Birthday Succulents

Happy Monday! We are gearing up for another nor’easter here in my corner of the world, and I have to say I’m pretty sick of shoveling snow at this point. I’m very, very ready for spring! So, when a coworker asked me to make a card with a succulent-theme, I was happy to oblige. Succulents help remind me that spring IS coming.

Happy birthday succulent card

The method for making this card was very much the same as for this one. I stamped succulents with VersaMark ink all over my panel, and embossed them with liquid platinum embossing powder. I then blended a mix of Twisted Citron, Cracked Pistachio and Peacock Feathers distress ink over top. I added a few water droplets, too!

Birthday succulent card

(I paired the card with a hot-pink envelope and I love how it jazzed the everything up even more!)

The sentiment is a combination of a Cutaway die from Winnie & Walter (cut from very dark gray card stock) and the word “birthday” cut from another stamp set that I can’t remember for the life of me right now – sorry!

Birthday succulent card

I added a few clear sequins to finish it off after mounting it to an A2-sized card base.

Make it a great week!



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Recent Soap Projects

Hi All! We’re half way through the work week!

Today I thought I’d just share a few photographs of some recent soap projects.

Aqua Splash Bath Bomb

Emerald Indigo Soap

I’ve made several batches of bath bombs and quite a few soaps over the last few weeks! I’ve enjoyed playing around with designs, essential oil blends (my house smells so good!), botanicals like rose, calendula and cornflower petals, and different recipes and soap-making techniques. I also enjoy photographing the end results, too!

Calm Ocean Bath Bomb

Several of the soaps and bath bombs pictured here are currently still available in the Freshwater Studio Shop on Etsy.  There are new soaps headed to the shop in just a few weeks, on March 15!

You can also follow along and see lots more photos like these by following freshwaterstudio on instagram!

Marigold Soap

Wild Rose Bath Bomb

Thanks for stopping by!




Simple Patterned Background Card Set

I’m back with a quick little card set.

Simple hello cards

AGES ago I stamped the tiny triangles background stamp (in VersaFine Vintage Sepia ink) onto some craft card stock, and promptly forgot about the whole thing. I discovered the panels during a craft room clean-up and decided I should use them up and make some cards. I really like the pattern.

Hello card set

I cut each panel down so it was slightly smaller than an 4-Bar size card. I added a strip of gold washi tape onto the card base, so that it would be sticking out only a bit from behind the panel and then mounted the panel onto the card base with some foam tape for a bit of dimension.

Simple hello cards

I added a hello sentiment to each card using this die from SSS. But just about any sentiment would do. I kept everything very monochromatic, and I’m not too mad about it!




Soap from the Freshwater Place // Becoming Ourselves Again


Last weekend I attended a meeting on food sovereignty initiatives at the Nipmuc Tribal office. During the meeting, our tribal leader talked a bit about how the tribe is working toward recovering lost pieces of our cultural heritage bit by bit. We do this through language reclamation projects, group workshops and other opportunities that allow all members of the tribe reacquaint themselves with traditional Nipmuc practices after having lost them through the processes of colonization and assimilation over hundreds of years. One thing she said during her remarks really resonated with me; That through this work we as a tribe are “becoming ourselves again.” We’re coming back to who we once were.

In so many was, I feel like that’s what I’m working toward, too. I’m doing this by seeking out ways that I can contribute my talents to my tribe, but also by finding and following my passion(s) in my personal and creative life.

In the last few years, I’ve undergone a period of re-discovery of my own. It’s not necessarily something I want to get into here, but the ups and downs I’ve had in recent months have shaped me tremendously. And now I’m working on coming back to the person I’m supposed to be.

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I’ve always been many things: Black, Native American, English, Polish; a librarian, architectural historian, cat mom, artist, daughter, friend. And I’ve always, always been a Maker. Creativity is my outlet. I find the most satisfaction in making things with my own two hands. Whether it’s artwork, cards, DIY wine racks, nail art projects, air plant walls or soap.

So, that brings me to what Freshwater Studio is becoming. On this blog, I like to share a lot of the projects I work on. Lately it’s been cards. When I first started it was DIY projects and nail art. Now, I’ve found a new passion in making soap, and I’m going to be sharing some of that here as well. But I’ll still be sharing lots of cards, too! I’ve actually added separate card and soap navigation pages to the site to make it easier for anyone who’s more interested in one or the other (but I hope you’ll be interested in both!).


And I have a plan for my Freshwater Studio Soaps – cold process soap that I make by hand in small batches. And, the name Freshwater Studio is homage to the place I come from – Nipmuc Country or, the Freshwater Place.

I’ve been plagued by weird skin allergies for years, so making my own soap and therefore controlling all ingredients appeals to me. I know what’s going in my soap and what’s going into my skin and to that end, there are no phthalates, parabens, sulfates, artificial glycols or other unsavory characters in my soaps. Only natural ingredients!

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Controlling the ingredients and making sure they are natural and come from sustainable sources means I can also highlight ingredients important to my ancestors, and source them locally when possible(!). I’m on a mission to learn about and use lots of beneficial botanicals, clays and natural colorants in my soaps. By doing this, I’m allowing myself a creative outlet that not only satisfies my need for natural and safe bath products, but also honors my ancestors, in turn helping me to become more me, again.

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If you’d like to come along with me on this soap-making journey, you can follow the @freshwaterstudio account on Instagram. You can also check out my Etsy store, where I’ll be stocking soaps and bath bombs as well as cards and gift tags.  And as always, keep checking back here for more, too!



Sympathy Card // Prayers are with you

Prayers Are With You

I’m back into the swing of things after taking last week off for some much needed R & R. I really need to do that more often, I think!

Today I’m sharing a sympathy card that was inspired by this one, made by May Park. Just as she did, I stamped some floral images (using the Autumn Leaves stamp set) and embossed them with gold embossing powder. I then blended on some Shaded Lilac, Milled Lavender, and Seedless Preserves distress ink.

Prayers are with you

I added some spatters of water to give the panel a bit more interest. I kept the main sentiment white and embossed the rest onto some slate gray card stock. The stamp & die set I used for the sentiment is from Hero Arts.

Prayers Are With You

As usual, these kinds of cards are not my favorite to make, but this one turned out pretty (and would be a fabulous design for many other types of cards, too!).

What are you guys making this week?




Keeping it Simple // Happy Birthday Card

Birthday card

I’ve been having some trouble making cards that I actually LIKE lately, so I was happy when this one turned out to be a keeper.  I kept it simple and worked within my comfort zone: pretty watercolor and a bold sentiment.

Birthday card

My Gansai Tambi watercolors are so well loved at this point that I clearly need to think about re-ordering a few colors, especially this sea-green. I love it.

The sentiment is cobbled together using this happy die and a “birthday” sentiment that I grabbed from a studio calico stamp set (that doesn’t seem to be available anymore). But really, you could substitute from lots of different stamp sets here. I embossed it in white on slate gray card stock.

Birthday card

Slapped it onto a card base, added a few clear sequins here and there and I was finished. I really like how it turned out. Sometimes keeping it really simple can help to bring the mojo back (I hope)!

Birthday card



More Soap!

Things have been a little quiet around here lately, but with good reason: I’ve been making soap!

Three soaps
I’ve experimented with soap making in the past, first with melt & pour soap, and then even making my first batch of cold process soap a few months ago. And now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. I’m still making cards, and have lots of ideas there (though not a ton of mojo at the moment), but  I hope you won’t mind if I share my soap-making adventures here, too.

First cold process soaps

I’m still experimenting with recipes – trying to figure out exactly which combinations of ingredients I like best for my bars – but so far I’ve made a few very different soaps. The best part is that they’re all made with a limited amount of natural ingredients, all of which I can pronounce! This has become increasingly important to me when it comes to skin care, especially because I have some skin sensitivities and allergies that like to cause me trouble from time to time. It also helps that the final hand-made product is just so pretty!

First drop swirl soap

The first in this set of three soaps is a bar made with coconut, olive, palm (sustainably sourced!) and sweet almond oils, shea butter, mica colorant, and what I’m currently calling a “proprietary fragrance blend” (because I blended a bunch of fragrances to get something I like and it now smells fresh and fruity but I’m not yet very good at naming or describing fragrances…). Plus some good old H20.  :)  I experimented with a drop swirl technique for these, and sprinkled a mixture of raspberry and poppy seeds on top.

Blue & fruity soap

I also made this beautiful blue soap with some calendula leaves sprinkled on top. I love the contrast of the two colors! Ingredients for these soaps include coconut, olive,  palm (sustainably sourced!), sweet almond and castor oils, shea butter, mica colorant, fragrance and water. These bars have a slightly citrus-y scent that I love.

Castile soap

The third is a traditional Castile soap which means the only oil used in this soap is 100% olive oil. I followed this recipe. It has an oatmeal & honey fragrance that smells really lovely. I can’t wait to try this one out!

First soaps

My plan is to keep experimenting with recipes and designs and see where I end up. So far I’m having lots of fun, even in the troubleshooting phases!

Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in seeing more posts about soap!