Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Two Tidbits and a Season

First, the book update. A while back, I mentioned working on a stamping book. Well, the introduction and a couple of chapters are in draft form, but the realities of publishing have caught up with me. Turns out that publishing an e-book with lots of photos isn't technologically feasible at this time. The other options are a) I lay out gobs of money to a vanity press for a 1,000 print run and hope they all sell for a good price, or b) I create a print-on-demand book that costs you, the reader, gobs of money per copy.

Neither of these options sounds workable. So I'm tabling my stamping book until e-book technology catches up. Then, I can price it reasonably so you want to buy it and not have a huge expense eating into my son's college fund. Everyone will be happy. In the meantime, I'll try to write writerly posts occasionally here.

For free.

Free is good!

Second, many of you mentioned the MISTI as an option for layered stamping. That's great for those who want to invest in one, but for now, I'm going to pass, reserving the right to change my mind at any time. However, I did download Evernote today and began indexing stamps on my iPad. That was free. And not too annoying.

Third, a season. I've always liked the passage from Ecclesiastes about seasons and particularly enjoy the musical version of it by the Byrds. A friend is currently experiencing a season that doesn't make sense to her, a season that doesn't feel fair. It isn't fair, actually. But as we are both women of faith, this passage reminds us that every season--no matter how much it sucks--gets turned to His purpose. So I wanted to share it with her, courtesy of this stamp from Papertrey's Beautiful Blessings.

I hope the card encourages her to trust and endure. Seasons change. This, too, shall pass.

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blessings, Concord & 9th Wild Flowers, Hero Arts small flower
ink: various dye inks, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic marker, craft foam, silver half bead

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen

Years ago, when I worked for a major international corporation in the marketing communications department, an incredibly talented graphic design artist brought a booklet cover she was working on for my opinion.

I looked at it, and my English-major mind, which sees Christ figures and phallic symbols everywhere, burst out laughing. It wasn't Christ I was seeing on that cover. Some arrow-shaped designs are, shall we say, unfortunate. The artist blushed bright red and said, "Obviously, you see it."

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

She completely redesigned the cover.

This memory came to mind last weekend as I was trying to grab a little inspiration from this picture on Pinterest.


Perhaps you see the issue? I didn't, until I made my card, and immediately, I saw a breast...a breast with a heart-shaped pasty. All that's missing is the tassel.

Perhaps it's the pink. Perhaps it's the English-major mind that can't look at pears without giggling. But truly, how can I send this card to anyone now? Seriously. "Here I am, sending you a loving boob card! Enjoy!"

Hey! Another thought just popped into my head. Perhaps the card shows a breast pressed in the mammography machine, with one of those little nipple stickers made fun by light-hearted mammography techs. Maybe I could send it to my sister to remind her to get her girls squished! Love your ta-tas!

Or not.


stamps: My Favorite Things Party Patterns, Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white, unknown pink (maybe StampinUp pomegranate), StampinUp black
accessories: large circle punch, heart punch, dimensional 

Monday, May 23, 2016

See What You Can Do with Colored Pencils

Reader Beth kindly reminded me this morning that I haven't yet fulfilled my promise to talk about layered stamps and their difficulties. By shocking coincidence, today's post provides a possible solution to the problem of layered stamps.

Oh, my. They are a problem.

I realized long ago that two-step stamps present a huge challenge to the uber-CAS stamper. Mainly, we need to be incredibly precise, and I often found that, despite being afflicted with steady hands and a discerning eye for precision, I failed spectacularly at making two-step stamping work. Lining up the second stamp perfectly, with no gaps or crookedness, proved far more difficult than expected...even with clear stamps or a stamp positioner.

Add a third layer, as many current sets do, and I'm D. O. N. E. Done.

In the past year, I have purchased several three-step stamp sets from Hero Arts (these are enormously popular right now and available from a number of companies...Altenew has some particularly beautiful ones) as well as a set from Papertrey that includes three different birds with two-step stamps. After rigorous and repeated attempts to make all these work, I've essentially given up.

Yep. Given. Up.

Life's too short to spend your craft time swearing and throwing photopolymer across the room.

Not that I lose my cool like that, but you know....

Stampers like Jennifer McGuire make these stamp sets look easy, but I struggle. And it's simply no longer worth it.

Fortunately, you can achieve a similar effect with block stamps and colored pencils, as today's card shows. The rose stamp, from Hero Arts Flower Garden, looked extremely flat when stamped in Impress Fresh Ink melon. I loved the layout of the card, but the flatness of it wasn't doing the design any favors.

So I broke out the PrismaColor Pencils and went to work.

Check out the shading made possible with colored pencils. I took a shade darker (nectar) and a shade lighter (light peach) and created some depth over the melon ink. A few strokes of the clear blender pencil over the shading, and it's finished. The results are quite gratifying. A bit of chartreuse added to the leaves, and YAY! Depth and dimension, and no multi-step stamping involved.

Note that I only use PrismaColor pencils because my fine-artist mother said they were the ones I should use. Always listen to your mother.

Adam Savage of Mythbusters says that failure is always an option. Fortunately, my failure with layered stamping doesn't keep me from creating some dimension in my stamping. There's usually a work-around somewhere, if you are determined. I'm certainly determined.

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Simon Says Stamp It's Your Birthday, Hero Arts Flower Garden
ink: Impress Fresh Ink melon and grass, Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder, PrismaColor pencils

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Clean and Simple ROCKS!

My past few forays in the craft room have been a tad frustrating. One amusing product of the frustration will make it on the blog for a laugh later this week, but sadly, my recycle box filled quickly the past few days.

Then, I made this. Whew. What a relief.

That sentiment font is so very pretty. Take a closer look.

So pretty it doesn't need any embellishment...just a simple and subtle frame and a rich, beautiful color.

The sentiment is from Simon Says Stamp's It's Your Birthday. The envelope stamps are also from SSS, Envelope Sentiments. The card size is 3.5" x 6.25".

Today's post shows how very little you need to make a pretty, high-impact card. Ink. White card stock. Pretty stamps.

And it made me happy. So very happy!

What have you made lately that makes you happy?

Stamps: Simon Says Stamp Envelope Sentiments, It's Your Birthday
Ink: Hero Arts raspberry
Paper: Papertrey Ink white
Accessories: envelope

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sunshine on my Mind

Not sure why I've been on a sunshine kick lately, except that we've had one of the longest, chilliest, grayest springs I can remember. Please understand that I'm not complaining at all. Rain makes things grow, we're not having floods, and I much prefer moderate temperatures over too hot or too cold.

I have Baby Bear weather preferences.

Anyway, sunshiny stamp sets keep leaping into my cart this spring, it seems.

These stamps are from Hero Arts, a set called Sun Showers. The gray rain and cloud add some tension to the design, I think. This card seems to be saying that, yes, bad things are going on, but you remind me that there's still sunshine.

Which is a pretty awesome thing to be grateful for, don't you supose?

stamps: Hero Arts Sun Showers
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: markers (Memento), scissors, dimensionals

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Delicata Sunshine

Who can resist Delicata Golden Glitz ink? Not me, that's who.

Love, love, love the shimmery golden goodness--and the simplicity--of this gorgeous ink.

The card is pretty straightforward, taking advantage of the large sun image and the fabulous inverted pyramid effect of the sentiment. Both stamps are from Simon Says Stamp's My Sunshine set. The popped panel adds interest and creates a stronger line between the two elements, grounding that rising sun nicely.

We had sunshine today in southwest Ohio. It was good. I hope you enjoyed your weather today!

stamps: Simon Says Stamp My Sunshine
ink: Delicata golden glitz
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Clean Christmas

Doodlebug's darling dimensional holly stickers and a fun-fonted sentiment: that's all you need for a clean Christmas card.

Card size 6.25" x 3.5"

And yes, I participled a noun because it was jolly good fun to do so. (I also verbed a participle. Ha! I could do this all night, but I'll stop now. You're welcome.)

When I showed this card to my son, he was taken aback. "I'm surprised you're making a Christmas card," he said. "It's not Christmas time!"

Oh, my son. If only you knew the power of new Christmas stamps. Resistance is futile.

Besides, trying to make a hundred-plus Christmas cards during Christmas time...well, that's just crazy talk.

Can I hear an amen?

stamps: Simon Says Stamp For To Us
ink: Memento Luxe love letter
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Doodlebug holly stickers