Crafty Chat Episode 1: Finding a Comfy Crafty Zone with Laura Bassen

Hi everyone! We are very excited to introduce a new feature here on the blog – it’s our Crafty Chat! We want to give you some fun, candid conversations with some of your favorite people in the papercrafting industry, and sort of a peek behind the curtain at what makes some bloggers and businesses tick.

We are starting today with a frequent Online Card Classes contributor – Laura Bassen – talking about how to find and maintain your crafty comfort zone – that place where you feel confident that your skills can shine, and you can get to know and thrive in your own style.

Laura, who studied graphic design in college, was first dazzled by the wonders of a Stampin’ Up! workshop, the beautiful designs of Papertrey Ink, Julie Ebersole, and the design work of people like Cristina Kowalczyk and Dawn McVey. She confesses that she “has a PhD in blog reading.”

But she talks with candor about how to find inspiration while maintaining your own style, the importance of practice, and some great tips on knowing when to let go of something that isn’t working.


  • Lydia Fiedler
  • Kristina Werner
  • Jennifer McGuire
  • Laura Bassen

Comments Expand to view and post a reply.

  1. There’s no mistakes in stamping, only opportunities to embellish.
    Loved this, thank you ladies.

    1. This is a really wonderful feature. I follow all of you and I enjoy your work very much. You are correct on so many of the issues that we go through to create a card or a scrapbook page. I have just arrived at a point where I am having fun just practicing different techniques and liking the fact that my work looks a little better each time. This is my therapy. What causes me stress is that I buy stuff and then I don’t use it right away. I look at the drawer full of new products and I cringe. Then I procrastinate and go do something else or go watch another youtube which will lead me to buy more stuff… Thank you so much. You are all lovely.

        1. ME TOO! I truly did not know there are so many of us! We all should go through our things, if we have decided not to use one of the items for one reason or another and switch! We should some how come up with a list, but before we send it… don’t tell what your person is getting! Then we all should use it and see how many cards we can come up with! Just a suggestion! Blessings! Lisa

        1. Oh, no, there’s tons of us “watch and then shop” people out here! The hard part is remembering which video you were watching when you ordered the stuff… :)

          1. Exactly, I see something someone does and love it and dropped on their blog and order. Then when it arrives I don’t remember who was using it. It’s crazy.

        2. Me too. I just discovered this chat. It and the comments are so helpful. Practice,practice,practice.

      1. I know how you feel! I buy so much that I don’t use because in the moment I see it used, I MUST have it and then it sits. I am trying to make myself use more of my stash and clean out or store what I don’t use. I store because I might decide to try it again someday.

        1. This is me exactly! You’ve just verbalised it perfectly. After I buy it, can’t use it and leave it sitting, I feel like a failure x

  2. WOW ! you all just got to me. Practice should be fun…not pain. I will start tomorrow and not worry so much about the finished product but the trip that got me there. Very freeing information.

  3. Really enjoyed listening to all these great card makers.Looking forward to the next one.Thank you Ladies.

  4. So uplifting! I thought I was the only person who stewed over creating a card. Always I have viewed your cards and just know you have whip them out.

  5. What a super fun chat! I always say the same thing I learned from Jennifer – “It’s handmade, not Hallmark”.

  6. Enjoyed listening to the four women share their process and thoughts on card making. Hope there will be many more ‘chats’ in the future.

  7. Oh this video is sooo awesome!!! I feel like I’m there amidst you all, listening to your carefree chatter!!
    Love it!

  8. What a great video. I watch all of your blogs and copy many of the cards you make (lots of mistakes along the way) but I have so much fun playing.

  9. Love this feature! Getting to more about each of you is inspiration within itself. I always enjoy each of your videos. Thanks for taking the time to “chat”!

  10. Wow… this was awesome I love he realness form each of you. I just love all of you ladies and I do follow and look at all of your blogs. I appreciate all of the techniques and ideas from each of you keep up the amazing work.
    Inky Hugs

  11. This is a fun feature. I have a question maybe someone can answer. Both Jennifer and Laura mentioned a blog reader site. It sounded like feedaread. Is that correct? Also, if it isn’t correct is there a site out there that would help me organize my favorite blogs to read so I don’t have to keep searching for them?

  12. Loved this! Some of my very favorite designers, chatting! Oh, and Laura, when you were talking about people needing to practice, I swear I heard the “Mom” voice come out and I expected you to send your husband out to practice hockey- a bit of a brain hiccup if you will…

  13. This is a wonderful video. So much of what you all said is how I feel about stamping and my work. Thank you!

  14. Wow! What a great reminder to us ‘followers’ that you ‘creative goddesses’ are actually real people too. This video clip has put so much into perspective for me! Congratulations on your new website, Kristina and Jen and I look forward to the many therapy sessions ahead!!! Love you all!

  15. What an absolutely cool, fun and amazing feature!!! I so very much enjoyed the crafty chat – beyond words!!! Keep it coming!! Love you all ❤️

  16. Love this! So fun! Great reminder that things don’t have to be perfect and to have fun. Fabulous website too! Thank you ladies, look forward to lots more classes with you

  17. I love Laura’s attitude and style. And I totally agree that practicing is more important than talent. Talent without perseverance will never shine.

  18. Such a fun feature. Loved how it really was a chat and not an interview or Q&A type of thing. Sometimes I think I’m too focussed on visiting other people’s blogs, instead of sitting down to craft, esp. since my crafting time is limited. I’m also trying to heed the advice given my Sandy Allnock not so long ago: don’t spend too much on organising your stuff, start playing with them instead…
    BTW, it was funny to hear Kristina say she didn’t know Laura has a degree in Graphic Design when I, and probably most of Laura’s followers, already knew this. ;-)

  19. I totally enjoyed listening to this. Good tips – I am an overthinker. I read alot of blogs just so I won’t miss anything, always inspired by color choices (thanks, Laura) and techniques (thanks, Jennifer) and element placement (thanks, Kristina). This is a great feature. Looking forward to more.

  20. This was brilliant! Please keep this feature coming. It is inspiring to be reminded that our cardmaking Goddesses don’t always get it right the first time and that they, too, sometimes struggle to find inspiration. To see you all having a girlfriend chat like this also reminds us that you are not just a perfect video posted once per week, but girls having fun….just like us. Cheers!

  21. This was an awesome Crafty Chat! Loved hearing and seeing all of you talk about your process of crafting cards. Nice! Looking forward to the next one.

  22. Loved this! I think I’ve earned a PHD too, but mine is in overthinking everything! It was heartwarming to find that I’m in good company! I really enjoyed having my morning coffee with you sweet girls…hugs to all!

  23. Delightful addition to website. It’s great getting to know the crafters we admire so much. Thanks for sharing your ideas.


  25. I love listening to you and what you had to say. It felt very freeing to hear that it’s not instantaneous to turn out what practice could produce and its ok to just have fun messing around. With time we may even have it get better but in the meantime it’s creative and play. Thank you and please do it again soon!

  26. I loved watching the chat. I love that you all have struggles with card making and how you overcome the days when your creativity is not there. I also like the idea of practice as I don’t do this and get discouraged with myself when a technique doesn’t work and I only tried the technique one time. I follow all your blogs and they sure do inspire me. Thank you for sharing.

  27. LOVE THIS FEATURE. Thank you all so much for your candor about the process of creating. Sometimes I am not patient enough with myself. I am going to try and remember that practice can be more like “playing” and that that is so much fun, when I get out of my own way.

    One more thing, LAURA WAKE UP! Every time I see an image of you I think to myself, how BEAUTIFUL that girl is! Rediscover the mirror, and appreciate how lovely you are! Thank you all for teaching me so much about crafting!! I am having so much fun!

  28. Such a fun video! Thank you all! And, thank you for reminding us that we need to practice! I have another saying that I use with my children (and now, grandchildren)…”Everyone makes mistakes. That’s why there are erasers on pencils” :)
    Off to sign up for the next class ~ I can’t wait until it starts!!!

  29. Fun chat! When you mentioned not liking something you made, it made me think of an exhibit I am involved with featuring beads. I was told that some cultures make a mistake, ON PURPOSE, because no one is perfect. I loved that idea. I am not perfect, so my cards dont have to be!

  30. Thank you for this. I love y’all’s candor. :-) Your advice to practice, to persevere, and to enjoy is SO helpful. :-)

  31. Can I just say I LOVE this type of video. It allows us to see the personalities behind the cards :) This feature will be a great addition to Online Card Classes.

  32. Thank you for this fun feature. It was so nice to see and listen to conversation. It was almost like being there. I am glad to hear Jennifer does not really depend on blogs for inspiration. I find myself intimidated by all the different designs. I have never tried instagram but check in pinterest for layout ideas. Your new site is wonderful. Looking forward to the next class. I look at my mistakes as a way to get creative in covering them up…..the recipient I hope just enjoys getting the card. If they smile then I have been successful.

  33. I thoroughly enjoyed this chat! I’m relatively new to card making, mixed media, etc. and have just found this site. This was the most refreshing chat eva! I love how you all have different ways of inspiration and finding your own style/comfort zone. I love it ALL and am struggling to just kind of zone in on a few things at a time! lol Loved the ‘you just need to practice’ statements. That’s true! I need to quit organizing all those wonderful things I’ve bought and actually use them and practice them! Thanks again, ladies. I look forward to future chats!

  34. So much fun to listen to you chat, share and laugh. I loved it! It’s great to realize that you have ups and downs too in the creative process. I’m with Jennifer, the more I look at blogs, the less I seem to stamp. Somehow it saps my own creativity.
    Blogs that teach me things like your classes are fabulous!

  35. Wow! Great feature. Practice is allowed! I never think about that concept in regards to card making. Thanks for the wonderful chat and words of encouragement. I like being reminded that paper has two sides and we are not Hallmark. I am so glad I spent part of my day with you.

  36. Love, love, love! I now realize that although I follow a few blogs, I’m really looking for the videos. There are a couple of blogs that I actually read (not kissing up, but they actually are Jennifer’s, Laura’s and Kristina’s), but I just love watching and listening as people create.

  37. I understand about getting to know your comfort zone or style when creating a card. I just made one that was totally out of my zone, and I felt it every second I was creating! My style is usually CAS, & I like it that way.

  38. That was FUN!! I am one of those who finds blogs inspiring but learned the hard way that they were eating up precious creative time. I had to make a conscious choice to choose Making over reading about making.
    You might be interested to know that the 4 blogs I do follow closely are Kristina, Laura, Jennifer and Debby Hughes. Seriously, the fab four!
    Early on, I wanted every supply I saw you use. If Kristina used red stickles, I had to have some red stickles. Never mind that I don’t even use red at Christmas. After a couple of years all over the place, my style settled to the point where I am very selective about what I buy and very comfortable saying, “That is such a great card…. but it’s just not my style.”

  39. I loved this chat. I started watching in my pj’s with one eye open. Now I am wide awake and smiling. Thank you for sharing.

  40. Loved this! Thank you for this site.

    I got started in February, 2016, and I’m addicted. Packages arrive everyday. My grandchildren come over after school and help me open mail and organize. What a fun time we are having together and I LOVE making cards!

    I watched hundreds of hours of all of your YouTube videos and have learned so much.

    I am homebound right now taking care of my 84 year old father who has dementia. I can’t leave him alone for more than 5 minutes, so my crafting spot is in the family room where he is. It has giving me something to do because he can’t have me out of his sight and as it turns out, I love it.

    Thank you to all you ladies. Love you all. :)

  41. I loved this video discussion because so many things all you ladies said ring true to me as a crafter and cardmaker. I can be hard on myself when making or coming up with a card design, but what Jennifer says is on the button: enjoy the create process and make someone happy by sending them one of your handmade cards. Thanks! All of you inspire me.

  42. Noooooo… I didn’t want that to end! I can sit here & listen to you ladies all day. I felt like I was in that chat with you. That was fun. You ladies are my inspiration!! I love your work, I love the new website, it’s so very user friendly now. I’ve done quite a few classes with you now and you never disappoint. Thank you for taking the time to make these amazing classes. I’m sure you ladies are beyond busy. So I just want to say thanks!!

  43. I think you captured it Jennifer as a crafter we should find some enjoyment in what we do. If we are not finding joy or having fun with copics or some other medium….let it go and use the time to practice mediums we really enjoy or explore a medium we have not had time for before.

  44. What a wonderful new feature! Thanks so much, ladies, for letting us eavesdrop on your conversation.

    The two confessions that hit home were: 1) asking hubby which card he prefers and choosing the other one and 2) remembering that I would always ask myself “What would Sandy (Allnock) do when I first started making cards.

  45. what a great and inspiring addition to your classes! Really enjoyed listening to you all, and I read ALL your blogs!

  46. Well, let me tell you. I love you all! You inspire me. You relax me. You help my creativity flow. You are all very special ladies…and Laura…you crack me up! xo
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  47. That was a lot of fun! I love hearing from all of you that some things get scrapped and your mojo isn’t always there. Also once in awhile I ask my husband and son for their opinions. As far as practicing I am finally getting to the point where sometimes I do just play around instead thinking this must become a card. Thanks so much.

  48. How fun! Just “found” this today and I adore Laura! So fun and great seeing you all “chiming” in! Love it!!

  49. This was great! Loved hearing Laura’s story and her tips, but also loved seeing the three of you chatting about the process of creating. So enjoyable – and I can commiserate with Kristina on the “down time” needed after a creative spurt…tho I think I have far more “down” than “up”! Thank you all for making these videos, I shall look forward to and treasure every one!

  50. This was wonderful! You covered so many issues I’ve had as a card maker and as a teacher (in our local craft store). Oh my, the insecurities I have felt over the years! Thanks so much for sharing, this was a real blessing!

  51. I feel Lydia did a superb job as moderator for these first conversations. I am glad that Jennifer and Kristina selected another person for this role. I hope we see more written description on her artistic experience and talents. I have enjoyed all she has shared in hosting the Mix-ability Challenges at Splitcoaststampers.

  52. Love Laura Bassen! I’ve been following her blog for some time. Her personality is so bright and cheerful and it is reflected in the cards she makes.


  53. Really enjoyed this chat and love the feature overall. I am so pleased that I’m not the only one to be frustrated by ‘off’ colours and overwhelmed by the brilliance of others on their blogs. I will persevere. Practice makes perfect (or at least makes me happier with what I’m making I hope!!!!)

  54. This chat session is as valuable as the online classes! I was very encouraged and learned a lot! Thank you!

  55. This was so fun and so exciting and so different. I started making cards when I was 8. I can remember making a 3D flower with tissue paper and glue. But my eventual “gateway drug” into this addiction was also S.U.! I really liked hearing everyones artistic path- it was great to get some perspective on where I am. Even though it is just a free time indulgence at this point. I love that I can “just leave it” for days, months or even years, and then come back to a piece of background or embellishment, and it is “just right”. I could go on forever. Thank you ladies for all you provide – you are a great inspiration to many!!

  56. My amily every time say that I am wastinng my time here at net,
    except I know I am gwtting know-how all the time by reading sucxh nice content.

  57. This is SUCH a great thing to do – just sit and chat and let us eavesdrop! It was startling to hear that you all have confidence issues in your creations at times. It’s comforting to know even the pros don’t wake up, video 3 perfect cards and then cook dinner. Thanks so much and I hope this continues.

  58. My first visit to the new site. What a fun feature! But I must say, I thought this was going to be about how to find your comfy craft zone as in how to make your space comfy. But I enjoy any of your crafty conversations :)

  59. I just want to thank all you ladies for these Chat videos…..they are simply amazing in so many ways!

    I cannot emphasize how much I have learned from all of you, not only about how you get your inspiration but some of the highs and lows creators go through. I hold each and every one of you ladies who have participated in these Chats in the highest regard!

    As a card maker who has only been at it for under 2 years, and who is craving for more knowledge to hopefully get to a point where I can design my own cards, I wanted to add that after watching hundreds and hundreds of YT tutorials, that I’ve taken just as much out of these Chats both creatively and emotionally.

    God bless ladies and keep up the great work you all share!

  60. This is a great new section! I love it! I was wondering how I spell the surname of the Christina that Laura mentions in this video as being an inspiration. I am sure I have seen her work, but I wanted to check, and I cant check without the correct spelling. TIA.

  61. Loved this video! I went exploring some of the sites listed while listening and then I would hear something that would make me go – oops, that’s me! I am one who wants to be perfect with a new technique right now! I’m a video explorer and when I see a card I would love to CASE, I look for a video and that’s why I’m am addicted to Jennifer McGuire! Thanks for inspiring me and encouraging me to have fun PRACTICING!

  62. Loved the video, its great to know that all of you think the same things I do and that you critics of your work too!! It is nice to know that you all our human just like the rest of us. I love all of your cards!!

  63. Loved this…..great to know my ‘idols’ go through the same things I do! Practice, practice, practice!

  64. Ohh myy!, I just found this chat, now thatI am taking Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry and loviing it!! I loved how opened you were about your cardmaking, your results, your flaws, it was very inspirational! I follow all your blogs, videos, it is just part of my day!! Thank you!!

  65. My first visit to the new site as well. Christina, you did a marvelous job with it!

    I don’t know which one of you came up with the brilliant idea of doing ‘Crafty Chat’ but kudos to all! The title reminds me a little of the old Saturday Night Live show, ‘Coffee Talk’ anyone remember that?

    Great information passed along in a fun, informal way that makes one feel we’re right there with you. Wonderful series!

  66. Um, I just found this little gem after hearing “crafty chat” twice today. I love! I feel like I just enjoyed a cup of coffee with soulmates. I hope this feature continues. You are all joymakers!

  67. Thank you Ladies for sharing this! I only get to see the “perfect stuff” you make and tend to think it just comes to you easier. I’ve always loved it when Jennifer said stuff like “I struggled with this card…”. The card she shares (saying this) is always beautiful and that tells me that there’s a process behind it – and it’s worth it to practice. This was very interesting and inspiring! Laura, it was fun to hear that you lived in Germany. Hope you loved it over here. :-)

  68. So interesting to listen to! I think the reason OCC is such a success is that we can take the ideas and apply or adapt them to the products and tools that we have without having to go out and purchase something new or the same as what you are using to demonstrate.

  69. My friends and I often say “every card does not have to be an art project” Some can be simple and beautiful. Thanks for this fun Chat.

  70. This is great! Just heard about this blog from Kristina and had to stop in. I know I’m going to be watching all these videos in the next few days. You ladies are so helpful and inspirational, knowing that y’all go through the same things that I do is so helpful.
    I have a crafting studio with a couple friends and one of the things I tell my crafters is that there are no mistakes in crafting, only chances to be more creative and I hold to that. Thanks for another wonderful blog to follow, I’m one of the people who get inspiration from blogs.

  71. Well I’m late to the party but really enjoyed it. It’s good to hear the pros say they have “those moments”, too. I like to visit blogs to see and learn techniques to use for something I make. It won’t ever be a copy, I haven’t even made a card in a class that was like the original example, always what worked for me.

  72. Laura is one of those people I watch just to hear her little stories. Of course, her work is amazing, as is the work of Jennifer and Kristina and several others, but I learn a little bit from everyone and buy too much stuff.

  73. Wow! I’ve been in a crafting rut for a while. Even chatted about this issue this morning. Came home and my friend Dayna had shared the link to this. Perfect timing! I’m trying to get out of the rut. I’ve signed up for Scrapbook Expo card swap in a month and need to get 16 cards done. I’m taking this one step at a time. I’ve pulled the stamps and bought the background paper. Now to put Memento to the stamp and Neenah because Copic coloring takes time. Thank you for sharing this.

  74. I just love you ladies! I follow all of you and I have gotten so much inspiration from you. I am a beginning card maker and I have watched your videos over and over trying to find my style. I’ve decided that it’s okay not to have a style, yet. I have made lots and lots of mistakes, but perseverance is my middle name (I’m a martial artist) and I’ve actually turned out a few pretty good cards! Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I won’t let my inner perfectionist get the best of me!

  75. I love this video. I agree with Jennifer-instead of watching a video on youtube or reading a lengthy blog, I would rather see a quick picture of a card to get ideas. Less time consuming! I love all of you ladies-super woman!

  76. Thank you, ladies, for this insightful chat that was so encouraging to me. I’ve been accumulating a TON of supplies, watching a go-zillion YouTube videos, and struggling when it comes to actually creating cards or mixed media art journal pages. It’s always such a work-out… I am a perfectionist, I over-think every element, too many supplies/options tend to overwhelm me, I don’t want to copy someone else’s creation but it usually takes me several hours to create my own. All this to say… I WILL find my own style, I WILL enjoy the process, I WILL view practice as playtime to learn how to use my supplies – I found this chat because I signed up for Creative Chemistry 101 and have thoroughly enjoyed creating the first 6 tags… I’m on my way! =)

  77. This is terrific…I think Laura’s golden charm is her sense of humor. Thank you for affirming our secrets, fears and passions.

  78. Laura – I can so understand those moments of insecurity when creating. I think that is actually part of the process. I would especially think that would be true when you do creative work for a living. When you are stuck, I think you are reaching deep inside and getting into a whole new creative spot. It’s growth! Love all of you guys and love your influence.

  79. Loved this! Laura one of the things I love is when you are looking critically at one of your designs and questioning some aspect – e.g., do I need another bee? That reflection really teaches about design and helps me because I decide and sometimes I’m with you and sometimes I’m not. Regardless I am more aware of some design aspect and that is a gift! Bit most of all I love and appreciate that you come across as human and irreverent (in the BEST way)!

  80. I’m late starting with this, however it is interesting to read how many of us procrastinate AND like to start new projects.

  81. I love these Crafty Chats. This one was so encouraging… there was so much I took away from you ladies. The reminder that the practice is part of the fun was what I needed to hear. I think I will post that on the wall of my up and coming craft room. Blessings!

  82. Loved this honest chat. It made me think more deeply about my own personal style, comfort zone, and inspiration modes. Thank you!

  83. I found this extremely helpful, freeing and wise. I need to be kinder to myself. Thank you ladies

  84. Loved the chat! Since I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, I needed to hear that the reason my cards don’t look as perfect as yours is that I haven’t had nearly as much experience or practice as those of you who share your talent and expertise. And I’ve always loved Jennifer’s saying … ‘It’s handmade, not Hallmark’!

  85. Enjoyed this chat! I’m trying to figure out what my comfort zone is and I think it is watching YouTube videos. I love watching the videos. In fact, I have bought several products that I have seen used in them. The problem is once I get the products I can’t remember what the project IS.

  86. Awesome chat! I enjoyed ALL the comments but the portion speaking to insecurities and the emotional roller coaster REALLY spoke to me! I periodically feel like this. When I post my work on Instagram, I sometimes have to to do a lot of ‘self talk’ to get myself past that icky, numb feeling of not being GOOD ENOUGH and I make myself PUSH THROUGH to another card, another day! There is some comfort in knowing I am not an island! Thank you for sharing those very personal feelings.

  87. Hi all,
    I love to look at all of you. To don’t really know Lydia. But I’ll check her out. It’s so funny because I talk to my husband about Jennifer as if she is a family member. I would say Jennifer is an engineer like you. He’ll say “Jennifer who?” I’ll say she’s and Kristina are women I see on YouTube. I love You Tube. I love you all but Jennifer is my favorite. Maybe it’s that we want to be perfect, married to a engineer and she is all about sharing and caring about others. That’s why I’m a card maker. thank you all. Erica K.

  88. This has been so valuable. Even though it appears to have been recorded several years ago, the challenges and rewards are still relevant. I’ve only been making cards for about 6 months but still don’t have my own style; I’m still squarely in the copy and adapt mode. You all have been such an inspiration and Laura I am experiencing all of the angst you talked about. All except the zits, I’m way too old for that bit of anxiety induced eruption. Can’t wait for my first class to start.

  89. Hello,i was just now seeing your chats. Btw,thank pyblemis more logistc i guess, its to syart a blog that would be attractive ti dooers and ptomotors.where do i start?

  90. Hello,i was just now seeing your chats. Btw,thank you big inspiration.. My problems is more logistc i guess, its to start a BLOG that would be attractive to the debutant, and to those who are experienced. How dow I start a blog, so that that peeple keep coming back? Btw you we all funny mission oriented ,i like that.

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