Friday, February 27, 2015

Inspired by Anita

As I was commenting on the One-Layer Simplicity Challenge entries for February (awesome cards over there, folks!), I came across Anita's lovely card and read that she'd used CHALK to make that pretty blended pink background.


I can't remember the last time I used chalk. It is, in fact, on my list of Use My Hoard supplies. Seeing how Anita made such a lovely background with chalks inspired me to pull out my chalks and play. Here is the first effort of that play.

This was FUN, not to mention quick and easy! I used pom-poms and an alligator clip "pen" (it has alligator clips on both ends of a wooden dowel) to rub the chalk onto the paper. Papertrey's paper has a slight tooth to it, so the chalks rub in and stick pretty well.

I love the soft effect, and the contrast with the solid block stamps makes me happy. I used pigment inks for nice, dense color over the soft chalk.  

My second card used a spectrum of colors.

I masked using post-it notes and blended the chalks using a fair amount of pressure to get denser color than on the first card, which heightened the drama a bit, don't you think?

So thanks, Anita, for inspiring me to use my chalks. Who knows when I would have gotten around to them if you hadn't inspired me!

And yes, I'm keeping the chalks.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: VersaMagic, Memento Luxe, Impress Fresh Ink
paper: Papertrey
accessories: chalk, alligator clips, pom-poms, post-its, dimensionals

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Life Isn't Black and White...

but inspiration sometimes is! If you poke around on my Pure Inspiration board over on Pinterest, you'll notice scattered throughout various black-and-white projects. They look so clean and crisp and pure, don't they? So I made these two cards in honor of black-and-white inspiration:

*happy sigh*

stamps: Papertrey Doodlie Do
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Red, White, and Blue; I Miss You

Having fun with red, white, and blue for Operation Write Home. Please note all the delicious white space. Ahhhhhhh!

This card just sort of happened, and I like it!

Thanks for your comments on yesterday's post. It's very interesting how we get motivated to create!

stamps: Papertrey Faux Ribbon, Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments
ink: Memento Danube blue, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: star rhinestones, Fiskars cloud punches, dimensionals

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Where's the White Space?

Dude cards are hard.

Today's card deviates from my norm because I made it specifically for my BIL, who is a history professor. I thought this might be a perfect opportunity to use my Hero Arts Americas background stamp, which has such beautiful, flowing lines. But dang, it's busy to my eyes!

You wouldn't believe how long I debated inking the edges of the two stamped panels. In the end, I'm glad I did. It really emphasizes the straight contrast to all the curvy, irregular lines on the map image.

While this isn't my usual style and looks sort of weird on a blog so dedicated to white space, I think the recipient will very much appreciate the map and the masculine cream-and-brown color scheme. It's not often I feel motivated to go outside my style for someone...but occasionally it's sort of fun!

Do you make cards outside your "normal" style for particular people? Why or why not? I'm interested to know because I honestly don't think there's a right or wrong here. Some people make cards for others, some for their own artistic self-expression, some for other reasons altogether. What motivates you? I think I'm mostly motivated by my joy in expressing my love of CAS style, but I do want recipients to like what I send!

stamps: Hero Arts Americas, Papertrey sentiment
ink: VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey vintage cream
accessories: brown half-pearls

Monday, February 23, 2015

Live Your Bliss

Yay! The kids had school today! After a whole week off for cold temps and snow, they actually started on time this morning!

That's a good reason for exclamation points.

Of course, we're back to sub-zero temps tonight, with wind chills around -20, so a delay or cancellation may be in order for tomorrow.


Anyway, I had shockingly little time to stamp last week, considering how home-bound we were, but I did make a few cards to share.  Here's one I made for my niece, who is undergoing a major life change.

Especially after I started making lots of cards for Operation Write Home (whose requirements limit the sentiment options), I began to wonder what some stamp companies are thinking when they come up with odd sentiments. Who would have thought "Live your bliss" would ever come in handy? But it actually perfectly fits my niece's situation. Go figure.

I love that blue. It's Memento Luxe Bahama Blue. Doesn't it just pop right off the card? And with the crisp black sentiment, the focal point panel looks so clean and fresh! Love it! And it doesn't need any embellishment whatsoever.

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feathers, Papertrey Mega Mixed Messages
ink: Memento Luxe 
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Little W(h)ine and a Card

Last week was just weird. My sons were home from school ALL WEEK. They essentially got an unscheduled winter break because it's been so dang cold in Ohio. As in highs of single digits. As in -8 degrees at bus pick-up times. Wind chills as low as -30. Our power went out. Twice. We finally got a healthy dump of snow today (Saturday), and it was gorgeous. But mostly, it's just been cold.

My creativity seems to have frozen as well. Like our snow, it will thaw, melt into a muddy mess, and blossom (eventually) with color and fun.

Can you tell I've been cooped up with kids too long?

Anyway, I made this card about a month ago, and it was totally inspired by Somerset magazine, with all its vintage-y goodness that isn't exactly my style but makes me feel warm and fuzzy anyway.

Warm and fuzzy. That describes the nest of fleece blankets I curl up in at night, too. Oh, my. I need to shut up now.

Eggs. Speckled eggs. Soon, people. Soon.

stamps: SU
ink: VersaMagic, Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: sponge, dimensionals

Thursday, February 19, 2015


SU used to have a set called Itty Bitty Backgrounds, and in that set of four was one stamp of speckles. That's one of the sets I broke up and sold, keeping only the speckles because it's a darn useful stamp.

Of course, I don't actually use speckles much. But that's irrelevant, right?

Anyway, that little stamp caught my attention the other day, and I made this card with it.

To make this, I punched a largish circle from a post-it note, stuck it to the panel, and repeatedly stamped the speckle background over it until there was fairly thick coverage.

Looking at it now, I wonder how much interest it would have added if I'd stamped the speckle stamp a few times with silver metallic ink, too. A little shimmer does most things good, don't you think?

Whatever. This simple card makes me happy, as does that sentiment because the font is so bold and distinctive. It's definitely the star of the show!

stamps: SU Itty Bitty Backgrounds, Papertrey Keep It Simple: Thinking of You
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder, post-it note, dimentionals

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You Make Me Smile and a Reminder for OLS13

Thank you all for the comments and emails on yesterday's post. Your prayers and good thoughts mean a lot to me.

Like so many other people in my beloved country, we've been experiencing some fairly yucky weather. Gray, cold, snow...the whole litany of winter woe. That's why I made today's shovel the winter blahs away.

Happy citrus colors always make me think of summer sunshine! I particularly like how I used the Kaleidacolor pad here. You don't have to use all five colors in the pad...not if you turn the long, narrow stamp sideways and just ink two colors!

I'm going to link this to the OLS challenge "You Blend" because it is indeed just one layer. Remember that you may enter that challenge as often as you like until midnight on the 24th. I hope you'll play along!

Y'all make me smile, and I thank you for it!

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blooms II, Signature Greetings, Ombre Builders
ink: Kaleidacolor, Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Monday, February 16, 2015

When Bad Things Happen...

I made this card for a friend going through a rough time. A really rough time. Her situation has sent me reeling emotionally and has caused me to lean hard on my spiritual gifts of faith and trust in the face of genuine evil.

I never ask God why things happen, even when my heart is breaking. In this situation, however, I'm asking, begging for answers.

It's just awful.

This card is for my friend. I wanted it to convey softness and comfort and gentleness, hope and light.

If you are going through a rough time, I'd like to remind you to breathe and take things one day at a time. But it's also important to find people to support you through the crisis and be open to their help. Don't try to go it alone, and don't keep people at arm's length.

As a Stephen Ministry leader, I see first-hand how much of a difference one person can make in the life of someone who's suffering just by being there. Just by showing up. Often, we can't fix a thing or make it better in any tangible way, but we can be there for each other.

If you're suffering, reach out for help.

If you know someone who's suffering, reach out to help.

Yes, there is evil out there.

But there is also good. A lot of good. Let's all be a part of that good and be there for each other.

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feather; CASual Stamps Breathe
ink: Impress Fresh ink Sicilian Blue, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Big Butterflies and Design Choices

After buying some new stuff, I just had to play. Sadly, I'm already regretting one of these purchases. I may or may not have gotten frustrated enough trying to work with it that buyer's remorse may or may not have made me say bad words.

The butterfly punch was NOT the problem. How can butterflies ever be a problem?

Those are Swarovski crystals on that there crackled butterfly. So sparkly and pretty! But there are five of them.

This butterfly has three half pearls. Am I weird for preferring the three pearls to five gems? Butterfly bodies have three parts, people. The rhinestones were so much smaller than the pearls, though, and only three looked weird. But bling. Always wonderful bling. I'm so torn!

Let's just call it a design choice and leave it at that.

Happy Presidents Day!

stamps: Papertrey Peaceful Garden (sentiments); various backgrounds
ink: Versamagic, Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: half pearls, rhinestones by Swarovski

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cascade of Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

stamps: Love Birds (Papertrey)
ink: Memento
paper: SU pretty in pink, real red; Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, heart punches

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's a Wrap!

Today, I played around with the wrap-around idea on these business cards, and had some fun results! To make the wrap for all three cards, I stamped the inside and outside portions and then scored in between. To give the panels a more finished look, I slightly rounded the corners with a pair of scallop scissors. There's no school like the old school.

I started pretty simple, with Papertrey's Wet Paint.

Love, love, love how the inside sentiment completes the idea and draws the reader into the card. But visually, there isn't anything connecting the outside and inside other than the color, so I tried this "sharp" idea. (I crack myself up!)

Now this heart-and-arrow card has both color and the arrow pointing the way to unify the inside and outside, plus it's cute! I just used a thin piece of post-it note to mask the center of the arrow to give the effect that it had pierced the heart.

Then, I made this fun birthday card.


The reason for the "happy happy birthday" panel on the inside...I had stamped the sentiment in the Kaleidacolor ink and didn't like it. The colors were too light, and it didn't really have enough visual weight on the page. It looked weird. So I covered the mistake and kept the inside of the card black and white.

I might send the birthday card to my sister and write something sarcastic like, "and it's a really BIG number!" She will laugh and then point out that I'll always be older than she is. But it might be worth it!

This wrap idea is brilliantly flexible and could be varied in all sorts of ways! You could die cut shapes, score down the middle, and wrap them around. You could "wrap" a large stamp around the card, and make it one layer. You could use stamp sets with outside/inside sentiments or divide long sentiments in two.

Go crazy and play!

stamps: Papertrey Wet Paint, Heart Prints, one of the Heart to Heart sets, Birthday Bash Sentiments; Hero Arts arrow; Lily Bee numbers
ink: Hero Arts red royal, bubblegum pink; Memento black; Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: glue, Scor-Pal, scallop scissors

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Birthday Blend

Sadly, this card has two layers and so doesn't qualify for the One-Layer Simplicity Challenge for February, which is to blend colors, but it's still pretty cool, don't you think?

This is my aunt's birthday card, made slightly early as her birthday isn't until July. But I made it and thought, "Dang, Aunt S. needs this card!" Do you ever do that? Make something and then realize that you just made the perfect thing for the perfect person?

It's not just me, is it?

stamps: Papertrey Modern Basics, Clearly Besotted Happy Days
ink: Kaleidacolor, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Inspired by....Business Cards

I just love finding cool layout ideas from business items...logos, business stationery, signage, ads, and--of course--business cards. These cards caught my eye on Pinterest.

I love the natural colors and patterns on the cards, but I'm "kraft-impaired." Every time I work with kraft paper, the results look like someone else made it. Oh, yes, I tried to make my card with a kraft tab and base, but it didn't work for me. It just didn't. So I made it this way instead, which looks just like something I would make:

Oh, frabjous day!

A few differences other than color: 1) I extended the tab beyond the border of the stamped "card." The business card design unifies the front and back by wrapping the tab around (which is BRILLIANT, by the way). Since I can't wrap in this situation*, I thought extending it a bit would make my version feel more unified, and the results are lovely. 2) Bling. Because, well, you already know. 3) The sentiment panel is popped to add some dimension that isn't necessarily appropriate on a business card.

Still, I love this design and want to experiment some more with it. It's so versatile!

*I really, really want to make a card that has a tab wrapped from the outside to the inside of the card...a scaled up version of the business card. Wouldn't that be awesome! Feel free to steal this idea and tell me about it. Life sure had gotten busy lately, and who knows when I'll have a chance to pull it off!

stamps: Hero Arts (background, discontinued), Papertrey Mega Mixed Messages
ink: Impress Fresh Ink island, VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Inspiration

Poking around on Pinterest can yield some pretty amazing visual inspiration, like this chocolate packaging:


At first glance, I wondered why ANYONE would want lettuce-flavored chocolate, but that there leaf is mint...supersized. Yum.

But the packaging is as yummy as the chocolate no doubt is, so I decided to play around with it, adding my own CAS twists.

Note that I ditched the white-on-black label for the easier and cleaner black-on-white. The sentiment on the orange card has a loose feel that contrasts nicely with the crisp, tight order of the flowers. And I added bling. Because, you know. BLING!

The green butterfly card is a bit busier, so I went with a very classic, clean font, which I just adore, for the sentiment. The tiny butterfly on the raised panel actually caused me some inner debate.

Me: Should this little darling be flying into or out of the card?
Me: Into would be better. It would keep the eye in the card space.
Me: No, out of would be better. As if the sender's inner eye and thoughts were flying to the recipient....
Me: Hmmm. Which one will work better?
Me: Just pick one already, why don't ya'!

If you CASE this card, switch the butterfly if you want. I honestly don't think it matters! The point of the splash of color on the right side of the card is unity...bringing the whole card together, as the chocolate packaging does. The first card reinforces its design unity with the bling, but the tiny butterfly didn't have anyplace to put bling, really, so I left it bare. There are, however, three tiny butterflies arranged in a triangle, so that will have to suffice.

And that's all I have to say about that. I'm off to eat some chocolate.

stamps: Card 1 (Gina K Hello Sunshine), Card 1 (Papertrey butterflies, Gina K sentiment)
ink: various Memento Luxe and Impress Fresh Inks
paper: Papertrey White
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals

Sunday, February 8, 2015

CAS Matchbox Tutorial

Several of you asked for a photo tutorial for making matchboxes, but others wondered what in the world is the point of making matchboxes in the first place.

Well, I made these to get myself out of a creative funk, and not really for any purpose other than that. However, when I made a love-themed one (shown at the end of this post), I decided it would be my hubby's need to mail, and he can put it on his desk as a tiny reminder of the fact he's loved. When he's done with it, he can throw it away...because once you get the hang of making them, they really are a piece of cake. I can whip one of these up in a couple of minutes because mine are CAS, though obviously the more complicated you get, the more time it takes.

One of my readers who replies via email said she wants to make them to put in her granddaughter's lunch box "on days when she might need the feel of a little extra hug." What a wonderful idea!

Another possibility is to make a bunch that relate to each other in some way and assemble them on a mat and use it as wall art. Like this...

Wouldn't this look cool as a spectrum of color? Or you could create a narrative through the boxes, especially if you're artistic and can draw or paint! Lots of options.

You could also hang matchboxes as Christmas tree ornaments. I'm contemplating doing a bunch of Christmas-themed ones later this year to add to my paper-ornament tree. You can add a string loop before gluing one end of the box or after the box is made by punching tiny holes in one end of a box and knotting string on the inside of the holes or looping string through the holes. And wouldn't it be neat to make 24 of them and put candy in them to make an unconventional Advent calendar? If I do any of this, I'll share the techniques.

But really, when we're playing around, does what we make have to be for a purpose? For some of us, perhaps. I'm certainly mostly purpose-driven in my crafting. But it's still fun to simply play.

For now, let's just make these fun little boxes. As the photo above shows, you can do all sorts of variations with paper, string, felt, feathers, rocks, buttons, dimensional past, mulberry paper, designer paper, etc. I stuck to CAS white, but let your imagination wander!

1. To make the box...

I used Neenah solar white 80# weight.
You could use designer paper (such as SU's)
as well. Just don't use too heavy-
 or too light-weight paper.

I scored the box on my ScorePal with a Teflon folder. This is better
for the box than for the cover, as you'll see below. 

Pre-fold along the scores to make gluing easier. The
wider score lines from the ScorPal and Teflon or bone folder
work in your favor while folding
the flaps over because there's plenty of room
to accommodate the width of the paper.

I pre-fold the end without glue to make sure everything
will fit under the flap. Occasionally, you may need to
trim the hidden flaps a bit.

Use a little line of glue to hold things securely.

Repeat the process on the other flap.

The box is finished!

2. To make the cover...

I add 1/8" to the length here because getting it to fit exactly can
be a little tricky.

I tried using the ScorPal for the cover and ran into trouble getting the covers to fit...
they were too small. The butter knife gives narrower scores than the Teflon folder
and the ScorPal.  This technique is easier for me but could be adapted to the ScorePal
if you don't have a quilting ruler and butter knife. The wider scores just need to be
accommodated in the measurements.

Note that the measurements have a + sign next to them. If you look
carefully at the previous picture, you'll see that the ruler is a little
past the 1/2" line on the paper. This allows for the thickness of the paper
as you wrap around the box.
You can see also how much narrower the score marks are when you use a butter knife.
 You might have to experiment a few times with the tools you have to figure out the fit.

Pre-fold the scores and make sure the cover fits snuggly but not too tightly
around the box. I had to throw away a few covers that simply didn't fit after scoring.
But it's only paper, right!?!?
 If you want to stamp on the cover, now is the time to do it...before
gluing it into shape but after you have the folds done so you can place your stamp

Glue the lid with the box inside the cover. Carefully slide the box out and
pinch the glued flap on both sides for a secure seal.

And you're finished making your blank matchbox! Decorate as you wish.

Here are a few more examples of my CAS matchboxes.

To make this "Key to my Heart" box, I created a false bottom, sewed the key charm onto it, and attached it to the bottom of the box with dimensionals. These boxes are a half-inch thick, which gives you plenty of space for dimensional embellishments.

 The little wooden shapes were left unaltered and attached with dimensionals.

Wouldn't this "Peace" box make a lovely Christmas ornament?!?!?

So there you go. Matchboxes can be a fun way to play around because IT'S ONLY PAPER!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ghostly Matchbox

For sheer fun, this is my favorite matchbox to come out of my matchbox-making frenzy:


Have a wonderful weekend. We will be at the Special Olympics bowling tournament to watch Jack bowl. What joy!!

stamps: PTI Simple Alphabet
ink: Memento black
paper: Neenah 80lb solar white
accessories: googlie eyes, glue, matchbox (tutorial to come soon!)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Clean-and-Simple Matchboxes

As best I can recall, it's been a while since I played around with making matchboxes. And by "a while," I mean about 12 years.


Back then, I didn't have a style yet and can't remember what the few matchboxes I made looked like, but they certainly didn't have this level of minimalist satisfaction.

Button flowers in spring colors

GinaK Hello Sunshine stamp with
large yellow rhinestone

Apple punched in SU real red,
garden green, and chocolate chip

Martha snowflake punched in SU ballet
blue and bling

What an excellent way to use thicker embellishments! What a fun way to use up those embellishments that I really, really, really don't enjoy using on cards!

I'm having lots of fun with this shape, so we'll see a few more in days to come. If you're interested, I'll do a photo tutorial!

paper: 80lb Neenah solar white