Friday, September 22, 2017

Embellished Elegance Three Ways

Thanks for all the responses to yesterday's post. There's no real consensus, except that many of you wondered if the busyness would go away if the text background were in a lighter gray. Others wondered if putting fewer stems on the middle panel would fix the problem. I suspect both are correct. Lighter text and fewer stems would definitely make the card more "LateBlossom."

But it's fun to stretch and pull yourself creatively every now and then, and that's what yesterday's card did for me. Despite my mixed feelings about the result, the process was fun!

And now for today's sympathetic triumvirate.

Embellished Elegance is a pretty set from Papertrey, and being in need of a number of sympathy cards for my own use, I decided to experiment with the set. How many different looks could I get out of the set for sympathy cards in one sitting?

Turns out, the answer is the same as the number of licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop.


First, pink and green, with a little bling.  The sentiment comes from Gina K. The frame of vines is lovely, symmetrical, and a bit like a hug.

Next, an autumnal border of olive and orange, with a little white-on-white layering. This sentiment is from Papertrey.

Finally, my favorite. Soft blue-green ink, bling, and my favorite sentiment for sympathy cards (also from Papertrey). The soft, natural background adds interest without being overwhelming.

If you're looking for a challenge this weekend, try pulling out an older set you've not used in a while and make three different cards. It was fun going for three very different looks!

To close, can anyone tell me why the little boy in the tootsie pop commercial appears to be naked? That's a puzzler.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pretty or Busy?

I just can't decide. Sometimes I look at this card and think, "Wow, that's pretty!"

Then, ten seconds later, I think, "Wow, that's busy!"

Indecision may or may not be my problem.

What do you think?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Life, Text Style; Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
paper: Papertrey white
ink: various dye inks
accessories: rhinestones, banner die, Post-it notes for mask

Monday, September 18, 2017

Autumn Greetings

Today's card was inspired by this pin which linked to this blog post:

What a cool scrapbook page!!! I loved the diagonal background and collage-y effect of the focal point, so here's where I took the inspiration.

The pumpkin and flourishes are from Papertrey's Fall Elegance set, and the sentiment is from Hero Arts' Color Layering Fall Leaves set. I wanted to put the sentiment on the lower left side of the pumpkin but didn't use my MISTI and made a boo boo stamping the pumpkin...imperfect impression on the upper right. The mistake is covered by the sentiment, and that placement puts the sentiment in the sweet spot, which is fortuitous, but the bottom left of the pumpkin looks a little bare.

After fretting over this for too long and trying to come up with something to fill the space, I decided that it was just fine the way it was. Good enough for government work, right?

By far my favorite part of this card is the background color. It's so unexpected on a fall card. The idea came from Halloween cards that feature orange, lime green, and bright purple. I took the purple much lighter to mimic the inspiration of the scrapbook page. The results make me smile!

If you want to see a video of my two golden clowns playing together, it's posted on Simplicity by LateBlossom's Facebook page.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Fall Elegance, Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves
ink: Memento Lulu lavender, Ranger orange soda, and a green and brown I can't recall
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Post-its for masking, Ranger mini inking tool, rhinestones

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wishful Thinking

Today's fall birthday card makes me long for last week's weather. We had a glorious, week-long glimpse of autumn weather, and autumn is my favorite season. Now we are back to summer weather, however, and it's a bit sticky.

But here's my card. Warm fall colors give me hope for crisp fall days!

The vibrant colors are from Peerless Watercolors, which get my vote for affordable, rich color. They are easy to use, too. The leaves and sentiment were embossed in white and painted over.

Watercolor papers tend to be cream rather than white, but this paper is excellently white...I think it's Tim Holtz.

Today's card is destined for one of the many fall birthdays in my family.

And now for some Cooper pictures. Because, you know, puppies have a lot to do with stamping.

The escape artist made it through. Not for many
more weeks, though. He's growing so fast!

Sleeping under my chair.

"There's nothing wrong with liking a cool breeze!"
Cooper really enjoys sleeping on AC vents.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs
ink: embossing ink
paper: watercolor paper (probably Tim Holtz) and Papertrey white
accessories: Embossing Buddy, white embossing powder, heat gun, Peerless Watercolors, brush, water caddy

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Crazy Awesome Bling

Some of my many Christmas cards end up in boxes sent with gifts, which means getting a little crazy with dimensional elements is occasionally an option.

When I found these crazy awesome holly embellishments, I knew they were winners!

The berry and leaf pieces are all on one adhesive sheet, so they are super easy to place...although if you wanted to cut them apart and rearrange them, you certainly could. For my purposes on this card, however, I left them just as they came.

They accent a sentiment from Papertrey's Mistletoe and Holly set.

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

Here's a sleepy puppy picture, just for you.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: cannot remember
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: holly bling

Monday, September 11, 2017

IC614 Design Seeds Color Challenge

I do love a good color challenge, and Design Seeds is an excellent site to find inspiration. It's this week's Inspiration Challenge, hosted by the super-talented Audrie.

I chose my colors from a winter-themed picture called Heavenly Hues, which struck me as particularly lovely with the hint of green added to shades of blue.

Using sponges, I added each shade of pigment ink, starting with the green, blending as I went. The results were VERY satisfying!

Many thanks to Audrie for yet another awesome inspiration challenge!


And it's been a few days since I shared Cooper pictures. So here you go.

George and his dog. Just after I snapped this, George yelped
and said, "He bit my nipple!"

Daisy's teaching him who's boss.

His new sleeping spot. In a few weeks, he won't fit. 

But really, he'll sleep anywhere, and he's easier to photograph
when sleeping. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Wet Paint Holiday
ink: Avery Elle; Impress Fresh Ink; Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, Creative Memories circle cutter, sponges

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Bunch of Thanks

Recently, Patti M., Peg M., and Lisa I. sent a combined 114 cards for Karen's Card Shop. Here are a few of the lovely cards they sent.

Lisa did an awesome job coloring several of these incredibly cute
cow images.

She also created some lovely backgrounds using a
variety of techniques. This was one of my favorites.
And what a great sentiment!

Peg M. sent a bunch of cute cards. I adore the
hedgehogs, and this one is just darling.

Peg warmed my heart with her sweet coffee card!

Patti M. does a particularly amazing job with
color on her cards. This background makes me
happy just to look at it, and the sentiment is
icing on the cake.

Patti's monochromatic beauty uses a fabulous
acrylic dot to accent the focal point perfectly!

Many, many thanks to Patti, Lisa, and Peg for contributing to Karen's Card Shop! If you're wondering what Karen's Card Shop is, please check out this page. If you want to contribute, please consider the following criteria:

  1. Buyers can't look at the inside of the card in its clear bag, so please leave the inside blank. 
  2. We mainly sell sympathy, get well, birthday, and thank you cards. Other themes simply don't sell as well. We ALWAYS need sympathy cards.
  3. I have envelopes and clear cellophane bags to package the cards, so save postage and just send the cards. I'll take care of everything else.

Right now, we have enough of everything except sympathy. I'll keep you posted if the need changes.

Stampers are the most generous people out there. Thank you all who have contributed to our church's card shop so much! We've made almost $900 for our general fund in about 15 months. Yay!

Additional thanks are due to Sheila H., who very kindly sent me a die set and embossing folder last week! I've already made a card with the die set, which includes one flower die and two embossing dies.

It took a bit of experimentation to get the embossing dies to work, but as beautiful as they were in plain white, I knew they wouldn't show up on a photo, so I pulled out my brayer and colored them in these bright, happy colors, added a bit of bling to the centers, and arranged them in a visual triangle around a happy sentiment!

Thank you, Sheila, for sending me such wonderful happy mail!

I've been looking at buying some dies to go with sets I already have and a few new-to-me stamp/die combos. But I'm moving v-e-r-y slowly. Thank you all who commented on my Cuttlebug post with advice. Truly, this is uncharted territory for me, and I don't want to go all crazy nuts buying stuff I'll use once and forget about. I'm striving for sensible spending, which certainly has gotten easier over the years.

What an expensive learning curve, though. *sigh*

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and muchas gracias!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Ranger cheese puff, grape soda; Archival black, vibrant fuschia
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: flower die and embossing die, dimensionals, rhinestones, brayer

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Reminder about Thanksgiving

My last post used only the leaf veins from the Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves set, and I added the color myself using a brush and Peerless Watercolors. After making that card, I wanted to use both the vein and block stamps together, thus using the color layering feature of the set. The ink used is Kaleidacolor Cajun spice, and each image was liberally spritzed with water before stamping.

The dark, rich colors would have looked odd on white cardstock, so I used a cream cardstock, either from Papertrey or Gina K...can't remember.

The brown bling adds interest and helps move the eye around the design.

And now for a reminder about Thanksgiving.

While I won't have a formal Thanksgiving Crusade this year, I will be sending cards to about 20 people in my life for whom I am grateful. I encourage you to do the same. You could send cards to the 20 people you know the best, or to people you've not seen in years but remember fondly, or to random people in your life (your barista, your pastor or imam or rabbi, your gynecologist, your mechanic). Doesn't matter. The point of this holiday is to wallow in gratitude for people, warm-blooded human beings who have made or are making or will make a positive difference in your life.

Gratitude knows no national boundaries, no boundaries of race or gender identity or age or socioeconomic status or immigration status or religion or politics. Spread that stuff all over!!!

For Americans, Thanksgiving feels really far away still, but for Canadians, it's getting close. And if you're living in a country that doesn't formally honor the concept of thanksgiving with an annual holiday, you can send thanksgiving cards any time you want.

In fact, we all can send thanksgiving cards whenever we want. It's just the uppercase Thanksgiving that happens in autumn and focuses on the plentiful harvest and gives us stampers so many fabulous leaf images.

How I love leaf images!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and thanksgiving,

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves
ink: Kaleidacolor Cajun spice; Archival potting soil
paper: cream cardstock
accessories: rhinestones, water spritz bottle

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Peerless Watercolors and Autumn Leaves

The Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves set is my new favorite leaf set.

I stamped the leaf veins and added color with the Peerless Watercolors...which give such wonderful, vibrant color.

And now I've got to go rescue Cooper from his next disaster. It's amazing how much trouble a little fur ball can get into.

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves
ink: Archival potting soil
paper: watercolor paper, Paperty vintage cream card stock
accessories: Peerless Watercolors, rhinestones, Tim Holtz paintbrush

Monday, September 4, 2017

Autumn Greetings

After pulling out some fall stamp sets, I decided to make an autumnal version of the Mother's Day card I posted in May.

The results are fabulous!

The berries were stamped in Memento canteloupe, which is a pale orange, and then accented with two colors of darker orange Smooch and paprika Stickles. I love it with the Stickles instead of bling (although bling is always amazing!). There's a softer effect that works for least for me.

I tried to use the StampinUp banner dies that Eva gave me, but the largest was too small. This is a variation on the sentiment problem: you never have exactly the right size sentiment or exactly the right font. Dies, I suspect, are the same.

Anyway, all is well with Cooper. He's an amazingly chill puppy, so calm and relaxed. I suspect he's going to be extremely lazy. Perhaps neither of our two retrievers will retrieve.

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons, Hero Arts Autumn Blessings
ink: Memento canteloupe; Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, Smooch, Stickles

Furry Distraction


Our hearts grew ten sizes yesterday.

How can such a small bundle of fur take over our lives so completely?

Love, people. Love. That's the most powerful force in the universe. This furball has his own gravitational field of love, pulling us in just like his big sister has done.

He's a baby and has a lot to learn, but oh, the fun times we'll have!

Daisy welcomed Cooper to the pack with a wagging tail and lots of excitement...and gentleness. She plays with him and sniffs him and follows him around. She let him drink from her water dish at the same time and basically seems to be telling us, "It's about dang time you got me a furry sibling!"

Cooper is a big boy...the largest pup his breeder has ever seen from her dogs. He weighs almost 18 pounds, three pounds more than his brother and five more than his sister. He's just eight weeks old. It'll be interesting to see how big he gets.

His temperament could not be more chill. On the trip home from Toledo yesterday, he showed he is by far the most laid-back puppy we've ever brought home, looking around, wondering what was up, happy to be held. When Daisy first approached him at home, he flopped onto his back and submitted immediately. The only bad sign...he is already trying to dig in the grass. George was not amused.

Time to google "keep dogs from digging in yard." We've never had a digger before.

If posting is spotty for the next few weeks, you'll understand why.

Mercy, grace, peace, and most of,

Friday, September 1, 2017

Oh, Look! Flying Pigs!

As many of you know, I've held out against the whole die-cut craze because my elder son is going to college next year and I struggle mightily with G.T.H.I.A. Syndrome.

Got. To. Have. It. All.

This is why I won't count my ink pads...I don't want to know how many I have. In fact, I bought seven new ink pads today, and since they fit in my storage, it's all good. No guilt, no regret.

But there has to be a limit to the limitless accumulation of craft supplies. Right?

My friend Eva had different ideas. Today, we had coffee and went to Marco's, where she kept talking about dies, which made me wonder if she remembered I don't have a die-cut machine.

Oh, she remembered.

And gave me a Cuttlebug.

See the pigs flying all over the place? Aren't they adorable? Of course they are. The woman who said she'd never have a die-cut machine is eating her words...and they taste AMAZING.

Thank you, Eva. THANK YOU!!!!!

Of course I came straight home and started playing with the embossing folders and dies Eva kindly included with her over-the-top generous gift.

And made this.

Mostly white cards are hard to photograph. This card
isn't gray in real life. 

The fun banner die is from StampinUp, and the Hello was created using Papertrey's Simple Alphabet. I stippled Archival magenta hue on the edge of the card base and glued the embossed panel directly to the card. The banner is (obviously) popped up on dimensionals. The pink bling carries the pink from the edge of the card into the design and emphasizes the curve of the banner.

So thanks to Eva, I now have to go shopping to make sure the Cuttlebug gets used to the fullest extent possible. Let's see if I can exercise restraint.

What are the odds?

Not good, I imagine.

What are your recommendations?

Mercy, grace, peace, love, gratitude, and an attempt at restraint,

stamps: Papertrey Simple Alphabet
ink: Archival magenta hue
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: stipple brush, rhinestones, StampinUp Framelits Bitty Banners, Darice Butterfly Flower, dimensionals

Thursday, August 31, 2017

From Meh to Marvelous

After seeing Sylvia Blum's card on page 20 of Take Ten, I knew I needed to pull out Papertrey's First Fruits and use bling in the gap on the wheat stamp.

Sylvia Blum's Fabulous Card

Using bling instead of twine or some other embellishment or a sentiment (as PTI's stamp is designed to do) is BRILLIANT.
See what I did there? Brilliant? Bling?

And of course, I love Sylvia's use of white-on-white and the clean simplicity of her card.

Anyway, the gap in the PTI wheat is far too wide for small bling, and I don't have a die for a banner and such, so I came up with this drab imitation of Sylvia's lovely card instead.


White-on-white looked odd, so I opted for kraft, which looks drab with the brown bling and soft apricot ink. The apricot is not bright enough, and the brown bling and kraft don't provide enough interest or contrast.

I truly felt that I'd not done Sylvia's card justice.

So I changed up the colors and hit on a complementary color scheme that left me giggling with glee.

Note how much fresher the complementary color scheme is than the more monochromatic scheme. Archival saffron and StampinUp Baja breeze add interest, zest, energy to the same design. Using more white also pays proper homage to Sylvia's bright design much better than the kraft possibly could. 

I like this so much that I made a coordinating envelope!

So if you're ever looking at a card that feels blah or cliche, consider a change of color scheme. To add energy, choose a complementary color scheme.

Not a bad save, eh? And many thanks to Sylvia for her fabulous inspiration.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits
ink: Archival saffron, StampinUp Baja breeze, Hero Arts soft apricot
paper: PTI kraft, white
accessories: Copics, clear bling

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Highly Determined Christmas

While it can be a fun challenge to use non-holiday stamps on holiday cards, some stamps couldn't really be used for anything other than holiday cards.

The vocabulary word for today is determined. Highly-determined stamps are limited in their meaning...and often not very versatile. Stamps that are less determined can apply to more varied themes and designs.

Polka dots and most alphabet sets, for example, are not very determined. You can use them for all sorts of themes and purposes. Cross, charity ribbon, and leg-lamp stamps, however, are highly determined and automatically generate specific meanings in our minds.

Today's cards use a set from Hero Arts that's highly determined: Greatest Gift.

The main image of the stable and star can't really be used for any other theme than Christmas. It's also a fairly large image that will dominate any card featuring it, making it very difficult to work with (especially for us clean-and-simple stampers). So I challenged myself to use it two different ways.

First up, a red-and-white card.

Block stamps like this can be hard to ink and stamp cleanly, so I used my MISTI and was able to re-ink the stamp several times until the image looked perfect. The simple white matting and single piece of bling on the star keep everything minimalist, and the red unifies the design.

How very satisfying!

Next up, a blast of blue.

Here, the background was made using distress inks (salty ocean and tumbled glass) and inking tools for a gradation of bright blue. The manger scene is in simple black pigment ink (Memento Luxe) for opaque saturation. The popped panel and small bling add interest and keep it clean.

It's hard to make religious holiday cards without highly-determined stamps of the holy family, manger, or wise men. The exception might be a star card. Stars aren't as determined as mangers.

And I'm determined to go to bed now.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Greatest Gift
ink: Hero Arts red royal; Memento Luxe black; Distress salty ocean and tumbled glass
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue, Tim Holtz mini inking tools