Eleven Great Tips for Using Spellbinders Thin Metal Dies

When it comes to paper crafting, I have two passions. One is for stamping, which I have been doing for over half my life, since I started when I was seventeen years old!

My other paper crafting passion is for my Spellbinders dies. I have over thirty different sets, and a weakness for every new release. They just keep getting better, and I just never seem to have enough! I just got a set of the Resplendent Rectangles dies, and they are beautiful! I knew they would make a lovely anniversary card for this week’s Playing in Paradise challenge at Scrapbooker’s Paradise.

I had to use the word “forever” even though that may sound more wedding than anniversary. I am so thankful for a husband who meant “forever” when we spoke our wedding vows, and he knows I have the same commitment to him. I wish that kind of love for every married couple.

About the card: There are four different yet complementary die cut shapes on this card, all from the Resplendent Rectangles set. I die cut each one from white cardstock, and then inked and misted them to get the colours I desired. Sometimes that is just easier than trying to find the right colour of cardstock for a project, which usually has me pulling out my hair.

The stamped image is another new treat – a pretty pile of poppies and bells from Cosmo Cricket’s Art Angel stamp set. I stamped it in black ink and then coloured it with Copic markers. I’m no Copic expert, but even part time Copic artists like me can get a lovely effect with a few markers and a blender pen. I layered some Copic Spica glitter pen as well – Spica pens add a fairytale fine shimmer that is so addicting! I much prefer Spica to chunky, gunky glitter glue.

A few things I’ve learned about die cutting using Spellbinders dies:

  1. You can use Spellbinders dies with all manual die cutting machines. When I started using Spellbinders, I could confidently cut with them after watching a YouTube video that outlined how to “sandwich” my cardstock and dies for my specific machine.
  2. After die cutting, use a rubber mat between cardstock and cutting plate, and run your sandwich through again. This optional second embosses (or debosses) the textured part of the die and I nearly always choose this step since it adds such a classy, finished look. It’s a look you don’t get with digital die cutting machines.
  3. After die cutting and embossing, you can use the die as a stencil to ink the areas of the die cut not covered by the die, or mist with ink, or brush with paint. This can add subtle or dramatic colour to your die cut image.
  4. Spellbinders dies come in coordinating sets. I especially love the Nestabilities because they come in graduated sizes. It’s fun to die cut several sizes and layer together to give the look of matting. I also love to layer a circle die with a scalloped circle die, for example – they have been designed to fit together well.
  5. Spellbinders also offers embossing plates. I love to ink these before embossing to get a letterpress look on my cardstock. The cardstock can be die cut before or after inking and embossing.
  6. Don’t be afraid to cut, fold or otherwise manipulate your die cut image. Intricate designs can be twined with other shapes to create entirely new looks. Becca Feeken of Amazing Paper Grace is a master of this technique. Spellbinders also has a line of Cut – Fold – Tuck dies that are actually made to emphasize this ability.
  7. Use wax paper between your die and cardstock when cutting out intricate designs. This will help the cardstock detach from the die a little more easily. It still can take time and patience to carefully remove very detailed designs from the die without tearing.
  8. If a die doesn’t cut all the way through on the first time, rotate it and move to a different position on the cutting plate, and run it through again. Older cutting plates especially can hinder a clean cut on the first pass.
  9. Store your Spellbinders dies on a magnetic sheet inside a DVD or CD case after opening. So far this is the best organization tip I’ve seen for storing thin metal dies.
  10. Spellbinders frequently pairs up with stamp manufacturers to create dies that coordinate with a variety of stamp designs. This stamp & die pairing is a match made in heaven for someone like me! My all time favourite stamp & die union is the Blossom Stackers dies and stamp set (there are three projects using these stamps & dies in my Best of 2011 post!).

So, that’s ten things you may not have known about my favourite dies, and ten reasons you should try them! Reason #11 is that Scrapbooker’s Paradise has a sale on right now – 20% off AND free shipping until November 7, 2012 – it’s the perfect time to stack up some Spellbinders!

And of course this is also challenge day on the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog – the impetus for the anniversary card I’ve shared above. Why not create your own anniversary project, and link up to win? Have a great weekend!

PPC#84: Flaunt It Herringbone Card

I’m a little late posting for the Scrapbooker’s Paradise design team challenge today. Last night I had a watercolour class to teach and this morning I decided to can some tomato sauce. Let me tell you, that is not worth the effort. Three hours’ work and two measly litres to show for it!

I’m always energized by a little time at my crafting table, so I think I’ll decompress there when I’m done posting. It’s called “Paper Therapy” for a reason!

I’m really interested in patterns lately – I’ve been looking at so many on Pinterest that I think I will have to start a board dedicated to patterns. I saw a manicure using the herringbone pattern and had to try it in paper. It’s easy to do using strips of paper, alternating sides, and trimming off the excess that goes over the edge of the paper.

I’ve used the pretty colour challenge Merlie has up at Scrapbooker’s Paradise and the 6×6 paper pad Evangeline from Cosmo Cricket. Lovely colours, and very soothing. Just what I need after a stupid morning wasted on canning!

Check out the rest of the design team’s projects here and don’t forget to give this challenge your best shot – you could win a great prize package!

Not a Fan of Digital Stamps and a Luxe Card

We had weekend house guests leave today, and it was so much fun to have friends staying with us full-time for three days. Six children running wild in the sunshine, weiner roasts and good conversations. I am so thankful for all of my friends!

My friend Sarah is also an artist, and we had a talk today about why we’re not crazy about digital design. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to using the computer to create design. I am a web designer and graphic artist after all, with a good portion of my art income coming from computer-generated design. But when I make art I like to get my hands dirty. I love using products, playing with texture and layers, painting and gluing. Digital design doesn’t fill me with the same satisfaction. I scoff at “digital stamps” a little. It’s just clip art, isn’t it? When I get inky, I get happy. When I wield a brush loaded with a watercolour wash, I paint myself a little joy. And if you feel that kind of energy with a mouse or Wacom tablet in your hand, I can respect that. It’s just not my way.

The card I’m showing you today I call Luxe Thinking of You because it seems so plush to me. I did the opposite of what I usually do and started by creating the focal point image first. I stamped a pretty cameo frame, inked and fussy cut, and then layered a stamped sentiment, rose button badge and ribbon. Then I had to choose how to showcase the focal point on the card base. 


I used some beautiful paper from Cosmo Cricket’s Evangeline 6×6 pad. Such soft romantic colours! A wide striped ribbon added some drama, and I had to squeeze a doily into the design, ’cause I just love my Cheery Lynn French Pastry doily die.


I’m reading: Shake Down by Ezra Levant. A very interesting exposé of the Human Rights Commission abuses in Canada, written in 2009. I’m wondering how much things have changed since the book was written. Bought at a thrift store. 

I’m cooking: (sort of) Rainbow Jello. Perfect summer food for kids, and so eye-catching!


Easter Freaks Layout

Easter is coming! What are your Easter traditions? I love making Paska (Mennonite Easter bread), attending a Good Friday service with my family, and enjoying Easter Sunday dinner with the extended family. This year I’ll also be singing in our church’s Easter choir and my girls are singing with in the choir too – it’s cool that we are able to do this together.

I had fun scrapping some photos from last year’s Easter Sunday afternoon. My mom is known in the family for her crazy stunts – last year she created a race track beside their house for sled races over Christmas, and every September for my dad’s birthday we have a big family baseball game using toy bats and balls, wearing coordinating t-shirts.

So I come by my own crazy ideas honestly.

The Scrapbooker’s Paradise challenge team are all about Easter for this week’s challenge; why don’t you play along? Create an Easter-themed project (gift, card, layout) and link up before Thursday!

Papers from my project are from Cosmo Cricket’s Clementine collection – such great colours for Easter. You can buy your own Clementine collection kit from Scrapbooker’s Paradise, online or in store.

Have a wonderful weekend – I think we’ll be staying close to home since my boy has broken out in a mysterious rash. He’s cuddled up on the couch, watching Princess Bride and quoting most of the lines verbatim.

Spring Thaw Layout

One thing about living in northern Canada is that we tend to get a little anxious for spring come March. And yet often our snow stays until well into April! But the worst of the cold has passed, and while it is snowing outside right now, there are pussywillows out if you know where to look for them, and the other day it was raining and everything smelled fresh like spring!

We have six acres of land in a little subdivision – there are six houses on our road – and my kids love to play outdoors when the weather gets warm. Last year we had SO much snow, and my neighbour snapped these photos of my three playing on the snow bank in their shirtsleeves.

Isn’t it funny how kids can make fun out of water and sticks?

This week I’ll be getting out their rubber boots though I have a feeling we’ll need to shop for larger sizes! And I’ll be pulling out my spring clothes as well since Wade and I are going on a little getaway – five days just the two of us and Gravedigger! More about that later this week!

Paper: October Afternoon, Cosmo Cricket
Flowers: Sassafras
Letters: American Crafts
Paint: FolkArt

Friday Stuff

Being sick is really boring, you know? This cold has sapped my energy and I’ve done nothing but try to rest this week. I did get to see the first episode of the new season of American Idol, and I’ve read two books, and I’ve eaten a lot of things I couldn’t really taste. I keep hoping I’ll be able to taste it, so I keep eating, you know?

Speaking of tasting good, have you tried Popcorn Indiana popcorn? It appeared at the grocery store just after Christmas and MAN is it good. That is, when I can taste it. I like the Black & White flavour – it’s drizzled with dark and white chocolate.

I don’t think that popcorn is actual size.

I’ve been very unproductive this week – too tired to craft. But I have a bunch of new products to play with – the kits for my upcoming “Year in Scrapbooking” class arrived and it will be fun to put that together! And I have a card on the Scrapbooker’s Paradise blog today for their current Playing in Paradise challenge.

In other news, I made this. It’s a cute little box – about the size of a credit card, and it’s filled with adhesive backed bookplates. Fun! Paper’s from Cosmo Cricket.

Capture the Moment


Today my first challenge goes live for Scrapbooker’s Paradise! I’m looking forward to being part of this design team and there are prizes up for grabs so make sure you check out the post and participate!

I made this card using leftovers from a few other projects, and it’s weird for me because there’s no stamping at all on it. Just a die cut made using my Silhouette and paper from Cosmo Cricket Odds and Ends. I’m liking my Silhouette, kind of wish I’d waited and bought the Cameo which cuts larger sizes, but on the other hand, I’d have been too cheap to pay the additional $$!

Tonight I’m going to a crop at a friend’s house. Any suggestions on what I should bring? I’m not used to having to pack and plan ahead like this!


The Secret Compartment Book

We’re in Saskatchewan at my in-laws for Christmas, but I brought the laptop! And I’m going to ignore the family from time to time to post for you! Because I am nice like that, and because I actually believe that people are going to be stampeding to read my blog this close to Christmas. Ha.

I’ve been telling you about the gifts I made for my children this year. Here’s a peek at the secret compartment book I made for Sassy, my 8 year old. She was delighted.

I covered it with paper from Cosmo Cricket’s Odds and Ends line. And then I sent them photos, and they put it on their blog. Because Julie, Eric and Lindsay from Cosmo Cricket are so nice that way – they are perfectly willing to enable you to brag about your projects on their blog. So go over there and see the rest of the photos!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve Eve!

All About the Journey

I used to run three blogs, did you know that? (Overachieve, much?) I really liked blogging about my life and thoughts, and if you look under “Personal” at the top of the page you can see the results of three years of blogging about my mummy-life musings. I finally combined them all and it’s still a work in progress (it takes time to learn WordPress!) and I’m also trying to do more on my Facebook page – isn’t it funny how the internet is changing? Used to be that everyone did blogs and now it’s going more and more to Facebook.

Anyhow, I’ve also cut back on how much I “vent” on my blog which is good for you because otherwise you’d get an eyeful of my thoughts on current events (Occupy Wall Street?), the ongoing saga of van repairs (Today’s Episode XIIVXII: Shopping for Winter Tires), and a recital of what we have and haven’t done during our homeschool week. Now I save that kind of gripping narrative for my dearest friends and family. Aren’t they lucky?

I’ve been experimenting with backwards-ness in making cards lately. For this one, I wanted to use a label shape die but in reverse – die cutting a window instead of layering a die cut label. I also ran the kraft cardstock through my Sizzix Big Shot with an embossing plate to add some texture. And this inspiring paper from the Odds and Ends collection by Cosmo Cricket drove the theme of the card.

The texture and layers in the card make it perfect for the Moxie Fab World Textured to Perfection challenge – I told you I’m perfectly suited for a challenge of this type – it’s what I do naturally! Have a great day!