Aimless playing is good for you.

I find myself bored and feeling a bit claustrophobic in this hotel room in Oakland, California. My “Day Job” has hit a snag and I need to get my mind off the craziness this month has plopped in my lap.

Jann Gray at WhatYouMakeIt has an excellent video on doing a “Masking Technique” using rubber stamps to create a card front.

I have some floral stamps by Hampton Arts and Studio G that I’m going to play with. They are smaller in scale than Jann’s but will serve the purpose of finding out just how difficult this technique is to do.



On a scrap piece of white Colorbök paper I stamped one of each image using Momento Tuxedo Black ink then cut them out.


Then I stamped three of one image on a piece of 4-1/4 x 4-1/4 white Colorbök paper.


Since I don’t have access to that nifty reposition able paper Jann uses I attached Elmer’s glue dots to the back of each flower I cut out. Pressing the glue dot against the leg of my shorts I attempted to lint up the sticky surface to make it less sticky.





Covering one of the stamped images with its mate I stamped a different image next to, and partly over, the masked off image.




I kept masking and stamping until I thought I had done enough damage then quit.



I have a set of Marvy Uchida pigment markers to use as my coloring tools.


My results are no where near the caliber of Jann’s but I have stepped into one of my fears….coloring and flowers. I guess that is really two fears 😉


Okay, NOW what do I do with this? Guess I could cut the image out.


Run a 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 piece of light green textured paper through an embossing machine.


Swipe the embossed image with some orangey ink from Studio G and ink the edges as well.


Adhere a piece of black gross grain ribbon to some golden satin ribbon and mount it on a high diagonal across the green embossed paper.


Then adhere the cut out over the ribbon.


Then mount it all on a white textured card stock cut at 9-1/2 x 4-3/4.


So, as the saying goes “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

I did learn how to do the “Masking Technique” and I’ve attempted to color.

Maybe it needs a bit of bling. Maybe even some glitter glue or Liquid Pearls.

Maybe I’ll just leave it as it is and add it to my “Sample Technique” stash 😀

What technique are you attempting…or getting up the courage to even get close to trying?

Go for it. The worst that can happen is…..You’ll Learn Something 😉


How can you create anything while on product overload?

What is your paper stash like? Do your eyes glaze over when you start to think of a card or scrapbook project?


What does your stash of rubber and clear stamps look like? Does the initial inspiration flee when you begin going through your stamps?


What about your embellishment stash? Do you look at it for inspiration and find that you have lost 3 hours of your life from being in a catatonic stupor?


How about your tool stash? Do you get excited about using a new purchase only to find you leave it and go back to the simple tools you are most comfortable with?


Do you spend more time shuffling, touching, stacking, and rummaging through your craft stash with absolutely NOTHING to show for the time you have spent trying to be creative and inspired?

Let me help you break this down into chunks to get you over the creative block. This analogy is a bit gross but it fits. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.

Think FIRST about the project you want to do. Do you have photos of a child’s first step, first day of school, High School Graduation, a vacation trip with friends or family? Do you have a friend or family member celebrating a birthday, recently admitted to the hospital, or just in need of knowing they are lived and thought of?

This post is for a greeting card but, rest assured, the principles are the same for a layout, journal, or card.

Our neighbor back home recently had a heart attack and had surgery this morning to install a stint. I want to make a “Get Well” card for him.

“Bite 1”:

How old is/are the person(s) you are creating for? This will determine the paper colors and print graphics. Also, another determining factor is the photo settings if you are doing a layout. Where were the photos taken?

“Bite 2”:

What is the emotion you want to convey in the project? Fun and excitement for a vacation that was exactly that? Traditional and understated for those school pictures? Celebratory for an upcoming birthday? Heartfelt care and concern for someone going through a difficult time?

“Bite 3”:

What are your favorite colors? What is the favorite color of your card recipient? Do you even know? Choose your colors for your project this way at first.

If you don’t know the color preference of your recipient use the standard colors of the feminine/masculine ranges. Pinks, plums, reds, and jewel tones for feminine projects. Brown, gray, black, and muted greens for masculine projects.

“Bite 4”:

What do you want to say? Have a title for you layout in mind? Have a rubber stamp with a great sentiment you want to use for the conveyed message?

Do you have die cut letters, letter stickers, alpha rub-ons, or word stamps you want to use in your layout or card?

“Bite 5”:

Gather your essential items. Papers, photos, rubber stamps, inks, and letters. Leave all the fancy items for now.

Think of this process as baking a cake. You wouldn’t clutter your countertop with the baking ingredients and cake decorating bags, piping tips, sugar flowers, measuring cups and spoons, and other stuff.

Just the the necessary items to get the cake started. The actual decorating will come later – after the cake has cooled.

Start the process by placing your photos on the paper you have chosen for your layout. You need to see how many of your photos you really want to use.

If you are making a card, you have to decide how big the finished size will be. Go bigger because the stamp you have chosen is large or go medium for a grouping of smaller stamps.

“Bite 6”:

Which photo or stamped image do you want to be the focal point?

This is where the switch-a-roo usually happens. Background paper change, alignment of title block, extra background mat for your stamped image, or even discard the image in favor of one that you like better.





“Bite 7”:

When you have your elements laid out the way you like them it is time to “assemble your cake” using the adhesive(s) of your choice.


While you are in the learning stage take pictures of your compositions. You will have easy reference to placement once you remove everything and are faced with a blank slate. Don’t need to give yourself creative block just after your inspiration too flight 🙂


“Bite 8”:

Now it is time to decorate your cake 🙂


I’ve added just a bit of Liquid Pearls to the flower petals. Now it needs to dry before I attach them to my card front.

If I don’t like the looks of these flowers on the card I can put them away for something else, a different project. They won’t be wasted.



Now, your project is nearly finished. Add a sentiment to the inside of your card and a place to write a note.


That is how you “Eat an elephant”.

Perfectionism is disastrous to your creativity. Fingerprints and glue spots can be covered over with an embellishment. Be kind to yourself as you learn this craft.

Remember this over everything else. A mistake is an opportunity to learn from not a club to beat yourself with.

This is art and you are expressing your heart and soul. You are learning about yourself and what you have inside you 🙂 to give to someone else.


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