Thursday, December 31, 2009

They Have It ALL WRONG!--Edited

Edited to add: The Hero Arts set used for these cards is called Woodland Leaves and Grasses. It is discontinued.

In line at Barnes and Noble cafe last week, I saw a magazine with the headline "From Simple to Spectacular."

As you might imagine, this sentiment frosted my shorts. I exclaimed angrily, "Simple IS spectacular!" in my outside voice, and the cafe employee asked, "Excuse me?"

"Oh, nothing," I replied, realizing this nice coffee man would think I was completely bonkers if I gave way to a rant about simplicity and might start shorting the espresso in my mocha (he already knows my usual order by heart). Clearly this strange woman talking to herself in public must have already had enough caffeine....

Anyway, I've been stewing over this headline ever since. Simplicity IS spectacular, and I knew you all would understand, seeing as you voluntarily visit a blog called Simplicity in the first place. Thank you for being my friends.

Today's cards are a very deliberate, in-their-face, so-there! comment on the idea that simple is anything other than spectacular. I know those complicated snobs are quivering in their boots now.











Today's simply spectacular cards are brought to you courtesy of a happy marriage between Hero Arts and Papertrey. I used every stamp in the Hero leaf set (one more set down in the USE MY STAMPS resolution), and the Out on a Limb sentiments were the perfect accompaniment.

I also pulled out my watercolor crayons and water spritzer, neither of which has seen use in AGES. I used an olive green and blue that's close to not quite navy. Each image is delightfully unpredictable, but that's the charm of watercolor crayons. Watercolor crayons are perfect for simple stamping because the color variations and softness they give to an image create a strong focal point for a one-layer card.

While these crayons tend to work best on more solid images, especially ones that are somewhat distressed like these leaves, you can also use them on outline images for interesting effect as well.

Simplicity Tip: Use watercolor crayons to color directly on the rubber, blending multiple colors if you want. Spritz with water and let sit for a bit while the pigment dissolves. Then, stamp on heavy paper. You can spritz and stamp again, or dry the stamp and add more color. No two images will turn out the same, and you just never know what you'll get. Mostly, the images will be perfectly imperfect. Embrace the variations, play with different shading and colors, become one with the crayons.... Uh, sorry. I got carried away. Just have fun.


Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts (Woodland Leaves and Grasses), Papertrey (out on a limb)
ink: various shades of VersaColor to coordinate with whatever color came out of the crayons
paper: PTI white
accessories: watercolor crayons (I bought my big set at Dick Blick), water spritzer

42 comments:

  1. Simplicity forever! ;) Great cards!

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  2. Well said! Woke up early and it was snowing. I enjoyed looking at the snow in it's early stages on the leaves, tree trunks, bare wisteria vine at the corner of our pergola, and thought about stamping these images. Thanks for your cards today -- absolutely love them -- and for the idea to use those dust-collecting crayons and spritzer! Can't wait to see what develops.

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  3. I saw your post on SCS and it prompted me to come & view your blog and today's post.
    You are dead-on right. Especially in today's overly-connected world, simplicity takes effort. With the effort comes contentment and fulfillment. From another public self-talker: thank you for blogging the beauty of simplicity!
    -Darlene

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  4. I really do love all your cards, and visit every day. Happy New Year to you, and keep up the spectacular simplicity!

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  5. Oooooo, love all of them. Way to be "in their face". *sniff* I sold my watercolor crayons last month. But I must downsize so I'm glad they found a home that will use them. I still have my watercolor pencils.

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  6. Oh Susan, these are truely spectacular!!!! They literally took my breath away!! I particularly like the first one and the Thanks so much one!! I only own bold bright watercolor crayons....this makes me want to get better more me colors!!!

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  7. Simplicity is spectacular and you
    prove it everyday! Beautiful cards!

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  8. I know it was the point but these cards are definitely spectacular. I love simplicity and just wish my CAS cards were as spectacular as yours!

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  9. These are simply stunning Susan! You sure proved them wrong! The first one is definitely my favourite. Just remember, when they implied that simple wasn't spectacular they clearly weren't thinking of you and what you can do!!

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  10. Simply beautiful! Hey dont they know the saying "less is more"....LOL...your post cracked me up!

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  11. As usual my reaction was "Augh" but meaning it in a nice way....which company makes the tall grasses in the first one, pray tell....hope it's Hero Arts....would be ever so grateful to know. And the metallic cards are absolutely great too...thanks yet again and Happy New Year.

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  12. You'll know better than me, but doesn't spectacular mean more noticeable (ie to make a spectacle of yourself)? It doesn't actually mean 'better' (or 'good', even!). But I take your point. I think simple can be good and I think that fancy can good, although I prefer simple. Here endeth my lecture! Happy New Year!

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  13. CAS is the little black dress of the stamping world, and you are our Coco Chanel. This set of cards is breathtaking.

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  14. These are simply spectacular!!! Love the look of the watercolor crayons.

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  15. These are perfectly lovely...and yes, simple IS spectacular. I need a new technique to share with my stamp clubs and this may be it....I have never attempted to teach this before. I'd better start attempting it myself!

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  16. I really love this set of cards with the leaves and sentiments

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  17. Love how you've used these leaf stamps (I am a bit of a leaf addict, too many leaf stamps to count). Your use of watercolour crayons has inspired me to dig mine out and play with them today. Your cards are spectacular!

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  18. Well the title must have been picked by a non stamper or some young thing who hasn't been around a lot of rubber. Love the cards!

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  19. WOW what a way to end 2009 - these cards are spectacular! Long live Simplicity!!!
    Happy New Year Susan! I hope this is your best year yet! Hugs, Harriet

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  20. Ardyth,

    Spectacular means impressive or dramatic. You are absolutely right that it doesn't denote quality.

    The original article was about gift giving, but it reflects a broader cultural bias against simple things often seen in papercrafting as well--hence my reaction to it. "From Simple to Spectacular" implies that these are two very different things, that something simple can't be impressive or dramatic.

    My cards today are an argument against that cultural misunderstanding. After all, simplicity CAN be and often is dramatic and powerful and impressive.

    Happy New Year!

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  21. Love it!
    YOu're totally right.

    (Thank you for using the word bonkers. I do all the time and my brothers make fun of me ;) )

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  22. Your cards are simply spectacular! You've made me want to get out my watercolor crayons and try them again. Thank you and Happy New Year's Eve!

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  23. Hee, hee! 'Simplicity is spectacular' - gotta agree with you there! ove your cards, must try that watercolour technique as it looks amazing! Jo x

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  24. these cards are so amazing, they took my breath away. each one more beautiful than the last, no matter how you line them up!!

    when susan does simple, it is SPECTACULAR. when marty does simple it is, well, PLAIN. unless of course marty borrows from susan!! thanks again for your awesome creativity. you have inspired me to purchase some watercolor crayons and try this.

    happy new year!
    marty ferraro

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  25. Simplicity is spectacular! In the case of these cards, simplicity is elegant as well!

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  26. Simply Spectacular! What a way to close out the year. I love your style and can't get enough of it. I admit, I haven't simplified my cards yet, but I am regularly inspired to do so.

    Diane M
    aka detour3

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  27. Fabulously-Wonderful-Awesome-Spectacular is how I would describe your blog and your cards. I am always amazed by your talent.
    Happy New Year!

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  28. You mean, we're not supposed to yell out in stores to seemingly no one? And I was never told this?

    Love these cards. I have yet to try water color crayons. Just might have to start!

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  29. These cards are all spectacular, epsecially the first one. Your cards frequently take my breath away. Thanks for all that you share.
    Ruth Ann

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  30. You are so right -- simplicity is spectacular -- particularly your cards! I love the use of foliage and the watercolour effect.

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  31. I have just spent the last 30 minutes enjoying your blog and 'style'. I have a cooking blog but am excited to start stamping again (fewer calories in stamping). Thanks for the inspiration!

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  32. As many have said..... SPECTACULAR!!!
    Naomi V
    Australia

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  33. Wow! These are spectacular, and I love them. Best of all, I haven't sold my watercolor crayons -- ha-ha! I almost did though. So glad, because I want to try these. Susan, thanks - and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  34. i love these cards. i just discovered your blog in the last week or so and i love the inspiration.

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  35. Oh, how you showed THEM! lol...I *heart* these cards...they are the BEST form of simple, yet classy. LOVE them! :)

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  36. Love the cards - and the post - so true! One of my favorite songs: " 'Tis a gift to be simple, ......."

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  37. I used my "Distress Ink" and it came out great. I feel guilty it was so easy and yet looked as good as yours. The color I used was "peeled paint" which is dark and light green. I printed one tree and then before cleaning off my stamp made another image and it looks like a tree in the distance. Then came back and made one more dark one... my own little forest. LOVE IT!

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  38. Jan, give us a link, why don't ya!

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  39. I've been a stalker of your site for a while now and am awed by talent. Less really IS more! I'd love to know the actual name of the set you used for these cards. Please keep up the spectacular work! :-)

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  40. Rhonda, I edited the post to include the name of the set. It's a discontinued set from Hero Arts called Woodland Leaves and Grasses. Hope that helps.

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment!