Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shaking Things Up

This here little blog is starting to feel a little stale and predictable to me, so it's time to shake things up. I have some ideas, but I wonder what YOU want from Simplicity.

Maybe unicorns and fairy farts?

Chatty posts about product? Organization? Design? How 18-year-olds are bat-crap crazy?

Series of posts using a single technique or product lots of different ways?

My husband's recipe for Asian chicken thighs?

Book recommendations from my alter-ego, Literature Lady?

Videos of my talking about stamping or life or why I can't leave Barnes & Noble without buying a book? (Video tutorials are a bit beyond my techie ability, but I think I could go live on Facebook pretty easily. But going live on Facebook also feels a bit narcissistic for me...oh, look at me, I'm so important! Ugh.)

Something else entirely?

Your input is greatly appreciated.

And now for a card project that isn't your ordinary card.

This book card was inspired by the following book in the Autumn 2017 issue of GreenCraft magazine (a Stampington & Co. publication) which I borrowed from the library yesterday.

The inspiration book uses corrugated cardboard liberally smeared with artsy technique that results in a more distressed look than I can pull off while staying true to my clean-and-simple style. So I opted to run a portrait-cut white card base through my paper crimper and go from there. 

My color scheme includes the Hero Arts robin's egg ink that came with the February My Monthly Hero kit for the cover. I rubbed it on the flap for contrast, and the distressed nature of the results pays homage to the inspiration piece.

Inside, the single-sheet page leaves ample white space and highlights an Emerson quotation and the fun leaves from Simon Says Stamp One With Nature. The green ink is also from the My Monthly Hero kit and is called feather.

The binding for the book was sewn through three holes punched with an awl through the page and cover. The thread is DMC floss that just so happened to match perfectly the robin's egg ink.

Let's pause for a moment to savor how spectacular it feels to have an embellishment in the perfect color for a project. Ahhhhhh.

That feels good.

The quotation is perfect for a graduation card, so this card will go to my son in May. He will appreciate it. I just hope he doesn't get drunk on the wild air.

I love that boy more than myself. And he's driving me batty with his teen-brain hijinx. Lord, grant me patience because if you give me strength, I'mma gonna need bail money to go with that. Amen. 

I left long tails on both ends of the binding thread and added a circle attached with a black fastener. The black fastener ties in with the black ink inside the card and lends gravitas to pastel-and-white cover.

Gravitas is a great word. Eighteen-year-olds think they have gravitas, but they don't. They just don't.

This project was enormously fun and satisfying, and it wouldn't have happened without seeing that little inspiring book in GreenCraft magazine. Yay, inspiration!

So what do you think? How can Simplicity shake things up and be a more satisfying place for you and for me to spend our time? Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Simon Says Stamp One With Nature
ink: Hero Arts robin's egg, feather; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white, random lightweight white cardstock for inside page
accessories: black brad, 5/8" circle punch, Fiskars paper crimper, awl, needle, DMC floss


  1. All of the above! Well, except for the unicorns and fairy farts...not a fan of those. I enjoy your writing, your stamping, your imagination, your view of life and world, and especially your ability to put words together concerning all of the above. It would be a delight to have the element of surprise when opening your blog. As for the year of one being 18...hang in there, if memory serves me right, it get's better once they turn 19. :)
    Lu C

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  3. I ditto Unknown’s sentiments especially “your ability to put words together concerning all of the above”. As you can see, that is not my gift. But I love books and reading too. Love this little card book.

  4. I love your blog as it is. What I would LOVE is if you occasionally let us readers challenge you to take you out of your comfort zone - stuff like "use a doily", "use vertical stripes" or even "seriously violate the rule of three" (gasp!) - it would be such fun to see how you deal with those!
    Please keep up your ruminations on whatever crosses your mind, those are always a highlight... I do love how these often contain a tasty seasoning of (self- and other )irony.
    Love, Kat

  5. Used the word "love" three times. Shame on me.

  6. First of all , I am crazy about this card! I will use it as inspiration for sure. And yes, all of the above with the exception of the unicorns and fairy farts! I will enjoy anything that moves you to share! Your view and way of expression are enormously satisfying to experience. And oh yes, your cards are well designed and executed, there is always something to enjoy and learn from. I look forward to seeing you in my Inbox!

  7. My first thoughts were...bigger isn't always better and I hope she keeps her archive area available. I have enjoyed learning through your simplicity.

  8. Great card! The crimping is a great idea! Sorry I don't have any earth shattering suggestions for the blog, I am fairly "go with the ❀'.

  9. I second Unknown's thoughts in their entirety!(and I really don't like unicorns or fairy farts) I do love reading your blog.

  10. I love your blog, your cards, your “voice”. Sustaining creativity without changes is probably paradoxical (ah, life itself is change!). That being said, I am NOT a fan of video blogs, and have left those that have become fully or primarily video. Your voice and creativity and presence comes through with your present format. Opening it gives me joy. I hope you don’t switch to video.

  11. Susan...I would love all of your ideas. I like variety! And it's always good to hear others' ideas, thoughts, musings, complaints, etc.

  12. I kinda like Simplicity just the way it is. You always manage to leave us with a giggle or a smile, (sometimes a belly laugh).... along with inspiration! Personally, I would hate to see your blog lost among all the others available out there. It’s refreshing, Susan. And I don’t need a 1/2 hour to read it, or watch it, if you decide to go with video. As suggested above, reader challenges could prove interesting. I seem to be into Lavinia stamps lately, so an occasional fairy fart just might be needed!

  13. Like many of the other responders, I love your blog. Most of the time it is the first email I choose to read in the morning. I do enjoy, not just your cards, but your anecdotes and stories and occasional forays into subjects not card-related. Perhaps you wanted suggestions that were more direct, but I like anything you write about, especially your thinking and decision-making process. I'd probably even enjoy your creating a card or writing about unicorns and fairy farts. Cannot even imagine how you would make such a card—but I am positive I would enjoy it! But...I don't think I'd enjoy video blogging.

  14. Ohhhhh, this is a gift-treasure indeed! Your son will keep it for a very long time. You've reawakened my desire to try this type of binding ... one of those to-do's that didn't come to fruition. Thanks!

  15. Laughed at the lovely quote thinking I couldn't have used that for my son at 18...he would have taken it far too literally. It seems to get a lot better when they finally move out....for good. Our house had a revolving door for years between the two kids. Ugh.
    As for your blog...always have enjoyed it and your sense of humor. Would love to have chats on products that everyone has found and loves; would like to chat about old techniques & products that might be new again..maybe in an updated way. Facebook live sounds fun for us and scary for you! Go for it...we all support you!

  16. I get excited every time I see your blog in my email. I enjoy your humor and get insight from your stamping style. I do not feel your posts are getting stale but welcome any changes you might make because you are incredibly creative and entertaining. Thank you for all of your past posts and those to come!

  17. DITTO Lynn's comment. I find the reasoning for design choices very helpful..matching sentiments to focal point etc. Also mistakes made very informative..trapped white space..Loved the Bling series. Stamps you have found to be most versatile . Yes to books and your husband's Asian chicken thighs recipe. I think that covers it. Oh, please don't leave Cooper and Daisy out.

  18. Whatever contributes to your creative growth and enjoyment! I'm not a video or live chat fan, though a short video can help show a tricky technique. I love how you explain your thought process - what worked for you, what didn't, and why - and I love your cards and other projects (booklets, matchboxes, etc.) - and I love what you make when you're creating "in your box" and also "way out of your box." For me, your current format and level of chattiness is wonderful. But you should do what works for you, and feel free to shake things up if you want to.

  19. I get wanting to shake things up but I do love your blog as is.
    I continually follow 3 card-oriented blogs, yours, Kristina Werner's, and Jennifer McGuire's. Each provides different things that I find helpful. Kristina's tends to fill a very creative need - I enjoy her watercolor and lettering techniques, and find watching her videos almost mesmerizing and soothing to my soul. Jennifer's has given lots of information on different inking/stamping techniques, although the videos tend to get a tad long and I will be likely to skip over watching if I don't think it's a technique I will invest into in time or $$. And yours I truly enjoy the simplicity of it.
    As I have a lot of creative outlets, card-making for me is more of a 'need to get a card out' type of thing. It gives me creative enjoyment, but more often than not I am just wanting to make a very nice pleasing card to send. I like that you give the WHY of why a design works and go into detail of layout and 'rules'.
    Whichever route you decide to go on with your blog, I look forward to seeing - I enjoy your style of writing and wish you all the best.
    And as for the 18 year old, hang in there - if there is anything that has taught me the importance of change, it is raising children. And when you look back on it, it's nice to know that you made it through, hopefully with a lot of laughter and grace.

  20. I have enjoyed every post from you and will continue to do so whatever you choose. Having your thought processes explained is particularly helpful and I would love a series on Sentiment Choices - scale, positioning, weight, balance, fonts, purchasing regrets and most used and why. Taking cards from your past and critiquing them before making new versions would also be illuminating. Perhaps the most opportunity to learn would come from the discarded pile, although I appreciate you never wanting some to see the light of day, it world furnish us with your reasoning’s as to why some things do not work. Your blog is unique because of your analysis, and even though you probably feel as if you are repeating yourself on occasion because of your prolific output, the lessons are still fresh for us with each new card. All the best.

  21. I discovered you and Simplicity by accident. I was drawn to your last name because I'm a Maki. I love all things Finnish and tend to check them out! I have, since that first encounter, entered your site into my Favorites line-up. Although the blog names appear in alphabetical order, I mostly scroll to the S's and click on your site first! I would miss seeing a card and enjoying your commentary. Your way with words always makes me smile out loud! Add what you wish to your postings. I'm sure I'll enjoy whatever you do, but please continue to include what I've grown to love!

  22. All of your suggestions resonate with me,except George's recipe- I don't do chicken thighs or any other parts thereof. As for the rest, go for it. I love your card style, your musings & opinions, your pictures ( mostly of your dogs), and any other tidbits you're willing to share. I find your design thought processes fascinating. I, on the other hand, don't spend too much energy thinking about it, but often jump in & hope for the best. I'm of the opinion that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'm sure your followers will continue, regardless. We love what you do and how you do do it, so just don't stop, please.

  23. I thoroughly enjoy your blog just as it is. I have been following you for years. I am sure I'll find anything you post of interest. I continually learn from you.

  24. I say share anything and everything you want! I love your posts, even though I’m not a regular comment giver! Hugs! Mynn xx

  25. I too enjoy your blog just as is. I do like the different ways to use products ideas and design. Oh and would love the chicken recipe...

  26. I am curious what your ideas are. I have thought for a while that you are battling for inspiration--small wonder after all these years. I've reached a point in my life where I shy away from imagining I know what is best for anyone, so I'm withholding my vast wisdom. :) But just so you know: My morning ritual is: coffee!!! Boot up computer. Open e-mail program. Read Simplicity. So no matter what the rest of the day brings, it has started with a gentle voice.

  27. I have followed you long enough to have seen you 'push your own boundaries' once in awhile with no encouragement from me. Isn't that the JOY of what we do?... following that little creative nudge from deep inside that says "what will it be like if I do THIS?" :) YOU inspire me all the time and I am sorry it is a 'one-sided' relationship. :D I have learned so much from your approach to card design and find the 'simple' designs are difficult to pull-off really well. You have given me instruction, inspiration, encouragement, and confidence! My thoughts? 'just do what you do' and we will all be amazed when you journey into a design/technique that has caught your creative attention and we will enjoy the surprise! I thoroughly enjoy seeing your interpretation of a style or technique! I thoroughly enjoy visiting your Blog!♥ Oh,...I would love the hubby's chicken recipe!

  28. I think the thing I appreciate most about your blog is that you don't seem to be representing any company. So many blog writers are, and every post is about some new product which they were sent by the company. You're writing about the creative process, not necessarily the products, meaning that I can use your thought processes and the items I have to recreate my version of your cards. So whatever you do to change things a bit, I'll continue to subscribe. Thanks!

  29. Uhm, if it ain't broke, don't fix it? Just sayin'....I love your blog, your style (even if I find clean and simple hard to pull off-I have the need to add more!), and your humor and way with words starts my day off on a good note. We, your readers, like things as is, and I feel like Elsie, above. Just sharing what works for you helps us with our projects.

  30. I love your blog just as it is, but if you feel the need to change things up, I'm sure I'll enjoy that too.
    Thanks for all your past and future inspiration. I loved when you made a many days worth of cards with an old stamp set (PTI's Life!), just couldn't wait to see the next day's entry!

  31. I enjoy your blog and personally don't see the need to change anything, however it is YOUR blog so your should do whatever you enjoy not what your loyal followers want!

    Having said that, book reviews are always welcome in my life - I like to take a walk down a new path on occasion.

  32. I agree with a lot of the above comments. I have loved your blogs (all of them) for years. Of course, change what you wish, though I am not a fan of videos. Book reviews or book suggestions and dog pictures are most appreciated as are the occasional grammar lesson.

  33. One thing I like about your blog—and the main reason that it's the only one I read consistently—is that you offer practical analysis. A lot of blogs focus on techniques, how to do one specific thing that applies to a limited number of scenarios. You break down the design components of your cards and give us principles, not just examples, which allows the reader to not just replicate your design but apply the principles to whatever she's making and improve all her cards. I'm not a very technique-y person (I don't even own embossing powder or an ink blender), and most of the time I'm not looking for step-by-step instructions. Consequently, I've learned more from your blog than I have from any other one blog (even our reigning queen, Jennifer McGuire). Techniques have their place and design theory is well and good, but praxis really helps me see how to improve my own work.

    I've particularly enjoyed whenever you've done a series, such as with PTI's "Life" set, Hero Art's "Wonderful" set, and Seven Days of Bling. Although I have a bunch of stamp sets that I adore, it can be hard to use them without making repetitive cards. Even though I rarely have the same sets you do, seeing the different layouts and presentations you use in your series (plus your comparisons of and commentary on the iterations) catalyzes my brain to find varied ways to use my existing sets.

    I'm always game for posts about products and tools (what you use, why, what you like or dislike about it), and I'd like anything about organization, too. It's also fun to see your inspiration images and how you took the essence of the design and turned it into a card in your simple style.

    Another thing I like about your blog is your writing style; your posts are clear, relatable, often humorous, and well-written. They are also short. I appreciate that. For what it's worth, most of the time when a blog post contains a video, I'll skip the video and just read the post.

    One thing I'd love to see more of is how you use dies. Those butterflies from a few days ago were great, and it was also neat seeing you use a colored card base.

    This one goes out on a limb: patterned paper. It is so hard to use patterned paper well in a CAS design. It might be more of a challenge than you'd like, or it might deviate too much from your style—but I'm really curious to see how you would use patterned paper (and what sort of patterns you'd use). So far, the only thing that I've found that consistently turns out at-least-decent results for me is using it like wallpaper with a sentiment matted on a coordinating color of solid cardstock.

    As at least one other commenter mentioned, it'd be interesting to see you take an old card and remake it—sort of like how artists will pick an old image and draw it again to see how their skill has improved or their art style has evolved. Your simple style is consistent, so there might not be much you'd alter, but I'd be interested to see what you would change and why.

    And now that I have rambled way too much, let me close by lauding the Hero Arts robin's egg ink (again) and your card. The book design makes it extra special, and the interior is lovely—the light inks, the graphic images, the gorgeous white space.

  34. I wish I could add something new to the comments and suggestions but everything has been pretty well covered. The comments from Elsie B and Cacia are much more eloquent than anything I could have written. I love your blog, your style, your writing and your humor. Can't wait to see what ideas you have in mind. The only thing I would not like to see is the end of your blog. I'm hoping you will continue for at least another 40 years and then we can renegotiate!

  35. I am so behind on reading my mail. You got me with fairy farts. I must think on that one awhile. Actually I have a big smile on my face thinking about it. I love all you and your blog so much. Whatever you do is good with me. I do like it when you take one product and show lots of different ways to use it. Also design is a great one for me. You have taught me so much about design. Lets learn more.

  36. Susan,
    I have kind of gotten away from card making as a regular activity, but whenever my browser on my iPad opens up, there is a button labeled Simplicity and it takes me right to your blog. Your writing still makes me feel like you are a friend next door, although maybe we aren't visiting quite as much as we used to. It seems like others don't comment quite as much as in earlier days. Do what is best for YOU!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!