Monday, January 16, 2017

Fluttering Fun

Valentine's Day is coming up, so of course I had to make a bunch of pink and red cards for Karen's Card Shop at church. Here's one that set my heart aflutter!

The Color-Layering Butterflies set from Hero Arts is lots of fun (and easy to line up, unlike some two- or three-step stamps). I started with the sentiment and added the butterflies in a fluttery visual triangle. The pink and red are lovely and vibrant when offset by touches of black.

For a little something to catch the eye, I added a couple of red heart-shaped gemstones to the smallest butterfly. Oh so sweet!

Do you make Valentine's Day cards to send? Do you make them for your children to give in school?

Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Color-Layering Butterflies
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival pink peony, red geranium, black
accessories: red heart-shaped rhinestones

Sunday, January 15, 2017

IC580 Altered Diary Challenge

Audrie came up with an outstanding inspiration challenge for this week. It's The Altered Diaries, an Etsy shop full of handmade books and such. I made two projects based on inspiration from the site. Here they are.

First up, a bookmark based on the alphabet on these tags, for which I have the perfect stamp set. Yay!

Hampton Arts stamps, StampinUp black cardstock,
Papertrey white cardstock, Archival black ink,
eyelet, ribbon, square punch

Pretty straightforward inspiration. I went black and white instead of distressed and brown because, well, I'm me. Here's where the eyelet I dug out of the bead box storage went.

Next up, a card made like a Japanese-stab-binding book. This allowed me to use some bark paper that's been languishing in my stash for years. I'm sure you don't have any special papers lying around unused for years, right? Right. Anyway, it's a fun paper that gives tons of texture to a card inspired by this book.

Bark and inclusion papers, embroidery thread, VersaMagic Aegean sea ink,
star punches, awl, beeswax, 

If you've never done a Japanese stab binding, know that they are really pretty easy, but there are some supplies you need to get the job done most efficiently.

My book/card is made from three sheets of paper...bark, inclusion (text-weight paper with bits of plant in it), bark. Each is 4.25" x 5.5". With thicker books, you usually clamp the whole block of paper together, but with just three sheets, I held them together with no problems. Just make sure they don't slip.

Stack all three sheets, and place the quilting ruler 1/2" in from the left edge of the card. Poke holes with the awl at 5/8", 1 5/8", 2 5/8", and 3 5/8" down the side of the card. I do this on a self-healing cutting mat, so the awl doesn't go far through the paper. Lift the card and push the awl through each of the four holes to create a big enough hole for the needle and thread to go through without tearing the paper.

Measure out embroidery thread that is four times as long as the width of the binding. This will give you long enough tails to tie off at the end. If you're really dextrous, you can make do with three times the width of the binding, but I never take that chance.

Run the cut embroidery thread through the beeswax a few times to coat it thoroughly. This will keep it from slipping and make tying the knot at the end really easy.

Thread a needle with a large enough eye to manage the embroidery thread. It need not be too sharp because you've already poked the holes.

Start sewing by going in the back of the top hole, loop around the top edge of the card, and go in through the front. Repeat around the edge of the top hole, then go in through the top side of the second hole. Keep sewing in this pattern until you've looped twice through to bottom hole (once to the side and once around the bottom of the card). Then head back up. It's harder to explain than to do. Keep your stitches tight, but not so tight you tear the paper. With the beeswax, stitches rarely slip loose once you put them in place.

After heading back up and going through the second hole from the top toward the back, pull the needle off the thread and tie a simple square knot with the two tails so that the knot rests right over the top hole. Trim the loose ends, and you're finished!

I highly recommend stamping the inside BEFORE binding, which I did. Just make sure you take account of the 1/2" of binding when you center your sentiment.

And that's all there is to it. Takes longer to explain than to do, actually.

This challenge was so much fun! Thanks, Audrie, especially for getting me so far out of my comfort zone with the bark paper card!

Click over to the IC580 challenge and play along!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Part 3 of the Answer to the Silly Question

Thanks so much for the questions some of you have been asking. That makes my posts feel more like a conversation than my blathering on about my stuff. Several of you asked about my sentiment storage bin and whether I break sets apart to organize sentiments.

The answer is messy. Most of these CD cases hold individual sentiment sets, such as Papertrey's Wet Paint or My Favorite Things Label Maker Sentiments. For smaller sets, there might be two per case. BUT I do occasionally break sets apart to move sentiments to this bin. This is usually when I notice that there are particularly useful sentiments in mostly image sets that I keep forgetting about.

For instance, behind the Birthday tab pictured above are three CD cases: 1) Papertrey's Birthday Basics (with a few other random PTI birthday sentiments from other sets because there was room), 2) Papertrey's Birthday Bash Sentiments (plus Polka Dot Basics, another small PTI set), and 3) Simon Says It's Your Birthday (plus a single Gina K birthday wishes sentiment culled from a larger set of flowers). With the three CD cases is a transparency folder of StampinUp's Endless Birthday Wishes.

As you can see, there is a lot of compromising going on with this particular organization.

The tab behind Birthday is labelled All Occasion and contains the bigger mixed sentiment sets like Papertrey's Mega Mixed Messages and Clearly Besotted's A Little Sentimental. I don't ever break those sets up.

Bottom line on sentiments...there are still plenty of them left with the original set and stored on the other side of the room. But all the sets that contain mostly sentiments are on my desk, as are randomly pulled, useful sentiments from sets that are mostly images. If I find that I use a set that contains combinations of sentiments and images primarily for one or the other, I store them accordingly.

For instance, Faux Ribbon has a bunch of sentiments that I almost never use, but I frequently use the faux ribbon stamps; therefore, that set is with my borders and backgrounds rather than with the sentiments. Yet when I finally decided that I was getting tired of the images in Botanical Silhouettes, I moved it to the sentiments bin because I kept forgetting that there are some fabulous sentiments in that set.

I expect that's all as clear as mud, but it works for me. Some people are pathologically attached to keeping sets intact and whole, and I completely understand that. Other people break sets up without a second thought, which seems a tad free-wheeling to me. For practical reasons, I'm somewhere in the middle, leaning toward whole sets.

On a different subject, reader Gaye, noticing my ink pads are stored upright, asked whether storing ink pads upside down will make them last longer. For dye inks, the answer is probably yes; this was certainly the logic behind StampinUp's flip-top ink pads, which keep the pad facing down. Dye ink is very runny, and gravity will keep the ink from sinking through the pad. For pigment and chalk inks, which are very thick, the answer is probably no.

I used to store my dye ink pads upside down, but it was so frustrating to sift through stacks of upside down pads that I flipped them upright and haven't thought about it since.

Now it's time to take a closer look at the right side of my craft space. Here's where almost all my stamps, paper, and less frequently used supplies live.

On the far right, you can see a six-drawer storage unit that holds most of my punches (although the simple shapes--circles, squares, ovals--are in three of the white drawers on the far left, just to make things complicated). On top of the punch storage is a fun little display tree I bought at JoAnn's last fall. It has a bunch of Zentangles tiles hanging from it.

The brush hanging on the wall above the light switch plate (yes, that's Shakespeare!) is a Chinese glue brush used by bookbinders. It's too cool for me to use, so I hang it on the wall. Plus, I'd need to be working on a HUGE book to need a glue brush that big.

The inspiration board displays the cards you've sent me. There have been a few additions since I took the picture (thanks, Janet and Marty!), but all cards sent to me end up here for as long as there's space.

Under the inspiration board is my clear stamp storage. There's also a bin of Christmas stamps on the top right shelf just below this.

The clear stamps are organized into categories: Birds & Bees (animals), Odds & Ends, Graphics (backgrounds, borders, shapes and such), Botany, Food & Drink, Autumn, Faith, Alphabets, Hero Arts Months (12 sets Hero came out with years ago for scrapbooking), Christmas (on the shelf below). As you can see, some sets here are in CD cases, and others are in transparency folders. I know it's crazy, but this doesn't bother me at all.

The short bookshelf contains two shoeboxes. The white one contains Christmas cards I've made, and the teal one contains Thanksgiving Crusade cards. The three white drawers on the top shelf have markers, spare ink pads (duplicates of pads on my desk, mostly gifts), and sponges and stipple brushes. The paisley box contains Christmas stamps, and the binders contain my stamp index that is so out of date as to be pretty much worthless.

The bottom shelf drawers contain scrapbooking markers, a bunch of spare Sharpies, and really rarely used ink pads like StampinUp's white craft ink, StazOn, and Palette pads. The purple folder contains label stickers, and the rest of the shelf holds various notebooks, magazines, and a dictionary because I'm an English major, and we're weird that way.

The tall bookshelf (7') holds lots of stuff. The white shoe boxes on the second and third shelves all contain wood-mounted rubber stamps, organized by theme (Backgrounds, Shadow, Trees, Fauna, Flowers, Spring/Summer/Fall, Winter, Faith, Occasions, Christmas, Alphabets, and so forth).

Because sometimes you need to be told to relax. And yes, there
are a couple of pear stamps on display. Because sometimes you need to laugh.

These pretty blue bins hold my Zentangles supplies and
supplies for mailing cards. The leather cases
hold Prismacolor pencils and watercolor pencils.

Office supplies (rubber bands, post-its, pencils, erasers, extra staples, etc.)
and a bin for completed cards complete the top shelf.

Top Shelf: stapler, baby wipes, a purple box of reinkers and a bin
for random large glue bottles and empty CD cases for new sets.
Next shelf: bead cases of infrequently-used embellishments,
white bin of border punches, box of envelopes, white
shoebox for cards received.

A special note about the bead cases of infrequently-used embellishments, such as buttons, brads, eyelets, and sequins. These bead cases lock, which means it's hard to spill them all over the place, and I highly recommend them for storing small items.

The bead cases used to reside in my embellishment drawers, but last year, when I realized they hardly ever were opened, I moved them out of the drawers and to the bookshelf. They've hardly been touched since (until today when I retrieved a single white eyelet for a project for IC580). I suspect I'll soon be able to move them into my unfinished basement area storage, where supplies go before being sold off, donated, or kept "because I might need them one day." I also suspect these will end up in the last category, especially after today's eyelet incident.

Now we come to the baker's rack, which I love. The top shelf contains pretty glass jars of ribbon that hardly ever gets used these days, but they are pretty so they stay. The green hanging file box behind the Angel of Courage contains specialty papers...rice paper, vellum, papers with bits of flowers or grass in them, glitter paper, wood veneer paper, etc. The mixing bowl (which belonged to my grandmother) holds a bunch of washi tape.

The next shelf contains card-stock storage in Cropper Hopper vertical magazine-style containers. One contains Papertrey colored card stock, another holds what's left of my StampinUp card stock, and the other holds various white card stocks. Next to that is a Cropper Hopper scrap holder for scraps of colored card stock, and a large watercolor block tablet.

Seeing so little white card stock reminds me I need to place a large order from Papertrey. I'm shocked the stash is so low!

The three storage drawers on the left side of that shelf hold cutting tools, including Fiskars ShapeCutter templates and cutter, and Creative Memories circle and oval cutters. The top drawer includes spare Exacto blades, a box cutter and spare blades, my StampinUp piercing tool kit, spare cutting blades and strips for the Fiskars rotary trimmer on my green desk, and so forth.

The twelve drawers on the bottom shelf hold all sorts of stuff, including envelopes (most A2s are in the big box on the bookshelf), clean washcloths for my stamp-cleaning needs, packaging supplies (such as clear boxes to hold card sets, coffee bags for food gifts, small zipper bags for whatever), fabric and book-binding supplies, laminating sheets, and of course circle, oval, and square punches that don't fit with the rest of the punches.

Under the baker's rack are two one-foot squares of good-one-side plywood with pieces of waxed paper between them and dumb-bells. These are for drying wet items that might curl...especially useful for drying book covers and watercolor backgrounds. The boards also come in handy when I stamp a large background stamp that I need to stand on.

And that's it. Wow, if you made it this far, I'm impressed. Even I'm bored now.

But my craft space is awesome, and I feel very lucky to have such a large space and so many drawers and boxes to store stuff in. Having an organized space means I can make a big mess with easy-to-find supplies, quickly clean up, and get back to making another mess.

That's how I work. Feel free to share your alternate methods of working in the comments, or ask any questions you have about any of the above. Tomorrow we will get back to business as usual.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Part 2 of the Answer to the Silly Question

Yesterday's post shared the organization strategy of my craft desk, and Darla asked why I have a butter knife in the frequently-used tool cup on my desk. Well, Darla, that's an excellent question, and one I should have asked myself a long time ago.

You see, the butter knife used to be my preferred tool for scoring paper. The butter knife did an excellent job scoring when paired with a quilting ruler...a much better job than a bone folder did because it was thinner and made a sharper, crisper line. In fact, that butter knife contributed to the creation of every card I made for years.

Until some years ago when I got a gift card to Archiver's for Christmas and decided to buy a Scor-Pal.

The knife, too thin to use on the Scor-Pal, stopped being a frequently-used tool and started simply being a space-taker-upper. There's certainly no longer a need to keep it in a cup full of useful tools, except perhaps for sentimental reasons and deep, sincere appreciation for its long service prior to its job being outsourced--through no fault of its own--to the Scor-Pal.

I'll also sadly note that the Archiver's at which I purchased the Scor-Pal closed a few years ago, its jobs being outsourced presumably to the Internet. In fact, the butter knife and Archiver's would both like to register their disgust and contempt for progress and the part I played in both their demises.

My apologies to the wounded parties. I never meant to hurt either of you.

Now we'll take a look at the small desk and see just how absolutely useful it is to me, not least because it is home to my Scor-Pal, a handy device that contributes to every single card I've made for the past few years and looks to be set for many more years of use...unless something better--and a gift card to buy it--comes along.

The small desk is actually quite ugly, an old wooden desk that is held together by L-brackets and screws because the military-contracted movers who took it apart in 1989 failed to keep the hardware that holds it together, which led me to be insulted by a chauvinistic old man at a furniture store who told me to, and I quote, "just let my husband fix it." There's no rage quite like that of a 22-year-old feminist who would be darned if she'd let some old geezer stand between her and a fully-assembled desk. The Ace Hardware man was much more helpful, but our solution, though entirely functional, wasn't aesthetically pleasing. I settled for functional, being a poor 22-year-old who just really needed a desk.

But I digress.

When I set up in the basement, I realized that a green tablecloth would hide the ugly but useful desk and add a splash of color to the space as well. This way, when you walk down the stairs into the basement, you don't see an ugly desk with lots of stuff under it. You see a green tablecloth that usually looks neat and tidy unless the dog starts nosing around it.

On top of the green-covered desk is my Fiskar's 12" rotary cutter that my husband bought for me about 15 years ago. That magnificent beast is still going strong. I cut all card bases on it as well as any mass-production cutting (the Stephen Ministry ornaments, for example).

Conveniently placed beside the cutter is the Scor-Pal. Note there are two bone folders on it. One is your standard bone folder that isn't made of bone but of plastic because nothing is real anymore. The other folder is made of teflon, which is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious because you can rub paper all day with it and the paper will not get shiny. Isn't that wonderful!

I retired the fake bone folder to the other side of the room when I got the teflon folder, but after repeated use, the teflon folder wore down in an odd way that kept it from scoring crisp lines. Thus, the bone folder was retrieved from exile and now usefully scores each card, after which it is put down so the teflon folder can take over and smooth the fold without shining it up.

This is why the butter knife will never go back to the kitchen (does anyone use butter knives for butter anymore?). Who knows when I'll have a scoring need that neither the fake bone folder nor the teflon folder can meet? Won't I feel silly if I have to go upstairs and rummage around in my silverware drawer for that poor knife? Of course I will.

And this is just one reason why our craft stashes could be used as Exhibit A in our mental-health competency trials.

On the far end of the green-covered table, you'll see a few baskets, a box of tissues, and an electric pencil sharpener. One basket holds new stuff that needs to be used before it can be properly integrated into the stash. (Since I implemented this basket, I've actually used all the stamps I buy, which is pretty sensible.) The other basket contains a bunch of Valentine's Day stuff gathered to make a bunch of Valentine's Day cards for the card shop at church. I fill a similar basket in July with Christmas stuff and another with stuff for the Stephen Ministry ornaments.

Which brings me to a recommendation to use these very inexpensive baskets (found at Target or similar) to organize your larger projects. They do help keep everything tidy.

Now it's time to look under that green tablecloth and see what it's hiding.

The entire left tower contains embellishments sorted by color (neutrals get two drawers, then blue/violet, green, yellow/orange, and pink/red). For example,

These embellishment drawers used to be a lot fuller, but over the past few years, I've simplified a lot and moved less-frequently-used embellishments elsewhere. These drawers now mainly contain rhinestones, pearls, enamel dots, flock, Stickles, Smooch, Sakura stardust pens, twine/floss, and a few other things as needed.

Arranging embellishments by color was first proposed by Stacy Julian of Simple Scrapbooks fame ages ago. It's brilliant, and I won't store them any other way.

The right-hand tower contains, from top to bottom, cheap recycled copy paper (which keeps ink off my stamping mat), metallic embellishments and markers, adhesives (including Scor-Tape, various glues, dimensionals, and glue dots), Brilliance inks (because I ran out of drawers on my desk...I told you I have an ink problem), embossing supplies (gun, ink pad, powders and such), and watercolor crayons/Twinkling H2Os. On top of the towers are my watercolor brushes (in a really cool brush case), a pad of cheap sketch paper, Bounty paper towels (which don't leave lint so they are the best), and a roll of waxed paper.

Not pictured but living to the right of the two towers are several large flat bins full of mat board, Canson paper, large sheets of art paper, etc. They really belong in the unfinished area of the basement. I used them mostly for bookbinding and haven't opened them in over a year.

And now you can clearly see why having an L-shaped desk arrangement might be a very good thing.

To backtrack a bit, Janet asked me to show my inks, which was coyly refraining from doing yesterday because, like I said, I definitely have an ink issue. But why not? Y'all already know I have issues and you're still reading, which means you delight in watching train wrecks or you are, in fact, also a train wreck and would appreciate the validation.

So here you go. The first six pictures show the tower of drawers on the right of my desk. My apologies to the OCD people out there...a few pads are pointing in the wrong direction. It's part of my desensitizing program.

The above drawers contain opaque inks that aren't shimmery. These include pigment inks and VersaColor chalk inks, which to me look exactly the same on paper and work exactly the same, at least as far as I can tell.

Below is my collection of Distress inks and the blending tools and pads that go with them. Under each cube is a depression in the case that stores the pad for that color. It's quite a nice system.

Next, StampinUp inks. At one time, I had lots more of these, but these 15 were the colors that I actually used, so the rest were sold off.

Finally, the bottom drawer on the right tower contains all my Kaleidacolor pads.

Yesterday's post showed the Neutral/Purple drawer of dye inks, but here are the rest of the dye ink colors.

Finally, under the small desk are my Brilliance pearlescent and Delicata inks. These are delightful but don't get quite as much use as the other inks.

One thing I like about storing my inks this way is that the drawers are light and pull out easily. I can stack them on my desk as needed, and slide them back into place when I'm finished. It's also a good way to store different ink pad styles together. It would be very helpful if all ink companies used exactly the same cases for their inks...things would stack so nicely! But alas, they don't think of our storage needs, so these drawers are a not perfect but still mostly satisfactory way of storing them.

Seeing all these photos on my computer screen really does make me feel like a crazy hoarder who is in serious need of an intervention. But I suspect if I go look at my husband's 45 pairs of running shoes, I'll feel pretty normal.

Eh. Normal is over-rated. And aren't all the colors just gorgeous?

Ask a Silly Question...

Okay, so I asked if you wanted a post on my craft room reorganization/clean-up. Silly question. As Francie said, organizing is almost as much fun as stamping, and it's fun to see how other people manage all the stuff that goes along with this obsession hobby.

I realized after editing all the pictures that there's way too much for one post, so this will take a few days. It's my hope that in my sharing at a little higher level of detail than strictly necessary, you can get some ideas for not just organization but also for products and a bit of how-to as well.

Before we get started, you should know my space is NOT organized for maximum efficiency. It's actually organized to make me get up and move. Otherwise, I'd sit in that chair for hours...and sitting isn't good for you.  Stamps, paper, and less-used tools are on one side of the room, and my desk, inks, and embellishments are organized on or beside my desk on the other side of the room. I also have to stand to cut and score paper, too.

My craft space is located in a bump-out in the huge recreation room of our finished, walk-out basement. To the left of the first picture below is a wet bar with fridge, sink, and my Keurig. Those are important to have handy to my workspace! There's a ton of natural light coming through an extra-large sliding glass door behind that white curtain.

Let's start today's tour with the desk side of the room. Here's the large view:

On the wall are paintings my mother did (little practice still-lifes that are so colorful!), my college degree with an etching of Duke Chapel, a cross, and a framed cork board for random stuff like a calendar, color wheel, pictures of my kids, etc. It's fun to stare at these beautiful things when I'm overcome with indecision, which happens frequently.

There's also a little plaque my aunt gave me right above the cork board.

And yes, the odd font for the t in still bothers me, but I love the quotation.

A few other observations about the first photo. On top of the self-healing cutting mat there is a large, dark-red pad, rather like a giant, extra-thick mouse pad, on which I do all my stamping. I simply move it out of the way when I need to cut something and move it back when I need to stamp. You can buy these at JoAnn's for not much money, and this is my second one...purchased after the first one became embarrassingly distressed from ten-years of use. The little bit of give on this pad means that stamps rarely leave a bad or incomplete impression...even very large background stamps just stamp better on the pad.

Also, yes that is a space heater beside my chair. My husband keeps our thermostat on 64 degrees all winter, and this is still a basement with a huge glass door. I get cold, and it's hard to stamp straight if you're shivering.

Just sayin'.

Let's move to the desk now.

Front and center on my desk are a craft knife (blade stuck in an old wine cork with a flat edge cut into it so it won't roll around), my neutral inks (pigment and dye), acrylic blocks, post-its, reading glasses (sadly necessary for detail coloring and such), "handmade by" stamps, a white eraser (for conditioning photopolymer stamps as needed). You can see the edge of the large self-healing cutting mat at the bottom of the photo.

On either side of the above photo are other random things I use all the time. On the left, an Ott Lite and cup with various scissors, awl (with another wine cork on the pointy end for safety), butter knife, needle-nose pliers, tweezers, etc.

On the right is another Ott Lite and another cup with pens, pencils, aqua-painters, clear Wink of Stella pen, etc.

And yes, it bothers me that the Ott Lites are not identical, but what can you do when you find a green Ott light 75% off at JoAnn's but already have a black one? You buy the green one and tell your OCD to shut up.

A tower of small drawers to the right of the green Ott holds alcohol markers sorted by color. The top drawer holds my embossing buddy, which is handy for getting some light shades of pigment ink to dry faster. Between the marker tower and the ink tower stand my smaller Omni-Grid quilting rulers.

These quilting rulers are my go-to tool for cutting mats or smaller pieces of card stock. They are especially helpful if I've got to cut a stamped panel down because I can see through them and get everything lined up nicely before cutting. If you've never used these before, I recommend them with the warning that craft knives are sharp and fingers are vulnerable. Never, ever, ever let your fingers hang over the edge of the ruler when you are cutting. While blood is a lovely deep shade of red at first, it rusts out as it dries and is quite unappealing on all but a few projects.

If you don't have these already and want to give them a try,
start with the 6" x 6". It's the one I use the most for cardmaking.
I bought the other two (and a couple of even larger ones) when
making handmade books and 12" scrapbook pages.

On top of the tower of markers rest my stamp cleaning pad, my poor person's stamp cleaning pad, and my ink chart.

Yes, that's a box of chocolate-covered cherries
on the right. Santa put them in my stocking,
so it would be rude not to eat them.

The Huggies wipes travel case contains a damp washcloth, with which I clean my, you'd be amazed (or not) by how handy having a damp cloth on your workspace can be, especially for removing ink from fingers so you don't ruin projects.

Unfortunately, water won't clean off pernicious water-resistant dye inks like Hero Arts or Archival Inks (does a great job with Memento, though, so go figure). Anyway, after I'd ruined enough projects stamping light inks that were muddied by darker residue on the stamps, I bought one of those double-sided cases with pads in them for cleaning stamps and a bottle of stamp cleaner. Whenever I'm using dye inks, I'll clean them on that pad.

FYI, don't close the Huggies case all the way with a damp washcloth in it. It will start to stink. Eww.

On the far right and left ends of the desk are towers of ink: water-resistant dye inks on the left (shown in photo), and pigment, Kaleidacolor, and StampinUp on the right. The dye and pigment inks are organized by colors.

The inks are not always so neat.
In fact, they almost never are.

The Kaleidacolor and StampinUp inks each get their own drawer in the right tower (not pictured because, really, I have ink issues and it's sort of embarrassing how many ink pads I have).

The bottom drawer of the tower in the photo contains my scraps of white card stock for quick and easy access. I actually do use those scraps when they are right there. If I put them with the other card stock on the opposite wall, I'd never use them.

In the above photo, you can also see a small square desk cup holding my glue bottle upside down just to the right of the tower. That keeps the glue ready to use quickly, especially when the bottle is getting empty. Anticipation might heighten our enjoyment of ketchup, but it's annoying with glue.

Kept on top of the dye ink tower, in handy reach, is a wire mesh CD bin full of sentiment stamps.

I find having these stamps handy helps enormously with actually using a wider variety of sentiment stamps on my cards. Besides, there's not room for them with my other clear stamps.

Whew. That covers my desk. There's a LOT on it, but it's all organized efficiently, and the size of that folding table gives me plenty of room to work.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at the smaller desk to the left of my main desk. I LOVE the L-shaped arrangement and find that extremely handy.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about what I've posted so far, please ask! I'll be happy to clarify.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cast All Your Cares

Today's card was inspired by a wedding invitation layout I saw on Pinterest.  (If you follow the link, scroll down a bit to see the exact inspiration.)

The card combines a sentiment from Papertrey's Everyday Blessings set and a flower from Altenew's Botanical Garden set. The flower was colored with watercolor pencils and lightly brushed with an aqua-painter blotted on paper towel...just enough water to spread the pigment, not enough to seriously warp the paper.

If you work with watercolor pencils, remember you can add pigment to the wet paper if you need more intensity.

I recently hit a rough patch with cardmaking and cleaned/organized my craft space, taking some pictures in the process. It helped jump-start my creativity nicely, but I was wondering if you would like to see some of that reorganizing here on the blog? It's nothing cosmic, but sometimes it's fun to see how others work/organize/manage their stash of goodness. Don't want to bore you, though.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Everyday Blessings, Altenew Botanical Garden
ink: Hero Arts intense black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: watercolor pencils (Derwent and Prismacolor), aqua-painter brush, paper towel

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Inspired by Birgit

Y'all, Birgit (a.k.a. Biggan at Splitcoast) is an amazing artist who creates consistently amazing works of card art. My card for today was absolutely inspired (pretty literally, in fact) by this fabulous card of hers.

Gorgeous Card by Birgit

Now, her layout and use of the beads really appealed to me, so I did a  CASE (copy and steal everything) of Birgit's beautiful creation, with only minor changes.

My version of Birgit's card is, of course, whiter, because, you know, I'm me. But the layout and all those heart-shaped gems would not have happened without Birgit's card for inspiration.

I chose the swirly heart from Papertrey's Heart Prints set because it's my favorite and it added white into the heart design, which seemed like a good idea for unifying such a simply colored card. Note how Birgit allows some white to peek out around the leaf on her layers...same idea. Also, the swirls on the stamp add a LOT of movement, which is almost always a great thing in a design.

The stamp set is designed to match a punch, which is great for me since I don't have a die cut machine but do have the punch.

All those little heart-shaped rhinestones are simply adorable, lined up both horizontally and vertically.

And I just need to say that my husband bought me some CuddlDuds for Christmas, and I couldn't be cozier or warmer. If you are always cold in the winter, these things are amazing. Just sayin' 'cause I'm a happy person, and no compensation coming my way for it.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Altenew Sentiments and Quotes
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts intense black, Archival vibrant fuchsia
accessories: punch, rhinestones