Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Followed by Lunatic Ravings

For those of you reading this in email (which is now over a thousand of you...I'm still not able to process that number), you'll get it on Monday. So Happy Valentine's Day! For those reading it on Sunday, Happy Day-Before-Valentine's Day!

I love you all no matter what day it is. You know that, don't you?

Anyway, here's a very traditional red Valentine, with velvet ribbon no less. Now that I see it on the screen, I'm wishing I'd put a red rhinestone on top of the cage, even though in real life when I contemplated that, it seemed egregious. Oh well. I still love the velvety, romantic feel of this.

Although I do have to ask...why is it that two birds in a cage symbolize love? Love is a prison? Is this just a prettier version of ball-and-chain?

I'm not going to think about that too much.

Warning: If you want to read the following lunatic ravings that definitely result from thinking WAYYYYY too much and four days of non-stop cold medicine, please read on. If not, have a lovely Monday. I understand. Really. I do.

I've been contemplating the fact that there are so many wonderful options for stamping style for a long time. Despite the fact I am all about extreme CAS, I adore that there are so many fabulous options for stampers when it comes to style, and I enjoy perusing the different styles in magazines, at Splitcoast, and on blogs.

But there are times when it all becomes overwhelming. That's why, about five years ago, I decided to limit myself to two stamp companies: Hero Arts and StampinUp, mainly because they both had large catalogs and warned you when they were discontinuing product. I was still trying to define my style, and it felt easier to limit my choices. It was easier, and I have no regrets about that choice.

Since then, I've gradually added stamp companies, such as Papertrey, Mark's Finest, Shady Tree Studio, and Clear and Simple Stamps. I feel like I now know who I am as a stamper, and branching out feels right. I like experimenting, trying new things (even if sometimes some of you don't think those new things look like LateBlossom, LOL!). Trying new stuff and playing are integral to artistic stale and boring it would be to get in a rut and do the exact same thing over and over again!

Papertrey's anniversary festivities have left me feeling overwhelmed, though. I find myself scanning Nicole's blog posts rather than reading every word as I used to. At first, I thought it was the huge and diverse product line that PTI has developed, especially in the last year. There are so many designers that I can't keep track of who is who anymore. Many of the products they've introduced are products I simply can't use: the dies, for instance, and all the products that go with them such as felt. I participated in a PTI button share run by the fabulous Krystie Lee a few years back, and found that buttons are not exactly my thing. I love the look, but they're just too bulky to be practical.

And I'm nothing if not practical.

As I thought more about this, however, I realized that I also skim the Hero Arts blog now, though I still carry the catalog around like a blankey, seeking comfort and inspiration in its pages. And then it hit brain needs repetition to feel comfortable. When a million things come at it all at once, there's no time to process everything. It's totally visual sensory overload on the internet. I can peruse a catalog at my leisure, over and over again. That's hard to do when the internet is overloading you images and new product scrolling down the screen as fast as you can finger the roller on your mouse, and each new click brings an avalanche of new stuff for you to look at.

A few days ago, I had over 300 unread blog posts in my Google Reader. I'm not keeping up with the contests at PTI because there are just too many of them, too many details, too much information. I would LOVE to win free PTI stuff. I could keep what I wanted and give the rest away on Simplicity to you wonderful readers who could use it. How fun would that be?!?!?!

I cleaned out my Reader, which now shows just two unread by Nancy at Shady Tree that I want to respond to and kept unread while I process what she has to say. My apologies to any bloggers whose stuff I missed in the rush to unload and clean out. I'm so happy when I can keep on top of things and comment when I can. Heck, I still haven't commented on all the OLW39 cards, and they were AMAZING!

I guess what I'm trying to say, in a convoluted and cold-medicated way, is that we are beyond blessed to have so many wonderful choices in our hobby. We just each have to find our own way of coping with the choices.

And it's all good. It really is all good.  

stamps: Papertrey Ink Love Birds
ink: Memento black, SU real red
paper: PTI white
accessories: velvet ribbon, rhinestones


  1. I feel the same way about sensory there are only so many hours in a day. I find myself clearing out Google Reader quite often, only to be soon overwhemed by new posts. (This week was particularly overwhelming with all the PTI contests, along with release week for a couple of other smaller companies...and I had NO time during the week to look at them.)

    I find I have to be pretty diligent about evaluating who/what is in my Google Reader & continuously weed out the ones I don't find useful or inspiring to me.

  2. LOL Susan! LOVE your post! The card is very pretty! LOVE the velvet ribbon and bling! Happy Valentines Day! Hope its a GREAT one! Hugs....Cookie :D

  3. Susan, I agree so much with your thoughts. I have been in overload this week with so many release posts. I found myself thinking today..."Really, you don't need every single die that exists." I have found that I don't like cutesy stamps. I like more traditional stamps. My favorite stamp company is Verve. I'm newer to them and have lots of PTI and Stampin' Up. I am also just getting started on Hero Arts. I love all their sentiment stamps. I love reading your blog. It helps give me clarity on what I do and don't like and causes me to be cautious about getting caught up in the latest trend. Happy Valentine's Day!

  4. i get it. love to look at all the new stuff but not much wows me. and what I really worry about when I should be doing something constructive are the folks who openly talk about going into debt to buy stuff that they never use. Scary.

  5. I've been stamping for a few years now, infrequently enough to qualify more as a collector than stamper. It took me a long while to realize that buying indescriminately (i.e. old SU! sets my demo sold for half off), was a waste of money. Then I found your blog and Eureka! I discovered my style. I fell in love with PTI, thanks to you, and now own 12 sets (which is a paltry amount, I know, but represents a huge expenditure for me). The trouble is, I thought of PTI as, well, kind of exclusive. The products were few, compared to SU!, and I just kinda felt they were rare. With so much coming out each month though, I don't have the same feeling. It seems much more mass market nowadays. I know rare is the wrong word; I can't put my finger on the correct one, but it's the word that comes to mind.

    PTI will forever be, to me, the Chanel of the stamping world (and you are the little black dress). But I do sense a change.


  6. I still do read Nichole's posts but after participating in some of this week's contests, I quit because I have been trying like crazy to finish this dumb Valentine-making obsession I've been on. I have to say that Nichole's contests did help me get some Valentines made, however. I'm nuts over the dies and impression plates but then I have my little, faithful Cuttlebug to pop out all of the wonderfulness the dies and impression plates generously create. I really haven't felt the desire to order anything until last month - all that wonderful birthday stuff Nichole released made me salivate with each new day of her countdown. Some of the cards I've received for John's birthday have used the number dies and impression plates and pretty much cinched up my conclusion that I was going to go on a buying binge. I love the felt. I purchased all of the colors until last August when my buying freeze began. Problem is - I love it so much that I'm hoarding it. Now this month, again, there are many things I want to order but I'm holding you to that 2-28 date, Girl, and you'd better not try to get out of it. :0) Maybe I should have emailed you this - seems it's gotten a little lengthy.

  7. It's TOTALLY sensory overload. I have so much stuff, I don't know where to begin most days. I, too, have stopped buying/reading so much PTI, though I do get some of their dies. Like the number dies, that I got to use for birthday cards I sell, so they were purchased with a definite plan for use.

    I'm getting better at using what I have and learning to get rid of stuff I don't use, which ultimately helps me to whittle down who "I" am. It's a growing process, and I'm getting there.

    Oh, sorry, was this blog about YOU?! ;/

  8. Your lunatic ravings sound completely sane to me. I quit reading PTI posts a long time ago---waaaay too much information and as a SU demo, they are too tempting....just like dieting, out of sight, out of mind. Sensory overload is a good expression---reminding me I need to pare down too.

  9. Soooooo agree with you, Susan. I used to buy ridiculous amounts of product every month, and this year I have vowed to use what I have. Of course, I will buy if it is something that I am just head over heels in love with. I could never vow to STOP spending! LOL!
    It definitely gets overwhelming with so many new releases and the amount of product that is produced in each new release!

  10. Well, we wouldn't want an egregiously embellished valentine, would we? :P I think it's pretty darn perfect as it is, myself.
    I wonder if part of the reason so many of us are card-makers is our appreciation for the physical aspect... a card that can be opened, a catalogue that can be browsed page by page... I enjoyed your medicated ramblings!

  11. I thought I was a weird-O because I did NOT like the releases EACH month from PTI, There She Goes, Verve, etc. I know they're businesses, in business to make money but I almost feel as if I can't quite catch my breath from month to month. So instead of going into a buying frenzy - I just shut down and buy NOTHING. Don't get me wrong, there are loads of atamps what I'd love to get (especially from PTI), but I don't have enough time and energy to wade through each month's release to figure out what I want. I've found a brand new company, just starting out - I like the designs AND there were only 3 stamp sets in their first release...we'll see. BTW - have enjoyed your blog and your cards ever so much....thanks!!

  12. NEW release is not always better(and yes, the new kid on the block seems to be always more fun!)...I have no major name brand stamps before 2009. I went from 0 to Hero (Hero Arts, that is)and I still am a die hard Hero fan, now I have come across with other name brands, I think I know my styles and which company that I will stick with. I may still buy a few other new stamps that tempt me, of course (we have to support the economy!!).I now have SO many stamps and I felt that I'm sensory overload. I know I used to be VERY creative when I have less stamps! I tuned out the PT$ release COMPLETELY as it is not for me.

  13. Sorry my previous comment is all about ME (my bad!)! I love your blog and the V. card is absolutely sweet!

  14. Hero Arts, Stampin Up and PTI are my all time favourite stamp companies. Right now I am a bit partial to PTI though. I love their products and I have a few of them. Sure, I would love to have more but there is such a thing as a budget. One rule I follow is that I dont order stuff the month it releases. I write down my picks and sit on it for at least two months. After two months if I still feel that I really want it then I order it.
    Scanning blog posts is OK. I rarely read the details of how a card has been made. Just looking at the picture of a finished card tells me what I need to know. And frankly nobody is twisting our arm to participate in challenges, or buy their stuff or even read their blogs. We do it because we want to. And if sometimes its a bit too much then its absolutely alright to tune out and take a break.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Its nice to know that there are more people like me out there.

  15. Happy Valentine's Day, Susan! I quoted one of your comments as my favorite of 2010, and it's posted on my latest blog entry. Meanwhile, it has slowly dawned on me that I've been spending more time blogging and reading other blogs than I've spent actually stamping--and that's not good! After reading your post, I'm making a conscious effort to reverse that trend from now on (not the trend of reading your blog...) I've already opted out of blog hops or feeling guilty when not leaving comments. Thanks for putting into words what I've felt all along. Hope your cold subsides soon!

  16. I'm new to card making and I'm finding the amount of supplies and the number of techniques out there overwhelming. I'm sticking with Hero Arts stamps for now and CAS cards for the sake of my sanity!

  17. I couldn't agree with you more about sensory
    overload. I love to look at the new products and what people are creating but sometimes rather than sparking my creativity, it is simply too much. I love your CAS style and philosophy.

  18. Very thoughtful post from you, inspiring thoughtful posts from us! I like your card, although I think I like the bird-in-a-cage idea less now that we've wondered why that's romantic. But boy, I am right on with you about the blogs! I have also slimmed down my pickings to SU and PTI, and am absolutely bowled over with how PTI's changed. I know this means they're successful, and have reached many more customers, and that's their point, but I do miss the little company they were. Like you, there's SO much they offer now that doesn't appeal to me in the least. And like you, I just speed-read Nicole's blog, never mind the rest of the team (whose pictures on the left just keep increasing!). I'm afraid they've outgrown me, and while I still love their CS and some of their stamp sets, I pay less attention to them now. Ditto on the websites of most companies --- your liking the catalog in your hand better than the website is sort of me liking a book, instead of a Kindle, in my hands. Okay, I've talked enough; just wanted you to know there's a lot of us out there that feel just like you do! And BTW, "S," I loved your observation that PTI is the Chanel of the industry and our Susan is the little black dress!

  19. Do you remember that scene from Amadeus where (I can't remember who) someone says "Too many notes." It's not just PTI or this hobby, it's everything. I almost spit out my coffee the day PTI announced their radio show, facebook contest and daily tweets about additional challenges. I simply do not have time for that. CAS is not just for cards, it's for life too. I have two young children and work full time. It is absolutely essential to cut out the unnecessary layers and get down to the fundamentals. Maybe one day I'll have more time and energy or maybe I'll just realized that I don't really need them and and know that what I have is enough. More than enough.

    I see cards on PTIs blog, think they are lovely, sum up the cost of the supplies I would need for one card, throw in the time it would take, pause and think "if only" and then move on to your blog. I love they way you are able to distill an idea into your CAS style and how you are able to take a design and mimic it using what you have on hand instead of shelling out big bucks on the newest trendy toys.

    Hope you are over your cold soon though I will miss the rants. Sorry for the rant of my own.

  20. I too am on sensory overload. The blogs I used to read I now peruse. Too many sneak peeks too often. Too much stuff. I thought it was just me.

  21. Yes Susan, it's sensory overload big time. I feel the same as much can one's mind take...and therefore let us simplify all of our lives, not just in the stamping area. Doilies are big now but for how long...then the next 'thing' will take's fashion...long skirts one day, knee length the next...why?...all to generate business. Keep on keeping us on the straight and narrow. Love your cards!

  22. From one overwhelmed stamper to another... AMEN! Loved your post today! Happy Valentine's Day Susan.

  23. Great discussion. I'll just "ditto" Super Jen. Spot on!! Hope you are feeling better. As for the birds in a cage...I view them as "lovebirds"...paired for life...and so happy in their little house. Happy Valentines Day!!

  24. Hope you are getting better and I don't think you are raving. I almost always just skim things which I never used to do. I have stopped being a 'member' on quite a few blog sites because I can't keep up. Sometimes I think they are competing against each other just to get us there. Seeing the number of comments on posts, especially if there is a draw may be 600+, where a few years ago it used to be a 100 or so. Not to say that I don't enjoy seeing all the new designs, etc. but it is just too much sometimes.

  25. Your comments sound very "together"...not like somebody on cold medicine! I agree so much with what you said. While looking at the PTI site this week, I kept thinking it's all beautiful, but overwhelming. I'm happy that I feel I don't have to have it all.

  26. I totally get you. Like when you go to a restaurant (for breakfast, LOL!) with a huge menu, it can be impossible to pick one thing. Some stuff looks terrific, some looks okay, and some are completely uninteresting. But still, making that decision can be paralyzing.

    Also, who can do so many different things, all equally well?

  27. It's gorgeous cards like this one that makes me want to run and purchase this stamp set of which I never gave a second look the first time I saw it. But, I can't. I can't have everything...I'd just get too overwhelmed....a common theme I'm reading in your comments section. I truly don't know how some of these companies keep up with the newer and better, latest and greatest on a monthly basis. I worry about the day it all comes crashing down...when everyone says they have to stop "collecting"...they can't afford it anymore and are paralyzed by overwhelming choices.

    I guess that's why I so enjoy your blog. You use your stuff no matter how old or trendy, and you use it well. Cleanly. Calmly. Helps to clear out the overwhelming cobwebs that form in my brain from looking at other hyped up blogs. Thank you.

  28. I too am in agreement. As much as I drool over some of the new releases from all the companies...I have found myself with items in my basket, only to hit that POWERFUL "X" key in the upper right hand corner.

    I still have so many stamps that haven't touched ink I am trying my best to use them first.

    I'm so glad that I found your blog and am a subscriber. You keep my layered cards and CAS cards in balance :)

    Have a happy Valentine's day (and I drool over today's PTI set you used) !!!

  29. I agree wholeheartedly! Your blog has helped me develop my style though I must admit, sometimes it's fun to go hogwild. But those pieces make me crazy. Then I settle down to the simpler side of cardmaking.

  30. I totally agree! These days all the releases and the hype surrounding them is simply overwhelming, and I've found that I avoid the blog madness until the release is over and I don't feel so pressured to keep up. And all the challenges? Forget it!

    Oh, and I thought this was interesting - I get emails from CardMaker magazine, and CAS was the focus of the latest one. (Hopefully this link will work):

  31. I also am suffering from internet overload - I have the same exact symptoms!! That is one reason I haven't been commenting on blogs like I used to. It is all taking so much time and takes me away from what I love to do - stamp! I am also overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff" that is coming out all at once. I started writing down the challenges I wanted to do and working those into the cards I need to make. BTW I love your card!

  32. Yep it is all too much. I only skim Nichole's blog for the pictures whereas I used to read every work. I gave up trying to do their birthday challenges even though the rewards were very good. Like Harriet, I have a list on my desk, of what I need to do , want to do, and no big deal if the latter doesn't happen.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. I know you're busy, but just wanted to let you know I've tagged you on my blog - if you want to see/participate, pop on over. Keep up the great work!

  35. Hope your feeling better ......

    I too am struggling with internet overload, nice to know I am not alone :)

    The pressure to have the latest stamp release, gadget or enter yet another challenge takes away the joy of creating for me.

    Less is more in life as well as crafting :)

    BTW love your card and all those I didn't leave a comment on :)

  36. Card looks great.
    I especially enjoy viewing your cards & reading your posts.

  37. Fantastic post and one I can relate to - even posted a little about it here. I am going back to my roots of clean and simple - having had a run of challenges to explore layers of ink, paper, bling and even buttons.

    As mentioned in that post, your blog (expect a pingback) has been inspirational and instrumental in this journey.

    Happy crafting and blogging.


  38. I have to agree with what you are saying. While I was away on holiday my laptop died not to be reborn again, so I lost everything, my favorite blogs, blogs I go to now and then and ones I have mark for some reason but no idea why now.
    And now I feel FREE, I web surfing just because I always went there, I know only have the ones that really inspire me ( mainly the ones I could remmber the names of, I think that is a telling sign). more will creep in over time but once a yr form now on I will clear out the computer of all things I dont need.
    take care

  39. I so agree with you. I have not been card making for that long and really it was the PTI blog that first caught my eye and made me get interested. I even remember the exact stamp set (First Fruit). But lately - I look at the pictures but there is just so much. It is overwhelming. Now stamping is expensive as it is, especially when you are starting from stratch; but there is so much that is just extra foo-foo and it seems to get in the way of the original purpose.
    Maybe its being from an older generation - but I love catalogues and poring thru them and marking and changing what I want. All the stuff on the internet overwhelms me and confuses me.
    Really enjoy your blog and you cards. Thanks for sharing!

  40. Great post, as usual. I'm overwhelmed, too. Having so much that goes unused is stressing me out. Seeing people this week that cranked out 6, 7, 8 cards a day for the PTI challenges amazed me. I have so many ideas, but when I sit down and actually stamp, my mind freezes. I think there's too much of a good thing.

  41. wow!! After your post, I read all the a buyer in India, where the shipping always costs more than the stamp set, that is one of the best road blocks for me. I do end up buying buy, but only if its something that I have really been craving for more than 6 months..never mind if the trend changes, the style changes..I make cards for me and my loved ones..not the stamp companies..I have tuned out PTI's posts..sure there is a lot that I want, but each set co-ordinates with some for that one set will I shell out more? never...and added to the fact that PTI is not international shipping friendly. They don't impress me any more.

    Your lunatic ravings always seems to find sense in my rave on and help me save my money!

  42. I agree - overwhelmed! It's all too much - I'm spending way too much time online (especially as we have such slow connection speeds : only 512K!!!) But it is so easy to get hooked . . . I'll just look at x then there's y and so it goes . . . and another hour passes! So I'm trying to kick the habit - MAKE more instead of seeing more!
    At least I can't buy everything : Some companies don't even ship out to little islands in the Indian Ocean!

  43. Love what you had to say, but my comment is about the birds and the cage. I like to think of it as - even locked in a cage I'd be totally happy 'cuz I'd have you (that wonderful person you love) with me.

    I wish I would have found your site sooner, I would own a whole lot less stamps.

  44. wow! you expressed so perfectly something that i have been feeling for the last year, as well... just how overwhelming it can be trying to keep up with new releases, blog posts, etc. too much stuff, too little time and too little money!

  45. Hear hear!! I just discovered all these paper crafting blogs last fall and only started my own blog in December. Before that I had a couple of magazine subscriptions which is where I got most of my inspiration. Initially I was thrilled by the fact that I could find new and exciting ideas every day on the internet - it was an embarrassment of riches. But then I began spending more and more time cruising the net and trying to keep up with blogs and new releases and trends and less and less time actually creating. My brain was getting so clogged that when I sat down to try and make a card I couldn't focus on one idea. I don't think I really realised this is what was happening until I went on a 2 week vacation. The first day or two I kept thinking of all the posts I must be missing and how long it would take me to catch up on them all when I got home. Then I settled into the vacation groove and forgot about it. When I came home I didn't run straight to the computer as I thought I would - I think I've actually been avoiding it because I know it will take me back to that overwhelmed place. So I've alloted myself an hour for this morning to check in on a few blogs and then I'm heading for my Craft Cave before my brain gets all cluttered again. I have enough stuff up there to open my own store so I need not be tempted by all things new and trendy. I am determined to appreciate and work with what I have for now and stop adding to the jumble.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!