Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Week of Gratitude: Day 3, An OLW Challenge

Today, we're going to be grateful for mothers. To play along with this Week's One-Layer Wednesday theme-based challenge, make a card expressing gratitude to any mom...she need not be your own. It may be your friend who always helps you with parenting problems, your grandmother who raised you, an aunt who gives you that extra bit of motherly attention that makes you feel special, the mother of your son/daughter-in-law, your own daughter or daughter-in-law who is a mom, or your actual mom. Doesn't matter. Just has to be a mother. (And yes, furry babies count!)

My card is for my mother, who loves to sew and made most of my sister's and my clothes when we were growing up. The houndstooth butterfly in the new SU butterfly set gave me the idea by making me think of fabric, then mom, then the stitch-themed Papertrey set sentiment. And that's how this happened:

My dad isn't part of my life, and when I think of my family growing up, I think in threes: Mom, my sister, and me. Those were the constants. My sister and I are butterflies who, as adults, have flitted all over the country, but our mother keeps it all together. So three butterflies stitched together with that awesome stitch stamp from PTI's Faux Ribbon set makes symbolic sense.

Mom will totally get the meaning of this card when it arrives. And for that, I'm grateful.

And as you can see, I'm using that lime and gray color scheme again today. Oh how I love that.

OLW22 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. Make a card that is inspired by gratitude for a mother-figure in your life. Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Please share your creation by posting your card online and then using the InLinkz button in the sidebar of Simplicity to link to it.

4. Most important of all...HAVE FUN!

Remember to leave a comment here and one on Mary Dawn's blog post today to maximize your chances to win the gift certificate to Shady Tree Studio (my order from them has shipped....YEAH!!!!) or a copy of Card Style and two shadow ink pads!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Week of Gratitude: Day 2

Welcome to DAY 2 of  A Week of Gratitude! Remember to leave a comment here and then check out Mary Dawn's post at My Pink Mexico to leave another comment for a chance at this week's give-away!

Yesterday, I made a card for an old friend who's been out of contact with me for a while. I just want her to know that I still think of her and value her friendship during those years of my life in Idaho.

Today, I'm sharing a card for a very new friend in my life, a woman named Barbara. We met a week ago at our first Stephen Ministry class, and we are now prayer partners for the duration of our training. Obviously, Barbara and I have faith in Christ in common, since we both feel called to the Stephen Ministry. We're also both a bit uncertain and nervous about the responsibility of providing Christ-centered care for people in need. The Papertrey set Everyday Blessings gave met the perfect stamps to make a card for my new friend!

Design Discussion: I really wanted the scripture to be prominent, so I offset the cross and made sure it overlapped the sentiment on the word Lord. The gray medallion in the center of the cross forms a bit of a right triangle with the sentiment...a design I can't remember using before. My original plan was to put the matted panel on a standard 5.5-inch wide card with a bow off to the left for balance, but that looked, well, odd, sort of like the eye just didn't know what to look at. It was a distraction.

So I cut the card down to evenly matte the stamped panel and added pearls to the corners to anchor the whole thing. Now the eye moves just between the cross and the verse, which is where I want it to be. At least, I hope the design works that way!

I'm really liking the gray and lime color scheme lately. It's so fresh-looking, and softer than black and lime would be. I'd rather not beat someone over the head with a blessing, if you know what I mean!

Do you have a new friend (or person you hope will become a friend) in your life? Why not make a card for him or her?

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, SU gable green
accessories: SU ticket punch, half pearls, dimensionals

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Week of Gratitude: Day 1

Six years ago, my pastor preached a sermon about how sad it is that Thanksgiving gets lost between the commercialism of Halloween and Christmas. That year, I noticed that Target had six aisles dedicated to Halloween. The Halloween aisles switched straight to Christmas. In fact, the only display specific to Thanksgiving was one end-cap, although there was one side of one aisle with dried fall arrangements and a row of hand-towels on another end-cap in Home Decor.

The pastor suggested several ways we reclaim Thanksgiving from the mad rush of Halloween and Christmas. My favorite won't surprise you at all. He proposed that we take special time each year to send Thanksgiving cards or letters to those who have touched our lives in some way.

Oh, yeah! I have been ALL OVER that one ever since. Each year, I send about twenty cards to random people from my address book, letting them know that I'm thankful they are (or have been) a special part of my life.

Mary Dawn and I had so much fun with Kraft Week a while back that we decided to do something else later. Later is here, and it's a Week of Gratitude! We're going to showcase cards expressing gratitude to various people. We'll have two prizes for random drawings from comments on both blogs, so the more posts you comment on, the more chances you have to win! The prizes are

1. An issue of Papercrafts Card Style (oh, how I love this special-issue magazine!) and two shadow inks.

2. A $25 gift certificate to Shady Tree Studio.

We're also challenging you to join in. We'll be adding an InLinkz button later this week for everyone who wants to take up the challenge to reclaim Thanksgiving for themselves.

For my first card, I chose to go vintage with a shabby chic card. I KNOW!?!?! Where did THAT come from?!?!?!

 But I was thinking about my friend Deena, who was my best friend when we lived in Boise, Idaho. Deena and I shared all our secrets and supported one another each and every day. We worked side by side for three years, and then I moved to Rapid City.

And that was it. I tried to keep things going via email, but Deena felt like she had to write whole letters and just never found the time. We sent each other Christmas and birthday presents, just little things to let each other know we were thinking of each other. Then, she started sending the gifts late. Then, my last birthday and Christmas, she sent nothing at all, nor did she acknowledge my Christmas package.

Through another mutual friend, I know that she is fine and busy and doing well, but she has gone the way of so many civilian friends. You see, military folks are so transient, we learn to make friends very, very quickly. Our military friends understand the effort needed to stay connected over distance and DO SO, largely because we know that eventually, we will probably be reconnected at another base. There's hope of reunion, and that keeps the friendship close.

Civilians, on the other hand, lose hope, and friendships fade. To use a military metaphor, you fall off their radar scope, and their lives are too busy to put forth the effort of extending their scope's range to maintain long-distance friendship. They've got enough on their scope to keep them busy closer to home.

I used to be hurt and a bit bitter about this fact of life, but after it happened for the umpteenth time, I realized not to take it personally. FaceBook has helped to reconnect with these lost friends a bit, too. But Deena isn't on FaceBook. So I decided I'd send her a card this year.

It's vintage style popped into my brain when I was looking through Take Ten and seeing all the cards with text backgrounds. I thought the shabby style would reflect the friendship itself, a bit worn around the edges, a forgotten corner in the garden of life but still beautiful and precious nevertheless. The color scheme is soft pink and brown, a bit faded and washed out. But still pretty.

How-To Tips: First, I masked the vintage cream card base, and stamped Text Style on a long rectangle in Soft Wheat ink. Then I sponged some Pixie Pink VersaMagic to give the rectangle a bit more definition. After removing the mask, I stamped the large branch from Turning a New Leaf in Pixie Pink and the sentiment (from a fall PTI set from last year...can't remember the name) in VersaMagic Sahara Sand, a lovely light brown. The flowers were punched from a piece of stamped and distressed vintage cream (the paper was wadded up and flattened repeatedly, and sponged with Pixie). The centers of the flowers were punched from a piece of kraft that I repeatedly ran through a paper crimper (haven't used that in FOREVER!), poked holes into, and tied twine like a button. This keeps the card flat for mailing but adds some lovely softness and texture to it.

I hope you like this because OH MY GOSH, I do. It's wonderful when the style of a card reflects the message so perfectly and in such a personal and specific way for the recipient. I make hundreds of cards for other people every used by soldiers whom I don't know and will never meet and sent to people who are precious to them but unknown to me.

It's wonderful to make a card for someone I know and love. That's what makes handmade extra special, don't you think?

If you haven't done so already, check out Mary Dawn's blog My Pink Mexico for her kick-off to A Week of Gratitude!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Winners Announced

First of all, thank you ALL for sharing your thoughts about inspiration last week! I'm so excited to announce the winners for all five days!

Day 5 Winner (Box of inspirational embellishments)--#76, girlgeek101, who said,

I have those leaves too! I just love them. Your card is beautiful and the golden edge is the perfect compliment. You go! Thanks for all the changes you are giving us to win!

Day 4 Winner ($15 gift card to Shady Tree Studio)--#6, scgustaf, who said,

find inspiration in magazine/newspaper ads from clothing stores. The colors are usually fresh and in new combos that I may not normally think of. Thanks for your daily inspiration and baring your thoughts with us, Susan! So sorry you returned from the Midwest with a cold. Try Reliv nutritional supplement as a preventative...

Blessings on your day ~ Carol G. in northern MN

Day 3 Winner (SU paper pile)--#42, Mary, who said,

Great card! The thing that inspires me most from nature would be colors. But that happens mostly in Fall, as it is my favorite season too! I wish I still lived further north ( Ohio! ) so I could get my fix faster. Here in NC the colors change and the temp drops but it just takes longer and doesn't last long enough.

The Fall colors really get my blood moving and remind me I'm alive and get my fingers itching to craft something!

Day #2 Winner (MFP stamp set)--#96 kingstonmama, who said,

Like most people, it seems, I love nature stamps with flowers, leaves, and trees. Also birds.

Day #1 Winner (MFP stamp set)--#23 delightfuldaisy, who said,

I just love the SCS gallery! I get most of my ideas from there~it is truly a wealth of overflowing inspiration!

If you are a lucky winner, please send me an email at susanraihala at woh dot rr dot com with your snail mail address so I can get the packages out ASAP!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Tomorrow will kick off yet another give-away, so check back!

Oh, and I keep forgetting to acknowledge the fact that my hit count on Simplicity is now over the QUARTER MILLION mark. I'm absolutely blown away by that number and cannot express in words what it means to me that y'all keep coming back for more Simple. Thank you.

Birthday Butterflies

Are you sick of my new butterfly set yet? I promise this will be the last time I post a card with it for at least a week. I think. Maybe. I could be wrong. In fact, I probably am wrong. Now that I think about it, I most surely am wrong. You'll see one this week during the Mystery Week of Fun that Mary Dawn and I have planned for you.

Anyway, this little set of cards will go to my sister, Lisa, as part of her Christmas present. She and I often just give each other money for Christmas because she likes photography equipment and I like stamps, and neither are things you can really buy for another person. It's best to enable them to pick what they want. Or what they don't already have....

This year, however, Lisa wants a box full of handmade cards she can send to people. She's a busy working mom of three who can't make it to Hallmark easily. She also wants a subscription to Martha Stewart Living Magazine. She has no time for the DIY stuff, but she loves looking at the magazine anyway.

I, in turn, will ask Lisa for money to buy accessories for the letterpress that my mom is giving me for Christmas. YES!!

Lisa loves clean and simple.

She loves white space.

She loves butterflies.

I guess she'll love these cards, too.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend and have had your curiosity piqued for this week's fun. See you in the morning with  THE CARD, the one from yesterday's post. With all the build-up, I hope you are NOT disappointed.

If you are, please don't tell me.

stamps: SU butterfly, PTI sentiment
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: scalloped scissors to round the corners a bit

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inspiration: A Fable

Once upon a time, there was a blogger who decided to spend an entire week talking about inspiration and asking her readers to share their feelings about inspiration, all the while giving away stuff to inspire people. Our blogger loves to give stuff away. It makes people so happy!

She shared good stuff about inspiration on her blog, and her readers shared even better stuff. For instance, she learned that many people both enjoy using and are inspired by patterned paper, although she herself usually ends up cutting it into little pieces and throwing it away in frustration. She has even been known to swear--just a bit--over lovely mangled sheets of Basic Gray.

But no matter.

The blogger loves that the world is made up of people who love different things. If everyone preferred apple pie for dessert, for instance, there might not be enough for her. She is happy to eat apple pie and let the patterned paper lovers have all the patterned paper they want without sharing any with her.

When the week of inspiration was over, our blogger felt very good about bringing all these different people together to share and discuss the one thing they most certainly all agreed on, which is that papercrafting is fun. Although she suspects a lot of them like apple pie, too.

So Friday, when our blogger needed to get to work making cards for the next week's blogging fun (what a surprise she had in store for her readers!), she sat down at her craft desk and started to work. After two hours, she realized that she had made six cards that were all crap.

Well, perhaps she was being a bit hard on her efforts, but truly, after a week of writing about inspiration like she knew what she was talking about, she had to admit that she was...uninspired.

Years ago, she would have beaten herself up as a total failure at life, the universe, and everything for something as negligible as two wasted hours. But not this time. Experience had taught her how silly such melodramatic over-reactions were. Instead, she grabbed a stamping magazine and her notebook and a pen, and she sat at her kitchen table to drink a Mike's Hard Pomegranite Lemonade and study the latest issue of Take Ten, while her husband sipped his beer and studied a new triathlon magazine called Lava. When she observed his magazine, she made no comment but totally understood the title as a reference to the location of the Ironman World Championships at Kona.

She then realized she knew entirely too much about triathlon and needed to focus on her Take Ten if she was to knock herself out of her slump, while at the same time noting that the layout of Lava might possibly, one day, provide inspiration for a card. But her husband was reading it and didn't want to share, so that would have to wait.

She sipped her Mike's and jotted a few notes and saw about fifty cards using a similar idea that she'd seen a thousand times before when inspiration struck! She got all tingly--and not just because of the Mike's--because a card popped right into her head, a card she was excited about, was willing to waste any amount of paper to create even though it would require doing things to paper that she doesn't normally do to paper. She didn't care! She immediately ran right up to her craft room to create her brilliantly brainstormed art!

This is NOT that card.

In fact, this card bears absolutely no resemblance to the miraculous card inspired by Mike's and Take Ten. This is, in fact, a card she made over a week ago with a left-over punched butterfly that accidentally got tossed on a piece of sahara sand cardstock. She liked the look of the black, white, and sand, but thought it needed something with umph. So she searched her red embellishments drawer and found this flower-shaped bling and thought, "What the heck?"

And it was good.

You'll just have to wait until next week's Mysterious Five Days of Fun to see what Mike's Hard Pomegranite Lemonade and Take Ten--and a little patience--inspired her to create. She and Mary Dawn have been conspiring again, and seriously, you will love the results.

At least, she hopes you will.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Inspiration Week: Day 5

To conclude our Inspiration Week, we're going to talk about product. Often, a card idea can originate with a really cool embellishment, which is why walking the aisles of big craft stores can be such an adventure. SO MUCH GOODNESS! SO MUCH TEMPTATION!

My recommendation (for what it's worth) is to be very careful when buying random embellishments. It's terrifyingly easy to over-buy. But when something speaks to your soul, don't hesitate.

When I saw these gold skeleton leaves at Michael's, my soul took control of my hand, which reached out and threw a package in the cart. I had no idea at the time what I would do with them, but I knew I could make something beautiful.

This card is really all about the product. The Strathmore watercolor card (which has a matching still, my heart!) draws attention to itself with the gorgeous edging and texture without my doing a thing. The leaves and their attendant bling give the card shine, sparkle, and texture. All I did was stamp the sentiment (Hero Arts) in real red and glue everything else down.

A few carefully-chosen products can carry a clean-and-simple card beautifully.


Today's give-away consists of various embellishments I culled from my stash, all things that I've used in the past few months that inspired me to make art. I hope they will inspire some random lucky winner. To enter, just answer the following question in the comments of this post: what products most inspire your creativity?

Today's give-away is open to everyone, and just a reminder, the deadline for comments on all five Inspiration Week posts is 12:00 Eastern Time, Saturday, September 25th. The winners will be announced on Sunday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inspiration Week: Day 4

Inspiration is all around us, if we open our eyes to see. I've already mentioned this week that I keep a little notebook in my purse to write down ideas I encounter as I go through daily brain is a very busy place, and if I don't write things down those things disappear forever or until I happen to bump into them again, an act of serendipity I'm unwilling to trust. So I write things down, sketch them out using my primitive drawing ability that only I can understand.

But that's okay. It's recorded, and I can come back to it easily. Inspiration is largely private and personal. Where one person sees a really cool card, another may only see, let's say, a set of hotel toiletries:

These were in the bathroom of our hotel room in Madison. Aren't they pretty!?!? The colors and crisp, clean design caught my eye immediately, so I snagged them to take home to my craft room. No need to write them in a notebook.

After a number of failed efforts at duplicating this super-simple design that left me banging my head on the table in despair (don't let anyone tell you CAS is's NOT), I finally hit gold by using a limited edition Thank You set from Clear and Simple Stamps. BTW, I felt entirely justified in having a bazillion stamps while trying to figure this card out.

I love words (*snort*) so making cards with just words really appealed to me. But the sentiment I chose to put under the large Thank You (because the length of the line worked best) says from the heart. So I added a heart to the envelope flap. Because I could. (Note that these little cards are 4.75" x 3", to fit into the envelopes I already had.)

The second inspiration piece today was a photo in a decorating magazine. I really loved the color combination here, a sort of orangy reddish shade plus a very clear green (left to my own devices, I would have paired that orange-red with olive NOT original or fresh!).

Adding cream and two shades of brown means this card has five colors on it. FIVE. Ordinarily, using five colors on a card would make me break out in hives, but with inspiration like this bedroom decor, it really was quite easy.

The stamps here are PTI's Floral Frenzy, which has this wonderful two-part sentiment, so I also stamped the inside of my card. I really need to start paying more attention to the inside of cards.

Today's Give-Away

Today is the grand opening of Shady Tree Studio. Nancy used to work at Cornish Heritage Farms, and when it closed, she felt the push to start her own company. Happy Day for all of us!!!!

I'll be placing an order today for Naturally Imagined (how appropriate!) to get started with Nancy's line. I love the look of that set and how easy it is to large empty spaces to fret about blending. Plus, the sentiments are wonderful.

I'll also give a $15 gift certificate to Shady Tree Studio to one random lucky person who comments on this post by answering this question: Where, outside of nature and the world of papercrafting, do you like to look for inspiration for your stamping?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Tiny Delay...

I'm going to get Thursday's Inspiration Week post up a weensy bit late. In the meantime, think about finding inspiration from sources outside papercrafts or nature. And think about a chance at a gift certificate give-away to a BRAND NEW STAMP COMPANY!

So I'll see you a little later than usual Thursday morning.

And for those kind readers who have asked, this cold virus is still kicking my tushy, but the delay isn't the virus's fault. It's Jekyll's. He's a good friend from years gone by who happens to be in town at the Air Force base for a class. What an excellent reason to fall behind schedule, don't you think?

One-Layer Wednesday Meets Inspiration Week: Day 3

Wow, today is a two-for-one! A challenge and a give-away! And no, you don't have to do the challenge to have a chance to win the give-away.

Today's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is to be inspired by NATURE! Many of you have already commented that nature is a big part of your inspiration. Well, here's your chance to express that inspiration in ONE LAYER!

My card set me to giggling with glee as soon as I made it. Y'all know how much I love autumn (or fall as we always called it in the South). Autumnal colors look dreadful on me, and I always avoided them in my clothing but was secretly jealous of my sister who could wear food shades like pumpkin or mustard and look awesome. She's also tall and skinny. As you can imagine, I had issues growing up.

Since I started papercrafting, though, I adore using the rich and warm colors of my favorite time of the year, and any excuse to use a tree stamp is welcome. PTI's Falling Leaves is simply perfect for creating a little fall scene. See that cute little branch sticking in on the right? See the missing leaf? See how it's fallen to the sentiment, almost like a punctuation mark? See how it hints at a lovely triangle of pumpkin pie ink on the card?

See? See? See?


You all have no idea how it's killed me to wait for the OLW to post this card. I made it over a week ago!

Okay, okay, I'll get myself under control here. Back to business.

OLW21 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. Make a card that is inspired by nature. Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Please share your creation by posting your card online and then using the InLinkz button in the sidebar of Simplicity to link to it.

4. Most important of all...HAVE FUN!


Please share what inspires you most in nature in the comments. If you live in the U.S., you'll have a chance at winning a big ol' stack of paper. Yes. Paper. The most natural of the supplies for our hobby. Check out the gorgeousness! Thirty-four colors of StampinUp cardstock, three sheets of each, 102 sheets total. And yes, it's the real thing, even if I refuse to use the egregious exclamation point. Only I am allowed to use egregious exclamation points on this blog.

If you live outside the U.S., feel free to comment and just list your country (or say "not for the drawing" if you're shy or already have too much paper, like I do) so I'll know not to count you for the give-away.

And FYI, tomorrow's give-away will be open to everyone once again. Yippy!

Remember, if you read Simplicity in your email, click on the post title to go to the actual blog to leave a comment. Emailed responses will not count for the drawing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inspiration Week: Day 2

Today's inspiration focus is on stamps. With all the wonderful stamp companies out there, we are so fortunate to have about a gazillion stamps to choose from. This is both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it's just hard to narrow down the choices...or keep our purchases reasonable because of all the deliciousness out there.

After studying the SU catalog closely, I decided to buy the new butterfly set that is basically an add-on to Flight of the Butterfly. I have and love the first set, but the text, houndstooth, and flourishy butterflies called to me. Plus, I wanted the coordinating punch. As soon as my goodies arrived, I dove right in to see what I could do with them.

In this case, I let the inspiration come from the flourishy butterfly itself. It's so pretty and soft and curvy, and I wanted to showcase it for max impact. As you'll see later, it makes a delightful one-layer card, but here, I wanted to create a bit of a frame for it to spill over. I also wanted to use that GAWGEOUS sentiment, which reminds me of the sentiments in Happy Harmony, one of my fave SU sets ever.

The matte frame helps the sentiment and butterfly relate to each other visually, and the crisp lines and high contrast of the colored mattes contrast nicely with the curves of the butterfly and sentiment. Remember, lines love curves, and curves love lines. I did briefly flirt with the idea of using the ticket punch on the corners but restrained myself. I'm so glad I did.

The brown pearls on the butterfly echo the brown of the sentiment, too, adding a bit more unity to card.

When you get a pretty stamp, ask yourself, "What is the LEAST I can do to make this stamp shine?" Often, it's really not very much at all.

Today's Give-Away: Another stamp set from Mark's Finest Papers, loaded with stamps to inspire! Just like yesterday's, this give-away is open to everyone. The deadline for entering all of the Inspiration Week Drawings will be Saturday, September 25, at noon Eastern time. The winners for all the give-aways will be announced on Sunday.

Today's Question: What stamps inspire you the most? Is it a particular theme (nature, vintage, cutesy, Christmas), image (frogs, leaves, kids without mouths, backgrounds), or brand?

Friday, September 17, 2010

See You Monday

Howdy, y'all. I'm feeling under the weather and am going to take a short break from blogging. I'll be back on Monday with a give-away and, hopefully, a new card.

Have a great weekend!

City-Slicker Card and a Happy Day

My card for today has a problem. Can you identify it?

What sort of leaves are on this apple tree? Could they be, dare I say, oak? Nature may never have made a tree that looked like this, but I sort of like it anyway. Besides, if I send it to a city slicker, she won't know the difference.

And yes, there are four apples. I tried three, but it really needed the fourth. I contemplated adding a fifth so I'd have the magic odd number, but that felt like too much. So four it is. Or should that be "four are it"? Whatever.

Look and see what I got Tuesday!!!

This was my first SU order out of the new catalog. Y'all may have some idea of the restraint I exercised in getting only two new colors. And two sets. And one punch. Oh the owl called to me, but alas, the butterfly won.

I hope I can play with all these goodies tomorrow. Life has conspired to keep me out of the craft room. MUST do something about that.

What new stuff have you bought recently that is calling to you to play?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Falling Leaves

When I ordered Papertrey's All Booked Up, I also got Falling Leaves, a small $15 set that is utterly fabulous. I've already used every stamp in it on a number of cards, and this is one of my favorites!

More Mustard, chocolate chip, and a bit of layering, just like I do with my turtlenecks and sweaters in the fall. The simplicity of the stamp images makes me giddy. They are so easy to work with! Plus, the sentiments in this little set are wonderfully fall-ish.

Y'all already know how much I love fall.

And yesterday I picked up this year's issue of Papercrafts Christmas Cards and More, or whatever it's called. Anyway, all I can say is


It may take a few days to even know where to begin in praising this magazine. I'm so excited about Christmas now!

Fall and Christmas. This time of year is a crafter's paradise!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One-Layer Wednesday 20: Three Plus One

This week's OLW Challenge is to use three images plus one sentiment:

Hee, hee! I'm so proud of not using ANY embellishments on this just doesn't need them. The images are nicely detailed, as is the sentiment, so anything else is simply unnecessary. So if you want an extra challenge, avoid using any embellishments...but that's not required.

For my card, arranging the three butterflies in a visual triangle adds balance to the asymmetry of the images, and also plays up the curvy flourish of the sentiment. But this challenge invites lots of different layouts, from loose and flowing to very linear and angular.

OLW20 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. Make a card that has three images and one sentiment. You may use three coordinating images, as I did here, or repeat one image three times. Just keep it to three images. Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Please share your creation by posting your card online and then using the InLinkz button in the sidebar of Simplicity to link to it.

4. Most important of all...HAVE FUN!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: scallop scissors to round the corners slightly

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Little Business and Blender Pencils Defined

1. The entries for OLW19 are STUNNING! I'm blown away by the quantity of entries as well as their quality. Y'all are the best!

2. To celebrate the awesome readers of Simplicity, I'll be having some give-aways in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled.

3. Why do we say "keep your eyes peeled"? It sounds painful. But you know what I mean.

4. The blender pencil I referred to in today's earlier post is an actual Prisma pencil. You can see one HERE with an excellent description of how they work. They are very easy to use and really awesome for those of us finicky types who don't want to mess with odorless mineral spirits or baby oil. It's the best 88 cents you'll ever spend to help with colored pencils.

Flirting with Colored Pencils

Not only is this a colored background card with a die cut on it (thanks again, Angela!), but the image is colored with colored pencils.

Miracles DO happen!

How-To Tips: Colored pencils are fun to use, and especially on this image because of its fairly small coloring areas. I colored lightly with several shades of each color, and then used a blender pencil to blend the shades smoothly.

Colors are a little bit off in the photo. The base is SU's Almost Amethyst, and the book plate was inked with Memento Grape Jelly. The whole thing is a bit more purple than blue as it shows on my screen.

I love the colors on this card. It just makes me so happy. But of course, tomorrow, we'll be back to lots of white space that's actually white and just one layer.

Thank you for tuning in to my little flirtation with color!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thanks, Angela H. and Nicole!

Kind stamper Angela sent me a card and some die cuts for All Booked Up, among other things, because she knows I don't have a die cut machine. What a sweetie!

This card uses one of the book plate die cuts she sent me.

Design Discussion: Oddly, this book plate looks too big on a standard 5.5" x 4.25" white card. Not sure why the proportions looked so off on white cardstock because when you see tomorrow's card, you'll see this same book plate on Almost Amethyst and it look quite smashing on the standard card size. But for white-on-white, it needed more room to breathe. This card is 6.25" x 4.5" and fits in a standard envelope I bought at Marco's in Dayton. I just love how it looks in rose bud and pear tart (both Memento inks).

Sets like All Booked Up have fairly detailed, large images like this book plate and the open book. For CAS purposes, I find these need very little added embellishment and work just fine all by their lonesomes. Of course, you could create a more elaborate base for the book plate, but then it wouldn't be clean and simple, would it?

The second thank-you on this post is to Nicole at I Think...Therefore I Blog, one of my favorites. She took time out of her busy life on Friday to drive to Madison and meet me for coffee. I really appreciate it and had such a lovely time meeting her face-to-face. The internet is awesome for bringing people into community, but it can't replace face-to-face for satisfying girl talk.

Today, we're driving home to Ohio from Madison. Check my Questioning blog for details, but race day ended with an interrupted marathon and time spent at the medical tent for severe dehydration. Disappointing but he will be fine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Madison and Books and Curves Needing Lines

First of all, I want to apologize to anyone who's tried to email me and expected a response these past two weeks. I know I've dropped the ball on several of you who asked questions or needed some sort of response, and I'm so sorry!

Things have been insane around our house with preparations for our trip to Madison, Wisconsin, for the Ironman race here that my crazy husband is doing for the fifth time tomorrow. My mom is watching our boys back in Ohio, so I had to get everything ready for her (like, you know, cleaning my house, which had really reached quite an embarrassing state of neglect!) and getting packed and everything else.

Well, we drove to Madison Thursday and have a wonderful hotel room just a few blocks from the finish line (so convenient!) and a Starbuck's (heaven on earth...well, in Madison, I suppose). If you are at all curious or interested in our Ironman experience--mine as support crew and my hubby's as a participant--please check out my other blog Questioning my Intelligence. Tomorrow is race day, and I'll post several times during the day. I'll also post a link to Ironman Live, where you can watch streaming video of the finish line. It's incredibly moving to watch crazy person after crazy person cross that line while announcer Mike Reilly calls out each name and says, "You are an Ironman!"

Oh, I'm getting teary just thinking about it!

For today's card, I'm sharing another effort with All Booked Up, Papertrey's recent set for book-lovers. This card is yet another example of different sets from one manufacturer working perfectly together. See the flourish of steam rising from the cup in the circle silhouette? Well, it reminded me of of the flourish from Silent Night, a PTI Christmas set. So I put them together with a soft color combination. Love how the big flourish seems to hug the circle!

The solid line is a stamp from Faux Ribbon, also by PTI. I added that because all the curves and flourishes and the circle seemed to need something straight to ground them.

The sentiment, by C.S. Lewis, makes me so happy. I have to agree with Professor Lewis on this one.

stamps: PTI
paper: PTI white
ink: VersaMagic
accessories: dimensionals, circle punch

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One-Layer Wednesday 19: B&W with a Spot of Color

As soon as I made this card, I knew exactly what the OLW19 challenge would be!

Make a black and white card with just a single spot of color. It can be just a bit of an outline image as I have done or a single little embellishment (button, brad, gem, ribbon tab, punched shape, etc.). Just keep the spot of color rather smallish, so it stands out all the more!

Rules for OLW19

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. Make a card that is mostly black and white with just a spot of color. Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Please share your creation by posting your card online and then using the InLinkz button in the sidebar of Simplicity to link to it.

4. Most important of all...HAVE FUN!

stamps: Papertrey Ink All Booked Up and Text Style
ink: Palette Noir
paper: PTI white
accessories: SU real red marker

Monday, September 6, 2010

All Booked Up

My recent PTI order included All Booked Up. Purchasing this set is a no-brainer for a bibliophile like me. I've already used all the image stamps on cards and will be showing you some of the results in the next few weeks. Really, though, I can't wait to make some book marks for Christmas gifts. How totally cool since so many of my friends and relatives also love books immoderately.

Contented sigh.

So here's the first card I'm going to share.

Design Tips: Since Nicole Heady used the text from Text Style for the background of some of the images, it really made using it on this card pretty obvious. Remember when I said how nice it is to buy lots of stamps from one company you love? This is why! Things can just coordinate so perfectly. The ribbon is cut to mimic a ribbon marker in a book. The pumpkin text provides a color complement to the dark blue of the stamped circle and ribbon. Using complementary colors gives added pop and interest to a very simple two-color scheme.

Have a great Labor Day. Tomorrow starts this month's Blog Hop for Mark's Finest Papers. I am so excited about this release, and I sure hope you enjoy my cards and projects. Frankly, I'm a bit giddy about them!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scale Matters--Edited

I got a little punch crazy recently and made this card:

Oh how I love the colors, the layout, everything...except the scale of the sentiment. I thought the small sentiment (from PTI's Sign Language) would be perfectly understated, but instead, it's perfectly TOO LOST AND SMALL AND WIMPY!

So (after photographing it) I carefully removed the green strip (which I'd glued down) and replaced it with a larger sentiment from Simple Little Things (also by PTI). So much better!

Please note how I slightly rounded the four corners of the grid with scallop scissors. Oh, yeah. Deco scissors ARE cool.

Edited to Add: Lining everything up wasn't as hard as it looks. I just put the little squares on the big squares, glued the long strip down, then arranged the big squares on the card where I wanted them and started gluing them down using tweezers. No rulers involved.

stamps: PTI
ink: Palette Noir
paper: SU cool caribbean, tempting turquoise, taken with teal, gable green
accessories: square punches, scallop scissors

Friday, September 3, 2010

Take a Bough Makes Me Happy...Still

Take a Bough is an older Christmas set from Papertrey. It's a truly fabulous set, and here's a card using just the little branch and pine needles, the berries from Out on a Limb, and a sentiment from Signature Christmas. Three sets on one very simple card!

How-To Tips: The stamped panel is punched with an EK Success label punch. I tried using SU's ticket punch on the red panel, but it cut too far into the strip and looked awkward. So I took a new strip of red, turned the EK Success punch upside down, slipped a corner into one corner of the label punch, and punched. Repeat three more times. This gives cuts that are the same scale as the stamped panel and looked much more balanced. Cool, eh?

Personal News! Next Thursday, George and I will be driving all the way to Madison, Wisconsin, for the Ironman race on September 12. If you live in the area, I highly recommend coming out for the race, which is a huge and exciting event. I'll be trolling around all day cheering race participants on, taking pictures, and reporting on the race all day on my other blog. Let me know if you're going to be there, and we can meet!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: garden green, close to cocoa, real red
paper: PTI white, SU real red
accessories: EK Success label punch, dimensionals

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One-Layer Wednesday 18: Trees

After taking that picture of my Tree Stamp drawer, I figured we needed a Tree challenge for the OLW.

This card uses my new Hero Arts flourished tree. Oh how I love this stamp. The flourish stamp is from a clear Hero Arts set. The sentiment is from an upcoming Mark's Finest Paper's set. Doesn't the font really match the tree perfectly?!?!

I made this card with soft, soothing colors and feminine flourishes. It's for my friend Liz, whose mother entered hospice on Sunday. Her mother has been the center of her family for so long, and I wanted to use the tree to symbolize the eternal life that her mother has in Christ. Liz has a strong faith, but saying goodbye is so hard.

I have another card to add to this post later that uses the tree from Mark's Finest Paper's upcoming Halloween set...a card that is anything but Halloween. I added an unfortunate bit of ribbon to it and must take it off and photograph the card again. Sometimes, I go a step too far. This was one of those times.

Rules for OLW18

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. Use a tree stamp (or, if you don't have a tree stamp, a branch or leaves will do). Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Please share your creation by posting your card online and then using the InLinkz button in the sidebar of Simplicity to link to it.

4. Most important of all...HAVE FUN!