Guest Blogger - Vivian Keh

Good morning, Sizzix fans! I can't sufficiently express how elated I am to visit with you here on the Sizzix blog today! Sizzix products form the backbone of my crafting toolbox and I use them in just about all of my projects. So I will not lie, when the opportunity to guest blog with y'all came about, I literally fell out of my chair, and then did a goofy happy dance around the house, trailed by a pair of equally excited barking pooches!

Today I'd like to share with you a few projects, a stepped out tutorial, AND a video tutorial!

For my first project, I have a keepsake ornament I crafted using a Sizzix Tattered Flower Garland die and for an additional touch of whimsy, the Mini Butterflies die.

Early in 2012, I married the most amazing man, and my plan from hereon in is to make one or two keepsake ornaments every Christmas that mark our most special experiences from the year. On the back of the small tag hanging from this one, I have written, "February 3rd, 2012 - the day we made it official." Confession - I'm absolutely terrible about remembering dates, how long ago this or that occurred, for how long this or that period of life went on. So as our lives together progress and the memories and dates get jumbled, the ritual of dressing the tree will become a lovely trip down memory lane, one which will gently remind me of the moments I'd prefer not to lose to a capricious memory.

For my ornament, I started out with a paper mache ball that I had picked up at my local craft store for about a dollar! Just in case bits of the ball happened to show in between the blooms, I wanted a non-distracting background. So I applied gesso to the ball with a foam brush. If you had a different color scheme, I'd suggest painting your ball with an acrylic paint in your chosen color.

Then, I die cut my blooms with some pretty, subtly patterned papers, trying to limit the number of colors so that attention would be drawn primarily to the shapes and textures of my die cut tattered blooms.

die cutting

This next part I call, "Gettin' Intimate wit' Mah Papuhhhhhz," haha, as I think it's as much about feeling your work as it is about seeing! I used my favorite bone folder to curl the petals and leaves...

...Also aging all the pieces with some distress ink.

As you can see above, this die conveniently cuts out a BUNCH O' BLOOMS in one pass through your die cutting machine. In addition, the center of each piece will have a small hole which you can easily pierce with a decorative brad in order to hold the layers of your flower together.

For some blossoms, I simply hot-glued a gem in the center. For others, I chose brads that I'd been hoarding.  I adhered all my flowers with hot glue, filling in open spaces with die-cut leaves (this die cuts a variety of leaf sizes, btw) as well as self-adhesive pearls and gems.

These butterflies were cut from an upcycled cereal box, gesso-ed, colored lightly with the application of chalk ink from Clearsnap in "Yellow Ochre," and then spritzed with a "Perfect Pearl" mist from Ranger. Since this keepsake commemorates a hugely transformative experience in my life, I figured golden butterflies, the perfect embodiment of transformation, definitely belonged.

I hung my tag, stamped with a Hampton Art woodblock stamp, using a shimmery organza from Really Reasonable Ribbon.

All of these reflective elements - the gems, pearls, brads, pearlescent mist, and the organza will make this ornament shine oh so brightly under the lights on our tree!

A handmade ornament noting a special moment you've shared with a loved one would make a meaningful gift. To illustrate, I made a coordinating card using a Pop 'N Cut Base Die and Insert designed by Karen Burniston.

Double-sided patterned papers from the My Mind's Eye "Lost and Found 3" Collection helped create a pretty vintage feeling in this pair of gifts. For the focal image, I used a Flower, 3-D Fringed die that I've had since the very earliest days of my life in papercraft!

You dollar-savvy papercrafters can understand the profound pleasure of being able to reach for a die over and over again for perfectly coordinated blooms on your projects instead of having to buy consumable embellishments that are used once and then gone forever! Love my BIGZ!

Here's a look at the cool cuts made with the insert.

Well, I hope you haven't gotten sick of me yet. I totally dig mixin' the media and wanted to share with you what I've been working on at that end of the crafty spectrum.

So I have a mixed media video tutorial to share with you the technique that creates this luminous, heavily textured effect...


... on this grungy tag that was inspired by a song. Do you recognize the lyrics?

I woke up one morning a few weeks ago singing this song, "Blackbird," by the Beatles. I often wake up singing random songs, songs I haven't heard in years, songs I hate, songs I barely know. Very weird. But this one happens to be one of my favorites - a beautiful metaphor, which very much speaks to me about diligence, patience, hard-won freedom, and the realization of self.

Hope you'll take a break from your day to watch this video that I prepared for you! And please please please come visit me on my blog! I post regularly over there with inspiration for your papercraft and mixed media endeavors, pleasantly intermingling projects with musings on life!

Thanks so much for following me here, today! As this marks one of the biggest crafting honors of the year for me, perhaps an ornament shall be made to commemorate haha! For sure, I will be celebrating with a yummy meal out tonight with my guy!

See you soon in the crafty ether, folks!

Ready for more ideas for creating keepsake ornaments from die cutting?  Check out the Ornament Project Gallery on for more great ideas!

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