Thursday, February 28, 2013

Breathing Again and Playing with Color

Thanks to all who commented on my krafty card. I think you're all right about the need to add white to the kraft from a design point. But I don't want to do it. I'm over it. Movin' on and returnin' to white card stock. White card stock lets me breathe. White card stock makes me happy.

Maybe I should change the name of the blog to White Card Stock, or WCS for short.

Or not.


Today's two cards make me happy!!!!

First up is a super-soft sympathy card. Unfortunately, I've needed a lot of sympathy cards in the past few weeks, and my stash is low. (You'll see a flurry of them tomorrow, too.) The stamps are from a PTI anniversary set called Botanical Blooms. The soft pink (VersaColor's cinnamon) and green (split pea) are soothing, and grounded with a brown sentiment. All that white space symbolizes the loneliness we feel when someone leaves us. It works.

When I'd made the sympathy card, I wondered if the exact layout would also work for a more cheerful card with just a color change. Would color have that big of an impact on what is otherwise a serene and peaceful design?

Peony pink and green tea inks certainly liven up the design, and a touch of sparkly glitter makes it more festive than the formal white pearls above.

Color really does have a huge impact on the feel of a design. Which do you prefer?

stamps: Papertrey Botanical Silhouettes
ink: VersaColor
paper: PTI white
accessories: pearls, Stickles crystal

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Krafty Stuff

First off, don't forget that the One-Layer Wednesday Challenge this week is on Karen's blog. It's OLW129 All In A Row. Make a one-layer card with a row of images. Oh how fun this will be when I get to stamp again!!!!!

If she's said "row of bling" I could have posted a card tonight that I made last month and am saving for Easter. But alas, you'll have to make do today with a krafty card with a pre-made envelope attached to the front that has nothing to do with rows of anything. 

Why is it I love kraft when other people use it, but when I use it, it just looks...brown? WHY?

The envelope was in a multipack I bought at Michael's and doesn't match white card stock I have. It's just a little too dull. It took ink nicely, though. If I'd really been paying attention, I would have used a corner rounder instead of the tag punch, and I might have pulled out my deco scissors and done something that looked pinked like the envelope.

Alas, February hasn't been a totally excellent stamping month for me.

And oh, man. I'm grouchy right now. I'm going to shut up and go to bed and find my bliss in the Land of Nod before coming back here and whining at poor, innocent blog readers.

Please forgive me. I really do love you and want you to come back!


stamps: Papertrey Floral Frenzy
ink: VersaColor
paper: Papertrey kraft
accessories: envelope, tag punch, circle punch, twine, Scor-Tape

Monday, February 25, 2013

Using Transparencies, Part 3

Don't you like how clever my titles have been the last few days? Scintillating, I know.

Here's the last transparency card that's good enough to share. Ta-da!!!

Julie Ebersole, Her Royal Rubberness, taught me to never, ever, under any circumstances, use nekkid buttons on a card. So these three all have brown DMC floss in knots, if you will!

One heart, two strips of wood-grain-stamped transparency, three buttons. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

And yes, that was on purpose. Give it a try!

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Hero Arts wood grain background
ink: StazOn brown, Memento Love Letter
paper: Papertrey white, clear
accessories: buttons, dimensionals, heart punch, DMC floss

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Using Transparencies, Part 2

I decided to use the half-sheet of transparency left over from yesterday's card to make several more cards, just using pieces of it. Some of these cards were, um, ugly. But I stamped a big background stamp (wood grain from Hero Arts) in brown on the transparency and used it successfully on three different cards. For two of them, I used punches and layered.

And yes, I made these cards for Valentine's Day.

Pretty cool, eh? On the top one, I scored the middle of the heart so it would add some dimension. Bling hides the glue dots that hold the transparent punches on both cards. I like how the transparencies add shine and a hint of dimension without bulk.

Several of you asked if I stamped on the outside or inside of the transparencies. The ink is on top in all my transparency cards because I liked the look better, but you do have the option. The effect is subtly different if you flip the transparency over. There's less sense of dimension.

I also like how the use of wood grain over hearts implies that love is natural, withstands the test of time, weathers well. It's a bit unexpected, but feels right.

So pull out those transparencies and get punchy!

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Hero Arts wood grain background
ink: Staz-On timber brown, SU real red, Memento chocolate
paper: Papertrey white, SU purely pom or regal rose, not sure
accessories: heart punch, rhinestones, heart rhinestones, dimensionals, glue dots, corner rounder

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Using Transparencies: Part 1

The special issue of Papercrafts Magazine that lists challenges is interesting, although my reaction to it has been more rebellious than embracing. Do you ever get that way? "Oh, you want me to make a fabric flower? I don't think so!"

Yes, I'm a rebel. Just call me James Dean. Or maybe Jimmy Dean.

Yum. Sausage.

I miss sausage.

What was I typing about?

Oh, yeah, challenges. I was flipping through the magazine in a very negative, grouchy frame of mind when I came across a challenge to use transparencies. Hmmm. I bought a small package of "clear card stock" from PTI years ago, and it's languished in my stash ever since. So I pulled it out and felt happier instantly.

Then I realized I sold my white Staz-On and felt sad. But only for a second. I still had stone gray, brown, and black Staz-On and decided to see what I could do.

The first card uses a half-sheet of transparency for the card base, with a smaller, trimmed card taped inside with a single strip of 1/4" Scor-Tape across the top back, which is almost invisible even through the transparency. I didn't invent this idea, by the way. I've seen it several times over the years. It's a good way of emphasizing the fact that ohmygoshIusedatransparencyformycardbase!!!!

Because I didn't have red Staz-On, I stamped the sentiment on the white card stock, but the red dots are Sharpie used directly on the transparency. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the effect of that layering adds depth to the whole design.

PTI's clear card stock is nice and thick and sturdy, and while it's expensive per sheet, a pack will last most of us YEARS because we will hoard it as too expensive to cut.

Wow, I'm cynical this morning. Clearly I need a sausage biscuit.

stamps: Papertrey (Beautiful Butterflies, sentiment), AMuse (Marvelous Marigolds)
ink: Gray Staz-On, Versacolor scarlet
paper: PTI clear card stock, white
accessories: Scor-Pal (you gotta score that thick transparency!), Sharpie

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Awwww, Cute!

Weeks ago, I went shopping at a papercraft store, and after looking around for over an hour, ended up buying a single set of stamps (plus a few other odds and ends). The stamp set was the Hero Arts speech bubble clear set.

When I tried to use it, I realized I have a shocking lack of stamps of images that might legitimately have something to say in a speech bubble. After digging a bit, I found two old, discontinued stamps from Hero Arts--a kitty and a dog--that are obscenely adorable. So I made these two cards.

The dog, named Newton, and the kitty, named, um, Kitty, need ground to stand on, so I gave Newton a piece of my last remaining washi tape (I gave the rest away because I'm washi-challenged), and Kitty got the large AMuse oval to stand on.

They're cute, but I feel creatively tapped out with speech bubbles. And now I'm feeling stupid for buying the speech bubble set in the first place. They seemed like such a great idea in the store, but now I suspect I fell victim to some trend or another, subliminally controlled by marketing forces I don't care to look at too closely.

Or maybe I just need to buy some more images of critters who might have something to say.

Oh, and by the way, we're not even going to talk about the punch I bought that I already had. No, no, no, I did not do that. Never, not ever, no way, not in this lifetime, ever.

De Nile is a river that runs both deep and wide.

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey (Newton's saying)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: heart rhinestone, washi tape, Memento markers

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Floral Frenzy Revisited

After playing around with A Muse's Marvelous Marigolds, I pulled out Papertrey's Floral Frenzy, an older set that is lots of fun. Here's the first card I made with it.

I just love the white layers and the soft browny-greens (VersaColor inks, split pea, bamboo). Sadly, I have no clever explanation for the three layers of white.

It just felt right.

Skip on over to Heather's Blog for this week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge: Feminine Birthday Card. FUN!

stamps: Papertrey Floral Frenzy
ink: VersaColor bamboo, split pea, pinecone
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

OLW127 Pinterest Inspiration


I had a hard time stamping yesterday.

I ruined a lot of card stock.

Wasted some bling.

It was sad.

When I told my mom, she said, "You took too long a break from stamping. You need time to get back in the groove."

She was right. I've hardly stamped anything in weeks and have been posting cards made in January.

But finally, late yesterday afternoon, I made this for OLW127 on Cheryl's blog using THIS PIN for inspiration.

Whew. It looks just fine.

I loved that Cheryl posted this challenge because I spend all sorts of time pinning things but rarely use what I pinned for the purpose intended. Thanks, Cheryl, for keeping all that pinning from being a waste of time!

stamps: SU, Papertrey
ink: Memento, Ancient Page
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones, corner rounder

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lenten Devotional

First of all, I'll share a super simple card to get you in the mood.

Lent has begun. Perhaps you are one who gives stuff up for Lent...chocolate, perhaps, or candy, or the Internet. If you gave up the Internet, you're not here reading this and are a better, stronger person than I am.

If, however, you are interested in doing something a bit more spiritual for Lent other than just giving up chocolate, perhaps you might enjoy diving into your Bible for a study of Exodus. If so, please visit my other blog, Transforming Common Days.

Each weekday during Lent, starting Monday, February 18, I will post our study from First United Methodist Church of Springboro on that blog. You are invited to share your thoughts throughout the study in the comments over there.

I would love it if you would join us!

stamps: StampinUp (cross), Papertrey (sentiment)
ink: VersaColor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone, Copic and Bic markers (for shading the rhinestone)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pink Flowers

Here's the card I almost posted on Valentine's Day but didn't because it was pink and not exactly a Valentine. Pretty, though, don't you think?

I actually made quite a few Valentine's Day cards but hadn't photographed them in time to post, which is too bad because some of them are really cute! Now, if I post them, it will feel awkward, like showing up to a costume party on the wrong night, all dressed up like a Smurf (or maybe the Doppler effect) and feeling like a fool.

One of the reader comments on my non-Valentine's Day card on Valentine's Day brought up an interesting topic I've discussed before...the trend toward using non-traditional colors on holiday cards. So Valentines are, say, purple or blue or brown or yellow rather than pink, red, and chocolate brown. Or Christmas cards are teal and orange rather than green and red. The reader complained about this trend, and she has a valid point, in my humble opinion.

I play with color a lot, mainly because it's fun. Also, I make so many Christmas cards (at least a couple hundred each year) that limiting myself to a traditional palette for them all is mind-numbingly boring, so yes, I did, indeed, make a teal-and-orange nativity card last year. Just one, to get it out of my system.

But varying the traditional color for a card gets old fast. The traditional colors are there for a reason, and while an occasional pink-and-gray Christmas card might look fresh and fun, when the tradition becomes too diluted with variations all over the place, the result is visually jarring chaos.

The point behind the rules is that when we break them, it's for a good reason because the rules aren't exactly arbitrary. They have their own very good reasons for being. I mostly follow them and break them only when I feel I must.

Of course, this is a hobby, so do what you want...make all-black Christmas cards for all I care if  it makes you happy. You don't have to listen to me.

Even if I am right.

Ooops. Was that my outside voice?

Now, who wants to take on the challenge of an all-black Christmas card?

stamps: A Muse Marvelous Marigolds, Hero Arts sentiment (discontinued clear set)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

And I'm not going to show you anything pink or red.

You're welcome.

The AMuse Marvelous purple. I colored it simply, without shading, in three shades of purple. Then, I tried to stamp the sentiment on the card, but it of course looked terrible because it overlapped the flower.


So I covered it up with the strip, and you would never have known if I hadn't blabbed.

Just keepin' it real in Simple-Land.

stamps: A Muse
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones, copic markers, dimensionals, scallop scissors (to round the edges of the sentiment panel)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Masterboarding It

You might have noticed masterboards in one of the Stampington and Company magazines. An artist creates a collage sheet and then cuts it up to make a bunch of different cards. It's not my usual style, but when confronted with AMuse's Marvelous Marigolds set, which contains outline and solid flower images, as well as solid leaves, I decided to experiment on a small scale with my own masterboard.

Using a 4.25"x5.5" scrap of card stock (the back of a failed one-layer card), I stamped a bunch of images in shades of yellow and orange Memento ink, cut out pretty strips that had nice balance, and made these two cards.

This first card shows the panel popped up on dimensionals, with bling and pearls added for fun, because, you know, there just wasn't enough on the stamped panel to begin with. *snort* All that happy movement is reminiscent of a busy, loud birthday party.

The second card has the stamped panel glued flat down to the edge of the card vertically to emphasize the verticality of the sentiment. The biggest flower in the darkest color with the biggest pearl is lined up to call attention to the sentiment and reinforce its meaning (one big flower = great friend).

This set is perfect for masterboard treatment...and by balancing all that busyness with a fair measure of empty white space, the cards still feel very clean and graphic. These colors pack a powerful punch of energy, but imagine using cool blues and greens...a completely different vibe would, um, vibrate.

So to speak.

stamps: AMuse Marvelous marigolds, Hero Arts friend sentiment (discontinued), Papertrey Birthday Basics
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones and pearls, dimensionals, glue

Monday, February 11, 2013

Final Grunge

Of course, I couldn't let Grunge Me go back into the stash without using it to make my favorite layout of all time, with a tiny variation on sentiment placement. Offsetting such a small sentiment draws more attention to it and keeps it from getting utterly lost on the card.

Oh happy paint spatters! Oh happy, tidy squares!

Tomorrow, I'll start posting some cards using AMuse's Marvelous Marigolds set. So fun!

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

Hmmm, today's post is all about egregious exclamation points.

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me and some other set for the sentiment that I can't remember
ink: VersaColor
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals, 3/4" square punch

Two Little Tabs

Hoping this Monday morning that all my friends and readers in the Northeast are warm and safe! Snows like that are beautiful IF you don't have to go out in them and you don't lose power.

The little tabs on today's card come from Papertrey's Grunge Me. You might remember that I used the stamp in a similar fashion on this card to add some order to the chaos.

No chaos here...just a very clean birthday card for a guy. I do wish I had a better sentiment for this sort of thing, but this large sentiment from Papertrey was the the best I could find in my stash.

Methinks I need to work on my stash a bit.

What have you bought recently that has you excited? Now that I know we're not going to owe Uncle Sam gobs of money, I feel the need to do a little fiscal stimulation of my own and could use some suggestions.

It's only right to do my part to help the economy, right?

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Funky Grunge

Papertrey's Grunge Me set has a small curve of circles that has always been hard for me to incorporate into designs...until I thought of this:

Eeeep! Love it! The alignment was a bit tricky, but I drew a light pencil line down the side of the card and stamped so the tiniest circle and the biggest circle both hit the line, flipping the stamp for each repetition. The different sizes of bling are scattered randomly (although the two closest to the sentiment were placed to draw the eye there), and there are five of them...a nice, odd number for design. The two corners are rounded to bring the whole design together and because it looked weird to have pointy corners on the right.

Take a look at your stash and see if any little stamps might make an interesting border like this one!

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Birthday Basics
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: pencil, straight edge, eraser, rhinestones, corner rounder

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Build-A-Flower and a Cool Marker Tip

Today's card uses the petal-shaped frame from Grunge Me (Papertrey) to create a fun, graphic flower.

If I'd used fairy vomit, I could have used this card for the OLW126 challenge, but alas, hot pink and gray appear frequently on my cards.

And yes, getting the petals all lined up perfectly was hard and required a magic wand gridded acrylic block and holding my breath.

Today's Cool Tip
Did you know that alcohol markers (Copics, Bics, Sharpies) can be blended on bling? I have been experimenting with matching my rhinestones to ink better, and in the process discovered that if, say, your bling is a true red but you need a purplish red, all you have to do is add some purple or blue over it. If you go too far, simply add red to correct. Repeat until you turn into Goldilocks and get it juuuust right. This works equally well starting from scratch with a clear rhinestone.

Blending. It's not just for paper!

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestone, Bic gray marker

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One-Layer Wednesday 126--Neglected Color

First of all, I'm so happy to have an even-numbered challenge again! The last two odd-numbered ones had me twitching.

Second, we all have neglected colors in our ink collections, colors we just don't use often...whether we dislike them, don't know what to do with them, or simply forget about them. So this week, pull out a color or colors that need some love and use them to make a card of any theme.

Here's my card, which uses Brilliance Pearlescent Olive, which I really truly hated at first, but now love and just forget about.

One of our other OLW hostesses, who shall remain nameless (Cheryl oops, Ardyth!), asked if I was going to use Orchid Opulence, which I once referred to as Fairy Vomit. Thank goodness I got rid of it all and have nothing even close to use.

OLW126 Rules

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

2. Make a card using a neglected color in your ink collection. You may choose any theme you wish, but remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Upload your card somewhere online and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity. If linking to a blog post, remember to link to the specific post, not the blog's main page.

Please note...the InLinkz button will not go live until Wednesday mid-morning.

4. The most important rule of all...HAVE FUN!!!!!!

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Modern Basics
ink: Brilliance Pearlescent poppy and olive
paper: PTI
accessories: rhinestones, Bic markers (to color the rhinestones to match the poppy ink)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Grunging in a Different Direction

Papertrey's Grunge Me set is incredibly versatile. The last two cards I posted using it were grunge...with splatter stamps and chaos abounding. Today, we're going to rein that chaos in and go totally graphic, clean, and simple.

The colors make this card pop happily, as does the random placement of bling. I like how the rectangular shape of the dots sorta kinda resembles a birthday cake shape. It's subtle, but fun!

And lest anyone think that this sort of card is easy because it has so little on it, know that I messed it up the first time when I stamped the birthday a bit too low and unbalanced the whole design. I contemplated trying again and figured the best thing to do was to draw pencil lines 1/8" above and below the dots. Then, I lined up the words using the pencil lines. This worked because both the top and bottom of the words are flat and thus easy to line up...wouldn't work so well with a cursive font or a sentiment with ascenders and descenders on the letters.

On another note, Carol Cel asked where I learned about trapped white space and other design stuff. I was privileged to work with two fabulous graphic design artists at Micron Technology in Boise, ID. Randy and Liz took words I'd edited as Writer/Editor and made them look good on brochures, newsletters, data books, powerpoint presentations, and web sites. I soaked up their knowledge whenever I could, and then when I read Cathy Zielski's two books on scrapbook design, it all sort of came together. Took years of practice before I could actually apply what I learned to what I create, though.

Sometimes, being a tad obsessive is a good thing!

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Birthday Basics
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: ruler, pencil, gridded acrylic block, rhinestones

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Grunge Me, Continued

Wednesday's OLW card launched my revisit with Grunge Me, a fun little set from Papertrey. It contains an excellent assortment of graphic shapes and images that are just so much fun to combine!

Today's card uses a similar messy vibe as Wednesday's, but with an extra layer to add some order to the chaos and lots of hot pink for a cheerful, feminine touch.

The hot pink baker's twine (Doodlebug) puts a veritable lid on the chaos, although the very light pink swirl peeks up to draw attention (in a subtle way) to the sentiment. I love the movement and whimsy of this card, all contained in a broad, oh-so-white frame.

Thanks for all the thanks you've given for the trapped-white-space post. Glad it was so helpful to so many of you.

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Birthday Basics
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: baker's twine (Doodlebug), dimensionals