Sunshine in My Soul

Hi Friends!

Happy Eclipse Day! There is excitement in the air across America today as a total solar eclipse travels across our country. After a lovely morning in the garden, I am currently watching the progression of the eclipse in a live tv broadcast. Although I won’t be looking skyward during the eclipse, I will spend time on the front porch listening to the changes in the birdsong and the cicadas, as the sky darkens and the temperature quickly drops. Our area will experience 87% totality. Several of our friends and family have made the five hour drive to experience 100% totality over southern Illinois. Are you watching the eclipse today?

My garden is all abuzz with pollinators hard at work. I have also been working hard, week after week, to ‘right-size’ my perennial garden beds. There is sunshine in my soul today as I reflect back on all of the big changes that I made in the garden throughout the Spring and Summer. My big garden projects are now complete for 2017. 🙂  There will be a bit more time to enjoy my perennial favorites…  all abloom in in mid August.

‘Blue Mist’ Bluebeard,  ‘Royal Standard’ Hosta, ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea, and ‘Early Blue’ Hydrangea

I have been enjoying documenting my garden memories, too. Bright, yellow perennials always have a starring role in my cottage gardens in August. So, of course, I doodled a few yellow coneflowers in my ‘Garden Joys’ journal this month. It’s lovely to look back over all that has happened in the garden so far in 2017.

Pleasant, cool mornings were a delight as I finished the last of the big garden projects that I planned for this summer.  🙂

There will still be lots of gardenkeeping tasks in the coming weeks, but my thoughts will now turn to a few indoor projects.

Best of all, there will be more creative time in my little Paper Garden studio downstairs! I have been longing to practice more Chlorophyll Printing using the herbs from my garden. My first experience with this technique was last December. At that time, my garden was already asleep for the Winter. I couldn’t wait to try this interesting technique again during the Summertime!

So, the other day I walked along the garden path to my Herb & Tea Garden and happily snipped a few of my favorite herbs.

Using my Big Shot tool (Tab 2), I pressed herb leaves on different types of paper to create prints. (See Lydia Fiedler’s full tutorial here. She is my Chlorophyll Printing inspiration!) Instead of ink, Nature’s colors were pressed onto the paper. Heavenly herbal scents filled my little studio as I worked! 

I was most successful using Recollections 110 lb Ivory cardstock. Although I really thought that watercolor paper would work well, it didn’t turn out that way for me. I also tried different types of kraft cardstock without too much success. I will definitely continue to experiment with Chlorophyll Printing!

I think it would be lovely to make prints using ferns, too. It will still take more practice to create better prints. Wouldn’t it be fun to create vintage-looking botanical prints of ferns on a kraft background, with the botanical names hand lettered? Oh yes! I  can envision a series of framed prints as yet another way of preserving and displaying garden memories! 🙂

Printed with with Candy Cane mint from my herb garden

I used the best of my Chlorophyll Prints to create a few notecards.

Chlorophyll Print using Chocolate mint from my herb garden


Chlorophyll Prints created with Sage from my herb garden.

Sending ‘happy mail’ while sharing the bounty of my garden with family and friends is one of my favorite ways to ‘give love.’ Finding new ways to combine my passions for gardening and card making truly puts sunshine in my soul!

Lately, I have been very intentional about finding ways to bring sunshine into my soul. Writing ‘Morning Pages‘ continues to help nourish my creative heart and soul. Taking a break from watching the news helps, too. Recently, I lit a candle as I wrote, in remembrance of the terrible events in Charlottesville and Barcelona that have touched all of our lives. 

This weekend will be a big opportunity to bring sunshine into my soul. I will be joining with papercrafters from across the globe for the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire 2017. Although we will be working in our own creative spaces, we will all be working on the same Challenges and sharing our projects with one another online. Video tutorials by the amazing Papertrey Ink design team will present a new Challenge every two hours. (I am a little bit worried because I am a very slow cardmaker!) It’s sure to be three days of learning incredible new techniques and watching our skills grow! If you are interested, take a peek at the Stamp-a-Faire details and the weekend schedule. There will certainly be plenty of sunshine in my soul this weekend!

May your soul be filled with much sunshine, too!


Perennially yours,

♡ Dawn




Inky Fingers, Happy Hearts

Hi Friends!

Oh, what a weekend! It wasn’t the oppressive heatwave or the thunderstorms rumbling through the Midwest that I will remember most though. For I was cool and happy, downstairs in my ‘Paper Garden’ studio all weekend, in the company of papercrafters from across the globe. We were participating in the 5th annual Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire, created by the  talented PTI design team. It felt truly exhilarating to share creative time with so many amazing papercrafters!


On Friday night, I gathered some favorite Papertrey Ink stamps and dies so I would be ready to create very early on Saturday morning. Inspiration for this event came from a wide variety of Master artists. Every two hours throughout the day, a PTI design team member would share a bit of art history and a card making project based on the work of a Master. It was sure to be a day of learning and growing… and creating way beyond my comfort zone!

“Why not go out on a limb?  That’s where the fruit is.”   ~ Mark Twain

Let’s go downstairs to the ‘Paper Garden’… to see what blossomed on my craft table and in my heart over the weekend!

(Be sure to click on the links for wonderful videos about each Master artist and the great techniques they inspired.)

Starry Night

Inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s beautiful paintings of the night sky, Amy Sheffer led us through an amazing process with paper and ink.  I used seven different ink colors to create my nighttime sky. I was fascinated as I watched my inks blend! I gained new insights as I blended dye and distress inks on the same background. Spritzing the background with water created subtle, distant stars and flicking white, acrylic paint added some brighter stars.

Starry Night collage

Next I painted a tree-lined horizon with black ink and added a sentiment over a loose nest of white thread. In a bit of pure magic, the song ‘Vincent’ (by Don McClean) began playing on the radio, while I worked! ♫ Starry, starry night… ♬ How did that happen? Serendipity, for sure! Working on the starry, night sky also brought back such wonderful memories of visiting the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam.


Supplies I used:

Ink: SU Night of Navy; Ranger Distress: Evergreen Bough, Salty Ocean, Spun Sugar, Victorian Velvet, Shaded Lilac, Seedless Preserves; Versa Mark, and black re-inker

Paper:  Canson Watercolor, cold press, 110 lb

Dies & Stamps: PTI ‘Counting My Blessings’ die;  Sentiment stamp: PTI ‘Counting My Blessings’

Also: Neat & Tangled sequins, SU Smoky Slate embossing powder,  heat tool, SU Mini Mister, white acrylic paint, white thread,  Tombow Mono Multi, ink blending tools, paintbrush

Feeling:  Magical! I will never look at a night sky in quite the same way again!


Gilded in Gold

Inspired by trendy, gold embossed stationery and monograms, Danielle Flanders shared her faux gold gilding technique. It was the perfect way to add a bit of sparkle to the morning! I used metallic, gold acrylic paint to add a bit of shine to several bookmarks, hoping that family and friends will feel the a bit of sparkle when they open their mail! The gold paint dried very quickly, didn’t warp the paper, and is really shiny.


Next I created a monogrammed tag. It was fun to combine the simple look of  kraft cardstock with a gilded, scalloped tag shape! I’ve never used acrylic paint on my cards before (even though bottles of acrylic paint sit on a shelf in the ‘Paper Garden’). So, this simple project opened a whole new world of possibilities for me!


Supplies I used:

Paper: Strathmore Bristol Smooth, SU Crumb Cake cardstock, SU Vellum cardstock

Dies & Stamps:  PTI  ‘Tag Sale: Quilted’ die; Spellbinders Nestabilities Scalloped Circle; Monogram: PTI ‘Wet Paint Alphabet Stamps’

Faux Gold Gilding: Plaid ‘Folk Art’ Metallic (Pure Gold) applied with a foam brush

Also: Pop Dots, Tombow Mono Multi, twine, Recollections blue tags

Feeling: Sparkly! Now I’m hooked on adding gilded gold touches!


Floral Impressionism

Inspired by Monet’s beautiful florals, Melissa Phillips shared her white embossing powder technique to achieve a soft, romantic look. Dreamy thoughts of Monet’s garden made me smile. It was fun to watercolor with layers of dye ink over a heat embossed image.


Supplies I used:

Paper: Canson Watercolor, cold press, 110 lb

Ink: SU Pool Party, Daffodil Delight, Wild Wasabi, Blushing Bride, Primrose Petals

Stamps: Wplus9 ‘Spring Blossoms;’ a vintage French script background stamp, Mason Jar (resized)

Dies: PTI ‘Tiny Tags,’ ‘Embroidered Frames: Dots’ die (cut in half)

Also: Ranger ‘Seafoam White’ embossing powder, heat tool, paintbrush, Stamp-a-ma-Jig

Feeling: Joie de vivre! France is always close to my heart! I dream of visiting Monet’s gardens one day!


Pointillism Play

Inspired by the Pointillism technique of painting by applying tiny, individual dots of color, Heather Nichols shared ways of adding dots of color to stamped images.  I heat embossed my floral image to help me stay within the lines. This was a very relaxing way of stamping that gave the stamped image a whole, new look!


Supplies I used:

Paper: Strathmore Bristol Smooth, SU Crumb Cake cardstock, Teresa Collins ‘Fabrications – Canvas’ patterned paper

Ink:  SU Primrose Petals, Daffodil Delight

Dies: PTI ‘Embroidered Frames: Dots’ die

Stamps: Hero Arts flower, PTI sentiment ‘Choose Joy,’ PTI tiny dots ‘Petite Places: A Walk in the Park’

Also: Ranger ‘Seafoam White’ embossing powder, heat tool

Feeling: So relaxed! Stamping tiny dots in the Pointillism style felt like a meditation!

Watercolor Like a Master

Inspired by the watercolor Masters, Kay Miller shared her lovely, watercolor techniques. She is a natural and helped me discover exciting ways to use older stamps in fresh, new ways. Such wonderful inspiration for me!! I will be using Kay’s techniques from now on! I created two cards, using different color palettes.



Supplies I used:

Paper: Canson Watercolor, cold press, 110 lb,  Recollections heavyweight cardstock

Ink:  SU Primrose Petals, Daffodil Delight, Wild Wasabi, Pear Pizzazz, Blushing Bride, VersaFine Onyx Black

Stamps: SU ‘Too Kind’ (flower petals), Wplus9 ‘Spring Blooms’ (foliage). PTI ‘Sentiment Splits’

Dies: PTI ‘Sentiment Splits: Curved’

Also: Scotch Foam Mounting Tape, MISTI, paintbrush

Feeling: Thrilled! I just love discovering a new way to use an old, favorite stamp set!

Color Blocking

Inspired by the graphic designs of Andy Warhol, Lexi Daly shared her technique for using bold, repetitive images to create a graphic design. Since it was well-past midnight, I decided to try this challenge on Sunday afternoon. It was so hard to choose an image. Suddenly, it dawned on me that Color Blocking reminds me of a quilt! Right away, I found the perfect little image to stamp. I chose my deep, rich colors from our Amish quilt hanging upstairs. (Now I know that our Amish quilt is pieced with Not Quite Navy, Raspberry Ripple, Always Artichoke, and Elegant Eggplant!) 🙂

This was my most difficult challenge of all! In fact, it felt like a Math test, as I measured, masked, and mumbled to myself for several hours.


 A simple, color-blocked card with a whole lot of heart…

and the perfect sentiment!

IMG_0949 copy

Supplies I used:

Paper: SU Whisper White cardstock, Crumb Cake cardstock

Ink: Versa Mark, SU Not Quite Navy, Raspberry Ripple, Always Artichoke, Elegant Eggplant, Crumb Cake, VersaFine Onyx Black

Stamps: PTI ‘Quilted Sampler Additions,’  Sentiment: PTI ‘Quilted Summer’

Dies: MFT ‘Wonky Stitch Square STAX Die-namics’

Also: ZING! Clear embossing powder, Tombow Mono Multi, MISTI, Dove Blender Pen, T-ruler, Post-its (and lots of patience!)

Feeling: Relieved! Simple designs can often take the most time!

I still have one more Challenge, inspired by Jackson Pollock‘s drips and splatters of paint, to complete. Lizzie Jones shared great techniques for creating different kinds of spatters and drips. I can’t wait to try this messy technique outside in the garden, on a sunny day. It’s sure to be a fun one!

What an incredible weekend of learning and growing! I’m so grateful for the talents of the entire Papertrey Ink design team.  It was so exciting to blossom using their wonderful seeds of inspiration during Stamp-a-Faire 2016… and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

Inky fingers can make hearts feel happy ~

the hearts of both the cardmakers and those who receive our handmade kindness!


“It is good to love many things,

for therein lies the true strength,

and whosoever loves much performs much,

and can accomplish much,

and what is done in love,

is done well.”

~ Vincent van Gogh


Paper hugs,


P.S.  Thanks so much for stopping to visit today! What creative things have you been working lately?

Added later… 

P.P.S.   Welcome Papertrey Ink Blog Hoppers!!  I wrote this post to document a wonderful Stamp-a-Faire weekend. After posting, I learned that today was a PTI Blog Hop. More serendipity!!  So happy to meet so many Papertrey Ink friends hopping along… ♡











Artwork by Mary Engelbreit {via Pinterest}

Hi Friends!

I was secretly very happy that it was a rainy day on Saturday! Gardening was out of the question, as the rain poured down hour after hour. I had planned for this day for many weeks… an entire day in my paper crafting studio! It was time to plant the seeds of inspiration… and challenge my creativity to grow, hour by hour.

Saturday was the annual  Papertrey Ink  Stamp-A-Faire.

Once a year, Papertrey Ink hosts a day-long celebration of creativity, called Stamp-A-Faire.

For the past two years, I had watched this exciting event unfold. This year would be different… I would participate, learning and growing all day long! Although I worked alone in my studio, I felt like I was part of something much bigger. Card makers from across the globe were all finding inspiration, creating, and sharing their handmade cards.

This year’s Stamp-A-Faire had a ‘Project Runway’ theme, filled with fashion challenges from dawn until dark. The very talented Papertrey Ink (PTI) Design Team members shared so much inspiration, great tips, and lots of encouragement. Every two hours a new Challenge began. Inspiration from Stamp-A-Faire kept me growing all day long!

Take a peek! (Click on each Challenge title to find lots of inspiration!)


‘Bridal’ Challenge

Challenge ~ Create a wedding card using only white supplies. A neutral colored ink may be used for the sentiment.

'Bridal' Challenge

Goodies Used:

Paper:  Recollections 110 lb. White cardstock, SU ‘Whisper White’ cardstock

Ink:  Versamark, with Ranger ‘Seafoam White’ embossing powder

Stamps:   SU ‘Wild Hearts’ background stamp, PTI ‘Twig Wreath’

Sentiment: PTI ‘Twig Wreath’

Also: SU ‘Petit Petals’ stamps/punch, The Paper Studio ‘Pearl’ gemstones

Listening to: great Oldies on the radio

Feeling:  Brave  and excited to share my handmade cards at Stamp-A-Faire today!


‘Pattern’ Challenge

Challenge ~ Create a card based on one of the patterns (sketches) to help you warm up for the day. My card was inspired by Heather Nichols.


Goodies Used:

Paper:  Kraft cardstock, SU ‘Whisper White’ cardstock, Teresa Collins ‘Fabrications’ patterned paper

Ink:  SU ‘Calypso Coral,’  ‘Pear Pizzazz,’  ‘So Saffron,’  Memento ‘Tuxedo Black’

Stamps:  Wplus9 ‘Spring Blooms’

Sentiments: PTI ‘Big Hugs’ die + stamps (inside)

Also:  PTI ‘Branching Out’ die (for masking), Judikins Color Dusters, Heidi Swapp ‘All My Heart’ stencil, SU Project Life corner rounder, Dritz tracing wheel (faux stitching), PTI ‘Embroidered Frames: Dots’ die (inside)

Listening to: golden Oldies

Feeling:  So happy! Heather’s sketch was great for playing with patterns and techniques!


‘Threads’ Challenge

Challenge ~ Use thread or twine in unique ways on your card.  I decided to create a nest of hemp twine, inspired by Danielle Flanders’ technique.


Goodies Used:

Paper:  Recollections 110 lb. White cardstock, SU ‘Whisper White’ cardstock

Ink:  SU ‘Marina Mist,’  ‘Pumpkin Pie,’  ‘Pear Pizzazz,’  ‘Always Artichoke,’  ‘So Saffron,’  Ranger Distress Ink ‘Spiced Marmalade,’  ‘Rusty Hinge’

Stamps:  PTI ‘Brushed Off’

Sentiment:  PTI ‘Grateful’ die (3 layers)

Also: Natural hemp twine, PTI ‘Branching Out’ die (diecut for stamp ‘kissing’ technique)

Listening to:  great Oldies

Feeling:  Grateful for a day filled with creativity and new learning! Overjoyed to share handmade kindness with family and friends!


‘Mix + Match’ Challenge (Mixing Patterns)

Challenge ~ Create a card that mixes at least three different patterned papers. I was inspired by Betsy Veldman to choose large, medium, and small prints, and to include white space (a solid area)  for the eye to rest.


Goodies Used:

Paper:  Recollections 110 lb White cardstock and Pink Linen cardstock, SU ‘All Abloom’ DSP

Ink:  Memento ‘Tuxedo Black’

Dies: PTI ‘Quilted Summer’

Sentiment:  PTI ‘Quilted Summer’

Also: Embossalicious embossing folder

Listening to:  Smooth Jazz

Feeling: Very focused! Mixing three different patterned papers on a tiny paper quilt requires real patience!

‘Pins + Needles’ Challenge

Challenge ~ Create a project featuring a trinket pin. Melissa Phillips inspired me to use a trinket pin for the first time!


Goodies Used:

Paper:  Recollections 110 lb White cardstock,  DIY Shop patterned paper

Ink:  SU ‘Wild Wasabi,’  Ranger Distress Ink ‘Gathered Twigs’

Stamps:  SU ‘Gingham’ wheel,  Stampablilites scissors + thimble

Also:  SU Tag Topper punch,  DMC embroidery floss, button, PTI ‘Tiny Tags’ dies, Zig marker, Uni-ball Signo broad pen (faux stitching) and stick pins (of course!)

Listening to:  Disco!?!? (It was getting late, and I really needed a burst of energy to complete one more Challenge!)

Feeling:  Happy!!


‘Make It Work’ Challenge

Challenge ~ Use some of the bits and pieces left on your table at the end of the day to create a card.


Goodies Used:

Paper:  Recollections 110 lb. White cardstock, SU ‘Whisper White’ cardstock

Ink:  SU ‘Marina Mist,’  ‘Pumpkin Pie,’  ‘Pear Pizzazz,’  ‘Always Artichoke,’  ‘So Saffron,’  Memento ‘Tuxedo Black’

Stamps:  PTI ‘Brushed Off’

Sentiment:  PTI ‘Choose Joy’

Also:  PTI ‘Branching Out’ die (diecut for stamp ‘kissing’ technique),  Neat & Tangled sequins

Listening to:   More great Oldies

Feeling:  Tired… but very happy! 


Saturday was truly a day of growing!! It was so exciting to participate in Stamp-A-Faire 2015, along with card makers from across the globe. Although we were working in our own craft rooms, we could all feel a common bond. Throughout the day, we uploaded our cards to the Papertrey Ink blog, so that we could all share our creations with one another.


I am so grateful to the talented Papertrey Ink Design Team for all of the seeds of inspiration they planted. Crafty friends are always willing to share and help one another grow. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Stamp-A-Faire!

But first… I’m off to share handmade kindness with special friends!

The very best part of card making is sending off the cards to make family and friends happy!


Wishing you a wonderful start to September!

It’s a whole new month to let your creativity grow!


Thank you so much for joining me in the studio today.

I’m so happy that you stopped by for a little visit!

Rabbit! Rabbit!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Growing new skills is always exciting! How have you challenged your creativity lately?