Monday, September 1, 2014

On Creative Funk, Retail Therapy, and Assorted Craziness

Many thanks to those of you who commented on this post about creative funk. Some of you were extremely helpful, with practical suggestions of other places to donate and sell cards now that OWH is downsizing. I'll still send some cards to them and watch for changes in their supply/demand chain...Sandy does a great job keeping her suppliers informed, and you just never know what will happen with our troops.

You've given me some great ideas to move forward with my creative energy. Thank you!

And now...onto a possible solution for creative funk that, if abused, can become a problem in itself.

I'm talking about retail therapy.

Retail therapy can be extremely helpful when you're in a funk, but only if you're buying stuff to use rather than buying stuff to hoard. When Papertrey offered a pretty free set on orders over $100 for their Stamp-a-Faire thingie (never been sure what that was, actually), I jumped all over it. What a great excuse to inject new enthusiasm into my craft room!

It worked, too.

I not only bought six packs of Papertrey's white card stock (my favorite, although Neenah Solar White is a close second), I purchased a bunch of new stamps.

The three small sets are all from the  Keep It Simple series: Thanksgiving, Thank You, and Thinking of You. The larger sets are Autumn Adornments, Ombre Builders, Embellished Elegance, and the free set Filled with Joy.

I've also placed an order for a Christmas set from StampinUp's holiday catalog...and six packs of dimensionals. SU's dimensionals really are my favorites, and I'm down to one package.

With my birthday and Christmas coming up, you can bet there will be even more goodness arriving in brown boxes and bubble envelopes in the months to come. (And please note...neither Papertrey nor StampinUp compensate me in any way whatsoever. I'm a happy paying customer, not a paid spokesperson!)

I'll have more to say about shopping, hoarding, and productivity later this week. In the meantime, here's my first card with Ombre Builders.

Love this! I used a Kaleidacolor pad, twine, and punched leaf, and some bling. You wouldn't believe how long this took to make because of the leaf. At first, I thought I'd stamp a scrap and punch out the leaf from the same border image. I loved the softness of the stamp and the way it reminded me of leaves that are holey with age. But even with darker colors, I couldn't get enough contrast over the gold and burnt orange of the border...the leaves just blended in and disappeared.

So I finally flexed to SU chocolate chip card stock, and the solid block of brown worked so much better.

And now for assorted craziness. My mother is visiting so she can watch the boys while George and I go to Madison for Ironman Wisconsin later this week. We'll join George's sister and brother-in-law, as well as one of George's coworkers and his family. This is George's seventh attempt at IM Moo, and hopefully will be his fifth finish there. I'd love to hear the official Ironman announcer Mike Reilly butcher our last name again as George crosses the finish line.

You can catch the Raihala Ironman action on my Questioning my Intelligence blog.

George is already registered for Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Canada in August 2015. Yay! I'm so glad he's crazy enough to do these long-distance, three-in-one races. (For those who don't know, Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon, for a total of 140.6 miles.)

It really is fun being a spectator...crazy people can be very entertaining!

If things get quiet here on Simplicity, now you'll understand why.

stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builder, Keep It Simple Thanksgiving
ink: Kaleidacolor, Memento cocoa
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: twine, rhinestones, dimensionals, leaf punch

Saturday, August 30, 2014

An Explanation of Yesterday's Card

If you're in the dark about yesterday's card, you're not alone. Apparently, there are plenty of people who don't watch the hit show called The Big Bang Theory...the funniest show about geeks EVER.

Yes, I am a geek.

The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom centered on four scientists (Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj), each with his own unique set of issues, and the women in their lives (Amy, Penny, Bernadette, and whomever Raj is dating). My favorite thing about the show is how these mostly messed-up human beings form a group and love and support each other despite (and sometimes because of) their quirks and oddities.

Plus, it's geeky and funny and it has Sheldon.

Yesterday's card was inspired by a Halloween costume from the show's first season. The costume, worn by lead character Dr. Sheldon Cooper, is a visual depiction of the Doppler Effect. Sheldon is a theoretical physicist, and the following video shows outtakes from the show relating to the costume.

The Doppler Effect

And now you know.

Friday, August 29, 2014


I cannot speak. PleeEEEEEasssse tell me you get this.

If you don't, you're seriously watching the wrong television shows.

PS My husband and 14-year-old son got it right away, and both claim it's the best card I've ever made.

stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builders
ink: Memento Deluxe Black, which already needs to be the reinker when you buy the pad, people!
paper: Papertrey White
accessories: circle punch, dimensionals

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gettin' Punchy, Squared with Pop Culture and Renaissance References

More punches.

More, more, more. How do you like it? How do you like it? More, more, more....

Wow. That is just...sad.

But the card isn't sad at all.

Nope. It's merry.

I have a LOT of square and circle punches...including scalloped squares and circles. They take up a lot of space. But unlike my friend Leslie who got rid of her punches (and has a serious addiction to collection of dies), I'm keeping them. For me, they're worth the space.

Today's card offered a chance to use three square punches and some of the baker's twine that I had to have, but now I know not how I shall use it.

The end of that sentence sounds like Shakespeare.

To be, or not to be...that is a really lousy question. To stamp, or not to stamp...that's a no brainer.

May your Labor Day weekend be inky. And safe. And free of Mommy ADD.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: SU real red
paper: Papertrey white and kraft
accessories: baker's twine (Papertrey), dimensionals, square punches

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gettin' Punchy Under the Sea

Yes, we're still "Gettin' Punchy." I have too many punches.

Bwaaahaaaahaaa! "Too many punches"?

Not. Possible.

The number of punches a person needs may be determined using the following equation: x + 1 = y, where x is the number you have, and y is the number you need. Obviously, you can never actually get to "too many punches." The math just won't work.

I have a number of Martha Stewart ocean-themed punches, so I decided to make an over-the-top (for me) card using a couple of them, plus a Fiskar's ocean wave border punch and some random foliage punches to play the role of seaweed.

See what I did here? The large popped panel uses the wave border punch, and the seaweed hangs off the right edge while a little more sneaks a peek from under the popped panel. One fish, one sea horse, and the seaweed fronds on the bottom right are popped up as well, although the seaweed is merely curled up for dimensional effect rather than popped with dimensional tape.

This was a fun card to make in all white, but photographing it was tough. In real life, the white-on-white effect is gloriously bright and clean.

The sentiment might seem a bit odd for a sea-themed card, but I made this for my 70-ish aunt who broke her back about a month ago. She's healing very slowly and has many more months in a back brace before she will be able to resume her normal, very active and busy life. She loves the beach.

stamps: Papertrey Faux Ribbon
ink: Hero Arts pool
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: assorted punches, dimensionals

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Coloring, and a Few Questions

I decided to color using Copics, Bics, and Sharpies.

Why do I feel the need to announce this? Well, perhaps it's because it almost never happens.

I need to order more Gina K card's hard to believe I've used an entire pack of it! Guess I color more often than I think. Anyway, for one-layer cards, it's best to use Gina K's 120# Deluxe White card stock. It's coated and the markers will not bleed through.

The banner stamp is from Hero Arts Leaves Autumn clear set. To make the punched leaves, I colored on a scrap of card stock and punched out of the scribbles. Doing that, rather than punching leaves out of colored card stock, makes the whole card feel more unified and cohesive.

And now on another note....

Have you ever felt uneasy in your crafting? That's how I've felt lately. Every time I sit down to stamp, I feel...a lack of focus? ...overwhelmed? ...bored? ...restless? Honestly, it's hard to find a label for how I feel.

This has happened to me before, and not just in crafting. I'm at a crossroad, a fork in the road, due for a course correction. This particular course correction has probably been prompted by Operation Write Home's announcement that they need fewer cards, that the military draw-down is reducing demand.

I'm thrilled our troops are coming home. I'm thrilled for them and their families. Sandy has asked that we focus on quality, not mere quantity, with the cards we send to OWH.

Yes, ma'am. Will do.

But with CAS cards like mine, some of my best work takes way less time than my worst! Where, then, will all the creative energy flowing compulsively through me go?

That is the question.

What else can I do? I've got the itch to finish writing that book I keep talking about and making snail's pace on. THAT will be a good focus for the new school year, don't you think? I suspect the book might result in a little less posting of cards here, so don't be alarmed if I drop off on posting a bit.

Also, I pulled out my Christmas craft notebooks last weekend and began strategizing what--if anything--I will make for the holidays. The Stephen Ministry ornament is already planned...just need to get more supplies. (If you want to learn more about this, last year's ornament is on THIS POST.) I plan on setting up my artificial tree in the basement again and decorating it with paper ornaments. I'm also planning on making this year's Christmas even more minimalist than last year. 

More minimalist? An oxymoron?

You be the judge.

Anyway, I'm curious to know if any of you A) get a crafty restlessness and what you do about it, and B) have already started planning Christmas crafts? If so, what?

What say ye?

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento cocoa
paper: Gina K
accessories: Bic and Sharpie markers, leaf punch

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Cloudy Chagrin

I bought two Fiskar's cloud punches about a year or so ago, and I don't think I've used them on a card yet. When I pulled them out to play this time, I remembered why.

First, I wanted to make a white-on-white card, but couldn't make it work.

Second, I used a piece of light blue card stock and tried all sorts of white paper (velvet, vellum, regular card stock, rice paper, etc) to make something interesting, and all results were...unsatisfactory.


In frustration, I pulled out a light blue Copic and scribbled a sky, plopped two clouds on it, added a sentiment and a little bling, and thought, "Well, it's not bad. Not great, either, but not bad."

Some days, I am willing to be happy with a "good enough for government work" sort of accomplishment. How about you?

BTW, anyone want to buy these two cloud punches? It think I'm done with them!

stamps: Clearly Besotted, A Little Sentimental
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Fiskar cloud punches, rhinestones, copic marker