Thursday, July 23, 2020

Purple No. 2

Here's the second in my purple series. Numbering them makes them feel so artsy

I can't remember ever thinking too much about purple, but it's a finicky color. Today's card uses two shades of blue-purple that don't look anything like yesterday's red-purples. I combined them with a happy lime for extra punch!

Originally, I had very thin mats under both of these panels, but the elegant thin-thick-thin matting I love so much didn't work with the folksy look of this design. One wide mat under a raised panel looked much more appropriate.

I hope you're holding together through all this. Today was a hard day, but tomorrow will be better. I just know it!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Purple No. 1

Three of the four purple studies I did for my informal purple challenge definitely look like Simplicity cards, and today's is one of them (obviously inspired by Mia's awesome circle cards such as the ones on this post). 

For this card, I really wanted to spotlight three of the pretty stamps from a very old Technique Tuesday set, and circles seemed a really good way to do that. This gold-and-reddish-purple combination was inspired by this pin

Stay safe and healthy!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

"Has Susan Lost Her Mind?"

Okay, so yesterday's card was deeply atypical for Simplicity, and yes, the balloon shape of the butterflies was indeed a "happy little accident," not at all planned. It's fun to do the unexpected, so here is another non-LateBlossom card that uses *gasp* colored cardstock (base and mat!) and six colors of ink. 

Today's color challenge was similar to yesterday's...use as many different colors as you can. It was loosely inspired by a color combo on Pinterest. I do love using those pins as jumping-off points, even if I usually only pick two colors at the most! 

Next up...purple. I challenged myself to use every single Hero Arts and Archival Ink purple pad I own, which is way too many considering how rarely I use purple. The results were mostly fun although a few ended up in the circular file. Four cards made the final cut, and one of them made me happy as a kindergartner with a paper-plate-cotton-ball bunny!

In other news, one of my classes for fall now has 17 enrolled, so I'm pressing hard to get the class website put together. My syllabus is BEAUTIFUL. I created it in MS Publisher, and while it's not finalized quite yet, it's making me so very happy!

Stay safe, everyone. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Monday, July 20, 2020

So Many Colors

My next color challenge took the form of many colors--and dark ones, at that--on a card. I rarely use dark colors, preferring lighter or brighter shades, but the beautiful new dark red Light House from Ranger's Archival Ink made me want to play around. So to speak. And rarely do I use more than two colors plus a neutral on a card. Most often, it's one color and a neutral!

Anyway, after creating a rainbow of the larger butterflies, I filled in with the smaller butterfly and bling colored with Sharpies and Copics. The final shape reminded me of a balloon, so I added a birthday sentiment. 

So much fun! And such unusual--for me--layout and colors. 

What might you challenge yourself to do with color that you don't normally do? Consider taking some time this week to play. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Happy Summer Color Challenge

Let's talk about color prejudice for a moment. I really like blues and greens and grays and pinks and reds, but for no logical reason, the colors yellow, orange, and purple don't generally appeal to me. And don't even get me started on StampinUp's old orchid opulence, a.k.a. Fairy Vomit. 

Just. Don't. 

Feelings about color run strong in people's hearts...just check out the interweb chatter every year when Pantone announces its Color of the Year and seasonal colors. Everyone has feelings about them. Color prejudice really is a thing, and it's just first-world bickering. Nevertheless, it plays out in our craft spaces daily as we favor some colors over others. 

So, several stamping friends and I decided to challenge each other to use colors that we don't normally like or use. The yellow and orange beach card from Friday is one such challenge card. Today's mustard seed and gray card is another. 

And I'd like to point out for the record that just because I don't like certain colors doesn't mean I don't buy them. Today's card uses Distress mustard seed. I bought it because I can't have part of the color wheel not represented in my stash.

No. I don't have a problem. Why do you ask?

Come on. Admit it. You have the same need for completion. This unhealthy insatiable need for rainbows of every product imaginable is an inevitable part of crafting and took me to Marco's Paper on Saturday to buy red-violet Copic markers for coloring bling because all my purple Copics tended toward blue-violet and, when you need red-violet, blue-violet simply will not suffice. 

But I really like my mustard seed card. 

Today's card uses Papertrey's old A Wreath for All Seasons stamp set...a longtime favorite of mine. To get more berries on the card (because it didn't look yellow enough), I rotated the berry stamp, inked it up again, and stamped. The bird is from Hero Arts Color Layering Birds and Blossoms. This VERY yellow card makes me VERY happy!

Now, today's post has been a light-hearted look at color in crafting, but those of us here in the United States know that real prejudice--the kind that oppresses human beings--is no laughing matter. If you're like me and interested in learning more about how to grow your inner anti-racist, one place to start might be the book So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo. That's where I'm starting because no matter what color we are on the outside, we all bleed red and are beloved children of God, worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...along with equity and equality. We need to remember that. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Embracing the Heat

It's been so hot and humid in Ohio (and will only get worse this weekend), so I decided it was time to embrace the heat with a beach scene (even though I'm in a land-locked state). I long for salty breezes and the peaceful sound of waves on the shore. 

The stamps are from Gina K's Hello Sunshine set, except for the star fish, which is from Hero Arts. The orange and gold Copic coloring was easy without shading, but masking the chair to stipple the sand was extremely fiddly. I don't really like orange (except for autumnal shades), so this card took me out of my comfort zone with color. It also gave me a chance to use some BIG bling. Yay!

What are your favorite calming sounds? For me, ocean waves are definitely in the top three, along with babbling brooks and humpback whale sounds. 

Stay calm and healthy, and love your neighbor!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Journey Back in Creative Time

Sometimes, an inspiration piece leads us on a merry goose-chase for a satisfying design. Such was the case with today's card. The end, however, justifies the means, and the process was fun, too! 

First, here is the inspiration PIN. Mia's amazing. 

Next, here's the FINAL version of my card. 

The card is 7.25" x 3.75". The dies are by Inspiration Obsession. And I love the way this turned out! 

But the first version of my card flopped spectacularly, especially if you look at Mia's card first and then mine. I'd thought that since my dies didn't warrant as long a center panel as Mia's did, I could get away with shifting the dimensions. The shift to standard A2 card dimensions ruined it, however, and the single layer of the stamped panel, glued directly to the base rather than popped up as on Mia's card, looks terribly unfinished, flat, and blah. By returning to the original dimensions and matting the stamped panel, I was able to more effectively capture the spirit of Mia's lovely card with my different dies, theme, and colors. 

The creative process...sometimes you have to screw up to get it right. Persistence and patience and experimentation get us there in the end. But most important of all...I had a blast with this process. So yay, me! 

And many thanks to Mia for once again providing amazing inspiration.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Aviator Penguin

Years ago, Memory Box asked for ideas for their penguin stamps. The penguins did all sorts of things; they were chefs and artists and cowboys and graduates and brides. I came up with the idea of a WWII-era aviator penguin...and Memory Box made it. 

It pairs nicely with Hero Arts From the Vault Travel Set. 

The card's a bit busy for me, but I do love this little guy! My grandfather was a pilot in WWII, and it makes me think of him. If you're at all interested, Papa features in the devotional I gave on July 3. He was a "special one who loved [me] into being," as Mr. Rogers put it.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Monday, July 13, 2020

Color Layering Seahorse Strikes Again!

Okay, so I've commented before about how frustrated I get with multi-step stamping that goes beyond two layers, but the Hero Arts Color Layering Seahorse is an exception. First, I adore seahorses and their even more flamboyant cousins, sea dragons. God outdid Himself on these improbable creatures. Second, if you get the three layers on this image fairly closely lined up, it looks fine. 

This card was loosely inspired by THIS PIN, which is gorgeous and softer and more organic than my stylized and ever so bright card. Lime and teal make for a fun combination, don't they?

Just so much fun!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Monday Morning Coffee and Real Words

Nothing's better on a Monday morning than a hot cup of coffee...because adulting is hard.

StampinUp's Nothings Better Thank set 
is so much fun!

Did you hear that Merriam-Webster officially added irregardless to the dictionary? So many people feel very strongly that irregardless is a not a word and therefore shouldn't be in the dictionary. A few years ago, I felt the same way. Then, I read Kory Stamper's most excellent book Word by Word. Stamper is a lexicographer, and her expert argument completely changed my mind about neologisms and other evolutionary changes in the English language. Irregardless most definitely is a word...a bad word, but a real word, nevertheless. Check out her blog post HERE for a funny (and extremely logical) definition of real words

I propose that Merriam-Webster fully commit to the verb form of adult...and to the gerund adulting. Currently, adult/adulting is on the dictionary's list of words to watch. Lots of people use it, and it is extremely descriptive of a state of being that the year 2020 has realigned drastically. 

Adulting is more bearable with a good cup of joe (or four cups, on Mondays), which I take "black as midnight on a moonless night." (Thank you, Agent Cooper.) Unless I take it in a latte swimming in steamed milk and sugary flavored syrup at my favorite coffee shop or from my favorite live-in barista, Nick. 

There is, for me, nothing between those two glorious extremes of "black" and "milky syrup with extra shots." How odd for someone who's a moderate in most other things. Mondays and I defy logic, it seems.

And in closing, let me just say, "The owls are not what they seem." But my oh my, they are adorbs.


How do you take your coffee? 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Going All White? Go with Texture

After seeing a couple of paper weaving projects in various magazines at Barnes & Noble, I wondered, "To weave, or not to weave? That is the question."

To weave, it is! 

After tearing strips and weaving the background from Neenah Solar White 80lb paper, I ran a large scrap of the same paper through the Cuttlebug using the StampinUp Subtle Textile embossing folder. Then, I punched the snowflakes from that textured paper. The sentiment strip is vellum with white heat embossing. 

There's so much going on here with texture, and it all works for me! What do you think?

And is anyone else in the U.S. longing for winter? Snow would be really nice about now....

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Learning as We Go

You know, teaching right now is a lot like creating cards: I learn as I go. For today's card, the inspiration came from THIS PIN by Alexa. I decided to use the Martha Stewart hydrangea layered punches, watercolor crayons, and gold Smooch. While the results are okay, my method does need tweaking. 

I punched, painted the petals with three different shades of purple watercolor crayon, and then highlighted the petals with the gold Smooch (diluted and applied with a watercolor brush. Then, once everything was dry, I assembled the flowers and leaves (from a Tim Holtz die, colored with two shades of green watercolor crayon). 

If I could do it over again, I'd apply the Smooch AFTER assembling the flowers, so the gold highlights would be a bit more intentional looking. They're a bit of a mess this way. But at a distance, it's quite colorful and pretty!

Many thanks to Alexa for her awesome inspiration piece!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Scraps Doing Their Best

Recently, I've developed a small mess on my desk, a mess made up of discarded bits from past cards. The little pile of die cuts and sentiments called to me...and was reduced by two with this card.

The branch die cut and sentiment strip were combined with a background of friendly words (from an old set from Simon Says) and bling colored with Copics. 

This makes me so happy! And that's all I have to say about that. 

Today, I took an online class covering the basics of synchronous and asynchronous online college instruction. I needed the basics. Synchronous classes meet via Zoom or other online platform at the set schedule as if they were face-to-face but just online. Asynchronous classes don't meet at a set time, so all activities have to be delivered online, usually on a weekly schedule. 

Assuming I have classes to teach this fall, they might be synchronous or asynchronous or possibly even face-to-face at a college-credit-plus, high-school setting...or some combination of these. As of now, I have two synchronous remote classes on the schedule (each with only two students enrolled so heaven only knows if they will run), but I've been frantic trying to figure out how to force certain activities into a synchronous model. The class today put my mind at ease and gave me some strategies for working in this weird new world none of us asked for. 

I signed up for another class on Thursday covering Virtual Classroom, which is sort of like Zoom but part of the digital learning platform at my college. All these new many questions! 

I'm so proud to be part of an academic community that cares so much about students and their learning experience. We are trying to do our best in trying circumstances. 

Here's to EVERYONE everywhere who's just doing the best they can right now. You're the BEST! And today's card is for you.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Monday, July 6, 2020

More Autumn Inspiration

The layout for today's card was inspired by this gorgeous card by Karin. It's also found on Pinterest. I obviously went with more autumnal colors, though.

A few facts about this card. 

First, the script stamp is from Very Versailles (StampinUp) and it's really the whole reason I bought that set. 

Second, my original plan for the card was all oranges, but apparently I put the leaf stamp away without cleaning it, so when I inked it up with the dried marigold (Distress ink), dabbed a bit of rusty hinge (also Distress ink), and spritzed with water, what appears to be old olive (StampinUp) transferred as well. 

The results look awesome! Much better than my monochromatic version would have been. That happens so rarely, I thought I should celebrate! 

Third, my original plan was to follow Karin's layout and put a sentiment on the bottom. I die cut a thanks word, painted it to match the leaves, and discovered there simply wasn't enough space for it on the card. So no sentiment. 

Fourth, to make the soft, textured paper, I used Hero Arts handmade paper, ran it through the Subtle Textile embossing folder (StampinUp) several times. One natural edge comes with the paper, but to get the other, I painted plain water along the line I wanted to tear, let it seep into the paper, and then tore it. This will fray the paper nicely. 

Fifth, I really, really love this card and am so very, very grateful to Karin for inspiring it!

Hope you all are doing well. A line from a prayer by St. Francis comes to mind in these tumultuous times: ...where there is hatred, let me sow love." Let's all sow a little love, shall we?

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Forever Fern for Autumn

The incredibly hot and humid weather we're having in Ohio right now is making everyone in my house long for autumn, so I went with more autumnal colors for this, the third card I've made with the Forever Fern bundle from StampinUp. 

Such wonderful stamps to use, and so pretty! Card size is 6.25" x 3.5". 

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Independence Day. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Friday, July 3, 2020

Happy Independence Day!

I wish you all in Canada a very safe, healthy, and happy Canada Day, and you all in the United States a very safe, healthy, and happy Independence Day!

If you want to mark Independence Day by remembering (and perhaps learning about!) our founding fathers, I highly recommend the book Signing Their Lives Away by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese. It's a great read, very lively and entertaining. It also shows how our founders were a motley group of people who didn't agree on everything but worked together to get stuff done that set our country on a path of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. We're still on that path, pushing for full inclusion in the life of our nation for all citizens. It's easy to get caught up in ideologies that divide, but we need to stay on that path together...all of us...regardless of political party, creed, or color.

Today's card uses a small and very old Hero Arts set, as well as part of a background stamp of the Pledge of Allegiance from Stampabilities.

The card is 6.25" x 3.5".

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Vellum Inspiration

THIS PIN from Yvonne inspired today's card, which uses a vellum overlay, botanical images, and a white die-cut word. Thanks for the inspiration, Yvonne!

My card showcases the new StampinUp set Forever Fern. These images don't layer nicely (trust me, I looked a mess!), so I used masks cut with the coordinating dies to bunch the images together. If you look carefully at the close-up below, you'll see slight gaps where the die cuts were too large for a proper mask, but you also probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't pointed them out. Without the vellum overlay, these gaps would bother me enough to fussy cut a better mask, but in this case, I'm fine with the gap. 

Today, I felt the need to flee my house for a bit, so I went to Marco's Paper and bought a few Copics and Distress inks. Yes, I wore a mask, as was everyone else in the store. Yes, I used hand sanitizer in my car before I went in and on my way out of the store. Yes, I washed my hands with hot water and soap for the length of the Lord's Prayer when I got home. 

I hope you're staying safe and protecting others, too. And stamping. Because making pretty stuff is also pretty therapeutic. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,