Monday, May 31, 2010

A Little Thank You Scene

I realized I hadn't used this SU Good Neighbors set yet and have had it for months and months. So I made this card.

In retrospect, I wish I'd stamped the sentiment in Memento Grape Jelly, like the roof, rather than black, but otherwise, I really like this little scene. The scalloped grass is a border stamp from PTI's Faux Ribbon set; I just curved it on the acrylic block. The bright yellow bow (made with my Bow-Easy: thanks Bahb!) is a fun stand-in for a sun, don't you think?

For the bling (have I mentioned lately how much I love bling?), I had to color some tiny clear rhinestones with my Bic Mark-It because all my green bling was too big. Those markers really are AWESOME.

Really. And I think Bic should pay me for saying that. But they don't.

Have you checked out all the OLW6 cards yet? I haven't because a dozen people posted their cards yesterday, and I was too busy keeping my family busy to comment. But I'll get to them this afternoon, because oh, my goodness gracious sakes alive! Y'all are a talented bunch of people! As for the prize drawings, I'll post the winners in a separate post in a little while. Remember, if you didn't post for OLW6, there's still time until tomorrow morning when I post OLW7, which I'd better get to work on because I really don't know what it is yet.

Thank you all for the warm fuzzies. You keep me going!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Christmas Thank You Cards

The very sweet girlgeek101 sent me a package of goodies a while back, and I've spent a lot of time admiring the supplies, deciding just what to do with them. She included a few lovely textured cards with coordinating red envelopes. They begged to be made into Chistmas thank you cards.

Honestly, PTI's Signature Christmas and Signature Greetings sets, which combine type with Dawn McVey's incredibly pretty handwriting, are go-to sets in my stamp collection. They are so easy to work with in a CAS format! I used the border stamp from Peaceful Poinsettia, and then a touch of gold stickles was all these cards needed to kick them up a notch.

And now on to other business....

The drawing for the four give-aways in the OLW challenges will take place in the morning after OLW6 closes at 6:30 eastern time. Many, many thanks to all of you who have played along with these challenges. I had no idea that so many stampers would post and have so much fun. Just goes to show I don't know diddly.

As for my craft room clean-up, things have stalled since the ribbon purge. Honestly, I filled a gallon ziploc baggie full of ribbon to donate to our church preschool, and it was soooo satisfying! But now I'm wondering what to do next. Don't worry. Something will occur to me. Eventually.

Some of the lots of stamps I'm selling are still available. Please check this post for information.

Finally, it's Memorial Day in the United States, the holiday when we cook out on the grill, have picnics and parties, and get out of school and work. (Well, some of us do.) No matter what you do today, please remember the sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who gave their lives for our freedom.

Taking a Few Lumps

Have you ever wondered why you buy some of the craft supplies you buy? I mean, something seems so totally hip and cool on blogs and in magazines, and you're, you know, HIP and COOL, so you click a few links, add your credit card info, and magically, a few days later, the Person in Brown brings a box to your front door. You open it and ooooh and aaahhhh and giggle in delight, and find a place to hide it in your craft space so your DH doesn't know you got ANOTHER doo-dad, and then....


Are you supposed to use it? Well, probably. So you pull it out weeks or months after stashing it and realize...


Yeah, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. That's why you come to my blog. You know I understand. I empathize. I will make you feel better about yourself by revealing that I've got it worse than you.

Since I can't set a good example, let me be a dire warning.

Buttons are a real moral dilemma for me. I love the IDEA of them, and they look so cool and hip and textural and miraculous in photos on blogs and in magazines, but in reality, they are too thick and lumpy to mail easily. Sometimes, they even get crushed by the postal sorting equipment. How embarrassing. What do you say? "Yo, Grandma, I spent $40 on supplies for your 100th-birthday card and it arrived BROKEN because I'm too cheap to spring for a padded envelope and extra postage."

Not good.

But did I think about that before I joined Krystie Lee's PTI button swap a while back? Nooooooo! All I thought was DANG, that's a ton of buttons in all those gorgeous PTI colors and they're VINTAGE, so how much cooler can that be?!? They MUST be mine! They arrived, and I made a special trip to Hobby Lobby to buy containers to store them in because, you know, I had to integrate them into my Color-Coded Embellishment Drawers because I'm AR/OC that way.

And now I have to use them. And they are lumpy and bumpy and cost a fortune to mail. For those of you who can afford to send every card in a bubble envelope, buy buttons and use them and live long and prosper. For those of us who are too cheap or too broke to buy bubble envelopes in bulk, well, DON'T BUY BUTTONS.

Of course, if you listen to me, then you won't be able to make really cool and hip cards like this one.

Oooohhhhh. Aaaaaahhhhhh. *giggle*


stamps: Hero Arts cloud background, PTI Everyday Button Bits
ink: Ancient Page Neptune, Palette dark chocolate, SU pumpkin pie
paper: PTI white, SU pumpkin pie
accessories: PTI buttons, dimensionals, floss

Saturday, May 29, 2010

CASification of a Card by Jenyfur Pohl

Card Creations, Vol. 8 is out on newstands, so of course I have it and have already flagged it with about two dozen post-it notes. There's lots of gorgeous stuff in this one, especially options for CASification.

For those who are new to Simplicity, CASification is a word I made up as a shorthand for the process of cleaning up and simplifying heavily embellished or layered cards. I CASify these cards to make them work for me.

Aren't neologisms fun?

Anyway, today's CASification comes to us courtesy of Jenyfur Pohl, whose "It All Matters" card inspired me to make an anniversary card for my darling husband. We're celebrating 24 years of wedded bliss this June. No way are we that old.

As you can see, Jenyfur's card is nicely balanced and laid out beautifully, and it's heavily embellished and layered, even on the inside. Just on the outside, I counted 14 separate elements. My version has only seven elements, which is a lot for me but still, I think this works pretty well and preserves the essential integrity of Jenyfur's design.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First, I used my spiral border punch from SU, which I love but don't get to use very often. Second, the marriage of black and white with punches of red make a perfect guy color combo for a romantic card. Third, using my office-supply stamps and punches always makes me happy. Fourth, the white background makes this so crisp and fresh my heart goes pitter patter.

I hope this inspires you to go forth and CASify! Clean and Simple Inspiration comes from anywhere if you open yourself up to it.

Two Other Things:
1. Check out this post for stamps I'm selling.

2. Check out my other blog Questioning my Intelligence for a Memorial Day Tribute.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stamps for Sale by Lot

(Second post for today. Please scroll down to see today's cards!)

Below are photos of lots of stamps for sale. Here are the details:

1. Prices are in US dollars and do NOT include shipping; I will add the actual shipping charge to the price for you.
2. Stamps are USED, meaning the rubber and/or wood blocks may be stained.
3. Payments can be either US money order or PayPal. PayPal is preferred.
4. I will ship internationally, but as with US sales, shipping will be whatever it costs.
5. I will ship as soon as possible after payment is received, at a maximum of three business days.

Any questions? Please ask!

Hero Arts Christmas Assortment (23 stamps; all discontinued): $40 PENDING

Hero Arts Floral Assortment (15 stamps): $20 PENDING

Hero Arts Block Alphabet: $12

Various Christmas Stamps (including North Woods; 21 stamps): $40

Leaves (five stamps): $12 PENDING

Hero Arts Nature Assortment (13 stamps): $25 PENDING

Hero Arts Background and Ribbon Assortment (22 stamps): $35 PENDING

Holiday Assortment (9 stamps): $20

Miscellaneous (13 stamps): $18

Four Unmounted Alphabets (3 Wordsworth sets are bare nekkid rubber, Leaving Memories has EZmount backing): $20 PENDING

Also, I have SU's Ho Ho Holidays ($10) and Fine Lace background ($8) still available.

Please email me at susanraihala at woh dot rr dot com if you are interested.

Have a great weekend!

More Good-Bye to Bold Brights

First of all, thanks so much for all the kind comments and emails regarding yesterday's post. Y'all are the best! I purged ribbon yesterday, and it felt SO GOOD!

Second, most of the bold brights are going away, and I'm going to enjoy the stash I have for quite a while to come. Also, every time I go to Michael's, I see premade embellishments and think, "Gee, I could make stuff like that with my punches...especially the flowers." So I decided to play with this large flower punch from SU and use my bold brights. For all three cards, I colored large clear gemstones with Bic Mark-Its to match.

I started with passion pink.

Then moved on to yo-yo yellow. I don't know why people hate this color. Used with lots of white, it's really quite cheery. And not sure why the sentiment looks purple. It's really gray.

Finally, lovely lilac.

Curling up the petals of the layerd flowers is easy, but I'm not sure how it will stand up to being mailed. It's one of those tricks that seems really good at first but may not be exactly, you know, practical.

Here are the four prizes for this month's OLW participant drawing. Each bag contains 10 Hero Hues cards and envelopes and a package of bling, all courtesy of the very kind Diane at Stampin'Treasures. The random drawing will take place June 1, with the four winners being announced that day.

stamps: PTI Text Style, Simple Little Things
ink: SU lovely lilac, yo-yo yellow, passion pink; Memento London Fog
paper: PTI white; SU lovely lilac, yo-yo yellow, passion pink
accessories: flower punch (SU), rhinestones, Bic Mark-It Markers

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Krafty Tree

Today's card is one I made back in April for Kraft Week and never posted. I've been deeply uncertain about the doodled lines around the stamped panel and finally decided what the heck. Maybe they work, maybe they don't. But I tried. And the bling-y apples on the Hero Arts tree make me happy. Very happy, indeed.

Joan B has expressed a few times on her blog recently that she's rethinking some things about stamping, such as using buttons and bows on her cards. Bulky stuff is, apparently, making her balk now. I love that she's sharing her doubts and questions. She makes me feel not so alone.

For some reason, I've been feeling the AR/OC itch to completely reorganize my craft room. It's time to aggressively shuffle the stuff (and to recklessly split infinitives). Unfortunately, I have no time right now for this. As some of you have said in comments and emails, it's a busy, busy time of year. My house needs attention. End of school means about twenty activities to work into the schedule. DH wants to invite his boss, wife, and kids for a cook-out this weekend. My Google Reader is overflowing with unread blog posts. My apologies to anyone who's waiting for a comment from me...please understand I love you even if I don't comment. Life intrudes. Plus, my allergy meds are inadequate for life in the fourth worst city for allergies in the entire United States. Oh, yeah, my dog is dying. How sad is that?

No wonder I want to distract myself with the happy--and completely unnecessary--task of reorganizing and purging my craft room. So even though now isn't the time to clean out my craft room, I'll probably do it anyway because I'm tiny bit obsessive compulsive and bringing fresh new order to one corner of my crazy life will help me deal with all the rest.

Viva la organization.

What do you do to help you with the crazy busyness of life?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One-Layer Wednesday 6: Overlapping

This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is sorta kinda a layout challenge. We're overlapping a sentiment and an image, although where you put them on the card is entirely up to you.

For my card, I decided to put the dragonfly in one of the "sweet spots" on a card: the upper left third. Imagine that the card is divided into nine equal sections by two vertical and two horizontal lines. Well, don't imagine it. Look at this:

There. That's easier, isn't it? The two sweet spots are the upper left third and the lower right third. Don't ask me why these spots are sweet. I only know they are. But keep in mind that graphic design tips such as this are guidelines, not absolute laws. Sometimes things look better all nice and centered. Sometimes not. Play and have fun with placement. That's what I do!

OLW6 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. Overlap the sentiment and image (or images) in some way.

3. As always, keep it simple. If you absolutely will die if you don't embellish, go ahead and embellish. But try not to.

4. Whatever you do, have FUN!

Give-Away Drawing

I've mentioned that I'll be drawing four random names from the May entries for the OLW challenges to receive four small give-aways, courtesy of Stampin'Treasures. The deadline for entry for the drawing will be midnight, Eastern time, May 31, 2010.

stamps: PTI Pond Life, Pond Life Sentiments
ink: Brilliance poppy; SU river rock; Palette dark chocolate
paper: PTI white
accessories: corner rounder

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CAS68 Summer

The Clean and Simple Challenge at Splitcoast this week is a theme challenge: summer. The timing is good as summer finally hit us here in the American midwest. It makes me long for the East coast, with its sandy beaches and the steady, relaxing rhythm of the waves.

To make this card, I used a sponge and torn mask to create the sand and water using Memento inks. Then I deliberately under-inked the umbrella so it would have a sponged look as well. The center of the sun is also white cardstock inked with SU's summer sun and then punched. I tried to add a cut-out star fish from this set to make a visual triangle of popped items, but it looked dorky and stuck on for no good reason, so I left it off. Hopefully the three blue items balance this design well enough.

Funny story: When George and I took childbirthing class, our teacher was a German woman with a very deep, heavily accented voice. At one point, she ordered us to "exp-herience da relax-A-tion." Her voice was sooooo NOT relaxing that George and I started to giggle. Anyway, she suggested we find our happy place and meditate on it during labor. My happy place was a North Carolina beach, with the steady, peaceful waves and the pelicans flying and a Scot in full Highland dress playing his bagpipes to the rising sun. (Yes, I actually experienced this very scene on an early morning beach walk, and it was so incredibly peaceful. Well, and sort of weird with the kilted Highlander, but calming nevertheless.) Ahhhh, relaxation.

Fast forward to labor. It hurt sooooo bad that I could NOT find my happy place. Every time I closed my eyes to conjure that Scot by the waves, the only image my brain could pull up was of the PACIFIC coast, specifically some cliffs we'd visited near San Francisco in 1988. The day was overcast and gloomy, and the waves CRASHED against the cliffs with, oddly enough, a German voice-over shouting "Exp-herience da relax-A-tion!" This was NOT my East Coast happy place at all. I could not get there because my giant watermelon-size uterus was teaching me a whole new definition of pain like I'd never felt before. I begged for the epidural man, who quickly came and took all the hyperventilating pain away. I loved him and would have married him if I weren't already having someone else's baby. God bless the epidural man.

And that is how I flunked natural childbirth.

stamps: PTI Day at the Beach
ink: Memento, SU
paper: PTI white
accessories: circle punch, dimensionals, sponge

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tea and Philosophy

I pulled out Tea for Two, a PTI set, and started playing. I wanted to use all the images so I could check this set off my Resolution List. I had already used all the tea pots, which are a gigantic pain in the butt to cut out for some weird reason. They don't LOOK like they would be hard, but they are, at least for me. Anyway, the other images hadn't seen ink yet, so I got jiggy with it. Here are some of the results.

This gift set is for a friend who enjoys tea. Cutting the tea time label out of a scrap of celery was easy, and I used a scrap of wild wasabi for the band. I love wild wasabi (especially paired with celery for a monochromatic combo) and am thrilled it's coming back. The leaves on the tea pot are from Turning a New Leaf.

Then, in keeping with CAS67, I made a shabby chic, yet still clean and simple, card with a bit of green velvet ribbon. The colors are a bit brighter in real life than in the photo. The script, button, and pearls on the punched circle are all purple, while the tea pot and stamped circle are mellow moss. The base is PTI vintage cream.

Ever since I started this blog, I've thought a lot about my creative philosophy. What makes me obsess with rubber and ink and paper? Why is it so satisfying? What do I have to say with my creations? I do have a few ideas to share that I've ruminated on, like a cow chewing cud rather than Plato contemplating the cave. What was up with the cave anyway? I never understood Plato: one of my many intellectual failings. Don't worry, though. I'm not beating myself up over that inadequacy. And we're talking about stamping, not whatever Plato was talking about, which wasn't nearly as interesting as stamping, I'm sure.

First, creative endeavor should be fun. Otherwise, what is the point? George, my dear husband, taught me this years ago, not long after I began stamping, when I tried to make 60 Christmas cards all with the same design. It was a hellish nightmare of tediousness that almost moved me to tears. In the middle of it all, I wailed to him, "This is sooooo BORING!!!!!!!!!" He replied, quite reasonably, "So why do it?" I whined, "Because I've already cut all the paper." He said, "So? If it's not fun, don't do it."

The sun came out, bluebirds sang, and I stopped making those cards right then and there. I bought my cards at Hallmark that year and was ever so happy about it. Ever since, any time I'm not having fun in my craft room (which doesn't happen often), I get up and walk away.

Second, express yourself as the unique individual you are. Don't be afraid to try new things, like my kraft week with Mary Dawn, but don't try to be someone you're not. I'm not an embellisher or layerer. I'm not into vintage, distressed, or collage, except as you can adapt these to CAS, as I did above. I am not a technique junkie either. If it isn't quick, I'm not interested. I'm all about clean lines, white space, and simplicity. I'm classic, not trendy, but I pay attention to trends and will adapt them to my style when I can.

There was a thread on SCS recently asking people to list trends they like and trends they don't. It's fun reading, but when I got to Krystie Lee's post and read that she can't stand ticket punches, I yelled, "GET OUT!" I LOVE my ticket punch! I also LOVE Krystie's work. But her loathing the ticket punch doesn't mean I'm wrong to love mine. It just means we're not the same person. I'm sure she's relieved about this.

Third, inspiration is everywhere. I enjoy looking at art that I would never in a million years make and I know what the trends are, even if I don't jump on their bandwagons. It doesn't upset me to buy a magazine and find that there isn't anything CAS in it. I look for inspiration anywhere and everywhere BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE ARE EXPRESSING THEMSELVES, TOO. They express themselves in print advertisements, magazine covers, billboards, packaging, dishes, clothing, and architecture. They are not me, so their art is different. And that's the way it should be. But their self-expression can inspire mine if I'm looking at it right.

Fourth, don't forget opportunity costs. When you choose one thing, you're simultaneously excluding other things. Works for economics and for stamping. I choose to buy a bazillion stamps and not to buy some of the more expensive tools of stamping, such as Copic markers and die cut machines. This means that a lot of what I see on blogs and in the gallery at SCS and in magazines is fruit dangling on the branch I can't reach. AND THAT'S OKAY.

I'm not a bad person because I don't have nesties. And someone who does spend tons of money on every nestie ever made isn't a bad person either (unless they use their kids' college fund, but that's another topic, LOL). We're just all making different choices, and as long as we enjoy making our art, it's all good.

Fifth, we are making art. It might not always be good art, in the sense that good art communicates effectively to lots of other people a worthwhile message in a technically skilled way. Think Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa or Michelangelo's David. But we're undeniably making art, and we are artists. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

And that's my manifesto. For now. What's yours?

PS Losties, I'll be posting on Questioning my Intelligence later today. Click on over and let me know what you think about last night's ending.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


This is my first try at the EONAC, and it was fun! The challenge was to use punches, old designer paper, and the FTL90.

I sort of followed the rules. My DP isn't exactly old because I purged all my DP about six months ago, keeping only what I want to scrapbook with and getting rid of tons I had for cardmaking, so I really didn't have much to choose from. (Y'all know how I am about DP on my cards. Sigh.) The glittery paper I bought last fall to make Christmas ornaments, and the polka dots are from Papertrey.

Of course the above card is a one-layer card because I'm me and what else do you expect? I did scoot out of my comfort zone with the second card, though, and really like the results.

I'm blown away once again by the participation in OLW challenge. Please take some time today to check out how creative and amazing Simplicity readers are!

Have a wonderful sabbath!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Lesson in Less-Is-More, and a True Confession

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I stamped an all-over random background, completely forgetting that this sort of eliminates white space. Duh. My beloved white space, where are you? Teeny, tiny lily, how overshadowed by hoppy toads you are! I'm sorry, darling. You are beautiful and deserve to shine.

It may be hard to tell in the photo, but I used four different shades of blue/green and then the lime. Was I on drugs? No. But I think I lost myself somewhere along the way, perhaps when I added the emerald-inked frogs, but maybe sooner than that.

When I finished, I kept staring at this busy, busy card, blinking my watering eyes hard. Maybe it's not so bad, I thought.

Then I found myself again and made this:

These froggies can BREATHE! I'm going to make a whole set of this three-frog cards in different colors: one color per card. Who knows? Maybe I'll draw a box around them. But probably not. Less is more. Right? Let's hope (or should I say HOP) I learned my lesson.

And now it's time for true confessions. I've had this set almost since it was released, oh, FOREVER ago, and it wasn't until I made these cards last week that it dawned on me that the tiny three-dot stamp in the set FITS IN THE THREE DOTS ON THE FROG!!!! Because I am an idiot.

The end.

stamps: PTI Pond Life
ink: VersaColor
paper: PTI white, SU taken with teal
accessories: MS scalloped circle punch, circle punch, dimensionals, rhinestone

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick End-of-Year Teacher Gifts

Single-panel notecard sets are my favorite gifts for teachers. Not only are they practical, useful, always needed, and appreciated, they are inexpensive. For those who are new to Simplicity, you might not know that my children both have special needs and have whole teams of teachers and therapists and aides in school. Just through school, there are 12 people who are actively involved in their education, and that's not counting the gym, music, and art teachers, or Jack's therapists at Children's Hospital. Even inexpensive gifts add up when you have so many people to acknowledge.

Soooo, I make notecard sets and package them in clear boxes from Papertrey. Completed, each set of ten cards costs less than $3 each.

Some sets are super-simple, like this one using border stamps from Hero Arts.

Other sets get a little fancy, with outlined edges (using a marker and ruler) and a bit of coloring.

Others use simple black-and-white stamped images with just a spot of color. Isn't that little Hero Arts doggie adorable?

Papertrey stamps work, too. In fact, these little notecards are amazingly adaptable to all sorts of images. And you can draw boxes if you want; read how on this post.

Only one of the education team is a dude, so no cute doggies or bumblebees or flowers for him. This backgrounder from Cornish Heritage Farms makes a perfect school-themed, gender-neutral notecard.

All the cards are made from PTI stampers select cardstock, which is nice and heavy and simply screams quality. I buy my envelopes at our local Marco's Paper store. I don't like mass production, but coming up with a variety of sets makes crankling out lots of sets much more interesting.

Hmmm. Maybe we should have a One-Layer Wednesday challenge to make single-panel notecards. Put on your thinking caps for that, but not next week because I've already got that one planned. Maybe before Christmas, when we're all scrambling to make quick yet nice gifts. There's a thought!

Have a wonderful weekend, and may you be blessed to find time to do something creative.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hero Arts Flourish Bird

Today's card was one I made while practicing shading for the Bic/Sharpie tutorial. It's not very obviously shaded (shall we call it "subtle"?), so I didn't use it on that post. Still, I really like how the colors turned out on this one. Blue and green always fly.


Off to voluteer at the school library and to have lunch in Jack's classroom, so no witty chatter today. Just bad puns. Although, speaking of Jack, I have a saying posted over my computer by Jack that his teacher laminated and sent home a few years ago. She wrote at the bottom, "This is what your child said he knows about dragons." Jack said, "The dragon eats the princess." This always makes me laugh, but perhaps you have to be his mother to appreciate it.

Sigh. Maybe I'll be funny tomorrow.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: SU bashful blue, basic black; PTI white
accessories: Bic markers, half pearls, dimensionals

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One-Layer Wednesday 5: Faux Embellishment Stamps

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has participated in the OLW challenges so far. I'm completely blown away both by the number of submissions and the quality of work you're doing! I wish I could afford to give away prizes for every challenge, but I do have some little goodies given to me by Stampin'Treasures that I'll be giving away at the end of May to four people who've participated in the challenges this month. Pictures next week! Now, on to OLW5!

A faux embellishment stamp is any stamp image that pretends to be a real embellishment, like a button or a ribbon or a paper clip or an eyelet or a brad or fabric or stitches.

So this week's challenge is to make a one-layer card that incorporates a faux embellishment in some way. Here's the card I made that gave me the idea for this challenge:

The ribbon stamp is from Hero Arts, and it looked like a road to me. It gave me the perfect opportunity to use this sentiment from PTI's Wise Owl set...a quotation that really doesn't seem to belong to that set at all and that I suspected I would never be able to use. But here you go. I used it. Go, me!

By the way, lining up the sentiment and ribbon stamps so perfectly was easy since I used my gridline acrylic block, which I bought from PTI (scroll down a bit HERE). I've seen similar blocks at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. If you don't have one and use clear stamps at all, I highly recommend you get a nice, big one!

So what faux embellishment stamps do you have languishing in your hoard? Pull them out and give them some ink!

OLW5 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single piece of cardstock folded in half.

2. The main idea of this challenge is to use a stamped, faux embellishment, but as always, if you simply must add a little something, well, then, you may.

Have fun!

stamps: Hero Arts, PTI
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: not a one!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coloring 101: Bics and Sharpies

Bic Mark-It markers and Sharpie markers, A.K.A the Poor Stamper's Copics, are perfectly adequate substitutes for the much more expensive Copics. I have two reasons for not committing to the Copics. First, I am an ambivalent colorer. After all the coloring I've done in the past two weeks or so, I will be happy to have at least a few months of rocking and rolling on block stamps before touching another Prisma pencil, marker, or watercolor again.

Second, given my ambivalence to coloring, it's rather shocking the diversity of coloring media I hoard own. These include watercolors, watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons, Twinkling H2Os, prisma color pencils, Bics, Sharpies, SU markers (the full 48-color set), aqua painter and SU reinkers, and chalk.

Wow. That list is highly embarrassing. But I think it definitely explains my strength of resistance to the allure of Copics. If, unlike me, you enjoy coloring or have lots of money to spend, I will say that, in my admittedly limited experience, Copics work better than Bics or Sharpies, both in blending more easily and in color selection. Perhaps the biggest problem with using these Copic substitutes is that the colors tend to end up being pretty intense. I understand you can get lighter results with Copics. You get what you pay for, but in this case, the cheap substitute will work in a pinch, as long as you're not too picky.

When I bought the Bics and Sharpies, I made a sort of cheat sheet to experiment with blending. It's come in handy for remembering which colors blend better.

Here are some of the combinations I used in today's tutorial. Aren't all the colors pretty?

Below is the method I've pieced together from various blog tutorials and videos and a bit of practice (a very little bit). If you really want to learn how to do this sort of shading, I highly recommend looking for a mentor more confident and experienced than I. But if you're happy with a little knowledge, I'm your woman.

To start, stamp your images in Memento or Palette black ink on PTI white or Gina K deluxe cardstock. I can't tell a difference in the blending on either paper, but the Gina K will not bleed through and is therefore preferred for one-layer cards.

Start coloring by taking the lighter shade and covering the entire area. [Note: the blue butterfly is finished, the green one just has one layer of light green sharpie.]

Then, add an area of the darker shade using small, circular penstrokes.

Go back over the dark and light areas with the light marker, working out from the dark area toward the lighter area. In my experience, this one pass is inadequate to get a really nice blend, so add more dark ink.

Then, go over the whole thing again with the light marker with small circles, repeating until you have the color blend you want. This second pass of the light color should give you a lovely blend.

I repeated this on a bunch of butterflies to make these. I cut one out, thinking to use them as I had used the butterflies from the Twinkling H2O post, but alas, I got lazy.

So I pulled out a 1" square punch and made a very simple grid. Unfortunately, the two gems in the corner are a bit too big, but I like the colorful effect of the butterflies anyway. And see how I used that one butterfly I cut out? Clever, eh?

For this second card, I used Gina K paper (the aqua is PTI) because I wanted to stamp the butterfly directly on the card base. Despite laying down a lot of ink, there is no bleed-through on the inside of the card.

And now you know everything I know about shading with Bics and Sharpies.

Stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, aqua; Gina K Deluxe white
accessories: rhinestones, markers, punches

Monday, May 17, 2010

CAS67 Shabby Chic

This is today's second post. Please scroll down to see the first post.

The Clean and Simple Weekly Challenge at SplitcoastStampers this week is Shabby Chic. Well, these three cards are about as shabby as I get these days. Shabby and I just don't see eye to eye because I'm AR/OCD and Shabby is, well, shabby. I want to clean her up, and she wants me to relax a bit. It's really quite annoying.

And by the way, just because I'm AR/OCD doesn't mean I expect anyone else to be. For those of you who love Shabby and invite her to your craft space regularly, all I can say is I admire you enormously. She is a great good friend to many a wonderful stamper. She just doesn't like me.

First up is my favorite. It's subtle, so it doesn't look nearly as pretty in the photo as it is in real life.

You'll notice the disconcerting absence of distressing. I just couldn't bring myself to ink any edges or run my scissors down the edges of this card either. Just. Couldn't. Do. It. Hopefully, it's enough shabby/chic with the pretty lace and DMC floss and sheer ribbon and a vintage script sentiment from SU's Letters from Friends set.

Then there's this next card, which actually DOES have some distressing. The flowers are made of SU bashful blue paper that I spritzed with water, crumpled repeatedly, and punched out. This technique gives the paper a rather leathery look. And I finally used some pearl brads that have been languishing in my stash for a year or longer. I'm not exactly wild about this one (where, oh where is my white space?!?!), but perhaps someone will like it. I hope. The sentiment is wonderful, don't you think?

Finally, I'm posting a card I made during Kraft Week with Mary Dawn but never got a chance to post. It conveniently works for today's challenge, I like it, and I hope you do, too.

And here's a piece of advice I learned from JulieHRR: never leave your buttons nekkid. This is very good advice for lots more than just buttons, I think.

So click on over to SCS and play along with the CAS67 challenge. If I can do it, so can you!

Take Time to Relax

Note: I'm working on a post about coloring with Bics and Sharpies. It's not quite ready today, so I'll be posting it tomorrow.

I've not used PTI's A Day at the Beach as much as I should have, so I pulled it out and used every image stamp in it on Friday. This card was specifically made for a friend who is WAYYYYY too busy working, running kids around, cleaning...trying to do everything perfectly. She needs to relax and let some things go, make peace with dust bunnies.

Speaking of dust bunnies, I'm fairly certain some of them behind my husband's bedside table had come to life and were verging on sentience when I sucked them up with the vacuum cleaner on Saturday. There were none behind my bedside table, so I think he was actively breeding them.

stamps: PTI
ink: all Memento except SU summer sun for lemon wedge
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals, glitter (Doodlebug), glue pen