Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Softer Shadow Stamp

So these two cards are vibrant and bold, but today's card uses the same old Hero Arts shadow stamp but with a completely different technique, and the results are soft and natural.

The background came from a very simple technique using Memento ink and markers. First, I inked the whole stamp with new sprout (a very pale green), then tapped bamboo leaves and cottage green markers all over it. After spritzing the stamp generously with water, I moved the stamp around to blend the inks, and then stamped it on Tim Holtz watercolor paper. To maximize the color, I weighted the stamp on the paper for a few minutes while the watery ink was absorbed by the paper. (I learned that trick from a Jennifer McGuire video.)

Once the panel was dry, I stamped leaves in embossing ink and sprinkled with pearl embossing powder. The embossing effect is subtle, but oh so pretty!

I liked the whole effect so much, I decided not to add a sentiment.

Hopefully, you had as relaxing and creative a weekend as I did! It's been fun reading your comments and emails on my last post, and I'm going to respond in the next few days. Dave Barry, the humor writer, said there's a fine line between mental illness and hobby...and I think he's right!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey Masculine Motifs
paper: Tim Holtz watercolor paper, Papertrey white
ink: embossing ink, Memento
accessories: Memento markers, heat gun, silver pearl embossing powder, water spritzer

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Green with Lazy

Today's card demonstrates exactly how flawed a crafter I am. You see, one reason why my mantra is mercy, grace, peace, and love is because I'm so very well aware of how much I rely on mercy and grace extended by others (and God) because ohmyheavens, am I flawed.

I'm prideful. Talk too much. Get distracted. (Oh, look! A book!) Forget important things. Spend too much time on my phone. Don't exercise enough. (At all.) Cuss a little. Try so hard not to judge and judge anyway. Leave undone what should be done. (Mop your floors, Susan!) Do things I shouldn't do. (Drink too many mochas. Procrastinate.)

So you can see that I need mercy, grace, peace, and love.

Don't we all?

When it comes to crafting, I've often wondered how much my love of clean-and-simple style evolved from simple laziness. When coloring today's card with Copic markers, I stopped wondering.

Turns out, I am both lazy and impatient. This card felt like it took FOREVER to color. Seriously. FOREVER, people. Ugh. 

Of course, I love how it turned out (pride), but I didn't feel inclined to use Copics on any other stamps in this set (sloth). Tomorrow you'll see the fruits of my laziness and impatience...which aren't so bad, actually (justification).

After finishing the coloring, I realized this card was pretty unbalanced, so following Joan B's lead, I used the chisel end of my Copics to add a border.

This set is a new one called Stemmed Statements from my November Papertrey order. It's truly a delightful set, with lots and lots of words with it that will be very useful (more justification).

So if I'm lazy and impatient, what are your crafting flaws? Confession is good for the soul!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Stemmed Statements
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Memento black
accessories: Copic markers, rhinestones, ruler

Friday, January 19, 2018

Stone-Age Stamps

My question about using new or old stamps prompted a lot of responses, overwhelmingly in favor of using older stamps and newer stamps. This sort of surprised me because we see so much hype and enthusiasm for new releases these days, and I wondered if I were missing out by severely restricting new purchases.

Not that I could go out and buy, buy, buy anyway. Our oldest is going to college this fall, after all. But I could loosen the purse-strings a bit, I suppose.

There are really two problems for me. First, I already have lots and lots of stamps, and some of the new stuff looks close enough to stuff I already have that it seems silly to buy it. And, as reader Sue C., pointed out in an email, many of the super-cute stamp sets being released aren't very versatile. She's learned the hard way that she can make one or two cards with those sets and then...she's done.

I've learned that lesson, too.

The second problem is boredom. When you're a clean-and-simple stamper, there are only so many options for designing cards with a given set. After a while, I get bored with sets, and this sets me up to buy new stuff. Then, I go look at the new stuff, which leads me back to problem number one.

I am fully aware these are first-world problems. I'm not complaining so much as commenting.

So after reading all your answers, I went through my stamps and pulled a bunch of stuff to retire to cold storage and retrieved a few sets from cold storage for more use.

In the process, I discovered a Hero Arts shadow stamp that was among the first stamps I ever bought lo those many years ago.

And I made these cards.

The first card used the same winter stamp used in my last two posts, that delightful tree scene from Papertrey's Masculine Motifs. (A quick check shows that Masculine Motifs is no longer available on their website.) The shadow stamp was inked with Hero Arts ombre ink, first by inking one half of the stamp, then turning the stamp, and inking the other half. This created a light-to-dark-to-light effect that is really neat.

The second card used the same inking technique with the pink-to-red pad and features a heart from Papertrey's Heart Prints...another old set which is still available. It was released with two coordinating heart punches (no longer on the website), so it's long been my favorite heart set. I added the black rhinestones to balance the strong, black sentiment.

These cards make me very, very happy. I hope they make you happy, too!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts shadow, Papertrey Heart Prints and Masculine Motifs, My Favorite Things Label Maker Sentiments
ink: Hero Arts ombre inks, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sparkle Birthday

Thanks so much for all the input about using old or new stamps. Reading your thoughts has clarified mine, and I am grateful! I'll share more tomorrow of my thoughts, along with a pair of cards using one of the earliest stamps I bought way back in the Jurassic period.

For tonight, here's another use for that wonderful winter tree stamp from Papertrey's old Masculine Motifs set.

Rather than the soft gray I used yesterday, I went for the high drama of black, white, and a tiny splash of red. It seemed a bit plain, so I pulled out a Sakura stardust pen and made the trees sparkle.

The sentiment on the wavy banner mimics the curve of the ground, and adds a touch of whimsy and movement to the card.

Winter birthday cards are so much fun to make!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs, Through the Trees (bird); Clearly Besotted (sentiment)
ink: Archival black, red geranium
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: banner die (StampinUp), dimensionals

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Holiday Thank-You Notes

If you're like me and have been slacking about holiday thank-you notes, here's a simple card that will mass-produce pretty easily.

Really, this card would fit almost any sentiment, from winter birthday to get well to thinking of you. What makes it work for me is the three bright pops of color against a gray winter landscape arranged in a visual triangle. I cut out and popped the banner sentiment, but you wouldn't have to do that.

I can never get rid of Through the Trees (Papertrey) because of these two birds, each facing the opposite direction. They are so much more useful than any other stamps in that set and I adore them. The trees are from Masculine Motifs (Papertrey), which has a lot of good stamps in it.

Question: how committed are you to using older stamp sets? Do you like to see me use them, or would you prefer more new stuff on Simplicity? Just curious.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs and Through the Trees; Hero Arts Thank You Messages
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Hero Arts soft granite; Archival manganese blue, red geranium
accessories: dimensionals

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My Favorite!

So, back in March, 2009, when this little blog began, I posted a card with my favorite layout ever. It still is, with twists that make it more interesting.

Here's where I'm at today with this design: additional layers of white-on-white and greater sense of movement. The matting brings the three images close together and unifies the design in a very clean way. I also chose a small sentiment and placed it off-center.

These tiny changes give the whole card much more energy, yet it also remains true to Leonardo's precept that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Does this mean I've learned a thing or two in the past nine years? I hope so. I sure didn't use Copics nine years ago, either, yet the images are colored with Copics. Not too bad for this old dog.

Speaking of dogs, I'll try to post new pictures of our BIG puppy. He's growing so fast (already over 50 pounds) and is as tall as Daisy. His head is much blockier than Daisy's, so he looks bigger than she is already, even though she's still got some pounds on him.

Finally, thanks to all of you who've weighed in on dies. I've got lots of ideas and some sense of direction now. Y'all are the best!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Summer Garden, Thank You Messages
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: 3/4" square punch, dimensionals, Copic markers

Monday, January 15, 2018

Grammatical Bling

For those who don't know, I have another blog called Questioning my Intelligence. Not much has been posted on it in the past few years, but our president's alleged comments over the weekend have made me realize how much the world needs good words preaching kindness and love and joy and gentleness. I'm writing again. If you're interested, please check it out.


The new Hero Arts set Summer Garden is delightful. It's got a plethora of pretty sentiments and a garden's worth of little flowers and critters.

But it's missing a comma.

Why does this bother me?

Oh, right. I was an English teacher.

Whenever you directly address someone, the name needs to be separated from the greeting by a comma. Hi, Sally. Merry Christmas, Ruth. Hello there, beautiful.

There is no comma in the set, but clearly, we're supposed to put the hello there and beautiful, gorgeous, or darling together.  Now, you might notice there's an apostrophe in the largest sentiment, and apostrophes are, for artistic purposes, the same as commas. But the apostrophe is buried in the flashing and not easy to isolate. I could have done it, I suppose, with clever masking, but I think we've established that I'm lazy.

So I stuck a bling where the comma should be. Yes, it's more like a period than a comma. I actually tried putting a tiny bling under the medium bling to give the idea of a comma, but it looked weird and not at all comma-like. So I decided that the single bling would have to suffice. After all, this is art.

Whatever. Basically, I gave up. Some battles are simply not worth fighting, such as the battle to stop the president from tweeting, but next time, I'll probably use the apostrophe, no matter how complicated because grammar matters, people!

Also, there's a bling covering a mistake, but I shan't tell you which because there are no mistakes, only opportunities for embellishment.

The butterfly was colored with Copics and then painted with a clear Wink of Stella brush pen. For a final touch, I slightly rounded the corners of the stamped panel and its mat with old-school scallop scissors.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Summer Garden
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics (for coloring the butterfly and rhinestones), Wink of Stella brush pen, scallop scissors, a dash of OCD