Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Chalked Nautilus

One-Layer Wednesday: Punctuation was posted yesterday. Please scroll down if you missed it!

In my ninth-grade English class, each student had to explicate a different poem assigned by the teacher. Caroline Finklea was assigned the lovely poem "The Chambered Nautilus." I wanted that poem. Instead, the teacher assigned to me the following by William Carlos Williams:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

I'm still bitter about that bit of poetic unfairness. Caroline was a beautiful cheerleader; I was ... not. She got the lyrical poem, and I got a 16-word poem about chickens that lacked punctuation and capitalization. It wasn't until graduate school that I could appreciate Williams' genius, but even now, I laugh when I read "white chickens." For some reason, I think of Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale of Chauntecleer the Rooster and his white lady Pertelot, with her sexy red eyes. Bwaaahaaahaaa!

But I digress into my literature geek self, and you come here for LateBlossom the Simple Stamper. Today's card is my ode to the chambered nautilus.

Chalk, used in this very basic way, is ridiculously easy. I used a pom-pom attached to an alligator clip to rub the brown chalk onto the stamped image, then cut it out and popped it up on the woven stamped background, which reminds me of a net. The sentiment is from SU's Happy Harmony.

A few basic, beginner tips regarding chalk....

1. Using pom-poms and alligator clips to apply chalk is much nicer than using make-up applicators. You can use tiny pom-poms to do finer detail or bigger pom-poms to cover larger areas.

2. You can blend chalks and layer colors for shading but I've never done it. I have about 48 colors of chalk, and usually use them as I did on the card above: the easiest way possible.

3. If you mess up chalks or get chalk where you don't want it on a card, just use a clean white eraser gently to remove it. It's really very forgiving.

4. If you rub chalks firmly into cardstock and blow off the excess, it'll stay put for ordinary use without sealing. If you really don't want the chalk to rub off or smear, you can use hairspray to seal it. I did this once, but it made the card smell funny, so I never did it again. *chuckle* If you want to get serious about sealing chalk, use an artist's spray fixative. I also have that, but it's toxic, requires good ventilation, and stinks. I don't recommend it.

stamps: Hero Arts, SU Happy Harmony
ink: Memories wheat (for background), Palette dark chocolate
paper: PTI white
accessories: chalk, dimensional

BTW, for anyone who follows Lost, you might enjoy yesterday's post on Questioning my Intelligence.


  1. Wow, do I ever like this, Susan! It all goes together so well -- the textured CS, the colored & popped shell, the lovely centiment. Again, I'm amazed. I've got this sentiment, and a shell pretty close to this one, but never would have come up with this. But I will now! Thanks always for sharing your foresight and genius in your cards! Oh, I'm also so glad for the chalk tips -- I've never been satisfied with what I do (using those eye shadow sponge applicators that fall apart!).

  2. Sorry about your poem disaster. I think the poem is about a wheel barrow and it's usefulness.

  3. It's amazing how one little stamp can trigger so many memories! Beautiful card, Susan! Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day.

  4. The sad thing about your grade 9 English class, Caroline the beautiful cheerleader probably didn't even understand "The Chambered Nautilus"!!

    But on to your card ... I am SOOOOO jealous you have this set!!! I must find it!!!! I love love love what you have done here!!! you must use chalk more often :-)

  5. Actually, Donelda, Caroline did a fine report...she was smart AND a cheerleader. Darn her.

    But my report was harder (ten minutes on 16 words!) and just as good as hers. ;-)

  6. Terri (blindstamper)May 6, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    Lovely! Can't read your post on Lost yet...still have to watch last night's episode!

  7. What a beautiful, beautiful card. Love that image. I like to use chalk - I just have it stored in a box and never think of it. In my Copic Certification Class, the instructor said she recommends this to preserve crafting things:

    The shipping is a little pricey, though.

  8. Gorgeous card!!! That shell looks like it was cut from an art book. Thanks for the chalk tips. Susan G.

  9. this card is beautiful.
    everything fits together so nicely.
    i love it.
    thanks, and enjoy your day!

  10. This is beautiful Susan. I have some sponge daubers that work really well but pom poms are lots cheaper! But what is an alligator clip? Thanks for sharing your wonderful designs.

  11. You saying the coloring with chalks is "ridiculously easy" makes me think Picasso probably said the same thing about his piece that just sold yesterday for one hundred and fifty MILLION dollars. It's only "ridiculously easy" when brilliant artistry comes naturally to you, Susan. Only because I've colored that same shell many times can I say YOU are a brilliant artist. I am a wanna-be who really appreciates the opportunity to look at your art every day.


  12. Wow, I have blocked out most of what happened to me between grades 8 and 11, I am surprised you are still so bitter.
    This card is beautiful. I went on a shopping spree {inspired by you} because I am lacking the strong,classic images that you possess. That, or I am not a naturally gifted stamper, such as yourself.

  13. I have envied
    your stamping
    that is shown
    on this blog

    and which
    I can't seem to
    on my own

    Forgive me
    for hating
    the beautiful nautilus
    and funky punctuation, too


  14. Ooops, the chalks that come with alligator clip and pom-poms are actually I Kan'dee made by Pebbles Inc.. The earth-tone set is my favorite and costs around $16 for 15 colors. Recently I got the pastel set and the formula seems different ... it takes much more rubbing to get color "stuck" to the cardstock. Thought 15 colors seems like too few, it's very easy to mix your own as you go, dabbing your pom-pom into one color and then another.

  15. You broke out your chalks. Now all of us will too, because you know, like you're one of the "cool" kids. We all want to sit at your lunch table.

    Great card. I really like the subtle background behind the nautilus.

  16. Wow this is beautiful! Great blog post too!

  17. One of my lit classes in college studied that poem! Crazy.

    When you talk about chalk, do you mean the chalk pads or chalk that you'd find in the artist section of Michael's for instance? Good to know there is something easy to use. :)

  18. I remember reading that William Carlos Williams poem in high school. I always like it because of it's simplicity. But at least you found a way to get over your grudge about that poem by creating this lovely nautilus one. I especaily like the net background stamping to ground the image and sentiment.

  19. That little shell has such great impact on this card! Love it!

  20. I love your card. Although I rarely take time to comment, yours is one of the three blogs that I look at every day. Your reference to Chauntecleer brought a smile and long ago memory to mind. Some 40+ years later, my husband can still tell you the name of the rooster from Canterbury Tales. It's probably the only thing he remembers from the "required" college sophomore Brit Lit class. He remembers because he missed it on a test, and I'll always remember because he raved for days about what a stupid question it was!

  21. First off, I must comment on the Williams poem: I love to have my HS freshmen read his stuff, then argue about why his work is/is not poetry. It's great fun for kids who define poetry as "stuff that rhymes" to try to understand how Williams' work is poetic.

    Your card is fabulous as the subtle color scheme.

  22. okay, I just had to drop in with another comment! You see, I was in my lss this afternoon to purchase blades and adhesive only ... and I saw it, this Hero Arts set ... and I thought of how awesome your card was this morning, and guess what ... the set literally jumped off the peg and landed right in my shopping basket!! I could hardly belive my eyes!!! So now it has a nice home in my craft space. Now I just have to find a few minutes to actaully use it!! Thanks for continuing to taunt me with it!!

  23. The whole combination is seriously beautiful. Thank you.

  24. I am lost for words ...... this is soooo beautiful in its simplicity. Your 3 elements combine sublimely .... another master-class in CAS perfection.
    Thank you once again for this wonderful blog that greets me every morning :)

  25. Wow! That seashell, combine with the quote, and the little bg stamp. It's just gorgeous! I love it.

  26. Catching up after missing yesterday... such a dramatic card. I'm a bit of a Williams fan myself, though This is Just to Say is probably my favourite. Thank you for the chalk tips... what do you mean by using a pom-pom? To me, those are on top of toques! (Canadian for knit winter hat, but you knew that...) Off to read your Lost post!

  27. This is so delicate and pretty. I love the colour you chose and your textured paper.

    I was drawing shells with my art class this week, and they are tricky, but beautiful.

    Perhaps I should give each child a poem to inspire them in their next drawing. I don't think they would go for it, somehow...

    I really enjoyed your LOST post.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!