Saturday, April 30, 2011

Birthday with Paper Tray--Variations on a Set

Here's another layout with Papertrey Ink's Paper Tray set. This one is going to my sister for her birthday. Oh, it makes me giddy!

Design Discussion: My goal was to have three (not two or four...three!) lines staggered so that when I put bling in the exact middle of each line, the bling would form a visual triangle to help anchor the floating lines. And yes, I did use a ruler to position the bling because I'm AR that way. By starting on the left with the middle-height line, then the highest-height line, then the lowest line, I wanted to bring the eye down to the sentiment, which I stamped in black first...but it was way too bold. The Memento London Fog looks so much better!

I rounded the bottom corners with my new Crop-a-dile Corner Chomper. Thanks, Marty! You are such a sweetie!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones, Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper

Thursday, April 28, 2011

OLW51 Three of a Kind

When I read the OLW51 post Wednesday on Jennifer's blog, I collapsed in hysterical laughter. By entirely freaky coincidence, late Tuesday night when I could not sleep, I made a set of one-layer cards that vary the color but use the same stamps and layout. There are two each of three colors for a set of six. This is one of the options for Jennifer's OLW this week!

So there you are. I'm psychic.

These three cards are part of my NEW RESOLUTION. That's right. I finally settled on a follow-on for my Ues-Every-Image-Stamp resolution. Now, I'm going to use every set to make at least four different layouts. If the set has reasonable sentiments (as in, NOT kind thoughts, cherish, or puppies poop rainbows), I can only use those.

Doesn't that sound like a cool challenge? Well, it sounds cool to me.

The idea came to me when I realized how little I'd used this set (Papertrey's Paper Tray). It's a fabulous little set, one of the first Papertrey sold, and perfect for the graphic, clean style I love. So many sets have little stamps, like the line in this one, that aren't exactly images (more like elements) that I almost never use. Also, while most sentiments in the set are ones I don't use that often, the Happy Birthday, Thank You, and With Sympathy stamps just haven't been used enough.

The new resolution encourages me to make use of sentiments and those little elements in sets without mandating it. I don't want to be told what to do...even by myself, LOL!

So, I'm psychic and resolute. And I laugh at pears. Now you know everything about me.

My Problem with Pears

For those who missed the link in the previous post: Fruitful Silliness

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PTI Fruitful Gets a Workout...Even the Pear!

I wanted to make my mother-in-law a set of notecards for Mother's Day, so I pulled out Papertrey's Fruitful set and made a super-simple set using a classic clean-and-simple layout. I varied the images, sentiments (from Everyday Classics), and colors for a set of 10, but I'll only show four because I think you'll get the idea.

Some I rock-and-rolled.

Some I just stamped.

Most have normal fruit.

One does not.

Yep. I used a pear. My mother-in-law was not an English major and therefore is unlikely to have my weird aversion to pear images. In fact, I bet she walks past them in the grocery store without giggling in a helplessly juvenile fashion. I bet she eats them without a single naughty thought entering her head.

And since she doesn't read this blog, we can leave it that way.

OLW Reminder!!!!

Remember to check out OLW51 on Jennifer's blog later today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chatter and a Card


Someone asked what flower punch I used on the second card on this card. It's from StampinUp.

Someone else who shall remain nameless (okay, it was Marty!) sent me a RAK. The package included a stamp I almost bought a month ago but didn't because a little voice whispered in my ear that someone really nice would send it to me soon. You'll see it on a card soon. Marty also sent me a Crop-A-Dile corner rounder that is absolutely the coolest corner rounder ever! Be still, my heart. I don't deserve friends-I've-never-even-met-in-real-life who are this kind and generous!

Someone else entirely asked about my stamp index, which I referred to in a recent post. This subject--my stamp index--is a source of grave frustration to me. I've had four iterations of index since I started stamping. Not one has met all my needs.

Below is a picture of the THREE binders that housed my Version 4.0 index. The pink binder houses Papertrey stamp images. The brown binder contains Mark's Finest and StampinUp images, as well as a punch index. The green binder holds Hero Arts images, as well as images from miscellaneous companies. 

Three binders. They are pretty colors, but three binders are two too many and not easily portable. One thing I love to do with my index is take it with me when I travel. Plus, dividing everything by manufacturer seems artificial, especially when today's card is so very representative of how I work: mix and match. So I'm reworking the index and will share the new one when I'm done, which at the rate I'm going should be sometime in the year 2020.

I have a lot of stamps.

Still, it won't really take until 2020 to finish because I'm obsessive.

But you knew that.

Didn't you?

Sure you did.

A Card

As you can see, I combined a sentiment from Papertrey's Mega Mixed Messages with a flower stamp from StampinUp's Happy Harmony set, thus proving my point about the silliness of segregating stamps in my index.

The ground on this is washi tape, and I--SURPRISE--actually like the tape on this card, which was vaguely inspired by a card I received from Krystie Lee. Her card is much prettier, but as I have it and will not show it to you, my card will not suffer in comparison...unless you scroll down her blog and find an aqua, orange, and celery one-layer card with a button on one flower and a sheer white ribbon around the bottom.

Her card, however, has no bling.

So there.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Great Cover-Up

Often my experimenting goes awry. Sometimes, the results are not salvageable. Mostly, however, I can save the card if I think about it hard enough.

Today's card was salvaged in a great cover-up. Go, me!!!

I tried using washi tape as the ground for these trees from SU's Trendy Trees set. It just didn't look right, so I pulled it up. I'd always pulled up washi tape without a problem, but this time, it pulled the top layer of the paper with it. Darn it all.

So I cut a piece of old olive cardstock and drew a pencil line on it. Then, I cut along the line using mini-scallop scissors, being careful to line up the scallops with each cut. (Remember when using deco scissors to NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances close the scissors completely before you cut all the way across. It messes up the cut!)

I glued the old olive strip onto the card, effectively covering up the disaster. No one will ever know.

Well, no one would know if I hadn't just told the entire Internet.

I decided the green was too heavy, so I layered white twill on it to lighten it up. Rounded corners on the bottom further lighten the green and echo the rounded foliage of the trees and the scallop edge.

And THAT is how you cover up a mistake, save some pretty two-step stamping, and make someone's birthday cheerier.

Someone once said that there are no mistakes in stamping, only opportunities for embellishment. More often than not, that someone is right.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

I'll be back tomorrow with a tutorial on how to fix a card disaster. In the meantime, I hope you all have a very celebratory--and disaster-free--Easter Sunday.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. Romans 15:13

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Card Set Using PTI's Everyday Classics

I decided that the end-of-school teacher gifts this year would be card sets, and I got so excited about that idea that I decided to make cards sets for my mother and mother-in-law as well, in addition to some cool things I bought for them on Etsy. My mom prefers one-layer cards, so I made her a set using PTI's Everyday Classics, the anniversary set for 2010.

Speaking of which, has anyone received this year's anniversary set? I am pretty sure I qualified but I haven't seen any buzz about this year's set yet.

Anyway, here's a sampling of the cards from my mom's set. I love the curvy flourish bracket paired with the angular fonts. Also, it was fun playing with pairs of colors of Memento two cards in the set are identical.

What are you doing for a Mother's Day gift? Also, does anyone have a suggestion for what I can do for a friend facing her first Mother's Day since her mother passed?

And if you're a mom, what are you campaigning for as your gift? I'm asking for stamps!

stamps: Papertrey Everyday Classics
ink: Memento various
paper: PTI white
accessories: scallop scissors to round the corners, and yes, I will do a tutorial as soon as my husband or son will take pictures.... 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One-Layer Wednesday 50: Thankful for the Good Ol' Days

This week's One-Layer Wednesday challenge is sort of the opposite of the OLW49. We used new rubber last week, so this week, I want you to pull out an old rubber stamp (or photopolymer, if you prefer) that hasn't seen love in a while. Dust it off, ink it up, and make a one-layer Thank You card with it!

This is an old Anna Griffin floral stamp that I've had for at least seven or eight years. It's really not my style, but stamping anything in green works for me these days, and I love how this turned out with the brown sentiment. The sentiment is newer...from Hero Arts.

OLW50 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half. No other layers allowed.

2. Pull out an old stamp that hasn't seen ink in a while, and make a thank you card with it! Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Post your card somewhere on the internet and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

4. Most important rule of all: HAVE FUN!

stamps: Anna Griffin, Hero Arts
ink: VersaMagic Chalk ink (tea leaves, jumbo java)
paper: PTI vintage cream
accessories: stamp positioner

Monday, April 18, 2011

PTI's Framed

A while back I promised a tutorial on using Papertrey's Framed set. I haven't forgotten and had intended to post it today, but I'm not happy with my solution for stamping that diabolically tricky set, seeing as five of the twelve samples I stamped didn't turn out well at all. Frustrating, yes, but I'm not giving up. No sir-ree. Not me. 'Cause I sniff an opportunity to go shopping for a giant gridded acrylic block, and I'll not declare defeat until I've exhausted all the options.

That's just the kind of blogger I am. 

So in the meantime, enjoy the fruits of my labor to date...the best card to come out of my experimenting:

See, this set CAN be stamped straight and without smudges!

stamps: PTI Framed and Everyday Classics
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: rhinestones, post-its for masking

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Quick and Easy Project with Chocolate...YUM!

A girlfriend of mine hates April. All sorts of bad things in her life have happened in April. A few days ago, we went for a walk, and in the half-hour before the walk she found out an old friend and mentor had passed away and that her own mother had spent the day undergoing medical tests...par for the course for her as far as April is concerned. So, I made her a gift to help make April a little easier to get through.

Inside the bag are wrapped Hershey's Nuggets (one for every day left in the month). Inside the card, I told her to take one chocolate a day until they are gone, and then April will be over. I don't imagine the chocolates will keep more bad things from happening, but at least she gets a little chocolate every day to help her through.

Details: The card is smallish, only 3 1/2" x 4 7/8", so you can see that the bag is also small. The stamp is one I got on sale at Michael's, and I stamped it in brown Memento and colored it with a pink Memento marker. The flower on the bon bon is accented with a tiny rhinestone. I wrapped the chocolates in stamped Avery address labels using Papertrey Ink's Limitless Labels set and pink and brown ink by Memento. The chocolates are loosely wrapped in tissue paper and placed in the bag. A simple hot pink bow is all I added to the bag, and I love how sweet it looks!

This was such a quick and easy project, one you could whip out at a moment's notice for a friend in need of a bit of cheer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OLW49 New Rubber and Pink and Green

Jennifer's OLW this week is to use a stamp that's not seen ink AND the colors pink and green. Well, this wonderful little church stamp from A Muse had never seen ink, and you might not believe it, but the church has pink (pretty in pink tinted windows) and green (mellow moss door and sentiment) on it, as well as sahara sand for the stones. It's colored with an aqua painter and SU classic inks on PTI white cardstock.

I envisioned it as a baptism card for a baby girl. Or a wedding card. Seems like it would work for either occasion.

I may not be done with this challenge yet. Still have four more uninked rubber stamps from A Muse (ordered from their online store clearance and got them for $2 a piece! go, me!).

stamps: A Muse chapel, Papertrey Sign Language sentiment
ink: Palette noir; SU mellow moss, pretty in pink, sahara sand
paper: Papertrey
accessories: aqua painter, scallop scissors to round the corners

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Memento Inks and MFP White Cardstock: Lovin' Them

First, I'll remind you that the OLW this week is over on Jennifer's blog. It's a good one so check it out!

Now, while I'm seeking to purge colored cardstock, I've stayed true to my love of the white card base and have expanded my white cardstock selection to include White Storm 100lb from Mark's Finest Papers. Now in addition to PTI white (thick cardstock with a bit of tooth) and Gina K white (perfect for one-layer Bic/Sharpie/Copic colored cards), I'm lovin' MFP's, which is lighter than PTI's (easier to fold, but not as thin as SU whisper white so a lovely card base for one layer). It also takes ink beautifully.


Okay, so perhaps this distressed sentiment stamp from Hero Arts isn't exactly the best to show how nicely this paper takes ink, but really. It does. The blues are from ink I'm lovin' so much. I liked the gradient blue look so much that I decided to try sunny colors. Gives the card a completely different feel, doesn't it?

So then, I just got nutty playing with color. Oh how fun this was!

Look through your stash and see what largish sentiments you have that could work with this idea. So easy and quick, yet so very, very cool!

stamps: Hero Arts (discontinued clear set)
ink: various Memento
paper: Mark's Finest
accessories: gridded acrylic block...a must in this case!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Before and After: Color Balance


When I made this card, one mistake caused some odd design elements. When I stamped the Text Style background, I left a bit too much space between images. So that's where I put the twine, to cover the gap. Then, I decided that I'd use a red starfish for a pop of color, highlight it with some rhinestones, and stamp the sentiment in cool caribbean.

Sadly, the starfish is just a little too visually insignificant and just floating there on the twine oddly. (You try attaching a skinny-armed starfish over twine!) Plus, the sentiment really needed to be red.


By replacing the starfish with a couple of sea horses, anchored from below with the twine in a more realistic manner, the right side of the card has more visual weight and makes more sense. The sentiment also doesn't disappear now that it's red.

If I made a third version of the card, I'd make the popped water panel a smidge taller, to give more room for the sea horses. The twine is just a little too low on the panel.

And yes, I understand text-covered water is weird, but I don't care. I love text, and I love the ocean. If you want to do something similar but not so English-major geeky, you could try polka dots or flourishes or something nautical. But I'm sticking with text.

stamps: Text Style (PTI), Life is a Beach (PTI)
ink: cool caribbean, real red (SU)
paper: Mark's Finest Paper
accessories: Martha Stewart sand dollar/starfish punch, sea horse punch, Fiskar's ocean waves border punch, dimensionals, glue dot, twine (PTI) 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

CASEing Kelley Eubanks

As soon as I saw this card in the new issue of Papercrafts, I knew I had to CASE it. It's not often I want to actually copy a card I see, but Kelley Eubanks spoke to me with her fun, crisp, clean-and-simple, one-layer card. I just couldn't think of any way to improve upon it!

I started with the butterfly from Kind Thoughts (SU), a sentiment from Hero Arts, and three rhinestones. Oh I'm so happy!

Then, I decided to try a more vintage image from Letters from Friends (SU) and a lighter sentiment from Clear and Simple Stamps. I'm so happy again!!!!

On a design note, I deliberately left the bottom corners square on the second card...the image didn't seem to invite rounded corners, while the butterfly certainly did.

Kelley is an amazing CAS stamper, and I thank her for giving us this fabulously flexible layout (I never would have thought to put bling underneath like that) and a fresh color combination. If you get a chance this week, play around with her idea. It's truly fabulous, and you can take it in so many different directions.

Happy Monday, everyone!

stamps: SU, Hero Arts, Clear and Simple Stamps
ink: SU real red, Memento black
paper: Mark's Finest Papers
accessories: rhinestones, corner rounder

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Opportunity to Support Japan

I know some of you cycle or have cyclists/triathletes in your life. Here's a chance for them to support Japan's recovery while buying a really cool cycling jersey.

De Soto Sport: Tri 4 Japan Bike Jersey

$80 of your $100 purchase goes to Japan, and it's tax deductible. So you're getting a quality jersey for $20 AND wearing your support for those in Japan AND making that support tangible with a monetary contribution.

George ordered his today. I can't wait to see him wearing it out on a ride. AWESOME!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Evolution of the OLW Sympathy Card

I know the OLW was to make a one-layer sympathy card without trees or flowers, but I got the idea because I had to make a sympathy card for the wife of a man who died after a fall while trimming a tree in their yard. How completely shocking and sad. I really couldn't put a tree on the card. So I made this card:

Mellow moss, always artichoke, and PTI's natural cardstock work so well for a subdued natural theme, don't you think? I really like how this simple, unembellished card turned out, and I'm enjoying seeing what you all are doing for the challenge. Good stuff!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cheers and the Question of Art

I made this card a while back with the intent of using it during Little Things week. Then I forgot about it. What a shame because it's a fun card!

Hmm. I want a margarita.

There's been a lot of chatter on SCS about whether what we do is art, and it's got me thinking. Here's my perspective on the subject. If you're not interested in my blah, blah, blah, just skip to the supply list at the bottom of this post. There's as much value in that as in my musings on art. *snort*

Art, to me, is the end result of deliberately creative self-expression.

That's it. Not all art is good art, of course; in fact, a lot of art--perhaps even most art--is bad. But it's still art. It doesn't take talent to make art. Sweat, hard work, and study are actually more important, but little kids make art all the time without sweating, studying, or working hard. I make art, and Leonardo Da Vinci made art.

His, however, is way more better than mine. He devoted his life to his art. My art is a passionate hobby.

But that doesn't matter. We shouldn't compare our creative expression to anyone else's creative expression. I do the best I can with what I have and follow my own muse. Leo did his best, too, and his muse totally rocked. 

I found a quotation from Einstein on Pinterest recently that's relevant here:

Art is like genius. Leonardo climbed the tree. I swim in the water. I'm not denied art because I can't paint the Mona Lisa. 

Creative self-expression gives voice to what's inside a person's heart, soul, mind, spirit. What's inside us is valuable, precious, special. We should treat it with respect and not belittle it, and we should let it sing in whatever way it can. I'm Susan and stamping makes me happy.

No, what I do is not at all in any way comparable to what Leonardo did.

It's not supposed to be. It is what it is. And it's good enough for me.

Care to make some art? Grab a stamp and express yourself!

stamps: SU Cheers to You
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: Memento markers, glue pen, glitter
Card Size: 4 7/8" x 3 1/2"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One-Layer Wednesday 48: A Sympathetic Challenge

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is to make a sympathy card that does NOT include flowers or trees. For my card, I used Quilter's Sampler from Papertrey Ink.

Sympathy cards are uncomfortable to make, especially at the last minute, and I find it easier to have a few on hand. I took this chance to make several of this very clean and simple card for my stash.

OLW48 Rules

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

2. Make a sympathy card that uses an image other than trees or flowers. Remember to keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Upload your card online and link back to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity.

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

stamps: Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento Black
paper: PTI white
accessories: SU Markers

Monday, April 4, 2011

CAS113 Color Challenge--Edited

The new CAS challenge at Splitcoast is to make a card with soft aqua, soft yellow, and white. LOVE this combination!

I've been playing with some Snow Storm white cardstock sent to me by Mark's Finest Papers. It's smooth like SU whisper white but feels heavier. It's definitely lighter than PTI's stamper's select white, but it holds up to making a card base very nicely, as you can see on this card. I'm going to order some of the Heavy Snow Storm white to check it out, too.

If you're a CAS stamper, you can never have too much white cardstock!

Thanks to everyone who left comments on Monday's post. It's fun and uplifting to read other people's responses to the doldrums. I think I will get rid of a bunch of paper...or at least clear it out of my craft room.

Also, for those of you who won blog candy during Little Things Week, the packages were mailed Monday for everyone except the Day 7 winners (still waiting on the dimensionals from SU). If you don't receive your package in a reasonable time (it's coming from Ohio), please let me know.

Edited to Add: Ooops! I incorrectly attributed the SU branch stamp. It's from Garden Silhouettes instead of Stem Silhouettes. Sorry about that!
stamps: SU Garden Silhouettes, Anna Griffin sentiment
ink: cool caribbean, so saffron
paper: Mark's Finest white, SU cool caribbean
accessories: dimensionals, Martha Stewart bird punch

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Monday Blah, Blah, Blah and a Card

I've been experiencing a crisis of sorts in my stamping. You see, my 2009 resolution to use all my image stamps is pretty much accomplished. The very few images I haven't used were bought for scrapbooking anyway, so I don't feel it is cheating to leave those out.

What do I do next?


That resolution gave structure and purpose to my stamping for over two years, and now it's gone. Oh, I'm still stamping, but I feel sort of aimless and adrift, if that makes any sense at all. When I'm not in my craft room, I develop all sorts of intentions of purging and simplifying and trying something new. When I actually go to do these things, I find myself whimping out.

I gaze longingly at the A Muse catalog and then tell myself that no matter how yummy that paper looks, it would be silly to buy more cardstock. I'm resolved to use up my colored cardstock, but much of what I make with it won't get posted here, mainly because I don't like a lot of the colors...they just aren't me. Should I just sell the stuff that isn't me and start over? 

That's a rhetorical question.

The truth is, I'm sharing my floating in the doldrums with you not so you will feel sorry for me or offer up advice, but so you will know that YOU are not alone whenever you hit the doldrums yourself. These slow periods happen to most everyone who passionately engages in any hobby. They are not permanent, nor are they unhealthy. They just are. I'm trying out a few new resolutions, reorganizing some stuff, studying magazines, and generally taking it easy, making cards using my Second Theory and plugging away at using up that cardstock!

This card is 7.25" x 3.5" in size.

What do you do when you're in the doldrums?

stamps: SU butterfly, Shady Tree Studios sentiment
ink: Memento
paper: SU pretty in pink; Mark's Finest white
accessories: SU butterfly punch, Fiskar's bracket border punch, rhinestone

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Quick Card Set

I needed a bunch of thank you cards for people at my church on short notice, so I pulled out two Papertrey sets: Simple Little Things (a limited edition anniversary set) and Everyday Blessings.

Add a bit of bling, round the corners with scallop scissors (tutorial to come on that), and you're done!

Happy Sunday!