Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Craft Room, Part 1

My craft room is a small bedroom, which is a huge improvement over the unfinished basement where I did my crafting when we first moved to this house. I called my basement space the Dungeon. The upstairs bedroom, however, has soft lavender paint on the walls, sheer white curtains, and a noticeable lack of spiders. Much better.

Today, we'll focus on paper and embellishment storage, which centers around a baker's rack loaded with plastic storage:

The top shelf contains my 8.5 x 11 paper, which is mostly StampinUp and Papertrey. There are also five Cropper Hopper 7 x 12 accordion storage folders that hold stickers, alpha stickers, dp scraps, and cardstock scraps.

The second shelf (cut off in the photo) holds my stamp inventories, in those pretty pink, brown, and green binders. The Create binder is mainly scrapbooking ideas (haven't opened it in months, sadly), and the others are photo albums and a scrapbook. The drawers on this shelf hold cutting tools, transparencies, waxed paper, and other miscellaneous stuff.

The third shelf holds patterned paper sorted by theme and color and brand in a complicated system that works for me in the small Cropper Hopper holders. Cardstock is in the larger holders, sorted by smooth/textured and arranged by color.

The bottom section holds four 3-drawer, 12 x 12 sterilite drawer units that represent the most brilliant organization strategy I've ever used. All my embellisments (except ribbon) are in these drawers, sorted by COLOR.

Here's the blue drawer. Isn't that beautiful? Everything that's blue is here: glitter, flock, flowers, brads, buttons, stickles, thread, whatever. I use a combination of bead storage boxes and other containers to sort everything neatly.

There are drawers for the six rainbow colors, metallic embellishments, and neutrals (white, black, brown, cream). Chipboard gets its own drawer since I can make it any color I want.

Here's the Metallic drawer. The containers holding things are bead storage boxes. I like this better than the tins that Hodgepodge came in because I can see things more easily. Of course, I hardly ever use this stuff anyway. But hey, I day.

Sorting by color was scary at first, but I've been a long-time fan of Stacy Julian, the founding editor of the sadly defunct Simple Scrapbooks magazine. She swears by her own color storage system, and I felt like I wasn't using my stuff like I could, and I would forget I had things until after I made pages or cards and would say, "Oh, this would have been perfect!"

I don't say that any more. Everything is easy to find, easy to coordinate, and easy to see at a glance.

Over the next few weeks, I'll show more of my space. But tomorrow, I'm getting back to cards. And on Friday...a purge give-away, as promised!

What You Have to Say

First of all, thank you all so much for your kind comments about my blog. It’s very clear to me that you all come here for my clean-and-simple vision and don’t want me to change that. No worries on that score. I’m clean and simple to my core and can’t really DO anything else. In fact, even trying to do anything else gives me a headache.

I dislike headaches.

You also seem to be agreed that sharing my thought process about design and product is helpful, as are Simplicity Tips, frequent posts, imperfect cards, and CAS-ification make-overs.

As for new stuff you might like to see, that was incredibly varied and includes plenty of stuff I am comfortable doing. More than one person wanted to see more masculine cards, cards for children, packaging/gift tags, sympathy cards, and paper craft projects (anything other than a card). Masculine and children’s cards are hard for me, but I do make them. I just rarely post them. The others I do but just don’t post. I will post more of these.

A few things you WON’T often see are cards with patterned paper and die cuts. I don’t own a die cut machine (could write an essay about that issue!). Patterned paper and I only get along on scrapbook pages. My cards with it usually give me a headache. I see stunningly pretty CAS cards with patterned paper on other blogs and at SCS all the time. I just can’t seem to make it work for me and am totally okay with that.

A few people don’t want to see scrapbook pages or non-card projects. I get where you’re coming from and will keep this primarily a card blog, but I do feel the itch to share other stuff as well. Not often, perhaps, but I will branch out just a bit with a few different things. I got into paper crafting via bookbinding, so occasionally I’d like to share those projects.

The requests for tutorials are inspiring, and I will be doing more in the future. I will not be doing video tutorials. I wouldn’t even know how to begin, plus I prefer not to hear my own voice recorded if I don’t have to. I find it deeply disturbing when I have to change the message on the answering machine and hear my voice not filtered through my bones. Is THAT what I sound like? It’s creepy. Plus, it sounds so prissy and bossy, sort of like Hermione Granger without the English accent. Sadly, I identify strongly with that character. Is that too much information?

I will post a few articles on my craft room. It’s more functional than attractive, but I’d rather spend money on stuff rather than stuff to put the stuff in, if you know what I mean. *wink*

Thank you, thank you, thank you again for all the comments. I can’t believe we went over a hundred! Here's one for you:

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Ancient Page, Palette Noir
paper: PTI white
accessories: rhinestones, ribbon

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We Have a Winner! gave me a first in random number generating that proves it truly is random. I've never seen this result before. We had 103 comments, and the winner is #1!!!! Nancy wrote,

Congratulations on the hits! I LOVE your simple and clean style!!
I'd love to see you keep doing what you've been doing!!!

Nancy's been reading for a while now, and she has a wonderful blog I subscribe to as well. Nancy, send me an email at susanraihala at woh dot rr dot com and let me know which prize you want!

Also, ALL of your comments have been fascinating. I'll be posting my thoughts on them later today. Much food for thought in the CAS world.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Edging Tutorial

Several people have asked how I edge stamped panels with metallic ink. With the right materials, this is pretty easy to do.

Supplies Needed:
--Metallic marker (I like Prismacolor and buy them on sale at HL)
--Raised ruler (mine has a felt backing; a raised ruler won't wick ink underneath and make a mess)
--scrap paper

Step One
Start by placing your stamped panel on scrap paper. Align the ruler along one edge, leaving a little less than 1/8th inch of the panel showing.

Step Two
Prime the marker on the scrap paper to make sure the ink is flowing well. Then, starting on one corner, run the pen smoothly and quickly across the edge. Check to make sure the pen laid the ink down smoothly. If not, run the pen over the edge a second time before moving the ruler.

Step Three
Once you have a satisfactory line, carefully lift the ruler WITHOUT LETTING the inked edge touch your stamped panel. Wait a few seconds for the ink on the paper to dry. Rotate the panel, and repeat the edging for all sides.

Step Four
If you've notched the corners of your panel, as I have here, you can edge the corners free-hand with the marker once the straight edges are finished.

Here's the finished card, a 4.25-inch square using PTI's Stocking Prints and Signature Christmas. I really wanted to do this layout as a one-layer card, but it just didn't look right. I figured this would be a good card for the tutorial, so I went for it. I cut it out as a 3x3 panel, edged it, and made the smaller, square card. It was a quick and easy way to make a relatively flat, very simple card a bit special.

I hope these pictures clarify the technique because with just a bit of practice and some very inexpensive supplies, it's a super-easy way to kick CAS cards up a notch.

stamps: PTI Stocking Prints, Signature Christmas
cardstock: PTI vintage cream
ink: Brilliance Pearlescent Ivy, Palette Noir
accessories: ruler, metallic marker, dimensionals, ticket corner punch

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fixing Scale

I made this card in my first batch with Tree Trimmings. Everything looked great until I edited the photo. Looking at it large on the screen, I felt something was off. The ornament seemed so small. So alone. So sad.

I was sad. I had liked this card, but now, it just looked wrong.

So I fixed it:

Not bad, eh? I simply stamped another ornament, and now the whole thing feels so much more to scale. The proportions of the focal-point-to-white-space work so much better than in the single-ornament version. Of course, I was terrified I'd ruin the whole card because I couldn't use a positioner (the rhinestone would have made it impossibly awkward), but the gamble paid off.

And doesn't that Martha Steward lattice punch go perfectly with the snowflakes in the ornament? Yeah.

stamps: SU Tree Trimmings, PTI Signature Christmas
paper: SU brocade blue; PTI white
ink: Versacolor atlantic; Palette noir
accessories: rhinestones, lattice punch

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Berry Christmas, Take Two

The poinsettia stamp from Berry Christmas is lovely. So clean and simple. I wanted to experiment a bit with the center of it, so I made the large, 5" square card using some really cool half beads that twinkletoe sent me a while back. They have this amazing, metallic-y gold/red thing going on that I thought would be perfect with the poinsettia. I was right. Totally a wow embellishment.

CAS Design Tip: To kick a CAS card up a notch, use one really cool embellishment in a very simple way. Here, I used three small half beads in each poinsettia, keeping placement the same in all three for visual simplicity. That way, they don't draw too much attention to themselves but still pack a punch. Does that make sense? I hope so.

I kept wondering if I should do something in the upper left corner to balance the sentiment and played around with ribbon tabs, which didn't work because the tab stood out too much. She was like a prima donna demanding far too much attention for herself. I finally decided to leave it alone and really like the way it turned out.

The smaller 3" gift card uses a cut-out poinsettia and yellow rhinestones placed over the stamped center (the set comes with a small stamp for the center of the flower). Remember, I wanted to use EVERY image stamp in the set. I don't really like covering the stamp center with rhinestones, though. I know, shocking! But it really looked better just stamped in summer sun. Also, cutting out this flower was less fun than I expected, so I'll likely not be doing that very often. The bigger card was easier, quicker, and turned out better IMHO anyway.

stamps: SU Berry Christmas; PTI Signature Christmas; unknown Merry Christmas
ink: SU real red, summer sun; Palette noir
cardstock: PTI white
accessories: half beads, rhinestones, dimensional

Berry Christmas, Take One

Berry Christmas is an amazingly easy set to work with, especially for OLCs. I used every image stamp in the set at least once, and they are all a delight.

These were the first two cards I made.

The idea for the branch and bird card came to me immediately. This layout is classic and I use it a lot: main image on bottom right, something else top left. Instance balance. I usually put a ribbon on top with the knot on the left, but this time, I wanted to keep the card pretty flat for easy mailing. With the large and lovely sentiment from PTI's Signature Christmas, I knew it would be big enough to balance the images.

I am bothered by branches that float in space and want to anchor them on a card somehow...a button, a ribbon knot, or running it off an edge. Having it appear out of the edge of the card made most sense here because I'd decided to keep everything nice and flat and because the branch is so large for the space it needs to occupy on this standard A2 card. I chose very traditional colors: handsome hunter and real red. The branch was colored with markers, huffed and stamped. The sentiment is stamped in black. The rhinestones add a nice bit of bling, and give a touch of red to the sentiment that balances the bird better.

The bird's eye gave me a fit. I'd planned on using Hero Arts small black gemstones, but they weren't small enough. So I colored it black with a marker, but that looked...boring. So I pulled out black Stickles, but that wasn't sparkly enough, so while the Stickles was still wet, I dumped black glitter on it. Still not entirely satisfied, but take my word for definitely looks better IRL.

Next up, the little wreath card measures 3.5 by 4.5 inches. It was a scrap left over from cutting a larger-than-standard card from a standard sheet of cardstock. Originally, the longer dimension was 5.5 inches, but after I stamped the wreath and bow (stamped bow first, then used positioner to get wreath just right), the balance looked off, so I trimmed the bottom inch off. Much better. The sentiment is from Hero Arts and was stamped in black using a stamp postioner BEFORE adding the bling.

This wreath BEGGED for bling (especially with that sentiment) so I gave it what it wanted. Lots of red and green rhinestones here, from several sources and in different sizes.

Next week, I'll show pictures of my embellishment drawers and craft room, and write a bit about how I organize my stuff because it makes embellishing cards like this really easy.

Some Give-Away Information:

Many thanks to all who have left comments on the give-away post. It's fascinating to read the diverse opinions of what I should (or shouldn't) do. And you're all so nice about it! The one common thing you all seem to want is SIMPLE. Well, I promise you, that's not changing at all!

If you haven't left a comment for the give-away, there's still time. The deadline is Monday night at 10:00 EDST.

I will also have a few more give-aways next week, but these will be mostly purge give-aways. My mom has finally given up scrapbooking (she only started scrapping to have an activity to do with my cousin and me; she's a fine artist, and her heart really wasn't in it!). I have a bunch of her papers, die cuts, stencils, etc. Plus I've added some random scrapbooking stuff from my own collection, including some Basic Gray paper. Also, there will be a glitter give-away, and a stamp give-away courtesy of my stampin' friend Sue, who bought multiples of several sets and offered them to me as a give-away. I'm so excited!

stamps: SU Berry Christmas, PTI Signature Christmas, Hero Arts
cardstock: PTI white
ink: Palette Noir, SU classic handsome hunter, real red, chocolate chip
accessories: Stickles, rhinestones

Friday, September 25, 2009

New SU Christmas Sets...I'm in Love, AGAIN!

Do you ever feel like a stamp whore? Golly, there are so many stamps I love, and my newest StampinUp Christmas sets both have my heart going pitter-patter. They are Tree Trimmings and Berry Christmas. My new loves. Plural.

I decided to use every image in both sets at least once BEFORE putting them away (remember my new year's resolution?), and it has been so EASY! Today's card I made using Tree Trimmings, found on page 28 of the current catalog.

I stamped the ornaments in Atlantic and Smoke Blue VersaColor cubes. I drew the lines with a black Micron pen and edged the whole panel with a silver metallic pen. The sentiment is from PTI's Signature Christmas.

This card is actually oversized at 6.25 x 5 inches, which will fit into a 5x7 envelope. I originally tried the stamped panel on a standard 5.5" x 4.25" card, but it looked cramped. There's a lot going on here, even though it's very clean, and it needed a bigger matte to let the panel breathe. I finished it off with three silver, self-adhesive half-beads I bought at Hobby Lobby. Very cool.

These colors are so peaceful yet crisp, don't you think? VersaColor's Atlantic blue is a dead ringer for SU brocade blue, and I just love having a creamy ink option to go with SU's papers. I only have SU white craft ink, which I adore, but with so many ink pads, I can't justify buying the craft spots.

Also, I'm in love with PTI's Signature Christmas, which is wonderful and will definitely be my go-to Christmas sentiment set for a long time.

See, I'm not even loyal to just one stamp company!

stamps: SU Tree Trimmings, PTI Signature Christmas
paper: PTI white, SU brocade blue
ink: VersaColor atlantic, smoke blue; Palette noir
accessories: silver beads, silver metallic marker, dimensionals

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Celebrating 20,000 Hits

...with a give-away!

Thanks so much for reading my blog, and to those of you who take time to leave comments, extra thanks! I'm simply blown away by your enthusiasm for my clean and simple blog, and you just have no idea how inspired and motivated I am by YOU!

To share the love I'm feeling, let's have a give-away.

I primarily use stamps from three manufacturers: Papertrey Ink, Hero Arts, and StampinUp. I like a lot of other stamp manufacturers, but to keep my life and spending simple, I stalk these three companies at each release. So the winner of this give-away will receive a CHOICE OF ONE of the following:

--A $25 email gift certificate to Papertrey Ink.
--A $25 email gift certificate to Stampin'Treasures.*
--A $25 certificate toward an order of Stampin'Up supplies through my wonderful demo Danielle Stackhouse.**

All you have to do is tell me what you want to see on Simplicity in the future. Perhaps you want more (or less!) of something I already do, or maybe you want me to try something I've never shown here (techniques, for instance, that you want me to simplify, or other paper crafts like scrapbooking or bookbinding).

Deadline for comments will be Monday, September 28, 2009, at 10:00 EDST. The winner will be announced on Tuesday.

One comment per reader, please.

*Stampin'Treasures sells the complete line of Hero Arts stamps, among other companies as well.
**Due to SU restrictions, Danielle can only sell to people in the United States.

CAS33 It's a Sketch

No, you haven't come to the wrong place. I know what you're thinking: where's all the white Susan loves? I guess that's why these are called "challenges." We can stretch ourselves outside our usual comfort zone and it's all good. I've stretched. Cookiebaker's inspiration card is AWESOME, and why my creative muse took me to the land of Asian color drama, I'll never know. Charlene's colors are so much more appealing to me. But I'm still proud of myself for making such an "out-of-my-box" card. Black card base! Me? Amazing!




But I immediately turned around and made this one:

Much more comfortable. Safe. Some might say boring. But hey, welcome to my world!

stamps: Hero Arts
paper: PTI white, SU black, real red
inks: Palette noir, real red
accessories: gold cord, dimensionals, rhinestones, black marker

Give-aways coming soon...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Notecards and a Box-Drawing Tip

Here are the last of the notecards I made on Saturday. I got a bit more experimental with colors, as you can see, and my stamp positioner got lots of use. The first one uses a swirl stamp from Hero Arts, amber clay Colorbox Chalk ink, and a wheat Zig Writer.

This simple thank you card uses an Anna Griffin stamp in split pea VersaColor and a teal Zig Writer.

This burgundy line notecard isn't quite as nice as the teal version because I used khaki ink for the sentiment and it's just too light IRL.

This is one of my favorites. It looks so modern/elegant with the Hero Arts swirl in opposite corners. It uses the burgundy Writer and burgundy VersaColor ink.

The last notecard uses Palette Noir ink and a black .03 Micron pen. The corner stamp is from PSX, and I used a clear ruler to draw the lines. Be careful doing this; as you can see, I overshot the line on the left side at the bottom. Once the card has been written on, this little mistake will likely not be that noticeable, though.

Box-Drawing Trouble-Shooting:
A few people mentioned that they get dots in the corners where ink pools when they draw their lines. I think this may result from either a) holding the pen in one place too long, or b) using a pen/paper that isn't optimum for the technique.

Sharpies and Bic Mark-Its tend to pool ink, so I try to work really quickly if I use them. The new retractable Sharpies claim they don't bleed or feather. Might be worth buying one just to see.

The black box I drew in the tutorial used the Micron scrapbooking pens. Those come in several colors and as long as the nibs are fresh, they work great for this technique. For my colored lines in today's notecards, though, I used Zig Writers. These aren't quite as satisfactory but working quickly will help. If you look closely at the wheat-colored card above, the corners are heavier. Darker colors seem to give better results.

I haven't tried SU markers or the various types of gel pens for this. I wonder how a Sakura stardust pen would look with Brilliance pearlescent inks, for instance. Hmm. Gotta try that!

As for paper, I wouldn't use light cardstock (like SU whisper white) for this project. Heavy, rich-feeling cardsock like PTI's gives the single panel more substance and feels more like quality stationery. I've heard great things about Gina K's heavy cardstock, too, and plan on ordering some soon. Heavy, good quality watercolor paper would also look nice, I think. I wonder if cheap cardstock (i.e., the bulk stuff from Michael's) would feather the ink, too. I never could get stamped images to look good on that paper.

Simplicity Tip: You get what you pay for. Cheap supplies...especially paper and ink...tend to look, well, cheap. Use top quality, and your projects will look much better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More One-Panel Notecards and a Tutorial--Edited

Here are three more notecards from my Saturday blitz. As you can see, I started grabbing random images from my stamp drawers to see what would happen. Mostly, they worked.

Here's a hummingbird stamp my aunt gave me. It's from Rubber Stampede. I can't remember ever using it before, yet it worked perfectly here. I colored it with Bic Mark-Its, except for the grey, which is a Marvey marker.

These cherries come from Hero Arts. I had the red and green Mark-Its sitting out from coloring the hummingbird, so I used them for this.

This feather is one of the first stamps I ever bought at Hobby Lobby in 2002 (also Rubber Stampede). I used a stamp positioner to get it just right on the edge of the notecard.

Oddly, I made the boxes on all the above cards the hard way, using the clear L-shaped ruler shown below. This works, but the corners sometimes don't align perfectly, and the AR/OCD part of me is quite bothered when this happens. When doing anything this CAS, every little mistake is so painfully obvious. Soooooo, I put on my thinking cap for an easier way. I found it.

About a year ago, I cut a template from PTI's heavy kraft cardstock. It makes a half-inch border around a standard 5.5x4.25 card front. (To cut this, I used a quilting ruler and craft knife, very carefully, LOL!) I used the template once to emboss, didn't like the results, hung it on my tack board thinking I'd use it as a mask for stippling backgrounds, and forgot about it. After seeing someone using a Nestie for a template to draw a box, I thought my cheapo cardstock template might come in handy after all. So here's a tutorial for drawing perfect boxes.

Drawing a Box Tutorial

Note: Steps 1-5 are only needed if you're adding a sentiment. If you are not using a sentiment, you can just stamp your image wherever you want and skip all the way to step 6.

1. Start by putting temporary adhesive on the back of your template. Then place the template on your notecard. If you use a more rigid template (like a nestie or really heavy stencil), you might not need the adhesive, but even heavy PTI cardstock will shift in the middle with the pressure of a pen, giving you a crooked line.

2. Draw a pencil line extending beyond where you want to stamp. No need to go all the way around. You just need a guide for where you're stamping the sentiment. Remove the template and set it aside for later.

3. Check to make sure your lines are long enough, and then stamp your image.

4. To add a sentiment, use either clear stamps or a stamp positioner to get exact placement on the line. Any crookedness will be instantly noticeable. My positioner is an old PSX one that has served me very well.

5. Once the ink is TOTALLY DRY, erase your pencil line. I prefer white erasers as they don't leave marks. These clickable ones are inexpensive and easy to use.

6. Replace the template over the stamped images and press it firmly so the temporary adhesive grabs well. Draw your lines. To get the cleanest lines, pull the pen toward you from one corner to the next in a smooth action using even pressure. I lift the pen off the paper at each corner and rotate the whole panel to keep the pen moving toward me. Pushing the pen can make it spit ink. Watch carefully as you approach the stamped images so you don't get too close and make the image look crowded.

7. Remove the template. A white eraser works great for removing any residue of the adhesive left on your paper.

You're DONE!

Obviously, putting a little time into cutting a few standard templates would be well worth the effort, especially if you don't have nesties or appropriate stencils. You can even use large punches, the Fiskars or Creative Memories shape cutters, coluzzles, whatever. This could work with so many products it's making me dizzy just thinking about it!

I wish I could remember who used an oval nestie and curved a clear sentiment to do was gorgeous. If you know, please share the link with the rest of us.

Edited to add: It was Shelley's Stamping Ground where I saw the oval card with the curved sentiment. It's gorgeous and so inspirational!

One-Panel Note Cards...I'm a Genius!

Bwaaahaaahaaa! Saturday was a genius day in the Raihala craft room. When this happens, I just strap on my seatbelt and go with the flow. Over the next few days, I'll show the results.

First, the back story. I decided a quick way to make lots of thank you cards would be to make one-panel notecards. I made 18 sets of these for Christmas gifts last year, packaged in PTI's clear boxes (with envelopes) for teachers/therapists/secretaries. At a total cost of just over $2 each, these were an affordable and pretty way to thank all the wonderful people who help my sons learn.

Obviously, the design of one-panel notecards is different from the design of regular cards. Some sort of border is all you need to leave plenty of room for the written note.

To start, I stamped the poppy from Oh, So Lovely on the sides of four panels (cut from one sheet of PTI white cardstock) in black, intending to color them in, but they looked so good in black and white, that I left two plain. I also stamped the thank you from Pocket Silhouettes next to the flowers. I doodled (with a very fine 03 black Micron pen) the border in imitation of the lines of the stamped image, which was really, really easy. I actually giggled while doing this.

I knew the B&W needed a little "something-something" to kick it up a notch. My Sakura Stardust pen was just the ticket. Here's a close-up.

I repeated the notecard with another stamp from Oh, So Lovely. Giggled again.

After making 8 cards this way, I decided to experiment with other stamps using the same idea. Pocket Silhouettes worked beautifully, and I used autumnal colors for a seasonal feel. The pen used for these is a chocolate Zig Memory Writer.

As you can see, these are super easy and very, very CAS. Over the next few days, I'll share some more variations to demonstrate just how flexible and versatile this idea is. In a very short time, I made 20 cards (mostly one of a kind) using just 5 sheets of PTI cardstock and ink. I'll also talk about easy ways to create the lines as neatly as possible with minimal supplies.

Hope you've enjoyed these cards and see their potential as very affordable holiday/birthday gifts. You could even wrap a ribbon around the stack rather than buy PTI's boxes...but those boxes are just $0.60 each, which is still very affordable.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Over 20,000 Hits!

I can't believe it. Over 20,000 hits. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm putting together a give-away and will post it later this week.

In the meantime, here's a simple little card just for you.

stamps: PTI
ink: Versacolor
paper: PTI vintage cream
accessories: dimensionals

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Little Confession and Halloween Cards

I've been bad. Very, very bad. It all started so innocently with the August PTI release. I ordered a few things. Then, I placed an order with my SU demo, Danielle. Most of that was consummables, with only two small stamp sets. Then I bought ink at Marco's. Then I placed another order with PTI. And then I went to United Art and Education to buy handwriting workbooks for both of my boys and just happened to wander over to the stamps, where I just happened to find the Hero Arts Clear Month sets ON SALE FOR FIVE DOLLARS EACH!!!!!

They had every month except January (which I have now ordered online and should receive early next week). I wanted these sets when they first came out, but at $15 each and the need for all 12 months for scrapbooking purposes, I never thought I'd get them. That's a ridiculous amount of money for stamps when I could use my alphas to spell out the months and have quite enough stamps for each month's theme anyway. I was so logical and cold about not buying them. Then, on Friday at United Art and Education, when I realized I could get 11 months for just $55, well, it seemed PERFECTLY SILLY not to snap those babies up immediately.

They are MINE. ALL MINE!

I think you'll agree with my decision. Still, I must once again put a spending freeze on stamp purchases. I think I'm good for a while, but you just never know what PTI will throw at us next month. Help me be strong, please.

And now, today's cards. Hero Arts Clear Stamps October set contains two fab Halloween images that worked perfectly for my niece and nephew. This witch stamp actually reminds me of my niece, in a good way. She's going to love this green and purple witch. And I want it noted for the record that I COLORED IN a stamped image. It felt so strange, but I did it, and she didn't turn out half bad.

This card is for my nephew, who loves every single card I make for him. He's the only dude in my life who appreciates stamping, and the fact that he's seven doesn't dampen my pride in his adoration in the least. He has excellent taste. I honestly don't think the card needs the bling but I added it because I didn't want my nephew feeling slighted.

Now, aren't these cute enough to justify my weakness? *wink*

Supplies for the Witch Card
stamps: Hero Arts
paper: green galore, eggplant, white
ink: palette noir
accessories: Bic Mark-It Markers and Sharpies, rhinestones, dimensionals

Supplies for Trick or Treat Card
stamps: Hero Arts
paper: PTI white
ink: Palette noir, only orange marker
accessories: ribbon, rhinestones

Playing around with Kindred Spirits

I haven't been using my SU stamps lately, not because I don't like them, but because I haven't been opening the drawers they are stored in. How lame is that?

Anyway, I need a bunch of thank you notes--hadn't realized my stash was so depleted until I needed one for my mother yesterday. So I knocked out this card using one of my favorite CAS layouts (because it's so easy even a caveman could do it), expecting to add a thank you sentiment to bottom. Do you see a sentiment? That's right, I chickened out adding the sentiment because I liked how clean and pretty and symetrical the card was without it. AR/OCD will win every time, I tell you!

This color combination came about totally by accident. I needed to restamp my index sheet for VersaColor cubes because I keep adding cubes to my collection so the index sheet was a mess. During that boring little exercise, the Lagoon Blue and Lime cubes ended up next to each other, and OH MY GOSH they looked fabulous. I've used teal and lime together before, but it's not exactly a go-to combination for me. It should be 'cause I love it.

To make this card, I stamped one side of the Kindred Spirits stamp in lagoon blue and the other in lime. I used a Creative Memories square punch (1.25 inch) for the squares. I arranged them "artistically" (*snort*) on a 4.25-inch square white card, popped them up, and was done.

Don't you want to run off and make 20 of these in about as many minutes. Heck, it took longer to ink the stamp with the little VersaColor cubes than it did to make the card. Next time, I'll use SU colors (I have the big pads) and it'll go even faster.

Side note, because I'm feeling chatty today. I did try to put the squares on a Taken with Teal card. Has anyone else noticed how dark that color is? Gosh, it looked so heavy.

PS...My son Jack wanted me to type his name. So there it is. He is so happy to see his name. Wouldn't it be great if we could all appreciate simple things like that with pure joy? Go out today and enjoy something really simple. Bask in the joy. And tell me about it if you feel like sharing because when someone else feels joy, we can all feel joy, if we're open to it.

stamps: SU Kindred Spirits
ink: VersaColor
cardstock: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals

Friday, September 18, 2009

Christmas in September

Here's a card using a new layout for me. Not sure I like it, but it's different.

Sometimes, different is good.

Sometimes, it's just different.

Indecision may or may not be my problem today, and I'm incapable of deciding which is the case here. What do you think?

stamps: Art Warehouse, Papertrey (Snowflake Serenade)
ink: real red, old olive
paper: old olive, PTI vintage cream
accessories: Hero Arts rhinestone, dimensionals, ribbon