Lighthouse Love

Today’s card was inspired by the Pals Paper Arts Challenge #311!


These colors reminded me of a foggy sunrise over the ocean. This is what I was picturing in my head, though I only just went to find the picture after I had already made the card:

Cloudy Ocean Sunrise by Lumion.jpg

Photo credit: Lumion Footage

Naturally I turned to watercolors! I’ve been painting with watercolors far longer than I have been making cards, so it is always nice to incorporate it into cardmaking!

Watercolor tips:

  1. When doing watercolor washes, use washi tape to hold your paper flat until it dries!
  2. Cover the area you want to paint with clear water first.
  3. Squeeze Stampin’ Up! ink pads while they are closed to deposit ink onto the lid. Use that ink on a paintbrush or aquapainter to add to the water already on the card.
  4. Experiment! No two cards turn out the same when watercolors are involved! Have fun seeing what you can create!

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Lighthouse Love 2

To add to my soft nautical colors, I added striped paper from A Little Foxy Designer Series Paper by Stampin’ Up!  These stripes reminded me of a the stripes that are a common pattern painted on lighthouses. I wanted the stripes to be perfectly symmetrical, which took two tries. On the bright side, I have a piece of striped paper cut and ready for the next card!

This just had to be a lighthouse card. The only lighthouse stamp I own is retired, though. If you don’t happen to have this stamp from the Setting Sail stamp set, I would recommend substituting the lighthouse from the stamp set From Land To Sea, also by Stampin’ Up!

Watercolor paper is more bumpy or “toothy” than cardstock, which makes it great at gripping onto water and pigment, but at the same time makes it more difficult to stamp. The top of those bumps or “teeth” pick up ink from stamps, but the valleys do not. This leaves stamped images looking broken. If you have a Misti tool, you can use it to ink and stamp the same image over and over, which darkens the image until it looks solid. I don’t have one, so I stamp on nice smooth vellum and adhere it right on top. Vellum is somewhat transparent, which is a nice effect with watercolor.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Lighthouse Love 3

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

Color Combo 86

Confession time: I substituted Blushing Bride for Pink Pirouette because it was a little darker. Watercolors sometimes lighten the colors you are using, and I wanted to make sure this pink was visible!

Materials used:

Cardstock: Smokey Slate (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: watercolor paper, A Little Foxy Designer Series Paper (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: Staz-On Black, Blushing Bride, Smokey Slate, Marina Mist (c) Stampin’ Up!

Stamps: Setting Sail stamp set (c) Stampin’ Up! (retired)

Other: paintbrush, vellum



Blissful Fox

Today’s card was inspired by the Paper Players Challenge #305.


First of all, I LOVE this sketch. It is so cute and offers so many possibilities to showcase favorite stamps, punches, and designer series papers. I’ve been looking forward to using this Island Indigo designer series paper from Stampin’ Up!’s Blooms and Bliss Designer Series Paper collection for a long time. I’ve literally had a piece of it sitting out on my desk for several weeks, just waiting for the right card idea… and this is it!

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Foxy Teal 2

To really showcase this paper, I decided to combine it with it’s opposite color to create a complimentary color scheme. Complimentary colors, which are opposite each other on the color wheel, create a lot of contrast. Contrast draws attention and can help make elements of a card really stand out. Even a small amount of contrast does the trick. For example, I chose to use very skinny borders of Calypso Coral around the edges of my Island Indigo panels. They are only 1/16th of an inch wide, but they are very visible!

This is what my complimentary color scheme looks like on a color wheel:

Complementary Colors

This image comes from Adobe Color CC, one of my favorite tools for creating all different kinds of color schemes.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Foxy Teal 3

When using high contrast, like with these colors, it is important to consider the unity throughout the entire card. Repetition of the colors adds unity and helps draw all the elements of a card together. If the fox was the only element that was Calypso Coral on this entire card, she would definitely stand out… but she would also look out of place. By repeating the color in the borders and in the baker’s twine, it makes the color look like it definitely belongs there.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Foxy Teal 4

This is my ever-so-helpful assistant.

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

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Cardstock: Island Indigo, Calypso Coral, Basic Black, Whisper White (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: Blooms and Bliss Designer Series Paper (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black

Stamps: Foxy Friends (c) Stampin’ Up!

Punch: Fox Builder Punch (c) Stampin’ Up!

Accents: Tangerine Tango Baker’s Twine (c) Stampin’ Up!  <- Retired, but currently on clearance!

Other: dimensionals, white doily, siamese cat

Strawberry Surprise

First, I would like to thank the design team at Global Design Project for selecting my ice cream card as an honorable mention for last week’s challenge! I play along for the inspiration and all the amazing ideas I get from seeing everyone’s cards… but it is always nice to have recognition as well. I am incredibly honored!

This card was inspired by Freshly Made Sketches Challenge #246!

FMS Final 246-001.jpg

I chose a strawberry pattern paper from Stampin’ Up!’s Fruit Stand designer series paper collection.  I love this paper, but it certainly was a challenge to work with on a card that was supposed to be clean and simple; this paper has a lot going on!

I tried several different versions of this card and they were all getting too busy for my taste. I did two different things to try and calm this card down.

First, I used bold black outlines. The black stripe across the card brings a lot of stability to the card’s design. Horizontal lines subconsciously remind our brains of oceans, beds, and other calming flat things. This particular line is also very dark, giving it a lot of weight, and therefore even more stability.

There wasn’t any black in the designer series paper, though, so on it’s own this black stripe would have looked a little out of place. To tie everything together, I hand outlined the strawberries and leaves on the designer series paper using a Basic Black Stampin’ Write Marker.

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Strawberry Fields

Second, I simplified the design further by taking off the tag and making it a stand alone element. I now have a coordinating card and gift tag! I designed the tag shape using Adobe Illustrator and cut it out using the Cricut Air Explore. If you’ve got a fancy paper cutting machine, I’ve included the image below. Feel free to use, but if you do, I’d appreciate if you left a comment or sent back a picture of what you made with it!

Gift Tags

Wondering how I made these cute little strawberries? Can you guess? I’ll give you a clue: punches!

Homemade Card By Natalie Lapakko Strawberry Fields 3

The strawberries are actually balloons, punched out using the Balloon Bouquet punch from Stampin’ Up! I just cut off the “neck” of the balloon (that’s what the part is called where the air goes in). The green top of the strawberry was punched out using the Fox Builder punch. The shape that is normally the bottom of the fox’s face is also perfect for leaves, if you double it up! I finished off the strawberries with a couple of white colored pencil seeds- really just some quick scribbly shapes.

Finally, the stamp on the tag comes from the Sprinkles of Life stamp set, which has lots of cute, friendly little phrases that fit perfectly on small areas like tag fronts.

Thanks for visiting and happy stamping!

Color Combo 80.png

Note: Fruit Stand paper technically coordinates with Watermelon Wonder and NOT Real Red, but with the watercolor effect some of the strawberries look much darker and I think it looks just as nice paired with Real Red.


Cardstock: Basic Black, Whisper White, Cucumber Crush, Real Red (c) Stampin’ Up!

Paper: Fruit Stand Designer Series Paper (c) Stampin’ Up!

Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black

Stamps: Sprinkles of Life stamp set (c) Stampin’ Up!

Punches: Fox Builder, Balloon Bouquet Punches (c) Stampin’ Up!

Markers: Basic Black Stampin’ Write Marker

Other: dimensionals, white colored pencil, Cricut Explore Air


Thanks to an Amazing Sister

I made this card for my sister who recently came to stay at our house for a whole weekend to watch my son and our various pets. They all survived, even my sister!

This card is easy to create, but turns out stunning!

It’s a little difficult to tell, since I was in a rush and had shaky hands when photographing these cards (so sorry, all!) but the white word is actually inlaid in the Blackberry Bliss background. I don’t recommend doing this. It’s not that it is really difficult, but it is so much easier and just as effective to just put the white word right on the background without the fuss of the inlay.


One of the flowers comes with the Hello You thinlit dies and the other comes from the Botanical Builder Dies, both from Stampin’ Up! I cut out several and added a couple here and there until the card seemed full enough and balanced.  I used the squinting technique, patented by Brian King (and if you, dear readers, use it on the following images, they might not look quite so blurry). Brian, I’ve started a jar of nickles for you, because I do this all the time! When I’ve got enough to buy a stamp (the kind you put on an envelope) I’ll send you what I owe!


Thanks for stopping by! Happy Stamping!

At the time you read this, I am probably covered in mosquito bites, sunburned to a crisp, and starting to think longingly of air conditioning! See you again soon, dear readers!

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Cardstock: Blackberry Bliss, Melon Mambo, Daffodil Delight, Whisper White (c) Stampin’ Up!

Dies: Hello You Thinlit Dies, Botanical Builder Thinlit Dies (c) Stampin’ Up!

Washi Thanks

I’m thankful for… family, friends, good food… and washi tape!

I know it is a little early for Thanksgiving, but everything I needed for this card was sitting there asking to be used! I already had a Leaflet framelit cut out from making leaf stencils for a previous card, I got carried away with Hello You thinlits when I first got them and had a whole stack of words waiting to be used, and washi tape is so easy it’s always ready to go!


Order of operations is important for this card! I always cut out all the pieces and dry fit them together before adding adhesive; it’s a good habit to get into. In this case, the washi tape was added to the top white panel and the right edge was wrapped around the back of the paper for a nice crisp edge. It’s important to do that before gluing the Blackberry Bliss layer, or there wouldn’t be a back side to wrap the tape around!

As usual, vellum is tricky to get glued down without the glue being obvious. That’s what we get for using clear paper, I suppose. For this card, I used glue dots on the “nks” of “thanks” and attached the word and the leaf together first. Then, wherever the “nks” was covering I could hide the glue dots to hold the leaf in place.

A couple more glue dots for the “tha” and this card was complete!


I’m gone for a week of cabin relaxation, quality family time, and bare bones crafting! I’ve packed a limited amount of card making materials, including some brand new things I haven’t had a chance to try out yet! It was very difficult to determine which supplies were the most important to pack and which ones I could leave behind. When I get back, I’ll let you know how it went!

Happy stamping to all and to all US residents Happy 4th!

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Cardstock: Blackberry Bliss, Whisper White (c) Stampin’ Up!

Dies: Leaflet Framelit Dies, Hello You Framelit Dies (c) Stampin’ Up!

Other: Vellum, Color Me Autumn and Cherry On Top Washi Tape (c) Stampin’ Up!