November Contest Winner

Hello Crafty Friends! I've missed all of you while focusing on some pressing family matters that pulled me away from sharing my passion for crafting. Never fear - I'm still here! Even better: a package arrived today with a brand new bottle of holographic glitter embossing power. I think we all know I won't be able to resist cracking that open for long. 

I would like to thank everyone who viewed my videos and subscribed to my Youtube channel last month! Anyone who was a subscriber as of November 30th became eligible to win a brand new, full Tinsel & Tags kit plus accessories and extras. So, without further suspense it is my pleasure to announce the lucky winner:

*****drum roll*****



Much love & happy holidays my friends,


DYI metallic foil cardstock tutorial.

This is one of my all-time favorite techniques! I love adding shimmer and shine to my projects and the faux metal look is really fun to work with. From shiny Christmas ornaments to steam-punk grunge, this is something every paper crafter should try at least once! You can use it to add silvery elements to your projects or color it with alcohol ink to create stunning metallic embellishments and backgrounds.


Embossed Die cuts 2

Foil motorcycle embellishment

Orange Leaf Card 2

 I created a quick video to show you the basics of making this fabulous cardstock for yourself. You'll need 80# cardstock, heavyweight aluminum foil, extra-strength spray adhesive and a die cutting machine. I also like to have extra cardstock or paperboard for creating shims to make a "press" sandwich.

Part I: Making your own metallic foil cardstock.

I've added links below to some of the supplies and equipment I used to make the die cuts and card backgrounds you'll see in this post and video. I'll be posting a new tutorial soon showing you how to color your metallic foil cardstock to make stunning, lustrous projects!

Much love & happy crafting!


Make it Monday with DIY Foil Cardstock

For my submission to Papertrey Ink's Make-it-Monday challenge this week, I created an "assembly line" card using DIY foil cardstock I made and colored using alcohol ink. Although it's an easily duplicatable card and I made several of them, I couldn't resist trying different color and sentiment combinations. Papertrey's Wonderful Words Holiday die set was perfect for this task!



Once I got started, I couldn't resist switching from foiled cardstock and metallic embossing powder to glittered adhesive paper and glitter embossing powder. Any excuse to use glitter works for me - although my husband remarked that I looked like a disco ball when I was done and my daughter accused me of getting glitter on her dog. All's fair in love and paper crafting!




This was a really fun design to work with and can be done in literally any color combination. I'd been dying to use the dangling stars set and was super pleased with the way the cards turned out. They were deceptively quick and easy to make, but yet they look quite detailed and striking. I think I've finally found my Christmas card for the year... time to start crafting!


Much love & happy crafting!


Papertrey Ink Star Search Video Contest: Card-in-a-Bag Treat & Gift Bags

I'm so honored to have been chosen as one of the 5 finalists for the Papertrey Ink Star Search video contest! I'm even more excited to finally be able to share all of my fun treat holder and gift bag ideas will all of my Crafty Friends! If you like my video and project idea, please head over to the Star Search voting page and submit a vote for me. While you're there, check out the other 4 great winter project ideas from talented Papertrey crafters. I've added a photo gallery of the assembly steps and project design ideas below and will be posting more detailed instructions and another video soon. If you decide to create one of these fun projects yourself, please don't forget to enter it in my November Blog Challenge!



The back of the "Card-in-a-Bag" is a perfect place for a family photo or stamped sentiment!



There are many alternate closure styles you can come up with! 

Using the Front & Center dies from PTI is relatively easy & straightforward as far as creating the front and back panels. Just simply cut the panels and then add a bottom by cutting a piece of paper the same width as the base of the die but leave it at least 1 inch longer than you'd like the bottom to be. That leaves room for scoring at least 1/2 inch on each side to adhere to the bag panels.

I found it easiest when using the edger dies to cut my patterned paper and then cut two "backer" panels to make the bag more sturdy. Patterned paper tends to be thinner than plain card stock. You don't have to use white, you can use a solid color that coordinates with your patterned paper or stamp some paper yourself to create a fun coordinating liner! I like to cut the backer panels longer than my bag panels so I can simply fold them in and glue them together:


The next step is to cut your handle being careful about placement! It's hard to cut through 4 pieces of paper at once, so I tended to cut one, then put the next layer under the first one and align the die in the open hole. Be careful to make sure you cut the back panels facing the direction they will be assembled so that the hole matches up when the panels are glued back-to-back! I learned this the hard way when I cut these two panels and then flipped the back around to discover my hole wasn't perfectly centered. Oops! 


The smallest half-circle in the Hoopla Stitching Die Collection and the smallest oval from the Noted die collection seemed to be the best sizes for handles. I frequently use use a Crop-a-Dile to punch holes for ribbon or string instead as handles take up a lot of space I can use to decorate or add windows. I also had a lot of fun cutting out 4 panels and attaching them to each other to create a fun treat box with plenty of room for a family-sized bag of caramel corn! 

Thumb_IMG_5140_1024 Thumb_IMG_5138_1024 Thumb_IMG_5142_1024

The plain circle from the 2 1/2" Limitless Layers Circle die set fits beautifully on Tag Sale #6. One again that little half circle from Hoopla came in handy and nested onto my tag like it was made to fit! The caramel corn I made for the photo shoot sure didn't last long around my house! Neither did the cookies I made for this cute little number:


These are so easy and fun to make, you can be sure you haven't seen the last of them on my blog. You can literally make these for any occasion using any stamp & die set you have on hand. I love to cut windows into my bags, but that's certainly not a requirement. My plans for future bags include a wrap for a wine bottle, a treat bag with a gift card envelope on the bag and a gift holder for a dangling ornament you can see through the window. I'll be coming up with some measurements to cut gusseted sides so that you can create a traditional gift bag if you choose. I cannot wait to see all of your designs and I truly hope you love this idea as much as I do so please share them with all of us on the November Challenge page!

Much love & happy crafting!


November Challenge, Crafty Comments Contest & Blog Giveaway!

November Blog Giveaway

I am so humbled and grateful for all of my new Crafty Friends here at Heartstrings and I want to give something back to all of you to let you know how truly blessed I am to have found this outlet for my creativity. In the Spirit of Christmas and giving, I will be giving a brand spanking new Tinsel & Tags Make it Market prize package to one randomly chosen subscriber to my YouTube Channel on the 30th of November. If you've already subscribed then you're already entered in the giveaway! This prize includes the main kit, the accessories kit (yes... complete with the little house die!), and even the extra "cabin" stamp set for the T&T house. This is Besty Veldman's most famous and sought after Holiday kit and it's valued at... well, just like my followers: it's priceless! 



T&T Main Kit

T&T Accessory Kit

November Crafty Comments Contest

Comment anywhere on my blog during the month of November to win the sold out October 2016 Monthly Hero card kit from Hero Arts! Just in time for Christmas. :) One winner will be chosen at random on November 30th and announced here on this page. Don't miss out! Leave as many comments as you'd like.


November Heartstrings Ink Blog Project Challenge

Create a project using inspiration from any of my blog posts or tutorial videos and post it using the link below. While many of my contests are random, I believe in rewarding hard work and creativity... so be sure to vote for your favorite project. The project with the most votes on November 30th will win a $50 gift certificate to the craft supply company of their choice. 

Much love & happy crafting!

DIY Texture Paste & Puffy Snow



I love love LOVE cards with dimensional elements and texture! When I first saw embossing paste I knew I had to try it, but it's kind of spendy and I was sure I'd use a lot. So, I wandered around cyberspace and found a recipe to try. But, I didn't have the exact ingredients and ended up experimenting with what I had on hand. The results were fabulous and came with a happy surprise... it puffs up when heated. ;) We'll cover that in part II of this tutorial.


 There are basically two ways to make the embossing paste: option 1 is to use baking soda and option 2 is to use corn starch. Baking soda has a finer texture and stays soft longer, allowing for you to add impressions from stamps or gently use a texture plate to press designs into the surface. Corn starch is slightly coarser and sets up hard rather than pliable. 


  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 Tbs Mod Podge
  • 1 Tbs white acrylic paint



This is ridiculously fun to play with and something I discovered completely by accident! I was trying to make my own texture paste and the recipe called for PVC glue. I have no idea what that is (I'm sure a trip to the craft store would solve the mystery) but I always have Mod Podge on hand, so I figured that would be a comparable substitute. It also called for corn starch which I used for my first batch.

For some reason I decided to use baking soda for the second batch. Perhaps I was running low on corn starch, or maybe it was the Costco-sized container of baking soda begging to be used for something... ANYTHING. I was incredibly happy with both batches and began a crafting bonanza using anything even remotely resembling a stencil. Being a naturally impatient person, it didn't take long for me to reach for my heat gun to speed up the drying process. This is when the ~magic~ happened! 


I'd forgotten Mod Podge tends to expand when heated - a fact I'd learned during other grand experiments I'll save for another day. The combination of Mod Podge and baking soda made a much softer paste that puffs and expands when heated. It also lends itself nicely to being "pressed" with different texture plates and even "de-bosses" when you stamp on it. When it's wet, glitter sticks to it and refuses to come off. You can even color it with alcohol markers, pearl powder or sponge it with dye ink. Add drops of re-inking dye or mix it with colors right on your craft sheet. The sky's the limit with all the ways this stuff can be used! Without further suspense here's the magical recipe:


  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 Tbs Mod Podge
  • 1 Tbs white acrylic paint

Add more baking soda if you'd prefer it thicker (up to 1/2 cup total) or a splash of water if you'd like it thinner. I use the thinner recipe for puffy snow and the thicker recipe for texture paste. 



  • When using the baking soda recipe, give the paste a bit of time to cool off and start to stiffen before attempting to make any impressions in the surface. It stays soft on the inside for a surprising amount of time and the thicker the paste, the longer it takes for the "inside" area to dry out. If you try it too soon it will stick to your stamp or texture plate and you'll have to "patch" it with more paste (not to mention washing your impression tool.) 
  • You might think adding glitter to the medium would create "glitter paste." Yeah, I thought so too. Unfortunately it takes a huge amount of glitter as the flakes just get coated in the white paint and lose their shimmer. Just add glitter to your project while the paste is still damp and you'll be much happier!
  • If you're layering embossing paste over ink, be sure to use non-water based ink. This is especially important with the puffy snow formula since it's wetter. I learned the hard way when I layered it on top of the first Holiday Lane house I'd made and let it sit for awhile before using the heat gun on it. The ink from the roof pattern I'd stamped bled into my pristine white snow and made it look like a volcano had spewed ash all over. While this occasionally does happen in Alaska, it's not the look I was going for. :(
  • Avoid the temptation to touch the "snow" while it's warm and puffy. I made this fatal error with that sad little house that now looks like it was attacked by a marshmallow monster. Just trust me on this... or look at the photo below. ;)


Much love & happy crafting!


October 2016 PTI Blog Hop


It's been awhile since I made a "messy" project since most of my recent creations have been CAS (clean and simple.) For the Papertrey Ink October 2016 Blog Hop I decided to get my grunge on and I love the result! I thought the sequins made a nice contrast to the more rustic design. It's my first time using sequins, so I was a bit hesitant but decided to be brave! It was also my fist time using my PTI pumpkin shape die and the segment die that allows you to create a gorgeous layered look. 


This month's inspiration photo was rich with fall imagery: gourd pumpkins, music on parchment, twigs with berries and fall leaves in front of a weathered wood background. 


I love to do a little stamping around my sentiments so I threw a few of the leaves from the Turning a New Leaf set on the inside of the card for effect. I'm rather pleased at how well this card matches my vision and I believe I'll be making some more of these beauties! 



Here's the video I made showing you how to achieve the shading and blending on the pumpkin:



Much love & happy crafting,


Faux Watercoloring Technique


I received many questions about how I made the Holiday Greenery, well... greener! I used copic markers and some crafty shading to "spruce up" these die cuts and make them appear fuller and more detailed. Check out my first video tutorial and learn how to make these fun sprigs for yourself!


I used to create these tags:

Virtual Product Parade: 

Blog "Open House" Giveaway: Make it Market Post & Parcel

In celebration of my blog launch I'm hosting a virtual "open house" here at Hearstrings & Inky Things during October. I am so grateful to finally have the opportunity to share the joy of creating with others and I'd like to give a heartfelt thank you to the readers who encouraged me and made it happen!

Visitors who sign up for my email list between now and October 31st will have a chance to win one of Betsy Veldman's new Make it Market Post & Parcel Holiday Kit package, to include the Post & Parcel Main Kit, the Trimmings Kit and the Gift Card Envelope die and paper from Papertrey Ink... a $174 value! The lucky winner will be announced on my blog November 1st. 

Post & Parcel Words

Post & Parcel


Additionally, I'm going to start a tradition of giving away a brand new stamp & die set each month called the "Crafty Comments Contest." To qualify, just comment on my posts throughout the month. The October 2016 Crafty Comments winner will receive a Papertrey Ink "Holiday Greens" stamp and die set. I used this set to make the lovely green gift tag featured in my very first blog post. I can't wait to get to know you all of you and share my joy of crafting with you!


Holiday Greens 

Holiday Greens Die












Screenshot 2016-11-01 07.48.52Becky was the 18th subscriber to my list in October. 

Screenshot 2016-11-01 08.07.39 Linda posted the 59th comment on the blog last month!

Congratulations to the winners! Subscriber Beck B. is the winner of the Post & Parcel package and Linda S. is the lucky lady receiving the Holiday Greens set in my Crafty Comments Contest. I'll be emailing you ladies for shipping information. :) 

Much love & happy crafting!


You can stamp on glitter!

I've seen posts online that say it's possible to dye glitter with ink refills and I've watched Jennifer McGuire's video on making glitter die cuts. So *obviously* I began to wonder - can you stamp on glitter?? Answer: why yes, darling, you can!

Step 1: Cut your shape out of double-sided adhesive paper or foam paper.

Step 2: ADD GLITTER! Jennifer likes to burnish the glitter in, but I find it easier to sprinkle glitter onto some paper and rub the sticky surface into the glitter. Do what makes you happy.


Step 3: Stamp! It helps to have a MISTI stamping tool for this step because the impression is very light at first. You can stop at one impression if you want a pastel shade of your ink color, otherwise stamp the image several times until you're pleased with the result. 


You may want to buy some small cubes of ink and use them just for glitter because you will get some on your ink pad. It cleans up fairly easily though.


There you go! Hand stamped glitter stickers & embellishments! My MISTI is now a hot glittery mess, but I'm so pleased with myself I don't even care. 

IMG_4895TIP: Choose stamps with bold designs because fine lines get lost in the fabulous sparkle-fest.  

Much love & happy crafting! 



Use the link below to share your creative spark and inspire others by submitting your Glitter Stamping project. Remember... it doesn't have to be "perfect" to be beautiful! ;)


An InLinkz Link-up