Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ocean Spring and Other News

After years of searching for the perfect underwater set, two Hero Arts sets made my heart go all pitter-patter: Color Layering Octopus and Color Layering Seahorse. Today's card highlights the former, with a sentiment from the latter.

That seaweed stamp and die are so. incredibly. awesome! I love how the holes in the die allow such pretty shadows to create some wonderful dimension on a card.

To keep the design from being too busy, the stamped water background is partial...just a hint that it's an underwater scene. Also, the corners are rounded because pointy corners looked harsh.

How's that for a technical reason for a design choice?

It's also fun that the spring flower color scheme is being used for an aquatic scene; it gives the card such a fresh and happy tone.

Someone recently asked for an update on the dogs. This photo pretty much says it all. Cooper is clearly a much-neglected and abused pup, seeing as how small he is for seven months old. He wants me to tell you that he doesn't get enough treats, and his big sister beats up on him all the time because he's so runty and weak.

Cooper, 7 months, and Daisy, 7 years

Actually, Daisy is the injured one. She rubbed a sore on her nose somehow but is recovering nicely.

She was such a love when they went to the groomer for Cooper's virgin grooming. She tried to teach Cooper how to get into the wire crates and got separation anxiety when they took him to the other room for his bath. Cooper wasn't happy with the wire crates (he sleeps in a molded plastic airline crate) or with the blow dryer (he pooped on the grooming table). Good times for Ms. April the Groomer. Otherwise, he did great, but April's assistant will be my first suspect if Daisy gets kidnapped. He loves her.

Honestly, who doesn't love Daisy? She's furry golden sunshine!

Cooper is more like furry white energy. He's an imp. Last week, I was standing near the door, and he ran to me, jumped straight up, and licked my lips. Ewww.

This is the look he shot me when his butt slid off the ottoman.

"Do I get a treat for that trick?"

No. Gravity and lack of coordination won't get you a treat.

"See? I'm so abused!"

Entitled furball.

This weekend was the Special Olympics bowling tournament, and our son Jack got his first blue ribbon after about five or six years of bowling! He was overjoyed and told me that he'll have his name called out during the announcements at school on Tuesday. So yay, Jack!

Jack bowls for a blue ribbon!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, fur, and blue ribbons,

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Octopus and Seahorse; Papertrey Ombre Backgrounds
ink: Memento grape jelly; Hero Arts soft pool, butter bar, charcoal; Ranger electric lime
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: coordinating dies, dimensionals, rhinestones, Sharpies for coloring the rhinestones, corner rounder

Saturday, February 17, 2018

New Stuff

Here's my order from Hero Arts. So much goodness in this, and I've already started making stuff.

Half of these die sets go with stamps I already own, including Color Layering Octopus and Happy As A. The alphabet is very small and inexpensive so I thought it perfect for experimenting with an alpha set to see if I would use a larger set. I've been limited to a few heart punches and wanted that basic shape in the infinity dies to see how I will use them. If they work out okay for me, I'll definitely get some more of the infinity dies. Those are potentially very useful.

The color layering branches set (with dies) is just so pretty, and I love, love, love the tiny birds in it. The birthday balloon animal set fills a need for some more birthday sets. (I make so many for Karen's Card Shop.) And finally, the flower set seemed funky and fun, but after playing with it a bit, I'm struggling. Oh, well. I'll figure something out.

Handmade Watercolor Paper
Jennifer McGuire sang its praises, and I bit.

So many stampers make these look great. Why not?

For years, I hardly ever used purple. Lately, it's been more appealing to me, so another shade in my ink collection will get used. For the record, I still loathe fairy vomit (also known as Orchid Opulence).

What have you bought lately that you're lovin'?

Friday, February 16, 2018

More Yana Inspiration

Yana Smakula's card inspired more than just yesterday's post. It inspired these four cards...color variations that were so much fun.

The first three color variations use bling...because no matter how much I used during the Bling series, I still have gobs left. The last one uses half pearls, because I found them in my green embellishment drawer and realized they would make a lovely minty card.

You'll note that the size of the stamped panel changes throughout the series. That's because I had different pieces of cardstock scraps. Use what you have. Not sure which I prefer...perhaps the 1/4" mat. The 1/8" mat seems a bit small.

Several things make this design work well. First is the clean classic design of the wreath stamp and font of the sentiment. Soft curves and pokey serifs create a pleasing tension.

Second is the shine. Because bling/pearls are so pretty!

Third is the harmony of monochromatic pastel color schemes with a touch of black. Black works so well with pastels.

Thank you, Yana, for your lovely card with the heart-shaped wreath. I don't have that stamp, but this one was a perfectly nice substitute!

Which color do you like the best?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons, Keep It Simple Birthday
paper: Papertrey
ink: various dye inks
accessories: rhinestones, pearls

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Best-laid Plans: The Forgotten Valentine

A day late and dollar short.

I made this card a month ago to send to my sister. As organized as I aspire to be, I'm just not. Not only did I NOT send this card, I didn't photograph it either...until today when I found it in a stack of stuff. I really do like this card so much!

It's so much fun playing around with stamp collages like this...and this one was inspired a bit by Yana Smakula's card here. In fact, Yana's fabulous card inspired tomorrow's cards as well.

Yana is amazing.

And my sister will totally understand that I am not. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart rhinestones

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Well, I Tried

We can't all be Sandy Allnock. But I tried.

Proper shading of big flowers is really, really hard. For me. Sandy sure makes it look easy, though.

Let's focus on the fact that the card is colorful, and the black banner with white embossing is totally awesome. 

And bling. Gotta love the bling.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Altenew
ink: Memento black, embossing ink
paper: Gina K 
accessories: Copic markers, craft foam, glue, rhinestones

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Birthday Butterflies

After obsessing on Hero Arts' Wonderful set, I made this very crisp, elegant, sweet card using all old stuff.

Because using too much new stuff makes all those old stuff feel sad and useless. Right?

I love all those layers of white card stock. Sadly, I've usually already stamped the main panel on Papertrey Stampers Select white cardstock when it becomes obvious that many mats would look awesome. The best way to make these layered cards is with Neenah Solar White cardstock in the 110# for the base and 80# for all the layering. That way, they aren't too bulky. The Neenah and Papertrey are different whites, so once you're committed to the Papertrey, you can't just layer with the Neenah.

Who knew there were so many shades of white? Well, there are. And I do prefer Papertrey's white by a slim margin so it's my go-to white. The Neenah is excellent, though, and if you want to keep things as simple as possible, you could do worse than using it exclusively.

Don't you love that font? So feminine and fresh looking!

To calculate the sizes for this matting, take the measurements of the stamped panel and add 1/8" for the first thin mat, add 5/8" for the wider mat, and add 3/4" for the bottom mat. Note that those numbers are all added to the stamped panel dimensions, not added on to each other. So if your stamped panel is 2" x 3.25", the largest mat will be 2 3/4" x 4".

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and if you're thinking of giving up something for Lent, you could do much worse than this list from Pope Francis. I think it will be much harder than just giving up chocolate.

If you observe Lent, do you give up something for Lent? If so, what? Inquiring minds....

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Simon Says Stamp It's Your Birthday!
ink: Archival black, Hero Arts raspberry jam
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Martha Stewart butterfly punches, rhinestones, glue pen

Monday, February 12, 2018

Wonderful, Part 5

Well, that was interesting.

We upgraded our modem and lost WiFi for a day. You don't realize how dependent you are on technology until you can't use it.

Everything is working properly again (and much faster, so YAY!), and here I am with our fifth and final Wonderful post. These five posts all show cards using the Wonderful Stamp & Cut set from Hero Arts, the point being that a well-designed sentiment set can produce a lot of different styles and uses.

Of course, I made all five cards, so they all look like LateBlossom cards, but imagine what you could do with this set to make it YOUR own, with your style and your purposes!

Today's card harkens back to a simpler time (before WiFi outages) when the wonderful Louis Armstrong sang What a Wonderful World. I love that man's smile. Would that we all could give such wonderful smiles more often. It's one of my favorite songs.

When I realized the Wonderful stamp set had the words What a Wonderful World in it, I decided to make a card honoring the song. It's a little busy for me, but still crisp and clean...and full of meaning.

Trees of green; red roses, too; clouds of white. I tried to work skies of blue in there, but it looked dreadful. Perhaps one of you will take the idea and make it work.

The die-cut word wonderful is stacked three deep for extra dimension. With just two layers, it didn't stand out enough given the height of the craft foam that's lifting the stamped rectangles. The white-on-white worked better for me than any colors did.

As you might imagine, this card took longer than usual to finish and required a lot of tinkering. Even finding the right stamps took surprisingly long as I had to rescue the rose from cold storage. Still, it's such a fun way to commemorate a song--and singer--who make my world a little more wonderful.

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong. Thank you very much.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Wonderful, Flower Garden; Papertrey Father Knows Best
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, green, red royal
accessories: craft foam. cloud punches (Fiskars), glue, coordinating die