simple and easy

I can’t believe it has been over a year since my last post.  Not a day has gone by since then that I haven’t thought about this blog.  I am not giving up on being creative, not by a long shot, just life sometimes takes over. During my time away I have been putting some thought into what I want to accomplish  with my creativity.  I would love to eventually have my own online store where I can sell handmade cards.  So I’d like to reach out to readers and conduct some market research. I have brain stormed some questions that hopefully will aid me in the process of finding out who my target market is and what they look for in handmade goods. Below are my first two inquiries and I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Do you give or send cards to family and friends throughout the year?

If so, what holidays or special occasions do you find you give cards for?

In the meantime, I’d like to share a card I just recently made for my dad for Father’s Day. I have been putting thought into my card making process.  I feel it is important to be able to create simple and beautiful cards within a manageable time frame. Especially, since I want to be able to produce large quantities to sell online.  This has given me the opportunity to venture into some new stamps and techniques that create simple and easy cards.

While looking for inspiring ideas I came across several companies that have stamps that allow you to layer colors.  This cute stamp set, Hero Arts Color Layering Goldfish is so amazingly simple and fun to use.  There are endless possibilities with this stamp set and it also has a coordinating die and ink set that is sold separately or as a bundle.

I used white cardstock cut slightly smaller than the card itself as my design area. Using a circle die cut, I created a peak-a-boo window and layered with embossed cardstick with a bubble texture for extra interest.  Quick tip, use a white marker to highlight details on your embossed design to add more dimension. The key to working with the layering stamps is a Misti by My Sweet Petunia or the Tim Holtz Stamping Platform by Tonic Studios. You will want to be able to keep your image in one place and line up each of the stamp layers before you ink.  I also experimented with different types of ink. Archival or permanent ink worked the best for me.  To finish up, add your sentiment, fussy cut or die cut your stamped images and adhere with 3D foam tape for added effect.

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summer vacation


Hi again!! I have to say my Summer of Creativity with Tim Holtz is making me nostalgic.  I really enjoyed summer vacation as a child, late summer nights outside, ridding bikes till it was dark, coloring outside on a blanket, if I would have had to take summer classes I would have been heartbroken.  Fast forward to today… If someone told me I could take the summer off from being an adult but I had to take some type of summer class, Creative Chemistry would be the class. I really find this experience so enjoyable, I just wish I had more time to dedicate to it. I’m a little behind on my lessons but I’ll catch up.  Here’s what I have been up to for weeks 4-6.  For more details head on over to or check out Tim Holtz at


Remember, breathe create relax! mj

summer of learning


Summer is finally here.  Even though it announces the time for more events and responsibilities that take me away from my studio, I am pleased to say that I have decided to take part in a wonderful learning opportunity.  Tim Holtz Summer of Creative Chemistry has just recently been announced and the first online class started this past week, Wednesday, June 1.  I had started Creative Chemistry 101 on my own, following along at my own pace late last fall, but I was so excited to hear about Creative Chemistry 103 and the inspiration to create every week that I have started all over again.  Head on over to to get all the details.  It doesn’t matter if you are a returning student or new.  Creative Chemistry 101 is going on now, followed by 102.  And just when you think it can’t get any better, Creative Chemistry 103.  Let’s face it, Tim has great new products out and I am ready to be inspired to create.  The student gallery has been reopened for the duration of Creative Chemistry to share our work and chances to win great Distress products.

Below are my examples from Day 2 Distress Ink Intro, Creative Chemistry 101. From left to right, Blended Spritz and Flick Technique, Brushless Watercolor Technique and Wrinkle-Free Distress Technique.  It’s not to late to join in the fun. And it’s never to late to breathe create relax. mj



blog neglect


Hello Everyone!

I am so sorry to have abandoned the blog.  Actually, I am more ashamed. It was never my intention to let so much time go by without a post.  Life just kinda came in and demanded my attention.  Nothing out of the norm, just the usual day-to-day activities, but it left me without much time to blog.  Also, I think I was in a bit of a creative rut.  I was still spending time being creative, I have accepted that I always need to make time for that, but I found myself struggling for ideas. Then again, maybe it was too many ideas that was the problem and I didn’t know what to work on.

I was very fortunate early this fall to take a class with the lovely Dyan Reaveley.  It was a full day hands on art journaling class hosted by Scrappy Chic.  Up until this class I had never had my hands on any of her wonderful paints, sprays and stencils, but minutes into this class I was hooked.  For someone who has always colored within the lines, spent more energy trying NOT to make a mess and has had to teach themselves how to let go of control, this was just the outlet I needed.

Class Photo

lovely lady, lovely class

Art Journal 4

take a peak at my large Dylusions Creative Journal

Of course the class expanded on the want for more products, products that have since been added to wish lists, but it was more than that.  It was a new way of looking at what inspires me and where my interests lie.  We received the Dylusions small creative journal as part of our class tuition and even though we used it throughout the class, I still came home with pages left for experimenting.  I have now added this journal to my creative process.  It sits in my Ikea Raskog utility cart and when I have extra paints or stains left over on stamps, stencils, baby wipes, etc, it is the perfect spot to deposit those colors.  It’s really an ingenious way of multitasking.  By cleaning off your colors onto the journal pages you are creating backgrounds for future journaling pages.  It’s simple really, but something that helped to make Art Journal 3journalling easier and more effortless.  I have also picked up the large Dylusions creative journal and have started to play with paints, sprays, stains and stencils.  One day I may just create backgrounds, another day I doodle.  Dyan stated in class that this is how she works and it just made sense to me.  I had always seen beautiful examples of journaling but really didn’t know where to start.  My mind saw one page from start to finish instead of moments of creativity spread over time.  I really am enjoying this new aspect of my creativity.
Art Journal 1

The other thing I picked up from the class was getting back to drawing.  I have never been one to be able to sit and sketch life-like drawings, but I do enjoy simple line sketches.  I fell in love with Dyan’s Dylusions Stamps.  They evoke a feeling of happiness and make me smile.  With her quirky doodles and funky characters, I was inspired to begin to draw again.  Because I enjoy simple sketches, I was then lead to Manga.  Manga is Japanese for comics and cartooning.  Unfortunately, this also lead to the discovery of Copic Markers.  Can you see how my wish lists exploded after just one class?

Manga Eyes

I haven’t given up on card making, in fact my next project is to begin Christmas cards.  I just have been excited to try some new ideas and push myself to discover new things.  With the holiday season upon us, don’t forget to breathe create relax. mj



discover imagination

I have four nephews who I love to make birthday cards for.  Each one has a different personality and it’s fun to put card ideas together for them.  When I went to the Great Lakes Mega Meet earlier this spring, it was on my mind to find some great stamps that I could use for creating masculine cards.  The Stampers Anonymous, Tim Holtz Robot Blueprints was one of the first in my hand.

discover imagination

discover imagination

For this card I was all about creating colors and textures that were inspired by metallics and robotics.  To start, my ever trusty Strathmore Bristol 300 Paper was cut using my Vagabond by Sizzix with the Lawn Fawn Custom Craft Dies in Large Stitched Square Stackables.  (this was also a Mega Meet purchase and one that I have used many times already) The largest die cut in the collection makes an excellent size for any of the Tim Holtz Blueprint stamps.  One of the techniques I saw demonstrated at the Mega Meet by Tim Holtz was the use of Distress Spray Stains to create an intense background.  Now for this card I didn’t use any spray stain, I have only begun to gather together my supply of spray stains. I actually used Distress Paint and Distress Stain in Brushed Pewter to create my background color. First I applied the paint, dried with my Craft Tool and then applied the Distress Stain.  Once dried, I used Ranger’s Mini Ink Blending Tool to “smudge” Distress Ink in Black Soot.  I was excited by the intensity I created by layering the products over one another, very similar to how I saw Tim work with the Distress Spray Stains.  While this dried, I picked my robot image and stamped it on a clean piece of Bristol.  This image I colored featuring various Distress Markers.

Now back to my dried, Distress Pewter, cut piece of Bristol.  I wanted to create a “worn” look. Using the Distress Sprayer, I spritzed the paper to create water marks, dabbing with a clean rag for extra wear.  To create the effect of grease splatters I used the Distress Spritzer with Black Soot and again with Gathered Twigs.  Once dried, I used Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black to stamp the same robot blueprint onto my distressed background.  This technique allows for the details in the blueprint sketch to be seen on your background.  Remember how I stamped my image on a clean piece of Bristol and used Distress Markers to add color?  I fussy cut my robot image omitting the detailed lines, this cut out image has more intensity because it was colored on clean Bristol and I glued that over top of the same image I stamped in Archival Ink on my worn background.  With this technique you can add dimension to your image by layering the same stamped image over each other. For this card, the only area I wanted to “pop up” was the gear. To do that, I stamped the same robot image again, for the third time, but only cut out the gear in the center of the robot.  I used the same color Distress Marker as I did in my other image but this time added a 3D foam square and a Mini Gear from Tim Holtz Ideology, creating my own custom embellishment.

To finish the card I used silver metallic card stock and embossed it with the Tim Holtz Riveted Metal Texture Fade by Sizzix, added a few eyelets for a more industrial feel and attached to black cardstock.  I hope you make time to breathe create relax. mj

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after work activities

It’s Thursday night and my energy level is up because tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!!! I’m spending time in the studio learning new techniques and getting inspiration for some up coming projects.  I love learning.  There is something empowering about it.  Perhaps it’s because you are adding knowledge to that rolodex of information you keep stored in your noggin or your one step closer to answering all the questions on Jeopardy.  Whatever it is, there is positivity and strength that comes from a new skill or new knowledge.  It’s so nice to breathe create relax.  mj


catch up

Hello everyone!!!! I am so sorry to have gone off the blog for so long.  It was never my intention to let so much time go by.  I have found it difficult to find the time to blog with all the summer activities.  But I’m here today to catch you up.  I really have missed blogging and connecting with other bloggers and I hope you are still there?

Balance in life is very important to me.  I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been easy this summer to find the right amount of time between work, personal, home and creative time.  I have managed to find time to be creative but I have really been working on getting in shape and training for a half marathon.  I’ve done half marathons before but I wanted to be in better shape.  Balance for me comes when I find a routine.  I wish I could be one of those people who can fly by the seat of their pants, but that’s not me.  One way to get into better shape is for physical activity to become a routine, so I have been focusing on making it part of my morning routine.  This has led to less anxiety and stress and little by little I am starting to feel the balance returning. It’s not to say I don’t have my days, but I am feeling better and my passion for creativity is even stronger.  I want to make my creative time and blog just as much a routine as my training.

To catch up on the creative side, let’s go back to Mother’s Day.  I think that is where I last left off?  Like most of the cards I make, I always keep the person in mind that I am creating the card for.  Mother’s Day was no exception.  My mom loves birds, the color blue and pretty feminine touches.  Here is the card I created for her.  This card features stamping designs on both scrapbook paper and vellum.  The part of the card making process that takes me the longest is the overall design of the card.  I will lay out papers, colors, stamps and embellishments until an idea starts to form in my mind.  The following pictures are a glimpse into my creative process.

Picking paper

Picking paper

Choosing stamps and embellishments

Choosing stamps and embellishments

Stamping design

Stamping design

When I stamped the feather image on the music scrapbook paper I first used Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black. I next stamped the same image without re-inking my stamp and overlaying it at a different angle.  This produced a worn stamped look that I then colored in by re-inking the feather stamp with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Evergreen Bough and placing directly over top of my already stamped image.

Pauline Card 2015

My husband’s mom and I both love pink and girlie and so I opted for a more modern looking card for her. I love using sequins in shaker cards but for this design I wanted to use them to add some sparkle.  I  also found this wonderful bag of confetti at Michaels, it has an assortment of shapes and themes in it, from Christmas angels to baby bottles.  In the bag were these iridescent butterflies.  The foil material that the shapes are cut from made it easy to fold the wings to add movement before gluing them to the card.

Cindy Card 2015

It was fun to make two cards that had a completely different look and feel.  As I put together this post I am excited to say I have more cards coming up to share.  Thank you for staying with me and thank you for your patience while I figure out how to breathe create relax. mj

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