Friday, August 30, 2013

Inspired by Katherine Schmitt

While scanning the latest issue of Take Ten, I found the following card by Katherine Schmitt and sat right down to be inspired.

Of course, Katherine seriously rocks the kraft card stock, and my krafty exploits never quite look right to me, so I used white card stock, kept her holiday theme, but went blue and flaky, with a little bling thrown in for good measure!

I love Katherine's layout, and it's potentially useful for so many different things, not the least of which is using up some of the over-abundance of twine I've purchased. Still in a Christmas mood, I wanted to use some silver metallic twine in my stash, so I pulled out my silver and gold Brilliance inks and went to work.

You'll notice the lack of twine, right?

That lack isn't for lack of trying. The twine wouldn't tie right, no matter what I did to it.

I'm proud of myself for not swearing or throwing anything.

Finally, I gave up. I'm telling myself that the metallic ink--which is totally shiny and beautiful--carries the card without the twine. If I repeat it enough, I might start believing it.

But Katherine's original design is absolutely delightful and so inspiring! Many thanks to her and to Take Ten Autumn 2013.

Flake Card
stamps: assorted snowflakes, sentiment from Papertrey's Winterberry set
ink: VersaColor cyan, black
Star Card
stamps: assorted stars, sentiment from Papertrey's Silent Night set
ink: Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder, twine, dimensionals, blue rhinestones, gold half beads

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

OLW155 and a Question Answered

Karen's OLW155 is to make a card using a silhouette. Well, I sponged another card, inspired as always by sponge-goddess Heather, and it happens to be perfect for Karen's wonderful challenge!

Love it when that happens.

This time sponging, I used two colors (SU's summer sun and more mustard) to add some depth to the background and used a simple silhouette branch (also from SU) to be the focal point.

I love how the stripe of color is ever so slightly too small to fully contain the branches, how the image of this single highlighted plant looks so special against glowing autumnal gold, and how the sentiment focuses on gratitude!

Yep, here's another Thanksgiving Crusade Card!!!! How's your Thanksgiving Crusade coming along?

On another subject altogether, reader Karen asked me what I do with cards I'm not quite happy with. It depends on what I don't like about a card. If there's anything obvious wrong with it (something crooked, not stamped cleanly, an unbalanced design), I pitch it right away. I cut the front off and toss it, and reuse the back for scraps.

My scrap drawer overfloweth.

If it's just that I don't like something about a card (the color combo, the image, an embellishment, a minor design flaw), I usually hold onto it for a while. Time lets me see more clearly if there is, indeed, something egregiously wrong or if I'm seeing flaws where there are merely questions of personal preference and style. Generally after some time passes, if I would give a card a grade of B+ or better, I'm willing to send it out either for personal use or to OWH. Anything below a B+ gets filed in the circular file.

I overcame my perfectionist tendencies as far as B+. You should be proud of me. That took YEARS of serious meditation.

In this post, where I showed my before and after designs demonstrating proportion, I'm keeping the before card in my OWH pile right beside the after card. My quibbles with the before card are small design issues--and mainly only noticeable by me, judging from the comments!--and I don't hate it. It's not bad...just too brown and busy for my taste, with a minor design flaw.

I hope all this makes sense. It's getting late, and I'm off to the Land of Nod. Don't forget to play along with Karen's OLW Challenge!

stamps: SU, Papertrey (sentiment)
ink: SU, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: sponge, post-its

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Flat Susan

Every time I see one of Heather Telford's sponged, 3D-looking landscapes, I start thinking, "I can do that!"

And then I realize I'm not Heather. That woman can wield a sponge like no other.

But even if I can't make convincingly gorgeous landscapes, I CAN sponge a geometric background.

Like a square.

Especially in one flat color.

And I can rock two dimensions.

Just call me Flat Susan.

stamps: SU Pocket Silhouettes, Papertrey Signature Greetings
ink: can't remember...I've been playing around a lot with my many inks lately
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: sponge, square punch, post-it note

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Study in Contrast: A Before and After Lesson

Today, I'm sharing two cards that demonstrate the value of contrast. First, let's look at the monochromatic card, which is very, very brown.

My design concept was to make the area above the line busy and energetic, and the area below the line clean so as to draw attention to the sentiment. That contrast, I thought, would add interest, and I was sort of right...but this brown version of the concept doesn't quite work.


I wanted to play with metallic markers, so I masked the bottom third of the card, repeatedly stamped the floral stem from SU's Pocket Silhouettes, removed the mask, drew a copper metallic line, and added brown and amber bling.

Not thrilling. Very brown.

Did I point that out already? Yes? Sorry. But it is very, very brown.

Plus, the silhouette stamp is kind of heavy, but my copper marker has a fine tip. The proportions don't seem very good on the first card. It feels heavy and sort of clunky.

So I decided it was time to add some contrast between the metallic shade and the ink pink and silver worked perfectly. I also lightened up the stamp by choosing one with thinner lines from the same set and used a thicker metallic marker to ground the plants.

Much Better

How much fresher and cleaner this feels!!! I also love that the silver half-beads unify the design much better than the brown bling in the first card did.

So there you have it: a study in contrast.

Just remember that if you ever have a concept you're pretty sure will work, it might take more than one try to get it right.

stamps: SU Pocket Silhouettes, Papertrey Simple Little Things
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: metallic markers, metal ruler, rhinestones, silver half-beads, post-its for masking

Sunday, August 25, 2013

As Loose as It Gets

Once, while talking to my mother, who is a fine artist, I described a particular artistic style as messy. "Susan," she said, slightly condescendingly, "it's not messy. The proper word is loose."

You may not know this about me, but I'm not exactly a creatively loose person. I know! You're shocked, but there you have it. I'm tight and AR and an obsessive-compulsive creatively neat freak. Things get lined up.

Lined. Up. People.

In straight lines.

Because straight lines make me happy.

Which is why today's first card was so very, very hard for me to make.

But really, I thought that sentiment simply wouldn't like to be associated with a tidy row of flowers all lined up obediently. That sentiment screams out for loose flowers, rockin' flowers, flowers that know how to party. Wild and crazy flowers.

If you're thinking I don't know the meaning of "wild and crazy," well, you're probably right. I seem to only get wild and crazy monochromatically, which isn't very psychedelic, is it?

But I can bling like it's 1999.

Shortly after making the above messy loose card, I made this very straight and lined-up card, with a sentiment that demands order. It's precisely the type of sentiment you want to organize your closets, which is why I LOVE this sentiment and use it all the time.

And no, my closets aren't organized. Oh how I wish real life were as tidy as my art!

stamps: Fresh Squeezed Stamps (Everyday Expressions), Papertrey Ink (Birthday Basics)
ink: VersaColor, VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: dimensionals, Stickles, rhinestones

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Proportions and Such

Sometimes, I forget things. You see, my photos of cards are stored by month in files on my computer. When I move into the next month, I occasionally forget to post all the cards from the previous month...a result of being far too excited about what I just made.

Today's cards are lost children from July when I was inspired by the special birthday issue from PaperCrafts Magazine. First, there's the sketch I used, and then my two cards.



As you can see, I adapted the scale of the images and sentiment to accommodate my stash of stamps. This is what you do when you don't have a plethora of giant sentiment stamps to follow the sketch get all flexible.

But with a smaller sentiment and images, the first card seemed too wide to me, so I trimmed the second card about a half-inch before stamping. The proportions are much more pleasing that way.

And isn't it just dandy the way the sentiment is exactly the height of the three squares? Be still, my obsessive-compulsive heart!

The main point these two cards make is that scale CAN be changed when you're working from a sketch, so don't ever feel like you can't adapt a sketch to fit what you have. Just be aware that fiddling with scale might result in the need to fiddle with other things as well.

And if you read that last sentence as dirty, you must be an English major.

stamps: Card 1 (Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments, Papertrey Paper Tray flower) Card 2 (Papertrey Birthday Basics, Sign Language)
ink: VersaColor, VersaMagic
accessories: rhinestones

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

More Moo

In a few weeks, my husband and I will travel to the land of dairy and cheese curds so he can participate in the insanity known as IM-Moo.

See, I do have some cow associations that don't involve boobies udders.

IM-Moo, or Ironman Wisconsin, is a long-distance triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona, a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2-mile marathon. That's a total of 140.6 miles that must be completed in under 17 hours.

Udder insanity? You betcha.

George and his brother-in-law will race on September 8 while his sister and I hang out in beautiful Madison, drinking coffee and cheering the crazy people on--comfortably sweat-free--from the sidelines. I plan to blog the whole event from Madison, so depending on your tolerance for crazy, you might want to avoid my Questioning my Intelligence blog that weekend.

Which brings me to today's card.

I love the rolling hills and quaint farms of Wisconsin. It's a beautiful state. Lots of cows.

And on September 8, lots of crazy people who want to burn 7,000 calories in one day.

That's something to moo about, don't you think?

stamps: Papertrey Ink On the Farm
paper: Papertrey Ink white
ink: Memento
accessories: dimensionals, circle punch

Monday, August 19, 2013

Better than a Cow

Some of  you, no doubt, breast-fed your babies. It's quite popular these days. Some people even act like if you don't breast feed, you're a failure as a mom and you don't love your babies.

Don't even go there with me. Don't. Even. Motherhood is not a contest, and anyone who makes it so needs professional help.

I did breast feed, but it's definitely not for everyone, and it's not always easy or comfortable. How well I remember the blocked milk ducts, cracked nipples, and pumping. Oh, no. Pumping. A friend loaned me her very awesome breast pump that worked great, but I cannot tell you how much I felt like a cow hooked up to that thing. My husband would walk in on me while I was pumping, and I would look up at him with my big brown eyes and say, "Mooooo."

In a very sad voice.

That's why every time I look at the Papertrey stamp set called On the Farm and see the cow silhouette, I think of breast pumps and get sad. So of course, I wanted to make a congratulations on your new baby card with this set, because I am weird and strange and probably need professional help.

But I couldn't make the baby card with the cow. Oh, no.

Not the cow.

The End

PS There is no bling because it's a choking hazard. Of course.

stamps: On the Farm (Papertrey)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: no breast pump needed!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Winter in August

My Christmas and winter stamp collection isn't inspiring me at the moment. No matter how hard I try, I just can't get excited about Christmas stamping, which is weird because in previous years, I'd already have made about 100 cards by now.

Today, I decided that I'm just not in the mood for making Christmas cards, and the best way to deal with this situation is to accept it and wait for the mood to strike. I've tried forcing myself to make quite a few..only three or four of which are worthy of being sent or donated to Operation Write Home. The rest are being disassembled and recycled.

Today's card is one of the survivors.

For those of you who are inspired to start winter cards now, here's a fun idea for you to chew on: the Kaleidacolor Blue Breeze spectrum pad.

What a great way to jazz up a simple large image...with a spectrum ink pad and--of course--a touch of bling!

BTW, thank you for all the comments on yesterday's post. Many of you brought up some interesting points, and if you decide to experiment further with other vertical-sentiment arrangements, please let me know and I'll share links here on the blog. This really is a fascinating design conundrum, with no easy or necessarily right answers...which makes it far more interesting than the average design situation!

stamps: A Muse
ink: Kaleidacolor blue breeze
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: rhinestone and Sharpie/Bic markers for color matching it

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Which Way?

Reader Jeanne sent me an email asking the following question:

"I am wondering if you care to weigh in on how one should place a sentiment vertically. Say, with the focal point a long flower on the left side of the card - should the sentiment be "facing" the flower or the right card edge? I have seen it both ways and wonder if there is a design standard of right or wrongness."

This set me to scratching my head, which isn't helpful at all. So I dashed to my craft space and made a couple of cards to test this conundrum.

Sentiment "facing" the stem

Sentiment "facing" right

I was fully prepared to pronounce strongly in favor of "facing the stem" simply because (for me) intuitively that makes the most sense. The letters have an implied ground on the stem, and by creating that relationship between the sentiment and the image, it should increase the unity of the card.

When I made these two cards, however, I found myself agnostic and unwilling to commit. The top version keeps your eye stationary on the card. That sort of static design can be fine, but I found it disconcerting in a card with so much going on. My eye wanted to move around, and the "facing" right card allows that.

Go figure. My least as far as the above layout is that either way works depending on whether you prefer unity or movement.

But of course I didn't stop there. I wondered if centering the image (and simplifying the whole thing) would make a difference. Again, I expected to like the "facing" the stem version better.

Again, I feel agnostic. It may be that the "facing" the stem version simply places the sentiment just a bit too high on the stem, but I have a hard time feeling strongly in favor of either version. The conflict of movement versus unity still stands, even in the simplified cards.

So, Joanne, I think it's just a matter of personal preference.

What do you think? Does one design principle--unity or movement--win out for you? Do you have a strong personal preference, or are you agnostic, too?

stamps: SU Summer Silhouettes, Clear and Simple (discontinued sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, corner rounder, Smooch, clear rhinestones colored with Copic and Sharpie markers

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Gratitude Campaign Gets a New Name

I have been asked by The Gratitude Campaign to change the name of my Gratitude Campaign, and I am happily complying. The sameness of the names honestly never even occurred to me since one focuses on the military and the other on honoring Thanksgiving with cards.

The Gratitude Campaign encourages respect for United States military personnel, and if you've been reading Simplicity for any length of time, you know my proud and patriotic commitment to our troops--past, present, and future. Y'all also know I was married to the military for 20 years of deployments, sacrifice, and unbelievable joy, and y'all know that I send cards to Operation Write Home and other groups that give cards to our troops. I am in full support of the work that The Gratitude Campaign organization does, and respect their right to protect their brand.

So let's all shift our thinking a bit and call my card-making challenge The Thanksgiving Crusade! After all, we're crusading to save the message of Thanksgiving amidst the rush-rush-rush of the busy holiday season.

The Thanksgiving Crusade.

I like it. And I can't find any websites with that name or url, so hopefully we won't step on any more toes. I don't make money off this blog thing, so hiring a lawyer isn't in the budget!

Here's my first card to be listed under The 2013 Thanksgiving Crusade. It's for all the kraft-lovers out there. I know. I used kraft on white, which is sort of cheating, but seriously, I love the contrast, especially with the white-and-orange baker's twine!

Remember to link up your Thanksgiving Crusade cards HERE.  You will also see last year's cards on that same page. Just scroll down for some lovely inspiration!

stamps: Hero Arts (November), Papertrey First Fruits
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey kraft, white
accessories: Doodlebug baker's twine, dimensionals, scallop scissors to round the corners of the raised panel

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gratitude Campaign 2013

This year's Gratitude Campaign is officially rolling! As companies release their holiday stamps, think about buying a new set or two for Thanksgiving. I plan on it!

Today's card uses a new-to-me ink pad, the Kaleidacolor Cappuccino Delight. What a great spectrum of colors for autumn-themed cards!

To get the wonderful watercolor effect--and shimmer you might not see in the photo--I inked up the swish stamp (from Papertrey's Watercolor Wonder set) with the Cappuccino Delight ink, spritzed with a bit of Glimmer Mist (Diamond Dazzle), let it sit for a few seconds, and then stamped.

The results of this technique are loose and squishy...the edges of the image will be messy looking, and every time you do this, it will turn out slightly different.

Tips for Using Kaleidacolor Ink Pads
1. Use the sliding lever to push the pads as close together as possible before use. (Don't forget to separate them when you're finished to prevent excessive bleeding between the different colors!)

2. Ink the stamp by pressing it repeatedly on the pad. Each time you lift the stamp off the pad, shift the stamp slightly left or right to blend the colors. Otherwise, you'll end up with distinct lines between each color of the spectrum rather than an actual spectrum.

3. Practice using the pad on scrap paper first to get the hang of blending.

4. Spritzing the inked stamp with plain water or a shimmery mist product will help the blending of the colors.

5. These pads work great with brayers, so if you're inking a really large stamp, it's probably best to load a brayer with ink and then use the brayer to ink the stamp. That way you'll get a nice, smooth blend of colors and coverage much more easily.

And that's all I have to say about that!

The InLinkz Collection for the 2013 Gratitude Campaign will be up on my Gratitude Campaign page shortly. Remember that you may post any gratitude/thanksgiving card you need not be just one layer OR even simple. I'm leaving up last year's collection as well, so you can find lots of inspiration there!

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits, Watercolor Wonder
ink: Kaleidacolor Cappuccino Delight
paper: PTI white
accessories: Glimmer Mist

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Card by Audrie Magno-Gordon

Guess what gorgeousness I received in the mail?

THIS gorgeousness:

My friend Audrie sent this to me. (Check out her wonderful blog HERE. She even does videos!) I wish I could post the envelope as well, because it was beautifully stamped and written, too. I tried to blur the addresses on the photo, and ended up making a mess and gave up. But really, Audrie pays attention to every last detail of card and envelope. Beautifully.

Inside the card are the loveliest, kindest words of encouragement and sweetness I can ever remember receiving for my art. This card is right in front of me when I sit at my craft table, carefully placed on my cork board so no pin holes will damage it.

Thank you, Audrie, for sharing your wonderful art with me, and for your kindness, and for the inspiring sentiment. Creativity does take courage.

Thank you, Audrie, from the bottom of my heart!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three Things

1. I love lime green. It's just such a happy color! And when I made the kraft bag card, I liked the bag insert so much I decided to make a card based just on it, sans kraft bag. Here it is:

Oh how bright and cheery! Plus, it uses more baker's twine. After buying six or seven colors of baker's twine a year ago, I probably need to use some of it, don't you think?

The flowers were off-stamped and huffed to create two-toned lime using SU's old discontinued Green Galore. The corners of the panel are rounded slightly with scallop scissors, and the bling filled in white space that seemed a little too empty. Bling is good.

2. Don't forget about the One-Layer Wednesday coming up tomorrow! It's going to be on Ardyth's blog, and it's a great one!!!

3. I've been ruminating on your many suggestions for Christmas inspiration, and while I'm still feeling uninspired, I have a plan. I'm going through ALL my supplies, cleaning out, purging those things that have sat unused for far too long. Handling my stuff--all of it--has helped me get inspired in the past, plus it reminds me of ALL that I have to work with. What a surplus of blessings!

Anyway, eventually, I'll work my way to the stamps and plan to move a bunch of the over-used and no-longer-inspiring Christmas sets to basement storage. It's definitely time for some new holiday stamps, and I'll bet shopping for them will get me inspired.

In the meantime, I'm using Pinterest and blogs to get some holiday inspiration.

If the holiday crafting mojo still doesn't return and I end up buying cards this year, that will be just fine. The holidays should be about love and celebration, not frustration and stress. Mostly, my stamping is love and celebration, but if I can't get there this year, the world won't stop spinning.

At least, that's what I tell myself.

stamps: Papertrey Floral Frenzy, Signature Greetings
ink: SU green galore, Memento rich cocoa
paper: PTI white
accessories: baker's twine, dimensionals, rhinestones

Monday, August 12, 2013

Clean and Krafty Thanks

Thank you all for your suggestions relating to Christmas cards on this post...and the personal emails. Y'all are wonderful, you know.

A few weeks ago, I saw the small kraft bags in my neutral embellishment drawer and thought, "I need to do something with one of those." So I did.

Kraft and baker's twine are a match made in heaven. Add crisp white and lime, and you've got a truly happy combination!

To give the flimsy bag a bit of substance, I mounted it on a scrap of card stock slightly smaller than the bag. That way, I could pop it up on the card. In hindsight, I probably could have just used a bunch of dimensionals or some dimensional tape...the stiff card stock makes the bag hard to open for inserting the file card. Not impossible, just awkward.

I used scallop scissors to round the corners slightly for a more finished look.

This card was hand-presented to a friend at church who blessed me excessively after I helped her with a delightful problem...deciding how to handle/pick/make her daughter's wedding invitations! We decided that purchasing printed invitations was pretty economical and easy, and making them would cost about the same. I didn't do anything except consult! Seriously, that hardly warrants a hefty gift card to a craft store, but that's what she did.

Happy Monday!

stamps: Papertrey Floral Frenzy, Mega Mixed Messages, Signature Greetings
ink: SU green galore (off-stamped for lighter shade on the flowers), Memento dark cocoa
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: kraft bag (Michael's), dimensionals, baker's twine, Fiskar's tab punch, scallop scissors, mini scallop scissors (for trimming the kraft bag)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

OLW152 Again and a Christmas Card Dilemma

Here's another card for the OLW152 Gratitude Campaign Kick-off!

This card required a bit of surgery. I sliced off about a half inch from the bottom when the proportions looked off. The design looks much better on a shorter, longer-looking card.

I love large pearls, but they are hard to use on cards because of the, um, big-ness of them. Talk about lumpy-bumpy! But the graduated colors here are too cool, and besides, I can hand-deliver this one to its recipient, thus making the thickness irrelevant.

Don't forget to get started on your Gratitude Campaign cards! Your friends and family aren't going to thank themselves, you know!

And now for the dilemma. While I've had no problem pulling out my Thanksgiving/Fall sets and playing happily, I'm finding that my Christmas stamp collection just isn't inspiring me at all. Even the new sets I bought last year are falling flat for me. I made four of the ugliest Christmas cards ever this morning. It's a drag.

I suspect in the next few months, I might find some really fun sets to buy (Hero Arts has a few coming out that are calling my name), but I'm almost wondering if a major purge of my holiday collection is necessary. I'm thinking about taking most of them and putting them in storage for a while.

What do YOU do to keep inspired year after year for Christmas? Please share!!!!

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits
ink: Versacolor pinecone
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Hero Arts half pearls

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Sometimes, I forget I have a bunch of alphabet stamp sets. When I scrapped a lot, those sets saw LOTS of use, but now, they sit, forlorn and forgotten. Yet they can work so well on cards!

Yesterday, you got Thanksgiving, and today, you get Christmas.

Does Susan know it's August?

Yes. Yes, she does. But we'll all be addressing Christmas cards soon enough. Anyone else notice how time is speeding up? Let's develop a pseudo-scientific conspiracy theory about that and let it go viral on the interwebs.

Or not.

Perhaps there are too many pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories out there already.

This card will be easy to mail. I'm lovin' flat Christmas cards (though a bit of bling always makes me happy). We include a dreaded Christmas letter and (for some recipients) school pictures of the boys, so Christmas card envelopes bulk up quickly. Flat can be good, and a happy red-and-white color combination always looks festive. Candy canes, and all that.

I read somewhere recently that CAS cards take less time than embellished cards. This card took at least 30 minutes and one trashed effort. Guess if I made embellished and layered cards, it would take me a week to make just one.

But really, what difference does it make how much time something takes to create? Beautiful is beautiful. Savor the creation of it. You're not punching the clock.

Or perhaps you should punch the clock. Literally. Then maybe time would slow down again and be like it was when I was a kid waiting for Christmas.

Back then, time was molasses-in-winter slow.

Now, the only time that time is slow is when I'm waiting for the coffee to brew.

stamps: Hero Arts (all discontinued)
ink: SU real red
paper: Papertrey
accessories: stamp positioner

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OLW152: The 2013 Gratitude Campaign Kick-off (Edited)

Edited ANNOUNCEMENT: The Gratitude Campaign has a new name...The Thanksgiving Crusade. We will be using this name going forward. Sorry for any confusion!

Note: I have a photo of the last available for-sale box, in case you're interested. Just click here.

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge kicks off the 2013 Gratitude Campaign!

For newcomers to Simplicity, the Gratitude Campaign is my attempt to rescue Thanksgiving from being lost between the commercialism of Halloween and Christmas. Every year, Target dedicates multiple aisles to Halloween, but Thanksgiving usually just gets an end-cap.

For many people, Thanksgiving is about gorging on turkey and pie, watching football and parades, and taking a food-coma nap. But it was established to give everyone a chance to give thanks for the blessings of life...something we simply don't do often enough.

What better way to celebrate our blessings at Thanksgiving than to give thanks to those people who make our lives blessed? Giving a card is such a small thing, but the words you write of gratitude and appreciation can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Canada's Thanksgiving comes earlier than the US Thanksgiving, so we're starting the 2013 Campaign in plenty of time for my Canadian friends to get cards made. But you don't have to live in a country that formally celebrates Thanksgiving to have your own celebration any time of the year.

If you don't have a formal Thanksgiving, I invite you to join us on October 13 (Canada) or November 28 (USA). Send out cards to those people who deserve to know how much you appreciate them!

They'll feel great, and so will you!!!

To kick this off, let's all make a one-layer Gratitude Campaign card.

Appropriate sentiments include anything expressing thanks...from a simple Thank You to a formal Happy Thanksgiving to something more elaborate, like a quotation or saying. Images may be traditional fall/Thanksgiving images, or something else entirely. Our friends Down Under, for instance, might prefer using spring images rather than fall images.

What matters in this challenge is the sentiment of gratitude/Thanksgiving!

Here's my card:

You might recognize this stamp and layout from an earlier card, but here the card gets an autumnal color scheme and some nice, big dots of orange and olive Smooch. If you're interested in the design, please note that by mixing the colors of the dots, the visual interest of the design is higher, and bling is no longer necessary, as it was on the all-lavender version.

OLW152 Rules
1. A one-layer card is defined as a single layer of card stock folded in half. No other layers allowed! Please keep embellishments to a minimum.

2. Make a card expressing your gratitude for someone special in your life. The words and images may be suitable for traditional Thanksgiving, or you may improvise as you like!

3. Upload your card on the internet and link to it using the OLW152 InLinkz button on the sidebar of this blog. If you're linking to a blog post, please link to the specific post...not to the blog's main page.

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

Please Note: When the OLW152 Challenge is over, I will activate an InLinkz collection on the Gratitude Campaign page of this blog, so you may continue to link to your gratitude cards all the way to November 28. After the challenge, of course, you may make multi-layered cards and link to them, but for this week, we're focusing on One-Layer Cards...of course!

stamps: Hero Arts (tree) Waltzingmouse (sentiment)
ink: Ancient Page sepia
paper: PTI white
accessories: Smooch, corner rounder

Monday, August 5, 2013

Will This Qualify?

Ardyth's OLW challenge from last Wednesday is Speechless: make a card without a sentiment.

Well, I don't know if this quite qualifies, but I tried to make a speechless card with speech bubbles because, I don't know, I'm weird that way. The question is, will the "xoxo" count as a sentiment, or is it just a symbol for kisses and hugs?

Only Ardyth may decide....

What sayeth you, Judge Ardyth?

stamps: Hero Arts Speech Bubbles, Year Round Sentiments
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: corner rounder, heart-shaped rhinestone

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Inspired by Cristina Kowalczyk and Others

The latest special issue of Papercrafts is all about birthdays, and this card by Cristina Kowalczyk really stood out for me, for obvious reasons.

One-layer perfection! I just love the colors and her use of pearls. But then, Cristina is brilliant anyway...just click on her name and take a look at her CAS-lovin' blog.

Several other cards in the magazine spotlighted brackets, which reminded me that I have an EK Success label punch that includes brackets, and somehow the idea of Cristina's card and brackets merged in my head to form this:

Sweet! I added the outline heart because the sentiment needed a little something-something balance it on the upper right.

Gluing the brackets posed a problem. Those are so thin that they flex, and lining them up on the card required using a quilting ruler laid on the top for alignment and spacing. Felt a little like I was doing brain surgery, which is silly but true.

This card would not have been possible without the inspiration of Cristina's fun and colorful birthday card, so many, many thanks, Cristina!

stamps: Papertrey Signature Greetings, Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white, SU real red
accessories: Memento markers, EK Success bracket and label punch, glue pen

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Evolution of Embellishment

I've posted a couple of grab boxes for sale HERE, if you are interested.

 Cards sometimes evolve. I have an idea that almost works, so the design gets tweaked until it does work. Today's card had a very basic design with no need for improvement, but the embellishment needed to evolve a little from the original idea.

Here's the first version, which used dots of Smooch to embellish the tree.

Here's a close-up of the shimmery goodness of the Smooch.

Now, there was nothing wrong with this card, but it felt--and looked--a little flat. So I kicked it up a notch with rhinestones. Because bling makes everything better!

That little touch of dimension with seven carefully placed rhinestones really livens up the card, don't you think?

And yes, it took me ten minutes to decide how to place the rhinestones. I have issues.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: Smooch, rhinestones, Copic marker to color them, corner rounder