Monday, September 25, 2017

Mix-It-Up Calendar by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I love calendars! I keep them all over the studio so no matter where I look there is something colorful to see. The Dog A Day calendar is at the foot of the stairs, the first thing I see each morning. A puppy calendar greets me when I enter the laundry room. I hang a flower calendar by the dryer. And there are my homemade calendars elsewhere – by the stamping table, near the AccuCut machine, next to the computer desk.

In addition, I make lots and lots of calendars for gifts. Sometimes it’s a single month on a birthday card, exhorting a friend to ‘celebrate all month’! In years past, when I got behind on holiday cards, I have sent calendars. As an alternative to a greeting card, calendars can be enjoyed all year. I’ve even whipped up perpetual calendars from magnet boards (a much more involved project, but a fun one).

Today’s calendar is what I call a ‘Mix-It-Up’.


1. Buy or make a calendar. There are many computer programs to make it easy and fast. And lots of options to buy. It can be a pad or a flat calendar with all twelve months on a single sheet.

2. Pick a color palette. Now start mixing it up! Gather patterned papers, solid color cardstock, handmade papers, plus bits and pieces left over from other projects. I incorporated embossed Shimmer Sheetz, stamped cardstock, flowers gilded with leafing foil, and an intricate glittered die cut border strip.

3. Create a base layer. Shown: A 7” purple square topped with a 6” printed paper square that has a narrow double border.

4. Decide on a layout. Shown: A log cabin quilt-inspired square with strips of varying widths framing and surrounding the centered 1.5” x 1.25” calendar pad.

Dimensions are up to you. Go for a long vertical calendar, make a standard 8.5” x 11” rectangle, make something oversized that can be viewed across a room or miniature size to sit on a desktop easel.

5. Arrange the pieces. When pleased with the composition glue it all in place.


Putting on my teacher hat:

Notice that the horizontal bands pull your eye to the left and right, while the vertical bands pull your eye up and down. It’s this movement that creates a visual, but not literal, frame.

Even though the calendar pad is small and the elements surrounding it are ‘busy’ and heavily patterned, by centering it your eye goes to it like a bull’s eye.

The intricate die cut strip is pale and fades into the background. If it were darker, it would get too confusing.


Just because I used leftovers from previous projects, it doesn’t mean YOU have to do so! If you are making a big batch of calendars, you can stamp whole sheets of paper to cut up or start with a morning of gel printing, embossing, and/or die cutting.

Experiment with new techniques or stick with old favorites.

Mix in photos to further personalize the calendars.

While you’re at it, keep some of the leftover strips you created to use for bookmarks, cards, and other projects!

  • Calendar
  • Paper glue
  • Double-sided adhesive tape
  • Glitter
  • Shimmer Sheetz
  • Embossing folders
  • Sanding block
  • Printed papers
  •   (Days of the week: BoBunny ‘Calendar Girl’ 6 x 6)
  • Cardstock
  • Handmade paper
  • Assorted leftovers from other projects

Monday, September 18, 2017

Queen of Everything by Judi Kauffman

There’s a new stamp set in stock at The Queen’s Ink and I’m excited to be able to introduce it! It’s called Queen of Everything. It’s by Suzanne Cannon (Quietfire Design) and it includes six top notch deep-etched red rubber cling-mounted stamps – a crown-like flourish with a heart at the center and five separate stamps with words - Queen of, Everything, the last minute, way too much, and HEARTS.

I used the queens from a deck of playing cards for my projects, adding an allover pattern background, some glittery cardstock and jumbo gems, a watch face embellishment and a die cut decorative corner. The color palette: Royal purple, of course!

Tiaras, place cards, gift card holders - so many possibilities… I’ll be back with more projects soon. Meanwhile, I hope these four cards will inspire you and get you started.

Be sure to stop by The Queen’s Ink to pick up The Queen of Everything set and to see all of the other wonderful new goodies that have arrived since your last visit. (Patti has brought in pens and inks that are irresistible…) If you live too far for an in-person visit, head to the web store or place your order by phone.

(In case you think you’re seeing double: With permission from Patti Euler and Suzanne Cannon, these projects are being published on both The Queen’s Inkling and Quietfire Design blogs)


  • Queen of Everything stamp set #6221 Quietfire Design
  • Inks in colors of choice
  • Glittered and solid colored cardstock
  • Background stamp or patterned paper
  • Playing cards
  • Double-sided tape
  • Paper glue
  • Large adhesive-backed gems
  • Watch face
  • Die cut Shimmer Sheetz for corner embellishment

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pen Circles by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Inkling

Long ago, I invented a project to amuse some children who were visiting: Pen Circles. It was a hit. And over the years it has become one of my favorites for when I’m on the go. Everything fits in a small zippered bag.

I hope you’ll join me!

First, die cut a series of circles from smooth, solid color or speckled cardstock. Then layer, arrange and rearrange the circles till happy with the way they look. Finally, glue the layers. I sometimes cut circles in half or trim away portions – there are no hard and fast rules!

Then pack up some pens, the layered circles and you're ready for take-off (plane trips go faster when I’m doodling), for visits with friends, and for endless hours in waiting rooms. If the doctor is forty minutes late I don’t notice. Well…yes, I do, but I have something with me so my blood pressure remains low!

When I’m layering the circles I don’t plan or think about what they might become. I just layer them in ways that please my eye and look interesting even without any drawing. Discovering plants and flowers, faces, abstract designs all comes later. It’s all about turning the circles around until an idea reveals itself, and then starting to doodle.

And I never throw away the scraps. It’s such fun finding interesting shapes within the leftovers. So many weird and quirky animals! Get out some scissors, cut the leftovers into pieces, leaving evidence of where the circles were originally die cut and adding legs and tails and ears or whatever else comes to mind. (Draw guidelines in pencil until you feel confident without them!) Add 1" white circles for eyes...then doodle and doodle some more. 

What do I do with the Pen Circles? So far, nothing! I just keep them stacked up in a box. I look at them now and then. But they might someday become ornaments, I might tuck them into an art journal or add them to card fronts. Who knows…

  • Solid color and speckled cardstock in four or more colors
  • Pigma Micron pens in black (01, 1, 005)
  • Gelly Roll Medium pen in white
  • Adhesive of choice
  • Circle dies (shown: 1” – 4”)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Creative Outlet by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Inkling

The electrician who installed the new ceiling fan in my studio put aside various unneeded parts, including a plastic piece from an outlet that I rescued from the trash heap! Viewed one way, it looked like eyes. Viewed the other way, it looked like a small shrine with two niches. He didn’t utter a peep when I set it aside, but after he was finished and we’d paid him, he asked me what in the world I planned to do with the castoff plastic, so we headed back to the studio for a quick demo…

I got out a Magic Stamp block, heat tool, some ink pads and envelopes and showed him what I’d envisioned. And while I was at it, I showed him a block I’d made with some rippled cardboard pieces left from a packing carton, too. He stayed long enough to see me create the face shown on the envelope below and in the close-up photo at the start of this tutorial. I completed the rest once he’d headed off to his next customer.

I sent him home with a couple of Magic Stamp blocks, some stamped and plain envelopes and a Pigma Micron pen because he said his son loves to draw and is hoping to become a cartoonist.

I hope the photo gallery will intrigue and inspire you. I’ve written instructions for Magic Stamp blocks in the past so scroll back through the blog if you need that info.


1. Look around your home, your office, and wherever else interesting low-relief manmade items might catch your eye. Create some Magic Stamp blocks and stamp your art out! 

2. Set aside some of the stamped pieces to use as is – postcards, backgrounds, envelopes ready to fill and mail…you’ll know ‘em when you see ‘em!

3. Keep going on the rest – get out your fine line pens, markers and colored pencils. Find and add faces, flowers, bugs, or whatever lands in your imagination and works its way down to your hands. Doodle, color, tear and layer and create collages.

Time for your own creative outlet! Literally (the electrical department at a hardware store offers so many possibilities). Or otherwise (packaging is often a great source of textures and patterns).


  • Magic Stamp blocks
  • Heat tool
  • Pigma Micron pens in black (01, 1, 005)
  • Gelly Roll Medium pen in white
  • Winsor & Newton ProMarkers in assorted colors
  • Dye ink pads in assorted colors
  • Solid color cardstock
  • Envelopes
  • Optional Rubber stamps (sentiments, greetings, return address, etc.)
  • Spray mist bottle with water (to create watercolor effects)
  • Glue stick (for collage-style envelopes)