with a bone folder and also wrapped some elements loosely around a white gel pen. (Ugh! Just realize that's been retired. YIKES! How'd I miss that?!?) All the flowers are glued to a belly band that simply slides off to open the box. I love belly bands on boxes for this purpose; you can get as elaborate as you want with the decoration, and yet nothing has to be untied or otherwise destroyed when it's time to access the box's contents.  A perfect packaging solution in my book!

Buy NOW, get a coupon for NEXT month!

Now here's something ELSE really cool! Right now (and through the remainder of July, actually), for every $50 of product you order through me (at one time, that is), you'll get an emailed coupon worth $5 towards product(s) you order NEXT month. (Specifically Aug. 2 - Aug. 31 .) And there are no limits as to how many $5 coupons you can accrue; you'll get one for every $50. So for instance, if you like the Botanical Builder Framelits AND the coordinating Botanical Blooms Stamp Set I've used on this project, well, guess what?! ? Conveniently, they both add up to $50, and BOOM! you've earned a coupon to spend next month! Or choose $150 in product (ordered at one time) and get not only THREE $5 coupons for next month ($15 value, that is), but also $15 in Stampin' Rewards THIS month, too! Get the idea?!?

Here are the products I used on this project; items that are currently available (at time of this writing) will link to my online store:


Strawberry Slush 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock
Strawberry Slush 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock
Pistachio Pudding 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock
Pistachio Pudding 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock
Coastal Cabana 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock
Coastal Cabana 8-1/2" X 11" Card Stock
White Signo Uni-Ball Gel Pen
White Signo Uni-Ball Gel Pen



Thinlits & Framelits Dies Storage

Framelits-dies - storage-magnetSo I've spent much of the past week and a half or so digging in my storage rooms, discovering, purging and organizing things I haven't seen since I moved out of my house just about 3 years ago. Some of what I've run across has caused me to raise an eyebrow, and some has been cause for celebration. One example of the latter category was running across a generous supply of now-retired Stampin' Up! magnetic sheets. In fact that discovery was SO exciting I think I literally exclaimed aloud! You see, I've been out of magnetic sheets recently, and consequently have been struggling with storing my new "Delicate Ornament Thinlits Dies". Seemed I only had a choice of leaving them stuck (and I do mean STUCK) to the sheet they arrived on, risking bending them out of shape every time I peeled them off, or dumping them loose into their plastic jacket. And neither option was making me very happy.

So it was particularly exciting to run across this generous stash of magnet sheets, even though retired. And now that I've Framelits-dies-storage---magnet2tamed my "Delicate Ornaments" dilemma, here's my simple tip:

  • Cut a piece of magnet sheet (5-1/8" x 6" works for this set), and (because it's peel-and-stick) adhere it to a piece of cardstock or DSP backing board exactly the same size. (Get your dimensions by measuring your storage envelope and choosing measurements slightly smaller.)
  • Arrange the dies, flat-side-down, so they fit on the magnet sheet.
  • Insert into the storage envelope.
  • Stop being frustrated!

That's all there is to it! Sometimes, it's just the little things that make me big-time happy!


Garden in Bloom meets Fun Frames

Get the Look - Garden in Bloom meets Fun Frame

One of today's trendy looks is creating a focal point from a grouping of individual elements. Often, the sentiment is included as one of those grouped elements, and there may also be subtle texture or other visual interest in the background. This card features all of those.

Those who've been following me for a while know that some of my favorite techniques involve applying ink in non-traditional ways. This card features two such examples.

The diagonal lines of the background represent the first such technique. To get that look, I inked a stamping sponge (just by pouncing it on the Blushing Bride pad), and then dabbed it onto the center portion of the Brushstrokes stamp. I was careful to avoid extending the ink as far as any of the edges of the stamp, as that would give a harsh edge when stamped. Rather, what I was looking for here was a softer, more cloudy look, where the inked image just kind of fades in and out. Once the ink was applied, I stamped the background at that jaunty angle for yet more visual interest.

Another favorite way I like to use ink a little "out of the box" is when I want a piece of colored cardstock that's more subtle than the intense colors of our regular cardstocks. In this case I wanted a Blushing Bride flower, but a much softer shade of it than the Fun Frame it would be backed with. So I just burnished Blushing Bride ink onto a scrap piece of Whisper White cardstock with a stamping sponge before stamping the flower image onto it. (My version of "burnish" is to rub ink down into the cardstock in a circular motion. I actually do try to rub the ink right into the cardstock, so I start with a light hand and then get firmer and firmer as I rub in circles. Every time I reload the sponge from the ink pad I am careful to tap my sponge off once or twice onto my scratch paper so I don't accidentally get a "blob" of ink when I first touch the paper I'm working on. You can always add more ink, but can't take it away if you get a "blob", ya know.) So once I decided I had the color intensity I wanted for this, I just stamped the flower image (from Garden in Bloom) right onto my newly-colored paper and then fussy-cut it with Paper Snips.

The leaves are stamped in the more usual 2-step method this stamp set was designed for..... and then also fussy-cut.

When I first introduced this card at card class last month several of the ladies groaned at the assumption they'd have to cut out the center section of the embossed Fun Frame. But no worries there; it's just it's own layer of Whisper White cardstock (1-1/4" x 1-15/16") - stamped and applied on top of the frame! Easy-peasy!

Even though none of these elements is popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals I still wanted to retain a suggestion of depth anyway. So I only applied adhesive to the center areas of the frame, doily and flower, leaving their outer edges free.

Oh! And a tip for applying the sequins: place a tiny dot of Fine-tip Glue where you want the sequin to be, then lay the sequin right over it. Remember - that's a "TINY!" dot, in order to avoid a glue smear!

Don't you think this same general layout would be fun to work up into a Christmas card? I'd love to see your examples if you do that!


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Guest Artist - Watermelon Mini Treat Bag

P8060056Kevin Boyer has earned a reputation as an excellent stamping party and class host, and I suspect one of the ways in which she encourages awesome attendance is the darling handmade favors she prepares for everyone! Last month I had the privilege of gathering with Kevin and her friends again for a card-making class while I was visiting back on Whidbey Island.

For that event Kevin had picked a watermelon theme for her favors - using the new In Color "Watermelon Wonder", as well as various watermelon-flavored candies and gum. The main bag is cut with the Mini Treat Bag Thinlits Die, ribbon is 1" Dotted Lace Trim, and the darling seeds are actually punched hearts cut in half! (The heart punch, white ribbon, tag punches and "Yum Yum" stamp are retired, but sure still work well here.... and I think the green and lighter pink are also retired cardstock colors, as well. Guessing at Strawberry Slush and.....??????)

Thanks for yet another awesome party and take-home favor, Kevin!

Product List

Small Heart Punch
Small Heart Punch

Monochromatic Welcome Cards


Today I've been working on welcome cards for some new team members. Since Tempting Turquoise is our Paper Dreamers' team color, my welcome cards always feature that color - usually in a monochromatic theme.

For today's cards I started by spritzing a rubbing alcohol & ink-refill combo onto a section of the card.... deliberately leaving the upper left corner white to give the overall look some intentional "white space". That dried pretty quickly, and then I added the more distinct spatters with Gorgeous Grunge. The 2-step butterflies (from Garden in Bloom) were stamped onto another piece of Whisper White cardstock and then fussy-cut to maintain their true white backgrounds. Faux stitching anchors the end of the banners and self-adhesive pearls finish off the butterflies.

Here's how I got the "Welcome" letters aligned.

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What a difference an "H" makes

Picture this:  It's the night before last week's card classes, which happen to be the day before my big Crafter's Garage Sale. Of COURSE there aren't enough hours left to get everything done that I need to (or should I say, "want to") do for both events, but I'm perking along finishing up the design for my final card, and then will only have to cut and package the supplies for it. A quick glace at my watch encourages me - thinking I'll probably even have time for a decent period of sleep if I can keep up the pace.

And then it happens. That pesky set of 3/4" dies that I adore and hate at the same time.... does it again. One of the "Little Letters Dies" hits the floor in my workroom/laundry room. And promptly disappears. And it isn't the obscure letter "X" or "Q". Ohhhh no.......


It has to be the "H", wouldn't you know. The very letter that plays such a  crucial role in "Hello", and "Hi", and "tHanks", and "WitH Love", and "WitH SympatHy" - and "Happy BirtHday", which was what I was spelling at the time. Come to think of it, "H" just might even be the die I use the very most from that entire set!

Well, after 2 hours of crawling around on the floor in the middle of the night with an LED miner's light strapped to my head, I was no closer to finding that runaway "H" than at the moment I heard it go "tink". So sadly, I had to acknowledge it was time for Plan B: scrap the really cute card design that was nearly finished - and start over from scratch. Which I did ultimately do, but obviously at the expense of several hours' sleep that night.

But I'm happy to report that "H" is now back where it belongs with the rest of its "Little Letters" family.  Yesterday I emptied and pulled out 2 big cabinets (including the one that houses all my cardstock and paper) so I could crawl into the corner to access the side of the washing machine I'd been unable to reach that night. And with the assistance of this very classy, high-tech tool.............


........ I located and snagged that wayward puppy in a snap! I'm thinking seriously of not taking my new die-snagger tool apart, though. This is already the 2nd time I've dropped a pesky little die in that room only to have it result in a multi-hour search, and somehow I suspect it may not be the last. And perhaps it might just be easier to be prepared next time......

And speaking of being prepared, I'll share again how handy it is to use magnets with these dies. Not only do I use the magnet platform in my Big Shot, but I store the entire set of "Little Letters" on a piece of 5" x 6" black magnet, and it was 2 strips of magnets that I'd glued to the wooden stick (one on either side of it) that allowed me to rescue this little 3/4" escapee from under the washer. If you don't have any left-over magnet material from when we carried it in the Stampin' Up! line a while back, you can find a couple of sheets in a package in most any kind of craft or home-improvement store. (I get mine at W**mart nowadays.)

Anyway, now that my cabinets and drawers are again replaced and refilled (and cleaned, btw), I think I'll wait another couple of days before I get brave enough to handle one of these tiny little dies again. But I WILL use them again; they're just TOO sweet and adorable NOT to!

Dad's Day

So the other day I found myself staring at my never-used, still-shrink-wrapped (although already retired) Adventure Bound Designer Series Paper Stack. Considering it was one of the very first things I'd ordered from the 2015 Occasions Catalog, and I still love its images so much, why in the world had I not even opened it?!?

Well, the answer to that is a bit complicated, but suffice it to say that when my gaze landed on it the other day, I happened to be in the "gotta make a Father's Day card" mode. And I knew this paper would be perfect. So if you promise to keep this just between you and me (and since I'm pretty sure Dad never looks at my blog, lol), I'll share my results. 


I knew I wanted something a little more creative than just a piece of pretty paper stuck on the front, so I started with one of my "go to" tips for creating "guy" cards: "Stick to neutrals", and then built from there. I already knew I was headed for a tri-fold of some kind. For this color palette: Basic Black, Basic Gray, Smokey Slate and Whisper White. I spelled out "Dad" with one of my most-reached-for die sets - "Little Letters Thinlits".

The double-layer banner is from the brand-new "Triple Banner" punch. BTW, did you know you don't HAVE to stick to only the 3 widths of paper they mention in the catalog for that punch?!? You can probably see that I didn't.

I did some faux stitching across the top of the banner using the piercing tool, Updated Essentials pack & a black marker. (I actually had the Project Life markers at my fingertips, so I used the smaller of the pair, but I'm sure the Basic Black Stampin' Write marker would have worked fine, too.) Used the marker not only on the outside, but the inside, too - so the stitching actually does look reasonably realistic.

P6170244---web---copyright P6170243---web---copyright






Both the big  "Happy" and "Father's Day" are from the "Crazy About You" bundle. I truly believe that the stamp set "Crazy about You" belongs in every stamper's collection, and you might as well toss in the dies and get a discount, too.  I've certainly ended up using mine more than I thought I would. Tip: Adhere the die-cut word with 2-way glue pen, but work quickly so it doesn't dry on ya.  "Father's Day" is stamped and embossed in Whisper White.

And the little punched heart for subtle embellishment? Our retired "small heart" punch. While I love the newer sweet-heart shape, there are just certain times you need a small basic heart shape. So that's ONE punch that won't be showing up at my Crafter's Garage Sale on Friday!

Cutting dimensions are:

  • Adventure Bound DSP (front): 5-1/2" x 4-1/4"
  • Adventure Bound DSP (inside): 4-1/2" x 3-1/4"
  • Basic Gray card base: 11" x 4-1/4".... scored & folded at 5-1/2"
  • Smokey Slate right-hand panel: 5-1/2" x 3-1/2".... scored & folded 3/4" from one end.
  • Basic Black liner: 5" x 3-3/4"
  • Scrap of Whisper White large enough for the die: approx 4-1/2" x 2-1/2"

Now remember, this is still just our private secret until Father's Day, right? Shhhhh.......

Product List

Small Heart Punch
Small Heart Punch