Previous month:
September 2013
Next month:
November 2013

Remember Wednesday - Halloween Pop-up Dies

In the Fall of 2010 Sizzix released three Karen Burniston Bigz pop-up dies in a Halloween theme. All three are still available and two of them are on sale, through today, as part of the 72-hour Sizzix Sale. (There are 14 other KB dies also part of the sale, so definitely check it out if you're reading this post on October 30, 2013.)

I thought you might be interested in seeing how I used to "pitch" dies to Sizzix. I would make up a color "pitch" sheet like this, showing the features of the die I was proposing:

Pumpkin Die Summary
Sometimes my dies got rejected, like the Castle, Tent, Flip-flop, Magic Card, Bird, House of Cards, Purse, etc. But in this case, the pumpkin made the cut! About a year later the Bigz Pumpkin Die was released:

Here are a few of my old projects using this die:

Felt Pumpkin


Pumpkin Football Card Thanks Coach Card 04 Frame Open 3

With the same basic assembly process, I also pitched a Bat version of this die:

Bat Bigz Die Summary

The Bat is not part of the sale, but is still available here: Bigz Pop-up Bat Die

Here are some of my old projecs using this die:

Felt Bat Ornament Felt Spider Ornament Card WM Spider Memo Holder RIP-animated 5 RIP details

And then my personal favorite, the combination of both the Bat and the Pumpkin bodies to make a snow angel:

Snow angel

One more throwback die to talk about today - the spider web: 

Spider Web Bigz Die Summary Photos

This pitch sheet produced the Bigz Spider & Spiderweb Die

Here are a few projects using this die:

Spooky Spiders Flip Card Owl and Spider Card

One of the best features of the Spiderweb die is that it can be cut from a clear material and used to animate anything else. Here are a couple of simple Make 'n Takes showing the web used both ways:

Spider Web MnT

The beauty of dies is that they are not consumables. You are investing in a tool that will not wear out, so if you'd like to be able to make fun pop-up bats, pumpkins, spiderwebs, footballs, baseballs, ornaments, spirals and snow angels for years to come, these are the dies for you!

Happy Halloween!

USwD&F: Heating up the Holidays Project #2: Snowflake Chain Card

This is my second project for the UStamp with Dawn and Friends Heating up the Holidays event. A private video tutorial and downloadable PDF instruction sheet should be uploaded to the site soon, and I imagine that Dawn will send out an e-mail to the registered students of the event letting them know when it loads.

What's nifty about this card is that a window on the front of the card allows the recipient to see the snowflake in the "closed" position, where it appears to be just a stationary embellishment behind the window. Open the card, however, and the snowflake expands into a chain of snowflakes. Plus, the chain is attached to the top of the Label Pop 'n Cuts, creating more pop-up dimension.

If you are not a registered student of the event you'll have to purchase access to download the full supply list and instructions, plus receive the private video tutorial link, but you'll also gain access to a bunch of other great holiday projects in the process, all made with Stampin' Up! products.

For this project I used these three exclusive Karen Burniston Pop 'n Cuts for Stampin' Up! products:

Just think of the other items you could chain together for this type of card - flowers, hearts, butterflies, etc. If you wanted to, you could also dangle things off the chain that would hang in the card while open. 

Oh the possibilities! Have fun!

Monday Memories - Pop-up Ball Die

Happy Monday everyone!

OK, I see that my last blog post stirred up some feelings and I definitely appreciate everyone's support and excitement about my new venture starting January 2014 with Elizabeth Craft Designs. Please know that even if I didn't get a chance to answer your comment personally (I started, but I need 150 kits done by Thursday. Eeek!) that I definitely read them all and appreciate you tremendously.

Speaking of appreciation, I choose to focus on the positive - there are a ton of talented people in our industry and most of them don't get the opportunity to spend five years having their designs produced by a major well-known company like Ellison. I have had the opportunity to have my product sold alongside dies created by these amazing designers. Many of these designers are my friends. Lynda Kanase designed my logo. I had lunch with Eileen Hull just yesterday. Cheri Kimball, in sales, will be a forever friend. 

The best way I can show my appreciation for a five-year investment in me and my designs is just to accept their decision with grace and to move forward positively. 

For example, remember the Pop-up Ball die? It was sold first on QVC and promoted by none other than Lisa Bearnson. You can read that funny story here: Lisa Bearnson Rocks, yo!

In addition, the Ball was sold by Stampin' Up! for a year. 

US residents, you can still get the Pop-up Ball die, a $40 value, on clearance from Sizzix for $21.99. You'll need 3 #16 rubber bands to put it together. Here are some of my projects over the years, including the infamous Butterfly Page:

Baseball Card

Bowling Invite SU

Butterfly Page

Chinese Dinner Invitation

Emma Album cover

Game Night Card Monster Ball Card Owen SS Invite

SU Soccer Ball

SU Caramel Apple Halloween Card

Summer Fun Pool Invite Little birdie

If you have a sharp eye for dates, you may notice that this next project preceded the die's release date. That's because I used to design and teach classes using templates that you had to cut and score by hand! Thank-you, Sizzix, for converting some of the more elaborate templates into dies. We love it when our craft knives have a healthy layer of dust on them because a die has made our crafting easier!


Here's the wonderful thing about dies - they don't wear out! If you purchase the Pop-up Ball die, for example, you will always be able to make these fun pop-up balls, long after the die becomes a collector's item. (Heh)

I think you might be able to watch a video on assembling the ball die on the Sizzix site, but I don't quite remember. So here are some step-by-step photo instructions:

Pocket Ball instructions

I'll leave you today with a fun "selfie" that Els and I took in Colorado last month. I hope that you will give me the chance to earn your business with my new dies next year. They will be fun, dynamic, simple to assemble and coordinated - everything you've come to expect from my brand.

Make sure you follow us both on Facebook so you don't miss any sneak peeks! Here are the links: Karen Burniston, Designer and Elizabeth Craft Designs


One last thing, don't forget, US Residents, that you have until November 12, 2013 to enter the Pop 'n Cuts Giveaway being offered on Gretchen's Blog. Here's the link: Pop 'n Cuts Giveaway

New Beginning

I have some news to share.

It's been a wonderful five years of designing dies for Sizzix and Stampin' Up! and I will always be grateful for their investment in my brand.

My contract ends December 31, 2013 and Sizzix will continue to sell my dies through 2014 or until they are gone, whichever comes first. The exit contract also includes provisions for Stampin' Up! to be able to continue selling their exclusive Karen Burniston die designs until they choose to discontinue them. They added similar provisions for Michaels, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn.

I will continue to support my Sizzix brand dies, especially Pop 'n Cuts, with education, videos, blogs, Designer Challenges etc. through the rest of this year and, as time permits, through the sell-off period of 2014. (To be more clear about the term - it's the entire year of 2014 that they can sell-through) The products are my concepts, have my name on them, perform magnificently and I believe in them. Nothing about their decision shakes my faith in the products. It has been, by far, my best sales year for Sizzix.

What's next for me? In the words of "Closing Time" by Semisonic;

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

 I'm excited about my new beginning! Take a look -


If you are attending CHA and want to be one of the first to try the new dies, (which, by the way, will be manufactured in the USA, so no lengthy out-of-stock issues!) you can register starting November 5, 2013 for my CHA workshop, to be held Sunday, January 12, 2014 from 3:00-5:00 pm:

*NEW* Interactive Card Dies by Karen Burniston

Els is also teaching a card class, Monday, January 13, 2014 from 6:00-8:00 pm:

Card Making with Elizabeth Craft Designs by Els van de Burgt

You can also come see us in the Elizabeth Craft Designs Booth #441, where I will be demoing the new dies throughout the show.

In other news, thank you to Gretchen, who helped set up my Facebook Fan Page back in *cough* June *cough* and I finally hit "publish". I've been using my personal Facebook account as a public account by simply posting everything as "to the public" but I'd like to reclaim that personal account for my family and non-papercrafting friends, so please "Like" my new professional Designer page here: 

Facebook Page: Karen Burniston, Designer

With regards to Facebook, the Designer page is where I will be posting all the links to cards made by other people using my dies, etc. instead of posting those on my personal Facebook account.

Everything else stays the same - blog, YouTube channel, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (links in the sidebar below my photo). On Pinterest however, if you are only following the "Karen Burniston for Sizzix" board, you'll want to follow my boards, which have the same content, instead.

You might also want to join the nearly 45,000 Facebook fans (Wow!) of Elizabeth Craft Designs here: Facebook: Elizabeth Craft Designs

Let me just wrap this up by saying a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of my blog readers, students, fans and fellow pop-up enthusiasts. I've been working in the papercrafting industry for a dozen years, and it's an industry that is constantly changing and evolving. To survive in this business you have to be willing to ride the tide, wherever it takes you.

I have truly loved my time at Sizzix. Loved it. I adore what I created with Pop 'n Cuts - my personal baby that I conceptualized, engineered and saved from being canceled before production when someone warned me an hour before the meeting of a manufacturing problem that would make them too costly to proceed. I sent in a frenzied set of revised drawings in time for that meeting and they were back on again. Fast forward a few months later and another manufacturing concern threatened a cancellation. Once again I engineered the solution and once again, they were saved. The day that they gave a final "yes" to releasing Pop 'n Cuts was one of the happiest of my career. Yes, it''s sad that there won't be new inserts, but at least I can rest assured that Pop 'n Cuts ended as a very complete collection, with 3 bases and 27 inserts and coordinating decorator dies for all of them. If you love Pop 'n Cuts as much as I do, you've got a year to collect them all. They make great Christmas presents!

When I look back on these five years I will do so with gratitude and pride. But mostly I just plan to look forward.


Pop 'n Cuts Clear B'day Card PLUS October Secret Word Giveaway Winner!

The designers really hit it out of the park this month with the October Designer Challenge. I could tell by the 129 awesome comments that you all agreed! A few people did mention, with regards to my project and video, that they do not make Halloween cards but that they felt they could adapt the idea to something else.

ABSOLUTELY! In fact, to show you how easy it is, here is a card I made last night to send to one of the designers, Raquel Mason, who celebrated a birthday on the day of the challenge. I used the same exact Multi-tier plus Spiral technique shown in the video tutorial for the Halloween version of this card, but changed out the styling to make it a pretty birthday card.


The hand-cut spiral on the front of the Multi-Tier adds more layers of dimension to the card. The Birds on a Wire pop out into the card at an angle and really do appear suspended in air. Magic!


Shopping links for the Birthday Card products are below. has ordered the Multi-Tier insert, but it has not been loaded onto their site yet, so I adjusted that link to Scrapperz Outlet, who shows it in stock as of now:

October Secret Giveaway Winner -


Congratulations to Josette Trunnell, who left a comment on my October Designer Challenge Sizzix blog post incorporating the secret word "clear".

Very clear that I need to get creating, These are wonderful and very inspirational!!

Josette also left a comment on my blog post:

Fabulous!!! I am off to give it a try. Thanks for all your inspiration

Because Josette is a member of my Mailing List, she was in on the Secret Word Giveaway and by random draw, has won a prize of the brand new Label Framelits and the Label Pop 'n Cuts Insert. Here are those two dies used together on a card. Notice how one of the Framelits fits the Pop 'n Cuts Label just perfectly leaving a little shadow. 


If you'd like to be able to make fun cards like this one, here are some shopping links for the products used. It just happens that the stamp set is the same on both cards!

If you want to be in on next month's secret word giveaway you can click the button below to subscribe to the list. You will receive one e-mail a month with a summary of teaching dates, blog projects, videos, templates, etc. 

  Join my mailing list  
For Email Newsletters you can trust


Hey U.S. Residents -

 Here's another fabulous opportunity to win some Pop 'n Cuts if you're a U.S. resident and reading this before November 12, 2013 - check out the giveaway on Gretchen's Blog - BOTH base dies plus two NEW Snippets dies. 

New Facebook Fan Page -

I finally made the leap over to a Business Page on Facebook instead of using my personal account for everything. Even if you are already my FB friend, please "Like" my Business Page, which is where I will be posting links to projects from around the web, sneak peeks, teaching info, etc. I would like to bring my personal account back to posts about family, friends and non-papercrafting stuff. You will be able to tag Karen Burniston, Designer on your creations and it will show up on the page.


October Designer Challenge - Clear Creations!

It's Designer Challenge day on the Sizzix blog! This month I challenged eleven designers to make something using Karen Burniston dies that incorporates a clear material to make an object float or defy gravity.

You'll find links to FIFTEEN clear creations on the Sizzix blog as well as this new project and video from me. 



Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about using clear materials for the pop-ups:

  • What type of clear material should I use? You have several choices. You can use the plastic packaging that the dies come in - I save all my packaging for use in projects. When using packaging, however, the plastic is very stiff. You'll want to bend the folds back and forth a few times to weaken them and make them fold/unfold easier. Other choices are scrapbooking transparencies, either printed or plain, Bazzill Thin Plastic Paper, Grafix plastic, or office transparencies. When choosing office transparencies, I use write-on transparencies instead of printer ones. They are normally a little less expensive and a little thicker. Just make sure you keep them in their original packaging so you don't accidentally send them through your printer.
  • How do I attach the clear pop-up inside the card? My very favorite way to attach a clear pop-up is by using metal. The easiest is staples, which can either be worked into the design, hidden or covered. Another option is brads or eyelets. If you prefer to use adhesive, then choose either a very strong dry adhesive (glue dots or tacky tape) and plan to cover the adhesive with an embellishment, or use a strong glue that dries clear, like Glossy Accents or Zip Dry.
  • My card is bulky and doesn't stay closed - any solution? Especially when using the thicker plastics, like packaging, your card is going to get bulky. You can either add a closure to the card, like a belly band, Velcro, magnets or elastic, or you can just put it in an envelope, seal it and mail it. Most likely the time through the mail will flatten it, and if not, well the recipient wants to display it open anyway!

Here are some shopping links for the dies and papers used in the card. Very sorry to say that I could not locate a source on the exact Ghost stamp - I've had it for years. The bat stamp is Stampin' Up! and the "Halloween" and "31" were from a clear Recollections stamp set I found at Michaels.

A big THANK YOU to Anna-Karin, Caz, Donna, Fran, Frances, Gretchen, Helen, Karen, Kelly, Raquel and Shelly for participating in this month's challenge. Make sure you click to the Sizzix blog to see their creations!

This & That. Odds & Ends. Stuff & Other Stuff.


It's been a busy week leading into a busy weekend. John and I celebrated our 18 year wedding anniversary on Monday. It was my idea to take the "Modern Family" photo above. We used the camera on a tripod with the self-timer. We had to get the angle on the wedding photo just right to avoid a glare on the glass, but this was actually the first one we took. Go us!

John took the day off so we could hang out, go to lunch, make CKU kits and go to our dentist appointments. I think the word you're searching for is romantic!

Today I'll hit the road for a four hour drive up to CKU Dallas/Ft. Worth. I'll be teaching the Journey Card Class for the final time. Here are the four cards we will make in class. If you're not coming to the event but are interested in making these cards, I'm including the shopping links for the dies used in each. 






The new Snippets collection has also arrived at, although there are a couple of dies missing (Multi-Tier insert, Trellis Sizzlits Strip and Gift Card holder) They do, however, have the other 11 dies including all three sets of Stitched Framelits. They filmed me at the CHA show showing how the Stitched Framelits work in conjunction with the Accordion Album and Frame & Label Bracket dies.Here is that video if you're interested:


I wish that "Video Karen" had given proper credit for the samples she showed in this video. (Shame on you, Video Karen!) The 2-page album that I show first was made by Fran Sabad. The Breckenridge album is mine. The 4-page red album with the amazing colored stamped images was made by Kelly Booth. The 2-pager with the Christmas lights was mine. The huge album showcasing the designers was a collaboration of Shelly Hickox, Helen Cryer, Fran Sabad, Kelly Booth, Gretchen Schmidt and Anna-Karin Evaldsson.

Here are shopping links for the Snippets dies plus the Accordion Album and Frame & Label Bracket dies (back in stock as of now - hurry!)

OK, a couple more random things before I hit the road.

Here is a photo of my first UStamp with Dawn & Friends project for Heating up the Holidays. The PDF tutorial and private video should be uploaded to the USwD&F website sometime today, so if you're registered for the event, you'll probably receive an e-mail when it's uploaded.


Final item - next Thursday is my Sizzix Blog Designer Challenge. We'll be making projects that incorporate clear materials to make items float. Here's a rather macabre example from my last blog post. (I really debated whether I should add the word "else" between nobody and gets, just to make it even more disturbing, but decided against it) You won't want to miss all the amazing creations by the ten designers who accepted the challenge plus I will add my own new project and video to the mix. All ten designers were provided a full set of Snippets dies, so I expect that we will see some great creations using the new dies.


Make sure you join my mailing list if you're not already a member. I send out one e-mail a month (normally on the day of the Sizzix Blog Designer Challenge) and it *usually* includes a secret word giveaway, so don't miss out on the fun! 

  Join my mailing list  
For Email Newsletters you can trust

That's it for me for now. Time to pack the car and head north to CKU Dallas/Fort Worth

World Card Making Day - Hand over the Candy Corns!


Today is World Card Making Day and I thought I would celebrate by making a Halloween card (a macabre, gruesome card, which is really the best kind!) in my newly-cleaned studio. This studio photo is taken with the Panoramic option on my iPhone, so the island appears warped and the room looks larger than it is, but overall this is what it *should* look like on a regular basis. I have absolutely no excuse for not keeping it tidy when I have clearly designed it with a functional layout and plenty of storage. But unfortunately IKEA just sells the cabinets and boxes - not the little robots or monkeys that will put the stuff back into the boxes for me after I get it all out and litter it around the room. *sigh

I will keep it clean. I will keep it clean. I will keep it sort of clean-ish.

Perhaps if I keep this little dude out on the table threatening me with his big knife it will help my efforts. Behold my sick and twisted Halloween Pop 'n Cuts card -


Now I will warn you right now - there's no step-by-step tutorial or video for this card. I also used a few stash items that I can't source - this card was just for fun. The items that I can source, however, including the dies, some of the paper and most of the stamps are listed below with shopping links. 


This card was actually a warm-up card for this month's Sizzix Blog Karen Burniston Designer Challenge. Once a month I issue a challenge to my designer friends to make a project using a specified die, theme or technique and then I gather those ideas, along with a new project and video from me, into one massive inspiration post on the Sizzix blog. You can check out the September Designer Challenge here

The October challenge is CLEAR CREATIONS (aka Defying Gravity) and you'll see the designer creations showing up on their personal blogs on Monday and Tuesday, October 14th or 15th and the compilation post with a new project and video from me on the Sizzix blog on Thursday, October 17th. 

Basically the challenge is to cut the pop-up portion of the card out of a clear material, like a transparency, plastic paper, even die packaging (make sure you work the folds back and forth a lot if you're using die packaging) to make the mechanism "disappear" and the items that are attached to it will appear to be floating or flying.


For my card I cut the new Multi-Tier Pop 'n Cuts Insert out of clear die cut packaging and attached it with staples to my card interior, where I had already wallpapered the back wall and created the wood floor by cutting strips of Real Wood Birch, staining them with Distress Stain, brushing the edges of the slats with Black Soot ink and then gluing them down into a wood floor pattern.


I embossed the Braided Rug from the Foyer Textured Impressions Embossing Folder set onto a piece of orange cardstock and then brushed it with black ink, fussy cut it, and glued it over the edge of the plastic.


To embellish the clear Multi-Tier, I added my stamped, colored and fussy-cut Creepy Captain Underpants Boy. I used a craft-knife to carefully cut around his arm to tuck the knife under his mitten. (Seriously, what is the story with this kid? He remembers his mittens but not his pants?!) The blood on the knife, which has spilled down his leg and puddled on his shoe, is red acrylic paint with Glossy Accents to make it shiny. I have no idea where the knife came from - found it in my stash.

Funny story, though. I've had the tiny knife sitting on this stamp for days, hoping to get a chance to make a card with Creepy Captain Underpants Boy using the knife in some way. But when I finally got a chance the knife had disappeared! 


The message that's cut off says "I found it!"

You see? These are the types of conversations that are completely normal in our house. Emma didn't see anything odd about me asking her if she had taken a tiny knife out of my room. And in my defense, Emma has all sorts of found "treasures" in her room so this is not without precedent.


Here's a side view so you can see all the tiers on the Multi-tier. I did not use the little stairstep tier at the very bottom - just left it unfolded since I didn't want to use it. The upper stairstep tier holds a clear column to suspend the chandelier. CCUB is on the left tall tier and the candy corns and greeting are peppered onto the front tier and the right tall tier.

I know the front patterned paper is Authentique, and I *think* the interior wallpaper is House of Three, but not sure. I also dont know who makes the tiny Candy Corn stamp - it's unmounted and I've had it for decades. Everything else can be found via the shopping links below if you're interested in making a macabre card of your own.

Happy Haunting!