Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lots and Lots of Bling

There are three "kids" I know (other than my son and niece) who are graduating from high school this year. One is a young woman, and the other two are young men. I've known them all since they were about four.

I feel old.

Anyway, I wanted to make graduation cards for them, so here's the one for the young woman. I went a little crazy with the bling, but it makes me happy. Hope it makes her happy, too.




The grass is an old Hero Arts shadow stamp, and the tree comes from Papertrey's Father Knows Best set. The sentiment is from Clearly Besotted's Happy Days set. I wanted to make the colors happy and fun for a woman who is an amazing student and has a heart for God.

Looking at the close-up photo made me realized I missed a bling! So glad I noticed and can remedy it!



Graduation time is so much fun, and I'm excited to see where life takes these young people. Do you have a flurry of graduates this year? Are you making cards? Share links in the comments if you've posted them online and inspire me and others!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Father Knows Best, Hero Arts shadow, Clearly Besotted Happy Days
ink: Archival vibrant fuschia, electric lime, black; Hero Arts charcoal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Sharpie to color them 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fungi Thank You

Today's card is a fun thank you to all who commented on or emailed me about yesterday's post--for the encouragement, for the stories, for the prayers and good thoughts. I had an awesome conversation with my amazing sister-in-law this evening. She had lots of good advice for me. Looks like I'll be creating a LinkedIn profile soon.

I feel so hip!

Anyway, today's card was inspired by a number of cards using the basic idea (I've used it before, too), but this time instead of flowers and leaves, I chose mushrooms and this awesome color scheme of greens, pool, and purples.



I started with the sentiment in the middle and added the mushrooms next. Then, I added the dandelion seeds to fill in the voids.

The shape of my oval ended up looking odd on a standard card (too circular), so I cut it down and made an irregularly shaped card that's 5" x 4.75" and will fit into a standard 5" x 7" envelope.



Now, there've been a lot crazy disasters in the past few days. First, my car tire picked up a nail...too close to the edge to repair. Of course the tread wear and the fact that the car is all-wheel drive mean we need four new tires, even though the tires still have life in them. We're seeking a second opinion on this. Grrrr.

The two bar magnets for my MISTI stuck together. (George got them apart. Go, George!)

Cooper ate my favorite scarf. (George can't fix that. No one can.)

I waxed my upper lip and it bled. Seriously, Mother Nature. Why?

As you might imagine, I need to go to bed and listen to a Calm meditation, pray, and go to sleep. If you haven't discovered the joys of Calm, download the app immediately and get started. Mindfulness, meditation, and prayer will get me through.

And the lovely support of you wonderful stampers. God bless us, every one!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: StampinUp Endless Thanks, Hero Arts You're a Fungi
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Corner Chomper  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Bust and Stupid Fear

I haven't posted since Tuesday because I didn't have anything to post. The closer we get to my older son's graduation from high school, the less time I have to stamp, so expect sporadic posting in the coming weeks.

For Mother's Day, I made time to stamp, and then my camera battery died, so I still have no stamping to share. What a bust!

The battery will be recharged tomorrow, and I'll post a card. If you read Simplicity for the stamping, check back tomorrow. The rest of this post gets personal, and if you want to click away now, I totally understand. My life's not that interesting, but perhaps you might find my musings about middle-aged existential angst helpful.

Or not.

First of all, I'm getting my resume together to apply for jobs. It's time for me to get back to work. My boys are old enough to cope with my absence, Nick is heading to college in August, Jack has made phenomenal progress in the past few years, and I'm in need of a new challenge.

My preferred employment would be at a university as an adjunct instructor of English composition and literature. I did this job twenty years ago--very successfully. Teaching college suits my personality and skill set beautifully. My evaluations from students and department heads who observed my classes were always excellent. I am prompt, professional, knowledgeable in my subject (some might say a tad obsessed), extremely enthusiastic, and deeply compassionate toward my students.

This is, however, a scary transition, and I wasn't prepared for that. What is it about women that we doubt ourselves despite all evidence to the contrary? Yes, I've been a stay-at-home mom for eighteen years, but that hardly means I sat around eating bonbons and asking my children to peel me grapes. The two years before I had Nick, I worked at a major high-tech corporate headquarters as a writer/editor with all sorts of responsibility. Since then, I've worked hard as a volunteer in schools and in church, expanded my public speaking skills, taught Stephen Ministry and Bible study classes, researched the dickens out of autism, managed my son's treatment and reaped huge improvements for him as a result, organized four moves for our family, and generally keep everything running smoothly in our lives.

I am competent, smart, and talented in all the right ways. I can do this job...joyfully and well.

So why in the heck am I afraid to hit send on these applications? After all, what's the worst thing that can happen? I don't get a job teaching and end up selling books at Barnes & Noble (33% employee discount...yay!) and trying to work as a freelance writer/editor.

Not too shabby a worst-case scenario, in my opinion. Especially the discount. I buy a lot of books.

If I psychoanalyze myself, there are two possible explanations. One, I've still got work to do on the perfectionism that is the legacy of a childhood spent under the eternally disapproving eye of my father. What if I fail!?!?! How horrible!!!! My daddy won't love me!!!!

Seriously? I'm 51, and is this still hanging around in the shadowy recesses of my subconscious? Plus, stamping has taught me the value and fun of failure. Why should that bother me here? The consequences are certainly not life-threatening. The stakes were higher with my autism research.

Two, I'm feeling the pressure of having read a few too many articles about older women re-entering the workforce. But the only thing that's changed substantially in my career fields in twenty years is technology, and I'm a fast learner. Current best practices of teaching English are essentially the same. The rules of rhetoric and effective written communication haven't substantially changed in millenia. I've got this.

Just typing that last sentence made my stomach do a flip.

If you've read this far, thank you. Even though my stomach flipped, it's enormously helpful to share my feelings with you, kind and sympathetic stampers. Stampers are the best! I know I'm not alone in my insecurities, and if you're feeling a bit like me, afraid of taking a new step forward, I'm right there with you.

I also recommend reading Adam Hamilton's new book Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times. It's faith-based, if you're into that sort of thing, and extremely inspiring. I am finding it helpful, and you might, too.

Scripture tells us over and over not to be afraid. Well, I am. (Bad Christian, Susan! Bad!) But I'm doing this anyway. I'm moving forward, despite stomach flips and nausea. And if I'm overcoming my fear, you can, too.

If you feel so moved, share your fears and upcoming transitions in the comments. Let's all inspire one another to move forward.

And happy Mother's Day to all women who have mothered anyone anywhere at any time. What would we do without each other?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

PS Gratuitous family picture from George's birthday dinner last night.




Tuesday, May 8, 2018

An Abundance of White Space

Today, you know you're at Simplicity.


A sentiment. Check.

A tiny image with glitz. Check.

Silver metallic border. Check.

Monochromatic pop of color. Check.

Yep.

Simplicity.




Some of you may feel the need to take Benadryl for the itching because you're allergic to this much white space, but boy, howdy! This card makes me sigh a happy sigh.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan



Supplies
stamps: StampinUp Endless Thanks
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black; Hero Arts ultra pink
accessories: Stickles, craft foam, PrismaColor metallic marker, ruler

Monday, May 7, 2018

I've Been Reading Stampington Magazines Again

Yes, you've come to the right place. Sometimes, I just need to get my shabby chic on...stretch my wings...get funky...go wild!




Also, I wanted to die cut some fabric because I'd never done that before. It was fun. And I love the texture. But the card evolved from those two fabric leaves into something, well, different for me.

Kraft paper? Lace? A button? Kraft paper?




And seriously, this card will need a bubble envelope to mail. That button is HUGE!

Let's just call this my brief flirtation with an "abundant" phase. Tomorrow's card will compensate...and likely make some of you itch with all the white space.

I'm unpredictable like that. Avant-garde, even.

Wow. Delusion much, Raihala?

Whatever.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and laughter,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Leave It Be and Keep It Simple Thank You; unknown script
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey kraft, white
accessories: brown and white muslin, lace, button, twine, score-tape, coordinating dies, a dash of Stampington inspiration

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Thanksgiving in May

After seeing Joan B's post using a stencil in her die cut machine, I realized I hadn't even tried that yet. So here you go...Thanksgiving in May. Thanks for the inspiration, Joan!



I ran the stencil through the Cuttlebug and got a lovely embossed effect, but it was extremely subtle and I wanted to bring out the leaf shapes better. After adding various distress inks and cutting the panel down to size, I was very pleased with the bold color and highlights.

The leaf stamps and dies are from Papertrey's Leave It Be set. Papertrey's dies are closed, and I've decided I really prefer the Hero Arts open dies, which are much easier to line up with stamped images.




The card looked a bit plain so I added some dew drops...my first use of this kind gift from Linda E. LOVE how they turned out!

So now I have my first Thanksgiving card of the year. I usually send about 20 in November, so it's good to start early. And for those of you in the southern hemisphere who are in the fall season now, perhaps this will resonate!


Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Leave It Be, Hero Arts Color Layering Grateful Leaves
ink: distress inks, Archival coffee
paper: Papertrey natural 
accessories: Papertrey dies, twine, dimensionals, Tim Holtz inking tool and leaf stencil

Thursday, May 3, 2018

More Inspired Satisfaction

Today's card was inspired by Susanne of the blog Art Handicraft in the Village (translated into English) via her pin here. Once again, I never would have thought of making this card were it not for the lovely inspiration of Susanne's card.


As you can see, I stole was inspired by Susanne's stippled background and speckles (although her card has a much daintier, softer appearance than mine). I used a stamp to add the spots (my handy dandy StampinUp Itty Bitty Backgrounds stamp). The leaves are from Hero Arts' February kit, and I die cut three of them to look more vine-like as I didn't have a delicate enough branch or flower die to pull this off.



After I'd assembled the whole card, I decided that none of the threads I had would look nearly as nice as Susanne's, so I opted for (duh) bling as an embellishment.

And now, for no reason whatsoever, here are Cooper and George smiling at you. They hope you're smiling back.


Hard to believe that great big teddy bear used to be this tiny widdle puppy:




Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: StampinUp Itty Bitty Backgrounds, unknown sentiment
paper: Papertrey white
ink: various green dye inks
accessories: dies from Hero Arts February kit, glue pen, stipple brush, rhinestones, dimensionals


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Inspiration/Satisfaction

My favorite cards don't emerge from my head like Athena from Zeus's noggin or Aphrodite on the half-shell from the ocean. They are inspired by other cards--or advertisements, or posters, or book covers or signs or whatever--and evolve from the inspiration piece into something that makes my heart sing.

Such a card as today's, inspired by this pin.



My version is a bit simpler than the original. First of all, my image is stamped rather than an adorable watercolor, although I did watercolor the stamped hummingbird with ink from Arteza real brush markers that I painted onto an acrylic block. There's also no die cut branch, although that wasn't for lack of trying. (My punch and die collection didn't yield anything satisfying.) My feather was stamped rather than real. I painted the Waltzingmouse feather stamp with the Arteza brush pens and spritzed it with water for a softer effect.

These changes take the original, gorgeous design to a simpler level, and the results make me so happy!




Honestly, this is my favorite way to create...it's so satisfying! I'd never have thought of this on my own, but with a fabulous inspiration piece, I get to make something that has my stamp on it (so to speak). The many design choices and changes I need to make (because of my supplies, lack of artistic ability, color choices, etc.) feel like a treasure hunt with a pretty card at the end!

Mia's blog has so much inspiration to offer! You'll no doubt be seeing more of this sort of thing from me. If you have some favorite sources of inspiration, please share them in the comments!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Antique Engravings, Clearly Besotted sentiment set, Waltzingmouse Fine Feather
paper: Papertrey white, Tim Holtz watercolor paper
ink: Archival coffee
accessories: kraft twine, dimensionals, Arteza real brush markers, paint brush, water spritzer, 1/8" hole punch


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Darling Donations from Kelle

Reader Kelle S sent me an email asking if Karen's Card Shop would appreciate a donation of A-1 size cards. The shop has cellophane bags to fit A-2 cards (the standard 1/4-sheet cards in the U.S.), but since A-1 cards are a bit smaller, I figured they would fit into the bags and why not?

(If you want to donate to the shop, please email me before sending cards. Only certain types of cards sell, and cards need to be blank inside. My email is susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.)

I'm so glad I accepted Kelle's offer because her cards were, without exception, perfect! Just take a look at a selection of them.







Each of Kelle's cards has lovely little details, like the glitter glue on the strawberries or the rounded corners on the sand dollar card, that provide great finishing touches to fabulous clean-and-simple designs. Kelle also finishes everything perfectly, from the perfectly centered scallops on the strawberry card to the expertly tied knots to the clean stamping.

It's clear Kelle has some perfectionist issues that result in delightful cards and will certainly make her artwork appealing to the buyers at Karen's Card Shop.

Kelle, Carol, Patti, Patti, Shannon, Joan, Peg, Lisa, Cheryl, Marcia, Eva, and all the others who have contributed to the card shop bring their A game to their donations, and I cannot express how grateful I am for the wonderful support you've all given to a shop in a church you don't even attend. (And if I missed anyone, please, please, please let me know!)

Stampers have generous hearts, and First United Methodist Church of Springboro has benefited from your kindness. To date, we've made over $1,325 for the church, which supports several areas of ministry, including our cancer care and Stephen Ministry. Thanks so much to Kelle and all who have shared their lovely talent with Karen's Card Shop.

My heart is full.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,
Susan


Monday, April 30, 2018

Enamel Dots and Hero Arts Ombre Ink Pads

By a delightful coincidence, I had enamel dots that matched one of my Hero Arts ombre ink pads.

You have no idea how this delighted me.

Or perhaps you do.

Actually, I expect you do have an idea of how much this delighted me. You are, after all, a stamper who knows the struggle of things not matching.

Right?

Sure.

Anyway, here's the card.


The stamp comes from Papertrey's Ombre Builders and was inked and stamped twice...with a rotation of 180 degrees between stamping so the fat lines were in the center and the narrow lines came out top and bottom. The sentiment (Papertrey's Wet Paint die) is actually three layers of die cuts glued together for more dimension.



So let's sing the praises of things matching and know that it's a blessing that doesn't come around very often unless you are a StampinUp demonstrator. Then, I imagine it's pretty easy, actually.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builders
ink: Hero Arts meadow ombre ink 
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: enamel dots, Papertrey Wet Paint die, glue pen



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Purple Blessings

Today's card relies heavily on the Infinity Heart Dies from Hero Arts. These may be my favorite dies because they are so very basic and therefore incredibly versatile.


After stamping a large Hero Arts shadow stamp with Hero Arts purple ombre ink, I cut the hearts and arranged them on the card. The two smaller hearts are popped on dimensionals, and one end of the banner is popped as well. The results were too plain, so I colored some clear heart rhinestones in three sizes with purple Sharpie and added them. Yay!

Let's all say it together: Bling makes everything BETTER!




This card is destined for an acquaintance whose favorite color is, hands down, PURPLE.

--------------

And now for a glimpse of what my weekend involved.

My elder son Nick is seated on the left with the black undershirt.
He played Benny Van Buren, the team manager of the Washington Senators.
What a great production of Damn Yankees
by Springboro High School!

Very little stamping, but this has been a Proud Mom Weekend.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Stemmed Sentiments
ink: Hero Arts ombre purple
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Hero Arts Infinity Heart Dies, StampinUp Bitty Banners dies, heart-shaped rhinestones, Sharpie marker to color the bling, glue, dimensionals 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Visual Triangles Are Awesome!

Today's card shows why visual triangles are awesome.




There are two triangles here: one of big, bold, irregular circles and one of tiny bling. The big circles have lots of interest because they are each unique in color, size, and design, and because they are arranged in an irregular triangle, with two overlapping and one off by itself. The much smaller rhinestones add movement and shine to the design...creating a lot of happy energy.

Bling makes everything happy, doesn't it?

The unity comes from the harmonious color palette and also the sentiment banner that physically unifies the three circles. That sentiment started off simply stamped onto the card, but that henna circle (the dark one on the right) obscured the brown ink of the sentiment, making it almost unreadable. If you used lighter colors, you wouldn't need the banner, but the banner works for me, too.



And the banner proves that there are no mistakes...only opportunities for embellishment.

So yay!

Have an awesome weekend.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Simple Flowers, Hero Arts Thank You Messages
ink: Hero Arts dark quartz, soft apricot, cup o' Joe; Papertrey terra cotta
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones and Sharpies to color them, dimensionals


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thanks with More

As promised, a thank-you card using StampinUp's Endless Thanks...with more than yesterday's card had on it.




Endless Thanks has a cute collection of tiny stamps to use as accents with all the sentiments, so I decided to use ALL of them on one card. Tiny stamps sprinkled randomly over a tightly defined area give a pleasing effect, especially if you aim to create vague visual triangles with the colors. Note that the triangles are irregular, and not all colors form them...just most.

Note also that you could draw a light pencil line to keep your stamping straight, but I eyeballed it.

The color combination was loosely inspired by this pin, with variations to accommodate the ink colors I had. I love the combination of cool and warm colors.



The bling became a way to reinforce the randomness-with-order structure of the design. There are only two large rhinestones (no visual triangle, unless you count the sentiment as a large black spot, which might be stretching it). Then, there are three small rhinestones (visual triangle...yay!). If I'm doing the math correctly, that makes five total rhinestones, a pleasingly odd number.

I made a third card with this set but don't like it so I will not share it. As one of George's B-1 instructors used to say, in a VERY southern accent, "It was a good idea that shouldn't have seen the light of day."

Live and learn.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: StampinUp Endless Thanks
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Needing Thanks

I needed thank-you cards and pulled out StampinUp's Endless Thanks to make a few. Here's one...my favorite, but probably too clean and simple for most people's taste.





Don't worry. There's much more to the next card.




Well, not much more, because it's my blog and simplicity is my game.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Sisam
(which is how my name is spelled when I am typing in the dark and my right-hand fingers shift one key to the right...go figure. Or gp fogire/_

(Gracious, I hope that doesn't spell something naughty in another language!)

Supplies
stamps: StampinUp Endless Thanks
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black; Hero Arts cornflower, green hills
accessories: craft foam, rhinestone, black Sharpie (to color the rhinestones)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Praise the Lord and a Word on Bling Placement

Okay, I have two associations with Praise the Lord.

1) This hymn.

2) The PTL Club. You remember Jim and Tammy Faye, right?

What in the world is a girl to do with these two VERY different associations. The hymn makes me happy. The PTL Club...not so much.

Let's choose to focus on Association #1, shall we?

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!



A frequently-asked question: how do I know where to place the bling?

Well, I wish I had a good answer for that. My sassy answer is "Use the Force, Luke!" And truly, that's what it feels like. I place rhinestones with a craft knife, which lets me see where it's going better than my thick fingers. I try to create visual triangles, making sure the triangles are irregular (equilateral triangles look contrived).

On this card, there are two visual triangles. I would love to say I planned it that way, but it sort of evolved. It generally looks better to have multiple sizes and two shades of color (or two colors, though my cards do tend toward monochromaticity) to make the bling look even more irregular and interesting.

Y'all just see the successful bling placements. There are plenty of times I carry it a bling too far, or things line up awkwardly.




When the results are this satisfying, to God be the glory...because otherwise it was just dumb luck.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and praise,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Inkadinkado Good News, Altenew Extra Special
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black, various pink and green dye inks
accessories: MISTI, rhinestones


Sunday, April 22, 2018

In Him There Is No Darkness at All

1 John 1:5

"...God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."




This verse was part of the scripture reading in church this morning, and I thought of this card as Pastor Amy preached on it.

The paper is Gina K deluxe white. Its coated surface makes coloring with and blending Copic markers so much easier than absorbent card stock. I used Y11, Y15, and Y17 Copics, blending out from the center (Y17) to a feathering of Y11.

The image looked a bit flat, so I brushed on Wink of Stella clear shimmer, and it looks awesome! You can see it somewhat in the close-up photo, but in real life, it's very shimmery.




If you don't have a Wink of Stella brush pen in clear, get one!

This card, like the past two I've posted, comes courtesy of Inkadinkado's Good News set which the very kind Eva gave me.

May your week begin, continue, and close in the light of love, peace, and hope.

Hugs,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Inkadinkado Good News
paper: Gina K
ink: Memento black
accessories: Copic Markers, craft foam, glue, Wink of Stella clear brush pen


Friday, April 20, 2018

Peace and Love


Today's card uses the Peace stamp from the Inkadinkado set Good News that Eva so kindly gave me. I loved the vertical arrangement and wanted to emphasize it with card orientation and color.


Card Size 6.25" x 3.5"

The shadow stamp was inked with a Hero Arts ombre ink pad so the ombre effect moves side to side rather than top to bottom. Originally, I used a Kaleidacolor blue pad, but the ombre effect went top to bottom (peace descending...a good idea that shouldn't have seen the light of day), and frankly, it looked weird. That's when I got the idea to use the Hero Arts pad instead, and loved the results.

Proof positive that we really need a BUNCH of ink pads. Right? Of course.

Anyway, the panel still needed a little something, so I brushed clear Wink of Stella over the whole thing. The inks are all waterproof, so no worries about smearing.




The shimmer is lovely.

We all need peace in our lives.

-----------------

I shared my son's prom pictures last weekend, but tonight I'm sharing a baby picture and one of his senior pictures (photo credits to my talented photographer husband George). These pictures will run in the slide show at his graduation next month.


Seven months old. That scrunched-up nose was such an adorable--
and frequent--expression.

Eighteen years old. His hair is dark now,
and he loves the snow immoderately.
Love this face so much!

Mercy, grace, PEACE, and LOVE,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Inkadinkado Good News
ink: Hero Arts Ombre, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Wink of Stella clear brush pen, craft foam, glue

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thanks, Eva!

My stampy friend (and fellow Methodist) Eva surprised me with a lovely card and stamp set last week. Eeeep!


She had no way of knowing I've been on the lookout for a religious set that had smaller images. Most sets seem to have larger images that are harder for me to work with. So YAY! Thank you, Eva, for being such a generous friend and for giving me just the set I've been looking for!

I had a blast playing around with this set over the weekend, and here's the first card I made with it.



The idea popped into my head as I sat down holding the set, so I popped up and grabbed my EK Success label punch and whipped this up in record time.




The curvy punched label and curvy font of the sentiment look so feminine to me, so I opted for bright pink ribbon. I like how the ribbon looks likes it's hugging the card...as if I'm sending a hug in the mail. In fact I will send this paper hug to a friend who is dealing with some stuff.

We all know people who are dealing with some stuff.

Perhaps you're dealing with some stuff. Sometimes, it's hard to deal with stuff and believe that any sort of deity loves you. After all, if Jesus loves you, why are you hurting? Why are bad things happening?

Well, let me tell you that the world sucks because there's evil in it. Jesus isn't Santa Claus, and He doesn't give the good little boys and girls presents and the bad little boys and girls cancer...or divorces...or car accidents...or get them fired from their jobs...or take their loved ones away. Bad things happen to good (and bad) people, and good things happen to bad (and good) people.

But the world is also amazing and wonderful because God DOES give us each other, and every single act of loving-kindness is straight from God through Jesus (God self-limited to human form), who loves you so much He died on a cross for you.

And if you find that all hard to swallow (because, let's face it, it's pretty weird and seems a bit unlikely), then maybe it helps for you to just think of God as love. Pure and simple. Mr. Rogers said that when bad things happen, look for the helpers. There are always helpers...because there is always love.

So, if you need it, please take today's card as an act of loving-kindness for you, a pink hug with love from Jesus. It won't take your troubles away, but may it make those troubles a tiny bit easier to bear.

And find a helper or two to get you through the stuff. They are there. Just reach out.

Mercy, grace, peace, and lots and lots of love,
Susan


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Soft Sympathy, Inelegant CASE

Today's card is based on a card I saw on Pinterest by Susan Goetter. Her version is way prettier than mine.

Here's mine.



Susan's stamp is absolutely perfect for her layout, but I had a smaller tree scene. When I stamped the right side over the watercolor background, it looked odd because it was so small. I added the other side of the stamp on the left, and it still looks odd but at least it's not so empty.

What I need to do is recreate this card with a much smaller watercolor panel scaled to fit my stamp.



The idea of Susan's card is solidly awesome design. My CASE is inelegant but I'm so glad I tried. And I will try again.

Because trying and failing teaches me stuff. Y'all mostly see my successes, but there are misses, too. Frequently.

And that's okay.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: PSX, Papertrey sentiment
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: watercolor paper (Tim Holtz), Papertrey white
accessories: Arteza real brush watercolor pens, aqua brush, rhinestones

Monday, April 16, 2018

Three Cards

My three cards today were inspired by the cards on this PIN for which there is no link or attribution. Which makes me sad because they are lovely, and I'd love to give credit where credit is due!

I played around with the acrylic block stamping technique by painting the block with various Arteza real brush markers, spritzing with water, and then applying the block to watercolor paper. This is my favorite watercolor background technique because it's so EASY and almost always turns out at least okay, if not great.

This time, though, I added extra color with the brush markers (along with more water for blending) to get more intense color and am pleased with the results.




This layout works because it accents the rule of thirds. Imagine two vertical and two horizontal lines dividing the card into a tic-tac-toe grid. The rectangle is more or less centered on the sweet spot where the left vertical line and top horizontal line intersect. Then, the sentiment is in the sweet spot where the right vertical line and bottom horizontal line intersect.

This arrangement looks balanced and harmonious.




Note also that the lines of the branch stamp add movement and curves which are picked up in the curvy script of the sentiment.



And the bling. As always, it needs no reason or excuse.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts branch, sentiment unknown (but probably Papertrey)
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle (which reminds me I had wayyyy too much espresso today so I heard colors and saw sounds...so weird!)
paper: Papertrey white, Hero Arts handmade watercolor paper
accessories: Arteza real brush markers, acrylic blocks, spritzer, rhinestones