Monday, December 31, 2012

The Last Post of 2012

I'm back...with a lesson in busyness and a review of the new Hero Arts catalog.

A Lesson in Busyness

I have a new stamp...a cling background stamp from Hero Arts called Looped Flower Pattern. It came with the new catalog. I love the stamp, but the catalog leaves a tad to be desired. More on the catalog below.

Large background stamps seem a bit antithetical to clean-and-simple design. They take up all that glorious white space, after all. But when used properly, they can add interest to a card without making it fussy or busy. Like this:


For the above card, I paired the Looped Flower Pattern with a large sentiment from A Muse. Three white layers keep the design fresh and light, and adding the light green color to the sentiment links the two stamped layers visually. This works.

For the next card, I changed the orientation to accommodate a vertical sentiment from Papertrey's Beautiful Blessings and added a touch of bling to emphasize the key word and bring blue to the sentiment. The sentiment isn't as clean and simple as the Happy Birthday one, and that creates a bit more busyness on the card. The clean font and straight lines work well with the curves of the background, though.


The final card today crosses my personal line in the sand as being too busy, although I don't think there's anything else wrong with it. The sentiment is from Hero Arts' Dictionary Greetings. The focal point is very busy...lots of little words! I tried to simplify it by highlighting three bold words with lavender, and that's certainly better than the unhighlighted version, but it's still too busy for my taste.

A Bit Too Busy

What saves it, sort of, is the contrast between the very linear text and the curvy background.

Lines love curves.

And don't you forget it.

Anyway, whether or not you like busy cards is more a matter of taste than anything else. I prefer cleaner cards with more white space and very strong focal points. Other people want to look at more stuff. It's all good.

The 2013 Hero Arts Catalog

So you know, I don't receive any free stuff or compensation from Hero Arts. I'm just a long-time customer offering her free and completely personal opinion for what it's worth, which may not be much at all, but it's my blog so here goes.

The Hero Arts catalog is something of a holiday tradition with me. Every year, I buy the new catalog and eagerly peruse it during the holiday break, not just for the new stamps but also for the sample cards, which are always so fun and colorful at a very gray time of year. Unfortunately, as with some other stamp catalogs, every year, the Hero Arts catalog gets smaller, and I find myself feeling cheated. In 2008, it was 90 pages. This year, it's 64 pages...a ten-page drop from 2012.

The price is still $10.

I miss the old catalog value. The 2008 catalog is loaded with tons of sample cards with plenty of cool layouts and ideas--so cool that I still have it even after tossing lots of other companies' old catalogs-- but the 2013 catalog is pretty much just a catalog, with an occasional photo of a card or tag widely scattered throughout. I probably won't keep it past a year.

There's a $3 Card Gallery that I got for "free"...but it's just a four-page, single-fold pamphlet. If I'd paid $3 for it, I'd be upset.

I understand that Hero, like most other stamp companies, is relying more and more on the interwebs for marketing. With all the blogs promoting Hero Arts, it's certainly easy to find inspiration without bothering to look at the catalog. But I perused the new stamps on Ellen Hutson's website (which is a lovely website, by the way) weeks ago, and found that an annoyingly impersonal substitute for the catalog. Ellen sells the stamps (and that's all I expect from her), but Hero should love them and package the catalog in such a way that the love shows.

I miss the old catalogs. I miss the love.

For a full disclaimer, I should note that before children, I worked in marketing and coordinated production of many, many print pieces, brochures, and books. There's a value to beautifully produced print pieces that can actually be quantified, but the world is changing and clearly Hero Arts is following the times. It just makes me sad.

As for the new line of Hero Arts stamps, they're better than last year, but I miss the size indicators in previous catalogs. When stamps were shown at 60%, the old catalogs said so. This one does not, so you're left wondering how big they really are, especially if you're a new customer. That said, the whole line seems fresher to me, yet still clearly Hero Arts. There's some genuinely new stuff, along with some rehashed decade-old stamps, and it all works great together.

Which just goes to show that Hero's designers make stamps that stand the test of time and still seem fresh and fun and appealing. No complaints there.

Now, if they'll just give me an old-style, more inspiring catalog next year, one that I'll want to keep for years to come, I'll have nothing to complain about at all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

OLW120 on Karen's Blog

Just a reminder that Karen has posted OLW120--Cheers! Make a one-layer card with a drink on it and post it to Karen's blog!!!

I probably won't be able to post until Sunday or Monday, but I sure hope y'all are having a wonderful holiday week. I am!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

OLW119 Reminder

Just a reminder (a little late!) that the OLW for last Wednesday is on Heather's blog, and it's Silver and Blue...such a beautiful and appropriate color challenge!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Gift Sets

Just a quick post here. My mother arrived yesterday...yippee!!! Like most of you, I will be focusing on family for the next week or so, and posts here will be thin. I want to thank each and every one of you for sticking with me and making Simplicity the very cool place it is. It wouldn't be cool without YOU!

So here are a few more of the note card gift sets I made for my son's teachers, therapists, and aides.

The two-step hearts from Heart Prints (Papertrey) turned out so well, I decided to create an assortment of colors. Here's an example of Memento's really light colors being useful.

More polka dots, this time from Background Basics: Polka Dots (Papertrey). I used the smallest dot border stamp twice to get the green and pink in there. LOVE doing that.

Finally, I pulled out a clear set from Hero Arts and my Memento markers for a citrus-y rainbow.

These are packaged in Papertrey's clear card boxes with envelopes from Marco's Paper...a local establishment with an online store. The employees are so nice, and the shop is a treasure trove of crafting and artsy goodness.

And no, they aren't paying me to say anything. I just like spreading the word when a local small business does a great job!

Merry Christmas to you all!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 Stephen Ministry Ornaments

Better late than never. I feel like this is going to be anticlimactic for many of you. Remember, I am the only crafty member of our SM group, so these needed to be basic.

We made these ornaments using the pink Marvy scallop circle punch and the blue Marvy circle punch. The stamps are Hero Arts Clear Set CL459, and the ink is Memento teal. We mass-produced these (about 200), with my son doing a lot of the punching for us...that is hard on hands, and he was such a team player on that!

If I were to dress these up for a smaller production run, I'd pop the smooth circle on dimensionals and attach the string with the dimensionals rather than punching a hole.

These were presented during the worship service following a presentation about peace and how hard it is for people who are suffering to find it during the holidays. The ornaments are to remind everyone to look out for those who are suffering this time of year and to inspire those who are in the midst of suffering to lean on God for that peace that passes understanding.

Peace be with you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ho, Ho, Ho

I've been doing church stuff and Santa stuff, which leaves no time for stamping but is enormously satisfying in its own way. I decided I'm not making any promises as to when I'll get any more stamping done...just know that I'm alive and well.

It's good. I'm blessed.

In the meantime, let me share a few craft-related things with you.

1. I liked the comments on the Essential Glue Pad post, especially Colorado Crafter's comment about the Essential Glue Pad absolutely NOT working for her. I qualified my review with the disclaimer that individual results will vary precisely because what works for one person seems not to work for all. For instance, I have loved excessively my Fiskar's 12" paper trimmer for almost ten years now, but my best friend from college--an avid scrapbooker--hated hers. She could never get a right angle with it, the blade never seemed right, yadda, yadda. She bought a Tonic and was happy as Daisy with a tennis ball.

So thank you, Colorado Crafter, for giving the other perspective on the glue pad.

2. KellyRae's comment reminded me that I forgot to tell you that I also press the glitter or flock into the glue with my fingers firmly before tapping off the excess. This really helps A LOT.

3. I have some more birthday cards to share (once they are photographed) that people sent me after I posted the bulk of them. Y'all are so sweet and talented!

4. Patti M. sent me a box a few weeks back that I haven't even thanked her for yet! Here are the goods, which I photographed the day I got them.

Storage case and Memento Inks

Glitter and Pears...oh, my!

So thank you, Patti! I'm going to have so much fun with them. The storage case for the Memento inks works great, and I'm going to hang it on the wall in front of my desk. How cool is that to have the inks at my fingertips instead of in a drawer?

Very cool!

And the pear stamps? Oh, Patti, when I stop laughing, we're going to have some fun with those!

Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Blessings to All!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Essential Glue Pad Review and OLW118 Link

Lots of people have inquired about the glue I used to stamp the three trees from PTI's Through the Trees on THIS card.

Well, I used the Essential Glue Pad from Tsukineko, which I bought because Julie Ebersole told me to. Not me, personally, mind you. She just recommended it on her blog and, easily enabled as I am by the likes of Her Royal Rubberness, I ran right out and bought the kit.

Here's my review of it.

It's "good enough for government work," as we say in our house. Not perfect, but then, I've not found any other product that does what it does as well as it does it...and I have looked. It will hold the ultra-fine glitter I used firmly enough to stand up to light rubbing, although any excess just hanging on or not firmly stuck will rub off easily.

In the end, the stamped image will stay as crisp as glitter will allow.

It will also hold flock, but not very thickly, so using bright or dark colors works better.

At least, that's my experience. Individual results will vary.

I haven't had time to stamp at all lately, so no card today. I was sad to miss the 40% off stamps sale at Archivers...spent all day Monday getting new tires for my car (so painful as three of the tires were still quite good, but all-wheel drive cars require four tires of similar tread, so when one goes, they all go--OUCH). Then, Tuesday, I had the last meeting of our Disciple 4 study, followed by a luncheon. Way more fun than Monday, but alas, no time to drive to the nearest Archivers, which isn't so near.

Enough whining. Shopping and volunteering today, but hopefully, I'll have time to stamp something!!!

Don't forget the OLW118!

It's snowflakes on Cheryl's blog, and I just LOVE snowflakes. Some fell here in Ohio yesterday...not enough to accumulate, but enough to make me feel like Christmas was coming!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Insert Witty Post Title Here

Jibber Jabber

Well, it's been a crazy few days. If you just want to see the card, scroll down and skip the next few paragraphs of jibber-jabber.

Thursday, I ran around town for all sorts of errands, many holiday related, and realized as I crawled into bed that night that I hadn't picked up an ornament at church to photograph for you. Friday, I got a flat tire, the story of which will appear on my other blog sometime this week because it was sort of a good way. That night, George and I left our kids alone for the first time to go to a party. Nick made it an hour and forty-five minutes before he got nervous about being in charge and called me home. I'm so proud of him. (BTW, my hubs was far more nervous than I about this big step for Nick.) Saturday, well, I'm not sure what happened to Saturday, although I did clean up some stuff, take the kids to the public library, get groceries. Sunday, I was liturgist for the first time and had to read Luke 3:1-6, which I tell you has a lot of hard Bible words in it and I NAILED them. Thank Heaven for Google, practice, and a little help from the Holy Spirit.

BUT, I forgot to pull an ornament out of the basket for my own use, so I'm going to make one tomorrow and post it ASAP. I'm so sorry about the delay on this.

Today's Card

Here you, frosty snow!

In keeping with OLW117, I used a glue pad and what looked like white glitter...except it really looks pink on the paper. So what to do with the pink tone? Enhance it with a bright pink sentiment. Why not?

The two lines across the top are Scor-Tape, which is just so perfect to use with glitter.

The stamps are from Through the Trees by Papertrey.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

OLW117: Flocked Snow

It's such a disappointment when my photography skills can't keep up with my stamping. But I did my best with my little Nikon Coolpix and Ott lighting on this one. Pinky swear!

Anyway, I used Papertrey's Out on a Limb and added white flock for the snow. IRL, the card looks really cool, with the fuzzy snow much more visible. In fact, I was amazed at the difference the white flock made on the card.

I hope you'll play along with the OLW this week!

FYI: My second Advent devotional is posted on Questioning my Intelligence. I hope you love it!

stamps: Papertrey Out on a Limb, Silent Night (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: satin ribbon, Quickie glue pen, white Doodlebug flock

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Teacher Gifts

Regarding the Stephen Ministry ornaments...I should be able to pick one up at the church tomorrow and bring it home to photograph, so it will get posted soon. They really are very simple since I'm the only SM in our group who's crafty. Thanks for all your interest in them.

Now, Christmas always presents me with a present challenge. Our son Jack has autism, and honestly, if it takes a village to raise a neurotypical child, it takes a metropolis to raise a child with autism. I like to acknowledge the metropolis at Christmas and the end of the school year, but with so many people involved, it's tough to stay on budget.

All of  Jack's teachers, aides, therapists, and such use notecards regularly, so notecard sets are a cost-effective and much appreciated gift. I use the clear notecard set boxes from Papertrey for packaging and these envelopes from Marco's Paper. Each set has either 8 or 10 notecards...single-panel, 1/4 sheet cards rather than folded cards. The total cost for each set is around $3.00.

You can't beat that with a stick, eh?

Speaking of sticks, Jack makes these sugar plums, which I add to each gift for a personal touch from him. I like using pipe cleaners and jingle bells to seal the cellophane bags on the sugar plums. It's more festive--not to mention faster and easier--than tying curly ribbon or string on the sticks!

This year, I'm going to share some of the sets to give you ideas for your own gift giving. Isn't it nice to be able to acknowledge the many people who make a difference in your life with special gifts that don't require taking out a second mortgage?

BTW, my sister informed me this year she doesn't want anything practical. She wants a mini iPad and an iPhone4S 'cause she likes talking to Suri. I told her I couldn't afford either of those for her, and she said, yes, she's hard to buy for this year.

I love my sister. She makes me laugh. And she bought me fleece socks for my birthday.

Anyway, here are a couple of the clean-and-simple notecard sets I've made so far. Feel free to steal whatever inspiration you need for your own gift giving.

Stamps: A Muse

Stamps: Papertrey Floral Frenzy

Happy gift giving!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One-Layer Wednesday #117--Snow

This week's One-Layer Wednesday challenge is to put snow on your card...and not just stamped snow, people! Use glitter, sparkle pens, Smooch, glimmer mist, flower soft, flock, puff paint, artist's paste, or any other simulation of snow you can think of!

I've actually made several cards and will share them over the next few days, but here's my glittery gray and red card. Oh how I hope we get snow in Ohio this year!!!!!

Close-up of my glittery snow!

OLW117 Rules

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

2. Add some fake snow to your card in whatever form you want, as long as it's not another layer of paper! Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Post your card online and then link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity. If you link to your blog, please take care to link to the OLW entry post, not to your blog's main page.

4. The most important rule of all...HAVE FUN!!!!!

stamps: Paptertrey In the Meadow, Through the Trees; Hero Arts snow border from an unknown clear set
ink: Memento
paper: PTI
accessories: velvet ribbon, Scor-Tape, Quickie glue pen, Doodlebug white glitter

Monday, December 3, 2012

OLW116--Scene It

I don't always get a chance to participate in the OLW challenges. Well, mostly I try, but sometimes my efforts are less than blog-worthy. After four or five failed attempts, I give up, as I did with Heather's square challenge.

Why would I flunk a square challenge? Seriously? I'm as square as a gal can get.

Today's card, however, represents a nicely-handled save in my attempt at Karen's OLW116 Challenge, so I thought I'd share it. I had stamped the winter scene once and completely screwed up the image (that's what happens when you don't bother to stand on the big stamps...they turn out all blotchy).

So I stood on it the second time, and there was STILL a tiny blotch in the upper left corner.

Which I covered with the white, sheer bow.

See. Nicely-handled save. Go, me!

Now, this image was embossed with Silver Pearl embossing powder, which is just lovely. I stamped it in a dark blue pigment ink (ColorBox Royal Blue), sprinkled the Silver Pearl powder over it, and heated it to this soft blue, lustrous, shimmery finish.

I just love the softening effect of the Silver Pearl over darker inks. Give it a try sometime. And click over to Karen's OLW116 Challenge!

stamps: unlabeled and very old! 
ink: Colorbox royal blue
paper: PTI white
accessories: Silver Pearl Embossing Powder, heat gun, sheer white ribbon

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mistletoe Christmas

FYI--I've started my Advent devotional posts on Questioning my Intelligence. If you're interested, the first one is HERE.

Today's card made me happy because I could use those giant pearls. The scale was just right for the large mistletoe stamp. Yippy!

And yes, this card will be shipped in a package rather than mailed in an envelope. Those pearls are huge and not letter-service friendly.

stamps: Papertrey Ink Mistletoe and Holly, Happiest of Holidays
ink: VersaColor green tea, burgundy
paper: PTI white
accessories: large half pearls, dimensionals

Thursday, November 29, 2012

OLW116 Reminder, a Few More Die Cut Cards, and Peace

Remember that this week, the One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is on Karen's blog and it's Scene It...create a scene on your card! How fun is that?!?! Karen's sample is beautiful, so be sure to click over and get inspired!

Today's Cards 
I'll need to work on a scene myself because today's cards are far from scenes. WAY far from scenes. I wanted to combine a couple of the die cuts Sharon sent with bling and colored card stock. The result is a couple of baby cards!

How easy are these?!?! And a great use of those larger rhinestones that seem to collect as I use so many more of the smaller ones.

Things are ramping up for Christmas for me. Tonight, I'm meeting with my Stephen Ministry group to make ornaments to hand out to the congregation. We did this last year as a way to raise awareness for people who are struggling to feel joy at a time of year when joy is everywhere. People who have lost loved ones, jobs, marriages, friends, health, independence, or faith can often feel an added burden of pain when everyone around them is gleefully going about the holidays with jingle bells and laughter.

Last year, we ran out of ornaments. The message of the ornaments...that it's okay to not be singing Joy to the World if you're feeling like a wretch and need Amazing Grace...struck a chord with a lot of people. Last year's ornaments contained a mustard seed and message about how God takes the tiniest bit of faith and grows it into something wonderful. This year's ornament focuses on peace...the peace that comes from God and passes all understanding.  Heavenly peace.

Peace be with each and every one of you as you move through this holiday season. May it deepen your joy or comfort your sadness. Breathe deep the heavenly peace.  

stamps: none
ink: none
paper: SU pretty in pink, bashful blue
accessories: die cuts, glue pen, rhinestones

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cards I Received in November

It is such a blessing to open the mailbox and find a hand-addressed card amidst the bills, catalogs, junk mail, and magazines. The envelope is extra special when it contains a card made by hand! Here are the hand-made cards I received this month. Some are birthday and some are Thanksgiving cards. I love them all!

Sue C.



Sue B.
Mary M.

Sue C.


Patti M.

What a beautiful collection of cards that now reside on the bulletin boards in my craft nook to give me inspiration and to lift me up each and every day!!!!!

I am so grateful for these ladies--and the many others through the years--who took time to send me cards they had made. I am also grateful for the readers who leave a comment, who send an email, who pray for me, who get concerned when I don't post each day, and who just read my blatherings. You have blessed me in so many ways.

Thank you.

Getting Clever with Die Cuts

Here's another card using a die cut sent by the oh-so-kind Sharon. Peace on earth. Get it?

Happy Wednesday!

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs
ink: Versacolor bisque
paper: PTI white, aqua mist (?)
accessories: dimensionals, die cut from Sharon!, glue pen 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thank you, Sharon!

Kind reader Sharon sent me a selection of die cuts, and here's my favorite card I've made so far.

Darnit all to heck, now I need a Big Shot and a whole mess o' dies. Thanks, Sharon.



stamps: none
ink: none
paper: PTI white
accessories: die cuts, red rhinestones, white satin ribbon, glue dot, glue pen

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love Birds

No time for chit-chat tonight. Had to watch The Next Iron Chef.

It's weird how much I enjoy that show.

Anyway, it's late, I'm tired, and who knows what the heck I'll type, so let's move directly to the card. We have a pair of love birds in a branch from Papertrey's very old set called Out on a Limb. LOVE that set.

Have a happy Monday!

stamps: Papertrey Love Birds, Out on a Limb
ink: SU real red, Memento toffee and pistachio
paper: SU real red, PTI white
accessories: dimensionals

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How Ardently I Admire and Love You

Things are settling down a bit after Thanksgiving and my birthday. Many, many thanks for all the good wishes in comments, emails, and cards! It was indeed a good birthday and holiday, and I hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving too, even if it was just an unofficial lower-case thanksgiving.

Shouldn't we make every day a thanksgiving? I sure think so.

And to cap it all off, I found out today that I had four cards published in the Winter issue of Take Ten magazine!


Page 63.

I submitted the cards for this issue's design challenge, which seemed a little too layered for my taste and therefore a real challenge for this CAS stamper to pull off. I used the layout with just two layers of card stock, some ink, and a few rhinestones. Since I made four cards with one old, old Hero Arts set, they published them in the Variations on a Theme section of the magazine.

I'm so honored!

Eeeeep, I say again!

And now onto today's card, which made me punch happy.

Operation Write Home needs Valentine's Day and general love cards, so I tried to use Papertrey's Heart Prints set with a sentiment from Simply Jane, also by Papertrey. The quotation is from Darcy's declaration of love to Elizabeth Bennett.


Did you know that when I took the "What Jane Austen Character Are You?" quiz on Facebook, I was Eliza Bennett?

Anyway, I tried all those patterned hearts in Heart Prints, and it looked a jumbled mess. So I flexed to solid hearts in a bunch of different shades of pink and red. That seemed to work so much better for me.

Eliza's such a solid character, not silly like Lydia.

I'm so relieved I wasn't Lydia.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: various
paper: PTI white
accessories: heart punches, heart-shaped rhinestone, dimensionals

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Something Unexpected: Wooden Snowflakes

I realized yesterday that drawing attention to something unexpected on a clean-and-simple card makes sense, so here's another card with something unexpected.

The real wood paper (purchased a while back at Michael's) makes perfectly unexpected snowflakes, don't you think? I love how the grain shows and adds some texture to the flakes (click on the picture to see it bigger!). The paper is fragile (especially when punched so thin for the smaller flakes), so I glued the flakes directly to the card base for added support.

Also, the SU cherry cobbler ink has tones of brown in it that fit so well with the wood tones, yet the red gives the whole card a festive punch. I'm sending this card to my aunt the woodcrafter!

I'm not sure how often I'll post for the rest of the week. We're having guests for the holiday, and the focus needs to be on family this week. May your own week--wherever you live--be one full of happiness, thanksgiving, and love!

stamps: PTI Silent Night
paper: PTI white, unknown wood paper
ink: SU cherry cobbler
accessories: various snowflake punches, glue pen

Monday, November 19, 2012

Angel Paper

One key to successful clean-and-simple design is to do something unexpected. Of course, whatever you do that's unexpected also needs to belong to the other words, it has to make sense.

For example, you wouldn't use the font comic sans on a sympathy card. Yes, it would be unexpected, but no, it wouldn't belong. Not one tiny bit.

When I found a scrap of white mulberry paper with gold metallic fibers in it, I knew it needed to be on an elegant card with gold embossing. This pretty, flowing angel stamp from PSX seemed a perfect match.

And it was. Notice the crisp lines of the oval are softened by the fringe of random mulberry fibers, and since straight lines love curves, the gold fibers belong as a contrast for the curvy angel and her oval frame.

That paper is unexpected, unusual, highly textured on flat, matte card stock. But by using only a fringe of of mulberry, it doesn't overwhelm the design either. It complements it.

Go, me!

Also note that I need new embossing powder. This was the best angel I got out of about five attempts. Methinks the shelf life of embossing powder is shorter than anticipated by me.

Technique Tip: To tear mulberry paper like this, place the paper flat on a waterproof surface (I used a cutting mat). Use clean water on a clean paintbrush to "draw" where you want to tear. Saturate the paper along the lines you want to tear. Wait a minute for the fibers to loosen, then tear. You can easily pick the edges out when they are wet. Set aside to dry completely before adhering to your card with a glue stick.

And I mean it about the clean paintbrush. Mine still had some bright-red Twinkling H20 in it. What a bloody-looking mess.

stamps: PSX
ink: gold pigment ink
paper: PTI white, white mulberry paper with gold fibers
accessories: glue stick, dimensionals, outdated gold embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy (a bag of powdered chalk that keeps embossing powder from sticking where you don't want it to stick), Creative Memories oval cutting system, wow that is a lot of stuff for one card by me, don't you think?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Amusing Noel

One of my favorite A Muse sets is Nordic Noel, and this card shows why.

I just love these clean, solid images. For anyone wondering what a visual triangle is, take a gander at the placement of the leaves and berries. Draw lines between them and you get...tada!...a triangle. Those three points sort of unify the whole design, which is further reinforced by the placement of Noel where the deer is looking at it.

Always give your creatures something to look at.

And the nine tiny blings for the berries are just so festive, don't you think?

Of course you do.

Who doesn't love bling?


stamps: A Muse
ink" SU cherry cobbler, old olive
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Be Still, My Peaceful Pinecones

Today's Card

Okay, Peaceful Pinecones is my new favorite Christmas stamp set, for today's card alone. It's everything I love in a well-designed stamp set: pretty, simple images in a variety of sizes combined with useable sentiments in readable yet interesting fonts that aren't too big or too small. Plus, it's timeless and classic...nothing trendy about it. I'll use this stamp set as long as I can stamp.

Papertrey Ink, I'll expect my check in the mail soon. Seriously, you should be buying this sort of advertising.

Nichole, do you hear me? *tap, tap* Is this internet thingie on?

Oh well. Here's the card.

Let's spend a few minutes talking about floating images. You see, without the DMC floss bow on this adorable little pine sprig, this card, technically, wouldn't work. The sprig would be floating around on the card without anything to anchor it visually.

(And can we take a moment to pause and admire how perfect that little bow is...I've made precisely four perfect DMC floss bows in my life and this is one of them.)

Now, as a clean-and-simple stamper who loves, reveres, kneels at the altar of white space, I'm not too fashed by floating images. If they're cute enough or elegant enough or pretty enough or cool enough, they can float all they want and I'll love them anyway.

But the design gurus scorn floating images. This little bow makes the gurus happy.

Me, too.

And thus endeth the lesson on floating images.

Go forth and float if you feel like it.

My Birthday

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Sue and Patti and Linda for sending me birthday cards. They are beautiful and I love them and the three of you. After my birthday, I'll share them and any others I receive because it's just so nice that some of you think to send me cards for my birthday.

Oh, have I not mentioned that my birthday is coming up? How remiss of me not to fish for birthday cards in advance! My birthday is on Thanksgiving this year. Isn't it cool that the whole country will be celebrating my birthday with the traditional birthday pumpkin pie?

I love America!

stamps: Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento markers and pads
paper: PTI white
accessories: DMC floss, glue 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Miss You Birdie

Missing You cards are actually fun to make. Giving a visual representation to separation or absence is relatively easy and lends itself perfectly to CAS cards. After all, white space is absence, emptiness.

Consider something as clean and simple as this:

Poor, lonely little birdie! The line of gray connects the bird and the sentiment and serves the function of giving the birdie a place to roost. It's unified, makes its point visually and with words, and has high impact.

And nary a spot of glitter anywhere on it. Yes, it's going to Operation Write Home. I'm so glad I don't have to send miss you cards to my honey anymore.

stamps: Papertrey Faux Ribbon, Love Birds
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: none

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OLW News

No card tonight, but don't forget about the OLW challenge for tomorrow. It will be on Cheryl's Blog!!!!

No Glitter for the Troops

Several people have asked about the "no glitter" rule at Operation Write Home. Glitter on their uniforms can make soldiers targets for enemy guns, especially at night. Apparently, glitter shows up in night vision goggles really well.

Even though plenty of OWH cards go to troops who aren't on the front lines (naval ships, air force groups, etc.), an errant flake of glitter could possibly cost a soldier his or her life. And y'all know how glitter gets everywhere!

I lifted this directly from OWH's site:

No glitter. Really! Glitter is a safety hazard for our heroes, so no cards with any glitter that will flake off the card are accepted. Stickles or pens that apply glitter that will NOT rub off can be acceptable, but please check your cards by rubbing it on a sweater. If it flakes off, it cannot be used. Small gems are fine.

So I'm careful to clean up my area after using glitter (wet wipes are wonderful, but a damp Bounty paper towel over everything works well, too) and before making cards for OWH. I store those finished cards in a photo box that's never seen glitter.

So there you have it. No glitter for the troops. It's a matter of life or death!

Monday, November 12, 2012


I very deliberately haven't used glitter on Christmas cards for months, simply because I wanted to send lots of Christmas cards to Operation Write Home...and the soldiers can't have glitter (which seems mean but actually could be a matter of life or death). The other day, however, it occurred to me that the OWH deadline for Christmas cards had passed, and now I'm making for myself.

I can use as much glitter as I want.

So here you go.

I wanted to experiment with this layout, keeping everything on the bottom third of a portrait-oriented card. It was, quite frankly, boring before I added the glitter. (Click on the picture to see some of the sparkle.)

Glitter is good.

So very good.


stamps: Papertrey Pinecones
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: glue pen, glitter

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Miss You

Operation Write Home needs miss you, Valentine's Day, love, and birthday cards right now, so I'm breaking up the Christmas card push with some variety. Today's card uses a wonderful Martha Stewart border punch to make the grass, and golly, the results are cute!

The heart was stamped on a scrap, cut out, and popped up. The red creates a very strong focal point for the card, amidst all the green and brown and (of course) white. Placement of the sentiment was tricky. It just didn't feel right floating it in the area between the stylized circle of plaid leaves and the grass, so I put it on the grass, as far from the heart as possible, to reinforce the feeling of absence.

I think it works, but you're entitled to disagree. I'm anti-totalitarian, you know.

On another subject, I'm entering a weird phase of crafting, sort of restless and dissatisfied and a tad insecure. (Can't imagine where that last one comes from...deeply unusual for me!)

Don't panic! I'm definitely not giving up papercrafting, but I'm trying to re-evaluate what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Partly, this stems from my natural ebb and flow with this hobby, partly from my thoughts on minimalism, partly from some other things I want to make time for, and partly from a desire to keep things fresh, for myself and for you.

I'll keep you posted, although in the end, you might not notice any difference whatsoever. This is just further evidence (like anyone needs further evidence) that I over-think stuff. It's a curse.

stamps: Papertrey Trendy Treetops, Love Birds (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, unknown lime
accessories: MS grass border punch, dimensional

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Super Size

Sometimes, to make an idea work, you have to think outside the box, expand your horizons, and cut your card stock a bit bigger.

And by bigger, I mean 10" x 7", folded into a 5" x 7" card.

Which looks huge when you're used to 4.25" x 5.5".

But super sizing the card was the only way to allow this particular sentiment (Hero Arts, I think) to be matted and have plenty of white space to breathe. The glitter paper (that horridly heavy stuff from Michael's) is so very pretty and sparkly and blue. It was worth super sizing.

This card would be easy to mass produce, by the way. Just sayin'.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Michael's glitter paper, Papertrey white
accesories: Martha Stewart snowflake punch, Corner Chomper

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One-Layer Wednesday 113: Dark Red, Yellow/Gold, and Green

This week's odd-numbered One-Layer Wednesday challenge is to use the colors dark red, yellow/gold, and green on a card. This was inspired by the view out my study window a few weeks back. The trees and bushes positively glowed in those three colors. Interestingly, you could probably make Christmas cards using those colors, as well as autumn/Thanksgiving cards. The theme of the card doesn't matter, just that you use those three colors (plus dark brown or black if needed for a sentiment).

Hmmm. So many ideas!

Of course, I made a Thanksgiving card for the Gratitude Campaign. This one uses a piece of watercolor paper I found in a folder. I inked up the leaf stamp (Fall Elegance, Papertrey) using Memento inks (rhubarb, pistachio, dandelion), spritzed heavily with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Dazzling Diamonds, and stamped.

OLW113 Rules

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

2. Use the colors dark red, yellow/gold, and green to make a card. You may add black or dark brown for the sentiment if necessary. Please remember to keep embellishments to a minimum!

3. Upload your card somewhere online and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar. If you link to your blog, please make sure the link goes to the individual post, not to your blog's home page.

4. HAVE FUN!!!!!! (That's the most important rule of all!)

stamps: Papertrey Fall Elegance
ink: Memento
paper: unknown wtaercolor paper
accessories: Glimmer mist

Monday, November 5, 2012

Words with Punch

Okay, a few of you mentioned that my card here didn't look like I made it, seeing as it's remarkably lacking in my beloved white space. Well, today let's consider a pair of cards that you will have no trouble identifying as LateBlossom creations.


A few words, a punched focal point, a little bling or pearls, plenty of white space...that's all you need to make a card.

A pretty card.

Of course, I love the other card I made, too. It's sometimes fun to play and make unexpected things. But I'll always come back to my happy, happy white space. It seems that card making is the one area in my life where I can get white space, 'cause the rest of it is utter chaos filled with dust bunnies and dirty laundry. *wink*

And yes, I'm giving that mistletoe card to my honey in his stocking this year. Who else could I give it to, after all?

stamps: Papertrey Mistletoe and Holly
ink: VersaColor
paper: PTI white
accessories: punches, rhinestones, dimensionals, pearls

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holly and a Tag

Today's card uses a corner punch I'd forgotten I have...until I pulled out the ticket punch for another card and saw it lying in the drawer.

I'll bet none of you ever has that particular first-world problem...having so much stuff you forget what you have.

Bless our little forgetful hearts.

Anyway, the sentiment stamp from Papertrey's Happiest of Holidays fits perfectly on a tag shape, so that's what I did with it. The holly makes a nice, festive backdrop, too.

The little tiny bling on the tag is the same green as the's just too small to register as anything other than black on the photo. Notice how the red berries guide the eye to the tag? I tried using red thread and then green thread on the tag, but both were visually distracting. White was an okay compromise that doesn't stop the eye from going to the sentiment.

UPDATE on Memento Inks: There's nothing to update. I got a concerned response to my original email asking for photos, which I sent, and I haven't heard anything back. Some of my favorite older pads are starting to dry up (whatever would I do without pear tart?!?!?). I'm going to replace them and hope for the best.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

stamps: Papertrey Mistletoe and Holly, Happiest of Holidays
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: SU tag corner punch, circle hole punch, dimensionals, tiny rhinestone, craft thread

Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Images

The large sizes of the images in Papertrey's Mistletoe and Holly set drew me to it, and the same goes for the large sentiment in Happiest of Holidays. Most of my holiday images are smaller, and I really wanted to play around with these large-scale stamps.

Y'all know I like white space, but it's fun to fill it up sometimes, and that's what I did with today's card.

The background takes advantage of the very light shades of green and pink from Memento. Using these pale shades with smaller stamps makes them looks washed out, but with big stamps, the lighter shades are so much more useful! Color and central placement create a strong focal point of the larger sentiment. The strong red pops off the card, and the bright lime green mat helps frame the focal point nicely. The light pink ribbon unites the background and focal point, and the ticket-punched corners are reminiscent of the shape of the holly leaves.

What fun!

stamps: Papertrey Mistletoe and Holly, Happiest of Holidays
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white; unknown lime
accessories: dimensional, ribbon, SU ticket corner punch


Reader Christine from Canada made a comment about how she's sent far more Christmas cards than she has received and how grateful she is for any card she gets. I, too, have seen a drop in the number of cards I receive, which is somewhat shocking because so many of our cards come from military folks, who tend to be rather dedicated to staying in touch with long-distance friends for forever.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for Advent on my other blog...a piece about greeting cards. If you're interested, you might find some inspiration in it either to send out more cards this Christmas or, if cards are a burden and not a blessing for you this year, to make sure that you send out greetings however you can.

I joked around in a recent post about panicking regarding Christmas cards. How will I make enough in time??!?!?!? Well, my panic is sort of real (because I'm sort of obsessive that way) but it is also sort of silly. Even we card makers can *gasp* purchase ready-made cards to send if we can't make enough for everyone on our lists. If you need permission to do so, I'll be happy to grant it.

For now, I'm having a blast making Christmas cards, but if I really do start to stress out, I'm going to put away my Christmas stamps and pick up a box of cards at Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Latest OLW and the Gratitude Campaign and Something Funny


First up, the latest OLW is on Ardyth's blog, and it's called A Song in My Heart. Well, the songs in my heart right now are Christmas themed because I'm thinking hard and fast about how there's less than two months 'til Christmas, and I still don't have a plan.

What will I make? What will I buy? What crafty things do I really want to do?


I'm trying not to panic, but it's hard. You know it's hard. Don't you?

Anyway, my entry for OLW112 gets me one card closer to my Christmas card total of 120. That's what I'm aiming for. I think I have about thirty right now, but I can't remember. Don't want to.

I was playing around with some new Papertrey sets, including Mistletoe and Holly, and Happiest of Holidays. The colors are soft and old-fashioned: VersaColor olive and old rose. Such a pretty pairing and just the right thing to make the card special since there is no bling or embellishment whatsoever.

And the song that inspired it is sort of obvious, don't you think?

Thanks, Ardyth, for a really great challenge!!!

Gratitude Campaign

Well, I've made all my gratitude Campaign cards, and now it's time to start writing in them and mailing them. Just wanted to remind those of you who have embraced the cause of actually giving thanks on Thanksgiving not to get so wrapped up in the fact that Christmas is just around the corner that you forget to send your Gratitude Campaign cards.

Honestly, I just about did forget. How embarrassing.

Something Funny

"Why is she laughing at me?"

Daisy came to my craft desk the other day to beg while I was eating Halloween candy celery sticks, and when I looked down, that is what I saw.

Those little backing pieces for SU dimensionals get everywhere, don't they?