Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Simplicity Christmas: The Challenge, a Notebook, and a Give-Away

This is my first post on crafting for the holidays. Over the next few months, I also plan to write some general holiday posts on my other blog Questioning my Intelligence and some Bible-based posts on my blog Transforming Common Days, for those who are interested.

The Challenge
The holidays are a hectic time. (statement of the obvious)

We want to enjoy peaceful holidays, but the rush and hurry and mile-long to-do lists leave us too exhausted to enjoy anything. (irony)

The expense of it all worries us and seems to grow each year no matter how we try to control our budgets. (Consumerism 101...who signed us up for this class?)

Happy Holidays! (more irony)

The first year I made Christmas cards, I decided to mass-produce a simple, embossed card with a single bow accent. Half-way through the embossing and before I'd tied the first bow, I said out loud so my husband could hear, "This is so boring!"

George replied, "So don't do it. I thought crafting was supposed to be fun."

"But I've already cut the card stock and ribbon," I whined.

"So what?" he shot back. "It's only paper and ribbon. You can use it for other stuff later."

He's mine. You can't have him.

Of course our crafting is supposed to be fun, though sometimes we could all use a reminder of this simple fact. For the vast majority of us, crafting is a hobby, a way to unwind after a busy day and a creative way to express ourselves freely and with the joyful abandon of small children.

Handcrafting should never be anything less than fun.

So if you're not having fun crafting or baking or decorating or wrapping gifts during the holidays, don't do those things. The world will NOT stop spinning if we send out store-bought cards or only put up a tiny table-top tree or don't hang lights outside our houses or don't bake a single cookie or plop gifts into pretty gift bags.

If our handcrafted Christmas doesn't fill us with joy, what's the point of it?

Your crafty challenge this season, should you choose to accept it, is to simplify your celebration to have all the fun without so much stress.

For some of you, this might mean no craftiness at all...a burden lifted! For others, it might mean doing everything crafty you've ever done before and more, but with greater intention and more joy. The rest of us will fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

A Notebook
Start your intentional Christmas planning with a Christmas notebook. You may use a pretty blank book like I do (I use this one), pick up a cheap spiral notebook at the grocery store, or create a file on your computer, tablet, or smart phone. The point is to have a single place where you keep your ideas and notes together from year to year.

Your Christmas notebook will be the place you plan your gift-giving, your crafting, your decorating. After the holidays, go back over your notes and write comments in the margins. "This didn't work." "Do this instead next year." "This was fun!" "Try doing it this way next time." "Never, ever buy the white wrapping paper at Hobby isn't opaque!" After several years of reflecting on what worked and what didn't, you'll feel much more confident about navigating the holidays and see solutions you might never have discovered otherwise.

For example, my boys enjoy making sugar plums, which are large marshmallows dipped in chocolate coating and sprinkles. We put them on lollipop sticks and wrap them with cello bags to give as gifts to other children and teachers. When we first started doing this, the boys were very small, and the job of tying on the cello bags fell to me. I tried using string, ribbon, and curly ribbon three years in a row, and each year, I noted that this was incredibly boring and time-consuming for 40-50 sugar plums and not much fun after all the fun of making the pretty things.

After re-reading my notes the fourth year, I saw a package of red pipe cleaners at Hobby Lobby and had an epiphany. Now, I cut the pipe cleaners into thirds, string a medium-size jingle bell on a piece, and use that to seal the bags. It's such a small thing, but it makes a big difference in that task of making sugar plums. If I hadn't re-read my notes before going shopping for the supplies, however, I never would have remembered how boring the chore was or thought to look for alternatives.

Your Christmas notebook is also an excellent place to comment on what you choose NOT to do for the holidays. If you decide not to put up outside lights this year, for instance, you can evaluate how that affected you and your family. If no one noticed the lack, make a note of that. If your kids cried Christmas Eve when they noticed the lights weren't up, make a note. If you felt that Christmas was not as bright for you without the lights, write it down. Your notes will help in planning for next year.

Remember that you won't remember anything unless you write it down!

A Give-Away
I made the mistake of buying two Copic Markers (G43, G46) that I already have, so I'm going to give them away to some lucky random person who comments on this post before Sunday, November 3, 2013, at midnight, Eastern Standard Time. Just share with us what first steps you're going to take to make this a simpler, less stressful holiday season for yourself and your family.

Oh, and here's a card for today...a simple little Christmas card!

stamps: Papertrey assorted
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: Smooch red for ornaments, Corner Chomper

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Home Is Where the Fleas Are


The fleas.

I may never get to stamp again because the war against the fleas is not going so well. Oh, how the time spent on this is getting truly out of hand! But you don't want to hear about that, so here's a happy little card about a home with no fleas.

I made this card for Operation Write Home (hence the patriotic color scheme) using the wonderful set Home Sweet Home from Dare 2B Artzy. I love the combination of straight lines and curvy swirls. So very pretty!

I combined the tallest, skinniest bird house in the set with the short, wide "Home" and brought the two together with the underline of " where the heart is." Putting all three so close together unifies the card nicely, I think.

And now I'm off to kill more fleas. Wish me luck.

stamps: Dare 2B Artzy Home Sweet Home
ink: VersaColor or VersaMagic, not sure which
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: none

Monday, October 28, 2013

Shimmery Christmas Cards

Today's cards are a trio of Christmas simplicity that may become mass-produced if I don't get my butt in gear and make more Christmas cards.

These three cards use two different clear sets from Hero Arts: Merry Christmas Trees for the sentiment and Swirl Christmas for the images. The images are accented with tiny metallic half beads, but those are optional. Never underestimate the power of swirly, pretty images! These stamped in the shimmer of the Brilliance ink really do stand nicely all by themselves.

I'm loving the Dew Drop metallic Brilliance inks and the pearlescent thyme and poppy. The metallics especially are over-inked, however, so I use an old fake credit card from junk mailings to scrape off the excess and then smoosh it back into the pad when I finish. It's annoying and messy, but I imagine these over-inked pads will last a good, long time.

On another, somewhat related note...I'm contemplating what I want to say about Christmas and crafting, and it's still rather disjointed and incoherent. I'll get there. Just know I haven't forgotten about it.

stamps: Hero Arts Merry Christmas Trees, Swirl Christmas
ink: Brilliance
paper: Papertrey White
accessories: metallic half beads

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gift Set

A friend of mine moved from Ohio to Alaska, so I gave her a gift set of cards. This very gift set.

Here are a couple of close-ups.

On her first weekend in Anchorage, a bear crossed the intersection in front of Sam's Club ahead of her.

She's going to need more than flowers.

The end.

stamps: Gina K Designs
ink: VersaColor
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: a clear box to hold the cards and envelopes

Friday, October 25, 2013

OLW163--Orange You Glad You Played Along

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is hosted by the ever-creative Karen! It's Orange You Glad You Played Along...use the color orange on your card! Now, y'all know I used to hate orange but it's grown on me (like a fungus) and now I absolutely love it. So here's a Thanksgiving Crusade card with shades of orange on it!

My card uses a Kaleidacolor pad and an old, old, old Hero Arts shadow stamp, combined with an even older leaf from PSX and a sentiment from this year's purchase of last year's Grateful for You set from Waltzingmouse. How's that for working across vendors?

Click on over to Karen's blog and play along, why doncha?

stamps: PSX, Hero Arts, Waltzingmouse
ink: Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Thursday, October 24, 2013

More Trapped White Space Put to Good Use

Yesterday's post showed just how little it takes to make the large center of this flower stamp by Clearly Besotted interesting. Of course there are LOTS of options for filling that space, including punched plain or glitter card stock, vellum, Stickles, all sorts of coloring mediums, and the one I plan on trying next--flock!

But today's post shows how trapped white space can actually become the point of the whole card.

This very clean and simple card was made for Operation Write Home. I remember that this is what it feels like when your loved one is the center of your life is missing. I suspect it feels much the same way for the troops who are deployed. There's a big hole in the middle of their lives where their loved ones should be.

This flower was surprisingly easy to cut out, and I punched the hole with a 3/4" punch. By popping the flower up, shadows emphasize the hole nicely.

And now you are free to color in and do whatever you wish with the middle of this flower stamp...just like the designers intended for you to do. ;-)

stamps: Clearly Besotted (You Are), Hero Arts (Year Round Sentiments)
ink: versacolor
paper: Papertrey ink white
accessories: dimensionals, scissors, circle punch

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Making Trapped White Space Work

When I bought the Clearly Besotted set called You Are, I knew the empty centers of the flowers would be fun to play with. Oh, the possibilities! They might even make me regret getting rid of most of my Flower Soft.

But I had no idea my epoxy dome stickers would fit so perfectly.

Happy sigh! Unless you do something with those "holes" in the flowers, they technically constitute trapped white space, which we all know is a bad thing in design, right? But while we've not changed the color of these holes, we have very much changed the texture of them. The rest of the design is clean lines and flat matte texture, but those shiny, slick domes pop right off the card!

The silver line brings a bit of shine to the matte base of the card and keeps everything light and bright.

Also note that the leaves and flowers are each arranged in visual triangles. Because, you know, triangles are good.

Of course.

stamps: Clearly Besotted (You Are), Hero Arts (Year Round Sentiments)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: clear epoxy dome stickers, silver metallic pen, ruler, post-its for masking

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mum's the Word

I love mums. In fact, I planted three bright yellow ones in my front yard before I learned I have allergies and shouldn't do such things. Whatever. They are beautiful and add a simple splash of color to our front entry that coordinates nicely with my fall sunflower wreath.

I do not, generally, love mum stamps...especially the ones aiming for a somewhat realistic depiction. They often look sort of odd to me, like there's just too much going on in the design. I can't imagine how hard it is to translate that little miracle of mother nature to rubber or photopolymer.

Papertrey hit it for me this year, however, with Mum's the Word. It's soft, curvy, and stylized. Those curves lend a sense of movement to the flowers, which is particularly nice. Here's my first card with it using a spectrum ink pad. So much fun!

The ink pad is rather juicy, so some of the detail of the stamps was lost, and the leaves look rather blotchy. At first, I was disappointed, but after staring at it for a bit, I rather liked the looseness of it. I'm looking forward to using VersaColor or VersaMagic inks with this set, though, as they should yield some very crisp and clean images!

Rounding the corners adds to the sense of movement. I wish I had something more cosmic to say about that, but really, that's all I've got.

Thanks for your comments about Christmas. Lots of good things to think about.

stamps: Papertrey Mum's the Word
ink: Kaleidacolor creole spice, cappuccino
paper: Papertrey Ink White
accessories: corner chomper (1/2" radius), dimensionals

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Thoughts on Coloring with Alcohol Markers

This is my second post today. Please scroll down for the post with the cards!

Long-time readers of Simplicity know that I'm not that into coloring outline images. Give me a block stamp and a bunch of ink pads, and I'm a happy stamper. Coloring is work, but as yesterday's post proves, it can be worthwhile.

Curious reader Diana asked for my thoughts on Copics, so here are some of my thoughts and advice and links to previous posts.

1. Copics are better than Sharpies and Bics, but only marginally in my admittedly limited experience. Copics blend slightly better and certainly come in a HUGE array of colors. They also come in lighter shades than Bics and Sharpies, which tend toward intense, bright colors. If you're not that into coloring or have limited funds for crafting, I highly recommend you do what I have done....

Buy a large multi-pack of Bics and/or Sharpies on sale at office supply stores, and then if you like coloring with them, purchase individual lighter shades of Copics to coordinate with the Sharpies and Bics for a broader range of shading options. You'll save a lot of money and get to play with coloring without feeling like you need to take out a loan.

2. If you want to see my tutorial post on coloring with Bics and Sharpies, click HERE.

3. If you want to see the color chart I made for my alcohol markers and read about how utterly insane I am, click HERE.

4. You can use your alcohol markers to color rhinestones any color you want. Bics seem to take a few minutes to dry, but Sharpies and Copics dry very, very quickly for me. You can also blend colors on the rhinestones. Too cool and helps justify the investment.

5. My favorite video tutorial on Copics is from Jennifer McGuire and you can watch it HERE. You'll immediately understand why it's my favorite video by the way she keeps pointing out that this isn't the "right" way to use Copics. "Right" ways are over-rated, don't you think? Quick and easy is usually best. At least, in my humble opinion. Plus, Jennifer totally rocks.

6. My favorite paper for using alcohol markers is Gina K Deluxe white in the heavy weight. It will not bleed through for one-layer cards AND it's nice and slick and the ink moves around on top of the paper. Coloring on my standard Papertrey works, but the paper soaks up a lot of ink and definitely bleeds through. If you're going to cut out colored images, though, use a lighter weight of card stock, because that heavy weight is a bear to cut out if there's any fussiness to the cutting at all.

7. I stamp my outline images in Memento Tuxedo Black. It won't bleed no matter how much alcohol ink you put on it.

And that is pretty much all I know about alcohol markers. Hope that helps!

Soft and Subtle Coloring

I'll admit that when I bought the Elegant Florals set from Gina K Designs, I bought it for the solid images, not the outlines. But of course, I have to use every image in the set before I can put it away with all my other stamps.

That's Stamp Rule #1 in the LateBlossom Craft Room: all new stamp images must be used before being stored with the rest of the stamps.

So I made a very simple trio of cards using each of the outline flowers in the set. Appropriately enough, they are made with Gina K's Deluxe White Card Stock...a lovely, coated card stock that will not bleed through no matter how much you color on it with Copics, Bics, or Sharpies!

The coloring was done with Copic markers...the very lightest shades I own of pink, purple, yellow, and green, with only hints of the next darkest shade.

The cards are folded on the left because I originally thought to wrap some ribbon around the left side, but once they were made, I decided against it. This simple layout works just fine without embellishment.

And let me say that the fonts of the sentiments work very well with the outline images. Elegant and readable. I like that.

Furthermore, it's a good thing I'm not a dude, because if I were to send that calla lily card to someone with that particular sentiment, it might seem a little naughty.

But then, I'm an English major.


stamps: Gina K Elegant Florals
ink: Memento
paper: Gina K Deluxe White
accessories: Copic markers

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Couple of Non-Holiday Cards and Some Talk about Simplicity and Christmas

How about a couple of birthday cards for today? They're made with Dare 2B Artzy's Eat More Cake set and represent my playing around with color and placement. One is, in my opinion, more successful than the other, even though I like them both.

The first card is fine, although I would like the candles and sentiment to be placed slightly closer together. The colors are fresh and fun citrus and perfect for a summer birthday, don't you think? But analogous color schemes (three in a row on the color wheel) can be a little flat if there's not something for contrast (such as black). Note that the first and last candles are lime, just like the sentiment, to create a better sense of unity for the design. The flames are accented with yellow Stickles.

The next card has a much more successful layout.

Adding the bow to the sentiment as if it were a wrapped present is much more unifying and visually interesting than the row of candles. The colors are essentially complementary (opposites on the color wheel), which gives a huge amount of pop to them. Also, taking advantage of the rule of thirds and placing the whole design on the 1/3rd line at the bottom of the card adds interest and stability.

At least, that's how I read the two cards. You might have a different opinion!

And Now for Some Holiday Talk

I'm a hypocrite.

You see, I posted a Christmas card for Friday, but Saturday morning at JCPenney I ranted to my son about how retailers start the holidays too soon.

"Maybe they're just trying to draw out the holiday spirit, Mom."

"No, Nick. They are trying to sell stuff. Lots of stuff. And they want you to start buying Christmas presents right now, hide them, forget about them, and buy more the day after Thanksgiving."


"Yes, really."

Holiday cynicism. It's justified.

Of course, in making holiday cards early, there's no sinister ulterior motive...I'm simply trying to prevent a last-minute panic of having to make 120 or so cards in a rush at the busiest time of the year. Been there, done that, not a lot of fun.

But some of you, I know, can't stand seeing Christmas cards on blogs this early. You either don't make holiday cards, or mass-produce them at some point closer to the holiday, or have really short lists of people you send cards to and don't fret about it as I do. You feel like I did at JC Penney. Or at Hobby Lobby in July when the Christmas stuff started appearing there. I get that. And I'm sorry.

Now, since I became a mommy, I've been rushing from one crisis to another as they pop up in my life. I just sent a whole pile of birthday cards for October late, for instance. Oh, the cards were made months in advance, but I didn't send them out until late. I'm human and forgetful and distracted and hate myself, but there you have it.

Christmas, however, usually gets more planning...and this makes my AR/OC self happy.

By the middle of November, I'm usually finished making cards and turn my focus to making some larger crafty items (teacher gifts and such) and tracking down addresses of people who have moved. After Thanksgiving, I start shopping for gifts and decorating my house, the family goes to a tree farm to chop down our own tree, and I start writing my Advent posts for Questioning my Intelligence.

In other words, I'm fairly organized when it comes to Christmas. Since 2004, I have kept a Christmas planning journal...just started volume two this year. I read back over it to remind myself where I've gone wrong before, and of tips I found that were really helpful.

What I have learned from this journal is that most of what we stress over is pretty pointless. The holidays should be a time of joy and love and peace and happiness and celebration. Anything that keeps us from feeling that joy is unnecessary baggage.

This Christmas, things are changing somewhat. With my recent diagnosis of specific allergies, a lot of our d├ęcor will need to be reconsidered. A live tree? Is that any worse than a fake tree full of dust mites? I have the same allergic reaction to putting together a fake tree as I have to trimming a live one. What will we do this year?

After I decorated our new house last year, I was extremely dissatisfied with the results. Our decorations had looked great in the old house, with its 18-foot ceilings and balconies and showcase stairs, but here, in our one-story home with 9-foot ceilings and much darker decor, they were just too much. Too much garland, too many dusty old nick-knacks, too much clutter. I want a simpler, cleaner Christmas this year.

My sinuses will thank me for it. I hope.

So even though it's not yet Halloween and I hate the early commercialism of Christmas, I'm going to start sharing my thoughts and experiences with Christmas planning and our family's move toward a minimalist Christmas.

I'm going to focus on the following question: What is the least I must do to make this Christmas our most festive ever? In other words, where's the balance? It's time to evaluate what is really important and what we do because everyone else does or because we think we must or because we're trying to live up to other people's expectations or because it's what we've always done even if it's not exactly fun anymore.

It's time to be kind to ourselves this holiday season and not run ourselves ragged trying to do everything and be everything. And because I'm a Stephen Minister and think about these things, I'll also address things you can do (or not do) when you're having a very blue Christmas full of uncertainty, pain, grief, or fear.

I sincerely hope my thoughts and experiences help you find your own way to Christmas peace and joy this year, even if you're a maximalist sort of Christmas person. As usual, my advice is to be yourself...intentionally. Find your own balance, your own happy place in the holiday season. By sharing my intentional process, perhaps you will find your own more easily.

That would make me very happy, indeed!

PS I'm going to start using labels for posts again. I know at least one reader will be happy about it (yes, you, kegbo!). I will not go back and label past posts, but I will move forward using them. Or at least try.

stamps: Dare 2B Artzy Eat More Cake
ink: versacolor
paper: Papertrey
accessories: Stickles, rhinestone

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The One-Layer Wednesday challenge this week is over on Heather's Blog, and it's leaves!!!!

Here is a one-layer card with three (of course) leaves.

Three leaves, three large rhinestones, three tiny rhinestones, and one AWESOME sentiment.

Visual triangles are wonderful, aren't they?

Thanks for the great challenge, Heather!

Now, hop to it and make your own one-layer cards with leaves. And why not make them Thanksgiving Crusade cards while you're at it.

Just an idea.

stamps: Papertrey Fall Elegance
ink: Kaleidacolor cappuccino
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: assorted rhinestones

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Tree...Check It Out

I've shown several cards using Papertrey's new set Mighty Oak, and none of them has a tree on it.

Here you go. A Mighty Oak.

At first, I simply stamped the leaves onto the tree, but the effect was a little too flat, so I stamped three leaves onto scrap paper, cut them out, and popped them up. Two of the popped leaves are cut even with the edge of the card. Unfortunately, my close-up photo doesn't include the cut leaf edges for example.

Sorry about that. The close up is rather pointless, isn't it?

Whatever. I'm battling fleas and allergies. Please feel sorry for me!

Here's another tree. It's totally flat, but by using two different colors for the leaves, it is sufficiently interesting without popping anything up. Isn't that cool? I think so.

I like the warmer colors of the second card, too. The gray and red work great for winter cards, but for fall, not as much. At least to my eyes. I could be wrong. In fact, I probably am. But that's okay. I'm used to it.

And don't forget about the Thanksgiving Crusade! Canada has already celebrated Thanksgiving, but remember that Thanksgiving is not just a day of the year but a state of mind. Your homeland need not even celebrate a formal thanksgiving for you to celebrate a personal thanksgiving! Send out those cards expressing gratitude to those who have touched you in some wonderful way...large or small.

You'll feel better for it.

I'm definitely not wrong about that.

stamps: Papertrey Mighty Oak
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Playing with Mighty Oak

I already showed you that the leaves in Mighty Oak from Papertrey can make a lovely border on a card. There are quite a few different leaf designs in the set, some of which look pretty much like leaves and others of which are a little, well, different. I decided to put on my thinking cap and see what I could do with the different designs. The following two cards are the result!

One of the leaves happens to have some dotted swirls on them that made me think of water, so I used three shades of greeny-blue and made a very stylized ocean using the same border concept HERE but used horizontally across the bottom of the card.

Please ignore the fact that two of the waves go against the current.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the leaf that has a hole in the middle of it. Clearly it begged for some sort of bling, but it seemed like a bit of an odd design in the bunch. Then, I though maybe I could do some holiday streamers with it...and rather like how it turned out.

Whenever you get a stamp set with lots of variations in it, play around and see how you might use some of the odder ones. You just never know what you might come up with!

stamps: A Muse (just keep swimming), Hero Arts (Christmas sentiment), Papertrey Ink (leaves)
ink: VersaColor and Versamagic
paper: Papertrey
accessories: red nail heads

Monday, October 14, 2013

Need Me Some Peace

Life's gone a tad wackadoodle in the past five days. Found out I have some pretty significant allergies that need to be addressed immediately (including dust mites and dog, the second of which is pretty non-negotiable since Daisy is family and also a furry golden retriever). This means my washing machine has been running non-stop, as has my vacuum cleaner (which fortunately has a hepa filter). It's quite overwhelming.

Also, said dog is a sad dog because she has fleas.

I hate fleas.

I need peace. And also chemical warfare.

Like I said, wackadoodle.

So here's me some peace, courtesy of Papertrey's Snowflake Serenade.

The three snowflakes form a visual triangle and balance the lovely cursive peace sentiment. Shimmery Brilliance ink and clear rhinestones add some interest, as do the two rounded corners. This is a great card idea for someone who might not be having a very merry Christmas...say, someone who's lost a loved one or a job or is unwell.

Nothing feels quite as sad as getting cheerful cards when you're feeling blue.

And now I'm off to kill some more fleas. Wish me luck 'cause those pests are nasty!

stamps: Papertrey Snowflake Serenade
ink: Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder and rhinestones

Sunday, October 13, 2013

OLW161--Show Me Your Colors

This week's OLW, hosted by the oh-so-talented Cheryl, is to show your fall colors! I love fall colors, and they are becoming more prominent around my house as I type. Golds, greens, reds, oranges, browns flourish outside my windows. Such a gorgeous palette!

So here's my card, which uses a new acquisition from Papertrey called Might Oak. It's a fun set, surprisingly versatile!

The set comes with a LOT of leaves, all the same size but with different designs on each. The simple, clean shape of the leaves allows for easy borders with repeat stamping.

Note how unified the border is, despite the three different colors and different patterns on the leaves. That's because the leaf lines are staggered. The yellow and orange lines bulge into the narrow places on the green line, visually locking the three lines together.

But leaves don't fall in straight lines, do they? So to connect the sentiment to the border and to pay homage to the messiness of fall, I stamped a single, crooked leaf under the sentiment. I rather like the tension that creates on the card between clean and tidy design and the messy reality of fall, but then, I'm weird that way.

Click on over to Cheryl's blog and play along! The challenge will be open until Tuesday at midnight!

stamps: Papertrey Mighty Oak
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gridded acrylic block...a necessity when repeat stamping!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

For the Love of CAS

Don't forget to play along with Cheryl's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge this week!

During my little break from blogging, I've thought a lot about why I craft with paper, ink, and stamps, and why I blog about it. It's important, I think, to be intentional in what we do. That means periodically taking stock of our time and activities and determining if we are spending our time wisely and happily.

Clean-and-simple stamping makes me happy.

Blogging about clean-and-simple stamping makes me happy.  

Yep. I'm doing what I want to do.

I hope reading Simplicity makes you happy, even if you're not a clean-and-simple stamper. I hope there's value here for you. Thank you for reading.

Here's a card I made in June that needs to be shared. It represents everything I love about CAS style. It's just paper and ink...not even any bling. But the fresh color scheme and layout make it work for me.


Do you take stock of your crafting periodically? Do you intentionally move forward in your hobbies, or are you looser, more free and relaxed in your approach?

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: not a blessed one

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Taking a Little Break

Blogger isn't cooperating with me right now, and I've been feeling the need for a bit of a blogging break anyway. Back in a few days with some new cards and a refreshed creative spirit!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Guest Hostess at IC409!

I was so excited when Audrie asked me to be the guest hostess for IC409--Barnes and Noble!!! First of all, it's working with Audrie, who is a sweetie. Second, I "had" to peruse the Barnes and Noble website for inspiration, which was SUCH a hardship. That site is almost as good a Pinterest for card-making inspiration! Third, it gets me back on Splitcoast after a long absence. Yay!

I made three cards and will share them all here (product information in my SCS Gallery), but please click over to the IC409 gallery to see what others have done with the challenge, and soak in all the beauty!

Inspiration Source

Inspiration Source

Inspiration Source

Have a great World Card Making Day!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Back to the New Toy

Wow, I'm impressed so many of you ARE actually using your Pinterest boards. Of course, those of you like me who need a little nudging aren't speaking up. You feel shame. Unwarranted shame. Look at me. I'm not afraid to admit I am more into pinning than follow-through. Speak up! I'll not judge you, and if anyone does, tell me about it and I'll beat them up for you.

Figuratively speaking, of course. I don't support violence of any kind.

But perhaps it's time to move on....

Here are the remaining cards using my brand new EK Success tree punch and various techniques to show it off.

First, today, let's look at using Smooch to add shimmer.

I used the applicator that comes with the Smooch to put shiny ornaments on the tree, and then used Brilliance thyme ink for the sentiment for a little extra shimmer.

Next, a silver metallic pen gives frosty shine to the edges of the tree. This was added free-hand and was much easier than I expected it to be. Silver Brilliance ink for the sentiment perfectly matched the silver pen, by the way.

And finally, I tried a very different layout from all the previous cards. By placing the punched shapes on the edges of the card (in a visual triangle) and trimming the overhanging edges, I added a lot of interest...not to mention fitting three trees on one card and still maintaining a substantial amount of white space.

So the next time you're wondering what to do with a die cut or punched shape, remember the options on this post and my previous post, and start playing with your stuff. Who knows what sort of goodness you'll come up with?

stamps: various Papertrey and Hero Arts
ink: Memento and Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Smooch, metallic pen (PrismaColor), EK Success tree punch, dimensionals

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One-Layer Wednesday #160: Use Your Pins

(Please note that if you're reading this in email, there's another post after this one!)

Welcome to One-Layer Wednesday #160!

This week, we're going to try something wild and crazy...we're going to ACTUALLY USE OUR PINTEREST BOARDS!!! That's right. Many of you are pinning like mad and never looking at the pins again, right?

Please tell me I'm not alone.

Right? I cannot possibly be alone in this.

You can confide in me. I promise not to tell.

Confession is good for the soul.

OLW160 is your chance to use your boards and make a one-layer card inspired by something you see there. It could be a color combination, a layout, a technique, a theme, a style, an embellishment...whatever sparks a card!

Some of you may ask, "But, Susan, what if I don't use Pinterest?"

For those of you who have the moral fortitude to resist that time-wasting website, please feel free to use MY BOARDS for inspiration. You'll find lots and lots to choose from because I am a certified expert at wasting my time pinning.

The pin I chose for my inspiration is from my Pure Inspiration board. Here's the picture:


I love how the black and white color scheme is given a punch of yellow-green by a single pillow. So I applied that scheme to several cards, using a fabulous yet discontinued Hero Arts shadow stamp for the hit of color.

Oh how fun!

Now, here are the rules.

OLW160 Rules

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

2. Make a card inspired either by your own boards on Pinterest or by something on my boards here.

3. Upload your card somewhere on line, and in the description, include a link to the inspiration Pin. Then link to your upload using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

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

stamps: Papertrey Mendhi Medallions, Birthday Basics, Mighty Oak; Gina K Elegant Florals; Hero Arts discontinued shadow stamp
ink: VersaColor black, Memento Pear Tart
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Under the Wire on OLW159

This is an extra post, off-schedule, sort of like me!!!

Last Wednesday's OLW159 challenge was on Karen's blog HERE. The challenge is a free for all...pick whatever theme you want and go for it. How can I not play along?

I've had kind of a hard week, with some bad headaches and such, but I wanted to get a card in for Karen's challenge anyway. So here it is, a special Thanksgiving Crusade card for my sweetheart...a card that will make its way into his lunchbox sometime next month.

I'm LOVIN' all that white space!!!!!

Thinking about Karen's challenge reminded me that I am supposed to do this week's OLW challenge. It's amazing what a migraine pushes out of your head. So glad I remembered and will schedule the post for tonight at midnight.

And thank goodness my week is an even number. Being responsible for another odd-numbered challenge might give me another migraine.

Or perhaps I'm being a little too OCD.

stamps: Papertrey Falling Leaves
ink: Kaleidecolor spectrum Cappuccino
paper: Papertrey White
accessories: brown rhinestones