Thursday, July 12, 2018

With Deepest Sympathy

Sympathy cards are always hard to make when you need them. I needed this one. Altenew's Wildflower Garden made making this card easier.

Can you tell I love this set?

The colors are soft and serene, but the movement of the stems adds interest and a bit of wildness to the design.

Our time at Lake Vermilion is winding down. Friday will be our last full day, with an early departure on Saturday. We've had a lovely week, and as always, I'm sad to be leaving and happy at the thought of getting home.

Here's last night's sunset from our cabin's deck, looking across the bay.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Altenew Wildflower Garden
ink: Hero Arts soft granite; Archival sky blue, black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wildflower Garden Again

The next few posts will return us to Altenew's Wildlife Garden, which is a lovely and versatile set. Today's card shows how you can achieve a lovely watercolor effect with these stamps.

These stamps were inked with Memento inks and markers (StampinUp and Memento), spritzed with water, and stamped. I've found that, at least for me, Hero Arts and Archival inks don't respond as well to this technique. The stamped panel wasn't proportional to the card size, so I put the sentiment below the stamped panel. That placement also allows the plant to grow up out of the bottom of the panel rather than be floating above the sentiment.

So this card provides a really good reason to have Memento inks and markers. As if we need a reason to have any supplies.


*insert eye roll here*

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Altenew Wildflower Garden, Papertrey sentiment
ink: Memento, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Memento and StampinUp markers, water spritz bottle, rhinestones

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Visual Triangles

Snowflake cards are perfect for practicing visual triangles. Today's cards do just with a portrait layout and the other with a landscape layout.

The three snowflakes on a strip of background are arranged in a visual triangle. I've noted before that the best triangles are irregular. Equilateral or isosceles triangles yield odd-looking designs. I placed the two larger snowflakes on the left and the smallest on the right; balance is maintained by the sentiment. The rhinestones reinforce the triangle.

The background "grounds" the design, but note that the two larger flakes and the sentiment go outside the lines. That keeps the design from being too boxed-in and linear. Both backgrounds were applied with mini ink applicators from Tim Holtz.

The colors were experimental. I wanted a snowflake card that wasn't blue, hence the pink. I really like it, but it doesn't say "Christmas" to me. Pink is also a high-energy color to my eye, and the sentiment calls for something more blue violet.

My preference would be to make the blue-violet version in a portrait orientation. The triangle seems too spread out on the landscape version, at least to my eye.

And that is all I have for Christmas in July, so reader Marilyn will be happy for me to abandon Christmas in July for something floral and summery tomorrow.

We continue to relax on Lake Vermilion. I actually swam in the lake...first time in four visits since 2012 for this Girl Raised in the South, where lake water tends to feel like bath water. This summer, Lake Vermilion is warmer than ever, and I didn't scream like a little girl when I dangled my toe in water that was still ice at the end of April.

Did y'all know that Dante made the lowest level of hell a frozen lake? Being raised in the South, I had always imagined hell as a hot, hot, hot. But then I lived on Lake Huron a few decades ago and learned that, indeed, Dante was right.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Mama Elephant Holly's Snowflakes, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Sharpies to color them

Sunday, July 8, 2018


I am currently in northern Minnesota in a cabin on Lake Vermilion.


We find peace in so many ways, sometimes stumbling on it accidentally and sometimes working hard for it in our relationships, families, communities, nations, and world. It's also wise to cultivate peace deep inside of ourselves.

Today, I went out on the lake in a kayak. Guaranteed peace. There's something about skimming gently over the water in a kayak that instantly relaxes me. Today, I had the added treat of encountering a loon with two babies. The adult loon started vocalizing that wonderful, eerie call. The trio was shortly joined by another adult, exchanging calls with the first. When the newcomer was about twenty feet from the trio, the two babies paddled like crazy toward the newcomer. The four then floated off toward the shore.

This little reunion was so sweet, so gentle, so natural, so simple. What a blessing of peace on a day that started stormy and rough.

Seek after peace and pursue it. 

Here's a third card with Holly's Snowflakes from Mama Elephant. Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All.

Mercy, grace, PEACE, and love from the lake,

stamps: Mama Elephant Holly's Snowflakes, Papertrey Signature Christmas
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver PrismaColor marker, ruler, rhinestone

Friday, July 6, 2018

Donations from Marcia and Patti

Thanks so much to readers Marcia and Patti for donating their beautiful cards to Karen's Card Shop! Many of your donations are out in the shop right now.

Cards by Patti

Cards by Marcia

Karen's Card Shop has brought in over $1,500 for our church in two years and has funded Cancer--Now What? books, training materials for our Stephen Ministers, and our general fund. Thank you all who have contributed and continue to contribute. 

Patti and Marcia and all the others who help keep the card shop stocked prove that stampers are the best people in the world!

Note: If you are interested in donating, please read the page Karen's Card Shop. We can always use thank you, sympathy, get well, birthday, and religious cards in a standard A2 size. Other themes don't sell very well. Please leave the insides of cards blank. Email me if you have questions! susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,


Thursday, July 5, 2018


So Hero Arts mastered the art of updating old supplies, packaging them coolly, and getting me to buy them even though I'd sworn never to buy another sequin ever again.


At this rate, it will take three of my nine cat lives to use all these sequins. Maybe four.

What supplies do you have in such quantities that you will need multiple cat lives to use them up?

Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Mama Elephant Holly's Snowflakes, Papertrey Side by Side Sentiments
ink: various blue dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: sequins by Hero Arts, glue

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Day to Celebrate

Happy Independence Day! May your day be safe and firework-y and full of food, family, and friends!

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence day every July 4, not with a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." --Erma Bombeck

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Archival red geranium and Ranger 
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue