Tuesday, April 4, 2023

In Love with Coffee

Marilyn, please email me at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

Coffee is one of my favorite drinks, and I have several friends who share my addiction preference. This adorable little steaming cuppa and the accompanying beans come from Gina K (Perfect Blend). The sentiment comes from an old Papertrey set. Coloring is with Copics.

Circle cards just make me so happy! So do Copics!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 


Friday, March 31, 2023

Alcohol Ink Backgrounds

Several years ago, I watched a video about using Copic markers on vellum to create an alcohol background, gave it a try, and was very happy with the results. But I couldn’t think what to do with some of the backgrounds I made, so they sat in a drawer until recently. 

First up, I went nautical with the blue and green background and my favorite seahorse layering stamps from Papertrey.  The sentiment strip was a gift from my friend Joan.

The second card uses a balloon die that Joan also gifted me. The sentiment is from StampinUp. 

Both of these cards rely on some pretty vellum and sequins, and I was so grateful to have the sequins. Usually, I try sequins on a card and switch to rhinestones instead. For these two cards, the sequins are perfect!

What common embellishment do you struggle with most? 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

This Crazy Hobby

So last year, I ordered a set of Altenew cubes in four shades of aqua and a Simon Says Pawsitively Saturated ink set with three shades of blue. After playing around with both sets, I decided to invest heavily in the Simon Says inks. 

My decision was largely based on the type of ink pads. I liked the foam pads, and I already have quite a lot of inks with felt pads. 

My plan was to buy the colors I use most and not buy the colors I use least. But once I got the ones I liked, I wanted them ALL!!!! Because I had cancer and DESERVED the full set, I bought them. 

So there. Argue with that, universe!

But I quickly realized I didn’t have enough color-layering stamp sets to make the investment in all those colors worthwhile (duh!), so I ordered a smaller Altenew set with dies and had a BLAST playing with color!

Just a quick aside about Altenew. I love their stuff immoderately, but their stamps are often so large that they crowd out my love of white space. Their smaller sets, though they make fewer, are gorgeous and easy to layer accurately with a MISTI. 

Back to the post at hand. I also stamped a bunch of leaves in different shades of green, die cut them and the flowers, and started assembling cards with them.

First up, a 6.25” x 7” slim card stacked with flowers, leaves, and bling. The background is a Sizzix 3D embossing folder. Bling was colored with Copics and Sharpies to match, as on the next two cards.

Next, we have a trio of blossoms overflowing a smaller embossed background (source unknown). The sentiment is from Gina K

And finally, my favorite of the three, mainly because the colors are from the cooler side of the spectrum and because I adore that die-cut sentiment. 

These three cards were so much fun to put together! And I adore the inks, the stamps, and the dies. This may, indeed, be a crazy hobby, but what a blast it is!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Dies Have It

Today’s card was a fun exploration of combining stamps and dies, with the dies as the focal point. The cherry blossom stamp set is from Hero Arts, and the dies are from Sizzix. 

Now, I have the dies that go with the stamps, but the die-cut branches are rather clunky looking, designed to leave a white border around the stamped branch. Well, the Sizzix dies cut nice, graceful, dainty branches and details for the flowers. 

You’ll notice I put a vellum wrap on the stamped panel, mainly because the panel was just too dark and busy to make a nice background for the delicate branch. The vellum tones it down perfectly, and the embossing folder (Tim Holtz) gives a lovely hint of texture.

This card must have been inspired by a card—I’d never come up with this layout on my own—but I can’t find it. My apologies to whomever I CASEed without acknowledgement. 

Today’s question: do you like vellum, and if so, what is your favorite way of using it?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Bee-Day Bubbles

Today’s card uses one of my favorite bee sets from Hero Arts, Busy as a…. Colored with Copic markers, the bees and two ombré circles are just so much fun! The bees’ wings are highlighted with clear Wink of Stella. 

I’m enjoying my time visiting family in Maryland and am so glad I flew. Even with a layover in Atlanta, it was much easier with my current level of fatigue. 

A reminder to Marilyn to email me about the gift card, please. I don’t want to forget!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Saturday, March 4, 2023

Winner, Winner! And Two Sea-Themed Cards

 Our winner in the Butterfly Challenge give away is Marilyn! 

Marilyn, please send me your snail-mail address at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com. I’ll send you the gift card to Simon Says Stamp ASAP!

And now for today’s cards. First up, one that’s full of texture and pattern, almost collage-like. 

To make this card, I used an ancient Hero Arts shadow stamp to create the circle background, a stamp/die set from Julie Ebersole for the shell, and Simon Says for the sentiment. The scrap of cheesecloth looks a bit like a net, and the bling echoes ocean bubbles (and adds shine to an otherwise matte card). 

It’s a glorious mess grounded in the triangle of bling and plenty of glorious white space.

The second card, which uses the same stamp set, is much cleaner, simpler, and modern in feel. Instead of rhinestones, I used dew drops

You’ve got one guess as to which is my favorite. Yep. Card #2. The cleanness and simplicity make me very, very happy. But I certainly like the first one; otherwise, I would not have showed it to you!

I’ve not had much chance to stamp this past week. Lots going on, including some not-so-happy stuff with my mom, who isn’t feeling well. I’m going to Maryland to see her this upcoming week. I was supposed to visit back in late July, but breast cancer had other plans. 

I did get a favorable check-up with the radiation oncologist. My boob is looking great. I’ll see the medical oncologist on Monday. I have lots of questions for him. For me, radiation was a piece of cake compared to chemo, and the symptoms that are lingering are definitely chemo related. 

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

A friend in her 50s told me last week that she got her first mammogram ever after my diagnosis. Please get your boobs squished regularly and get familiar with them in between so you can identify what does and does not belong. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Friday, February 24, 2023

A Butterfly Challenge—Day 7

This is the LAST post in our butterfly challenge series! If you’re just joining us, you can go back to the previous six posts, leave comments, and be entered for the $25 gift card from Simon Says Stamp. Each comment counts as one entry, so if you comment on all seven, you’ll maximize your chances to win. 

When you comment, have fun answering the daily questions on each post except the first. The deadline for commenting is midnight EST, Monday, February 27.

Now for today’s card, which has a shocking THREE butterflies on it. Can you believe I got that crazy? We revisit Gina K’s Tapestry embossing folder to add some context and intense texture to the card. Love that folder so very much!

The green and blue (my favorite color combo) butterflies are arranged in a triangle, and the bling adds to the sense of movement on the card.

I’ve combined birthday sentiments and so have no idea where this one comes from. Sorry about that.

And now for today’s question: which of the seven butterfly challenge cards is your favorite and why?

To help you, I’m reposting the cards here:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

If I had a gun to my head and had to choose one, it would be Day 2, just because it’s the most minimal design. Day 4 is the least minimal and also a favorite. Basically, I love them all! My style obviously uses a LOT of white, no matter what, but each one of the these feels authentic to me as a crafter. 

If your authentic self prefers more color or pattern, you could adapt these designs by coloring the die cuts, using colored card bases or mats, or integrating designer or specialty paper. You could also use bigger butterflies to give your designs more weight and color. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,