Karen Burniston Designer Challenge 63: Snowman!

Welcome to Designer Challenge 63 with a theme of Snowman! This month I challenged the team and our guest designer to create a card featuring a snowman. You are in for an absolute treat with all their creative and stunning snowman cards. 

For my card and video I took inspiration from a piece of Maja Designs Gingerbread paper from their Happy Christmas line. I thought it would be fun to make a pop-up ball gingerbread snowman.

Learn how I made this card by watching the YouTube tutorial here:

My card measures 5" x 6" in the closed position with 3/8" gusseted folds. It will fit (barely) in an A7 envelope, but I recommend a bubble mailer for this type of card. The closure is a pivot flap closure like the one from Designer Challenge 62, but this time designed to fit a larger card that will accommodate all three ball sizes. The greeting "Sweet Christmas" was created by combining words from You're Sweet and Merry Christmas. To style every element as a gingerbread cookie I cut the pieces from brown cardstock and then highlighted (purposely imperfectly) with a white pen to look like piping.


Open the card and the gingerbread snowman springs up. He sits on a plate made with our Circles - Crosshatch die set with smaller gingerbread cookies sprinkled on the plate. Both the plate and the snowman spin in the card on a brad.


The structure of the snowman is made by stacking all three ball sizes: Mini Ball, Bitty Ball and Surprise Ball. All the accessories for the snowman are from the Snowman Add-ons die set. I cut them from gingerbread colors with white pen detailing for icing.


The measurements for this type of card and built-in closure will work for double-ball characters as well. To make a removable character, mount the character on an oval or diamond and then tuck the ends under cardstock strips attached to the card. Ready to give this card a try? Here are the dies and supplies used on my card:

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Now let's take a look at the wonderful Snowman inspiration by our talented Design Team and guest designer. In each case you can click the designer's name to open their blog post in a new window. On their blog posts you'll find additional photos, supply lists and, in some cases, even videos!

Karen Aicken received plenty of gasps when she posted her amazing Woven Basket Box Card featuring a snowman, street lantern and white Christmas tree. This card is so gorgeous!  I love Karen's color scheme of white, black and gold for this card. The bow on the hat and the twine scarf are perfection! Click over to Karen's blog for a video on this card. Amazing!

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Nicky Foden made an amazing card for the challenge and on her blog post she's showing you exactly how she did it. This is SOOOO CLEVER! She made the card base using the Slim Flaps and Frames die set as a flap book that creates all these different snowmen. Can you imagine all the fun if this showed up in your mailbox?! It's just amazing clever and unique. Fabulous!

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Jen Webster shows off her amazing coloring skills with this adorable Little Labels Pop-up card. The snowmen are all so delightful and happy. I love all the different looks and expressions she created. Make sure to click over to her blog post so you can see the equally impressive card front, with even more happy snow fellas! Such talent!

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Lois Bak combined our Snowman Pop-up die set with our Christmas Tree Pop-up for a double dose of pop-up holiday fun! This card is sure to delight the recipient plus it makes such a nice decor piece. I love all of Lois's brightly-colored circle decorations on the tree. Click to her blog to see the great card front. Love it!

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Fran Sabad created a removable snowman pop-up card and I adore her color choices here. She paired the pop-up snowman with smaller snowmen plus the snowflake border from Long Nature Edges 2. Be sure to click over to Fran's blog to see the equally stunning card front. Spectacular!


Suzanne Smit always adds such fun details to her cards. I love this scene of Snowmen having fun with an Ice Cream Sundae. Who would have thought to put chocolate syrup dripping on a snowman?! Suzanne, that's who! This card makes me smile. Click over to her blog for more details. Brilliant!

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Sue Small-Kreider created an entire snow family for the challenge and between this blog post and three more after it, she walks you through exactly how to create each member of the snow family. What a delightful creation with so many custom details, like Junior's cap and Mama's shawl. I LOVE IT! Click over for more info.


Sandy Diller created an absolutely BRILLIANT card with Frosty doffing his cap. She used the Mailbox die to create the action and you'll definitely want to head over to her blog to learn how she repurposed the mechanism to use in this way. This card featured great colors plus Sandy's signature tone-on-tone snowflake embossing. So clever!

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Frances Byrne created a wonderful gatefold card to accommodate a removable 3-layer snowman and a smaller snowgirl. I LOVE Frances's use of the Gnome Mini Ball Add-ons to create snow braids for the girl plus a fun stocking cap. She also used the Snowman Add-ons on the front of the card to make a big snowman face. Brilliant ideas here! Be sure to click over to watch a video of this card in action.


Karen Hasheck is our guest designer for this month. Karen posts regularly with our dies on her blog and YouTube channel, showing some great cards with fabulous techniques. She is a member of the Send a Smile 4 Kids design team, a charitable organization. When I asked Karen to be our guest for this month's challenge I mistakenly told her the theme was SNOW. Karen ended up making a brilliant Snowman card that fit the actual theme perfectly! Karen combined the Mini and Bitty balls for her 2-layer snowman. She also cleverly used several of our snowflake dies to make a stencil. Be sure to click over to her blog to see the front of this card, more about the techniques and a video of this card in action. Thank you to Karen for sharing her talents with us this month.

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Well I hope you are inspired to create some Snowman cards of your own. Join us next month on Wednesday, December 7th, for our next Designer Challenge with a theme of FIREPLACE DIE THROUGH THE YEAR - we will be showing a card using the Fireplace Pop-up for every month of the year. 

Happy Crafting!


Karen Burniston Designer Challenge 62: Halloween or Fall

Welcome to our October Designer Challenge with a theme of Fall or Halloween.

For my card and video I'm teaching how to make a removable Mini Ball Pop-up Character card with a fun fold tab closure. I made a Halloween card to match the Challenge theme, but this technique can be used for any stacked Mini Ball characters.


Learn how to make this card by watching the full YouTube video here:

My card measures 5" x 4.5" in the closed position, but also includes a 0.25" gusseted fold, so it will require extra postage to mail. The front of the card features our Happy Halloween and Skeleton and Bat die sets.


Pull the tab to release the closure, allowing the pumpkinhead character to spring up. The pop-up is made using our Mini Ball Pop-up as the foundation and then decorated with Character Add-ons 1. The character is mounted onto an oval from our Ovals - Crosshatch and the ends of the oval are slid under cardstock strips inside the card, keeping the character from jumping all the way out of the card when it opens. I also used the optional new Mini Ball Double-Ups to make cutting trapezoids, hexagons and shoes faster with a duplicate set of decorator dies to fit the Mini Ball Pop-up.


The character is removable for display. In the background of the card I added two stacked ovals and a greeting created with our Mini Alphabet and Numbers set.


The inspiration for this card was a similar card I taught as a class. For the Lion version I used the same measurements but decorated the Mini Balls with Mini Ball Add-ons 2 - Monkey and Lion. The "love you" comes from Word Set 9 - Love.



Ready to make your own Removable Character Card? The paper I used in the Halloween card is Creepy Candy, from Echo Park. The other papers are just older stash designs. Here are links to the dies and supplies used:

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Now let's take a look at the wonderful Fall and Halloween inspiration by our talented Design Team and guest designer. In each case you can click the designer's name to open their blog post in a new window. On their blog posts you'll find additional photos, supply lists and, in some cases, even videos!

Sue Small-Kreider went all out with this amazing haunted house diorama card combining the Fireplace and Family Room die sets. You'll definitely want to click over to her blog post to view the video and the photo tutorial. Sue has cleverly used a Double-Ups die to make a window frame! This card is epic!


Frances Byrne created a 5x7 card with plenty of room for her haunted scene. I love her use of a Pivot Panels die as a generic platform, allowing for flying bats and ghosts. This is a great example of how our dies always build on what came before. Love this creepily cute card!


Nicky Foden challenged herself to make a fall-themed anniversary card with a bench swing. She cleverly altered our Garden Bench die to make it appear to be a swing and I'm obsessed with it! Make sure you click over to her blog post for a full tutorial. Amazing card and beautiful fall colors!


Karen Aicken has been using the new Bats Slim Pattern Plate in a variety of vibrant non-traditional ways and I am HERE FOR IT! This rainbow-colored Explosion card is so unexpected for a Halloween card and yet so perfect. Fabulous creation!


Sandy Diller created two eerie coffin cards featuring our Frame Pull Pop-up to pop the lids of the coffins. Be sure to click to her blog post to see a video of these cards in action and to get the measurements of her coffins. Clever, clever, clever!


Suzanne Smit created this delightful spooky scene and I adore her choice of using teal as a background color. Another great example of mixing newer dies with favorites from previous releases. Such a cute idea to have the bat holding a treat bucket, too! Love it!

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Fran Sabad used the Mini Ball and Mini Ball Add-ons 1 - Gnomes to create a witchy gnome with green braids! What brilliant styling to make the gnome into a witch. I love how she shaded the pumpkins, too. Be sure to click over to see the equally amazing card front. Love this!


Lois Bak depicts the scariest house on the block with this wonderful haunted House and Fence card. The details are creepilicious! She shows how easily the Bats Pattern Plate can be used on a portrait-style card by simply cutting a second one and stacking them. Wonderful card!

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Jen Webster has created a delightful and vibrant Fancy Label Accordion card with trick-or-treating skeletons exploring a spooky neighborhood. I just love how Jen accents die cuts with markers and all her amazing details. Boo-tiful! 

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John Watterson is our guest designer for this month. John is a member of the Diamond Press Design Team and his creations are frequently shown on HSN. John loves to experiment with our dies to create new interesting combinations and effects. His first card is really two cards, because the Frame Pull on the front can be pulled open to reveal a delightful spooky scene, and then, when the entire card is opened, the Heart Collage Pop-up reveals a haunted collage. Amazing!


John's second card is so brilliant - he's once again used the Frame Pull Pop-up on the front of the card, but instead of pulling the tab, you push it, popping open the coffin and sitting up the skeleton. Inside he made a doubled Katherine Label with a gang of trick-or-treaters. Such a clever way to use die pieces and parts as costumes! Be sure to follow John on Instagram to see more of his work. We thank him for lending his talents to the challenge this month.


Well we hope you are inspired to make some fall and Halloween-themed cards of your own. Join us on November 2, 2022 for our next Designer Challenge with a theme of SNOW! 

Happy Crafting!


Karen Burniston Designer Challenge 57: Ball and Small

Welcome to our May Designer Challenge with a theme of "Ball and Small." I challenged the team to create an animal or character using our pop-up ball dies and then to pair it with the same animal or character made using our small die sets. The creativity on display this month will blow you away!

For my project and video I am teaching assembly of our newest ball die, the Mini Ball Pop-up, and then decorating it using our new Mini Ball Add-ons 1 - Gnomes set. These dies are part of our new May 2022 release and will be available for purchase on our website starting Monday, May 16, 2022. 


Learn the assembly of this card by watching the video below:

My card measures 4" x 6.5" in the closed position. Options for mailing include a No. 10 business envelope (for slimline) or an A7 envelope (for 5x7 cards). The front of the card features the "small" part of the challenge - a matching gnome made using our Tiny Gnomes die set. I also used a greeting from our Word Set 14 - Hugs set. The flap is made using our brand new Long Flap and Closure set, designed to shorten easily into other sizes.

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Open the card to reveal the pop-up gnome. The Mini Ball Pop-up on its own can be hidden in a 3.5" wide card, but when Add-ons are used the footprint enlarges slightly to 4". I've also used our new Short Rectangles - Crosshatch and Mini Alphabet and Numbers sets. The mushroom comes included in the Mini Ball Add-ons 1 - Gnomes set.

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Ready to give this card a try? Here are the dies and supplies I used on this card. The patterned papers are just older ones from my stash. All cardstock is from The Paper Cut, including our new (available next week) Exact Pack 9 for the gnomes.

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Now let's take a look at the amazing Ball and Small inspiration from our talented design team. For each of these cards there is a full blog post, supply list and, for some of the cards, a video as well. Click the designer's name to visit the blog post, which will open in a new window.

We extend a fond farewell to Kelly Booth with this challenge. Kelly has been on my various design teams for about a decade and in addition to being an amazing designer and all around good human, she's a close friend. She's freeing up more time to focus on family and travel. We will miss her beautiful spirit and gorgeous work as an official member of the Design Team, but she assures us that she'll pop-up from time to time (I approve of this pun!) to share her talents using our dies. We love you, Kelly, and wish you the grandest of adventures!

Kelly Booth created this too-too-cute baby card by pairing the Mini Ball Pop-up styled as an owl with the small owl from our Feathered Animals set. Kelly's attention to color is on full display on this sweet card. Plus she shows the wonderful functionality of the new Mini Alphabet set being able to make custom greetings. Click over to Kelly's blog for more photos and a full supply list. 


Karen Aicken cleverly styled the new Mini Ball Pop-up as a bee and then paired it with the bee from our new Flutter Charms die set. Her big bee has such character! The closure is magnetic, giving it an instant reveal. Make sure you head over to Karen's blog for a video walk-through of this happy card. Love it!


Lois Bak made an absolutely epic card for this month's challenge where she put a new Mini Ball inside a clear Bitty Ball to mimic the look of an astronaut helmet! Then she paired her large astronaut with a smaller one using the Space Charms. Brilliant!

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Frances Byrne created this fun monkey slimline card using the new Mini Ball Pop-up plus Mini Ball Add-ons 2 - Monkey and Lion. Her nature colors are perfect to set the scene and you'll definitely want to click over to her blog for a video walk-through of this card in action. The team this month made great use of the new Mini Alphabet and Numbers set, fashioning custom greetings. This card is "chimply the best"!


Sandy Diller added an Ocean Animals octopus to the belly band that keeps this card closed and then created a whole underwater seascape inside the card with a ball octopus. I love her single-ball version of the octopus - such a great way to reduce the thickness of the card. The eyelash googly eyes are so fun! 


Fran Sabad made this incredible Goldilocks and the Three Bears card featuring all three sizes of pop-up ball die. You simply must click over to her blog to see the front of this card plus a video of the card opening. I love that the "small" version of the animal is the baby bear holding a teddy bear! Absolutely amazing!


Well hopefully the team has inspired you to make some Ball and Small pairings of your own. Normally this is where I put the information about the next Mission Poppable challenge but we've decided to move the Mission Poppable challenges to mid-month, so look for a separate blog post and e-mail announcement about this month's challenge on May 18, 2022. In the meantime, we are extending the deadline for the April Mission Poppable challenge with a theme of Flowers. You have an additional week to post a card for that challenge before it switches to the May challenge on the 18th. 

Happy Crafting!

image from karenburniston.typepad.com