Start by collecting a few different colors of paper. I chose only sheets of 12-inch-square paper (the standard scrapbooking paper size) but you needn't be that particular. Later on you'll see that I abandoned the patterned one; I just liked the simplicity of the solid colors, and slightly different textures of the paper, to go along with the simple shapes of the bird.
You will also see that my cutting mat is pretty dirty. (Let's just call it "well-used.")