Friday, October 31, 2014

Making Holiday Cards with Alphabet Stamps

Whenever you're stuck for inspiration, just create your own challenge. After spending a week showcasing cards with the thank you sentiments from a single set, I'm now setting my sights on making Christmas cards with alphabet stamps.

Here's my first effort, using an alphabet from Hero Arts and a sprig of holly from Clearly Besotted.

This color combo of traditional red and green with a little lime thrown in was inspired by a photo in a BH&G Christmas magazine.

My original intent with the holly was to put just two berries to make a trema (or umlaut) over the e. But I stamped the holly just a smidge too high, and it looked odd with the two the holly was floating above the letter rather than related to it. There was room for the third berry, though, so I added it. Design-wise, it's definitely better with the third berry, and who's going to be a stickler really? Many people fret when the trema is missing altogether, and others don't understand the fuss.

I'm implying a trema, and if that's not good enough for someone, I'll make sure not to send the card to him or her!

Feeling both inspired and sassy on this gloomy Friday morning.

stamps: Hero Arts, Clearly Besotted
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: red rhinestones

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Making a Bibliophile Christmas Tree


It's just around the corner.

Time to get crafting.

Last year, I put up a 7' slim artificial tree in our finished basement and decorated it entirely with paper ornaments. Over the years, I've made a variety of paper ornaments and tiny little books, and several people have sent me paper ornaments as gifts, so the tree had plenty on it and made me happy every time I went downstairs during the holidays.  (I spend a lot of time downstairs and positioned the tree so I could see it from my craft desk.)

That tree was so satisfying, in fact, that I've decided to buy a somewhat smaller artificial tree to decorate with a more specific theme than just "paper ornaments." It's going to be a Bibliophile Tree! All things bookish will make there way onto this tree. The possibilities are endless...from more tiny books, to bookmarks, to stamped scenes of books, to library cards and pockets, to writing implements (feathers, too!), to ornaments made out of old books (yes, I will cut up old books when they are bought expressly for that purpose!).

And here are the first ornaments I've made for the new tree. Aren't they delightful?!?!

Here's another picture of them on a green background.

Which photo do you like better? The ornaments pop better on the green, but y'all know how much I like white.

Anyway, these were made with Papertrey's All Booked Up set. And yes, I used eyelets! Wow. Haven't used those in forever. But they do finish off the holes for the strings so nicely, don't you think?

Of course you do.

So, do you have themed trees in your home for the holidays? What sort of themes? Do you change them up every year or stick with one theme year after year? Inquiring minds...and all that.

Please share!

stamps: Papertrey All Booked Up
ink: Hero Arts red royal, VersaMagic tea leaves
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: white eyelets, small circle hole punch, eyelet setter and hammer, string, corner rounder

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Silver and Gold Christmas

So far, TiaraHelen is the only one to have put a suggestion on yesterday's post. Thanks, Helen! I hope more of you will take the time to read the post and share your ideas.

In the meantime, here's a little silver and gold for Christmas, courtesy of Brilliance gold and Hero Arts soft silver!

I tried making a CAS collage-style card using an angel image on the front as well (inspired by a card in the Hero Arts mini catalog from earlier this year). But that card didn't turn out well at all. Left with an extra stamped angel, I decided to put her inside the more successful (and far less collage-y) card!

To make the card, I cut a mask out of copy paper and stamped the A Muse music sheet background in soft silver. Then, I edged the sentiment and angel panels (stamps by PSX) with a silver metallic pen (PrismaColor). The stars were punched out of shimmery gold card stock.

There's more going on here than I generally use, but it's a pretty card that's perfect for someone on my Christmas card list!

stamps: PSX, Hero Arts
ink: Brilliance, Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic pen, ruler, dimensionals, star punches

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Season of Hope

This will be the fourth year our Stephen Ministry group has handed out paper-craft ornaments during Advent. For those who don't know, Stephen Ministry provides one-on-one, confidential care for people who are hurting. There are currently Stephen Ministry groups in over 12,000 congregations world-wide and in over 180 denominations. Our church, First United Methodist of Springboro, has been a Stephen Ministry congregation for over six years.

At Christmas, people who are suffering grief, loss of a job, divorce, illness, or any number of other problems often feel even more isolated and lonely than in other seasons. The joy of the season highlights their lack of joy, painfully.

During worship service one Sunday in Advent, our Stephen group gives a presentation and hands out ornaments as a reminder to the congregation of our responsibility as Christians to reach out to those who are hurting in whatever way we can. We also remind them that Stephen Ministers are here to help, too. If they or someone they know might benefit from having a formal caring relationship with a trained Stephen Minister, we invite them to talk with us or our pastor. No one should suffer alone.

I'm pretty much the only crafty member of our group (one lady scraps, but she doesn't stamp), and over the years, my design for our ornaments has become increasingly, ahem, basic. Y'all know I intensely dislike mass-production, even for an amazingly awesome cause. This year, I found some ready-made tags at Marco's Paper, bought 250 of them, and set to work designing our easiest ornament yet.

I'll admit I'd be happier if the tags were white, but hey, they don't even require cutting and tying on strings (you'd be surprised the complaining I heard last year regarding that step!).

This year, our presentation will be on Advent's first Sunday...the Sunday we light the Candle of Hope on the Advent wreath. I stamped the tags with an old Impression Obsession alphabet and Brilliance cosmic copper ink. The verse we're putting on the back of each ornament is Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favorites:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future."

What a lovely, comforting thought. I'll write a speech to go along with that and post it on my other blog (transforming common days) that Sunday.

We're printing the verses on Avery address labels and attaching them to the back of the tags. One of the Stephen Ministers volunteered to help with that...she's nicely OCD and will put them on straight!

I cannot begin to tell you the amazing ripples sent out by this small thing. We have people ask for extras to send to their family and friends who are grieving or who have some other challenge in their lives. We have at least a few referrals to start new caring relationships with Stephen Ministers. We see the ornaments used as bookmarks in Bibles. We've received thanks from the most unusual sources...all for providing a simple, paper ornament that offers comfort to those who need it.

I'd love to hear from my readers about things they, their churches/synagogues/mosques/temples, or other religious or community groups do to reach out to hurting people during the holiday season. The comments for this post could become a wonderful idea board for others to take up the challenge of reaching out to the holiday season and throughout the year.

And if you're interested in more information about Stephen Ministry, visit the links below or email me. I'm a passionate advocate for this ministry!

What is Stephen Ministry?
Care Receivers Tell Their Stories (all the videos are amazing...have a hankie handy!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 6, and a Link to a Tutorial on Random Stamping

Here's the last in the series "Keeping Thanks Simple." We've looked at all six of the sentiments in the mini set Keep It Simple: Thank You from Papertrey Ink. This time, I found an amazing inspiration for creating a border on a card...a border that has no focal point but enhances the sentiment nicely.

This photo is in the latest issue of Real Simple magazine, which, by the way, is always loaded with CAS inspiration. Those graphic designers at Real Simple totally get white space. Anyway, check out those amazing colors...and I'm not even a fan of beets.

I pulled out ink pads that closely matched the colors of the beets, and then set to work stamping a random border after masking the card with post-it notes.

Doesn't this card say "thank you bunches"? Get it?

This is a perfect use for all those tiny little flowers and leaves and curlicues that come in stamp sets. (All the stamps on this card came from a variety of Papertrey sets.) The line was drawn with a copper metallic marker, and I stamped the sentiment in Staz-On timber brown so it would stamp nicely over the metallic line. Other inks won't always work over the metallic marker, so test your ink on a scrap before stamping on the card.

Staz-On is great...and it even smells good, in a don't-sniff-for-too-long sort of way.

I received an email from Sue C. asking how I manage to get balanced randomness on cards like this one from earlier this week. I told her I would do a tutorial on random stamping, and then remembered that I already had posted such a tutorial back in January 2013. (Actually, I had to search the blog for it because I can't remember what I posted last week, much less what I posted 21 months ago.)

The tutorial is HERE. Enjoy!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts, Memento, Staz-On
paper: Papertrey
accessories: copper metallic marker, ruler, post-it notes

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 5 (And a Question about Yesterday's Card)

Today's use of the Keep It Simple: Thank You set from Papertrey shows how easy it can be to set the sentiment off by a lovely stamped this case from Embellished Elegance.

I wanted to make a Christmas-y thank you and the Hero Arts green and royal red inks worked perfectly. The tiny red rhinestones come from a rhinestone alphabet sheet I bought on sale at Michael's. You get ever so many tiny rhinestones in those sets, and it's easy as pie to cut them off the letters with a craft knife.

The only reason why the sentiment is popped up is that I accidentally stamped it in green the first time. I'd meant to stamp it in red, and may or may not have said something vulgar when I realized my my mistake. So I stamped it properly in red on a strip of card stock, cut it to size, and rounded the corners slightly with a pair of scallop-edge scissors.

You'd never know I messed up except I blabbed it all over the interwebs.

And now to address a question regarding yesterday's card. Kathy Mc asked why I placed the sentiment where I did, in the upper-left sweet spot rather than in the lower-right sweet spot. Well, Kathy, two reasons. First, sometimes I get tired of putting the sentiment where it's "expected" to be. Shaking things up a bit adds interest and makes me feel daring and irresponsible. Second, I liked the idea that the sentiment would be cascading down with the flowers rather than being showered by them, as it would have in the lower-right sweet spot.

There's no "right" place to put the sentiment, and it would look perfectly lovely in the more traditional spot. But never, ever be afraid to shake things up a bit. It might flop, but it's worth the risk to be rebellious every now and then.

I hope that clarifies things.

And of course today's sentiment is centered because the frame is simply too large to fit neatly into a sweet spot.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 4

Today's card features another thank-you sentiment from Keep It Simple: Thank You. This time, the sentiment is falling with a cascade of autumnal flowers...accented with bling.

These simple, stylized daisies come in three sizes in Beautiful Blooms II from Papertrey. I love, love, love that there are three sizes! The largest are stamped in the lightest color, the mediums in the medium shade, and the smallest in the darkest orange. This ordering of shades and sizes--aside from satisfying my obsessive tendencies--keeps the card light and fun, and provides a better contrasting background so the very dark sentiment stands out.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 3

In contrast to yesterday's very clean and simple thank you card, today's card flirts with collage-style stamping.

Soft colors and plenty of white space lend a bit of femininity to this thank you. Teal and purple pastels provide the backdrop for the strong, black thank you...the true focal point of the card. Note how the triangle of purple focuses the eye on the sentiment? That's very much on purpose.

See? You can use five stamps, two colors, and a neutral, and still be SIMPLE!

stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple: Thank You, and various others
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone

Monday, October 20, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 2

For this second card using the Keeping It Simple: Thanks set from Papertrey, I decided to use the sentiment without an image but with a little color change to spice things up.

This stamp uses two weights of the same font...a nice, clean sans-serif font in regular and bold. The difference in weight throws the emphasis of the two words "thank you" clearly onto the "you." By repeating the sentiment and using color to emphasize the "you" even more, I created a card all about "YOU."

Surely you have thanks to give to someone who by his or her very nature deserves thanks...not just for what they do or what they give, but for who they are.

Here's the perfect card for that special person!

And yes, I screwed up my first attempt by forgetting to ink the stamp on the two pads, and inked the whole thing on the charcoal. Grrr.

But we got there on the second attempt.

Really. One must pay attention when one stamps. One simply must.

Lining up these three sentiments, however, was easy with the gridded acrylic block. I started with the bottom image and worked my way up, aligning the already-stamped sentiment with the white line a half-inch below the new image. That way, I have exactly the same space between the top two images and between the bottom two images.

Reason #86 you need gridded acrylic blocks!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, fresh peach
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gridded acrylic block

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keeping Thanks Simple: Day 1

When Papertrey offered a Keep It Simple: Thank You set for $5, I jumped all over it. These little sets of ONLY USEFUL sentiments are an excellent value (I have three of them). You'll note there are no weird sentiments included...just what you'll actually use.

Not a "Cherish" or "Imagine" or "Beelzebub" in the lot.

Anyway, while flipping through my stash of cards, I realized that I'm running low on thank-you cards, and with my birthday coming up in November, it made sense to beef up the stash.

By the way, this year, I turn an even number, which is ALWAYS better than being an odd number, although 47 really hasn't been a bad year at all, despite being both odd and prime.

Anyway (again), here's the first of six thank-you cards for this week of Keeping Thanks Simple.

There are six different fonts in the set, and I tried to match fonts with images that in some way suited them. For this very bold, strong font, I wanted a single, bold, strong image with nice, clean, curvy lines. The lime and brown pair nicely, and the bling needs no explanation.

This is such an easy card that it would be a snap to make lots of them in no time.

What do you think of sentiments in stamp sets? Do you often use sentiments other than the traditional, straightforward sentiments (thank you, happy birthday, thinking of you, hello, get well, etc.)? I find since I started sending cards to Operation Write Home, the ordinary sentiments are most useful.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts lime, VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Couple of Beauties I've Received

I received a couple of cards in the last few months that I'd like to share today. These two are simply beautiful and from two amazing stampers who've been my online friends for YEARS.

In August, I received a sweet note of congratulations from Heather on my completion of Stephen Ministry leadership training. What a beautiful example of Heather's fine soft and simple, yet layered and visually striking! The blue and cream are so pretty together.

The next card is from Marty F., who's sent me cards and Christmas ornaments for years...always clean and simple and pretty, just like this card! Don't you love the movement she created by varying the flower heights? Such a great design!

I treasure every card I receive...handmade or otherwise. My inspiration board in my craft space is almost full again. I clear it off when it gets full, but it's never empty for long, especially around Christmas!

Isn't it awesome that our hobby lets us send others--even virtual strangers--little bits of love through the post?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Back to Fall

If you haven't read the comments on my last post, I suggest you mosey on over and check them out. People have shared a bit of their creative process, and it's always educational to see how other people "do" stamping. There are some really thought-provoking perspectives on the process there. Thanks to all who commented. Perhaps even more of you will comment!

Today's card uses the only mum set I've found that I truly love...Papertrey's Mum's the Word.

There are three sizes of mum in the set, and these are the two smaller ones. The third is quite large, and using all three on one card doesn't leave enough white space for my tastes. My solution would usually be to stamp the small one twice, thus creating a visual triangle. But when I stamped these two, I thought, "Huh. That's enough."

And it was.

Just goes to show that the concept of visual triangles, while extremely pleasing to the eye in many situations, need not be followed as an inviolable rule.

Sometimes, two are just fine.

And isn't "inviolable" a really cool word? Say it out loud. Inviolable. Love those vowels.

stamps: Papertrey Mum's the Word
ink: VersaMagic tea leaves, brick red, jumbo java
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shimmery Background and a Question for You

One of the easiest ways to use Twinkling H2Os is to create a simple wash background. Using two shades of purple (lavender and grape), I made this shimmery backdrop for a lovely Penny Black stamp.

Check out the shimmer in this close-up. Awesomely pretty.

To make this wash, I loaded a wash brush (flat ferule with squared-off bristles) with the lighter lavender shade and painted the entire scrap of card stock. Then, I loaded the brush with the grape shade and started from the bottom to work it up into the lavender.

After letting the piece dry, I stamped the image and sentiment, and then cut out the prettiest part of it, which ended up being exactly 4.25" wide, so I mounted it on a portrait-oriented card with glue, not pop dots. This helped flatten the piece, and with that much spectacular shimmer, it didn't need to be popped off the card to grab attention anyway!

This series of cards using Twinkling H2Os got me thinking. One of my favorite and most satisfying ways to work involves focusing on something--a paint, an embellishment, a new stamp set, an old stamp set, a color scheme--and playing around with variations. Sometimes the variations are wildly different, as with these Twinkling H2O cards (here, here, and here), and sometimes they are variations that clearly relate to each other.

This method of focus and variation intrigues me; the challenge of variation excites and motivates me. Do you do the same thing? Or do you prefer working fresh with each new card? Or do you find a design you like and make multiple copies of the same thing?  Or do you do something completely different? What process of creating excites and motivates you the most?

stamps: Penny Black, Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: brush, Twinkling H2Os, glue

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Have a Sparkly, Splashy Christmas!

So after I embossed in white and painted using the Twinkling H2Os, I wondered what else I could do with them.

Turns out that sponging ink onto stamps can be a bit tricky, but I finally got pretty good results which became this sparkly, splashy, and extremely non-traditional Christmas card:

Here's how I did it.

1. Wet the paint pot pretty well with a large brush and lots of water. Swirl the brush around to loosen the pigment as much as possible. The green and red I used are very dark colors, but this technique will lighten the colors considerably.

2. Using a small sponge, pick up the wet paint from the pot and dab it onto the stamp. (If you use a paint brush, you'll make an ugly mess. Ask me how I know....) Keep dipping the sponge in the paint pot until it's dry, and then rub the sponge firmly into the pigment to pull more color onto the sponge. The repeat dabbings onto the stamp give a darker color and much better results than if you just try sponging dry pigment on a dry stamp or stop with the watery paint. It's weird, but it works. At least for me.

3. Once you've gotten as much pigment as possible on the stamp, pray it lightly with a mister full of water. Then stamp.

The panel is edged with a gold metallic marker and popped up with dimensionals.

I love this. I might even keep it for myself because I have no idea who on my Christmas card list would like it. Any takers?

stamps: Papertrey (Grunge Me, Watercolor Wonders), Clearly Besotted (Happy Days)
ink: VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals, gold metallic marker, sponge, Twinkling H2Os

Monday, October 13, 2014

More White Embossing and Twinkling H2Os...Because One Card Is Never Enough But Maybe It Should Be

And here it is, using the same stamp set as yesterday's card, just a different stamp.

I used three different shades of Twinkling H2Os. Go, me!

Looking at it on my computer screen, however, I realize that the red and mustard leaves to the left of the sentiment are awkwardly placed. Oh, and the two leaves at the bottom are perfectly aligned...and should not be. And the top leaf is at the same angle as the two leaves on the right.

I had not noticed all this before. Urgh. I used to be happy with this card, and now I'm not.

Well, leaves in nature don't always fall in perfectly designed randomness, do they?

But they should fall that way on my cards.

Oh well.

Nobody's perfect.

Anyone want to come watch me burn this?

I may or may not have perfectionist issues.

stamps: Clearly Besotted You Are, Papertrey Keep It Simple Thanksgiving sentiment
ink: clear embossing ink, Memento cocoa
paper: Papertrey
accessories: white embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy

Sunday, October 12, 2014

White Embossing Inspired by Susan Rodgers

In flipping through Take Ten, I noticed a card by Susan Rodgers on page 7 that has a large flower outline image embossed in white and colored beautifully...each petal is a different shade of pink. Y'all know how much I color, but Susan's card inspired me to give it a go.

As I sifted through all my wet media coloring supplies, I noticed the Twinkling H2Os, which have been much neglected. They looked so sparkly and colorful I just had to pull them out to play.

Then, I went to my stamps and discovered, not surprisingly, that I have very few outline images. A set by Clearly Besotted stood out, so I ran with it.

Here's a close-up. Isn't that shimmer just lovely!

I wanted to vary the intensity of color across the petals in a nice, balanced fashion, but it was tough to do with the Twinkling H2Os. The deeper orange petals aren't as balanced as I would like, but I found it impossible to control the color...the Twinkling H2Os I have are mixes of gold and other colored pigments, and I just never knew whether I was going to get pure gold or some orange with each dip of the brush.

That's okay though. The result is still gorgeous, shimmery, and colorful!

Thanks to Susan Rodgers for the inspiration!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: clear embossing ink, Brilliance pearlescent brown
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: white embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy (cloth bag full of chalk dust), paint brush, Twinkling H2Os, dimensionals

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Soft, Cool, Comforting Thoughts

Have you ever noticed how disasters and tragedies happen in clumps? Life perks along for a while with little sadness, and then all the sudden, half your friends are dealing with life-or-death issues.

What really stinks is that there's next to nothing you can do to help people who've put a parent in hospice or have loved ones battling cancer or facing a terminal diagnosis or fading in old age.

Well, we can send cards.

That's something.

I need a fresh stash of thinking of you cards, and here's the first. It's soft, cool, and comforting with gentle blues and greens. And a little bling adds interest. It's going to a friend who just put her father in hospice.

I love the soft colors. Very relaxing. NOTHING about my friend's life is relaxing right now, and this card won't magically fix that. But it will remind her that I'm thinking of her, praying for her, and loving her through this tough, tough thing.

stamps: Papertrey Gracious Vases, Keep It Simple Thinking of You
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Merry and Bright

Sometimes, pulling out old alphabet sets feels a bit like meeting old friends to play. Here's a card using two old SU wood-mounted alphabet was a workout for my stamp positioner!

No matter what I did, the Letterpress alphabet (the tall one) looked blotchy. This card uses VersaMagic rocket red...a rich, creamy ink that usually gives a great, smooth, even impression. I tried several inks, and this one definitely looked the best, but I'm not entirely happy with it. I've noticed this problem with the set before, and wonder if there's something wrong with it.

The Typeset alphabet, though, gave me great images with any ink. Weird. I ended up using Impress Ink's grass. I love using a non-traditional shade of green for the holidays. It looks so fresh and fun!

To make this card, I drew a pencil line and stamped MERRY first. Then, another pencil line, and I stamped & bright backward, starting with the t. Finally, I added the holly sprigs and rhinestones in two different sizes.

Isn't it lovely when stamp sets and embellishments contain different sizes of the same thing? Of course it is!

The toughest part of a card like this is getting the spacing between letters right. Even spacing isn't a factor of measuring so much as feel. It can be tricky, and using a stamp positioner with the wood-mounted stamps is absolutely critical.

My out-of-town guests left today, but it's going to take a while for things to get back to normal around here. Not only do I have to catch up on the much-neglected stuff of ordinary life, I'm also working on The Circle Maker study by Mark Batterson, which I will teach at my church starting next Tuesday. Y'all, it feels so good to be developing lesson plans again!

But it will also feel good to get into my craft room later today and make stuff. Oh, yay!!!! I hope you're getting crafty, too. Remember the OLS challenge!

stamps: SU, Papertrey (holly jolly)
ink: VersaColor, Impress
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, stamp positioner

Monday, October 6, 2014

Silver and Gold

I experimented with silver and gold embossing powders. Here's the result.

Before I added the red rhinestones, it was pretty boring. The gold and silver are not strong enough to carry a card, at least not used in such small quantities as my design allows for. Adding the red created a lot more interest.

I'm also not quite sure about the font of the sentiment. It worked so well on this other card, but the points and curves and dotty flourishes of the holly border stamp (Papertrey's Holly Jolly) don't quite invite the same clean modern font as the leaves from the other card.

I don't have enough Christmas sentiments.


Can we ever have enough sentiments?

That's a rhetorical question.

stamps: Papertrey Holly Jolly, Clearly Besotted sentiment
ink: clear embossing ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, extra-fine gold and silver embossing powder, embossing gun

Sunday, October 5, 2014

More with the Mask

Here's the mask I used for yesterday's card:

And here's today's card, which also uses the mask.

These stylized pine boughs, from the same set as yesterday's leaf branches, are airy and light. Without some sponging , it would look extremely weird. The space must be defined, and so I chose a nice lime green (Hero Arts) to set off the green and red royal (both Hero Arts as well) of the pine boughs and berries. It's a lively holiday combination!

Now, about the sentiment. Underneath the popped panel is the ugliest mess-up I've made in a long time. The only way to save this card was to cover it up. I tried sponging the edges of the popped panel to increase the unity of the card, but honestly, it looked goofy. I much prefer the simple, clean look of a white rectangle.

And the fact it's hiding an ugly mistake is a bonus!

stamps: Papertrey Embellished Elegance, Peaceful Poinsettia (sentiment)
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: mask, sponge, dimensionals

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Having a regular stamping routine in the past two months has been impossible, so I grabbed a couple of hours at my craft desk this afternoon and found it difficult to get in the groove. Eventually, I recovered my mojo and made this happy card:

I adore gray and red for Christmas or winter cards. Squee!!!!

First, I made this mask:

This is a classic mask that can be pretty flexible. Today's card is the first of at least two different cards I'm going to make with it. I put a bit of repositionable mono-adhesive on the back of it to hold it in place while in use. Any adhesive that sticks to the card rubs off easily with my finger.

My gray-and-red beauty utilizes a very bold pair of leaf stamps from Papertrey's Embellished Elegance. The denseness of the leaf images allows the mask borders to be well defined without anything else to clarify the borders. Often, people will sponge ink or draw lines to give definition, but with this stamp, it's not necessary.

At least, my minimalist eye doesn't need anything else.

The sentiment is from a sentiment set from Clearly Besotted (*swoon*). Its mod style works great with the clean, bold leaves, adding to the unity of the card.

Blessings this weekend to you all!

stamps: Papertrey, Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Gray Flannel, Hero Arts Red Royal
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: mask (copy paper)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Day

I had a day. You know the type.

So instead of a card, I'm going to remind you of a few things that are going on right now on this blog and the OLS blog. Follow the links to join the fun!

One-Layer Simplicity Challenge #10
Cheryl is hosting this month's OLS Challenge, which is right up my alley. The theme is Turning to Fall, and it's perfect for making those Thanksgiving cards for my Thanksgiving Challenge, too!

Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge 2014
So far, we only have two entries for the Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge. I KNOW more of you have made Thanksgiving cards and just haven't linked up to the Crusade. I hope you'll join us there to create a wonderful resource for Thanksgiving inspiration! Check out the previous years' entries on that same page...just scroll down and you'll find lots of gorgeous fall/Thanksgiving cards to drool over!

Use-Your-Stamps Challenge
This challenge is ongoing and least as long as you're buying new stamps. I'm plugging away at using every image stamp I own again since this is my third time around with this challenge. But it's a great way to help you figure out what sorts of stamps you prefer to use (not just hoard) and might help you streamline future purchases by making wiser decisions up front. At least, that's the hope.

Follow Simplicity by Lateblossom on Facebook
If you're a Facebook junky, consider following Simplicity on Facebook!

Follow Simplicity on BlogLovin
If you're not receiving emails because of the SNAFU with FeedBurner, consider moving your blog subscriptions to Bloglovin. It's what I use to organize my subscriptions and read blogs. It's free and easy. Can't beat that.

Blessings to you all. I'm off to take a nap. Like I said, I've had a day. It's either nap or drink wine.

My plan is to do both.

But not at the same time. That would be silly.