Cocoa Vanilla Studios, Created By Gwen, CUT to YOU, Inspiration


Hi Creative Friends,

I’m sharing for Cocoa Vanilla Studio today a very special page.  Today is International Sister’s day and to celebrate, I’ve created a page that documents my relationship with my sister.   It features the stunning ‘Happiness’ collection and a photo taken with my sister at a lunch outing we had recently.

The inspiration for this page absolutely started with my photo.  I love how blue that sky is behind us and was immediately drawn to the blue watercolour design of the ‘Good Times’ pattern paper.  I then took a cut file from my stash, this one from CUT to YOU as it was perfect for today’s theme celebrating sisters.  I’ve cut it out as a statement title for my page using the ‘Botanical Bliss’ pattern paper.  I wanted a real contrast between the file and the background for my layout which I had planned to make white.  I backed it with the stunning blue watercolour pattern paper; ‘Good Times’.

With my cut file sorted, I went to work on the design of my page.  I mounted my photo with the ‘Expressive’ pattern paper and then backed on foam for dimension and added machine stitching.  Once I was sure where these large elements were going to go, the page looked a little too plain for what I had in mind, so I thought it might be fun to add a little bit of mixed media onto my background.

I’ve added clear gesso to some thick white cardstock and then used some mists, spraying and moving around the colour until I was happy.  I like my mixed media to be a little subtle and soft, but do love the addition it makes to this page.  It adds another layer of detail and softens the plain white background I had previously.

Once my background was dry, I’ve added my cut file (with foam tape for dimension) and my photo… Now it was time for some embellishing!

I began by fussy cutting out some pink butterflies from the ‘Bright and Beautiful’ pattern paper.  I also pulled out some of the floral pieces from the ‘Die Cut Ephemera’ pack.  I then went about creating a floral cluster down the right hand side of my photo.  I then scattered the butterflies over my page and added a few more elements from the Die Cut Ephemera pack. The bow you see below has been cut with a die with some of the scrap ‘Botanical Bliss’ pattern paper.

To finish the page off, I’ve grabbed some sentiment stickers from the ‘Accessory Sticker Sheet’ and added.

Thanks for popping by today to see my latest project.  I hope my page inspires you to get creative with the ‘Happiness’ collection, it is one of my favourites!  And, if you have a sister, why not create a special page to celebrate her; I bet she’s awesome like mine! xo

Until next time,

Created By Gwen, Inspiration, Scrap The Girls

“You Are Beautiful” for Scrap the Girls August 2019

Hi Creative Friends,

The first of the month means it’s time to share another fab challenge at Scrap the Girls.  This month we are being inspired by none other than Instagram.  You can be inspired by the logo shape or colours, the square format photos, your love of Instagram or anything else you can think of Insta related.  Here is the inspiration image:

and here is my layout!

I love this month’s challenge as I really feel you can take it in so many different directions.  I really rolled with the logo for this one as I had a cut file that was the perfect fit.  This one is called ‘Beautiful You‘ from my CUT to YOU digital cut file store.  There is also one there that’s similar called Oh Snap!

I began the page by cutting out the cut file in the largest format I could fit on my 12 x 12 page with white cardstock.  I then carefully trimmed out the word ‘you’ from it as I had a plan for my title to use a die cut embellishment for part of the title and the word ‘you’ didn’t quite fit.  I love customising cut files in this way, it makes them even more versatile.

I then backed the file with some pretty pattern papers, these are all from Pinkfresh Studio.  I’ve also used some vellum to back my file with as well.  Once that was all done, I decided to turn it into a giant shaker pocket.  I split the layers between the vellum and pattern paper and then gently placed a stack of gold sequins in between, added some stitching and love the end result!

I’ve matted my photo in the same paper and positioned on my page.  It was now just a matter of adding lots of pretty little embellishments.

I have a huge stash from this manufacturer so it was hard not to put “all the things” onto the layout!  I just mixed and matched puffy stickers, die cut pieces, chipboard and wooden elements until I was happy.  Lots of auditioning bits and pieces here and there!

I really do love how this turned out.  I haven’t made a shaker pocket in ages so it was so fun to make a giant one for a layout!  I hope this page inspires you to join in.

Be sure to upload to the Facebook group by the end of the month for your chance to win a prize pack from this months sponsor.

This month’s sponsor: Helmar

Until next time,


Created By Gwen, CUT to YOU, Inspiration


Hi Creative Friends,

I’m up on the CUT to YOU blog today with a new share inspired by this months challenge Inspiration board.  Each month there is a new Inspiration board, and I am totally crushing on this months; which is birthday themed.  If you’d like the chance to win FREE cut files from the store, be sure to play along.  Here is the Inspiration board and my take.

For my layout, I was really inspired by the banner image and the pretty pretty colours.  I began by cutting out a stack of the circular banners from the ‘Banner Trio‘ cut file.  I ended up with 9 in total and then went about backing them in pretty pattern papers that coordinated with the colours in the Inspiration board.

Once my cut files were all backed, I placed them down the centre of my layout, overlapping and mixing and matching up the colours.  I really wanted to create a background of banner layers here.

I’ve positioned them all down flat on my page, as I knew at this point that there would be a few layers yet to go on top.  Next up, I mounted my photo, again, just choosing a pattern paper that complimented what was already happening in the banners.  I have mounted this onto 3D foam for dimension and to lift it visually off the background.

I decided to add my photo to the right of my page, so that I would have space for a title on the left side of the page.  For this, I’ve used some Thickers from my stash.  It is quite a big title so it was important to lock in the position of it early in the design.  If left too late, I often find that I’ve run out of space for a large title, so locking it in early is a great strategy.

I was also SUPER keen to get this chipboard banner piece onto my page.  It is from an older Crate Paper collection and is quite large as well.  I have struggled to get it to fit onto layouts because of its size.  I found here it worked because it coordinates with the banner theme going on in the background and looks small in proportion to them.  Your eye is lead across it along with the other banners, so it fits on the page in a more subtle way than if it were to be placed on its own.

Next up, it was time to add some pretty florals.  Lots of bits and pieces from my stash here.  I’ve just gone with anything that fits in the colour scheme and goes with my design.

Lastly, I have fussy cut out some butterfly elements from pattern paper and they finish out the page nicely.

This page came together quite quickly and the end result is so fun.  It feels so good to get some elements from my stash onto a layout and I love how the cut files help me to do that.

You can see the latest designs from CUT to YOU here, ohh so many options to choose from.

Until next time,

Created By Gwen, CUT to YOU, Inspiration


Hi Creative Friends,

I’m up on the CUT to YOU blog today with a new share featuring Miss Caitlin in beautiful Fiji from quite a few years back now.  I’ve actually had this picture for ages and was never quite sure what to do with it.  I always struggled to make it fit with a page…UNTIL I created this sweet sailing boat (Set Sail 2)for her to ‘sit’ on.  I am so in love with the end result.

I’m also on a bit of a mission to use my stencils a little more of late so this page started with some stencil work.  In my usual clean mixed media style, I’ve lightly sprayed the stencil with a soft pink glimmer mist.  I was kind of looking to emulate the rays of the sun at sunset so chose a soft pink rather than a bright yellow mist.  Once dry, I’ve added lines of machine stitching for extra detail.

Next up, I’ve gone to work backing the cut file.  I’ve used Kaisercraft Paisley Days collection for this.  mixing and matching the papers in the collection to ‘colour’ my little boat cut file.  I’ve also used this collection to mount my photo, just one layer for this page as I didn’t want too much happening over my pretty background and cut file.  I’ve added some stitching here too in my usual style.

At this point I had my background locked in, the file backed and my photo ready.  It was time to do the layout dance to place all of these large elements.  I was careful to position the boat in the centre but allow room for my photo off to the right-hand side.  I wanted the mast in the picture to be on the same side as the mast in my cut file boat.

Next, it was time to have some fun with embellishments to round out the page.  First up, I found these sweet neutral clouds by Charm Creations.  I love how soft they are.  They were the perfect feature for my ‘sky’.

I then found this sweet little pink bow in my stash, it’s from Cocoa Vanilla Studio.  Just HAD to add that.  #socute

Then came all of the elements from the Kaisercraft collection… I found floral stickers and die cut butterflies.  The banner sticker was the perfect fit along my mast and matched the flags on the cut file perfectly!  I really just kept adding bits and pieces here and there until I was happy.

I’m really happy with how this turned out and love the soft background colour scheme and the pops of yellow from the pattern papers.

You can see the latest designs from CUT to YOU here, there are over 200 designs and lots of design team samples to check out.

Until next time,

Created By Gwen, CUT to YOU, Inspiration


Hi Creative Friends,

Thanks for popping by.  I have a new share for today, this one using another one of my CUT to YOU digital cut files.  For today’s page, I really wanted to use another one of the Floral Filled Hearts, these come in 4 different designs and I can’t pick a favourite!  I love these as they are very large and really help a page come together quickly.

I began by backing the cut file, for this layout I’ve used the divine Carta Bella Spring Market collection.  I was only able to grab the 8×8 paper pad and some chipboard embellishments in this one, but the paper pad was the perfect size for this kind of layout, I love how the prints on the papers are smaller than the 12 x 12 versions, perfect for backing cut files!

I started with backing a couple of the flowers in the white floral pattern, and another three in the black floral pattern on the cut file, to keep things from getting too busy, I then chose a bright green plain sheet for the remaining flowers.  Now, because I only had the 8×8 paper pad, I’ve used a Cocoa Vanilla Studios pattern paper for the background of the heart, this one is from the Bohemian Dream collection, it’s a great neutral.

Once that was all locked in, I added a pretty stitched border with my sewing machine.  These cut files have been designed with the outside edge quite thick for this very purpose.  I love sewing on them and I hope you do too!  I then mounted this entire cut file with 3D foam and added to the centre of my page.  This pattern paper for my background is actually from the Echo Park collection ‘Have Faith’ – it was the perfect shade of green to match the Carta Bella collection.

To finish the page, I backed my photo with some of the coordinating pattern papers and positioned on the right side of the heart.  To balance this out, I then went about building a cluster of embellishments in the top left-hand corner of the heart.  I pulled some wooden elements from my stash and love the softness in colour they add.  This lead me to pull out the wooden title ‘beyoutiful’ which I think is the perfect finishing touch and gets the title of my page sorted in one step.  I really love the addition of the wood to the colour combo and am really happy with the end result.  The crisp white of the cut file against a darker background and the softness of the wood elements make my heart happy.

If you don’t already know, all of my designs are available as downloadable digital cut files as well as Custom cut files for those ladies who don’t own a Silhouette or alternative die cutting machine.  I will personally cut them for you at HQ and ship.  I have over 100 designs now so lots to see in the store, visit for more info.

Join our Facebook group – CUT to YOU HQ for more inspiration from the design team and lovers of our files.

Until next time,