Monday, August 21, 2017

A Touch of Black

Julie Ebersole is a master of using black on her very clean and white and colorful cards, and Joan B has been inspired by Julie lately. So I decided to dabble my toes in the whole black thing.

And it is just a dabble. I'm going to work my way into this whole black thing.

But doesn't it look great with those fun, bright colors?

These colors were inspired by this pin...or as close to it as I could get. I love that green in particular. It's Ranger dye ink electric lime. LOVE it!!!

And since so many of you want to see little Cooper, who now weighs 11 pounds, here you go.

"I know I'm beautiful!"

"I need a nap."
What a cutie!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Life, Hero Arts Thank You Messages
ink: Archival blue violet, deep purple, black; Ranger dye electric lime; Ancient Page amethyst
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: nothing other than glue and scissors

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Going off in a New Direction

So, sometimes you see an inspiring card and think, "I'm going to do something like that!" And then in the course of creating, you go off in a new direction.

That's what happened with today's card, which was inspired by this pin. I loved the snowflakes and giant bow but knew my bow would need to be smaller because how else was I to mail the thing? Seriously.

I also wanted to make a red-and-white card. Kraft cards look awesome when made by other people, but my own leave me missing my white cardstock.

So this is how my card turned out.

As you can see, the ribbon is no longer quite as impressive. In fact, it's sweeter than it is bold. The red snowflakes on the white background stand out far more than the white-on-kraft snowflakes of the original. Plus, my initial arrangement of the snowflakes left too many holes, requiring me to add some smaller flakes to fill in the gaps.

I also altered the proportions. The ribbon is one third of the way down the card rather than in the middle. This takes advantage of the rule of thirds and gives me more space for the snowflakes. It also made the centered bow look strange, so I followed the rule again and moved it to the right. It looked more balanced that way.

Finally, I converted a one-layer card into a three-layer card, which feels strange given my passion for one-layer cards. But remember, new direction.

And of course I added bling to the three big flakes. Because bling makes everything better.

I've said it before: take your inspiration where you find it, but don't hesitate to go off in a new direction if you need to. You might end up somewhere beautiful!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Snowflake Serenade and Keep It Simple Christmas; Clearly Besotted small snowflake
ink: Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: satin ribbon, glue (to attach bow), rhinestones, ScorTape (to attach flat ribbon)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Joan's Cards for Karen's Card Shop...and Puppy Has a Name

Joan of Dear Paperlicious fame donated a batch of cards for Karen's Card Shop. Joan's style is clean-and-simple with a certain flair for color and fun that comes straight from her personality. She's also fearless, trying all sorts of techniques and even painting and drawing her own images. I've admired her art for a very long time and am so grateful she's donating to our church.

Like Shannon's cards, Joan's cards will sell very quickly! Allow me to share a few of them.

First up, here's the fun abstract art piece she sent to me. It's already on my inspiration board.

This high-energy card makes me so happy! Plus,
the use of black with bright, happy colors
masterfully anchors the design.

Joan's use of color here is outstanding. Instead of a crisp white
background, she softened the whole effect with a buttery card base.
The blues and greens are so serene, and the sentiment
placement is brilliant design work. 

The softness on this sympathy card's background
provides a comforting setting for a very simple
sentiment accented with two fronds. Love how
the pastel softness contrasts with the crisp, clean font.

Joan made two versions of this card (the other in
soft teal). The gorgeously subtle texture of the
cardstock carries this simply perfect card!

It doesn't get simpler than this...or more beautiful. The die cut is backed
with a lovely mauve. The effect is so feminine and pretty! 

Again with the black! Joan is inspiring me to use more
black in my designs. The loose coloring of whimsical flowers
lends a fabulously happy feel to the card. And there's
shimmer on those flowers! It makes me feel better
just looking at it!

These balloons have a delightful shimmer to them
(perhaps Wink of Stella?) and the rustic twine
bow is just the right foil for all the colorful shine.

Thank you, so much, Joan, for donating your beautiful cards to Karen's Card Shop.

After MUCH debate, our puppy has a name. We finally used Daisy as a tie-breaker. She drew a folded slip of paper from a bowl, and after Nick retrieved the slip from Daisy's mouth, the pup had a name.

Allow me to introduce...Cooper.

And yes, I will call him Super Duper Cooper. Or maybe Bradley. But Cooper he is.

Between Shannon and Joan's generosity toward Karen's Card Shop and that perky pink tongue, I'm a very grateful woman.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Shannon's Donations to Karen's Card Shop

I've received two sets of donations to Karen's Card Shop this week. The first came in from Shannon in Maryland...over 50 cards, mostly sympathy and get well, our fastest sellers.

If you're considering donating to the Card Shop, please know that we truly, desperately need  sympathy and get well cards. Our buyers are mostly the older ladies in the church who mainly want to send sympathy, get well, and birthday cards. Most other themes (except thank you, which are often used by church staff) don't sell well for us.

I especially appreciate all donations of the sympathy and get well cards because I CANNOT keep up with the demand for those. Not even close. They sell really fast!

Many thanks to Shannon for sharing her beautiful work for a good cause. The money we make at Karen's Card Shop goes to three purposes in our church: Cancer: What Now? books for all our church attendees who are diagnosed with cancer, books for Stephen Ministers to use with their care receivers, and the church's general fund. To date, we've made over $840 in a little over a year.

For those interested in setting up their own card shops, you'll find the details of Karen's Card Shop here.

And now, a few of Shannon's many cards.

This bookish beauty was for me! 

Shannon uses a lot of kraft card stock to beautiful effect.

This was my favorite of the lot! White embossing,
a lovely gradation of teal ink, vellum, and sequins.

Gorgeous embossing and use of the diecuts. Plus,
an amazingly soothing color combination.

Another sweet kraft card with just the right touches
of white and an awesome pink heart.

More pressure embossing, great colors, and excellent
placement of diecuts. Love the light feel
of this card.

Butterflies were Karen's favorite...she grew them and released
them with her grandchildren every year. Such a beautiful
card by Shannon with a perfect ribbon, vellum
over dark card stock, and lovely butterflies!

Why not take an idea from one of Shannon's amazing cards and get inspired this weekend?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Christmas Evolution, Part Three

Today, Ellen Hutson's Facebook page asked us to summarize our stamping style in one word.

My word was minimalist.

Today's card makes that point.

All that glorious white space fills my heart with holiday joy!

This card represents the third step in minimalist evolution of an idea. To refresh your mind, here's the original pin; my first card...a rather literal interpretation of the pin; and my second card...a simplified version of the first card. Combine that evolution with the focal point of this pin, and today's card was born.

Two shades of green card stock punched with a fern punch replace the three shades of marker on the pine branch stamp of the cards from Christmas Evolution, Part One and Part Two. Punched once in dark green and twice in lime, the ferns are glued with a glue pen. The bottom lime green fern is glued to the card base completely, while the next two ferns are glued only on the top third. I worried this would be too loose, but it's actually pretty sturdy.

Instead of baker's twine or satin ribbon, I went with solid red twine. The bow was glued down at the center with a dot of white glue and weighed down with my cell phone until dry.

The resulting swag says Christmas without any words.

Evolution of an idea can take you to strange and wonderful places. Let it. I had so much fun making all three of these cards!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: none
ink: none
paper: Papertrey white, dark green, lime green
accessories: red twine, glue pen, fern punch

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Christmas Evolution, Part Two

Yesterday's card was quite satisfying, but the more I looked at it, the more it seemed fussy to my clean-and-simple-loving eye. Inspired by the packaging on this pin, my first card had done its job. But how could I make it less fussy and cleaner and simpler (CASer)?

First, I abandoned the idea of decorative wrapping. Instead, I focused on that fabulous pine branch. Turning the pine branch into a swag eliminated the need for lots of twine because now a simple bow would suffice. Also, no need for a tag! I could let the branch point down directly to a sentiment. This, of course, required a narrower sentiment.

The twine, however, looked oddly light as a bow for the simply didn't have enough visual weight to balance a red sentiment below the branch. I replaced it with a thin, satin ribbon in solid red and found the right balance.

This design didn't require any additions to the pine branch, a simplification that spared me the post-its.

An advantage to yesterday's card is the sense of movement it offers...from the swing of the large twine bow to the angle of the tag to the angle of the branch. Today's card is compact and linear, with just a little curve in branch. That lack of movement is a weakness, I think, but nevertheless, there's a peace and stability to the CASer version that truly makes me happy.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, Memento markers, water spritzer, red satin ribbon

Monday, August 14, 2017

Christmas Evolution, Part One

I went to my son's special education open house tonight. He's starting ninth grade, and he was very tired. You see, I asked him a week and a half ago to pull weeds. He kept putting it off until yesterday and today. A job that should have taken one hour has taken him about six because, as he is learning, weeds don't pull themselves while you kneel next to them and daydream.

At the open house, he told every teacher we met that he doesn't want to work. Every teacher said he would have to work...but they would make it fun!

Now, I want to go to ninth grade. Jack wants to stay home, watch movies, eat pretzels, and interact with as few people as possible. Except for band. If school consisted only of band, he'd enjoy it.

Of course, practicing his trumpet at home is work, and he doesn't like work.

My head hurts.

Anyway, today we're starting a three-part series on the evolution of clean-and-simple style by examining how I take a relatively simple design and over the course of three cards make the concept increasingly simple, until a few of you will itch at the amount of white space.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

My first inspiration came from the following pin:


Love this! So much goodness here. My first card shows a pretty direct translation of gift wrapping to a card, although I did change the black to red for a more traditional color scheme.

To create some dimension on the pine branch, I inked up the whole stamp with a Memento new sprout marker, then dabbed Memento bamboo and cottage ivy markers over the new sprout in a random way. Finally, a couple of spritzes of water blended the colors, and the resulting image is lovely! (Note that I did add another frond to the branch as it looked a bit skimpy on the stamped panel.)

This card took a shockingly long time to make. Three attempts on the banner (don't ask) and getting the bow just right and adding to the pine branch...not so simple. Check out the accessories list of NINE items. That never happens.

Tomorrow, we'll see how I took that branch and gave it a CASer setting and much smaller accessory list.

Did I just invent a new word? CASer? Wow. Now I'm too lazy to type cleaner-and-simpler. Jack's rubbing off on me.

And since this post is degenerating into acronym abuse, let's end with two pictures of our roly-poly puppy. He's five weeks old and cute beyond words! Labor Day weekend can't come soon enough.

Serious Pup...or Disapproving Pup. Hard to tell.

Happy Pup. Obviously.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and puppies,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensional, craft foam, glue, baker's twine, tape runner (to attach twine on back of raised panel...'cause that's easier than getting the twine lined up regularly), Memento markers, water spritzer, post-its to add frond to branch, awl to punch hole in tag because the hole punch mangled the first two tags, which has never happened before and did not amuse me