Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wonderful World, Part 4

First of all, many, many thanks to those who had suggestions for variations on yesterday's layout! What fun it was to read your responses and contemplate whether I have the stamps to give them a try. When I get back from vacation, I'll see what I can come up with!

And now for the last post in the current Wonderful World series.... When contemplating the large round sentiment Janet sent me, I realized that it might be fun to break up the background for it by drawing a line through the circle. Straight lines love curves, and curves love straight lines. Here's the result.

The fonts of the sentiment invite this sort of layout, with the cursive below the line and print above the line. The pastels and water spots give a dreamy effect to the bottom of the card, and the butterfly flies up out of the pink to accent the sentiment and to create some unity between the two distinct parts of the card.

While I haven't had time to do this, yet, I'd love to remake the card with a landscape orientation rather than portrait. That would allow me to use a slightly larger butterfly (which might balance the sentiment better) and give a bit more space for the butterfly to fly into.

Nevertheless, the card makes me happy the way it is! I hope it makes you happy, too.

As Holy Week moves toward the great celebration of Easter Sunday, resurrection, salvation, and new life, I hope you'll take some time to contemplate what a wonderful world we live in. It's certainly not perfect, but there are joys everywhere for those with eyes to see and hearts to appreciate. Let your eyes and hearts be open to the wonder of God's creation and the abundant evidence of His Love flowing through His people.

When Jesus died on the cross, the temple curtain was torn and the division between God and His people was removed. Jesus--the sacrificial Lamb--died so that everyone (not just a temple priest) could be close to God. This invitation isn't just for's for everyone. Every. One.

What a wonderful world. What a wonderful God. Thanks be to God.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Serendipity
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Tim Holtz distress ink
accessories: post-it notes for mask, inking tools, paint brush and water, Martha Stewart butterfly punch, black half pearls, glue pen

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wonderful World, Part 3

Okay, so I loved yesterday's cards so much that a variation seemed in order. After searching my stamp stash, I found some ocean-themed stamps from Hero Arts and wow!

Ahhhh, this is so much FUN! Plus, it makes me long for the sea...a warm, shell-covered beach, waves lapping my feet, gulls and pelicans flying overhead, a piper in full Highland dress playing to the rising sun.

Sounds like heaven on a gray March day in Ohio. A wonderful world, indeed.

The ocean/water theme seemed to call out for something shiny, and (of course) I added bling. These colors are wonderful, too, aren't they? Aquas and greens and blues. So soothing and restful.


Please put on your thinking caps. I've showed floral and ocean stamps, but what other themes could you imagine for this layout? It truly is a wonderful design.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Seahorse, Color Layering Octopus; Serendipity sentiment
paper: Papertrey white
ink: various dye inks
accessories: CM circle cutter, craft foam, glue, rhinestones, Sharpies for coloring rhinestones

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wonderful World, Part 2

Large stamps are often difficult to work with on clean-and-simple cards, but as Sunday's simple card showed, if you work with the shape of the large stamp, you can certainly have fun with it.

Sunday's square card balanced curves and angles, symmetry (centered circle on a square) and asymmetry (three flitting butterflies of different sizes in an irregular triangle; the soft, multicolor pastel background).

Today's cards--landscape rather than square--give a little room to embellish with a background. A sharply defined shape (like the large circle) needs something loose and organic to balance it, so I made two different cards with botanical embellishments that ground the circle with two radically different color schemes.

Warm, bold, and bright!

Cool, soft, and natural.
(exclamation point inappropriate here)

Oh, my! These two cards make my heart happy. I hope they make your heart happy, too!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Serendipity (sentiment); Papertrey Life (top card); Papertrey Gathered Garden (bottom card)
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Wonderful World, Part 1

In late February, kind reader Janet sent me a stamp with a line from one of my favorite songs: Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World. I finally had a chance to play with it and will share some the cards that resulted.

The stamp is a sentiment arranged in a rather large circle, which presents certain design challenges. For my first card, I used the stamp in the easiest way possible...centered on a square card.

To start, I heat embossed the stamp on a large scrap of card stock and inked the scrap with four shades of Tim Holtz distress ink (tumbled glass, shaded lilac, spun sugar, and squeezed lemonade).

After inking, I used a Creative Memories circle cutter to trim the piece. Then, I added the butterflies with bling to match the color of the paper they are on. The butterflies break up the symmetry of the card, adding interest and movement.

These spring colors made me very happy on the day I made this card. We got snow that day.

Many thanks to Janet for this lovely stamp. I can't wait to show you the other cards it inspired!

I'd also like to thank reader Carol D. today. She sent a batch of lovely cards for Karen's Card Shop. Here are a few of them.

Look at this gorgeous watercoloring!

Beautiful gold foil and baby blue

Love this loose and fun design!

Gorgeous, feminine card with fantastic details

Close-up of these layered beauties.

Carol sent me a bookmark that's already
in use. 

Many thanks to Carol for sharing her talent and generosity with our church. Stampers are the BEST!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Serendipity stamps
ink: VersaMark; Tim Holtz distress inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: clear embossing powder, Tim Holtz inking tool, Creative Memories circle cutter, Martha Stewart butterfly punches, rhinestones, Sharpies for coloring rhinestones

Friday, March 23, 2018

What a Week

You might be wondering where I've been this week with so few posts. I'm not going to bore you with the dramatic details of what I'm calling Multiple Crisis Week. Suffice to say, it's been a doozy, and I'm ready to sit and breathe, drink a glass of wine, and read a novel with my feet up.

God is good, no one is hurt, and that's enough.

Anyway, today's card is another in my Dies Go CAS series, with an embossing folder thrown in for good measure. The Hero Arts Nesting Hearts Infinity Dies are amazing. I love being able to make hearts in such a vast range of sizes.

Yes, I distressed, which seems appropriate for this week. At first I was irritated that the ink got down below the raised spots, but after googling images of real birch bark, I realized it makes the heart look much more realistic.

Besides, look at all that unsullied white space. *happy sigh*

The cute cardinal comes from Poppy Stamps Cheery Cardinals die.

Design Notes: At first, I wanted this to be a portrait-oriented card, but then I realized the sentiment and cardinal would be closer to the lower right "sweet spot" on the card if I used a landscape-oriented card base. The results speak for themselves.

Cooper Update: Formal diagnosis (second opinion) of severe hip dysplasia on right side, with mild dysplasia on the left. That X-ray almost made me cry. Both elbows have fragmented medial coronoid process, which is also worse on the right. Cooper's right is all wrong!

This is not what you want to have happen to a puppy. He will eventually have surgery on the elbows for sure (that surgery is guaranteed to stop the chipping away of bone in the joint). The hips are on a wait-and-see. I'll be talking to the vet about supplements for joint health in hopes of slowing down the issues. But he is pretty much always going to be in some level of pain.

Not that he seems bothered by it now. He's snoring on the floor behind me, using his doughnut collar as a pillow. When he's awake, he's jumping all over the place (please don't tell the vet...she said to keep him from jumping until the stitches come out, but HOW?) and generally acting like the happy puppy he is.

So yay, Cooper!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: My Favorite Things Label Maker Sentiments
ink: Memento espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp real red
accessories: Tim Holtz embossing folder, Poppy Stamps Cheery Cardinal die, Hero Arts Nesting Hearts Infinity dies, dimensionals

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Cross and News

The layered cross in Papertrey's Celtic Knots set is absolutely stunning. I've made a number of cards with it but find this simple black-gray-white version to be my absolute favorite of the bunch.

There are two layers of paper popped up with craft foam and dimensionals. First, the die cut of the the cross, which has three different stamps. The MISTI is essential when stamping these three stamps...and it seemed the more I stamped, the harder the three were to line up, even with the MISTI. Second, the center of the cross, which has two different stamps...also harder to line up the more I stamped.


Anyway, the close-up shows how pretty the layers are.

Now for the news, and it's not good. Although Cooper's surgery went extremely well and he is now neutered, his X-rays showed problems with his hips and elbows. Serious problems. Both his parents were certified clear on hips and elbows (common issues with goldens), and none of the other pups from either parent has ever presented with problems in either area. These things happen, and Cooper is just unlucky.

Or lucky, if you consider that he's ours, and we will do all we can to keep him happy, healthy, and comfortable.

Cooper wearing the latest fashion from Paris for post-operative couture.
(He freaked out with the E-collar at the vet, so the T-shirt covers
his incisions.)
It's pretty obvious Cooper isn't letting hip and elbow problems--or having his boy parts removed--get him down. He's a happy boy!

But I am sad. Chronic joint issues will not be fun for him. If you're the praying type, we'd appreciate  a little prayer for our Cooper.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Celtic Knots
ink: Archival black, Hero Arts soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: coordinating dies, craft foam, dimensionals, glue, MISTI

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Celtic Notecards

Some of you know that I used to do calligraphy and illumination (medieval book painting). That gave me a deep and abiding love for Celtic knotwork. So when Papertrey came out with a knotwork set, I jumped on it and the coordinating dies.

Like many stamps, these are ones that I love in theory rather than practice, and I spent too many hours making okay-but-not-great cards with this set. Finally, I actually made four cards (using just one of the stamps) that make my CAS-lovin' heart go pitter patter.

To start, I embossed the outline border stamp in detail silver embossing powder several times on a scrap of paper. Then, I colored the images with cool colors of Copics.

Then, I embossed a few of the same stamp with extra-fine gold embossing powder and colored them with warm colors of Copics. (Sorry I forgot to shoot a close-up of the orange knotwork.)

These cards are 6 1/4" x 3.5" and fit a standard envelope I buy at Marco's paper. I die cut extras to stack for a bit more dimension, but otherwise, these cards are as simple as they look.

A Note on Papertrey Dies: I've noticed that some Papertrey dies leave marks on the die cuts, but the Celtic Knots dies cut cleanly. The big border die needs some shimming to cut all the way through, though, especially on the long sides. Not sure why, but I may have violated my no-swearing resolution trying to push out all those chads before deciding to just cut the thing again.

I'll show a few of my cards with this stamp set over the next few days, but by far my favorite technique is the one I showed today. Such a pretty result!

As for changes to the blog, I'm still ruminating.

If you think of it on Monday, say a little prayer for the Cooper. He's going to have a rough day at the vet. Thanks!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Celtic Knots
ink: VersaMark
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Copic markers, coordinating dies, glue, embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy

Saturday, March 17, 2018


A quick post of an easy but dramatic card:

The movement of that fabulous bird-in-flight enhances this card so much, and the dark purple adds bold interest.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. We are!

stamps: Hero Arts My Monthly Hero February kit
ink: can't remember
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: coordinating dies, dimensionals

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ode to a Sunny March Day (and Dog Pictures)

Karen's Card Shop Update
Several of you have asked what (if anything) Karen's Card Shop needs at this time. We are running low on thank you cards, and in the next few months might need more sympathy, get well, and thinking of you cards. Fresh birthday cards are always welcome, as are cards with Bible verses or religious sentiments. If you want to donate, please keep in mind that the insides of cards should be blank (I put them in bags so people don't see what's inside before they buy!) and any sentiments other than the ones I request do not sell well. Please email me when you're ready to ship, and I'll send you my snail mail address.

Thanks so much to all who have donated already. The card shop benefits our church's general fund and Stephen Ministry program. For details, please see my page on Karen's Card Shop

Today's Card
It's not warm in Ohio yet, but we had a delightfully sunny day today, so I'm posting a delightfully sunny card.

This sunny flower comes from Hero Arts' Happy Day Flowers set. That sentiment is a wonderful one for using different colors since thank and you are two separate stamps. You can tuck the you to the right or the left, depending on what works best for your particular layout. I put it on the right to balance out the flower on the left.

And now for dog pictures. Several of you requested dog pictures, and I'm more than happy to oblige.

We clearly don't provide the Cooper with enough
chew toys. He's eight months old and 65 pounds.

Daisy's got your back, Cooper.

"Ready for my profile, Mr. DeMille."

"I'm being cuddled against my will."

"I'm at the vet and smilin'!"

Despite his smile, that last picture is kind of sad. Cooper has some weird issues going on with his elbows (right one very swollen, left somewhat painful) and his hips (worries about dysplasia). He's also been running a fever for a week, although he doesn't act sick at all. If you're the praying type, please pray for him. He's going to be neutered on Monday and get X-rays on his elbows and hips while under anesthesia. I'll keep you posted.

stamps: Hero Arts Happy Days Flowers
ink: Hero Arts butter bar, Papertrey terra cotta, Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Renaissance Flourish

Sometimes, I buy a stamp or stamp set for sentimental reasons. This always generates creative issues because stamps purchased for sentimental reasons often don't make me happy when I start to make cards with them.

I like the idea of the set, not working with the actual set.


Such is the case with Shakespearean Poetry from Hero Arts. I adore the idea of this set but have struggled mightily to make satisfyingly LateBlossom-y cards using it. When I saw this card by Rosemary Dennis in Take Ten, however, I decided to give the set another try.

At first glance, this choice may seem out of left field. Rosemary's card has a lovely, natural, rustic feel combined with Papertrey's Dot Spot, which is so delightfully geometric. The tension between those two styles works perfectly in Rosemary's card, but why in the world would it make me think "Renaissance flourish"?

Well, that great layout is incredibly versatile and can be adapted to any number of styles. It focuses on a stamped background with a clean border demarcated by a ribbon. You could use all sorts of stamps for this...including the large flourish in Shakespearean Poetry, and here's the result.

How very satisfying! Note that I switched from portrait to landscape orientation for the card. Now, I don't care what your orientation is, truly, but sometimes stamps work better oriented one way and sometimes they work better oriented another way. That big flourish works better oriented horizontally, and we shan't judge it for that.

Rosemary works with squares and circles and dots and lots of asymmetry on her card, all to excellent effect. But my big stamp needed a bigger panel, which in turn required symmetrical matting. Tweaks like these are de rigueur in adapting layouts. Go with them. Flow. It's fun!

The aquamarine and charcoal inks, combined with satin ribbon and pearls, make an elegant statement, don't they? I love how the basic layout of Rosemary's card works equally well for both her rustic, dotty interpretation and my elegant Renaissance flourish.

When you're looking at a layout for inspiration, don't be at all afraid to experiment with a completely different style and whatever tweaks you need to make that work.

You might end up with a flourish!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love (and apologies for the very bad last sentence),

stamps: Hero Arts Shakespearean Poetry, Clear and Simple sentiment
ink: Hero Arts charcoal and ocean
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: satin ribbon, half pearls, ScorTape (to attach ribbon), dimensionals, scallop scissors (to snip the corners of the stamped panel)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Y'all know how I feel about distressing. I prefer to de-stress, not cause distress. But when I saw this picture in GreenCraft, I simply had to make some distressed cards.

Lavender Dryer sweet and soft!

The fabric pillows look so soft and touchable, and by softening up the edges of my paper with a scissor blade, I was able to evoke a similar feel with my cards.

The stamped panels and colored mats are adhered using glue only in the middle, not along the edges. You can see the shadows cast by the slightly upturned edges. The effect is subtle, but adds that extra little something to a very simple design.

Slight imperfections in the stamping didn't bother me, either...they enhance the softness without drawing too much attention to themselves.

These cards make me feel so relaxed and calm. Who knew distressing could be so de-stressing!?!

Perhaps you did. But it's news to crisp-and-clean me.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Simon Says Stamp One With Nature, Clear and Simple thank you
paper: Papertrey white and various colors (also by Papertrey)
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, lime, soft leaf, soft olive
accessories: scissor blade, glue

Monday, March 12, 2018

Love...and Not Love

Many, many thanks to all who have commented on yesterday's post. You've given me a lot to think about, and I'm finding that very helpful. If you haven't commented yet, please do weigh in on my question of how you'd like to see me shake things up on Simplicity...or how you would like me to not shake things up.

At least we know that hardly anyone wants to see unicorns and fairy farts. That's a relief.

Today's two cards show two different techniques using an adorable little envelope stamp from Hero Arts' Love Notes set.

First up, a clean-and-simple faux collage inspired by many different real collage cards.

Y'all, this card makes my heart happy. So simple, so sweet, so heart-bling-y!

The second card didn't make my heart so happy. It started off as an attempt to use frisket...a resist liquid that, when it dries, keeps watercolor off the paper. After the paint dries, you can remove the dry frisket gently from the paper, leaving the white space free of paint.

Unfortunately, though I was gentle as can be, the Tim Holtz white watercolor paper peeled off with the frisket, leaving an unsightly mess. I quickly stamped the envelope on a scrap, cut it out, and glued it over the mess. I was quite disappointed, though, that the frisket damaged the paper.

So one version is crisp and clean and fresh, and the other is soft and sweet and romantic. They use essentially the exact same layout, but they certainly have different moods.

Which do you prefer?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Love Notes
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white, Tim Holtz watercolor paper
accessories: Arteza brush watercolor pen, brush, frisket, heart rhinestones