Thursday, August 27, 2015

Using My Hoard: Stipple Brushes

Stipple brushes are among the oldest tools I have in my craft hoard, but they rarely get used. Not sure why because they create such a unique and interesting background with absolutely no skillz needed. Just pounce that baby up and down until you get the color saturation you want, and BAM!

To make this card, I masked off the area to stipple, then started with light blue ink (Hero Arts Cornflower) and then added some Memento Paris Dusk to the bottom. When I removed the mask, I wasn't quite sure I liked the blue against the seemed anemic, for some reason. So  using Papertrey's Faux Ribbon set, I added black lines that were heavier than the lines on the birds are on, and that created just the border needed between the blue and white. In the photo, it looks like a black mat to me, but it's definitely a one-layer card.

Let me make a small shout-out to Memento Luxe ink here. The tuxedo black is incredibly rich, dense, and BLACK. Those little birdies pop right off the blue background because that ink pad is SO INCREDIBLE.

If you don't have one, get one!

Yep. You've got a friend in me.

Or enabler.


stamps: Penny Black Happy Notes; Papertrey Faux Ribbon, Keep It Simple Thinking of You
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Memento Luxe tuxedo black; Hero Arts cornflower; Memento Paris dusk
accessories: post-its for mask, quilt ruler for placing post-its, stipple brush

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When Bling Matters

Today's little card needed a little something-something, and bling was it.

Sized 3 3/8" x 4 3/4" to fit a small envelope
in my stash.

Note how I used the deckle edge of the watercolor paper as the bottom edge of the card. On purpose.

This card uses the same technique as this one, I inked with green Kaleidacolor ink (from Caribbean sea), spritzed, stamped, and then very quickly repeated with the blue. I love how the blue bleeds into the yellow-green and makes a blue-green. Once the strips were completely dry, I added the sentiment using Memento Luxe ink for a crisp, solid coverage.

Without the bling the card was okay, but your eye went straight to the sentiment and stayed there. While those colors are simply fabulous, the design was incredibly static. But by adding the bling, your eye has to move across the strip, which makes the whole thing far more interesting.

Plus, well, it's BLING. And I've said it before and will say it again, "Bling makes everything better."

Don't you agree?

stamps: Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental, Papertrey Watercolor Wonders
ink: Kaleidacolor, Memento Luxe
paper: Windsor and Newton Watercolor, 90lb hot press
accessories: water spritzer, rhinestones

Monday, August 24, 2015

No Regrets

Okay, so I do have some regrets...those purchases that clearly were stupid and silly and filled me with buyer's remorse and self-loathing.

"Will I ever learn?!?!"

Probably not. But hey, I just, for the second time in my life, used up a whole tube of ChapStick without losing it first. I suppose that means there must be some hope for me.

Or not.


Anyway, after deciding RESOLUTELY that I did not, under any circumstances, need even one more Kaleidacolor ink pad, I bought Vineyard. Because (and you know this, don't you?) it was so pretty!

I played around with the pad immediately after I bought it and thought, "Meh. Why'd I buy this?" And quietly banged my head on my desk in despair.

Today, however, I'm feeling no regrets. This card is why I bought Kaleidacolor Vineyard:

As soon as I finished it, I knew exactly who will receive it. Our niece announced last week that she and her boyfriend are getting married. Yay!!!! I'm going to send this to the happy couple. The color scheme isn't too girly, which feels appropriate for a couple, don't you think?

The close-up shows the fabulous olive fading into the grayish teal, then brownish purple, dark plum and finally lavender.

Happy sigh. I think my new motto for crafty purchases is "No Regrets." Eventually, you will make something work for you.

And if that's not a sure-fire plan for getting my own episode of Hoarders, I don't know what is.

stamps: Penny Black Happy Notes
ink: Kaleidacolor Vineyard
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Study in Contrast

Today's card is crisp and clean, like a bright autumn day.

Crisp, clean, autumnal

The color here is Ancient Page Henna, which is a glorious burnt red color. This ink stamps so crisp and clean (although it does stain photopolymer, if that bothers you). The pointy banner keeps the design crisp, as does the all-caps classic font of the sentiment. The two rhinestones anchor the banner, To get the color right, I started with brown rhinestones and added red Sharpie.

Contrast that with yesterday's card, which has a nearly identical layout. The lavender is cool and soothing, and there's nothing really "crisp" about this with the fuzzy flock as the dominant element. The font is certainly crisp, but I find with this complex botanical stamp, fussy fonts get lost or look kind of chaotic.

Soft, fuzzy, serene

Same basic card, completely different feel. Y'all, I never get tired of doing this with layouts. Change a few key elements, and the whole thing changes.

Do you like playing around with color like this? Sometimes I find a design works great with one color scheme but doesntt work in another. Sometimes, too, an image can be incredibly flexible, like this fabulous Penny Black stamp that can be energized or subdued.

I'm so glad I bought this set!!!! You'll see more of it in the next couple of days. It's chameleon-like!

stamps: Penny Black Happy Notes
ink: Ancient Page Henna
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: dimensional, square punch (used just one corner to notch the banner), brown rhinestones, red Sharpie marker

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Soft Sympathy

I'm out of sympathy cards again, so I decided to go soft and gentle with the fabulous plant stamp from Penny Black's Happy Notes set and some light purple flock.

Here's a close-up of the flock...the color on the close-up is closer to the real color. Editing pastel-colored cards can be tough!

I love the soft, tactile quality cards with flock have, and the lighter colors are perfect for soothing, comforting cards. Lavender used to be an acceptable color for ladies in mourning to wear, so its use on sympathy cards has a historic justification as well.

The pointy corners of the sentiment strip looked harsh, so I pulled out a pair of scallop scissors and snipped the left-hand corners. It's a small touch, but it makes a difference in the overall feel of the card. I didn't snip the right-hand corners because they line up with the sharp edge of the plant image.

Remember that the design principle of UNITY requires that all the elements of a card work together to reinforce each other. If I'd used hot pink flock on this card, for example, the sentiment would have to be different...something happier to match the flashy color.

To adhere the flock to the card, use the Essential Glue Pad. Some quick tips for success: a) work quickly, b) press the flock onto the glue using your fingers (just sprinkling it won't make a nice bond), c) thump off the excess flock gently, and d) let it dry for a VERY long time before touching it.

This is my second Essential Glue Pad; the first got too dried out and too hard to use. It's important to reapply the glue to the pad before each use, especially if you haven't used it in a while. Eventually, the pad will get hard with dry glue. It will work for a while, even when it gets pretty stiff, so don't throw it away prematurely. These things are expensive. I really should use it more often, but while it works great with flock, I find that it's less grabby of glitter.

Of course, I gave away all my loose glitter in exchange for a bunch of Stickles. Less mess, stays put.

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

Several people have asked for the names of the sets from yesterday's shopping spree post. Here you go.

Hero Arts: Holiday Pine Branches (CL899) and Holiday Greetings (CL890)
Penny Black: Happy Notes
Simon Says Stamp: To Thine Own Shelf

I ordered all four from Simon Says Stamp.

Happy Shopping!

stamps: Penny Black
ink: Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones, scallop scissors (to round the left corners of the sentiment strip)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Any Excuse to Shop and A Beautiful Card from Audrie

Funny story. So, I've been an Iron Sherpa for SEVEN Ironman races, meaning I woke at 4:00 AM to carry around bike pumps and fetch coffee, I've retrieved disgusting bikes coated in sticky sports drinks and sweat, and I've cheered my Ironman on all day and into the night. I even went to the Burger King drive thru at midnight when he DNF'd at Lake Placid because he wasn't hungry until then.

Not once has George given me a gift for being such a good athletic supporter (so to speak). In fact, I never even thought about getting a gift. (Don't tell him, but being an Iron Sherpa can be a lot of fun.)

Well, turns out my sister-in-law, Angela, has received a fancy gift for all three stints she's pulled as an Iron Sherpa for her husband, Mike. We're talking expensive handbags, jewelry, and such.


She talked it up good and shamed George into agreeing that I deserved an Iron Sherpa gift this year. He asked what I wanted, and I said, without thinking or hesitation, "Stamps!" He was relieved that I'd do the buying, and I'm thrilled to have an excuse to buy more stamps.

Check out the first installment of my Iron Sherpa reward!

Two new Hero Arts Christmas sets

A Penny Black set (Heather Telford inspired this purchase!) and
Simon Says Stamp's book set...for obvious reasons.
Woo-hoo!!! Now, can I make time to play with this goodness...and perhaps shop a bit more? Things might be calming down. The boys are through their first week of school and are mostly settled. I got rear-ended today in a minor car accident, but there doesn't seem to be much damage to the car. Will know more tomorrow. But I've GOT TO STAMP!!!

In the meantime, check out the gorgeousness that was waiting in my mailbox when we got home on Tuesday...

Card by Audrie Magno-gordon
I have been DYING to see the modeling paste in action, and here goes Audrie sending me happy mail with a hands-on example of it!  The black-and-white geometry here is FABULOUS!!! And that tile with the word "authentic" did Audrie know that word has been on my mind lately? Seriously. This is such a touchable card (I'd worried that the paste would dry hard, but it's flexible and survived the postal service beautifully), and can you believe how clean the black card stock is? Amazing and inspiring!

Close-up or Audrie's amazing card!

I should have taken a picture of the envelope as well because it was beautiful, too.

Thank you, Audrie. So very much!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Some Color Ideas

Well, we are back in Ohio after a wonderful twelve days in Quebec. My husband finished his sixth Ironman race 18 minutes faster than last year and is still recovering from Sunday's effort. He'll be back on the bike this weekend for sure, but running might take longer.

Our kids missed the first day of school because of our trip, so this week has been insane with trying to get everything set up, inevitable problems worked out, and school supplies bought. So far, I've shopped five times for supplies, and we still don't have everything we need. It's a nightmare.

While I still haven't had time to stamp, I had some rainy days in Quebec to surf Pinterest for inspiration, and pinned lots of good stuff, mainly on Pure Inspiration and Color my World boards.

Kathryn Baldwin asked me a question on one pin that provides some interesting food for thought. She wrote,

"Just out of curiosity, do you have a personal standard or preference for the number of colors you use in a card? I find it difficult to go beyond three. And sometimes one of those is white or ivory or Kraft!"

Most of the pins on the Color my World board have five-color combinations...yet when was the last time you saw me use five colors on a card? Yeah, it's been a while, for sure. My favorite color combinations are either a) monochromatic, b) two or three colors, usually analogous (side-by-side on the color wheel), or c) two complementary colors (opposites on the color wheel).

So why spend so much time pinning five-color combinations on Pinterest?

Because those combinations just offer inspiration. We can pick and choose among the five and play with two or three of them...or all of them. Really, inspiration is just the jumping off point. And while we all have "favorite" colors and combinations, it's useful to stretch our creativity by trying combinations or colors that we don't normally use.

Color my World is perfect for that sort of inspiration, and that's how I use it.

How do you get color inspiration on Pinterest? Do you have a board specifically for color? How do YOU use it?

Inquiring minds, and all that jazz....