Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wet Paint

When Wet Paint was released by Papertrey, I was intrigued but decided to sit on it for a while to see if it still intrigued me later.

It does.

I bought it for my birthday.

What fun it is!

Isn't it fun with the funky heart from Heart Prints? The heart is stamped in Hero Arts Tomato and love is in Hero Arts Red Royal. I love how these two shades work so well together! There's plenty of difference to provide contrast, but Tomato is still nice and red, not pink.

I hope everyone in the USA had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend. Our Stephen Ministry group handed out ornaments today, the ones that say Hope. After all, it's the Hope Sunday of Advent.

It's getting to crunch time for Christmas cards, and I am short by about 80. No worries. I'll just buy a few more boxes. There's no point in beating ourselves up with guilt if we can't hand-craft every little thing we send out, now, is there? Of course not. There are some lovely printed cards available.

How many Christmas cards are YOU sending out this year? Are you sending them? Why or why not? Inquiring minds, and all that....

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Wet Paint
ink: Hero Arts
paper: white Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals

Friday, November 28, 2014

Break for the Holidays

No worries. I'm just taking a bit of a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. Be back soon!

Found on Facebook. Love it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Irritant Neutralized...Sort of

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!!!! I hope all my readers in the United States are enjoying a wonderful day relaxing with family and friends, eating way too much good food. And I wish all the rest of the world a Thursday of peace, joy, and gratitude, too.

And now, what better day to rant about stamp organization than Thanksgiving! After all, I'm incredibly grateful for all the many stamps I have to whine about organizing...more grateful than anyone who isn't a stamper could possibly understand.

Do you hear me squawking freedom? Of course, you do!

Anyway, those of us with mild OCD find plenty to irritate us in the stamping world. Take stamp storage, for instance. There is no way for an obsessively-organized stamper to use all different forms of stamps (clear, wood-mounted, cling) and have a truly consistent and satisfying storage system. Not. Possible.

I accepted years ago that there is no perfect system, so I've compromised over the years, trying to balance it all within reason and without spending gobs of money. It's hard, though. Surely, you can spot the problems--plural--with this picture?

Let's count all the first-world problems, shall we?

1. Papertrey provides printed labels for CD/DVD cases. But these labels, printed on clear stickers in black, are nearly impossible to read when stored this way, despite the fact that my craft space is extremely well lit. (And we won't even get into the fact that PTI switched from giving CD cases with stamp sets to suggesting you buy DVD cases instead. No way was I going to change my system that far down the road...too expensive and too big a job.)

2. Other companies do NOT provide printed labels for CD cases, which means we have to improvise if we're going to put clear stamps in CD cases. So we end up with two different kinds of labels, mixed willy-nilly together. Seriously? Aren't you getting itchy just looking at them?

3. At the very back of the picture, you will see stamp sets from other companies left in their original packaging of large transparency folders. How in the name of all that is good and wonderful and tidy can this work? It can't. It just can't!

4. Please don't mention the one set in front that was put away backwards. Because the labels are so hard to read, I didn't even notice it until I loaded the picture. Sigh.

What is a mildly OCD stamper to do?

Well, this is the place to start:

While I likely won't put my Hero Arts and Waltzingmouse and Clearly Besotted and Lily Bee and Dare 2 B Artzy stamps into jewel cases (I'd need more than 25 cases), I did get a largish order of Papertrey sets Tuesday that needed cases. So I bought more cases and a new pack of 2" x 4" address labels.

All my sets currently stored in CD cases got new labels today. I made these by cutting the labels into 1/4" strips with a craft knife and quilting ruler (if you cut so they stay attached to the full backing paper, they are easier to work with). I hand-wrote the names of sets, and now the whole collection is at least readable and consistent.

Even at a distance, you can read these labels. YAY! What's stored in these two green boxes is almost all Papertrey. (A few random sets from other companies are tucked in as well. I'm only mildly OCD, remember?)

I will put the other companies' stamps--the ones in transparency folders--in the storage boxes with my wood-mounted sets and deal with them another day. I've no idea how to handle them, but this is enough of a fix to satisfy me for the time being.

And because I know people will ask, the sets I bought are Fair Isle Motifs, Note Niblets, Doodlie-Do, Wet Paint, Keep It Simple: Christmas, and Polka-Dot Parade #12. My sister-in-law gave me a very generous gift card to Papertrey for my birthday. Bless her thoughtful little heart!

And now for a card, one destined for Operation Write Home:

I had Hero Arts' clear set called Oh, Snap! out (with the arrow) and Papertrey's Love Birds set out. The gray and red color combination from my winter/Christmas cards was fresh in my mind. And this was the result. It makes me smile!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

stamps: Papertrey Love Birds, Hero Arts Oh, Snap
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fun with Glimmer Mist

Inspiration often comes from magazines, and such is the case with this card. My husband was thumbing through his new batch of cooking magazines (he has an entire 5-shelf book case FULL of old cooking magazines!), and I caught sight of a graphic that inspired this card. It was the un-outlined shape of a wine bottle filled in with green and blue watercolor-y splotches, with just a few splotches going outside the (non-existent) lines.

As you can imagine, this inspired me to pull out watercolor-y products. For me, my go-to is a spritzer bottle full of Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Mist spray by Tattered Angels. Ink up a stamp with a water-based ink, spritz with Glimmer Mist, and stamp. Doesn't get much easier.

Start by masking all but a 1.5" strip on the card with post-it notes. Then, using whatever solid stamps you have to hand, begin creating a background inside the unmasked area. It took lots of stamping with Papertrey's Watercolor Wonders and Grunge Me stamps and very light shades of green and blue Memento Ink to create this background. A few blotches went down after I'd removed the post-its, just to soften the edges.

After the background was completely dry, I switched to SU's Green Galore and Marina Mist for the balloons, still spritzing to stick with the soft effect. Then, using Memento Nautical Blue, I stamped the sentiment (also spritzed). A bit of bling finished the card!

Follow-Up on Red Birds Post:
Thanks for the responses on the Red Birds, Two Ways post. I'm sorry the cream card didn't photograph as well as I'd have liked, as many of you thought the stamped layer was white. It wasn't. It's most definitely cream, and the paper matches the base layer color much better in real life. You wouldn't believe the time I spent re-photographing that card trying to get it to look right in Picasa.


Anyway, while I'm glad that some of you preferred the cream card, I absolutely agree with the majority of you...the all-white card looks better to me than the cream one. Stamping on textured card stock is always an iffy proposition, and while I was fine with the results on that particular bird card, I really do prefer crisp, clean stamping that comes from a nice, smooth, high-quality card stock.

The deckle edge is lovely and a natural part of the paper, but I always find those one-edge deckles to be problematic, as you can't tear the paper on the other edges to duplicate the natural deckle (it WILL look different, even if you pre-fold and wet the paper before tearing it for a smoother tear). One edge being deckled can add interest, but I'm not sure it enhances the design on my particular card.

And really, I just prefer white card stock, even if it is fun to play around from time to time. ;-)

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Watercolor Wonder; Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento and SU
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, post-its, quilting ruler to align post-its, Glimmer Mist

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unifying a Quotation with Images

When I pulled out my birthday stamp box, I found A Muse's Birthday Wishes set. In it is a quotation from Lucille Ball about birthdays, so I wondered what I could do with that on the front of a card.

The challenge here is to unify this text-heavy quotation with some sort of appropriate image. The first card uses line and logic to connect the image/border with the words.

The spectrum ink pad adds wonderful interest and nice, rich color. The numbers lead up to the sentiment, and the overlap providesunity. The rounded corners on the bottom tie in with the number dots.

The overall effect was fine, but the second attempt works a bit better in my opinion. Because BLING!

On this card, it's the bling placement that unites...and bling is always good, right? For this card, I randomly chose number stamps in different fonts and sizes, and used shades of pink and purple to make a rather girly card for a quote from the quintessential funny lady!

The idea, though, is to connect the sentiment/quote with the images in some way. What tips do you have for achieving this kind of unity?

stamps: 1st card Clearly Besotted, A Muse; 2nd card lots of different alphas, A Muse
ink: Kaleidacolor, and assorted Hero Arts and Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder, bling

Friday, November 21, 2014

Red Birds, Two Ways

Here are two versions of the same card, the first on all white card stock and the second on slightly textured, deckle-edge and cream card stock.

White-on-white crispness

Cream-on-cream warmth with a bit of texture

Which do you like best? Why?

stamps: Through the Trees (Papertrey)
ink: Hero Arts soft silver, red royal
paper: Papertrey white, unknown cream and textured/deckled
accessories: dimensionals

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Joy...with RIBBON!

Insightful reader Marilyn pointed out another way in which the first card on yesterday's post failed...the tree isn't grounded. None of the trees are. They just leak off the card in a floaty mess. No wonder I don't like it.

I think "floatiness" is more tolerable on the second card because of the clearly defined silver border...what happens inside the border stays inside.

Today's card showcases the same Joy stamp as yesterday's card, along with some ribbon, which is shocking because I haven't used ribbon in a long time!

Note the placement of the red portion of the sentiment. This was tough. The descender of the "p" bumped into the "o" of Joy when I lined up the ampersand and the right edge of the "y." I would have had to place the "peace, love &" uncomfortably high to avoid trapped white space. Since I had to shift it to the right, I tried to align the slant of the "y" with the straight, upward movement of part of the ampersand. I think it worked rather well to relate the red and green portions of the sentiment to each other!

I'm trying to decide whether to round the bottom corners of the card. How do y'all feel about them? Should they be rounded? Should all four corners be rounded? Or should I leave them alone?


stamps: Papertrey Wonderful Words: Joy mini stamp set
ink: Brilliance Pearlescent Ivy; Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, Corner Chomper, circle punch, ribbon

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tweaking a Concept to Make It Work

A few weeks ago, I made a card that left me somewhat dissatisfied, although I'm not sure why. Here it is:

Not entirely satisfying for me.

The card is okay, but there's just something not "me" about it...probably the fact that there's no real white space and that there are two spots of red with a black sentiment as the focal triangle...and the black sentiment just isn't doing it for me.

Whatever. I wasn't going to post this card but then, when I made this second one, based on the same random shadow stamping concept, I changed my mind. Because the second card wouldn't have happened without the first, and I like it very much indeed!

 Now THIS one I love!!! The white border satisfies my need for restful space, and the silver border is lovely and defines the space nicely. The green and red are festive and work together better.


stamps: Papertrey In the Meadow and Wonderful Words: Joy Mini Stamp Set
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver marker, dimensionals

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Red? Read? Susan, Make Up Your Mind!

Sometimes, it's fun to do something...just because it's fun.

Ba, da, bum.

stamps: Impression Obsession alphabet
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: eyelet, floss, 1/8" circle punch

Monday, November 17, 2014

Non-Traditional Christmas

Sometimes, it's fun to play around with stamps that have nothing to do with Christmas for Christmas-themed cards. That's what I did with this Hero Arts map background stamp of the Americas.

After stamping the image twice--once in Brilliance pearlescent thyme and once in Brilliance pearlescent poppy--I cut the images into 1/2" slices, making sure they lined up perfectly in the cuts. Then, I experimented with various arrangements of the strips, alternating poppy and thyme for a festive, holiday effect.

The second card originally had a white border on the right, but it looked oddly unbalanced, so I added the edge strip, which seemed to balance the sentiment much better with its double vertical line that creates a much stronger border.

The slight shimmer of the ink is awesome in real life. Even the sentiment is stamped in Brilliance pearlescent rich and strong a color!

What stamps of earth--maps or globes--do you have that would work with a Peace on Earth sentiment? Why not get them out and play!

stamps: Hero Arts (map), Clearly Besotted (sentiment)
ink: Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: glue, quilting ruler and craft knife (for precise cuts)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

SU's Bird Punch Comes through Again

Y'all, I love the SU bird punch.

Last year, I used it to decorate small, white coffee bags full of Russian tea mix to give to my Stephen Minister friends. This year, I used the same punch to make pseudo-bookmark ornaments for them!


I made thirteen of them with totally low-tech stuff. First, I punched the birds and branches from cherry cobbler and chocolate chip. Then, I stamped the sentiment in Memento dark cocoa and rounded the corners with the Corner Chomper 1/4" radius punch. Then, after punching a 1/8" circle, I set the brown eyelets using a mallet and eyelet setting tool...bam, bam, bam! Then, I glued the branches and added the birds and their wings with dimensionals.

Here's proof you don't need to spend a HUGE fortune to make pretty stuff. You just need, oh, about $50 of stuff (retail...less if you use coupons). And given how often I have used these very same tools over the years on different projects, they've definitely seen enough use to justify the expense.

These are pseudo-bookmarks because of the dimensionals used, but my son saw them and wanted me to make him one to use as a bookmark, so I did, using glue. It's definitely not as cool as the 3D version with dimensionals, but it will be a much better bookmark. Using a contrasting shade of card stock or designer paper for the wing would help the 2D version be more interesting.

stamps: Papertrey Signature Christmas
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white, SU chocolate chip and cherry cobbler
accessories: SU bird punch, 1/8" circle punch, Corner Chomper, glue pen, dimensionals, eyelets, setter and mallet, embroidery thread

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holiday Thank-You Notes

I send thank-you notes every year for my birthday and Christmas presents, and I have my children do the same. George is on his own. I'm not the boss of him. He's not the boss of me.

I am, however, the Minister of Finance in the Kingdom of Raihala, and that's why he's not getting an iPad, an iPhone 6, AND a new bicycle for Christmas. The Minister of Finance has spoken.

Anyway, I made a few cards using Papertrey's In the Meadow and Hero Arts Soft Silver ink, which is pretty cool ink, even if it just looks gray in the pictures. I love that sentiment as it makes holiday thank-you cards very specific and if to say, "Yes, I am extremely grateful you gave me a gift! You thought of me! You care about me! Please do it again next year!"

That last card, of course, uses Hero Arts Red Royal ink rather than the soft silver. I actually prefer that card because of the delightfully minimalist pop of RED. The other cards do look better in real life than in the photos, but they cannot convey energy like a bright red bird can.

So put a bird on it!

Also note how the position of the image relative to the sentiment changes depending on the shape and size and orientation of the image. The rabbit, for instance, draws attention to "you" but looks in the direction of "thank"...that moves the eye around the card in a fun way.

But the squirrel looks right, so he's centered. He has lovely curves that contrast nicely with the straight line of the sentiment and generate some sense of movement, and he's looking down at "you." But not in a snooty way. He's a squirrel. He's only snooty to dogs.

The snowman doesn't move because he's not wearing his magic hat and therefore is, in fact, the least appealing (to me) of all four cards.

The bird is perched adorably on the ascender of the "h" and looks out over the thanks as if to say, "I own this card."

Or not. But he's cute.

What do you do for holiday thank-you cards? Do you make a bunch of the same holiday-ish card, or individual holiday-ish cards (like I do), or do you just use regular thank-you cards because that's so much easier? Do share!

stamps: Papertrey In the Meadow
ink: Hero Arts soft silver, red royal; Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: not a blessed one

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Botanical Inspiration: Take 2

After yesterday's epically long post, here's a short one...playing on a variation of the first Botanical Inspiration post.

The color palette transforms this into a warm and cozy version of the first book mark. Shades of brown and a copper border are the backdrop for red in the sentiment and two red birds (they don't exactly look like cardinal silhouettes, but so what?).

I adore the spiky, stylized pine boughs (Papertrey Embellished Elegance) combined with the curls and curves and solids of the other botanicals.

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

stamps: Papertrey Embellished Elegance, Turning a New Leaf, Signature Christmas, Through the Trees
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: eyelet, DMC floss, 1/8" hole punch, copper metallic marker (Pentel)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inspired by...

Last month, stamper-extraordinaire Karen Dunbrook honored me on her Inspired by post. Karen has been a stamping friend and inspiration to me since long before I started this blog, and I was thrilled when she joined the old OLW OLS. Karen has a way with color and sponges that blows me away. Her colors pop right off the card and create such a feeling of depth and beauty. And her designs are so balanced and eye-pleasing, and she shares so much with the stamping community through her creativity and style and generous kindness!

Being tagged by Karen means answering a few questions, so here goes.

1. What are you working on right now?
Christmas and birthdays. I try to make all of next year's birthday cards for family and friends by the end of January. It gives me something to balance all the holiday-intensive crafting at this time of year. For Christmas, I'm making ornaments for several of my trees, including a book-themed tree. I'm also trying to get all my Thanksgiving Crusade cards mailed before Thanksgiving.

2. How does your work differ from others in the genre?
Hmmm. I'd say the most unique thing about my work is how bare it is. I adore white space...that wonderful, restful empty space in a design. My favorite cards are always the ones with clean lines and LOTS of white space. I also enjoy layering white on white, color blocking, grids, visual triangles, and bling. Lots of bling!


3. Why do you create what you do?
There are really two motives. First, I want to make stuff that will cheer someone up or let them know I care. That's why I get so much pleasure from sending cards to Operation Write Home...the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines want to show someone back home they care, and enabling that little bit of love is enormously satisfying.

Second, I want to make stuff using a minimalist philosophy that really appeals to my soul but absolutely does NOT apply to my life. My life is cluttered and messy and out of my control in so many ways (often good ways!), but when I make a well-designed minimalist card, it gives me a much-needed sense of balance and (dare I say it?) control. For me, the design process is about answering this question: how can I convey my message in a minimalist way and still keep it interesting?

4. How does your creative process work?
It's all over the place. I get inspiration from everywhere...magazines, television, signage around town, advertisements, book covers, dishes, clothes and fabric, product packaging, blogs, websites, home d├ęcor, you name it.

Out of that rich garden of inspiration, I try to limit myself, often in very artificial ways. I might decide to use every stamp in my Background stamp box, or I might decide to find five different uses for Smooch, or I might take a particular color combo off dishes at Target and see how many different looks I can get with it or I might choose to use some technique in various ways to get different effects. Without some sort of limit, I am easily overwhelmed and will spend too much time staring at my stash rather than working with it.

Then my minimalism kicks in. I usually make a gosh-awful mess, pulling out all sorts of options as I work, but most of them don't actually get used. You'd be surprised at the number of times I pull out twine or ribbon...'cause they hardly ever show up on my cards! But there they are, on my desk, as a possibility.

Once I make a card, I often make a variation on it with all that stuff I pulled out but didn't use. Maybe I'll make the same design in a different color scheme or with a different stamp set. Maybe I'll switch coloring techniques or look for block stamps rather than outlines. Variation is critical to my creative process. I never ever ever copy anything directly. I let inspiration goad me into different directions. When I do CASifications (when I clean-and-simplify someone else's design), it's just a form of variation. The stepping-off point is really just the springboard for all sorts of creative play, and in the CASifications, it's the play of stripping down a design to the barest minimum needed.

And that's my creative process!


The rules that go along with this Inspired By challenge are pretty simple, but I'm not going to follow them exactly (sorry, Karen!). I'm going to share three formative influences in my stamping but NOT require them to continue the challenge...I suspect one has already been tapped numerous times, and the other two aren't even stampers.

And yes, I break every single chain letter I'm ever sent.

The first and most powerful influence on my creative style was a graphic design artist named Liz King. Liz and I worked together at Micron Technology in the marketing communications department. I was a writer/editor, and Liz did the design for brochures, charts, white papers, sales conference materials, print ads, whatever was needed. Liz's style is clean and simple, and I adore everything she does. She has such an instinct for connecting meaning and visual impact. She also made my baby shower invitations before I even knew people did that sort of thing!

Several years after I left that job and started thinking paper crafting might be fun to try, I knew I wanted to make stuff like Liz. I wanted that peace and simplicity in my work...and it took me YEARS to get it. YEARS.

Cathy Zielski was a huge help, though. She wrote a book called Clean and Simple Scrapbooking, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I'd found my teacher, someone who clearly went to the same design school (figuratively speaking) as my friend Liz. Cathy's style is very computer-generated (just like a graphic design artist!), and part of my challenge with her book was to adapt her principles to hand-stamped and hand-written scrapbook pages and stamped cards. I soaked up Cathy's book, read it, re-read it, analyzed it, parsed it...and gradually, through lots of trial and error, I figured out how to apply what she taught to stamping.

At least, I learned to apply it well enough to satisfy my inner critic. Remember, there is a huge difference between what skilled graphic design artists and crafters like me can do. Both Liz and Cathy are professionals. I'm having lots of fun pretending to be them, though!

The first and most influential stamper in my stamping life was Her Royal Rubberness Julie Ebersole. Julie was big on SplitcoastStampers when I was just lurking, and I wanted to be her, just like I wanted to be Liz and Cathy. She's still big on SCS; visit her gallery and see! I followed her blog and eventually took an online design class from her that was hugely helpful. I love her enthusiasm as much as I love her creativity. She gushes and swoons and giggles and squeals for love of this hobby, and she inspires us all to be giddy, too!

There's not enough giddy in the world.

So now you know the formative influences on my style. I'd love to read about YOURS! Did you have some unusual influence early on that helped you in this craft? What is your creative process? Please do share!

And thank you, Karen, for your kind words that prompted this post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Botanical Inspiration: Take One

Really, I promise I'm not totally changing my style, but I do have some slightly different projects to share this week.

When it comes to my Pure Inspiration pin board on Pinterest, I often pin unique things that aren't exactly my style but look interesting or beautiful in their own right. If you search through that board, you'll see a LOT of botanical stuff, from embroidered purses to decorated cakes to this lovely print:


Or this floorcloth:

Or even this more modern-looking package:


When I start seeing similar things--like rather busy botanical arrangements--repeated on a Pinterest board, I try to pay attention and play around with new ideas.

Y'all don't see the results from most of this play because, well, mostly, it doesn't work for me. I've struggled for a long time with this sort of botanical design, for instance, and even though what I make generally ends up in the trash, I keep coming back to it anyway.

Because it is beautiful stuff. Beautiful.

Last week, I finally scored! I made a loose, random arrangement of natural images and it actually looks great! Well, I think so. At first, I intended to use it on a card but then decided that this perfect little 1.75" x 5.5" strip of stamped stupendousness needed to be a book mark for my Christmas book tree...and then, after the holidays, an actual book mark for my use year-round.

Oh, yeah.

Three things make this work for me. First, the two deer (yes, they are NOT botanical but go with it anyway, please) give a sense of focus to the design, as well as movement, with the one on top looking down at the one that's looking out of the design. Their legs run directly up against the silver edges of the card and serve to keep eyes inside the design.

Second, the variations in shapes and sizes of the leaves...gingko, pine needles, fern, and even a bit of extremely well. In the past, my attempts have felt either too heavy or too linear, but the balance of solid and linear images in this effort is good! I added the snowflake stamp because there were some open spots and I liked the linear branching of the flake design. The trios of green berries also fill in the busy design nicely.

Third, the color choices are heavenly. Two shades of gray and three shades of olive-y, sage-y green create a soft, natural palette. It's serene, peaceful, and pretty.

Have you ever made a design like this? How did it turn out for you?

stamps: Lots. Mostly Papertrey Embellished Elegance, Dashing through the Snow, Peaceful Pinecones, Turning a New Leaf and some others
ink: Memento London fog, gray flannel, olive grove, pistachio, bamboo
paper: Papertrey
accessories: silver metallic marker (Prismacolor), 1/8" hole punch, eyelet, silver cord

Monday, November 10, 2014

Y'all Feel Better?

Here's a true Simplicity by LateBlossom card for you, just to assure you that I'm not completely insane. But I will be sharing a few more, ahem, experimental projects this week as well.

This card showcases PTI's gorgeous Through the Trees set and a wonderful sentiment that is just perfect for a friend of mine who's looking for some peace right now. Note how there's a bird in the box...and one "without".

Love that!

The trees are accented with a Sakura Stardust clear pen. It adds just a touch of shimmer to the card, and is so very pretty!

Happy Veterans Day! To all who are veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including my husband...I salute you and thank you for your service.

stamps: Papertrey Through the Trees
ink: Hero Arts soft graphite, red royal; Memento black
paper: Papertrey
accessories: Sakura Stardust pen

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Shocking!!!! A Colored Card Base

Let's start the week with a lime green card, just to shake things up a bit and to remind everyone that white space doesn't actually have to be white. It simply needs to be empty.

size: 5.5" x 3.5"

I tried putting these three inchies on a white base and they looked blah, but on the lime they pop right off! The ink here is Brilliance thyme and poppy. Here's a close-up so you can see the iridescence:

Measurements for Ornaments
Several people have asked for measurements for the ornaments I've posted, so I'm going to give them to you. BUT I encourage you to work with whatever scraps you have and design to the size and shape of the scraps. You can always trim and adapt as needed. That's what I do.

Anyway, the library pocket ornament template with measurements is here:

The tabs are 3/8" each. Score along
dotted lines.
This template will fit the old, discontinued SU library card that came in a big, expensive set (was it Office Accoutrements or Stamp of Authenticity?).

The dimensions for the pinecone and baker's twine book marks are 1.5" x 5.5".

I'll be posting some more book marks (a.k.a. ornaments) and will include the dimensions with those posts. But seriously, feel free to flex the measurements to suit whatever size stamps you have!

stamps: Hero Arts (discontinued old ornament stamp), Papertrey Peaceful Pinecone and Holly Jolly
ink: Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white, unknown lime
accessories: red rhinestones, dimensionals, 1" square punch

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Few Changes to the Blog

Check out the new tab on Simplicity. There's a Subscribe button now, with a number of different ways you can subscribe to the blog listed in one place.

You'll also notice I removed the Jonah Cards tab. Jonah is, thankfully, doing very well and getting back to a normal, healthy life. I have received a few cards for him in the past few months and continue to drop them at his house, but I feel like we accomplished our goal of encouraging him and his parents through their time of crisis. Thank you so very much to all who sent cards and gifts for a very special boy!

I've reorganized the widgets on the sidebar as well...if you care about that sort of thing. I know there are several people who feel strongly that I should label posts, but I struggle with this. Labels multiply past usefulness so quickly! I have 70+ labels...which is just a silly number. I've added the widget back, with only seven popular labels showing. BUT...these don't include posts from the past three years, so it's only a good way to find older posts. I'm going to think about how to proceed with labels in the most useful way, but remember that the Search widget can work in a pinch.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Library Card Pocket Ornament

Since I've decided to do a smallish book-themed tree in addition to our regular Christmas trees, I've been experimenting with various ideas for ornaments to put on it. This one makes me extremely happy.

How fun! I'm going to have to make more, with Christmas-themed book titles. Unfortunately, this old SU library card stamp doesn't give much room for a title. I'll just have to do the best I can and thank goodness that I've have this teeny alphabet set from Papertrey. It's a pain to use because the stamps are so darn tiny, but I gave up trying to line them up on the block and instead stamp each letter individually. In the long run, it's faster and looks better.

My date stamp didn't stamp perfectly, but how many times did the librarian stamp crooked or just like I did? In my experience...all the time.

The pocket template is of my own making to fit the SU library card stamp...and leave a little extra on the top for the eyelet. I just googled "library pocket template," saw the basic idea in the Images at the top of the page, and went for it. It's pretty easy!

BTW, did you know that my first job as a work-study student (1984-85) was ordering and filing cards in the card catalog at Duke University's Perkins Library? Those were the days.


Oh, yeah. I feel old.

stamps: Papertrey Simple Alphabet, SU set that I broke up years ago
ink: Memento, Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: eyelet, baker's twine, corner rounder, Scor-Pal

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Simple, Colorful Bookmarks

I have a need of little token gifts for people...a little something more than just a Christmas card, but nothing that will make them feel obligated to reciprocate at all. Bookmarks seem like a perfect thing to give, and so I made a batch using Peaceful Pinecones from Papertrey.

The colors were based on the baker's twine I have to hand, and I used eyelets and a 1/4" radius corner rounder to finish each off nicely. The design is simple, clean, and easy. If you have a nicely detailed, yet smallish stamp, you could easily duplicate these along any theme you wanted and with any color you wanted.

I wanted to use some baker's twine. Love the stuff but find it somewhat hard to use. These little pieces didn't use up much of my copious stash, but at least I used them.

Go, me!

stamps: Peaceful Pinecones (Papertrey)
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: eyelets, setter, 1/8" hole punch, baker's twine, Corner Chomper

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Playing with Alphabets for Christmas

Sometimes, when you don't have a sentiment in the size or shape or font you want, you can make your own sentiment with alphabet stamps. The song says, "Deck the halls with boughs of holly...." I have holly stamps but nothing that says, "Deck the Halls." So I pulled out a small Hero Arts peg-mounted rubber stamp alphabet called Playful...and I played.

The line isn't totally straight, but it doesn't need to be with this alphabet. I did, however, try to get it straight because I'm me and weird that way. After stamping the holly border in Hero Arts green ink, I drew a light pencil line where I wanted the sentiment. Then, I did my best to line up and space the letters by eye rather than futzing with a stamp positioner, which would have taken forever.

I like the effect and hope you do, too!

The berries were rendered red with a Sakura Stardust pen, which puts down opaque, shimmery red ink that adequately covers the green.

This simple, completely flat card makes me so very merry!

stamps: Hero Arts (alphabet), Papertrey Holly Jolly (border)
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Sakura stardust pen, pencil, ruler, eraser

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Christmas Inspiration...or Using Pinterest as It Was Intended to Be Used

I've been in a bit of a creative funk lately. Life's been pretty busy and distracting, and I've had precious little time to stamp. When I do make the time, I am singularly uninspired and feel rather lost and unfocused. It's frustrating, especially because there is so much out there to be inspired by...too much, in fact. And that's the problem.

So today, I decided to take three hours and play with my laptop by my side and my Pinterest account open. I'm so glad I did!

Here's a card that was completely inspired by a photo of bedding. It took a bit of tweaking to make the design work on a card, though, and I'm so glad I made the effort!

First of all, I've always loved color blocking, which used to be hugely in style and now isn't and who the heck cares anyway.

Second, don't you just love the yellow gems in the centers of the poinsettias? A reader gave me hundreds of them in two different sizes years ago, and I pull them out every Christmas just for this purpose!

Third, the inspiration photo is lovely in lime:


Note the sameness of the layout of the bedding...the flower is always in the lower left corner of the "block" of white, whether it's a pillow case or the spread. I tried this with my card and it looked utterly example of a three-dimensional arrangement not translating well at all to two dimensions. I rearranged my red flowers to create an asymmetrical triangle of the red that is much more visually pleasing on a card.

But I adore that bed. A. Dore.

If you're curious about the dimensions of the blocks on the card, they are a smidge more than 7/8" by 1" for the smaller ones, and 2" by 2 1/8" for the large one.

And I'm feeling much better about stamping now. Yay!!!!

If you're feeling stumped, go to Pinterest. If you don't have an account or boards, visit mine. These two are the best for visual inspiration: Cards and Pure Inspiration.

Happy stampin'!

stamps: Papertrey Peaceful Poinsettia (yes, it's now in the vault, and no, it's not worth $48 unless you're rich), Signature Christmas
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: SU dimensionals, yellow half beads, glue