Friday, July 31, 2009
Here's a little card I made for CAS19 Sketch: Natasha's Pink Blooms and forgot to photograph. It's 4.25 x 4.25, which is a great size here in the US of A because it fits in a standard A2 envelope and doesn't require additional postage, like square envelopes do.
Well, my question about photo backgrounds was pretty conclusive: most of you prefer the colored background for white cards. The few who preferred the white background confirmed for me that I wasn't crazy, though. In the case of the card in my previous post, I like the white better, too, but only by a little bit.
For the record, I take most of my photos by the west-facing window in my craftroom, almost always in the afternoon. The window has a white sheer over it, which softens the light a bit. The light hits from the side (I position the card perpendicular to the window). My camera, a Nikon CoolPix, is set on macro (the little tulip icon) and I turn off the flash. If I have to shoot at night or on a really cloudy day, I use my Ott light and still supress the flash...which tends to make everything look yellow. The photo above was taken on a cloudy day without the Ott light, which accounts for its bluish tone.
I set up the background with two sheets of cardstock, one propped against a CD case holding clear stamps. With the white card bases, the background color sometimes distorts the white, especially blue backgrounds. I try to fix this as best I can in Picasa, but it's tough sometimes to get the card looking really white.
Have a great weekend! DH is planning a century ride tomorrow (100 miles on his bike), which means I'll get a little time in my craft room...assuming small children play nicely. Check out my blog Questioning my Intelligence for THIS POST about living with an Ironman triathlete. It's pretty funny, if I say so myself. ;-)
stamps: Simply Said, Hero Arts (sentiment)
cardstock: real red, chocolate chip, white
ink: chocolate chip, real red
accessories: rhinestone, dimensionals
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Second, this card was inspired by Becky Oehlers' Spooky halloween card here, which was published in Card Creations Vol. 7. For the record, I like Becky's card better, mainly because she creates a fabulous visual triangle with the black button, capital "S", and the spider. My spots of color don't form a triangle...I could have made the "p" a capital and red, but didn't. Flawed as it is, I do like this card for its crispness and the basic idea of a word with an element hanging through it. Very graphic and fun. For some reason, the silver line doesn't show up well in the photos, but IRL it's very clear.
stamps: Hero Arts clear alphabet, PTI Take a Bough
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Palette Noir, SU Real Red
accessories: page pebble, silver marker
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
She sent me this hand-drawn card I wanted to share with you because it's so clean and simple and pretty.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
My mojo was not firing yesterday AT ALL until after everyone was in bed and I took one little nugget of inspiration from Ann, who said she planned on using Primas with the sketch. Hmm. I have a BUNCH of Maya Road velvet flowers purchased from PTI that have been hanging in my hoard for, oh, forever. I also have brads of every color and size. So here is the result of opening up my hoard and *gasp* USING some of it.
Thanks, Ann, for helping me not be a hoarder.
cardstock: PTI white
stamps: PTI Polka Dot Basics, Paper Tray
ink: SU only orange, green galore, real red, Versacolor orchid, Palette Noir
accessories: ribbon, velvet ribbon, dimensionals, brads, velvet flowers
Monday, July 27, 2009
The next card uses Take a Bough with the masking and stippling technique I used HERE.
The last card uses a very basic CAS layout for Merry and Bright, with the added interest of popping up the parts of the bigger tree. I love the touch of bling with the rhinestones and the simple punched star.
These three cards all have a different "feel" to them, even though they use stamp sets that are roughly in the same style, with crisp, solid images. Which "feel" do you prefer? Elegant/flourished, natural/organic, or stylized/clean? Inquiring minds want to know.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I made the grid with PTI's retro backgrounds set, stamped the turquoise with their text backgrounds, and used PTI white buttons. All the paper is from StampinUp, and the sentiment is from Hero Arts. My three favorite stamp companies all on one card...ahhhhhh, joy!
Have a glorious Sunday!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
First up, I used the Thank You Dots card by Angie Hagist. I changed the color (vanilla instead of white, earthtone matte brads rather than shiny brights) and scale, since I don't have tiny brads like Angie used. I prefer her color choices (so crisp and fun!), but my birthday is around Thanksgiving, hence my autumnal take on the card. I used my SU! Mat Pack piercing template to pre-pierce the holes for my brads...that's how I got them so straight. Yeay, me!
The second card uses the Circle Graphics Thanks card by Kimberly Crawford. I don't have the cool die cut she used, but improvised with PTI's Polka Dot Basics. First I stamped the open circle border and then filled in with the individual solid circle. Turned out pretty well (even if a few solid circles aren't quite centered), and what a fun, flat card to mail!
The two cards above interpret their inspiration pieces pretty literally, with very little change at all in the designs. The last card today is more "creative" on my part. I loved the spectrum circles on Heidi Van Laar's G Thanks Card, and merged that idea with Angie Hagist's design, shifted off center to the lower right of a horizontal card rather than vertical. I used versacolor cubes to ink the dots on the PTI Polka Dot border stamp (very carefully, LOL!) and stamped them all at once. No worries about messing up the line. This could be scaled up for bigger dots quite nicely, I think.
A few days ago, I realized that I'm down to one package of PTI white and, after hyperventilating a bit, ran to my computer to order four packs, you know, so I don't RUN OUT! It was the first time I didn't get free shipping on a PTI order. It felt so strange ordering just what I needed and (grrrr) paying for shipping. For full confession, I would have met the minimum if only they'd had the Button Bits set in stock.
How can I feel so sad when I was so financially responsible? Sigh.
Friday, July 24, 2009
A few weeks ago, I was messing around with PTI's retro borders. My success in using these lines for musical notes had me giddy, so I thought why not use it to make a grid...didn't Nichole Heady do something like that? Delusions of grandure afflict me periodically with the misguided notion I know what I'm doing.
Anyway, I had a scrap of white cs (smaller than the one here), stamped a line, turned the scrap, stamped another line, then turned it again and saw...drum roll, please...a cross. The grid idea slipped away as I obsessed on how to make an inspirational card for my dear friend Liz, who recently had surgery.
I hit many evolutionary dead ends with this idea. The sentiment was too close to the cross, too far away, too big, too small, stamped imperfectly...you get the picture. With clean and simple cards, there are so few elements that each one must absolutely be perfect or the imperfection is all you see. There is NO PLACE TO HIDE!
About ten cardstock pieces ended up in the recycle bin before I had this beauty. My evening prayers were extra long asking for forgiveness for all the swearing I did while making it.
Lately, in my gallery at SCS, people have left comments about how "easy" I make clean-and-simple look. EASY?!!?? Nuh-uh. Like many other stampers, I love a challenge and am both bull-dog determined and stubbornly obsessive. For some reason that doesn't bear close examination, I HAVE FUN doing this, even when I'm swearing like a sailor in frustration.
Artistic evolution is not easy, but in the end, it's worth it.
stamps: SU Refuge and Strength, PTI Retro Borders
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Palette noir
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Oh. My. Gosh!
There is a whole article of clean and simple gorgeousness titled "Graphically Speaking"! Oh, oh, oh! I'm going upstairs right now and CASEing to my heart's content. The thanks card on page 49 by Heidi Van Laar, the branch card on page 53 by Tanis Giesbrecht, and the mod silhouette card by Alli Miles on page 54 are my faves, but they are all FABULOUS!
After I made the birthday card on this post for CAS23, Show Us Your Art, I got to thinking what other stamps I had that might work for the layout, which was inpired by Andy Warhol's butterflies. Snowflakes came to mind, so I pulled out all my snowflakes, all my blue inks, and went to work.
Overall, I'm okay with this one. I wish I hadn't used the light blue in the center...makes me think of trapped white space (white space that can't get off the page...a no-no in graphic design) and it looks wrong to me. Otherwise, it's a fun, eclectic card that, for some odd reason, makes me feel very pop culturish. *wink*
So what do you have in YOUR collection that would work for this layout? Why not give it a whirl and link to your version in the comments here? Could be fun!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This card evolved on its own. I had no idea what I was doing and just went with it. First, I stamped the flower in Brilliance lavender ink, so IRL it's a bit shimmery. Then I stamped Friend in the lower right corner to balance the flower. Too plain. So I added the hello in lavender to carry the color to the other side of the card. Then I thought, gee, you need some black on the flower. So I fished the button out of my hoard. It looked fine, but a bit nekkid, so I found some lavender DMC floss. Better.
But the card still looked plain. So I got out my plastic L ruler and drew lines to frame the card.
After I finished, I realized there are three lavender elements and three black elements on this card. Three is a magic number in design. No wonder I was so happy with it!
Simplicity Tip: Don't attach anything or add Stickles to your card until AFTER you have the whole design finished. If I had glued down the button before finishing the design, it would have been nearly impossible to draw the line neatly.
stamps: PTI Friends til the End
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Brilliance lavender, Palette noir
accessories: L-shaped ruler, black pen, button, DMC floss
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The second card looks simple, but there are a few tricks to it. To make the ornaments, I stamped just the ornament borders in red on white cardstock, then punched them out with a circle punch. Then I placed the bubble stickers over them, and glued them to the punched squares with the ribbon stamp already on them. I wanted a touch of asymmetry on this card to liven up the design so it didn't look too predictable and boring. I lined up the sentiment so "celebrate the" spans the gap between the second and third squares and the word "season" starts directly under the left edge of the third square. It's a little placement trick that kicks the simple design up a notch, don't you think?
stamp: Penny Black, PTI Take a Bough (sentiment)
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Palette noir, SU real red
accessories: circle punch, dimensional
stamps: PTI Take a Bough
cardstock: PTI white
ink: SU real red, Palette noir
accessories: square and circle punches, dimensionals, bubble stickers
Monday, July 20, 2009
I thought about matting the white squares on colored cardstock but resisted the temptation. Glad I did because the three spots of glittery color are enough. This layout is a classic one...it's hard to reinvent the wheel at 11:00 pm. I don't try anymore, and it's made me a happier stamper.
Just keepin' it simple.
Here's another example of classic, CAS layout, and again it's the color that makes it look fresh and fun, not some fancy frilly froufee dozen-layer layout with lots of embellishments. Just color. Well, color and bling. Holy moly, I love Stickles.
Not that there's anything wrong with fancy frilly froufee dozen-layer layouts with lots of embellishments. It's just that you don't come to a blog titled Simplicity for that sort of inspiration.
Am I right?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
This set uses the same masking and stippled background treatment that I used in this card. I stamped some of the leaves with full ink, and off-stamped others to add some depth. I wrote the labels in pencil, thus proving that my handwriting is terribly unartistic. Oh, well. I like the cards anyway, and they were easy, quick, and perfect for mass production...if you do that sort of thing. *wink*
Thanks for visiting!
stamps: Hero Arts
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Memories soft wheat, hunter green
accessories: pencil, post-it notes
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Papertrey's Everyday Blessings set is so pretty. I made an entire clean-and-simple set with Fabriano Medioevalis cards, using the cut-out, popped-up cross and a different sentiment on each.
Simplicity Tip: Cheap cardstock makes cheap-looking CAS cards. I wasted much money learning this lesson. When I took an online class with Julie Ebersole (JulieHRR from SCS), she put into words what I'd begun to realize. When you make CAS cards, every component stands out, and you can't hide cheap stuff. So I started searching for quality cardstock.
SU has lovely colored cardstock, and I have all 48 colors of that. But SU whisper white is flimsy to use as a card base. Papertrey also has great cardstock (even a little heavier than SUs), and PTI's white is dreamy-heavy, with a bit of tooth that stamps beautifully. Ever had problems with real red ink smearing on whisper white? Well, you won't have those problems if you use PTI white.
JulieHRR loves the Fabriano Medioevalis cards, and I found them half-price at Stampin' Treasures last year. They are BEE-utiful! The deckle edge looks so rich and pretty, and they stamp nicely, too, despite the texture.
A simple card, with quality cardstock, really shines.
stamps:PTI Everyday Blessings
cardstock: Fabriano Medioevalis premade cards
Friday, July 17, 2009
This card was inspired by Ando Hiroshige's untitled piece at art.com. I masked the border with large post-it notes and used a stipple brush to create the blue background. I left the mask in place, stamped the bamboo and dragonflies, then stamped the sentiment (Double Happiness), which came out crooked. ARGH! So I stamped it again on a scrap of cardstock, cut it out, and layered it over the mistake. Ahhhh. Much better.
Hope you like this one. I did, and made a bunch of other cards using the background technique. Look for them in an upcoming post.
stamps: Hero Arts, sentiment unknown
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Memories soft stone, Versamagic hint of pesto, dark brown
accessories: stipple brush, post-it notes
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I sincerely wish this bird flew in the other direction. It directs the eye to the left, which seems wrong to me. As an obsessive reader, I think eyes should move to the right. But this card makes me happy anyway. The flourish is from PTI's Silent Night set, which I really just bought for the sentiments.
This card is for my sister, who is expecting (surprise!) her third child in November. I'm hoping he is born on my birthday so we can be birthday buddies. The layout of this card is so perfectly CAS and very versatile; I'm pretty sure it was a Fall-To Layout on the Clean and Simple blog recently. Love that blog....
Supplies for Spread your Wings card
stamps: PTI Birds of a Feather, Silent Night
cardstock: PTI white
ink: versamagic, palette noir
accessories: dimensionals, ribbon, black gemstones
Supplies for New Beginnings card
stamps: PTI Birds of a Feather
cardstock: PTI white, SU bashful blue, close to cocoa
ink: cocoa and bashful blue
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
As many of you know, my New Year's Resolution is to use every image stamp I own on a card or project. Last week, I pulled out Birds of a Feather from PTI and had a blast playing with it. This was my favorite of the bunch, even though it's not the best designed. (I'll share a few others from this set later this week.) The lines are from the Retro Background set.
I apologize to those who read music for my notes, which are random and meaningless. But it would be COOL for someone with musical talent to make a card with a real tune stamped out, don't you think?
stamps: PTI Birds of a Feather and Retro Background Basics
cardstock: PTI white, SU morning marigold, chocolate chip
ink: Versamagic mango madness, espresso
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The CAS23 challenge is totally kicking my creativity into high gear. Is it creative to steal ideas from fine art and adapt them for stamping? YOU BET!
Sorry the photo is a bit dark. I tried twenty ways to Sunday to brighten it up, but this was the best I could do. IRL, the cardstock is really white, which makes the colors pop so well. Sigh.
This card was inspired by a colorful Picasso sketch of a rooster. I used SU markers directly on the stamp to mimic Picasso's look, and changed the image to a flower from Hampton Arts. This is pretty much the only loosely sketched image in my huge stamp collection, but I'm so glad I have it. I tried putting a not quite navy matte under the image, but it was too heavy, so I skipped the matte and popped the white panel on white. The sentiment balances the flower...without it, the image is too top-heavy.
I NEVER would have thought to color it with all three primary colors on one flower, if not for having seen the Picasso sketch. Thanks, oh great and mighty Pablo!
Simplicity Tip: When coloring on a stamp with markers, start with the lightest color first, then gradually add the darker colors. In this case, the yellow went on first. Because there is some overlap of colors, you'll see bits of green where the blue went over the yellow. At first, this annoyed me, but then I realized that it was pretty cool. Once the stamp is fully colored, huff on it (breathe heavily...who said stamping isn't sexy?) and stamp.
stamps: Hampton Arts, PTI Birthday Basics
cardstock: PTI white
ink: SU markers in summer sun, ruby red, not quite navy, garden green
Monday, July 13, 2009
This site is HUGE and there is so much inspiration that I will be returning for a long time to get ideas for cards. Yeah, Jen! Thanks so much for this inspirational treasure trove.
I whipped out 4 cards in about 1.5 hours this morning. It was so exciting to sit down and create so easily! Each card is pretty self-explanatory (a euphemism for "simple"), but if you have any questions, let me know.
I hope you'll play along with this challenge!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I made the card above for my friend Liz, who was recovering from surgery. I sent her a care package of earl grey tea and chocolates along with the card. The sentiment seemed particularly appropriate!
I rounded the corners of the stamped panel and matte slightly using scallop-edge scissors. These give a slight curve that looks nice but isn't quite as pronounced as a regular corner rounder.
Simplicity Tip: Some simple stampers refuse to make lumpy-bumpy cards because of the problems with mailing them...risk of damage or expense of bubble envelopes or extra postage. I tend to make easy-to-mail cards most of the time, but I do enjoy going three dimensional, too. And let's face it, PTI's vintage buttons are FABULOUS! So I send lumpy-bumpy cards to people in packages (as with this one) or hand-deliver them, and use flatter cards for mailing. Best of both worlds.
Supplies for kraft card
stamps: PTI Tea for Two
cardstock: PTI kraft, SU cameo coral, vanilla
ink: versamagic pink grapefruit, bark
accessories: dimensionals, buttons (PTI), craft floss
Supplies for teal and white card
stamps: PTI Tea for Two, Spiral Bouquet (flourish for steam), Polka Dot Basics; Hero Arts Tea clear set (sentiment)
cardstock: PTI white. ink: versamagic turquoise gem, aquatic splash. accessories: gemstones, dimensionals, corner rounder, ribbon
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
I'm a magazine junky, but occasionally, I am disappointed when the projects are all "over-the-top" with no "clean-and-simple." Such was my disappointment with a recent issue of Crafts 'n' Things, which had lots of beautiful stuff in it...just not CAS stuff. So, in order to keep it from being a total waste of my money, I decided to put together some cards "inspired" by non-paper projects in it. These were the two that worked the best.
The top picture is pretty self-explanatory, but the bottom one is a bit more complicated. It was inspired by a piece of jewelry in the magazine (no photo, sadly). The focal point is a square of chipboard with a stamped and inked square of PTI white cardstock adhered to it. I then coated the cardstock with versamark ink and repeatedly added layers of UTEE (ultra-thick embossing enamel) to it. It's the first time I have used UTEE and really liked the results!
Hope you like these cards!
Supplies for Wreath card
stamps: PTI Beautiful Blooms
paper: assorted scraps of SU, PTI white
accessories: brads, buttons, assorted flower punches, sheer ribbon, glue dots, corner rounder
Supplies for UTEE card
stamps: PTI Silent night, unknown butterfly, SU linen background
paper: close to cocoa, chocolate chip, PTI white
accessories: chipboard, UTEE, ribbon, glue dots
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I tried putting this stamped panel on an eggplant card base, and it really looked depressing. It looks much more cheerful (but not too perky) on a white base. The ribbon and butterfly and sentiment are eggplant. I love those teal gemstone flowers and how they fit right over the flowers on the branch, leading the eye to the butterfly.
This set is so easy to work with and so well designed for CAS cards. Bravo, SU!
stamps: Thoughts and Prayers
cardstock: PTI white, SU taken with teal, elegant eggplant
ink: taken with teal, elegant eggplant
accessories: MS butterfly punch, gemstones, ribbon, dimensionals
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
My husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary in June. This is the card I made for him. It's very simple and self-explanatory!
stamps: Hero Arts border, PTI heart
ink: SU real red
paper: PTI white
accessories: red gemstones, dimensionals, heart punch.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The first card uses a rock-and-roll technique. I inked the whole image with lime versamagic ink, then rolled fresh green on the edges. The sentiment uses a combination of fresh green and bark, and the leafy background in the corner opposite the sentiment is fresh green.
The second card uses just lime ink and bark for the sentiment. No rock and roll here. I stamped the leaves twice at a diagonal to create some movement, and put the sentiment for this one on the same panel as the tea pot.
I like them both equally but would love to hear if you have a favorite between the two...and why.
stamps: PTI Tea for Two, Beautiful Blooms
cardstock: PTI white
ink: versamagic lime, fresh green, bark
Monday, July 6, 2009
The only thing not self-evident about this card is how I put a narrow strip of old olive cardstock behind the cameo coral piece. The circles in the threading water punch are thus olive...like the olive gem in the center of the flower. It's a nice little detail that kicks the card up a notch, don't you think?
cardstock: PTI vintage cream, SU cameo coral, old olive
stamps: PTI Green Thumb
accessories: threading water punch, dimensionals, Hero Arts Olive gem
Sunday, July 5, 2009
The first four are pretty self-explanatory, one-layer cards with ribbon. The first also uses a few scored lines as a ground for the bird, and I really like it. I used my Doodlebug Designs glitter or flock to decorate the wings of the birds for a little added interest. Where there is coloring, I used Bic Mark-It markers.
The last card is a bit different and more involved and colorful. The branch is from another Hero Arts set (clear), and all the coloring is with Bic Mark-Its. The sentiment, I think, is a bit too small, but I like how cheerfully colorful this card is.
I hope you are all having a lovely, safe weekend!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Here's another card for CAS21, Make It Sparkle. I love punching white shapes and putting them on white. It's subtle and sometimes hard to photograph, though. Here, I paired the white on white with SU's taken with teal and some sparkly teal brads. I pressure embossed lines to frame the flowers, but they are hard to see in the photo.
This card is soothing yet cheerful, so I added a "get well" sentiment.
Happy Independence Day, America!
stamps: Papertrey Tea for Two
cardstock: PTI white, SU taken with teal
ink: taken with teal
accessories: flower punch, brads, scorpal