First, I use a battery operated pencil sharpener similar to this one here but mine is pink. Hey, it's a prettier color. It just takes a second to sharpen the pencils and does a great job.
And to use the odorless mineral spirits, you dip your paper cone in the spirits and then recap it. It will evaporate so keeping the cap on it is a good idea. There's a printed tutorial here and a video that shows a different way of using the spirits here.
Remember the important thing is to play and if a technique is fun and gives you the look you want, then great!
Here are two more cards I made using more stamps from Dearie Dolls and my cutter file.
It's hard to tell from the pictures but I used two other fun products. I used my pearlescent chalks to give the snow a glistening effect and to give the lights their glow. I also used my homemade shimmering water colors to color the ornaments.
To make the shimmering water colors, I bought the clear seven day medication boxes with the flip-top lids. Put about 1-3 pinches of the Pearl Ex powder in a compartment and using an eye dropper, about the same amount of gum arabic. Stir with a toothpick until the powder is dissolved. Once it dries, you'll have sparkly water colors that you use like any other water colors. I originally made these years ago--before Twinkling H2Os came out but both products are similar.
Stay tuned for more creative fun tomorrow.
Until then, may your creative time be filled with fun.