Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sunday with Seth by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I’ve known Seth Apter for several years. We’ve had lunch together at trade shows, exchanged email, and chatted on the phone, but January 8, 2017, was the first time I’ve been a student in one of his unforgettable classes! Let me repeat that: Unforgettable! It’s no wonder that his workshops and retreats sell out as soon as they’re announced. The man is an incredible teacher and I don’t say that lightly.

Seth spent all three days at The Queen’s Ink that weekend. I was lucky to get a spot in his super popular "52 Card Pickup" workshop, an all-day session that ran on Sunday from 10 – 5:30. It’s a class he loves to teach, one he says he’s considered "retiring" from his schedule. But just when he thinks he might actually stop, he brings it back because it’s so unique and because people simply won’t let him give it up. (This is my way of saying that if you missed it, we should start pestering and lobbying so he’ll bring it to The Queen’s Ink again in the future…)

As you can see from the "people" photo it was a large group, but the classroom was set up so each person had plenty of space to spread out. And spread out, we did!


This is going to be long. Rather than interrupt my description of the class (something of a fan letter…), I’m going to keep all of the rest of the photos together as a gallery at the end of this post.

Keep reading if you want words first; scroll down and look at the pictures first if you’d prefer.

We laughed, we got covered with paint, we worked fast and with focus, but just as Seth expected (and just as he told us to do) we turned off the "thinking" side of our brain and let the judgment-less side take over. In other words, we put ourselves into his hands, trusted that he’d get us where we needed to go, and let things happen. OMG, it was heaven.

We had been instructed to bring a deck of 52 playing cards painted with black gesso on both sides; our supply list also included acrylic paints, brushes, stencils, and a few other items, but Seth had plenty of everything for us to share as well. This meant we could use his stamps and stencils and try the paints and inks he uses in his own projects. And he gave each of us two pre-cut boards to use as covers for our stacked books. (Not bound, but with the cards tied between the covers.)

I don’t want to give away the methods he taught because they are uniquely his own to share, but I do want to describe HOW he teaches so you know why I was so impressed and happy – and why I recommend that you book a spot with Seth Apter whenever you want to have an exceptional learning experience.

The class is structured so you can’t goof up or fail. You just can’t! It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant or a Pilates instructor or nurse or music teacher or professional designer. At the end of the day, if our projects were put side by side you’d fall in love with all of them – and you wouldn’t be able to tell which was done by the beginner and which by someone with years of experience. And it’s because of how Seth teaches.

First, we introduced ourselves with our name and a descriptive word. (I identified myself as Judi, Type A, which got a good laugh from all, especially the other Type A’s in the group.) It broke the ice; we weren’t strangers.

Then Seth talked a bit about mixed media and how important it is to work in layers. He said that Layers along the way don’t have to look good because you’re going to continually add and alter them, and he advised that you should never entirely cover the previous layer so that evidence of prior colors and textures remains visible.

"You’re only one layer away from MAGIC," he said, followed by, "You’re also only one layer away from C---!" (a four-letter word that rhymes with wrap…) And he reminded us that the things that we might want to toss in the trash can always be die cut, torn into pieces, or more layers can be added. He keeps a box filled with these rejects, painted papers ready for their next incarnation.

He showed his collages and his art journal at various intervals, reminding us that the techniques we were learning would work well at a larger scale and for other kinds of projects.


For each step in the process (six main steps and a few smaller ones) Seth told us WHAT we were going to do, WHY and HOW we were going to do it, and how long we’d have for the task. He really should train teachers as a sideline. It doesn’t get any better!

We worked out our own pace, and even though we were all working on the same step some of the time, at other points we were working more quickly or more slowly – and no one was ever left behind or left feeling that they had to wait for others to catch up.

The man is a genius. That’s all there is to it.

We worked fast because every step had to be done to both sides of 52 cards – a LOT of surfaces to paint, stamp, stencil, edge, paint some more, and otherwise alter.

Just when I thought I was going to topple and fade, it was lunchtime. Later in the afternoon when energy waned, in came the coffee cart and another break. Even the pacing of the class was carefully planned.

Seth showed the last steps, including how to assemble the covers and collage the individual cards, at around 4:00. He made it clear that we weren’t going to finish the collages during the session – it was something to continue at home. The class didn’t fizzle. We were engaged until the very last minute.

Exhausted? Yes. Like a Victorian lady I "took to my bed" the next day and wondered how those with a day job were able to get up and head to work!

Thank you, Seth! I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun and felt so free. I just might not be such a Type A after all.


Below are some of my finished cards, shown front and back, with the ‘back’ side less busy so it can be used for journaling:

Here are close-ups of four of my cards that have collage elements. Not sure whether they’re done or if I’ll do more:

Here’s my finished book, showing front and back covers and the suede wrap-style closure with a charm at the end:

I needed a place to keep my book so I painted a little wooden storage container, used one of my favorite cards to accent the front and more suede to echo the closure on the book. The container may need more collage elements; I’m not sure I like the suede pieces... What do you think?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Slice and Dice Calendar Cards and Bookmark By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

Do you have a calendar from last year that hasn’t yet been tossed? Get out a craft knife, straight edge and cutting mat or your paper trimmer and turn it into something else!

Slice & Dice is what my friend Debbie and I have dubbed our Round Robin projects. We like to chop up cards we’ve sent to each other. It’s not something either of us would have done without permission and a conversation about the whole idea, but it has turned into something we’ve enjoyed for several years and it is the inspiration for the Slice & Dice Calendar Cards and Bookmark.

Calendars are just right for getting sliced and diced! The number of new card fronts, tags, bookmarks, ATCs and other items depends on the size of the calendar.

As you can see from the photos above, my 6” x 12” 2016 calendar gave me enough pieces for two cards (the top and bottom sections) and a bookmark (strips cut from left and right sides combined end-to-end). Both cards have a solid cardstock tent-fold card base attached; the bookmark is solid cardstock as well. The cards now incorporate cookie fortunes. I added polka dot pattern washi tape to all three projects.

Another option:

Instead of cutting up last year’s calendar, make a new one for THIS year!

Print or purchase a small calendar. Get out your favorite long, narrow border strip dies, a clipboard style die or punch, some sheets of coordinated 6” x 6” patterned cardstock for the background, your favorite Shimmer Sheetz for extra sparkle, and some washi tape. The little lines that look like staples are the small leftover bits from one of the borders (waste not, want not!). Reinforce the top and bottom edges with a decorative ‘hem’ so the calendar won’t buckle – an extra layer of patterned cardstock that folds over like bias tape on a sewing project. (The calendar was first featured on the Elizabeth Craft Designs blog in January 2016 and is in the archive if you need step by step instructions.)

  • Old calendars
  • Double-sided adhesive tape
  • Solid color cardstock
  • Cookie fortunes
  • Washi tape
  • Paper trimmer OR craft knife, straight edge, and cutting mat

Monday, January 2, 2017

Dylusions Card-in-a-Box by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

Happy New Year to All! This is going to be a terrific year at The Queen’s Ink – so many exciting classes and workshops, all sorts of new products to discover. I’ll be posting a project each week here on The Queen’s Inkling blog and hope you’ll take time to comment, ask questions, and make suggestions for what you’d like to see.

First up, a Card-in-a-Box that features some of Dyan Reaveley’s many marvelous, irreverent Dylusions stamps along with one her fun and versatile stencils!

Patti is considering selling pre-cut cardstock Card-in-a-Box kits. If this is something you’d like to see her keep in stock in the store, please call, send an email, or leave a comment here on the blog! She’ll make it happen if there is interest.


It’s a 4-sided card that folds flat for mailing and stands up when it comes out of the envelope. One side stays tall; three sides flap downward.

In addition, there are dividers (usually two or more) that hold pop up elements, adding to the fun. These embellishments need to be low-relief and positioned so they aren’t visible when the card is closed.

You can decorate one or both sides of each section or just one side. As shown, both sides have been painted and stenciled and three of the flaps and the tall panel each have a second layer as well as stamped components.

Heavily embellished Card-in-a-Box projects require extra postage and a padded envelope or shallow box for mailing. (This is a card I love delivering in person because it always gets such a great response!)

Anyone interested in a Card-in-a-Box workshop or class? Let us know and we can schedule one!

Here’s a quick how-to for the project shown:

Cut and score cardstock pieces. Randomly paint and stencil both the front and back of the main section of the card and the divider pieces, and just the front of the layering pieces. Limit the palette to two colors and one stencil as shown, or go in a different direction with more colors and patterns.

Glue the layering pieces in place.

Stamp the sentiments; fussy cut them and glue them to the flaps and tall panel.

Glue the tab at the side to assemble the main section of the card and glue in the two divider pieces.

Adhere assorted die cut flourishes or other embellishments onto the dividers using snippets of Power Tabs to secure them. (This part of the card needs something that provides a super strong 'hold' as the adhesive and I'm partial to Power Tabs for this purpose. Use non-stick scissors to cut the Tabs before removing the protective sheet.)

  • Dylusions stamps and stencil(s) of choice
  • Inks, paints, cardstock in colors of choice
  • Paint brush, stencil brush
  • Double-sided adhesive tape
  • Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs to hold elements on the dividers
  • Non-stick scissors to cut Power Tabs

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Altered Angels by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

A friend gave me six cute 7” tall wooden angel ornaments that she no longer wanted. I politely thanked her, tucked them away for a few years, and forgot about them till a recent clean-up. Because ‘cute’ isn’t my style, I thought it would be fun to alter the angels with paint and pens, giving them a very different look!

Here’s the ‘before’ shot:

I pried the star off of one of them. Here’s how she looks after her makeover:

I turned another upside down, moved the eye hook, and made her into a bird:


What do you have that could benefit from a total re-do? If the answer is ‘not a thing’ then head to a yard sale, thrift shop, or ask a crafty friend to share some of her unused stuff.

Can you flip the item around and turn it into something new? Think outside of the box!


1. Paint the surface of whatever you’re altering. A base coat of gesso and a coat or two of acrylic paint should do the trick.

2. Trace around the shape and sketch some ideas on paper before you commit. Or if you’re feeling fearless and confident draw straight onto the painted surface without any pre-planning.

3. Use paint pens or paint and fine brushes. Doodle and alter your ________ (angel, star, circle, mask, whatever….). Stop at intervals, get away from the project so you can come back with fresh eyes and see if you need to keep going or if it’s DONE.

4. Keep going until you are content with the project. If you add too much and aren’t happy, paint over whatever you’ve done, sand the surface a bit and start again!

  • Acrylic paints
  • Gesso
  • Paint pens in black, white, metallic gold, copper, orange or colors of choice
  • Wooden shapes to paint 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Last-Minute Gifts: Jumbo Clothespin Pencil Holders / Notepaper & Pencil/Pen Holders by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

Need some last-minute gifts? No problem! Here are two you can whip up in no time, and if you’re already done with presents for this year, bookmark the idea for other occasions and for next year’s holiday season!

Photo Holders –
Great as stocking stuffers, place cards for a festive table!

Paint a jumbo clothespin or leave it as natural wood.
Add embossed Shimmer Sheetz to the front, or both front and back.
Lightly sand the Shimmer Sheetz to tone down the sparkle and reveal the core color (Gemstone has a silver core, Iridescent is white), and/or alter the SS with alcohol inks if you want!
Embellish with fibers, sequins, gems or in whatever way you choose.

Pencil/Pen Holders –
Terrific party favors, stocking stuffers, teacher gifts; make one for yourself!

Paint a wooden favor bag or any similar small container with straight sides.
Add embossed Shimmer Sheetz or handmade paper to the front, or both front and back.
Embellish with miniature playing cards, leather or paper cord, ribbon, charms or other dimensional elements. Tip: Fray the end of the ribbon to add a special touch.

For Both Projects –

Use slivers of strong hold Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs to secure the sequins and metal charms. (Cut the Power Tabs with non-stick scissors.) Use double-sided adhesive tape to adhere the Shimmer Sheetz and handmade paper.

That was easy, wasn’t it?
You’re welcome to share my mantra: Easy Isn’t Cheating!

  • Embossing folders – Card Suits, Stars (Kaisercraft)
  • Shimmer Sheetz in colors of choice (Shown: Amethyst Gemstone, Yellow Iridescent)
  • Handmade paper with botanical inclusions
  • Sanding block, optional
  • Double-sided adhesive tape
  • Power Adhesive Tabs (Tombow)
  • Non-stick scissors to cut Power Tabs
  • Jumbo clothespins
  • Wooden containers
  • Acrylic paint (shown: Black Plum)
  • Paintbrush
  • Leafy branch peel-offs in Gold (Elizabeth Craft Designs), option – alter with alcohol inks
  • Large star-shaped sequins (or Shimmer Sheetz in Silver Metallic and star-shaped punch or die)
  • Flat-backed gems
  • Crown and flower charms
  • Mini playing cards
  • Leather or paper cord
  • Fuzzy fibers
  • 2” wide iridescent ribbon