I have two tips for you, both relating to one of my favorite tools -- punches. 1. I frequently use punched shapes as "negative" space, or make extra punched shapes from otherwise-unusable scraps. Store extra punched shapes in empty plastic film containers. To identify the contents, punch a shape from scrap paper, then tape on the lid.

2. Make stencils to match your punches. I use quilters' plastic template sheets to create a stencil for every punch I own. Just punch the shapes right out of the plastic template sheets. The stencil can be used with pens, markers, chalk or ink. Also, the stencil can be positioned over printed paper to check different alignments before you decide to punch.

by--Caryl B. Hickel