VIDEO: How to Wow – Warp-free Watercolor (TTTC003)

So much changes in a week…. but you can count on a new Tic Tac Toe Challenge on Thursdays! If you haven’t been by, be sure to check out the Picks here. This week’s How to Wow video focuses on achieving a flawless watercolor wash without warping your paper!

This week’s Featured designer is Shannon Jaramillo ( . I’ve been a long-time admirer of her work – and I know you will be too, so, I’m super excited to see what she has in store for us, along with the rest of Team X. As for me, I thought I’d go with some fun textures to make a mostly monochrome design really pop.

There’s watercoloring, embossing paste, sewing, linen thread, a “wink” of Stella…. texture is what really makes a monochromatic design stand out. Anyone that sees the card just wants to touch all the different parts to explore the texture and how it all comes together.

Today’s “wow” technique is a supporting player, but, trust me, without it, the card would look pretty blah. There are some key steps to the perfect watercolor wash background. If you’ve struggled with this technique, today’s How to Wow video will show you how to perfect it! If you’ve never tried it before, my tips should give you the confidence to be successful the first time!

One thing I forgot to note in the video is that you don’t need a hardboard or piece of MDF to do this technique. A piece of thick cardboard will work in a pinch. The glimmer paper and foil sheets both have a nice thick piece from the packaging that will work just perfect.

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Wrap-up & Chat

If you’re in love with this project and my new How to Wow Series, please do share!


Because creatives crave inspiration! By sharing each other’s work, not only will we get better, and craft more often, but we help inspire others too. Creativity is a team sport, so get out there and share.

Here’s how you can share with me:

  1. Leave a COMMENT below!
  2. Post a project inspired by today’s post on my Facebook page OR
  3. Post it Pinterest and use the hashtag #PMRInspired2017 OR
  4. Post it to Instagram and use the hashtag #PMRInspired2017

When I find your creations, I’ll comment and I’ll share them right here!

Here’s how you can share with others:

  1. Use those big ‘ol SHARE buttons below and post today’s creative inspiration for others to find
  2. If you’re on a mobile device, you can share images by pressing and holding on the picture and selecting “Share Image”. You should get a whole bunch of options depending on what apps you have installed on your device.

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Something Remarkable from a Sketch

Administrative Professionals Day is on the 27th – and I happen to work with a handful of these amazing people! I suggested to my boss that I would be happy to create some cards for her to send as a thank you from our entire team so they know that the work they do is so appreciated and they are loved by our whole team.

I used our second Pals Paper Arts sketch for the month to kick-start my design and create something really special. This time, the sketch is brought to us by the talented Susan Itell.

Start with a sketch to kick-start your creative designs #pmretreat #sketchesClick To Tweet

I have to say – this sketch just oozes Susan! I can see all of the great cards she would make with these bold elements. But, I just couldn’t do it. I flipped and turned and figured out how I would make it my own. That’s what happens sometimes with a sketch! Remember – it’s just a guideline to get your creativity started. So, here’s how I interpreted this sketch – it’s turned 180-degrees clockwise:

By Nicole Watt for Pals Paper Arts (PPA298): Number of Years, Silver Foil, Number of Years Dies, Silver Fancy Vellum; For more details, click through to my blog! #StampinUp #PMRetreat #40thbirthday
Click on the image for a full product recipe

Click on the image for a full product recipe

Maven’s Mastery Tips

Dies = Stencils

I love that etched steel carbon dies are so versatile. Thinlits, framelits, edgelits; Use them all as a die with your inks and a sponge, or a dauber, or like I did – with a rounded brush. Stenciling with a rounded brush will give you soft, blended colors and a nice edge, without a lot of work! I took the Sunburst Thinlit and cut a die out of some medium-weight cardboard (like our coaster board) to make a reverse of the die. I could have just used the die, but I wanted to fill in the circle. In retrospect, I would have just used the die, then used a circle to do the center on its own. With the rays loose in the center, it was difficult to keep everything in place while stenciling.

Add Country Class with Linen Thread

I looovvvvee twine, and Stampin’ Up!’s Linen Thread is the best stuff! It adds a bit of country, or shabby chic, or vintage with zero effort. This time, I used the twine to create one of the rectangle elements. I thought it was a nice way to indicate the shape without making it so bold. Adding some loose circles behind the sentiment breaks things up a bit too…

Say It Loud

There’s a lot of subtlety going on here with the different sketch elements. So many, in fact, that you might not really think that it represents the sketch – but really, it does (just in a subtle way!). That helps the sentiment stand out loud, and proud, which is soooo important for this card. When someone needs encouragement, or you want to say congratulations for something great they’ve done, the highlight should be the sentiment. That’s why I stamped it and popped it up on it’s own flag with some bold flowers encircling it.

summery brights are the perfect choice for a cheerful card! #pmretreat #colorcoorinator

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Calling All Creatives!

It’s your turn to play along with the Pals! What will you design using this week’s inspiration? You can post to a blog, sites like SplitCoast Stampers, or even Pinterest, then link back to the challenge!

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Lovely Leaves for PPA 267

I am loving this week’s Pals Paper Arts (PPA267) color scheme. It’s fresh, but also fall-like. Kind of like the transition from Summer to Fall. The days are still bright and the trees haven’t turned to the rich hues that tell us Winter will soon be here.

Pals Paper Arts 267 - play with us today! (


Looks bright to you? Well, let me show you how this fresh trio can move into Fall:

By Nicole Watt for Pals Paper Arts (PPA267). Features: Lighthearted Leaves, Leaflets Framelits, Square Pillow Box Thinlits, Cherry on Top DSP; For more details, click through to my blog! #StampinUp #PMRetreat #thanksgiving

Maven’s Mastery Tips

Go for White:

Lighthearted Leaves is already a stunning stamp set – take it over the top with white embossing! It really pops against these fresh colors. Add even more depth by using the corresponding Stampin’ Write markers to add some deeper color to parts of the leaf designs.

Nothing's Off Limits!

The DSP for this project didn’t come from the Holiday Catalog. It’s from the Cherry on Top DSP Paper Stack. Did you know that it has Crushed Curry as one of its primary colors? So, you thought that paper stack was just for kids’ birthdays…. WRONG!

Make Extra:

When I started on the card, I created extra leaves because I wasn’t sure how many I would need. I had a handful left over that were just begging to adorn a matching pillow box. If you’ve not made any of these boxes yet, watch out – you’re going to fall in love! I know people that are addicted to the pillow box…. and there’s no cure, but to make more!

[bctt tweet=”Try white embossing to really make an image pop! #makermastery #PMRetreat”]



Your Turn!

Are you inspired? Time to play along with Pals Paper Arts! Take the challenge and create something beautiful with this week’s colors. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Glassy Glassine for PPA 255

Hi peeps! It’s already Thursday, and you know what that means – Pals Paper Arts is in the house with a new color combo for you to try. I have to admit, one of these three is not my favorite. Can you guess which one?

Pals Paper Arts 255 - play with us today! (

My design is pretty cool (if I do say so myself) and features a new product in the 2015-16 Annual Catalog – Glassine Sheets.

By Nicole Watt for Pals Paper Arts (PPA255); Lovely Amazing You, Glassine Sheets, Washi Tape Punch; For more details, click through to my blog! #PMRetreat #stampinup #goodwishes

Maven’s Mastery Tips:

Make Your Own Washi: Do you wish a particular stamp pattern also came in Washi Tape? Well, with glassine sheets, now it can! I stamped a border from the Chalk Lines set in Marina Mist onto a Glassine Sheet. I couldn’t wait for it to dry, so I used my heat gun on LOW and it was dry in a jiffy. Then, I used the new Washi Tape Punch to cut it out! Voila – custom washi tape!! I used Tombow Multi glue (sparingly) to adhere.

Make Your Own Notebook Paper: the sentiment from Lovely Amazing You (only available for a few more months) was stamped on a Project Life grid card (comes in a pack of 50). I used my Rose Red Stampin’ Write marker and a ruler to make the traditional notebook paper lines, and my 1/4″ circle punch for the holes.

Make Your Own Glassine Envelope: I LOVE the glassine envelope, don’t you?! Glassine is just cool – it always reminds me of getting sheets of stamps from the post office, or a cookie from the bakery 😉 I used our envelope punch board, and got the measurements from this great online tool – the Envelope Expert at The Crafty Owl. It allows you to enter in any final envelope dimension and will tell you the size of the paper (square) and what measurement to start on. From there, just follow the standard envelope-making procedure. Sooooo cool! (note: When using glassine with the punch board, score gently – you just need to see a slight indent to be able to fold correctly….)

pmr_swatch_divider Play with PPA this week! Believe it or not, this card came together quickly. Though I gave  you lots of detail above, everything was relatively easy to do! What will you create with these colors? Show us by uploading your design to Pals Paper Arts this week! You don’t need a blog to play – you can post on a Pinterest board and share that way. If you need help doing that, let me know!

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Royally Rich for PPA247

Weeeee! I can’t believe how quickly the days can pass by sometime. It’s already Thursday, and time for another PPA challenge. At first I wasn’t sure if I would pull off a great design using this week’s color combo, but I should have known that monochrome palettes are always so sophisticated!

Pals Paper Arts 247 - play with us today! (

Here’s what I did!

By Nicole Watt for Pals Paper Arts (PPA247); Lovely Amazing You, Something Lacy, Boho Blossoms Punch, Deco Labels Framelits; For more details, click through to my blog! @PMRetreat #stampinup #floral

Maven’s Mastery Tips

Background Stamps Rock! If you haven’t used one, or don’t use them often, I encourage you to get a few background stamps into your collection. They’re such an easy way to make custom designer backgrounds in any color combo. Today, I used our gold ink pad with the Something Lacy background stamp on Blackberry Bliss. Yummo!

Strive for less than perfect: When stamping the background, I didn’t want it solid all the way across. Hints in some places, and misses all together in others… So, I didn’t ink up the stamp evenly. Imperfection was perfection!

Skip a framelit for bold frames: I wanted a big, bold purple frame around the sentiment, so I skipped the framelit that occurs in between. Go big or go home, right?

pmr_swatch_divider Are you inspired? Time to give these colors a try! We can’t wait to see what you create for this week’s challenge. I hope to see your creation posted at Pals Paper Arts this week!

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