Monday, August 15, 2011

Simplicity Is the Key to My Artistic Happiness

What fun reading all of your responses to yesterday's questions! Thanks so much to each and every one of you who took time to respond. I love how this hobby fills so many different needs and how we all figure out what works for us--both in technique and attitude--as we go along the path of creative self-expression.

The responses got me thinking about how we all have different values. My sister-in-law mentioned how the women in her level of management (she's high up in hospital administration) get bigger diamonds every few years. My SIL doesn't understand the desire for ever-bigger bling, and neither do I. But it makes these women happy to spend loads of money on shiny rocks, just as it makes me (and you, if you're reading this) happy to spend just $50 on stamps. I got giddy yesterday, although I did spend slightly more than $50. But not much. Honestly.

Some of us stamp to please others, some of us stamp to please ourselves, and most of us are somewhere in between. Today's card was totally made to make me happy.

I love how the curvy letters and curvy corners mimic the dotty circles on the tree and how they contrast so well with the angles and points of the three tree segments and trunk. I love how clean the whole thing is, how white and crisp and totally focused it is. I love how simple it is. Just popping the tree segments was enough to add interest. Nothing else was needed.

Cards like this are why I stamp. I value simplicity.

You, however, are free to value whatever you want in stamping. Jump in, revel in it, be yourself. There's a cool song that says, "Be who you are; that's a part of the plan."
This might just be my new motto.

So what is the key to your artistic happiness? And please come up with something other than the ever-present "I like to make other people happy" key to happiness. That's important but not the point of this post. No, tell us what satisfies your need to express yourself with paper and ink and whatever embellishments you choose.

stamps: Papertrey Merry and Bright
ink: not sure
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals, corner rounder


  1. I love making a card that makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I don't know that it's the same thing every time - nailing a sketch, or a color combo, or making a froo-froo card when I lack the froo-froo gene, or making a snarky card because it fits my mood, or just using up some scraps. Maybe it's just the outlet for expression no matter WHAT my mood is.

    I am fortunate to get the added bonuses of (1) selling my cards and having just the right one for that person at that moment, (2) making people laugh when they just READ some of the cards, and (3) teaching classes so the students are smiling and happy and feeling accomplished.

    Did I even come close to answering your question? ;/

  2. Your card is fabulous! Love it, as I do so many of your other cards. Elegant simplicity :)

    Key to my artistic happiness is a funny one. I am a very competitive person. I've played many sports over the years, was a tomboy and a gym rat for many too. That being said, once the kids came along out the door went the team sports.

    I am not creative by nature, but I love working with my hands. I struggle to put my cards together but oh the joy in the finished product. I now compete against paper LOL! and stretching my "one creative gene" to new heights and love seeing the progress I have made over the past five years.

  3. A while back I was talking to a good friend about diamonds. She had the smallest diamond I've ever seen on a wedding ring. She is small woman but this thing was tiny. Her husband was going to buy her a BIG diamond for their 25 anni but she said looking at the ring reminds her of what they started out with (nothing) to what they have now (millions)and she doesn't need a big diamond to prove anything to anyone. Happy marriage,careers they both love (MD, lawyer/writer) and one great daughter.

  4. As far as diamonds go, I would not be able to wear a giant rock on my finger. I think it would get caught on stuff and drive me crazy! My husband got lucky in that respect, I don't require expensive stuff like that to be happy.
    Simple is better for me, that is why I love your blog. You have shown how amazing a simple card can be! I love making cards with few "ingredients", cards that are simple, but make a statement. I love using colors, trying out new combinations and sometimes just white.
    Making things myself has always made me happy. It's great for gift giving, but also when you can have exactly what you want, the way you want it. Making and having something one of a kind, not mass produced, is a great feeling!
    The process of making things is almost as good as having the completed article. Being productive, creating something beautiful at the same time - the best feeling! Earlier this year I got the most amazing hand made Mother's Day card from my daughter (I probably mentioned this already at some point...). It makes me so happy to see that my daughter gets joy from making things like I do.


  5. The key to artistic happiness for me is getting just the right colors together. I really struggle with color combining. I don't like my things to look just like everyone else's, but I'm not happy if it's not just right. I struggled with this in quilting also. If they match to well, it looks blah. Some people seem to just have a sense for this...not me. I really have to work at it, but when it works I feel so good, and want to show it off.

  6. Not to lack originality or tanything, but honestly I agree with YOU...the key to my artistic happiness is keeping my cards clean and simple. If I can make a simple one-layer card that packs some punch, I'm a happy camper.

  7. First of all, I love the process even more than the finished card - the same way I love knitting and gardening. I think the key for me when it comes to card-making is using rubber stamps - I cannot draw to save my life so rubber stamps and ink give me the artistic image to use as the base of the card design. And then colours, whether paper or ink or paint, make me really happy. If image and colours come together well, then I'm content.

  8. Stamping is my "Happy Place". Period.

  9. I am not sure if this will make sense or not..but my artistic happiness is that card making is my relaxation. When I am making cards or scrapbooking, I am 100% relaxed. Takes my mind off just about everything. And...I love cardmaking so much because it is quick gratification. This finished product gives me such joy and it is very tangible to be able to give the card to someone else or make a set of cards as a gift. My favorite style is CAS, but I keep trying to use patterned paper :) Not sure why!

  10. The key to my artistic happiness is two fold:

    1) I am in the wrong job and want to do something else, but can't as I need to pay the mortgage - crafting in general is my escape route - just being at my craft desk makes me happy as I really tune out EVERYTHING when I'm crafting. My husband comes up periodically to ask me if I want a drink or something and often I don't even notice he's talking until he asks me 3 or 4 times...

    2) I've always loved to colour - I am an only child and whenever we went to parties, weddings, out for dinner, I was always provided with a colouring book and pens, in the knowledge of my parents that this would keep me quiet and happy. I've never grown out of it, but now I have better pens so my happiness comes from improving my colouring skills - from looking at the many talented artists in blogland and soaking up their tips to improve my skills. What makes me happy now is looking at a card I made 6 months ago and was thrilled with and seeing how rubbish I now think it is and knowing this means I'm getting better at it.

  11. I have no artistic talents whatsoever! But, I can copy - so stamping (and cross stitch & knitting) are PERFECT hobbies for me.
    I get lost at my table making cards - changing what I've seen in a magazine/catalog/blog to make it mine. Now, if I could only change my reaction when someone compliments me on my cards!

  12. Beautiful card! Stamping is a wonderful creative outlet for me. The process of working to find just the right combination of elements for a simple yet,(hopefully), striking design is very gratifying. I also love to think of the recipient and make a card that is especially tailored to that person.Simplicity for me in both card making and life is
    what I strive for. The key to my artistic happiness is being able to create. I struggle
    with not allowing my other commitments or
    responsibilities to zap me of my creative energy.

  13. I've thought a lot about your question, and what need stamping fills in me. Besides the pleasure of creating something new constantly, I guess it's the need to share that creativity and even to get kudos on it. There seems to be a lot of us stampers out there, but as a percentage to the whole population, there aren't a lot of us. In my very large family, there are only two of us. So when I send my "creations" at birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, etc., I LOVE the thought that someone is going to open that envelope and say "oh, how nice!" And when my sisters or friends tell me how cute, or elegant, or funny, or inventive their card was, I just glow. It feeds a need for me that nothing else can. And it's a fun way to do it!

  14. Well, I'm a math geek. I work all day on a computer. Crafting (I am by no means an artist) both relaxes and challenges me.

    Fabric is my first love but it takes more time to complete those types of projects. With two pre-schoolers (OK, one pre-schooler and a soon-to-be-kindergartener), card making gives me rather instant gratification. Plus, they are consumable so unlike quilts, you really can't have too many!

    I'm pretty sure we've all created things that make us so happy the giggles just burst forth. Even if you aren't the giggling type.

    Super Jen

  15. I love the process of choosing all of the elements that go into my cards. Then, seeing it turn into something that I...1)love or 2)like or 3)think "what happened?". And that's all ok. Occasionally I make a card that I love so much that I don't want to give it away. But, I do eventually.
    I guess what I'm saying, is I enjoy the entire process. And, giving the card to someone and seeing their reaction, is the icing on the cake
    Susie W.

  16. wow, those popped tree pieces are amazing! You are right, this card is perfection in it's simplicity!! I'll get back to you on the question ... first day back to work... gotta run!!

  17. Stamps make me happier than anything...give me a ton of stamps, an ink pad and some white cardstock and that is all I really need to have fun. While I love the shabby chic look, I love good clean graphic designs the they kawaii, elegant, whimisical.

  18. For me, I guess the simple answer to that question is that I'm happy when I finish a card and I like it or feel that I've done a good job on it. And I’m also happy when I’ve tried a new technique and it turns out. So, pretty much all of my happiness from making cards comes from within. But, it doesn’t hurt to hear the compliments from those who receive my cards either! LOL!! I probably started making cards for a different reason than most. To be honest, I had no idea how big the cardmaking world was when I picked up my first two cardmaking books at a Joann store. I just wanted to fill some time. While I've always felt that I have some artistic abilities and have enjoyed pursuing those at various times in my life, I’ve never considered myself an “artist”. I have been dealing with a degenerative retinal disease for most of my life and that had finally forced me to give up my teaching career so after teaching for years and being used to having my hours filled with work that I loved, I found myself with way too much time on my hands and had to do something. So, after making my first cards from inspiration found in those first two books I had picked up, I quickly found through the internet how big this cardmaking “thing” has become! Now, I’m addicted to rubber stamps, inks, paper and all the other things that I use to create my cards. So while I guess it’s not part of my “artistic” happiness, all of the stuff I use to make the cards also gives me a sort of happiness… why else would I buy more stamps, inks, paper, etc. before I’ve even used what I have? LOL!!

    And as a last note, I must also say that I've always been a letter writer and I love keeping in touch with friends and relatives with letters. It has always made me very sad to see how letter writing has become such a lost art so I guess I feel like I'm doing a little to keep it alive with the cards I send.

  19. Grids and squares, borders around stamps. And I just realized it last week. LOL After 10 years. Pathetic.

  20. So much in life is out of our control, but cardmaking is a great creative outlook and it's within my control - except for my supply-aholism! I hope that the recipients appreciate the effort, but I'm not worried if they keep the cards. I do try to use inexpensive embellishments for my cards, given their probable short 'shelf life'.

  21. I love the little split tree and the crisp colour scheme.

    Stamping and making cards is very much something I do for me but I also enjoy giving a little bit of creativity to others. During the school year I often only get to stamp on Sunday afternoons; I find it relaxing and replenishing. When life gets really busy and my creative time is crowded out I begin to notice that I am missing something.

    I know many of my friends and family love to receive a handmade card so if I could just start sending half of what I make that would be a great improvement. I have postal issues!

  22. I've always loved paper.....the smell, texture, color and patterns....sigh......card-making allows me to WALLOW in my paper obsession and when i can throw in a stamp or two some ink and the variety and freedom of coloring with a handful (or more) of Copics - well that takes me to another realm. In that realm, the size of my butt doesn't matter!

  23. I've always liked crafts, creating things. My eyes are not so great for counted cross-stitch any more, and my carpels tunnel makes crocheting for more than a few minutes uncomfortable. Paper crafting is easier on the eyes and hands, and it is quick. I can have a finished product in much less time. I enjoy giving someone a card that can't be bought in a store. My favorite compliments are along the lines of, "I loved your card, so I turned it over to see where you bought it, and found that you made it!" or "My mother is an artist, and she said you should put your name on the back of your cards." I'm also of the "waste not, want not" generation, and I love finding uses for every scrap of paper or ribbon. It's a challenge!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!