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