Thursday, March 31, 2016


I promised to announce the winner of the FREE one-month Craft Project Central subscription today, but first I want to share one of the projects that I designed for my March class.  It's a Pop-Up Diorama Card, and instructions are in the Tutorials section at, although I altered them slightly for the size card that I wanted to make.  In my class, the card didn't have a sentiment on the front, but I decided to add one on vellum today:
And this is what the inside looks like:
I can't tell you just how fun it is to make these cards--you must treat yourself to a Pop-Up Diorama card-making session!  I recently got carried away and made several of them for my #imbringingbirthdaysback basket of cards, and I'm already wanting to make more of them.
With my March 24th blog post (HERE), I mentioned that I had a one-month FREE subscription to Craft Project Central to give to one lucky person.  The one and only easy requirement to get your name in the drawing was to leave a comment HERE.  Thanks so much for all of the kind comments!!!!  I only have one subscription to give away, and it goes to . . . PAT WILKINSON.  Congratulations, Pat!  Just contact me at randari at hotmail dot com, and we'll get your subscription started!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


If you are like most of us, you have a lot of beautiful paper stashed away for a time when you are inspired.  This project will provide you with all the inspiration you need!  Just get out some packing tape, wire and your English Garden Designer Series Paper (DSP), or any other DSP that tickles your fancy, and get to work making a beautiful sculptured flower!  With your wire, packing tape and DSP, you will be making your garden grow in no time!  This set includes a large wire and DSP flower sculpture, a decorated vase for displaying your flower, and a beautiful gift tag if you choose to share your flower and vase as a gift for someone special.  Your inspiration may grow wild and you may find yourself making a full bouquet!

This project, designed by Michelle Wecksler, is the March bonus project at Craft Project Central.  Obtaining the bonus project is easy . . . just subscribe to two or more months in a row, put the Craft Project Central badge on your blog, or refer a friend and let us know when they subscribe.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Spring and summer are on the way, and that often means lots of gift and gift card giving occasions.  This project features the B.Y.O.P. Stamp Set and the Gift Card Envelope & Trims Thinlits to create envelopes for five gift card occasions!  Using the same general sketch, this project combines designer series papers, glimmer paper and simple, varied embellishments to create gift card envelopes that shine…in no time! 

You'll be ready with gift cards when needed with this tutorial, which was written by Sue Plote.  Sue's awesome tutorial can be found at Craft Project Central.  Did you know that it's not too late to subscribe to this month's fabulous project tutorials?

Thursday, March 24, 2016


The project that I designed for Craft Project Central is featured today, and I'm so pleased to share a sneak peek photo!  Following is the introduction that I wrote for my ensemble:

The projects in this tutorial are simple enough for new stampers, and the treats themselves will make anyone feel “tea-riffic”!  Whether you need just a pretty card (adorned with charms, of course) or an ensemble of treats, this might be the perfect project!  Create a package to hold an assortment of tea bags, a tea cup-shaped bookmark, and a box of cookies shaped like tea bags.  This ensemble wouldn’t be complete without a note card, and the tutorial even includes a pretty way to prevent the string from a tea bag from falling into a cup!

As a designer for Craft Project Central, I have the privilege of giving away a FREE one-month subscription for a month's worth of awesome tutorials!  Getting your name entered in the drawing is really quite easy . . . just click HERE to be directed to Craft Project Central's site and leave a comment on the post where my sneak peek photo is shown.  On Thursday, March 31st, I will announce the winning name right here on my blog, so be sure to visit again on that day!

Monday, March 21, 2016


Balloons are the perfect, and most versatile type of Party Décor! Make this set in Pool Party to work for any Birthday Party, Shower or any type of Celebration! Or change up the colors to suit the occasion you need it for! In the tutorial you’ll learn two ways to make altered versions of the Mini Treat Bag – one will be the Gusseted Mini Treat Bag, perfect for any party favor or treat you want to give your guest! You’ll also make the essentials of a place setting – a Plastic Utensil Pocket (the second altered version of the Mini Treat Bag), a Place Card and a Water Bottle Sleeve. And the coordinating Cupcake Picks will add that special touch to your yummy cupcakes! Plus, all of the measurements make this so easy to create bundles of each!

The tutorial for this great party decor, which was designed by Julie Beltramo, can be found at Craft Project Central.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


I don't remember where I purchased the stamp set that I used to make this card, but it's a really cute one, huh?  I've had it for quite some time and have seldom used it, but it seemed perfect for the intended recipient.  My apologies for the slightly blurry photo--I didn't realize how bad it was until after the card had been mailed.  Would the image have looked better if I had taken the time to do some blending and shading?  Of course it would, but I have learned (or maybe it's just what I tell myself) that coloring doesn't have to be a chore, and projects don't have to look like they were created by a bona fide artist.  As a matter of fact, you don't even have to have trendy, popular, and expensive markers.  You just need to desire the slow, relaxed pace of coloring--the elementary, juvenile, amateur type of creative outlet that calls for whatever you have on hand--pencils, crayons, cheap markers, or even expensive markers that you dummy down.  I have a whole stack of stamped images that I acquired in a big trade of Magnolia (and other designs) waiting to be colored, and I have had them for years.  Do you know what has stopped me from coloring them?  The dreaded task of blending and shading, trying different markers to see what blends with what, and/or having color inevitably bleed outside the line, rendering a piece that I've spent a lot of time on worthy only for the trash.  No, people, you do NOT have to go through that each time.  Color with whatever you want and go to whatever length and extreme you desire.  Keep it simple or make it museum-worthy.  Just get out those unused stamp sets and color.  The one and only requirement/demand--besides having fun--is to stay inside the lines (as much as you can).  That's a must.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Learning and fun should go hand in hand, and this brightly colored set of number flash cards will make learning so much fun. You’ll make two sets of cards using the Number of Years Bundle and Schoolhouse Designer Series Paper, so the cards can be used for matching and memory games as well as flash cards. The top and bottom of the storage box fit flush together, making it easy for smaller fingers to open, while the inner liner holds the cards in place. Add the belly band and greeting card, and it can be a fun gift as well as a learning tool.

The tutorial for this neat project, which was designed by Buffy Cooper, can be found at Craft Project Central.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Have you created a card for Creating Pretty Cards - Card Challenge #57 at Craft Project Central?  This is what the sketch looks like:
And this is the card that I created for the challenge:
I needed a birthday card, and this one is already in the mailbox.  It features the following Stampin' Up! products:
Cardstock:  Lost Lagoon, Calypso Coral, Hello Honey
Stamp Sets:  Flower Shop, Balloon Celebration
Punch:  Pansy
DSP:  Wildflower Fields (Sale-a-Bration)
Accessories:  Basic Rhinestone Jewels
You should create a card for the challenge!  Did you know that for every 10 cards that are uploaded HERE for the challenge, a winner will be selected to receive a FREE one-month subscription to Craft Project Central?  That's a month's worth of awesome project tutorials!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


This gift ensemble screams spring and is sure to bring a smile to someone’s face. The topiary is made using punches, die cuts and, of course, a little bling. The cutest thing about the topiary is that the bottom box opens in the front, and you can put in a few pieces of chocolate or tuck another little gift in there. The birthday card is embossed, watercolored, fussy-cut, and layered and then the envelope is lined with Designer Series Paper (DSP). It’s so relaxing to paint the flower with Aqua Painters, and having layers adds dimension. The little gift tag and bag finish the ensemble, and then you are ready to give this set to a special someone. Bonus is the cute little Lady Bug.

The tutorial for this beautiful project, which was designed by Carole Anne Patterson, can be found at Craft Project Central.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Well . . . I won't say that I worked on this card all day because that would be a lie since I went to sleep at some point.  I jest, of course.  Who could sleep with a fun stamp set like this in the house?  I really did spend a lot of time on this card, but that was mainly because it's a new stamp set that I've never inked until yesterday, and you know how that is . . . you've just got to see what all you can do with it and what will go where and how many colors do you really want on one card.  My first card would have made a rainbow gag! 
My apologies for the quality of the photo.  I took soooooooooo many photos and, quite frankly, just had to pick one and run with it.  I thought I had my photo shoot tent and lighting in working order, but then my son came in and stole the nice LED bulbs to put in his bathroom.  [eyes rolling]  Back to the card . . . I made this for a friend who is turning the big 5-0 today, and she will probably think that I've lost my mind for making a laundry card.  Nothing about her screams "laundry maid", so I'll just have to explain that this card is more about who I am . . . a stamper who always needs to ink the newest stamps in the house.  If you're thinking that I did a nice job of cutting all of those stamped images, thank you.  Fortunately, this stamp set ("Loads of Fun" by Lawn Fawn) has a coordinating set of dies that did all of that work for me.  To color the images, I used a combination of markers and watercolor crayons, and I hope you can see in the close-up photo that I used the Clear Wink of Stella Glitter Brush on parts of some of the images.  I love those glitter brushes!  All in all, I had a great time working on this card and hope that it is well-received.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Spring is on its way, with rainy weather and plenty of indoor play days. The On the Farm Puppet Gift Set is the perfect way to spend an afternoon inside. Little ones will be entertained for hours as they use their imagination and play with darling animal puppets. The cheerful puppet theater hangs around the neck of the performer making it easy to put on shows that will brighten rainy days and delight audiences of all ages. The matching card makes this the perfect birthday gift for the child in your life, or change the sentiment on the card and give this gift set for any occasion!

The tutorial for this project, which was designed by Julie, can be found at Craft Project Central.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


I'm on a personal mission to send even more cards this year than I normally send.  It all started a few weeks ago with #imbringingbirthdaysback.  Although it's great to send a lot of birthday cards, I decided that a larger focus for me would be to send cards to people who need a pick-me-up.  When I was telling my mother about this, she suggested that I send a card to a gentleman from her church who has been feeling really bad (no energy) for too long.  Finally, his doctors think they have a diagnosis.  I don't really know the man and, as I tried to figure out what kind of card to make, I finally decided to just make something that my daddy would like.  So a card with a western theme and John Wayne should be perfect.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Birthday cards are needed all year long, and this ensemble includes six cards featuring soft watercolor florals, polka dots, and stripes from the Birthday Bouquet Product Suite.  In addition, this handy decorated box will hold six cards that are lightly embellished and six envelopes.  This makes a super cute gift to be used for birthdays or you can always change up the sentiment to create a thank you gift box for a totally different look.  Also, a great class idea for Demonstrators.

The tutorial for this pretty card set, which was designed by Liz Miller, can be found at Craft Project Central.

Monday, March 7, 2016


The start of Spring brings the home-buying season. Are you in need of a house-warming gift for someone in your life? This wreath would make a perfect house-warming gift and the card would make the gift complete. The wreath is made with an embroidery hoop, and the beautiful Botanical Gardens Suite of products. The card coordinates perfectly with the wreath.

The tutorial for this pretty and colorful project, which was designed by Christy Fulk, can be found at Craft Project Central.  Have you subscribed yet?

Friday, March 4, 2016


Explore using the Wildflower Fields Designer Series Paper and Flowering Fields Stamp Set from Sale-A-Bration while making this lovely set of cards and coordinating portfolio box. This ensemble features six unique card designs showing off how to use these beautiful products. Make it to stock up on your own cards or package them up in the portfolio box to give as a gift to someone special. This would make an excellent hostess gift or class project!

The tutorial for this awesome project, which was designed by Amanda, can be found at Craft Project Central.

Many thanks to those who took the time to leave a comment HERE on the project that I designed for Craft Project Central last month!!  The winner of the FREE one-month subscription is . . . DIANNE SLOAN.   Dianne, if you'll contact me at randari at Hotmail dot com, we'll get your FREE subscription started!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


I was recently very intrigued by Melanie Muenchinger's sketchbook shading technique and had to try it.  Actually, I had to try it by improvising a wee bit on the paper.  And the pencils.  Okay, so I improvised to a point that might not even resemble her technique, but the end result is similar enough that I found pleasing.  I resisted the urge to darken the flower a little more or, if I am being truthful, I thought that I should just leave it alone.  The thing about this technique is that it looks easy enough, but . . . trust me when I say . . . it is certainly possible [easy] to oversketch and overshade.  I think if you just lay the pencils down and let it be once you are liking the look, then you will have achieved the making of a pretty focal point for a card.  The sketching and shading around the stamped image give it a slight lift off the page and mimic something that I might have sketched from scratch.  I used a set of retired watercolor pencils from Stampin' Up! and only had white, gray, and black to work with, and it never occurred to me until I was finished that I might could have tried a regular pencil.  Duh!  Stampin' Up! products featured on this card are as follows:
Cardstock:  Basic Black, Sahara Sand
Stamp Set:  Bloom with Hope - the images in this set have a sketchy appearance, and I thought the sentiment was perfect for an image that I might have sketched while thinking of someone special
Ink:  Basic Black Archival Stampin' Pad
Sizzix:  Happy Heart embossing folder
Punch:  Spiral Border (retired)
Accessories:  Sahara Sand Lace Trim, Vintage Faceted Designer Button, Project Life 3x4 Grid Card, Wink of Stella Clear Glitter Brush (used randomly on the Basic Black cardstock layer that is embossed with the Happy Hearts embossing folder)
My take on this technique:
1.  Stamp the image.  Decide from which direction your pretend lighting is coming.
2.  Use a light touch with a gray pencil to go around the areas of the flower that would be shaded from the light source.  Continue adding depth to the shading by using heavier strokes.
3.  Use your finger or a blending stump to smudge the shading a bit. 
4.  Use a black pencil to add darker shading immediately outside the stamped image lines.
5.  Color the image with a white pencil.  Add shading to the stamped image (in my case, the flower)with the gray pencil and then the black pencil.
6.  Use a light touch with the gray pencil to add background sketchy lines.  In some areas, loosely draw lines in one direction and then cross the lines in the opposite direction (creating a crosshatch design).  Use your finger or blending stump to smudge some of the sketching and shading.
7.  Put the pencils down and stop while you're ahead.  ;-)


Leapin’ Leprechauns! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and share the luck of the Irish with your friends and family with these fun treats and cards. People can’t help but smile when they see these adorable punch art leprechauns and shamrocks. This project includes two treat holders, a bookmark, and two matching cards. They are fun for grown-ups and children alike and would also make a great class or club.
The tutorial for this project, which was designed by Yapha Mason, can be found at Craft Project Central.