New series of card making tutorials using graduated dies.

One of my YouTube subscribers posed a question:  “Which dies are the best to purchase for the first time?”  She was getting a brand new die cutting machine for Christmas and needed guidance.  At the end of this post you can watch the video I made to answer her question.

Choosing dies is a very, no let me emphasize this better, EXTREMELY difficult thing to do.  The paper crafting market is flooded with choices.

  • Stamp and die sets.  Matching dies to cut out stamped images
  • Multi layer dies for 2 dimension creativity (Tim Holtz “Old Jalopy” die)
  • Nested or Graduated dies (Spellbinder)
  • Thick steel ruled dies (Sizzix)
  • Acid etched dies (Sizzlits) with a low profile
  • Wafer thin dies which require a magnetic platform

The list goes on and on.

For the next couple of weeks I am going to be featuring ONE nested die set by Spellbinders titled “Blossom” to demonstrate the many ways to use graduated dies.  Yesterday’s card tutorial was for this card.

OWH Card Sketch #77

OWH Card Sketch #77

Tomorrow’s video will feature this same die set from Spellbinders – Blossom – to make this card.

Original card design

Original card design

So for anyone that is considering purchasing dies for the first time, I hope this video is helpful.


A night spent “Building Shelves”

A back story is necessary here. Once you know what I mean about “building shelves” you will be able to relate totally to my inability to get a simple card created last night. Without further ado, here is the back story.

My husband, Joe, and his best friend, Cliff, were building and installing shelves in Joe’s airplane hangar the winter of 1972.

These two guys are construction savvy. They have the tools and the knowledge to restore old homes or build additions on newer homes.

This one cold night, working in a heated hangar, nothing was going right. Boards were cut too short, shelf supports were not level, thumbs were whanged by the hammer head instead of the nails. Measuring devices thwarted all their efforts to get the boards marked the preferred length. Levels used to install the shelf brackets gave off false readings.

In short these two men were too tired from their day jobs to focus on the task at hand. Four hours of work to construct and hang three shelves proved to be a four hours of totally wasted effort. Both men went home with their tails between their legs and heads hung low. Both questioning their sanity.

The next day dawned brightly, as did the two men. After a good nights sleep they tackled the shelves once again and had them perfectly constructed and hung level in 45 minutes.

The quip used in our home now when things go wrong for no apparent reason is “I was/am building shelves.”

Upon arriving at our hotel room, yesterday afternoon, in Nashville, Tennessee I got out my card making supplies and started creating a card featuring another sticker.

My intent was to use the scraps I’ve accumulated thus far and make a colorful base to feature the sticker. One thing lead to another. Each addition compounded the distraction factor of the rest. The papers seemed to me to be having a war with each other.


Putting the failing creation aside I decided to apply some Glossy accents to the saying portion of the sticker. Do something else since the rest is falling apart.


We left the hotel in search of a restaurant for dinner. Upon arriving back at the hotel I began putting my supplies and tools away. Joe asked, a little surprised, “You putting your stuff away? It is only 7!” My answer to Joe was “I’m building shelves.”

Looking at the card base I was less than thrilled with the results. Joe came over to take a look and then he brightly chirped “Turn it this way. The spacial orientation is off the other way.”

This is the card front Joe was referring to.


This is Joe’s insight. I have to admit it works.


Now you know what “building shelves” means.


Free stickers from scrapbook or card making magazines.

Last spring I was in Barnes and Nobel booksellers with Joe. While he hunted and gathered his reading materials I looked at the selection of magazines for paper crafting. One I purchased had some stickers inside, like the Cracker Jack surprise in the box. I wasn’t all that impressed with them and stuffed them away in a cupboard in my craft room.


In my attempt to keep my portable crafting kits down to a minimum I have been trying to see how creative I can be with just a few items. This time my card kits were put together with the stickers being the main feature. The card insides are blank. A light colored off white piece of card stock is attached inside so the person sending the card has room to write.

I attached the stickers to colored card stock then found papers and other card stock to use as the base, mats, and decoration.


I created two cards tonight in the hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. The first I used some Stampin’ Up! decorative paper, colored card stock also from Stampin’ Up!, some Liquid Pearls for a bit of texture, a bit of bling with some tear drop rhinestones, and I doodled in black ink around the sticker and the outer edge of the card stock the sticker was adhered to.


I forgot to mention I used a Martha Stewart punch to add a bit of lacy trim.

My second card was quick. I used a Cuttlebug embossing folder to impress a filigreed frame to go behind a sticker that I fussy cut around to show a smidgen of the card stock it was attached to.


That is all I created today. I do have to say that stickers can be useful on cards. Takes a bit of thought since my stash is pretty minimal. More so since I forgot to add ribbon to the kits. Drat.


Puffy scrapbook stickers can be used on cards.

Puffy stickers, sometimes called dimensional stickers, can be found at your local craft/hobby stores and at online sellers. The stickers I have used on this Father’s Day card are made by Recollections and can be found at Michaels.


The stickers come on an acetate sheet.


These stickers are die cut and embossed vinyl. They can be used on a scrapbook layout as emphasis, or embellishments, for photos of a fishing trip taken by the family over the summer.

The brown matted squares are: 2″ x 2″ and 2-1/4″ x 2-1/4″. The long brown piece is 1-1/2″ x 4″. I’ve used the Tim Holtz “Chitchat” word stickers to create the words “For My Father” since I have not brought any rubber stamps with me.

This is the final Father’s Day card in the kit I put together a couple weeks ago. My next set of cards will be “Love” cards that can be used as Valentines or just to convey a message of love to someone. Hopefully I will have one ready tomorrow night when we stop somewhere on the highway.

Look through your stash of stickers. How can you use them other than in layouts?