Saturday, May 31, 2014

Celtic Modern

Years ago, before I started stamping, I did calligraphy and learned how to reproduce Celtic knot-work in ink and gouache. It's a tedious process, very time consuming, and I never got as good at either the calligraphy or knot-work as I wanted to be. Then, when I found stamps that would give a similar effect, I bought a bunch of them.

As part of my Use-Your-Stamps challenge, I'm pulling out long-unused wood-mounted rubber stamps, and recently, it was the Celtic stamps' turn. Part of the challenge with UYS is to find fresh ways to use old stamps. With this particular card, I used a very fresh color (Hero Arts Soft Pool), a silver metallic pen, and a tall rectangular card to make these old stamps shine!

The silver marker anchors the design, and the light ink paired with a crisp white definitely lends a modern feel to these old, old stamps.

Check your stash for some old-style stamps and see what you can do to freshen them up!

stamps: Stampabilities (cross), Judikins (background)
ink: Hero Arts soft pool
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Prismacolor silver metallic pen, dimensionals, metal ruler

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another Accordion-Fold Card

I'm so enjoying these little accordion-fold cards! It's great how they stand up so nicely on their own, and the size of the panels is very flexible. Today's is short (3") and long (10"), with panels 2.5" wide.

I made it using a small, three-stamp set from Hero Arts and a Kaleidacolor ink pad. The ribbon is knotted and can slip easily back onto the card if you flex the closed accordion into a bow shape (bow as in bow and arrow, not bow as in ribbon...sometimes English is weird).

stamps: Hero Arts...various
ink: Kaleidacolor, Memento brown
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: ribbon, Scor-Pal

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You Are...Popped

I hope you've enjoyed seeing all my variations with You Are, a delightful set from Clearly Besotted. Perhaps it's reminded you of your own Use-Your-Stamps challenge. How is that going for you?

Today's card uses a cut-out-and-popped element to add interest. And of course a couple of half pearls don't hurt, either.

The inks are Brilliance, so they shimmer a bit in real life.

For Mother's Day, I ordered a bunch of ink and some new stamps...although it took me a long time to decide what to get, so the orders were just placed two days ago. The anticipation is killing me!!!Are you awaiting any goodies to be delivered to your house? Did you get new goodies for Mother's Day? Please share!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Brilliance pearlescent poppy and olive
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, half pearls

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You Are...Chopped

The You Are set from Clearly Besotted contains several circles decorated  for use as flower centers, but I prefer keeping the flower centers rather plain. As I used this set for my Use-Your-Stamps challenge (which is why you're seeing so many cards with it lately), I wanted to use those flower centers a bit differently. Lining them up for a simple border seemed a great idea!

The bottom inch or so of the card got chopped, however, to distance the straight sentiment (from Gina K) and the row of small and large circles. I love the effect, and wanted to accent it with a silver metallic pen.

Yay, me!

Now, if you go to Gina K's website, you'll find this sentiment set, Assorted Sentiments, which is one of my favorites. But you'll notice that the Thinking of You sentiment has an ellipsis at the end of it. You know, the [...] punctuation mark that indicates something else is coming or something has been left out. I didn't like that, so I cut it off. Not a radical change, but I'm much happier now.

My friend Leslie cuts her sentiments apart if she wants to put words on different lines. Aaaaaaack! I couldn't do that. At least, I don't think I could. I would worry that I'd never get them lined up again. But I heartily approve of other people doing such things.

What about you? Do you cut clear or rubber stamps apart when you want to use only parts? Or do you consider altering stamps to be the stamping equivalent of ax murder?

stamps: Clearly Besotted (circles), Gina K (sentiment)
ink: VersaColor ocean depth, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: Prismacolor silver metallic pen, metal ruler

Monday, May 26, 2014


Note: Many thanks to all who have liked my Facebook page! It passed 100 likes in just two days! If you are on Facebook and interesting in joining, you'll find the page HERE.

A very simple stamping technique is called off-stamping. If you've never heard of it, it's inking up a stamp, stamping it once, and then, without inking, huff on the stamp (exhale moist breath), and stamp again. The result is a lighter image. You can use this technique to give the illusion of movement or depth.

Sometimes, off-stamping works fine, and other times, it doesn't work so well. Different inks...and even different colors of the same brand of ink...will respond differently. I find that the intensely colored Hero Arts inks off-stamp great! I kept huffing on the inked stamp, and it kept putting down ink in ever-lighter impressions.

Hero Arts Red Royale Ink

Hero Arts Green Hills Ink

The red version of the card was made with a single inking, but the green ran out faster and required two inkings, but still. It made me love the Hero inks even more.

stamps: Hero Arts (leaves, discontinued), Gina K (sentiment)
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts (red royal, green hills), Memento (brown, black)
accessories: dimensionals

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Observance

"A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle." George William Curtis

On Memorial Day, let us honor the memory those whose loyalty did not waiver to the very end.

Today, I remember Major Greg Stone, who was killed when another American soldier tossed a grenade into his tent during Iraqi Freedom. I remember George's great-uncle George Paloranta, who died in the Philippines during World War II.

Please feel free to list those you knew who are among the honored dead in the comments.

Let's remember.

stamps: Verve
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: washi tape

Saturday, May 24, 2014

You Are Lots of Cool Things, with Stars

Today's card is not my Memorial Day card, but it does express my respect and awe for those who serve our country. Long-time readers know that my husband was an officer in the United States Air Force for 20 years. I watched him go to war...twice. He and those he served with are fine examples of what it means to make sacrifices for a greater purpose, for freedom, for others, and for country.

The men and women who sign on the dotted line and give up their right to choose what they do and where they live, who are willing to give everything up to and including their lives for their country...well, those men and women are amazing, fabulous, great. Words don't quite convey the depth of my gratitude.

Word collages like this are so easy with the right set of stamps, and You Are from Clearly Besotted is just such a set. The stars are from miscellaneous other sets and stamped in Brilliance metallic silver, which is oh so shiny.

I hope you're enjoying a fine holiday weekend, and I hope you'll remember those service members who, right now, are in harm's way, as well as those who have given their lives in service to freedom.

stamps: Clearly Besotted, misc. stars
ink: Memento, Brilliance silver
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: none

Friday, May 23, 2014

Another Variation on You Are...and an Announcement

First, the announcement. Simplicity now has a Facebook page! If you're on Facebook, you can access blog posts by liking Simplicity by LateBlossom. Hope to see you there!

Second, here's another variation using Clearly Besotted's You Are set.

On this card, I wanted to play with the very large center of the solid flower, so I stamped the flower on a large scrap, cut half of it off, and used a circle punch (3/4") to clear out the flower center. After stamping the sentiment and popping the panel on a white card base, I added a clear domed sticker.

What a fun use of the epoxy sticker!

I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend. For those in the United States, this is Memorial Day weekend. I will be posting a special Memorial Day post on Questioning my Intelligence, and I have a patriotic card for Monday's Simplicity post as well. Please remember those who have given their all so we can enjoy picnics and iffy potato salad.

And if you get a chance, please thank a member of our armed forces for his or her service. The men and women who serve our country really are amazing!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: 3/4" circle punch, dimensionals, epoxy sticker

Thursday, May 22, 2014

You Are...Variations

Clearly Besotted's You Are set came out of hiding in my stash a few days ago, and I made a number of variations using it. Here's the first one:

I like how the solid "You Are" and center of the flower balance each other, and how the line art of the flower echoes the thin font of "Fabulous." Pretty nifty.

The green and red inks are olive and poppy from Brilliance, so there's a hint of shimmer to them, while the brown is VersaColor's pinecone. I love how rich the colors are against all that white!

And now for a pirate picture. Jack had a speaking part in the fifth-grade musical Pirates! on Thursday night. He was spot-on and absolutely adorable! Arrrrr!

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Brilliance, VersaColor
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Putting a Couple of Old Tools to Work

Have you experienced obsolescence in craft tools? If you keep up with the trends by reading magazines or checking out the cool stampers' websites, you may have noticed that certain tools are all the rage for a while, and then, they fade away, rarely to be seen again.

You spend good money on a tool or product, and then it just sits, gathering dust or occupying space in some bin in the basement. At one point, you just had to have it. Now, you can't pay someone to take it off your hands.

It's annoying.

But you just never know when the old will become new. Perhaps we can resurrect an old trend!

So I've decided to pull out some of those old tools and put them back to work. I recently used my Fiskar's ShapeCutter and one of its templates to make THIS CARD. Today, I'm featuring a card with an element run through my Fiskar's paper crimper.

Remember paper crimpers? They are actually pretty good at adding texture to a project, and that's what I was going for.

This card would have been fine without crimping, but I love how the crimper adds a little extra interest. The course of true love never did run smooth, after all.

The cross-stitch lines help anchor the heart and lead the eye to it...and cross-stitch looks so homey and warm. Or you could read it as rows of kisses. That works, too.

Note that I slightly rounded the corners of the "With Love" strip with, of course, scallop scissors. Yep. The second old tool I used that you just never see used anymore. That little touch of snipping those sharp corners softened the focal point and helped unify it as well.

The bling needs no explanation.

Look around your craft space, or do a little digging in your stored stash of old craft supplies. Is there a tool you've neglected? Perhaps a punch or two that were rendered obsolete by your die cut machine? Some funky deco scissors? That weird stapler that was so popular about eleven years ago? Pull those obsolete tools out and play around. It's fun.

And we may jumpstart a new (old) trend!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: SU Real Red, Memento Gray Flannel
paper: Papertrey white, SU real red
accessories: paper crimper, scallop scissors, dimensionals, heart-shaped rhinestones

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Bushel and a Peck

After making the "missing you [bunch of grapes]" card, I decided to see what other sentiments I could play around with in a minimalist way. This card practically made itself.

Fun, bright, striking...and very minimalist! My kind of card.

stamps: CASual Friday Only You, Papertrey Ink Heart Prints
ink: Hero Arts bubble gum pink, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Monday, May 19, 2014

Joy to the World

As part of my ongoing inspiration from 1000 Greetings, I share with you another little accordion.

This is going on my mantel after Thanksgiving, where it will sit next to a few other decorations. I'm working on finding a nice, simple way to decorate for the holidays, and this will be very inspiring toward that goal this fall!

I want to thank those of you who have left kind comments lately, especially the emails, and also those who have sent me cards. I've been photographing them and will put them up here soon, but I want you to know how much your kind words and support mean to me. Mwah!

stamps: Hero Arts typewriter alphabet, Papertrey Masculine Motifs
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey 
accessories: Scor-Pal


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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Yay for Velcro!

I made a tri-panel card with a little flap, but the only self-adhesive Velcro dots I had were huge and thick and bulky...unsuitable for mailing. Then, I came across some small, thin ones at Michael's, and all is right in the universe.

Don't you just love the way the stamped panel reads, essentially, "miss you a bunch"? Of course, this is another card destined for Operation Write Home.

In the second picture, you can see the way the Velcro works. The little dots are not nearly as strong as the big dots, so you wouldn't want to use them to hold anything weighty or important together, but for this simple card, just a little attachment is all that's needed.

I find the easiest way to attach these dots is to put the two dots together first, stick one side down on your project, and then fold the project down to adhere the second dot. If you try to put them down separately, they might not line up right.

On a different subject, I'm delivering cards to Jonah tomorrow (Monday), and have updated the list of cards received for him. If you've sent something, it should be listed. Some of the cards don't have return addresses or even postmarks that are legible, so I had to wing it describing them, but you should get the gist. Thank you all for your support of Jonah through this tough time!

stamps: Papertrey Fruitful, Mixed Messages
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Velcro dots, glue

Friday, May 16, 2014


Years ago, I bought Papertrey's Simple Alphabet, thinking I would use it all the time.

Barely used it. It's so hard to get all those little, tiny letters lined up perfectly straight!

Now, I'm going to be using it more often. I've grown to appreciate the uneven type look so common on Pinterest and Etsy lately, and I want to be able to customize sentiments more often. This set's tiny type size is perfect for cards.

For today's card didn't even try to get everything all lined up perfectly. Which is a good thing, because I'll be darned if I could pull that off!

I will offer up a complaint about the Simple Alphabet, though. No comma/apostrophe. I had to borrow one from a tiny SU alphabet whose name I no longer have. Very annoying.

This card is destined for Operation Write Home. Sandy has mentioned on a number of occasions that the soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines request more missing you and love you cards than she can provide, so don't be surprised if you see lots of these types of cards in the coming months.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey Ink
paper: Papertrey
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
accessories: dimensionals

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Yesterday, I found myself in the awkward position of needing to be in three places at one time.

Y'all should know that I'm not an over-programmed mommy who doesn't know how to say no. I know how to say no, and I say it. Frequently. I once cracked up an entire PTO meeting with a creative--and very firm--no.

And yet yesterday, I still found myself needing a couple of clones. How do these things happen?

Our church secretary, Rebecca, came to my rescue, removing one of my commitments with no inconvenience to pretty much anyone (brilliant!). She is, even as church secretaries go, amazing, and that's saying something. Church secretaries have to be amazing. Can you even imagine having that job? I can't. I could definitely say no to that job.

I wanted to thank her for her brilliance and kindness and general amazingness, so I packaged up some gourmet caramels in bright yellow tissue and a sheer white drawstring bag, and made a quick tag.

We've had gloomy, gray, wet weather this week, and this sunshiny yellow reflects Rebecca's sunshiny helpfulness.

And I just have to share a funny Jack story. Jack has had to take standardized tests for the past week(don't even get me started on standardized testing....that is a rant subject for my other blog). Since Jack has special needs, he takes his tests in a small group environment with aides and an intervention specialist. While the group was concentrating hard on the math portion of the Ohio Achievement Assessment, Jack started singing, "I'll keep on fighting 'til the end...."

That's my champion.

stamps: Hero Arts discontinued
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestone, circle punch, thread, sheer drawstring bag, yellow tissue paper, caramels (yum!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sympathy and Prayers

Sometimes, all you need to make a card is a pretty piece of vellum.

Well, and a bit of twine. I always find with sympathy cards that the best designs are definitely the simplest.

I need to restock my sympathy card stash. Today, we learned that a good friend from my husband's early days in the Air Force, Dave Raab, passed away last night. He will be missed by many.

I will be offering up special prayers today for all who mourn his passing...and for all who are mourning in general. Feel free to leave prayer requests in the comments of this post for specific losses, and I invite all of you who pray to lift up those who mourn.

May God's comfort and the peace that passes all understanding cover us all, each unto our need.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Mouse Nibbled My Paper...Or It's Time to Replace a Tool

Playing with negative space to emphasize a "missing you" message is nothing new, but it's still fun...until you pull out an "anywhere" hole punch and discover that it's so dull it mangles your paper rather than punching it.

The two larger holes were made with standard punches, but the smallest one was made with a leather punch (like this one) I bought originally for making holes for book binding. You whack it with a mallet, which makes a terrific noise and is always fun for scaring the daylights out of an unsuspecting spouse!

Those things are awesome for cutting through even 8-ply mat board, but they do get dull eventually, and mine clearly has if it can't cut through card stock after five or six hard whacks.

Still, it is a cool card, isn't it, even if it does look a bit nibbled?

stamps: Papertrey Father Knows Best
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: DoodleBug enamel dots, punches, leather punches

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Heart Coffee in a Quick Post

A cute way to celebrate coffee. Yum.

card size: 6.25" x 3.5"

A set of singe-panel notecards featuring Heart-2-Heart #1 Mini Stamp Set from Papertrey. Enjoy!

What is your favorite beverage? Do you have a stamp to celebrate it?

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Surprise Inside!

I tapped into my inner book-binder and made a very (very!) simple book card today for Operation Write Home. Sandy is constantly begging for Missing You cards and Love You cards. This one has a little of both, I suppose.

Here are the supplies I used.

Fiskars Shape Cutter hearts template, baker's twine, sewing
needle, threader, awl

Irrelevant aside: My cutting mat looks dirty, but it's not. Still, I want a new one. Those things are expensive though!

Here's the finished card:

I kept the outside as simple as possible. I miss you. A little baker's twine. Red and white. Lots of empty white space to symbolize the emptiness of missing someone.  Then, you open the card....

Bold, red vellum heart sewn right in with a simple pamphlet stitch! Whichever soldier, sailor, marine, or airman chooses this card to send to his/her honey can write under/around/on the heart.

In case you've never sewn something like this before and feel intimidated, here are step-by-step instructions.

1. Cut out or die cut the heart. Mine is 3.5 inches. Score it down the middle and pre-fold.

2. Slip it into the pre-folded card and center. Place a ruler and mark two spots equidistant from the edges of the card for your holes. Using the awl or a sharp needle, make holes at the marks through both the vellum and the card.

3. Measure a piece of baker's twine that is at least three-four times the distance between the holes. (Don't be stingy. It's always better to have too long a tail than too short!) Using the threader, thread the needle. (Threaders make it easier to use needles with smaller eyes, meaning you have smaller holes in the paper. Plus, they will keep you from swearing so much.)

4. Holding the vellum in place, start sewing by pushing the needle through a hole from the outside of the card into the inside, going through the prepared holes in the card stock and the vellum. Be careful tugging the twine through the vellum as it will tear easily. Leave enough of a tail hanging outside the card to tie a knot or bow...whichever you prefer.

5. Push the needle out through the remaining hole and pull the twine taut inside the card. Remove the needle from the twine, and tie a knot or bow.

6. You sewed a two-hole pamphlet stitch book!

There are more complicated pamphlet stitches (three-, four-, and [gasp!] five-hole) that will hold more pages firmly, but for holding a single small piece of vellum, this will do just fine.

I hope all you mothers out there were pampered and had a fine Mother's Day!

stamps: Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments
ink: Hero Arts Red Royal
Paper: Papertrey Ink, red vellum
accessories: baker's twine (Papertrey), needle, awl, Fiskar's heart template, Shape Cutter, threader

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ways to Read Blogs OTHER THAN EMAIL

First, let me say, I love my readers. All of you. No matter how you read my blogs.

I love you. With bling.

And that's why I'm going to post this information. If you read Simplicity and my other blogs via Google Friend Connect or a blog reader (such as Feedly or Bloglovin) or you simply favorite it in your browser, please disregard the rest of this post. You're good.

If you read blogs via FeedBurner email subscription, please read what I have to say...EVEN IF YOU HAVE HAD NO INTERRUPTION IN SERVICE!!!!

That's right. I'm yelling at you. Sorry about that.

The recent changes implemented by a number of large email providers have negatively impacted many blog readers who use FeedBurner email subscription services. As I have noted before, there is little hobby bloggers like myself can do to fix this without paying actual real money.

I remind you...I make no money off this blog, do not want to make money off this blog, and am happy just sharing freely with you because I love you. Please reference the card above.

If you are a blogger with a small subscriber base, you should not have a problem finding a free service to replace FeedBurner, which seems to be making no effort whatsoever to fix the problem. Those bloggers with larger subscriber bases (I have 1,500+ email subscribers) have to pay between $30-$50 a month or more through alternative email subscriber companies, which isn't an option for this here hobby blogger with two boys to put through college and a hubs with an Ironman addiction.

If you read blogs via email, this Feedburner problem is likely to grow. Those of you currently receiving Feedburner emails may eventually stop receiving them if the protocol (or something similar) in use by yahoo and gmail gets picked up by other email providers. Also, it may very well be that Google bought Feedburner with the intention of letting it die, just like it let Google Reader die, in an effort to drive market to its Google Friend Connect and Google+.

So, if you are looking for alternatives to receiving blog posts via email, here are a few ideas.

1. If you read fewer than 15 or so blogs, consider creating a favorites folder in your browser and check each blog every morning for new posts. This won't take too much time with just a few blogs, and you'll find that going to the actual website (rather than just seeing posts in emails) can be rather fun.

2. If you read more than 15 blogs, consider signing up for a FREE blog reader account. There are several different ones available, but I like the simplicity of Bloglovin. It's easy and you only need to sign in to one website each day to find all the new content on each and every blog you want to read. Saves lots of time and clicking. (I get nothing for my endorsement of Bloglovin. I use it and like it.)

3. No matter how many blogs you read, consider a Google Friend Connect account. (That's right. Bow down to the almighty Google. Resistance is futile.) It's easy...well, sort of. Eventually, I figured it out. Currently, there are 900 people following Simplicity via Google Friend Connect. Thanks, y'all! If they can figure it out, the rest of us can, too. The advantage here, as with Bloglovin, is that you only see new content and don't waste your time clicking to the blog when nothing new has been added. I like that.

4. If you're looking for an easy access just to my blogs, the One-Layer Simplicity Challenge, and the OLS team's stamping blogs, I created a single website with links to all of them: Work-Around List. If you favorite this blog in your web browser, you'll have ready access to all those blogs.

5. If you are on Facebook, I plan on starting a Simplicity by LateBlossom Facebook page soon, on which I will post links to posts. Little slow getting on the social media bandwagon, but there you have it.

If any of my readers have other ideas, please post them in the comments. Also, if you have questions, please post them in the comments rather than emailing me. It will be far easier for me to address questions publicly than one at a time privately.

Blessings to you all this Mother's Day weekend.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Message to Anne P. Who Wants to Send a Gift Card to Jonah


I've tried sending several emails to you and they keep getting bounced back as undeliverable. Weird. Please send me an email at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com and I will try once again to send you information for sending the gift card to Jonah...assuming you still want to do so. OR you could contact Molly directly by messaging her on FB if you're following her page there.

Technology is great when it works. Not so much when it doesn't.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pretty Cards I've Received

I've received these two pretty cards in the past month or so.

From Sue B.

Sue's blue spectrum is just so perfect, and that small, red, glittery heart pops perfectly as a delightful surprise! I love that sentiment, too.

It makes me smile.

From kegbo

Kegbo's pretty card made me pull this set out of my might-sell pile. It's just so pretty and simple and perfect.

Thank you both for brightening my days with happy mail!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Two Things

Thing 1

In reference to the dilemma of yesterday's post, it was the color and the image.

This is SOOOOO much better.

Changing both the pink ink to green AND the solid flower to an outline that is more obviously styled to match the tree, and the envelope "belongs" much better with the card.

Note also the nothingness inside the flower. It draws you in. Ponder it for a while.

And then move on to...

Thing 2

Another entry for One-Layer Simplicity #5: Fabulous Flowers!

This card was entirely inspired by a whole set of New Year's Eve cards for 2003 in 1,000 Greetings, that endless font of inspiration that several of you have purchased. Wise choice.

The particular inspiration card I used for this had four vellum panels, each with one number of the year in big, big type integrated into a sentence or phrase in tiny type. The vellum panels layered onto each other interestingly (read: busily), but I loved the interplay of a big image and little type. My card doesn't go to the big/tiny extremes of the inspiration piece, but I still love how it plays with scale anyway.

Size: 3.5" x 6.5"

Just a tip: when you ink up half a sentiment, stamp, clean, ink the other half, and stamp again, MAKE SURE YOU CLEAN THE STAMP THOROUGHLY BETWEEN INKINGS!!!!

Just sayin'.

Click on over to OLS#5 and play along with us!

stamps: Gina K Hello Sunshine
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Deep design thought for Tuesday...

"If you give people nothingness, they can ponder what can be achieved from that nothingness." Tadao Ando, architect

Here's what Wikipedia says about Ando's style: "Ando's architectural style is said to create a 'haiku' effect, emphasizing nothingness and empty space to represent the beauty of simplicity." How have I lived my life not knowing about Tadao Ando?

Oh, yeah. I had my nose buried in English literature. I never studied architecture. Clearly, I missed out on a lot.

Today's card is a single panel, size 3.5" x 7.25". The size was determined by a standard #7.5 business envelope I bought at Marco's paper. Remember, I don't like fussy stuff (like making my own envelopes), and with the variety of ready-made sizes out there, it's fun to play around occasionally.

Besides, the book 1,000 Greetings totally inspired me to mess around with sizes. You WILL be seeing more of this sort of aberration in the weeks to come.

My original plan for this panel was a strip of decorative paper down the left side. I had the paper cut but hadn't glued it down in case the stamping went awry. As I reached for the glue, my sleeve caught the strip and pushed it aside, and the simple beauty of all that white space struck me forcibly. I had to leave it alone.

I didn't have a choice.

Ponder what can be achieved from the nothingness.

Panel photographed on green background
for contrast.

Here is the panel with the envelope, and a little flower added because I liked the idea. Is it too much? Does it interfere with the nothingness? It feels like too much!!!!

ETA--Tanis commented that the flower was too cute. She's absolutely
right. It's from the same set as the tree, so I grabbed it without thinking,
but it's just too cute to work here. Thanks, Tanis, for seeing what I could not.
Now I can go to bed and sleep soundly.

May your day be full of the best sort of nothingness there is. And lots of kindness, too.

stamps: Hero Arts Konnichiwa Lanterns
Ink: VersaMagic
paper: 110# white card
accessories: #7.5 business envelope

Monday, May 5, 2014

Birthday Card for My Honey

Long-time readers know that my honey is a triathlete. And not just any triathlete. He's a grade-A certified crazy nut-case triathlete.

He's an Ironman.

Four times an Ironman.

And he's going for number five this September.

Now, triathlon involves three sports: swimming, biking, and running. But by far my husband's favorite event is the bike. He loves the bike. It's his strongest event. He zens out on the 2.4-mile swim, makes great time on the 112-mile bike, and then usually loses the will to live somewhere between miles 18 and 22 on the 26.2-mile run.

So of course his birthday card needs to bicycle themed, and ever since Hero Arts came out with its bicycle set, bike cards are easy! Thank you, Hero Arts!

Combine that cool bike set with a tri-panel card, and my honey will love his birthday card!

Front panel

Inside panels...I just love that old-fashioned bike.

The three panels

I once saw a t-shirt on a woman near the finish line of an Ironman race. It said, "Just Tri-ing to Understand."

That's me.

But it sure is fun cheering him on and picking him up at the medical tent after he gets his post-race IV fluids.

Good times.

Note: I attached the third panel, which measured 5.5" x 4.75", with a 1/2" flap scored on one side. You can see pretty clearly in the second photo how it is attached since I didn't quite line it up perfectly. I'll do better next time, but as my hubby always says, this is definitely good enough for government work.

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey (Birthday Basics, Faux Ribbon)
ink: Memento
paper: Neenah
accessories: scor-tape

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Christmas: Thinking outside the Card

As I've perused the hugely inspirational 1,000 Greetings, I've thought a lot about Christmas--there's a lot of Christmas stuff in the book. It's inspired me to think a bit differently about at least some of my Christmas cards this year.

Last year, I began to feel a bit burned out on Christmas cards. For several years, I've had a very hard time getting excited about buying new stamp sets for the holidays, and then last year, I just ran out of steam entirely. I bought several boxes of beautifully designed cards at Barnes and Noble and sent them to about half the people on my list.

Card-making friends, of course, received handmade cards. Duh.

Anyway. The universe did not implode because I sent store-bought cards. So I decided that this year, I might focus more on creativity than production numbers, and I'll simply fill in any shortage with purchased cards as needed again this year.

That really takes the pressure off...and let's me play around more.

That's how today's "card" came to be.

This little gem is 2 1/2" square, and the flap is 1". It gave my Scor-Pal a work-out! The card stock is 80# Neenah Solar White, so it's a bit lighter weight than I usually work with, and much easier for this sort of project, too.

Here it is open, with stamped squares of dictionary definitions of gold, frankincense, myrrh, and Christmas. I will write a sentiment on the back of the two central panels so it won't show when the card is either closed or open and displayed on a mantle or tucked into a tree.

Note that the brad butt is hidden by the first stamped panel, so the brad holds the flap on the front of the card down. 

This is the perfect card for a friend to whom I send a package every holiday. Even with the thinner card stock, it's just slightly too thick for standard postage, although I could pay the extra postage and line the envelope either with bubble wrap or tape the outside with packing tape (not a pretty option, but effective).

Have you started thinking about Christmas cards yet? What do you think of making a rather non-traditional card like this accordion-fold card? would you like to receive something like this?

stamps: unknown Judikins
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Neenah 80#, SU real red
accessories: white brad, red baker's twine, 2 1/8" square punch, Scor-Pal, bone folder, 3/4" circle punch, 1/16" circle punch, scallop scissors (to slightly round the flap corners)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

One-Layer Simplicity #5: Fabulous Flowers

Oh, what a wonderful, timely challenge Cheryl has provided us with this month! May flowers are so very beautiful, and as I drive around our small town in 'burbs of Dayton, I'm amazed at the gorgeous colors and variety that Mother Nature has scattered all over our landscape this time of year!

One of my two cards for today definitely plays with a pastel color palette and delights in springtime prettiness.

A cascade of Hero Arts Butter Bar, Mint Julep, and Tide Pool flowers look so fresh and happy with white pearls in their centers! The sentiment is from Papertrey's Think Big Favorites #12 and the flowers are from Beautiful Blooms II.

My second card changes seasons entirely, however, and represents (I think) my very first Christmas card of the year, and it features a single stylized poinsettia in place of the "O" in "JOY." The alphabet is Hero Arts Vintage Alphabet (a clear set), the poinsettia is from Papertrey's Peaceful Poinsettia, and the "to the world" is from Wonderful Words: Joy by Papertrey.

If you haven't already joined us at OLS#5, click on over and play along! You have until the 24th of the month to play and may enter multiple cards!

Happy May, y'all!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mind. Blown. With Glitter This Time

Notes repeated from yesterday...

Note 1: There is a known problem with FeedBurner email subscriptions. If you are not receiving your Simplicity or OLS Challenge emails, please know that it isn't my fault! FeedBurner may or may not be fixing the problem, and Yahoo and Gmail may or may not be fixing the problem. As soon as I hear something, I will pass the information along.

Note 2: Please check out Cheryl's One-Layer Simplicity Challenge: Fabulous Flowers...a perfect challenge for the month of May!!!!

And now for today's stamp blathering.

Yesterday's card with its unusual fold gets a slight modification for today and the addition of some fun Stickles and a popped-up sentiment.

Direct Shot

Angled shot so you can see the fold.
It's a little smaller than yesterday's fold, and I trimmed the
back flap so the whole card fits a standard envelope.

I didn't really measure much for this card. I started with a half sheet of standard card stock (8.5" x 5.5") and scored the first fold to give enough room for the daisy. Then, I scored an inch further on, folded, and flattened the folds. After placing the piece carefully in my paper trimmer, I cut the back flap so the whole thing was 4.25" wide and would fit in a standard envelope.

There's not much room to write, but since I expect to send this to my nephew who will be five, that shouldn't be a problem. Besides, there's always the back of the card!

Details for your viewing pleasure.

These unusual folds were totally inspired by a variety of cards in the book 1000 Greetings. One set of unique folded cards consists of just black-and-white line drawings, which directly inspired this card. I just had to add color, though. The card looked a little too plain without the two spots of Stickles.

I'd originally intended to put color only on the bee, but then the card didn't look unified. Putting yellow on the flower felt wrong...too monochromatic. The orange gives just the right amount of variation while harmonizing nicely with the yellow. Yay!

This weekend, I'm going to play around with flower stamps and post some One-Layer Simplicity Challenge cards. I hope you, too, will find some floral inspiration outside your door and play along with the OLS team!

stamps: Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles, dimensionals

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mind. Blown.

Note 1: There is a known problem with FeedBurner email subscriptions. If you are not receiving your Simplicity or OLS Challenge emails, please know that it isn't my fault! FeedBurner may or may not be fixing the problem, and Yahoo and Gmail may or may not be fixing the problem. As soon as I hear something, I will pass the information along.

Note 2: Please check out Cheryl's One-Layer Simplicity Challenge: Fabulous Flowers...a perfect challenge for the month of May!!!!


When things start getting a little too routine, a little too pat, a little too comfortable, I start getting what my grandmother called "ants in my pants."

Sunday, I took my children to the library and sat fidgeting while my 14-year-old looked for a rated-R movie I could say no to and my 11-year-old looked for Thomas the Tank Engine movies to torture me with because autism does this to parents. Suddenly a light bulb came on over my head, and I decided it was time for mama to check out the design books for a little inspiration.

I found this on the shelf: 1,000 Greetings. It's by the same publisher who brought us 1,000 Bags, Tags, and Labels that inspired me so much a few years ago.

Mind. Blown.

It was just what I needed to blast me out of my complaisant little rut. It's full of cards designed by professional graphic designers for companies to send to clients and customers, and most are not your single half-sheets of standard card stock folded in half. These cards use interesting fold and cuts and textures that got me thinking outside the rectangle and seriously winging off in some wild flights of imaginative fancy.

Oddly, some of the work looked a tad dated, which made me check out the publication date (ten years ago), and the fact I spotted that made me pat myself on the back. The datedness, however, factors not one tiny bit into the quality of inspiration provided by the book. It's sublime!

And here's the first card I made under its fabulous influence.

Close to Eye Level to Show the Design

From Slightly Above to Show the Fold

When smooshed flat, the card is standard 4.25" x 5.5" and will fit in a standard American A2 envelope. It's based on a number of different cards in the book, especially some that used absolutely fabulous black-and-white line drawings with a hint of gray shading for dimension. I'm nowhere near artistic enough to pull  off more directly inspired cards from them...and didn't have stamps to make them work either, but dang, they are awesome.

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me
Ink: Memento, Hero Arts
Paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Doodlebug enamel dots, Scor-Pal