Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, Office Supplies!

It was fun making this geeky birthday card using some stamps from my Office Supply wood-mounted stamps.

I tore out a mask to use with the large Cornish Heritage Farms grid paper background and built the little collage of cut-out ruler image, paperclip stamps, and enamel dots.

The simple color scheme and focused area keep the collage simple and clean, and the triangle of enamel dots lends balance to the design.

Hope you like it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Cornish Heritage Farms (grid), Hero Arts (ruler, paperclip), Papertrey (sentiment)
ink Archival French ultramarine, black; Hero Arts charcoal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, enamel dots, copy paper (for mask)

Monday, May 22, 2017

I'd Rather Be Lucky than Good

In my quest to make birthday cards using all my wood-mounted stamps (or as many of the stamps as will be practical), I stumbled across a lovely Celtic knot square. Staring at it gave me the idea of using one of the Hero Arts ombre ink pads. Then this happened:

I inked the stamp on the diagonal for no other reason than it felt interesting and then realized I could arrange the squares so the colors slide from one square to the next. Isn't that incredibly cool? My husband has an appropriate saying from his Air Force days: "I'd rather be lucky than good." In this case, that's absolutely true.

The card has a matching envelope and will go to a relative who loves all things Celtic. The birthday sentiment is inside as it would have merely distracted from the pretty, colorful squares.

Card size: 7.25" x 3.5"

So much of the creative process is serendipitous...sometimes things work out spectacularly, and sometimes, well, they make pretty trash. I used to resent the failures but now see them as inevitable, resulting in teachable moments, a lesson learned.

Besides, when something like this happens, the failures hardly matter.

What is your attitude toward failure? Do you get angry at wasting supplies, or do you accept the cost of creativity and just move on?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Stampabilities Celtic knotwork, Papertrey sentiment (not shown)
ink: Hero Arts ombre mermaid
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

MISTI and Color Layering Rooster

You might remember Leslie Hanna (a.k.a. The Crooked Stamper) who passed away on Christmas Day, 2015.

Leslie often advised me on new products because she tried everything and I'm cautious. One day, we discussed the MISTI, which was new at the time. She advised against my getting one because my style is so CAS and my hand so steady that such an expensive tool would be a waste of money.

Some time later, Hero Arts came out with Color Layering Seahorse (three layers) and Color Layering Octopus (two layers), and I started drooling over the layered flowers from Altenew.  So I started to think maybe Leslie's advice wasn't so good two years on.

I posted a question on my personal Facebook page asking MISTI or Mini MISTI, thinking I would get one or the other for Mother's Day. That's when Tina S., who was Leslie's BFF and neighbor, offered to give me a MISTI.

For nothing.

Yep. She just happened to have an extra lying around and gave it to me. *SQUEE*

New in the box.

Several people have told me that my life is about to change. Instead of ordering a MISTI for Mother's Day, I ordered several more of Hero's color layering sets, including Color Layering Rooster.

Now, it's important that I noted the Seahorse and Octopus sets have three and two layers respectively because the Rooster has about 42 layers, some of which are almost microscopic in size. (Yes, I'm exaggerating for comic effect, but still...simple, the Rooster is not.)

The MISTI was hugely helpful in positioning all but the beak/eye stamp of the Rooster, which was so tiny and so sticky it would NOT stay where it needed to for use with the MISTI. Still, Cock-a-doodle looks handsome, does he not?

The Color Layering Sea Turtle has 13 separate stamps. I strongly encourage you to count layers before you buy if you, like me, are not a patient stamper.


At least I've got a MISTI to help me not lose my cool altogether. And it's all thanks to Tina. What a sweetheart she is, and my stampy self is eternally grateful.

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Rooster
ink: a whole bunch of different colors of Hero Arts and Archival inks
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp black
accessories: MISTI

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Double Post Because Y'all Just Won't Believe This

Okay, we're going to start with the expected...a card you will recognize as completely CAS, full of white space, and therefore Susan-y. In fact, there's so much white space, I suspect some of you will get itchy just looking at it.

Am I right? Do you need some Benadryl?

Of course I love it. In fact, this might be one of the Christmas cards I make multiples of this year.

And now for a card that you're not going to believe I made.

I don't believe it.

But I do love it, for reasons that have nothing to do with design and everything to do with books.

I made this card for Audrie's IC598 at Splitcoast. The inspiration piece is from Autumn's blog HERE. The connection between the inspiration piece and mine is obvious...layout, colors, cut words, image at the top. I did preserve some crispness in my simple, white word pieces and the background for my shelf, but otherwise, it's pretty not crisp.

The quotation is from Anne McCaffrey, a science-fiction writer I've read since forever. Her Pern series is on my comfort shelf.

To make the background, I used the Tim Holtz mini blenders to blend the frayed burlap and faded jeans on the bottom 3/4 of the card base. Then, I spattered water over it to add a dreamy effect. 

The words were printed on Neenah 80lb and cut out as per Autumn's inspiration piece. 

The bookshelf was stamped on a smaller piece of 80lb Neenah using various distress inks so the stamping wouldn't be too crisp. I added a small plant on the stack on the right to symbolize how books turn the CO2 of life back into oxygen. 

The base is Neenah 110lb cardstock, which held up beautifully to all the ink and water spatters. 

So this might not look at all like a card I would make given my passion for white space and crisp, clean stamping, but ohmygosh does it capture my absolute and passionate love of and need for books. 

Many thanks to Audrie and Autumn for such a great afternoon of stampy fun!

So, I leave you with a question. What books do you consider comfort books? 

Inquiring minds, and all that.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and books,

Supplies for Christmas Card
stamps: Winnie and Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry
ink: Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: not a one

Supplies for Comfort Book Card
stamps: Simon Says Stamp To Thine Own Shelf
ink: Tim Holtz distress
paper: Neenah 110lb and 80lb
accessories: craft foam, glue, toothbrush, water, mini blending tools

Friday, May 19, 2017

New Tab on Card Shop and Simple Friday Card

The tab on Karen's Card Shop is now live on the blog. You can find the tabs by clicking to the blog itself (if you read Simplicity by email or in a reader), and on the bar below the blog title, you'll see Home, Subscribe, Product Talk, Use Your Hoard, and Karen's Card Shop. Click on Karen's Card Shop (or this link right here), and you'll find all the details of the shop.

If you still have questions, please ask them on the Karen's Card Shop page in the comments if possible, or email me at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

I will update the page as questions come in. Surely I haven't covered everything.

Today's card is simple because I've been typing entirely too much. Isn't that matting sublime?

Happy Friday.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: StampinUp Letters from Friends
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none, because it's super simple

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More Christmas Joy

Using alphabet stamps on Christmas cards is particularly easy with short words like joy, noel, and peace. Christmas is a harder word to work with, but you can cover it with a nice Merry Christmas sentiment on the inside of the card.

Today's card uses the easiest holiday word a stamper can use.

To add interest to this simple card, I got jiggy with the layered matting. Instead of using all white layers, I replaced the largest layer with StampinUp real red. So the layers from top to bottom are

1. the raised, stamped circles
2. a solid white panel
3. a 1/16" larger white panel
4. a 1/2" larger red panel
5. a 1/16" larger white panel
6. a white card base

Whew! Six layers on a Lateblossom card!

And a candy-cane stamped envelope completes the project.

And there you go. Joy to you!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and joy,

stamps: Papertrey Candy Cane Christmas; Hero Arts wood-mounted alphabet (old, old, old!)
ink: Archival red geranium
paper: Papertrey white; StampinUp real red
accessories: circle punch, dimensionals

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Karen's Card Shop: Birthday Card

Many of you know that last summer I started a card shop in my church in memory of my friend Karen, who viewed sending cards as one of her God-led missions in life. Several of you kindly have donated cards to Karen's Card Shop, and I'm happy to say we've sold at least 320 cards in less than 11 months, making $640 for the church.

This money goes to the church's general fund and to supply Cancer: What Now? books for anyone in our congregation who gets diagnosed. Karen died of pneumonia while fighting leukemia. She was just two days from her transplant. She mailed my birthday card the day before she died, just before the ambulance carried her to the James Center in Columbus, OH.

I'm going to set up a tab on the blog with details of how I run the card shop for those who want to set one up yourselves. Look for that in the next day or two. One thing I've learned in the past year is that people want to buy very specific types of cards: birthday, thank you, get well, and sympathy sell best, and anniversary cards are slow but steady sellers.

Thinking of you, hello, blank, love and friendship, and holiday cards don't sell that well (with the exception of Easter). I use thinking of you and love and friendship cards a LOT and am surprised buyers don't seem to like them. Also, mass-produced cards don't sell well; I guess people who buy handmade cards want to feel like they are buying something truly unique!

The popular themes are hard to keep in stock, and right now we're particularly low on birthday cards. Hence, today's card.

Greens and blues are always a great combination, and this card highlights those colors in a fun way using the little stamps from Papertrey's Good Times stamp set.

And yes, I stamped an envelope to match.

This card and envelope will be packaged in a cellophane bag, sealed up, and put in our shop. I predict a quick sale!

On another note...feeling the need to give my rubber stamps some love, I've challenged myself to make at least one birthday card using images from each box of wood-mounted stamps on my shelf. I've made three already, and it's so much fun!

It's a shame the idea for Karen's Card Shop didn't come to me until Operation Write Home folded. Karen would have been our biggest customer.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and memories,

stamps: Papertrey Good Times
ink: assorted Archival and Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Monday, May 15, 2017

Big Tree, Super Simple

The Papertrey set called In the Meadow certainly seems like it's right up my alley...solid, block images of various holiday motifs such as a tree, deer, snowflakes, and a horse-drawn sleigh. The tree is extremely large, though, which doesn't leave much opportunity for white space.

This layout, however, works for me.

Instead of decorating the tree with rhinestones (which is usually my go-to move with this set), I stamped it in Impress Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, which is a very yellow-ish green and certainly non-traditional! With the Merry Christmas in traditional red placed on it banner-style, no other decoration is needed. There's sufficient interest in the colors and layout alone to carry the message.

Which makes my heart go pitter-patter with glee.

Also note placement of the sentiment. The banners sit atop the one-third horizon, which makes their low placement work to ground the design even though that tree is floating in space. The top word is smaller than the bottom word, which also lends stability and works with the tree shape.

I stamped the grazing deer on the envelope. Such a graceful image. *happy sigh*

The words come from Winnie and Walter's The Big, the Bold, and the Merry. This is a great set with LOTS of words in it for holiday-themed cards.

While it might feel strange to see Christmas cards in May, I encourage you to see if you can adapt this design to some more current theme (graduation card, wedding, birthday, Memorial Day...). Look through your stash for images or blocky stencils to create a solid backdrop for banner words...if you don't have something large, scale everything down to smaller panels. Choose unusual colors to build interest, get busy, and see what happens!

stamps: Winnie & Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry; Papertrey In the Meadow
ink: Impress Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Simple Joy

Have you read the children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

That's sort of what my experience with the Gelatos Mixed Media kit turned out to be. Sure, the Gelatos are cool and all, and there's certainly a lot you can do with them, but the issue of smearing keeps recurring annoyingly. Here's the photographic evidence of my experiments using Gelatos with stencils, sponges, and a spatter technique after dissolving them in water.

Pretty, aren't they?

Lovely effect, pebbly and pretty!

Sadly, smeary.

This was my favorite! Done with a toothbrush.

After a full day of drying, this happened. Very little pressure
needed to smear this.

I didn't bother photographing the sponged panel. I think I proved my point.

Gelatos have a good bit of wax in them (at least, I think it's wax...some sort of substrate to hold the color together anyway), and dissolving it all in water is difficult and might take a whole lot more time and patience than I have. The waxy bits are what's smearing so badly, even though the nubbly texture they add is delightful. For a card being inserted and pulled out of an envelope, Gelatos prepared this way make a mess.

There is a possible fix, but it's fussy. I assume spraying a fixative or brushing gel medium on the piece might seal the Gelatos adequately (although biggish bits might still crumble in the pressure of postal handling). Adding that much liquid to a cardstock panel will bend and warp it, plus spraying fixative requires adequate ventilation. Last time I did it outside, a bug got stuck on my project. Eww.

This is just to fix the Gelatos sponged or spattered on cards. Consider the flaking whipped spackle of this butterfly card that rendered it unsendable. Or consider the gloss medium on this card. Janet mentioned a type of wax that can go over the gloss medium that keeps it from sticking.

Do you see where this is going?

MORE products. MORE drying time. MORE fuss.

This blog is titled Simplicity for a reason. The simplest use of the Gelatos is the best for my purposes...coloring the Gelato directly onto paper and rubbing it with my finger to blend it. Once it sets, it doesn't smear and looks amazing. That alone makes this whole experiment worthwhile to me!

I've had a blast playing around with the kit and am so grateful to Marco's for their give-away. But it's time for Simplicity to be simple again.

You're welcome!

It's definitely time to get to work on Christmas cards, and this little gem came to me in a flash. The rectangular background is cut from a large Hero Arts coffee cup stamp from Coffee Cup Tags. The tiny tag is from an old StampinUp punch. A little satin ribbon bow ties it all together.

While I don't always show the envelopes I stamp to coordinate with cards, I'm doing this more and more. It's such a simple touch that really makes the card delivery special.

The ink on this card, Archival red geranium, won't smear not even a little bit. What joy that brings to this clean-and-simple lover of white space!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and simple joy,

stamps: Hero Arts Coffee Cup Tags and Holiday Petals and Leaves; Clearly Besotted Christmas Poinsettias
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Archival red geranium
accessories: white satin ribbon, StampinUp tag punch, circle punch, craft foam, glue

Saturday, May 13, 2017

IC597 Create the Cut

This week's Inspiration Challenge at Splitcoast asks us to get inspired by the Etsy shop Create the Cut, which shows some lovely watercolor flower designs. My inspiration is HERE.

My watercolor effect was created with markers and a water spritzer on My Favorite Things Circle Scribble Flowers and Party Patterns. The sentiment is from Simon Says Stamp's It's Your Birthday.

This was fun and loose and easy...and my goodness it felt AWESOME to make a card without the fuss, bother, and mess of mixed media. My final experiments with that were disastrous and frustrating, so much so that it's the better part of valor to abandon all hope in that area.

Drama much?

Of course!

Anyway, it was fun to stick to basics and make a card inspired by such a lovely Etsy store! Click on over to IC597 and play along!

Mother's Day is joyful for some and not so much for others. If you're joyful, yay! I am, too.

If you're missing your mother, hugs and comfort to you.

If your mother wasn't nice, I pray peace for you this holiday and escape from the saccharine, soft-focus romanticism of motherhood flooding social media. Please know that Father's Day is similarly painful for me.

Sometimes, life isn't fair.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: My Favorite Things, Simon Says Stamp
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic marker, ruler, craft foam, glue, various markers (StampinUp and Memento), water spritzer

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mixed Feelings

Many thanks to Janet (swanlady21) who commented on my last mixed media post about sticking:

I've heard that the multi media ladies have problem with the pages of their journals sticking together - and the solution is to cover with a layer of Dorland Wax. I even use it on my glossy and enamel accents (the liquid kind) which also tend to stick even though dry.

So there's another product that will fix the problems with using the mixed media products.


This is quickly becoming the opposite of Simplicity.

Today's card is certainly simple. It uses Gelatos and a baby wipe to create a border, and the butterfly is all texture-y thanks to whipped spackle and Gelatos.

This was my second attempt at the card base...the first try, I used post-its to mask off the border, but the thickness of the post-its didn't work with the creaminess of the Gelatos as they settled unattractively in clumps against the edge and even got under the post-it. For this second effort, I used washi tape to mask, hoping the thinner profile and stickier stick would work, and they did.

After I'd blended the blues and a tiny bit of bright pink with my finger, I GENTLY rubbed a wet wipe over the color. The wipe took color off, leaving a lighter, fresher blended background, but if you want strong color, skip the wet wipes. Gelatos will usually blend quite nicely with just a finger, and you don't need water.

The whipped spackle was promising. It blended with the orange Gelato beautifully. I spread the mix onto a piece of cardstock, let it dry, and punched it out. All went well until little pieces of the spackle began flaking off and leaving smears of orange Gelato all over the place. The smears mostly come off with a white eraser, but still. It's a mess.

Conclusion: the whipped spackle is definitely NOT a good idea for cards. There's no way this card will ever get mailed (can you imagine the orange, smeared mess that would make!?!?!). The texture is certainly pretty and adds interest, but whipped spackle is not a product that can be used this thickly on a card.

More mixed feelings on mixed media to come! I'm impressed with how long the stuff in the kit is lasting. The Gelatos, of course, are pretty big and will last a long time, but despite their small size, most of the tubes of goop that came with the kit are still going strong. The kit is an excellent value for experimenting!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey 
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: washi tape, butterfly punch, black half pearls, Gelatos, my finger, glue, dimensionals, whipped spackle, baby wipes

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Break from Mixed Media

Just needed to get back to my ink-and-paper roots.

This card was inspired by the cover of Stampers' Sampler magazine...a card by Rosemary Dennis, of course. She's often an amazing inspiration for me!

I took the trio of hearts and flipped them to direct the eye from the cup to the sentiment, and had to move the sentiment to the bottom of the cup because my cup was too small for the sentiment. I love Rosemary's large-scale coffee cup, but sadly, my own Papertrey coffee cup stamps are really too small to work with Altenew's awesome coffee sentiment set.

As a result, my card's nowhere near as balanced as Rosemary's, but that's okay. I worked with what I have, and that's good enough.

You can't have everything. Where would you put it?  --Steven Wright

Still, that doesn't mean we stampers shouldn't try to have everything, right? It sure would make being inspired easier. And it is almost Mother's Day weekend.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and Oxford commas,

stamps: Papertrey, Altenew
ink: Versamagic pink petunia, Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart rhinestones, dimensionals

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Glazed Over

Welcome to another installment of Bumbling Around With Mixed Media by Susan Raihala!

Today, we're bumbling with glaze!

There's a small tube of glaze in my Gelatos Mixed Media kit, and I decided to play with it over an underwater scene created with Gelatos and Memento Luxe black ink.

While the stamping leaves a bit to be desired, the glaze performed admirably!

The background uses the three shades of blue Gelatos in my meager stash rubbed on and blended with my finger. This technique is easy and forgiving. Don't like something? Add more Gelatos until you get the colors right! The residue cleans easily off your finger with a wet wipe.

One concern I have with the Gelatos is that they will rub off or smear even when dry. The few pieces I've made would, I believe, rub off on the inside of an envelope if not sealed in some way. The glaze over the background would seal it in, but I wondered if it would make the Gelatos run.

It didn't. The background looks exactly as it did before I added a very thick layer of glaze. See how shiny it is!

Now, however, my concern is that the glaze will adhere to the envelope. It's totally dry after 24 hours but a tad tacky, which may be because I put such a thick layer on or because glaze is simply going to be a bit tacky to the touch. For art pieces, such tackiness wouldn't matter so much, but for mailing cards, it might matter a lot.

Anyone have experience with this? If it is a problem, cutting a piece of waxed paper and putting it in the envelope might solve the problem, but we're quickly moving into the fussy realm where I simply lose patience.

Anyway, before covering the mat board with the glaze, I stamped images from Color Layering Octopus (Hero Arts) with Memento Luxe black and immediately regretted it. It looks a bit goopy (although it is completely opaque over the blue Gelatos). The edges of the piece are particularly not perfect. But there's a good bit of drama on this card because of the bold black, so I'm choosing to overlook the imperfections and will try to use less ink next time around.

These Gelato backgrounds--made simply, as I explained above, by coloring the Gelato onto paper or mat board, and rubbing it with my finger--are generally easy to make and pretty. But if you enjoy sponging or stippling ink or painting watercolors or blending Copics, you'll get similarly colorful results with no worry about transfer to the inside of an envelope or frictional smearing inside an envelope sent through the postal service...assuming these really are a problem. Tentative bottom line: fun to play with but perhaps not a must-have for your average card maker unless s/he wants to explore mixed media regularly.

The jury's out on the glaze until I can get an answer about sticking. It's certainly pretty and works as advertised.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at a basic ink and bling card. I just HAD to make one after expending so much patience for drying times that mixed media products foist on a stamper.

Like I said, patience is a virtue I need RIGHT NOW!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Octopus, A Muse (old ocean themed set)
ink: Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white, mat board
accessories: Gelatos, my finger, a wet wipe, glaze, brush, glue

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Glass Bead Glitter Gel Makes Christmas Bright

One of the tubes in my Gelatos mixed media kit is called Glass Bead Glitter Gel. Doesn't that name sound positively dreamy? Of course it does. The glass beads reflect light beautifully, and glitter is always good...especially when it comes in a sticky substrate rather than loose and apt to stick to your face, hands, clothes, dog, and every other blessed thing in your house.

Glass and glitter make me think of Christmas, so here's a holiday card that would be VERY hard to mail.

You might notice similarities between this card and Friday's card. First, the Gelato background was created on a small piece surrounded by white, Second, the design elements on the background incorporate white, thus making the whole seem more unified. Third, there are two cut-out words and one shaped image...that's it.

These were all on purpose because once I find something that works, it seems only sensible to experiment with variations on it. And you'll note that today's card has a completely different feel than Friday's card. Where color bursts off the first card, today's is simply white and gold.

The process and products used are also different.

This card started with a rectangle of white mat board. I painted the board with gesso to prime the surface, and then mixed the glass bead glitter gel and some gold metallic Gelato to form a thick paste. Using a damp brush, I painted the the paste onto the mat board, leaving the top relatively light while gradually pushing lumps and clumps and texture toward the bottom, keeping everything very loose and irregular.

The star started as a plain wooden cut-out painted with two thick coats of gesso. Once those were dry, I added glass bead glitter gel straight from the tube...also loosely so it wouldn't look neat and tidy, as is my usual modus operandi.

The words come from a Winnie and Walter Christmas set: The Big, the Bold, and the Merry. They are hand-cut and popped up on dimensionals.

While this card lacks the colorful impact and really strong texture of Friday's card, I prefer it. It feels more like me, if you know what I mean. Monochrome. Very simple. Sparkly. But it would be tough to mail with mat board and the wooden star, and I'm considering framing it to put on my mantle for Christmas instead.

The glass bead glitter glue was very easy to work with and results are stunning. The gold metallic Gelato coated the glass beads and made them opaque, so they don't shimmer and shine at all, even if they do add some lovely texture. The glitter sparkles through the Gelato, though.

My next experiment with this gel will be to paint Gelato color on as a watercolor onto the dry gel to see if that preserves the sparkle better.

After a week or so of playing around, I've made some spectacular messes that ended up in the trash, especially a laughable attempt to stamp on semi-dry whipped spackle. I also long for the days of whipping up a card in ten or 15 minutes with no pesky drying time slowing things down. Patience may be a virtue, but I don't have much of it apparently.

The glass bead glitter gel, however, is truly pretty and might need to be standard in my stash. It looks just a bit different from Stickles, and if watercoloring on it keeps things pretty and sparkly, it may well serve a need I didn't know I had.

Whipped spackle, however, might be too complicated for me. Not sure yet!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Winnie and Walter The Big, the Bold, and the Merry
ink: Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white, mat board
accessories: gold metallic Gelato, glass bead glitter gel, gesso, wooden star, glue, brush, dimensionals

Friday, May 5, 2017

Can Mixed Media and CAS Live Happily Ever After?

Short answer: 
Anything's possible.

Long, rambling, discursive answer:
So, ever since I settled on a screen name of LateBlossom at SplitcoastStampers, I've been fully committed to clean-and-simple (CAS) stamping. Sure, I occasionally dabble in collage or shabby chic styles because, you know, it's fun to get outside your box and play every now and then. But clean and simple is my box, and I love my box. My box makes me happy. It's a very good box for me.

Collage and shabby chic get along nicely with CAS on quick playdates, but you don't really need a whole lot of special supplies to make those playdates work. A bit of ribbon or lace, a charm, a scrap of fabric, a button or two...nothing special. Stuff the average crafter has lying around on principle.

Mixed media is a whole different critter. Every time I poke my nose into it, I pull away in shock and horror at the cost. What if I pay $50-$75 on a few different pastes and paints and tools, and end up hating it? Then I'd also hate myself for not spending that money on stamps and ink I know I'll love.

Even worse, what if I love it? Ohmygosh! My obsessively acquisitive self would have to buy some of everything. My kid's going to college next year. I can't afford that.

Or perhaps I'm over-analyzing this whole thing in typical drama queen fashion.

The kit I won a week ago fixed that problem of initial investment, and I've been playing around with it to see if a buying spree is in my future. The jury is still out on that, but my first card is a pretty cool union of CAS and mixed media.

Mixed media is all about layers, texture, and color. CAS is all about minimalism and white space. My strategy going into this was to create smallish focal points of intense texture and mat them onto cards of white. As I used the Force to feel my way toward something that didn't look silly, it dawned on me that bringing elements of white into the design would have a unifying effect.

To make this card, I took a small scrap of cardstock and covered it in gel medium and crumpled up white tissue paper on it, adding gel medium to get all the folds (or at least most of them) to stick down. This was messy, and there was plenty of tissue hanging off the cardstock, but I left it there.

After it was dry, I painted on pink, orange, and gold metallic Gelatos that I'd prepared with a bit of water on a palette. I let each color dry before adding another so they wouldn't blend too much and make mud. The Gelatos can stay sort of lumpy and thick as watercolor, which can add more dimension and interest to the final product.

After the coloring was done and dry, I trimmed all the extra tissue off the cardstock scrap with scissors and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide what to do with this little background. After much hemming and hawing, I settled on a simple white butterfly with bling and a couple of words from an old StampinUp set.

And there you have it. My first official foray into mixed media.

Not too shabby, eh? I'm pleased, and hope you are, too.

But as for happily ever after? That remains to be seen.

stamps: StampinUp
ink: Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white, tissue paper
accessories: Gelatos, gel medium, brush, glue pen, rhinestones, craft foam, glue, butterfly punch (Martha Stewart)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mother's Day

Sadly, I have no dedicated Mother's Day stamp sets and very few Mother's Day sentiments. Every May, it occurs to me that I should remedy this deficit, and then I promptly forget about it. Now, I've splurged quite enough in the past month and don't feel comfortable investing more in stamping at this point.

Also sadly, that probably won't stop me from placing an order for some of the new Hero Arts stuff, but whoever said a crafter needs to be consistent in her reasoning?

No crafter I've ever met, that's who. And really, should we listen to non-crafters about crafty stuff?

Of course not. Duh.

Anyway, this year's Mother's Day card makes excellent use of older stamps...a Hero Arts wood-mounted sentiment from at least 15 years ago and the older Papertrey set A Wreath for All Seasons. Throw in two shades of smooch and lots of tiny rhinestones, and you've got yourself a pretty clean-and-simple card!

As you can see in the close-up, I dabbed the Smooch on random dots that were stamped in Hero Arts cornflower ink. The Smooch adds a subtle shimmer and dimension to the wreath, It was pretty enough with the Smooch but still seemed to lack a little something, so I added a bunch of tiny blue blings in two shades for some added kick.

The results are lovely...soft, feminine, and sparkly!

Instead of rushing out to buy something new, see what older stamps you have in your stash which might enjoy some lovin' and have a go with them. It's fun!

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: Archival potting soil, Hero Arts cornflower
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, scissors, rhinestones, Smooch

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Grab Bag of a Post

1. I received a lovely reply to an email I sent to Impress Cards and Crafts following receipt of a defective navy ink pad. Ann apologized for the problem and is sending me a new one ASAP. I adore the Impress Fresh Ink pads and colors, and out of the many I own, this was the first time there was a problem. So you might say I'm impressed by the customer service at Impress.

2. My elder son had several small speaking roles in his high school's production of the musical Catch Me If You Can, which I saw twice last weekend because I'm his mom and the show was awesome. He did a great job, and he's cute. Also silly.

3. Several of you sent me wonderful cards in April, and I want to share them because they really made my month, which was often full of stress and irritation. These three cards seemed to arrive on just the right days to lift me up and remind me how wonderful people are!

Patti's lovely Easter card uses just the right
amount of yellow with purple-y blues
to create a fantastically pretty card!

Michele's adorable peek-a-boo Easter card captures the pastel
goodness of spring with iconic jelly beans and
a cute, cute bunny!

Don't you love how she highlighted the bunny with that soft background?
I do!

Carol's card made me "awwww" and laugh at the same time.
Her soft, beachy scene with the scavenger sea gull and
salty sentiment is simply delightful!

4. I continue to play with the Mixed Media Gelatos kit, but it's early days. I don't want to judge too quickly. All I can say at this point is my anal-retentive, neat-freak self hasn't pitched the mess in the trash yet, so clearly there's some growth here.

5. Today's cards showcase the Copics I bought last week. If you need a reason to buy Copics, let me add that you can coordinate bling with your card quite easily with the darker shades. Lighter shades of Copic often don't color the bling as well, but you can get some subtle colors with them. Also, while my photo shows clear rhinestones with color added, know that you can change the shades of colored rhinestones with Copic or Sharpie markers. Don't be afraid to experiment.

The first card uses these blue and green Copics:

The shading of these colors is lovely, although I will say that G05 and G09 are not hugely different, and if you're on a budget, one or the other, but not both, will get you a good gradient with the G000 and G02.

This next card is not great as a card (that flower isn't my favorite), but it does show you the colors of the turquoise blue Copics I got...and they are lovely.

I used the 000 and 02 on the center petal, 02 and 05 on the next two petals, and 05 and 07 on the outer petals

So there you have it. A grab bag of a post. Little of this, little of that, a whole lot of pictures.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and thanks for the wonderful people in this world,

stamps: Simon Says Stamp
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K heavy white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics, craft foam, glue