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Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

Staying power – that’s just one more reason why I love Big Shot cutting dies. 

The Big Shot.  It’s got a pretty “big” name, but it’s really such a small thing. But boy does it pack plenty of power to bring your crafting to new levels.

Take a look at this beautiful card by my friend Eileen.

Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

Eileen brought this card to my June Open House and it received rave reviews.  Although simple in design, her balanced layout and exact matting and alignment make it an unforgettable card.  The Artistically Asian stamp set is beautiful and she’s used it to perfection.

But how did she finish off the bottom like that?  With the Big Shot.

Do you remember the Top Note die?  It looks like this.

Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

It was the very first die I ordered when I took the plunge and got my Big Shot.  In those days, our dies had a sturdy wood base and about 1 1/4” of foam with the blades encased inside.  This was to protect us from getting cut when we were using it.  

And you know I’ve used it again and again and again.

It’s hard to believe the Big Shot has only been around with Stampin’ Up! since 2009.  It became a can’t-live-without-it tool in a wink of an eye.  It was a big dollar decision to get one back then (and still a big decision now) but it’s one you will never regret.  I use mine every day I’m in my craft studio.

Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

  • They never wear out.  (At least I haven’t had one yet!)
  • Precise cuts no matter how many times you run them through.  Use them lots like I do with my faves (below) the cost per cut dwindles to almost nothing!) 
  • Staying power.  Classic shapes you’ll use again and again (like I have with the Top Note)
  • Easy to use.  So quick and easy to run your die through.  No more time consuming fussy cutting!
  • Design options.  Cut into folded cards, like Eileen did, cut out shapes, make tags, boxes, treat holders.  You name it, you can pretty much make it.
  • Versatility.  Paper is only the beginning. Cut all kinds of materials like fabric, light balsa wood, foam, felt, leather, light magnet, plastic, chipboard…
  • Selection.  There are so many dies available for just about every occasion, holiday and hobby.  Every sport and passion.  From babies to toddlers, teens and adults, you’ll find a die perfect for anyone.
  • Coordination.  When dies perfectly fit my stamped images or my patterned paper designs, I’m in heaven!


Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies


Which dies do I use over and over?

And every time we have a new catalogue offering there’s always one that catches my eye and quickly goes into my “never-going-away” pile.


So if you’ve sat on the fence for a while about getting a Big Shot, sit no more.  I can’t imagine any greater investment to take your paper crafting to new heights than a Big Shot.  I’m so sure of it, if you find you never use it, I’ll buy it back from you.  Guaranteed.


Why I Love Big Shot Cutting Dies

And don’t forget to pull out some of your old favourite dies like Eileen did.  I predict you’ll be singing their praises and telling everyone who’ll listen, “why I love Big Shot cutting dies.”

Cardmaking with the Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

Cardmaking with the Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

Cardmaking with Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

My friend Marilyn shared this special card at our team stamping party and I thought you might like to see it too. It shows just how beautiful cardmaking with Stampin Up Stained Glass thinlits can be for heartfelt sympathy cards.

Marilyn used both the stamp set and thinlits to create a detailed background window with pretty hand-coloured butterflies.  She says this was one of the first new sets she purchased and she took advantage of bundled pricing to save 10% off the total.  Really when you can get seamless and stress-free crafting at a reduced cost, why wouldn’t you?

Cardmaking with the Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

Isn’t it pretty?  And isn’t the colour combination just a bit different?  Blushing Bride, Cajun Craze and Basic Black cardstock.  Then her butterflies are coloured with the Stampin’ Write markers in Coastal Cabana, Pumpkin Pie, Daffodil Delight and Cherry Cobbler with just a touch of Flirty flamingo.

Cardmaking with the Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

The sentiments in this stamp set are a different script from our usual style.  Being a calligrapher, I was immediately attracted to the bold gothic style letters.  They’re solid, expressive and beautiful.  Plus, they’re an ideal complement to the stained glass effect and have an almost cathedral-like feel.  

But there’s more than just a stamp set and thinlits.  In fact, there’s an entire suite of products for coordinated crafting.  Gorgeous stamped vellum, faceted buttons and shiny black cord round out the supplies.  

You can see it all on page 164-165 of the Annual Catalogue. But you can also see it in action right here in Stampin’ Up!’s video.  (Pssst.   You won’t want to miss Brian’s great tips for different colouring techniques on vellum.)


Look how spectacular these designs are when our 2018-20 In Colors spice things up a bit. Which one is your favourite?


cardmaking with Stampin Up Stained Glass thinlits

Have you ever gone all-out and purchased everything in one of our suites?

Why would you want to?

  • Three words:  coordination, coordination, coordination.  In paper, colours, embellishments, tools, stamps, ribbons and dies.
  • Paper crafting at its absolute quickest and easiest with stamped images you can cut out fast with framelits and punches.
  • Loads of ideas you can CASE (Copy And Share Everything) directly from the catalogue.
  • And let’s not forget cost savings.

There are 14 suites in our Annual Catalogue.  And every single suite has a bundle of some kind.  Whether it’s stamps and dies or stamps and a punch, or stamps and an embossing folder, you’ll save 10%.

So maybe going “all out” is a pretty great thing!

Let’s get back to how Marilyn made her card.

Cardmaking with the Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

Top Tips to Cardmaking with Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

  • Stamp the three butterflies, colour them with your Stampin’ Writes then cut out with your Big Shot and framelit.
  • Use your Precision Base Plate to make quick work of the detailed thinlit cutting.
  • Use your silicone craft sheet, a sponge and multipurpose liquid glue to add adhesive to the back of your detailed thinlits.  See exactly how in this cool “VersaWink” YouTube project.
  • Stamp your label outline first then your words inside for easier placement.  Alternatively, use your Stamparatus to get your words aligned precisely.  See how in my short video here.
  • Have each butterfly face a slightly different direction for more natural feel.

Wanna make this card?  Here’s everything Marilyn used. Make sure to take advantage of the bundled savings on this classic, conservative and beautiful suite.


Cardmaking with the Stampin Up Stained Glass Thinlits

This suite has something for everyone.  Go classic and conservative like Marilyn’s sympathy card.  Or you can fun it up like I did with this “little bit wild” card where I featured the vellum and cord.  

Either way, you’ll be cardmaking with Stampin Up Stained Glass thinlits, and this gorgeous suite for years to come.

A Different Card Design with Garden Impressions Paper

A Different Card Design with Garden Impressions Paper

My friend and fellow Kreative Kanuck Paula shared a different card design with Garden Impressions paper with me I want you to see.  Not only is it beautiful, it’s quick and easy too so you could whip up a few of these for lots of different card-giving occasions.

Friday is awesome! Not only is it the end of (most people’s) work week, it’s Front and Centre Friday here at Design with Jo!  I get to showcase lovely works of art made by my paper crafting friends.  Fabulous designs just like this one.

a different card design with garden impressions paper

Paula took her inspiration from browsing through her pins on Pinterest to come up with a different card design with Garden Impressions paper.  She was thrilled to use up a piece of this lovely designer series paper along with her Abstract Impressions bundle she snapped up as soon as she could from the new catalogue.  It’s hard to miss this one, but you might want another peek at the gorgeous designs Stampin’ Up! created for us with this suite.

a different card design with garden impressions paper

Such a pretty suite with the coordinated thinlits, stamp set and paper.  Paula’s hardest decision was which paper to use but she settled on this watercoloured floral one with its mix of pretty colours.  So Saffron, Night of Navy, Shaded Spruce, Melon Mambo and Calypso Coral which she then used as her card base.

Things to note about this pretty card

a different card design with garden impressions paper

  • Paula’s card has a Calypso Coral panel on top of the same colour of cardstock for a neat effect sized at 4” x 5 1/4”
  • She created a tone-on-tone background with one of the smaller flowers from the stamp set to add depth and interest
  • A single So Saffron flower thinly accent the point of the unique cut of her patterned paper
  • Her Whisper White pole dot tulle ribbon is a “barely there” detail to draw you closer’
  • Paula opted to not have a greeting at all on the front of her card – and doesn’t it still work wonderfully?

a different card design with garden impressions paper

Here is the measurement of the designer paper on top of the Calypso Coral panel.a different card design with garden impressions paperThink how many of these you can whip up in an hour or so!  Perfect to pull out and add a greeting inside whenever you need it.  Birthday, wedding, thank you, friend, thinking of you, sympathy…leave me a comment on which occasions you would use it for.

You can recreate Paula’s card with these supplies.  A simple click will take you to my online store where you can order and have it shipped directly to your doorstep.  Thanks so much for shopping with me.

a different card design with garden impressions paper

If you loved this card of Paula’s, I image you will also enjoy seeing this elegant wedding card she created with monochromatic colours earlier this spring.  And if you want to get featured on Front and Centre Friday like Paula why not send me your paper crafted projects?  I adore getting snail mail at  Box 911, Blackfalds, Alberta T0M0J0.

Who knows?  You might be the next I feature!  You might like to create a different card design with Garden Impressions paper just like Paula – or you might like to give another pretty paper a try!



Use Your Die Cutting Machine for a Diorama Card

Use Your Die Cutting Machine for a Diorama Card

Today let’s use your die cutting machine for a diorama card.  Yesterday I shared how to get more life from your crafting supplies with two takes on a Big Shot card.  Check it out here!

Now, I want to share this fabulous sailboat shadow box card made by my friend Joanne, also using her Big Shot in a few different ways.  You’re going to want these dies when you see how sweet it is!

use your die cutting machine for a diorama card

Isn’t it SO cute?  What little – or big – boy wouldn’t get a kick out of this?

And isn’t it just the perfect time of year for this little gem?  Kids are out of school, the calendar says it’s vacation time and the sun is shining (well not here ☹️ but hopefully in your little piece of the world)!  What better time to share a fun card like this?

use your die cutting machine for a diorama card

Joanne’s a big bundle fan and she used one from a couple years back, to create her card.  It makes card making so easy when you have stamps with perfectly sized framelits and thinlits, and coordinating images.  Plus, why not get them at 10% when you can?

While the bundle only sticks around for one catalogue stint, the stamp sets and thinlits are still available.  This cute card uses the Swirly Bird stamp set…

use your die cutting machine for a diorama card

And the Swirly Scribbles thinlits…

use your die cutting machine for a diorama card


I have to say my thinlits have seen more love than my stamps (in fact that’s ALL I used for this classy navy and white card), and I do sometimes forget about it sitting there with all the other exciting new things😬. (You don’t do that too do you?)  But with fun cards like this, I just may need to blow off the dust and see what I can create.

Here’s everything you will need to make this card just like Joanne.

How to use your die cutting machine for a diorama card


  1. Us the Swirly Scribbles thinlits to cut two sets of “waves” with blue paper (Joanne used Dapper Denim, now retired) and set aside.
  2. Cut out two clouds with Up & Away thinlits.
  3. Cut two pieces of Whisper White 5 1/2” x 4 1/4” and score both on the 5 1/2” length at 1/4” and 1”.
  4. Run your 3” Layering Circle through Big Shot in front centre of one piece.
  5. Cut one smaller piece of cardstock 1 1/2” x 5” and score at 1/4” on each end of the long strip.


  1. Stamp “sun” onto Daffodil Delight cardstock and punch out with 1 1/4” circle punch.
  2. Stamp sailboat in three colours (Real Red, Daffodil Delight and Call Me Clover) on Whisper White and cut out with scissors.
  3. Ink words from Sunshine Sayings in Memento ink and stamp onto light yellow cardstock and corner round the edges.



  1. Sponge blue ink onto remaining full sheet of 5 1/2” x 4 1/4” white card (with score lines on the right hand side). 
  2. Adhere sun and add clouds with dimensionals.


  1. Glue “waves” to the front of small 1 1/2” x 5” piece of cardstock. 
  2. Adhere sailboat on the left so sail extends over the top.


  1. Glue the “waves” onto bottom of the remaining White panel, cutting flush with the scored edge on one side and the cut edge on the right hand side.
  2. Sponge coordinating blue ink for a subtle effect, darker along the bottom behind the waves than the top.
  3. Draw on birds with black marker.

Here’s a couple tips for assembling the card.

  1. Add glue to both 1/4” strips and place together for the front and back pieces, making sure all images and waves are facing forward.
  2. And for the inside strip…

use your die cutting machine for a diorama card

It’s a toss up whether these are shadow box cards or a diorama card.  Which one do you think it is?  But whichever you call it this fun design will bring a smile to anyone who receives it.  

use your die cutting machine for a diorama card

Working with your coordinated stamp sets and framelits is just one more way to add excitement to your creations.  So why not try to use your die cutting machine for a diorama card that combines framelits, thinlits and stamping, just like this one – or with one your design all on your own?

Colour and A Special Birthday Share What You Love Card

Colour and A Special Birthday Share What You Love Card

Today I turn a year older and I wanted to show you how colour and a special birthday Share What You Love card I received from my friend, and Stampin’ Up! upline, Karen Duke, can create a mood or feeling.  Now, before you think I’ve been doing a little early birthday imbibing, really, I’m on the level! We use colour ALL the time to inspire and create moods.  Why not in our paper crafting too?

When anyone asks me what my favourite things are in the new catalogue, my immediate answer is: I am IN LOVE with all the COLOUR!  The combinations are awesome, the revamp is exciting and I adore the coordination with so many of our embellishments and papers.  

So I’d like to spend some time with you over the next year talking about how and why colour is so important.  And I want to know this…what do you find inspiring, challenging and intriguing about COLOUR?

OK, let’s dive in!

Colour and a Special Birthday Share What You Love Card

Which colour combination do you think Karen’s used?  

look at my special birthday share what you Love card

How about?

  • Whisper White (in the Wood Textures DSP)
  • Crumb Cake
  • Tuxedo Black and
  • Rich Razzleberry?

So a question for you.  HOW does this card make you feel?

  • Anxious?
  • Excited?
  • Relaxed?
  • Confident?
  • Sleepy?
  • Happy?
  • Ho Hum?

When I opened the envelope, I almost said “aaaah” when I pulled out this card. In fact, I think my shoulders – and eyebrows😋 – relaxed and I probably gave a little sigh.  That’s because it makes ME feel calm and peaceful.

So am I out to lunch?  I AM after all reaching an advanced age🙃!  Or do you see what I mean?  

And you know what?  I’m so surprised I felt that way when I look at the colours she used!  I can’t say I ever would have used the words “calm” and “Rich Razzleberry” in the same sentence, but I think this card just IS! 

Not that Rich Razzleberry doesn’t hold a special place in my colour affections, but the “razzle” is just a mite too peppy and well, dazzl-y for soothing or calming – or so I thought!

So that made me wonder, what are these colours like when you see them at full intensity?

A Special birthday share what you love card

Hmmmm…was “calm” the first word that popped into your head?  Much more bold here aren’t they?

Take another peek at her card then let’s talk about how you can get some mood vibes going in your own paper crafting with colour.

a special birthday share what you Love card

How has Karen used colour and a special birthday share what you love card to convey this calming feeling?

  1. She doesn’t have too many colours fighting for centre stage. 
    1. She anchored the one bold magenta colour of the Rich Razzleberry with conservative neutrals, Crumb Cake and black. 
    2. This made the Rich Razzleberry almost an “accent” colour with the matted rectangle and flowers. 
    3. The intensity of the Rich Razzleberry flowers is softened with both the base of Crumb Cake underneath and glimmer from the Wink of Stella on top. 
    4. The underlying colour of the white Wood Textures patterned paper coordinates with the card itself in Crumb Cake, so your eye just feels most “rested”. 
    5. Then the size of the main focus panel leaves lots of room of the calming Crumb Cake to show.
  2. She’s used textures to soften any boldness there could have been.
    1. Her soft and lovely velvet ribbon has a silvery sheen which tempers the richness of the Rich Razzleberry. 
    2. Her choice of Wood Textures DSP has an “antiqued” look to it. 
    3. And she’s chosen three small embellishments to finish off the piece in a dark tone, that mimics the classic black.

 a special birthday share what you Love card

So here’s a challenge for you (and I’m going to try this for myself too). 

Pull out some ink pads, papers and colours and play around to create a mood in your paper crafting.  Then send me your projects so I can guess what mood you were creating!

And if you want to recreate Karen’s card, here are all the supplies you’ll need.

look at my special birthday share what you Love card

When we design projects with a special someone in mind, don’t we often picture their faces when they open the envelope?  Full of anticipation of whether they’re going to smile, laugh or maybe even gasp or cry!  Either way, isn’t that feeling of expectation the absolute BEST?

And what’s amazing – and interesting – is how MUCH the colours we choose impact that mood. 

I’m excited to explore this connection in posts moving forward so stay tuned for those.  But for now, I need your help!  Take a couple minutes to leave me a comment with how colour makes YOU feel.  What challenges do you have with it?  What do you absolutely LOVE – or hate – about it?  Tell me what you need HELP with when it comes to colour.

And then, take another moment to appreciate how colour and a special birthday Share What You Love card is an awesome way to unwind – almost as great as a glass of my birthday wine🍷!

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