Monday, August 8, 2022

Playing with New Supplies

Thanks to everyone who's commented or emailed me on my last post. Cancer sucks, but the thing that will get me through is the love and support of family and friends, including YOU! Thank you.

And thanks to those of you who subscribed using the follow.it button! Please make sure to confirm your subscription in the email follow.it sent, and let me know if you have any problems. 

Today's card gave me a chance to play with some new supplies: Simon Says Stamp inks, Hero Arts stamps, and Honey Bee deckle-edge rectangle dies. Because the watercolor paper was off-white, I used a base of cream cardstock...unusual for me, but fitting for the card. 


The butterflies come from Hero Arts' new set Critter Silhouettes. There's also an adorable snail in the set which will be awesome stamped on envelopes for mailing. 

Silhouette stamps invite several different techniques, but most especially spritzing. Ink up a stamp, spritz it with water, and see what happens. Some inks work better than others for this, and I wanted to see how the Simon Says ink worked. The results are interesting!



The bottom two butterflies use Iris ink, the darkest of the three shades I bought. The top uses Violet, the middle shade. The blotchy results work well, I think, with the silhouette stamps, but the images are not as soft and watercolor-y as, say, Memento inks look.

To add interest, I flicked slightly diluted Smooch gold lame ink on the the panel with a watercolor brush, and used Prismacolor metallic gold marker to edge the stamped panels to bring out the deckle, which was too subtle without the edging. I used to do this sort of edging all the time (especially on Christmas cards), and now I remember why!

The dogs are keeping us laughing, so here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.


"You has bapple and peanut butter. I has no
bapple and peanut butter. May I has some?"

Note how impishly happy Lily looks while Cooper is biting her face.
She knows that she'll get even and is looking forward to it.
For the record, she did get even.

The imp has worn herself out and is irked that 
I'm disturbing her. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Saturday, August 6, 2022

A Fresh Look, a New Subscription Link, and Thanks

Greetings! Feedburner finally stopped sending emails, so if you want to subscribe via email to Simplicity by Lateblossom, click the follow.it link at the top of the sidebar! 

And since you are here on the blog, you'll notice that I've freshened up the design. I hope you like the simplicity of it!

Today's card was made to thank a friend who's being extra supportive of me right now. You see, she had breast cancer last year and went through that terrible rollercoaster of fear, hope, pain, surgery, treatment, and long-term healing. Cancer sucks. 

I made this card to thank her for her support of me because two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself. 

Hero Arts butterfly and dies, StampinUp embossing
folder, Copic markers


My provisional diagnosis is invasive ductal carcinoma, no specific type, grade 1, stage 1. So it's early. I found the lump when rolling over in bed. My thumb grazed the spot, and I thought, "Hmm. That was weird." I felt the site thoroughly and knew it was bad. I got an appointment, where the nurse practitioner said, "Wow! It just jumps right out at you, doesn't it?" Yep. She ordered a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. The radiologist found the lump "very concerning" and ordered a biopsy, which came back positive for hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. 

Check your boobs, ladies. 

I'd planned on getting a mammogram that month anyway, as I was due for it. Nothing shows on last year's mammogram, and the biomarker testing indicates it's not a particularly aggressive cancer. I'm feeling rather lucky in that. 

So August is filling up with appointments and will end with a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node removal on the 30th. After the pathology report comes back on the lump and nodes, we will decide treatment. 

Any of you who've been where I am now (and surely there are plenty of you!) know how scary and overwhelming this is. My plans for this fall for refreshment and focus on creativity have been derailed. I'm angry about that. I'm angry at my boobs for betraying me because I've taken very good care of them over the years. I'm angry that so many people I love are affected by this and are scared for me, too. I'm angry about becoming a statistic. 

But I'm also grateful--deep in my bones and radiating out of my heart grateful--for women's health nurse practitioners, radiology technicians, radiologists, surgeons, oncologists, and my psychologist. I'm grateful for family and friends who have prayed for and supported me in this unexpected challenge. I'm grateful we caught this early and the prognosis is good. I'm grateful I've spent the last year of my life getting fit and losing weight and focusing on my mental health. I'm grateful for my faith in a loving and healing God. 

And I'm grateful for you for sharing my love of simplicity and stamping and laughter. So of course I have a funny story about this experience. 

My darling husband went with me to the surgery consult on Monday. When the surgeon told us about his post-op infection rate, he said, "I've only had one post-op infection, and that patient was clearing her drain with a rusty screwdriver." WHAT!!!! After the gasps of horror, George said, "So what you're saying is we clear the drain with a CLEAN screwdriver. Got it." 

The surgeon, without missing a beat, said, "Dip in in alcohol, light it on fire, and you're good to go!"  

It was awesome! 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Saturday, July 30, 2022

A Design Lesson: Before and After

Because I'm a minimalist, my design process explores this question: "What's the least I can do to make something interesting?" I love smaller designs with lots and lots of white space, but sometimes, the design needs tweaking to make it work. 

Take, for instance, this first effort, which ended up being rather meh. 


Before

There are two problems here. First, the stamped area is a bit too low on the card and looks crowded into the bottom right corner. This makes the stamped area appear quite small with so much white space above it, weighing it down. It also doesn't take advantage of the rule of thirds, with the sentiment just too low on the card to feel easy on the eye.

Second, the spots of color are too small, and the two smaller dots--different stamps from the same Simon Says Stamp set--are too close in size. 

So here's the fix: a smaller stamped panel (with wider white-on-white mat) and larger dots with three distinct sizes. The sentiment isn't quite at the one-third line of the design, but it's closer, and the spots of color are much bigger and better balanced. This design can breathe!
 
After

So just because a design doesn't work the first time, don't give up!

Bonus Dog Pictures

Cooper demanding an apple slice

Lily trying to choke herself



Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 
Susan

Monday, July 25, 2022

Trifold Challenge Results and Winners!

Well, this post was slowed down by a glitch in my Outlook account. After fixing that (yay, me!), I could get to my email, and download the submission photos. 

Thanks to Deborah, Elizabeth, Faye, and Pat for playing along in this challenge! Since only four people played along, I decided to give each of them a $20 gift certificate to Simon Says Stamp! Ladies, please send me an email letting me know the email address you prefer I use for the certificate. Otherwise, I'll send it to the email you used to submit your entries.

Thanks, ladies, for embracing the trifold challenge!


Deborah's card, front panel

Deborah's card fully open, showing a serene 
beach scene that completely supports the sentiment
and leads the eye to the safe ground of the beach.



Elizabeth's first entry, sans sentiment. She pointed
out that the trifold invites storytelling, and she is keeping
her options open for this one. Lovely as a Tree 
is perfect for this!

Elizabeth's second entry, which is so colorful and fun!
Birds on a high wire...perfect for this layout!

Faye's adorably colorful and cheerful entry. 
Note how she grounded her design so effectively.

Pat did two color variations of her design, starting with a peaceful
blue on white. The dots on the third feather are embossed with
satin pearl embossing powder...such a lovely touch!

And here's Pat's striking black on cream version, with the same
feather set and embossing but a different sentiment. I can't decide
which I love most! 

Thanks again to these ladies for sharing their talent and taking time to try something different.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 

Susan

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Update on the Challenge and a New Card

The Trifold Challenge post will be up in the next few days, and the winner announced! I want to thank all the people who took it on and made such lovely cards. Special thanks to Deborah for sending me her lovely card.

Today's card plays off my love of blues and white...a combination I don't use often enough. The background strip is debossed with the Hero Arts woodgrain plate. The organic feel of the woodgrain, combined with the parsley stamp's abundant detail, contrasts nicely with the clean circles.  


I used ink and a Hero Arts shadow stamp for the light blue circles and the sentiment die cut. That gives softer results, I think, than colored card stock, and everything matches perfectly. The parsley was colored with a Copic, giving the card three shades of blue. I started to use the sentiment in white, but it just didn't stand out enough, so I stamped it with the darker blue that I used with the parsley stamp and was much happier with the balance. 

I love the movement the circles give to the card!



Random Dog Picture, for your amusement.

Lily and the Rose Branch

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Friday, July 15, 2022

Darling Daisies and a Deep Question

As longtime readers know, I dearly love daisies, and the Gina K set Pretty Posey has a small daisy stamp in addition to the large bouquet. I wondered if it could stand alone as a focal point on a card, and it sure can!


Look at all that glorious white space! The textured vellum layer (made with StampinUp's textile texture folder) and stamp-edged rectangles (Hero Arts infinity dies) stacked with dimensionals draw the eye firmly to the little posey. The two mats even use different thicknesses of dimensionals. Adding these subtle touches can make even a simple card like this so very interesting!




Question: What are your favorite self-care tips? What do you do (other than create) to take care of yourself, center yourself, value yourself?

Recently for me, the answer is yoga. I can't believe how much regular yoga practice has changed my relationship with my body and how at home I feel in it. I use it to connect with God, with myself (God's creation), and my humanity (which bubbles over in laughter when I once again can't get into half moon and cheat with warrior III!). 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan







Tuesday, July 12, 2022

My Kind of Coloring

As I am a minimalist stamper, the idea of spending ten hours coloring and shading complex images makes me want to break out in hives. I've done it, of course, but was it fun for me? Not really. 

Yet I have 88 Copic markers (gathered over the course of four or five years) that are just begging to be used. That's a huge investment of money, and I feel the need to justify that investment. So I got Gina K's Pretty Posey set, which requires just the right amount of coloring to keep me engaged and at the same time satisfy my need for nearly instant creative gratification. Plus...daisies!!!! 



Yellow and purple are complementary colors, which adds some energy to this simple card. There's a bit of shading in the yellow daisy centers, and on the purple flowers. I didn't shade the leaves but did use two different shades of green to differentiate the stem on the left. 

The stitched border rectangle die and twine bow are nice accents, and since I couldn't figure out where to put a sentiment, I decided to leave this one blank. 


My stamping mojo has been gearing back up, mainly because I reorganized and purged some supplies and am making a conscious effort to use supplies that I've neglected. That's exciting! 

What supplies have you invested heavily in and then neglected? 'Fess up, people! 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan