Saturday, January 31, 2015

Operation Write Home Needs YOU!

I'm still on a little break from the blog, but I wanted to encourage you to remember Operation Write Home. They still need cards and are running short. In particular, they need Mom cards (not just Mother's Day cards...the plain ol' Mom cards have a longer shelf life) and Easter cards, in addition to the usual thank you/thinking of you/birthday/love/miss you.

Remember, OWH doesn't want cards with glitter or that are really dimensional. Full guidelines are HERE, and deadlines and acceptable themes are listed HERE.

Thank you to all who support our troops in any way at all. Most of you know my husband was active duty for 20 years, and he so appreciated the civilian support he experienced!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cheer up, Buttercup!

A quick little card using Note Niblets from Papertrey...

The lemon and lime color scheme makes me so happy on these cold, colorless days.

Depending on my creativity tomorrow, Simplicity may need to take a little break. Only a few days, so don't be alarmed. Life is good...just very full.

stamps: Papertrey's Note Niblets
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Monday, January 26, 2015

Giving Spirit and a Reader Question

Dare 2B Artzy has a set called Giving Spirit that has some lovely quotations on it. As I stared at this one from Mother Teresa, the grape stamp from Papertrey's Fruitful (in the vault now and thus stupidly expensive!) popped into my mind, and isn't it cool how nice they look together?

Grapes are a nicely biblical fruit, with associations to Christ ("I am the vine, you are the branches..." John 15:5). This card is one of several I made for our Stephen Ministry group to send out, so the religious references are particularly suitable.

I really, really, really wanted this to be a simple white-on-white card, but it just needed a little something more. This grape, double-sided satin ribbon comes from Ellen Hutson. It's so pretty. I attached it with Scor-Tape and trimmed the edges with scissors.

And now I want a glass of wine. Cline Ancient Vine Zinfandel would be lovely.

A Reader Question
Eileen T asked the following question: "I'd be interested to know how you finish the inside of your cards, please, or do you leave them blank?"

Well, Eileen, generally, I leave the insides blank. There are exceptions, although I often forget to photograph the inside when I do stamp in it. If there's stamping inside, though, it's small, to leave plenty of room for a handwritten note.

I like handwritten notes.

stamps: Papertrey Fruitful, Dare 2B Artzy Giving Spirit
ink: Memento Luxe tuxedo black, Fresh Ink mojito, VersaMagic Concord grape
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, scallop scissors (to round corners of raised panel), ribbon from Ellen Hutson

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Using My Hoard: Gold Leaf

First of all, I'd like to thank those of you who offered advice regarding pink alcohol markers. Several of you sent me specific Copic color/number codes, and others of you suggested different brands. I'm going to get several of the Copics for sure, and I think I'll try a set of the new SU Blendabilities markers. Look for future posts with more about how I'm figuring out how to make this tool work for me...and what I'm deciding to keep and what will be donated to our church preschool.

Second, thanks to Sheila H who suggested, for obvious reasons, that I check out this post on Simon Says Stamp's blog. Bwaahaahaaa! Pears!!! (It's a lovely card, isn't it?)

Third, here's my latest update on Use My Hoard: gold leaf.

Gold leaf--the real thing, not the fake stuff--is rather expensive and rather fussy. The total cost of these two items (a pack of gold leaf and an agate burnisher) was around $100 ($35 for the gold, $65-ish for the burnisher) 12 or so years ago. You'll notice the term patent on the package. That means the gold leaves are attached to a backing paper, which makes them much easier to work with, especially for beginners. Loose leaves take great skill and very still air to work with...or they fold up on themselves and crumple. Breathe on it wrong, and it turns into a wad. I have never taken the chance and stuck with patent gold. Agate burnishers are smooth, hard rock, and they burnish gold and silver beautifully.

I bought these years ago when I was seriously into calligraphy and illumination and used them on a few pieces I gave as gifts. The difference between gold leaf and gold gouache paint is startling and, for illumination, well worth the time and effort.

Here's a picture of two used sheets of the gold leaf, but the "extra" gold is still useable. Gold will stick only to paper that has some sort of glue (allowed to dry fully) on it and to itself, so you can rub these small areas onto a new project, and they will stick where they are supposed to. At this price point, you don't want to waste a flake!

Because of the price and the finicky nature of gold leaf, I've rarely used it on cards. Cards are so...disposable. But I decided to use the extra gold on these sheets to make a card, and isn't it shiny!?!?

You can see just how shiny in this close-up.

This little flower (from Papertrey's Beautiful Blooms II) used almost all the gold on one of the left-over sheets.

Not counting drying time for the adhesive, this card took about an hour to make. It would be substantially faster with a fresh sheet of leaf, but trying to get all those flakes of gold down on those narrow petals took far longer than I expected.

I love the look, but realistically, gold leaf is just a bit too time-consuming (for me!) for cards that might be thrown in the trash. When I get back to making framed calligraphy pieces or illuminated books that will be kept for a long time, I'll pull these supplies out. At least they don't ever go bad! But for now, in this busy phase of my life that leaves little time for crafting, they're going to storage.

How is the Use-Your-Hoard Challenge working for you?

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blooms II
ink: none
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Essential Glue Pad, gold leaf, agate burnisher, rhinestone (colored with alcohol markers), corner rounder

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Sleepytime Thought

As I was falling asleep last night, I had a thought, so I put a note on my phone and went to sleep because, you know, I was tired after weeks of insomnia and have finally been sleeping well and no crafty thought was going to keep me awake, by golly.

So there.

Of course, I'd forgotten all about the thought this morning as I was drinking coffee and reading a novel in my recliner. But of course, the note was there when I swiped my phone.

Yay, iPhone!

I played with the idea today, before I could forget to check the notes on my phone because I'd find it months from now and wonder what the heck it meant because context is important and often old notes make NO sense to me whatsoever months after the fact. Does this happen to anyone else?

The idea was this: create an ombre blotch on scrap card stock with Copics/Bics/Sharpies, punch out a shape, and use the lovely shape on a card.

I started with the butterflies and used my all-time favorite CAS layout...which was used on the very first post on this here blog. 

I liked it but thought, hey, let's try snowflakes. After I'd punched them and arranged them loosely on a card, I caught a glimpse of my Wink of Stella pen on my desk and PRESTO!

The clear Wink of Stella makes all the difference on this card. Ohmygosh, so loving that pen!!!!

I loved making these colorful shapes. It's so nice not to worry about staying in lines or being fussy. I just kept adding pigment until I was satisfied, then punched. So very, very easy. And the colors are so rich and bright and pop right off the white card base.

Happy sigh!

stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple: Thank you and Dare 2B Artzy Giving Spirit
ink: Memento Luxe tuxedo black
paper: Papertrey
accessories: various alcohol markers, glue pen, punches, black half pearls

Friday, January 23, 2015

Big Purple

Several sets I have contain extremely large words. While I like the words, it's hard to do "different" things with them when you stick to CAS (and don't own the coordinating dies...or a die cut machine to use them on!). But I like how this one turned out.

The bling looks purple in real life...a perfect match for the reddish-purple amethyst ink, actually, but in the photo they look black. Weird. Anyway, I love the way the spiky branches work with the word birthday and the contrast with the flow of the cursive happy.

Have a fabulous weekend!

stamps: Papertrey Embellished Elegance
ink: Ancient Page amethyst, Hero Arts soft olive (I think)
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pink Problems

As many of you already know, I use Bic and Sharpie markers mostly, and just fill in lighter shades with expensive Copics, because, you know, y'all see me coloring in things so very often that taking the cheap route just makes sense.

Except when it comes to pinks.

I have enough of all three brands to make two shades of pink, one of which is very bright and one of which is more of a salmon color. So I made two cards with the pinks I have, neither of which honestly makes me happy. I need more better pinks! Although, having said that, I rather like both cards.

I grounded the envelope on a strip of pink grapefruit
VersaMagic ink. Not sure it's better than the one below,
but it is, at least, grounded and not floating.

I'm okay with floating things. Some designers are not.
If floating makes you happy, do it. If it doesn't, don't.
Design wisdom given for free. Which is about what it is worth.

I'm willing to invest in three Copic markers that give me a softer, sweeter pink. Does anyone have suggestions?


BTW, these cards are both destined for Operation Write Home.

stamps: Papertrey Note Niblets, Sign Language
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: assortment of Copic, Sharpie, and Bic markers, dimensionals, rhinestone hearts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AHA! or Duh! You Be the Judge

I experienced an aha! moment yesterday, or perhaps it was just a duh! moment. I'm not sure, but my embellishment drawers just got a lot emptier cleaner.

So yay!

Anyway, I resolved to tackle some of my Use Your Hoard List. In particular, I wanted to figure out if buttons needed to stay in my embellishment drawers or go to storage in an unfinished area of the basement. It seemed like such a good idea...until my overactive brain took over.

My stream of consciousness ran something like this: Hmm, I have buttons in every color. This isn't fun. Dang, I forgot how thick these things are. They won't go through the mail at all. This isn't fun. Do I really want to make something that can't go in the mail? Not really, no, and this still isn't fun. Plus, what new thing could I do with buttons that I haven't already done? Do I want to make something that's NOT a card? No, no I don't. Too much effort. I'm tired. Why did my insomnia pick now to come back. How can I expect to be creative on so little sleep for weeks on end?  I sold that button set from PTI, didn't I? Sure did. What is the point? This isn't fun. Calgon, take me away!!!!

You see what I have to deal with? I had pulled out one of my Craft Mate cases of embellishments, where I store brads, paper clips, buttons, sequins, etc. None of it looked at all interesting to me.

NONE of it, people.

I pulled the Craft Mate cases from the Blue/Violet, Green, Yellow/Orange, and Red/Pink drawers and moved them out. The only ones that stayed were the neutrals and metallics. Those may join the colors soon.

These four cases now reside on the top shelf of my baker's rack, still in my craft room, but not convenient at all to my workspace, and may head off to the basement later. It felt good to move them.

The little bear, who is full of tiny beads and very relaxing to squeeze, stayed on my desk within easy reach. That little guy kept me from choking the life out of annoying salespeople when I worked for a computer memory manufacturer years ago. Those sales department guys always came to my cubicle with emergency, last-minute, must-get-done now projects that they'd known about for weeks and ohmygoshincompetenceonyourpartdoesn'tconstituteanemergencyonmine!!!!!

See? Years later, and it still stresses me out.

Let it go, let it go!

Ohhhmmmmm, squishy bear. Ohhhmmmm.

I feel better. This helps, too. Especially if the wine is a nicely balanced malbec.

I made this card for my sister-in-law. She will appreciate it. She and I drank wine while our husbands sweated it out at Ironman Wisconsin in September. She and I know how to do an Ironman!

The bling covers up stars on the stamp, but I didn't have red-wine colored stars...just blue.

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

stamps: Hero Arts A Little clear set
ink: Versamagic Jumbo Java, Memento Luxe Rhubarb
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Getting My Purple On

Probably my least-used colors are the purples and violets, but the current cover of Somerset Life inspired me to pull them out and play. This is my favorite of the efforts.

The flower from Papertrey's Doodlie Do is stamped in Ancient Page Amethyst ink, which is such a gorgeous reddish purple. Paired with silver metallic, it works beautifully on the white background!

If you're looking for a challenge today, consider using purple and silver together, with lots and lots of white. What a stunning combination!!!

stamps: Papertrey Doodlie Do and Signature Greetings
ink: Ancient Page amethyst, Memento espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: silver metallic pen, dimensionals, post-it notes for mask

Monday, January 19, 2015

Perfect Balance

As I explained in yesterday's post, I often struggle with integrating shabby chic/vintage/artsy style elements into my CAS style. While I enjoyed making yesterday's cards, they were a bit, um, much for me.

I love white space and visual simplicity, right? Putting ten or so cut-out words on trees feels...excessive.

Right after I made those two tree cards, I made this card, which uses some lovely, soft blues. This card feels so much like me I giggled out loud when I finished it!

The hearts all have crazy swirls, but they are the same heart shape, repeated in a nice, tidy row.

The words are cut out and the same height as the big heart and in a vertical row below it.

Angles love curves. Check.

And the words. Oh, my. The meaning fits right in with the crazy swirls and the hearts.

What's not to love? Soft, vintage-y colors, crisp, linear design, great curves, a few meaningful words treated in an artsy style, and plenty of white space.

That's what I call perfect balance.

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Simple Alphabet
ink: Fresh Ink Island; Memento Luxe Teal Zeal; Memento Black, Teal Zeal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart punch, dimensionals

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Many thanks for your comments on this post. I've decided to send the kraft version to my nephew, mainly because Bev emailed me and told me that "males usually prefer dull, ugly cards." *snort*

And now on to other things....

One consequence of being super clean and simple is that I regularly feel the creative urge to stretch myself, get out of my comfort zone, and try new things...or at least revisit things I've tried long, long ago. CAS--like anything you do a lot--can get boring, and it's helpful to shake things up a bit.

Additionally: I love the visual impact of the current issue of Somerset Life:

The shabby chic, vintage, artsy style, however, doesn't reconcile easily with clean and simple. I've spent years experimenting, playing around with ideas garnered from those layered, textured styles. Mostly, I fail. Which is fine. It's all a learning process.

One mistake I've made over and over again...trying to absorb too much of at once. So as I explored the visual loveliness of this magazine issue, I looked for little things, tiny details that I could adapt to my style. One such detail that appeals to my CAS sensibilities is using individual words cut out closely. It inspired my use of them on this post.

It's a good one. For today's cards, I went busier than usual, with lots of words acting like leaves on the Mighty Oak tree from Papertrey.

The green version came first, and I liked everything except the color. The overall effect is rather drab in real life (the photo actually looks better!). So I made another with more words and PINK!

Love the colors, but now I think there are too many words...just a bit too busy. But the sentiment works better, the colors work better, and it makes me happy!

Do you ever try to stretch your creative self, even if just to put a toe outside your nice, little box of style? What inspires you to do so, or what keeps you from trying?

stamps: SU Amazing to Zany, Hero Arts
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, Cutterbee scissors

Saturday, January 17, 2015

More with Stickles

NOTE: I put the wrong ink color on my previous post. The correct ink is Brilliance Pearlescent RUST. Amazing the things that pop into your mind right after you wake up in the morning! I've edited the post to reflect the change. The metallic marker IS copper, though. The two match nicely, don't they?

ANOTHER NOTE: I've updated and rewritten parts of my Product Talk tab with new information. If you're looking for discussion of ink, card stock, or stamps, check it out.

On this post, I painted Stickles over water-resistant colored ink, but my first attempt with painting Stickles used an outline stamp. Check it out!

To get this effect, I used almost no water (wet the brush and wiped it on a paper towel), so the Stickles went down thicker. The sketchy style of this old Hampton Arts stamp works perfectly with the loose and "messy" style of the painted Stickles.

stamps: Hampton Arts (flower), Papertrey Mega Mixed Messages
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles, dimensionals, Corner Chomper

Friday, January 16, 2015

Kraft or White? You Be the Judge--Edited

I needed to make a birthday card for our nephew the diesel engine mechanic, so out came the Time set from Uniko. I made a kraft card and then wondered if it would look better (to my eye) in white. You be the judge:

I (of course) prefer the white (the crisp contrast is just my style!). But that Cosmic Copper Brilliance Pearlescent Rust ink looks great on both papers. Check out these two close-ups:

These two cards allowed me to use up some old, old, old brads, too. I don't have any rusty ones, which would have looked stunning, but made do with good, ordinary brown...just like the sentiment. Brads are one of those embellishments that rarely get used but are nice to have around in neutral colors.

If you're new to stamping and haven't used brads, you should know these two tips:

1. Poke a hole with a push pin where you want the brad to go. Positioning it is much easier.

2. Never, ever, ever--under any circumstances--use brads on a one-layer card. It leaves unsightly brad butts showing.

Someone (*cough*Leslie*) said "butt" wasn't the proper term. They are "legs." Well, showing Brad's spread legs inside a card is even worse than showing his butt. Don't do it.

And don't blame me for the image in your head. It's Leslie's fault.

Let's circle back to kraft or white. Which do you like best? Why?

stamps: Uniko
ink: Brilliance
paper: Papertrey kraft and white
accessories: brads, dimensionals, copper metallic marker (Pentel, I think; and yes, working that rounded corner was a bear), metal ruler

Thursday, January 15, 2015

An Experiment with Stickles

Have you noticed how Stickles is really thick and dense and gives awesome coverage? I did, and now I want to get rid of all my loose glitter. I hate using it. Hate. Hate. Hate.

Don't tell me not to be a hater. Haters gonna hate. And I hate loose glitter.

It's messy.  I get it everywhere I don't want it (my face, the dog's nose, my cup of coffee), but it flakes off everywhere I do want it. Unless I use lots of liquid glue, and then, why not just use Stickles?

Are you following me? You don't have to agree, just hear me squawking freedom.

Thank you.

Well, have you ever wondered if you could use Stickles for projects in which you wanted just a bit of glitter, or maybe just a schmear of glitter?

I have, so I decided to experiment by mixing Stickles with a bit of water and brushing it onto a card with a cheap paintbrush. The results were very satisfying!

I chose three very old Hero Arts watercolor flower stamps and colored them with Memento markers...because Memento ink is water-resistant when dry. I didn't want the ink smearing messily while I painted over it with the Stickles. After coloring on the stamp with the markers, I spritzed several squirts of water onto the stamp for a watercolor effect. Love this technique!

The photo doesn't show the effect very well, so here's a close-up:

Cool, eh?  I think so! Below are two more cards and close-ups.

This last one had an interesting twist. The orange Stickles seems a little different from the others. The glue in which the glitter is suspended is actually orange, not clear. So the white areas inside the petals turned orange...a fortunate effect in this case, I think! Also, I added a bit of extra yellow glitter right out of the bottle to the center of this flower because the "painted" glitter didn't define the center very well, especially after the white spaces turned orange.

The soft schmear of glitter over the watercolor images looks fabulous. It would look stunning over PTI's Watercolor Wonders set...which will be my next experiment with it!

And I totally want credit for trying something new. I haven't seen this anywhere, although it seems so obvious now that someone else MUST have tried it before. Great minds think alike...whoever they are.

Remember to use a cheap brush when painting glue...that $30 sable brush does not deserve to be mistreated, okay? Also, only use water-resistant or water-proof ink for this technique, or you'll likely make a mess.

And I'm getting rid of the loose glitter, so there shouldn't be any more messes in my craft space.


("She's delusional.")

I heard that.

stamps: Hero Arts, SU Amazing to Zany
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: paint brush, Stickles, cup of water, post-it notes for a makeshift palette for the Stickles, dimensionals

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When Inspiration Goes Awry

I love the card by the highly talented Rosemary Dennis on the cover of the winter issue of Take Ten.

That layout is so clean and simple and perfect! I decided to do a rather straightforward CASE of this card, using a single tree stamp in place of the three flowers, and I failed miserably. The sentiment I stamped in brown made me realize that a large part of what makes Rosemary's card work is the color placement...the hot pink sentiment, ground, and focal-point flower/heart unify the card so beautifully. My version lost all unity because I went with a green ground. I wanted to use lime with pink...go figure. It ruined Rosemary's design.

So I chopped off the top of the stamped panel just below the sentiment, turned the design into a square card, and stamped a different sentiment in the sweet spot.

Size: 4.25" square

Not a bad save, actually. I have Rosemary's card, however, to thank for it, because I never would have started without her lovely inspiration.

This example goes to show that as you adapt and modify an inspiring design, strange things can happen. Don't let that deter you. Tweak, edit, cut off, cover up. Let your changes take your design in a little different direction. It's okay. Maybe it will work, and maybe it won't. But IT'S ONLY PAPER.

Can I hear an Amen?

stamps: Trendy Tree Tops, Faux Ribbon (Papertrey)
ink: quick-dry pigment/chalk (VersaMagic, Fresh Ink, Memento Luxe)
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone, dimensionals

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recovering Nicely with a Little Sparkle

Today's card demonstrates the principle of recovering nicely from a screw-up. It also teaches the need to make sure your product's shelf life hasn't been exceeded.

First, the card.

A few things to note...the card has colored card stock (wait a minute!) but only a narrow strip to highlight the border punch, which itself mimics the scallop of the gingham icing on the cupcake. Cool, eh? Also, that cupcake is floating around in white space and I just don't care.

Now, I wanted a nice, shiny cherry on top of the cupcake, but my product (a tiny, unopened tube of free sample of Diamond Glaze) was tucked away in the unfinished area of my basement in a drawer labeled "Surplus Adhesive."

People who buy too much on sale need such drawers, right?

Anyway, this sample tube had been in storage since, oh, the Triassic period, and when I cut off the tip, it seemed a little thick. But did I test it on a scrap of paper? Oh, no. Stoopid. It was totally goopy and stiff and wouldn't smooth out on the cherry for anything.

I set the card aside to let the mess dry. Once it was, I pulled out my nice, fresh red Stickles and spread it over the lumpy, bumpy Diamond Glaze. The results are acceptable, if not ideal.

A little sparkle can fix a lot of mistakes.

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey Ink white, SU real red
accessories: Diamond Glaze, Stickles, SU scallop border punch

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Who Are You and What Have You Done with Susan?"

"Can it be?"

"Would she really?"

"Oh my gosh...colored card stock!?!?"


It looks strange, doesn't it? Totally unexpected.

But as I was clearing out my ribbon stash, tossing a bunch that will never get used into my "get rid of" box, I found just enough of this delightful blue satin for a single card and decided to use it.

The raised panel looked weird on a white base. Oh, yes. I tried. But the card needed more color than just the ribbon to unify it. Now, the colors are more balanced, and that fabulous sentiment (Clearly Besotted, I think) shines.

Just because I don't use colored card stock often doesn't mean I don't use it at all.

And that ribbon is GONE. It felt good to use something up.

Not to mention a half sheet of bashful blue card stock.

Go, me!

Are you using stuff up? Have you stepped outside your comfort zone this year yet? If not, give it a try!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe tuxedo black
paper: SU bashful blue, PTI white
accessories: Fiskars border punch, SU dimensionals, satin ribbon

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Winner, a Cork Board, and a Pear

Laura Whitaker is the randomly-chosen winner of the Limited Edition You Rock die by Julie Ebersole! YAY! Laura likes dies, and I know this one is going to a good home. Laura, please email me your snail mail address at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com, and I'll mail your prize out as soon as I can!

Now for the cork board. I have a couple of cork boards on the wall in my craft area where I keep a bunch of cards, mostly ones that y'all have sent me. Before Christmas, here's what the board looked like:

Then, I cleared it all off, except for Annie's picture, because I love how Annie's looking up at the board as if to say, "Dang, girl, you have some awesomely talented friends!" BTW, Annie is the furry daughter of my friend Lisa over at Flat Fish Paper Arts. You will see more pictures of Annie over there.

Then, I took all the holiday cards I received and put them up for Annie and me to admire.

If you click on the picture, you will see it larger. What gorgeous cards! Many thanks to all who took the time to make and/or send me cards. It's so sweet of you to do that, and I really do appreciate your kindness.

And now for the pear, as promised.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Borders and Washi Tape

An incredibly easy and effective use of washi tape is to create borders on layers. Like this.

This particular heart tape doesn't line up quite right, so it overlaps slightly and annoys me. But still. I wanted to go with a "lots of love" idea, and the black Staz-on does a better job than any other ink I've used on washi tape. Even so, you can see it's ever so slightly beaded up. (Click the pic to enlarge if needed.)

The second card is more satisfying to me, just because those little obsessive issues with the first aren't an issue. The angled stripes and graphic hearts give a nice sense of movement to the static design, don't you think?

Of all the uses of washi tape, I think this one is my favorite. It's easy. It's clean. It lets you spotlight cool sentiments. For this use alone, I consider my washi tape useful.

Using my Hoard
Washi tape is definitely a keeper, and I'm marking it as such on my list.

Have you been using your hoard? Have you eliminated anything or decided to keep something? How is the challenge going for you?

stamps: various, including Wet Paint by Papertrey
ink: SU real red, Memento black, Staz-on black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: washi tape, dimensionals

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Washi in Negative Space and a Funny Give-Away

Filling in negative space is nothing new, but it's fun nevertheless.

You can use all sorts of different things to fill in negative space for almost any shape...washi tape, designer paper, stamping, embossing, vellum, etc. You can even make a shaker card using a transparency and a whole lot of dimensional tape. Negative shapes are fun!

And another reason for me to keep the washi tape in my stash.

The heart on my card was cut using a Fiskar's ShapeCutter system like the one shown below:

In fact, it was cut with precisely the ShapeCutter shown. This is because I am epically uncool and don't have a die-cut system.

Which reminds me of a funny story.

Over the holidays, I placed a large-ish order at Ellen Hutson's shop. If you've ordered from her, you know she includes a little thank-you card with your order. The holiday thank-you card was...wait for it...a partridge with A PEAR IN ITS MOUTH. Of course. It's now on my cork board.

Pictures will be forthcoming.

Anyway, when I pulled my order slip out of the box, I noticed that someone had written "You Rock!" on it.

Isn't that sweet?!?!? I wondered--because sometimes my head gets too big for my britches--if someone at Ellen's warehouse was a fan of Simplicity. I felt all warm and popular.

As I unpacked my goodies from the box, however, I found a Limited Edition You Rock die by Julie Ebersole.

Of course. The notation on my order slip just indicated my freebie for such a large-ish order. Because a fan would know that I'm epically uncool and without a die-cut machine, right?

My head fits back in my britches...or something like that.

And I've got a really cute die to give away!

If you want to be considered for the give-away, leave a comment about my epic uncoolness and use the words "I like Dies." If you don't want the die, please still leave a comment but don't type "I like dies."

Comment by midnight EST Friday, January 9, 2015. I'll randomly select a winner and announce the lucky person's name this weekend. 

stamps: none
ink: none
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: washi tape, Fiskar's ShapeCutter heart template and cutter, dimensionals

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Love Is in the Air...Washi Style

Have I said how much I enjoy Using My Hoard? Well, I am.

Having the list of all my inventory is useful, too, for giving me direction when I'm feeling overwhelmed and not sure what to work on next. For instance, the other day, I felt lost, looked at the list, saw washi tape on it, went to my bowl of washi tape,...

...sorted through, and found a lot of red and pink and love-themed rolls. So for the next few days, I'll show why I'm keeping my washi tape. Well, maybe not all of it, but a lot of it.

Today's two cards were a bit hard to photograph, but they look so cool in real life. First up, a heart popped up perfectly positioned over a strip of washi, with the pattern smoothly continued on the heart.

To get the tape perfectly lined up, just center the tape on the card first, using a line between the stacked Loves for reference. Then, center the tape on the heart in the same way. When you layer the heart onto the card, you can easily align everything!

The second card was slightly more difficult to align because I didn't really have a reference for overlapping the patterned tape, but eyeballing worked this time!

Washi took a while to grow on me, but if you put "washi" into the search box on the sidebar of Simplicity, you'll find lots of posts with a variety of ideas for using it. It definitely fits into my CAS style, and while some of the colors and patterns I've purchased might not be fabulous for me, the product itself is definitely a keeper for my hoard.

Storing it in the bowl, however, might not be the best option for me, as much as I love that bowl. I'm toying with the idea of putting the washi in my embellishment drawers by color...I might use it more often, and it will be easier to see which colors and designs I actually use and need to keep.

Alternatives to Washi Tape
If you don't have washi tape in your hoard, consider what you already have that might work similarly. Cutting designer paper or vellum into strips is the most obvious choice, but you could also substitute ribbon for washi in designs you're inspired by.

Strips of fabric would work, too, if you have a big hoard of fabric! Just back the fabric with fusible webbing, and iron it onto copy paper as a backing before cutting it. Then you can glue it without worrying about show-through.

But none of these alternatives will be as easy as washi, given that the adhesive is already on the back and it comes up off most card stock (if you're careful) for repositioning or removal if you change your mind.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: washi tape, heart punch, Fiskar's shapecutter heart template and cutting tool, craft knife to trim washi to shapes, dimensionals

Monday, January 5, 2015

Amazing Friend

Feeling swamped tonight, so no chatter. Just a simple card made with Papertrey's Note Niblets, which is proving harder to work with than expected.

stamps: Papertrey Note Niblets; Hero Arts sentiment
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: MS butterfly punch, rhinestones

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Stipple Brush Difference

The way I used a stipple brush in the last post didn't result in significant differences from standard--and less expensive--sponging. But today's cards do reveal a difference...subtle, but interesting.

Proper Use of a Stipple Brush
In using the stipple brush on today's cards, I pounced the brush straight up and down on the card through the same mask as the previous card, using very little ink and aiming for a largely even coverage rather than gradation. This was not only much easier than trying for the dense coverage and gradation of the previous card, it took less time and far less ink. Of course you could still create gradations using this technique, but I didn't bother. I think this technique shines with simplicity!

First, a close-up of a birdie card. Notice that the colored background is stippled in a pretty, even way. I love how easy this was...I can never get sponging to look this even and clean. With the stipple brush, this effect took almost no time and very little ink.

Here's the full card. I just love the stylized rectangle of sky and the curves of the bird silhouette, and the straight lines inside the bird. It just all works so well together!

Note: I did chop a half-inch off the bottom of this card. The rectangle looked too small positioned at the top of the card...which was weird since it doesn't look too small at the bottom of the card.

The second card...a masculine card intended for Operation Write Home...shows how natural and interesting brown stippling looks. I did vary the shading a bit, so you can see the effect.

To get this effect, do your stippling first, then stamp your words (you could create any theme of card using this idea!). It would also be fun to remove the mask and stamp a few of the words so they overlap into the white space.

The color scheme comes from my Pinterest page called Color My World. Several of the color schemes there combine teals and olives, so I decided to give it a try. The result here is satisfyingly masculine yet colorful, too.

Using my Hoard Results
This stipple effect is worth keeping the brushes within reach, and I should use them more often because I really do love this soft and subtle effect. I'm adding notations to my list on the Use Your Hoard page to keep track of my challenge and encourage you to do the same with your list!

If you're on the fence about buying some, however, consider whether you'll really need the stipply effect. Does it fit your style? Do you enjoy sponging? Is it worth roughly $10-20 of quality stipple (a.k.a. stencil) brushes and the drawer space to keep them?

Food for thought.

stamps: top card (Happy Trails from Papertrey); bottom card (Keep It Simple Thinking of You and Thank You)
ink: various Hero Arts and VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: copy paper and temporary adhesive (mask), stipple brushes