Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quick Thanks

Just a quick post tonight. I whipped up these three thank-you cards in no time and love how they turned out!

The only variation is color, but the crispness of the white and the warmth of the olive, sienna, and orange inks works so well.

At least, I think so!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Antique Engravings, Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Archival various, Hero Arts cup of joe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Follow Through

First of all, thank you for the comments and emails regarding yesterday's post. Your prayers and comforting wishes are very much appreciated. Funeral arrangements are underway, and I truly hope the service will provide comfort to all of us who are missing him. Several people today during Bible study shared funny stories about this very quiet, gentle person, and so in the spirit of his humor, I'm going for amusing in tonight's post.

Pat McCleary, please email me at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

Now, for my new resolution, starting now and not on New Year's Day, because we all know that no one sticks with New Year's resolutions.

Often, I make cards "just because." Sometimes, though, as with birthday cards for my family and close friends, I make a card for a specific person, with their preferences and interests and age and gender identity in mind.

Anyway, when making a card for a specific person, I'd like to do more than just make the card. I'd like to follow through with a coordinating envelope to give them the full Monty.

So to speak.

Anyway, (again), today's card is for a very specific person so I followed through.

Card Size 3.75" x 7.25"

The person receiving this card loves all things lizard. The spiral gecko stamp has a copyright date of 2002 on it. I've had it about that long. It's adorable, and mustard, teal, and sienna were picked with the recipient in mind. The three squares needed a little something. Hence, the bling.

Because (let's say it together) "BLING MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER."

Well, almost everything.

My first instinct was to put tiny rhinestones on the geckos' eyes, but they would have lined up too neatly across the card. Bling arranged in a visual triangle keeps the human eye moving around the card and adds a dynamic quality I like. The geckos' eyes don't move because that would be creepy.

By the way, the grammar checker in Blogger doesn't like my plural possessives. Don't trust grammar checker. It's a conspiracy.

The envelope was stamped with lines and a saying from Simon Says Stamp's Envelope Sentiments set, which is very versatile, but I've noticed the tiny words break easily. Pieces of the letters have broken off the stamps, probably because I clean my stamps on damp washcloths a bit too vigorously. So be careful if you buy the set.

And that's my new resolution: follow through on the little envelopes. I'm also stamping the back of cards with a "Hand stamped by" stamp and signing them. On this card, I stamped a happy birthday sentiment inside since there wasn't room for it on the outside.

Do you embellish your envelopes? Do you decorate them all the time, sometimes, never? How? Do you sign the backs of your cards? Curious minds and all that.

stamps: Rubber Stampede spiral gecko (c. 2002!), Simon Says Stamp Envelope Sentiments
ink: Archival saffron, paradise teal, sienna
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals, square punch

Monday, November 28, 2016


Y'all, I'm sad tonight. One of our Stephen Ministers, who completed his training in April, passed away today of a heart attack. We got the news this evening at our Stephen Ministry meeting. This man sang in our choir, attended Bible study with me, folded the church bulletins every Friday. Our other Stephen Leader and I trained him in Stephen Ministry, and through that fifty hours of class time I came to know his quiet humor and saw the depth of his compassion for people and love for Jesus.

We will miss him so much, but my heart hurts most for his wife and son.

So it's late as I type this, and I wondered what to post. Scrolling through my card photos, I found this Christmas card that would not have made it to the blog under normal circumstances. It's an odd one, made with a Thanksgiving set from Papertrey (Fall Elegance), but it speaks to me tonight.

Advent, this time of preparation and waiting for the birth of Jesus, has four themes, one for each Sunday of the season: peace, joy, love, and hope.


That little baby born so long ago brought the hope of life eternal in God's presence to all of us...a hope made manifest with His blood shed on the cross. My friend lived in that hope, and now he is joyfully singing in heaven's choir, with his gorgeous Irish tenor.

In this season when we focus so much on joy, so much on gifts and giving and getting and merriment, remember to offer hope to those who are grieving. Joy, well, they can't relate to that, but hope...that's what we all need. No matter what.

Peace, joy, love, and most of all hope to you,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

An Easy Technique...Beause That's the Only Kind I Do

I suspect my gray-haired avatar doesn't pop to mind when you think "technique," but easy techniques always grab my attention. Jennifer McGuire first introduced me to the technique I'm spotlighting today.

Don't you like how I worded that last sentence? Makes it sound like Jennifer and I are best buds, getting together to stamp all the time, right? Yeah, no. I'd be way too intimidated to stamp anywhere near her. She's a professional, while I putter obsessively in my well-lit basement nook, muttering to myself in my pajamas.

I don't do badly for all that, but if you want to see a professional blog, check out hers. No comparison. So many pretty videos!!!!

Anyway, this easy and versatile technique gives meban excuse to keep some of those transparency pieces that somehow end up collecting in my craft room, usually backing from Papertrey sets that I put into CD cases.

Here's what I do. (I've shared this before, but here it is again if you missed it the first time.)

1. Put the transparency on a water-safe surface. I use my self-healing cutting mat.

2. Apply whatever medium you want to the directly from a pad, scribbled water-based markers, watercolor, Smooch, ink drops from a re-inker, watered-down acrylic paint, etc. Doesn't matter. Colors will usually end up lighter than they appear, especially with watercolor media, so opt for bright or dark colors rather than pastels. For today's cards, I scribbled dark blue and dark purple watercolor crayon on the transparency.

3. Spritz generously with water. If you want, take a brush to the mess to blend things around. That's how I dissolved the crayon fully.

4. Place a piece of cardstock or watercolor paper on top of the wet mess and press it down. I let it sit for a few seconds so the paper absorbs as much of the pigment as possible.

5. Peel the paper off the transparency, and yay! You get something like this.

6. Wipe the transparency clean to use again.

7. Make something pretty with your pretty paper after it dries. It will dry flatter if you wrap it in waxed paper and press it under weight to dry.

The first card really takes advantage of the gradation of color. I love how the soft blues and purples make the black pop and soften it at the same time. Each square was punched individually...and I kept them in order as I punched to make arranging them on cards easier.

Most of the squares obviously ended up on the first card, but some that didn't have as clear a gradation worked well in an alternating pattern to make a second card.

To make arranging the squares easier, I aligned them using a quilt ruler laid across the card. The squares are popped with dimensionals but are very close together, with maybe 1/16th of an inch between them.

Variations for this technique are long as you enjoy the unpredictable results. You could emboss the paper first, then press it onto the colorful transparency to make serendipitous resist art. Make a bunch of different colored pieces and use them for paper piecing. Use glimmer mist instead of plain water to add shimmer, or use Twinkling H2Os or Smooch for colorful shimmer built in!

You've gotta love a technique that uses stuff you already have lying around in fresh ways, so if you've never done this, give it a try. It's so much fun...and just a little messy.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Quilter's Sampler and Sentiments
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: 3/4" square punch, dimensionals, transparency, watercolor crayons, water spritzer, brush

Saturday, November 26, 2016

IC573...And Now for Something Completely Different

Y'all know I love the Inspiration Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers, and I love its host, Audrie (A.K.A. girlgeek101). She's awesome! Inspiration challenges can and should push you outside your comfort zone, get you playing around with new and different ideas, techniques, styles. It's this play--and the attendant freedom to make mistakes--that helps us grow as creative beings.

This week's challenge definitely called me out of my comfort zone, but it was so much fun! It's called Journal Art, and the challenge is to be inspired by Audrie's Pinterest board The Art of Journaling. I wanted to share the two cards I made today (even though this means two posts in one day!) because they each taught me something about design that I can't wait to share.

First up, I tried a variation on this pin, focusing on the coffee theme and spots of brown on the page.

What works: the three splatters of brown draw the eye in a nice visual triangle and connect the card base and popped panel. Also, I was able to fit my words to the space pretty well. That's sometimes harder than you think it will be (see next card!).

What doesn't work so well: the hand-lettering of the Let's. Ugh. I tried to make it bold and different (as per the inspiration photo) but it ended up too bold and too angular, although I really like how the t seems to waver a bit like the steam over the coffee cup. It really looked bad before I stamped the splatter over it, which reduced the stark black-and-white contrast.

It's been a long time since I did hand-lettering, and that lack of practice shows. More practice, and it'll look better, but the point here is that the friend for whom I made this card will totally love it. So YAY!

The second card is much more pleasing to my eye, despite one little problem (or maybe two). Check out the inspiration pin here.

Clearly the person who journaled the inspiration photo knew what she was doing...artistically, it's simply gorgeous. My version is good but could stand improvement in one area. Well, two areas.

What works: The thick-and-thin hand-drawn border around the panel fabulously echoes the thick-and-thin outline of the shell (a Hero Arts stamp from years ago). I also love how the quotation around the edge stops in the right place, saving me from writing upside down.

What doesn't work so well: Obviously my coloring and shading leaves a bit to be desired. Big surprise, given how often I color with Copics, and truly, that doesn't bother me. For my eye, the worst infraction is the way the right edge of the handwriting lines up too well. It needs to be more ragged, organic, natural. That would pull the eye toward the border quote better, but instead there's a grand canyon divide that bosses the eye around like a bully. "Thou shall not move easily from here to there," it seems to say. Note how the writing in the inspiration photo serves that unifying purpose? Yeah, that. I didn't do that.

Still, despite their flaws, these two cards represent stretching and experimenting...just what we should do with inspiration challenges. In the end, the flaws don't matter; it's the attempt that matters, and that's why I'm so excited to share these two cards.

Many people fear inspiration challenges and avoid them for fear of failure. Hopefully, by sharing my awkward attempts, you'll feel encouraged to give it a go. Loosen up and have fun.

After all, it's only paper!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love to you,

Supplies Coffee card
stamps: Tim Holtz Fresh Brewed, My Favorite Things Large Abstract Art
ink: Hero Arts intense black, sand
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, black Micron pens 

Supplies Shell Card
stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K deluxe white
accessories: Copics, craft foam, black Micron pens, glue

Let the Thanks Continue

The Thanksgiving Crusade continues on for another week so don't forget to enter your thanks/Thanksgiving card over there for a chance to win a gift card to the online vendor of your choice. Many thanks to those who have already entered!

Today's card is one of several thank-you cards I made last week. This is a time of year for saying thanks, whether for Thanksgiving or for holiday presents. Today's card is not very Christmas-y except for the green, but it's layered up prettily, don't you think?

The layout of images was inspired by THIS PIN, but the multiple white layers happened sort of by accident. Without any mats, the simple image looked far too plain, but I didn't want to edge the piece with silver or gold...the white on white was--to my thinking--the best way to let that green pop off the card. The images were inked with markers, spritzed with water, and then stamped for that soft faux-watercolor effect. The many crisp white lines of the mats add contrast to the soft green with its organic, blurred curves.

Bling needs no reason or excuse.

I hope you all had a lovely week, wherever you are and whatever celebrating you did or did not do. Thanksgiving is such a lovely holiday break from commercialism, and a wonderful transition to the joys of Christmas. I decorated my house yesterday for the holidays...everything but the tree, which we will chop down next weekend.

Whatever your holiday traditions, I pray you and your family and friends find joy, hope, love, and peace in them.

stamps: Papertrey, StampinUp
ink: Hero Arts charcoal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, water spritzer, markers (Green galore from StampinUp and cottage green from Memento)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

The next few days will be quite full with lots of celebrating (I turn 50 on Tuesday!) and preparations for Thanksgiving, so I'll take a little break from blogging until after Thursday. But I want each and every one of you to know how special you are to me.

Thank you for reading Simplicity, for commenting or emailing, for sending good vibes my way, for the cards and the support over the years.

Today's card is for you.

This color combination was inspired by this pin on my Color My World board. I went slightly blue-er with the darker gray and love the effect. The pale blue bling brightens the whole design up so nicely!

For those celebrating Thanksgiving this week, Happy Thanksgiving. For those who are not, Happy Thanksgiving anyway. Know that I'm grateful for you all and so very blessed by you!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Small Dotty Delight

Today's card uses the smaller images in Papertrey's Dot Spot set. Bouncy dots make me happy, so they are perfect for a happy birthday card!

The color combination comes from this pin on my Color My World Pinterest board. I considered outlining the raised panel and/or adding bling, but decided to keep things super clean. I love the fresh, happy feel created by the saffron, vibrant fuchsia, soft lilac, and plum colors. Your eye can't really settle anywhere, which is exactly what I was going for.

Delightful fun!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Our weather in southwest Ohio went from 75 on Friday to 37 on Saturday. Weird.

We in the States are getting ready for Thanksgiving this Thursday, and I'm getting ready to mail my Thanksgiving Crusade cards.

The Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge will be over at the end of November, and there will be a random prize awarded to one participant. There are only 15 entries so far (and three of them are mine!), so be sure to link up your new-this-year thank-you or Thanksgiving cards to have your chance to win. Multiple entries are allowed!

stamps: Papertrey Dot Spot, Side-by-Side Sentiments
ink: Archival saffron, vibrant fuchsia, plum; Hero Arts soft lilac
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: glue, craft foam

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Medium Dotty Times Two

As babbled in yesterday's post, I'm sharing four cards using the Papertrey set Dot Spot in descending order based on the size of the image used because, well, why not?

Today, we'll look at two cards which use the next-to-largest and second-to-largest dotty dots.

The next-to-largest dotty dot card takes advantage of the style of the sentiment, which is from Papertrey's Side-by-Side Sentiments. (Papertrey does not hyphenate the name, but they should.)

Inks: Hero Arts green hills and intense black

This is a very stylized, modern-looking card, and the black-and-green combination pops off the card in a pleasingly happy way.

The next-to-largest image is large enough that repetition of it will eat up my white space, but the second-to-largest image repeats nicely. For the card below, I trimmed an inch off the front of the card, stamped the larger part of the sentiment onto the front, and then moved inside the card finished stamping the smaller part of the sentiment.

Inks: Hero Arts butter bar, green hills, and intense black;
Archival tiger lily

On the inside edge, I stamped the green dot first, then the yellow, and finally the orange, making sure that each image was offset so the bling didn't form a straight line. Offsetting also created the lovely illusion of movement. Finally, adding the bling brought the card to life.

Proof again that most cards are better with bling. Not all, certainly, but most.

stamps: Papertrey Side-by-Side Sentiments, Dot Spot
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fight Stamper's Block with Something Dotty

After finishing a bit of organizing and cleaning, which included discovering a bunch of really cool stuff in boxes in my basement, I stamped today. At first, of course, I sat and stared at my tidy workspace, feeling utterly intimidated.

Then, I got an idea.

Where do these ideas come from? Seriously, if there's a Muse sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear, I'd frankly like to fire her for going on extended holiday. What is up with such an unreliable worker?

Problem is, where does one go to hire a reliable Muse? I have no idea.

So when the idea popped into my head, I figured it might be best to act on it. I walked to my stamp hoard collection and started flipping through, looking for a set that hadn't been used in a coon's age because, you know, raccoons live forever.

Except for the one that ran out into the road in front of my very large SUV one night a few years ago. That was just sad. But I digress.

The stamp set that jumped into my hand was Papertrey's Dot Spot. What a fun little set! After a bit, there were five finished cards on my desk...although one immediately went into the recycling bin, so you'll only be seeing four.

Dot Spot has a wonderful, huge image as well as smaller sizes of the same image and some little solo dots. In the interest of keeping things neat and obsessive, I'll share the cards in an order based on the size of images used.

I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested.

Here's the first.

That giant image is fabulous. The hole in the middle was a perfect fit for a little sentiment from Clear and Simple Stamps, and also for a clear epoxy sticker that magnifies the sentiment ever so slightly. I do wish the font were more modern looking to match the dots, but alas, we don't always have the right sentiment, now, do we?

Epoxy stickers are delightful,  and on that note, as I'm punchy from exhaustion, I'll sign off for now. Good night, and sweet dreams.

Unless you're reading this in the which case, rise and shine and give God the glory.


stamps: Papertrey Dot Spot, Clear and Simple Stamps Thinking of You
ink: Hero Arts cornflower, intense black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: epoxy sticker, corner rounder

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hark! A Bookmark!

Tried to use this musical tree stamp from Clearly Besotted's Modern Christmas.

Nailed it.

stamps: Clearly Besotted Modern Christmas, Altenew Lyrical Script
ink: Impress Fresh Ink merlot, mojito, mango; Versamagic gingerbread
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: ribbon

Monday, November 14, 2016

An FAQ and a VIP (Very Important Project)

Periodically, people ask whether I stamp anything inside cards. The answer, generally speaking, is no. I'm a writer and tend to hand-write personal notes to people. The big exception to this is Christmas cards. I almost always stamp a sentiment inside because, sending as many as I do, there's rarely time for substantial hand-written notes.

Awkward segue.

'Tis the time of year for my annual Stephen Ministry Christmas ornaments. For those who don't know, our Stephen Ministry group gives a brief presentation during a Sunday in Advent to remind the congregation that not everyone is happy during the holidays. In fact, the holidays can be heartbreaking for those who are spending their first Christmas after the divorce without their children or after the death without their loved one or after the job loss or after the diagnosis. 

Our Stephen Ministers remind people to be sensitive to those who are suffering, to invite them out for coffee...and to bring along their listening ears. Often, people who are hurting just need someone who will listen and sit with them in their pain, someone who won't try to jolly the pain away or pretend that it doesn't exist. And perhaps, if they think it's appropriate, they might recommend the hurting person get a Stephen Minister. 

Stephen Ministers are trained to walk beside those who are hurting for as long as necessary, meeting once a week for an hour to listen, encourage, and pray with/for their care receiver in a relationship based on sharing Christ's healing love in a hurting world. I've been a Stephen Minister for almost seven years and a Stephen Leader for more than two of those years. It's by and far the most rewarding volunteer work I've done, and it's deepened my own faith in beautiful and unexpected ways. 

As a tangible reminder of hurting people's unjolly Christmas, we hand out paper ornaments. We suggest that people take an extra if they know someone outside our congregation who might need a little comfort. I design the ornaments every year and write the speech delivered at each of our church's three services. 

This year's ornaments are in the works. Y'all know how I feel about mass production, and making 175 of these is tedious...but a blessing, too. Fortunately, one of our Stephen Ministers has offered to help the past two years (not many crafty souls in our group, sadly!), so Lois will attach the ribbons and adhere the Bible verse stickers onto the backs. Bless her, she's as OCD as I am! Once the ornaments are finished, I'll post a picture of them, but for now, note how I put my fancy Gingher scissors to good use cutting many spools of ribbon. 

By the way, these scissors will never cut paper. 

My momma raised me right.

Mercy, Grace, Peace, and Love to each one of you. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ebb and Flow

Perhaps this sounds familiar to you.

Sometimes, for one day or one week or one month or one year, creativity flows through your veins. And then...


That's how I'm feeling this week. Every time I sit down to create, I make a mess. In times of stress, it can be hard to let those creative juices ferment and make lovely Cabernet instead of vinegar.

There are two helpful strategies for times like this. 1) Clean and reorganize supplies, and purge. 2) Make something extremely simple.

So yesterday, I set about reorganizing and cleaning my craft space. It needed refreshing, and so do I. This will take another few days to complete, seeing as my craft "space" spills into our unfinished storage area where a whole bunch of stuff sits awaiting purge or reintroduction to the stash. It's satisfying.

And today, in between cleaning jobs, I made something very simple. Fortunately, my birthday is coming up. The big 5-0. That means I'll need to send some thank-you notes and didn't have any in my stash. The Hero Arts Shakespearean Poetry set was on my desk, and it occurred to me that I've not made single-panel note cards in a long time. So here you go.

You can't get much easier than this. Cut standard sheets into quarters, add a stamp at the top of each panel, and you're done. The handwritten note will go underneath (in black ink), I'll slide the panel into an envelope, and thanks will be given.

Don't fight the ebb and flow. Roll with it.

What do you do when the creativity dries up? Please share in the comments!

stamps: Hero Arts Shakespearean Poetry
ink: Archival vermilion
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none at all

Friday, November 11, 2016

Let's Have Some Merry

Reminder: The One-Layer Simplicity Challenge is up and running! Make your peace card for the Peace Be with You theme and share it over there before November 24th, 2016!

A year or maybe two ago, several kind readers sent me some die cuts of words, which I have largely hoarded. Today, it was time to use one of them.

card size 3.5" x 7.25"

The die cut is out of lime card stock, so I used a darker green to stamp the wreath and pink for an unexpectedly preppy look.

Some people dislike nontraditional colors for Christmas cards. Others love to experiment. I'm sitting on the fence and dabble my toes on both sides.

That's the joy of the middle. You can lean one way, then the other, and the view from the fence is really quite lovely.

In retrospect, I probably should have kept all the bling hot pink, but whatever. I love this fun and funky Christmas card!

And it's thanks to the kindness of readers that I have die cuts to hoard play with at all. Thank you!

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons
ink: Archival leaf green, vibrant fuchsia
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, die cut (Papertrey, I think)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Let's Have Some Joy

Color inspiration came from this pin.

Card came from my craft room.

Any time I can use the Brilliance pearlescent olive ink and not think about baby poop, it's a win.

stamps: Hero Arts sketch tree; Papertrey Wet Paint Christmas and Silent Night
ink: Archival, Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone, gold metallic marker

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Warmest Wishes

Before we get to today's card, let me share that I'm writing again over on Questioning my Intelligence and transforming common days.

For those who do not know, Questioning my Intelligence is my personal web log, and transforming common days is a faith-based blog that encourages love and gratitude (though for the last year or so the few posts I've written have mainly been critical of politics and the media because, well, ugh).

Today's posts (here and here) on both blogs signal a return to regular writing and publishing on my part. Both posts are, of course, about the election. If you're feeling battered, worn down, or have felt afraid at any point in the election, I hope you'll find comfort and encouragement and a useful course of action moving forward in my words. If you're thrilled with the course of events, you'll also find a few thoughts to consider and a call to unity and cooperation that is desperately needed in our nation at this time.

And now for a card offering warmest wishes!

To make this card, I masked the bottom third, stamped the mountains repeatedly, covered the bottom with ribbon (attached with scor-tape), finished the stamping and added bling to the snowflakes.

Something was missing, so I stamped the penguin and his hat on scrap paper, cut them out, and popped them up. Adding bling to the hat and the sentiment unified the card.

Warmest wishes to each and every one of you!

stamps: Papertrey Warmest Wishes
ink: Archival manganese blue, sky blue, black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, ribbon, scor-tape, dimensionals

Monday, November 7, 2016

Inspired by Packaging and Tips on Finding Inspiration in Magazines

Sometimes, it's pretty challenging to convert a three-dimensional inspiration into a one-layer card, but other times, it's pretty easy!

From A Somerset Holiday magazine

This packaging exhibits layers that are extremely easy to duplicate in one dimension. A simple mask and crackle background stamping, faux ribbons stamped top and bottom, and then branches stamped over top of it all...and leaking over the edges slightly as in the inspiration photo. Add some red nail heads and a sentiment, and you've got yourself a card!

This detail shot gives you a better idea of how this was done and a good view of the nail heads. Those little dots are flatter than bling for easy mailing and have a metallic sheen that is lovely.

If you've never thought of getting inspiration from holiday magazines, here's how I troll them to fish for ideas:

1. Have a pad of post-it notes and a cup of your favorite hot beverage by your side.

2. Flip through the magazine once without marking anything...just soak up the spirit of it.

3. Page more slowly through the magazine this time, with an eye for what might translate into cards or other paper projects. Look for layouts, color combinations, materials, balanced compositions.

4. Don't overlook really busy images. Slow down and look at the details. Sometimes that small detail of a single ornament on an over-decorated tree or just a part of a busy mantel decoration will speak to you!

5. Liberally sprinkle those post-it notes around. You can write on them to remember your ideas, although I don't. I tend to remove all the post-its once I feel that I've drained the magazine of all inspiration and reuse them on the next magazine.

6. Once you're through, head to your craft space, pick a random post-it note, and play. Sometimes, I get so excited about an idea that I have to run immediately to craft space and give it a go. Then, I'm down the rabbit hole and who knows where that will lead?

7. It's always fun!

Happy inspirational stamping!

stamps: Hero Arts Holiday Pine Boughs; Papertrey Keep It Simple Christmas and Faux Postage
ink: Archival red geranium, library green, fern green; Hero Arts sand, cup o' joe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: red nail heads

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Yippee Hip Hip Hooray!

Words and bling.

All you need.

Although a really cool color combination helps, too.

Note that this card REALLY takes advantage of the rule of thirds. The raised panel is roughly two-thirds of the card. The message is placed around the one-third horizontal line of the raised panel, and goes out to the one-third vertical line of the panel.

The bling is arranged in a triangle.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

stamps: StampinUp Endless Birthday Wishes
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival library green, olive, peacock teal; Memento Luxe nautical blue
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue

Friday, November 4, 2016

Working It Out

Today, I found this lovely card by Amy Sheffer on my Cards Pinterest board and got to work creating two very different variations on it. I loved how Amy used the large Christmas die cut to ground her scene and the asymmetry of the layout. Her level of detail is incredible, and I had no notion of matching it.

My versions are cleaner and simpler, but hers is the work of a genius.

Amy's card has a lot of movement to it...curves in the die cut, rays from the star, the bend of the tree, the subtle curvy hills she sponged in the background. My first version sacrifices all that in favor of lots of points and right angles and a very graphic style.

A2 size; Stamps: Clearly Besotted Holiday Sentiemnts;
inks: Archival red geranium and emerald
accessories: red rhinestones

It's festive, and definitely looks like I made it, but I just wasn't satisfied with it. It felt as though the spirit of Amy's card died and got painted red and green.

So I went looser, and oh, my. This might just be my favorite card I've made in at least a few weeks.
(Y'all need to know I get excited about my stuff pretty easily.)

Size 7.25" x 3.75"
For my version, I went very horizontal. That Christmas sentiment is HUGE (from Winnie and Walter's The Big, The Bold, and the Merry), and I wanted plenty of white space. The pine bough (from Hero Arts' Vintage Christmas Post) is natural and organic, flowing, wispy, and loose...the perfect complement to the loose, bold cursive of the Christmas stamp. The pine cones anchor the movement and provide a natural focal point. Finally, the soft shades of green (VersaMagic sage and tea leaves) lend softness and peacefulness.


I'm so glad I didn't give up after the first effort. Persistence is a VERY useful quality in a stamper. When you see a good idea, don't give up on making it your own too soon. You just never know when you'll make your new favorite card!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

One for Three: Modern Christmas

Next up in the One for Three Challenge (where I take one Christmas set and make three cards) is Clearly Besotted's Modern Christmas.

 added stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple Christmas;
ink: Archival red geranium; Hero Arts ocean, tide pool;
Ancient Page neptune

The first card uses the three shades of aqua/teal in my crafty hoard, and isn't that the bee's knees? Aqua and red on a Christmas card is retro-ish fun. These three trees climb up a hill because of masking. Making mask for triangles is so hard! It took me hours.

added stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple Christmas;
ink: Archival emerald and red geranium; Hero Arts lime green and butter bar

Here, I took the three trees on the horizontal and gave them a bit more breathing room and two shades of green (isn't the lime fun!).  There's an extra white mat on this one because the wide, plain edge looked strange with so much going on. The tiny bit of added detail worked well.

At least, I think so. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

ink: Kaleidacolor field greens;
Hero Arts charcoal and lemon yellow

Finally, an almost one-layer card. The tree is popped up after having been sponged with two cheerful shades of green and cut out. The text on the trees blends into the sentiment underneath, creating unity. The star needs no reason.

One more Christmas set used! Yay!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Complementary Birthday

Ever get confused by the homophones compliment and complement? Here's the low-down on the difference.

 Compliment refers to either flattery or (in its adjectival form) free stuff.

  • The teacher complimented the student's excellent grasp of the subject. 
  • The soap and shampoo were complimentary, so Bob put them in his suitcase without guilt.

Complement, on the other hand, refers to completion of a set or group. You can remember this by the "e" after the "l" in both complement and complete.

  • The centerpiece complemented the tablecloth.
  • Blue complements its opposite on the color wheel: orange. Blue and orange are complementary colors. 

And thus we come to a Complementary Birthday that incorporates shades of blue and orange. Inside, one might write a note complimenting how youthful the aging person looks. Or not, because really, who wants to be reminded about his/her appearance on his/her birthday? Not I.

I already know silver my hair is, thank you very much.

But I digress.

Here's the card.

This color scheme came from this pin. The inks are Hero Arts soft stone, pool, and pumpkin pie...and what a great combination that is! A largish rhinestone and silver metallic line complement the design nicely, don't you think?

Remember that complementary color schemes generally add energy to a card, while monochromatic schemes are generally calming and peaceful.  Today's card would have more energy if bright blue and orange were used, but with grayed-down shades of each, the effect is a bit more subtle. I made this card after this mostly monochromatic hot-pink card, which is anything but calming and peaceful, and wanted a subtler feel to it.

Besides, bright orange and blue make me think of Boise State University, where I taught briefly.  I didn't want the card to feel collegiate...even though this card will go to someone on the east coast and I'm the only one who would notice!

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Papertrey Birthday Basics, Good Times
ink: Hero Arts pool, soft stone, pumpkin pie (yum!)
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic marker, metal ruler, craft foam, glue, rhinestone

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

When the Sentiment Stands Alone

Note: The One-Layer Simplicity Challenge is up and running for November. I hope you'll join in and spread some peace around the interwebs.

Sometimes sentiments are designed in such a way that you can let them stand alone on a card...especially if you like white space!

The reverse block letters on the HAPPY stamp are lined up nicely on the stamp, but I wanted each square to be a different color, and by separating them, I could make them dance happily rather be locked in a rather staid straight line.

Isn't that wacky!?!? I'm such a rebel.

The colors come from another Kaleidacolor pad Caribbean sea, which is one of my favorite Kaleidacolor pads. Of course, there are a lot of great Kaleidacolor pads, so it's impossible to have just one favorite.

I have commitment issues.

stamps: Papertrey Birthday Bash Sentiments
ink: Kaleidacolor Caribbean sea; Hero Arts intense black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: scissors, dimensionals