Tuesday Tip: Create a Swatch Book

Do you keep track of all the markers, paints, pencils, and inks you own OR do you trust you can find them in your craft space and hope that you don’t buy doubles when your favorite craft store has a sale? If you are looking for a way to keep track and stay a little more organized, then today’s Tuesday Tip is for you.

In my latest Craft Space Tour, I briefly mentioned my Swatch Binder. Today, I am going to show you how I use this book and share ways that you can make a few swatches of your own.


For those who are new to color swatching, let me explain what these are and how I use them. Swatches allow you to see the dried result of a specific medium – paint, ink, gel, spray, etc. When you create a swatch, you can see the variety of tints, gradients, and patterns in that medium.

I keep all of my swatches in my planner because it travels with me everywhere. When I shop, I can check my swatches to see if I already own a specific color. When I am crafting, I use my swatches to match my papers or cardstock to the medium I plan on using.

In the video, I show how I create swatches for Spectrum Noir Triblends and Watercolor Paints. The alcohol marker swatches are self-explanitory. I simply shade in the area with the color label.

Watercolors are swatched a little differently. When I use watercolors, I can change the shade of the pigment by adding more water. I created my swatches to show the variation of pigment to water ratios.

I have labeled both my watercolor swatches and my watercolor palette using a label maker. This may seem a bit tedious, but it is much easier for people to read the labels when I am teaching in-person and online.

Once I have completed a swatch sheet, I use a Disc Punch to add it to my planner. If you don’t want to use a disc planner, you can create a three-ring binder full of swatches or add it to an artist’s notebook.

No matter how you organize your swatches, they will be a great reference for you. If you would like to learn how to create a swatch book of your own, go ahead and watch today’s Tuesday Tip!

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My swatch book stays in my craft space and goes with me when I shop and go to weekend retreats. I keep it near when I am crafting so that I can see which colors will go best with a pattern paper I am using. These swatches also come in handy when my favorite craft shop is having a sale. No more buying doubles of my favorite ink or marker. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that today’s Tuesday Tip inspired you to create a swatch book of your own. If you have already made one, I would like to know how you store your swatches. Feel free to comment below and tell me about your swatch book or post any questions you have.

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here is a list of some supplies I used today (View All My Supplies Here)

Welcome to the Strong Roots Blog Hop

Can you believe that it is already July?! Time flies when you are having fun in the craft space. This month, our team of Makers has another incredible set of projects using the stamp of the month. If you plan on getting this etched images stamp set, then you will want to save a few of these ideas because, today, we are going to inspire you. 

What is a blog hop? This is a wonderful way for you to gather a few ideas for using a specific element on your projects. You may be just starting here or you may have come from Gina Brandstetterโ€™s blog โ€“ either way, you are in the right place.  When you are finished viewing my Welcome Home card and video tutorial, click the link at the end of my post to โ€œhopโ€ on over to the next website. If you get lost along the way, you will find the complete list of participating consultants on Melindaโ€™s Blog.


Let me start by saying that this month’s design is one that I don’t usually share with others, but a friend told me that I needed to show all of my creations and stop fearing what people think. So, today, I am sharing my vintage-inspired Welcome Home card along with a video tutorial showing you how to make one of your own. 

This month’s card does have a few retired products paired with the Strong Roots stamp set. My package of new paper was lost in the mail, and I did not arrive in time to make my design, so I used paper that I hoped would carry over into this month. Unfortunately, the mix-in papers sold out quicker than I imagined. 

Items like ledger paper, woodgrain paper, and tags are all items you can easily find within your craft stash, and, who knows, you might find something even better. 

This card design gave me a chance to play with my Distress Oxide Inks. I was able to create a blended background behind the cottage, use them as watercolors to shade the tree, and create some splatter using a waterbrush. 

The Strong Roots stamp set not only has some lovely etched images, it also contains a few simple sentiments. I chose to use the word “Home” for the front of my card, then added another sentiment inside that says “is where the heart is”. 

The distressed layers of torn paper, texture paste, tags, watercolor paper, and pewter elements remind me of a vintage drawing. I love how it all came together and I hope that you do, too.

If you would like to learn a few new ways to use your Distress Oxide Inks and create Welcome Home card of your own, I have created a simple video tutorial for you.

Please take a few minutes to hit the subscribe button so that you are notified when I add new videos.

I hope that my Welcome Home card inspired you to try something new and that you learned a few new ways to use the Strong Roots stamp of the month.  Now head on over to Wendy Kesslerโ€™s blog to see her work! Be sure to visit all of the blogs to get some great crafting tips and other fun ideas.  

Donโ€™t forget! The Strong stamp set is only available during July. Contact your CTMH Consultant, or visit my website to learn how you can get this stamp set FREE as a VIP or at a discounted price of $5.00 with a qualifying order.

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Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. By clicking on those links and making a purchase, you are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.


here is a list of some supplies I used today (View All My Supplies Here)

The Things I Learned Creating an Ugly Card

Sometimes, you have a brain full of muck, no inspiration to create, and you have a deadline for a project that just isn’t coming together. This has happened to me more times than I can count. I can choose to walk away and drink some coffee on the patio, hoping to find inspiration, or just throw a bunch of stuff onto a card base and see what happens. You can learn quite a bit when you just start tossing stuff down onto a project.

Today, I am going to share what I discovered while creating this ugly blue card and how I adjusted some of the elements to make something so much better. Now you might be saying to yourself “there is no such thing as an ugly card”, but, when I posted this on my social media feed, I had quite a few people telling me that this bright blue butterfly card needed to be tossed into the trash.

I won’t argue with them. This card is not my typical design, but, haphazardly grabbing random items allowed me to discover some design elements I wanted to replicate. Here is what I learned.


Backgrounds Set the Mood

On the first card, the background consists of a bright distress oxide combination of blue diamonds with splatters of Peacock shimmer. I do like the look of this, but it doesn’t quite fit the theme of the card. This bright background stands out above everything else causing you to miss out on other elements in the design.

On the second card, I chose a muted french vanilla background with texture paste, distress oxide ink, toffee splatter, and some torn paper. This simple background complements the other elements on the card and the beautiful texture doesn’t compete with the other objects.


Lines Are Important

When you are planning a project, you need to pay attention to the horizontal, vertical, and arching lines you create. They formulate balance and movement. On the first card, I have quite a few harsh vertical lines. I attempted to create some curves with the vellum wreaths in the background, but they don’t stand out enough to help with the flow and they are contrasting with the curve of the flower and the curve of the butterfly.

In an attempt to balance out some of the rose gold, I laid down diamond stickers with more harsh lines and they became a non-linked element that just distracts your eye from the rest of the mess.

When planning my second card, I scaled down the vertical lines with a simple wrapping of gold thread, created an arching flow with the placement of objects and thread circles, and added a horizontal element to ground the card. The flow of the design walks your eye gracefully from the top, through the garden to the loving sentiment.


Big & Bold Isn’t Always Best

Sometimes an object you choose might just be a wee too big and bold for your design and you might be better off finding a more useful way to use it.

On this card, I really wanted to use that beautiful layered butterfly thin cut, but it is a bit too large for a slimline card. I tried to make it fit by adding some other large elements around it, but I should have scaled it down some. Creating it from peacock or black cardstock may have helped it to stand on it’s own or I could have just nixed the butterfly and stuck with the simple flower sticker. With those changes, the card might have come together.

I did like how the vellum looked behind the layers, so I chose to replicate this on my second card. I added the third layer to the image, adhered it together without foam tape, and shaved a little bit off the edge. Not only does this scale down the image, but it also helps to create an illusion of design continuation.

Behind the butterfly die cut, I added some rose gold sprig stickers and wooden leaves to create the illusion of floating in a garden. The stickers were backed in white, so I used some of the distress oxide ink to shade the edges to match the background on the card.


From the ugly mess to a delicate balance, I was able to learn so much.

It’s a bit like life. This past month, my head was full of rude comments sent to me, retreat from private messages telling me that I wasn’t made of the “right ctmh material”, and the battle of fighting my insecure brain monsters. The enemy was working overtime and my brain became as unsettled, unbalanced, and ugly as that bright blue mess.

Like me, I am sure that you also struggle with the mess, the muck, and the ugliness, but I encourage you to do what I did. Throw it all out on the table – reveal the ugliness – learn from it and make something beautiful.

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Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. By clicking on those links and making a purchase, you are helping to support my small business. This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.


here is a list of some supplies I used today (View All My Supplies Here)