Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thank you

Thank you for the kind comments on my last post, for the condolences and sympathy. The funeral for my friend Karen was this afternoon (Saturday), and it was sad and beautiful all at once.

I want to share with all of you some of the outpouring of cards I received for my birthday and for Thanksgiving. Many were store-bought and ever so wonderful, but since this is a stamping blog, I'll only share close-ups of the hand-made ones.

Not all of the cards I received, but most.

Janet E. sent this one, and included a lovely written
message inside that was kind and comforting.
"Keep care," her son used to say. I love that. I also
love the delicate white die cut over kraft. So very

Patti M. wished me "mucho blessings" with happy
pop of pink to draw the eye!

Sue C. included a fabulous picture of her family,
some of whom I've prayed for over the years.The card's
watercolor wash effect is simply gorgeous in those colors! 

Sue also sent a birthday card using some of my favorite
colors and glorious white space in a balanced CAS design.

Vicki sent me inspirational birthday wishes! Stunning
color and white embossing combine perfectly.

This butterfly beauty is from JoAnn F. Don't you love
the vellum butterfly as an accent?

This bold-on-black stunner is from Joan B, who can
successfully use sequins while I cannot. 

My friend Karen sent so many cards people cracked jokes about Hallmark stock going down now that she was gone. In the weeks before her death, I received two thank-you cards for various things (she wrote at least one of them them while getting chemo). I received my birthday card from her the day she died. (It's the yellow one with the pink flower, center row, far right in the top picture).

Isn't it wonderful how bits of paper hold so much love?

That's why I want to let you all know how much you mean to me. This has been hard, and grief isn't the only struggle in my life right now. But your kindness, your thoughts and prayers, your comments and emails, and your cards mean so much to me.

I have a wonderful real-life support group of family and friends helping me through with physical presence and hugs daily. Most of you reading this don't really know me from Adam's cat, nor I you. But your kindness has tipped the scale for me more than you could know and has kept me filled with hope and the certain knowledge that all these troubles will be gotten through, that I am not alone. I'm a person of faith, so I believe that you are each willing agents of a loving God.

So thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Bit #1

My crafty energies have gone into making a bunch of ornaments/bookmarks for our church.

A fraction of the 160 ornaments we made. I had help for rounding corners,
punching holes, cutting and tying string, and affixing labels. Thanks,
Stephen Ministers! Stamps by Paper Smooches.

The finished ornament.
A sticker label on the back
has John 15:9 printed on it.
We will present these on the weekend of Dec. 12-13 at all three services, along with a little speech reminding everyone that for some people suffering loss and illness and pain, Jesus' love can feel pretty far away, so we need to pay attention to others' needs this season and be that face and hands of Jesus for someone.

Bit #2

I read an interesting article in the most recent issue of Scientific American Mind magazine about gift giving. The relevant crafty part has to do with gift wrap. "Don't overdo the gift wrap," the article says. "Pretty wrapping paper raises expectations for a gift and increases the risk of the receiver being disappointed if the gift doesn't live up to them." Food for thought, I suppose, although I'm still processing the fact that actual scientific research has taken place to explore these issues.


Thank you for your patience with my adulting. It's been hard going and got worse over the weekend. I lost a very dear friend unexpectedly on Saturday. Our whole church has been supporting her through three months of chemo for leukemia. She was supposed to have a biopsy Friday to verify that the bone marrow transplant scheduled for Monday was a go (things were looking good), but she developed pneumonia instead. With no immune system left, she declined quickly, despite the heroic efforts of the doctors and a whole community's prayers for a miracle. My heart is in pieces.

This Thanksgiving, please express your gratitude for those you love...your friends and family and those who influence your life in positive ways. I am comforted in knowing that Karen's final months were positively showered with love and care...for which she constantly expressed her gratitude.

Have a wonderful, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving. Abide in love.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Made a Guy Card!

Let us rejoice, for guy cards are hard.

The color combo was originally inspired by a pin on Pinterest, but since even with my vast ink collection I don't have enough colors, I had to improvise wildly.

This design lends itself to masculine cards. There's busyness in the random stamping on roughly two-thirds of the card, and crisp clean simplicity in the top third. The contrast is delightful and easy on the eye. The copper line dividing the two parts of the card says "guy," as does the no-nonsense, sans serif font of the greeting.

The first family birthday in 2016 is George's nephew, who is a diesel-engine mechanic and definitely the outdoorsy type. One birthday card down, about 30 more to go!

Many thanks for all the supportive comments and emails. We are so lucky to have this wonderful hobby in our lives, connecting us strangers to each other in positive ways, and I so appreciate your kindness. Things will get better...eventually. ;-)

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: copper metallic pen, ruler

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This and That

First, this.

I wish the "happy" were slightly to the right, but otherwise, I like it. Two shades of teal, a black rhinestone in the flower, asymmetry centered on the card...good CAS stuff. Feels like me.

Now for that.

This has been an incredibly stressful and weird few months. There's not much I can share on the interwebs, except that, to my knowledge, no one is dying (Praise God!), but it's stressful nonetheless. Have you ever had the melodramatic sensation that practically everyone in your world is in distress except you, and you need to be the grown-up who acts all mature and responsible and calm?



I hate being a grown up.

Pretending to be a functioning adult is so exhausting. And impossible at times.:

The point behind my sharing this with you is that stamping is taking a back seat right now to other more pressing things. I'll get to my craft room when I can, but don't be concerned if posts are less frequent for the next few months. I'm fine. I'm just pretending to be a functioning adult.

Thanks for understanding.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: various pigment and chalk inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: small black rhinestone

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tools: Some of You Might Find This Strange

You may or may not know that I came to cardmaking via bookbinding. If you've ever gotten serious about bookbinding yourself, you understand completely why Omnigrid quilting rulers (in various sizes), a craft knife, and cutting mats (in various sizes) are essential tools in my paper crafting studio.

If you've never gotten into bookbinding, however, these tools might seem a little strange, especially when you learn that I've never made a quilt--or even a quilted table runner--in my life.

Bookbinders need to cut paper and book board at precise right angles and precise measures. They often work with giant sheets of paper that won't fit into a standard 12" rotary or guillotine paper trimmer. Omnigrids are incredibly useful for these circumstances, especially when combined with long metal rulers and box cutters for heavier jobs.

These days, my six-inch Omnigrid square works perfectly for most cardmaking needs. Any time I need a mat (for those rare layered cards) or to cut a piece for white-on-white layering (much more common), I reach for the knife and Omnigrid. The cutting mat (a large one, though not my largest!) lives permanently on my desk. The see-through design of the Omnigrid is perfect when I need to cut a strip with a sentiment and want even borders surrounding it, for instance.

A word of warning: knives cut paper, but they also cut fingers. In 13 or so years of using these, I've only nicked my finger nails a few times, but as long as you keep your fingers away from the edge, you should be okay. Also, after 13 years, you don't want to start to feel over-confident, brag on line that you've never cut yourself, and then find yourself at the ER getting stitches. How embarrassing!

Thankfully, this hasn't happened yet, although I don't want to get cocky. Pride goeth before a fall...and I don't want to get stitches.

Anywho, these are useful tools I work with all the time. It's easy to take such unglamorous items for granted, but seriously, they make my crafting so much easier.

Just remember to keep your fingers safe.

Oh, and if the knife rolls off your desk, don't reach to catch it. Let that puppy hit the floor. 'Cause you know you'll get stabbed and might get blood on your card stock, which will ruin it.

It would, after all, be weird to try to make background paper with real blood stains. Right?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Minimalist Wishes

This birthday card just came to me the other day. Creativity sometimes works that way. It comes...just pops right up and says howdy.

Best not to question it too closely. You might spook it.

Also, my SIL is the best ever...sent me a gift certificate for Papertrey for my birthday! Love her! Can't wait to spend the gift on photopolymer goodness.

stamps: StampinUp
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart rhinestone

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It's Glittery to Be Square

A simple, no-sentiment Christmas card for a simple Monday morning...

Size: 4.25" square

The central embellishment is a half-sphere covered in gold glitter...which is very festive and goes nicely with the Delicata gold ink. Found it at Hobby Lobby years ago and decided to--GASP!--actually use one of them.

So yay, me!

And now let's go off topic to another absorbing obsession hobby of mine. A friend from church invited me to be part of a book club over two years ago, and we've now got the best book club ever. November is my month to host, so I chose one of my favorite epistolary novels: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's utterly charming, has a cast of fascinating and quirky characters, and describes a part of World War II history about which I was completely ignorant...the Nazi occupation of Guernsey. I can't wait for Thursday when we our club will discuss it.

If you like reading novels and haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it.

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

Happy Monday!

stamps: Papertrey Silent Night
ink: Delicata gold
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gold glitter half-bead

Thursday, November 5, 2015

When Mass Makes Beautiful Sense

How many times have I told you that I don't like mass production? Lots, for sure. Anyway, when the cards are simple enough, it's tolerable to make 4 or 8 of them. Today's card was easy enough for 8.

Card Size 4 7/8" x 3 3/8"

This bit of monochromatic simplicity employs Memento Luxe teal zeal (sentiment) and Brilliance pearlescent ice blue (star) and a single small bling for maximum impact! These will be perfect for the people in the Bible study I attend.

Eight down. One hundred more to go.

Not really.

Just feels like it.

Barnes and Noble has some nice boxed cards....

stamps: Papertrey Silent Night
ink: Memento Luxe, Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Red, Pink, and Light Pink...Perfect for Christmas!

Reader Natalie shared last week that she'd made a Christmas card a few years ago that she loved. It was pink, red, and white. I'd just made this card and love the colors, too. Great minds think alike!

I'd reorganized my inks (because, you know, all the pretty colors!!!) and noticed that Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk, VersaMagic pink petunia, and Avery Elle pixie formed a lovely spectrum. Papertrey's Fair Isle Motifs set was out on my desk, so I started experimenting and came up with this cozy card, with just a hint of green for contrast.

Breaking down all kinds of color barriers with this one! Certainly many of you will find it un-Christmas-y, but I really love the softness and feminine feel to this card.

Design note: This card is completely, utterly flat, yet it doesn't need anything else. Partly, this is because of the color gradation combined with the tiny spots of contrasting green...adding a complementary color to a monochromatic scheme will add energy even in a static design like this and even in very small doses. Partly, it's because the Fair Isle Motifs stamps are made to look like stitching on a sweater...the texture is implied, even if it's not real. So it works without layers or bling or anything else.

Which is kinda cool, don't you think?

stamps: Papertrey, A Muse
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

You'd Never Guess This Started with a Simple Mistake

Have you ever tried inking up an acrylic block, spritzing it with Glimmer Mist or water, and stamping the block onto paper? It's a fun and easy way to create a background, but sometimes results are not what you expect.

For instance, ink colors can turn out MUCH lighter than intended. That happened to me the other day. I wanted a nice, medium green and ended up with a pale, blah shade that wasn't going to work for my original idea at all.

Hmm. What can I do with this?






That might work.

The holly punch?


My first stab at this used berries punched from paper stamped in the same fashion only with red ink. They looked anemic. The bright red, shiny rhinestones work much better because of the strong contrast with the soft, water-color effect of the punched holly sprigs. They add drama...the good kind of drama, not the bad kind generated by people who make you wonder what sort of diagnosis they might have.

Bad drama makes me sad, but blingy drama makes me happy!

The punched holly is glued straight onto the card's just too delicate to pop up. My first thought was to stamp the sentiment in dark gray or espresso truffle, but then, I thought, a darkish olive would be more festive...and it is.

Another holiday thank-you card made! And it's pretty! So YAY all over the place!

stamps: Hero Arts 
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Glimmer Mist, acrylic block, rhinestones, glue pen, tweezers (for placing the holly)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nailed It!

Nailheads are a fabulous embellishment...when I can find them. They don't seem to be quite as available as bling, but they do add a little shiny something without adding as much thickness as a rhinestone.

These metallic red nailheads are perfect little ornaments for a Christmas tree, and as as you can see in the close-up, they aren't thick enough to interfere with postal equipment.

Pretty and practical!

stamps: Clearly Besotted Tiny Trees, Papertrey Keep It Simple Christmas
ink: Impress Ink mojito, Memento Luxe love letter
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: nailheads, corner rounder

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Another OLS#22 Challenge Card

I had so much fun making this card!!!!

Things that make me happy about this card:

1. Can you say, "White space"? Knew you could.

2. The colors sing to me of holidays: Hero Arts pine tree green, field greens, and red royal.

3. Silver metallic pen. On a curve.

4. I free-handed that curve with a craft knife. Oh, yeah.

5. The inside is straight and true.

6. The interaction between the SUPER simple front and the busy border on the inside.

I hope you'll join us at the One-Layer Simplicity Challenge #22: A Multitude of Gratitude, for November, 2015!

stamps: Hero Arts, Clearly Besotted
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic marker, ruler, craft knife