Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, New Challenges!

One-Layer Simplicity Challenge: The OLS monthly challenge continues for 2015 with eleven new challenges, each beginning on the first of the month and running through the 24th.  On the 28th of the month, the Design Team--Ardyth, Karen D., Cheryl E., Heather T., and I--will share our favorite details of the month's entries. Click over to the OLS blog on January 1, 2015 for the first challenge of the new year!

Use Your Hoard: Starting January 1st, I'm kicking off the follow-on to my Use-Your-Stamps Challenge. Use Your Hoard has three motivations behind it:

1. Clutter Clearing. Too much stuff clutters up our stamp spaces, making it hard to find the stuff we really love and use. As we Use Our Hoard, we will made decisions about what to keep and what to clear away, making our spaces much easier to work in.

2. Creative Karma. As we show our unused supplies love, hopefully they will love us back with refreshed and renewed creativity and inspiration.

3. Style Savvy. Sometimes, our style doesn't suit our supplies. For instance, I hardly ever do lumpy-bumpy cards, but I have a LOT of supplies (buttons, hardware, etc.) hanging around taking up space and weighing me down. Does my style need stretching or does my hoard need pruning? If we try to play with stuff, we might learn something new...or we might learn how to say goodbye more easily to unnecessary crap.

If any of that sounds good to you, join right in!

Step 1. Start by making a list of all the products and tools you have in your hoard. This might take a while, and if you're like me, you'll keep finding new things to add to the list as you open drawers and peek in boxes. You may see my list on this page HERE.

Step 2. Pick an item from your list and get started! Play around with it, search Pinterest or the interwebs for ideas, try new stuff, don't be afraid to screw things up or waste things. The whole point is TO USE YOUR HOARD. So use it. No apologies, no regrets.

Step 3. Reflect on and evaluate the product as you go. Is it fun to work with? Did you find it easy to use in ways that made you happy? Did you feel like it was fighting you the whole way? Was it too fussy or not fussy enough for you? Do you like the idea of it better than the application of it?

Step 4. Make a decision. Either a) keep it and store it for easy access in your craft space; b) toss it into a donation box that will go somewhere else when it's full; or c) keep it stored away from your craft space for future use or to re-evaluate at a future time. The third option is there for those who have a tough time letting go of stuff or who might have very legitimate reasons for holding onto things. For instance, even though I rarely use my Bind-It-All and accessories these days, I KNOW I will use it again. It's not going away permanently.

Step 5. Repeat Steps 1-4 until your whole list is finished! For some of us, this might take a while.

Now, some of you might not have a big hoard to use. You might have joined the stamping world recently, or perhaps had to downsize, or just have a small budget that makes you highly selective and careful with purchases. Watching what others do with their hoard can be very helpful for you, too! You'll see products in action, read honest evaluations of them, and can make better decisions of what might be worth your space and investment.

And now for another card using Doodlie-Do and some enamel dots.

And I mean that. You're amazing!!! Thank you so much for reading and supporting Simplicity, and for encouraging me as you do. And Happy New Year!!! I'm so excited to be starting another year with you and hope we all have a simply spectacular crafty year together!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Doodlie-Do Background

While playing around with Doodlie-Do, I experimented with using lighter colors and fell in love with the set's potential as a background creator.

Now, y'all all know I'm a huge fan of white space...the empty space on cards. Some of you tell me you get itchy if there's "too much" white space on your cards, while I have spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how much white space I can get away with.

The answer is A LOT.

But occasionally, I do play around with filling that space, and Doodlie-Do is SUPERB for creating fun, simple backgrounds.

Of course, I keep it simple and monochromatic, but can you imagine this sort of line-art background in polychrome? So pretty! Add Stickles more liberally than I added the bling here, and you could create a really shiny masterpiece of a background. And those of you who absolutely love to color could have a field day making backgrounds with this set!

But I'm me, so I kept it simple and pared down to the basics. It was extremely plain before I put the bling on, but I love the font of the sentiment and the way the sentiment is the focal point.

To create a random background like this, start stamping slightly off-center and work your way out to the edges. This particular background was made with just one largish stamp. If you've never stamped a random background before, using a single, larger stamp is generally easier. There's not much "random" about random stamping, and it can take a little practice to avoid unsightly holes in the design or, worse, trapped white space.

And now for a comment about that glorious green ink. It's Impress Fresh Ink Celery. I LOVE these inks and will be buying a few more. They are rich, wonderful pigment inks that dry quickly and make good, crisp images. If you're in the market for a good pigment ink, check them out. But I'll have more to say about that in tomorrow's post.

stamps: Papertrey Doodlie-Do, Keep It Simple: Thinking of You
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Impress Fresh Ink celery, Memento black
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals

Monday, December 29, 2014

Doodlie-Do in Color

One very easy way to stamp outline images without needing to color them in is to stamp them in color. On today's card, I went with one flower image, stamped thrice in a visual triangle, in a raspberry ink that pops right off the white paper.

A tip for these sorts of arrangements...stamp the sentiment first, and then work around it. Also, if you plan on adding embellishments to the stamped image, as I have done here, be careful to make sure the places you will put said embellishments aren't hanging half-off the raised panel. I stamped very carefully so my silver half beads would fit nicely on the raised panel.

I just love the vibrant raspberry with the silver accents. The contrast works well, don't you think?

stamps: Papertrey Doodlie-Do, Keep It Simple: Thank You
ink: Hero Arts raspberry, Memento espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver half beads, silver metallic marker, metal ruler, dimensionals

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Doodlie-Do, CAS Style

The Plans for 2015 post has some wonderful comments. If you haven't read them, I recommend checking them out. You'll find good company. Laura H. sent me an email with this lovely thought: "Junk is stuff you throw away; stuff is junk you keep!" I'll be having lots more to say about the Use Your Hoard Challenge in coming days. Stay tuned.

Today, we're going to talk about weird stamp purchases that work.

Sometimes, stamps call my name, and I'm baffled as to why. For instance, Papertrey's Doodlie-Do set doesn't seem to evoke LateBlossom style, does it? After all, it's clearly supposed to be colored in by people who actually like coloring...a lot. I, however, am not one of those people. When was the last time I colored something on this blog?

I'll take that challenge! Hold on a minute while I figure that out.

You might count the post nearly two months ago on November 5, 2014, in which I colored green berries red with a Sakura Stardust pen, but that seems pretty lame. If you go back to October 12th, I painted a white-embossed flower with Twinkling H2Os, and that seems a better candidate if you count painting as coloring. But the last time I colored with markers or pencils was...wait for it...August 26th.

That sounds about right.

So when Doodlie-Do called my name, I figured I'd be able to do other things with it than color. It's been lots of fun playing around with it, so no regrets!

My first instinct was to stamp repeatedly through a mask (to limit the stamped space and allow for lots of white space) and then spotlight color using Stickles.

First up, I used peacock Stickles, and I like it, but it's a little subtle.

So on the second card, I used true blue Stickles, and the color pop is definitely more pronounced...and prettier.

This super-easy and flat card lets the line art of the stamps shine, and it also showcases the Stickles in a very CAS way.

Cutting this mask was easy with my Omnigrid quilting ruler and a craft knife. Start with a quarter sheet of copy paper, and trim out a rectangle that leaves a half-inch border around three sides and creates an open space 1.5" tall. Put a few spots of temporary tape-runner adhesive along the sides, and adhere to the front of a standard card. Stamp to your heart's content!

So if you're not a colorer, don't be afraid to purchase and have fun with outline sets like this one. For the next few days, we'll explore some other options with this set. Yay!

stamps: Papertrey Doodlie-Do, Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Memento tuxedo black
paper: Papertrey
accessories: copy paper, quilting ruler, craft knife, Stickles

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Plans for 2015

'Tis the season to think about resolutions and goals, and last night, while everyone else in my house was peacefully sleeping, I sat at my craft desk and reflected on crafty plans for 2015. Earlier in the day, I spent several hours cleaning out and straightening my craft supplies, moving a few to the unfinished area of the basement and putting others within easier reach.

I still haven't decided what to do about the ribbon stash.

You see, for me, my craft space organization helps guide my creativity. Clutter--unnecessary or unused supplies taking up visible space or labeled drawers--drains my creativity, while useful things energize and inspire me. Ribbon used to be useful; now, it's just pretty, arranged in rainbow display in glass jars on a shelf. And it's pretty uselessness is starting to annoy me.

Either I need to start using it, or stash it out of sight, or get rid of it entirely.

At the same time these organizational thoughts rattled around in my head, I remembered Ali Edwards' encouragement to create a crafty manifesto, a motto, or some sort of mantra to encourage creativity, and also to have "one word" for the experiment I've tried with varying degrees of failure over the past ten years or so.

As I cleaned off the cork board over my desk earlier in the day, I pulled off a 3" x 5" card with the following written on it: "Do Simple Things Well." I read this on Joan B's blog several years ago, and it stuck with me.

That's my crafty mantra: Do Simple Things Well.

Put that together with the reality of dozens of different craft abundance flirting with the border of pathological hoarding...and we have a bit of a contradiction, don't we?

Simple is good, but the sheer quantity of crafty crap inhabiting my space argues against simplicity. Sometimes, tension between two things can be good...a way of maintaining balance and harmony. Sometimes, such tension creates unnecessary stress. The key, for me at least, is to keep the tension healthy and productive.

Hence my plans for 2015.

In past years, I've emphasized using your stamps, and even have a page on this here blog dedicated to a Use-Your-Stamps Challenge. Last night, it occurred to me that I have totally aced the UYS Challenge. No stamps enter my stash until they've been used productively on a number of cards or crafty projects. I no longer buy piles of stamps and hoard them, uninked, like Smaug guarding his gold. Nope. I'm good. The habit of using them before adding them to my stash is firmly engrained to the point of being annoying, and every stamp in my stash has been well-used and justifies the space it takes up.

Now, it's time to use the OTHER stuff in my space. Use it, and decide whether to keep it or move it out. Stuff like colored pencils and watercolor crayons (both rarely used) and stuff like metallic markers and Stickles (both often used). Without trying too hard, I made a list of such supplies and came up with thirty-six items hoarded.

That's when I got tired and went to bed.

So 2015 is my year to Use My Hoard and figure out what in it will help me Do Simple Things Well.

Perhaps you'd like to join me, or perhaps you'd like to expand your hoard and do complicated things well. Doesn't matter. Like the card above says, "Start where you are, but don't stay there."

Let's get moving, folks!

What will your crafty focus be for 2015? Please share in the comments. What you share might give other stampers helpful ideas, and that's always a good thing!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Operation Write Home Again

Now that my holiday crafting is complete, I'm turning my attention back to Operation Write Home. If you don't follow them on Facebook, check out this photo. Brought a tear to my eye. Dang, our service members and their families deserve all the support and love they can get!

They always need missing you and love you cards, so here's a fun one using one of my new Simon Says Stamp sets.

The dotted circles are stamped in navy, and the hearts are red royal, for a patriotic effect. Sweet! Also, silver metallic markers aren't just for holiday cards. The silver was the perfect accent for this and gave a bit of definition to the raised panel. Without the silver, there was (dare I say it) too much white space.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Ours was so relaxing, cheerful, and blessed!

stamps: Simon Says Stamp, Clearly Besotted
ink: Hero Arts navy, red royal; Memento black
paper: Papertrey
accessories: silver metallic marker, dimensionals

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Peaceful Christmas Gift Tag

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Y'all give me a gift every time I read this blog. Sure, sometimes you skim, or you just look at the pictures, but the point is, you clicked on the link in your reader or opened the email in your inbox. Sometimes, you even take the time to send me a private email or leave a public comment.

Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement.

Here's a little Christmas gift tag for you. It's 2 7/8" x 3 3/4" and perfect for accenting a white-wrapped package to make a perfectly clean-and-simple presentation. May you open plenty of goodness tomorrow morning (or this morning if you're reading Simplicity in email!), and may your heart know the hope, peace, joy, and love that Christmas brings.

Peace be with you.

stamps: Hero Arts Winter Moon
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic marker, scissors

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Trio of Artsy Trees

Hero Arts has a lovely tree stamp called Overexposed Tree. It came in my birthday order because a girl really can't have too many tree stamps. My first experiments with it involved Kaleidacolor ink pads and some very old word stamps (Everyday Expressive Phrases, I think) from StampinUp.

Don't you just love how the colors glow right off the white card stock? Wow, those are some vivid ink pads! If you don't have Kaleidacolor pads, I highly recommend asking Santa for a few. Start with the single-color spectrum pads, as I used here. They are, I believe, the most useful, although some of the others are also extremely gorgeous!

After inking, I spritzed the stamp with a few squirts of water from a spray bottle, which gives them a nice, watercolor-y, blended effect. Once the stamped panels were completely dry, I stamped the words in Memento Luxe black.

With these cards, color carries the day. No embellishments needed.

I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season. We're on vacation at our house, and most of the preparations are complete. I still need to send cards (can you believe it!) and to make a batch of angel cookies, but most everything else is done. We're not traveling this year, and no one is traveling to us, so it's going to be rather quiet...which means there'll be time for stamping!


I love having most of the busyness behind me so I can really focus on relaxing, on family, and on the Reason for the Season.

Are you having a quiet holiday or a crazy one? Or something in between? What's your favorite part? Please do share!

stamps: Hero Arts, SU
ink: Kaleidacolor, Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey
accessories: water spritzer, dimensionals

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Partridge and His Pears

Oh, my.

Oh, me.

Oh, my.

I opened a Christmas card from kind reader kegbo, and pulled out a card with this note stuck to the front:

I peeled the note off the front of the card and started laughing so hard my husband had to make sure I was okay. Because...

wait for it...



 those are some impressive pears!!!!

Tears, people! TEARS streaming down my face. Because not only are those some impressive "pears," especially relative to the size of the partridge (*snort*), but check out kegbo's coloring. It's stunning. This is an absolutely gorgeous card in every way.

But it has pears.

And I laughed like an early-adolescent school girl.

We English majors have such dirty minds.


"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...."



Thank you, kegbo. You made a week of stress and craziness a whole lot funnier.

And now we will return to our regular, mature programming....

PS I really have had a crazy week (mostly good, with a  little plumbing problem thrown in just to remind me I'm not in control of anything), and I haven't been able to stamp at all. I'm hoping the next few days give me a chance to regroup and use some of my new goodies that are patiently awaiting ink.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Love Birds

My in-laws have an anniversary coming up, so I made this.

I just love the two shades of red (soft blossom and red royal from Hero Arts) and the silver border. Silver borders are da bomb.

Thanks for all your answers on yesterday's post. I learned about some stamp companies I'd never heard of before. Y'all are a bunch of shameless enablers!

stamps: Papertrey Love Birds, Mega Mixed Messages
ink: Hero Arts soft blossom, soft granite, red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, silver metallic marker (PrismaColor), metal ruler

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Embossing with Winter Moon, or Why Juicy Ink Pads Are Important

It's been forever since I used pigment ink and embossing powder. Oh, I've embossed, but I've used either VersaMark ink or specialty embossing ink with opaque embossing powder, or with clear EP for resist techniques. But for Winter Moon, I wanted to use a silver pearl embossing powder and a deep royal blue pigment ink. The combination turns the blue into a lovely, soft, pearlescent blue.

Only it's been years since I used the blue pigment pad, and it was really dry. I dabbed and dabbed and dabbed the pad onto the stamp, but it never looked fully covered. I stamped it, and it just didn't have that rich, pigment ink look, and when I embossed, the results were sort of pebbly. See?

It's pretty, but not as pretty as it should be. Guess I need to go shopping!

Actually, I did do some shopping for my birthday a few weeks ago, but it wasn't for ink. I picked up my first Simon Says Stamps. Don't you just love the smell of high-quality photopolymer as you open a mailer envelope?

Of course you do!

These should give me some fun playtime in the coming weeks, along with all the Hero Arts and Papertrey goodness I bought.

Since my card's not great today, let's share good stamp companies with each other. Whose stamps have you purchased recently? What pre-holiday purchases have you made that made you really happy? What are you planning on purchasing? Inquiring minds, and all that....

stamps: Hero Arts Winter Moon, Papertrey Keep It Simple: Christmas
ink: ColorBox royal blue, Hero Arts soft silver
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: embossing powder (silver pearl, Ranger), embossing gun, silver cord, dimensionals

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Stepping Up a One-Layer Card

Thursday's post about saving a poorly-positioned design shows what to do when a one-layer card goes wonky, but of course I HAD to try again to make the design work on one layer...because, you know, I'm all about "less is the new more."

Let's start with the failed one-layer version of the reindeer card so the changes I made in the new design make sense.

As you can see, the scrap paper under the card shows how I experimented with the tree and reindeer stamps...various colors and types of ink, off-stamping, etc. The sentiments along the bottom of the scrap (which is just a low-quality copy paper I buy in bulk) are tests to make sure the clear stamps are aligned on my gridded acrylic block properly before I stamp them on a card. This extra step saves a lot in wasted card fronts!

Back to the matter at hand. This card uses Memento pistachio and Hero Arts wet cement inks. It's soft and dreamy, but also a tad boring. For the new one-layer attempt, I decided to go with darker colors, especially to create greater contrast between the reindeer butt and the tree, which sort of blend together in the first version. I really wanted the reindeer to be the focal point that draws you into the design.

Here's the revised version, perfectly placed on the card, using Memento Olive Grove and Potter's Clay

In retrospect, I wish I'd snapped a shot of the card before adding the bow so you could see the intermediate step in the design. Without the bow, the card was a big improvement on the first, softer version, but it still needed a little something. The color of the deer kept the eye on the deer, and the sentiment (in Memento Espresso Truffle) seemed stuck on as an after-thought. The design needed something to take the eye to the sentiment, and a twine bow seemed just the thing. I love how it anchors the whole design on the really makes a huge difference!

Color and embellishment...if you have a blah design, try stepping it up by changing these two things!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: twine, glue, post-it for masking

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Good Save

More with Winter Moon coming soon, but we're shifting gears today....

Every now and then, I feel compelled to take pictures of unsuccessful cards to share with you...because it's sometimes helpful to see how things go wrong and then, of course, how to fix them. Today's post is one of those posts.

First of all, the cards today use several lovely stamps from Hero Arts: Pen & Ink Christmas Tree, Cross-Hatch Reindeer, and an old, discontinued sentiment. My original plan was to stamp the reindeer, mask his butt, stamp the tree, and add the sentiment. Here's the first effort:

Can you spot the problem?  The whole design is shifted unattractively toward the lower right corner. See how uneven the border around the main design is? That's because I stamped the reindeer too far down to start.

This problem is incredibly easy to fix. It's just a placement problem, so I cropped the card front using a couple of L-shaped pieces of cardboard to determine where to crop.

Then, using a quilting ruler and craft knife, I cut out the balanced design and made a white-on-white card with it, embellished with a bit of twine because it looked a bit plain.

Now, that's a nice, balanced card!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento pistachio, espresso truffle; Hero Arts wet cement
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, twine

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

More Winter Moon

Here's the image of Hero Arts' Winter Moon stamp I used for yesterday's cards:

Hero Arts Mounted Rubber Stamps-Winter Moon

As I said yesterday, this is a fairly "determined" stamp. It's modern graphic design and wintery scene limit how versatile this stamp is regarding meaning. It's pretty limited that way. But by using different supplies and techniques and layouts, we can still get plenty of different effects from it.

You'll notice the lovely curve at the bottom? Well, I decided to take advantage of that curve, cut the bottom of the scene along it rather than straight, and came up with two designs.

First up, I took advantage of Brilliance Ink's pearlescent shimmer and stamped Winter Moon in Lavender. The soft color and shimmer went perfectly with the Silent Night sentiment from Papertrey's Silent Night set, which is stamped in Memento Luxe Gray Flannel.

Here's a close-up of the ink...isn't that gorgeous!?!?!

I love the simplicity of the first design. It was so clean and simple that I felt I didn't need to add anything to it whatsoever. The shimmer was just enough!

The second card uses teal (can't remember the type of ink, though!) edged with silver metallic marker. It was easier than I thought to edge the curve, though it took courage to make the attempt. Good grief, the silly things that can scare us.

And check out that ribbon. Can you believe I used ribbon? What is that? Twice in one month? Go, me!

I don't like this card as much as the first, but it's still simple, crisp, and pretty. I just really wish I had white satin ribbon. A little wider satin would have looked better, don't you think? I do.

Combined with yesterday's cards, I think I'm doing a pretty good job showing how different inks and supplies and techniques can change the look of even a very determined stamp like this one.

More to come....

stamps: Hero Arts Winter Moon, Papertrey Silent Night
ink: see above
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, ribbon, scissors

Monday, December 8, 2014

Variations on a Big Stamp

Long, long ago, I read about "determined" art supplies in a book on book binding, and the lesson stuck with me even if the title of the book didn't. The author encouraged book artists to look for "undetermined" that didn't already convey a pre-determined meaning to the world. Highly determined supplies could become clichés after a while, like a red rose symbolizing love.

This got me thinking about stamping supplies. When I first started stamping, harlequin stamps (you know, court jesters in harlequin-print clothes) were everywhere. So were pears, vintage paper dolls, and the Mona Lisa. When you use these images, you limit the meaning of your creations.

Now, don't get me wrong; limiting the meaning of something is often a very good thing, until, of course it becomes a cliché and people start wanting to spray-paint BVDs on those obscene pears. (If you're new here, you might want to read this post to understand my, ahem, interpretation of pear images. And thanks, by the way, to those of you who continue to share particularly egregious examples of the phallic fruit with me. It's always good for a laugh!)

Where was I? Oh, yes, determined supplies. Okay. Less determined stamps are usually ones that don't carry a lot of meaning and thus can be used to create all sorts of meanings. Often, however, big stamp images can be difficult to use because they are often so determined. Getting different looks is harder when the image takes up a lot of real estate on the card, and it's easy to feel like you've exhausted the stamp's possibilities after just one or two cards.

Consider Hero Arts Winter Moon stamp:

This stylized night scene is just over three inches wide and four inches high. It's also quite lovely, and I bought it for my birthday last month. What meaning does this convey? Well, it's a winter scene, perfect for peaceful winter-holiday cards, and perhaps thinking-of-you cards. It's a little serene for a happy birthday card, and it might be weird with a thank you sentiment. (Cold, snowy nights don't conjure thoughts of warm gratitude...unless you're inside by the fire! But hey, do whatever you want...all this is just stuff to think about, not rules to follow.)

I bought Winter Moon specifically for holiday cards. But I was worried that I'd make one card and not really be able to vary it enough to make lots more.

Of course, if you have tons of different inks, embossing powders, and embellishments, you can certainly do more with even the most determined large stamp. As I will prove in the next few days.


I started with a light blue ink from VersaColor called Atlantic. It's such a soft blue! (That makes it hard to photograph, actually, and hence the dark background.) I edged the raised panel and filled in the moon with my new clear Wink of Stella brush pen (too subtle to show in the photo, though it's lovely in real life). To position the panel, I placed it unconventionally toward the bottom of a standard A2 if it were softly falling like the snow. The italic Christ in the sentiment contributes to the overall softness of the card.

The second version takes a darker turn, for a higher-contrast scene. Here, the image is stamped in Hero Arts Navy ink, and the raised panel is edged with silver metallic marker. I also switched the sentiment to a more stylized font to emphasize the graphic nature of the design. The moon is punched from a piece of white cardstock colored with the silver marker, so it stands out a bit more and ties the border into the design.

For some reason, this looked odd placed the same as the first panel, so I cut a bit from the bottom of the card for an even mat all the way around.

Note how color tone alone changes everything about this stamp!

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at a few more uses for this very determined stamp!

stamps: Hero Arts Winter Moon, Papertrey sentiments
ink: VersaColor, Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: Wink of Stella pen, silver metallic pen (Prismacolor), dimensionals

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Silent Night Revisited...And Tips to Adapt a Design to Stamps You Have on Hand

One thing I love about Papertrey is that their design team periodically makes new stuff with old sets, which makes you feel like it's okay to use old stamps for new things...something few companies choose to do, at least that I've noticed.

One of the earliest Christmas sets I bought from Papertrey was Silent Night, a beautiful religious set with lots of Christmas-related Bible verses. I make cards with it every Christmas because it's just so perfectly designed.

Sadly, the set is now in Papertrey's vault and ridiculously overpriced. As a former marketing person who understands a bit how business runs and the necessity of inventory/cash flow regulation, I get the whole vault thing, and it is better than simply discontinuing stuff. But still. I love this set, just not $48 worth of love.

Perhaps you have a bigger stamp budget than I have, though.

The good news is that you don't need to buy this set to do something similar to the card I made this weekend. Explore your stash for a cool swirl, a nice holiday sentiment, and a star stamp. Then play around with them using my card as a jumping-off point. You might come up with something way better than I did!

As you play with your different stamps, focus on UNITY. My card uses all stamps from one set carefully designed to complement each other, so achieving unity was easy. Notice how my swirl is dainty and delicate, and so are the stars. The sentiment is curvy and italic, with a flourished capital letter S. They were made to go together.

You might have a set from another company that has swirls, stars, and holiday sentiments...companies do imitate one another or develop similar sets independently. But if you're pulling a swirl from one company and a star from another, and a sentiment from yet a third company, you need to be strategic in your choices. Not any ol' combo will do.

If your swirl is bolder and has heavier lines, look for a star stamp that is bolder and heavier to match. Ditto the sentiment. If you use a dainty sentiment with a bold stamp, it will likely be lost in the design.

If your swirl is smaller or larger, look for stars and sentiments that will match its scale. Downsize or upsize the raised panel to fit your smaller or larger stamps. You can use the chart I posted about proportional matting to make sure your stamped panel is a size that results in even matting, but really, the scale of my raised panel was determined entirely by the size of my stamps.

Don't be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. As you do so, you'll be learning what NOT to do. That's a good thing, not a bad thing at all!

After all, it's only paper.

Happy stamping!

stamps: Papertrey Silent Night
ink: Kaleidacolor, Brilliance starlight silver
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: metal ruler, silver Prismacolor metallic pen, dimensionals

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Confession

Back when clear stamps got good (read: Papertrey came into my life), I was excited for the two-step stamping and pattern-building possibilities. The pattern-building stamps worked well with my gridded acrylic block and made me very happy.

Then, after purchasing several clear sets that were designed for two-step stamping, I realized that even my perfectionist steady hand wasn't quite enough to get two-step stamps lined up to my satisfaction (read: not perfectly and therefore abject failures every one!) Can anyone get the centers of flowers stamped so that they perfectly line up with the petals? It's hit or miss for me, and it. drives. me. nuts.


But pattern building is fun and easy with a gridded acrylic I found when I started playing around with the multiple stamps of Fair Isle Motifs. See?

This border was made with two different stamps: the square-ish flower-shaped stamp, which I alternated in red and green inks, and the small heart, which fills in the corners. It was incredibly easy to design and to line up.

And the color combination makes this highly festive!

But getting centers of flowers right...I'm just not good.

stamps: Papertrey Fair Isle Motifs, Keep It Simple: Christmas
ink: Hero Arts green, red royal
paper: Papertrey
accessories: gridded acrylic block

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rock-and-Roll Meets Fair Isle Motifs

For no other reason than I thought it would look cool:

VersaMagic Aquatic Spray and Turquoise Gem. Interesting effect, don't you think?

stamps: Papertrey Fair Isle Motifs, Keep It Simple: Christmas
ink: VersaMagic, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fair Isle Motifs...Again

Further proof that you simply cannot have too many kinds of inks, and you really, really, really need Kaleidacolor inks.

Yep. I might make a few of these. It was soooo easy, it's totally flat, and it's stunningly festive. The ink really does all the work here, adding so much interest to an already interesting image.

*happy sigh*

stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple: Christmas; Fair Isle Motifs
ink: Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey
accessories: not a one

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why I Bought Fair Isle Motifs and Links to Useful Past Tutorials

This card.

I wanted to make this card, so I bought the set.

I don't have much to say about this card, other than I'm lovin' this set. It's so pretty! It's so easy!

Yes, you'll see more of this in the next few days.

Tutorial Links
Someone recently asked me how I get images placed so precisely. This question comes up frequently enough that I've done two different tutorials on for precise placement with wood-mounted stamps and one for precise placement using clear stamps with gridded acrylic blocks.

I hope this helps!

stamps: Fair Isle Motifs, Keep It Simple: Christmas
paper: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts
accessories: gold metallic pen (Prisma), dimensionals

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanks for Everything, Ink

Can you have too many types of ink? Too many colors? I don't think so.

Memento DeLuxe inks:

Brilliance Pearlescent Inks:

Kaleidacolor Spectrum Inks:

I am so very grateful for all my inks!

What are your favorite inks? Or are you like you love them ALL?

stamps: Wet Paint (Papertrey)
ink: Memento DeLuxe, Brilliance, Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Glimmer Mist (used with the Kaleidacolor inks)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Birthday Masking

Sometimes, I am lazy.

You're shocked, I'm sure. You never would have guessed this.

Sometimes, I think, "Gee, it would be cool to cut a mask for this image and layer it!" And then, my very whiny inner voice says, "That would be lots of wooorrrrrrk...."

My very whiny inner voice really gets in the way of creativity.

But not today.

Yep. That's as complex a mask as I could cut.

Aren't you impressed with my mad cutting skillz?

Sure you are.


stamps: Clearly Besotted, Papertrey (sentiment)
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: black rhinestones