Monday, September 25, 2017

Simple Christmas

Every year, I experiment with non-traditional colors for Christmas cards. This experimentation arises from the fact that I make well over 100 Christmas cards a year, most of which are one-offs rather than multiples.

That's a lot of different designs, and doing everything up in red and green gets pretty boring after a while. 

So a black-and-white Christmas makes sense to me, at least as an experiment. You, however, might find it a bit odd. That's okay. I did, too, until I made these three cards.

If you visit my Pinterest board titled Christmas, you'll see a number of pins that have black-and-white designs for Christmas, sometimes with kraft thrown in as well. Those pins collectively inspired this set of three cards that use images from Hero Arts' Vintage Wishes set. I adore this layout of small stamped panels on a card base. There's something so satisfying for me in the minimalism of one image, one sentiment, and tons of white space.

Vintage sets like this one are always a challenge for clean-and-simple stampers like myself. They invite layers and coloring and distressing and embellishment...and can result in incredibly rich, beautiful, and nostalgic cards.  Consider this nearly black-and-white beauty I found on Pinterest. Oh, my! It's stunningly fabulous, and everything about it is perfect!

While I have no ambition to make such a layered and embellished card as Melissa's, it did occur to me that I could get more mileage from this set (and several others) if I had the dies to coordinate. So my first order of dies has been placed, and I await it with eagerness.

What are your favorite new Christmas sets this year? I've been looking but haven't bought more Christmas stamps, seeing as I have so many. But I'd love to see what you're buying. Tempt me, please!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Vintage Wishes
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival black
accessories: craft foam, glue

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Color Blending with the MISTI

Stamping big block stamps is tricky business. It's just too easy to get an incomplete image...perhaps the center doesn't fully make contact with the paper. Perhaps you got more ink on one side of the image than the other. Whatever happens, large inked areas don't always leave the best impressions.

Hence, the MISTI.

This handy device allows you to re-ink and re-stamp the image until you get it as inked as you need it to be. So when I stamped this leaf in Archival vermilion and got this imperfect image, I wasn't concerned.

But I was hoping for a more orange-red than the vermilion ink gave me, so I wondered if stamping another color over the vermilion would work. I chose Ancient Page henna, and one more impression gave this image.

Better, but still not perfect. So I tried again with the henna.

Still not smooth, but I rather liked the gradient and decided to quit there. After stamping the leaf veins, I masked the leaf, added some splatters courtesy of Papertrey's Grunge Me, and hit a wall. After deciding there was no good place to put a sentiment that wouldn't throw off the balance, I trimmed the panel down to a square panel, mounted it on a 4.25" square card, and declared it finished.

This brilliant red leaf is stunning! The color is incredibly vibrant and rich.

So if you're using a MISTI and decide to change colors, try blending them. Easy peasy!

And once again, I thank my friend Tina S. for giving me the MISTI.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and autumn,

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves
ink: Ancient Page henna; Archival saffron, vermilion; Hero Arts cup o' Joe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, MISTI

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lazy Girl's Coloring Method

Y'all, last week I was bragging to a friend about how patient I am with the puppy. And I am. Truly. I'm as surprised as anyone, but there it is, me being all calm and patient like a grown-up.

At least until Friday, when he did #2 not once but twice in his crate, covering the inside of it and the outside of himself with filth, and also went #2 not once but twice on carpet. The cleaning! The laundry! The wretched smell!

Unbelievably, he's still alive.

Note the disassembled crate. I had to do that TWICE. So many screws.
Cooper is still wet from his second bath of the day.

The vet told me to shift him to large-breed puppy food, and apparently I moved a little too fast. Poor pup. Poor me.

So after weeks of ahh-ing over impossibly cute Cooper pictures, those of you who were thinking it's time to get a puppy are now happy to continue living vicariously through me. Because people, it's not all cute sleeping puppies and puppy breath. Not by a longshot.

"Poop happens. Let's play!"

Tuckered from so many baths.

Let's talk about stamping.

Now, in case you're new to this blog and haven't picked up on it yet, Simplicity is about, well, simplicity. Coloring intricate, detailed images isn't simple. Or fast. And I'm basically lazy.

So here's an idea for creating interest in a trice: color a simple background on a scrap of paper using three shades of Copic markers, stamp images in black, punch or cut out, and assemble on a card.

Easy peasy.

Can you imagine coloring nine of these tiny squares separately? Perhaps you've done it and might even have found it relaxing. Good for you! I'm not so patient as all that. My patience only extends to adorable puppies who are still alive because of it. There's none left over for time-consuming coloring.

Papertrey's Quilter's Sampler set is truly perfect for creating comforting quilt cards for sympathy or get well themes. And a gradient of purple is soothing.

Simplicity and sympathy go hand in hand, don't they?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Stamper's Sampler, Gina K sentiment
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: 3/4" square punch

Friday, September 22, 2017

Embellished Elegance Three Ways

Thanks for all the responses to yesterday's post. There's no real consensus, except that many of you wondered if the busyness would go away if the text background were in a lighter gray. Others wondered if putting fewer stems on the middle panel would fix the problem. I suspect both are correct. Lighter text and fewer stems would definitely make the card more "LateBlossom."

But it's fun to stretch and pull yourself creatively every now and then, and that's what yesterday's card did for me. Despite my mixed feelings about the result, the process was fun!

And now for today's sympathetic triumvirate.

Embellished Elegance is a pretty set from Papertrey, and being in need of a number of sympathy cards for my own use, I decided to experiment with the set. How many different looks could I get out of the set for sympathy cards in one sitting?

Turns out, the answer is the same as the number of licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop.


First, pink and green, with a little bling.  The sentiment comes from Gina K. The frame of vines is lovely, symmetrical, and a bit like a hug.

Next, an autumnal border of olive and orange, with a little white-on-white layering. This sentiment is from Papertrey.

Finally, my favorite. Soft blue-green ink, bling, and my favorite sentiment for sympathy cards (also from Papertrey). The soft, natural background adds interest without being overwhelming.

If you're looking for a challenge this weekend, try pulling out an older set you've not used in a while and make three different cards. It was fun going for three very different looks!

To close, can anyone tell me why the little boy in the tootsie pop commercial appears to be naked? That's a puzzler.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pretty or Busy?

I just can't decide. Sometimes I look at this card and think, "Wow, that's pretty!"

Then, ten seconds later, I think, "Wow, that's busy!"

Indecision may or may not be my problem.

What do you think?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Life, Text Style; Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
paper: Papertrey white
ink: various dye inks
accessories: rhinestones, banner die, Post-it notes for mask

Monday, September 18, 2017

Autumn Greetings

Today's card was inspired by this pin which linked to this blog post:

What a cool scrapbook page!!! I loved the diagonal background and collage-y effect of the focal point, so here's where I took the inspiration.

The pumpkin and flourishes are from Papertrey's Fall Elegance set, and the sentiment is from Hero Arts' Color Layering Fall Leaves set. I wanted to put the sentiment on the lower left side of the pumpkin but didn't use my MISTI and made a boo boo stamping the pumpkin...imperfect impression on the upper right. The mistake is covered by the sentiment, and that placement puts the sentiment in the sweet spot, which is fortuitous, but the bottom left of the pumpkin looks a little bare.

After fretting over this for too long and trying to come up with something to fill the space, I decided that it was just fine the way it was. Good enough for government work, right?

By far my favorite part of this card is the background color. It's so unexpected on a fall card. The idea came from Halloween cards that feature orange, lime green, and bright purple. I took the purple much lighter to mimic the inspiration of the scrapbook page. The results make me smile!

If you want to see a video of my two golden clowns playing together, it's posted on Simplicity by LateBlossom's Facebook page.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Fall Elegance, Hero Arts Color Layering Fall Leaves
ink: Memento Lulu lavender, Ranger orange soda, and a green and brown I can't recall
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Post-its for masking, Ranger mini inking tool, rhinestones

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wishful Thinking

Today's fall birthday card makes me long for last week's weather. We had a glorious, week-long glimpse of autumn weather, and autumn is my favorite season. Now we are back to summer weather, however, and it's a bit sticky.

But here's my card. Warm fall colors give me hope for crisp fall days!

The vibrant colors are from Peerless Watercolors, which get my vote for affordable, rich color. They are easy to use, too. The leaves and sentiment were embossed in white and painted over.

Watercolor papers tend to be cream rather than white, but this paper is excellently white...I think it's Tim Holtz.

Today's card is destined for one of the many fall birthdays in my family.

And now for some Cooper pictures. Because, you know, puppies have a lot to do with stamping.

The escape artist made it through. Not for many
more weeks, though. He's growing so fast!

Sleeping under my chair.

"There's nothing wrong with liking a cool breeze!"
Cooper really enjoys sleeping on AC vents.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs
ink: embossing ink
paper: watercolor paper (probably Tim Holtz) and Papertrey white
accessories: Embossing Buddy, white embossing powder, heat gun, Peerless Watercolors, brush, water caddy