A Birthday Card for Jake

Happy Birthday distress inkIt’s turning into a bit of a tradition that every year my godson Jake and I spend the day together to celebrate his birthday. Because I can rarely get my act together on time (and because he has a busy social calendar) this day usually takes place about a month after his actual birthday, but it happens! This past weekend, we went out to lunch, played with my kittens, and saw a movie together (we saw Sing, which was really cute).

Happy Birthday distress ink card

Each year the card I make him incorporates some blues and greens, since that seems to be the easiest way for me to end up with a boy-suitable card. I stayed in my comfort zone for this one, too: geometric shapes and bold sentiments. An 8 year old’s birthday might have been a good time for me to bring out the cutesy critter stamps and dies. Maybe next time!

Happy Birthday distress ink

I stamped my abstract triangles stamp in VersaMark ink on a piece of Bristol paper, and then heat embossed it with clear embossing powder and my heat tool. I then did some ink blending with a combination of Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, Cracked Pistachio and Twisted Citron distress inks. I added some water droplets and some white and black watercolor paint splatters as well. Once I was happy with that, I put a piece of printer paper on top of the panel and pressed a hot iron on top to remove the embossing powder, just to give the card a flat look. I then cut out the panel with a stitched rectangle die.

Happy Birthday distress ink card

Then got to work on my sentiment. I used Winnie & Walter’s Happy Cutaway die and cut that from some white card stock several times and stacked it up to give it a chip board quality. Like I always do, I rooted around through my stash for a simple “birthday” sentiment and then heat embossed that in white on a strip of black card stock. I positioned that under, around and through the happy and attached it to the bristol paper with some tiny staples. Lastly, I mounted the panel onto a piece of teal card stock cut to about 4.25″ x  5.5″  and then onto a card base of the same size.

Happy Birthday distress ink

I think Jake liked the card! There was a gasp and a “you made this?!” when I told him it was handmade, so I was feeling pretty good about myself for the rest of the afternoon. :)

I also entered this card into the current Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge (SSSflickrchallenge#65). You can read more about that, here.


Throwback Thursday // A Baby Shower Card

Baby Shower Card & Tag

I just posted a photo of this card and tag set on instagram and it occurred to me that I never actually blogged about it! I made it a few years ago, so it works perfectly for a #throwbackthursday post, don’t you think?

Baby shower card and tag

I made this card for a baby shower nearly two years ago, and I really liked how it came out, so I’m not sure why I forgot to share it here. I made it gender neutral, because we didn’t know the sex of the baby at the time (it was a boy!). I used a combination of Lawn Fawn and Mama Elephant products for this card, as well as some distress ink and copic markers for the coloring.

Baby shower card and tag

For the card: I started with a 5.25″ x 4″ piece of watercolor paper that I “painted” using distress ink (Peacock Feathers, Mustard Seed and Salty Ocean).  I say “painted” because what I actually did was press each ink pad down onto my craft mat, spritzed each color with water, picked them up onto a piece of acetate and then stamped the acetate onto my paper until I achieved the look I wanted. There are good tutorials for this technique on youtube. In fact, here’s a recent video where the technique is shown.

After the panel was dry, I cut it out with a stitched rectangle die and added a stamped and die cut (and copic-colored) stork from the Plus One Lawn Fawn stamp set. I added some polka dots to the stork’s satchel with a white gel pen.

The sentiment is from the Mama Elephant Surprise Sentiments stamp set. I stamped it with VersaMark ink onto a strip of vellum and heat embossed it with some white embossing powder. I layered the vellum piece on top of a black strip of card stock cut to the same size. I also added a bit of washi tape behind the sentiment to give it a pop, and affixed it to the card with a tiny attacher/mini stapler.

Baby shower card and tag

For the tag: I cut the tag shape out using the Lawn Fawn Tag, You’re It die set and added the stitched border using the coordinating Birthday Tags stamp set. For the sentiment, I used another from the Mama Elephant Surprise Sentiments set, and I then added a little rattle from the Plus One stamp set. I added glossy accents to the rattle..and then didn’t wait long enough for it to dry before taking the photos, so the rattle looks a little cloudy here. Once the glossy accents dried, it looked perfectly clear and shiny.

#tbt baby shower card, tag and gift

I found some tissue paper, ribbon and a simple brown gift bag at Target that seemed to match the theme I was going for. Inside the bag were some gender neutral onesies and a zebra stuffed animal if I do recall (it helps when the zebra is peeking out of the bag). :)

Happy Throwback Thursday (which means it’s almost Friday)!


Coffee Love Card Set

Coffee card set

Are any of you big coffee drinkers? I will say that I’m not a big lover of the caffeinated beverage, but I do indulge in some coffee every once in a while – as long as it has a lot of cream and sugar in it! Even though I’m not an every day coffee drinker, I love the illustrated/line drawing quality of this stamp set, so I made sure to order it a few weeks ago!

Coffee cards

And for this small set of 4.25″x4.25″ cards, I did what I generally like to do – stamp a few images and add a watercolor wash. I find it’s a good way for me to “break in” a new stamp set lately. So, I cut my watercolor panels (I like Canson watercolor paper) and stamped a few different images and sentiments on each panel from the Coffee Love stamp set. I used Simon Says Stamp Intense Black Ink for this, because it’s waterproof.

Love you more than coffee

I used my Gansai Tambi Watercolor set and various cool and warm brown tones to create different colored washes on each panel. Once they were all dry, I used a stitched square die to cut each panel a bit smaller, and then mounted each onto a card base cut from Neenah Desert Storm card stock. Altenew coffee card set

I added some clear sequins to each panel to finish everything off!

Make it a great week! :)


Theo + Mack

I’m sharing something a bit different today, because I want to introduce my two newest loves, Theo and Macklin!

Theo and Mack

I’ve been thinking about adopting a cat for a while, and I started the process of filling out an adoption form a few weeks ago. After being approved, I sort-of just waited to see if any kittens would pop up on the shelter website. A week or two went by, and on a Tuesday afternoon Buff and Gray (as the shelter had named them) came up on the website and I knew I wanted to meet them. That night, I drove through some pretty icy road conditions like a crazy person and got to see these two and instantly fell in love! They came home with me that night and we’ve been getting to know each other ever since.

Macklin. Approx 4 months.

Buff has been renamed Macklin (Parks & Rec, anyone?), but I call him Mack for short. He is orange and white, and is the more outgoing of the two. This means that so far Mack has caused all of the messes! The name suits him, I think. He is super sweet, just like his brother. All you have to do is look at him and he starts purring.

Theo. Approx. 4 months.

Gray is now Theo, but I find myself calling him T or TT most of the time. He’s more timid, but seems to love to be picked up and cuddled when he’s not feeling so shy. Theo is gray and white and he and his brother are about 4 months old.

If you’d like to see more photos of them (in color no less), check out my instagram feed. They also have their own Instagram account (because this is what happens on days when you’re snowed in and have nothing better to do…). I didn’t want to inundate my own feed with too many cute cat photos (is there such a thing?), so you can find them @theoandmack.

Mack and Theo

I’ve been going through some personal stuff lately, and in the few days I’ve been bonding with these two I realize that adopting them was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. Caring for these sweet, snugly, playful boys is a great form of therapy.

Anyway, getting these two settled means I haven’t done much card making in the last few days, and if I’m being honest I have to say that I’d rather spend all my time playing with them right now! But, I’ll be back in the craft room this weekend!

Happy Friday!


Pretty Floral Patterns with Altenew Stamps

I do love a good piece of patterned paper, but I think I love being able to make custom patterned paper using lots of my own stamps even more. Case in point, this project! I used the Hello Sunshine stamp set from Altenew to create this (almost) one layer card. There are so many great floral images in this set and it’s hard not to want to use them all at once, so DIY patterned paper is always a good solution to be able to incorporate a lot of images at once.

Altenew hello sunshine birthday card

I started off by making off the bottom of my card to leave a bit of white space and add some interest to the card (just like I did here). I then selected several images from my stamp set and started stamping them in a pattern all over the paper using Intense Black Ink. One of the keys to making your DIY patterned paper look legit is to make sure you stamp some images so that they are running off of the edges of the paper.

Altenew hello sunshine birthday card

After I had finished stamping the panel, I removed my mask at the bottom and colored in the images with my Copic markers. I added a gray outline around each image as well, just to give them a bit more of a pop. (BTW – the color scheme I chose was loosely inspired by this pin.)

Altenew hello sunshine birthday card

Once everything was colored, I heat embossed a line of liquid platinum embossing powder where the pattern stamping met the white area of the card, and then used the “happy” part of my Painted Happy Birthday die for the sentiment (layering several slate gray-colored die cuts on top of each other). I finished by stamping the word birthday using a stamp that I pilfered from another stamp set that I can’t remember the name of at the moment!

Happy Paper Crafting!


Purple Watercolor Card + a Video!

It seemed to me that the first post after the name change should be a watercolor one, and I’ve had some requests to show a bit more of my water coloring process, too. I thought the best way to do that was to make another of my most favorite doodle buds watercolor cards and to capture a bit of the process in a video!

Watercolor doodle buds

I followed the same technique that I outlined in my previous post, stamping multiple images from the doodle buds set onto Canson Watercolor Paper and not worrying about making them off before I layered images on top of each other. Then I got out my Gansai Tambi watercolors.

Watercolor doodle buds

All the while, I had my camera and tripod set up on the top of my desk so that I could capture what I was doing. Basically, the video is evidence that I have a very disorganized and erratic way of stamping and painting (but I edited out most of those parts, haha). Once I was finished, I mounted my panel to an A2 card base and took some still shots. Then I got to editing the video…

Watercolor doodle buds

….And I basically had no idea what I was doing, which made me feel very un-hip! It took me quite a while to snip and rotate and condense everything into a video that is about one minute long. I also sped up the video quite a bit, to fit the bulk of the painting process in. And then I inadvertently ended up with a YouTube channel so that I could share the video here. Phew. Overall, I had fun making the video and I’m sure the whole process will get much less frustrating if I have a bit more practice. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Weekend!


Introducing Freshwater Studio!

I think many of you have noticed by now that I’ve made a little change to my blog. Mixed Method has now become Freshwater Studio, and I want to tell you why!


When I started this blog 5 years ago, I wracked my brain for weeks trying to decide what to name it. I knew back then that I wanted my blog to be a place where I could feature a lot of the DIY and crafty stuff I was into at the time. I didn’t have much of a plan and I didn’t want to fit myself into any kind of niche. I just wanted to share photographs, projects, nail art (lots of that in the beginning!), hair tutorials, inspiration, life..whatever! The mixed part of Mixed Method seemed to capture a bit of that for me. Mixed Method seemed to flow from there, and I didn’t mind the alliteration, either. However, as time went by and this blog grew and changed, I felt like I needed to re-adjust. The blog became more about paper crafting and DIY projects, and less about the other stuff, and I’d started really trying to curate this space. Knowing that Mixed Method wasn’t a name that had much meaning to me, and that it wasn’t something I was especially attached to, made me like it less and less as I grew more and more attached to this blog. So once again, I wracked my brain…for weeks. But then I let it rest for a while (


So, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to change the blog name for a while, and it seemed like now was a good time, for a whole host of reasons. I love that I’ve settled into this card making hobby and because of that I’ve met so many awesome people in the paper crafting community. I’m also so thankful to those of you who have been following along with me this whole time! I love reading and responding to comments and getting emails from all of you. So, I want to put more care and effort into this little corner of the web. I’m hoping to open an Etsy shop in the future (!!), and have a few other ideas germinating, so the name change was a priority for me (and a new logo, and maybe a bit of branding thrown in).

Freshwater has a lot to do with my newly re-kindled love of watercolor and painting, of course (if you’ve been here a while you’ve seen evidence of that in my cards), but it also comes from my Native American heritage and my central Massachusetts roots. I come from the “Freshwater Place,” and I like that I can reflect that in my blog and the art that I share here.  All things are a work in progress over on this end, but I think we’re getting there.

I hope you like the new name! And I hope you’ll keep following along with me as I share new projects and ideas. You guys are the BEST!

Happy Almost Friday!