Inchie Graduation Cards and more

I’ve had four graduations to celebrate recently. Two from high school and two from college. I decided to create cards for them that had similar basic elements. All of the cards included small tags cut with a Sizzix die and stamped with “inchie” images. Inchies are 1″ by 1″ images and there are some great stamp sets available from Inkadinkadoo.

My niece Jenny graduated from Glen Burnie High School and will be attending the University of Maryland, studying architecture. I used paper with a blueprint design for the background. The silk leaves were stamped with a large script stamp using Stazon ink.









Our neighbor’s daughter, Maggie, graduated from Temple University. Maggie’s major was music, so that’s the design for the background. I also used stamped leaves on her card.










My nephews also graduated, Kyle from Lindbergh high school,







and Craig from Harvey Mudd College.







Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were also recent celebrations.

Mom’s card was made using silk flowers and leaves that I stamped on.  The flower centers were orange buttons from my stash, stamped with a flower image.

I made the hummingbirds by punching the shapes out of aluminum from soda cans, then coloring them with Ranger’s alcohol inks. I used a Fiskar’s punch – I love how easily they cut through the metal.


Here’s a close up of the hummingbirds. I wanted them to look like they were flying, so I used a bit of silver colored beading wire and coiled it around a pencil.  I attached the wire to the back of the birds with a glue dot and used another to attach the other end of the wire under the border.



Dad’s card for Father’s day this year fell upon a familiar theme for cards I make for my dad. Frogs just somehow show up in them. The letters are from Tim Holtz’s grungeboard alphabet, colored with distress inks.  The dragonflys are stamped with Ranger’s distress inks onto scraps of handmade paper, then cut out and mounted with tiny bits of foam.


Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I enjoyed making them.

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Oh Rats!

I like rats.  I really do.  Not the wild ones that overpopulate DC and other urban areas and cause both men and women to shriek out loud and climb on chairs.  But I like pet rats and I adore a well made stuffed rat.
I purchased a rat made by Out of the Woods Originals at a bear show several years ago.  One became two, then three and I had a mini collection.  Then I wanted to design and create my own rat.

My first attempt was pretty good until I got a look at the body shape.  What is that?

Kind of triangular there, maybe?  This is where the sketch doesn’t quite translate into what I had in mind.  I made a few changes to the body pattern and I had Edgar.  (Edgar now lives with a collector in CA.)

Much better.  Rounded belly, not triangular.  Adding some depth with color around the eyes and ears helps with defining the character.  Oh, and the hat  – well, the hat makes the rat!

But in the back of my mind, there was one rat still not created.  My sister Tricia wanted a rat in red sneakers.  She had a name for him to0 – Vermincelli.  A gourmand of a rat, if you will.  But finding red sneakers to fit a rat isn’t easy and the project seemed to be continually on hold.  Until the past January, when I walked down an aisle at IDEX in Orlando and saw a pair of small red sneakers.  Made by Jaime Show for a 16″ fashion doll, I wondered if they might really work. Back home in the studio, I pulled out the patterns for the rat.  Now, Edgar was about 11″ tall – and the feet were way too big for these shoes.  So, back to the drawing board to design a smaller rat.

Yes, I think that will work just fine.  And maybe a few props for the photo shoot? Tricia is quite pleased with her rat.

The rats continue to multiply, as rats will do.  The newest is Nigel, a rat who is rather pleasant, as rats go.  He is a small rat, about 7″ tall.  He will soon be available in my etsy store.

And that, as they say, is that.



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Another Successful Surgery

Another patient came into the shop last week, from the same owner as the Character bear I recently repaired. This one was a much older bear that had belonged to his great aunt. It had sat in a drawer for over thirty years, waiting to be brought out, repaired and loved.

His major ailment was that his left leg had become detached from his body.  His fur was wearing in places and his stuffing was sagging some, but otherwise he was in great shape for a bear that had belonged to a child born at the turn of the last century.

In order to determine why the leg had come off and to reattach it to the body, I carefully opened up the back seam of the bear along the original closure.

Then I opened up the top of the leg.  I found that the jointing system consisted of hardboard discs and a large heavy duty brad.  The disc in the leg had broken, allowing the end of the brad to work its way out of the leg.

I replaced the original discs with new ones, inserted the brad into the disc and inserted that into the leg, then closed up the top seam.

Then I realigned the leg with the body, attached another disc inside the body and refastened the brad legs to hold the leg securely on. I closed up the back seam, repaired a few small holes in other seams, and added a few stitches to his one ear that was a little wobbly  I think he feels much better now.

I don’t believe he will have to live in a drawer anymore. Maybe he can hang out with the 1950’s Character bear and both will be handed down to family members in the future.

His shoe-button eyes have the look of an old soul and I won’t forget how much I enjoyed his company while he was with me. Do you have an old bear story? I’d love to hear it.

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Oops I used it again

I have too many rubber stamps to count – probably several hundred if not over a thousand.  So I really should be able to stamp for many years and never use the same stamp twice.  But as I looked over my card designs from the last few years, I found a few stamps did get used more than once.

Sometimes this is intentional when I want to convey a similar message.  My nephews Craig, James and Kyle are all very bright and are older now, so the cars, animals and robot themes seem a bit juvenile for them.  In 2009, when I was working on a batch of birthday cards, I came across an unmounted set of stamps I had picked up with an Einstein theme.  Perfect for these boys.  Here are two cards, one for James and one for Kyle  – with slight differences:

When my nephew Jacob was little, I called him Jake-a-bug. The Bugs & Kisses set from Stampin Up was perfect for his card:

Later, when I wanted a tongue-in-cheek “you bug me” card for my brother, I used the same set:

(And yes, inside I told him I loved him anyway).

Other times, I don’t realize until later that I had used the same stamp. Here are two birthday cards using the Stampin Up Tickled Pink set:

Another Stampin Up set – Ancient Art – provided the perfect theme for Susan’s card, as she likes southwestern art:

Then, when my niece Caitlin graduated from high school – the kokopelli stamp from that set seemed just right to convey the celebratory theme:

For get well and sympathy cards, I found I kept using the same teddy bear stamp from PSX – he has just the right expression on his face:

But the funniest coincidence happened earlier this year.  I was working on birthday and anniversary cards for a family reunion.  Many extended family members were celebrating milestone birthdays and there were anniversaries celebrating 20, 25, and 55 years.  I created this card for Susan and Dave’s 25th anniversary using the shore birds from Stampin Up’s Shore Thing:

Not until I was adding the picture of that card to my portfolio did I realize I had used the stamp for her birthday card two years earlier!

Wonder if she noticed?


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Undoing a Decapitation

Owning and running a teddy bear store, I often get asked about bear repairs. I always say that I need to see the patient before I can determine if I can do the repair. Recently a vintage Character bear came to me in this condition:

Poor thing. His owner stated that he had pulled of the head as a child – so this little guy has lived like this for way too many years. After taking the bear to my “operating room” I opened the back seam and gently removed the old stuffing. The head joint was two cardboard discs connected by a thick nail that had been curled at the end. Out came the heavy duty wire cutters and the joint was cut. The decapitation had created stress on the front seam of the bear, so I stitched that up first, then turned my attention to reattaching the head. A new hardboard disc with cotter pin and washer was inserted, the neck seam gathered and the pin placed back into the neck of the bear. Another hardboard disc and washer were threaded on and a turn of the pliers secured the joint. Years after a young boy yanked on his bear in anger, that bear’s head was reunited with his body. Replacing the stuffing and closing the back seam completed the operation. I get the feeling he’s a much happier bear now:


Teddy bear decapitations are not uncommon, as the necks are often just gathered threads that will wear and break with time, but this poor thing had his unfortunate accident when he was almost brand new.  Thankfully, these are also fairly simple for a skilled teddy bear artist or restorer to repair.  Hopefully with an older and wiser owner, he will have a long and huggable future.

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Happy Birthday Tim!

Today is my youngest sibling (and only brother)’s birthday.  He is 10 years younger than me and he was a marine biologist for many years.  Many of the cards I do for him have an oceanic theme.  Here is this year’s:

The stamps are from Fiskar’s Heidi Grace line called Beyond the Sea.  I used a premade blank notecard of handmade paper and stamped the corals in several of Ranger’s Distress Inks – Weathered Wood, Peeled Paint, Dusty Concord, Orange Marmalade and Fired Brick.  The jellyfish were stamped with Tsukineko’s StazOn solvent ink onto scraps of clear acetate packaging.  I then carefully cut them out and attached them to the card using Zot’s small clear adhesive dots.

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Happy Birthday James!

Today is my nephew James’ birthday. Here is the card I made for him:

The stamps are from Fiskars Island Fun Clear Stamps Set, they were stamped using Ranger’s Distress Ink Pads by Tim Holtz.  I used Weathered Wood, Fired Brick and Dusty Concord for the Tikis, and Peeled Paint for the leaf border.


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Rediscovering a childhood friend

I grew up in a family of 7 girls and 1 boy, the boy being the youngest child.  I was the 6th girl and, as in many large families, we shared lots of our toys.  I recently found one thing I remembered from my childhood, the Penny Brite Doll. Although showing a bit of wear (she was played with quite often), she still retains her charm.

Penny was made by the Deluxe Reading Co in the early 1960’s.  I had one and several of my sisters also had one, but I can’t remember if all of us did.  We did have a few of the outfits made for Penny Brite, but could not afford multiples of them or all that were available.

Still around are these three – Smart Shopper,  Sunday Best, and Velvet Princess .  Unfortunately most of her accessories for these outfits and all of her shoes have been lost.

Thankfully, we were blessed with a Great Aunt Gussie that could knit and crochet and sew.  Quite a few outfits were made and remarkably have survived.

These knit sets included a top, sweater, skirt and hat.  The sweater and hat have been lost on the cream set.  There was a red set as well, but it hasn’t survived as well and is unwearable.

These cute hooded sweaters and pants were also knitted. There is another set, in a red variegated yarn, but it also has suffered a bit of damage over the years.

The little swimsuit and romper are also knit. My sister remembers a different romper, with a blue stripe, but I fear it has been lost.

Knit and crocheted dresses – I remember the bright pink one in the middle, but I don’t know why. Maybe it was mine, maybe I dressed her in it more.

Flannel nightgown and pajamas set. There are two other nightgowns, one also has a matching pjs set. I love the little buttons with loop closures on the pj top.

Dresses and a nightgown from various fabrics.

I think these dresses were made by us girls, as they are sewn by hand and rather crudely done. The pattern is very simple and the one has simple hand embroidery. There are 3 other dresses like this as well. I don’t remember personally making any of these, and I might have been too young. I do remember that we had access to fabric scraps and I remember making pillows and other things for dolls.

Penny Brite dolls have now become collectible but are relatively easy to find.  A few years ago, new Penny Brite dolls were introduced by Charisma Brands.  You can purchase new Penny Brites in copies of the original outfits or character dolls like Tinkerbell and Alice in Wonderland.

It’s funny, I remember more about playing with toy animals, trolls and cars and trucks in the backyard than I remember about playing with Penny, but she still holds a warm place in my heart.  I guess that’s why she’s been kept all these years, with smile and dimples in place, just waiting to be brought out and loved again.


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Happy Birthday Mary!

Yesterday was my oldest sister Mary’s birthday.  Here is the card I made for her:

mary card 2011

The butterfly is an Inkadinkado clear stamp, the circle is a Martha Stewart punch.  Both were embossed with Ranger’s Antiquities Cobalt embossing powder.


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Hello world!

Well, I’ve joined the crowd and decided to start a blog.  I’ll be sharing here about my crafting projects (or crafting disasters) and my adventures in thrift shopping, as well as other topics from time to time.

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