Friday, May 26, 2017

There's No School Like Old School

One of the first techniques I learned (after heat embossing) was using watercolor markers directly on wood-mounted rubber stamps. This old-school technique allows you to put multiple colors of ink on a single stamp easily. Once inked, the stamp can be spritzed with water for a watercolor effect or simply huffed with the stamper's breath for crisper images.

For newbies, make sure the markers you use are, indeed, watercolor markers. Tombow, StampinUp, and Memento all make suitable markers, and perhaps readers will add more to the list in the comments below. Sharpies, Copics, Bic, and other alcohol-based, permanent markers will NOT work.

Anyway, as I've explored my neglected rubber stamps, I came across four beautiful stamps from Hero Arts. The Watercolor Marguerite, Coneflower, Sunflower, and Dahlia are designed to look like watercolors even when stamped with plain ink. Spritz them, and they are even more beautiful.

I'd come across THIS GORGEOUS PIN on my Cards Pinterest Board, and it inspired me to make this set of cards.

The background is from a Hero Arts clear set called Dictionary Greetings. It's stamped in black on each of the above cards to help the brightly colored flowers pop.

After finishing this floral set, I decided to make a masculine version of the card. It's nowhere near as nice as the more colorful versions, though. The flat color of the Hero Arts soft leaf ink over the cup o' Joe brown just doesn't do much for me. I should have used the same technique as above and used brighter colors.

But that's okay. Live and learn.

I found that many of my red-rubber floral stamps invite this technique, so you'll see it a few more times over the next week or so.

In the meantime, what are your favorite old-school techniques?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Dictionary Greetings, watercolor flowers, leaf
ink: Archival black, Hero Arts cup o' Joe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Memento and StampinUp markers, water spritzer bottle

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Even More Joy

When I made this card, I stamped another j-o-y from a different Hero Arts alphabet set. It sat for a week or so on my desk until this idea popped into my head.

Postage-stamp punch, holly stickers, and cancelled-postage wavy lines...festive! I like how the postage, which signifies cards travelling all over, reinforces the "to the world" sentiment.

The sparkly holly stickers also make me joyful!

It's been a weird week. I hope to be able to share more birthday cards from my informal wood-mounted stamps challenge starting tomorrow.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Archival red geranium, watering can
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp real red
accessories: holly stickers, postage punch

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, Office Supplies!

It was fun making this geeky birthday card using some stamps from my Office Supply wood-mounted stamps.

I tore out a mask to use with the large Cornish Heritage Farms grid paper background and built the little collage of cut-out ruler image, paperclip stamps, and enamel dots.

The simple color scheme and focused area keep the collage simple and clean, and the triangle of enamel dots lends balance to the design.

Hope you like it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Cornish Heritage Farms (grid), Hero Arts (ruler, paperclip), Papertrey (sentiment)
ink Archival French ultramarine, black; Hero Arts charcoal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, enamel dots, copy paper (for mask)

Monday, May 22, 2017

I'd Rather Be Lucky than Good

In my quest to make birthday cards using all my wood-mounted stamps (or as many of the stamps as will be practical), I stumbled across a lovely Celtic knot square. Staring at it gave me the idea of using one of the Hero Arts ombre ink pads. Then this happened:

I inked the stamp on the diagonal for no other reason than it felt interesting and then realized I could arrange the squares so the colors slide from one square to the next. Isn't that incredibly cool? My husband has an appropriate saying from his Air Force days: "I'd rather be lucky than good." In this case, that's absolutely true.

The card has a matching envelope and will go to a relative who loves all things Celtic. The birthday sentiment is inside as it would have merely distracted from the pretty, colorful squares.

Card size: 7.25" x 3.5"

So much of the creative process is serendipitous...sometimes things work out spectacularly, and sometimes, well, they make pretty trash. I used to resent the failures but now see them as inevitable, resulting in teachable moments, a lesson learned.

Besides, when something like this happens, the failures hardly matter.

What is your attitude toward failure? Do you get angry at wasting supplies, or do you accept the cost of creativity and just move on?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Stampabilities Celtic knotwork, Papertrey sentiment (not shown)
ink: Hero Arts ombre mermaid
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

MISTI and Color Layering Rooster

You might remember Leslie Hanna (a.k.a. The Crooked Stamper) who passed away on Christmas Day, 2015.

Leslie often advised me on new products because she tried everything and I'm cautious. One day, we discussed the MISTI, which was new at the time. She advised against my getting one because my style is so CAS and my hand so steady that such an expensive tool would be a waste of money.

Some time later, Hero Arts came out with Color Layering Seahorse (three layers) and Color Layering Octopus (two layers), and I started drooling over the layered flowers from Altenew.  So I started to think maybe Leslie's advice wasn't so good two years on.

I posted a question on my personal Facebook page asking MISTI or Mini MISTI, thinking I would get one or the other for Mother's Day. That's when Tina S., who was Leslie's BFF and neighbor, offered to give me a MISTI.

For nothing.

Yep. She just happened to have an extra lying around and gave it to me. *SQUEE*

New in the box.

Several people have told me that my life is about to change. Instead of ordering a MISTI for Mother's Day, I ordered several more of Hero's color layering sets, including Color Layering Rooster.

Now, it's important that I noted the Seahorse and Octopus sets have three and two layers respectively because the Rooster has about 42 layers, some of which are almost microscopic in size. (Yes, I'm exaggerating for comic effect, but still...simple, the Rooster is not.)

The MISTI was hugely helpful in positioning all but the beak/eye stamp of the Rooster, which was so tiny and so sticky it would NOT stay where it needed to for use with the MISTI. Still, Cock-a-doodle looks handsome, does he not?

The Color Layering Sea Turtle has 13 separate stamps. I strongly encourage you to count layers before you buy if you, like me, are not a patient stamper.


At least I've got a MISTI to help me not lose my cool altogether. And it's all thanks to Tina. What a sweetheart she is, and my stampy self is eternally grateful.

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Rooster
ink: a whole bunch of different colors of Hero Arts and Archival inks
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp black
accessories: MISTI

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Double Post Because Y'all Just Won't Believe This

Okay, we're going to start with the expected...a card you will recognize as completely CAS, full of white space, and therefore Susan-y. In fact, there's so much white space, I suspect some of you will get itchy just looking at it.

Am I right? Do you need some Benadryl?

Of course I love it. In fact, this might be one of the Christmas cards I make multiples of this year.

And now for a card that you're not going to believe I made.

I don't believe it.

But I do love it, for reasons that have nothing to do with design and everything to do with books.

I made this card for Audrie's IC598 at Splitcoast. The inspiration piece is from Autumn's blog HERE. The connection between the inspiration piece and mine is obvious...layout, colors, cut words, image at the top. I did preserve some crispness in my simple, white word pieces and the background for my shelf, but otherwise, it's pretty not crisp.

The quotation is from Anne McCaffrey, a science-fiction writer I've read since forever. Her Pern series is on my comfort shelf.

To make the background, I used the Tim Holtz mini blenders to blend the frayed burlap and faded jeans on the bottom 3/4 of the card base. Then, I spattered water over it to add a dreamy effect. 

The words were printed on Neenah 80lb and cut out as per Autumn's inspiration piece. 

The bookshelf was stamped on a smaller piece of 80lb Neenah using various distress inks so the stamping wouldn't be too crisp. I added a small plant on the stack on the right to symbolize how books turn the CO2 of life back into oxygen. 

The base is Neenah 110lb cardstock, which held up beautifully to all the ink and water spatters. 

So this might not look at all like a card I would make given my passion for white space and crisp, clean stamping, but ohmygosh does it capture my absolute and passionate love of and need for books. 

Many thanks to Audrie and Autumn for such a great afternoon of stampy fun!

So, I leave you with a question. What books do you consider comfort books? 

Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and books,

Supplies for Christmas Card
stamps: Winnie and Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry
ink: Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: not a one

Supplies for Comfort Book Card
stamps: Simon Says Stamp To Thine Own Shelf
ink: Tim Holtz distress
paper: Neenah 110lb and 80lb
accessories: craft foam, glue, toothbrush, water, mini blending tools

Friday, May 19, 2017

New Tab on Card Shop and Simple Friday Card

The tab on Karen's Card Shop is now live on the blog. You can find the tabs by clicking to the blog itself (if you read Simplicity by email or in a reader), and on the bar below the blog title, you'll see Home, Subscribe, Product Talk, Use Your Hoard, and Karen's Card Shop. Click on Karen's Card Shop (or this link right here), and you'll find all the details of the shop.

If you still have questions, please ask them on the Karen's Card Shop page in the comments if possible, or email me at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

I will update the page as questions come in. Surely I haven't covered everything.

Today's card is simple because I've been typing entirely too much. Isn't that matting sublime?

Happy Friday.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: StampinUp Letters from Friends
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none, because it's super simple