Monday, April 30, 2018

Enamel Dots and Hero Arts Ombre Ink Pads

By a delightful coincidence, I had enamel dots that matched one of my Hero Arts ombre ink pads.

You have no idea how this delighted me.

Or perhaps you do.

Actually, I expect you do have an idea of how much this delighted me. You are, after all, a stamper who knows the struggle of things not matching.



Anyway, here's the card.

The stamp comes from Papertrey's Ombre Builders and was inked and stamped twice...with a rotation of 180 degrees between stamping so the fat lines were in the center and the narrow lines came out top and bottom. The sentiment (Papertrey's Wet Paint die) is actually three layers of die cuts glued together for more dimension.

So let's sing the praises of things matching and know that it's a blessing that doesn't come around very often unless you are a StampinUp demonstrator. Then, I imagine it's pretty easy, actually.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builders
ink: Hero Arts meadow ombre ink 
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: enamel dots, Papertrey Wet Paint die, glue pen

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Purple Blessings

Today's card relies heavily on the Infinity Heart Dies from Hero Arts. These may be my favorite dies because they are so very basic and therefore incredibly versatile.

After stamping a large Hero Arts shadow stamp with Hero Arts purple ombre ink, I cut the hearts and arranged them on the card. The two smaller hearts are popped on dimensionals, and one end of the banner is popped as well. The results were too plain, so I colored some clear heart rhinestones in three sizes with purple Sharpie and added them. Yay!

Let's all say it together: Bling makes everything BETTER!

This card is destined for an acquaintance whose favorite color is, hands down, PURPLE.


And now for a glimpse of what my weekend involved.

My elder son Nick is seated on the left with the black undershirt.
He played Benny Van Buren, the team manager of the Washington Senators.
What a great production of Damn Yankees
by Springboro High School!

Very little stamping, but this has been a Proud Mom Weekend.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Stemmed Sentiments
ink: Hero Arts ombre purple
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Hero Arts Infinity Heart Dies, StampinUp Bitty Banners dies, heart-shaped rhinestones, Sharpie marker to color the bling, glue, dimensionals 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Visual Triangles Are Awesome!

Today's card shows why visual triangles are awesome.

There are two triangles here: one of big, bold, irregular circles and one of tiny bling. The big circles have lots of interest because they are each unique in color, size, and design, and because they are arranged in an irregular triangle, with two overlapping and one off by itself. The much smaller rhinestones add movement and shine to the design...creating a lot of happy energy.

Bling makes everything happy, doesn't it?

The unity comes from the harmonious color palette and also the sentiment banner that physically unifies the three circles. That sentiment started off simply stamped onto the card, but that henna circle (the dark one on the right) obscured the brown ink of the sentiment, making it almost unreadable. If you used lighter colors, you wouldn't need the banner, but the banner works for me, too.

And the banner proves that there are no mistakes...only opportunities for embellishment.

So yay!

Have an awesome weekend.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Altenew Simple Flowers, Hero Arts Thank You Messages
ink: Hero Arts dark quartz, soft apricot, cup o' Joe; Papertrey terra cotta
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones and Sharpies to color them, dimensionals

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thanks with More

As promised, a thank-you card using StampinUp's Endless Thanks...with more than yesterday's card had on it.

Endless Thanks has a cute collection of tiny stamps to use as accents with all the sentiments, so I decided to use ALL of them on one card. Tiny stamps sprinkled randomly over a tightly defined area give a pleasing effect, especially if you aim to create vague visual triangles with the colors. Note that the triangles are irregular, and not all colors form them...just most.

Note also that you could draw a light pencil line to keep your stamping straight, but I eyeballed it.

The color combination was loosely inspired by this pin, with variations to accommodate the ink colors I had. I love the combination of cool and warm colors.

The bling became a way to reinforce the randomness-with-order structure of the design. There are only two large rhinestones (no visual triangle, unless you count the sentiment as a large black spot, which might be stretching it). Then, there are three small rhinestones (visual triangle...yay!). If I'm doing the math correctly, that makes five total rhinestones, a pleasingly odd number.

I made a third card with this set but don't like it so I will not share it. As one of George's B-1 instructors used to say, in a VERY southern accent, "It was a good idea that shouldn't have seen the light of day."

Live and learn.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: StampinUp Endless Thanks
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Needing Thanks

I needed thank-you cards and pulled out StampinUp's Endless Thanks to make a few. Here's favorite, but probably too clean and simple for most people's taste.

Don't worry. There's much more to the next card.

Well, not much more, because it's my blog and simplicity is my game.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
(which is how my name is spelled when I am typing in the dark and my right-hand fingers shift one key to the right...go figure. Or gp fogire/_

(Gracious, I hope that doesn't spell something naughty in another language!)

stamps: StampinUp Endless Thanks
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black; Hero Arts cornflower, green hills
accessories: craft foam, rhinestone, black Sharpie (to color the rhinestones)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Praise the Lord and a Word on Bling Placement

Okay, I have two associations with Praise the Lord.

1) This hymn.

2) The PTL Club. You remember Jim and Tammy Faye, right?

What in the world is a girl to do with these two VERY different associations. The hymn makes me happy. The PTL Club...not so much.

Let's choose to focus on Association #1, shall we?

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!

A frequently-asked question: how do I know where to place the bling?

Well, I wish I had a good answer for that. My sassy answer is "Use the Force, Luke!" And truly, that's what it feels like. I place rhinestones with a craft knife, which lets me see where it's going better than my thick fingers. I try to create visual triangles, making sure the triangles are irregular (equilateral triangles look contrived).

On this card, there are two visual triangles. I would love to say I planned it that way, but it sort of evolved. It generally looks better to have multiple sizes and two shades of color (or two colors, though my cards do tend toward monochromaticity) to make the bling look even more irregular and interesting.

Y'all just see the successful bling placements. There are plenty of times I carry it a bling too far, or things line up awkwardly.

When the results are this satisfying, to God be the glory...because otherwise it was just dumb luck.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and praise,

stamps: Inkadinkado Good News, Altenew Extra Special
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black, various pink and green dye inks
accessories: MISTI, rhinestones

Sunday, April 22, 2018

In Him There Is No Darkness at All

1 John 1:5

"...God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."

This verse was part of the scripture reading in church this morning, and I thought of this card as Pastor Amy preached on it.

The paper is Gina K deluxe white. Its coated surface makes coloring with and blending Copic markers so much easier than absorbent card stock. I used Y11, Y15, and Y17 Copics, blending out from the center (Y17) to a feathering of Y11.

The image looked a bit flat, so I brushed on Wink of Stella clear shimmer, and it looks awesome! You can see it somewhat in the close-up photo, but in real life, it's very shimmery.

If you don't have a Wink of Stella brush pen in clear, get one!

This card, like the past two I've posted, comes courtesy of Inkadinkado's Good News set which the very kind Eva gave me.

May your week begin, continue, and close in the light of love, peace, and hope.


stamps: Inkadinkado Good News
paper: Gina K
ink: Memento black
accessories: Copic Markers, craft foam, glue, Wink of Stella clear brush pen

Friday, April 20, 2018

Peace and Love

Today's card uses the Peace stamp from the Inkadinkado set Good News that Eva so kindly gave me. I loved the vertical arrangement and wanted to emphasize it with card orientation and color.

Card Size 6.25" x 3.5"

The shadow stamp was inked with a Hero Arts ombre ink pad so the ombre effect moves side to side rather than top to bottom. Originally, I used a Kaleidacolor blue pad, but the ombre effect went top to bottom (peace descending...a good idea that shouldn't have seen the light of day), and frankly, it looked weird. That's when I got the idea to use the Hero Arts pad instead, and loved the results.

Proof positive that we really need a BUNCH of ink pads. Right? Of course.

Anyway, the panel still needed a little something, so I brushed clear Wink of Stella over the whole thing. The inks are all waterproof, so no worries about smearing.

The shimmer is lovely.

We all need peace in our lives.


I shared my son's prom pictures last weekend, but tonight I'm sharing a baby picture and one of his senior pictures (photo credits to my talented photographer husband George). These pictures will run in the slide show at his graduation next month.

Seven months old. That scrunched-up nose was such an adorable--
and frequent--expression.

Eighteen years old. His hair is dark now,
and he loves the snow immoderately.
Love this face so much!

Mercy, grace, PEACE, and LOVE,

stamps: Inkadinkado Good News
ink: Hero Arts Ombre, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Wink of Stella clear brush pen, craft foam, glue

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thanks, Eva!

My stampy friend (and fellow Methodist) Eva surprised me with a lovely card and stamp set last week. Eeeep!

She had no way of knowing I've been on the lookout for a religious set that had smaller images. Most sets seem to have larger images that are harder for me to work with. So YAY! Thank you, Eva, for being such a generous friend and for giving me just the set I've been looking for!

I had a blast playing around with this set over the weekend, and here's the first card I made with it.

The idea popped into my head as I sat down holding the set, so I popped up and grabbed my EK Success label punch and whipped this up in record time.

The curvy punched label and curvy font of the sentiment look so feminine to me, so I opted for bright pink ribbon. I like how the ribbon looks likes it's hugging the if I'm sending a hug in the mail. In fact I will send this paper hug to a friend who is dealing with some stuff.

We all know people who are dealing with some stuff.

Perhaps you're dealing with some stuff. Sometimes, it's hard to deal with stuff and believe that any sort of deity loves you. After all, if Jesus loves you, why are you hurting? Why are bad things happening?

Well, let me tell you that the world sucks because there's evil in it. Jesus isn't Santa Claus, and He doesn't give the good little boys and girls presents and the bad little boys and girls cancer...or divorces...or car accidents...or get them fired from their jobs...or take their loved ones away. Bad things happen to good (and bad) people, and good things happen to bad (and good) people.

But the world is also amazing and wonderful because God DOES give us each other, and every single act of loving-kindness is straight from God through Jesus (God self-limited to human form), who loves you so much He died on a cross for you.

And if you find that all hard to swallow (because, let's face it, it's pretty weird and seems a bit unlikely), then maybe it helps for you to just think of God as love. Pure and simple. Mr. Rogers said that when bad things happen, look for the helpers. There are always helpers...because there is always love.

So, if you need it, please take today's card as an act of loving-kindness for you, a pink hug with love from Jesus. It won't take your troubles away, but may it make those troubles a tiny bit easier to bear.

And find a helper or two to get you through the stuff. They are there. Just reach out.

Mercy, grace, peace, and lots and lots of love,

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Soft Sympathy, Inelegant CASE

Today's card is based on a card I saw on Pinterest by Susan Goetter. Her version is way prettier than mine.

Here's mine.

Susan's stamp is absolutely perfect for her layout, but I had a smaller tree scene. When I stamped the right side over the watercolor background, it looked odd because it was so small. I added the other side of the stamp on the left, and it still looks odd but at least it's not so empty.

What I need to do is recreate this card with a much smaller watercolor panel scaled to fit my stamp.

The idea of Susan's card is solidly awesome design. My CASE is inelegant but I'm so glad I tried. And I will try again.

Because trying and failing teaches me stuff. Y'all mostly see my successes, but there are misses, too. Frequently.

And that's okay.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: PSX, Papertrey sentiment
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: watercolor paper (Tim Holtz), Papertrey white
accessories: Arteza real brush watercolor pens, aqua brush, rhinestones

Monday, April 16, 2018

Three Cards

My three cards today were inspired by the cards on this PIN for which there is no link or attribution. Which makes me sad because they are lovely, and I'd love to give credit where credit is due!

I played around with the acrylic block stamping technique by painting the block with various Arteza real brush markers, spritzing with water, and then applying the block to watercolor paper. This is my favorite watercolor background technique because it's so EASY and almost always turns out at least okay, if not great.

This time, though, I added extra color with the brush markers (along with more water for blending) to get more intense color and am pleased with the results.

This layout works because it accents the rule of thirds. Imagine two vertical and two horizontal lines dividing the card into a tic-tac-toe grid. The rectangle is more or less centered on the sweet spot where the left vertical line and top horizontal line intersect. Then, the sentiment is in the sweet spot where the right vertical line and bottom horizontal line intersect.

This arrangement looks balanced and harmonious.

Note also that the lines of the branch stamp add movement and curves which are picked up in the curvy script of the sentiment.

And the bling. As always, it needs no reason or excuse.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts branch, sentiment unknown (but probably Papertrey)
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle (which reminds me I had wayyyy too much espresso today so I heard colors and saw weird!)
paper: Papertrey white, Hero Arts handmade watercolor paper
accessories: Arteza real brush markers, acrylic blocks, spritzer, rhinestones

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Garden of Prayers

When making thinking-of-you or praying-for-you cards, you sometimes need to come up with a serene and peaceful design, one that sends a message of calm and love.

Sometimes, however, you need something cheerful and uplifting, with lots of color.

Isn't it great that we can play around with lots of different designs to meet different needs?

Of course, it is!

Today, I'm going for serene and peaceful.

It's largely the color scheme that makes this card peaceful. You could change up the colors and give the same layout and stamps a cheerful mood. But these soft, muted blues keep everything calm.

I love peaceful, muted cards, and I love bright, happy cards. I made a few quick cards on Saturday that really spotlight pops of bright color...can't wait to get them photographed and share them.

This weekend was a busy one. Nick, my firstborn, went to prom yesterday (Saturday). I still don't have a picture of him and his date, but I shot these before he left the house.

The umbrella was a nice touch. He's a fan of Kingsman (the movie starring Colin Firth) and decided to have a little fun with it. The fact that it was a rainy evening made the large umbrella to protect his date especially fitting! "Manners maketh man."

Love this young man so much!

Then today, I attended an in-service for Stephen Ministry on the opioid crisis. Y'all. We in the Dayton area are at ground zero for this mess, and it's just terrible...the wasted lives and broken families, the overdoses, the inadequate treatment programs, the stunningly sophisticated business practices of the drug cartels, the way they target ten and eleven year olds. It's terrible, and so many people don't understand addiction, what it does to the brain, how quickly and how powerfully it can take over a life. With understanding comes compassion.

From joy over my son's senior prom to raising awareness about heroin and fentanyl...I was all over the place this weekend emotionally.

Hopefully, you got inky and made pretty trash and pretty cards as I did.

What else did you do this weekend that lifted you up or educated you in some way?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey sentiment, Altenew Botanical Garden
ink: Archival soft sky, Hero Arts robin's egg
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Different Script Background

So the past three posts showcased a small script stamp, but it's not the only script stamp I have. In fact, I have several script stamps, including a wood-mounted one that is rather large and has great spacing between the lines. It's perfect for expanding the background to cover more space on the card.

Of course, there's still plenty of white space.

Note that the butterflies are still from Hero Arts Antique Engravings, but with a kaleidoscope of butterflies rather than one or two. (Full disclosure: I had to look up what a large group of butterflies is called. Isn't a kaleidoscope cool? I thought so! If you've ever been in a well-populated butterfly house, kaleidoscope certainly is apt for the experience.)

The speckles are off-stamped Archival cobalt, while the butterflies are full-strength of the same ink.

Very light edging of ink on the stamped panel and raised panel give a bit of definition to the layers without the need to mat anything.

Tomorrow, I'll actually post a card that doesn't use Antique Engravings. So yay! But I do love the set and will keep it forever. I hope you've enjoyed seeing it paired with two different script stamps.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Antique Engravings; Gina K sentiment; StampinUp speckled background
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival cobalt, black; Hero Arts soft granite
accessories: dimensionals

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Script Background, Part 3

For the record, I started Spring Cleaning today.

One room. The library.

Three and a half hours.

It's not finished.

I was right to be afraid to start because I can't just dust and vacuum and straighten. I rearranged and sorted the books on my shelf, rearranged the tchotchkes, moved all the furniture to vacuum, cleared out cobwebs in the corners and vacuumed the air intake vent, washed the windows (which the dogs promptly slimed), moved all the clutter of paperwork to the dining room (where it still sits), dusted the desks and picture frames and bookshelves.... You get the picture.

I can't do anything half-ass. Once started, I commit my full ass. It's a curse. 

Right now, the doors are closed and there's a fan blowing the carpet dry. How I love having a carpet steam cleaner!

So my life is a little messy (and a lot dusty), but I'm choosing to reframe the mess as "artsy." Like today's card.

The script background which has been very well behaved for the past two posts now dances across the card with energy and abandon. Stamped three times at angles across the card in Hero Arts soft granite, it provides visual grounding for two butterflies from Hero Arts Antique Engravings (Archival cobalt). The sentiment is from Papertrey's Keep It Simple Thinking of You set in Archival coffee.

The card needed a little something, so I colored some bling with a Sharpie, and that was that.

The color combination for today and yesterday came from this pin.

I'll finish up the library tomorrow (wash the French doors and go through all that paperwork on the dining room table) and start on the master suite. That should take days of my life.


Dreaming of a tiny house....

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts background, Antique Engravings; Papertrey Keep It Simple Thinking of You
paper: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts soft granite; Archival coffee, cobalt
accessories: rhinestones, Sharpie

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Script Background, Part 2

My. Favorite. Layout. 

Card Size 6.25" x 3.5"

Three items, lined up, sentiment underneath. Lots of white space. I used to use this layout a LOT on standard A2 cards, but after discovering these shorter, longer envelopes at Marco's, I decided it looks even better on a shorter, longer card.

These squares are one inch. I stamped the background on a scrap three times, added the bugs and bird from Antique Engravings (Hero Arts) in Archival cobalt, stamped some speckles in Archival sky blue with an old StampinUp Itty Bitty Backgrounds stamp, and finally punched the squares out. After running the edges of the squares over an Archival coffee inkpad, I popped them up, added the sentiment, and YAY!

My. Favorite. Layout.

I said that already, didn't I?

It bears repeating.

Note that smaller backgrounds like this Hero Arts script background can be made smaller. This has, of course, the advantage of leaving more room for white space. In my world, more white space is more better. 

More better. That's gooder English, you know.

I'm tired and going to bed before I get any sillier. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and sleep,

stamps: Hero Arts background, Antique Engravings; Clear and Simple sentiment; StampinUp Itty Bitty Backgrounds
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival sky blue, cobalt, coffee; Hero Arts soft granite
accessories: dimensionals, 1" square punch

Monday, April 9, 2018

Script Background, Part 1

Turns out, if you sit and read by the fire with your two dogs, it's really hard to see the mess.

Don't you just love Daisy peeking up from the bottom of the photo? She's my cuddle-bug.

And yes, I wear Birkenstocks with fleece socks. Most comfortable shoes made and toasty warm with fleece.

My latest card series goes way back with a small script background from a very old, wood-mounted Hero Arts set. It's just a small rectangle of old handwriting, but it's spoken to me for years. Time to take it out and play again.

Today's card was inspired by a color combo on Pinterest of shades of gray and yellow.

My stash of sympathy and thinking-of-you cards is running low, so you'll notice lots of those themes in the next week or so.

Hero Arts Antique Engravings is an old, discontinued set but it's perfect for vintage-style cards. The script pairs nicely with the butterfly for a soft, pretty look, but I wanted the sentiment to stand out strongly so it's in black and has a large, classic, serif font. The soft yellow bling (colored with a Copic) unifies the design.

These sorts of cards truly are my layer, some ink, a little bling, lots of white space.

If you don't have this set, you could mask off a small area for a larger script background. The layout is versatile and could accommodate lots of different stamps. Give it a go!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts...all of 'em
ink: Archival black; Hero Arts lemon yellow, soft granite
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copic marker

Sunday, April 8, 2018

You Are Amazing!

There's not been much time for stamping since I got back from Maryland, but I did play around a bit and made this fun one-layer card today. It's preppy colors and whimsical use of the star stamp from Hero Arts Dreams Are Made set make me smile.

I enhanced the swath of stars (stamped in Hero Arts bubble gum pink) with three additional "big" stars (stamped in Archival vibrant fuschia) in a visual triangle and added bling.

The sentiment comes from Altenew's Sentiments and Quotes set. The stamp arranges the words all on one line, but that looked odd given the curve under the stars, so I stamped just the you are and then added the amazing below. Some people (myself included, on occasion) will cut sentiment stamps to make this process easier. If you don't cut, just make sure to REALLY clean the stamp between impressions or you'll end up with a shadowy imprint of the first half of the stamp where you don't want it.

Don't ask how I know this. Just. Don't.

Is anyone else experiencing Spring Fever? Since I got back home, everything I look at in my house makes me crazy...from the chaos and mess. I want to throw away eighty percent of everything in our house and garage and BREATHE.

Somehow, I feel a giant urge to purge and clean, but sadly, I also feel incredibly overwhelmed and lazy.

First-world problems strike again.

Maybe I just have PMS.


Please give me a hug and tell my I'm pretty and that my house's mess isn't a reflection of my moral failings as a human.

I'll do the same for you.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and Midol,

stamps: Altenew Sentiments and Quotes, Hero Arts Dreams Are Made
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts bubble gum; Archival vibrant fuschia and vivid chartreuse
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Polka Dot Basics, Part 4

So here's my favorite card in this batch of cards using the classic Papertrey set Polka Dot Basics.

Using the large open-circle border stamp, I filled in each circle with a small heart and gave the whole a hint of an ombre effect with two shades of pink.

The sentiment is incomplete on's finished by the hearts and provides a sense of unity between the words and border. Also, the font has lots of circles. Yay, unity of design!

I love it when a design comes together.

Polka dots can go in so many different styles and design directions...far more than I have showed in this series. Today's card is my favorite, but which of the four cards has been your favorite?

1. Retro

2. Faux Collage

3. Sweet and Traditional

Or today's #4, Simple Minimalist. Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Polka Dot Basics, Heart Prints, another set for the sentiment but I can't remember
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts charcoal and bubble gum pink; Archival vibrant fuchsia
accessories: not a one