Saturday, September 24, 2016

Email Subscriber Update and a Layout from Maille Belles

If you just want to see today's card, please scroll down and ignore the verbiage. If you subscribe by email, please read the verbiage.

Email Subscriber Update

When Eva and I met up the other day, she mentioned difficulty replying to the emails she receives as a subscriber through my FeedBurner account. She's not the only person who's expressed difficulty with this.

Frankly, Feedburner is a pain in the patootie. Several years ago, it decided not to play nicely with a lot of major email providers, and about 800 of my subscribers stopped getting emails. When I explored other email subscriber services, it turned out to be prohibitively expensive (upwards of $50 per month, in fact). So we're stuck with Feedburner, and I'm really sorry about this.

I looked around and couldn't find any way to address this issue sensibly. There are a few things you can do to work around the problem.

1. Add Susan Raihala and the email susanraihala at roadrunner dot com to your email address book, and then forward the email to me rather than hitting reply. Once I'm in your contacts, this option will be almost as easy as simply replying and should solve the problem.

2. Go to Simplicity's website by clicking in the email on the post title, scroll down on the page, and leave a public comment. I'm going to enable anonymous commenting again, and as long as the spam stays minimal, it'll stay that way. If I start getting a bunch of comments for sexxy grrls and varicose vein surgery, anonymous commenting will, once again, go away because no. Just no.

3. Subscribe to Simplicity via another avenue. There's a full list of options on the Subscribe Tab at the top of the blog. If you read a number of blogs, a blog reading service like BlogLovin or Feedly might be a more efficient option than email anyway.

Also, if you're on Facebook, know that I link to every post on Simplicity by Lateblossom's page there, so new posts will show up in your feed automatically.

And if you're a Pinterest junkie, follow my Cards by Susan Raihala page, and all you have to do is click on the photo. It'll take you to the post and you can comment there.  

A Layout from Maille Belles

On to a more entertaining topic...the genius of Maille Belles. If you've not encountered her blog, go there. Scroll around. She's truly amazing. The card that inspired me is HERE.

My card's layout is almost exactly like hers...or as alike as it can be with a different focal point.

This cup of fabulousness makes me so happy! It's from a Hero Arts set called Coffee Cup Tags. It was extremely easy to cut out, so no worries about not having a die cut machine. The holly also comes from a Hero set. To add some sparkle, I used Sakura stardust pens in red for the holly and clear to outline the whipped cream.

This is a GREAT layout for spotlighting larger images while still maintaining plenty of white space.

Note that Maille's card uses an angel with a strong vertical element (wings) that pushes the angel away from the line at the edge of her border. I love how she placed the sentiment in a way that "fills" the space under the left wing. The sentiment's strong vertical feel also helps balance the layout.

My cup, shaped totally differently than Maille's angel, still has strong vertical elements, including the sleeve with the sentiment. Since my sentiment is on the large, blocky image, my cup straddles the line so that one third is over the border with two thirds over the white space...thus preserving the rule of thirds. If the line had bisected the cup, it would have looked weird.

I'm sure Maille would never do that.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts, Archival
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: craft foam, Sakura stardust pens in red and clear, gold Prismcolor gold metallic pen, ruler

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Soft Thanks

First, a problem. A few of you who subscribe via email are hitting reply and sending emails, only to have them returned to you. Others reply with no difficulty at all. I have no idea what's going on here but will investigate and see what turns up.

Second, I want to thank reader Eva for meeting me today for coffee and a little shopping spree at Marco's Paper! What a fun way to spend the fun, in fact, that we're going to do it again! But it got me thinking, how many other readers are in the greater Dayton/northern Cincinnati area who might want to meet for coffee? I LOVE meeting people for coffee. If you live locally and are interested in coffee and stampy conversation, please shoot me an email at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

Last year, kind reader Sonya sent sent me a very generous batch of feather die cuts that match Waltzingmouse's Fine Feathers. Here I am using them again!

This soft thank you card will be perfect to send to a friend who recently did me a lovely, kind, and very comfortable good deed. She was present when I needed her. The value of that is inestimable.

The far right feather is glued down flat, but the other two are only glued at the bottom. After the glue dried, I lifted the tops of the die cuts and slipped dimensionals under them. What a neat way to add a bit of dimension to a very subtle, simple design.

The ink is Mama Elephant moonlight pigment, which doesn't dry well for me. After waiting just a minute, I dusted the stamped die cuts with my embossing buddy and then let them sit a little longer before gently wiping them with a tissue. The densely inked feather required a second coating with the embossing buddy, but that did the trick.

Merci to all of you for the comments and emails and lurking. It's lovely to know that my little corner of the internet makes some people happy!

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feathers, Clear and Simple Stamps Thank You
ink: Mama Elephant moonlight, Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: die cuts, embossing buddy, silver cord, dimensionals

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It's a Miracle!

I made a card with washi! Doesn't this little 1.5" strip justify the bazillion rolls of the stuff on my shelf?

Of course, it does. What a silly question.

The panel is just attached with the washi, although I suspect I need to add a little something to make it more permanent since washi isn't. But I love how the bottom of the panel sticks out from the card, as if it really were hanging there. I think I'll put a little glue on the top edge of the panel and leave it at that.

Isn't it great how the Hero Arts pale tomato ink perfectly matches the washi. Yay! And the fresh peach (also from Hero) gives a lighter tone to the center, solid heart.

Let's admire that sentiment as well. Oh, how I love the handwritten font. Love. Love. Love!!!!

What supply do you have a bazillion of that you could actually use a little of? Search your hoard and find something neglected, apply a little creativity, and see what happens!

stamps: Papertrey (Keep It Simple Encouragement), October Afternoon
ink: Hero Arts pale tomato, fresh peach, soft sky; Memento Luxe tuxedo black
paper: Papertrey
accessories: washi

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thanksgiving Crusade Wreaths

For my Canadian readers, October 10 is Thanksgiving this year. This is partly why I start the Thanksgiving Crusade so early. If you've made your Thanksgiving cards or gratitude cards to thank the special people in your life, link to them on the Thanksgiving Crusade page.

There will be a $25 gift card in it for one lucky winner!

If you're looking for Thanksgiving inspiration, check out last year's entries, which are still up on the Crusade page.

Today's cards highlight two wreaths in the set Autumn Blessings from Simon Says Stamp.

Both of these cards have the benefit of easy mass production. Plus, they show the rich beauty of pigment inks and well-designed stamps!

Do you have a favorite thank-you or fall-themed stamp set? I have several, and this is one of them, but let's enable each other!

stamps: Simon Says Stamps Autumn Blessings
ink: various pigment
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles 

Monday, September 19, 2016

CASEing a Layout, Part 2

Yesterday's card, which fits so nicely in the Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge, isn't the only one I made that was inspired by Tracy May's gorgeous card on Pinterest. Of course, since I don't have a die-cut machine, my punches did the work, but the results are soft and fresh and fun anyway!

The sand dollar punch is from Martha Stewart and the branch (which substitutes as seaweed) is from Tim Holtz. Rather than use colored card stock for the seaweed and centers of the sand dollars, I stamped large shapes with Mama Elephant moon light and Impress Fresh Ink grass, then punched. Being able to stamp and then punch gave me just the shades I colored cardstock stash is, shall we say, not as robust as it used to be.

My ink stash, however, is growing by leaps and bounds. And yes, the embossing buddy made the moon light ink dry lickity-split.

The splashy background was made with Papertrey Grunge Me and My Favorite Things Jumbo Abstract Art stamps. The inks were Impress Fresh Sicilian blue and Avery Elle sea glass. I kept stamping until the coverage looked right.

Now, ordinarily, one might design this card with one or three sand dollars, following the rule that odd numbers typically are more pleasing to the eye. Tracy, for instance, uses one flower on her card. However, in the interests of unifying the sentiment and the focal point, I stuck with two sand dollars on a waterbed with pillows of seaweed.

Read into that what you will.

I recommend playing the soundtrack of From Here to Eternity while you do.

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey, My Favorite Things
ink: Impress Fresh Ink, Memento Luxe, Avery Elle, Mama Elephant
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: punches from Tim Holtz and Martha Stewart, circle punch (behind the sand dollars), rhinestones, glue, dimensionals

Sunday, September 18, 2016

CASEing a Layout, Part 1

Let's face it. There are only so many layouts that truly work with clean-and-simple cards. The more layers you add, the more layout options there are, but if you're looking to keep things simple and minimalist AND follow the rules of good design, well, there's only so much you can do.

I've always found the layout Tracy May uses on this card very appealing for several reasons. First, the focal point is sort of in a sweet spot...the intersection of lines dividing the card into (roughly) thirds. The slight shift downward from the exact third (almost to a bottom quarter) works incredibly well, and it leaves a nearly obscene amount of glorious white space on the top of the card. Your eye has NOWHERE to go but to the focal point.

Isn't Tracy's card simply lovely?

Anyway, my version uses a shockingly different color palette from Tracy's soft blues and makes the sentiment the focal point, using the corner decoration as a backdrop only. I know I've probably used these colors together before, but seriously, even though I'm a "winter" through and through in my own personal wardrobe color scheme, warm fall colors make me feel so very, very happy and content.

For this backdrop, I went two-thirds the way up and almost all the way over the bottom. That bottom coverage (so to speak) grounds the design nicely, and proves nice pop for the sentiment panel.

The colors are Hero Arts butter bar and pumpkin pie, and Papertrey's terra cotta. So fiery and warm! To add some interest to the sentiment, I inked the whole stamp in butter bar and then rolled some terra cotta onto the bottom. If you look closely below, you'll see a bit of gradation, but you'll also notice I probably rolled a little too far with the terra cotta. Oh, well.

The corners of the raised panel are also snipped with scallop scissors for a little extra finished touch.

One of my many happy moments in fall is seeing a pile of multicolored leaves jumbled together. What are some of your favorite autumn images?

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits
ink: Hero Arts butter bar, pumpkin pie; Papertrey terra cotta
paper: Gina K cream
accessories: dimensionals, scallop scissors

Autumn Blessings

Today's post highlights a very old set from Papertrey called First Fruits. It's a gorgeous set full of stylized, very classic fall images...and a fun pineapple, too.

It might be hard to tell on the screen, but the card stock is cream colored rather than white. Shocking, I know. But there you have it. White space doesn't have to be white. It can be cream, too! But for this card (and several other fall-themed cards I've made recently) the softness of cream worked better with the autumnal colors.

The raised panel was a scrap rescued from a failed card. I stamped the pineapple and sentiment, then edged the panel in with a copper paint marker. It still needed a little something-something, and a single small, brown bling was just the thing.

It's so fun to pull out sets from many years ago and play around with them. You just never know what you'll come up with. Well-designed sets are timeless. Tell me what old set you've played with recently.

stamps: Papertrey First Fruits
ink: Memento Luxe peanut brittle, rich cocoa, olive grove
paper: Gina K cream
accessories: copper metallic paint pen, ruler, craft foam, rhinestone