Thursday, May 28, 2020

Ask, Seek, Knock

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” --Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Today's card speaks to me right now.

Asking for justice, peace, equity, and kindness...seeking them in and for all people...knocking on the hardened hearts of those who defend power and privilege and dismiss the realities of and their complicity in racism.

When will we acknowledge and value our shared humanity, the fact that we are all beloved children of God?

To my white readers, we white people need to stop whining that "all lives matter." Of course they do. That's missing the point entirely. We need to focus on the lives who are marginalized, who walk in fear where we don't, who suffer a million little cuts of racism each and every day that we will never feel. We have to say black lives matter because, on a fundamental level in this country, they don't matter the same. We need to own that, and change our hearts and behavior and the systems of our nation accordingly. Most of all, we need to listen and learn how to do better. 

To my readers of color, after staring at this screen for ten minutes trying to decide what to type, there just aren't any more adequate words that the ones I end each post with. I'm truly sorry.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Love-Bird Postage

A simple little love postage card. I put two birds on it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Circles, Lines, and Postage...Oh My!

Today's post focuses on a fabulous color scheme of mostly aquas, but I varied the layouts with circles, lines, and faux postage. All three cards use Papertrey's Peaceful Garden set. Lovin' them all!

First up, circles.

Then, a straight line, with a tad of sponging to define the line better. I added Hero Arts Soft Pool to the aquas...a lovely, complementary color combination.

Finally, my favorite (if I had to pick one, just because Postage Infinity Dies are my favorite right now).

The butterfly was punched from some light green vellum that wasn't quite the right shade, so I sponged ink onto it to give it a bit more definition. I also masked the edges of the postage die cut with post-its and layered two identical die cuts to add some depth. I wanted to add a sentiment but couldn't bring myself to mess with the simplicity of the layout. It's kind of perfect...or I'm a coward. Whatever.

Such peaceful colors...perfectly in keeping with the Peaceful Garden images.

What brings you peace these days?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wine-y Postage

I love sipping big, bold, chewy red wine, so a dear friend of mine gave me this glass, which is quite the joke because what you see in the glass is about what I drink on normal nights. I confess that quarantine has me drinking two of these a night, which means I might hit the "small glass" mark.

I'm a cheap drunk. If I drank all the way to the "Susan's glass" mark, I'd be plastered. Haven't done that since I was 21 and got drunk talking with my sister on the phone. We were both dealing with things, and the drinking was her idea. She's a bad influence. Younger sisters. What's a girl to do?

One and done, lesson learned, as far as I was concerned. Wow. That was a long time ago!

So I wanted to send this dear friend a quarantine card, and this happened. I can't really explain sort of evolved organically. But I really like it!

I pulled out some pigment inks, which I haven't used in probably a year. The Merlot is Impress Fresh Ink and is simply gorgeous. I don't have a dye ink that's even close to it, although SU cherry cobbler is close...but a bit too brown.

What are you drinking in the quarantine? In addition to my nightly wine, I have been drinking gallons of coffee. So. Much. Coffee. Plus, my firstborn has an espresso machine and makes me daily lattes. More coffee. Yummy!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Nature Journal

Papertrey's Traveler's Journal: Field Notes is a pretty set, and I had fun making two very different cards with it.

The first builds on the circle cards I've been making lately, inspired by a number of beauties on Pinterest.

The centers of the daisies were colored with watercolor pencils.

Size: 6 1/4" x 3 1/2"

The second card takes advantage of the left-justified quotation and the marvelous symmetry of butterflies.

Size: 7 1/4" x 3 3/4"

The butterfly was colored with colored pencil.

I hope you are staying healthy and sane in our world-wide situation. I tried to stamp today and hit a wall. Very frustrating. But I do very much want the new Speckled Egg Distress ink from Ranger. Maybe that will fix my funk!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Same Layout, Different Looks...and a PS of Dog Pictures

Today's post, like Sunday's, shows three different cards, but no circles. Well, unless you count bling.

First up, an elegant card with multiple mats. The branch stamp from Hero Arts is a wood-mounted beauty that came out years ago. It's got lovely flow, doesn't it?

I mentioned a few posts back that my two label sentiment sets were either too big or too small...I need a Goldilocks set that's just right. Well, after looking around, I didn't find anything to meet the need. Which convinced me that this is most definitely a first-world problem and I need to stop complaining about it. The three cards today use the set from Mama Elephant called Occasional Labels.

It's just right for these three cards.

After elegant came cute.

The butterflies are from Hero Arts and the grass is from Papertrey's Peaceful Garden set. I colored the butterflies with colored pencils and then sponged green ink in the grass to give more definition to the bottom of the raised panel.

Finally, well, I'm not even sure what to call this third card. Minimalist?

The ink is a dark gray, and the Stickles is magenta. The plant stamp is from Peaceful Garden, and the butterfly is from Martha Stewart punch. The die (from a set) was given to me by Eva...such a sweet and generous soul!

These variations on the same layout show that details matter and can change the whole look of a card.

I hope this post finds you all healthy and coping, perhaps even thriving in our weird new world. My main mental health self-care has involved ruthlessly limiting news exposure, actively seeking out comedy (cute dog videos, Parks and Recreation, Bloom County on Facebook, etc.), stamping, and reaching out to my friends and family. Around the house, I find myself wearing noise-canceling headphones with a jazz playlist to block my younger son's movies, older son's video games, and husband's conference calls. I also listen to Brene Brown's podcasts and am reading quite a lot.

This Friday, however, I'll be trying something totally new. My church has decided to offer morning devotionals led by different people--pastors and lay people--each weekday morning. I volunteered to do a Facebook Live devotional this Friday. If you would like to add a little peace and encouragement to your mornings, check the First United Methodist of Springboro Facebook page  at 9:30 a.m. EDST Monday-Friday.

Yesterday's video is available and features Pastor Amy Haines. Today's featuree our Pastor of Adult Discipleship Doug Dean. The two others for this week are Certified Lay Ministers Jennifer Fry and David Finney. All of us but Pastor Amy are noobs to the whole video devotional thing, but we all have hearts for Jesus and will do our best. If you bear with us, I assure you we will all get better as time goes on!

I find my reactions to and self-care for this crisis keep changing as time stretches out. What are you doing for self-care as we move into our third month of COVID-19 mitigation? Has your response changed? For better or worse?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

PS Several people have mentioned they miss seeing our dogs. Daisy's tenth birthday was yesterday. She's the good dog, 95% of the time. Cooper will be three in July. He's the good dog about 60% of the time.

The morning mooch:
"You has toast. We has no toast."

Cooper should be named Olaf...

...because he likes warm hugs...

...and always does the happ.

Nick took this gorgeous picture of Daisy. 

Slut puppy always ready for a belly rub. Both dogs
seriously need a trip to the groomer!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Inspiration Is for Squares

Or maybe circles. You be the judge.

First of all, THIS CARD  by Franka Thorenz totally caught my eye on Pinterest. It's both adorable and elegant. *happy sigh*

So I my first effort was a fairly literal version of the inspiration piece.

The vine turned out a bit different than expected. I'd inked the stamp (Papertrey's Turning a New Leaf) with Arteza watercolor brush pens, brushing the light green all over and then tapping on the darker shades. My spritz didn't really have enough water to blend the colors very well, but I sort of liked the mottled effect and continued to build the card around it.

By the way, I had to retrieve a bunch of large circle punches from cold storage to make these cards because my order from Hero Arts with the infinity circle dies hasn't arrived yet. Kudos to Hero Arts for staying open as they can right now. My gratitude enables my patience in waiting for the order. At least they are trying, which is all any of us can do under these trying circumstances!

And at least I have circle punches to work in the meantime. Who says having a hoard is a bad thing? Not I!

Anyway, I liked the results of my first effort but kept going.

The second effort felt a bit more like LateBlossom to me. In my search for stamps for a second version, I found this wreath from Simon Says. It gently begged to be used, and I'm so glad I did...even if it took me pretty far from the inspiration piece.

I colored with three different shades of green Copics, randomly scattering the colors around the wreath for a bit of dimensional effect. Then, using a Sakura stardust pen, I added some shimmer to the dots.

Finally, the last square inspiration (or is it circle inspiration? Does it matter?). This one is my favorite. The inspiration piece is much more evident here, although the architecture of it is greatly simplified with masking rather than cutting the top circle. I added a thin mat...cut using a Creative Memories Circle Cutter because the punches gave too much border (see card #2).

This set, also from Simon Says, is one of my favorites. The leaves were deliberately stamped a bit askew to add some whimsy. Since I didn't have cardstock to match the Hero Arts soft apricot ink for the punched leaf, I stamped a shadow stamp onto white cardstock and then punched it to create a perfectly matching visual triangle of the apricot, unifying the top third and bottom two thirds of the card.

Many thanks to Franka Thorenz and her beautiful inspiration card. I couldn't have made these three cards without it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,