Thursday, July 24, 2014

Holiday Sentiments, Part 3

Creating a border with words seemed a natural choice for my next card with Clearly Besotted's Holiday Sentiments set. So I did it.

After I'd stamped the border, I wasn't sure what to do with it. The card was pretty and all, but it had no focal point, and I stared at the card for the longest time trying to come up with something, anything, to pull this card together.

So I borrowed the idea of topping joy with holly from yesterday's card, and God bless us, every one!

And now I have to vent. About five minutes after leaving my sister's house this morning to drive back to Ohio, my car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light. STOPPED, people! My big Mazda CX-9 in dark RED. How did the guy not see it?!?!?! Arrrghhh! Fortunately, we were not injured, he was not injured, and my car was drivable, which is more than I can say for his car, which was probably totaled. But the rest of my day was pretty miserable (500 miles, plus a few extra for missed exits and poorly chosen exits...sigh), and now I'm home, tired, and wined up.

Let it go, Susan. Let. It. Go.

I still have to talk to insurance companies. And a body shop. And a car rental place. I can't let it go, people. This will go on for weeks. WEEKS!!!

I'm happy to be home. But it sure was fun visiting my mom, sister, and her family. Pictures forthcoming on my other blog. As soon as I knock this chip off my shoulder.

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: various
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: rhinestones

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Holiday Sentiments, Part 2

Yesterday's post showed a white-on-white layered card with a fresh red and green color combination. Today's card utilizes a similar "stacked" layout to yesterday's...a layout that stacks words or images vertically on a card...but has a somewhat different feel.

Well, different to me.

As you can see, there are four items stacked, just like yesterday's card. But instead of a wide, two-word sentiment, we have one short word. Smaller holly leaves and berries top it, and the base of the design is the slightly wider, flourished image.

I love how this set from Clearly Besotted has two different sizes of holly!

A few things to note. The wide base image lends stability to the design, sort of like a Weeble. Remember how they wobble but don't fall down? The holly points downward and really forces the eye onto the focal-point word, Joy, just as the strong horizontal line at the top of the flourish stops the eye from moving down. The traditional Christmas red of Joy (Hero Arts Red Royal) and the traditional green of the holly and flourish (Hero Arts Green) reinforce the theme and the focal point.

The fact that today's card is a simple, one-layer card makes it ideal for mass production and mailing. The rhinestones are affordable in bulk and add a shot of bling to give the card a little something special, but you could simply stamp the berries in red for a completely flat card, and it would still look fabulous.

Think of how you can use this stacking idea with stamps you already have. See if you can create a Weeble effect. It's extremely fun and, with the right words and images, can result in a lovely CAS card!

stamps: Clearly Besotted Holiday Sentiments
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Holiday Sentiments, Part 1

When I placed an order a few months back with Clearly Besotted, I threw (or clicked...whatever) Holiday Sentiments into my cart. What a smart purchase for me!

I wish all my impulse purchases were that smart.

My friend Joan B has started a series on her blog called Sunday Savings, in which she discusses what she's learned about buying and not buying stamping supplies. Joan is smart (she's a lawyer), and she has also made a lot of mistakes spending money on this hobby...mistakes I have made.


It's delightful reading how someone else screws up just like I do, and it's educational reading about how she has tried to do better. You can find last Sunday's installment HERE. I can't wait for next Sunday's installment, which will be titled "Anatomy of the Impulsive Purchase."

Which brings me back to Clearly Besotted's Holiday Sentiments.

It's a very flexible set, mostly words in a couple of different fonts, with a few very clean-and-simple images in different sizes. I've had a delightful time playing around with it and will show five different cards made with this one set, using the stamps in different ways each time.

I have not one single regret about this impulsive purchase and hope this means I'm learning something...after all, I chose to be impulsive at Clearly Besotted, and there's not much that Clearly Besotted puts out that I wouldn't happily own.

And no, they aren't paying me to say that. I just love their stuff.

Today's card features white-on-white layering (gotta use those white scraps!) and a very simple, stacked layout.

The polka-dot font of merry freshens up this stacked layout, along with the alternating layers of red and berries over green holly over red merry over green Christmas. All the white helps the colors pop right off the card.

Note that the berries could easily be brads given that the popped layer would hide the brad butts; however, I used enamel dots. Love those things! But they are very impractical for mass production...brads are much cheaper.

Good thing I rarely do mass production.

Anyway, for inks I can't remember the exact colors I used (and I'm three states away from my craft supplies at the moment, so no way to check), but for this card I intentionally went with a brighter, lighter red than I usually like (been lovin' Hero Arts Red Royal rich and deep!). Here, however, I wanted to use a more olive-toned medium green for the holly and felt a lighter red would be a bright counter-note to it.

Yep. Works for me!

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at a different stacked layout with a completely different feel.

And to those of you who think of boobs when you read must be English majors or have naturally dirty minds.

Because seriously, that's what I thought after I typed it, too.

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: enamel dots, dimensionals

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another for the Blue at Heart

Operation Write Home usually requests missing-you cards, and I just love using blue and hearts for these. And when something like this simple and perfect pops out of my head, there's generally squealing involved. (Although it took a few tries to get it right....)

To make this, I used the large and medium solid hearts from Papertrey's Heart Prints and then added a Sharpie-colored heart-shaped rhinestone to the middle. The inks are Hero Arts cornflower and denim, layered onto a one-layer card.

Simple, sincere, and sweet...suitable for a man or woman to send.

I wish I had some design insight into this card, but I'm too tired. A day at Rehoboth Beach on the coast of Delaware was exhaustingly fun. We even saw dolphins!

May your July be as much fun as mine has been.

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Hero Arts cornflower, denim; Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Copic marker, clear heart rhinestone

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thank-You Gift Set and More on Embellishment Storage

In a few weeks I'm going to Pittsburg for the Stephen Ministry Leadership Training Course. This trip was made possible by my church (they're paying the bill), my Stephen Ministry group (they're encouraging me), and my sister-in-law (who's watching my kids).

My sister-in-law Angela, in fact, got the whole ball rolling for me to attend this year. I'd originally planned on going in either 2015 or 2016, assuming by then my boys have quit bickering enough for me to trust them not to kill each other during the 40 hours of the week that George will be at work. When I mentioned this to Angela last year, she said she would watch them and that I should go in 2014.

Her offer made this trip possible, and I'm so very grateful.

Obviously, I must put together something to thank her for this enormous gift she's giving me. As a small part of her OMGosh, how-can-I-ever-thank-you? gift, I made this card set. It will be included in a basket full of stuff expressing my gratitude...a basket that will include at least three bottles of wine to be consumed during her stay so she doesn't kill the bickering Bickersons.

Despite the bickering, I really do like them.

Anyway, the set includes three cards of each color, with coordinating envelopes.

The darling tiny rhinestone brads for the flower centers have been in my stash for years. It was so much fun to use them for such a special gift! Also, note that the white-on-white layering was necessary to hide the brad butts (or legs, as my friend Leslie insists on calling them...but butts is more fun to say).

Using brads on one-layer cards is simply not done by obsessive-compulsive stampers.

Now, for a little more discussion of embellishment storage. Reader Janeen asked what type of container I use to store embellishments by color. Long-time readers might remember this picture from a long-ago post on my craft room in our old house.

I store embellishments and other crafting supplies in 12"x12" storage drawers by color. My current set-up is slightly different from what's shown in this picture, but the idea is the same.

I now have two drawers for neutral embellishments (white, gray, black, cream, brown) and single drawers for blue/violet, green, yellow/orange, red/pink, and metallic. Each drawer includes all the little embellishments for specific colors, plus things like Sakura Stardust pens, Stickles, flock, thread, bling, pearls, glitter, and Smooch. This arrangement helps me enormously because when a card needs a little something, I pull out the drawer or drawers for corresponding colors and get ideas...often that I never would have thought of if the supplies were not organized they way they are.

I combined some colors into a single drawer simply because I've used down my stash enough that they fit well together. This system has really helped me see which embellishments I actually enjoy using and which ones just get hoarded. Over the years since this picture was taken, many of the hoarded supplies have been purged.

The whole system is extraordinarily efficient, and as I said in yesterday's post, it's all thanks to Stacy Julian and her book Big Picture Scrapbooking

It changed my life.

Well, at least my crafting life.

Give it a go if you haven't already. It really is a very sensible plan.

If you made it this far, you might also like to know that I'm currently at my sister's house in Maryland getting some quality time with my niece, nephews, sister, brother-in-law, and mother. Yay! But if you've emailed in the past four or five days, I probably haven't answered you. I'm sorry. I'll try to get back with you when the boys and I get home late this week. In the meantime, please pray for George, who doesn't get to be with us. He's got to work while we play.

Poor George!

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blooms II, Clear and Simple Stamps (sentiment, discontinued)
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone brads, dimensionals

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stardust Pens Are Cool

We have so many cool toys to play with, but if you're anything like me, you sort of forget about things as they disappear into your stash. Finding things again, just when you need them, can be a challenge, especially if you don't store your embellishments and other supplies by color.

I'm a genius.

Not really. Stacy Julian is the genius. She wrote about storing embellishments by color years ago. I am so glad I took her advice. It makes finding those supplies you forget about sooooo much easier!

I had this card started and stared at it for a bit, trying to think what could kick it up a notch.

It needed a little something, so I opened my green embellishment drawer and saw this:

I pulled out that green pen and started tracing the lines of the feather. This was incredibly easy, and look how shimmery that ink is!

After I finished inking the whole feather, I added some bling to the card, and was very, very pleased with the results.

If Stardust pens are cool, so is storing your embellishments and other supplies by color rather than type.

Thank you, Stacy Julian.

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feathers
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Sakura Stardust pen, rhinestones, corner rounder

Friday, July 18, 2014

Use Your Smooch Again: Pointillism

Before I started my "Use Your Smooch" series, I made a list of possible ideas for using Smooch, and once I got started, I forgot all about the list.

I found it.

And there was an idea that was too good to pass up. It was easy, much quicker than expected, and turned out so nicely, I just have to share it.


I'm no fine artist, so my pointillist experiment keeps things nice and simple...a blue heart for a missing you card for Operation Write Home.

Let's start with a heart template. I used my Fiskar's ShapeCutter template to pencil a heart on a piece of card stock.

See. It's a simple shape and not too big.

Next, fill in the shape with dots of two shades of Smooch. I used light and dark blue because being away from your family gives you the blues.

Once the shape is filled in, LET IT DRY COMPLETELY!!!! Then, erase the pencil marks and cut or punch it out. I used a large heart punch rather than the ShapeCutter because it's easier to punch than to use the UFO. Also, I liked the look of a white border around the blue heart.

Next, create a ground for the punched shape on a card base. I went with a simple, straight-line border.



Then, mount your pretty--yet somehow sad--blue heart on the line, stamp a sentiment, and you've made a perfect card for OWH!

Yay, pointillism!

stamps: Papertrey Simple Little Things (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Smooch, dimensionals, heart template, heart punch, pencil, eraser