Saturday, June 30, 2012

Can a Stamper Have Too Many Butterfly Stamps?

No. Absolutely not.

As soon as I saw PTI's Beautiful Butterflies, I knew I had to have it.





Because really, a girl can't have too many butterfly stamps, and none of mine were solid, block images anyway. And ever since Audrie sent me the Tattered Angels glimmer mist, I've wanted to use the marker-and-mist technique to make shimmery butterflies.

And now I can shimmer those butterflies to my heart's content.


You'll notice that this layout is basically the same as my last butterfly card...only without the text border stamp. Using the technique and a more involved sentiment is enough. No border needed.
To get this watery effect, ink the image with markers (I used two shades of pink from Memento), spritz the inked stamp, let the colors blend a bit, and then stamp it to heavy paper. This technique works mainly with solid images, and don't be afraid if the stamp seems downright drippy. I found that if it wasn't watery enough, the stamped image looked blotchy (like it was sponged), not swirly and soft. Here's a technique where precise tends to look wrong...loose and free are the what you want.

Sorry for the late posting. We lost power yesterday around 5:00 PM and didn't regain it until 1:00 PM today (Saturday). In our area of Ohio, over 450,000 were without power this morning. That was some storm...80 mph straight-line winds and some serious thunder and lightning. Everyone is fine, though. Our only losses were a patio umbrella and the contents of our fridge and freezer.

Fortunately, my stamping area gets AM sunlight, so I got some quality stamp time this morning when there was nothing else to do!

I hope all who were in the path of the storm (there were lots of us!) have electricity and no serious injuries or property damage. Let us know how it was in your area!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fresh Zig Zags and Baby Stamps

The chevron trend is one that I've happily skipped, but there is a chevron-patterned hexagon in the Happy Hexagon set, so I decided to get a little happy with my favorite color combination: Pear Tart (*giggle*) and Bahama Blue.

This was fun, and relatively easy to line up, although if you look closely, there are a few wider gaps. Most people wouldn't even notice, though, so I declare placement with this set is pretty easy.

SusieH asked if I'd found a baby set I like yet. The answer is, sadly, no. Honestly, I have pretty much given up, especially because I've entered that time of life when my friends are finished having children, but their children are not yet old enough to have children of their own. Eventually, I'll have to start searching again, and hopefully by then SOMEONE will have released a nice block-image stamp set for babies that isn't too cutesy or cliche. In the meantime, I have a few baby-themed stamps for emergencies.

What are your favorite baby stamps? What style of baby stamps do you like best?

stamps: Papertrey Happy Hexagons, some other set I forget which
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: none

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting on Trend with $5

I have a confession. I'm a trend lagger. When some new trend comes down the pike, I tend to lag behind, to wait, to stand back, to hold my elbow with one hand and press my forefinger to my lips with the other and cock my head in puzzlement.

Should I jump on this trend?

Is it me?

Is it worth the money?

What should I do?



Hee Haw.

By the time I decide to commit, the trend is soooo yesterday. Doesn't matter. I either like it (chandeliers) or I don't (owls); I'm either happy to have bought into it (text backgrounds) or regret the purchase with a chagrinned sigh (lamps).

Which brings me to hexagons and the glory of $5 stamp sets.

Papertrey is offering more of these petite sets that allow you to play with a trend without a major commitment. A $5 set is sort of a friend with benefits, if you will. You don't have to marry a trend anymore. You are free to play around with it, satisfy the urge, and move on without guilt or shame.

I love $5 sets.

And the tiny set Happy Hexagons (seriously?) has satisfied my urge regarding this bee-inspired shape. I've played around with it and am so glad I bought it. Plus, it pushed my order into the free shipping range, and that was SO WORTH IT.

The stem is from Faux Ribbon and the leaf is from Green Thumb, both also by Papertrey. The petals are Memento's new Moroccan orange. Happy, indeed.

What trends have you thoroughly enjoyed? Which have you regretted investing in?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Thank You Cards

These three cards started out as one layer and became two layers when I stamped one just a little high on the card. I decided to fix it by layering, and liked it so much better that I cut down the other two as well.

Sometimes, one layer just isn't enough.

Yesterday's post provoked a question about the pink I used on the shell card. It's VersaMagic Malted Mauve...which is sort of a muddy pink that always makes me think about sea shells. I know I've used it before for shell stamps, and I used it above as well.

Don't forget to check out  Cheryl's blog for this week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge!!!!

stamps: Hero Arts (Antique Engravings, and some sentiment set whose name I can't remember)
ink: VersaMagic and Brilliance
paper: PTI
accessories: dimensionals

I Need Thank You Notes and to Get Some Things off My Chest

In cleaning my craft area yesterday (and no, it's not organized yet, just surface clean), I discovered that I had very few thank you notes in my stash. So I went to work by pulling out Hero Arts' Antique Engravings (a clear set), Papertrey's Text Style, and a Thank You sentiment from Clear and Simple Stamps.

Same layout, different card stock and colors, and completely different looks....

Which do you like better...the soft and natural one or the happy orange one? I vote orange, myself, but there are situations when the softer one might be more appropriate.

Either way, I LOVE stamp sets that have at least three images in different sizes so making visual triangles is as easy as 1-2-3. Antique Engravings has five butterflies and three shells...but only two hummingbirds, both oriented to the right and the same except for size. I'm always annoyed by this hummingbird shortcoming when I pull out this set, but I suppose they can only put so many stamps in one set.

Yesterday after my stamping time, both my recent orders arrived. I placed both orders on Friday, so that was amazing service from Creative Play Stamps and Papertrey. Yay!!!

The order from Creative Play Stamps contained eight of the new Memento dew drop inks and a free dauber. Yay!!! I'd already picked up four of the inks at Michael's a few weeks ago. Here's my Memento storage drawer, all stocked up.

Aren't these so tidy and pretty lined up like this?

I'm not sure about some of these new colors, though. They are so...dark. The olive grove and northern pine are particularly dark, as are the new blues and the purple. Pistachio is nice, and so is the gray flannel, a good alternative to black for sentiments on some cards as it's darker than London fog and more substantial. Morocco is a bright, clean reddish orange. There's now a good medium brown, too.

But there's still no medium blue or pink, and no aqua shade at all. Espresso truffle looks like a dull black and I'm not exactly sure I'll ever find a use for it. I'm also not sure I'll be buying the markers for most of these as the markers are generally a few shades darker than the pads anyway.

My second order was from Papertrey Ink...and my first order with the new packaging for the stamps. Which is to say no packaging. Which brings me to a deeply personal rant about clear stamp storage.

When you're mildly obsessive, standardization in industries is a delight. I love Microsoft products not because they work well (sometimes they don't) but I can find my way around MS programs no problem. I never feel lost or disorganized with them. Clear stamp storage has no industry standard, and that drives me nuts.

I have an extra stash of jewel cases for storing stamps, so it's not a problem for me that PTI is no longer including storage with sets, but I want to go on record and say I HATE CHANGING STORAGE SYSTEMS MIDSTREAM. I have dozens and dozens of PTI sets in jewel cases. In January I bought some pretty green boxes to store them in...boxes that fit the jewel cases perfectly and still have a little room to grow my collection.

I DON'T LIKE jewel cases for storing clear stamps because the stamps stick together, little ones fall out of the opening in the case, and the case hinges break or pop apart annoyingly.

BUT changing now to DVD cases (which I also don't like for different reasons) would be horrifyingly expensive and time-consuming. Plus, it would take way more space and render my cute green boxes obsolete. I invested in jewel-case storage, not because I like jewel cases but because that's what PTI gave out and I would rather buy stamps, not storage, thank you very much.

I kinda prefer the Hero Arts clear folders, but not by much. They have images on them, so you know where to put the stamps and can see at a glance if one is missing. I never could get the PTI image stickers on neatly, nor would stamps fit in the larger sets where their image was. The Hero Arts's system is also delightfully simple and doesn't take much space to store them. I throw them in the drawers with my wood-mounted stamps and can always find them.

But stamps can fall out (especially small ones). And Hero keeps coming out with different sizes of folders...very annoying to store in an obsessive-compulsive fashion.

I feel better for having said all this, and really, I know this is completely a First World Problem not worthy of anyone's time or whining. PTI is free to improve whatever they want whenever they want, and no doubt the new storage system is vastly superior to the jewel-case system. But for now, I'm going to make do with my cheapo jewel cases and pray for patience.

Because the PTI sets I ordered are drop-dead fabulous and I can't wait to ink them up!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Fishy Carolina Birthday

First of all, thank you all who left comments or sent emails regarding the last post about Karen. Sincerely, thank you.

Second, a happier event is upcoming this uncle Darius's birthday. He's a HUGE University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) fan, something that this Duke graduate in no way holds against him. In fact, I'm far more civilized about his aberrant loyalty than I am about my husband's...Darius doesn't rub my nose in it when Duke loses like George does.

Ah, what does the Bible say about a house divided? George and I just celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary in Hawai'i, so I guess a house divided by shades of blue can, indeed, stand.

But during basketball season...just barely.

Anyway, Uncle Darius has a birthday coming up, so I wanted to make him a celebratory card with a whole lotta Carolina blue. Darius is also the proud owner of a condo at a North Carolina beach, where he enjoys throwing his grandchildren in the surf every summer. Plus, I just got back from Kaua'i and feel fishy myself.

So I used my A Muse stamps to make this punny Carolina blue card:

To make the kelp and solid fish look watery, I slid the ink pads over the stamps. If you look closely, you'll see the streaky effect. I liked it. The stamped panel alone on the blue looked weird, and a dark mat looked gloomy. A white mat gives some dimensional interest and keeps the whole thing nice and light.

The focal point fish is supposed to be Darius. He will smile.

Every now and then, there's a perfect opportunity to customize a card for a particular person by using specific images or color combinations or themes. What is the last card you customized? What did you do?

stamps: A Muse
ink: Memento
paper: SU bashful blue, PTI white
accessories: Memento Markers, dimensionals

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Sympathy Card with Quilts in Mind

My friend Karen Hoyer died a week ago while I was on vacation. We went to graduate school together from 1992 through 1994. We shared an office, taught freshman composition, took classes together, critiqued each other's papers, encouraged each other, and shared a wonderful bond of friendship.

Karen had always been crafty, but I didn't turn crafty until about 8 years after graduate school. After working in universities for a few years, Karen decided she liked quilting better than academia, so her husband Nick finished the unfinished area of their basement and bought her a massive quilting machine. She worked and taught at local stores. And then she got cancer. Four years ago.

Karen and Nick had two daughters, Jordan and Chelsea. Chelsea, the younger of the two, was just learning to walk when I met Karen. Jordan has now graduated from college; Chelsea is in college. And they just lost their mama. Nick just lost his wife.

All I can do is send a card and pray that God's peace and comfort surrounds them and helps them--and all of Karen's extensive family and friends--through this terrible time of loss.

When Karen died, that left me with two friends with cancer. Those two are doing quite well. But just as Karen passed, another friend, named Zandra, was diagnosed. She went to the emergency room for abdominal pain, and the scan that revealed the diverticulitis that was causing her immediate pain also revealed an 8-cm mass on her kidney...a mass the doctor said almost always turns out to be cancer. She has never been in the hospital for anything in her life, and she's a few years older than I. And on Wednesday, she's having surgery to remove the kidney.

Her husband is a cancer survivor.

Cancer sucks. We can pray. We can donate money to cancer treatment and research, we can reach out to those who are suffering with meals and cards and a hand to hold.

But the most important thing we can do is help those who are living with cancer live. Really live. Karen lived four years after her stage 4 diagnosis. She lived to see one daughter graduate from college and the other graduate from high school. She lived to go on a cruise and teach more quilting classes and make more quilts and give more hugs and hold more babies and share more love.

We will all die of something. But living now...well, that's what we need to do. I only hope I--all of us, really--can live now as well as Karen did, can appreciate the gift that living is, can share hope and joy and love and smiles.

And for now, that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Papertrey Ink (Quilter's Sampler, Botanical Silhouettes)
paper: Papertrey
ink: Memento
accessories: markers, dimensionals, 3/4" square punch

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Simple Susan Card

A quick and simple card with just a touch of Stickles for fun!

If you want to know what to do with those tiny little stamps that come in clear sets, here's an idea. The design principle of repetition works beautifully when combined with a pretty sentiment. Take a look at your own stamps and see what variations on this you can do.

Plus, it's a great idea for making a set of simple, quick cards to give as a last-second gift!

On the news front, I just placed an order for new stamps from Papertrey....some fun stuff that's a little outside my usual. Can't wait to play!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: corner rounder, Stickles

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

OLW93 Kitchen Inspiration Card

Heather's OLW challenge this week is to go to the kitchen for inspiration. I found this pepper shaker in my spice cabinet and immediately got inspired!

Here's my summer version of the pepper shaker, with a little glitter, of course!

All stamps are from A Day at the Beach by Papertrey. The word Summer is from the sentiment that says Summer Bash. I just inked the first word.

It took three tries to get this right. First, I tried to use Gray Flannel Memento for the sentiment. Looked weird. Second, I stamped everything too low on the card. Looked unbalanced. Third, I oopsed and got a smidge of ink on the word Bash, but I covered it up with a white gel pen. Can you tell?

For such a simple card, the execution was harder than I expected!

I added the glitter glue to spice things up. To create just a sheen of glitter on the orange drink, I painted the orange Stickles on the glass with a paintbrush.

stamps: PTI
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: Stickles in yellow, lime, and orange

OLW93: In the Kitchen

Click on over to Heather's blog for this week's OLW, which is to take inspiration from an item in your kitchen! What fun, and I'm on it today!

Monday, June 18, 2012

More On the Edge

Just a quick post after a very, very busy day.

stamps: Papertrey Botanical Silhouettes
ink: Memento...including the new dark gray...yum!!!
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Evolution of Thanks

These cards qualify for the OLW92: On the Edge. Hope you get a chance to play!

First, I used Art Warehouse's Mini Monogram set and Hero Arts Typewriter Alphabet to make this card. It doesn't quite work for me. The two alphas just aren't quite complementary in style, and the you is too small. I liked the earthtone colors with the PTI natural card base, but that was the last base in that particular paper I had cut.

So I switched to a white base that was lying around and a light purple ink, and ditched the you altogether. I liked the layout but the color is tepid and just looks boring in a monochrome.

So finally, with a reversed layout, the whole thing feels fresh and hip with London Fog ink and happy orange bling.

NOW I like it!

What a fun way to use those larger alphabets!

Yes, I will be posting about Hawaii--with PICTURES!--on my other blog soon, but we're still getting settled and unpacked and all that. Oh how much fun we had!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Monochromatic Success

You can keep monochromatic cards from being boring by varying shape and texture. This simple card uses scalloped scallops (Martha Stewart border punch), a straight-line ribbon, and round buttons. The paper is matte, the ribbon is both shiny and sheer, and the buttons are pearly. The end result is both unified and interesting.

Of course, this card turned out NOTHING like I had intended. It sort of evolved from a bright, colorful card to this. I'm not complaining, just pointing out that it's usually best to go with the creative flow rather than force an matter how good the initial idea may be!

I'll be returning home from paradise soon, so no posts until next week. Have a lovely weekend!
stamps: Papertrey Simple Little Things
ink: SU turquoise
paper: PTI
accessories: PTI buttons, glue dots, Scor-Tape, ribbon, Martha Stewart border punch

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OLW92: On the Edge

Due to a vacation brain mess-up, the OLW schedule got confused. Translation: I screwed up. So here's your One-Layer Wednesday, a tad late but clever nevertheless.

This week, we're stampin' on the edge. The edge of the card, that is. Don't go OFF the edge...just up to the edge. Any edge will do, and you may even use two, three, or four edges.

OLW92 Rules

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

2. Stamp up to the edge of the card...not off the card. All four edges are fair game. There could be some really creative layouts with this one!!!!!

3. Keep embellishments to a minimum.

4. Post your creation online and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity. Please link to the individual post on your blog rather than your blog's main page.

5. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

stamps: Typwriter Alphabet (Hero Arts); all others, Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: corner rounder

Father's Day 1

Well, I had planned on posting fairly regularly while on vacation, but connectivity issues and sheer family fun have gotten in the way. We're having a blast on this amazing Hawaiian island of Kauai. Wish you all were here!

I'll post all about our trip on my other blog next week (with lots of photos, including underwater photos of snorkeling with sea turtles!), but for now, here's one of the cards I had ready for posting.

I love my punches but haven't been using them as often as I should. So I made this ribbon for my father-in-law.

I hope you all are having a lovely summer (or winter if you're down under). We sure are!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: SU brilliant blue, real red; PTI white
accessories: circle punches, scallop circle punch, scissors, dimensionals

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm Alive!

In fact, I'm better than alive. I'm on Paradise Island ("de plane, de plane!"), a.k.a. Kauai, but my plan to post while here has run into connectivity issues. I'm sorry if anyone has been worried while I've been cruising the Nepali Coast and snorkeling with sea turtles and eating tasty fish I didn't know existed!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Inspired by Angeline Yong Jeet Leen

Today's card is inspired by this card from Angeline Yong Jeet Leen in Card Creations Volume 10.

Isnt' that FABULOUS?!?!?! LOVE the fun dots (on washi tape, no less!) she used to create her grid. Angeline's card begged for me to CASE it, so I did...with two very different versions.

First, I went textual, repeatedly stamping a scrap of white card with Papertrey's Text Style, but I ran into a little problem. You see, I cheated and used my 3/4" square punch, which gave me larger squares than Angeline used, meaning I couldn't quite get as many rows of squares on my grid. As you can see, this meant a bit of an awkward placement of the third rhinestone to get that visual triangle to work.

While I loved the black-and-white riff on Angeline's colorful card, I knew I had to ditch the rhinestones if I kept using my punch.

So I stamped a piece of scrap paper with Papertrey's Grunge Me and punched out the squares. Then, after arranging them in a pleasingly random way, I added the orange birds to the first and last squares. THIS version ended up more balanced with fewer--and larger--squares on the grid.

If you want a little tip on getting a grid glued down perfectly, get thee a quilting ruler. Here's a little photo to help. Line it up (I'd obviously knocked it a bit off line before I shot the photo, but you get the idea), and position the squares with ease!

Also, to stamp the sentiment, I stamped the top and bottom ones in line with the square to the left using a gridded acrylic block, and then eyeballed the middle one.

Many thanks to Angeline for inspiring such a fun layout!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: 3/4" square punch, glue, quilting ruler, rhinestones

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

For my Friend Ann

One side-effect of looking at stamping magazines is a desire to use all sorts of lumpy, bumpy embellishments on cards. Lumpy bumpy stuff is everywhere in the mags. Every. Where.

Generally speaking, I'm happiest with a single layer of card stock and maybe a little bling. But I actually do own lumpy bumpy embellishments. Some I have bought for myself in fits of delusional conspicuous consumption, and some have been given to me by stamping friends who like to laugh diabolically as they pack their generous boxes of goodies to me. Audrie, yes, I'm talking about you.

So here's my lumpy bumpy card using pom-pom trim and lace, sent to me by Audrie. I chose the color combo for my friend Ann, who is back to stamping and blogging now that school is out. She's an English teacher. Love that. And this color combo always makes me think of her.

Can't imagine why.

I don't know when Ann's birthday is, but I'll find out and send her this, probably late since it won't be a surprise at all so what's the point of rushing things?

Anyway, Ann, I'm glad you're back. And happy summer to all the teachers out there. You deserve a break.

stamps: Hero Arts
paper: PTI white, SU tempting turquoise
ink: SU tempting turquoise
accessories: pom-pom trim, lace, Scor-Tape

Monday, June 4, 2012

Inspired by Michelle Bertuzzi

Michelle Bertuzzi had a card published in Card Creations Volume 10 that inspired me so much. Her brilliant use of distressed handwritten text as a background for a sentiment and a sprinkle of butterflies--balanced with a fabulous black bow--resulted in this lovely sympathy card.

Here's my CASification riff on her lovely card....

Obviously, I changed the theme and color scheme. For my handwritten text, I punched a mask using a scalloped circle...that kept the edges from being too regular. I stamped the text background in light pink and then the sentiment in hot pink.

As you can see, there is no ribbon. I tried. Truly I did. It was hot pink gingham and so lovely in my hand. But my bow looked so sad.

So, so sad.

No matter how I tweaked and fussed, it just looked pathetic. I ditched it and added a third butterfly for balance. Then I decided to play with the bling colors...clear on the pink butterflies and hot pink on the white.

And if you don't have that Martha Stewart butterfly punch, go buy it. Right now. It's sublime, and it's so cool that I had the same one Michelle used!

Many thanks to Michelle for creating her masterpiece and inspiring my take on it. I never could have come up with this on my own, and I'm just tickled pink!

stamps: text background (unknown), sentiment (Hero Arts typwriter cling set)
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, SU passion pink
accessories: dimensionals, Martha Stewart butterfly punches, rhinestones

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank you, Teacher

I needed some quick teacher gifts last week, so I made these cards and gave them with some wonderful iced sugar cookies from a local bakery. Jack signed each card and wrote a personal sentiment for all five of his teachers and therapists. Without my telling him, he made each message different. It was so sweet!

Jack, who has autism, had fewer teachers and therapists in third grade than ever before: a special education teacher, inclusion teacher, aide, speech therapist, and occupational therapist. In years past, there were more aides and a physical therapist, too. In preschool and kindergarten, he went to two schools...requiring as many as 12 end-of-year teacher gifts. I'd say he's moving in the right direction. Yippy!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

stamps: Papertrey Ink (Happy Trails)
ink: various Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: none

Friday, June 1, 2012

Congrats to the Grad!

In response to yesterday's post...

1. To get the two colors of polka dots, ink the first color and stamp. Clean the stamp, ink with the second color, and stamp so that the dots are in the empty spaces between the already-stamped dots. If you've never two-step stamped before, this isn't necessarily intuitive. Once you do it, you'll slap your forehead and wonder why you never thought of it before. At least, I did.

2. My kids came up with a plan to stop the bickering. Every time they bicker, I give them a point. If they get three points in a day, they lose screen privileges the next day. They decided they can get points for bickering, not doing what I ask of them cheerfully, or pitching fits. We shall see if it works. Today's behavior was already much better than yesterday's!

3. If you want to know why it's so cool to own an Oxford English Dictionary of your very own, click on over to my other blog, where I posted about the word grandeur this morning.

And now for today's post.

It's graduation weekend in my town, and I needed three cards for high-school young man and two young women. Same idea, different looks!

Dude doesn't get flowers and bling, but then, I think all three young people will be far more interested in the checks than the cards, anyway, LOL!

Since all these will be delivered by hand, I felt comfortable getting bulky with them. Those buttons and paper clips might be problematic in the post, though.

Have a lovely weekend!

stamps: StampinUp (library card is from either Office Accoutrements or Stamp of Authenticity, not sure which), Papertrey Ink (sentiment from Mega Mixed Messages, flowers from Paper Tray), date stamp from office supply store

ink: Memento and SU mixed up
paper: PTI kraft, vintage cream, and white
accessories: paper clips, buttons, floss, rhinestones, dimensionals