Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One-Layer Wednesday #138: Spring Has Sprung...and a Waltzingmouse Give-Away!!!

Spring is in full swing in the northern hemisphere, so this week's OLW Challenge is to make a card that celebrates spring in some way. (Those of you down south can escape autumn colors for a moment!)

Here's my card:

A Give-Away Sponsored by Waltzingmouse
For this challenge, we have a fabulous give-away from Waltzingmouse Stamps. Claire Brennan is one of the nicest people on the Internet, and she's giving away a copy of the set I used on my card today...Blessed by You. Aren't all those sentiments and images wonderful!?!? Thank you, Claire!

All you have to do for your chance to win is to link to your Spring Has Sprung One-Layer Wednesday card using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity by the deadline (11:59 EDT, May 7, 2013). A random entry will be selected to win the set. The contest is open to all!

OLW138 Rules
1. A one-layer card is defined as a single layer of card stock folded in half. No other layers allowed!

2. Make a card to celebrate spring (spring flowers, colors, theme, holiday). Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Post your card online and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity. If your card is posted on your blog, please link to the specific blog post and not your main page.

4. The most important rule of all...HAVE FUN!

stamps: Waltzingmouse Blessed by You
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: ribbon, rhinestones (Hero Arts), scallop scissors (to round the bottom corners for a more finished look)

Thinking Things

My brain is always thinking things. It's sort of frustrating and makes it hard to fall asleep at night, and it means I walk around wearing a thoughtful, distracted face and tend to ignore people who say hello to me.

On the other hand, my brain generally thinks good things, with a definitely inclination toward irony and humor and optimism. It doesn't like thinking about bad things, though sometimes it must, but it works through them as quickly as possible to get back to the good things it enjoys.

Like summer fields of wildflowers. Wordsworth might have gotten high on the memory of daffodils dancing in the breeze, but I prefer wildflowers to dance away my pensive moods.

Have you ever been in the Rocky Mountains (I suppose any big mountains will do, though) and hiked through a meadow full of wildflowers? I have. It made me think about God and gratitude and peace and how beauty happens without human interference and earth doesn't really need us to carry on. And at the end of one particularly long backpacking trip, it made me think how nice it would be when I got back to civilization and hot water and my razor that would fix the inch of hair growing in my armpits and on my legs.

TMI? Sorry about that.

Anyway, meadow full of wildflowers...thinking of you...a match made in heaven.

The botanical stamps are from Technique Tuesday's One of a Kind set. I accented them with a pink Sakura Stardust pen. The sentiment is from a limited edition Clear and Simple set (no longer available).

Happy Tuesday. I'm nursing a sick teenager. Poor little lamb. Laryngitis has rendered his voice squeaky and crackly...and when his normal deep voice cracks through, it's utterly hysterically funny. Even he laughs. Then he coughs. It's sad. It's funny. It gives me something to think about.

What are you thinking about today?

stamps: Technique Tuesday (One of a Kind), Clear and Simple Stamps (Thinking of You)
ink: Memento, Memories
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: Sakura stardust pen

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Window into My Refreshed Soul

One-Layer Wednesday Update...Last Wednesday's challenge is on Karen's blog. I'm so sorry it slipped my mind. It's been a bit crazy around here.

I'm typing this post on my new laptop my hubby bought me today. I love the screen on this thing, but Windows 8 has me lost and confused. I'll figure it out, but really, Microsoft, did you have to change everything? Seriously? You're just messin' with me, right?

Anyway, my Mojo Muse has returned and is pretending like nothing happened (slut), so I had some quality ink time this weekend with my new goodies.

I even pulled out a sponge and channeled my inner Heather T!

To make this card, I used the pink Marvy square punch a window into the white panel and trimmed the panel to 5 1/8" x 3 7/8". Then, I punched another square the same size from a scrap of white card stock and centered that square inside the opening of the next-size-up punch (the purple Marvy), punched, and made a frame to fit the window.

After lightly marking the edges of the window on the card base, I masked the square (slightly larger than the window) and stamped the flowers from Technique Tuesday One of a Kind in Paris Dusk Memento ink. Then, using a sponge, I shaded the background with Blue Sky ink. I can't sponge as well as Heather, but it turned out okay!

The sentiment is from Papertrey Mixed Messages, and is stamped in black.

The window panel is, of course, popped up using dimensionals, and the frame of the window is glued in place.

Refreshed, indeed!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

stamps: Technique Tuesday, Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: sponge, square punches, dimensionals

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Love the Smell of Photopolymer in the Afternoon...

You know, when you buy as few stamps as I have in the past two years, the smell of them hits you like a rare and wonderful blessing.

I'm reminded of that scene in When Harry Met Sally, but I'm not sure why, because the joy that comes from the smell of high-quality photopolymer rising from a freshly opened U.S. postal service cardboard box can't be faked. 

Maybe I just love When Harry Met Sally. Who's with me?

Of course you are. Meg Ryan is adorable.

Anyway, here's what I sniffed.

This order came from Ellen Hutson's store in record time, and as usual includes a little thank you card and gift of ribbon.

I want to thank y'all for the recommendations of stamp companies to check out. I think my favorite new-to-me recommendation so far is CAS-ual Fridays. I've seen the name around on blogs but had never looked that closely. Good stuff! In fact, as soon as I opened the box and snapped this photo, I put the CAS-ual Friday set Breathe to work.

I bought this set because it's got some lovely, encouraging sentiments in it that will be great for friends and family for years to come. Right now, I have a friend who hates the month of April--the cruelest month--for very good reason. Bad things happen to her every single April. Not "oh, I got a paper cut" sorts of bad things, but "loved ones die" sorts of bad things. Every. Single. April.

If I believed in curses, I'd believe she was cursed. It's really awful.

I usually give her a card or little treat in April, and we try hard to joke about it. This April, however, has been no joke and particularly hard on her. It's all just so very sad.

She's already gotten a sympathy card this month, and here's her end-of-April card from me.

I curved the April on the block to follow the curve of the swish and rather like how it distorts the word a bit, making it look a bit awkward and unbalanced and squashed on top.

She won't, of course, be able to "just let the grief go" (that has to be lived through) but she can let April go, and move into May with a hopeful heart. She's one strong lady of faith, and I know this sentiment is perfect for her.

I hope April has been kinder to you than to my friend. Is there a particular day or month that makes you feel cursed? Or perhaps blessed?

I've never had a "bad" day or month, but I've always loved November (so many birthdays, including my own, and Thanksgiving, and pumpkins and fall leaves and mums and crisp blue sky and sweater weather and so on!). My son Nick observed at the age of three that all good things happen on Thursdays. It's shocking how often that turns out to be true in our family.

What about you?

stamps: Hero Arts (April), CAS-ual Fridays (swish and sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: black half pearls, Corner Chomper

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thud, Thud, Thud

That's the sound my head makes when I gently bang it on my craft table.


Never have more innocent pieces of card stock been ruined in a single day than yesterday in my craft space. It was high tragedy, the murder of those pieces of expensive, white paper.

"Hark! What light through yonder window breaks? Why, it is Diana's full light reflecting off the naked backside of my sweet stamping Mojo, run away! Come back, come back, my sweet Muse! I have need of thee!"

Thud, I say.

Okay, so it's melodrama rather than high tragedy, but you know how I feel. Oh, yes. Every last one of you knows exactly how I feel. Next time you feel this way (and, sadly, there will be a next time), just picture your muse streaking naked away from you in the moonlight, pour a glass of wine, and wait for it to come skulking back.

It'll remember where it's supposed to be eventually.

Today, I murdered a few more pieces of paper but got there in the end thanks to Dumb Luck. Mojo is still off drinking a Mojito without me.

The floral stamp was inked with Memento Danube blue ink, sprayed with Glimmer Mist, and stamped. I repeated with blue sky ink. Fun and easy, up until my bottle clogged.

Does anyone know how to unclog Glimmer Mist bottles?

Thud, thud, thud.

stamps: Clear and Simple Stamps (Kind Deeds), Papertrey (Mega Mixed Messages)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: Glimmer Mist, rhinestones, sharpie (to color rhinestones), dimensionals, sheer ribbon

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Random Responses and an Inspiring Link

If you haven't read all the comments on yesterday's post, please go do so. LOTS of great advice there.

There were also a few questions, so let's address them.

1. Shawn asked for purging advice, especially for embellishments and designer paper. I could write a book, but the short answer is this.

Purging Advice I've Blogged before But Is Worth Repeating

Step 1: Load all the stuff you think you might like to get rid of into a cardboard box or boxes.

Step 2: Label the box with a date six months to a year from the day you loaded it.

Step 3: Store the box as far away from your craft space as you can. (If the box includes stamps, make sure it's a climate-controlled space as excessive heat can ruin the stamps.)

Step 4: After that date on the box, go through the box again and pull whatever you still can't bear to part with, or simply take the box, unopened, to Salvation Army. (IF you want to claim a deduction on your taxes for the donation, make sure you create an itemized inventory and get a receipt with the date of the donation.)

If you want to sell your stuff, that's trickier. In the grab boxes of stamps I sell (which are really good deals, by the way...everyone who's bought one says so!), I included the DP, embellishments, and card stock I want to get rid of. In my upcoming sale, there will be a LOT less of that stuff, because so much of it is gone already.

Donating DP and embellishments that aren't choking hazards to churches, preschools, or elementary schools is a great idea. The choking hazards can go to art departments in higher grades.

Hope that helps, Shawn. It's still a pain in the butt to purge, though. I can't fix that. But you'll feel better once it's finished. I promise!

2. Christi suggested setting up a stamp swap. This would be a great idea and lots of fun for people who know each other in real life and trust each other. I see huge potential for some unsavory character to take advantage, though.

3. Christine M. asked about breaking up sets. I do break up wood-mounted sets but tend to leave clear sets together. The big question, though, is this: do you want to make decent money on re-sale or do you want to give away/donate/sell really cheap? Once you answer that question, you know what to do about breaking up sets.

4. Beth is preparing for another PCS. For you civilians out there, PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station, which is a bit oxymoronic because there is nothing permanent about a PCS...we did eight of them in George's 20 years in the Air Force. A PCS is (generally) longer than a TDY, or Temporary Duty. You get to take your family along when you PCS, but they (again, generally) stay behind when you go TDY.  So, since Beth is preparing for a PCS, that means the lowest bidder on the military moving contract will be moving her stuff, and she's in for a major headache. Been there, done that, Beth, and God be with you.

Thank you for your service to our country.

5. Ginny sent me a link to a really cool blog. Colette Copeland would be a great person to meet for tea if you live in Toronto. If you're like me and don't live in Toronto, however, you can settle for making yourself a cup of tea and spending some time poking around her gorgeous and very inspiring blog. Her style is artistic and refreshing. What a wonderful source of inspiration!

And now after all these words, I owe you a card. Sadly, this is my last card to share, and it's not particularly stellar. I simply must make some time to stamp and SOON.

stamps: Papertrey Comfort Food
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white (not gray, as the photo makes it seem!)
accessories: heart rhinestone, dimensionals

Monday, April 22, 2013

To Buy or Not to Buy, That Is the Question

Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the abundance of conspicuous consumption or to take up arms against it in minimalist extremism....

See, Shakespeare has a quotation for everything. (By the way, tomorrow is the 397th anniversary of the Bard's death. Lift your goblet of wine to his memory and mutter, "Out, damned spot! out, I say!" Some people will think you're crazy, but the rest of us will get it.)

Back to Hamlet. I'm not the indecisive Dane (well, at least I'm not a Dane), but my answer to the question of to buy or not to buy is moving back toward the middle.

When I CASEd Laura Bassen's card, I commented that I needed the Uniko set she used. Reader Karen asked this very legitimate question:

"I LOVE the card you made, yet I am curious why you think you need the flower set when you made do with what you already had. In your quest to simplify and purge unused sets, it makes me wonder."

Good question, Karen.

I rarely buy sets based on what other stampers use, and I never buy with the intent to directly copy someone else's design work...though there is nothing wrong with doing so as long as the copyist isn't making money off of someone else's creative idea and acknowledges the source publicly if necessary.

In this case, however, I had never seen the Uniko set before and really liked it, not just because Laura used it brilliantly but for its own sake. I love the lightness of the outline flowers and the size variations, and really believe they will enhance my smaller collection nicely.

Besides, I need some new stamps. After two years of austerity and purging, I'm feeling the need for...refreshment. Yes, that's the word. Refreshment.

Basically, I'm bored. Here's why.

My whittled-down stamp collection is lovely and manageable and--most importantly--used. Every stamp I own has seen ink and been used enough to justify its cost. There's still a little dead weight that needs to go, mostly sets I bought because I felt that I should like them...Papertrey's Simply Jane, for instance. I still used these sets (every single blessed stamp!), but I didn't enjoy the experience. A few other stamps need to go because they were trendy at the time but look less appealing to me now, although most of these have already been ditched. 

But by far my biggest issue with my current collection is over-use. Some of my older stamps (Papertrey's Beautiful Blooms and Green Thumb come immediately to mind) are still wonderful, but I've used them to death. Used. Them. To. Death. Last time I pulled out Beautiful Blooms, I thought, "Oh, man. Really? I have to use it again?" I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of them, but it's also definitely time to try some new flowers.


Finding balance between the burden of conspicuous consumption (when you have so much stuff you don't know what to do with it) and minimalist boredom (when you don't have enough to interest you) is tough. Our culture encourages spending, and those darn stamp companies keep puttin' out cool stuff that is soooooo tempting!

Several years ago, I found myself with way too much stuff and it was stifling creativity. I spent more time organizing and shopping than stamping. I reined in the conspicuous consumption and severely limited purchases for over two years while at the same time purging a whole bunch of stuff.

I'm a whole lot happier and more creative now with less, and can't see myself letting things get out of control again. In fact, I've limited storage in ways that make it pretty much impossible for me to go all pathological hoarder again.

The set point for each person, however, is different. Some of you would come to my new and improved stamp space and say, "This is all you've got?" Others would say, "Wow, how'd you get so much stuff?"

The challenge is finding your own balance and maintaining it for your own mental and fiscal health.

That's what I think.

Now it's your turn. Please share your thoughts on "to buy or not to buy" and how you maintain balance or don't.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

OLW136 A-ok!

This is today's second post. Please scroll down to see the first post.

Ardyth's One-Layer Wednesday challenge this week is to use elements that begin with the letter A.

I briefly contemplated making a card with a scarlet A, but then decided, well, to whom would I send it? Really, that doesn't seem very appropriate, does it? So then I tried using an Artisan Collection wine bottle for inspiration, but the results were an insult to the delicious wine the bottle once held.

Then I found my stamp for the Pledge of Allegiance and thought that Allegiance and America both begin with A's, so here you go.

Please also note that the design is Asymmetrical (and also a tad Awkward). I decided to try again, keeping the Asymmetrical idea and adding an Acorn of Abundance...and in the process made my first Gratitude Campaign card for 2013.

Now that's a card that deserves an A! At least it does if I do the grading.

Click on over to Ardyth's blog and play along if you haven't already.

Allegiance Card
stamps: Stampabilities (pledge), SU The Free and the Brave (star border)
ink: SU cherry cobbler, marina mist
paper: Papertrey Ink white

Acorn Card
stamps: Papertrey First Fruits (acorn), Fall Elegance (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: corner rounder

Inspired by Julie Masse

The always-talented Julie Masse published a card in the recent Stamp It 3 Ways that knocked my socks off. The colors and the layout both struck me as awesomely CASE-able.

Card by Julie Masse, please ignore my copyright tag

My CASE (Copy and Share Everything) is pretty close to the original in everything but stamp style and proportions. While Julie went with vintage, distressed border images that provide a really excellent contrast to the strong sentiment, I had only crisper images to work with in my hoard. Note the difference in the overall feel of my card...and how stamp style can change of the feel of a card. A LOT.

The Dot Spot set from Papertrey has only one problem...there are larger spots and small ones, but not much in the middle. This lead me to change the proportions of Julie's card considerably. To make my smaller circles stand a little stronger, I chose a slightly brighter blue than Julie used, and brought attention to the smaller, lighter sentiment by leaving out the bling in the circle where the tail of the "y" points.

What a great card for OWH, don't you think?

Many, many thanks to Julie Masse for sharing her talent in Stamp It 3 Ways and providing such wonderful inspiration!!!!!

stamps: Papertrey Backgroud Basics, Dot Spot
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: large rhinestones

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Inspired by Laura Bassen

Today's Inspiration from Stamp It 3 Ways comes courtesy of Laura Bassen's amazingly pretty (and clean and simple) Graphic Floral Birthday Card

Note how nice the popped flowers look, as well as the raised sentiment and the interesting yet oh-so-simple border on the right. Once again, I couldn't get the colors right in the photo...all the card stock on this card is really white, not blue! But what really inspired me in this card were the bright, fresh colors popping off the white and the outline, spirograph-looking flowers!

Unfortunately, as I searched my stash, I didn't turn up any flowers even close to these fabulous ones(and will likely be buying this set from Uniko Studio very soon). BUT I could at least use Laura's fab colors with the wonderful Dot Spot set from Papertrey for a little different effect, while still remaining true to the feel of Laura's card.

Notice that I simplified Laura's already simple design...my stamps carry more visual weigh (give denser color) than hers, and it felt right to leave the whole thing one layer as a result. Also, since I wanted to use this very long sentiment (also PTI, from one of their $5 sentiment sets), I had to shift from portrait to landscape orientation to make room for it.

All the bling was colored with Copic/Bic/Sharpie markers to match the inks. I think this may be the most useful (for me) part of owning such alcohol-based markers. I sure don't color outline images with them often, do I?

Laura used a color combination I NEVER would have thought of, not in a million years, and how totally fresh and fun is it!!! Thank you, Laura, so very much for sharing your talent with us!

stamps: Papertrey Dot Spot, Think Big
ink: SU Cool Caribbean, others are Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: rhinestones, Copic/Bic/Sharpie markers (to color the rhinestones)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Inspired by Amber Kemp-Gerstel in Stamp It 3 Ways

The most recent Stamp It 3 Ways contains lots of really good inspiration, and I'm going to start with Amber Kemp-Gerstel's card on page 84, titled Abstract Sincere Card:

(Note: the card base is white in real life...hard to photograph on the slick magazine pages!)

I love how she's colored in what looks to be the same image in multiple color schemes and then cut out random sections on random, uneven blocks. The colors are pretty and the design both cool and interesting!

My version, of course, reflects a bit more, um, obsessive-compulsive neatness, and uses block stamps rather than outline stamps that need to be colored. Because I'm lazy and Amber isn't.

I just love the fun and whimsy this design creates! Just think of all the possibilities! Perhaps you could try your own version this weekend....

Just an idea.

Wow, if feels good to be up and blogging again!

Stamps: Papertrey Heart 2 Heart #11
Ink: Memento
Paper: Papertrey
Accessories: craft knife, quilting ruler, dimensionals

Back in Business

I'm now up and running with our very old desktop computer that had been relegated to the basement for the children's use. A new keyboard (because a kid spilled orange soda on the old one) and some time setting up email and such, and it's working fine.

*knocking on wood*

If you are someone I know in real life or have regularly corresponded with via email, PLEASE send me an email at gsraihala at roadrunner dot com. I did lose my email contacts and all emails earlier than a week ago, and that's really the worst of the whole experience. If you email me, I can restore you as a contact.
I'll have to re-shoot some cards and load them onto the new/old computer before I can post anything stamping relevant, but you may rest assured that will happen soon!

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Computer Crash

My computer has crashed. I'm not sure if we can save it, and have no idea when I will be up and running again with photos and everything...though hopefully not too long!!!!

I just wanted to let you know so you don't worry, 'cause y'all are so sweet!

Brads, The Finale

Today's card is my last brad card for a while...perhaps a LONG while. It's cute, though, isn't it?

Pastels are hard to photograph well...the pink looks darker in real life, but you get the idea. I love all the dots here, from Dot Spot flowers to the Polka Dot Basics "grass" to the sprinkle of brads. TEN on one card. Not too shabby!

And now for a few comments....

1. Thanks for all your comments and suggestions on my request for stamp company recommendations. As soon as I posted that request, my email went wonky and I've been trying to trouble-shoot and get it all straightened out. What a nightmare!!!! Please use the following new email address for me in the future: gsraihala at roadrunner dot com. I think I've changed it everywhere on the blogs, but you wouldn't believe how complicated that is! Once I work through these issues, I'll start poking around at some of your suggested stamp companies. Your comments are a great resource for many people!

2. The Boston bombings have hit me hard. I've stood so often at or near the finish line of Ironman races. I know the excitement and energy and fun of the crowd, the joy of seeing racers staggering toward the finish or sprinting on adrenaline, the excited voice of announcers calling the names of finishers. I've seen parents pick up their children and carry them over the finish and fist-bumped my own husband as he approached.

To think of the evil of someone setting off bombs in that environment horrifies me. I hope justice is done, but more than that, I pray the surviving victims' lives will be pieced back together and healing will happen, not just of bodies but of hearts and minds and souls. And I pray for comfort for the families of those killed. Nothing can make up for their loss. Nothing.

stamps: Papertrey Ink
paper: Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento
accessories: corner rounder, brads, awl, DMC floss, dimensionals

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston and Bombs

I'm not going to post a card tonight because today has been sad on a national level and a personal level, and frustrating, too. Posting my cheerful card seems indecent and inappropriate when the parents of an 8-year-old are mourning, when three whole families in Boston are mourning and countless others are eaten up with worry and fear.

My heart is in Boston right now. My heart is with my friend whose mother died today in New Hampshire. So much sadness, so much suddenness, so much horror, so many unanswered questions.

Tonight is a night for prayers of comfort, of peace, of love and mercy and justice.

God's grace and peace be with us all.

Question about Stamp Companies

Quick question for you...what stamp companies do you like/recommend? I prefer high-quality photopolymer stamps these days, but won't say no to rubber either.

For years, I've (mostly) limited myself to Papertrey, SU, and Hero Arts. Feelin' the need to branch out a bit. I'm already looking at GinaK and Dare2BArtzy but feel a tad overwhelmed by the number of other choices out there.

Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brad Berries

I have two posts of brads (including today's), and then I'm moving on to inspiration from a magazine. Lately, I've not been feeling very inspired by magazines, which isn't necessarily a commentary on magazines or the cards published therein so much as on my ability to be inspired. But I recently found three sources of inspiration in a single magazine, and I'll share those after tomorrow.

For today, we're looking at brads a little differently...not as card embellishments, but as berries on Christmas ornaments. You sure can use up a LOT of brads this way!!!!

These ornaments were made with the following supplies:

  • purple Marvy scallop circle punch
  • pink Marvy circle punch
  • dimensionals
  • craft thread
  • Memento Bahama blue and cottage ivy
  • brads, 12 each
  • Papertrey Ink's A Wreath for All Seasons stamp set

One thing I love about using brads here is the weight they add to the ornaments. Paper ornaments tend to be very light and fluttery, but these are slightly heavier and hang nicely.

While these are rather obvious to construct, I attached the thread loops between the dimensional and the scallop circle by knotting the two ends together and placing said knot below the dimensional for added stability. It will be hard to pull the knot between the paper and the dimensional, but it might be easy for the two loose ends to pull through.

These would make extra special gift tags or small gifts at Christmas. They are easy, quick, and like I said above, consume lots of brads!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blessings and Butterflies

Great responses to the color question on my last post!!! And no, I won't be using Fairy Vomit anytime soon because I gave it away. But I do have a VersaColor cube that's close to Fairy Vomit. I  used it sometime over the winter and liked it.

Anything's possible, I suppose.

Today's card spotlights orange, the color I used to hate. Clearly, I've gotten over it.

The butterfly and border are from a PTI anniversary set called Round and Round. I wanted to use the border in a slightly different way, so I left it floating. Which caused me to pull the butterfly stamp out and make everything float on the card. The sentiment is from Signature Greetings, also by PTI.

Feel free to take the sentiment personally on this rainy Friday. You really are a blessing to me, for reading my blogs, for commenting, for emailing me, for encouraging me.

Thank you.

stamps: Papertrey Round and Round, Signature Greetings
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Squares Again, Naturally

This week's OLW is on Heather's Blog. It's a fun one, and I hope you'll join in!!!!

Reading your comments on my last post was enlightening. Methinks I'll be purging again soon...and I mean that in a good way.

Other than the brad cards, I've not made much in the past few weeks, but I found a stash of cards on my computer that haven't made their way onto the blog yet, so yay! At least, I don't remember posting them, but, then, my memory isn't what it used to be.

Don't you love the Square Prints set from the mega-talented Maile Belles at Papertrey?

I saw a card somewhere (Maile's blog, perhaps) that used the squares from Square Prints snuggled next to each other to form a largish background. This takes a surprisingly steady hand, and I much prefer using these squares with a little space around them, or punched and popped into place using a dimensional. Much more forgiving. But then, I've been battling perfectionism since birth, so you might find the odd overlap less of a bother.

Bahama blue and pear tart would be my two favorite Memento colors if I had favorite colors, which I do not. I also don't have a favorite dessert, favorite song, or favorite book. I'm all about inclusion. We wouldn't want the apple pie feeling sad because I prefer chocolate cake, now would we?

Which may explain my 10-pound weight gain this winter.

But anyway, when I was young, I didn't like yellowy greens like pear tart, and now I love them. Tastes change, and I think as we grow up and experience more of these changes in ourselves, we realize how ephemeral our preferences are and hate things a little less. After all, who knows when you'll suddenly feel a need for a puce wardrobe, you know?

If you have a least-favorite color, I urge you to overcome your prejudice and find ways to use it. All colors serve a wonderful purpose in design. I used to hate orange. I mean hate with a hot hate. But I made myself use it and lo, the clouds parted and orange became beautiful in my eyes! Now, it makes me happy, especially when I saw my son wearing an orange graphic t-shirt with the Reese's logo on it.


Have you overcome a prejudice against a color? How did you do it? Was it a natural, gradual change; did you work to overcome it; or did you experience an epiphany?

stamps: Papertrey Square Prints, Round and Round
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: nada

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Specialty Brads and a Philosophical Question

Brads come in lots of shapes and sizes, and when they were popular, there were lots of tutorials on using them and even altering them. I watched an employee at a brick-and-mortar stamp store heat-emboss a brad to change its color. How cool is that?!!?

Turns out, not very. I did the technique and used the brads on a scrapbook page. The pressure of the book (and it was a small one) caused the melted embossing powder to crack and peel off the brads, leaving the page looking a mess. Urg.

I never bought brads in any shapes except round and square, but I did purchase a bunch of gemstone brads, which are very pretty...and also very, very thick. So thick that they won't really work on scrapbook pages or mail in regular envelopes. But they are pretty, and I have a few left, so here goes.

Here, I was able to use up six of the round gemstone brads, three blue and three lavender. I'll give this card to someone in a package or in person because it would get totally mangled in the regular mail.

As pretty as these embellishments are, they are not practical for my ordinary stamping (mainly cards for my use and OWH), which brings up an interesting point. What embellishments should we buy for our stash, and which ones should we buy only as needed for special projects? Honestly, I never really thought about this before...which explains why I have so many blasted brads still hanging around after all these years.

Your answer to this question will be different from mine because your "ordinary" crafting is likely different. You might scrapbook more than I do, or make altered art or home decor pieces that allow for 3D embellisment. Perhaps you don't care about the added cost of sending your works of art in the mail using bubble envelopes, or perhaps you hand-deliver your creations to people in nursing homes or hospitals.

Please share which embellishments are useful to keep in your stash and which ones languish unused, saved for a "special" occasion (but really just taking up space and cluttering up your drawers!). I'll bet one stamper's clutter is another's must-stock item!

Useful for me: craft floss, twine, and lots and lots of self-adhesive rhinestones
Clutter for me: buttons, brads, hardware

Your turn!

stamps: Papertrey Ink Everyday Blessings, Beautiful Blooms
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestone brads, dimensionals

Monday, April 8, 2013

Use Up Those Old Brads: Flower Middles

One might think that brads were invented to be used by stampers for the centers of flowers. I've used them as centers in Primas and other "store-bought" flowers and as centers for very many punched flowers, but by far the easiest use is on a stamped flower right on the card.

And the easiest way to kick brads up a notch is to use multiple sizes of a single color. Monochrome designs keep the look clean and simple, but size variations add interest. In both cards, I used two sizes of flower and brads, but everything else about the cards is simple, simple, simple.

Oh, and the only reason I rounded the corners on the stamped panel in the second card is because I messed up the upper right-hand corner. The center of the flower showed. Since I couldn't put a brad on the edge, I rounded off the mistake. Easy fix!

I really feel like this blog needs an Easy Button to push for every post as I'm always telling you how to make things easier, fix things easier, design easier. I'm all about the Easy.

But I'm not easy. Just ask my husband.

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blooms, Everyday Blessings
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, assorted brads, corner rounder

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ways to Purge: Use It

When we think of purging unwanted supplies, we often consider only three options: donate them, sell them, or throw them in the trash.

Come on, you know you have icky, cheapo supplies, and you would best serve the world by pitching them in a trash or recycling bin. Even kindergartners deserve better than some of the stuff I've bought over the years.

Anyway, a fourth option is actually to use the supplies that have been languishing in our copious storage drawers and containers.

And yes, I wanted to type to actually use, but that's splitting an infinitive, and I just couldn't do it today. I'm feeling a bit too precise. Perhaps I need a massage to loosen up.

Yesterday, I decided actually to use some of my brad collection. Brads were all the rage years ago, and of course I had to buy them in every color known to God and man, so despite the fact that I've donated or sold a huge number of the pronged fasteners, very, very many languish in cute little bead storage boxes in my embellishment drawers.

I had visions of coming up with a truly creative and mind-blowing use for them, but alas, no such luck. But by golly, I used a lot of them, so I'll share the cards over the next few days.

Today, we're going to look at paper piercing and brads, a match made in heaven. If you were undisciplined obsessive acquisitive enough to buy bought a bunch of templates for paper piercing, then today is your lucky day! I controlled myself where templates were concerned, so I had to make do with SU's mat pack, which it pretty helpful for square, rectangular, or linear designs. But if you have larger designs, you could blitz through a huge stash of brads pretty quickly.

Here are my two pierced and bradded cards. Notice that they are two-layer cards because brad butts left visible on the inside of the card bother me. If they don't bother you, feel free to stick to one layer. I want those butts covered, though. They are not sexy.

4.25" square card

standard 4.25" x 5.5" card

Poking holes in lines or a square grid is pretty straightforward, but I still managed to mess the second one up...it was originally supposed to be landscape oriented. But that's okay. I just didn't use as many brads.

Why not poke around in your supplies for something that you can use up?

Well, there I go, ending a question with a preposition. What is the world coming to?

stamps: Papertrey Ink (Think Big set, not sure which)
ink: SU green galore
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: assorted brads, dimensionals, SU mat pack, awl, corner rounder

Friday, April 5, 2013

Birthday Birdies

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Memento's color range from yellow to dark orange? Oh, yeah. You can make cards like this for no reason other than you can:

To stamp these so perfectly takes a gridded acrylic block. I started with the dark orange (Morroco) and worked toward the yellow using the gridded acrylic block lines as guides. Fortunately, the word birthday is an inch and a half wide, so the birds' legs are exactly a half inch apart. To do this over a less precisely wide word, you could mark the spacing with a pencil and ruler and a little help from fifth-grade fractions, depending on how many images you want to stamp.

Or you could get all wacky and eyeball it.

I don't recommend eyeballing it, though. You will inevitably screw it up and use words that got your mouth washed out with soap in fifth grade.

Avoid making yourself swear whenever possible. Get out the ruler.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

stamps: Papertrey Botanical Silhouettes, Grunge Me
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gridded acrylic ruler

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life is Good

A while back, someone asked what brand of metallic marker I use. The answer is Prismacolor, Pen-Touch (Sakura), and Pilot. In other words, whatever is available or that I might have a coupon for. All three of them work just fine for me.

Today's card expresses a sentiment I tried to remember today when spending hours in fruitless search for curtains. Yes, I've lived in my "new" house for over a year, and no, I still don't have curtains in the public areas of my house or the master bedroom. How sad is that?

Indecision may or may not be my problem.

Anyway, life is good, despite my curtainless state, and so is PTI's Watercolor Wonder set when combined with watercolor crayons and Glimmer Mist.

I colored the big swish stamp with two shades of blue watercolor crayon, spritzed heavily with Glimmer Mist, and let the crayon dissolve. Then, I stamped it and let it dry completely before inking up the sentiment in Memento black and gluing down the starfish (which is really just the center of the sand dollar punch from Martha Stewart).

And that's all there is to say about that!

stamps: Papertrey Watercolor Wonder, A Day at the Beach
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Martha Stewart punch, watercolor crayons, Glimmer Mist dazzling diamonds

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I'm baa-aack.

And so is the One-Layer Wednesday! This week, it's on Ardyth's blog, and it's awesome. Use as many threesomes on your card as you can...three stamps, three colors, three buttons, three images, three whatever. Pop on over to her blog and check out her sample for the challenge. It's a wonderful example of how to use of a larger image!

I have two cards using PTI's Watercolor Wonder set that each contain two threesomes. I could add bling for a third threesome, but I think bling would make them too...Blingy? Busy? unBalanced? Well, whatever B we're talking about, the two cards are fine just the way they are, and I'm lovin' the Watercolor Wonder set for completely flat cards.

Three splatters in three shades of yellow-orange

Three strips in three fabulous colors

A few words about placement on these cards. The sentiment on the first is very tiny, so to draw attention to it, I placed it right next to the edge of the card rather than in the sweet spot about an inch to the left. An unusual placement draws attention to the smallness of the font, as do the happy yellow/orange splatters. All that white space means your eye has nowhere else to go.

The second card uses a larger font and has two lines, so it's not quite as close to the edge as the first, but still closer than I would usually place it. The three strips of color are not in line, but the tips form a triangle that is both playful and anchors the eye on the sentiment. If the tips were in a line, they'd point the eye into the white space...something you might want to do with another sentiment but not with this one.

Click on over to Ardyth's blog and play along!