Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bigger Words, Words, Words

Yesterday's card showcased small words cut out and matted. Today's card features larger words cut out and popped up with dimensionals. The look is (surprise!) completely different.




Several differences between the two cards dictate the change in word's size and poppage. The focal point is visually heavy, dense, and colorful. The holly and branches and giant gingham bow are VERY different from the light and airy and glittery tree of yesterday's card. The words needed to balance that heavier focal point, and therefore had to be heavier (bigger). Popping them gave them some extra interest by creating shadows without cluttering up the design.



I hope those of you who were itchy about yesterday's card feel better about today's!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts, Winnie and Walter
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, scissors, glue dot, gingham ribbon

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Words, Words, Words

I'm sure you all have seen the cards (primarily mixed media) that use cut-out words for their sentiments, such as this pretty example here. I've used this idea before and loved the effect, so I decided to try it again on a Christmas card.

Here's the final result:


Now, you'll notice that my words are matted. Without the mats, the words looked very floaty on the card, and this did not look good. I realized that on the mixed media cards, the cut-out words typically rest on a colorful background, which makes them stand out beautifully. My card had no colorful background against which to stand out, and colored mats (say, in red to match the Stickles or gray to match the tree) would have been distracting and busy for my style. The white-on-white gives the perfect little bit of visual weight to the words without distracting. At least, that is how it looks to me.

All the cutting was by hand with scissors, so there's a loose, imperfect feel to the words that matches the imperfections of the font, which I just love immoderately.


Here's the card all by itself. *happy little sigh*



Now, if all this white space and simplicity has you feeling itchy, just wait for tomorrow's card, which has a lot less white space and simplicity, but still showcases cut-out words.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Penny Black (tree), Tim Holtz (words from a large background stamp)
ink: Archival watering can, red geranium
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles, scissors, glue pen


Monday, November 13, 2017

A Happy Tree

What makes a tree happy?

Bling, of course!





The tree, an old wood-mounted stamp from Hero Arts, was stamped in Kaleidacolor Calypso ink and then blinged up with coordinating tiny rhinestones in light and dark orange, red, and purple.

Oh. My. Goodness.




This is a birthday card, but the sentiment is on the inside. I thought the tree, with its blingy fruit, fabulous bright colors, and sophisticated matting, needed no words. (Translation: I couldn't find a place to put a sentiment, so I moved it inside.)

Such a happy card!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Kaleidacolor Calypso
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bold and Simple Birthday

After seeing a number of cards on Pinterest and in magazines with label-maker sentiments, I decided to see how simply I could use my own label-maker sentiment stamp set.

Turns out, you can go pretty simple with these handy sentiments!




The candle (from Papertrey's Polka Dot Parade #12) stands out in a bold blue pigment ink and grounds the strong, black sentiment. The sentiment strips are positioned to take advantage of the rule of thirds not only on the candle (across the line of one-third the way down) but also on the card.

Clean. Simple. Bold.




My favorite kind of card!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Polka Dot Parade #12, MFT Label Maker Sentiments
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Impress Fresh Ink turquoise, harvest; Archival black
accessories: dimensionals



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cooper Update

It's been too long since I shared pictures of Cooper, so here you go. He's closing in on 35 pounds now and is four months old. He's starting to look like a gangly adolescent!

Such a handsome face!

He and Daisy would rather be playing than
practicing sit and stay. The photo angle makes
Cooper look bigger than he is, but he's growing fast!

On his way to the vet, buckled in with
a safety harness.

Alert puppy wants a treat!

Cooper is a good dog. He's mostly non-destructive...certainly better behaved than any of our three previous dogs. He's mellow most of the time (I suspect he's lazy) and loves sleeping on the ottoman, which we are considering renaming the cooperman.

We did have to buy a maze bowl to slow down his chowing down. The speed with which he ate was mildly alarming.

We're enjoying our growing bundle of furry love very much!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Inspired by Yana

Yana Smakula has a fabulous blog and makes fabulously designed cards that are delightful sources of clean-and-simple inspiration.

I found this card on Pinterest and just had to make my own version of it.


Pinterest Source and Yana's Blog Post

Yana's color combination is fabulous with her tropical foliage stamps...so pretty! I love how the leaves and ferns poke out from under the sentiment panel. It's a fabulous design, so I went to my stamps to see what I had that might create a similar effect.

I grabbed Papertrey's Gathered Garden and went to work.



To get the placement right for my plants, I placed the birthday panel down on the blank card base and  drew light pencil marks at the corners. Occasionally, while stamping, I'd lay the birthday panel on the card and see how it was looking. That helped a lot. And I actually remembered to erase the pencil marks before attaching the panel to the base, so yay, me!

Note that the stamps I used are lighter and airier than the bolder images of Yana's card, which changes the design a bit. As a result, the tropical feel of Yana's card is replaced with more of an English garden feel. Most of the colors are the same as Yana's, but I added a brighter blue to give more weight to some of the images. I think my tweak in color adds more energy...which was needed for the lighter stamps.

I'd planned on adding bling as an echo of Yana's Nuvo drops, but my lighter images looked quite busy enough without bling, so I left it alone. I'm glad I did.

The sentiment works so well with the images. Love, love, love when that happens.

Many, many thanks to Yana for giving me such a beautiful source of inspiration!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, scallop scissors

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Somerset Life Inspiration, Part 4

One of the joys of looking to the Stampington & Co publications for inspiration is the lovely textures found in the artsy cards and decor items they showcase. They have lots of interesting ribbon, lace, textile, and dimensional stuff going on.

While we've firmly established that I am most definitely not a mixed-media or collage artist, that doesn't keep me from finding inspiration in the textures of textiles.

So when I saw this photo in the latest issue of Somerset Life, I started rummaging in my fabric drawer.




My fabric drawer is, in fact, quite small and lightly stocked, but there's a lovely piece of loose-weave white fabric in it.

This is what happened.




Having made the three cards from the last three posts, Christmas was still on my mind. I went to my punch drawers and rummaged around until I landed on this snowflake punch. In contrast to my earlier cards which showcased Archival red geranium, which is a lovely Christmas red, I went with StampinUp cherry cobbler, which is a richer, darker red, because that was the best match for the wide ribbon I had on hand. 

The big, empty space in the center of the snowflake begged for something so I added burgundy Stickles.

The fabric square was cut with a rotary cutter and quilting ruler, and I used an awl to pick threads from the edges, just like in the inspiration photo.




I wish I'd had ribbon with some shimmer to it...the inspiration ribbon is absolutely lovely. Might have to order some. Any suggestions?

To adhere the fabric, I covered a square of cardstock with ScorTape and realized it would be nice to have wider ScorTape on hand so am placing an order for that. The ScorTape holds the fabric completely and gives it stability on the card.

The grosgrain ribbon, white fabric, and burgundy Stickles give interesting texture to what is otherwise a very simple card.

While this is the final card I have to share from last weekend's foray into Somerset Life, I plan on diving back into the issue for more inspiration. It's a simply lovely issue, and I highly recommend it.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: none
ink: none
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp cherry cobbler
accessories: white fabric, ScorTape, snowflake punch (Martha Stewart), glue, craft foam, grosgrain ribbon


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Somerset Life Inspiration, Part 3

What happens when two inspiration pieces merge together?

Good stuff. (At least sometimes!)

Here are the two inspiration photos from Somerset Life magazine.



While using the first photo for inspiration, I'd made a tag almost exactly like the very simple "noel" tag and tried to put it on a card. The result was not successful...it was simply too plain and lacked interest, despite the fact I played around with different ribbons. It needed to be grounded, but I couldn't think how.

The plain tag was lying on my desk when I moved on to the second photo.

While using the second photo for inspiration, I started to make a card that followed the photo fairly closely, with a small tab of the red striped paper used on yesterday's card combined with a sentiment, placing both near the upper right edge of a card so the sentiment was in the upper right "sweet spot."*

It didn't work. The proportions were wrong for the card. I'd stamped the sentiment on the card base but hadn't glued the tab of red striped paper down. I set the stamped base aside.

Then I made yesterday's card with its long strip of striped paper and thought, well, what if I added a full strip to the right edge of the first card, next to the sentiment? How would that look?

The answer was disappointing. I glued down the strip, but it still looked odd to my eyes. There was no connection between the sentiment and the strip, as there is in the inspiration photo.

Then I saw the tag, and thought, "What would happen if I covered the stamped sentiment with the tag. and let the tag overlap the red stripes?"

There we go!







That strip of red stripes grounds the tag perfectly! So my mistake of the stamped sentiment is covered up, the plain tag gets a pretty setting, and the card base with its strip of striped paper is saved!

Not too shabby when a bunch of inspired mistakes merge into something successful!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts typewriter alphabet, Tim Holtz striped background, Papertrey Candy Cane Christmas (border on envelope)
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival red geranium
accessories: red baker's twine, white eyelet, corner chomper, craft foam, glue


Monday, November 6, 2017

Somerset Life Inspiration, Part 2

After making yesterday's card from the inspiration of a tag in Somerset Life magazine, I quickly flipped pages to find another source of inspiration, which turned out to be this.


Lynne Moncrieff designed these delightfully minimalist bags in an article called "French Laundry." They hold sachets of lavender. The red-and-white striped ticking caught my eye and reminded me of my striped background stamp from Tim Holtz. Perhaps I could get a similar look with it. 

So I messed around with little tabs cut from that stamped background and grew increasingly frustrated by the lack of goodness coming out of my experiments. My stripes were smaller and closer together, and I wasn't using kraft paper, so against the white background I love so much, they looked even bolder...which was taking me away from the softness of Lynne's beautiful bags. 

So I walked away for a day and came back with a totally different idea. Since my style doesn't usually include distressing or kraft, I embraced the crisp, clean, boldness of my red-and-white stripes for an entire border strip and combined it with a curvy tag punch. 


This approach worked great because it allowed the bold lines to stand out and take up much more real estate...while still leaving plenty of glorious white space. The sentiment has a lovely handwritten Christmas combined with a very formal serif font. That combination is echoed in the curvy tag and very straight lines, lending greater unity to the card.

Bling needs no excuse, of course.


It's obvious that this inspired card deviated more from the original than did yesterday's card, but it's still got the basic elements: red striped accent, words on a scrap, lots of empty space. If you'll notice there's a little banner of the red stripes adhered to my envelope, which is another nod to the inspiration. But there's no mistaking who made the card...it's pure LateBlossom. 

Note that most of the changes in my design were necessitated by the color change, by moving away from distressed style, and the different proportions of my stripes. That's how inspiration works. Change one thing, tweak another, shift this around, resize that...it's an evolution, not a revolution. 

I truly think that to make something successful from inspiration, you must appreciate and respect the original source. I love those little kraft bags, I love the torn paper and softness of Lynne's design, I love the colors. They are amazing bags! They are not, however, my particular style. Adapting Lynne's beautiful design to make something to please my own creative self...that's what getting inspired is all about. 

Tomorrow, we'll see what happens when two separate sources of inspiration feel the urge to merge!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Signature Christmas, Tim Holtz stripes
ink: Archival red geranium, Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: label punch, rhinestones, craft foam, glue


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Somerset Life Inspiration

The latest issue of Somerset Life is chock-full of inspiring photos. The next few days of posts will explore how the inspiration has worked for me. It's my hope that those of you who are intimidated by inspiration challenges will be able to loosen up and explore ways of adapting inspiration to your own style and supplies without anxiety or creative block.

Seriously. You will make pretty trash, but stick with it, and you'll get to something lovely in the end.

Here's the first photo that caught my attention.

Designs by L. Katherine Roberts

That tiny tag with the 6 on it deviled me. I tried for a fairly literal interpretation of it using vellum, velvet paper, an eyelet, etc. But after three failed attempts using different stamps that were closer to the original piece, I decided to take it in a different direction, pulled out Hero Arts Vintage Christmas Post, simplified the design to one layer, and made this.



Now, here's how I adapted the inspiration to my final tag. First, mine is just one layer of white cardstock...which is my strength, so I played to it. The spot of red was moved up and a green branch added instead of torn patterned paper. After searching my stash for olive green ribbon or eyelets and finding none, I opted for an olive green circle to create a nice color balance (and visual triangle). 

Finally, I LOVED the soft, textured fabric strips on the inspiration photo, so I took a thin strip of fabric, frayed the long edges, and knotted it on top. It looked messy left long on the card, so I trimmed it short.

The tag looked great but kind of floated on the card, so I grounded it with the text on the card base.




The end results looks like something I would make but clearly shows its roots in the inspiration piece. Working from an inspiration piece involves feeling your way forward using the Force and whatever supplies and stamps you have on hand. Each change you make from the original might necessitate other changes, which is perfectly fine. Go with it.

Play.

Have fun.

Make mistakes.

It's all a learning process. And it's all good.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Vintage Christmas Post
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, forever green; Archival red geranium
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp old olive
accessories: white fabric, circle punches, craft foam, glue, Corner Chomper

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Butterfly Inspiration

Okay, so I know you all have seen the vintage-y cards that have a vertical line of three or four or five butterflies, often embellished with lace or other textiles, distressed papers, and maybe something metallic. The cards often include textbook captions to the butterflies or hand-lettered numbers.

There are variations on this arrangement all over the Stampington and Co. magazines and have been for years because the nineteenth-century bug drawings upon which they are based are incredibly cool. 

As I gazed in appreciation at one such butterfly card on page 11 in the latest issue of The Stampers' Sampler, the idea for a super-CAS version popped into my head. It took two tries for me to get it right, but I'm so glad I stuck with it!




Instead of natural images of butterflies, I opted for stylized block stamps (Papertrey Beautiful Butterflies). Instead of three black butterflies and one in color, I opted for three butterflies, each in bright watercolors. Instead of having text between each butterfly in antique bookplate style, I broke the line of bugs with a single line of sentiment in black (which gave it much more prominence on the card). Instead of a border of lace, I used bling on the butterflies to keep the focus on them. Instead of patterned paper and colored card base, I used three layers of white.

That's a lot of insteads.

The effect of my card is NOTHING like the inspiration piece, but nevertheless Barb Pladziewicz's lovely vintage card served as my inspiration.

Which brings me to my point, which I cannot emphasize enough: inspiration gives you ideas that can take you anywhere. LET THEM! My inspiration came from vintage, but using a minimalist approach to strip the design to its barest essentials, I made my clean-and-simple version. Neither version is better than the other. They are just different manifestations of the same idea...a vertical column of butterflies on a card.

Our tastes may lead us to prefer one over the other, but our judgment shouldn't lead us to see one style as superior to the other. Let's celebrate and encourage diversity in card design and in life. After all, nature is incredibly, wondrously, fabulously diverse. That's the way God made it.

And I, for one, am incredibly grateful for Barb's card.

Wouldn't it be awesome if some of you took my card for inspiration and made unique cards of your own...a chain of inspiration going all the way back to those buggy field guides from nineteenth-century entomologists?

Go forth and make your individual, unique, and inspired butterfly art. It's all good.

And thus endeth the lesson.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Butterflies, Clearly Besotted sentiment
ink: various Memento inks, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: water spritz bottle, rhinestones