Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Simple Daisy

After yesterday's copious Copic shell card, today's card seems impossibly simple. Because it is.

This sketchy daisy stamp is perfect...whimsical and fun and pretty all at once. Stamped in simple black and accented with yellow Stickles (the only spot of color on the card), the daisy makes a dramatic statement.

The banner anchors the floating daisy, and the sentiment's business-like font provides some contrast with the loose, flowing sketch of the main image.

Some of you may know that daisies are one of my favorite flowers (the other is pansies). I like daisies so much I named my golden retriever Daisy. She's prettier than any card I've ever made.

This picture shows a very satisfied Daisy. George and I sat close together on the sofa, and Daisy decided that was unacceptable. She pushed her way between us until I scooted over.

Here's the evidence. That's my blue-jean-clad knee.

Once we were separated and her job was accomplished, she walked out to the ottoman and curled up for a nap, using George's foot as a pillow.

Based on this episode, you might think George is her favorite, but the whole family acknowledges that she prefers me. George, however, is most excellent furniture.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and daisies,

stamps: Hampton Art Stamps daisy, Papertrey Birthday Basics
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: yellow Stickles, dimensionals

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Copics (and a Blogger) Going a Little Crazy

Normally minimalist in my tendencies, I got a tad carried away with coloring these beautiful old PSX images, using a ridiculous number of Copics here, but the results...well, they are satisfying.

There are two shell stamps on this card: a two-inch-wide border stamp and a trio of shells. My preferred color scheme for beachy cards is pale blues and greens and browns. This card got much more colorful.

In fact, several shells went through color changes. If the purplish shell below looks odd, it's because it started in warm grays and went pinkish and turned out (finally) purple.

Indecision may or may not be my problem.

Still, it's enormously satisfying to finish a card like this. It has me longing for gentle waves and sea birds and salty air.

Did I ever tell the story of my Lamaze class? Pretty sure I have, but what the hay, let's tell it again.

Our teacher told us to practice our "hee, hee, hee" breathing while imagining our happy place.The happy place I settled on was a gentle, white-sand North Carolina beach as the sun rose. To complete the scene, a bagpiper in full Highland dress, standing on a boardwalk, played to the rising sun.

I'd experienced this incredible scene years before and ne'er forgot what peace it brought me. All through the Lamaze practice sessions, I envisioned this scene and felt immediately peaceful and relaxed.

What they don't tell you in Lamaze is that contractions really involve your whole uterus, which at nine months gestation is roughly the size of a giant beach ball. As many of you already know, the whole giant thing contracts to push that baby out.

Seriously. The whole. dang. thing!

That's a b-i-g pain. Much bigger than my feeble imagination, aided by weeks of feeble little Braxton Hicks contractions, could handle. In actual labor, I couldn't picture my piper on the beach with gentle waves. Oh, no. I pictured the Pacific coast, south of Stinson, where jagged rocks shoot up and waves crash violently against them.

Highland piper, where were you when I needed you?

In the midst of violent waves crashing into my abdomen, I met the very nice epidural man, for whom I would gladly have named my firstborn son had we not already decided he would be Nicholas. Nick for short. Yeah, Nick. Nick's a real name. Nick's your buddy. Nick's the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn't mind if you puke in his car, Nick!

Name that movie.

Anyway, this story may or may not have become embellished over the years since that terrible realization that Lamaze is inadequate to the task of childbirth (at least for wimpy me), and that my OB had been correct. The best pain management during childbirth is "hee, hee, epidural."

All hail the Epidural Man! 

By the way, the sea shells and sand dollars on my card would have been pulverized into mulch on that rocky Pacific shore. 

Perhaps I should stop now.  

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: PSX (shells), Papertrey Sign Language (sentiment) 

ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K deluxe white, StampinUp black
accessories: copious Copic markers, craft foam, glue
And I did tell the epidural story seven years ago. Gosh, it can't have been that long!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day and Sympathy--Edited

In the United States, Memorial Day is set aside to remember all who have died in service to our country. It's a day to celebrate our freedoms while also acknowledging that we "drink those freedoms from a well we did not dig." Others dug it, some at the cost of their lives.

For some, Memorial Day will never be happy. So I wish you a sincere Memorial Day. Remember those who served and and women like Maj. Gregory Stone, one of my husband's friends who died in the Iraq War. Honor their memory, known and unknown to you, for their commitment, their sacrifice, their love of country.

I know many bloggers will post patriotic cards today, but I'm posting a sympathy card because of a post I read on Facebook. A wife of a fallen soldier (and the mother of a child he never met) wrote about how hard this day is, especially when people wish her a happy Memorial Day.  So here's a sympathy card, because every one of those whose memory we honor today left behind family and friends who personally grieve them.

For those who mourn, a card of comfort.

Inspired completely by Loll's layout 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and remembrance,

stamps: Uniko
paper: Papertrey white
inks: Ranger Distress
accessories: acetate sheet, spray bottle, butterfly punch, rhinestones, craft foam, glue

Friday, May 26, 2017

There's No School Like Old School

One of the first techniques I learned (after heat embossing) was using watercolor markers directly on wood-mounted rubber stamps. This old-school technique allows you to put multiple colors of ink on a single stamp easily. Once inked, the stamp can be spritzed with water for a watercolor effect or simply huffed with the stamper's breath for crisper images.

For newbies, make sure the markers you use are, indeed, watercolor markers. Tombow, StampinUp, and Memento all make suitable markers, and perhaps readers will add more to the list in the comments below. Sharpies, Copics, Bic, and other alcohol-based, permanent markers will NOT work.

Anyway, as I've explored my neglected rubber stamps, I came across four beautiful stamps from Hero Arts. The Watercolor Marguerite, Coneflower, Sunflower, and Dahlia are designed to look like watercolors even when stamped with plain ink. Spritz them, and they are even more beautiful.

I'd come across THIS GORGEOUS PIN on my Cards Pinterest Board, and it inspired me to make this set of cards.

The background is from a Hero Arts clear set called Dictionary Greetings. It's stamped in black on each of the above cards to help the brightly colored flowers pop.

After finishing this floral set, I decided to make a masculine version of the card. It's nowhere near as nice as the more colorful versions, though. The flat color of the Hero Arts soft leaf ink over the cup o' Joe brown just doesn't do much for me. I should have used the same technique as above and used brighter colors.

But that's okay. Live and learn.

I found that many of my red-rubber floral stamps invite this technique, so you'll see it a few more times over the next week or so.

In the meantime, what are your favorite old-school techniques?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Dictionary Greetings, watercolor flowers, leaf
ink: Archival black, Hero Arts cup o' Joe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Memento and StampinUp markers, water spritzer bottle

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Even More Joy

When I made this card, I stamped another j-o-y from a different Hero Arts alphabet set. It sat for a week or so on my desk until this idea popped into my head.

Postage-stamp punch, holly stickers, and cancelled-postage wavy lines...festive! I like how the postage, which signifies cards travelling all over, reinforces the "to the world" sentiment.

The sparkly holly stickers also make me joyful!

It's been a weird week. I hope to be able to share more birthday cards from my informal wood-mounted stamps challenge starting tomorrow.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Archival red geranium, watering can
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp real red
accessories: holly stickers, postage punch

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, Office Supplies!

It was fun making this geeky birthday card using some stamps from my Office Supply wood-mounted stamps.

I tore out a mask to use with the large Cornish Heritage Farms grid paper background and built the little collage of cut-out ruler image, paperclip stamps, and enamel dots.

The simple color scheme and focused area keep the collage simple and clean, and the triangle of enamel dots lends balance to the design.

Hope you like it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Cornish Heritage Farms (grid), Hero Arts (ruler, paperclip), Papertrey (sentiment)
ink Archival French ultramarine, black; Hero Arts charcoal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, enamel dots, copy paper (for mask)

Monday, May 22, 2017

I'd Rather Be Lucky than Good

In my quest to make birthday cards using all my wood-mounted stamps (or as many of the stamps as will be practical), I stumbled across a lovely Celtic knot square. Staring at it gave me the idea of using one of the Hero Arts ombre ink pads. Then this happened:

I inked the stamp on the diagonal for no other reason than it felt interesting and then realized I could arrange the squares so the colors slide from one square to the next. Isn't that incredibly cool? My husband has an appropriate saying from his Air Force days: "I'd rather be lucky than good." In this case, that's absolutely true.

The card has a matching envelope and will go to a relative who loves all things Celtic. The birthday sentiment is inside as it would have merely distracted from the pretty, colorful squares.

Card size: 7.25" x 3.5"

So much of the creative process is serendipitous...sometimes things work out spectacularly, and sometimes, well, they make pretty trash. I used to resent the failures but now see them as inevitable, resulting in teachable moments, a lesson learned.

Besides, when something like this happens, the failures hardly matter.

What is your attitude toward failure? Do you get angry at wasting supplies, or do you accept the cost of creativity and just move on?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Stampabilities Celtic knotwork, Papertrey sentiment (not shown)
ink: Hero Arts ombre mermaid
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

MISTI and Color Layering Rooster

You might remember Leslie Hanna (a.k.a. The Crooked Stamper) who passed away on Christmas Day, 2015.

Leslie often advised me on new products because she tried everything and I'm cautious. One day, we discussed the MISTI, which was new at the time. She advised against my getting one because my style is so CAS and my hand so steady that such an expensive tool would be a waste of money.

Some time later, Hero Arts came out with Color Layering Seahorse (three layers) and Color Layering Octopus (two layers), and I started drooling over the layered flowers from Altenew.  So I started to think maybe Leslie's advice wasn't so good two years on.

I posted a question on my personal Facebook page asking MISTI or Mini MISTI, thinking I would get one or the other for Mother's Day. That's when Tina S., who was Leslie's BFF and neighbor, offered to give me a MISTI.

For nothing.

Yep. She just happened to have an extra lying around and gave it to me. *SQUEE*

New in the box.

Several people have told me that my life is about to change. Instead of ordering a MISTI for Mother's Day, I ordered several more of Hero's color layering sets, including Color Layering Rooster.

Now, it's important that I noted the Seahorse and Octopus sets have three and two layers respectively because the Rooster has about 42 layers, some of which are almost microscopic in size. (Yes, I'm exaggerating for comic effect, but still...simple, the Rooster is not.)

The MISTI was hugely helpful in positioning all but the beak/eye stamp of the Rooster, which was so tiny and so sticky it would NOT stay where it needed to for use with the MISTI. Still, Cock-a-doodle looks handsome, does he not?

The Color Layering Sea Turtle has 13 separate stamps. I strongly encourage you to count layers before you buy if you, like me, are not a patient stamper.


At least I've got a MISTI to help me not lose my cool altogether. And it's all thanks to Tina. What a sweetheart she is, and my stampy self is eternally grateful.

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Rooster
ink: a whole bunch of different colors of Hero Arts and Archival inks
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp black
accessories: MISTI

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Double Post Because Y'all Just Won't Believe This

Okay, we're going to start with the expected...a card you will recognize as completely CAS, full of white space, and therefore Susan-y. In fact, there's so much white space, I suspect some of you will get itchy just looking at it.

Am I right? Do you need some Benadryl?

Of course I love it. In fact, this might be one of the Christmas cards I make multiples of this year.

And now for a card that you're not going to believe I made.

I don't believe it.

But I do love it, for reasons that have nothing to do with design and everything to do with books.

I made this card for Audrie's IC598 at Splitcoast. The inspiration piece is from Autumn's blog HERE. The connection between the inspiration piece and mine is obvious...layout, colors, cut words, image at the top. I did preserve some crispness in my simple, white word pieces and the background for my shelf, but otherwise, it's pretty not crisp.

The quotation is from Anne McCaffrey, a science-fiction writer I've read since forever. Her Pern series is on my comfort shelf.

To make the background, I used the Tim Holtz mini blenders to blend the frayed burlap and faded jeans on the bottom 3/4 of the card base. Then, I spattered water over it to add a dreamy effect. 

The words were printed on Neenah 80lb and cut out as per Autumn's inspiration piece. 

The bookshelf was stamped on a smaller piece of 80lb Neenah using various distress inks so the stamping wouldn't be too crisp. I added a small plant on the stack on the right to symbolize how books turn the CO2 of life back into oxygen. 

The base is Neenah 110lb cardstock, which held up beautifully to all the ink and water spatters. 

So this might not look at all like a card I would make given my passion for white space and crisp, clean stamping, but ohmygosh does it capture my absolute and passionate love of and need for books. 

Many thanks to Audrie and Autumn for such a great afternoon of stampy fun!

So, I leave you with a question. What books do you consider comfort books? 

Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and books,

Supplies for Christmas Card
stamps: Winnie and Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry
ink: Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: not a one

Supplies for Comfort Book Card
stamps: Simon Says Stamp To Thine Own Shelf
ink: Tim Holtz distress
paper: Neenah 110lb and 80lb
accessories: craft foam, glue, toothbrush, water, mini blending tools

Friday, May 19, 2017

New Tab on Card Shop and Simple Friday Card

The tab on Karen's Card Shop is now live on the blog. You can find the tabs by clicking to the blog itself (if you read Simplicity by email or in a reader), and on the bar below the blog title, you'll see Home, Subscribe, Product Talk, Use Your Hoard, and Karen's Card Shop. Click on Karen's Card Shop (or this link right here), and you'll find all the details of the shop.

If you still have questions, please ask them on the Karen's Card Shop page in the comments if possible, or email me at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

I will update the page as questions come in. Surely I haven't covered everything.

Today's card is simple because I've been typing entirely too much. Isn't that matting sublime?

Happy Friday.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: StampinUp Letters from Friends
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none, because it's super simple

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More Christmas Joy

Using alphabet stamps on Christmas cards is particularly easy with short words like joy, noel, and peace. Christmas is a harder word to work with, but you can cover it with a nice Merry Christmas sentiment on the inside of the card.

Today's card uses the easiest holiday word a stamper can use.

To add interest to this simple card, I got jiggy with the layered matting. Instead of using all white layers, I replaced the largest layer with StampinUp real red. So the layers from top to bottom are

1. the raised, stamped circles
2. a solid white panel
3. a 1/16" larger white panel
4. a 1/2" larger red panel
5. a 1/16" larger white panel
6. a white card base

Whew! Six layers on a Lateblossom card!

And a candy-cane stamped envelope completes the project.

And there you go. Joy to you!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and joy,

stamps: Papertrey Candy Cane Christmas; Hero Arts wood-mounted alphabet (old, old, old!)
ink: Archival red geranium
paper: Papertrey white; StampinUp real red
accessories: circle punch, dimensionals

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Karen's Card Shop: Birthday Card

Many of you know that last summer I started a card shop in my church in memory of my friend Karen, who viewed sending cards as one of her God-led missions in life. Several of you kindly have donated cards to Karen's Card Shop, and I'm happy to say we've sold at least 320 cards in less than 11 months, making $640 for the church.

This money goes to the church's general fund and to supply Cancer: What Now? books for anyone in our congregation who gets diagnosed. Karen died of pneumonia while fighting leukemia. She was just two days from her transplant. She mailed my birthday card the day before she died, just before the ambulance carried her to the James Center in Columbus, OH.

I'm going to set up a tab on the blog with details of how I run the card shop for those who want to set one up yourselves. Look for that in the next day or two. One thing I've learned in the past year is that people want to buy very specific types of cards: birthday, thank you, get well, and sympathy sell best, and anniversary cards are slow but steady sellers.

Thinking of you, hello, blank, love and friendship, and holiday cards don't sell that well (with the exception of Easter). I use thinking of you and love and friendship cards a LOT and am surprised buyers don't seem to like them. Also, mass-produced cards don't sell well; I guess people who buy handmade cards want to feel like they are buying something truly unique!

The popular themes are hard to keep in stock, and right now we're particularly low on birthday cards. Hence, today's card.

Greens and blues are always a great combination, and this card highlights those colors in a fun way using the little stamps from Papertrey's Good Times stamp set.

And yes, I stamped an envelope to match.

This card and envelope will be packaged in a cellophane bag, sealed up, and put in our shop. I predict a quick sale!

On another note...feeling the need to give my rubber stamps some love, I've challenged myself to make at least one birthday card using images from each box of wood-mounted stamps on my shelf. I've made three already, and it's so much fun!

It's a shame the idea for Karen's Card Shop didn't come to me until Operation Write Home folded. Karen would have been our biggest customer.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and memories,

stamps: Papertrey Good Times
ink: assorted Archival and Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Monday, May 15, 2017

Big Tree, Super Simple

The Papertrey set called In the Meadow certainly seems like it's right up my alley...solid, block images of various holiday motifs such as a tree, deer, snowflakes, and a horse-drawn sleigh. The tree is extremely large, though, which doesn't leave much opportunity for white space.

This layout, however, works for me.

Instead of decorating the tree with rhinestones (which is usually my go-to move with this set), I stamped it in Impress Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, which is a very yellow-ish green and certainly non-traditional! With the Merry Christmas in traditional red placed on it banner-style, no other decoration is needed. There's sufficient interest in the colors and layout alone to carry the message.

Which makes my heart go pitter-patter with glee.

Also note placement of the sentiment. The banners sit atop the one-third horizon, which makes their low placement work to ground the design even though that tree is floating in space. The top word is smaller than the bottom word, which also lends stability and works with the tree shape.

I stamped the grazing deer on the envelope. Such a graceful image. *happy sigh*

The words come from Winnie and Walter's The Big, the Bold, and the Merry. This is a great set with LOTS of words in it for holiday-themed cards.

While it might feel strange to see Christmas cards in May, I encourage you to see if you can adapt this design to some more current theme (graduation card, wedding, birthday, Memorial Day...). Look through your stash for images or blocky stencils to create a solid backdrop for banner words...if you don't have something large, scale everything down to smaller panels. Choose unusual colors to build interest, get busy, and see what happens!

stamps: Winnie & Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry; Papertrey In the Meadow
ink: Impress Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Simple Joy

Have you read the children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

That's sort of what my experience with the Gelatos Mixed Media kit turned out to be. Sure, the Gelatos are cool and all, and there's certainly a lot you can do with them, but the issue of smearing keeps recurring annoyingly. Here's the photographic evidence of my experiments using Gelatos with stencils, sponges, and a spatter technique after dissolving them in water.

Pretty, aren't they?

Lovely effect, pebbly and pretty!

Sadly, smeary.

This was my favorite! Done with a toothbrush.

After a full day of drying, this happened. Very little pressure
needed to smear this.

I didn't bother photographing the sponged panel. I think I proved my point.

Gelatos have a good bit of wax in them (at least, I think it's wax...some sort of substrate to hold the color together anyway), and dissolving it all in water is difficult and might take a whole lot more time and patience than I have. The waxy bits are what's smearing so badly, even though the nubbly texture they add is delightful. For a card being inserted and pulled out of an envelope, Gelatos prepared this way make a mess.

There is a possible fix, but it's fussy. I assume spraying a fixative or brushing gel medium on the piece might seal the Gelatos adequately (although biggish bits might still crumble in the pressure of postal handling). Adding that much liquid to a cardstock panel will bend and warp it, plus spraying fixative requires adequate ventilation. Last time I did it outside, a bug got stuck on my project. Eww.

This is just to fix the Gelatos sponged or spattered on cards. Consider the flaking whipped spackle of this butterfly card that rendered it unsendable. Or consider the gloss medium on this card. Janet mentioned a type of wax that can go over the gloss medium that keeps it from sticking.

Do you see where this is going?

MORE products. MORE drying time. MORE fuss.

This blog is titled Simplicity for a reason. The simplest use of the Gelatos is the best for my purposes...coloring the Gelato directly onto paper and rubbing it with my finger to blend it. Once it sets, it doesn't smear and looks amazing. That alone makes this whole experiment worthwhile to me!

I've had a blast playing around with the kit and am so grateful to Marco's for their give-away. But it's time for Simplicity to be simple again.

You're welcome!

It's definitely time to get to work on Christmas cards, and this little gem came to me in a flash. The rectangular background is cut from a large Hero Arts coffee cup stamp from Coffee Cup Tags. The tiny tag is from an old StampinUp punch. A little satin ribbon bow ties it all together.

While I don't always show the envelopes I stamp to coordinate with cards, I'm doing this more and more. It's such a simple touch that really makes the card delivery special.

The ink on this card, Archival red geranium, won't smear not even a little bit. What joy that brings to this clean-and-simple lover of white space!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and simple joy,

stamps: Hero Arts Coffee Cup Tags and Holiday Petals and Leaves; Clearly Besotted Christmas Poinsettias
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival red geranium
accessories: white satin ribbon, StampinUp tag punch, circle punch, craft foam, glue

Saturday, May 13, 2017

IC597 Create the Cut

This week's Inspiration Challenge at Splitcoast asks us to get inspired by the Etsy shop Create the Cut, which shows some lovely watercolor flower designs. My inspiration is HERE.

My watercolor effect was created with markers and a water spritzer on My Favorite Things Circle Scribble Flowers and Party Patterns. The sentiment is from Simon Says Stamp's It's Your Birthday.

This was fun and loose and easy...and my goodness it felt AWESOME to make a card without the fuss, bother, and mess of mixed media. My final experiments with that were disastrous and frustrating, so much so that it's the better part of valor to abandon all hope in that area.

Drama much?

Of course!

Anyway, it was fun to stick to basics and make a card inspired by such a lovely Etsy store! Click on over to IC597 and play along!

Mother's Day is joyful for some and not so much for others. If you're joyful, yay! I am, too.

If you're missing your mother, hugs and comfort to you.

If your mother wasn't nice, I pray peace for you this holiday and escape from the saccharine, soft-focus romanticism of motherhood flooding social media. Please know that Father's Day is similarly painful for me.

Sometimes, life isn't fair.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: My Favorite Things, Simon Says Stamp
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic marker, ruler, craft foam, glue, various markers (StampinUp and Memento), water spritzer

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mixed Feelings

Many thanks to Janet (swanlady21) who commented on my last mixed media post about sticking:

I've heard that the multi media ladies have problem with the pages of their journals sticking together - and the solution is to cover with a layer of Dorland Wax. I even use it on my glossy and enamel accents (the liquid kind) which also tend to stick even though dry.

So there's another product that will fix the problems with using the mixed media products.


This is quickly becoming the opposite of Simplicity.

Today's card is certainly simple. It uses Gelatos and a baby wipe to create a border, and the butterfly is all texture-y thanks to whipped spackle and Gelatos.

This was my second attempt at the card base...the first try, I used post-its to mask off the border, but the thickness of the post-its didn't work with the creaminess of the Gelatos as they settled unattractively in clumps against the edge and even got under the post-it. For this second effort, I used washi tape to mask, hoping the thinner profile and stickier stick would work, and they did.

After I'd blended the blues and a tiny bit of bright pink with my finger, I GENTLY rubbed a wet wipe over the color. The wipe took color off, leaving a lighter, fresher blended background, but if you want strong color, skip the wet wipes. Gelatos will usually blend quite nicely with just a finger, and you don't need water.

The whipped spackle was promising. It blended with the orange Gelato beautifully. I spread the mix onto a piece of cardstock, let it dry, and punched it out. All went well until little pieces of the spackle began flaking off and leaving smears of orange Gelato all over the place. The smears mostly come off with a white eraser, but still. It's a mess.

Conclusion: the whipped spackle is definitely NOT a good idea for cards. There's no way this card will ever get mailed (can you imagine the orange, smeared mess that would make!?!?!). The texture is certainly pretty and adds interest, but whipped spackle is not a product that can be used this thickly on a card.

More mixed feelings on mixed media to come! I'm impressed with how long the stuff in the kit is lasting. The Gelatos, of course, are pretty big and will last a long time, but despite their small size, most of the tubes of goop that came with the kit are still going strong. The kit is an excellent value for experimenting!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey 
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: washi tape, butterfly punch, black half pearls, Gelatos, my finger, glue, dimensionals, whipped spackle, baby wipes

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Break from Mixed Media

Just needed to get back to my ink-and-paper roots.

This card was inspired by the cover of Stampers' Sampler magazine...a card by Rosemary Dennis, of course. She's often an amazing inspiration for me!

I took the trio of hearts and flipped them to direct the eye from the cup to the sentiment, and had to move the sentiment to the bottom of the cup because my cup was too small for the sentiment. I love Rosemary's large-scale coffee cup, but sadly, my own Papertrey coffee cup stamps are really too small to work with Altenew's awesome coffee sentiment set.

As a result, my card's nowhere near as balanced as Rosemary's, but that's okay. I worked with what I have, and that's good enough.

You can't have everything. Where would you put it?  --Steven Wright

Still, that doesn't mean we stampers shouldn't try to have everything, right? It sure would make being inspired easier. And it is almost Mother's Day weekend.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and Oxford commas,

stamps: Papertrey, Altenew
ink: Versamagic pink petunia, Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart rhinestones, dimensionals

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Glazed Over

Welcome to another installment of Bumbling Around With Mixed Media by Susan Raihala!

Today, we're bumbling with glaze!

There's a small tube of glaze in my Gelatos Mixed Media kit, and I decided to play with it over an underwater scene created with Gelatos and Memento Luxe black ink.

While the stamping leaves a bit to be desired, the glaze performed admirably!

The background uses the three shades of blue Gelatos in my meager stash rubbed on and blended with my finger. This technique is easy and forgiving. Don't like something? Add more Gelatos until you get the colors right! The residue cleans easily off your finger with a wet wipe.

One concern I have with the Gelatos is that they will rub off or smear even when dry. The few pieces I've made would, I believe, rub off on the inside of an envelope if not sealed in some way. The glaze over the background would seal it in, but I wondered if it would make the Gelatos run.

It didn't. The background looks exactly as it did before I added a very thick layer of glaze. See how shiny it is!

Now, however, my concern is that the glaze will adhere to the envelope. It's totally dry after 24 hours but a tad tacky, which may be because I put such a thick layer on or because glaze is simply going to be a bit tacky to the touch. For art pieces, such tackiness wouldn't matter so much, but for mailing cards, it might matter a lot.

Anyone have experience with this? If it is a problem, cutting a piece of waxed paper and putting it in the envelope might solve the problem, but we're quickly moving into the fussy realm where I simply lose patience.

Anyway, before covering the mat board with the glaze, I stamped images from Color Layering Octopus (Hero Arts) with Memento Luxe black and immediately regretted it. It looks a bit goopy (although it is completely opaque over the blue Gelatos). The edges of the piece are particularly not perfect. But there's a good bit of drama on this card because of the bold black, so I'm choosing to overlook the imperfections and will try to use less ink next time around.

These Gelato backgrounds--made simply, as I explained above, by coloring the Gelato onto paper or mat board, and rubbing it with my finger--are generally easy to make and pretty. But if you enjoy sponging or stippling ink or painting watercolors or blending Copics, you'll get similarly colorful results with no worry about transfer to the inside of an envelope or frictional smearing inside an envelope sent through the postal service...assuming these really are a problem. Tentative bottom line: fun to play with but perhaps not a must-have for your average card maker unless s/he wants to explore mixed media regularly.

The jury's out on the glaze until I can get an answer about sticking. It's certainly pretty and works as advertised.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at a basic ink and bling card. I just HAD to make one after expending so much patience for drying times that mixed media products foist on a stamper.

Like I said, patience is a virtue I need RIGHT NOW!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Octopus, A Muse (old ocean themed set)
ink: Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white, mat board
accessories: Gelatos, my finger, a wet wipe, glaze, brush, glue