Monday, July 31, 2017

Hip to Be Square

I found a bunch of wood-mounted stamps in a storage cabinet in my basement that I'd forgotten were there. Here's one drawer of them:

Of course, there was no way to resist playing with this goodness. The Hero Arts international stamp set called to me, and since my square punches were already on my desk, they factor into the resulting card.

I LOVE this card!

And yes, that says a LOT about what kind of obsessive-compulsive neat freak I am.

It's hip to be square, right?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: 3/4" square punch, dimensionals

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Small Delights

Strong color pops off white, but the high contrast can sometimes look rather harsh. Adding some medium gray eases the transition in a rather elegant way!

4.25" Square Card

The butterfly has text from Papertrey's Text Style set, with the words "small delights" in the center. The purple-red panel was inked with seedless preserves (Tim Holtz Distress ink), so there's a bit of variation in the color, which adds some interest. The dark purple-red panel looked odd on the white all by itself, so I decided to stamp a shadow stamp in Memento Luxe London fog on a scrap of white. The Memento Luxe on white looks just like suede.

It just made sense to put this assembly on a square card. That way, the angle of the butterfly is the only asymmetry...which really draws attention to the small delights.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love in small delights,

stamps: Papertrey Text Style, stitch set; Hero Arts shadow
ink: Memento Luxe London fog, Archival black, Distress seedless preserves, Hero Arts soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: square punches, butterfly punch, inking tool, glue pen

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Revisiting Inchies

After staring at pins like this, this, and this, I felt inspired to make this:

Here's a closer look at that inchie, which is actually 1.25", but who's measuring? (Well, I am.)

The background was stamped using one of Hero Arts' spectrum pads, and the two tiny stars were punched from a scrap stamped with the same background image (from Papertrey's Ombre Builders) and ink. The larger punched star is accented with a bling star colored with a Copic to match the darker blue on the stamped stitch border and sentiment.

Dreamy stars!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey stitch set, Ombre Builders; StampinUp sentiment
ink: Hero Arts ombre pad, Archival cobalt
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, star punches, star bling, Copic for coloring the bling

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Riviera Looks Nice This Time of Year

I just know you've had this happen to you. I was innocently rummaging around in Marco's Paper last week, and an inkpad leaped into my basket. All. By. Itself.

That Kaleidacolor Riviera ink pad chose me...not the other way around. So it's not my fault. Not at all. Surely you understand this sort of thing.

But I'm not so sure my husband would.

Anywho, I played around with the inkpad and came up with three fun cards. Isn't the Riviera just lovely?

The first card uses a single image that covers the whole pad. (The layout came from this pin, by the way.) The touch of purple on the sentiment helped bring the raised panel and feather together, but the raised panel still looked too plain (even for me), so I dragged the edges over the purple part of the Kaleidacolor pad. That worked fine.

Next, I wanted to let the Riviera spectrum move from one image to the next, so Clearly Besotted's Everything Changes butterflies filled the need nicely. So girly and feminine, don't you think?

Finally, I wanted to let my minimalist freak flag fly with maximum white space and a single layer. I adore the movement in this one, and the bling! EEEP!

Which is your favorite and why?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feathers, Clearly Besotted Everything Changes, sentiments from Papertrey
ink: Kaleidacolor Riviera, Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics and Sharpies to color them

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Peace Like a Snowflake

Today's card is both incredibly clean and messy. Not that it looks messy in completed form, but still.

Card size: 6.25" x 3.5"

To make the raised panels, I took a scrap of cardstock and embossed the word peace and two different snowflakes on it with white embossing powder. Using Tim Holtz chipped sapphire and seedless preserves distress ink and mini inking tools, I inked the daylights out of that scrap of cardstock.

Does anyone else get ink all over even using those handy inking tools? Seriously. My fingers were blue the rest of the day.

A 3/4" square punch turned the mess into three very precise squares. A 1" square punch gave the three squares each very precise mats, and a quilting ruler allowed me to place each square precisely in a row in the exact center of the card precisely 1/4" apart.

As you might imagine, all that precision made my heart go pitter patter.

Note the variations in the color. That was on purpose. With so little to look at amidst so much white space, it was important for there to be some variation. Peace is off-center, while the snowflakes are centered. The middle square is much darker than the other two. The snowflakes are different because, as we all know, no two snowflakes are alike.

May peace fall on you like a snowflake caught on your tongue...quite, calm, soft. May it dissolve into you like that snowflake and become a part of you, if only for a moment.

We need those moments of peace in the middle of the mess, don't we?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love...but especially peace,

stamps: various (translation: I can't remember)
ink: Tim Holtz seedless preserves and chipped sapphire, clear embossing ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, inking tools, white embossing powder, 3/4" and 1" square punches

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Modern Twist

So after I made my card for the Inspiration Challenge, the inks were still sitting out, and three colors called to me: Memento espresso truffle and Impress island and Tuscan olive. This card popped into my head and--by some miracle of miracles--turned out exactly as I envisioned it! Yippee!

Super colors, fun movement, outstandingly retro shapes. Eeeep!

I love it when a plan comes together.

(And yes, we are watching The A-Team movie tonight.)

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Amuse small oval, Papertrey Good Times (starbursts), Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Memento espresso truffle; Impress Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, island
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Saturday, July 22, 2017

IC607 Olive Hello

This week's Inspiration Challenge at Splitcoast is a fun one! The source of inspiration is the Cuadros board on Pinterest, which is full of great colors. I chose THIS PIN for my inspiration, pulling its many colors together into this:

Note that my blue has more green in it than the inspiration pin's blue, but that was as close as I could get with my pigment inks. I loved the olive table cloth in the center of the original art, so I kept that color for my sentiment at the center of my design.

What a fun challenge!

I hope you're all enjoying a lovely weekend. It's stupid humid here in southwest Ohio, but thanks to whoever invented air conditioning, I've had a very pleasant day of stamping. Hope you can say the same!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Spring Hello by Lia
ink: VersaMagic Concord grape and sage; Memento pistachio, olive grove, and espresso truffle; Impress Fresh Ink island and Tuscan olive
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp old olive
accessories: none

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Copics?

Yesterday's post on Copics provoked this most excellent question from reader bluejeannes:

"What makes Copics so great, so much superior to others? They are very expensive, so I've never bought any."

Well, bluejeannes, I can't answer that question as an expert, but here's what I know from experience.

1. Alcohol markers come in a variety of price points. Sharpies and Bics are the cheapest, but the color range is limited to mostly very bright, strong colors. They also don't blend quite as well as Copics. Copics are, to my knowledge, the most expensive alcohol markers, and they work like dream. There's a middle-ground price-point alcohol marker called Spectrum Noir. I have never tried these, but a lady at Marco's told me she uses those instead of Copics and loves them.

Random strangers at craft stores might not be entirely reliable sources, but it's all I've got to offer.

2. There are LOTS of coloring options that are just as lovely as Copics...for a lot less money. Watercolors and colored pencils, for instance, are not nearly as pricey, and can produce incredible results. They won't look like the Copics, but if an image gets colored, who really cares what medium was used? Will your card recipient even know there were options? Probably not.

3. We should be careful how we spend our precious crafting dollars. Copics are VERY expensive, and even though I've purchased most of mine with coupons and on sale, it's still a sizeable investment. To be honest, if I'd known about the Spectrum Noir pens before I started collecting Copics, I'd probably have chosen them over Copics. Coloring isn't a passion for me, but I do enjoy all the pretty colors.

That said, Copics truly are high-quality markers. They blend beautifully, especially on the Gina K 120# white card stock. They are refillable, and you can replace worn nibs. Even my oldest Copics are still juicy, and the tips are in excellent shape. They last.

For those who are not expert colorers, it's possible to fake results that are good enough for government work, as the saying goes.

For those who commit to mastering them, the results are pure art. Check out Sandy Alnock's videos on YouTube to see an expert at work.

For those who choose to avoid alcohol markers altogether, good on you! After all, I've avoided die cut machines and the money pit of needing every die I see. Good on me! Let's celebrate by buying a set of stamps!

If you're a total noob at alcohol markers, I strongly recommend getting a few Sharpies or Bics first to try your hand at color blending (off-the-shelf Sharpies in a yellow, light orange, and dark orange would work). If it seems like fun, pick out a few shades of your favorite color in Spectrum Noir or Copics and experiment. Decide how fully you want to commit. If you decide to proceed, build your collection as slowly as your budget requires. I've been working on my collection for about five years or so, and it finally feels finished.

So there you have it. For what it's worth. Which might not be much.

Here's another card (somewhat similar to yesterday's layout) using more shades of Copics. Love these cool, bright colors!

I think I got a little carried away with bling, but still. It's a perfect card for a beautiful friend of mine. She's going to love it, overly blinged and all!

Now, this is already a long post, but I want to share something that happened to me today. My guardian angel was working overtime.

A tree came down across the road right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, but couldn't tell if the tree hit the front of my car or if the car hit the was that close. Fortunately, a landscaping company truck and trailer stopped behind me. The guys got out, checked for damage, and told me the tree was lodged under the hadn't damaged the car at all. They needed a chainsaw to get it out from under the car and off the road. Those three men were a GODSEND! They had the road cleared and everything moving in about two minutes. Thank the Lord for Good Samaritans armed with chainsaws!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Concord & 9th Wild Flowers, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K 120# white
accessories: Copics, rhinestones

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Copic Refresh

Full disclosure. I am NOT a Copic expert. In fact, my coloring skills barely qualify as amateur. Furthermore, I'm not even interested in spending hours watching videos on YouTube or taking any's not that motivating for me. So why do I have as many Copics as I do?

Because of all the pretty colors. Duh.

I recently filled in some gaps in my collection. Here's my updated chart, for any of you interested in building a "basic" Copic collection. (*snort*)

Obviously, you don't need ALL 75 markers for a basic set...but hopefully you can pick and choose from my chart to make the going a bit easier. If you magnify the photo, you should be able to read the numbers. Focus on your favorite colors, the ones you use the most.

Anyway, since I'm showing off the chart, I might as well show a card colored with Copics. For newbies to Copics, I use Gina K Heavy Base Weight Card Stock (120lb). It's very smooth and coated so the Copic ink moves around easily and won't soak through to the other side (a critical feature for one-layer cards). Memento tuxedo black ink won't bleed with Copics and leaves a good, solid impression on the Gina K card stock.

Here are the colors I used. They do make a nice Christmas card, don't they?

As you can see, I got a little out of the lines, but I'm using this post to work on my perfectionist issues. See, internet! I can still be proud of something that's got visible flaws. Ha!

It's progress, of a sort.

The gold centers of the poinsettias came courtesy of a humble gold gel pen. Its opaque ink covered the black nicely.

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

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento black, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Gina K
accessories: Copics, dimensionals, gold gel pen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Butterfly Sympathy

I love that one of you (Lu C) said she prefers to make sympathy cards as needed because she creates better with a person in mind. How kind! She's a beautiful example of how we can all express our crafty creativity differently. Thanks for sharing that, Lu.

Today's three cards spotlight butterflies. Butterfly cards sell particularly well at Karen's Card Shop because everyone who knew Karen knew of her passion for butterflies.

First up, butterflies stamped using markers and a water spritzer. I tried several times to eliminate the blotchy effect here but finally gave in to it. I think stamping on absorbent watercolor paper requires WAY more water than stamping on ordinary card stock.

After creating such blotchy images, I used pigment ink to get VERY smooth images on the second card.

By the way, I prefer the blotchy butterflies to the smooth ones. That surprised me.

Finally, I used a bit leftover of watercolor background and a butterfly punch for this super-simple and elegant card. It's my favorite of the three.

Which is your favorite?

stamps: Papertrey, Uniko
ink: Archival black; VersaMagic concord grape, pretty petunia
paper: watercolor paper
accessories: markers water spritzer, rhinestones, butterfly punch, watercolor

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sympathy Sell-Outs

Wow. Karen's Card Shop at our church routinely sells out of sympathy cards. Last week, the church secretary emailed me that she'd bought the last one.

Many thanks to those of you who've sent us sympathy cards! Know that they are very much appreciated.

Anyway, I sat down to crank out a bunch of sympathy cards, and in the process, I pulled all the sympathy sentiments I could find from all my stamp sets and put them into one CD case. That helped, and should serve nicely in the future when we run out of sympathy cards again. Because it's going to happen.

Anyway, I really enjoy making sympathy cards of wildflowers, so I tried out several different flower silhouette stamp sets to see what I could make. First up, a one-layer card with a cool color scheme of greens, purples, and blues.

Next, a two-layer card with a simpler color scheme of blues and gray.

Both cards use some watercolor paper I bought on sale at Marco's last week. It doesn't work well with watercolors, but it took the inks nicely on these cards, so way to repurpose, Susan! It's got a lovely, soft feel to it, as well as a bit of texture.

Sympathy cards are easier to make when I don't have to make them. What about for you?

stamps: Papertrey Life and Mega Mixed Messages; Tim Holtz Mini Bouquet; Gina K sentiment
ink: various dye inks
paper: watercolor 
accessories: craft foam, corner rounder, glue

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Friendly Layout

If I were still scrapbooking, THIS is the sort of layout I would be making. So much lovely white space!

Since I'm not scrapping, a card will have to suffice.

The only thing I would change about this card is the size of the three small hearts. They are a tad too big and draw too much attention to themselves. Perhaps I should have stamped them in the lighter pink. Oh, well. I still love the card and the layout, not least because most of the stamps used are from really old sets...yet they look fresh and fun!

The panel under the large hearts is edged with black ink...the bit of roughness of that adds to the otherwise crisp design works well to my eye.

And now, gratuitous puppy pictures for your enjoyment!

EEEEEP! Puppy breath! I can't wait!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Hero Arts, Concord & 9th
ink: Impress Fresh sugar, pink lemonade; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart punches, dimensionals

Saturday, July 15, 2017

God's Sunshine

We rescheduled our visit to OSU, so nothing to report to the Buckeyes out there. And I don't have any new puppy pictures. Will keep you posted.

Today's card was inspired by THIS PIN, which I found in relation to a Splitcoast Inspiration Challenge a few weeks ago. Love me some Inspiration Challenge.

While I adore this card for its colors and layout and the fabby sun stamp, I confess to having an issue with the theology behind this sentiment. The more I think about it, the more it seems to imply that God withholds sunshine and will only send it to you when He's good and ready...or even worse, when He's punished you enough.

The sun is always shining. Clouds might obscure our view, but the sun is always there, even at night as its light reflects off the moon. That's what God's love eternal glow we are never denied, even though we, Peter-like, may deny it ourselves.

And going even deeper, when we know the love of God in our hearts, clouds and the earth's rotation have no impact on our perception of the Light. It truly is always there for us, even and most especially when the rest of life seems pretty dark.

If you're in the dark, try to connect with the Light. Reach out to someone. Ask for help. Keep asking for it. Because the Light is already shining for you.

If you're in the Light, be like the moon and reflect that stuff all over the place.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Hello There, My Favorite Things Cheerful Blessings
ink: Memento dandelion, Archival black and leaf green
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Business Card Greeting Cards

One of my all-time favorite layouts includes a small, raised, stamped panel on a white card base. Working on such a small space gives ample opportunity to create a very strong focal point framed by lots of glorious white space.

Combine that layout with bold colors from Kaleidacolor pads and the Mini Bouquet set from Stampers Anonymous (which is anything but mini), and you get some pretty and amazing cards.

I could make these layouts all day long with all sorts of different stamps and themes. It makes me very, very happy.


There were a few questions about the puppy, and of course, I'll share more pictures as they come from the breeder. The mom, Annie, is an English Cream. The dad, Grady, is part English Cream and part Golden. We honestly don't care about color or sex...we simply want the sweetest, most docile pup. Goldens are great dogs; the new one will be our third. We haven't picked names out yet, although we do have a list for both sexes. We want to meet the pup and pick him/her out before settling on a name.

And that's how things stand now.

Blessings as we head into the weekend. We're going to go check out Ohio State University this weekend with our elder son. It's his first choice for college. Lord, help us!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Out on a Limb Sentiments, Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Collection Mini Bouquet
ink: Kaleidacolor, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Christmas Text

When a friend and I went to Marco's Paper in Centerville, Ohio, recently, I came out with an embarrassing amount of new stuff. Going shopping with a stampy friend does that to me.

Anyway, words are my weakness (well, one of them, anyway), and the set from Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous) called Stripes and Holiday Type beckoned seductively. No way could I resist.

The card is similar to the cards on this post, but I masked the border here with post-its before stamping. At that point, I wasn't sure what to do with it, so it sat unfinished--but much admired--on my desk for several days before this idea came to mind.

The holly punch seemed too pale in light green and too dark in dark green and humdrum in either, so I put them together, offset them a bit, and felt much happier. I did the same thing with the berries and then stamped "joy" in the opposite corner using Memento Luxe love letter ink. The thick pigment ink was more opaque and stood out better over the black text than a dye ink would have.

I'm going to love playing with this stamp!

For those of you interested in our new puppy, here's a picture of momma and her three little Jimmy Dean sausages...two boys and a girl. They were born last Saturday, and we get pick of the litter. We're going for whichever is the sweetest and most docile.

Momma Annie looks tired, doesn't she? Remember those days? Perhaps you're in the midst of them...but it's unlikely you have time to read this blog if you're dealing with a newborn. I remember. I even remember answering the door to sign for a UPS package with both flaps of my nursing bra turned down and wet spots on my shirt. I hadn't bathed in days. My instinct was to feel embarrassed, and then I though, "You try doing this, Mr. UPS Man!" and went back to my newborn, exhausted in every bone but happy nevertheless.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Stampers Anonymous Stripes and Holiday Type, Winnie and Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry
ink: Archival black, Memento Luxe love letter
paper: Papertrey white, assorted green and red
accessories: holly and circle punches, glue pen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Incredible Color

While my watercoloring skills leave a bit to be desired, the brilliant colors of the Peerless Watercolors are incredibly beautiful. I love the purple and dark blue combined with these stamps from Hero Arts Dreams Are Made set.

The silver embossing is pretty in real life but was sort of hard to photograph. The close-up shows it better.

Many thanks to those who've offered up advice on watercoloring. I'm going to change my paper, watch a few videos you recommended, and quit messing with the paint so much. Y'all are the BEST. READERS. EVER!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Dreams Are Made
ink: clear embossing ink
paper: an icky off-brand of watercolor paper
accessories: silver detail embossing powder, heat gun, Peerless Watercolors basic set, craft foam, glue

Monday, July 10, 2017

Delusions of Watercolor

My mom shares my spectacularly poor singing voice. I would blame her for the poor-singing gene, but I suspect karma's really to blame. When I was a toddler, mom tried to sing me to sleep, but I told her, "Hush that noise." And so of course, my voice is at least as bad as hers.

Mom mentioned years ago that when she sat in front of her song-bird friend Tammy in church, she felt that she could sing. Tammy's voice carried forward so powerfully that it filled mom with the delusion she, too, could sing.

Ah, well. We make a joyful noise, and the Lord loves us anyway. Thanks be to His unfailing love!

What does this have to do with stamping, you ask? I watched a video from Jennifer McGuire on watercoloring and felt the same delusional joy and confidence mom felt in church singing in front of Tammy.

One problem I've noticed with the watercolor products I have (pencils, crayons, Twinkling H20s, StampinUp dye inks, etc.) is that the colors tend to be pale. It takes a lot of work to get bright colors, and even then, my results are awkward. So when Jennifer said the Peerless Watercolors were incredibly dense and vibrant, I bit.

Surely this would solve my problems with the medium. Right?

Not exactly. (You're shocked, I'm sure.) The Peerless Watercolors are delightful and easy to use...and give incredibly vibrant color. But just because you buy a new product doesn't mean you're automatically good at it.

Here's the proof.

Clearly, I need to practice. But the colors are lovely, aren't they?

Part of the problem is that I overwork the paint, smooshing the brush around unnecessarily. Perhaps a class would help. We shall see.

Not being able to do it well won't stop me, though. A friend of mine owns a dry cleaning business, and she ends up having to using the pressing machine because they can't keep employees to do that hot, sweaty work. She decided that her personal Bible verse is "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14) She paraphrases it, "Press on!" 

While my singing voice will likely never improve, my watercolor skills might. We shall see. 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts You Are Loved, My Favorite Things Circle Scribble Flowers
ink: Archival black
paper: watercolor paper
accessories: Peerless Watercolors, brush, craft foam, glue

Sunday, July 9, 2017

In Honor of a Beautiful Day

Gratitude is good for the soul. Research shows that an attitude of gratitude is essential for happiness, and my personal experience supports the research. Perhaps you can relate. After years of cultivating that attitude of gratitude, I've discovered even in my lowest moments of fear or anger or sadness, I'll find myself smiling at a whiff of strong, black coffee or the sight of Daisy recharging her golden retriever goodness in a sunbeam or a piece of mail that isn't junk.

Yesterday, as my husband drove us to Barnes & Noble for our weekly mocha-and-book fix, I noticed the deep, rich greens of the grass and trees of mid-summer in Ohio. The perfectly blue sky sported a few puffy white clouds, and the temperature hovered around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

What a day to be grateful for!

This simplicity of the bright yellow sun, white card, and black sentiment speaks to the simple joy in a beautiful day.

And because today is a lovely repeat of yesterday, here's another version of the card...with a completely different feel to it. Simplicity is replaced with the the chaotic energy of joyful, celebratory colors (without loss of white space)!

To make this card, I used my MISTI and masked off the bottom and right edges with washi. The splatter stamps are from Altenew's A Splash of Color, which is extremely fun.

Whichever card you prefer, I pray that you are able to rejoice in a beautiful day and let your soul take a bath in gratitude overflowing.

Wishing you mercy, grace, peace, love, and summer gratitude,

stamps: Papertrey Phrases and Praises (sentiment), Simon Says Stamp My Sunshine, Altenew A Splash of Color
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: MISTI, washi

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dotty Tea Teaches a Lesson

This pin, with its strong graphic elements, made me want to experiment with open spaces and dots, but my version needed to fill the open space because my tea pot felt like a big hole in the design rather than a fun graphic element. 

So what happened? Well, my hypothesis goes like this: my dots aren't bold enough, and neither is the outline of the tea pot. My design feels lighter, more detailed, than the inspiration pin. The stamps dictate that, and they are what I have to work with. Also, my addition of color--a light blue-- changes the feel of everything.

It doesn't matter, though, because the end result works anyway. 

So what's the lesson? Don't let an inspiration piece limit you. Pick a few elements of the inspiration that you want to work with, and see where they take you. As you start changing things, your original choices from the inspiration piece might need to change, too. Don't be afraid to veer off course. You just might end up someplace pretty anyway!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey, Clearly Besotted, Tim Holtz
ink: Hero Arts cornflower, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, circle punch, dimensionals, post-it for mask (which was a pain to cut out given the pot handle!)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Cure for Choice Overload

Whenever I take a long break from stamping, it always take a while to find my mojo. My preparation for vacation, time away on vacation, and week of chaos following vacation constituted a reeeeally long break, and my mojo was nowhere in sight last week. Hours spent at my craft desk yielded nothing but pretty trash. 

I had two responses to this frustration: 1) a spending spree and 2) a purge. 

The spending spree was completely crazy and unnecessary, as y'all must know. My craft room overflows with stamps and ink and paper and stuff...some of which I never even use. There's plenty of choice already in my craft room, and no need to add to the choice overload that was clearly crippling me. 

Choice overload is a real thing, and studies show it inhibits creativity. I blogged years ago about how I felt more creative when I artificially limited myself. For instance, I might say to myself, "You can only use this randomly chosen stamp set, a cool color palette, and three pieces of bling." And my creativity inevitably took off. 

Months ago, I pulled all the stamps in my cold storage out and integrated them back into my stash with the mistaken goal of testing them all out. This turns out to have been a spectacularly bad idea. Last week, the sheer quantity of stuff in my craft space--with new stuff added!--left me flailing. I couldn't even generate randomly chosen limits. My mind was completely overwhelmed.

Sunday afternoon, frustration peaked, and I purged. 

All this stampy goodness now resides in my unfinished storage area. You, kind readers, won't be shocked to know there's still plenty of stampy goodness that survived the cut in my craft room. What matters, though, is how I felt after the Great Purge of 2017. 


I immediately pulled out a random, relatively new punch and four Tim Holtz Distress inks, and went to work. 

The greens and blues are calm and hopeful, and the confetti punch makes wonderful irregular mosaic tiles. Two different arrangements came to mind...a rectangular cluster with the sentiment integrated as the "cornerstone" of the construction, and a straight-ish border.

Aren't those colors beautiful?

These two cards took a while to make. I laid out the tiles first and then used tweezers to pick them out and glue them into place. But this construction was incredibly relaxing. No need for precision...just pleasing organic variety. 

Picking warmer colors would add a ton of energy to this idea, but I needed some soothing cards for my own stash. The next step with this punch will be to fill in large punched or perhaps cut shapes using my Fiskars ShapeCutter system.
Whatever happens, I feel rejuvenated and have made a number of cards in the past two days. Mojo's back and it's never felt so good to have fewer choices.

Have you ever experienced choice overload? What are your tricks for overcoming it if you have? If you purge, what do you do with those things you get rid of? (I plan on selling grab boxes soon.)

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Technique Tuesday (top card sentiment), Clearly Besotted (bottom card sentiment)
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black; Distress Inks salty ocean, mowed grass, broken china, peacock feathers
accessories: Tim Holtz mini inking tool, confetti punch, glue pen, tweezers

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Day to Celebrate

Happy Independence Day!

Let's celebrate our freedoms assemble, to worship, to speak our minds, to travel unimpeded around our country, to be educated, to create art and share it.

And while this is a great day to celebrate, it's also a great day to reflect. Are there ways you can increase the freedom of others around you? Freedom from hunger, for instance. (Volunteer in a food bank or a school backpack program.) Freedom from ignorance. (Volunteer in a school, library, or adult literacy program.) Freedom from loneliness. (Volunteer in a nursing home; invite a neighbor to coffee.) Freedom from oppression. (Vote, promote, and speak out and up.)

Freedom isn't free, and we shouldn't take it for granted. If we all pay our bit of energy and time to keeping it growing and healthy, maybe fewer of us will have to make the ultimate sacrifice to preserve it.

And then we'll all get to pursue happiness.

Just a thought.  

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and liberty,

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paper: Papertrey white
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