Saturday, July 23, 2016

A little primer on stamp pad ink

Good hazy, hot Friday from here in southeastern Pennsylvania, where today we're having a typical July day ... temperatures in the 90's, with humidity level to match. It feels like an oven out there!

So it's time for some indoor catch-up here on the blog. I apologize for neglecting this spot. Life just gets in the way of spending time in my Paper Jungle. And besides, my "Jungle" (the craft room) is my house's entire upstairs, and while it's air conditioned the best as it can be, it's directly under the heat of the summer sun, all day.

Today I'd like to give a little lesson here in the CardMonkey's Stamp Camp about inks. That is, stamp pads or ink pads and the differences in each. 

As my followers know, I'm a Close To My Heart (CTMH) independent consultant, and as such, sell what I've come to learn are some of the finest stamping inks around.  The majority of the Exclusive Inks sold by CTMH are water-based dye inks, that are currently available in 42 different colors.  Each ink color has a matching pigment ink, as well as a matching solid cardstock.  We also sell Tsukineko Versamark, Memento and StazOn inks, and also have a CTMH Exclusive Ink in black that is an archival solvent-based ink.

Let me show you a chart I've made that shows you which products have which properties:

CTMH has provided its Consultants with great descriptions of each kind of ink, which I'll share below:

Dye Ink: Dye inks have a soft look. They absorb directly into the paper, allowing them to blend easily with the material. For example, if you stamp a yellow dye-based ink onto bright blue paper, the stamped image will appear green. Dye inks are popular primarily because they dry quickly and blend easily.

Pigment Ink: Pigment inks “settle” on the top of paper instead of soaking into it. This is why Close To My Heart currently offers White Daisy and Colonial White as pigment-based inks, since this property allows those pale colors to appear opaque on colored or bright papers. (Depending on how thickly you apply the pigment ink to your project, it may take a few stampings to get a solid, true color.) Pigment inks also take longer to dry than dye inks and may require heat setting.

Water-based Ink: Water-based inks (also called aqueous inks) are inks that dissolve in water and are therefore excellent to use in watercolor projects (if you want the colors to blend). Water-based inks can be blended easily with a blending pen. 
Did you know that CTMH sells a beautiful set of watercolor paints,
along with a perfect set of watercolor brushes, and watercolor paper too?
My own note:  I have found that when watercoloring, it is best to use a waterproof alcohol-based archival ink such as Ranger's Archival Ink stamp pad, which is acid-free, permanent and waterproof. When using this stamp pad, be sure to promptly clean your stamp, as this ink will stain your acrylic stamp. The alcohol base dries very quickly!

Solvent-based Ink: Solvent-based inks are inks that dissolve in solvent. Solvent-based inks separate from water just like oil does, so these inks are best used for creating an image that you do not want to be ruined by watercoloring.

My own note:  When I trained with Copic's (markers) top instructors and received my Intermediate certification, staff warned that we should NOT use solvent-based stamp pads if we intended to use alcohol- based markers like Copic or ShinHan Touch Twin. The reasoning is this: When your alcohol marker touches or glides over a line or image stamped in solvent-based ink, the ink from the image is dissolved and transfers onto the nib of your marker, where it will permanently rest, causing that off-color to muddy your subsequent coloring. It "ruins" your marker, and you'll have to replace it, or its nib. I have found that it is best to use Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black stamp pad if you intend to color your image with alcohol-based markers.

Alcohol-based Ink: Alcohol-based inks work incredibly well for projects where you need to blend colors. The ink itself penetrates the fibers of the paper and dries quickly. This level of absorption allows for beautiful blending; colors will seep into the paper and mix slightly with neighboring colors, whether they are side-by-side or layered on top of one another. A smooth color transition takes place where they come in contact with each other, providing a smooth, even look.

Adding layers of alcohol-based ink deepens and intensifies colors. Even when the coloring is vivid, the layering remains smooth.  Water-based inks are easy to blend, but can create a streaked or diluted look.  In contrast, alcohol-based inks blend completely so there is no streaking.

I hope this little primer on inks is helpful to you in making a good impression on your paper crafts. Please contact me if I can be of further help in selecting the perfect medium for your project.  I can be reached by leaving a comment on this blog, or via e-mail to  Thank you!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Disney-Pixar Blog Hop - June 4: Craft happy things to make before your next Disney trip!

Welcome to the Original Disney Pixar Blog Hop, June 2016!  

Disney and crafting are a magical combination, and we are so happy you joined us to day for this blog hop.

Some of the crafters (including me!) participating in this event have been doing this together since 2011!  Over the years, the hop has grown but one thing has always stayed the same: amazing crafting projects that feature your favorite characters from Disney and Pixar movies.

For 2016,  we are going to have a hop every other month for the entire year!  If you missed the one of the hops we already had this year, you can still go back and see the projects.  For February click HERE and for April click HERE.  

If you are on Facebook you can like the group page so that you can be the first to learn about each upcoming event. Just click HERE to go to the Facebook page.

To make sure you don't miss any of the fun, be sure to start at Shawn's blog to see all of the projects.  Just click HERE to head over to her blog and then follow the hop line up at the bottom of the post to see everyone's projects.

Here are my projects for today's hop:
My daughter Emily, her husband Josh and their adorable kids Charlotte (5) and Evan (2) went to Disney World a few weeks ago -- gasp! Without me!!  (That's okay -- my ex-husband, Emily's dad, took their family. For some reason, he didn't agree to pay for me!! :O) 

Emily asked if I'd help make some projects for their family.  

First up, a "Countdown to Disney" chain that Emily had found on Pinterest, shown at right. 

I modified it a bit -- putting feet on the yellow "body" part of Mickey's resemblance. I designed the cuts using Silhouette Cameo's software, and made 7 full Mickeys (four weeks' worth).  Every day, one of the kids pulled a piece of the chain to show them that their trip was nearing. They were sooooo excited!

Next, Emily wanted me to make autograph pillow cases for the kids -- another idea she found on Pinterest.  (She neeeeeds to stay off Pinterest!!!  LOL)

Using my Cricut Explore, I downloaded files from the Mickey & Friends cartridge, using Cricut Design Space, and modified the castle to weld in a solid space (where there was a drawbridge/door) and replace it with Mickey ears. I also put the kids' names into the design.

I cut the designs from Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) that I'd purchased from US Cutter. I had never done a vinyl/iron-on project before, and it was easy-peasy. The vinyl cut like butter, and ironed onto standard pillow-cases very easily. 

The pillow cases were a HIT with the Disney characters. See here how they signed each kid's linen, using fabric markers that Emily bought:

Here's Jasmine (left) and Aladdin, with Emily and Charlotte.
(If you're wondering, Emily borrowed two laminated laptop boards from me, and wrapped/moved the pillow cases as needed, to ease the signing by the characters. She held the pillow cases on with binder clips and a rubber band, and kept them in a large Ziploc bag to keep them from getting soiled between signatures.)

And Anna from Frozen thawed out enough to sign the kids' pillow cases. Charlotte is dressed as Tiana, from her visit to the Bippity Boppity Boo Boutique.

Evan took a real liking to Ariel from The Little Mermaid. 

...and Evan had a "thing" for Aurora too. 

Evan was back at the hotel, sick, and didn't 
get to meet Olaf, also from Frozen
It was just Dad (Josh) and Charlotte this time. 

I'm not sure how or if Evan liked Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, but he seems happy to have his autograph. 

And here are the signed pillow cases, after 
a week's worth of signatures:

Can you make out your favorites?

I hope you enjoyed these unconventional papercutting projects, as much as I enjoyed making them.

But wait, before you go, there's BLOG CANDY associated with this Hop:  We have a paper and sticker variety pack from Reminisce!  There was so much that Shawn could not get it all into the photo.  These papers will be perfect for your Disney crafting.

Make sure you enter, here:
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Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the hop! Your next stop along the way is Tammy.   The full blog hop line up is below.  

Ellen (you're here)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thinking of You Cards Featured at SJCA Class

Last week, we concluded another great year of monthly card classes at Scatter Joy Center for the Arts ( in Horsham, PA, with a four-card session featuring "Thinking of You" cards. In case you missed it, here are the four cards we made, with some details on creating these yourself.  All of the cards shown above are A2-sized (4.25" x 5.5"). 

1. "With Sympathy" (left):  On a raised white horizontal panel, crafters placed a 2" high strip of "Charlotte" Close To My Heart (CTMH) paper (now retired), and a pretty stripe of black with gold ribbon below. Each student stamped "Springtime Wishes" flowers and cut them out using coordinating "Thin Cuts" also from CTMH. The flowers were tinted using a sponge dauber dipped in CTMH Exclusive Inks stamp pads, using Sunset, Desert Sand, and Whisper inks. The flowers were adhered using a glue pen, although the top flower was pop-dotted. All of the flowers were embellished with gold glitter gems. One-inch banner-notched pieces in Charlotte (peach) and Daisy White (stamped "With Sympathy") were added to complete the card.

2.  "Wishing you a speedy recovery" (2nd left): Oh so cute!!  The A2 base card in Daisy White was layered with a denim print from a retired CTMH paper called "Claire". Once a Daisy White was stamped in black ink from the CTMH stamp set called "Kiss It Better", students embossed a small piece of CTMH Champagne paper, using a Cuttlebug Swiss Dot folder. That piece of paper was ripped, exposing CTMH's white core, and adhered to the white panel using CTMH foam tape. The white panel was wrapped in a sweet ribbon (this one from Really Reasonable Ribbon), and embellished with "band-aids" that had been cut using a Cricut, and stamped with "Kiss It Better"'s complimenting stamp, embellished with CTMH Enameled Hearts. 

3.  Apron card (2nd right): All of the pieces for this card were cut on my Silhouette Cameo, using a file from the Silhouette Online Store.  The base was cut from CTMH Kraft cardstock; the floral print paper is from Jillibean Soup; other solids are by CTMH.  The inside (not shown) is a solid Canary cardstock by CTMH, stamped with a new CTMH alphabet found on the stamp set called "Noted."  It reads: "What's cooking?"  

4.  "Keep Your Chin Up" (right): This card features a square flip-fold base, trimmed in CTMH Pear cardstock and highlighted with a retired favorite CTMH paper called "Chantilly."  The flowers and the bird were cut from the print pattern on the Chantilly paper. On the inside flip (not shown), the sentiment (also from the retired "Keep Your Chin Up" CTMH stamp set) says "It'll Be Okay."  The Tree of Life is also from the same stamp set; it is tipped in pink ShinHan Touch Twin marker (available from CTMH) and glitter gems.

We'll resume our class schedule at SJCA on Saturday, July 23, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a very special "Christmas in July" class/crop/gathering.  This will feature our annual "Holiday Smorgasbord" of kitted cards, specials and individual time to make your own holiday projects, whether cards or scrapbook layouts. Come prepared for Christmas music!   If you can't come all day, plan to stay for the class, from 10-12 a.m.  

In the "new year" of CardMonkey card classes, we're looking into establishing a "Third Thirsty Thursday" of BYOB (wine) cardmaking and socialization time in the evening, at SJCA.  More info on this to follow!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seasonal Expressions 2 Launches, with popular Flamingo Line!

Who's ready for a luau!?

Close To My Heart (CTMH) has launched its "Seasonal Expressions 2" catalog this month, and you can be among the first to see some of its really fun new products, including my favorite, the "Calypso" line of paper and embellishments.

First of all, to view the catalog in full, CLICK THIS LINK.

Now, as for Calypso and its associated products -- including the "Tickled Pink" stamp set and matching dies -- let me show you some of the cards I've made so far with these products OR within the "Flamingo" theme...

My favorite go-to for a fun card: a pop-up, using Tickled Pink stamp set
For this card, I used CTMH cotton candy cardstock, as well as the alphabet stamps
within the "Noted" stamp set.
This notecard incorporates lagoon and pixie cardstock with a Cricut cut.

LOVE these cupcake wrappers -- they're a Silhouette Online Store cut file, using
Cotton Candy and Pixie cardstocks.

At our Launch Party, CTMH Paper Jungle team member Anita Eavers (right)
shows future team member Patricia Clemmer goodies she loves in the new SE2 catalog.
Let me show you some of the CTMH products that would go perfectly with your Flamingo Luau:
Calypso paper pack!  ($9.95)

"Tickled Pink" stamp set - $13.95

Tickled Pink coordinating dies to cut shapes -- $13.95

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Disney-Pixar Blog Hop 2016.2

Welcome to the Disney Pixar Blog Hop!

Disney and crafting are a magical combination, and we are so happy you joined us to day for this blog hop.  

I am one of the crafters who, with the Hop's founder Shawn Mosch, has been participating in every one of these original Disney Pixar Blog Hops since 2011!  

Over the years the hop has grown but one thing has always stayed the same . . . amazing crafting projects that feature your favorite characters from Disney and Pixar movies.

For 2016 we are going to have a hop every other month for the entire year!  If you missed the one for February you can click HERE to go back and see all of those projects.  If you are on Facebook, you can like the group page so that you can be the first to learn about each upcoming event.  Just click HERE to go to the Facebook page.

To make sure you don't miss any of the fun, be sure to start at Shawn's blog to see all of the projects.  Just click HERE to head over to her blog and then follow the hop line-up at the bottom of the post to see everyone's projects.

Here is my project:

As my blog readers likely know by now, for the past three years, I have been an Independent Consultant with Close To My Heart. Every year since I've joined CTMH, their annual convention has been held on a Disney property, and this year is no exception ... we'll be in Walt Disney World in late June. So there has been overwhelming interest for CTMH to develop a line of products that has been Disney-inspired. 

Finallllllly, this May, that line will be introduced, and we Consultants have gotten an advance opportunity to play with the papers and embellishments.  From those advance snippets, I made this "Dream Catcher":

In the web of the Dream Catcher, I've caught some baubles and gems, representing some special dreams. The dangles have rolled paper beads, gems, findings and even a paper-cut feather, to help the dream catcher do its magic. Of course, Mickey Mouse is there to dream too; I cut him using the Cricut "Mickey and Friends" cartridge.

Here is the full "Magical" suite of CTMH products, that is available to customers beginning May 1.  If you'd like more information ahead of time, please don't hesitate to contact me at  When you'd like to order, I'd appreciate your business at

Before you go, make sure to enter to win our prize for this hop . . .

Buttons from Button Galore and a Cricut cartridge donated by Ellen CardMonkey Jarvis

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the hop!  Your next stop along the way is with TAMMY

The full blog hop line up is below.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Using "Picture My Life" Cards to Make ... Greeting Cards!

Let's admit it ... Every once in a while, we're stumped for ideas. We sit staring at our luscious supplies, and ... well, nothing...

When that happens, I take a break and do a little cleaning up around my craft room. It always needs it. That impulse quickly leaves (*thank goodness!*) when I come across some sort of paper or supply that is crying to be used. That occurred yesterday, when I came across an unopened stack of 56 Picture My Life "Love Your Selfie" cards from Close To My Heart. Here is what they look like:

Who could resist these colors and happy sayings?

My younger sister Mary Beth's birthday is tomorrow (yup, I know ... better late than never), so I combined that cute bubbles (far left) with the saying on the right to make this card:

Isn't this adorable (just like my seeester!) 

If you'd like to order yourself a set of Picture My Life cards shown above, here is the LINK. You can also order that cute Shimmer Trim and/or Sequins from CTMH.

Happy Birthday, Mary Beth!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cards from our Saturday Card Class at Scatter Joy Center for the Arts

As many of my "regulars" know, I have had the privilege of teaching card classes at Kathy Davis Studios since 2013, and for the past year at KDS's nonprofit off-shoot, the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, in Horsham, PA. 
Much as I am to be the "scatterer" of the joy as one of its many teachers, I also receive an incredible amount of joy in teaching such fun students, many of whom have become Regulars.  I love you all! 
Our most recent two-hour class was held on Saturday March 12 and we took on "Happy, Happy Birthday" cards that I designed.  Participants were able to finish four of these five, and will work on the fifth again at our next session, on Saturday, April 23.  Let me show you what (and how) we made each card:
The first card we took on was a "masculine card" with a complicated fold that's really easy to make:
The paper used is Close To My Heart's "Urban" paper pack. I cut and supplied the silver metallic gears and the cut sentiment, using a Silhouette Online Files.  Here is a very basic tutorial for the fold. It's a lot easier to follow along in a class or a video, so do search YouTube for a great video.
We moved to another more complicated cut/designed cards, meant for a child in your life.  This file uses stamp sets from Close To My Heart that students colored using ShinHan markers and colored pencils. The paper pack is Penelope (believe it or not, it's not Regatta!), along with solids in Sapphire and Glacier.
This design is called a "Side Step Card"; the finished size is a standard A2 card (5.5"w x 4.25"h).  A cutting diagram is below.
Next, students prepped their watercolored papers for stamping flowers for the fifth card that I'll show later. While the paper dried, we moved on to cards three and four, which were both more basic and used the same stamp set:
This card coupled CTMH's Kaleidoscope paper pack with colored candles, and solid cardstocks in Pear, Thistle and Black.

This fun card used a strip of CTMH's Fundamentals paper (Thistle colored dimensional strip on the right), and dots done with a flurry of markers. Students had the option of putting Liquid Glass on the hat and candle flames, as shown.
...and for our last card, we ran out of time, so we'll pick it back up on Saturday, April 23.  Here is the pretty:
Care to join us?  You can enroll by going to

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Disney Pixar Blog Hop

Welcome to the best-ever, original Disney-Pixar Blog Hop.  

It's hard to believe that this Hop has been going on now for 5 years (as has my blog!) and I have had the privilege of participating in every one of the Hops. 

(Thank you, Shawn Mosch, for having me, and for your friendship!)

Now, it's hard to believe that I'm not what I would consider a Disney Super Fan, but I have been to Disney World more than a dozen times, and Disneyland just once.

This year, I'll be in Disney World in late June for the national convention of Close To My Heart, and in October, I and my daughter and her family (including husband Josh and my grandchildren Charlotte and Evan) will be going on our first Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Magic.

I guess we qualify as "Super Fans" after all ... and especially now with grandchildren who can't get enough.

Granddaughter Charlotte turned 5 in December, and wouldn't you know it, her most favorite Disney story "E-V-E-R" is "Inside Out," which is the first movie she actually saw in a movie theater. And here's the surprising part, her favorite character is "DISGUST" -- that's the green one. LOL!!!  Charlotte can really put on that attitude, that's for sure!  
My daughter Emily pressed my papercrafting and graphic arts abilities into service to make the birthday party invitations, favors, decorations and more ... and I share them here for this hop.
In the upper left of this post, you'll see the invitation I designed. It printed 4.25"high and 5.5"wide, and fit perfectly in a colorful standard A2 envelope.  I used my favorite online design software, PicMonkey, to make this invitation, and printed it at home on a color laser printer by Dell.

Next, I created the favor bag tags, using fun "Inside Out" images I purchased on Etsy. Again, I turned to PicMonkey to layout the tag with colorful "thought bubbles" behind the characters, some personalization in the upper left corner of the tag, and a thank you sentiment at the bottom.  I printed these at home on my color laser printer, trimmed them into a tag shape, mounted them on colored cardstock and put an eyelet at the top to tie the tags to the bags. Here they are finished, with the treats wrapped in "thought bubbles" tissue that Charlotte's Mom, Emily, found:

(Sorry the picture's so blurry!  I swear we only had juice to drink at the party at Bounce U in Horsham, PA.)

And then there's the cake ... I purchased the entire cast of "Inside Out" characters made out of plastic/resin, from Each of the 10 characters is about 4" high. I then took them to a local bakery and asked them to create a layered cake, incorporating the figures into their design. Funny -- they never heard of the movie, so I really had to describe the "thought bubbles". I wish the colors were more primary and bright, but still, I think they did a nice job:

The event was a pajama party (9 a.m.!!), so what better than to outfit the birthday girl in "Inside Out" pj's?  Here's Charlotte on the right, with her bestie, Violet.

Charlotte's brother, Evan (age 18 months) is more into pirates, so he wore his treasure-hunt jammies but still enjoyed the party with about 20 other little ones. That's Evan in the center, with big blue eyes to match his jammies:

I also made Charlotte a pretty "Inside Out" necklace, featuring her favorite Disgust-ing character:

To make this necklace, I used Base & Bling charm and glass, dabbed with
CTMH "Liquid Glass" and hung it on a CTMH faux silver chain -- all reasonably
priced jewelry suitable for any age. Charlotte just loves it!  I packaged the
necklace onto a CTMH necklace card that I decorated with watercolored
"thought bubbles", and made a box using a "crayon box" file from the
Silhouette Online store, and cut with my Cameo.  

I also started work on a name banner for Charlotte's room. Here are the first two letters of the nine; they're all done but I haven't figured out yet how I want to string them all together. I used thick chipboard for the base of each letter, and honestly, it's much heavier than I anticipated. It might be better to stand these on a shelf than to hang them, but I wanted you to see them anyway. 

The thick chipboard letters were purchased at Michael's. 
I covered them in gift wrap that I found at the grocery store;
doesn't it look like the "thought bubbles" of Inside Out?
I then cut more colored bubbles from cardstock, and layered
cut-outs of the 10 principal characters from the movie onto the letters.

Have you seen the movie "Inside Out"?  I have to tell you, it's one of my very favorite Disney / Pixar movies. It was full of puns, innuendo and references that only a grown-up would understand, but perfect for little kids to watch and enjoy. Its script is just out-of-this-world wonderful!  I sat there watching it -- with Charlotte, of course, and her Mom Emily -- and kept imagining all of the ways that Disney could design a theme park around "Imagination Land."

I hope you've enjoyed my multiple "Inside Out" projects as much as I have enjoyed being a part of The Original Disney Pixar Blog Hop.  I'll be sending you on to MIRANDA's blog next, but before you go, make sure to enter for a chance to win our prize for this hop . . . a Disney paper pack from Queen & Co.  The "Rafflecopter" entry form is below.

The paper stack will not even be shipping out to stores until late February 2016, so you can have it before the stores are even selling it!  Note: Due to the fact that we received this paper stack so early, it is considered a promotional proof and there could be some slight variations from what will be shipped to stores.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the hop!  Now, move on to MIRANDA's cute blog next. If you want to start at the beginning, jump over to Shawn's blog and follow along; 
the full blog hop line up is below.