Category Archives: challenges

New (to me) Challenge Blog



Hello all.

I’ve found a new (to me, anyway) stash-crashing style challenge blog.  It’s called the Retro Rubber Challenge, and the challenge is to use your old stamps — stamps that are older than one year.  You can read the rules here.

They rotate between Sketch, Color, and Theme challenges, and you have two weeks to play along.

This is a good challenge because many of us get so hung up on buying new, new, new stamps and sets that we forget all about the older ones that we used to be just as enamored of.  We buy a stamp thinking, well, I’ll be able to use it forever, but we seldom do.  We move on to new acquisitions.  Craft hoarding and acquisitiveness is a real problem among crafters, I think, why is why I started my blog in the first place, to combat that tendency in myself. I hope it has helped some of you as well.

Here is my entry in their current challenge, which is a sketch challenge:


ATC Hexlove


The focal piece in the sketch is a circle, but I thought, why not a hexagon?  I love hexagons, such a balanced, pleasing shape.  Once I had that idea the card came together pretty quickly.  I’ve enjoyed doing the ATCs, so I’m continuing with that.

The stamp for the challenge is the background, the Hero Arts Hexagon Background. And the first time I posted about it was in May 2014, so it is definitely more than a year old.  I used Deco Foil for the embellishments.  I love Deco Foil! And a Tim Holtz sentiment sticker.  An appropriate sentiment, because I love papercrafting, and right now I love ATCs.

Wish me luck!  In the challenge, I mean.

Supply List

Crescent Cardboard Mixed Media ATC blank, silver

Hero Arts Hexagon Background stamp

Staz-On Teal Ink

hexagon chipboard, unknown (Maya Road?)

Recollections double-sided adhesive sheets

Glossy Accents (adhesive)

Green and Blue Deco Foil

Tim Holtz Small Talk sentiment stickers


Weekend ATCs



Here are the three ATCs I created over the weekend.

I wanted to do a Zentangle card during the challenge. The card base is pre-cut Bienfang illustration paper — it’s pretty thin, really just paper, you’ll want to back it with something. I liked the way my Zentangle snaked up the middle of the card, so I decided to just shade in the edges. I used my CG1 Copic for that and it worked well. This paper is meant to take markers anyway.


ATC Zentangle


The Zentangles I used were, from the top, Tripoli, Lichen, Moonwalk, Printemps, and Hollibaugh. Plus some random doodling. I’m not great at Zentangling, but I hope to get better.

For this challenge, I wanted to use some of my ATC blanks in unusual materials. This next card is made of wood, Birch wood veneer. They’re from Creative Imaginations, who make, or made, a lot of ATC stuff at one time. The cards have an adhesive back, so you can mount them on greeting cards or scrapbook pages, or whatever you want.


ATC Daisies


The daisies stamp is from Stampendous, and I stamped it in Versamark and heat-embossed it with Zing! Opaque White powder. It’s a little blurry — you’d probably want to use fine detail powder if you have it.

I then colored it in with Copics — R81, RV13, G02, YG06, Y35, YR12, YR68. (See, I remembered this time.)

It’s good, but I can’t decide if it needs something more, or not. Some bling — but that might just overcomplicate it. I’m letting it be for now.

The next card is made from sheet metal!


ATC Fish


The card blanks are thin, silver metal — aluminum, maybe? — from Imagine Crafts. I saw them featured in a video from the CHA show 2014, and finally tracked some down. This is the first time I have used them (NBUS).
Here, I colored the card with alcohol inks, ran it through an embossing folder, and then sanded it to remove some of the color and highlight the design. The alcohol ink colors I used (from Ranger) were Citrus, Juniper, Stream, and Sail Boat Blue. The embossing folder is from Provo Craft, from an Asian set I have.

Again, I think it needs more, but I don’t want to clutter it up. Any suggestions?

So far I have made 28 cards in 30 days. I’m two cards behind. If I keep it simple, I should be able to finish two more cards tomorrow and complete the challenge!

Third ATC


ATC Peacock Flourish


Here is the ATC I made on Tuesday.  Wednesday and Thursday were busts, as discussed.  It’s strange, sometimes a project comes together like magic, other times they fight you every step of the way.  This week it’s the latter.

Anyway, this was made with the Gina K Flourish stamp from the new Stamp of Approval box.  It’e embossed resist with Distress inks.  After I inked and colored it, it seemed to need something, so — bling.  Of course.  The inks are Peacock Feathers, Peeled Paint, and Wild Honey — one of my favorite Distress combinations.

I call it Peacock Flourish, because of the ink. Peacock Feathers is my favorite Distress color.



The ATC project isn’t going so well.  I’ve had several setbacks — every color spray you select for a project being jammed, for example, like that.  What should be simple projects become complicated and time-consuming.  It’s been discouraging.  One of those times when reality falls completely flat of your artistic vision.  Didn’t finish a card yesterday, may not tonight.  Maybe try again with a clear head tomorrow night.  It’s Friday after all.   I’ll have to bone up during the weekend, try and catch up.  I’ll keep you posted.

30 Day Color Challenge Update


Here are a couple projects I have been working on for the 30 Day Color Challenge. My hope for this project was to use a variety of my different coloring media, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

This first card uses the well-loved Altenew stamp set Henna Elements:




If you follow my work at all, you know I love bright colors paired with kraft cardstock. That is what I as going for here. I stamped the images and heat-embossed them. Then I was going to color them with these Neon colored pencils I picked up at Barnes & Noble:




But when I went to color, it turned out these pencils are terrible. Just garbage. Cheap, waxy, poor color laydown, not vibrant. They don’t even provide good color or coverage on stark white paper. I think I am going to just throw them out. I wouldn’t even donate them to a preschool — they would just frustrate the kids and make them hate art, and we don’t want that. Luckily they only cost about 8 bucks. I went at them with my Dove Blender Pen, and that did not smooth them out or brighten them in the least. No good.

In the end I colored the images with my Prismacolors, which are fine, and bright enough, although not quite neon. (What can I say, I came up in the Eighties, I love neon.) So it didn’t quite turn out as I hoped, but it’s a pretty enough card I think. I do love Henna Elements, such a versatile stamp set. The sentiment is from Verve Stamps.

This next card was just some simple coloring with my Copics:




This stamp set is called Happy Place, from Verve Stamps. I stamped them with Momento Tuxedo Black Ink, and kept the color scheme on each medallion (flower, whatever) monochromatic. And also cool colors. Personally, I much prefer cool colors, blues and greens, to warm ones.

When it was colored, I felt it needed something. You can’t really see it so well in the picture, but I colored some of the inner petals with my Sakura Stardust pen. After the picture was taken, i went back and added a rhinestone to the center of each medallion.

Once I finished coloring it in, I realized the medallions aren’t quite 100 percent even on the card — I left a little too much space on the top as opposed to the bottom. It looks a little unbalanced. I could try and balance that out, put a border on the top or a length of glitter ribbon. Or if I really get anal about it, I could cut the front panel off, trim it, and mount it on a new, properly centered card base. But no, I am just going to leave it. I’ve found over the years that trying to fix such minor mistakes usually just ends up making things worse. Most people aren’t going to notice such a small discrepancy anyway.

Both of the Verve stamp sets here are Never Before Used (NBUS).  So that always makes me feel good, to use something NBUS, which was the point of this whole blog after all. That was another objective I hoped to meet by following the 30 Day Color Challenge.

If you’d like to follow along the 30 Day Color Challenge, you can do so at Kathy Racoosin’s blog, The Daily Marker.  She has been posting a lot of giveaways throughout the challenge and some of them are still open, so hop on by.

30 Day Color Challenge, Day 17


I have been following along with the 30 Day Color Challenge (#thedailymarker30day) more or less, coloring things here and there, but not producing much finished work.  I have not been having as much success as I hoped.

Yesterday I colored a piece from the Paper Wishes Awesome Blossoms for Colorists coloring book, just to say I did it, and was participating in the challenge.  Today, I cut it out and mounted it on a card, just to have finished something.  But now that it’s done, I have to say I think it’s pretty cute:




This particular coloring book is small, 5×7, and single-sided, printed on pretty good cardstock, so you can use it for projects.  It includes some blank tags you can add to your projects, so I colored one and added a sentiment with alpha stickers. I was going to originally mount it with brads, but decided it needed some dimension, so mounted it with some foam tape.

I colored the pice with my plain old Bic Marks-Its, bargain basement alcohol markers, and mounted it on a black card base.  It was just a throwaway thing to do, but I actually really like how it turned out.  Looking forward now to coloring more of the pieces in this book.  This is the first time I’ve used that coloring book, so it’s NBUS.  That’s always a good feeling.  And it was in my long-neglected Use-It Box, so doubly good!

30 Day Color Challenge, Day … 6?


I guess I’m kind of losing track.  I’m just dipping into and out of the color challenge as it suits me, as I see things I like, and not flogging myself over not posting something every single day.

Here is my latest:


This is a technique demonstrated by Jennifer McGuire during the Day 2 blog hop, which she calls “negative space coloring.”  Stamp a stamp, emboss it, but leave it blank and color around the outside — the negative space of the image.  I like this idea a lot in theory, but I am having trouble with the implementation.  This is my second attempt. (The purple one)  I’m having trouble with the composition — the stamp is just floating there — and with blending the colors, and with staying outside the lines.  I don’t know.  It’s funny how some people ace a technique, and others just can’t. But then they master a technique the next person never could.  I guess that’s art.

The stamp here is from Woodware, and as you can see I colored it with my Zig Clean Color markers, on Daler Rowney watercolor paper.  Actually this is a watercolor cardstock postcard — it’s stamped on the back with lines for an address and a place to put a stamp. I used the Zigs straight from the pen, no water — it may have been too much.  I did go back afterward and mist it with water and life some of the color up, which helped I think.

If I can think of anything useful to do with this piece, I’ll show you.  Any suggestions?

The 30 Day Color Challenge


Over at her blog, The Daily Marker, Kathy Racoosin is hosting a 30 Day Color Challenge in the month of February.  Kathy is a papercrafter whose first love is coloring.  She has hosted this challenge several times.  I crapped out of the last one after only a couple days, but I am more committed to this one.  I’m hoping it will help me revive my creativity (see last post).

There will be blog hops and prizes and giveaways, but mostly it is for the creativity.  You can post your creations in the Inlinkz on the initial post, and use the hashtag #thedailymarker30day on social media.

For the first day Kathy posted a very elaborate diecut card which I didn’t feel up to CASEing. But I could replicate her coloring technique, which was adding color to diecuts with sponging.




I punched these flowers out of neon cardstock, and sponged the tips of the petals with Hero Arts Neon dye ink to give some subtle — very subtle — depth.  If you read my blog at all, you know one of my favorite things is to pair bright colors with kraft cardstock.  So that’s what I did.  The sentiment is from Newton’s Nook’s Beautiful Blossoms set.  I was going to add a neon yellow rhinestone to the center of the flowers, but I decided I liked the black enamel dots instead.  They pick up the sentiment. Most everything on this card except for the kraft cardstock, the black ink and the enamel dots are NBUS.  Yay!

I’m feeling pretty good about this challenge, and am looking forward to it.  You can join n at Kathy’s blog, The Daily Marker.


Patterned Paper 3: Abrianna


My next patterned paper project is a series of cards done with an old 12×12 stack from K & Company called Abrianna.  I bought this stack back when I first started papercrafting, and along with it I also bought for the first time a lot of the accompanying embellishments: layered stickers, diecuts, chipboard. (They were on sale.)  So many, I never realized I would be hard pressed to use them all!  Back then I would buy a lot of stuff at one time, because I didn’t know then that every paper and craft company came out with a whole new line every six months.  I thought I had to stock up.

I bought the embellishments because I wanted to see what it was like creating with a coordinated suite of products, see if it was any easier or better.  It is easier, as everything is designed to go together, but I enjoy the creativity of bringing disparate products together for my work.  If you are pressed for time, or are feeling creatively dry for a while, working with a collection is a good fix.


I have actually used this stack, Abrianna, rather a lot, but I found a project to use it some more.  These cards are based on an article in the January 2015 issue of CARDMAKING & PAPERCRAFT magazine. (Bowman, Nikki, “Forest Friends,” CARDMAKING AND PAPERCRAFT, January 2015, Issue 139, pp. 74-75.)*

The article is about how to use a paper collection and the accompanying embellishments to put together some quick cards.  I have followed Bowman’s lead — square kraft card bases, two layers of patterned paper, and finished with the diecuts or other embellishents.  Her collection had sentiment diecuts, but I have had to go elsewhere for mine.  The card with the peacock has a stamped, embossed sentiment, and the other three are stickers.

The “True Friends” collection from Fancy Pants in the article, which has a more autumnal palette, geometric shapes, and animal diecuts, and the Abrianna collection here could hardly be more different in style or color palette, but this is a good template to follow to work with many themed collections, I think.  If you’ve followed my blog at all you know how much I enjoy contrasting bright colors with kraft cardstock.

The lower right card is kind of a hot mess — I wasn’t thoughtful about where I put the word stickers.  But there’s no dismantling it now, so I’ll live with it.  A little girl might like that card.

The peacock card didn’t work with the double-matted squares of paper — he, the peacock, is just too big and overhung the paper and it looked unbalanced and messy.   So I modified it and I think it works well.  I would have liked to use a stamp that said “Congratulations,” (you know, proud as a peacock) but I didn’t have one that fit.

The sentiment on the upper left says, “Sending my very best.”

These are supposed to be quick cards, but they haven’t been quick for me.  I have been struggling lately to find the time and the inclination to craft.  I plan to make ten cards in this set and give them away as a gift.  But it’s been taking me so long I figured I’d better show you what I have.

I would like to enter these in Darnell’s NBUS Challenge #5, for although I have used the Abrianna collection a lot, the sentiment stickers I used on three of the cards are new. Hah!

*I am a librarian by trade, so you know I have to cite that article correctly!

Patterned paper — or not …


I determined which paper pad I wanted to use next for my Patterned Paper series — Spice Market by Basic Grey.  Except now I can’t find it.  It’s a six by six pad, and I’ve looked through ALL my 6 x 6 pads, and my 12 x 12 pads, too, and it’s nowhere.  It’s got to the point, I have so much stuff, I can’t find things when I want them.  Which is one reason why I needed to go on a buying moratorium.  To use some of this stuff up.

So I was all pissed off and disgusted, and I was watching some YouTube videos to soothe myself.  And I found that Katy Racoosin over at her Daily Marker blog is running a 30-Day Coloring Challenge.  It started on June 1.  The first project was a lovely butterfly shaped card, colored with Copics.

Oh, I thought, coloring.  I can do that.  Just ten minutes a day, she says.  Butterflies are one of my favorite decorative motifs.  I have a big butterfly stamp.  I can do that.

Well, Kathy Racoosin is an experienced Copic colorist, and I … am not.


I have to admit I half-assed this coloring while watching Kathy’s videos.  I just thought it would be fun to give it a try.  It’s far more blotchy than it really should be, if I had paid more attention.  And the fussy-cut image is smaller and thinner than it seemed while stamping, and the Copics bled through the paper pretty bad (Neenah Solar White).  The shaped card wouldn’t do it.

So I mounted the butterfly on a kraft card and added a sentiment and called it a day.  You know I do love the contrast of bright colored images on kraft paper.  The sentiment is kind of hard to read in the pic — it says “Believe in Yourself.”  It’s a Mod Podge rub-on.

Oh, to give the butterfly somewhat of the iridescence of a real butterfly’s wing, I sprayed it generously with Dazzling Diamond Glimmer Mist.  And I put a spritz of Pewter Distress Stain on the card behind it for some interest.

So that was 30-Day Coloring, Day 1.  Days 2 and 3 … no. No-line coloring is too advanced for me.  I’ll check back in with it later.

Just wish I could find that Basic Grey pad.  Where the hell did it go?