Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I Like Big Bling, And I Cannot Lie

In an attempt to let a big sentiment shine, I made this card.


After the stamping was finished, the card still needed a little something to jazz it up. The silver marker line felt out of place, so I wondered if some bling would make it feel more integrated. Then, I found these large aqua rhinestones. Sprinkled with smaller ones for interest, they really liven up the card!





Shine on, big bling. You don't need a reason. Just be pretty.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Concord & 9th Just Because
ink: Hero Arts mint julep, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, PrismaColor silver marker, ruler, post-it notes

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Day Late

Well, it certainly wasn't my intention to skip posting yesterday, but you know, Mondays have a way of getting away from you. Especially when something like this happens.




Thank goodness for duct tape. Someone turned in front of me, I slammed on brakes, he tried to go fast, and, well, it wasn't good. The accident happened late morning, and over the course of the afternoon, I developed some severe neck pain that landed me at the ER. Big shout-out to the ER doctor, who ordered a shot that worked wonders and x-rays that showed nothing serious. She sent me home to take a bubble bath.

This was my audience.



When I turned on the jets in the tub, Cooper freaked. I thought he might jump in to rescue me from the evil bubbles! George dragged his furry butt out of the bathroom, but he sat outside the door staring at it for about five minutes. Then his short attention span kicked in, and he joined George on the bed while George read.

Bubble baths are amazing, and kudos to the doctor for knowing that.

I'm feeling much better today. We'll see if that holds once I start dealing with the insurance company. Ugh.

So here's the card that I would have posted yesterday.



This set is Concord & 9th's Just Because. Giant sentiments can be a challenge, but this layout works great for them. I stamped the branch first in Hero Arts forever green, then layered the speckles in Archival prickly pear. The because is also in forever green, and the remainder of the sentiment is stamped with Archival potting soil.

The card looked okay at that point, but I wanted to add some bling. These are Hero Arts olive gemstones. Three weren't enough, so I added two more to make an uneven number. Uneven is usually better than even in design.

Usually. All rules may be broken if you break them correctly.



I have no idea when it's correct to break them, of course. I design using the Force. Still, generally speaking, odd numbers are better numbers.

And if one bubble bath is good, two are better. Three magnificent. Off for another....


Mercy, grace, peace, love, and road safety,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Concord & 9th Just Because
ink: Hero Arts forever green; Archival potting soil, prickly pear
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Hero Arts gemstones

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Long, Small Sentiments

Altenew seems to like small-font, very long horizontal sentiments. Well, they seem to like large-font, very long horizontal sentiments, too. Large fonts rarely appeal to me unless I'm using them without images because, you know, they don't leave enough white space.

But I wondered what I could do with the small-font sentiments in Altenew's Happy Heart set.

Oh. My.

All the glorious white space!!! You really do see that small sentiment because there's almost nothing else to look at on the whole card!! Yay for exclamation points!!!!




Note how the placement of the sentiment toward the bottom of the card emphasizes the meaning of the sentiment? Yeah, that was on purpose. Plus, it put the heart in the sweet spot. 

The card began its life as one layer, but it looked too plain. (I know. Some of you, perhaps even most of you, think the final version of this card is too plain. I'm rolling my eyes at you.) But white-on-white layers added just enough dimension to make the card work. I debated adding bling for a nanosecond, but it's perfect just the way it is.



I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this thing called Simplicity

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Happy Heart, Papertrey Heart Prints
ink: Archival black, vibrant fuchsia
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Crisp Cosmos

I truly enjoy cards with stamped panels about the size of an ordinary business card. The small "canvas" allows for a simple, clean layout and strong focal point, with lots of glorious white space to form a mat.

Like this.



Getting creative with white matting just adds to the beauty without cluttering the design or distracting from the focal point.

The Stunning Cosmos set from Altenew has these gorgeous layered flowers which allow for wonderful play of color. Four stamps make up this image: the petal base, the petal veins, the flower center, and the center details. This set is relatively easy to line up, especially if you use a MISTI.

Note that I stamped the flower on a larger scrap in the MISTI and cut it down for the card. This allows plenty of space for the magnet bars to hold the card stock in place in the MISTI. I stamped the sentiment after cutting down the image so it would be positioned properly on the panel.

The sizes of the mats match the Proportional Matting Chart I posted eight years ago, with increments of 1/8" between those listed on the chart. The chart allows your panels to fit on a standard 4.25" x 5.5" sheet card (American standard...other countries cut card stock differently!)




Another snippet of advice. I used Papertrey's heavy white card stock for this card, but when you're going to add so many mats, it's better to use Neenah Solar White 80lb for the stamped panel and mats and Neenah Solar White 110lb for the base. Unfortunately, in my design process, cards usually evolve mats...they aren't planned in advance. Papertrey doesn't sell a lighter-weight version of its card stock, and the two brands are not the same white or the same texture, so mixing and matching offends my obsessive need for order and perfection.

Alas, first-world problems.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Stunning Cosmos, a Hero Arts sentiment
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts pale tomato, red royal, butter bar, charcoal; Archival black
accessories: MISTI


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Punny Cards

I try hard to love making cute, punny, funny cards. I try soooo hard. But in the end, I must admit, while I love others' efforts in the more light-hearted direction, my own style tends toward stuffier (or more straight-forward) subjects.

Still, it's always fun to break out of my nice, safe, boring box and play around with a cute, punny set.




I wanted to make a scene, and the fabulous cloud folder Sarah gave me came in handy here. Scenes are not my specialty, but this one turned out fun!




I decided to use a googly eye on the whale and immediately regretted it. The white inside is so dull and gray looking, and it doesn't pop like the treatment I used on the card below. It's also a good idea to increase movement on a card by having any character or person LOOKING where you want your audience's eye to go. The googly eye is gravity dependent, so it doesn't look up at the sentiment unless you tip the card top-down.

It seemed like such a good idea until the glue went down.

The clouds are lovely, though!




This scene is lots of fun because there's so much movement! The shadow stamp wave from Hero Arts is always fun to use, and in two shades of light blue, it's even got some faux dimension. I used a small black gemstone on the whale's eye, which means he's always looking up at the sentiment, which increases the unity of the card.

Which makes me happy.




What's your feeling for punny cards?

Tons of mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Supplies
stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Tim Holtz inking tool, craft knife, cloud embossing folder, Cuttlebug, dimensionals, googly eye, gemstone



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ah! That's Simplicity!

In case you were wondering just who posted on Simplicity yesterday, what with all those colored card bases and (gasp!) even a little bit of patterned paper, today's post should reassure you that all is still minimalist here in LateBlossom Land.


Yep. That's me!

I want to thank Kelli S. (I hope I got the name right!), JoAnn F., and Carol D. for sending cards to Karen's Card Shop. Your packages arrived yesterday and today, and I look forward to getting your lovely cards out in the shop by the end of the week. Thanks so much!

And now I'm off to a Stephen Ministry meeting to teach a module on caring for individuals going through divorce. I love my "job" as a Stephen Leader. And if you're going through or have been through a divorce, know that God loves you!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts shadow stamp, Papertrey Keep It Simple sentiment
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival sky blue, cornflower blue
accessories: not a blessed one!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Colored Card Bases...Oh, My!

I had so much fun playing with the die cuts sent to me by the kind and generous Sarah! Some of the die cuts really required colored card bases to shine, so here they are...plus one white-based card I forgot to share yesterday.



Now, a white die cut can still be used on a white base (see bottom card below), but this gorgeous vine-decorated heart begged for bright pink. The sentiment (in black) and punched butterfly (with black gems) complete the card.




This piney thank-you card is my favorite of the three by a narrow margin. I adore the way the StampinUp Baja breeze base lets the pine branch and natural snowflake and sentiment shine.



These leaves (not die cuts but included by Sarah in the bag) are so textured and bright and fun! The card base is made up of Papertrey's natural card stock...which is off-white and flecked with dark specks. These leaves on a pure white card looked harsh and weird.

I combined the leaves with the ornamental die cut for a Thanksgiving card. My minimalist instinct wanted to use just two leaves with the ornamental piece, but that would have been laughably phallic. As it is, I think of the joke from My Big Fat Greek Wedding about three testicles.

I'm an English major. What else can you expect? And now, you can't look at that Thanksgiving card without laughing, can you?




And here's an almost ALL-WHITE card with delightful texture and movement...and three tiny red rhinestones to make a statement! Of all the cards, it's the most LateBlossom-y.

Many thanks to Sarah for sharing her die cuts with me and sparking creativity where it's been sort of drowsy lately. If you are in a slump, try playing outside your comfort zone as I've done with these eight cards.

What's the worst that could happen? You could make pretty trash! That's certainly better than making nothing at all.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Hodgepodge of Awesomeness

So much to post today.

First, grab boxes. The first respondents were Joan W., Eva J., Ruth S., and Lynn E. Many thanks to all who jumped on this great buy. I'm glad to know these supplies are going to good homes!

Second, I got a box full of awesomeness from Sarah W., who donated these beautiful cards to Karen's Card Shop. She even included envelopes and put them in cellophane bags, saving me the work. These will be stocked in the Shop this week, and I know they will sell quickly. She included much-needed sympathy and thank-you cards, as well as some stunning religious cards.



Thank you, Sarah!

Third, I was expecting the donation since she'd emailed me ahead of time (at least, I think she did...things have been crazy around here), but there was other awesomeness in the box...for me!




A puffy cloud embossing folder, a lovely StampinUp set, and a whole bag FULL of die cuts! Y'all, after weeks of minimal stamping time, I dove into this treasure trove with gusto.  I started with the die cuts and cranked out a bunch of cards in record time.

Today, I'll share the white-based cards because they are (duh) my favorites, but some of the cuts needed colored card bases. I'll share them tomorrow. There are still die cuts left for future play, but I hope Sarah knows how appreciated they all are!



The glitter paper was punched old-style with a, well, punch. The die cut trees look great against the glittery backdrop, and the banner gives the message. I toyed with the idea of adding some red rhinestone ornaments to the trees but didn't. The simple monochrome of the card works for me.




These three balloons made a fun combination, although attaching the strings was a bit of a pain. Worth it, though.




This one may be my favorite of the four. That die cut, which was clearly cut from an ombre-treated paper, is simply gorgeous! I love the thin lines and openness of it, and how the heavier grosgrain ribbon adds some stability and weight to the design.



Finally, the busiest of the four cards. In some ways, this is my favorite because the green and red pop so prettily and balance the big sentiment well. But the sentiment is an old, old, old wood-mounted stamp, and it smeared a bit on the "and," which annoys the daylights out of me. But please note how straight the sentiment is on the card. Seriously. The rubber is mounted crookedly on the wood, so I have to use a stamp positioner every. single. time. I use the stamp. It almost always turns out to be crooked. But not this time!

So I've got that going for me. And the awesome Sarah who made these cards possible! So much to be grateful for!

Fourth, I'm now on LinkedIn. For anyone who's interested.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Grab Boxes for Sale


I've put together four medium-size flat-rate USPS boxes packed full of stamps, embellishments, punches, and doo-dads.

Each box contains at least 12 clear stamp sets (even distribution of large, medium, and small sets between the four boxes), some wood-mounted stamps, Stickles, bling, and border punches. The clear stamps are mostly Hero Arts and Papertrey, with a few other great brands thrown in, and the rubber stamps are mostly Hero Arts and StampinUp.

NOTE: I do break up some sets, which means a few sets might be missing a sentiment or image. All stamps have been used, so there may be some staining of stamps, but they all work great. In fact, every thing in the boxes works, but realize some supplies may be partially used.

These are GREAT deals just for the clear stamps alone...and you get all sorts of fun extras to play with! 

Each box costs $64, which includes the shipping cost of $13.65. I will accept PayPal or check, and will ship within a few days of receiving payment and checks clearing.

Sales are limited to the United States.

Confirm with me by email that a box is available for you: susanraihala@roadrunner.com

If you have questions, email me or post in the comments!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Stunning Cosmos by Altenew

Altenew has mastered the art of multi-layered floral stamps. Their Stunning Cosmos set is a case in point.





My first card today shows one of the cosmos blooms with a sentiment from the stamp set. The sentiments are LARGE and so are the flowers, so they take up a lot of real estate on a standard card. For CAS cardmakers like me, however, these large-scale sets don't leave enough white space.

So I made another card, using a sentiment from Hero Arts Thank You Messages, that allows for more white space.




Which do you prefer? Why?

(You already know my answer, but personal tastes and preferences vary widely among my readers, and I'd love to hear what you think!)

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Stunning Cosmos, Hero Arts Thank You Messages
ink: Memento canteloup; Archival tiger lily, leaf green; Hero Arts soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Hero Arts sequins, glue


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Father's Day and Summer Cleaning

Often, older stamps still make great cards...especially when the stamps are awesomely designed. Such is the case with Papertrey's Through the Trees. Sadly, this set doesn't appear on the Papertrey website anymore. But I love it still. 



The leaves are a separate stamp from the trunk, making this an incredibly easy image to ink and stamp. I did use my MISTI to allow for repeat inking in case of imperfect impressions.

The card looked okay but needed a little something extra so I added dark green Stickles to random leaves. The sparkle is darling in real life!




The sentiment comes from Papertrey's Father Knows Best, which is also discontinued. Just because stamps are old doesn't mean they can't be useful and well loved!

Today, I got a bee in my bonnet to clean out my craft space. It's been a while, but I know that I've got a LOT of stuff stuck in my unfinished basement that probably needs to be sold. Why not add a little more to the "get rid of" stash? 

I feel compelled to get rid of stuff right now. I haven't sold grab boxes in years, and it's time. There are so many supplies sitting unused in my basement...it's just sad.

So I'll be posting grab boxes for sale soon and send those supplies to great new homes where they may serve a greater purpose than collecting dust in my basement. 

Quick question: How often do you clean out your craft space? Do you find it as relaxing and satisfying as I do? Or does it stress you out? Okay, I guess that's three questions. But I'd love to hear your responses. Curiosity about cleaning from the OCD minimalist!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and cleaning,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Through the Trees, Father Knows Best
ink: Hero Arts soft granite, forever green
paper: papertrey white
accessories: Stickles, craft foam, glue

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Running Stencils through a Cuttlebug

It occurred to me that I've never tried running a stencil through my Cuttlebug, so I gave it a try. The results made my artist mom up pick the panel (not yet made into a card) and say, "Oh, pretty!"

Here's the card.



Sadly, the photos don't really capture the three-dimensional effect, but it's lovely in real life. I inked the piece with Tim Holtz distress inks and the inking tool. The rhinestones are Swarovski crystals that have been in my stash for over a decade. They were just the right blueish purple for the card. How awesome when that happens!



It's also awesome to realize that an old supply (stencils) can be used in a new (well, new-to-me) way.

What is your favorite "new" way to use an old supply?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple Thank You
ink: Archival black, Tim Holtz distress inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Swarovski crystals, stencil, Cuttlebug, inking tools

Monday, June 4, 2018

Stenciled Thanks

In addition to my Mother's Day purchases, I picked up a few Tim Holtz stencils at Marco's Paper in Centerville. I was actually there just to buy envelopes for Karen's Card Shop with my monthly 40% off coupon, and I'm not quite sure how those stencils and a few bottles of Stickles jumped into my basket. In fact, I'm not quite sure why I picked up a basket to hold the box of 250 envelopes since that would have been easy enough to carry to the checkout by itself.

Why do we do things in stores? It's a mystery. Or I'm just extremely weak-willed and acquisitive.

"Oh, look! Something shiny!"

Anyway, since one of the Stickles colors was steel, I decided to use one of the stencils with a dark gray distress ink and accent it with the Stickles. Karen's Card Shop is desperately in need of thank-you cards (if anyone has any lying around they'd like to donate...just sayin'. I got envelopes!), so I made a thank-you card.




I love the look of one-layer cards with a repeat-pattern stencil. This one gives the illusion of a pretty piece of tile art, doesn't it? It retains the sim2`111111111111111111111. My dog just helped me type. With her chin. On my keyboard. I think someone needs attention.

Back again. As I was saying, the stenciled card retains the simplicity I love in its monochromatic repetition while allowing for pretty ornamental detail.

The dog is staring at me. "Why do you love your computer more than you love me?"




Perhaps I should go pour love into her empty love bucket. There's a hole in that bucket. It's never full. Oh, my.

Daisy from yesterday on the deck. She's
begging for cheese.


Could you say no to that eye? It's staring at me again. Just like yesterday.

We've already established how weak-willed I am. 

Good night.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple Thank You
ink: Archival black, Tim Holtz weathered wood(?)
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles steel, Tim Holtz stencil, post-it notes

Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Trio of Wildflower Cards

Altenew's Wildflower Garden set is quickly becoming my new favorite floral set. Wow, it's shockingly easy to make beautiful, one-layer cards!

Like this one.



And this one.




And this one.




Whether it's a single stem or the green field of the second card, this set makes creating easy. The images have so much movement and can carry a whole one-layer card so well, without the need for any embellishment whatsoever. That's handy when designing sympathy and prayer cards, which truly benefit from simplicity.

A quick note about the MISTI. I stamped the green stem on the first card above without the MISTI and instantly regretted it. The image isn't quite as crisp as I would have liked. So I used the MISTI for the next two and was able to get good, solid, crisp images with repeat inking. Even when lining up stamps might be just as easy with clear blocks, I'm finding the MISTI to be very useful. If you don't have one (or a similar contraption that might be cheaper), I highly recommend getting one.

And no, I'm not getting a kick-back from the MISTI manufacturer. I just really like mine...which was still free to me from a very nice lady named Tina. Yay, Tina!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Wildflower Garden
ink: various dye inks (Ranger, Archival, and Hero Arts...all of whom owe me big for all the money I've spent on them. Why don't I have sponsors?)
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: MISTI


Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Little Something Extra

Who doesn't love a Before/After post?

In playing with a new set from Altenew (see below for my Mother's Day order), I made a very simple card (you know, the kind I like!). But it was too simple. It needed a little something extra.

Here are the BEFORE pictures:



Isn't this sweet? I adore this two-stamp branch and blossoms from Altenew's Wildflower Garden set. But those blossoms look so flat.




I pulled out my Prismacolor Pencils and added a little shading. First, I added a bit of dark purple pencil to each blossom, and then I rubbed over it with a blender pencil to smooth it out and blend it into the lighter ink color. I tinkered with the shading until I was satisfied. It makes a world of difference!

Here are the AFTER pictures:





Often, a little something extra takes blah to beautiful!


And for those who are interested in such things, here's my Mother's Day bounty.



I'm wondering if I'll regret all those sequins. Do they stay glued to cards when sent through the mail? Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Wildflower Garden
ink: Hero Arts passion flower; Archival leaf green and black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Prismacolor pencil, blender pencil, MISTI