Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Verdure

Today's card came about as a variation on these cards which was inspired by this card. I love the depth created by three shades of green:


In addition to the interest of the three shades of green, I popped up the left end of the banner with a dimensional but glued the right side directly to the card base. The punched leaf is then popped up to the same height as the left end of the banner.



The stamp is an old, old, old Hero Arts set called Real Leaves (which includes yesterday's sprig stamp as well). These cards are part of my "use your stamps to make birthday cards for Karen's Card Shop" challenge. I've mostly abandoned that challenge as I've made plenty of birthday cards AND as kind reader Marcia P. sent me a package full of gorgeous birthday cards as a donation to the shop. We are--for the time being--good with birthday cards. Thank you, Marcia, and thanks to all who have donated in the past.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts (leaf), unknown sentiment
ink: Memento new sprout; Hero Arts green hills, green; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: post-it notes for mask, dimensionals, leaf punch

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Little Sprig and Big Cups

Botanicals provide perfect subject matter for guy-ish birthday cards. Consider this little sprig, colored with markers, spritzed with water, and stamped without fuss or ornament. 



Isn't the little sprig delightful? Sometimes, small things carry big weight, and this was an idea I contemplated in Normandy.

Almost everything about Normandy impressed me, from the tiny flowers in the grass, to the giant castles we visited, to virtually every meal we ate, to the hard-working servers of those meals. With my crafter's eye, I soaked in French culture and atmosphere, paying attention to little things: the spray of color on stone from stained glass, the quick glimpse of a beautiful 18th century home through a break in a wall as we drove by, the pansies in a window box, the baa-ing of the goats at Point du Hoc, the perfection of a Nutella crepe or pain au chocolat, the swans floating in the moat at our hotel, a private home made from a German bunker. That last one proves you can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

And not least of all, I deeply appreciated the fact that not one of the French people laughed in my face when I asked them if they spoke English woman. Apparently, that final s on Anglais is silent. Who knew?

But one tiny thing didn't make me happy. 

Can you guess what that might be?




The French drink tiny cups of coffee. Perhaps the rest of the world drinks tiny cups of coffee as well...my coffee-drinking experience is limited to the U.S. But I was all astonishment when I beheld the itty bitty cups of coffee in Normandy. 

Now, generally speaking, I understand that we Americans are vulgar in our need to super-size everything...cars, houses, hair, steaks, sodas, etc. But how in the world would anyone find satisfaction in such a tiny cup of coffee? It's baffling to this thoroughly vulgar American coffee addict. 


Source



While little cups of coffee don't compute for me, a little sprig on a birthday card makes total sense.  

Life is weird, isn't it? 

Or maybe it's just me.


Mercy, grace, peace, and love overflowing a very big cup,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts, StampinUp
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Memento markers, water spritzer

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Forgotten Anniversary

Hello! It's good to be back, and I'm happy to report that the past two weeks have been full of fun, solemnity, adventure, and--not insignificantly--pain au chocolat. 

Our family went to Normandy. I'll be blogging more about the trip on my other blog later, but for now, here's photographic proof I was on a different continent.


Yes, that's me beaming with happiness in front of Mont St. Michel, which has been on my bucket list since I was 15.  I'm 50 now. Woohoo!!!

A few days after this photo was taken, we received a text from my husband's mom wishing us a happy anniversary. We had been so absorbed in our amazing adventure that we forgot our 31st anniversary. Neither of us cared. We had more important things to occupy our attention.

Things like pain au chocolat and William the Conqueror's extremely cool castle at Falaise. 

Today's card is in honor of our forgotten anniversary because 31 years is no small accomplishment. 




This card was inspired by a handful of cards on Pinterest that had sprays of flowers topped with a banner. I love the softness of the leaves and flowers combined with the crispness of the banner and all that glorious white space. 

*happy sigh*

And now I'm off to deal with a "mont" of laundry and to love on the dog, who seems to think that we might disappear again if she stops demanding to be petted. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Embellished Elegance, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: various Hero Arts and Archival dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Friday, June 2, 2017

Flowers with Style...and a Blogging Break

Announcement: I am taking a Simplicity blogging break for about two weeks. While I'll miss posting here, I'm going to try to post on Questioning my Intelligence, the personal blog I've neglected far too long. I promise nothing, however, as living life will take priority over documenting it for the next few weeks. Honestly, the past months have been personally quite draining, and it's time to give myself a break and re-energize. Don't worry. Simplicity will be back!

And now for today's card.

I adore crisp, clean, stylized images...images like this stylized flower from Hero Arts.



Combine that crisp, clean image with fun colors and some bling, and you've got a simple winner!




Simple winners are the best winners, at least in my book.

Back in a few weeks.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey
ink: Archival and Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Peace Like a Seashell

An Odd Request: Would any readers who live in or have spent some time vacationing in Normandy, France, please send me a quick email? I have a few questions. susanraihala at roadrunner dot com


My Tuesday post of a shell card was copiously colorful, but today's shell card goes in a different direction: subtle and soft.



These beautiful shell stamps come from a VERY old Hero Arts wood-mounted set that I love immoderately. Each shell was stamped in a soft ink and cut out. Originally, I didn't include the starfish, but it seemed necessary to fill in a bit of space there at the bottom of the pile.

The shells at the back of the pile are glued to the card base at the bottom but popped up on the top edge to add dimension. The two bottom shells are attached with dimensionals only, and the starfish is glued to them and hanging off the edge.




I love the peace of this card, the subtlety, the calm.

That's very much unlike my Facebook feed at the moment. As several different extraordinarily dysfunctional conflicts swirl around my feed right now, I'm reminded of a wonderful motto I found on Pinterest.




Before posting a snarky, politicized, gossipy, angry, or fearful comment on social media, remember this: destructive conflict needs your participation to keep it going.

Post puppy or kitty or owl photos instead. Name something you are grateful for (my blog readers). Share a funny coffee saying ("In dog coffees, I've only had one"). Recommend a great book you just finished reading (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin). Put up an inspirational quotation or a delightful berry crisp recipe.

Feed what is positive in the world of social media; know when to be wise and say nothing. And then go to your seaside happy place in your mind, listen to a seashell, and feel the peace.

Mercy, grace, love, and mucho peace to you,
Susan


Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts, StampinUp
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, glue, CutterBee scissors

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Simple Daisy

After yesterday's copious Copic shell card, today's card seems impossibly simple. Because it is.


This sketchy daisy stamp is perfect...whimsical and fun and pretty all at once. Stamped in simple black and accented with yellow Stickles (the only spot of color on the card), the daisy makes a dramatic statement.



The banner anchors the floating daisy, and the sentiment's business-like font provides some contrast with the loose, flowing sketch of the main image.

Some of you may know that daisies are one of my favorite flowers (the other is pansies). I like daisies so much I named my golden retriever Daisy. She's prettier than any card I've ever made.



This picture shows a very satisfied Daisy. George and I sat close together on the sofa, and Daisy decided that was unacceptable. She pushed her way between us until I scooted over.

Here's the evidence. That's my blue-jean-clad knee.



Once we were separated and her job was accomplished, she walked out to the ottoman and curled up for a nap, using George's foot as a pillow.

Based on this episode, you might think George is her favorite, but the whole family acknowledges that she prefers me. George, however, is most excellent furniture.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and daisies,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hampton Art Stamps daisy, Papertrey Birthday Basics
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: yellow Stickles, dimensionals

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Copics (and a Blogger) Going a Little Crazy

Normally minimalist in my tendencies, I got a tad carried away with coloring these beautiful old PSX images, using a ridiculous number of Copics here, but the results...well, they are satisfying.


There are two shell stamps on this card: a two-inch-wide border stamp and a trio of shells. My preferred color scheme for beachy cards is pale blues and greens and browns. This card got much more colorful.

In fact, several shells went through color changes. If the purplish shell below looks odd, it's because it started in warm grays and went pinkish and turned out (finally) purple.


Indecision may or may not be my problem.

Still, it's enormously satisfying to finish a card like this. It has me longing for gentle waves and sea birds and salty air.

Did I ever tell the story of my Lamaze class? Pretty sure I have, but what the hay, let's tell it again.

Our teacher told us to practice our "hee, hee, hee" breathing while imagining our happy place.The happy place I settled on was a gentle, white-sand North Carolina beach as the sun rose. To complete the scene, a bagpiper in full Highland dress, standing on a boardwalk, played to the rising sun.

I'd experienced this incredible scene years before and ne'er forgot what peace it brought me. All through the Lamaze practice sessions, I envisioned this scene and felt immediately peaceful and relaxed.

What they don't tell you in Lamaze is that contractions really involve your whole uterus, which at nine months gestation is roughly the size of a giant beach ball. As many of you already know, the whole giant thing contracts to push that baby out.

Seriously. The whole. dang. thing!

That's a b-i-g pain. Much bigger than my feeble imagination, aided by weeks of feeble little Braxton Hicks contractions, could handle. In actual labor, I couldn't picture my piper on the beach with gentle waves. Oh, no. I pictured the Pacific coast, south of Stinson, where jagged rocks shoot up and waves crash violently against them.

Highland piper, where were you when I needed you?

In the midst of violent waves crashing into my abdomen, I met the very nice epidural man, for whom I would gladly have named my firstborn son had we not already decided he would be Nicholas. Nick for short. Yeah, Nick. Nick's a real name. Nick's your buddy. Nick's the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn't mind if you puke in his car, Nick!

Name that movie.

Anyway, this story may or may not have become embellished over the years since that terrible realization that Lamaze is inadequate to the task of childbirth (at least for wimpy me), and that my OB had been correct. The best pain management during childbirth is "hee, hee, epidural."

All hail the Epidural Man! 

By the way, the sea shells and sand dollars on my card would have been pulverized into mulch on that rocky Pacific shore. 

Perhaps I should stop now.  

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: PSX (shells), Papertrey Sign Language (sentiment) 

ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K deluxe white, StampinUp black
accessories: copious Copic markers, craft foam, glue
And I did tell the epidural story seven years ago. Gosh, it can't have been that long!