Monday, October 20, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 2

For this second card using the Keeping It Simple: Thanks set from Papertrey, I decided to use the sentiment without an image but with a little color change to spice things up.

This stamp uses two weights of the same font...a nice, clean sans-serif font in regular and bold. The difference in weight throws the emphasis of the two words "thank you" clearly onto the "you." By repeating the sentiment and using color to emphasize the "you" even more, I created a card all about "YOU."

Surely you have thanks to give to someone who by his or her very nature deserves thanks...not just for what they do or what they give, but for who they are.

Here's the perfect card for that special person!

And yes, I screwed up my first attempt by forgetting to ink the stamp on the two pads, and inked the whole thing on the charcoal. Grrr.

But we got there on the second attempt.

Really. One must pay attention when one stamps. One simply must.

Lining up these three sentiments, however, was easy with the gridded acrylic block. I started with the bottom image and worked my way up, aligning the already-stamped sentiment with the white line a half-inch below the new image. That way, I have exactly the same space between the top two images and between the bottom two images.

Reason #86 you need gridded acrylic blocks!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, fresh peach
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gridded acrylic block

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 1

When Papertrey offered a Keep It Simple: Thank You set for $5, I jumped all over it. These little sets of ONLY USEFUL sentiments are an excellent value (I have three of them). You'll note there are no weird sentiments included...just what you'll actually use.

Not a "Cherish" or "Imagine" or "Beelzebub" in the lot.

Anyway, while flipping through my stash of cards, I realized that I'm running low on thank-you cards, and with my birthday coming up in November, it made sense to beef up the stash.

By the way, this year, I turn an even number, which is ALWAYS better than being an odd number, although 47 really hasn't been a bad year at all, despite being both odd and prime.

Anyway (again), here's the first of six thank-you cards for this week of Keeping Thanks Simple.

There are six different fonts in the set, and I tried to match fonts with images that in some way suited them. For this very bold, strong font, I wanted a single, bold, strong image with nice, clean, curvy lines. The lime and brown pair nicely, and the bling needs no explanation.

This is such an easy card that it would be a snap to make lots of them in no time.

What do you think of sentiments in stamp sets? Do you often use sentiments other than the traditional, straightforward sentiments (thank you, happy birthday, thinking of you, hello, get well, etc.)? I find since I started sending cards to Operation Write Home, the ordinary sentiments are most useful.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts lime, VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Couple of Beauties I've Received

I received a couple of cards in the last few months that I'd like to share today. These two are simply beautiful and from two amazing stampers who've been my online friends for YEARS.

In August, I received a sweet note of congratulations from Heather on my completion of Stephen Ministry leadership training. What a beautiful example of Heather's fine soft and simple, yet layered and visually striking! The blue and cream are so pretty together.

The next card is from Marty F., who's sent me cards and Christmas ornaments for years...always clean and simple and pretty, just like this card! Don't you love the movement she created by varying the flower heights? Such a great design!

I treasure every card I receive...handmade or otherwise. My inspiration board in my craft space is almost full again. I clear it off when it gets full, but it's never empty for long, especially around Christmas!

Isn't it awesome that our hobby lets us send others--even virtual strangers--little bits of love through the post?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Back to Fall

If you haven't read the comments on my last post, I suggest you mosey on over and check them out. People have shared a bit of their creative process, and it's always educational to see how other people "do" stamping. There are some really thought-provoking perspectives on the process there. Thanks to all who commented. Perhaps even more of you will comment!

Today's card uses the only mum set I've found that I truly love...Papertrey's Mum's the Word.

There are three sizes of mum in the set, and these are the two smaller ones. The third is quite large, and using all three on one card doesn't leave enough white space for my tastes. My solution would usually be to stamp the small one twice, thus creating a visual triangle. But when I stamped these two, I thought, "Huh. That's enough."

And it was.

Just goes to show that the concept of visual triangles, while extremely pleasing to the eye in many situations, need not be followed as an inviolable rule.

Sometimes, two are just fine.

And isn't "inviolable" a really cool word? Say it out loud. Inviolable. Love those vowels.

stamps: Papertrey Mum's the Word
ink: VersaMagic tea leaves, brick red, jumbo java
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shimmery Background and a Question for You

One of the easiest ways to use Twinkling H2Os is to create a simple wash background. Using two shades of purple (lavender and grape), I made this shimmery backdrop for a lovely Penny Black stamp.

Check out the shimmer in this close-up. Awesomely pretty.

To make this wash, I loaded a wash brush (flat ferule with squared-off bristles) with the lighter lavender shade and painted the entire scrap of card stock. Then, I loaded the brush with the grape shade and started from the bottom to work it up into the lavender.

After letting the piece dry, I stamped the image and sentiment, and then cut out the prettiest part of it, which ended up being exactly 4.25" wide, so I mounted it on a portrait-oriented card with glue, not pop dots. This helped flatten the piece, and with that much spectacular shimmer, it didn't need to be popped off the card to grab attention anyway!

This series of cards using Twinkling H2Os got me thinking. One of my favorite and most satisfying ways to work involves focusing on something--a paint, an embellishment, a new stamp set, an old stamp set, a color scheme--and playing around with variations. Sometimes the variations are wildly different, as with these Twinkling H2O cards (here, here, and here), and sometimes they are variations that clearly relate to each other.

This method of focus and variation intrigues me; the challenge of variation excites and motivates me. Do you do the same thing? Or do you prefer working fresh with each new card? Or do you find a design you like and make multiple copies of the same thing?  Or do you do something completely different? What process of creating excites and motivates you the most?

stamps: Penny Black, Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: brush, Twinkling H2Os, glue

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Have a Sparkly, Splashy Christmas!

So after I embossed in white and painted using the Twinkling H2Os, I wondered what else I could do with them.

Turns out that sponging ink onto stamps can be a bit tricky, but I finally got pretty good results which became this sparkly, splashy, and extremely non-traditional Christmas card:

Here's how I did it.

1. Wet the paint pot pretty well with a large brush and lots of water. Swirl the brush around to loosen the pigment as much as possible. The green and red I used are very dark colors, but this technique will lighten the colors considerably.

2. Using a small sponge, pick up the wet paint from the pot and dab it onto the stamp. (If you use a paint brush, you'll make an ugly mess. Ask me how I know....) Keep dipping the sponge in the paint pot until it's dry, and then rub the sponge firmly into the pigment to pull more color onto the sponge. The repeat dabbings onto the stamp give a darker color and much better results than if you just try sponging dry pigment on a dry stamp or stop with the watery paint. It's weird, but it works. At least for me.

3. Once you've gotten as much pigment as possible on the stamp, pray it lightly with a mister full of water. Then stamp.

The panel is edged with a gold metallic marker and popped up with dimensionals.

I love this. I might even keep it for myself because I have no idea who on my Christmas card list would like it. Any takers?

stamps: Papertrey (Grunge Me, Watercolor Wonders), Clearly Besotted (Happy Days)
ink: VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals, gold metallic marker, sponge, Twinkling H2Os

Monday, October 13, 2014

More White Embossing and Twinkling H2Os...Because One Card Is Never Enough But Maybe It Should Be

And here it is, using the same stamp set as yesterday's card, just a different stamp.

I used three different shades of Twinkling H2Os. Go, me!

Looking at it on my computer screen, however, I realize that the red and mustard leaves to the left of the sentiment are awkwardly placed. Oh, and the two leaves at the bottom are perfectly aligned...and should not be. And the top leaf is at the same angle as the two leaves on the right.

I had not noticed all this before. Urgh. I used to be happy with this card, and now I'm not.

Well, leaves in nature don't always fall in perfectly designed randomness, do they?

But they should fall that way on my cards.

Oh well.

Nobody's perfect.

Anyone want to come watch me burn this?

I may or may not have perfectionist issues.

stamps: Clearly Besotted You Are, Papertrey Keep It Simple Thanksgiving sentiment
ink: clear embossing ink, Memento cocoa
paper: Papertrey
accessories: white embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy