Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mixed Media Bookmarks by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

When I reframed an old family photo the other day I almost tossed out the ivory mat that had seen better days, but then decided I could put the heavy board to good use.

Rather than tuck it away for the elusive ‘someday’ I got out several pigment inkpads, smudged on some of my favorite colors, and used a favorite Magic Stamp block to stamp over the random background with black pigment ink.

Because pigments ink dry slowly I had plenty of time to sprinkle the entire mat with clear embossing powder and heat set it. Voila! A colorful, textured mat.

But the mat was so overwhelming that I couldn’t imagine what I would put into it, so I cut it into long strips and small pieces, colored the edges of all of the pieces with permanent black ink applied straight from the pad (a broad nib permanent marker would work, too) and started playing, combining and rearranging the layers.

I got out some coordinating fibers, buttons, air-dry clay pieces and a little resin-embedded rosebud that was a fridge magnet in a former life. One thing led to another and soon I had the components for four super sturdy mixed media bookmarks.


Punch the holes for the fibers one layer at a time using a heavy duty punch or drill press. Mat board is too heavy for an ordinary hole punch.

Use strong-hold double-sided adhesive tape to secure the mat board layers.

Use snippets of Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs to secure the embellishments. Cut the Tabs with non-stick scissors. This is my go-to favorite product and NO, I’m not on their payroll…I just love Power Tabs.

These bookmarks are best used for the volumes you keep by an easy chair rather than for books that get tucked into tote bags. (They’re too stiff to stand up to getting knocked around.) Make sure that the layered and embellished portion sticks out beyond the pages for several inches to keep the pages from getting distorted. This also allows you to see and enjoy what you’ve made!


Instead of a photo mat, start with a small sheet of mat board. Reason: Smaller boards are easier to cut into pieces than oversized ones.

Instead of stamping and embossing, alter the mat or mat board with stenciling, collage, or with a mix of whatever techniques you’re currently enjoying.

Skip the embossing powder if you don’t want a shiny surface. Instead, seal with a matte finish medium.

Instead of making bookmarks, cut the mat or mat board into squares and make mixed media mosaics for card fronts, art journals, or other projects.

Use colors that won’t overwhelm a photo or drawing and leave the mat intact!

  • Castoff photo mat or piece of mat board
  • Pigment inkpads including black or another dark color
  • Permanent black inkpad or wide nib marker (for edges of bookmarks)
  • Clear embossing powder
  • Heat tool
  • Magic Stamp block(s)*
  • Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs
  • Non-stick scissors (to cut Power Tabs)
  • Assorted embellishments
  • Assorted fibers
  • Heavy duty hole punch (or drill press)
  • Craft knife, cutting mat, ruler OR guillotine paper cutter sturdy enough to cut mat board

*The Magic Stamp block used for this project was heated per manufacturer’s instructions and pressed against a piece of bead embroidery. To learn more about this remarkable product, please look at the schedule for my upcoming Magic Stamp classes at the Queen’s Ink! They’ll be posted soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Queens for a Day by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

By Order of the Queen (and that would be Patti Euler!), we’ve all been summoned to a ‘Sweet Sixteen Soiree’ at The Queen’s Ink on Saturday, January 28, 2017, from Noon to Five.

It’s going to be quite a celebration. Sixteen years of creativity, art, and friendship. And crowns. Lots and lots of crowns. And tiaras. And if I’m guessing right, Patti will be wearing a very regal velvet robe so no one will accidentally mistake the ‘Head Queen’ for the rest of us mere royals-for-a-day!

I’ll be sporting a Shimmer Sheetz crown that mixes paper flowers with resin buttons and gem-topped brads. I’m bringing some tiaras for others to wear that day as well.

If you want to make your own crowns and tiaras at some point in the near future, please let us hear from you and we’ll schedule a class. I designed the custom die as a sixty-fifth birthday gift to myself and Patti fell in love with it so she got one for the store!

Look closely at the photos below (four tiaras) to see how the die will cut both positive and negative strips at the same time, like a long puzzle with two interlocking pieces. The non-brad embellishments are all securely held in place with my go-to, the super strong Tombow Power Adhesive Tabs.

One 5” x 12” piece of Shimmer Sheetz, backed with double sided adhesive sheet and another piece of Shimmer Sheetz or synthetic suede for stability, cuts either two tiaras or two crown-halves.

Now where on earth did I put those glass slippers? Oh, now I remember. I donated them to Goodwill because they were so darn uncomfortable!

See you in a few days, Your Majesties!

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