Thursday, December 8, 2016

Botanical Birthday

Thank you to all who commented on Treezilla. It's truly magnificent, and we are enjoying it enormously!

I am on a birthday-card binge, making them for my use, for my sister's use, and for Karen's Card Shop at church. Today's card is a spring delight for a relative whose birthday is in March. This relative is working on her masters to teach high-school English, so I combined Hero Arts' Shakespearean Poetry with Papertrey's Botanical Silhouettes.

I inked the blossoms with Memento rose bud and pounced some lilac posies on with a marker, spritzed with water, and stamped. The bright pops of color are so pretty!

This quotation is from A Midsummer Night's Dream, my favorite Shakespearean play and the whole reason I bought this set. I added some blossoms to the raised panel to unify the card, but the panel needed a little border, so a silver marker served nicely.

The matching envelope completes the ensemble.

I found the process of making a spring card at the beginnings of winter in Ohio to be delightfully out-of-sync. It pays to work out of season on occasion.

Hope, peace, joy, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Shakespearean Poetry, Papertrey Botanical Silhouettes, Simon Says Stamp Envelope Sentiments
ink: Memento rose bud, lilac posies; Hero Arts green hills; Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, silver metallic marker, water spritzer 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Curves and Angles and Treezilla

Let's start with the cards so those of you who have no interest in my babbling, bumbling life will get what you came for and not feel like I've done an ol' bait and switch.

I need a bunch of birthday cards, and out came Ombre Builders to give me two pretty, pink for a girl with a curvy personality and one for a girl who's square.

I like how this raised panel looks a bit
like a whimsically decorated cake layer.

These types of cards, with lots of white, splashes of happy color, and graphic style, make me bounce in my chair and clap my hands like a kid getting ice cream with sprinkles on top.

It's too cold in Ohio for ice cream right now.

Note that the curvy card gets a curvy sentiment, and the square card gets a square, sans serif sentiment. That's key. Also note that, on the second card, the word Birthday is on a line with the next-to-bottom square. That subtle alignment unifies the card subtly.

But there's nothing subtle about the hot pink and bright green. Reminds me of a wrap-around skirt my mom made me around 1978-79. Pink and green print with frogs on it. So very preppy. Yes, I wore the skirt with a white Izod shirt and carried a Bermuda bag with matching cover.

Ah, to be young and stylish!

Anyway, let's get to Treezilla before I go winging off to Never-Never Land. If you read my latest post on the other blog, you'll know I'm in a verrrry weird mood this Advent season.

We have a tradition of going to Big Tree Plantation to cut our own Christmas trees. We didn't go last year because we spent Christmas in Omaha with hubby's family. Clearly, missing a year has turned us into idiots because we saw this tree (pictured with my cute and cold 14-year-old) and thought it would fit in our living room.

Seriously, it looked large but not ridiculously so.

Here's a gratuitous picture of my 17-year-old hipster son and six-year-old furry golden sunshine.

Aren't all three just the cutest?

Anyway, we cut down the tree (and by we I mean my husband and elder son), and the nice folks at Big Tree shook out the old needles, trimmed the bottom branches, wrapped the tree in twine for easier handling, and tied it to the roof of our car. It was a lovely experience, full of festive laughter and joy.

Then, we got home.

"Man, the tree is really heavy," said my husband.

"Really, it's way heavier than I remember previous trees. I'm not kidding," he insisted.

"It's giving me a hernia!" he continued.

"It's too heavy for the tree stand. It'll tip for sure," he worried.

"Let me go buy a bigger stand before we take it inside," I replied.

"Okay, that's a good idea," he agreed.

Forty minutes later, the two big guys carried the tree inside, we got it in the stand, cut the twine off, and out springs...


Y'all, I laughed hysterically for about ten minutes. Hubs thought I'd never stop. This thing is ridiculously rotund. No wonder it was so heavy. We did have to trim the top a bit to fit our nine-foot ceiling, and the trunk is a bit crooked. But dang. Our furniture is all out of whack, and we'll need to take it out of the house in pieces, but what an awesomely great--and stupid--thing we did.

Here's the tree in its decorated glory.

Decorating this behemoth was intimidating, prickly...and exhausting, which is why I didn't post anything last night.

We will NEVER forget this tree. It's epic.

I love Christmas.

stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builders, Birthday Basics (second card sentiment), Gina K (first card sentiment)
ink: I can't remember
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Monday, December 5, 2016

Glitter Is Good

The motto of Faber College in the movie Animal House: Knowledge Is Good.

The motto of today's card: Glitter Is Good.

I could jibber-jabber about it, but pictures make the point better.

Before glitter:

After glitter:

The sparkle and shine add distinction to the brown dragonflies, which before blended into the vivid background even though I used Memento Luxe pigment ink, which is pretty opaque. I applied Stickles and spread it around with a damp paint brush for more of a distressed effect.

And yes, the background was made with Distress inks applied with a stipple brush. I dropped water onto it with a brush to apply the splotches for a dreamy effect.

A great card to give to a guy, even with the glitter, don't you think?

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs, Side-by-Side Sentiments
ink: Distress wild honey, aged mahogany; Memento Luxe rich cocoa
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: post-it notes for masks, stipple brush, paint brush, Stickles

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Take Ten and Rosemary Dennis

So Rosemary Dennis has served as a source of inspiration to me a number of times, and her challenge card for the latest issue of Take Ten is really cool. Check this out.

The layout of Rosemary's card is the next design challenge for Take Ten, if you are into publishing your workSince I don't intend to submit my Rosemary-inspired card for publication, I'm sharing it here.

These sorts of artsy designs allow for awesome color combinations. Rosemary chose black, gray, navy and red...which gives her card a kind of industrial feel totally appropriate for that grid background AND an elegant feel for the stencil design. That odd combination of styles works BEAUTIFULLY because of her colors.

Obviously, I went for very different colors and purpose. My color combo (from this pin) has tons of energy appropriate for a birthday card for a 20-something. Warm gold with raspberry and pink and plum are rich, natural colors that are also feminine, and that little hummingbird is simply darling.

It only took three tries to get this right, switching weights of colors and moving stuff around a bit. It was worth the wasted paper.

I also want to share the awesome stash of cards reader Eva donated to Karen's Card Shop at my church. What a kind and generous donations...and beautiful, too!

So many cards, all going to support our church. Eva attends another church in our area of the same denomination as mine. She and I have met for coffee twice now, and anyone else in the greater Dayton, Ohio, area is welcome to join us. Just email me!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Grunge Me, Hero Arts sentiment (old discontinued set), My Favorite Things Jumbo Abstract Art
ink: Hero Arts butter bar, soft blossom, raspberry jam; Archival plum
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Blossom of Leaves

As soon as I noticed the flower on this pin (lotus? water lily?), I had to play with the idea. Out came Papertrey's Beautiful Blooms II, and the three leaves in the set became petals.

Soft, pretty, watery shades of greenish pretty! A little sparkle of rhinestone and shimmer of a silver border, and a birthday card was born.

If you're lucky enough to carve out some stamping time this weekend, try searching through Pinterest for some small image you can duplicate. It's fun!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blooms II and Birthday Basics
ink: Hero Arts pool, mint julep, intense black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, rhinestone, silver metallic marker

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quick Thanks

Just a quick post tonight. I whipped up these three thank-you cards in no time and love how they turned out!

The only variation is color, but the crispness of the white and the warmth of the olive, sienna, and orange inks works so well.

At least, I think so!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Antique Engravings, Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Archival various, Hero Arts cup of joe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Follow Through

First of all, thank you for the comments and emails regarding yesterday's post. Your prayers and comforting wishes are very much appreciated. Funeral arrangements are underway, and I truly hope the service will provide comfort to all of us who are missing him. Several people today during Bible study shared funny stories about this very quiet, gentle person, and so in the spirit of his humor, I'm going for amusing in tonight's post.

Pat McCleary, please email me at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com.

Now, for my new resolution, starting now and not on New Year's Day, because we all know that no one sticks with New Year's resolutions.

Often, I make cards "just because." Sometimes, though, as with birthday cards for my family and close friends, I make a card for a specific person, with their preferences and interests and age and gender identity in mind.

Anyway, when making a card for a specific person, I'd like to do more than just make the card. I'd like to follow through with a coordinating envelope to give them the full Monty.

So to speak.

Anyway, (again), today's card is for a very specific person so I followed through.

Card Size 3.75" x 7.25"

The person receiving this card loves all things lizard. The spiral gecko stamp has a copyright date of 2002 on it. I've had it about that long. It's adorable, and mustard, teal, and sienna were picked with the recipient in mind. The three squares needed a little something. Hence, the bling.

Because (let's say it together) "BLING MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER."

Well, almost everything.

My first instinct was to put tiny rhinestones on the geckos' eyes, but they would have lined up too neatly across the card. Bling arranged in a visual triangle keeps the human eye moving around the card and adds a dynamic quality I like. The geckos' eyes don't move because that would be creepy.

By the way, the grammar checker in Blogger doesn't like my plural possessives. Don't trust grammar checker. It's a conspiracy.

The envelope was stamped with lines and a saying from Simon Says Stamp's Envelope Sentiments set, which is very versatile, but I've noticed the tiny words break easily. Pieces of the letters have broken off the stamps, probably because I clean my stamps on damp washcloths a bit too vigorously. So be careful if you buy the set.

And that's my new resolution: follow through on the little envelopes. I'm also stamping the back of cards with a "Hand stamped by" stamp and signing them. On this card, I stamped a happy birthday sentiment inside since there wasn't room for it on the outside.

Do you embellish your envelopes? Do you decorate them all the time, sometimes, never? How? Do you sign the backs of your cards? Curious minds and all that.

stamps: Rubber Stampede spiral gecko (c. 2002!), Simon Says Stamp Envelope Sentiments
ink: Archival saffron, paradise teal, sienna
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals, square punch