Monday, July 24, 2017

I’m with The Band By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

“I’m with the band!” It was 1965, and oh, how I wanted to be able to say those words…

A guy would come up to a girl and ask her to dance. She’d look up at him with eye liner-laden lids, brushing away her teased bouffant hairdo, and say, “No, thank you, I can’t…I’m with the band.” Those were the dates of the drummer, singer and guitarist. Alas, I was never one of those girls. I just got to have crushes on Otis and Ricky and Richie and Irv from afar.

Why am I taking a public trip down memory lane? Well, it seemed like it might be more eye catching than just saying, “Today we’re going to make napkin rings.” Plus, it’s a shared memory for those of us of a certain age, and some ancient history for the youngest among us. Yes. We did wear our hair like that. And yes, we did have mad crushes on musicians, something that exists to this very day. (Bruno Mars, if only I were twenty!)

Oh well. Here goes:

Today we’re going to make napkin rings – fabric bands embellished with ribbons, fibers, and tassels.

It’s an easy project, a lot of fun, and there are endless options. For example:

You can vary the dimensions for both the fabric and the interfacing to suit your taste. Napkin rings can be much more delicate. They can also be much wider and larger in diameter to accommodate kitchen towels for picnics and lobster fests. They can also be adjustable, tied at the front like a belt, rather than permanently sized.

1. For each napkin ring, cut a strip of fabric measuring 4 or 5 inches wide and 9 inches long and a piece of stiff interfacing measuring 2 or 3 inches wide and 8 inches long.

2. Back the fabric with fusible interfacing or use fabric glue to adhere it to the interfacing or hand-stitch. 3. Turn under all raw edges, completely covering the interfacing on both the outside of the ring and on the back. (It should look as tidy and finished on the inside as on the exterior.) Overlap the ends and sew or glue into a ring.

4. Flatten the ring, or allow it to remain rounded.

5. Embellish the ring with ribbon in varying widths and assorted fibers. Knot at the front, or overlap and stitch or glue at the back. If adding a tassel, turn the hanging loop at the top into a two-loop bow before sewing or gluing the tassel to the napkin ring.

Think outside the box: Instead of a tassel, scour the yard sales and add a sparkly brooch, find or make a polymer or air dry clay medallion, tie on a jumbo bead or some charms. Pin on a removable element like a political button or a photo in a mini frame.

Stamp or stencil the fabric!

Make napkin rings for holidays and special occasions. They’re also fun for everyday dining, taking humble paper napkins to a new level. (I don’t know why, but kids seem to behave better when they’ve started a meal by taking a napkin out of a ring…)

Buy fabric to match or in coordinating patterns and colors; hem square napkins to go the rings.

A set of napkin rings makes an excellent bridal shower, baby shower, or anniversary gift, especially if you tuck in a coupon redeemable for a home-cooked meal!

Rings can be one-of-a-kind rather than a matching set.

Napkin rings make great party favors – send one home with each guest.

  • Fabric
  • Stiff interfacing
  • Ribbon
  • Assorted fibers
  • Tassels or other embellishments
  • Fabric glue
  • Sewing thread

Monday, July 10, 2017

Slice and Dice: Fun with Bits and Pieces! By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

For the last several years, my friend Debbie and I have been slicing and dicing each other’s cards, postcards, and envelopes! No. Not all of them. Some of what we make for each other are deemed ‘keepers’ – cards that head straight for a bulletin board or album. But others get revised, sometimes more than once. We’re ruthless. We tear, we cut, we disassemble, mix, match, add, subtract, and combine.

It makes me grin just to think about it. No matter how hard I try to envision what she might do, I’m always surprised. And I love hearing what she thinks about what I’ve come up with!

My tag and two Artist Trading Cards came from five different cards of hers. Three of them included elements from several previous cards, an envelope and postcard I’d sent her, as well as a photo of flowers she printed from a digital image I’d emailed from my vacation.

A bonus from this exchange: We learn from and influence each other. For example, her use of ribbon and twine has totally changed how I use these soft, linear elements. And we’ve each developed the habit of using as little adhesive as possible to make it easier to pull things apart.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll recognize the face on my ATCs as a PaperArtsy stamp by Lynne Perrella. The eye and the word ‘Wisdom’ are from Patti Euler’s own Her Majesty’s stamp line, exclusive to The Queen’s Ink. The words ‘my real friend’ were cut from a RubberMoon stamp that says ‘I know who my real friends are,’ the gloved hand is from RubberMoon as well.

The embossed element at the top of the tag is Ruby Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz, lightly sanded to reveal the silver core.

There are pieces from gel prints Debbie made, scraps from a couple of my Magic Stamp papers, a tiny photo, and a host of bits and pieces from our extensive collections of ‘Good Stuff’…

1. Partner with a friend who likes the idea of slicing and dicing. Not all people would find this acceptable and it’s very important to set up the parameters before you start!

2. Send at least two cards to get things rolling. Bonus points if they’re sent in a decorated envelope that can be torn and cut into pieces.

3. Turn the cards into other cards, or switch to Artist Trading Cards, postcards, tags, and collages.

4. Mail your creations back and forth. Stop whenever you don’t see something new to add, remove, alter a little, or alter a lot!

5. Photograph each ‘before’ and ‘after’ if you want to have documentation of where things began and how they looked when revised. Or not!

Head to The Queen’s Ink or shop at the web store for the rubber stamps shown in these projects, as well as for substrates, inks, gel plates, adhesives, papers, gems, ribbon and other collage materials.

Monday, July 3, 2017

DIY Shimmer Sheetz Clipboard by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

There are so many fabulous items vying for my attention at The Queen’s Ink, but every now and then one jumps out at me and DEMANDS to be taken home. The DIY Clipboard is one such product. Actually, I bought two!

I knew right from the get-go that I’d cover the front with altered Shimmer Sheetz and leave the back unchanged, but painting the back or decorating both sides is another option.

The small size of this clipboard (6” square) makes it so versatile, and because Shimmer Sheetz is waterproof if it needs cleaning a damp cloth will do the trick!


1. Disassemble the clipboard per the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll need a standard flat screwdriver to do so. Set aside the screw post hardware pieces where they won’t get misplaced. Trust me, this may be the most important part of my tutorial... Two hardware options are included, antique bronze and bright silver. (Shown: Silver screw post for the pink, purple and copper clipboard; bronze for the teal, gold, black and gold clipboard.)

2. Emboss enough pieces of Shimmer Sheetz to equal a 6” x 6” square, plus extra pieces for layering. Further alter by adding acrylic paint, alcohol inks, peel-offs and peel-off leftovers, and/or by lightly sanding. (Shown: One 4.5” x 6” or 5” x 6” rectangle at the left, one narrower strip to fill the remaining space at the right, plus two 2” squares and three 1” squares for layering.)

3. Use an awl to pierce through the Shimmer Sheetz and clear the holes where the hardware needs to be reinserted. Reassemble the clipboard. IMPORTANT TIP: You must squeeze the top of the clip (opening the spring mechanism) in order to get the clip flush against the board so that the screw post can be tightened and KEEP it squeezed while you are tightening the screws. Once both posts are in place, release the clip and continue to tighten as needed.


What will you do with your clipboard?

  • Display a photo or drawing (that’s Sprite in the photo above!)
  • Make some for easy, inexpensive gifts
  • Add a pad of paper for grocery lists and jotting notes
  • Tuck a pen or pencil crosswise beneath the clip so one is always handy
  • Use it as a menu board for a dinner party
  • Keep tickets and appointment cards in one place
  • Use it to as a work surface for sketching and journaling

  • Shimmer Sheetz in colors of choice
  • (Shown: Turquoise and Fire Opal Gemstone; Black, Pink, Purple and Light Pink Iridescent)
  • DIY Clipboard
  • Embossing folders
  • Sanding block
  • Alcohol inks, ink applicator tool
  • Acrylic paints, paintbrush
  • Peel-offs and peel-off leftovers
  • Double-sided adhesive sheets
  • Standard flat screwdriver

Candles, Candles, Candles By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I’m turning one! (I know; I look a lot older…)

Hard to believe, but I’ve been the resident designer for The Queen’s Inkling since July 16, 2016. It feels like just yesterday that Patti welcomed me, but here we are, 52 weekly projects later.

My mother taught me that it’s important to write thank you notes when you’ve received birthday gifts, so here goes:

Patti –
Thank you for keeping me on, for giving me the amazing gift of total freedom to design whatever I want.

Lolly –
Thank you for all your hard work behind the scenes, formatting each and every post.

And for each of you -
Whether you are a subscriber to the Inkling or an occasional visitor, thank you most of all! It’s a privilege to be invited into your homes and hearts. I appreciate your comments more than you could imagine. You have given me a very special gift, your enthusiastic support, and I will do my best to continue to earn it.


No celebration would be complete without cake and candles. Wish I could deliver a cupcake to each of you, but since I can’t I can do the next best thing. I’ll deliver CANDLES, CANDLES, CANDLES.

Each one begins with rubber stamps from RubberMoon’s Stampstracts 2 sheet, shown just above the supply list at the end of this tutorial. None of the stamps are candles, but there are many flame- and wax-like shapes. I stopped at ten, but I know you’ll find more ways to mix and match once you get started.

Here are the ten candles, stamps only:

And here they are again, with fine nib pen lines and dots added, plus the words ‘happy birthday’ here and there, and a pop of color to help explore the endless possibilities.


Practice stamping candles on inexpensive paper until you are pleased with the results. Or stamp onto ATC-size pieces of cardstock right from the get-go.

Add whatever lines and doodles your eye tells you to add.

Get out your favorite coloring medium. Or several. Color!


Stamp candles in a random manner to make gift wrap or background sheets for card fronts and scrapbook layouts.

Stamp onto patterned papers and do some paper-pieced candles.

Use fabric inks and stamp onto napkins that can be used for many occasions! (Be sure you pre-wash the napkins to remove sizing. This is an important step so don’t skip it.)

For birthdays or anniversaries, accordion-fold a long strip of paper and stamp a candle on each panel, equaling the recipient’s age or number of years of marriage. (The widest candle shown is 2” at the base, most of the others are no more than 1.5”, not including the handwritten sentiment.)

Alternatively, create a long scroll from shelf paper or brown wrapping paper and let the candles touch or overlap - a better choice if the occasion calls for a LOT of candles!!!

Get the kids in on the act! They’ll take one look at Stampstracts 2 and come up with more ideas in an hour than most adults would have in a lifetime…

TIP: Don’t forget to check out Stampstracts 1. Lots of images suitable for creating candles, and lots of fun to mix with Stampstracts 2.

  • Stampstracts 2 (RubberMoon)
  • Pigma Micron 01 pen – black (Sakura of America)
  • Ink pad – permanent black
  • Acrylic blocks for temporarily mounting the stamps
  • White cardstock, or color of choice
  • Alcohol-based markers, or other coloring media of choice

Monday, June 26, 2017

Altered Board Books, Part II - by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

My post on May 30, Altered Board Books, Part I, began the saga of the round robin a friend and I were doing. It showed the book that she started, the one that will be hers to keep at the end of the project. This time, it’s the book that I started – one with a handle, purchased at a yard sale.

Just like last time, I’m showing only my pages per her request. Just like last time, the theme is ‘favorite quotes’.

And just like last time, there are no instructions – just a supply list and my fond hope that you will find a board book, gesso the pages or cover them with collage papers, and then alter them with your favorite stamps, stencils, paints, pencils and pens, and all sorts of flat and dimensional elements.

I incorporated rubber stamps from The Queen’s Ink along with some from my collection. I computer-generated Michelle Obama’s quote, tore and cut others from postcards, and hand-wrote one as well. Also included: Embossed Shimmer Sheetz (the bit gold queen of hearts playing card), acrylic paint, paint pens, printed papers, purchased embellishments, a frayed label from a T-shirt, gems, glitter dots, gift wrap tissue, newsprint, flat and dimensional alphabet stickers, ledger paper, jumbo star sequins, a dragonfly-shaped button, and more. The dimensional elements add to the visual impact and the thickness of the book – it doesn’t stay closed, it opens like a fan at one side.

The cover isn’t done, so stay tuned! And I may re-visit some of the pages if they start to look like more is needed…

Go to a yard sale sometime soon. Pick up a board book for a quarter or a buck. (Or look through your kids’ castoffs…)

Pick up the rest of the supplies at The Queen’s Ink and get started! This can be a solo project or invite a friend to join in.

  • Gesso (black, white)
  • Acrylic paints
  • Cheap paintbrushes (Patti stocks Seth Apter’s favorites!)
  • Matte medium
  • Colored pencils
  • Rubber stamps
  • Permanent multi-surface inkpad
  • Stencils (shown: StencilGirl Products)
  • Stickers
  • Sequin waste
  • Stapler
  • Assorted embellishments
  • Paint pens (shown: white)
  • Fine nib permanent ink pens in black (Sakura Pigma Micron 1mm and 01mm)
  • Printed or computer-generated quotes
  • Collage papers
  • Adhesives formulated for the surfaces you’ve selected

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beaded Branch Abacus by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I thought I’d go in a different direction for this week’s project. It has undertones of mixed media, and I think my high school math teacher would be pleased with what I designed…An abacus!

I found a photo with a quick online search to use as a reference and made an abacus with glass beads, wire, and a branch. It’s a real (functional) abacus that can be used when it’s flat on a table, but it turns into something that’s decorative and sculptural when it’s hanging. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone recognizes it as an abacus without my giving away the secret…

This project is a good way to use up a lot of beads. It looks great when it’s hanging in a window with light streaming through. And it is super easy and lots of fun to make.

Instead of a step-by-step tutorial, I’m providing only the idea and a few photos. No two people have the same collection of beads, branches are all different – so make it your own way and in a color combination that pleases your eye.

Other Options:
  • Use a painted dowel instead of a branch and stick with a more structured look.
  • Use clay beads instead of glass.
  • Instead of a wall hanging, use memory wire for the top and bottom rows, regular wire in between, and use same-size beads to create a wearable abacus bracelet. (When you wear it you can use it as a tip calculator. I made one with faux pearls and it’s a conversation starter – kids LOVE it…)


  • Gather some beads, making sure that the wire you’ve chosen will easily fit through the holes.
  • Plan the abacus on a kitchen towel so the beads won’t roll around.
  • Rearrange until you’re happy with the way things look.
  • Have fun!