Silhouette project freebie!

Are you a very lucky scrapper who owns a Silhouette Cameo? Well you’re about to be even luckier, because the good people at Silhouette Australia are giving you the instructions for this gorgeous Up, Up and Away project for free!

Decorate a child’s room, a party, your craft room, or even your outdoor area with this gorgeous hot air balloon!

Download the step-by-step instructions and a list of the cut files used here.

Guest post: Creating a photo advent calendar by Sue Madex

I’m always on the lookout for ways to get my scrapbooking out of my albums and up around the house.  Here’s a great way to relive lots of fun, past Christmas moments during the month of December, by making your own Advent calendar.  I’ll show you a few different display options too.

I’ve used MDS™, intuitive digital design software, featuring Stampin’ Up!®’s exclusive artwork, colours and templates to make a photo-sized Advent calendar. You can download MDS software for a 30-day free trial, or purchase it for just $24.95, by clicking here.

Each 6in x 4in page for this project features photos of the kids, Christmas feasts, our decorations and lots of other festive highlights that will help build anticipation for Christmas Day. Some hints and tips for this project:

- First step: have a look through your Christmas photo files and select some favourites to work with.  This bit always takes me the longest – decisions, decisions.

- Use the custom size option in MDS and create a blank canvas 6in x 4in (or larger if you’d prefer.)

- I’ve used the 12 Days Of Christmas Swatchbook template (on offer during November- 30% off selected digital downloads!), along with lots of other festive themed digital downloads. You can use the template as is and just drop photos into the spaces, or do as I’ve done here and use the papers, digital stamp brushes and other elements that come with the download to make your own individual one of a kind project.

- For many of my 25 little Advent projects, I’ve started with a digital punch – circle, oval or even an ornament – then used the photo fill option to insert my photo into the shape.  You can easily add a mat and drop shadow to highlight your photo.

- Some pattered paper, a number stamp and a few finishing touches and you’re all set.  This was a fun project to get creative with.  Working with photo-sized projects made it quick and easy too.

-  The last step was to save and print on my little photo printer. Then there are a few different options for displaying this Advent calendar. I found this lovely slip in photo frame – perfect for displaying one a day during December.

Here’s another clear slip in frame option I picked up at the supermarket – a very affordable option.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to pop them on the fridge using one of the magnetic frames.

When Christmas arrives, you can slip them all into a pocket-page album.  It makes a great set of pages highlighting some of your favourite Christmas moments from years past.

If you’re looking for an Advent calendar idea that’s a little individual – perhaps you’d like to give this one a try.  Have fun!

Ask your Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator about MDS and the My Digital Studio™ Seasonal Sale - hurry, sale ends 30 November! If you don’t have a demonstrator you can search for one here.

Sue Madex


Gradient effect

Another version of the mini flower background which looks wonderful on cards is the gradient effect. Try an array of soft pastels or perhaps some bright, cheerful colours and lay them in rows from light to dark to create a rainbow.

Punched background

Using a border punch and the same-coloured paper or cardstock as your background, you can give your card or layout a very pretty yet subtle look that adds a distinctive touch without being overstated.

Raised punching

Polka dot paper can be enhanced with a simple flower punch. Using the same paper as your background, punch out flowers over the polka dot pattern and attach them to your background paper with a pop dot that raises it slightly off the page and adds a fun dimension to the overall look.

My Digital Studio by Stampin’ Up!

Bring out the digital designer in you and discover My Digital Studio™ from Stampin’ Up!

MDS™ intuitive digital design software features Stampin’ Up!’s exclusive artwork, colours and templates. Be your own digital designer and create an array of photobooks, cards, calendars, slideshows and more. Check out what three of our digital scrapbookers created with the MDS software and kits, then see below for details on how you can receive the MDS software for free (!) at an MDS training day.

The MDS software is so easy to use, whether you’re new to digi scrapping or are a pro at it. Below is Kelly Herron’s simple yet stylish layout ‘Kite flying’.

Materials: Kit – New Heights by Stampin’ Up!; Template – Travel Log (comes with software); Font – Desyrel; Software – My Digital Studio.

Kelly’s tips: One of the many great features in My Digital Studio is the Freeform Tool. When adding a new curved line to a project, you can use pre-form squiggle/curved lines and adjust the anchor points to your liking before placing on your project. This way, you get the perfect shaped wave or zig-zag line. Select the Freeform panel on the far right side, add a line, then click on the little box beside starter lines to select various squiggles/curved lines.

Then after creating a freeform line, text can be added to the line (also known as Text on a path). This can be done by creating both a freeform line as well as a new text box on your project. To attach the text to the line, select the text box, hold the shift key and then select the freeform line box. Once both boxes are selected, right click and from drop down options, choose attach to shape. To adjust the text and move it around, double click on the text and make adjustments. If you are not happy with the text, you can right click on the box again and select detach from shape. Then you can adjust your font tracking, font colour and even the opacity of the text before reattaching to the freeform line again.
Another great feature is the ability to crop any embellishment, punch or stamp exactly to the size needed. For example, one of the many free bonus kits that come with the MDS program includes word art. By using the crop tool for the word art embellishments, you can reduce the amount of words on a word art to suit your specific project.
Oh and another awesome thing is the ability to add an embellishment to the favourite embellishments section. Say you have a favourite stitching embellishment that you love to use all the time, you can click on the ‘add to favourite’ button and it will be saved into your favourites section making it much easier to find special elements that are used often.
Next up is Ellie Schouten, who created a bright, gorgeous layout with a text background called ‘Today’,
Materials: Kit – Hello There by Stampin’ Up!; Punches –  MDS software; Font – Ali Edwards; Software – My Digital Studio.

Ellie’s tips: - Watch online MDS YouTube videos for tutorials. They are very helpful!- To match elements, stamps and papers to your photos perfectly, go to the Color Change menu on the right. Then select the ‘picker’ tab. There you can pick any colour from your layout to match. This has to be my favorite feature. It made colour coordination so simple and fast.

- Adding dimension/shadows to your layout is so easy and simple to use. Just click the drop shadow button and adjust if desired.

- The resource palette made it so simple in selecting photos, embellishments, punches stamps etc.


And lastly we have a pretty layout from Angela Bailey, showing some more advanced techniques, called ‘Infinity and beyond’.

Materials: Kit – Attic Boutique by Stampin’ Up!; Punches – Two-step punches from MDS software; Stamps – Creative Elements by Stampin’ Up!.

Angela’s review: Being a self taught digital scrapper for almost four years now using Adobe software, I thought nothing could compare, but I was mistaken!

The MDS software is so easy to use. The design centre allows you to access all page areas with ease.  It allows you to experiment and discard your elements if you decide on something else to add to your layout. The step-by-step guide also helps you to understand things you may not know, making it a versatile software package for beginners or even the advanced digi scrapper.

The best thing I liked about the software was that I was able to access my project materials list for my layout and print it off, a fantastic idea for those who teach digital scrapping!


Register for the Make a Statement Digital Tour, Stampin’ Up!’s MDS training events and receive MDS free!

At the events learn how My Digital Studio can fit in with your life and your style to help you become your own digital designer—creating layouts, cards, invitations, photobooks, party décor, recipe books, home décor, calendars and more! Being creative couldn’t be easier!

For only $35 AUD/ $45 NZD, discover a range of inspirational projects, ideas and techniques through project displays and engaging presentations. Just bring your laptop and digital images and follow along in our classes to create your own designer photobook— capturing your own cherished memories! You’ll go home with several complete pageswhich you can then print, email or upload. Classes are designed for beginners, to provide you with a basic understanding of My Digital Studio software.

Make a Statement Digital Tour 2013 dates:
Melbourne 3 August
Sydney 10 August
Brisbane 17 August
Perth 24 August
Auckland 7 September

Click here for more information about the events.

To see a short video on just how easy this software is to use, check out



Step 1

Cut a piece of denim to the size you would like. I cut a rectangle to accommodate my diamond-shaped kite. Fold your material in half, then draw an elongated diamond shape on the back and cut it out with sharp scissors. You may like to fray the edges of your kite for a different feel.

Step 2

Take your kite shape to the sewing machine and stitch along the middle of the kite from corner to corner, then turn it and stitch from corner to corner again. If you do not have a sewing machine, use some embroidery thread in a contrasting colour that coordinates with your layout. Glue your kite into position.

Step 3

To create the tail, I usually use coloured baker’s twine cut to the desired length. To get the smooth curled look to the twine, add a couple of drops of tacky glue to the end of the twine and use your fingers to run it along the length. Wait a minute or so until it becomes a bit tackier, then lay the twine down on your project in the desired position. You can use staples to hold it in place if you prefer.


Step 1

Cut a square of the desired size out of your denim. Fold it in half diagonally to form a triangle, then cut a slit from the open corner of the triangle to just before the folded edge. Unfold the square and repeat this on the other diagonal. Unfold it again and lay it flat.

Step 2

Pick up one corner then fold it into the middle of the square, and secure it with a small drop of tacky glue. Repeat this for the other three corners, making sure you choose the same corner to complete the pinwheel shape.

Step 3

Once your pinwheel is complete, choose a big bold button and sew it to the centre of your pinwheel with some coordinating embroidery thread. Now your pinwheel is complete and you can add it to the project of your choice.



Step 1

Place your cardstock or patterned paper onto a cork mat, or a flipped over mouse pad, with the good side (the side you want to see on your layout) facing down. Using a shape template and your paper-piercing tool, prick holes around the circle approximately 3mm apart.

Step 2

Remove the cork mat and keep the paper facing down. Open your embossing folder and slide it underneath your paper. Remember, you want to use the side that has the divots in the pattern, not the bumps. If you are working close enough to the edge of your paper you can fold the top of your folder over and press gently within the circle to reveal some of the pattern making it easier to hand emboss.

Step 3

Using the small ball end of an embossing tool, gently press into your paper to create the embossed pattern. You may need to gently roll the toll a little to get into every groove. Ideally this technique is done over a light box or up against a window as it takes away the guess work in finding the embossing pattern through your cardstock or paper.



Vellum is making a bit of a revival these days and is perfect for hand-embossing as you can see through it easily. Here I have pierced the flower shape and added a hint of colour with chalk before embossing so the dots appear white through the colour.


Silver, copper, gold metal or even aluminium foil can be hand-embossed to achieve a polished effect. Although it is almost impossible to use on an embossing folder with fine details, it’s quite easy to create your own patterns without a folder. Here I pierced the pattern into the foil then, using a ruler and a cork mat, I ran my embossing tool along the ruler to create a straight line pattern across the flower. I then turned the flower over and gently pressed along either side of the ruled line to make the metal sit perfectly flat.


I use so much acetate in my projects as I love the effect it creates. Embossing is just another way of giving it a purpose. Transparencies are the easiest to emboss as they are quite thin. Although, I do prefer the thicker acetate as it holds its shape, especially with flowers or butterflies when you want the petals and wings to stand up. I’ve coloured my flower on the reverse side using a marker and then smooched it across the cardstock to give a slight pattern.



Step 1

Sometimes the hardest part of stencilling is choosing which one to use. I decided to go with a whimsical garden scene so my selection was quite simple – butterflies and flowers. Place your stencil onto paper and using a chalk applicator loaded with the lightest colour of chalk, gently dab the area inside the stencil with your first layer of colour. Load up your applicator with a darker colour to create the shadow areas and apply.

Step 2

Keeping your stencil in place use a black journal pen to create an outline around the image (this really adds to the whimsical effect). I recommend giving your image a light spray with hairspray to set the chalk areas. Another technique you can use with stencils is paper-piercing and stitching areas to create added interest and dimension. Place patterned paper onto a cork board or similar and use a paper-piercing tool to poke holes around the inside edge of your stencil image.

Step 3

Lightly dust chalk along the pierced areas then choose a similar colour embroidery thread and stitch through each of the pierced holes. You can also decorate your work with bling or add some Glossy Accents to create a little bit of interest on certain points of the image. Cut out the pieces and apply them to your layout using different thicknesses of foam adhesive tape to build up a scene.


Step 1

Stencils are a wonderful and easy way to create an elegant pattern on cardstock to form the basis of a unique and stylish card. Using a flower stencil and a piece of pre-cut Kraft cardstock I filled the stencil image with a white gel pen to cover the entire area. It is important to allow this to dry before continuing.

Step 2

Re-position your stencil over the white areas and using a good quality black journal pen that doesn’t bleed or run, draw an outline around each image. The outline defines each image and really lifts the overall look.

Step 3

To complete the card I placed a row of Pebbles Inc red ruffle ribbon and a bow across the top of the Kraft piece before adhering the whole piece to the American Crafts white pre-cut gift card. Using Pebbles Inc rub-ons I added the words ‘thank you’ and finished with three Kaisercraft black rhinestones either side of the sentiment.

Stencil fun with Fancy Pants Designs

Our friends at Fancy Pants Designs were nice enough to give us some of their gorgeous Artist Edition stencils and embellishments to play with. We challenged three very talented scrapbookers, Chantal Vandenberg, Paula Perry and Michelle Logan to show us a few different techniques and effects we can achieve using stencils. Here’s what they came up with:

Layering stencils

Love you by Paula Perry

Materials list: Fancy Pants Designs stencils, tags and stickers; Cardstock; Embellishments – Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist, Tim Holtz Distress ink, texture paste, gel medium.

Paula layered four stencils to create this eye-catching title and background.

Paula: To create my layered stencil look, I wanted to use a variety of stencils and mediums to create interest and the idea of depth. I started with Glimmer Mist on the heart, which was one of the larger stencils. I personally like to use large post-it notes to mask off the area around the stencil – as well as protecting the surrounding paper, it also serves to secure the stencil into place. After drying the misted hearts with a heat gun, I then stencilled with Distress Ink in two contrasting colours using the herringbone stencil. What I loved about these stencils is that I could leave some parts remaining within the stencil, creating a random look. Again I used Glimmer Mist on my title, adding a bit of texture to the ‘you’ with gel medium and finally finishing it off with a line of herringbone in plain texture paste. I loved the look of the herringbone and texture paste that I used on my background.
Creating a feature title

Getting there is half the fun by Chantal Vandenberg

Materials list: Fancy Pants Designs stencils, numbers and decorative bags; Paper – Ruby Rock-It, Kaisercraft; Cardstock – Bazzill; Embellishments – American Crafts brad and eyelet, Purple Pumpkin tickets and twine, Roppongi Kitsch cabochon, Typo photo corners, washi tape, postage stamps, paperclip, toothpick, Ranger Dylusions ink spray, Tim Holtz Distress Ink, Monte Marte modelling paste, Uni Posca paint pens.

By creating her title from a stencil, Chantal gave it that wow factor.

Chantal: Here I have combined the title stencil “Getting there is half the fun” with two other picture stencils – the cloud and the arrow.  Firstly press out the inner stencil pieces from the stencils.  Take a 12in x 12in piece of blue Bazzill cardstock and lightly spray Dylusions spray ink in Vibrant Turquoise over the punched-out cloud and arrow shapes.  Position the title stencil mask over the top of a couple of masked clouds and apply modelling paste with a paintbrush over the the stencil, leaving a decent thickness. Do the same with some clouds and arrows, using the stencil mask this time. Once the stencils are removed you have a lovely raised finish, which looks very effective when combined with the misted elements. When the cardstock is completely dry, simply outline and doodle around the stencilled images for extra pop, cut around the outer edges and attach to your project!  You can layer with foam tape and move the images around to your heart’s content – just like embellishments.  You are in full control!

Ombre/gradient effect

Live for today by Michelle Logan

Materials list: Fancy Pants Designs stencils and paperclips; Paper – ILS, Echo Park Paper Co; Punches – Jenni Bowlin Studio, EK Success; Stamps – Lawn Fawn; Embellishments – Tim Holtz words and washi tape, Scrap FX chipboard, Jo Sonja’s acrylic paint, Impasto gel medium, embossing powder, fineliner pen.

Michelle used a variety of mediums with her stencils to create an ombre effect.

Michelle:  This is a very simple stencil resist technique to create a background ombre effect. Place your stencils where you want the resist (white) to be, then apply the gel medium generously over the stencil with a pallet knife or old credit card. Carefully lift off the stencils and allow to dry. Once completely dry, apply the paint with a dry brush in the chosen colours over the gel medium pattern (I used two colours here and mixed them as I applied it to the page). Start with the lightest colour then get progressively darker as you go down the page blending as you paint (don’t clean your brush as you add the paint). While wet, take away the paint from the gel pattern with a baby wipe. You can also use the wipe to further blend and move your paint around the page to create random patterns. Your page is now ready to embellish as desired!

How amazing are these pages? Will you be giving these techniques a go? What other techniques can you use with these awesome stencils?



Step 1

Take your base cardstock or patterned paper and, using a craft knife or paper trimmer, cut a square in the centre; it can be any size you like. This is best done by turning the cardstock over to the back and drawing a square in pencil. Place the blade of your trimmer or knife on the corner of the pencil line and cut across to the next corner, take your blade out, turn the card and repeat for all sides.

Step 2

Use a paper trimmer or craft knife to cut a square slightly larger than the one you cut out of the base cardstock in your transparency sheet. You need to make the transparency square large enough to stick over the hole and be attached at the back with double-sided tape.

Step 3

Once your transparency is attached, turn it over to the front and machine-stitch around the edge of the square using a zigzag stitch to give it a finished look. Then, go ahead and complete your layout. Of course, you don’t need to stick to squares; you could cut out circles, rectangles or any shaped window you like!


Step 1

Let’s make a pop-up element for a scrapbook page or card which is guaranteed not to become flat. Using a die-cutting machine and your chosen die, cut a piece of felt into shape. Remember to roll the die three or four times to ensure the felt cuts all the way through.

Step 2

Now take a piece of transparency – trimmed to size – and repeat this process. Again, roll the die through three or four times to make sure the transparency is cut nice and clean. If it isn’t, just use a pair of sharp scissors to cut around those edges that are still stuck together.

Step 3

Place your felt shape over the transparent shape and staple the two together in the middle. Now, holding it in the middle fold up each side – in this case the butterfly wings – until you get the angle you like. You are now ready to attach this element to your project; silicone glue is the best option for this.

Cloud embellishments


Step 1

Cut white cardstock down to size. Make your template by freehand drawing or tracing a cloud design along the top of another piece of cardstock or stencil plastic. I like to make two templates that are slightly different to ensure a more random look.

Step 2

Place the template just on the bottom of the page and lightly spray with sky coloured mist. Carefully lift up your template and move it up the page a few centimetres and lightly spray again. Continue moving the template up, alternating them if you want, and misting until you reach the top of the page.

Step 3

Finish off your clouds by removing the template and lightly misting the bottom of the page (the first row of clouds) so it blends in a little better with the rest of the page – leaving you with a finished page of clouds.


Step 1

Cut Jac paper (double-sided adhesive paper) to the size you want. Peel off one side of the backing paper then, using a ready-made cloud template, trace and cut clouds out of this backing paper to use as masks. Arrange on one side of the Jac paper.

Step 2

Pour fine, light-blue glitter over the top of the masks for your sky. Ensure all sticky bits have been covered in glitter before shaking of the excess.

Step 3

Carefully peel off the cloud masks and pour white or crystal glitter over the newly exposed Jac paper to fill in the cloud shapes. Shake off the excess glitter. Embellish as desired to create a card front or use as part of a layout.