Saturday, October 6, 2018

Getting It Done on World Cardmaking Day

As soon as I saw the email from Ellen Hutson about World Cardmaking Day, I knew I had to make something no matter how many papers I have to grade this weekend.

So I made this.

Yay! It was inspired by this card by Shari Frost-Job in Stampers Sampler.

You might be wondering how I got my card from Shari's bold and funky Halloween card. I can't really recreate the hour-long path that lead to my card, but that path started with Shari. So thank you, Shari.

This is my favorite kind of creating: receive inspiration, meander through supplies, adapt, make a big mess, make something that is mine.

What did you do this World Cardmaking Day? I'd love to see!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Papertrey Peaceful Pinecone, In the Meadow; Hero Arts Vintage Christmas Post
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Memento rich cocoa, StampinUp old olive, Hero Arts soft pool
accessories: markers, ribbon, corner punch (StampinUp)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Well, This Is Fun

I am sorry for the long delay. So very sorry. You see, Friday, September 19, the chair of the English department asked if I would take over a class whose teacher quit. I am now teaching three sections of Composition 1 on three different campuses. So things have been more-than-average crazy around here.

By the way, I'm loving every minute of it.

Except for missing crafting and blogging. I miss you, my readers!

So here's a card I made before the chaos worsened (or improved, depending on how you look at it). Happy Fall, Y'all!!!!!

The card features a very old Papertrey set called Fall Elegance and a newer set from Hero Arts Stamp and Cut series called Wonderful.

Isn't it interesting how a set from, say, ten years ago is "very old"? I'm 51 and feeling "very old" at the moment because I'm having a colonoscopy tomorrow and am extremely hangry because I've eaten nothing solid since last night.

I hope that's not too much information. And here's a PSA for you. The new protocol for first colonoscopy is age 45. I'm already almost seven years overdue. Are you? Overdue, that is? Get scoped!

Fact is, I'm not at all "very old" but am still a lot older than the stamp set. So I guess the point here is that we should all be celebrating that we don't age like stamp sets because in stamp set years, we'd all be dead...even the youngest among us currently active stampers.

Don't you feel better now?

I hope so.

The die cut is double-stacked to add some dimension. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the ink on the die cut is Hero Arts butter bar to orange soda ombre pad. I stamped the paper with a large shadow stamp inked with the ombre pad and then die cut the wonderful.

And now you know why posting has become even spottier than it was. Karen's Card Shop is well stocked (thanks to several of you!) and is perking along nicely. I'm teaching a bunch of college freshman how to write better and am so very, very happy. My elder son is enjoying college and my husband started a new sport (cyclocross) and is very, very happy. My younger son attended homecoming dance last weekend and had a blast. It's all good.

But I'll be even happier when I can make pretty things again. Soon. I hope. Very soon.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Papertrey Fall Elegance, Hero Arts Wonderful
ink: Hero Arts ombre, Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: wonderful die (Hero Arts), rhinestones

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sparkle Berries

Stickles is one of my favorite products for adding touches of sparkle to images. Take, for instance, these festive sparkle berries on a pretty wreath.

This card uses the exact same layout as the last card I posted; the only changes are the wreath image, colors, embellishment, and sentiment. Hmmm. That's quite a lot to change. But the layout is identical. It's always fun when you find a great design and can riff off it like a cool jazz musician.

The Stickles adds lovely shine, texture, and variety to the berries, saving the card from flatness. Nobody wants to be flat. Right?

Let's switch gears.

Frann asked for a definition of comma splice. A comma splice is a flagrant abuse of the comma. You see, commas signal weak pauses in sentences while semicolons and periods signal complete stops. Commas do a lot of important work in sentences, but they simply aren't strong enough to hold together two independent clauses (complete sentences) all by their lonesomes.

Commas can't hold together sentences without the help of a conjunction, semicolons and periods can. 

That right there is a comma splice. Two sentences are stuck together improperly. (Don't they look embarrassed?) And yes, I found it difficult to type that incorrect sentence. Ugh. Comma splice.

To correct a comma splice, you may change the comma to a semicolon or period, add a conjunction after the comma, or subordinate one of the two independent clauses to the other.

While commas can't hold together sentences without the help of a conjunction, semicolons and periods can.

The corrected sentence has "while" before the first independent clause, turning it into a fragment. The comma after the newly dependent clause is perfectly appropriate and proudly does its job.

Frann, perhaps that's more explanation than you wanted, but my students got an earful today. Teaching grammar is so much fun!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons, Keep It Simple Christmas
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, red royal
accessories: red Stickles, craft foam

Sunday, September 16, 2018

More Wreath!

I dislike the "More Cowbell!" skit from Saturday Night Live and also dislike the mass ringing of cowbells at Ironman Wisconsin because, well, noise. I have cowbell on the brain right now because my husband has taken up cyclocross (an obstacle-course bike race for crazy people), and I've been told I need to buy my own cowbell to cheer racers on. Cyclocross crowds aren't as big as Ironman crowds, so there were fewer cowbells to annoy me. But should I add to the cacophony? I'm not sure I can.

I saw a meme today that said, "Some people have an inner child, but I have an inner old woman who just wants everyone to be quiet."

More Wreath! That's a rallying cry I can get behind.

Wreaths are, after all, very quiet.

And pretty. Like this one.

The wreath is from A Wreath for All Seasons (Papertrey). The sentiment is from I don't know where. I chose it because of the rounded serifs on the letters. They echo the round berries on the wreath nicely, and they add some whimsy to the card that brings energy into the design.

Note that I was careful to position the holes in the wreath image so I could put the banner across it without totally covering up any of the berries. I like how the two rhinestones peek out from under the edge of the banner.

And now I'd like to comment on the current state of English education. When I taught 20 years ago, college freshman writers mostly struggled to come up with thesis statements and sufficient paragraph development to write well-crafted essays. They also committed a horrifying number of grammar errors.

Today, however, students have a surprisingly good grasp of how to develop a thesis statement and organize an essay, but they can't write concise, clear sentences to save their lives, and they still commit a horrifying number of grammar errors (especially sentence boundary problems, which are major errors, people!). I'm revising my syllabus to take this shift in student needs into account.

This shift, however, is a huge improvement. High-school English teachers need to keep doing whatever they are doing, but for the love of little green apples, please, please, please teach also students to avoid fragments, comma splices, and run-on sentences. Oy vey!

And while you're at it, promote the Oxford comma because well-placed commas win lawsuits.

Thank you for listening.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Papertrey and some other company I can't remember
ink: Versamagic tea leaves, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Determined Set

Many years ago, while poking around through books on bookbinding, I read an explanation of how art supplies can be highly "determined," meaning they are already invested with a lot of specific meaning before you use them, or highly "undetermined," meaning they don't convey a lot of meaning by themselves. This explanation applies to stamp sets as well. Some sets are incredibly flexible and can be used in lots of different ways for different purposes (undetermined), and other sets are not as flexible (more determined).

A Wreath for All Seasons by Papertrey is fairly determined.

It's challenging to make fresh-looking, clean-and-simple cards with it because its images are so very strong. Where do you put a wreath on a card so it doesn't look weird? There aren't that many places, actually. Also, in real life, wreaths appear on front doors as a decoration of hospitality and welcome. They can be adapted to seasons, of course, with different sentiments, colors, and embellishments, but the message and meaning are basically the same.

So what do you do with a set that's determined and hard to adapt to CAS designs? Well, one thing I like to do (because I adore this set immoderately) is make as many different color and embellishment variations as possible of a simple design that works.

Today, I'll share two of those variations that feature sparkly, shimmery inks. First up, a Delicata ink, gold-and-silver confection that is way more gorgeous in real life than my photo can convey.

Note that the design itself is very straightforward. The wreath is one-third the way down the card, while the sentiment is two-thirds down. Both are centered, and the matting is simple white-on-white. The birds are facing each other. Peace and harmony abound!

The birds were die cut out of paper that had been stamped with a shadow stamp loaded with Delicata gold. This adds to the harmony of the card because the birdies are the same color as the berries. The golden stars (not nearly so red in real life!) are subtle and festive. They're from a sequin packet from Hero Arts. Without the stars, the card seemed to be lacking something. With them, it's so much better!

After making this card, which had me humming "Silver and Gold" from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I decided to try again with more traditional colors...Brilliance pearlescent thyme, chocolate, and poppy. Could the result feel any more different?!?!

For the traditionalists out there, I'm sure this is your favorite of the two cards. Eeeep! It's so strong and packs a wallop with those darker colors, doesn't it? Red and green are complementary colors (opposites on the color wheel), and complementary colors automatically up the energy of any card.

My original plan for this card was to add some red Smooch over some of the berries because, in my head, two-colored berries would make it more interesting. Once I stamped that fabulous thyme, however, I knew it was interesting enough as it is. After all, the berries on holiday wreaths are generally red.

Do you ever get good ideas that shouldn't see the light of day? That's what I call my idea about adding red Smooch. A good idea that shouldn't have seen the light of day.

Maybe you have a set you love that is highly determined. Maybe you wonder if you can ever do anything useful or different with it again. Maybe you should pull it out and give it a try. Change up inks, colors, and embellishments. Mess around and see what happens.

It's only paper after all. And you might just get some great cards out of it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Season
ink: various shimmery inks from Delicata and Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Poppy Stamps cardinal dies, dimensionals, Hero Arts star sequins

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Amazing Inspiration from Others

Today's photos are brought to you courtesy of some amazing crafters.

First up, my gift package from Brechtje in The Netherlands. She makes handmade paper cards. These are stunning, textured, almost too pretty to send. Whoever gets one of these needs to know they are special to me!

She also sent a lovely letter--a real, handwritten letter!--die cut butterflies, and a stamp set...all sent in a fun, polka-dotted and washi taped package.

Then there are cards from Kelle for Karen's Card Shop. She sent two boxes that arrived on different days!

And a card for me that celebrates my favorite season.

The second package came with another handwritten note. So sweet!

Linda sent me this patriotic stunner for Independence Day.

Eva sent me this CAS beauty. We're going to try to have coffee this week. It's good that I have stampy friends close by.

Shannon sent this encouraging and awesomely designed card to celebrate my new job. Which I'm loving, by the way.

I am blessed by so many of you, near and far. Thank you so much.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

Thursday, September 6, 2018

All That Glitters

Before we get to the card, I want to thank Kelle S for another package of lovely cards for Karen's Card Shop. Pictures will be coming.

Also thanks to Shannon A. and Eva R. who sent me wonderful cards for my inspiration board, and to Brechtje from The Netherlands who sent me an amazing packet of handmade paper cards, some pretty butterfly die cuts, and a birthday sentiment stamp set. Pictures will be coming for all this wonderfulness as well.

I feel so very grateful to all of you who encourage me with your art, your words, your generosity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And now for a glittery extravaganza!

Today's card was inspired by this pin by Jenny Lee. I changed up quite a bit, including the scale of everything, but without her card, mine wouldn't have happened. So thank you, Jenny!

Glitter paper rocks, by the way. And it die cuts beautifully. So yay!

stamps: none (except on envelope...Papertrey Winterberry, Simon Says Envelope Sentiments)
ink: none (except on envelope...Hero Arts soft granite)
paper: Papertrey white; Michael's glitter paper
accessories: Papertrey die (Winterberry), Hero Arts alphabet die, rhinestones, craft foam, glue, red Smooch (for envelope)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


It's sort of crazy how periods of transition in life wreak havoc on our time. Having a son go to college, starting a new job and a new volunteer opportunity at the same time, and life in general require adjustments in time and energy.

The only thing suffering (if you can call it that) is my stamping. And this has made me sad...when I've had two seconds to think about it. Fortunately, I'm finally adjusting enough to spare time to actually stamp, which is delightful and fun and very, very satisfying.

This past weekend, I made two cards that were inspired by pins and took me in new directions that made me feel like I was coming home.

I know that doesn't make sense and is mixing my metaphors, but so what? Those mixed metaphors created this.

This pin from Altenew was the inspiration. I took a design that filled the card and shrank it down to leave a nice mat around it. But when I went to put the bling on the snowflake, it looked weird and incomplete...until I added rhinestones off the panel. THAT made me giggle with glee.

The card also allowed me to use up a bunch of light blue bling that I rarely use. So yay!

While I won't manage five posts a week quite yet, I'm on my way back to it. Thanks for sticking with me!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: StampinUp, Papertrey
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts Dusty Blue, Memento Paris dusk
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals

Monday, September 3, 2018

Falling Leaves

No fall card-making blitz would be complete without an obligatory "falling leaves" card. 

So here you go. 

These stamps come from Hero Arts Color Layering Grateful Leaves. I chose not to use the vein stamps that layer over the leaves because I thought it looked busy enough without them, especially with the sentiment overlapping. But these colors are so pretty together!

I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend. We enjoyed a visit home from our college kid. So glad he's actually pretty close to home. He wanted to do laundry and escape the ridiculous heat southwest Ohio is enduring at the moment. 

Tell us what you did this long weekend!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Grateful Leaves
ink: Archival monarch orange, saffron, sienna, and potting soil; Hero Arts soft apricot
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copic/Sharpie markers to color the rhinestones 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

First Fruits, Continued

Today's cards, like yesterday's cards, use Papertrey's First Fruits set. This is an old set but a good one. Note that neither of today's cards has a sentiment on the outside...though both have a thanksgiving sentiment on the inside. I just couldn't figure out where to put the sentiments on either card without disrupting the balance.

First up, a kraft card base with the stamped panel die cut using a stitched rectangle die from my friend Eva.

The added detail of the stitching gives the card an extra finish, as does the Stickles that I dotted over the pineapple.

Note how symmetrical this pineapple is.

Next up, a white-on-white card with not-a-whole-lot of symmetry.

I adore this card. First of all, the white-on-white layers make my CAS-lovin' heart happy. But the asymmetry also makes me happy. The way the bow on the twine holding the shock of wheat together is on the right, but the shock is on the left...that is pleasing.

Have I mentioned I received my master's degree from Wichita State University? Well, the WSU mascot is a fighting shock of wheat.

Strikes terror in the hearts of our competitors, I'm sure.

Related image

That's Kansas for you. Aggressive grains.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey kraft, white
accessories: stitched rectangle die, craft foam, glue, Stickles

Saturday, September 1, 2018

It's September!

Despite icky heat and humidity that feels more like Columbus, Georgia, than Dayton, Ohio, fall is here. We know this because Starbucks is selling pumpkin spice lattes again. I can't bring myself to have one yet, however, because my shirt keeps sticking to my back like it's frappuccino time.

Alas, we in the U.S. midwest who love autumn must delay our enjoyment of sweaters and pumpkin spice everything a bit longer.

We need not, however, delay making Thanksgiving cards. Long-time readers know of my crusade to save Thanksgiving. I encourage you to make Thanksgiving/autumn/gratitude cards and send them in October or November, regardless of whether (not weather) or not your country celebrates Thanksgiving.

We don't need a national holiday to express our appreciation for the people who make our lives better.


So I'm going to start posting some Thanksgiving Crusade cards this Labor Day weekend.

Here are two cards with (essentially) the same layout (one of my favorites, actually). Both use Papertrey' First Fruits stamp set...and oldie and a goodie.

This yellow (Archival saffron) is delightfully autumnal. A little bling is all it needs to dress it up.

Olive greens can evoke an autumnal feel when used with this two-step acorn image. I adore the phrase "autumn blessings" for Thanksgiving Crusade cards. You'll see it again.

These inks are chalk inks, rich and opaque.

Do you plan on sending Thanksgiving/gratitude cards this year? If so, how many? To whom do you send them?

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits, Hero Arts (sentiment for top card...not sure which set because I broke it up)
paper: Papertrey white
ink: first card Archival saffron, potting soil; second card Versamagic tea leaves, pesto, jumbo java
accessories: rhinestones and Copic/Sharpie markers to color them

Monday, August 27, 2018

Karen's Card Shop and College Care Packages

First of all, I owe a huge thank you to readers Donna and Patti and to my pa stor's auntfor their recent donations to Karen's Card Shop. Donna donated almost 50 cards, and Patti donated over 100. Pastor's aunt donated eight. All of them are beautiful!

Patti's box, which included a bunch of white
and ivory envelopes. The ivory ones will come in
especially handy as I only stock white.

Pastor's aunt made a batch of these foiled cross cards
with lovely pressure embossing on the backgrounds. 

Donna included this absolutely gorgeous card for me
and four beautifully colored book plates.
These stunners will go in extra special books!

Many, many thanks to Donna and Patti for their generosity. Karen's Card Shop has now exceeded $1,600 in sales over two years. Money goes to our Stephen Ministry and to the church's general fund.

And now for college care packages. Nick, his girlfriend, my niece, and a darling young lady from church are on my list for care packages because they are all starting college. I remember how fun it was to get mail when I was in college. So of course I had to make cards to include in the packages.

I made these cards and then found out several of the recipients didn't have to buy a single book for classes this semester. What is wrong with the world?

Times they are a-changin', and books are apparently dead. Even my composition students don't have to buy a book...they use an open educational resource that is available for free online. A printed copy costs $15. I'm happy to see many of my students have sprung for the printed version.

But still.

Print can't be dead.

I love it too much.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and printed books,

stamps: Papertrey All Booked Up, Simon Says Stamp Uplifting Thoughts
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Copics in various colors

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Peek at Process and Why Waxed Paper Is Your Friend

Eeeep! I'm loving being back in the classroom. It's so challenging and fun and engaging! But I miss stamping in all the busyness, and it felt good to get some stamping time in on Saturday.

Here's some of what kept me away from stamping and blogging about it this week.

College drop off for Mr. Scruffy Face
(I love his scruff!)

Sweet 16 for the Boy in Blue

Mr. Naughty acting out at all the changes.
"Who? Me?" He ate part of remote and peed in the house,
among other assorted badness.

And the teaching. Y'all, it's like coming home again after a VERY long vacation. The teaching part is like riding a all comes back quickly. But integrating computers into the teaching is a challenge. One of the adjunct coordinators is meeting with me tomorrow to help me learn the nuances of the system, and her offer to do that is just one example of how nice and thoughtful and kind the people at  Sinclair have been toward me.

Like I said. Feels like coming home. Yippeeeeeee!

And now, down to business.

Today's card is another Christmas card. If you've been reading Simplicity for a while, you know mass producing cards isn't for me. I get bored too quickly, and the process ceases to delight. So it's important for me to make a lot of one-off Christmas cards, which takes much longer than making 50 or 100 of the same design.

To aid me in the process of making so many individual, unique cards, I pull out my holiday stamps, embellishments, and more so they are out on my desk and easy to reach. Here are a few of the bins I've stocked for this season of Christmas-in-blazing-hot-and-humid-Ohio-summer.

The dies, embellishments, and multitude of stamps all pulled together is pretty festive! Having everything out on my workspace not only inspires me but makes creating lots of diverse cards so much easier. I can supplement this stash with other stamps or supplies in my craft room (background stamps, star stamps, glitter paper, etc.) as the whim strikes.

If you're like me and make a lot of different Christmas cards, what suggestions do YOU have to make the process easier? Inquiring minds, and all that. Please comment below so others may benefit from your genius!

For today's card, I used a small Hero Arts set (Stamp and Cut Holiday Ornaments) with coordinating dies.

While this is a fairly ordinary card (despite the non-traditional color scheme), tying the cord was tricky, and I'd like to share a tip with you.

First, I attached the ornament to the card with dimensionals and glued the end of a straight piece of silver cord directly on the hanging loop of the die cut. I then placed a piece of waxed paper over the card and put a clear acrylic block on top to hold the cord in place until it dried completely. This creates a very tight hold for the cord.

Then, I tied the bow and trimmed it. After adding a generous dot of glue where the cord ended, I placed the bow on the glue, covered the whole thing with waxed paper again, and added weight to hold it in place.

Using waxed  paper is essential here. If you don't, whatever weight you put on the cord will stick to the glue and create a mess. But glue doesn't stick to the waxed paper. So yay! Everything sticks down extremely well and looks amazing!

Now, generally speaking, most of my holiday cards are fairly traditional colors of red and green, gold and silver, or blue. But every year, I experiment with other colors...teal here, purple occasionally, some pink and green there. Because getting in a rut would be boring, don't you think?

And now I'm off to bed, because 5:15 comes early in the morning and my body's still not adjusted to working. Thanks to you all for your patience and support through this season of my life. Stampers really are the best!

Hugs, mercy, grace, peace, and love to you,

stamps: Hero Arts Holiday Ornaments, Papertrey Side-by-Side Sentiments
ink: can't remember the teal (maybe Archival paradise teal), Archival aquamarine (on envelope), Hero Arts soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver cord, liquid glue, waxed paper, dimensionals, craft foam, coordinating die