Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Inspiration Is a Process: Part 1

Have you ever noticed that most of the really important things in life are processes? Marriage, for instance. You say, "I do," and that makes you married, but marriage is a process of growing and nurturing love for your spouse over the long haul...even when you want to smack him upside the head with a toilet brush.

Y'all know what I'm talkin' about.

And parenthood. Somebody places that tiny, helpless infant in your arms and trusts you not to drop it. Are they stupid? I've been a mom for going on 15 years now, and I've metaphorically dropped my children so many times they've learned to bounce. All part of the process.

And inspiration. Something utterly cool and wonderful comes your way and you just have to play with the ideas it sparks, even if some of them look like you smacked the card with a toilet brush.

Here's the inspiration piece, taken from my Pure Inspiration board on Pinterest.


Honestly, I tried to post the first card I made from this inspiration piece, but I just couldn't. It's a collage, but it's too busy. So disorganized. And it has a spacing problem. That's just unforgiveable. Looking at the photo of it on my computer screen made my skin itch. So I deleted it and will instead post the next card I made, the second step in the process, which took me a bit too far in the opposite direction of super-simple.

A Bit Too Simple

See what I mean? I love this color combination. But the three-leaf arrangement, though nice, needs a little something-something to pull it all together, to give it a reason for design parlance, to unify it. As it is, it's just three oddly-colored leaves in the sweet spot of a landscape-oriented card.

What does it mean?!?!

So I tried to place a sentiment on it. Y'all would not believe how hard it was, how many different sentiments I tried, how many times I re-stamped these same three leaves because I ruined them.

If anyone tries to tell me Clean and Simple is also Quick and Easy, I'll smack them upside the head with a toilet brush.

(I'm hostile and have raging PMS, both of which bring out the Southern in me. Y'all.)

Soooo, in a fit of pique, I triple-stamped that sweet sentiment from Clear and Simple Stamps, and lo, there was joy once again in the process.

Just Right

Cute, isn't it?

We get there in the end. Most of the time.

But this isn't the end of the inspiration. This color combination of Soft Pool, Orange Soda, and Soft Granite makes me so very happy. So you'll be seeing a few more cards made with this terrific trio, cards inspired by a quilt, cards that came out of this process we call inspiration.

No matter how PMS-y I am, I can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy knowing today is little Willy Shakespeare's 450th birthday! In honor of the Bard, I'll share one of my (many) favorite lines from his talented quill:

"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."

Isn't that right, y'all?

stamps: Hero Arts, Clear and Simple Stamps (both discontinued)
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: nary a one that I can see

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Digging out the Odd Embellishment

Just a reminder that time's running short on the April One-Layer Simplicity Challenge: Road Trip! Go check it out and play before the buzzer on the 24th!

I wish I could recreate for you the convoluted and bizarre thought process that brought about this particular card, but I can't. I just can't. It defies description.

Lavender photo corners? I know. Weird. But pretty, yes?

The leaf is stamped in Hero Arts Soft Pool, which is quickly becoming my favorite blue for the season. Color slut that I am, I could never commit to a single shade of blue for life, but Soft Pool makes me happy this spring, for sure. Love it!

The leaf stamp is an old, old, old stamp from Hero Arts. The date on it is 2001. The sentiment is part of a discontinued Clear and Simple Stamps set called, coincidentally, Thinking of You. I love that handwritten font, which is stamped in Soft Granite by Hero Arts.

Dig through your stash of embellishments and find something you've not used in, oh, forever, and use it on a card. It's fun!

stamps: Hero Arts, Clear and Simple Stamps
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: lavender photo corners, dimensionals

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pulling Punches

Every now and then, I remember that I have a bunch of punches and decide to pull them out and use them.

Might as well.

This first card is okay. It would be better with a larger butterfly on that middle square...the little one sort of gets lost, plus some variation in scale would add interest to the design. This is just a little too blah.

So I decided to try again, with livelier colors and some variation in size of the punched shapes. And bling. Because, you know, BLING makes everything better. Better, don't you think?

The three squares come from a larger shadow stamp from Hero Arts. The stamp has a row of five squares, so I masked two.

What a fun stamp, and I wish Hero Arts would re-release some of its best shadow stamps as clear sets. Wouldn't that be cool? I'd be all over them.

Do you hear me, Hero Arts? Pretty please, with sugar on top?

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: various punches, rhinestones, post-it notes for masking, dimensionals, glue pen

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter

The tomb is empty!

May you all have a blessed day!

Inspired by Pinterest and Matthew Mead, and a Comment on Ink

In a further attempt to justify my many hours on Pinterest, I used the following pin as inspiration for a pair of cards.

Original Source
Cool, eh? This was made by Matthew Mead, and I fell in love with it. Replicating it on a card was both fun and a little messy.

I started by pulling a bunch of stamp sets of flowers, insects, and leaves out of my stash. I also pulled out my scrap drawer of white card stock and a 1" square punch. Yep. I made inchies!

After punching the squares, I randomly stamped various images on them, using mostly block stamps and a spritz of water to blend rock-and-rolled inks or to soften the solid colors. I didn't overthink this phase of the design...just grabbed inks and images, and went to work. When all the squares were stamped, I inked the edges with a sponge and Memento Pear Tart ink. (That was the messy part. And no, I'm not making a pear joke. Y'all have dirty minds.)

Next came the "random" arrangement of the inchies on a card. Y'all know that random only looks random. Really, it's a carefully planned placement to create balance and harmony. Notice that the upper left and lower right corners contain very strong colors that begin and end the arrangement. The other squares are placed to keep your eye in the grid. If I'd planned a bit more in the stamping phase, my arrangement would look a little different (and the orange leaves and red spindly branch really should switch places), but overall, I'm pleased with how this turned out, especially as it reflects Matthew's inspiration piece!

Three of the left-over squares had particularly bold, solid images on them, and they worked so nicely together that I made another card using just those three and my favorite, classic CAS layout. Notice how the center of the red flower is the same orange as the first leaf and acts as final punctuation for the series. THAT is a lovely bit of serendipity!

Designs like this make me happy, and not just because it required no embellishment. The softness of the sponged squares contrasts so nicely with the crisp, white background, and the vivid colors seem to glow right off the card. (Take a peek at the pic of the inchies laid out on my burgundy stamping mat. They look duller than they do on the cards, partly because of photo editing, but also partly because the white enhances the colors.)

All in all, a very good justification for hours spent on Pinterest!

A Comment on Inks
For this technique, I used Memento dye inks rather than my new Hero Arts inks. I find that with Hero Arts inks, spritzing with water results in an odd separation of the ink that causes very blotchy, unpleasant images. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this problem. The separation seems consistent across the ink colors I have of Hero Arts and must be connected to the inks' chemical formula.

For those of you considering buying ink, keep this limitation in mind. I love both brands, just for different things. If you can only afford one, though, and think you might spritz, I recommend Memento over Hero Arts. If you can afford both, get both. The Hero Arts color selection is much better than Memento, and the inks give lovely, vivid results...when not spritzed with water.

stamps: Various
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: spritz bottle with water, 1" square punch, dimensionals, sponge

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Using My Pinterest Boards

Today's card was inspired by a pin on my Pure Inspiration Pinterest board. I'm trying to make more of an effort to use--actually use--my pins.

Somehow, if I use them, all the time I spend on Pinterest doesn't seem such a waste.

Anyway, here is the pin I used to make today's card:


And here is the card I made:

Quilts provide a huge amount of inspiration for card-making. Why not check out quilt pins and get inspired?

Do you use your Pinterest boards? Do you pin at all? Inquiring minds and all that....

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Easter

During Holy Week, my posting will be sporadic. We're having family in town for a visit, and I need to focus on them. But I wanted to wish you all a very happy Easter!

For those of you who are not familiar with Christianity, you might be interested to know that for the followers of Christ, this week--from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday--is the holiest time of our liturgical year. I'll post more on my blog Transforming Common Days for anyone who is interested in the meaning of Easter.

Blessings to you all!

stamps: StampinUp, Hero Arts (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: pink rhinestones, SU pretty in pink marker