cardmaking · papercrafting

Altenew: A Year In Review Blog Hop + Giveaway 

Hello and welcome! You likely arrived from Juhi’s blog….don’t you just love her collection?

I am so excited to be participating in Altenew’s 2021 A Year in Review Blog Hop! I really enjoyed looking back through my projects and selecting some of my favorite creations. This first card was my most popular Altenew creation on Instagram and I still have it setting on a bookshelf in my studio. I love how bright, happy and cheerful the card is. I used The Tall Tales stamp and die set and you can read my original blog post HERE.

Altenew Tall Tales Bookcase Slimline Card in rainbow colors.
Tall Tales Stamp and Die Set

This mixed media card was by far my most popular blog post of 2021! I created my own color palette with gel press prints and die cut my blooms using Altenew’s Cosmos Craft-A-Flower. If I had to pick one favorite 2021 product it would be this Cosmos kit. You can read my original post HERE. I have another favorite card below that also uses this Cosmos kit.

Altenew Cosmos Craft A Flower card die cut from gel press prints.
Cosmos Craft A Flower Layering Die Kit

I love the Mega Alphabet Collection and I have several letters that I use frequently. This is a card I made for my friend Kathy. I used the ink smooshing technique and I really like how this project turned out. The Garden Trellis Cover Die is so versatile and I love the pop of white it provides on this card. You can read my original post HERE.

Altnew Mega Alphabet K ink smoosh card with Garden Trellis cover die background.
Mega Alphabet Collection & Garden Trellis Cover Die

I discovered the joy of gel press printing this year and I love how this project turned out. The Peruvian Lily Layering Dies create a big showy bloom that is absolutely beautiful! Altenew’s Essential Sentiment Strips Dies are also a favorite of mine. You can read my original blog post HERE.

Altenew Craft a Flower Peruvian Lily die cut from gel press prints.
Peruvian Lily Layering Die Set

Weekend Doodles may be my all time favorite Altenew stamp set! On this card, I combined the Weekend Doodles with Altenew Artist Markers (I used Water Garden Set G on this card) and Cross Stitch Cover Die for a crisp clean look. You can read my original post HERE.

Altenew Weekend Doodles card.
Weekend Doodles

As I said above, Altenew’s Cosmos Craft-A-Flower Layering Die Set is my favorite 2021 crafting product. On this card I watercolored panels for my die-cutting. This was my second most popular 2021 blog post and you can read it HERE.

Altenew Craft a Flower Cosmos card.
Cosmos Craft A Flower Layering Die Kit

I adore the The Doodle Blooms Stamp and Die Set! The stamps are whimsical and just make me happy. I again made gel press prints for all the elements of this card. You can read my original post HERE for all the details on how I created this project. I’d like to add that my favorite embellishment is Enamel Dots. I find they really add beautiful detail to projects and I always like to have a variety of colors on hand.

Altenew Doodle Blooms card die cut from gel press prints.
Doodle Blooms

Altenew’s Hibiscus Garden is the first layering die set that I ever bought and it is still a favorite! The potted hibiscus plants around my pool were the inspiration for this mixed media card created from gel press prints. You can read more about this project and a companion card HERE.

Altenew Garden Hibiscus card die cut from gel press prints.
HIbiscus Garden 3D Dies

I really like the simplicity of this card made with The Modern Squares Embossing Folder, white pigment ink and The Fancy Celebrate die. You can read the original post HERE.

Altenew Modern Squares Embossing Folder and Fancy Celebrate die.
Modern Squares Embossing Folder and Fancy Celebrate Die

Sometimes a mini stamp can have a big impact on a card and I think this Bee Kind stamp and die set is adorable and at a great price point. I added a simple watercolor background combined with a Garden Trellis die cut and three enamel dots. My Bee Kind blog post with additional companion card can be found HERE.

Altenew Bee Kind Mini Stamp + Garden Trellis Cover Die.
Bee Kind Mini Stamp Set and Garden Trellis Cover Die


Altenew is giving away a $30 gift certificate to 5 lucky winners and a $15 gift certificate to 4 lucky winners! Please leave a comment on the Altenew Card Blog HERE or share Altenew projects with #AltenewBest2021 on social media by 01/06/2022 for a chance to win. 9 winners will be announced on the Altenew Winners Page on 01/08/2022.

Additional Chance to Win:

WINNER: Marisela Delgado YOU are the winner of a $10 Altenew gift certificate! Please email by 01/18/2022 with the subject line Altenew 2021 Year In Review Blog Hop Winner from Karen Brown’s Blog.

I also have a $10 Gift Certificate to GIVEAWAY to the Altenew Online Store. I will choose a random winner from the commentors on this post and announce it here at my blog on 1/08/2022.


Altenew Card Blog 

Alex Syberia

Amy Hill

Annemarie Caister

Bridget Casey

Cheryl Espie

Dana Joy

Daniel Diaz

Danielle Dunlop

Emily Midgett

Erin Thompson

Erum Tasneem

Fiona Duff

Helen Kalb


Jaycee Gaspar

Jenny Colacicco

Joylita Dsouza

Juhi Khanna

Karen Brown You Are Here! 🙂

Kari VanNoy

Keren Baker


Laurie Willison

Lilith Eeckels

Linda Westfall

Maryam Perez

Michelle Short

Mindy Eggen

Nancy Souza

Nandini Karmarkar

Natasha Davies

Nathalie DeSousa

Nicole Watt

Norine Borys

Pam Boedeker

Preeti Chandran

Reiko Tsuchida

Rosie Neustaedter

Sande Woodson

Sandhya Iyer

SathyaKala Sankaran


Tenia Nelson

Teresa Litchfield

Teri Wilson

Therese Calvird

Vicky Papaioannou

Virginia Lu

Yasmin Diaz

Yoonsun Hur

Next stop is Kari and her beautiful florals!

You made it to the end! I don’t have one favorite card but these are what I consider my “Best of 2021”. I’d love to hear which is your favorite card in the comments section. If you like what you see, consider following me on Instagram: @karens_mini and my blog (see the subscription bar at the top right corner of this post). Thank you for stopping by!

Wishing you health and happiness in 2022.


cardmaking · papercrafting

Altenew Educators “Alphabet Name Game” Blog Hop, Linky Party + Giveaway

Altenew Mega Alphabet K  die + Ink Smooshing Technique

“K” is for…..Karen! I was inspired to make an initial notecard for Altenew’s “Alphabet Name Game” Blog Hop. I love to make my own paper so I started by coming up with a color palette. I wanted a bright happy card so I selected aqua, green, yellow, pink and tangerine.

Ink Smooshing Technique

I started by making three inked panels.  Here was my technique:

  1. I liberally inked an 6×6″ acrylic block with Altenew Inks.  I wanted an ombre gradient look so went in rows across the block.
  2.  I very liberally sprayed the inked block with water 
  3. “Smooshed” the block onto a piece of watercolor paper
  4. Weighted the ink/block with a book for 5 minutes
  5. Uncovered.  If the ink pooled, I dabbed with a paper towel.
  6. I made a “second generation” panel for the background by taking a piece of Bristol Cardstock and soaking up the excess ink on my work space. 

Panel one and the background were made with Seashore Mini Ink Cube Set (Lagoon & Volcano Lake), Rainbow Prism Mini Ink Cube Set (Parrot & Warm Sunshine).  Panel two was Coral Berry and Orange Cream.

I let the panels dry overnight and then I started my die-cutting. The “K” is from Altenew’s Mega Alphabet Collection and the grid background uses Altenew’s GardenTrellis Cover die, which is a favorite of mine.

Altenew Garden Trellis Cover Die + Ink Smooshing Technique.

Here is a closeup of the card.

Ink Smooshing Technique


$200 in total prizes! Altenew is giving away a $35 gift certificate to 2 lucky winners and a $20 gift certificate to 5 winners! Please leave a comment on the Altenew Card Blog and/or each designer’s blog post on the blog hop list below by 10/09/2021 for a chance to win. 

There’s MORE! What’s a hop without YOU?! We have included an Inlinkz at the Altenew blog for you to enter your gorgeous Altenew “Alphabet Name Game” creations. We will pick 2 of our favorite handmade creations from those who joined the linky party and they will each receive a $15 Altenew gift certificate!

Altenew will draw 7 random winners from the comments left on each stop of this blog hop and announce the winners on the Altenew Winners Page on 10/11/2021.

Hop list:

Altenew Blog

Virginia Lu

Joylita Dsouza

Fiona Duff

Michelle Ochoa Murray

Irina Fonina 

Penny Pynnonen

Anna Patricia Mahtani

Kari VanNoy

Bridget Casey

Rachael Shedeed

Ann Taylor

Neha Aggarwal

Annemarie Caister

Helen Kalb

Sandra Woodson

Nancy Souza

Nandini Karmarkar

Pam Boedeker

Eva Bussom 

Terri Marie Koszler

Karen Brown (You made it to the end!)

Thanks for stopping by!



WWC301 – Dawn\’s Challenge: All About Occasions


Don\’t you just love \”twofer\” cards?  This card is the second from a pair of mixed media thank you cards that I made.  Click here to see the first card.  I created this one for  Watercooler Wednesday\’s  All About Occasions Challenge and Dawn is this week\’s hostess.

I was wanting to make some thank you cards to use this month and thought aqua, silver and white would be festive, bright and seasonal.

My Process:
  • I glued the die-cut Altenew Mega T from my first card to a watercolor paper panel. I then painted over the top of the card with gel media.
  • I added a layer of gesso and dried.
  • I mixed Mermaid Lagoon distress ink and Shimmer Spray and painted a layer on the card.
  • I pounced some Versamark ink across the panel and silver heat embossed.
  • I mixed a more concentrated mermaid lagoon and shimmer spray combination and brushed on random areas.
  • Buffed the embossing with a baby wipe to clean up and enhance the shine.
  • I added a die cut thanks sentiment. 
Thanks so much for stopping by!

WWC294 – Marsha\’s Challenge: Anything Goes With a Masculine Twist


Hello, hello and welcome!  This week we are creating masculine cards at Watercooler Wednesday.  I\’ve made a fun mixed media card using Altenew\’s Mega T Aphabet die and thanks die.

My Process:
  • I started with a 140 lb weight watercolor panel and then die cut the T. 
  • With a wide rough brush (I used a house painting trim brush) I applied a layer of gesso and then dried. 
  • Using a Carved Pumpkin mini distress ink cube I dabbed orange on the panel in random locations.  
  • I sprayed Iridescent Shimmer Spray to the panel which moved the distress ink around a bit and then dried with a heat tool.
  • I added another layer of randomly dabbed Carved Pumpkin Distress Ink which I again activated with the shimmer spray and then dried.
  • I then mixed gesso with Mermaid Lagoon distress ink and applied with a strip of cardstock for a rustic feel.  I then tinted the gesso a bit darker with the same distress ink and applied a bit more with the cardstock strip.  This way I have two shades of aqua on the card which I think gives added interest. Dry.
  • I dabbed a bit of Versamark ink on the panel, sprinkled on gold embossing powder and rubbed off most of it so that there were just touches of gold on the panel.  I heat set.
  • I die cut the thanks die from turquoise card stock.
  • I added the T panel to a cream colored A2 cardbase and glued on the sentiment.
This thank you card was so fun to make! There is a gorgeous shimmery sheen that does not photograph well, but the card just glows in person.

I am also playing along with:

Simon Says Stamp \”Layer It Up\”  I used 7 layers of gesso, distress ink, shimmer spray, embossing powder plus two die cut layers.  

I am so glad that you stopped by!

Altenew Academy – Masking Unleashed

Hello!  Well, I am still camping out while work continues on my house, but it left me plenty of time to finish my next Altenew class called Masking Unleashed. I did have to run home to get my inks and blending brushes.  Svitlana Shayevich taught us loads of useful tips and techniques.
 For this card, I chose to work on negative masking.  In the past, I’ve done positive masking where you cover the image you are working on.  With negative masking, you cover the area surrounding an image.  In lesson 4, Svitlana also taught us how to ink blend with  Negative Masking.

 I decided Altenew’s Mega Alphaget “T” die would work well and started planning a thank you card.

My Process:
  • I trimmed a piece of masking paper to 4 1/4” x 5 1/2”,  taped the die in the center and then ran it through my die cutting machine. I then carefully adhered it to a Bristol Cardstock panel.  
  • Next, I lightly blended four shades of Distress Ink from the bottom to the top.
  • I taped the stencil at an angle over the “T” and blended 5 shades over the stencil using a much heavier hand.  I carefully peeled back the masking paper, trimmed the panel down, attached some craft foam to the back and added it to a top folding A2 panel.
  • I die cut a sentiment from navy Cardstock and glued it to the panel.  I also added three enamel dots in coordinating colors.
Pro Tip: Make sure the masking paper is firmly in place before you start ink blending so you have sharp clean lines.  I used a bone folder.
Featured Supplies:
Altenew Mega Alphabet “T” die
Altenew Watercolor Stripes stencil
Altenew Thanks die
Altenew New Day Enamel Dots
Just Add Ink “T” Challenge. My card is T for thanks.
I am so pleased that you stopped by!


Altenew Academy – Cards For the Guys

Hello and welcome.  Today, my blog post is about making masculine cards and I\’ve chosen to do a color blocking background.  Fun, bright and eye-catching.  
Altenew Academy Cards for the Guys using Color Blocking with Altenew Mega Alphabet T die and Large Thanks Sentiment die.
I started by cutting four 2×2 squares from brightly colored card stock.  My inspiration came from Jennifer Rzasa and her class on Pop Art Color Blocking.  Once the squares were cut, I taped them together, trimmed the edges for a nice even line and then backed with craft foam for dimension.  

Next, I die cut the \”T\” from bright blue card stock and the \”thanks\” from lavender cardstock.  I die-cut each three times and then carefully glued them together for nice dimension.   I initially was going to back them with foam but didn\’t like the white shadow which I thought distracted from all the bright bold colors.  

I made a 4 1/4\” x 4 1/4\” card base and then attached the color blocked panel.  I weighted it for a few minutes with an acrylic block
Supplies Used:
Altenew Mega Alphabet T die
Altenew Large Thanks sentiment die
6 shades of brightly colored card stock
liquid glue
craft foam
white cardstock for base.

I am also playing along with: Try It On Tuesday \”Cut It Out!\” Challenge  This card is all about cutting as every element was either cut with a paper trimmer or die cut.  

I really like how the card turned out and think I will do some more color blocking in the near future.

I am so pleased that you stopped by!

WWC265 – Marsha\’s Challenge: Anything Goes With a Feminine Twist

Hello and Welcome!  Today we are making feminine cards at The Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  Marsha is our hostess.
Simon Says Stamp Sketchy Lines Background die and emboss resist technique.
I combined two ideas I had, making personalized initial notecards and using alcohol ink on watercolor paper (as opposed to Yupo paper).  

My Process:
  1. I started by stamping a background stamp onto watercolor paper.  I used Versamark ink and then heat embossed with white embossing powder.  
  2. I added three colors of alcohol ink (sunshine yellow, sunset orange and flamingo) plus blending solution.   I blended the colors with a felt blending tool.
  3. I added some pops of Gold with Jacquard Pinata Rich Gold.
  4. After my panel was dry, I glued craft foam on the back and die cut the K.  The great thing is that you wind up with two cards.  
  5. I made two A2 top folding cards and glued the K on the card base.  The K die cut looked a little small so I trimmed one card base down to 4\” x 5 1/4\”.

I really like the cards and plan to make some batches for gifts.  I\’ve ordered some additional initials and hope to post some variations in the future.

Altenew Mega Alphabet die
SSS Sketchy Lines Background stamp
watercolor paper
Ranger Alcohol Inks
Blending Solution
Ranger Alcohol Ink Mini Applicator Tool
Jacquard Pinata Rich Gold
Craft Foam

I am entering this card in:

I am so glad that you stopped by…stay safe and stay sane!
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Personalized Initial Notecards for the Altenew March Inspiration Challenge

I loved the colors in the March Altenew Inspiration Challenge.  I decided to use alcohol inks on watercolor paper.  I thought the look would be softer than Yupo paper and more in keeping with the spring theme for the challenge.
Alcohol Inks on Watercolor Paper using the embossed resist technique.
My Process:
  • I laid a stencil over the watercolor paper and inked it with Versamark ink.  Then I heat embossed with white embossing powder.  
  • Next, I used the three colors of alcohol ink from my collection that best matched the photo.  I used felt blenders and blending solution to move the color around.  I thought a few pops gold would be nice so I added that at the end.
  • After the watercolor panel was dry, I die cut the \”K\” from Altenew\’s Mega Alphabet die collection.  
  • I made two top folding A2 cards and adhered the panel with foam tape for dimension.  The \”K\” die cut was so beautiful that I added it to the second card.   Since the \”K\” was a bit smaller I trimmed down the second card to 4\” x 5 1/4.
I made these personalized initial notecards for myself, but like them so much I am going to make more for gifts.  

Here is the inspiration photo:  
I love those spring greens, blues and lavenders.
Be sure to pop on over to the Altenew March Inspiration Challenge Website.

I am so pleased that you stopped by!

WWC256 – Kath\’s Challenge: All About Occasions

Hello and welcome.  This week is all about \”Occasion\” cards at The Watercooler Wednesday Challenge and Kath is our hostess.  
I started by making an \”ink-smoosh\” panel.  Here was my technique:

  1. I liberally inked an 6×6\” acrylic block with Distress Inks.  I wanted an ombre gradient look so went in rows across the page.  I used Mermaid Lagoon, Salty Ocean and Twisted Citron.  
  2.  I liberally sprayed the inked block with water 
  3. \”Smooshed\” the block onto a piece of watercolor paper
  4. Weighted the ink/block with a book for 5-6 minutes
  5. Uncovered.  If the ink pooled, I dabbed with a paper towel.
The next day, after the panel was dry, I die cut the B using the Altenew Mega Alphabet \”B\” die.  I heat embossed the birthday sentiment and die cut a cover frame using Sunny Studio \”Frilly Frame Stripe\”.  I glued the striped frame, B and sentiment to an A2 card.  I like the clean simple lines of this card.

I am entering this card in Simon Says Stamp\’s Anything Goes Challenge

I am so pleased you stopped by!
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