Saturday, July 30, 2022

A Design Lesson: Before and After

Because I'm a minimalist, my design process explores this question: "What's the least I can do to make something interesting?" I love smaller designs with lots and lots of white space, but sometimes, the design needs tweaking to make it work. 

Take, for instance, this first effort, which ended up being rather meh. 


There are two problems here. First, the stamped area is a bit too low on the card and looks crowded into the bottom right corner. This makes the stamped area appear quite small with so much white space above it, weighing it down. It also doesn't take advantage of the rule of thirds, with the sentiment just too low on the card to feel easy on the eye.

Second, the spots of color are too small, and the two smaller dots--different stamps from the same Simon Says Stamp set--are too close in size. 

So here's the fix: a smaller stamped panel (with wider white-on-white mat) and larger dots with three distinct sizes. The sentiment isn't quite at the one-third line of the design, but it's closer, and the spots of color are much bigger and better balanced. This design can breathe!

So just because a design doesn't work the first time, don't give up!

Bonus Dog Pictures

Cooper demanding an apple slice

Lily trying to choke herself

Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Trifold Challenge Results and Winners!

Well, this post was slowed down by a glitch in my Outlook account. After fixing that (yay, me!), I could get to my email, and download the submission photos. 

Thanks to Deborah, Elizabeth, Faye, and Pat for playing along in this challenge! Since only four people played along, I decided to give each of them a $20 gift certificate to Simon Says Stamp! Ladies, please send me an email letting me know the email address you prefer I use for the certificate. Otherwise, I'll send it to the email you used to submit your entries.

Thanks, ladies, for embracing the trifold challenge!

Deborah's card, front panel

Deborah's card fully open, showing a serene 
beach scene that completely supports the sentiment
and leads the eye to the safe ground of the beach.

Elizabeth's first entry, sans sentiment. She pointed
out that the trifold invites storytelling, and she is keeping
her options open for this one. Lovely as a Tree 
is perfect for this!

Elizabeth's second entry, which is so colorful and fun!
Birds on a high wire...perfect for this layout!

Faye's adorably colorful and cheerful entry. 
Note how she grounded her design so effectively.

Pat did two color variations of her design, starting with a peaceful
blue on white. The dots on the third feather are embossed with
satin pearl embossing powder...such a lovely touch!

And here's Pat's striking black on cream version, with the same
feather set and embossing but a different sentiment. I can't decide
which I love most! 

Thanks again to these ladies for sharing their talent and taking time to try something different.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Update on the Challenge and a New Card

The Trifold Challenge post will be up in the next few days, and the winner announced! I want to thank all the people who took it on and made such lovely cards. Special thanks to Deborah for sending me her lovely card.

Today's card plays off my love of blues and white...a combination I don't use often enough. The background strip is debossed with the Hero Arts woodgrain plate. The organic feel of the woodgrain, combined with the parsley stamp's abundant detail, contrasts nicely with the clean circles.  

I used ink and a Hero Arts shadow stamp for the light blue circles and the sentiment die cut. That gives softer results, I think, than colored card stock, and everything matches perfectly. The parsley was colored with a Copic, giving the card three shades of blue. I started to use the sentiment in white, but it just didn't stand out enough, so I stamped it with the darker blue that I used with the parsley stamp and was much happier with the balance. 

I love the movement the circles give to the card!

Random Dog Picture, for your amusement.

Lily and the Rose Branch

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Friday, July 15, 2022

Darling Daisies and a Deep Question

As longtime readers know, I dearly love daisies, and the Gina K set Pretty Posey has a small daisy stamp in addition to the large bouquet. I wondered if it could stand alone as a focal point on a card, and it sure can!

Look at all that glorious white space! The textured vellum layer (made with StampinUp's textile texture folder) and stamp-edged rectangles (Hero Arts infinity dies) stacked with dimensionals draw the eye firmly to the little posey. The two mats even use different thicknesses of dimensionals. Adding these subtle touches can make even a simple card like this so very interesting!

Question: What are your favorite self-care tips? What do you do (other than create) to take care of yourself, center yourself, value yourself?

Recently for me, the answer is yoga. I can't believe how much regular yoga practice has changed my relationship with my body and how at home I feel in it. I use it to connect with God, with myself (God's creation), and my humanity (which bubbles over in laughter when I once again can't get into half moon and cheat with warrior III!). 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

My Kind of Coloring

As I am a minimalist stamper, the idea of spending ten hours coloring and shading complex images makes me want to break out in hives. I've done it, of course, but was it fun for me? Not really. 

Yet I have 88 Copic markers (gathered over the course of four or five years) that are just begging to be used. That's a huge investment of money, and I feel the need to justify that investment. So I got Gina K's Pretty Posey set, which requires just the right amount of coloring to keep me engaged and at the same time satisfy my need for nearly instant creative gratification. Plus...daisies!!!! 

Yellow and purple are complementary colors, which adds some energy to this simple card. There's a bit of shading in the yellow daisy centers, and on the purple flowers. I didn't shade the leaves but did use two different shades of green to differentiate the stem on the left. 

The stitched border rectangle die and twine bow are nice accents, and since I couldn't figure out where to put a sentiment, I decided to leave this one blank. 

My stamping mojo has been gearing back up, mainly because I reorganized and purged some supplies and am making a conscious effort to use supplies that I've neglected. That's exciting! 

What supplies have you invested heavily in and then neglected? 'Fess up, people! 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Sunday, July 10, 2022

A Couple More Trifold Cards for the Challenge

I put on my thinking cap and came up with two more trifold cards. Click HERE for the challenge details. 

The first card is smaller than the original post's card, and will fit in a standard A2 envelope with room to spare. I downsized it because the banner of hearts was so tiny. I love this one for its clean, minimalist simplicity! The stamp set is Papertrey's old Heart 2 Heart #11.

The second card for today is the standard size for the challenge and uses some Waltzingmouse feathers and sentiment. I was frustrated when the feathers didn't stamp into the scores like the other stamps I've used. Not sure why that happened, but it doesn't bother me as much as it probably should. I really like the neutral colors here...perfect to send to a male friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. 

Several more of you have either sent cards for the challenge or said you're going to participate! YAY! Have fun with it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Saturday, July 9, 2022

A Reminder about the Trifold Challenge and a New Card

So far, I have received one submission for the Trifold Challenge. Thanks, Deborah! I'm going to play around with variations on the design myself and post those in the next few days. If you feel so inclined, play along. 

The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 15, 2022, at midnight EDST. The winner (chosen at random) will receive a $20 gift card to Simon Says Stamp. The winner will be announced in the second half of July and the prize awarded in early August. For more details, click on the link above.

If you are so moved, put your creative thinking caps on and see what you can make!

And now for today's card. These two sets, from Papertrey, are some of the few color-layering sets I really like. Called Salt Air: Flora and Salt Air: Fauna, they have these adorable aquatic plants and animals, and they are fairly easy to line up. 

The sea turtle is just so cute color layered, but instead of using the color layering for the fish and seaweed, I used Hero Arts ombre pads to add interest without the necessity of multi-step stamping. Note that the three fauna elements form an irregular triangle while the flora elements ground the design. The dew drop bubbles add interest as well. 

How do you feel about color-layering stamp sets? Do they drive you crazy or make you happy or something in between? 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Buzz

In real life, buzzy beasts with stingers are not my favorite, especially since my husband now carries and epi pen for a nasty yellow jacket allergy and since a wasp flew up my jeans and stung me four times on the thigh. 

But I appreciate what bees do for us and thoroughly enjoy using their images on cards. Honeycomb hexagons look amazing, too. So here's an homage to our buzzy pollinators.

The background was made using a soft mat and stencil in my Cuttlebug. After I did that, I remembered I had a honeycomb embossing folder. Only I remembered wrong and DON'T have a honeycomb embossing folder. So my instinct to use the stencil was valid. 

My mind isn't what it used to be. Or, more generously, I'm blessed with so many gadgets, gizmos, stamps, and such that it's hard to keep them straight. Aren't I lucky? You betcha.

The dies for the raised images are Hero Arts infinity dies, which are my favorites. Those dies are just so darn useful and come in great shapes...stars, hearts, circles, squares, rectangles, stamps, etc. 

It's hard to tell in the photos, but I used a clear Wink of Stella pen to accent the wings and petals. Coloring was done with Copics.

Design-wise, this card was tough. I tried to use a fourth hexagon for the sentiment, but it looked weird. Four is a hard number to design with and adding a fifth looked way too cluttered. Switching it up to a rectangle seems weird at first, but it definitely looked better. The three hexagons are arranged in an irregular triangle, the hypotenuse of which bisects the sentiment, lending some unity to the design.

We had a nice holiday weekend. Our son Jack played with the Centerville Community Band in a lovely patriotic concert where my husband, an Air Force veteran, had to stand up during the service song medley. He hates being recognized. "That's not why I served," he complains. But I made him stand anyway. 

I hope those of you who celebrated Independence Day had a safe and fun-filled time!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


Friday, July 1, 2022

Trifold Inspiration and a Challenge

The Inspiration

I've been inspired by THIS PIN before, and it was so fun, I did it again!

This time, I chose to play with the outline and solid flower stamps from PTI's Beautiful Blooms II. It looked just a little blah after stamping and my go-to rhinestones wouldn't work given the folds, so I highlighted the centers of the solid flowers with a Sakura Stardust pen for a little flat shimmer. The sentiments are from StampinUp's Endless Birthday Wishes.

The card is 10.5" x 6.25" total, with scores at 3.5" and 7". I scored (but did not fold) before stamping so the first word would be on the first panel and flowers would be on the fold...inviting the card to be opened to see the full effect of the design. 

The card fits into a standard regular business mailing envelope, #6 3/4, size 3 5/8" x 6 1/2". I buy mine at Marco's Paper. It's becoming a favorite card size for me.

The Challenge

This layout is incredibly versatile and can be artsy and beautiful (like the inspiration piece) or cute and fun (like my version). I'd love to see what styles you all can create with this design! 

You'll have two options for submitting to the challenge:

  1. Email me a photo of your card at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.
  2. Snail mail your card to me (with no writing on it) so I can get some happy mail. I'll photograph it and hang it on my inspiration board! No need to buy the envelopes unless you want to. Just put it in a standard business envelope or an A6 envelope. 

The deadline is two weeks from today: July 15, 2022, at midnight EDST. 

The winner (chosen at random) will receive a $20 gift card to Simon Says Stamp. The winner will be announced in the second half of July and the prize awarded in early August. 

If you are so moved, put your creative thinking caps on and see what you can make!

NOTE: This is my personal challenge. Marco's and Simon are not sponsoring anything here. I just really appreciate their service!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,