Friday, September 30, 2011

CraftyJC Challenge: Creative Simplicity

At the end of August, I received a lovely email from Jaya Christina, a paper crafter in India who has a beautiful blog full of clean-and-simple goodness. She explained how difficult and expensive it is for Indian crafters to get supplies. This is a common problem for crafters outside the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. I've had people in Australia, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, and Egypt tell me how tough it is for them to keep up with crafting trends and to get supplies.

We who can get everything a crafter might want--easily and affordably--have no idea how truly blessed we are.

Or are we really that blessed?

Think about all I've written lately about having so much stuff that it stifles my creativity, weighs me down. Jaya believes having limited access to supplies makes Indian crafters more creative, and I believe it. They do more with less, and they do it beautifully.

Jaya has a challenge called the CraftyJC Challenge, which "encourages and appreciates creativity--not just using fancy or expensive materials." When she asked if I would participate in this month's theme of Simplicity, I jumped at the chance to participate in an international celebration of simplicity.

Here's my card for the challenge.

It doesn't get much simpler than this. I used stamps from Hero Arts, stamped in Memento black ink and colored with three shades of Sharpie Markers. The bottom corners were rounded. I contemplated adding more (glitter, perhaps, or some Smooch), but decided this was perfect just the way it is.

Simplicity is beautiful.

I made a thank you card because I want to thank the world stamping community for providing so much inspiration. Few people in my "real" life stamp, yet I have so many stamping friends all over the world courtesy of the Internet. People take the time to share their arts and crafts with the world, and what an inspiration and gift to us all that generosity is! Thank you, Jaya, for giving us all the opportunity to connect and share.

See what you can do with less, and join Jaya and other Indian crafters in their Simplicity challenge. What a great World Card Making Day activity!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: sharpie markers, corner chomper

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thank You Wreath

Oh, I have some very exciting things to share with you in upcoming posts...including some very cool things from reader criminalgrace and something super cool and international for Friday night's post!

Oh, it's such an exciting time of year!

For now, I'm sharing a very simple wreath card accented with red Smooch.

4.25" square card

This image is beautiful without embellishment, but the random dots of shimmery Smooch add a sense of dimension and, of course, shimmer.

No time to be witty tonight, but if you don't usually read my other blog, you might get a laugh from this post.

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons, Mixed Messages
ink: Memento
paper; Papertrey
accessories: Smooch, corner chomper

Problems Commenting

I've been having problems for the past three days commenting on Blogspot blogs, and I wonder if anyone is having problems commenting on mine. Please email me at susanraihala at woh dot rr dot com if you are having trouble. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Gratitude Campaign Needs Your Vote!

Right now, I'm grateful for Janelle's blog and the OLW66 Challenge this week. Goodness. Simple goodness.

And speaking of gratitude, today's card takes us back to the 2011 Gratitude Campaign with Papertrey's First Fruits, an older set that I just love. I blinged up the wheat because I could. The sentiment placement worked out pretty cool, don't you think?



How is your personal Gratitude Campaign going? Are you going to send out Thanksgiving/Thankful for You cards this year? If so, to whom will you send them? How many are you planning to send? I'm aiming for thirty this year...ten more than last year. What are your thoughts?

stamps: First Fruits
ink: More Mustard (SU), Rich Cocoa (Memento)
paper: vintage cream (Papertrey)
accessories: tiny brown gemstones

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One-Layer Wednesday #66: Get Inspired by Janelle

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is to get inspired by blogger Janelle!

This is an easy one, folks!

Janelle and her blog came to my attention a few months ago. She lives in my hometown, not far from the very house in which I lived, so I feel like she's family. We Southerners are that way, you know. Shortly after I added her blog to my reader, however, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Now, in addition to being a source of inspiration through her crafting, she's become an inspiration for how she lives her life and faces this challenge as well.

This week's challenge is to poke around her blog and find inspiration however you wish. She includes photos from her life as well as her crafting, so absolutely everything on her blog is fair game for inspiration. You can choose to copy a layout, CASify one of her more layered creations, play off a color scheme, pick up a theme (she loves cupcakes), or use a technique/product/style she spotlights.

I have two cards to share. The first is based on one of her many one-layer cards:

I took her idea of the 3/4 border across the card used as a ground for an image. My book was a bit too large for the scale of the card (much bigger than the bird she used), so I scooted it off the side and added just a touch of color with a Memento Pear Tart marker. Then I added a sentiment where she did. LOVE how the elements relate to each other here. (Stamps by Papertrey)

I giggled when I finished this card. It makes me so happy...and I never would have thought of this arrangement without seeing Janelle's card. That sort of inspiration ALWAYS makes me giggle with glee.

My second card is based on a photo from her trip to the Museum of Modern Art (scroll down to see the picture of a couple of Mondrian's paintings).

4.25" square

I couldn't even add a sentiment to it. It's just so much fun and doesn't need to say anything at all. I've been inspired by Andy Warhol and Picasso in the past, but I can't remember ever channeling my inner Mondrian. I created this with Papertrey's Faux Ribbon set, a couple of post-it notes for masks, and Memento markers.

So now it's your turn to let the amazing Janelle inspire you to create something wonderful!

OLW66 Rules

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

2. Be inspired by Janelle's blog...anything on her blog, from her blog banner to her family photos, from her one-layer cards to her more elaborate creations. Doesn't matter.

3. Post your card online and link back to Janelle's post that inspired you. Then add your link to the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

4. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nuts About You

I thought I'd posted this earlier, but apparently, not. Which is good because I don't have anything else to share today. Life's been a bit busy with sick kids and other stuff, and sadly, time in the craft room has been limited. So discovering this unposted nutty card was quite a gift this evening.

And I know it's wrong of me to go all "English major" on this perfectly innocent card, but after I made it, I decided that I'd have to give it to my husband...and only to my husband.

Because really.

Just really.


A perfect pear?

*hangs head in shame*

stamps: Papertrey Framed and Autumn Acorns
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: dimensionals

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maple Leaves

All my Canadian friends seem to appreciate the maple leaves I've been punching lately. This one's for y'all.

DH and I spent our 20th wedding anniversary on Pender Island in British Columbia. It was an amazing vacation full of killer whales, bald eagles, seals, blood stars, kayaking, hiking, wine, food, and fun. I will always remember the maple leaves. Down south where I come from, maple leaves are about the size of my hand. Up there in Canada, y'all got maple leaves that could be dinner plates. No, not dinner plates. Chargers under dinner plates.

What I'm saying is that you Canadians do maples right. These piddly little punches don't hold a candle to yours. But then, yours wouldn't fit on a standard A2 size card, either, so I guess it's all good.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The current One-Layer Wednesday is to use a sentiment as a focal point. I have this amazing sentiment set from Hero Arts, and immediately thought of it...especially since I haven't used it in quite a while.

The first card combines Baroque Motifs from StampinUp and the Hero Arts set. A sprinkling of half pearls completes the card. I wish I'd used a darker brown for the sentiment, though. It would stand out more.

The second card uses two tiny embellishment stamps from the sentiment set to create (*snort*) a visual triangle of the dark red.

Click on over to Jennifer's blog to play along with the OLW!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thankful Trees: Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Thankful Trees project is complete, with Phase 3 underway. The first picture shows a whole tree.  It's hard to get a good angle to photograph these things....

Next, a close-up of one of the chipboard tags:

Another chipboard tag:

How-To Tips on Chipboard Tags: The chipboard tags are from Basic Gray and have been in my stash for years. I traced each onto PTI natural cardstock and cut out fronts for them. Then, I trimmed them as needed to fit onto the face of each tag. Next, the tags were stamped with various Papertrey fall set images, although one has a Hero Arts tree, but my close-up picture of it didn't turn out...and I'm too lazy to take another. Just keepin' it real.

Anyway, I set aside the stamped card stock and painted the backs and edges of the tags with Making Memories Paper Bag acrylic paint (also been in my stash for years). When the paint was dry, I glued the stamped card stock panels to the tags and used a bone folder to smooth down the edges. You can see the effect of that smoothing on the upper right corner of the Plentiful tag picture. The thread actually comes from burlap...just pulled individual strands. They are kinky and give a fun texture to the otherwise flat tags. The bows are attached with a glue dot.  

Now for a close-up of the simple punched tag:

How-To Tips for the Punched Tags: This tag came from a punch I bought at Hobby Lobby that punches three sizes of tag. This one is maybe 1 1/8" wide by 1 3/4" tall. Both sides of the tag are stamped identically, so no matter what angle they are at on the tree, you can see the "right" side. It's stamped with stamps from two different Papertrey sets.

Problems with the Thankful Tree project: I'm starting to realize that putting too many different types of ornaments on a single tree creates visual chaos and it's very hard to get the ornaments arranged in a pleasing and balanced way in three dimensions, much less in a two-dimensional photograph. I have a feeling that I'll be making more layered leaf ornaments and end up not using some of the other pieces, just to keep the whole project nice and simple.

This plays up one of my weaknesses as a designer. I have to actually see something in real life before I can figure out problems. Some people can visualize the end product easily and anticipate problems like I've encountered before they happen.

I sometimes wish I were one of those people.

But I'm not. And that's okay. I'll muddle through and figure it out in the end, and furthermore, I'll even think of something else to do with any pieces that get edited out of the final product, such as using tags on gifts or on cards.

Hopefully, this example of my creative process will help one or two of you have more confidence in the "muddling through" part of creating.

A Muse Give-Away Winner

The A Muse give-away winner is

 Laura Bassen, #57!

Congratulations, Laura, on such an awesome haul of goodness, and thank you, Krystie, for sponsoring the OLW64!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Tree, Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Thankful Tree is complete. Here's the story....

First, I saw this picture on Pinterest.

I LOVED this idea, but the execution of it proved problematic. You see, I have one very sad and small and scraggly Japanese maple in my yard which can't afford to lose any branches, and no other (legal) source of free branches.

Whatever is an arborially-challenged crafter to do?!?

I went shopping, of course. I looked at Hobby Lobby but found no branches I liked. So I put on my thinking cap and remembered the black metal "tree" I bought for Christmas last year. I had hung my miniature book ornaments from it for the holidays. Problem solved. Good for me!

Of course (again), I was already at Hobby Lobby when this thought struck, so as I wandered around the Christmas tree display to make sure nothing even more perfect jumped off the shelf and into my cart (these things do happen, don't they?), I found a second black metal "tree" thingie, which (I'm not making this up) was 40% off.  It was destiny.

Why have just one Thankful Tree when you can have TWO Thankful Trees and put them nice and symmetrical on your fireplace mantle?

So I bought the second tree thingie and took it home and dove into some magazines for inspiration. Now, if you surf around the interwebs or read craft magazines, you've seen the pleated paper medallions people are making. I've seen them on cards and asked myself, "Why would you put something so big and bulky and thick on a card?" In my best redneck voice, I answer myself, "It shore is purdy, but it don't make no see-unse."

Then I saw one used as a Christmas tree decoration in a magazine and shouted, "That DO make see-unse."

Y'all 'uns didn't know I have redneck kin, didya?

So I made one. From scratch. Without a tutorial and from badly written magazine instructions that suggested using a glue gun...a device I only use when I know emergency services are readily available to whisk me to the nearest burn unit.

The close-up shows the details of this pretty idea. I used some speckled art paper cut into 2" x 22" strips, one for each medallion. One thing I figured out BEFORE I made the mistake (I sooo want credit for that) is to score first but do not fold, and THEN use the edge punch on the paper. I suspect scoring after punching a lacy border might result in tears. That's tears, as in rips and also as in those big fat blobs of water that leak from your eyes when you are sad.

Instead of a glue gun, I used glue dots, wodged into placed where I wanted them with a craft knife. I didn't cut myself in the process, and for me it was definitely safer than using a glue gun, but I suggest you use whatever adhesive works best and is safest for you.

If you want a tutorial for making these, just google accordion fold paper medallions. Once you understand the basics, you can vary the dimensions and embellish to your heart's content.

The leaf ornaments are simply two shades of red (cherry cobbler and rose red) in two different sizes of a maple leaf punch, connected with a dimensional that serves double duty holding the loop of twine for hanging it.

This is just the first phase of my Thankful Trees project. More to come as soon as I have it available.

What do you think so far?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pearly Butterfly. Oh, My!

Block images are so much fun for me to play with, and this particular butterfly makes me so very happy!

The sentiment is from Think Big #7 from Papertrey, and the butterfly and leafy branch are from A Muse's Marvelous Marigolds set. A few pearls set off the butterfly nicely, don't you think?

This Wednesday is Jennifer's turn for the OLW challenge, so click on over to participate! It's  Sentiment-a-Mania...meaning that you should use a sentiment that is the focal point or carries equal weight with whatever image you use. My card above doesn't quite qualify, I think, as that pearly butterfly really does steal the show, so I'll be working on this fun challenge tomorrow...and know exactly what sentiment set I will use!

I will be commenting on all the OLW64 cards and will announce a winner of the fabulous A Muse give-away sponsored by Krystie Lee on Friday. Many thanks to everyone who played along!

Up tomorrow, I'll post my Thankful Tree. Wednesday has been a very productive day in my cleaned-out craft room.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Purple Marigolds and a New Level of OCD

Purple marigolds make sense in my world. Really, they do.

The set Marvelous Marigolds from A Muse has a large outline flower and a smaller block flower. LOVE the combination of the two. I used Memento inks, a touch of bling, and some rounded corners to create a simple card for a friend.

Several A Muse consultants recommend keeping the extra rubber in the DVD case so you will know if one of the stamps is missing. You can then replace the stamps in their original holes. Well, some of the stamps--like these flowers--don't have a clear orientation, which makes putting them back challenging. Registration dots added with a sharpie marker to the stamp and the extra rubber solve the problem nicely.

Here's my new stamp storage. I eliminated an entire six drawer unit (which now holds most of my punches). One of the deep drawers is empty, and the other two contain surplus paper.

This is a substantial reduction in the stash. It feels so liberating!

Several of you asked about my minimalist wardrobe. The original post on my other blog, from last fall, is HERE. I'll be posting an update on Questioning soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One-Layer Snow Crystals

If you're reading this in email, please scroll down for today's morning post.

The rest of my initial variations with A Muse's Snow Crystals took the form of one-layer cards. I must say this set is a delight to stamp with.

Using a ribbon I'd already knotted and pulled off another card
4.25" square, one pearl for pretty

In response to the craziness of this morning's post, I must report that I spent all day in my craft room, purging stamps and supplies, evaluating ink pads, and reorganizing all my supplies. It's really quite refreshing and deeply satisfying to the AR/OC aspects of my character.

Now, I am treating myself to the BBC verson of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. Oh my.

She's Back and As Crazy As Ever

I had ample opportunity to play with my new A Muse set Ice Crystals this weekend. Here are three bashful-blue-based cards using it.

Classic CAS Layout
Busy Background Balanced by Bold Sentiment
Sweet Border and Pearls
Doing variations like this is so much fun for me. Some ideas work, others don't. But I usually get something that isn't embarrassing in the end.

Now for some mindless Monday crazy chatter....

I posted a thread on SCS yesterday trying to articulate the restlessness and boredom I've been feeling lately in regard to ordering new stamps. Let me make it clear (so no one panics!) that I'm not restless and bored with stamping or blogging. AT ALL. No, my issue is failure to get excited about the new stuff.

Weird, eh? I mean, this is such a first-world problem. People are starving in Africa, killing in Syria and Lebanon, drowning in Vermont, and frying in Texas...and I'm not feeling excited about buying new stamps. Boo-hoo for me, right? But you don't come here for current events; you come to see the crazy CAS lady parade her insanity for the whole world to see.

I hope it's entertaining.

The thing is, I don't over-spend on this hobby anymore. In fact, I'm downright disciplined and restrained and live well within my budget. I rarely buy on impulse, and thus rarely regret my purchases. Which is why new catalogs and product releases are so pleasurable for my AR/OC self: cool stuff to think about, ruminate over...obsess, really. It's always been good.

Lately, however, I've been dragging my feet. My pleasure in my recent A Muse order didn't come until the stamps arrived. Picking out what I would order felt more like work than fun. What's wrong with me?!?!

Now, some of you might say that it's the trends that aren't appealing to me, that the companies are re-hashing old ideas, that I don't need to buy stuff--I just need to use what I have more creatively.

But I feel like I've done that already. After I finished my excellent resolution to use every single image stamp I own (two years that took!), I felt a bit lost. What would my next big resolution be? I've tried several new resolutions, but none really stuck. And as a result I felt stuck.

There comes a time in every obsessed CAS-lovin' stamper's heart when there is too much stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that it weighs down your creativity and fun instead of inspiring it. I've passed that point and then some. Watching Krystie Lee sell off a bunch of her older stuff struck a chord with me. Also, I have already instituted my minimalist wardrobe, and with that in place the past year, I've enjoyed wearing fewer clothes more, feeling like my closet is an opportunity each day rather than a musty tomb where old clothes went to die.

Is that enough melodrama for you? I could crank it up a bit if you want.

Anyway. Strange things are afoot in my craft room this week. I'm cleaning out and storing a bunch of stuff because letting it all go at once scares me too much. But in a year or so, if I haven't retrieved anything, I predict that Salvation Army will be making a bargain-hunting stamper or two really happy.

On a similar note, I'm also going to start shaking things up a bit with regard to projects. It's the prelude to the holiday season and time to start getting my mojo on for teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, friends and family gifts, holiday decor ideas, and whatever else sounds fun. I'm gathering ideas and plan on sharing the results with you as they happen.

I may not be CNN, covering important world news, but I am the crazy stamper lady you can count on for easy, quick, and simple ideas to help you out in a pinch. Thanks for joining me!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Got Nothin'

Instead of stamping for the past two days, I've cleaned house. We have company in town for the Air Force Marathon. Having company really is the only reason for expending the effort to get your house truly clean, don't you think?

My sore muscles and I will be back on Monday at the latest with something, even if it's only a picture of the awesome goodness that the UPS man brought to my house from A Muse today.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Designer Paper and the Gratitude Campaign

Some people have a gift: they can use designer paper on their cards with the greatest of ease.

I am not one of those people.

Designer paper and I have an uneasy relationship. At one point, I had hundreds of sheets of the stuff, mainly purchased with the intent of using it on scrapbook pages. Then, about three years ago, I stopped scrapping (still not sure why, fully intend to get back to it one day). I've tried numerous times to use DP on cards, and while the efforts have been blog-worthy on occasion, most of them end up in the recycle bin.

Last year, when I was on the MFP design team, Faith sent me a 6x6 pack of Basic Gray Indian Summer paper. I love this paper. LOVE it. The colors are so rich, the patterns so pretty. So I pulled it out and gave it a go with my large maple leaf punch. The first card uses gold and orange papers on cream card stock. The central leaf is popped with dimensionals.

And in another color scheme on white paper...

I love how the different colors give such a different feel to each of the cards: one warm and autumnal, the other cool and girly.

The sentiment is from a Mark's Finest set Thankful for You. It's such a perfect sentiment for my Gratitude Campaign.

By the way, my Gratitude Campaign is much more fun and much nicer than the current political campaigns here in the United States. Why, may I ask, are we already having debates when the election isn't for 14 months? Just curious.

The Gratitude Campaign, however, will have NO DEBATES, NO LOSERS, NO MUDSLINGING, NO NASTY ADS, and best of all, NO SOLICITING OF CASH CONTRIBUTIONS! Everyone is a winner in the Gratitude Campaign.

The Gratitude Party Platform has three main principles.

1. Thanksgiving is a worthy holiday of gratitude that shouldn't be relegated to an end-cap display at Target. It's an official day to promote and celebrate feelings of gratitude not only for what we have, but for who we have in our lives.

2. Thanksgiving should also be a state of being maintained constantly throughout the year.

3. Handmade cards are an excellent way to share grateful feelings with people far away and right next door.

If these are principles you can support, then welcome to the party!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One-Layer Wednesday 64: Color It

This week's OLW64 is to COLOR IT! Stamp an outline image and color it using any coloring medium you want: colored pencils, watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons, paint, Copics, Bics, Sharpies, markers of any kind, or your kid's box of Crayola crayons. Doesn't matter...just COLOR IT! Remember keep it to one layer and follow the rules listed below. There's even a prize again this week!

We're still experiencing summer temperatures here in Ohio, so I felt summery when I made this card that harkens to picnics and cook-outs. The sentiment, however, is perfect for my sister's new job, so that's where this card is destined! (No, she's not opening a hot dog stand.) Isn't it wonderful when a loved one (or oneself!) moves from a job that sucks the life out of her/him to a job that is much more promising? Hot diggity dog, indeed!

The card uses A Muse's Hey, Man! set for the hot dog and sentiment, and a checkered border from Mark's Finest Papers's set called Snowman Country. I colored the hot dog with a combination of Bics, Sharpies, and Copics. The paper is Gina K's Deluxe card stock which is perfect for this because markers do NOT bleed through, no matter how much layering you do. Oh, yeah.

This card is sized 4 7/8" x 3 1/2"...a small size that fits into small envelopes I bought at Marco's Paper.

Many, many thanks to the awesome Krystie Lee Hersch for sponsoring yet another give-away for the One-Layer Wednesdays! Look at all that A Muse goodness. A random entry from this week's participants will be chosen to receive all this goodness...assuming I don't keep it all for myself. ;)

Cling mounted stamp set – Clever Girls
Sampler of A Muse Studio printed papers – 45 notecards
Sampler of A Muse Studio buttons – 13 bags in assorted colors
Clear Twinkle Stickers
Two A Muse Studio Inspiration books

Rules for OLW64

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

2. Use an image that must be colored in (an outline image), and color with the medium of your choice.

3. Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

4. Upload your masterpiece somewhere on the interwebs and link back to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

5. The most important rule of all: HAVE FUN!!!!!!

stamps: A Muse, Mark's Finest Papers
ink: Memento rich cocoa, Ancient Page redwood
paper: Gina K Deluxe white
accessories: Bic, Copic, Sharpie markers

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue and Orange Make Beautiful!

When I think blue and orange, I usually think of Boise State University's colors. I taught there for a year in the late 1990s. I did not like the school colors. Yes, they are complimentary colors, but, well, ick. When you change the blue to baja breeze and the orange to pumpkin, however, the whole atmosphere of the colors changes. And something beautiful happens.

First up, a white base with pumpkin grass (a new stamp I picked up at Michael's from Hero Arts). I rocked and rolled a bit of brown on the edges of the grass, and used the brown to add the sentiment (Papertrey). The strip and bling anchor the whole image. I cut the card down because there was just too much white space on the right and left, so it's now about 3.75" x 5.5". It looks much better balanced now.

Then I used a square baja breeze base (4.25") and a smaller central focal point. This sentiment is also from Papertrey...just another fall set.

The new wheat/grass stamp is pretty big, but the second card shows how even big stamps can be cut down to smaller, really useful sizes.

What do you think of these colors together?

stamps: Hero Arts (grass), Papertrey (sentiments)
ink: VersaMagic pumpkin and java
paper: SU baja breeze, chocolate chip; PTI white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Paint with Smooch

Before we get started, I wanted to mention that I've updated my Favorite Products tab, if you're interested in what I have to say about card stock. Also, there are still stamps and SU paper for sale on my For Sale tab. Please buy my stuff so I can turn around and buy more stuff. Thank you. 

Smooch has quickly become one of my favorite products. It's an ink, but it works like paint, too, and you use it just like shimmery watercolor.

How-To Tips: First, I placed small dots of Smooch on a plastic palette. Using a damp, wide, flat brush, I painted some big squares of Smooch wash in kiwi and carrot on an Arches watercolor paper block (which helps keep the paper cut the paper off with a butter knife when it's dry). I made sure there were subtle gradations of color...not just a solid block of even color. When the ink was dry, I punched 3/4" squares out of the paper and created these three cards. I wish my photography captured the shimmer better. At least I tried!

The only difference with the second card is monochromatic color.I can'd decide which I like best, but then, I don't want to hurt either of my card's feelings.

The third card changes the orientation. I just wanted to see how it would look. Again, it's different, but not substantially so, and I love it just like I love the other two, no matter its orientation.

The half pearls on each card balance the off-set sentiment so nicely. And of course this layout is incredibly versatile. You could use it for any theme and with any small outline stamps. Solid stamps would look weird, I think.

But I could be wrong.

It's been known to happen before.


The end.

P.S. Happy Monday.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Arches 90lb hot press watercolor paper block, PTI white card stock
accessories: Smooch (kiwi and carrot), flat wash brush, paint palette

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thanks, Scalloped Punch

I have quite a few sizes of scalloped punches...circles and squares. I find I rarely use them these days, but this scalloped square mat was the perfect something extra for this simple card.

Happy Sunday!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, SU chocolate chip
accessories: square scalloped punch, dimensionals

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remember the Crimper?

The fall issue of Take Ten includes a spread of colorful, highly embellished cards that use corrugated cardboard. Seeing them made me want to break out my paper crimper and see what I could do with it.

You could say that I went in a COMPLETELY different direction than the inspiration cards.

You would be right.

To make this card, I ran a piece of Papertrey white through the crimper multiple times, rotating it 90 degrees each time. This repeat crimpling breaks down the paper fibers and gives you a pretty soft piece of paper. There won't be problems mailing this. The small leaf is from Martha Stewart, the larger leaf punch is either EK or Marvy. Not sure. Everything is glued. No dimensionals needed.

All-white cards need texture. And yes, texture plates and expensive machines are more stylish and versatile than the old-fashioned crimper, but I don't have texture plates and expensive machines.

I have a crimper.

And I'm not afraid to use it.

What are your favorite "old-fashioned" stamping tools?

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memories Soft Silver
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Fiskar's Paper Crimper, leaf punches

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

OLW63: We're Back, Baby!

This week's OLW is to make a one-layer baby card...and there's a give-away, too! Check out Jennifer's blog post here for details of the A Muse product pile that she and Krystie Lee are giving away to a random particpant in the OLW63 challenge. Oh, my.

Now, I wish I had some appropriate A Muse stamps for this challenge, but mine are all ocean/beach/dude stamps, a deficit I will be correcting on my next order.

Instead, I decided to get back to my roots in stamping with a very old stamp and a little heat embossing. This congratulations stamp is from PSX (which sadly went out of business years ago). It's also one of my earliest stamp purchases. I used ColorBox pigment inks and PSX silver pearl embossing powder (which joined my stash before 2003...that stuff lasts forever!).

The boy card was stamped in Royal Blue ink. The silver pearl embossing powder softened the blue to a lovely shade appropriate for a baby card.

I tried the silver pearl over a dark red, but that didn't give me the soft pink I wanted, so I used a pink ink, which came out lighter once embossed.

Photographing the EP up close proved difficult, but you can get some idea from this shot how the pearly sheen of the embossing looks. Look at the mid-ground of the photo for the most accurate effect.

I hope you'll play along with the OLW63! Click on over to Jennifer's blog for details and to link to your entry!
stamps: PSX
ink: ColorBox
paper: PTI white
accessories: Silver pearl embossing powder (PSX), heat gun, Corner Chomper

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Halloween Week: Day 3...Plus an Announcement You Don't Want to Miss

Today's card is destined for my nephew Grady, who is a round, roly-poly almost three-year-old.

Here's Grady just a few weeks ago.

Can you see the resemblance?

This is the same kid whom I asked you to pray for a few years ago when he was born prematurely. Remember when he looked like this?

Amazing what almost three years can do to a little human, eh?

As for the card, it's pretty self-explanatory. The jack-o'-lantern stamp is from A Muse, a set I bought before they went direct sales, but it's in the catalog, too. The punch is Fiskar's. I used pumpkin pie for the pumpkin (that's seems obvious, doesn't it?), old olive for the leaf, and artichoke for the stem. The sentiment is from Hero Arts October clear set.

The last time I sent a card to Grady, he carried it around for a few days without destroying it. I can't imagine a higher compliment from a toddler, can you?


One-Layer Wednesday is BACK!!!! As of Wednesday sometime (whenever Jennifer gets her post up), the OLW will be ON!!!!!!!!!



Was that enough bold shouting and exclamation points for you? Sometimes it's so much fun to be egregious.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Halloween Week: Day 2

Today's card creates a scene using Home Is Where the Haunt Is, a set (discontinued) from StampinUp.

This card required fearless use of a stamp positioner and a bit of bling at the end of the fence. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it's purple bling to match the purple house and sentiment. My niece will love this card!

I enjoy using black ink on white cardstock with a vivid color added for interest. The purple works for Halloween (a bit non-traditional, of course, and nothing wrong with that!). Black, white, and a bright color can be used to achieve a variety of effects, depending on the color.

And to all my commenters using old-fashioned spelling, I just love seeing y'all type Hallowe'en. Grammar gurus, however, says that either spelling is acceptable. So pick your personal favorite and stick with it confidently and consistently. If you don't have a favorite, do as I did and say "eeny, meeny, miney, mo."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Grateful for Friends

Tomorrow's post will start a week of Halloween cards (because I have five children to make Halloween cards for), and then I'm done with Halloween because, really. Just really. For those who, like me, would rather Halloween be like it was when we were kids (fun, not over-commercialized, with homemade costumes, yadda, yadda), I've got some fun ideas for quick and easy cards. If you don't do Halloween at all, you could just change the theme and use the ideas anyway.

While Halloween might be overdone (IMHO), gratitude cannot be overdone, so here's another Thanksgiving/Gratitude Collection card.

Burlap is big this year, if the magazines are any indication. It's a very cool way to add some fabulous texture to a card. I used 1/4" ScorTape to attach this, but it's still not terribly sturdy. Sewing is the only truly sturdy way to attach burlap to paper, and, alas, I don't sew unless someone holds a gun to my head...which would be a silly reason to hold a gun to someone's head, don't you think? This card will, therefore, be hand-delivered.

BTW, if you CASE this card, please use dark red floss in the button instead of a string from the burlap. I'm sure it would look even better that way.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits
ink: SU cherry cobbler
paper: PTI vintage cream
accessories: punches, burlap, button, glue dots

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ginkgo Gets Framed

A few large post-it notes to mask, a scattering of pearls, and Bob's your uncle.

What does that mean, exactly?

Nevermind. Or never mind.

Whatever. Or what ever.

Take your pick.

For those of us in the U.S. and Canada, it's Labor Day weekend, and I'm never in my right mind on a holiday weekend, especially when it's so blazingly hot all I can think about is an ice cold Mike's Hard Lemonade.

Be safe. Have fun. Peace be with you.

And if you want to shop this weekend, Mark's Finest Papers is having a nice sale on stamps, paper, and ribbon. So is Coffees of Hawaii, only their sale is on, well, coffee (20% off, plus free shipping on orders over $80 after the discount).  I get nothing for telling you these, by the way. Just trying to enable be helpful.

stamps: Framed, Harvest Berries, Mega Mixed Messages (all Papertrey sets)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: large gridded acrylic block, light brown half pearls

Thursday, September 1, 2011


My recent Papertrey order included Think Big #7 because, really, can you have too many big sentiments? Of course not, especially when they are just $5. I needed a few get well/thinking of you cards, so I pulled out a floral silhouette stamp from Clear and Simple Stamps and played with color.

First up: Monochromatic

The soft purple here is so soothing and calm. This would be a great card for someone who's going through a really stressful time, especially if there's no quick fix for it, don't you think?

Next: Happy Colors

This card, in contrast, has a lot of energy in the colors. Bahama Blue and Pear Tart are perk-me-up colors, and seem to imply that the illness is short-term and easily overcome.
I once received a sympathy card, handmade by a friend, that really should have been a birthday card. It's cheerful, perky colors shocked me in my grief and felt inappropriate. The friend's expression of sympathy in person was very appropriate, but I still remember that card.

Do colors affect you emotionally, beyond just a personal preference? Do you think about the effect of color and how it relates to the message of your cards, or is that too obsessive-compulsive for you?

stamps: CSS, Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: Corner Chomper