Monday, June 29, 2015

Tiny Stuff

I just returned yesterday from a week in Maryland visiting my mom, sister, and her family. What a week it was...historic, rainy, hot and cold, full, long and too short all at the same time. This week is filling up fast with lots of stuff that isn't stamping, so postings may be spotty while I catch up. Don't worry. We're fine.

(That might seem weird, but I find if I go a few days without posting, some of you get worried. That's so kind of you!)

In Maryland, I was able to spend a few rushed minutes in a Papyrus store. LOVE these places of gorgeous cards and paper and stuff! Today's card is in honor of all the Papyrus note card sets that are so very minimalist and perfect with tiny images and lots of white space.

Please note that I am in no way being compensated for mentioning Papyrus on a blog post. I'm just sharing my enthusiasm.

You might not guess, but all the stamps used on my card are from Papertrey's Happy Hexagons. It's fun to use little elements in a set all by themselves!

Shameless Promotion of my Other Blogs
Most of you read Simplicity for the cards and not the words, and that's great. If , however, you're interested in my writing, you might enjoy my two other blogs...Questioning my Intelligence and Transforming Common Days. Questioning is more of a traditional personal blog, while Transforming focuses on faith life.

If you're sick of all the hate and vicious discourse surrounding the SCOTUS decision last week regarding marriage equality, you might want to click over to my recent Transforming Common Days post on the subject. I hope you'll find another way to think about how we can use our words carefully and lovingly in the face of disagreement.

stamps: Papertrey Happy Hexagons
ink: Fresh Ink freesia, Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: black half-pearls

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Big Sentiments

Big sentiments can sometimes be tough to work into CAS designs except in the simplest way: just stamping the sentiment. But let's face it...that gets boring after a while. Finding a way to balance a big sentiment and some sort of background without losing simplicity might lead to something like this:

The border picks up on the leafy pattern inside the letters of the sentiment, and the curves of the fronds make it look like the fronds are reaching out for hugs.

Yet the design stays clean in a couple of ways. First, the silver line creates a clean, bold division between the pink and green. I contemplated briefly putting little pink flowers or bling amongst the fronds and coloring the insides of the letters green to unify the two parts, but decided that would clutter things up. After dismissing the color-unifying ideas, it occurred to me that this card would be sent to a friend far away, so the separation in the design actually makes meaningful sense.

Second, the clean feel of the card is reinforced by the bright, cheerful colors popping off the white background. This isn't a hug card to send to someone who's fresh in mourning or some other tragic situation. It's a card for someone you don't see often but think of with happy thoughts.

Food for Thought
Using a large sentiment with a border design on one side of the card (any side, really) is a super way to be a bit more creative with those big words. Consider running the border up the side of the card and stamping the word so the first letter or so overlaps the border. Consider resting the word directly on the border running across the bottom of the card. Or consider creating a border that runs vertically or horizontally the card's center, with the word stamped over it in a darker color! The combinations are nearly endless!

Also, play with colors. Look for elements of the word (curves, angles, embellishments) that you can carry over into the border. Make the sentiment black and combine with either bright or regal colors create completely different atmospheres. And it's always fun to use Kaleidacolor spectrum pads with big words and background stamps.

Aren't we blessed with so many options?!?!?!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic pen (Prismacolor)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Third Inspiration: How to Rethink

For the past two days, we've looked at a single inspiration photo and seen two different approaches to gaining inspiration from it. Today, we're going to take it in yet another direction.

The inspiration photo is this lovely book cover from Dawn Cooper:


Now, you might have noticed that this cover has mostly solid images, and that's what I used on yesterday's Christmas-themed green-and-red card. But the black-and-white card from two days ago used outline images. This lead me to search my stash for some block images to use in a black-and-white literal take on the inspiration piece. The closest I got was these flowers from Papertrey, and as you can see for yourself, the stamped panel didn't exactly turn out nicely at all:

I didn't like this AT ALL. It's heavy, dark, and weirdly organized...too dense on the right, too loose on the left. Then, that one LAST image didn't stamp completely, so I knew this wasn't destined to succeed.

I scratched my head for a bit, decided what these heavier stamps need is color, and checked out a new color scheme from Pinterest. Then this happy card happened:

Oh, YAY!!!! These colors are so fresh and full of energy, and even though there's a lot going on, it's balanced by a broad white mat, a small and simple sentiment, and the crisp line.

This made me very happy...despite just how far we've strayed from the inspiration piece. I could NEVER have made this without Dawn's gorgeous cover pushing me forward.

You just never know where inspiration will take you!!!

stamps: Papertrey (can't remember the flower set name and I'm not at home to check!), Faux Ribbon; Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: various Memento and Hero Arts inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Inspiration in Color

Yesterday, I introduced the following picture as my inspiration for three days of posts.


My second attempt at this played with the color scheme as a way to create a simpler focal point. This was very easy to do with a traditional Christmas color scheme! Green and red are complementary colors, so the red pops right out of the green collage.

To make this image, I stamped the red flower first and then added all the green images, starting with the larger ones and filling in with smaller elements. I love how this card doesn't need a sentiment on the front. Colors and images convey all that's needed.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Impress Fresh Ink mojito, VersaMagic rocket red
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestone

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Inspiration Develops

Often, inspiration takes us in a variety of directions. Over the next few days, I'm going to share three different cards inspired by Dawn Cooper's piece I found on Pinterest:


LOVE this! Love the arrangement of natural images in a loose-but-tidy "random" layout. Love the even border around the random images. Love the all-black color scheme. The kraft band is lovely, too, but I suspected that wouldn't work for me on a card...and was right. It provides a focal point for her book cover, so I had to handle creating a focal point differently.

Now, the first card I made used Papertrey's Springtime Doodles, which ended up being an excellent choice because the images were varying sizes (like Dawn's images). If all the images are roughly the same size, the arrangement settles into a grid, which sort of defeats the purpose of this "organic" and asymmetrical inspiration piece.

Before Bling

That little splash of green makes the sentiment the focal point on this whimsical collage of black line images ("highlighted" the hello with the chisel end of a yellow-green Copic marker). I dragged the edge of the stamped panel on the Memento black ink pad, just to give a tiny bit of definition as the white-on-white didn't quite work.

Cute, but it seemed to be missing something. So I added two spots of green bling to the two bugs in the collage...and got a nifty green triangle.

After Bling

A close-up just because...BLING!

And once again, bling makes everything better. And so does a visual triangle. YAY!!!

stamps: Papertrey Springtime Doodles
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones, Copic marker

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Making Inspiration Your Own

Many stampers seem to struggle with inspiration challenges. The difficulty seems to be converting the inspiration piece into a card that is both "your own" and true to the inspiration. Certainly, when we're submitting work to formal challenges with rules, we need to make sure we fulfill all the requirements of the challenge (such as keeping cards to one layer for the One-Layer Simplicity Challenge!). Sometimes, we become anxious about following rules, and inspiration has a hard time taking off.

But to grow more comfortable with inspiration, why don't you come up with your own personal challenges?

It's fun! I promise!

For instance, as I perused the newest issue of Take Ten, I noticed a number of cards using text as a background with images and embellishments layered over the text. These cards were not, ahem, clean and simple. In fact, they were collage/shabby chic/artsy/distressed cards. But after seeing the idea for the tenth time, I decided to try to adapt it to my CAS style.

This idea of stamping over text isn't new, nor is it the first time I've tried it. (You can see one of my older posts with the idea here.) But novelty isn't the point. Inspiration can come when a cool idea grabs your attention, and you focus on it for a bit of playing around and experimenting. So don't overthink your source of inspiration. Go with whatever catches your attention, and then play with it.

Here are two of the results of my inspiration from all those cards in Take Ten:

Here's my thought process. The basic idea--stamping over text--in the inspiration pieces involved turning the text into a definite background. The content of the text almost didn't seem to matter on most of the cards...random pages torn from old books with gesso or paint or ink artfully smeared on them did the trick. The focal point was the stamped image, often in black, laid over the distressed/painted text background. Not much about the designs invited you to read the text.

I, on the other hand, have five really cool Christmas-themed text stamps. Four are Christmas definitions (frankincense, gold, myrrh, and Christmas) and one is a list of Christmas phrases and song titles. In using them, I wanted most of the text to be readable...not covered up. I wanted the text to be a critical part of the card's message...not just an interesting background.

This makes sense because in CAS design, every single element has to create focus and purpose beyond mere embellishment. I've defined minimalist CAS style as using the fewest possible elements to convey a card's message in a visually interesting way. In collage, however, abundance of texture, line, and form might matter more than meaning or message. That's not to say meaning isn't important in collage--it certainly is!--but you have more stuff to work with. When striving for minimalism, you have to squeeze the max out of every little component so you can have more white space!

So in my adaptation of the inspiration idea, I found smaller stamps to act as frames or accents for the text and placed them on the edges, leaving most of the text visible.

In the first card, spots of red mark the beginning and ending of the definition of Christmas. I first added the cardinal and branch, both from a Hero Arts set, but it didn't seem quite balanced, so I added the bling. The panel is outlined in gold metallic ink to help it stand out from the card base, to give it more definition. Without the gold, the wide white border around the text looked lost.

The holly card, on the other hand, is purposefully asymmetrical. The holly leaves are much larger than the cardinal: so much so that they really are the focal point of the card...especially after I added the large red rhinestones!!! So the text is intentionally lighter than on the cardinal card. It doesn't compete with the holly so much as give it "something" to frame. And that something relates thematically to the holly, reinforcing the whole Christmas idea without needing to add a "Merry Christmas" sentiment. The silver border serves the same purpose as on the cardinal card.

Since I'm describing my thought process after the fact, you're not hearing about the mis-steps and mistakes. The results make me sound waaaay smarter, more confident, and more talented than I am. Truth is, I felt my way to these completed designs, and along the way a couple of efforts ended up in the trash because they were appallingly bad.

BUT THAT'S OKAY!!! Out of that play and learning, I got two lovely Christmas cards to send to word-loving friends.

But even more important than that...I had fun.

Which is what this hobby should be all about anyway.

stamps: unknown text stamps, Hero Arts (cardinal, branch), Papertrey (holly)
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals, metallic markers

Friday, June 19, 2015

New Favorite Color

When Impress Stamps' Fresh Ink Freesia came to live at my house, all sorts of happy broke out in my craft space. It's basically periwinkle, a lavender-ish blue that is simply perfect in every way.

Giddy. I'm just giddy!!!!!

stamps: Papertrey Happy Hexagons, Gina K (sentiment)
ink: Fresh Ink freesia, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: hexagon template sent to me by Linda E. Thanks, Linda!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


The Memory Box penguins are adorable. I have three: Aviator Penguin (which was my suggestion to Memory Box!), Coffee Penguin, and Chef Penguin.

My husband wishes he were an Iron Chef. He loves to cook, to invent new recipes, and to get excited over his mise en plus.

So when I made his Father's Day card, I pulled out Chef Penguin and got to work.

Green is his favorite color, although these shades might be a little bright for him. I don't know. But it's cute, no? George will get a kick out of it for sure.

To make this card, I stamped the chef in Memento black, masked his little feet, and stamped the oval (A Muse) with Impress's Fresh Ink grass. Chef is colored with Copics, so this card uses Gina K deluxe white card stock in 120# no bleed-through.

BTW, if you cut a mask for an image, keep the mask after you use it. I put mine either on the top of a wood-mounted stamp like Chef Penguin or on the case of a clear stamp set. No need to repeatedly cut out masks if you don't have to!

Curious reader Darla has asked that I write a post addressing how and when to use different kinds of ink. Honestly, stamping ink is a very complicated subject that, for me, has involved an enormous amount of trial and error. I'll put my thinking cap on and see what I can come up with. In the meantime, you can read what I have already shared about the inks on the Product Talk tab at the top of the blog. There's already a lot of information on that page.

stamps: Memory Box, A Muse, Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento, Impress Fresh Ink
paper: Gina K white 120#
accessories: Copic markers, post-it note for mask

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Father's Day Card

My hubs needed a Father's Day card for his dad, so I came up with this using a couple of old Papertrey sets:

The sentiment is from Father Knows Best, but I cut it apart to suit my needs. The tree is from Through the Trees. It's bigger than the trees in Father Knows Best, and the three word strips fit on it so nicely. 

This design would work great for most dude cards...birthday, thinking of you, etc. Guys are just so hard to make cards for, and when you find a dude-friendly design, it pays to work the idea for as many variations as your stash will allow! A tree, a sentiment cut apart, and Bob's your uncle!

The two little leaves at the bottom add interest, don't you think? I like that extra touch.

stamps: Papertrey Ink Father Knows Best, Through the Trees
ink: Fresh Ink mojito, VersaMagic jumbo java
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, scissors

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Difference Bling Can Make

Today's card uses Clearly Besotted's Modern Christmas set, which, in addition to a number of modern-design Christmas trees, has some beautiful sentiments that will be quite versatile to use with lots of my other Christmas sets.

A stamper simply can't have too many holiday sentiments. Right?

So here's the finished card in its gloriously blinged state:

I snapped a picture of the card before I added bling, just to show how adding some contrast and sparkle really livens up a design.

Color unifies the un-blinged design, but crikey, it's blah. Adding red rhinestones spices things up from a color perspective (red and green are opposites on the color wheel...opposites add energy). Putting the red on all three green elements keeps the unity of the design strong.

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

stamps: Clearly Besotted, Papertrey
ink: Fresh Ink mojito, Memento Luxe gray flannel
paper: Papertrey White
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chemistry and Zoology

The Clearly Besotted set Scientifically Speaking jumped all by itself into my cart a few months back. Some of you may know I was, briefly, a chemistry major. (You can read about it here if you're interested.) My love of science drew this set to me, and oh how I love it.

Just a little fun in the lab of my creativity, so to speak.

Anyway, I mentioned yesterday that George and I have been married 29 years (talk about chemistry) and to celebrate, he took today off so we could go to the Indianapolis Zoo. George and I have enjoyed zoos for years...all over the country. Indianapolis has a dolphin exhibit and show, which drew us in like krill draws in a whale shark. Don't you love how dolphins always look happy? I mean, they are the golden retrievers of the ocean, spreading joy and happiness everywhere they blow, click, or squeee.

But with a lot less fur.

At the zoo today, I also learned that the Marabou stork is, to use George's words, "the biggest d*ck in the animal world." They fly ahead of brush fires and pick off small animals fleeing the flames. How horrible is that? We also heard gibbons vocalizing, saw a baby elephant playing in the water, witnessed quail mating (it was over very quickly, but he said he call her), and sweated practically to death in North-Carolina-worthy humidity.

Oh, and I took elephant butt pictures for my sister. So all in all, it was a great day for zoology!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey
accessories: corner rounder, dimensionals, Wink of Stella clear (on the love potion and hearts)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ink Pics, a Card, and an Anniversary

A few weeks ago (or maybe longer), I promised to revisit my ink storage on this here blog because I know you all love seeing evidence of other people's mental illness obsession collections of crap stuff in pictures.

So here are my most current photos of my ink collection.

Brilliance Inks have a lovely shimmer to them, and of
course I need to add the silver Delicata to the collection.
The gold is just scrumptious!

Yellow, orange, pink, red, and neutral pigment inks.
I use happily Memento Luxe, VersaMagic, and Fresh Ink
interchangeably for that thick, rich pigment look

Purple, blue, and green pigment inks

Kaleidacolor pads. These dye pads are so much fun!

What's left of my SU dye ink collection: all the old-
style, flip-top pads. Great colors every one!

Miscellaneous pads that I hardly ever use.

Blue and green dye inks. My favorites are Hero Arts, Memento,
and Ancient Page. The Memories inks are the same as Hero inks.

Pink, Red, and Purple dye inks.

Yellow, orange, and neutral dye inks.
So there you have it. My inky craziness.

BTW, I like having my inks in plastic drawers stored on my desk within an easy arm's reach. I can pull out a drawer, stack them on my desk, put them back. It's light-weight, easy, and a cinch to straighten up afterwards.

I reflected yesterday, as I deep-cleaned my craft space, that ink is a necessary supply for me...lots of ink in lots of colors. It actually gets used all the time. While some of my supplies might have been over-bought in too many colors (Smooch, Stickles, baker's twine, ribbon, etc.), I don't feel I have too many colors of ink.

Which probably makes me certifiably crazy. But I don't care.

Anyway, today's card uses Memento black, VersaMagic jumbo java, and Avery Elle mango inks, along with a few Copic/Bic/Sharpie markers and some brown Stickles. That seems like a lot for such a simple, clean card, doesn't it?


Today, Flag Day, is my wedding anniversary. Twenty-nine years. This is odd, because that means we got married as infants. We. Are. Not. That. Old.

I'm still thirty. Right?

Denial is a river that runs deep and wide.

stamps: Mama Elephant, Papertrey
ink: Memento, Avery Elle, VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles, alcohol markers

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bunny Butts

My sister, who once upon a time lived every little girl's dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer, collects photos of animal butts. This may have started in high school when she attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was thrown in with college students at far too tender an age.

Anyway, over the years, when my husband and I are at zoos, I try to get at least one animal butt shot because, you know, I'm a thoroughly supportive big sister and encourage Lisa in her hobbies.

So when I saw the bunny stamp in Clearly Besotted's Woodland Pals set, I knew who would get the first card I made with it.

Note that I grounded the bun-bun with a border-punched piece of lime green card stock and created a bunny butt with a 1/4" pom pom. This wouldn't fit through the regular mail, but I intend to hand it to her when I see her later this summer.

She will laugh and laugh and hang it on her fridge with the other animal butt pictures.

And speaking of laughing, tonight at the dinner table, my 15-year-old son said, "She was dressed prerogatively." George and I just about died laughing. I love that kid.

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey Ink white, unknown lime green
accessories: Martha Stewart grass border punch, glue, pom pom

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Bridge Too Far

In the summer of 1977, my father made our family go see A Bridge Too Far. I was not yet eleven years old.

Let's all agree right now that this constituted child abuse. I was a girly-girl who once (or twice) cried because my mom made me wear pants to school. Seriously. A war movie? People died! Violently! It was like Bambi, only worse, because it was based on real events, as my dad so thoughtfully made sure I understood.

I was scarred for life. Seven years later, I read Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness. Remember when Kurtz utters the line, "The horror. The horror"? Well, I understood exactly what he meant.

Because of A Bridge Too Far.

Today's card series, oddly enough, reminded me of that experience. Instead of A Bridge Too Far, let's call it A Shade Too Many. Definitely not traumatic, but I bet every single stamper who reads this blog knows exactly what I'm talking about: the disappointment of taking an idea one step too far.

Yesterday, I showed how you can stamp outline flowers in a color and not bother actually, you know, coloring them. Today, I'll show you my first efforts at coloring the chrysanthemum in the Mama Elephant Freestyle Florals set.

Y'all know I'm not into time-consuming coloring techniques, but when I faced this stamp--with all those tiny petals--I decided it would look really lame if I only colored it one color. Two colors, however, sounded reasonable. It might take a little time, but not too much time. The result, using a very light shade and a medium shade of violet, was extremely satisfying.

Isn't that pretty? And note how balanced the placement
of the darker petals. Go, me!

All I did was color the entire flower quickly in the light shade and then added random petal of the medium shade, being careful to balance the placement of those darker petals. The results were so satisfying that I wondered if three shades would look even better. After searching my stash of alcohol markers for three shades of one color (I only had two of the violet), I settled on these mauve/burgundy shades.

That's when the wheels fell off. The bridge blew up. And I discovered mauve is not a good color for me. Seriously.


Ugh. The two lighter shades are too close to each other, and the dark is too dark. The results are unbalanced and rather ugly. More importantly, however, the quality of the coloring stinks. On the previous card, quickly coloring the light violet shade looked fine and gave a smooth base upon which to add the medium violet, but the light mauve (which wasn't as light as the violet) streaked and didn't give good coverage at all.

Instead of fixing that unevenness with another layer of color (which would have made the whole thing look even darker), I just pressed on. A bad base color and poor accent color placement resulted in visual chaos.

It looks messy. Untidy. Ugh.

At least it's not blood red, though. THAT would have been truly traumatic.

In the hands of someone with better coloring skills, this bridge could probably be taken. I, however, chose to surrender. Survive to fight another day, I always say.

After that time-consuming coloring craziness, perhaps we all need to cleanse our visual palate with a truly minimalist approach to this stamp. How about taking a gander at the first card I made with this stamp before I decided to get all jiggy with it.

One layer. A spot of color. Quick as a blink. Ahhhhh.

Much better.

But my favorite is the violet version. Push your boundaries, but don't go too far.

You might lose some card stock that way.

stamps: Mama Elephant (Freestyle Florals); Papertrey (Keep It Simple: Thinking of You)
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, corner rounder, rhinestones

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pretty Flowers...or How to Cheat

While I am no longer quite as allergic to coloring as I used to be, it's still not my favorite stamp activity. So when I get a set of outline stamps, I always experiment to see if they'll work NOT colored. Such was the case with Mama Elephant's Freestyle Florals set.

As you can see, these flowers respond well to NOT being colored.

The first card is softer, with mostly light pink and a few darker red accents. That script happy really grabs your attention, but the softness of the pink tempers it nicely. Such a feminine card!

The birthday card is just cheerful. I love that's Fresh Ink Grass. The black accents are bold and dramatic, and while it's a feminine card, you probably wouldn't send it to a girly-girlfriend. I know exactly who's getting this one...a friend who's a professor of computer engineering who also likes to garden.

Not sure yet who will get the pink card, but I have plenty of girly-girlfriends to whom I can send happy thoughts.

So if you spend most of your time coloring, why not cheat and play around with some colored inks instead? It's fun and the results can be so very lovely!

stamps: Mama Elephant (Freestyle Florals), Clearly Besotted (Happy Days), Hero Arts (happy birthday)
paper: Papertrey Ink white
ink: Fresh Ink, Memento Luxe
accessories: dimensionals, corner rounder, rhinestones

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Heart Full of Love

It's always fun to play around with negative space because, you know, it's always fun to turn a negative into a positive!


stamps: assorted hearts
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: EK Success heart punch, dimensionals, corner rounder

Sunday, June 7, 2015

How to Ground an Owl

You don't. You put it on a branch.

Yes, I do know my statement that you don't ground an owl is factually inaccurate. We regularly visited an adorable little burrowing owl who lived in a hole in the ground outside our apartment complex in Sacramento, California, in 1988. But mostly, I think of owls in trees, so here's an owl in a tree.

Let's get back to the card. Okay?

The sentiment is from another Clearly Besotted set...a nice, large sentiment with cool fonts. The branch is clearly too short for the owl because you can't put the owl on it AND attach the branch to anything. What good is it to ground tree the owl if the branch itself is floating around the card?

No good at all.

So putting the branch to the right of the sentiment creates a sense of connectedness. Think of it this way..."Happy Owl on a Branch Birthday." That's how it reads, left to right, and then down to the next line.

I hope that makes sense. Sometimes things sound better in my head than they read on the internet.

And now I have used every single stamp in the Woodland Pals set. It's happily stored in my stamp stash box labeled "Fauna." Yay!!!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestone flowers

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hazards of Stamping

Okay, so I'm a dork who recently had toilet paper hanging out the back of her jeans.

In public.

A friend noticed.

We laughed.

I didn't even blush, but I did think, "Susan, you are a class-A dork. Meh. There are worse things you could be."

So when my husband noticed tiny yellow bits of paper stuck to my sleeve, I didn't even bat an eye. Of course I have tiny bits of post-it note stuck to me randomly because I just cut a mask for a deer. Have you ever cut a mask for tiny little deer legs? My husband clearly hasn't because he acted like I was crazy or something.

There are WAYYYY worse things than having bits of yellow paper stuck to your sleeve.

As discussed in this post and this post, Clearly Besotted's Woodland Pals set inspired me to work up different ideas for grounding the critters in it. We don't want critters floating around with no gravity, right? The idea for this one came when I noticed the spots on the fawn and the mushroom and remembered this very, very old border stamp from Hero Arts, which I stamped twice here (reversing the direction so the dots didn't line up perfectly, which would have looked weird).

Two observations about this card...

  1. The sentiment spells dear properly for its meaning, which makes me happy. I don't mind puns, but misspelled words bother me. We're going to pretend that there's a comma after thanks, though. Because there should be. Oh, there should be.
  2. I like how the deer is looking back toward the sentiment and the mushroom, and the way the three elements form a nice triangle. But please tell me it doesn't look like the deer made a giant, mushroom-shaped "business" in the forest. That's just my English-major mind, right?
And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Clearly Besotted Woodland Pals; Hero Arts border
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none

Friday, June 5, 2015

More Woodland Pals

As I worked my way through Clearly Besotted's Woodland Pals set, my focus was on finding different ways to "ground" the critters so they weren't floating around in white space. After I'd stamped the hedgehog, masked his feet, and stamped the ribbon (from Papertrey's Faux Ribbon set), I thought, "Well, the hedgehog has ground, but what next?"

Then, the die cuts of words connected to some sort of base popped into my mind. Those are so cool, but as I don't have a die cutter, they've never seemed possible...until now.

By stamping the sentiment in the same ink as the ribbon, and connecting the two, you'll get a similar look to the die cuts without the expense of machine or die! Love how this turned out!

I didn't have any card stock that matched the ink (Fresh Ink celery), so I stamped a circle onto a scrap of white, punched the butterfly, and like magic, everything matches. Because in my world, everything must match, or it's a universe-ending tragedy, right?

Of course I'm right.

Doesn't it look like the hedgehog is saying hello to the butterfly? Adorbs!!! I love the unity of this card so much.

stamps: Clearly Besotted Woodland Pals, Papertrey Faux Ribbon, Hero Arts discontinued clear set for sentiment
ink: Fresh Ink celery, VersaMagic gingerbread
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Martha Stewart butterfly punch, rhinestone, glue pen

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Finally Getting Cute...and Precisely Grounded at the Same Time

Clearly Besotted is quickly becoming one of my favorite lines of stamps. For years, I've mostly eschewed cute stamps. Oh, I've tried the occasional cute set, but rarely did the resulting cards make me happy.

But like I said, Clearly Besotted is changing my mind. Check out this adorable fox from the Woodland Pals set.

Dang, this little fox is adorable...and just the right size! The set (if you're too lazy to click the link) contains five cute animals, a branch, and a mushroom, as well as a few punny sentiments.

One thing about these little animals: they need a ground to stand on. It won't do to have them floating around the card. As I used each one, I played around with different ways to visually "ground" each critter, and I'll share them over the next few days.

This little fox provided a wonderful opportunity to try something a bit different. Rather than use a standard ground stamp, I created the illusion of ground by repeatedly stamping a little stem from Papertrey's Modern Basics set and making a very precise line with it. Even though, technically, this fox is floating, the precise line of flowers creates the illusion of grounding...and preserves the light, airy feel of the card.

Aligning everything was simple using a gridded acrylic block. You might notice that the card looks slightly narrower than 4.25 inches. That's because the flowers are spaced in such a way that it created an uneven edge on the I shaved the left side a bit so the row of flowers is centered on the card.

Cutting a bit off the edge is much easier than trying to work out the math of getting everything centered, don't you think?

I do.

Now, please forgive me while I get personal. Y'all, I'm not very grounded myself right now...I'm on cloud 9! Yesterday, we found out that Jack didn't get picked to be in the 6th grade talent show. We were so bummed, but then I got a call from the principal, who had heard that Jack's aide, Mrs. Mitchell, had cried when she heard the bad news. Lots of the special education folks were upset, actually. So the principal called and explained that the committee who picked the acts for the show had been worried that kids who didn't know Jack might be unkind if his trumpet squeaked. But since he'd heard how hard Jack had worked to get ready for the auditions, he wanted Jack's hard work to be rewarded! Yay!!!

The committee need not have worried. Not only did Jack do well, he got a standing ovation from about half his pod. (The 500 sixth graders are divided into three pods.) Kids in other pods who knew Jack were on their feet, too. It was awesome!!!

I'm one proud mamma! He put himself out there and did his best!!! Love this kid soooo much!!

stamps: Clearly Besotted Woodland Pals, A Little Sentimental; Papertrey Modern Basics
ink: Hero Arts rust; Memento bamboo, cocoa
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, gridded acrylic block

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rock and Roll

One way to add interest to block stamps is to use the "rock-and-roll" technique to ink them up. This technique provides a sort of primitive, soft shading of the images. See?

How To Rock and Roll:

  1. Ink a block stamp completely with a light color of ink.
  2. Use a rocking-and-rolling motion to apply a darker ink around just the edges of the stamp to blend with the lighter ink.
  3. Stamp the image onto paper.

I know this seems like such a hard technique. I mean, it takes THREE steps! Of course, some days, a third step in stamping is a step too much for me to cope with. But honestly, aren't the results worth it?

All kidding aside, though, there are two things that can make this super-easy technique a little tricky. If your stamp is much smaller than the block it's on, it can be hard to angle a full-size pad just right for the rock-and-roll motion of the second inking. If you're using clear stamps, it helps to have a proper-size block to fit the stamp. Also, handling full-size pads is more awkward than using the smaller, dew-drop shaped pads. I used full-size pads of Fresh Ink above on the cactus and pot, and it felt clunky...even if it did work out fine. The flower was inked with dew drops, which were much easier to work with.

This is a very forgiving technique. It rarely looks bad (unless the two colors I've used don't blend well). As often as I've done it, I've never had a problem with the little bit of light ink that transfers to the dark ink pad, either. I can only remember rocking and rolling with pigment or chalk inks, but it should work well with dye inks, too...and you could even spritz water on the dye inks for a blended watercolor effect!

To finish this card, I edged the raised panel lightly with VersaMagic brick ink. The white-on-white look just didn't work for this card, and running the edge of the card stock against the ink pad is super fast and gives a slightly rustic edge that plays nicely with the soft, sponged-effect of the images.

I'm having a blast with this Hero Arts set. It's just so easy to work with, and the combination of outline and block images makes it extremely flexible. Love it!

stamps: Hero Arts Stamp Your Own Cactus
ink: Fresh Ink, VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why Line Art Rocks

Often, cards made in a clean-and-simple style feature block stamps...where the image is completely (or at least mostly) solid, as on THIS CARD. Outline stamps (or line-art stamps) generally require coloring, which requires a lot of time and energy, not to mention some medium for coloring (colored pencils, watercolor pencils, markers of all types, paint, Smooch, etc.).

Could I have used more parenthetical expressions in the previous paragraph? (Probably.)

Anyway, some designs of line art actually look AWESOME simply stamped in a strong color, and such is the case with the leaves in Gina K's Sun-Kissed Autumn set. These gorgeous images are just right for CAS style!

In the first card, I stamped the three leaves to create a border around the sentiment using autumnal colors.

I love the word autumnal. Say it out loud. Can't you just smell leaf mold and crisp autumn air? Autumnal. Mmmmm.

Those autumnal colors pop right off the white background, making a light and airy card.

For the second card, I used a scrap of paper lying on my desk, a single leaf stamp, a single bling, and a sentiment from Waltzingmouse.

The border on the popped panel was created with a Sharpie marker and a ruler. There are only two layers of white card stock on this colored card stock whatsoever. Just think of the possibilities!

So don't feel that you have to limit yourself to coloring line-art stamps. Sometimes, all it takes is the right color ink and a clean design, and that line art will SING!

stamps: Gina K Sun-Kissed Autumn, Waltzingmouse Blessed by You
ink: SU cherry cobbler, Hero Arts orange soda and butter bar, Memento cocoa
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, Sharpie marker, rhinestone

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mad Coloring Skillz

...I do not have. But this cactus turned out better than expected!

Don't you just love how the cactus is hugging the sentiment? Whoever designed this set sure did a great job! The pieces-parts work so well together. Hero Arts, I applaud you.

The coloring is a combination of Copic/Sharpie/Bic markers on Gina K 120# white card stock. Markers will not bleed through on one-layer cards, which is a definite plus for those of us who love making one-layer cards.

Here's another card I colored with the Hero Arts Stamp Your Own Cactus set. There's a little too much going on for me...not enough white space for my eye. But I really love the colors in this. Orange, brown, green, and purple-y reds go so beautifully together, and the combo sort of happened by accident.

And with four cards (two today, one yesterday, and one tomorrow), I managed to use all the image stamps in this set. Yay, me! Now, this set can visit with the other stamps in my hoard collection while I pick up another unused set to get inky with.

Isn't stamping just the best hobby ever?!?!

stamps: Hero Arts Stamp Your Own Cactus
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K 120# white
accessories: rhinestones, Copic/Bic/Sharpie markers