Video: NEW Hero Arts Shadow Inks + Giveaway!

Boy is it cold! It’s -2 degrees here, but I know some of you have it much worse. Ack!

Hopefully this will brighten your day: a closer look at the new Hero Arts Shadow Inks. I am the biggest fan of their inks, but I tend to reach for the same colors over and over. I was thrilled that they released SIX new colors – Soft Vanilla, Dark Quartz, Lemon Yellow, Lime Green, Ultra Pink and Blackboard – and I LOVE them all. They are a great addition to the Shadow Ink collection. Here is a video showing a closer look:

First, here is a look at the card I did in the video. (The photo is a bit more neon that in real life. Sorry.) Scroll down a bit more for a comparison to other ink colors…

One of my favorite cards to make is an encouragement card. The new Yay! stamp set from Hero Arts is perfect for this type of card… which I am sending to a friend who recently lost 10 pounds. The small stars in the background add to the fun.

Pairing up the new Shadow Ink colors (more on those below) with some Wink of Stella shimmer, I have a card that is sure to make her smile.

I know many people will be interested in how these new Shadow Ink colors compare to the older Shadow Ink colors… and the Simon Says Stamp Ink colors. (Remember – these inks have the same properties as they come from the same ink line from the same manufacturer.) Please forgive these terrible photos – they are just for comparison purposes.

In this photo, the new Lime Green looks a bit more yellow than it is in real life. I love this color. Great for flowers:

The new Lemon Yellow color is the perfect bright yellow – much different than any yellows out there. Perfection. And Soft Vanilla is a lovely ivory-like color. Perfect for any style of card. I will be using this one for backgrounds and for light stamping to trace over:

The new Dark Quartz has won my heart. It is a great dull (in a good way) peach color that will go perfect with neutral or bright colors. It isn’t as bright as the other colors in the peach and orange family:

For pinks, the new Hero Arts Ultra Pink is a little more blue than the old Bubble Gum. Hard to see in this picture, but the difference is there. I think I prefer Ultra Pink:

Finally, the new Blackboard Ink. This color is very unique… it is like a soft black or super dark grey. I will be reaching for this a lot. Swoon:

Hope this gives you a better look at the new inks. Now it’s time to share some…


Want to try out the newest Hero Arts Shadow Inks yourself? Leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 1/10/14 for your chance to win all six! Good luck.

(By the way, the winners of the spots in the Stenciled class are: Roz M, Cara T and Agnieska. I emailed you.)


Below are the products featured above. To find them at Simon Says Stamp, click on the SSS below the thumbnails. For Ellen Hutson, click on EH

(SSS | EH)









(SSS | EH)









Video + HUGE Discount on Studio Calico Card Kit + Giveaway!

Hello! I am so excited to have a fun (and BIG) discount code, giveaway and video for you today.

You know I love kits because they push my creativity. One of my favorites is the Studio Calico Card Kit. I have been friends with Studio Calico’s sweet owner April for ages and love seeing the great kits she brings to our hands. Many of you have asked me about this kit and what it is like. So today I have a video… and an opportunity for you to try out a Studio Calico Kit for nearly 50% off! Use the code “JMDEC15″ to get the current Blue Note Card Kit for only $15. This is almost 50% off the normal price of $29.50. (Offer is good through midnight EST on 12/26/13.) Woot! This would be a great stocking stuffer for yourself or a friend.

Sweet deal, huh?

I created a video for you that shows you inside a Studio Calico Kit… and five projects I created using the one kit.

Here is a look at the kit. Love that stamp set designed my Mama Elephant…

First up? A birthday card…

Love using letter stickers for stamping resist. Little letter stickers are a great way to make the perfect greeting for any card.

And to show how you can get a lot out of one kit – and in a variety of styles – my next card is a holiday one. So glad Colin encouraged me to add that red nose to that cute deer die cut

That patterned paper is awesome. I am not great at actually using my patterned papers. But the fact that the kit had embellishments (stars) to tie in the paper really made it easier…

For this one, I used the flame to make flowers…

Those little dots from the kit? So cute…

And since I always need more birthday cards…

I love white embossing on color paper…

And finally… a cut barrette for my Lila. If only she would sit still so I could photograph it for her hair…

I hope to share more projects from this soon.

Remember – use the code “JMDEC15″ to get the current Studio Calico Blue Note Card Kit for only $15. This is almost 50% off the normal price of $29.50. (Offer is good through midnight EST on 12/26/13.) Enjoy!


For your chance to win a Studio Calico Blue Note Kit, leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 12/16/13.


Below are the products featured above. To find them at Simon Says Stamp, click on the SSS below the thumbnails. For Studio Calico click SC, for Ellen Hutson click on EH and for Mama Elephant click ME

Simon Says Stamp Valentine’s Blog Hop + Video + Giveaway


Today is the Simon Says Stamp Valentine’s 2014 Blog Hop. There are some fabulous new products – a lot of them! – and I am excited to get to use my favorite stamp set and stencil.

Here is a video showing two cards. Please forgive me – I had a cold earlier in the week and once I was feeling better, I got hit with a stomach bug. (My first one ever. So horrid.) I sound off – sorry.

Here is a closer look at my cards – both using the fabulous new Simon Says Stamp Blessed stamp set. Being a Christian, this stamp set is perfection. It couldn’t be any better.

Isn’t that sentiment perfection? I also used the new Falling Hearts Stencil. I added Translucent Embossing Paste (Wendy Vecchi or Dreamweavers) over the stencil for a fast background with dimension. After taking off the stencil, I added various colors of Zing embossing powder. I let this dry for about 15 minutes and then came back and heat embossed the powder. (I think it gives better results if the paste is allowed to dry before heating the powder.)

I love the raised color. The embossing paste under the powder gives more of a raised look then just using ink under the powder

And that greeting? Again… it is perfect.

Now, remember when I added that rainbow of embossing powder along the card above? When I tilted that paper to take off the excess powder, I didn’t want it to go to waste. So I quickly stamped the Tiny Flags Background with Versamark Ink and poured the powder right on to it and heat embossed. Two cards with one technique! Both were fast to do. Oh – and I added a tiny heart with a black pen.

Love a rainbow of embossing powders. Something you can’t get with ink…

You can check out all the great new products here (and the supplies I used are at the end of this post)…

The next person on the hop is my dear bestie, Kathy Racoosin! (Or you can start the hop on the SSS blog.) Thanks for stopping by. Means a lot to me.


Great news! Simon Says Stamp will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to the SSS store to one commenter on every blog in the hop… including here. That’s 16 different chances to win! For your chance, leave a comment by 6pmEST on 12/12/13. A complete winners list will be posted on the Simon blog on Friday December 13, 2013.


Cool Contest + Winners!

Thanks so much for being a part of My Favorite Crafty Things. I had such a fun time sharing the best of the best. And now it is time for winners. And I have lots of them!

But before I share the winners, I wanted to give you a heads up on two things:


The wonderful folks over at Lawn Fawn are having their 4th annual catalog contest. I *love* this idea! There are three categories and the winning projects will be in the Lawn Fawn catalog and booth. And the winners will get a $75 gift certificate, too! So clever. Check it out…



A quick side note. I have received an email asking if I was on the design team for the companies whose products I featured in My Favorite Crafty Things. I want to make sure you all know: If a product is on My Favorite Crafty Things list, it is because I truly love it. I am not on any design teams. I was not asked, encouraged or paid to feature any of these items. I picked the products because I love them. I do have sponsors on my blog – all who were invited to be sponsors. (Invited sponsorships are very unusual. In fact, I don’t personally know of any one else who does this.) They are sponsors because I use and love their products – not the other way around. I am not obligated to use their products. I occasionally still do work for Hero Arts, or do a paid guest spot or blog hop gig. But I never use products I do not like, or work with companies who are not made up of really good people. I can assure you I stay true to this. I am loyal to a fault. :) In other words – you can trust me and my recommendations.


Ok… back to the winners! We have winners spanning from all over the US to all over the world! (Those invited sponsorships I mentioned above? Having those makes it possible for me to do lots of giveaways and make them eligible to everyone… anywhere. Yay! I have some serious shipping to do! lol.) I have emailed all the lucky folks listed…

See you soon. I have some serious mailing to do!

Freckled Fawn Love + Giveaway

I’ll be honest – I am not one to use a lot of embellishments. There are some popular products you will rarely see me use. I just find my love for stamping outweighs everything else. lol. But sometimes something wins my heart. It may be a fabulous 6×6 paper pad or an enamel dot or a wood embellishment. And when I find embellishments I love – I jump in with both feet. Well, today I jumped BIG time.

Check out this bad boy embellishment kit

This OHDEERME kit from Freckled Fawn came in a cute tin (see below). When I opened it, I giggled. Colin asked me what happened. Then he looked… and immediately stole the cool epoxy stickers.

(And no I was not paid to share this – I am signing up for a subscription on my own. I just think the idea of an embellishment kit is a fun and unique one.)

I immediately had to use the adorable fox wood embellishments. I have always loved wood pieces but these are especially cute…

Come on! Aren’t those faces adorable? And the stamp is from the set in the kit… made my Hero Arts. Yay!! High quality.

(Oh – that background was embossed with the Lifestyle Celebrate embossing folder and the heart was cut with a MFT Heart Staz die.)

I also added Black Enamel Accents for the eyes…

Next I used the wood feathers and the stamp set to make a card for my hubby. When things get hectic with the kids, sometimes you gotta remember that it all comes back to the two of you…

I used a bit of Copic Marker to add coloring to the wood pieces. It blends on it’s own… so easy.

I also really liked the sequin bows in the kit. So I went to Target and bought some inexpensive little girl barrettes/bows. (Along with a million other things I didn’t need. Does Target have that effect on you, too?) I cut the bows off and replaced them with these cute sequin bows using a glue gun. And oh my are they cute.

Yes, I did try to get a picture of one in Lila’s hair. However, she just moves too fast…

Oh, and this is the adorable tin that the kit came in. I plan to stick a quick bow on the top of this and use it for a gift in the future. Perfect.

You can find more about the Freckled Fawn OHDEERME October Kit I used HERE. The November comes out soon and they are beginning to show peeks. After seeing it, I knew I needed a subscription.


So the kind folks at Freckled Fawn said I could give away one of their OHDEERME October Kits like I used above. Just leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 10/27/13 for your chance to win. Good luck.


Below are the products featured above. To find them at Simon Says Stamp, click on the SSS below the thumbnails. For Ellen Hutson, click on EH. Some links also go to Freckled Fawn

MFT Heart Stax Dies (SSS|MFT)

Vagabond Die Cutting Machine (SSS|EH)

Black and White Enamel Accents (SSS|EH)

Hero Arts Milwaukee Heat Gun (SSS|EH)

White Embossing Powder (SSS|EH)

Versamark (SSS|EH)

Memento Luxe Love Letter Ink Pad (SSS|EH)

Hero Arts Black Dye Ink (SSS|EH)

Copic Markers (SSS|EH)

Video: Ink Storage + Discount Code + Giveaway!

Hello! One of the questions I get most often is about ink storage. I finally have storage I am happy with… so it is time to share. And the good news? I have a discount code and giveaway for my favorite storage units!

Check out my video to see a closer look…

First, I am really over-the-moon happy with my storage units from OrganizeMore. They are high quality and responsibly priced compared to other ink storage units I have seen. (Keep reading… I have a discount code for OrganizeMore and a giveaway below. Please know they didn’t contact me – I found them after searching long and hard for the best storage option for me.)

The first unit I have is the 48 Ink Pad Organizer for my favorite colors of Hero Arts Shadow, My Favorite Things and (new) Mama Elephant Inks. This guy sits in a cabinet, but could also hang on the wall or sit on a shelf…

The second unit I have is the Mini Ink Pad Organizer. This holds 24 inks and I have it hanging on the inside of my cabinet door. (I used Command Picture Hanging Strips to hold it on the door – works like a charm – so strong!) My favorite Memento Luxe Inks live here, along with other frequently used inks such as Versamark, Memento Black, Archival Black, Unicorn White, etc.

Next is the one I am in love with the most – the 36 Distress Ink/Reinker Organizer. Eek! It makes me so happy! It is intended to stand upright or hang, but I have mine laying in a drawer. It is also intended to hold Distress Inks and reinkers, but I used those reinker spots to hold my Ink Blending Tools. (Yes, I am nuts to have a tool for each color – even Tim makes fun of me for it. But I use them A LOT and this helps me work better. But in the video, I make other suggestions on how to do this.)

The rest of my inks are in my Ikea Alex drawers. These units are incredible for crafters, are very inexpensive and hold a ton. I have a few built into my office and couldn’t live without them! They work for ink storage, too…

In the video, I also show a few plastic containers that are good for folks with less room and are more cost effective. I use these for my other-colors-I-like-but-don’t-use-as-often inks. These are from the same manufacturer of the stamp storage containers I love…

And finally, I use the Brother P-Touch Label Maker with the 1/4″ tape to label the sides of the inks. This is a durable label that won’t get icky and fall off. So fast and easy. (I will soon share a video showing how to set this label maker up so that it conserves label tape.) And let’s just say this – kids are really good at using this machine. ;)

A few things to note:

  • Yes – I do store some of my inks on their side. I have never had problems with doing this, and many companies say it doesn’t matter. Also, I rotate mine once in awhile just to be safe. Works for me and I have had them this way for some time now. If you want to be safe, go with one of the OrganizeMore storage units that store inks horizontally.
  • Note that these units do not hold ALL of the colors, but rather my most frequently used colors. This was key for me. Once I decided to use “prime real estate” in my craft room for just my favorite products and tuck the rest into a container elsewhere, I really became happy and more functional.
  • And yes – I do have a lot of inks. However, this is my job. Just like my hubby engineer needs lots of tools in his office to do his job, I need these inks. :)


So I looked long and hard to find the perfect storage units and have been so very happy with the ones from OrganizeMore. So I got the courage to contact them and ask them if they wanted to give my readers and discount code… and they said yes! Use the code is “MCGUIREINK” for a 13% discount on your entire order (before shipping charges). Offer ends 10/17/13.


And when I contacted OrganizeMore about the discount code, they offered a giveaway… a REALLY good giveaway! One lucky crafter will get the 48 Ink Pad Organizer like the one I use! Just leave a comment here by 11:59pmEST on 10/17/13 for your chance. Good luck!

Please visit OrganizeMore to see the other ink storage options they have. They have even bigger ones than I own!  They also have organizers for other products, such as punches and ribbons.

Hope one of these storage options works for you. Enjoy!