Sunday, January 30, 2011

Row of Houses

I really enjoy the fact that Hero Arts consistently puts out block stamps that are interesting and easy to use, like this row of houses.

I chose this color scheme with the military in mind. Gray is how the world looks when you're away from family. Yellow is, of course, the color of hope to welcome and be welcomed home. It was super easy to ink up the gray houses, then stamp the yellow house on scrap, cut it out, and pop it up. I lined up the sentiment to start right under the yellow house.

I have a friend who is the head of the spouses' group for a B-1 bomber squadron that  is deployed right now. The stress and anxiety of being a single parent while your spouse is overseas is considerable (believe me, I know!), so I'm sending this card to her. If you know someone in the military, please take time to thank them for their service.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thoughts about Baby Cards

I have some issues with baby-themed stuff. The last time I gave a baby shower (years ago before I realized how creative I could be), I had the hardest time finding store-bought decorations. Everything was so sappily sweet, and pastel without a touch of black to anchor it, and that green! Ohmygosh that horrid, icky, sickly green!!!! There was nothing in party stores that didn't have that ugly green!!!

Sorry. I got a little carried away there.

Most baby stamp sets leave me feeling bleh. Most are too cutesy for me, or outlines that require coloring of some kind, or cartoonish (and, therefore, not for me).  My favorite in the SU catalog in the past 8 years was one for $32 (can't remember its name) and I just couldn't bring myself to pay that much for a set when most of my friends are finished having babies.

So when a friend mentioned in her Christmas letter that she's having fifth--happy surprise!--child, I knew I had to make a baby card. I'll send the baby gift with the grid card on this post because, knowing my friend as I do, I think she'll absolutely adore the tidy grid (she's an accountant) and happy colors.

But I actually made a bunch more baby cards, and these were my favorites.

These stamps are from Papertrey's Everyday Classics set, which is an anniversary set not available for sale from Papertrey. But it's easy enough to cobble together this look from other stamps. A simple sentiment and a simple star popped up in a fun, bright color. That's it.

And don't worry. I'm not going to start photographing my cards on dark gray foam core. This was just an experiment. I need something bigger than two sheets of cardstock to photograph more than one card at a time and was trying out different things from my stash.  This looked better than the white matte board base, but not by much. Must keep thinking on this. Any suggestions?

stamps: Papertrey Everyday Classics
ink: Memento
paper: PTI cardstock
accessories: dimensionals, scissors

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another OLW38 Card...This Time, Things Are Fishy

I just had to try my hand at the CAS38 Sketch challenge again. And since so many of you also wanted to see more cards for children, well, this fish set from Hero Arts seemed appropriate!

The images were colored with Prisma colored pencils, with just a hint of shading for added interest. I wanted to put glitter on the card, but it's destined to go to the troops, who don't need to deal with glitter. So I settled for bling. I thought it would be a cool card for a soldier to send to his/her child as an invitation to email them or write them with all they had been doing. A lot of the soldiers do have access to email, and what a treat it would be to get one from your child!

Do you ever wonder what I do with all these cards I make? Well, I sent 175 cards just the other day to a Sue Salsburg, who sends them to the America troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also recommend Operation Write Home to anyone interested in supporting the troops. It's an amazing effort that does amazing things for morale overseas. But please don't use glitter. For obvious reasons, glitter, camoflage, and bright sunlight are not a good combination.

I'm still chuckling over the fact that Karen C and I came up with basically the same idea for our Love Birds cards for this challenge. There are some awesome cards already posted for the challenge. Go check them out on Jennifer's blog and get inspired!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going Grid Again

If you've been reading Simplicity for a while, you know I love grids. As in irrational, uncontrollable, passionate love. They are just so...tidy.

First up, a blue get well card.

I stamped two of each image (from Hero Arts), punched out 1" squares, and popped the swirls. Arranging these is easier if you use a quilting ruler for spacing. Put them all on the card where they belong, then carefully attach each one (glued first, then popped). The card is 4.25".

And now for the exact same idea but with a totally different, fun, and citrus feel:

This one was made with a variety of stamps from Hero and Papertrey. After I'd made the squares, I thought they would make a fun, gender-neutral baby card. I found out last week that a girlfriend with four children is having a fifth in March. This card is for her baby, whatever he/she may be.

Isn't it annoying when people won't find out the sex of their babies? Oh, they have the right to make whatever choice they want, and I truly understand why people make that choice. But dang, it's annoying.

Anyway, back to the card. I didn't pop any of these because there's quite enough going on without popping.

Oh, joy! I'm feeling so tidy!

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, quilting ruler (to help with placement)

OLW38 Let's Get Sketchy!--Edited!

Edited to add: Go check out the other cards for this challenge and you'll see that Karen C. and I think exactly alike!

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is a a fun one...a sketch that is AWESOME! I had my brand-new Love Birds set from Papertrey out on my desk and thought, WHOA!!! That's perfect!

And it was!

I can't wait to see what everyone else does with it. There are just so many possibilities, so put on your thinking caps and get to stampin'!

stamps: Papertrey Ink Love Birds
ink: Memento black, SU real red
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gridded acrylic block to line stuff up

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smiles for Four Seasons

Hero Arts made a four-stamp set of trees in each season a long time ago. I bought the set in my first year of stamping, and it was discontinued not much later. The new 2011 catalog resurrects the old images as cling stamps. So for once, I can use my really old stamps, and you can go buy them without resorting to eBay.

If you want. I wouldn't want to pressure you or anything.

This card was super easy to make, and I love this layout of an image (or, in this case, four images in a square) filling the bottom two-thirds of the card and a sentiment above and justified right. The sentiment is from a current Hero Arts clear set called Sending Smiles. It's my new favorite sentiment set because it includes five different sentiments for the outside of the cards AND five coordinating sentiments for the inside of cards. Brilliant!

Please don't hate me because I enable you. People enable me all the time, so I'm just paying it forward. It's really not my fault.

Full Disclosure: I haven't used the website Creative Play yet. They carry lots of Hero Arts, so I'm giving them a try as a replacement for Stampin' Treasures. I'm still mourning Stampin' Treasures. Oh, Diane, I miss you!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: dimensionals, square punch

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Masking

Yesterday's card kept all the action inside the masked area, and today's card shows how you can spill over that masked line to add interest to a one-layer card. This monochromatic card uses a text background from Dawn Houser/Inkadinkado, SU's Stem Silhouettes, and a sentiment from Hero Arts. The bling is positioned in a visual triangle.

After making the green card, I decided to try pink with a different background. I like the green one better, but thought I'd share this one for those of you who love pink. This marbled background stamp is from Judikins, and the sentiment is from Hero Arts.

stamps: listed above
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: rhinestones

Clear and Simple Stamps Give-Away Reminder!

If you entered the OLW37 challenge, click over to Clear and Simple Stamps Facebook Page and leave a comment on the OLW37 Post to be entered in their give-away of the Thinking of You limited edition stamp set! You can click to their FB page on their website HERE. The deadline is midnight tonight!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let's Mask!

For the next few days, we're MASKING!!! Specifically, we're masking backgrounds. I needed an excuse to use some big background stamps, and using these masks makes big backgrounds your CAS-style friends.

Consider today's card. The slightly weathered look of the balloon (Papertrey's Up, Up and Away) is enhanced by the fact that the edges of the masked cloud stamp (Hero Arts) are imperfect. I absolutely love how that turned out!

To make this card, I used the mask on the left (well, the one on bottom with the smaller opening).  

I've made all these masks with outer dimensions of 4.25" x 5.5"--the standard card size. This allows me to line them up perfectly on the card. It's worth taking the time to prepare these masks and store them for repeated use.

These masks are all made of very thin paper, but even so, there's often a bit of unevenness right around the edges when you stamp a big, solid background over them. The cloud stamp is a nice, crisp design, and uneven edges would ordinarily look like a mistake. But by pairing it with the distressed look of that particular balloon, a negative is instantly transformed into a positive. Squeee!

To make the card, I used temporary adhesive to attach the mask, and stamped the clouds over it. I placed my card and stamp on the floor (on a small piece of smooth plywood just for this, actually, since my floor has carpet) and stand on the stamp. I forget where I heard that tip, but seriously, it means a LOT less wasted paper from poor impressions.

The balloon basket was stamped directly onto the card, and the balloon itself was stamped on a scrap, cut out, and popped up.

Hope you like it!

stamps: Papertrey, Hero Arts
paper:  Papertrey
ink: SU bashful blue, real red; Memento black
accessories: dimensionals, mask

Cool Caribbean Birthday

Happy Monday! I'm praying that this week we have a NORMAL snow days, no school delays, no sick days. Just a NORMAL week.

Are you with me?

Today's card is larger than usual (6.25" x 4.5", fits an A6 envelope, I think). I tried the image on a regular-size card, but it was a tad too long and I wanted that dragonfly to be able to breathe. So here we go with some nicely proportioned white space that's really cool caribbean.

I love cool caribbean. I cannot believe that StampinUp didn't bring it back when they did their major color overhaul. I have two packs of it carefully hoarded, but unfortunately never got the reinker. Poor planning, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, I stamped the dragonfly in VersaColor turquoise and used a glue pen to put glitter onto its wings. The stamps are from Papertrey's Masculine Motifs set, which is a versatile and fun set to play with.

Have a lovely Monday!

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs
ink: VersaColor turquoise and bark
paper: white, cool caribbean, chocolate chip
accessories: dimensionals, glue pen, glitter (Doodlebug white)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I decided before my new Papertrey set arrives I need to clear out the new stamp basket. In it was this sentiment stamp I picked up on sale at Hobby Lobby. I loved the message but wasn't sure what image to pair it with.

Then I remembered this pen from Letters to Friends, an old StampinUp vintage set that I simply can't part with, even if it's vintage. You see, I used to collect fountain pens and still use them occasionally when I think to put ink in them.

So I settled on this very simple layout using softer colors for the pen and crisp black for the sentiment.

We are each of us inscribed on the palm of his hand. Which is rather a comforting thought, don't you think?

stamps: Stampabilities, StampinUp
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: stamp postitioner

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Risky Business

Happy Saturday!

True Story: This week, I had to order white cardstock and twine from Papertrey, and when I did, somehow, inexplicably, the birdcage stamp set jumped ALL BY ITSELF into my cart. And for some reason, the edit button wasn't working and I couldn't delete it from my cart. It just wouldn't delete! So I went ahead and bought it. Isn't that a shame?

Why is it when people are lying they always say, "True story"?

Anywho, since my new birdcage set isn't here yet, take a look at this card using the Hero Arts clear set called Just a Note and Marina Mist cardstock. Here's a ruler card that DOESN'T make me think of male anatomy.

How many of you followed that male anatomy link thinking you were going to see something naughty? English majors don't roll that way. No, ma'am. We just write about male anatomy and stamp pear cards.

Speaking of which, have you ever driven up to a city, rounded a curve, and seen a bunch of skyscrapers competing for the Tallest Building Award? I always think of rulers then, too, and the odd things that must go on in business meetings.

Sorry, folks. It's just one of those days.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daisy Birthday

This stamp is from an very old set from Hero Arts, one of the first I bought, I think, although my memory isn't the best for stamps. They all sort of blur from those early years when I was definitely in "see it, buy it" mode.

The base is either SU summer sun or maybe morning marigold (I've never been able to keep those two straight), for all y'all who wanted to see more colored card bases. How's that for in-your-face color? Actually, I really like it, and it's not nearly as eye-watering as I thought it would be.

Design Tips: I've made a lot of colored card bases lately, and I find the only ones I really love right now are this basic layout: base, contrasting matte, white stamped panel. It's one I've seen very frequently in the Hero Arts catalogs over the years. This layout has lots of advantages. First, there is nothing distracting from the strong focal point and sentiment; it really highlights the stamping. Second, you can move the image around the card. Here, I'm taking advantage of the rule of thirds by placing the line of the top third of the stamped panel over the line of the top third of the card. (You might need to read that sentence twice to absorb it. It's awkward. I'm sorry.) The amount of yellow cardstock on three sides of the panel is the same, while there's extra on the bottom. By sticking to the thirds, the card is more interesting as well as super-balanced.

When using a fairly basic layout like this, it's a good idea to use some sort of unexpected element, either in the arrangement of the stamped images (not useful here since the image and sentiment are on the same stamp) or in the embellishing. Here, I used glitter (Yellow Stickles) on the flower centers...not hugely original, but it lends a very nice sparkle to the bright colors of the card.

Scrapbooking: I'm still not sure when I'll start scrapbooking again, so don't hold your breath. But It seems many of you were interested in seeing scrapbook pages occasionally, so it'll be in the future as a small part of Simplicity.

Update: I told you all about my friend Mary Grimes, who is a mother of three small children battling colon cancer. Mary had surgery Wednesday, and they didn't find the metastasis they expected. Yeah! She's not clear yet, and has had a horrible long surgery and a 90-minute chemo "bath" while she was on the operating table, followed by another "look and see" surgery Thursday. So continued prayers are definitely in order.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white, SU black, summer sun or morning marigold
accessories: dimensionals, Bic Mark-It Markers, Stickles 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Give-Away, CAS102, and a Couple More Cards

Clear and Simple Stamps is giving away the set I used on the OLW37 samples yesterday! That's a Limited Edition set, folks! All you have to do is enter the OLW37 with a card in InLinkz, and then go to the CSS Facebook page and comment on the give-away post there!

To Clean and Simple Stamps: Thank you, thank you, thank you for your generosity and support of the One-Layer Wednesday Challenge!

In keeping with my desire to do more challenges, I did the CAS102 Challenge at Splitcoast. It's an inspiration challenge based on this fab card by cindybstampin'!

I changed around, just a bit, the elements to simplify an already simple card...because that's how my boat floats. My sentiment is on the background area rather than under it, and I used three hot pink flowers rather than three different elements in different colors. I love the results!

I also wanted to share a couple of cards I made that don't quite make the requirements for OLW37 (letters are not, technically, sentiments) but still, these cards were inspired by challenge anyway. This challenge is really sparking my uber-simple creativity. I combined two StampinUp sets--Headline Alphabet and Define Your Life. Here's the crisp and white version.

And here's the rustic dude version on PTI's natural paper.

Who needs layers? Seriously.

Placement of the definitions is slightly different because the letters are different. I used my stamp postitioner to decide exactly where each definition looked best. I do wish the happy definition were about 1/16th of an inch lower, but still, I'm pleased with the results.

Thanks so much for all the wonderfully kind comments and suggestions. I am so PUMPED for Simplicity in 2011!!!!! Here are the main things I'm taking away from all your comments:

1. Keep up the design talk.

2. Do more before/after lessons and CASifications. Lately, my magazine perusing hasn't yielded much that inspired me to CASify. But I'll certainly keep alert. Before/afters happen by accident, when I'm experimenting. They happen pretty often, so all I need to do is start photographing the rejects.

3. Use more colored card bases. This one fits well with my resolution to use up some of the enormous cardstock stash.

4. Make more kid and guy cards. Yeah, yeah. I know. But those are soooooo hard! I'll definitely try, though.

And I'll offer up an apology to Erica, who asked me to "use embossing folders for the fronts of cards and then build from there." Erica is new to Simplicity and doesn't know that I don't have embossing folders because I am not cool. However, if you want to see embossing folders used on card fronts in a fabulously CAS way, visit Karen Dunbrook's gallery  and Harriet Skelly's Blog. These ladies both make gorgeous cards with embossing folders.

Here, however, the best you'll get is the occasional embossed line from a ScorPal. 

Because I am not cool.

And I'm good with that. Totally good.

Supplies for CAS Challenge card
stamps: Impression Obsession (name of set unknown), Hero Arts (sentiment)
ink: Memento London fog, tuxedo black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Maya Road velvet flowers, half pearls, gingham ribbon, glue dots

Supplies for Alpha Definition Cards
stamps: SU Headline Alphabet, Define Your Life
ink: various Memento
accessories: Stamp Positioner

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One-Layer Wednesday 37: SentimentS *UPDATE*

No. That isn't a typo. This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is to use more than one sentiment--at least two SentimentS--on one card!!!!! NO IMAGE STAMPS ALLOWED!!! If your sentiment stamp has an image on it, you must mask out the image. We're usin' words this week, folks. Nothing else. Check out the rules below for what constitutes a sentiment.

Here's what I did with a limited edition set from Clear and Simple Stamps that they kindly sent me for Christmas. It gave me the idea for the challenge because HELLO I have a bazillion sentiment stamps, most of which are prefectly lovely and deserve to see ink. The CSS set is nothing but Thinking of You sentiments in different fonts and sizes, and even one in French! How completely cool is this!

Here's the same thing in pinks and purples.

Golly, that was fun! And so was continuing to play around with this idea of using LOTS of my other sentiment stamps. I've made about ten more cards with nothing but multiple sentiments. Once you start playing, you'll find all sorts of cool combos! And of course word-only cards would be great for guys, don't you think. Only let's not give them the pink and purple ones, shall we?

OLW37 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half. No other layers allowed!

2. This week, you must use more than one sentiment on your card. I'm keeping the challenge's definition of sentiments loose: greetings, dictionary definitions, single words, little poems, quotations, etc.: basically, anything that is just words.

3. Keep in mind your card has an inside, too, so the second sentiment (or third or fourth or fifth...) can go inside. The possibilities are endless. You could cut away part of the front to reveal a second sentiment inside; you could overlap, stack, or artfully arrange some of your 16,000 happy birthday sentiments;, create a word collage with all your Hello stamps; etc.

4. Keep embellishments to a minimum and do NOT use any embellishment that constitutes an image, like flowers, buttons, or skeleton leaves. Glitter, rhinestones, and simple ribbon treatments are acceptable if you simply must use them.

5. Post your creation on the internet somewhere and link back to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

6. Most important rule of all: HAVE HUN!!!!!!

Clear and Simple Stamps has offered a give-away for this challenge! If you make a card and link it, and then go comment on their Facebook post about the give-away, you could win the LIMITED EDITION Thinking of You set I used on the cards above! How totally cool is that?!?!?!?!

stamps: Clear and Simple Stamps Limited Edition Thinking of You
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: gridded acrylic block to line everything up nicely ;-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sidebar Update

I have reorganized and updated the sidebar. If you only read Simplicity in your email and never click on the actual blog, you're missing out!

1. There's now a search tool. Yeah!

2. I added a lot of blogs to the Blogs I Love feature. I encourage you to check those out if you're not already enjoying them!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

As I said on the last post, blogger didn't post Monday's post as scheduled, so the emails are all off schedule. Sorry about that!

Several people have asked for more kid cards on Simplicity. Honestly, I make some of them but they aren't exactly cards that make me happy. I'm trying to change my attitude, but it's hard because I really don't like most of the stamps I have for kids, with the notable exception of a few sets by Clear and Simple Stamps).

Still, I do have to make kid cards, so here's the latest one. The bright colors really pop off the white cardstock, and a touch of glitter on the flames adds some sparkle. The stamp is an old Hero Arts wood-mounted rubber stamp. It's really my go-to for kid birthday cards.

This is pretty much what I make every time I need a kid card. Oh, I'll change up colors, but the layout and concept are pretty much the same. So now it's time for me to get jiggy with making some kid cards. I'll see what I can do.

Please, please, please make sure you put your two cents' worth in on THIS POST for suggestions of tweaks to Simplicity.

stamps: Hero Arts Birthday Candles
ink: memento black
paper: PTI white, SU brilliant blue
accessories: Bic mark-its, yellow stickles, ribbon, dimensionals

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

If you're getting Simplicity by email, this will be the second post of this day (because Blogger is deeply annoying...I'd scheduled the first post in time to go out in this morning's email...grrrrrr). Anyway, don't forget to scroll down to see the cards for today or yesterday or whatever.

Both Jennifer and Julie have awarded me with the Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks so much, ladies!

To accept this award I have to meet a few requirements:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award
2. Share 8 things about yourself
3. Pass it onto 8 bloggers
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their award.

I'm supposed to share 8 things about myself. Since I share so much of myself on my other blog, some of you who read it might get bored, so I'll try not to be redundant.

1. When I was in first grade, I was small for my age, but the bullies feared me. Whenever I saw them picking on other kids, I got in their faces (or chests if that was all I could reach) and dressed them down. Bullies really are cowards if a midget five-year-old can subdue them. When I hit puberty, I was the victim of bullying. No one came to my rescue so I simply ignored the bullies and they left me alone pretty quickly.

2. I was a brother in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity while in college. (Yes, all members were called brothers...APO was originally founded as a group for Eagle Scouts but eventually let in any man who wanted to serve and then in the 1960s became co-ed.) APO was not affiliated with the Greek council, and many of the brothers (both men and women) were members of traditional Greek organizations, but APO was as Greek as I got.

3. I spent 20 years being the designated driver for drunk USAF aviators. My hubby's call sign was Spot, so when I would walk into the Officers Club, everyone would cheerfully yell, "Mrs. Spot!" They were so glad to see me because they knew I'd drive them anywhere they needed to go. Once, a drunken captain slumped across my back seat said, "Susan, you're a good sh*t." I took it for the high compliment it was.

4. I've only been drunk once in my life, when I was 21 years old, and that was quite enough, thank you.

5. The dust bunnies in my house are golden, and I've made peace with them.

6. My first job after college was writing on-hold phone messages for different businesses in the greater Sacramento area. Who knew reading Shakespeare and Chaucer and Milton prepares you for writing 20-second advertising blurbs? My favorite job ever was teaching college English. My worst job ever was working at Hardee's (a fast-food chain).

7. I see dead people. [Just kidding. This is getting long and I wondered if you were still paying attention.] All my life, people confided in me and told me their problems. I often don't know what to say or wonder if what I say is right. So I am studying to be a Stephen Minister, and now I'm learning that I shouldn't say much of anything. Listening is really all most people need, which is oddly relieving.

8. Ironically, a lot of people drawn to Stephen Ministry love to talk. But then, y'all already knew that about me, didn't you?

Now I'm supposed to give 8 other blogs the Stylish Blogger Award. This is why I don't usually post awards people give me. I can't pick just a few and it feels strange doing so. What I'm going to do instead is update the sidebar links to blogs I enjoy. I haven't touched that in a long time, and it certainly needs refreshing. Check back over the next few days as I add more blogs to it. If they're listed there, I think they're stylish!

Typewriters and Opinions--Edited

Lindsey asked if I purchased the antique typewriter while buying the antique phone set from Hero Arts. Of course. I'm a writer who started out on a turquoise manual typewriter, so I had to pick something typewriter-ish!

There are several sets with typewriters at Hero right now, as well as a background stamp. I got the unmounted rubber set with the really big typewriter. Here's a girl card made with it:

Here's a card for a dude:

How-To Tips: I stamped the paper portion of the image on scrap paper, added the sentiment in a different color, cut it out, and laid it over the same image stamped on the card base, using a dimensional under the top of the sheet and glue on the bottom part. I LOVE this, but seriously, that image is huge. It'll take a little more creativity to come up with another layout for it.

So, now that you've had a few days to think about what you'd like to see on Simplicity this year, please share. Thanks so much for all of your comments already. For those of you who don't want me to change a thing, please don't worry. I'm not looking to change so much as to tweak. And thank you for loving Simplicity just the way it is.

Here are some of my thoughts.

1. I'd like to do more CASifications (simplifying more embellished cards from magazines), but I've been feeling a little flat on that for a while. Must shake myself up for that, but only if you want them.

2. I'd like to do more challenges. Edited to add: That means participate in more challenges, not host more challenges.

3. I'm keeping the OLW challenge with Jennifer going. Everyone seems to enjoy it, and I love seeing what you all do!

4. I'd like to get back to scrapbooking but have no idea how much of that I'd like to put on Simplicity. Not a lot. Maybe one day a week or every other week?

In addition to these items, I'm open to suggestions. So please, suggest away!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Update on a Two-Year-Old Resolution

Two years ago, I resolved to use every image stamp I own. Note the specification of image stamp. I have a bazillion sentiment stamps that came in sets, and many of these sentiments serve no earthly purpose whatsoever. ("Enjoy the happy moments in life." Really?)

So I've been quietly chugging away at using all my images on cards, and while I'm not quite finished, I'm almost there. It's been very enlightening. I learned that some stamps are easier for me to use than others either because they fit my style or a particular size or I simply like them better. This knowledge has changed the way I buy new stamps. I'm pickier and don't just buy stuff because "oh, I don't have anything like that!"

When Hero Arts' new catalog came out, I experienced the usual joy, joy, joy at seeing new stuff. I also realized that I needed to be very careful not to add new stamps to my collection just because they were different. I now ask, "Will this stamp or set fit my style, be easy to work with, give me not just more options but more options that make me happy?"

The following set seemed to meet all my requirements.

And, oh happy day! It did.

This little set of cards also demonstrates a new addendum to the old resolution. I now have to use each image in a set BEFORE I can store that set with the rest of my stamps. I have a little bin to keep new arrivals in until they earn a right to sit with the more experienced stamps. I'm happy to say that this set made the grade and has happily joined the rest of my Hero clear sets. It's making friends and looking forward to years of use.

stamps: Hero Arts, AMuse ovals
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: post-it notes for masks

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A List of Stuff and Two Challenges

1. Yes, I am in my last month on the Design Team at Mark's Finest. No, I am NOT closing the blog. Sheesh. Rumors need no help getting started, do they? But it was sweet of some of you to worry about this. I will continue at MFP in a position that requires a bit less time than the DT and is very much in keeping with my style of creativity and my new year's resolutions relating to crafting. I will certainly continue the regular posts here because I need to blog. It's an addiction.

2. Interventions to stop my addiction will not be welcome. In fact, you'll have to pry my stamps from my cold, dead hands.

3. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm feeling melodramatic tonight. A week of kid vomit will do that to me. My apologies. For the melodrama and for the mention of vomit. Oops, I did it again. Mentioned it. I didn't v.... You know what I'm trying to say.

4. While I'm making a list, think about what you'd like to see more of, less of, or different here at Simplicity. You don't need to tell me now, because I'd much rather have you oooohhh and aaahhhh over the two cards below, but I will be having a separate post for discussion of what you want to see in 2011 here on the most visually boring blog on the internet.

5. No, I'm not going to hire professionals to make Simplicity look hipper and cooler because I'm neither hip nor cool. I'm simple and darn proud of it. Although I really, truly have blog envy when I visit Carly's blog.... Sigh.

6. Envy is a deadly sin, so I'd best flog myself and get over it. Wait. I'm a Methodist and we're totally against flogging. I better just get over it.

7. The OLW for this week is over on Jennifer's blog and I LOVE IT! Naked Trees! So here's my card.

I sponged deliberately straight lines for the horizon and box to balance the very curvy lines of the tree, which is from Hero Arts and is one of my favorite tree stamps EVER. I won't tell you how long I debated the straightness of that horizon, but I like it. The bling is my favorite part of the card, though.

8. Bling is good.

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10. I heart you. You make this whole blogging thing so much fun and motivate me and inspire me more than you will ever know. Thanks so much.

11. I'm going to bed now. You can thank me for stopping at eleven later.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Story about Men and Measuring Tape

Once upon a time (last week), I made this card.

When I finished it, I was so happy. It's fresh, it's clean (look at all that white space!), and it makes Yo-Yo Yellow look awesome (which is quite an accomplishment, don't you think?).

As I was editing the photo of it on my computer a few days ago, my husband walked by.

"Check out this cool card I made!" I said.

He stared at it for a minute. "'It's been too long. Too long." And he dissolved into giggles.

I rolled my eyes and said, "Five inches isn't too long for that."

So he said, "True. Do you know why women can't guess how long things are?"


"Because they've always been told that this [holds hands five inches apart] is ten inches."

And now this card is ruined for me.

The end.

stamps: Hero Arts (ruler), Papertrey (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: SU yo-yo yellow, Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Monday, January 3, 2011

Losing Weight

When I first made this card, I loved it and couldn't wait to post it here. Then, as soon as I saw it on my computer screen, I thought, "Dang, that ribbon is too heavy!"

So I put the ribbon on a New Year's diet, added a third bling (but made the bling smaller), and it looked better. The thin lines of the stamped leaves from Growing Green by StampinUp were just too weighted down and unbalanced by the heavy grosgrain. Using the satin-and-sheer ribbon lightens up the line and balances the single word so much better.

If you're struggling with a design, try photographing it. Seeing it in two dimesions on your computer screen may help you identify what's out of balance.

And for those who want to know how I adhered the sheer was a pain. It's wrapped around and stuck down with a one-inch strip of 1/8" Scor-Tape. It looks okay, not great, on the inside. I may cover the inside with a piece of cardstock. The grosgrain has a strip of Scor-Tape across its whole length and is cut flush with the edge of the card, which results in a neat, tidy, and non-fraying edge.

So the lesson here is to use a solid image on the top third of the card so the grosgrain ribbon isn't too heavy.

The end.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Using Small Stamps is Easy as 1, 2, 3!

If you're ever stumped for something to do with those awkwardly small stamps that litter sets, here's an easy way to use them as focal point on a standard 5.5" x 4.25" card.

1. Create a small panel in white or cream.

2. Stamp a sentiment.

3. Use the small image once, twice, or three times to accent the sentiment.

4. Adhere the panel to a colored card base using dimensional tape.
Here's one sun...

Two hearts...

Three flowers....

For these cards, I created my small panel with a notebook paper stamp from Hero Arts stamped in pale colors. To add a little interest, I punched holes in the sides using a 1/8" circle punch. Because the messages are rather informal and the images mostly look doodled, I placed the stamped panels askew. They looked rather artificial and stiff when placed straight.

Don't worry. Tomorrow I'll post something at nice, tidy right angles.  In the meantime, why not play with your smaller stamps and see how strong a focal point they can be!

stamps: various Hero Arts clear sets
ink: Memento except for the red, which is SU classic
paper: SU pumpkin pie, bashful blue, almost amethyst; PTI white
accessories: dimensionals

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello, 2011

For those of you who partied a little too hard last night, I offer you an askew tag card on a colored card base so you'll double-check you're on the right blog.

Yeah, I'm messin' with you. Sorry. It comes from being the designated driver for far too many years of military life.

Happy New Year!

stamps: Hero Arts (sentiment) PTI (flower)
ink: pretty in pink (SU), tuxedo black (Memento)
paper: PTI white, SU pretty in pink
accessories: dimensionals, half pearl, ribbon, tag corner punch