Saturday, March 17, 2018


A quick post of an easy but dramatic card:

The movement of that fabulous bird-in-flight enhances this card so much, and the dark purple adds bold interest.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. We are!

stamps: Hero Arts My Monthly Hero February kit
ink: can't remember
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: coordinating dies, dimensionals

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ode to a Sunny March Day (and Dog Pictures)

Karen's Card Shop Update
Several of you have asked what (if anything) Karen's Card Shop needs at this time. We are running low on thank you cards, and in the next few months might need more sympathy, get well, and thinking of you cards. Fresh birthday cards are always welcome, as are cards with Bible verses or religious sentiments. If you want to donate, please keep in mind that the insides of cards should be blank (I put them in bags so people don't see what's inside before they buy!) and any sentiments other than the ones I request do not sell well. Please email me when you're ready to ship, and I'll send you my snail mail address.

Thanks so much to all who have donated already. The card shop benefits our church's general fund and Stephen Ministry program. For details, please see my page on Karen's Card Shop

Today's Card
It's not warm in Ohio yet, but we had a delightfully sunny day today, so I'm posting a delightfully sunny card.

This sunny flower comes from Hero Arts' Happy Day Flowers set. That sentiment is a wonderful one for using different colors since thank and you are two separate stamps. You can tuck the you to the right or the left, depending on what works best for your particular layout. I put it on the right to balance out the flower on the left.

And now for dog pictures. Several of you requested dog pictures, and I'm more than happy to oblige.

We clearly don't provide the Cooper with enough
chew toys. He's eight months old and 65 pounds.

Daisy's got your back, Cooper.

"Ready for my profile, Mr. DeMille."

"I'm being cuddled against my will."

"I'm at the vet and smilin'!"

Despite his smile, that last picture is kind of sad. Cooper has some weird issues going on with his elbows (right one very swollen, left somewhat painful) and his hips (worries about dysplasia). He's also been running a fever for a week, although he doesn't act sick at all. If you're the praying type, please pray for him. He's going to be neutered on Monday and get X-rays on his elbows and hips while under anesthesia. I'll keep you posted.

stamps: Hero Arts Happy Days Flowers
ink: Hero Arts butter bar, Papertrey terra cotta, Archival potting soil
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Renaissance Flourish

Sometimes, I buy a stamp or stamp set for sentimental reasons. This always generates creative issues because stamps purchased for sentimental reasons often don't make me happy when I start to make cards with them.

I like the idea of the set, not working with the actual set.


Such is the case with Shakespearean Poetry from Hero Arts. I adore the idea of this set but have struggled mightily to make satisfyingly LateBlossom-y cards using it. When I saw this card by Rosemary Dennis in Take Ten, however, I decided to give the set another try.

At first glance, this choice may seem out of left field. Rosemary's card has a lovely, natural, rustic feel combined with Papertrey's Dot Spot, which is so delightfully geometric. The tension between those two styles works perfectly in Rosemary's card, but why in the world would it make me think "Renaissance flourish"?

Well, that great layout is incredibly versatile and can be adapted to any number of styles. It focuses on a stamped background with a clean border demarcated by a ribbon. You could use all sorts of stamps for this...including the large flourish in Shakespearean Poetry, and here's the result.

How very satisfying! Note that I switched from portrait to landscape orientation for the card. Now, I don't care what your orientation is, truly, but sometimes stamps work better oriented one way and sometimes they work better oriented another way. That big flourish works better oriented horizontally, and we shan't judge it for that.

Rosemary works with squares and circles and dots and lots of asymmetry on her card, all to excellent effect. But my big stamp needed a bigger panel, which in turn required symmetrical matting. Tweaks like these are de rigueur in adapting layouts. Go with them. Flow. It's fun!

The aquamarine and charcoal inks, combined with satin ribbon and pearls, make an elegant statement, don't they? I love how the basic layout of Rosemary's card works equally well for both her rustic, dotty interpretation and my elegant Renaissance flourish.

When you're looking at a layout for inspiration, don't be at all afraid to experiment with a completely different style and whatever tweaks you need to make that work.

You might end up with a flourish!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love (and apologies for the very bad last sentence),

stamps: Hero Arts Shakespearean Poetry, Clear and Simple sentiment
ink: Hero Arts charcoal and ocean
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: satin ribbon, half pearls, ScorTape (to attach ribbon), dimensionals, scallop scissors (to snip the corners of the stamped panel)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Y'all know how I feel about distressing. I prefer to de-stress, not cause distress. But when I saw this picture in GreenCraft, I simply had to make some distressed cards.

Lavender Dryer sweet and soft!

The fabric pillows look so soft and touchable, and by softening up the edges of my paper with a scissor blade, I was able to evoke a similar feel with my cards.

The stamped panels and colored mats are adhered using glue only in the middle, not along the edges. You can see the shadows cast by the slightly upturned edges. The effect is subtle, but adds that extra little something to a very simple design.

Slight imperfections in the stamping didn't bother me, either...they enhance the softness without drawing too much attention to themselves.

These cards make me feel so relaxed and calm. Who knew distressing could be so de-stressing!?!

Perhaps you did. But it's news to crisp-and-clean me.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Simon Says Stamp One With Nature, Clear and Simple thank you
paper: Papertrey white and various colors (also by Papertrey)
ink: Hero Arts charcoal, lime, soft leaf, soft olive
accessories: scissor blade, glue

Monday, March 12, 2018

Love...and Not Love

Many, many thanks to all who have commented on yesterday's post. You've given me a lot to think about, and I'm finding that very helpful. If you haven't commented yet, please do weigh in on my question of how you'd like to see me shake things up on Simplicity...or how you would like me to not shake things up.

At least we know that hardly anyone wants to see unicorns and fairy farts. That's a relief.

Today's two cards show two different techniques using an adorable little envelope stamp from Hero Arts' Love Notes set.

First up, a clean-and-simple faux collage inspired by many different real collage cards.

Y'all, this card makes my heart happy. So simple, so sweet, so heart-bling-y!

The second card didn't make my heart so happy. It started off as an attempt to use frisket...a resist liquid that, when it dries, keeps watercolor off the paper. After the paint dries, you can remove the dry frisket gently from the paper, leaving the white space free of paint.

Unfortunately, though I was gentle as can be, the Tim Holtz white watercolor paper peeled off with the frisket, leaving an unsightly mess. I quickly stamped the envelope on a scrap, cut it out, and glued it over the mess. I was quite disappointed, though, that the frisket damaged the paper.

So one version is crisp and clean and fresh, and the other is soft and sweet and romantic. They use essentially the exact same layout, but they certainly have different moods.

Which do you prefer?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Love Notes
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white, Tim Holtz watercolor paper
accessories: Arteza brush watercolor pen, brush, frisket, heart rhinestones

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shaking Things Up

This here little blog is starting to feel a little stale and predictable to me, so it's time to shake things up. I have some ideas, but I wonder what YOU want from Simplicity.

Maybe unicorns and fairy farts?

Chatty posts about product? Organization? Design? How 18-year-olds are bat-crap crazy?

Series of posts using a single technique or product lots of different ways?

My husband's recipe for Asian chicken thighs?

Book recommendations from my alter-ego, Literature Lady?

Videos of my talking about stamping or life or why I can't leave Barnes & Noble without buying a book? (Video tutorials are a bit beyond my techie ability, but I think I could go live on Facebook pretty easily. But going live on Facebook also feels a bit narcissistic for me...oh, look at me, I'm so important! Ugh.)

Something else entirely?

Your input is greatly appreciated.

And now for a card project that isn't your ordinary card.

This book card was inspired by the following book in the Autumn 2017 issue of GreenCraft magazine (a Stampington & Co. publication) which I borrowed from the library yesterday.

The inspiration book uses corrugated cardboard liberally smeared with artsy technique that results in a more distressed look than I can pull off while staying true to my clean-and-simple style. So I opted to run a portrait-cut white card base through my paper crimper and go from there. 

My color scheme includes the Hero Arts robin's egg ink that came with the February My Monthly Hero kit for the cover. I rubbed it on the flap for contrast, and the distressed nature of the results pays homage to the inspiration piece.

Inside, the single-sheet page leaves ample white space and highlights an Emerson quotation and the fun leaves from Simon Says Stamp One With Nature. The green ink is also from the My Monthly Hero kit and is called feather.

The binding for the book was sewn through three holes punched with an awl through the page and cover. The thread is DMC floss that just so happened to match perfectly the robin's egg ink.

Let's pause for a moment to savor how spectacular it feels to have an embellishment in the perfect color for a project. Ahhhhhh.

That feels good.

The quotation is perfect for a graduation card, so this card will go to my son in May. He will appreciate it. I just hope he doesn't get drunk on the wild air.

I love that boy more than myself. And he's driving me batty with his teen-brain hijinx. Lord, grant me patience because if you give me strength, I'mma gonna need bail money to go with that. Amen. 

I left long tails on both ends of the binding thread and added a circle attached with a black fastener. The black fastener ties in with the black ink inside the card and lends gravitas to pastel-and-white cover.

Gravitas is a great word. Eighteen-year-olds think they have gravitas, but they don't. They just don't.

This project was enormously fun and satisfying, and it wouldn't have happened without seeing that little inspiring book in GreenCraft magazine. Yay, inspiration!

So what do you think? How can Simplicity shake things up and be a more satisfying place for you and for me to spend our time? Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Simon Says Stamp One With Nature
ink: Hero Arts robin's egg, feather; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white, random lightweight white cardstock for inside page
accessories: black brad, 5/8" circle punch, Fiskars paper crimper, awl, needle, DMC floss

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sweet as Honey

One of my favorite cute sets is Hero Arts Busy As A. Despite its odd name, the set is adorable and has some great images in it. I ordered the coordinating die set and went to work. This was the second card I made...the first was pretty trash. I'll explain below.

The watercolor used on these images came from two different sources. The bees are painted with StampinUp summer sun and more mustard inks that were squished into the lids of the old-style cases. The hive is painted with an Arteza brown real brush marker that was squished onto an acrylic block.

There's a lot of squishing going on.

Anyway, I added Wink of Stella to the wings and flower, and a bling on the flower creates a visual triangle of yellow.

My first attempt at this card involved painting a large scrap with the summer sun ink. I stamped the bees and die cut them out of the painted scrap. Wow, that was ugly. Didn't think about how the wings would be yellow, too, and just no.

What are your favorite "cute" sets?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Busy As A
ink: Archival potting soil; StampinUp summer sun and more mustard
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Wink of Stella (clear), dimensionals, coordinating dies, Arteza real brush marker in brown