Thursday, March 29, 2012

Winterberry, A Completely Different Look

Today's card uses PTI's Winterberry set similarly to yesterday's card but yields a completely different look and feel. Three layers of card stock, strong focal point, same sentiment, same basic layout, BUT the color combo and image completely change it into a more obviously Christmas-y card.

I noticed the ragged edge of the SU real red mat when I edited the photo. Hmmm. A thumbnail run down that edge will take care of the raggedness, so it's an easy fix.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! I hope to get tha tutorial on punches finished this weekend.


stamps: Papertrey Winterberry
ink: Memento cottage ivy, SU real red
paper: PTI white, SU real red
accessories: Memento New Sprout marker, red rhinestones

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Winterberry ROCKS!!!!

My new favorite Christmas/winter set is the PTI set Winterberry. Ohmygosh is it easy to work with to create CAS cards. Here's my first card to share with you from this set...three whole layers! Can you believe it?!?!

The color combo is SU marina mist and sahara sand, which I can't remember using together but which make such a peaceful pairing! I did lengthen the card to 6.25" by a shorter 4" to fit the stamped panel better. That sometimes happens when you stamp on a random scrap of white card stock and then want to fit it onto a base after the fact. This card will fit into a standard A4 envelope, so now worries there.

Several people have asked about my promised tutorial on lengthening punched shapes like the folder tab punch. I haven't forgotten, but I've also had next to no time in my craft room lately. All the cards you're seeing came out of a massive stamp marathon when my husband was overseas a few weeks ago. I promise to get that tutorial out as quickly as I can, though.

Have yourselves a merry little Thursday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taunting You Once Again with Discontinued Hero Arts Stamps

Apparently, my post yesterday sparked a bidding war on eBay for the discontinued Hero Arts set. Or at least that's what reader Phyllis thinks may have happened. Anyway, this card uses another stamp from that same set...which is called Horizontal Graphics, for anyone else who's interested.

Good luck to those of you searching for it! It's pretty awesome.

Anyway, here's the card.

The centers of the flowers are dotted with Smooch. As you can see if you have microscopic vision, I put a white dot (gel pen) in the center of the purple flower by the sentiment. I don't like it and will put a purple dot of Smooch on it in the morning. It just looks weird to me now.

Anyway (again), I'm off to bed because I'm tired, which explains the awkward repetitition of anyway in this post.

stamps: PTI Tree Tops, Limitless Labels; Hero Arts Horizontal Graphics
ink: Versacolor
paper: PTI
accessories: Smooch, white gel pen

Monday, March 26, 2012


Since Duke lost early in the tournament (and it was ALL MY FAULT*), I'm ignoring the swishing going on in b-ball, but here's a swish from an old, discontinued (so sad) Hero Arts shadow set.

Swish, indeed.

The tree is from PTI's Tree Tops, and the stars seemed appropriate for a birthday card (sentiment from Limitless Labels, I think). Also, I dug out my star-shaped blings and made a triangle of them. Angles love curves, apparently.

And yes, the photo is a tad over-exposed, but I cut the stamped panel out along the swish on bottom and rounded both top corners. Then, the panel was popped on dimensionals.

If you're looking for a challenge, try using a curvy shape as grass and cutting your panel as I have done. It's fun!

*I graduated from Duke in December 1987, and every time I watch my team play basketball, they lose. On March 16, I turned my television on and by pure bad luck, Duke was playing Lehigh.  I swear I didn't even know they were supposed to be playing!!!! I wanted to watch The Big Bang Theory. But there it was...Duke ahead by two. As soon as I realized what I was watching, I changed the channel. But it was too late. Once again, I killed Coach K's dream. *insert swear word here*

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Easter

Playing around with my Tree Tops stamp set from Papertrey and came up with an Easter card.

LOVE the solid circles you can use to fill in the open-circled tree top. I used hot pink for the outline circles and filled in with light pink because the pink trees in Ohio right now are scrumptious looking and the very image of Easter that I most trees with beautiful pastel blooms full of hope and promise for fruit and life!

The ground was made with an old Hero Arts circle border stamp, and the sentiment is from PTI's Sign Language.

Then, of course, I blinged it. Happy sigh.

For some Christians, the old rugged cross best represents Easter, but on Easter morning at my hometown church, the wooden cross is completely frosted with living flowers to make this point: that the bare wood of torturous death was transformed into our salvation and eternal life.

He arose, and He's inviting us to follow!

If that doesn't necessitate bling, I don't know what does.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Thank you for your recommendations for stamps. So many stamps, so little time!

And now for a post, slightly delayed due to exhaustion.

It's sort of amazing how different a simple layout can be when you change the image, color, and card stock.

First up, a love card for my dear husband. Kraft, dark red, and brown really scream DUDE, don't they, even with Victorian-looking keys?

Next up, a smaller image means more white space, but the natural, flecked card stock and rust color of the lock preserve the masculinity of the card, which is for a college graduate moving directly on to graduate school. He'll care more about the check in the card that the card itself, I'm sure!

Finally, make the base white, change the image to a feminine silhouette, and brighten the color of it a bit, and you have a different feel altogether.

Note that the sentiments are all in Memento dark brown, yet on the different papers, they look so, well, different. All three cards use earth-toned shades (burgundy, rust, apricot), but again, the change in paper highlights each differently. I love how the apricot pops off the white!

Rounding the corners differently also changes the feel. The last card is soft and pretty, while the middle card is firm and decisive (that rounded lock made me want to round the corners, though I resisted!). The first card I shall not analyze too deeply since it's intended for my husband and I have a dirty English major mind.

And with that thought, I take my leave. My dear husband, by the way, just returned from overseas. This weekend will be family time, full of baseball practice, swim lessons, movies, dog walks, and steak. I hope your own weekend is full of family, friends, and fun!

stamps: Papertrey Ink (Lock and Key, Simply Jane)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: Corner Chomper

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Keys...And A Not-So-Random Secret

Well, today I'm going to share a secret with you.

Yesterday's card, the one with the pink and orange keys...several of y'all commented and emailed me that it was "random."

Here's the secret.

There is nothing, not one tiny thing, random about that card. I spent about twenty minutes laying out the keys and deciding what colors to put where before I stamped a thing.

Yeah. I'm obsessive. And proud of it.

So, here's a card that is much more random. To create the key panel, I started with an oversized scrap and stamped a key in the middle. Then I worked out from there, using my gridded acrylic block to keep everything parallel or at right angles. Then, I trimmed the panel down using my clear quilting ruler and a craft knife.

The Lock and Key set from Papertrey Ink is amazingly easy to work with. What set or stamp have you bought recently that was easy for you? I'm interested in buying a few new things. I received a pleasant surprise when I did my taxes today, and mama needs some new stamps!

stamps: Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One-Layer Wednesday 84: Pinks and Orange

It's feeling like summer here in Ohio right now, so I thought some happy, summery colors would be fun for us to play with!

This week's OLW84 challenge is to make a white-based card with pinks and orange, sorta like this one:

You may use as many shades of pink (magenta, hot pink, baby pink, whatever) as you'd like, but only one shade of orange. You may use black or brown for the sentiment if you wish, but it's not necessary.

My card uses my new Lock and Key stamp set from Papertrey. I LOVE this set. So much fun!

OLW84 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of card stock folded in half.

2. Use a white card base, however many shades of pink you want, and one shade of orange.

3. Post your card somewhere online and link back to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

4. HAVE FUN!!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wedding Card and Thank You Set

My son's teacher is getting married this weekend, and I wanted to make a little something for her. My favorite gift to give brides is a thank you note card set and postage stamps. For brides I know well, I also include a nice writing pen. Waterman is my favorite brand, but Parker is also nice.

Did you know I used to collect fountain pens and even today write all my checks with a Parker fountain pen similar to the one I inherited from my grandfather. (His leaks and is therefore not appropriate for carrying around in one's purse, plus I would cry big tears if I lost his.)

I quit collecting fountain pens around the time I started stamping. If you've ever priced out fine fountain pens, you'll understand why.

But I digress.

Wow, you sure write a bunch of thank you notes after you get married. Which is why a gift of postage stamps and thank you cards is both thoughtful and pretty.

I kept it all very simple because I have no idea what the teacher's tastes are or even the colors for her wedding. The wedding card uses an old, old, old PSX stamp that is so pretty and flourished. In light blue, it's also soft and elegant.

The thank-you set uses pastels from Memento Ink to vary a simple, clean one-layer design. The image is from Simply Jane (Papertrey) and the sentiment is from the Limited Edition Thank You set (Clear and Simple Stamps).

Making these cards with this set forced me to watch the A&E Pride and Prejudice over two nights, and then the Keira Knightley version on the third night. Love them both.
I'll box the cards and envelopes in a clear box from Papertrey, and include a sheet of postage stamps as well.

What sort of crafty gifts do you give for weddings of people you don't know well?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Get Inspired by Packaging: Part 5

As we conclude our first "Get Inspired by" series, we're going to take a different direction with the inspiration photo:

Vanessa Spencer's cover for Take Ten is smashingly wonderful on every level: design, color, layout, theme. Until now, my Vanessa-inspired cards have focused on the layouts of the packaging, but today's card uses a different layout but is clearly inspired by her color choices and theme of "brown paper packages tied up with string."

The layout I chose is a classic CAS layout...simple and straightforward and taking advantage of the balanced spots in the upper left and lower right corners. But the use of kraft paper, a label, and the orange and cream color scheme shows a clear connection to Vanessa's packages. The "package" I chose to make the card for is a new baby...the very best package of all!

Plus, I deserve extra credit for using one of my scalloped circle punches. I just had to have those durn things, and now I find them so very hard to use! Here, it's quite successful, perfect for the Hero Arts label stamp (discontinued), accented with a heart and sentiment from PTI.

When an inspiration photo doesn't appeal in design, try lifting the theme and colors instead. The results can be fabulous!

And thus concludes the final post of the Get Inspired by Packaging series. I hope you enjoyed it!

On another note, I've spent a lot of time this weekend playing with my new beauty from Papertrey and have lots to share in the coming week. I hope you all have had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Get Inspired by Packaging: Part 4

Let's review the three strategies we've looked at for tackling an inspiration challenge:

Level One: stick close to the inspiration piece...keep colors, materials, layout, overall design the same, and tweak to fit a card and using your own supplies.

Level Two: change one element of the design significantly, leaving the rest of the elements largely unchanged.

Level Three: change two or more design elements significantly, while keeping enough of the inspiration piece to preserve a connection between the two.

Today's Get Inspired by Packaging post takes a third layout from Vanessa Spencer's cover to Take Ten and applies Level Three strategy for tackling this particular inspiration challenge. Take a look at the middle package (third one back from the front):

Now, take a look at my card:

Inspiration Discussion: I kept Vanessa's colors of green and plum (from the package on the left in the picture) and just changed the kraft to white (because I'm me). I definitely don't have a label like Vanessa's, so I had to fill that space differently. I chose to use three different baby-themed sentiments, arranged in a triangle, to fill the space (one large sentiment would have worked, too, but I don't have a long baby sentiment). It helps in the cases to think of the space to be filled rather than what's filling it in the inspiration piece. I also wrapped the twine around three times instead of twice to give it a bit more weight in the mint green twine is a little more subtle than Vanessa's.

So far, all my cards have taken their starting point from the fabulously simple layouts of the packaging. Tomorrow, we'll look at a card that doesn't use one of Vanessa's layouts but still reflects her artistic vision!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Get Inspired by Packaging: Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of our first "Get Inspired by..." lessons. I hope these lessons help those who are intimidated by inspiration challenges learn to love them!

"Get Inspired by Packaging" focuses on strategies for using Vanessa Spencer's fabulous "brown paper packages" cover of Take Ten to make cards:

Our first strategy was to keep close to the original piece, using the same basic layout, color scheme, materials, etc. The second strategy was to change significantly just one component (in this case, color) of the original. Today, we'll change up yet more aspects of the inspiration piece, and we'll have a card that is definitely different yet still respectfully reminiscent of the source of inspiration!

Working off my white version of the card, I decided to see what would happen if I rotated the layout and eliminated the label in favor of a different sort of image. Several design tweaks were needed as a result.

The central bow looked odd on the vertical, so I shifted the bow to roughly a third of the way from the top of the card, and then placed the long horizontal sentiment a third of the way above the bottom of the card. The vertical baker's twine balances the horizontal sentiment, and the pink heart gives a little weight to the right side of the design to balance the bow.

What I Kept from Vanessa's Packaging:
--the basic layout, just rotated
--the baker's twine, which is just fabulous!
--the simple, clean design

What I Changed:
--colors (though I kept it simple like Vanessa's)
--the focal point image (no label, added sentiment and heart)
--details of the layout (balanced bow and focal point to accommodate the rotation)

What do you think?

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at a different package from Vanessa's cover and tweak it similarly for a different look!

stamps: Papertrey Ink (heart), October Afternoon (sentiment)
paper: PTI white
ink: Real Red (SU), Pink (Memento)
accessories: baker's twine (PTI), dimensionals, 1/8" hole punch, Scor-Pal and bone folder

Monday, March 12, 2012

Get Inspired by Packaging: Part 2

Today's cards demonstrate a next-level variation on yesterday's strategy for tackling an inspiration challenge. Yesterday, we took a rather straightforward layout from the source, slightly modified to fit on a card. We'll start today by doing the same thing using a different package from Vanessa Spencer's cover of Take Ten as inspiration:

Today, I'm working with the foreground package, the one with the word Paris on the label.

Once again, I adapted the dimensions of the package to fit evenly matted on the standard card base (4.25" x 5.5").

To make the "package," simply score 1" down on a 5.25" x 3" scrap of kraft and folded on the score, giving a 4.25" x 3" panel that fits evenly on the card base. Punch two holes using a 1/8" hole punch (if you're AR/OC like I am, you'll measure and mark where to punch so the holes are balanced and even!). Thread the baker's twine through twice and tie on the front, just like Vanessa did. Add a label of some sort on cream or white card stock, and there you are!

My label is round, rather than rectangular, as in Vanessa's package. That's because as I sifted through my stamp hoard, I found this round stamp (which may be from a very old October Afternoon stamp set...will verify and update tomorrow if that's not right!). Anyway, I didn't have the right shape to copy the inspiration piece more precisely, but that's the great thing about inspiration...
you aren't supposed to copy; you're supposed to adapt.

Now, if you've been reading Simplicity for a while, the next adaptation should come as no surprise whatsoever.

Let's change the colors! White, you say? Well, duh.

Suddenly, our inspiration has taken on a whole new look. The wonderful "brown paper packages tied up with string" nostalgia of Vanessa's work gets made over with a contemporary, fresh feel. On my kraft version, I kept Vanessa's soft green and plum color scheme, but for the white, using orange creates happy pops of color and completely changes to tone of the card.

I also added a canteloupe heart behind the tangelo label stamp, just because.


So let's review our strategies for tackling this inspiration challenge so far.

Strategy 1. Minimal change. The simple, classic layouts of the inspiration pieces offer a great place to start. You can stick close to the original by keeping colors, materials, and layout the same (or as close as your stash allows you to!).

Strategy 2. Significantly vary just one element of the design. In this case, I completely changed the feel of the project by changing the colors. No way would I have made this card without inspiration from Vanessa, but changing the colors makes it feel more like "me."

And that's fundamentally the point behind inspiration challenges: how can you re-see something to make it your own. Sometimes, you're happy pursuing Strategy 1. Sometimes you want to push the envelope and move to Strategy 2.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at Strategy 3, which just means tweaking some more design elements.

Hmmm. What will I do?!?!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Announcing a New Series on Simplicity: Get Inspired by...

Many of my readers have said they feel lost and intimidated when faced with inspiration challenges. How in the world can that purse or pillow or a photo of the Grand Canyon be the springboard for a card?!?! My hope is that this new series of posts on Simplicity will help replace those lost and intimidated feelings with confidence!

The first in the series is Get Inspired by Packaging. For the next few days, I'm going to post cards inspired by the cover of Take Ten Winter 2011, which shows some simply gorgeous packaging designs by Vanessa Spencer.

My goal was to convert these fabulous examples of clean-and-simple packaging into cards. The results are a variety of different layouts, some of which echo the packaging very straightforwardly and some of which go veering off in slightly different directions.

My point in showcasing this particular Take Ten cover is to demonstrate how one type of papercrafting project can inspire others. Plus, it's a pretty easy CAS inspiration to start with. We'll move onto more challenging inspirations (such as modern art and the Nabisco logo and that really cool table cloth at Target) as we go!

My first example hearkens to the packaging in the very back of the cover photo...the one with the baker's twine crossed in the center with an oval label covering the intersection.

Design Thoughts: It would be tough to thread the baker's twine through the fold in the card (not impossible, just tough), so I took a rectangle of kraft and wrapped it like the inspiration package and popped it up on a kraft card base. Instead of using an image on the oval as the packaging does, I added a sentiment, which allows me to give a distinct purpose and focus to the card.

Those of you who have die-cut machines and some fab label dies (and stamps to match!) will find this particular design quite easy. I just used one of my SU oval punches and to keep it simple, didn't mat it with the larger oval punch. The white card stock pops right off the kraft and allows a tiny little sentiment to be the main focal point of the card. Your eye can't NOT look at the sentiment, can it?

Here's a beautiful example of using a great design fairly literally. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at an example of varying a layout a bit more!

Note: I have family visiting from out of state this week, so postings after today may be a bit sporadic, as will be replies to questions. If I don't answer a question by the end of next week, please ask me will have just fallen off my radar scope!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Simple Lumpiness

I made this card a while back using sticky canvas from Sarah and embellishments from Audrie, but I'm just not sure about the card itself. What do you think?

The canvas lends lovely texture to the simple design, and the embellishments form a visual triangle of brown. The sponged blue and brown look great together, and the rust of the ink and floss is a fun accent. The fade on the sponging also gives a bit of grounding to the whole floaty design.

Not sure why I placed the butterfly so low...might look better a smidge higher on the right. Plus, the buttons--fabulous though they are!--are lumpy and would require a padded envelope or hand delivery, which puts them outside my practical comfort zone.

I'm leaning toward the pros outweighing the cons on this one tonight (which is why I'm posting it in the first place), but tomorrow morning, perhaps I'll lean the other way. So to speak.

Note on Folder Tab Punch
Yesterday's card featured a folder tab punch and lots of you asked about it. I bought it at JoAnn's a few weeks ago. You can see it on their website HERE. I'll try to do a little mini-tutorial on how to make the tab larger in the next couple of's coming for a visit next week, so not much time for crafting!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Ancient Page
paper: PTI white, sticky-back canvas
accessories: buttons, DMC floss, glue dots, sponge, butterfly charm

Friday, March 9, 2012

Naughty or Nice, Again

Please allow me to return to A Muse's Naughty or Nice set with a card that uses my new folder tab punch.
*spasms of joy*

Six things I love about this card:

1. The folder tabs, which I made using 5/8"-wide strips fed into the punch's underside so the words would fit (naughty was a little long for the punch). That punch totally rocks!!!!

2. The dimensionals used to pop only the top of the Nice folder.

3. The red card base...don't see that here often, do you?

4. I colored. Again. That's twice in one week. Score!

5. The white Flower Soft, which I noticed after I took the photograph needs a bit of a trim.

6. The fact that I've already made so many Christmas cards and it's still just March.

stamps: A Muse
ink: Memento
paper: red (unknown), white (PTI)
accessories: folder tab punch, scallop scissors (to round tops of folders), Flower Soft, dimensionals, red Memento marker, glue

My Thoughts on Papertrey

Several people have asked me about Papertrey (A.K.A. PTI) lately, and I'll share my thoughts on this flashpoint issue in stamping.

1. In my long experience, Papertrey has always provided excellent customer service. I once received a set that was missing a stamp, and they sent a replacement lickety-split. I can easily forgive mistakes if the response is appropriate. None of my orders has taken an unusual amount of time to arrive, either. The fact that so many people seem to be having issues makes me sad.

2. Papertrey's product is outstanding. I've ordered stamps, card stock, designer paper, twine, clear card boxes, white treat bags, clear card stock, labels, vellum, and probably other stuff. Without exception, the products I've received have been top quality and well packaged for transport. And as you know, I cannot stamp without PTI's white card stock. Can. Not. Stamp.

3. In the past two years, however, Papertrey has outgrown me. The monthly releases and huge product line completely overwhelm's just too much!!!! 

4. The releases, with their contests and blog hops and such, require too many words to explain...too many rules, too much complexity. I don't bother reading them anymore, although I usually check the sneak peeks on Nichole's blog. I can't help but think the fact that things have become so cluttered and complex has added to the customer service can anybody keep up with so much?

5. Also, in the past two years I've pretty much stopped checking the PTI designers' blogs, which I used to have in my reader. First, there are just too many of them. Second, as the company's product line has expanded, the DT projects (including Nichole's) have become increasingly elaborate and require more and more product. This makes sense for business but not for me, the CAS stamper who got hooked on PTI because Nichole was so gosh darn inspirational!

6. In their "sneak peek" mentality, PTI has promised certain products and not delivered or delivered late. This is really bad marketing practice. LOTS has to happen on the back end, invisible for customers, in order to build customer confidence in a company. Nichole has tried to share future plans too openly and made promises she couldn't keep. Pulling the old inks for poor quality was a good move, but then she kept saying the new ones would be ready soon. No inks. Now we finally have inks (which I've not tried yet), but it took forever. Better to say a vague "we're working on it" than "they'll be ready in October" and not meet the deadline.

7. The tech side of PTI leaves a lot to be desired. The company tried rolling out one website which failed hugely, and then did it again during the anniversary this February. Uh, soooo not a good idea. The anniversary was already task-saturated with contests and tons of new product and lots of business traffic. Changing how people order during the biggest ordering time of the year was too risky and, given past failed attempts, not a good business move.

I do think that the PTI bashing has taken on a life of its own, turning nasty and spreading like wild fire. Some of it is unfair, and some of the angry rhetoric people are flinging around seems truly excessive to the problem. No company is perfect. I will continue ordering from PTI (gotta get that card stock, after all!), but I understand I'm ordering at my own risk. The product is amazing, and I truly pray they get their customer service and website together soon.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jolly Christmas

I played with A Muse's set Naughty or Nice and want credit for coloring, as I can't remember the last time I did it. Of course, I kept it simple (no shading) but hey, it's coloring!

The belt buckle is colored with silver Smooch, and the fur is white Flower Soft. It's amazing what a touch of texture does to liven up an extremely simple card. Hmmmm, perhaps that should be a One-Layer Wednesday Challenge.

I want to thank kind reader Barb for sending my son a HUGE stack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards following the theft of his deck. Your kindness has softened his pain enormously!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

stamps: A Muse (Naughty or Nice)
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: Memento lady bug marker, silver Smooch, white Flower Soft, Corner Chomper

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Birthday Sign and Random Language

The set Sign Language from Papertrey has a lot of little squares that are very useful for clean and simple cards, though I must admit the whole sign-building concept of the set has not served me well.

Did I mention I placed an order with Papertrey the other day? Well, I did. I am down to my last pack of Stampers Sampler Select White card stock. The horror, the horror!

And of course I ordered a bunch of stamp sets but don't ask which. I hemmed and hawwed so badly I have no idea what was actually in my cart when I clicked to pay. Perhaps the Jane Austen set was in there. Perhaps not. Rosie Posies wasn't because it was out of stock. Darn it all. Anyway, I'm not checking my order email because I want to be surprised when the box arrives. It'll be like someone sent me an awesome present for St. Patrick's Day.

I'm Irish. Way back on my mom's side.

Now that my carpet is repaired, I'm moving my craft space. It's going to take a while to get it all pulled together, but as I'm moving stuff, I'm feeling the urge to purge in some big ways.

We took delivery of a new entertainment center today, and it looks awesome.

It was really windy today in Ohio.

Oh look! A full moon!

No. I don't have ADD. Why do you ask?

Here's my card, in my most favoritest layout in the history of cardmaking.

The squares were punched with a 3/4" punch and lined up over the sentiment on dimensionals.Then, I used a Sakura Stardust purple pen to accent the flowers on the first and third squares, for that little extra something.

Popping colors and a little touch of shimmer. Just enough. Not too much.

Works for me.

stamps: Papertrey Ink (Sign Language, Birthday Basics)
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: 3/4" square punch, dimensionals, Sakura Stardust purple pen

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One-Layer Wednesday 82: Swirly Fun

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is to use a swirl! I added an extra challenge to mine by using a swirl on a dude birthday card...super cool but not necessary. ;)

To keep the greens in the same tone, I off-stamped the bamboo ink from the definition stamp and swirl before stamping on the paper.

OLW82 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single layer of cardstock folded in half. No other layers allowed.

2. Use at least one swirl stamp on your card.

3. Upload your card somewhere on the internet and link back to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity. If you post on your blog, please link to the individual post, not your whole blog.

4. HAVE FUN!!!!!

stamps: Hero Arts (definition), Papertrey (Father Knows Best, tree; Grunge Me, swirl)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey vintage cream
accessories: half pearls, corner rounder

Monday, March 5, 2012


Sometimes you need a serene card, something peaceful and hopeful and soft and pretty. Like this:

A little rock-and-roll of chalk ink accented with a strip of soft fabric combine to offer some gentle encouragement.

I love making cards like this...probably because my life is so technicolor crazy!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Colorbox Chalk
paper: PTI vintage cream
accessories: fabric, glue dot, corner rounder

Sunday, March 4, 2012


This week's OLW challenge, hosted by Jennifer Styles, is to use cream cardstock, black ink, and bling. Jennifer says "a hint of bling," but I used a bit more than "a hint."

This tree just needed more than a hint of bling, but as they are all little blings, I bet my card still qualifies!

Click over to Jennifer's blog to play along!

stamps: Hero Arts (tree), Papertrey Ink (sentiment)
ink: Memento black
paper: PTI vintage cream
accessories: clear rhinestones, corner rounder

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Really Cool Marginal Note

Diana asked if my posting these calligraphy/illumination projects is tempting me to get back to those hobbies. The answer is a resounding, emphatic NO! They are a lot of work, and I've become accustomed to one-layer cards that generally come together in ten minutes or less if I'm lucky. Call me lazy.

Now, bookbinding...that's something I've done off and on for years and truly love, but it doesn't have to take three months like that Psalter for my mother did. I've unearthed several small books that I want to share over the next few days. Today's is, like yesterday's, inspired by the middle ages. It combines calligraphy, rubber stamping, and heat embossing for (I think) a pretty neat effect.

First, the story behind the contents of this book. I found this quotation taken from the margins of a medieval Irish manuscript: "Pleasant to me is the glittering of the sun today upon these margins, because it flickers so."

I loved the idea that a scribe got bored copying a book and took time to share his personal observation in the moment. That quotation inspired this book, which uses a very large background stamp with an early medieval script and some Celtic knot stamps. I chose black for the book because the metallic ink and embossing would show up so beautifully and glitter in the light.

Clean and simple and black exterior of a simple hardcover accordion book.

The entire book, open. Click to see it bigger.

Pages 1 and 2. Title: Marginal Note

Pages 3 and 4.
Gold and bronze embossing combined
with a silver calligraphy pen...sparkly, no?

Pages 7 and 8. Isn't the style of the F and K charming?
Descenders rather than ascenders...scripts can be so engaging and interesting!

My book is stylistically very different from an actual medieval manuscript (well, they weren't accordion books for one thing!), and because the marginal note is the most important thing, I made it the biggest thing...much bigger than the Latin text of the "book" to which the marginal note was added. I scattered random knots around simply because that's what the Irish scribes often did, filling an empty space with some pretty or whimsical image. Obviously those scribes were far more artistic than I will ever be.
If you are interested in making books, I heartily recommend THIS BOOK by Alisa Golden. It's the first of many bookbinding books I bought and one of the best, with very good instructions. There are a few supplies the average papercrafter would have to add to her/his stash before starting serious bookbinding (as opposed to, say, flippant bookbinding!), and like anything, it gets easier with practice.

Fine binders study for years as apprentices to masters...needless to say, I don't do fine binding! Artist books, however, like the ones shown in Golden's book can be very accessible and fun.

I hope you're enjoying these unusual posts. If not, rest assured I'll get back to posting cards soon. After all, the new OLW is posted at Jennifer's BLOG, and I just HAVE to play along!!!!