Pixie Dust

This is a nice little digistamp by Saturated Canary which i have coloured with my Spectrum Noir pens and then layered over the top with Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paint to add a cool shimmery effect.

By Saturated Canary
By Saturated Canary

The image itself already looks good, but i don’t like to stop there…

…so then i have used my distress inks to create a pretty glow around my fairy…


but i don’t want to stop there either… so then i have stamped some acetate to create foreground, which i have then wrapped across the front of my fairy. Although i could keep going (i had some ideas about glitter) at this point i have decided that i have probably done enough(!) which just leaves a background to create – which i have done using:

  • some kraft card
  • an embossing folder
  • some distress inks
  • and new to my crafty stash, some pebeo gilding wax.
  • A little bit of ribbon, also wrapped around some kraft card
  • Some pearls


Bibbadee bobbadee boo!

The card as a whole has a nice sunshiny look to it and i feel it important to note that the slight dulling produced by the acetate in this photo is not noticeable in the physical 😉


Die Storage

Where to begin LOL

Die storage is an issue we all have. They do really need to be stored flat and separate so throwing them in a box is not to be encouraged as they will get damaged.

The Tim Holtz big block dies do not create a big issue as they are robust enough to be thrown in that box I just said not to do bit the thin metal dies are a different animal.

Here magnetic sheets are your first friend. Except for the Tattered Lace die storage all versions that work use magnetic sheets. Specific storage solutions are made by various companies and it is mostly a matter of preference and available space.

The Tattered Lace storage has been designed for their small dies and consist of various sized plastic pockets that ‘hold’ the dies still. It does take a bit of practice to but Phantomsax has and finds it very successful. They did originally only have small pockets but have now produced some A4 pockets for the larger dies.

Papermania and Tonic have storage that consist of plastic sleeves with magnetic inserts. Both myself and Phantomsax have used the Papermania version and found their magnetic sheets not strong enough but it is easy enough to purchase and cut stronger magnetic sheets. (To be fair we now both use these for stamp storage, a whole different blog) Phantomsax has the Tonic version and has found their sheets much stronger. The original Tonic was approx A5 but they have now also produced an A4 version.

As I have a room I have purchased A4 magnetic sheets , backed them with cardstock to stiffen them, inserted into side opening polly pockets and stored in suspension files in my desk. For me this has been the best solution. I have sorted them into separate categories (several times) so in theory I can find with comparative ease.

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I have tried this in ring binders etc but dies while individually light once you have several on a magnetic sheet they are very heavy. That being said I have recently seen the following which suggest they have a stronger ‘spine’ but I as yet have not tried them out.


There are storage solutions that use ‘sticky’ sheets (similar to photo albums) I have not personally used but have read various reviews and in general they do not seem to have overall good reviews for die storage but work brilliantly for stamp storage.

Distress inks

These are probably my most used item for decorative purposes and definitely an essential!

The distress ink series by Ranger comes in four basic formats:

  • Large pads
  • Mini pads
  • Markers
  • Refill bottles

There are a lot of ways to use these inks, but the most common use that I make of them is as an edger. Used either around the cut edges of your card/paper or blended in from the edges to create a frame or background these inks are a fun (and messy) way to add extra dimension to your projects.

Some other applications include:

  • Background designs
  • Stamping
  • Colouring (diluted in water, apply as a watercolour)

I tend to use cut n dry foam or a paintbrush to apply; one can also use make-up sponges and Ranger produce a specific blending tool for use with the inks.

If you are looking to buy some to give them a go then I strongly recommend the minipads as these come in sets,which will give you several colours to play with; do shop around as the price varies from site to site.

Nearly all of my cards have distress ink somewhere, so see if you can spot it!

My Favourites Dies

As you use dies you will find you migrate more to one company than another.

There are mainly two types of die, Tim Holtz steel edged dies and thin metal dies. The steel edged were the first on the market.When I first saw demonstrated the original Big Shot I thought it was good but it was very very expensive firstly for the machine and secondly the dies. Didn’t really think it would take off (how wrong was I) These original dies really only did block die cuts as this is all their design allows. I did not not buy originally but the price did come down and I finally bought one about 2 years ago.  For various reasons nothing to do with the quality of the machine I have since bought the e-bosser. Both these machines have been passed onto phantomsax and I now have a cut’n’boss and cuttlebug machine. The big Tim Holtz dies can be used with the e-bosser or cut’n’boss. The choice of machine is down to your preferences and budget.

As for the actual dies,for me Tonic are the ones. It is not the cut as most dies cut, that is there one and only job after all, it is the design. I find I like the basic simplicity of tonic, this does not mean they do not do intricate dies but I find them ‘simple’. Tattered lace are in general very ‘lacy and swirly’, however I have and use often their ‘Starlight’ collection. These were a departure from their usual style and I loved them from the start. Spellbinders were probably the first to bring the craft world the thin metal dies but most of their designs again do not appeal to me. I do have a couple of their medallion sets but find them limited in their use. Newish to the market are Couture ( create and crafts own brand). I love the reflections sets having bought the Mariposa and Flower Burst. I have also bought a couple of complete sets of the creations (they were on buy one get one free)

Cards made totally with dies. The first one is a the ‘Couture’ flower burst reflections die, the second is tonic last dance and butterflies

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If you are getting basic shapes for matting and layering (i.e. squares, rectangles, ovals and circles) then go for which ever have the best deals at the time of purchase. If you can only afford a couple of sets go for the circles and ovals as squares and rectangles are reasonably easy to cut with guillotines ( a must have) trimmers or knives (always use with a steel edged ruler).

The advantage of dies is the ability to repeat with accuracy. A must if you decide to create invitations for weddings or birthdays. You can then also carry some design elements through into table decorations, favours, thank you cards etc.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match.

Handmade Cards for every occasion

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