Sunday, June 30, 2013

Christmas in July

I'm so far behind on Christmas cards and simply must get my act together!

Tonight's card uses an old, old, old PSX chickadee stamp and an old, old, old PSX snowflake background stamp. Of course, these are keeper stamps, so don't be emailing me asking if I'm selling them. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Here's a really simple treatment for a complex focal point image. Stamp the focal point in black, the background in gray, and add a few spots of color to match the this case pine green bling (colored with Bic/Sharpie markers). This is simple, easy to reproduce, and lets the beautiful image shine!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and ohmygoshhowdiditgettobeJulyalready!?!?!?

Blessings of the season to you!

stamps: PSX
ink: VersaColor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Bic/Sharpies, dimensionals

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Use-Your-Stamps Challenge: Flower Box

My stamps (except the photopolymer stamps stored in CD cases) are stored in white photo boxes. One box is labeled Flowers and contains these stamps:

My SU flower sets are in another box. For now, I'm working my way through the non-SU flower stamps, most of which are from Hero Arts, including today's cards.

I started with the Watercolor Flowers because I've had them the longest and will love them forever. These are the sort of classic images that never, ever go out of style. I colored them with markers or, when I didn't have markers, dew drop pads, then spritzed with Glimmer Mist. Such a pretty effect!

After staring at these for a few days, I decided to dress them up with a touch of bling and, after adding the bling decided they needed rounded bottom corners, too. Wish I had a good design explanation of why that seemed right, but I just heard Obiwan saying, "Use the force, Susan."

I honestly don't have a favorite between the two. The simple, completely flat first version has a wonderful crispness that makes me happy, but then, bling makes everything better, right?

Do you have a preference? If so, which do you prefer and why?

And tell us how your own Use-Your-Stamps Challenge is going!

stamps: Hero Arts Watercolor Margherite, Dahlia, Sunflower, Coneflower
ink: assorted
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Corner Chomper, rhinestones, assorted sharpies to color some of the rhinestones

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Aren't Dolphins the Best?

Here's a quick card for tonight. It's pretty simple, unembellished, but pretty cool, nevertheless. Because it has a dolphin on it.

The dolphin was colored with gray Copics, and I didn't bother with shading, which made it a very quick and easy card indeed.

stamps: CASual Friday, AMuse
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: dimensionals

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

OLW145 Spice Girls and New Stamps

Second post for today. Scroll down to see the post about my new car. Yay!

Well, better late than never....

Here's my card for the OLW that's almost over, #145 Spice Girls by Ardyth, a fun challenge! Sorry I'm so late. It's been a crazy week, what with George's sister visiting and us buying a new car.

I went to my husband's spice cabinet for this one. Yes, it's his spice cabinet. I don't cook. I reheat his cooking.

I pulled out poppy seeds and a bay leaf. The card with poppy seeds was hideous beyond belief (those little seeds clumped unattractively...probably a result of the humidity). The bay leaf, though, helped me create a textural--and rather masculine-ish--card.

The wood grain background (Hero Arts), the gold skeleton leaf, and the bay leaf certainly provide some interesting texture, and the colors work well for men or women.

If you haven't played yet, perhaps you'll see this before midnight Tuesday and jump on the challenge in the 11th hour! If you miss it, the next OLW challenge will be on Karen's blog.

And now for my newest stamps...

My first order from Clearly Besotted, along with the cute little card they included with the order. These are great quality, photopolymer stamps. Oh how I love the smell of photopolymer in the morning. At noon. At night. You'll be seeing stuff made with these beauties in the weeks to come!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memories sand
paper: Papertrey
accessories: gold skeleton leaf and bay leaf, glue dot, glue stick

Adding Some Color and an Owl To My Life

In 2003, after George returned from Iraqi Freedom, we drove to Colorado to buy a Ford Expedition. But the dealer did the ol' bait-and-switch, so we ended up buying a Volkswagen Passat. In black.

The joy of my driving life for ten years...

I love this car. We've had it for ten years, and put 134,000 miles on it. I still wanted to keep it forever, but I stopped trusting it about the same time we moved to the new house. Finally, George and I decided it was time to let it go and get something new, something a bit bigger for our growing boys.

I decided it was time to add some color to my life.

May the next ten years be as wonderful...and a little more colorful!

Oh, yeah. Metallic deep red and new car smell. VW, I will always remember you fondly, but it's time for some shiny red Mazda in my life.

And have you ever noticed how the Mazda logo looks like an owl?

Hopefully, this symbolizes that we made a wise choice.

George rolled his eyes when I pointed this out last night while we were signing paperwork. Men are weird. A cute logo and a pretty color are two totally good reasons to buy a car.

And that is why I can't share a card this morning. Buying a car is stressful, exhausting, and takes a lot of time when done with a spouse who is a car geek.  Hopefully, I'll be able to share something made out of paper with you tomorrow.

Safe and colorful driving, everyone!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I must have mislabeled the paper, or perhaps the Gina K ivory isn't the same as the white, but when I tried to make some ivory-based one-layer cards with what I had labeled as Gina K, the Copic coloring bled through.


Gina K's white Deluxe card stock is impenetrable. You can color as much on it as you want, and it won't bleed through. It's AMAZING stuff, and I can't recommend it enough. But does anyone know if the ivory is supposed to be the same coated card as the white? Inquiring minds and all that.

Anyway, I ended up cutting out the frames of the stamped images and popping them onto new card bases. Easy fix, and looks sort of cool, so no worries. But, man, I hate bleed-through.

I colored these with assorted Bic, Sharpie, and Copic markers. The images are from an old, old, old Hero Arts set that I can't imagine ever parting with. It's just wonderful!

Some Random Stuff

1. Just picked up an issue of Pages magazine, a specialty pub from Cloth, Paper, Scissors. So many ideas floating around in my head for artist books. So many. I finally feel like the time is ripe for me to attempt clean-and-simple artist books. Besides, my poor Bind-It-All has been feeling neglected lately.

2. Mary asked me about why two instead of three elements work on this card. Yes, I harp on visual triangles and rules of thirds and the Importance of Three and Other Odd Numbers, but two can work really well under certain circumstances, too. I'm planning a discussion of that question. Not sure when it will get posted, but know that I am working on it!

stamps: Hero Arts discontinued
ink: Memento
paper: Gina K Ivory (I think)
accessories: assorted alcohol markers, dimensionals

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bad Puns

I'm mellowing in my old age and no longer see red when faced with bad puns. In fact, I'm willing to use them on occasion.

This one is pushing my patience though. At least the whale image is adorable!

It's been a busy weekend, with a visit from my sister-in-law and three church services I have to attend for our new Stephen Minister commissioning and possibly buying a new car. I hope you are having a fun weekend full of good things to do and good people to do them with. Care to share what you're up to?

And yes, two sentences in a row ended with prepositions. To what is the world coming?

stamps: A Muse Life's a Breeze, Keep Swimmin'
ink: VersaColor black, Hero Arts Pool
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Punchin' Some Waves

I'll never ride any waves on a surfboard, but I sure can punch them out using the Fiskar's wave border punch.

The punch gives a ground, so to speak, to the image, so it isn't floating in space. Presumably the lighthouse is on a rock or ground, but we're looking at it from the ocean, maybe from a sea kayak.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy sea kayaks? Well, I do. They're lovely, especially when seals are poking their heads up around you.

Making this card reminded me that I really need to use my border punches more. They can be awesome for clean and simple cards!

stamps: A Muse Life's a Breeze
ink: Memento black
paper: Papertrey white, SU brocade blue
accessories: Memento marker, yellow rhinestone, Fiskar's wave punch, dimensionals

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More PSX

Another ocean-themed PSX stamp I have is of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. As a native North Carolinian, I'm proud of this one and will never let it go. In using it for the Use-Your-Stamps Challenge, though, I didn't want to color it. Been there, done that. The easiest and best way to color it, in fact, is to use chalk. But even easier is to simply ink it up and stamp it. I pulled out a fun tri-color Brilliance pad and gave it whirl.

The photo shows the colors brighter than in real life, and not as shimmery. But it's a quick, fun, and easy way of using large stamps.

The sentiment is from a Papertrey set called A Day at the Beach that I am getting rid of. I've used it enough. The only stamp I will miss from it is one that says, "Life is good."  Wow, I do love that!

Life is good. Yes, it is.

stamps: PSX, Papertrey Day at the Beach
ink: Brilliance sky blue, jade, lime
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Old and New

To kick off my Use-Your-Stamps Challenge, I pulled out my storage box labeled "Ocean" and set to work, so obviously you're going to see some ocean-themed cards for the next week or so.

Several of the stamps in that box are very, very old...Personal Stamp Exchange stamps from over 12 years ago. For those of you who don't know, PSX when out of business in 2003, although rights to the line of images appear to have changed hands a few times since.  These are among the first stamps I bought, and they still make me happy.

Kind reader Kegbo sent me some Papertrey die cuts a few months ago because, you know, I don't own a die cutting machine. So I decided to combine the old PSX stamps and the new die cut and here's what happened!

The border stamp and the trio of sea shells work together perfectly, and the shape of the die cut label is perfect, too. The tiny sentiment is from Papertrey's Sign Language set...the little sentiments in that set are incredibly useful!

As you work through your own Use-Your-Stamps Challenge, think how you can breathe fresh life into older stamps by combining them with new things.

And keep an eye on Ardyth's blog for the One-Layer-Wednesday Challenge this week!

stamps: PSX, Papertrey Sign Language
ink: VersaMagic Ocean Depth, Jumbo Java
paper: Papertrey
accessories: die cut, dimensionals

Monday, June 17, 2013


When I started the Use-Your-Stamps Challenge a few days ago, all I was thinking about was myself and how uninspired I've been feeling lately. The UYS Challenge seemed like a good idea to knock me out of my rut--as it had done for me years ago--and inviting you to share in the fun made it even more fun for me.

But today I read on another blog (Hey, Darnell!) that using your stuff is really trendy right now. Trendy? Me? Wow.

Unintentionally trendy, but trendy, nevertheless. Darnell describes a bunch of places such a concept has found followers, including her own blog. I love being on trend every now and then!

Today's card, however, very intentionally jumps on another trendy bandwagon...sequins. Y'all know I'm usually slow with such trends, but this one is A) inexpensive, B) easy, and 3) sparkly. My package of 800 assorted color sequins was $0.79 at JoAnn's.

Count me in.

You wouldn't believe how long it took me to arrange those flowers around the sentiment. My original intent was to cluster three around the lower left corner of the sentiment and three around the upper right corner, but the large, uniform size of the flowers made that look...messy. That layout would look better with one large and two small daisies on two corners, I think, but I only had one size of sequins.

Finally, two neat rows (but not too neat) worked best.

I've always loved the look of green and black on a whole lotta fresh and clean!

Sequin Tips: Years ago, when Hero Arts sold some funky sequins, I tried using small glue dots to attach them but didn't like that at all. Glue dots never dry, and the exposed part sticking up through the hole in the middle of the sequin stayed unpleasantly sticky. To attach these sequins, I placed a little bit of white glue on a scrap of card stock and used tweezers to dip the back of the sequin in the glue. (If you get too much glue on the sequin, all you have to do is dab off the excess glue on the card stock scrap.  I placed the glue-y sequin where I wanted it with the tweezers, held it in place for a few seconds while the glue set, and then left it to dry for a few minutes.

This works pretty well as long as you have enough glue on the sequin. Too little glue, and it will fall off under a little pressure. Too much glue and it will look a mess when dry. Be like Baby Bear and get it just right!

stamps: A Muse Birthday Greetings
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: flower punch, sequins, glue, glue dots

Sunday, June 16, 2013

OLW144 Show Us Your Colors and a Free Lesson in Rhetoric

Cheryl's red-white-and-blue patriotic challenge warmed the cockles of my military-dependent-spouse heart. While I often joke that the happiest day of my life was the day George retired after 20 years of service to the United States Air Force (I'm only partly joking), I value and treasure those 20 years as a dependent spouse of active duty military. I love my country and am proud of George's service.

There were times when it really sucked, though. If you've not been in a military family, THIS SONG will help explain some of the conflicting emotions military families go through each and every day.

Yes, that flag is so much more than stripes and stars.

So here's my card for OLW144, which uses stamps from the wonderfully patriotic set from Dare 2 B Artzy called Our Hero, which was designed for Operation Write Home.

Now, keep reading only if you're into really useless information. I'm going to give you some because I'm just full of it.

Today's lesson is from Classical Rhetoric 101, where poor, innocent students are made to memorize all sorts of Greek and Latin terms for all sorts of obscure figures of speech...terms like litotes, metonymy, and the better-known hyperbole.

My personal favorite, however, is chiasmus. Shakespeare used it in Macbeth when he wrote, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." President Kennedy used it when he said, "...[A]sk not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." And Johnson & Johnson used it when they sang, "I am stuck on Band-Aid brand 'cause Band-Aid's stuck on me!" Chiasmus is a crossing or reversal of terms.

My card today has a chiastic structure in which I reversed the colors...a chiasmus of color, if you will. The images are blue and red, while the sentiment underneath is red and blue. Isn't that cool?

And that's why I have a Master's degree in I can share interesting little tidbits of useless knowledge with you.

You're welcome.

stamps: Dare 2 Be Artzy Our Hero
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: tiny rhinestones

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Three Layouts, Soothing Colors

First of all, thank you for your enthusiastic response to the Use-Your-Stamps Challenge! While I'm baffled as to why some of you find the challenge "scary," I hope you'll overcome that fear and have fun with it. You certainly don't have to get rid of anything you don't want to get rid of, and there are no Challenge Police who will come to your house to check your progress.

I will post regularly to remind you of the challenge as I work through my boxes and bins of stamps. Hannah expressed concern that the challenge could become too rigid, but really, it doesn't have to be that way. Do what's fun for you! I love how lots of you with more stamp sets than loose stamps are adapting the challenge, especially Tania's idea that if only one stamp in a set gets used, it's time for that set to go.

Now, onward to today's cards.

When I purchased some Hero Arts inks, I chose colors in blues and greens because they are so very soothing and beachy. Just looking at these cards makes me happy and lowers my blood pressure at the same time.

The two cards above are accented with a clear Sakura Stardust pen for a little shimmer. The first has a border of randomly falling flowers for a whimsical feel appropriate for a birthday, and the second has a more solid, reliable border supporting the sentiment and appropriate for a thinking of you card.

The final card sends a cascade of shooting stars across the card for a dynamic layout that really emphasizes the sentiment by taking the eye right to it.

Any of these cards could have a completely different color combination and would feel different but work anyway. If your birthday girl prefers hot pinks and orange, well, that first card would work just great and have a high energy level to boot. If the person you're thinking of needs uplifting rather than soothing, citrus shades would be fun! The stars would work in shades of blue or purple (soothing), or yellows and oranges (high energy).

stamps: Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments, Friends
ink: Hero Arts soft pool, pool, tide pool, green hills; Memento black
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: Sakura Stardust pen

Friday, June 14, 2013

Announcing the Use-Your-Stamps Challenge!

Please join me in the Use-Your-Stamps Challenge!

The Very Simple Rules
First, you must work through your stash of stamps and actually use every image stamp you own. If you want to use all the sentiments, too, have a nut, but I find that many sentiments in sets are rather useless.

Also, how you keep track of which stamps you use is up to you. The first time I did this, I had a stamp index, so I just put a check mark next to each stamp as I finished using it. Now, I don't have an index, so I'm working through storage boxes instead. I'll keep each box out on my desk until I've used every single image in it, then put a post-it inside the lid saying "You DID IT!" Use whatever accounting system works for you.

Second, there is no deadline. Some of you have huge stashes that will take years to work through while others might finish in a few months. It took me over 2 years the first time I did this! But when you finish, you're invited to comment on the new tab for the Use-Your-Stamps Challenge on Simplicity announcing your victory!

Helpful Tips
As you use your stamps, pay attention to how you like working with each stamp or set. Is it worth the space it's taking up? Do you want to get rid of it or keep it forever? Perhaps you're not quite sure if it's a keeper or purge fodder. If so, put it in a box in your basement or closet for six months or a year. After that time, you'll either be ready to say goodbye or welcome it back into your stash. Time lends clarity.

As you purchase new stamps, I suggest you use every image immediately. Only after stamps have been used do I put them in my stash. This keeps me from accumulating unused stamps in the first place. That's why you always see a flurry of cards made with any new sets I buy. I'm using them right off the bat!

Are you signing up? Let us know! Also, if you have any tips or solutions to keeping track of your used stamps, please share. I think that could be the most challenging part of the challenge for some people!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On the Top of the World

Today, I spent a few hours stamping, and what a few hours they were! I made so many that made me happy. Whew.

Here's what happened. I vaguely decided to redo my challenge to use all my image stamps again. Some of you might remember the last time I did this challenge it took several years. (I doubt it will take that long this time because I've purged so many stamps.) Anyway, the first box of stamps I tackled was extremely inspiring...some of the stamps are really old (PSX!), and boy, howdy, it was fun to ink them up.


Anyway, here is a card I made before the Bad Times. I'll have a few more older cards to share in the next few days, and then I'll share the new ones.

Happy Friday!

stamps: Gina K Hello Sunshine, Papertrey Signature Greetings
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Never Underestimate Rage as a Creative Force

Before I get all angry, let me point out the happy fact that this week's OLW Challenge is on Cheryl's blog, and it's a fun one, especially for us patriotic types!

And now, to the anger.

Lately, it seems like I've been ruining a lot of card stock. This is, um, frustrating.

Yes, that is the word.

For instance, I love the frog stamp from Papertrey's old set Pond Life. It's just adorably simple and cute. So I tried to make a card that had a background of colorful frogs and then would have a raised panel with a large A Muse birthday sentiment. Only I dropped the stamp while attempting to stamp the last. dang. frog.

I got so mad I threw the card away without even cutting the back off it.

Then, I sat and stewed for a few minutes, arms crossed and eyes darting across my workspace and an attractive scowl on my face. The longer I stewed, the angrier I grew until the anger burst forth and I made this card...which, you will note, lacks frogs altogether, although the A Muse stamp is quite deliberately prominent.


But my rage wasn't gone yet. No, that frog stamp still mocked me. Ribbit. Ribbit. So I picked it up and thought, I'll use it once. Just once. Can't screw that up, can I? Well, I suppose I could have screwed it up, but I didn't.

And thus my rage resulted in two cards that made me happy.

stamps: Papertrey Ink Pond Life, A Muse Birthday Greetings
ink: Brilliance sky blue, VersaColor black
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: corner rounder, dimensionals

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stamping Snit

I know some of you misread that post title, didn't you? I don't have a potty mouth.


But the other day, I got into a stamping snit. After ruining a bunch of paper on bad cards and wasting a bunch of bling on a card so ugly it looked like Tinkerbell vomited on it, I was so irritated that I very deliberately found the smallest stamp on my desk and a fun sentiment and made this card.

Take that, card stock.

And then I walked away.

Because, for me, white space wins every time.

The End.

stamps: Hero Arts Friends
ink: Hero Arts green hills, pool; Memento black
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: rhinestones, corner rounder

Monday, June 10, 2013

Orange Choice

Here are two cards using the same background stamp from Hero Arts. Which do you like best?

Tough call for me. The balance on the top card is better, but its lack of white space makes me itchy. The bottom one at least looks like I made it.

Whichever you prefer, this is the easiest way to utilize large background stamps...and extremely fun!

stamps: Hero Arts (Flower Burst Pattern background, Year Round Sentiments)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rick rack attached with ScorTape, ribbon, half pearls, corner rounder 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wish Big

Sometimes, a card pulls together well...balance, harmony, all the elements working together to support the message. Design Totality.

This card has it. Everything in the card emphasizes large scale...even on a small, 4.25" card. It implies big. The stamped panel might be a big gift, wrapped in a large-scale gift wrap and taking up the whole table!

Can't be too big, though, because then the card wouldn't fit in an envelope.

The knot is made using the unmovable knot tutorial here. Fortunately, that makes the knot flatter than a standard double knot. This card, though thick, will go through the mail. I'll probably put a strip of packing tape on the envelope over it, though, to prevent ripping, and add a bit of extra postage, just in case.

I'm glad some of you found my ink rant useful. I'll have more to say on the subject eventually, but I appreciate any added comments you might have on that post to help others in their quest for the right ink!

stamps: CASual Friday
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: dimensionals, ribbon, hole punch

Random Obsessive, Crazy Thoughts about Stamping Ink

The transition to summer has hit me hard and thrown me into a serious funk of non-creativity and severe ADD/OCD/OMG.

I think it has something to do with hearing the word "Mommy" five-hundred-eighty-six times a day.

Anyway, since I haven't felt particularly creative, I've fallen back on reorganizing and cleaning out stuff in my craft space. Perhaps you use the same trick. Often (though not always) a quick purge gets the creative juices flowing.

Not this time. Still, I try to look on the bright side and think useful things even when they aren't creative things. The creativity will come back eventually, when I stop trying so hard.

So here are some of my random useful thoughts and affirmations from the past week of OMG.

1. I am brilliant. You might remember when I suggested that, if you are afraid of purging, you should put stuff in a box in your basement or storage closet for six months or a year and after that time, go through it again and purge. That break really shows you whether you value those things.

I have two boxes full of stamps in my basement. When I went through them a few days ago, I pulled two stamps out to keep and was completely at peace with getting rid of the rest. This is about the fifth or sixth time I've tried this trick, and it works every single time. See? I am brilliant.

But it only works for stamps. The ink pads I'd put in the boxes made me put them back in my working stash. They demanded it, even though I haven't missed them even a tiny bit. Bossy little things.

2. Ink storage drives me crazy. I have a lot of ink. It's a hazard for us stampers who primarily use block stamps rather than outline stamps. We need lots of colors of ink. Of course we do. But how do we conveniently and neatly store all these ink pads?

Darned if I know.

The pads come in different shapes and sizes. Mini pads (pardon the phrase) are my favorites lately, but I still have a lot of full-size pads. The combination of two sizes offends my OCD so much I just replaced four of my favorite full-size pads with dew drops and really wish I could do that for all the pads but the expense seems stupid since those other full-size pads are not my favorite colors and likely won't be replaced when they run out of ink anyway. So why can't I throw or give them away now? I don't know!

This is crazy.

But I decided that sorting similar inks by color rather than brand/type makes sense. I combined my VersaColor, VersaMagic, and non-iridescent Brilliance inks because on Papertrey card stock, they really look the same and function identically. Here's what the two drawers look like now.

Aren't these drawers beautiful!!!

See what I mean about the mix of small and large pads? Crazy. But I love the look of all those colors.... Not sure what I'm going to do with all the other inks I have...pigment, water-based dye inks, waterproof dye inks, etc. For now, they are sorted by brand.

3. Ink types drive me crazy. They are so finicky. Each type does different things and works differently with different types of stamps. We can't just have one kind of ink...we need at least several different ones. For my full thoughts on all the types of ink I've used, please read the Ink section on THIS PAGE.

Disclaimer: The following ink reviews are based on my personal experience...individual results WILL vary. One thing I've learned over the years in this hobby is that one person's favorite product is another's trash....and visa-versa. Variables like paper type, pressure, stamping surface, and so forth will change from situation to situation and affect results. Try inks for yourself, and take others' reviews with a grain of salt...or embossing powder.

Memento inks used to be my favorites in the Waterproof Dye Ink category, but they've let me down. The first 24 colors worked great with all kinds of stamps, but the 12 new colors (which were disappointingly dark and/or dull in the first place) look blotchy and uneven when stamped, especially with clear stamps. I contacted the company and didn't receive any feedback or suggestions.

I still want a waterproof dye ink that works well with all stamps, so I decided to try Memories/Hero Arts inks again. Years ago, I used Memories and mostly liked them, but that was before I accepted photopolymer stamps into my family. Besides, Hero Hues look so gosh darn gorgeous in the catalog I want to eat them up. The four colors I ordered in full-size pads are absolutely beautiful together, a soothing ocean palette that relaxes me just to look at.

I wanted the small cubes, but they appear only to be available in 4-cube sets...and the sets overlap in colors, which is deeply annoying. Cement, for instance, appears in at least two of the sets. WHY?

The neon cube set came to live with me because Joan B said they were cool, and they are. So that's all her fault.

And yes, I'm annoyed the blue pad is rotated 90 degrees....

In the end, the Hero Arts inks work fine with rubber stamps but not as well with clear stamps.

So, in conclusion, inks drive me crazy.

4. Some Random Ink Samples with a Clear Stamp

Note: All my samples are stamped on Papertrey's Stampers Select White Card Stock. This makes a difference! Using different paper WILL yield different results.

The winner of the three...crisp, clean image, smooth
inking, no blotchiness. All the detail of the
pinecone is clear.

Blotchy, some feathering of edges,
clumps of ink on the pinecone

Better than Memento on edges...less feathering,
and overall smoother image, but loss of detail
on pinecone.

If you stamp with clear stamps, your best bet is probably thick inks like VersaColor, VersaMagic, Colorbox, and Brilliance. 

5. My Bottom Line on Ink.
a. Good rubber works with most good inks. If it doesn't, use a white eraser on the rubber to remove any residue from the manufacturing process. The dye inks might still be a bit blotchy on large expanses of rubber, but generally speaking, it all works out.

b. Photopolymer works best with thick, creamy inks like VersaColor, VersaMagic, Colorbox chalk or pigment inks, and Brilliance. The old Memento colors also work reasonably well, but the thick inks are just better with clear stamps, unless you like blotchy, which makes sense for vintage/shabby styles.

c. I have no experience with other popular inks, such as Ranger, Tim Holtz distress, and A Muse. Perhaps those of you who use those will comment on their performance.

I hope this post has given you something useful to think about and inspired you to experiment with your own inks or try out new inks.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hearts and Stars and Stripes

Today's card is pretty straightforward and yes, intended for Operation Write Home.

I've not stamped much least not much that is worthy to share here. I've been obsessing about ink and a bit about purging some stamps. I'll be sharing some of my frustrations and epiphanies in the next few days. Until then, have a lovely, relaxing weekend. May we all have time and inclination to make something pretty!

stamps: Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments
ink: VersaColor
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: dimensionals

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Starry, Starry Birthday

Lovin' the Hero Arts set Year Round Sentiments, one of Hero's Operation Write Home sets. I used blue for this because I had blue star rhinestones, but any color would be fun. Except maybe puce.

Of course, there may be nothing wrong with puce except the name. Pewss. Urgh. Think about it. If they called no-bake cheesecake something else, maybe Cream Cheese Delight, it would taste good. But to call it cheesecake is wrong. Just wrong.

What color is puce, anyway?

stamps: Year Round Sentiments (Hero Arts)
ink: VersaColor assorted blues
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: star rhinestones

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Just a quick little word collage using the old Hero Arts clear set Friends.

Word collages like this are pretty easy after you've tried one or two, so don't let them intimidate you. Start with a scrap of card stock, and start with the larger stamps. Fill in with smaller stamps, trying to keep spacing fairly even (though not exact...a little looseness in the design keeps it from looking like it was done by a computer).

Just remember it's only paper...and you can pitch the scrap if you mess up. No one has to know!

Hero Arts (and other clear stamp manufacturers) often put out sets that use a lot of fonts for the same word or phrase. Look into your stash and see what sort of word collage you can make. Two stamps in my collage come from other sets...the heart comes from the Hero Arts set Year Round Sentiments, which is an OWH set, and the orange horizontal friend is from Papertrey's Mega Mixed Messages.

Improvise and have fun!

stamps: Hero Arts, Papertrey
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones, heart-shaped rhinestone

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

One-Layer Wednesday 143...Bugaloos

Do you remember the old Sid and Marty Krofft television show The Bugaloos? It was one of my favorite shows when I was little, along with Sigmund the Sea Monster, Land of the Lost, and H. R. Puffnstuf.

Sid and Marty swore there were no drugs involved in the making of The Bugaloos, but it's hard to see how that was possible.

Anyway, we're starting to see lots of bugs around Ohio now...butterflies, lady bugs, giant bumble bees, wasps, beetles, ants, and such. I've not yet seen a praying mantis or leaf bug, but it's only a matter of time.

So this week's OLW challenge is to make a one-layer card with bugs on it. They can be realistic bugs, cartoon bugs, stylized bugs, cute bugs, scary bugs, ugly bugs...whatever sorts of bugs you want to use. Just remember to keep your card ONE LAYER, please. Like this one:

OLW143 Rules

1. A one-layer card is defined as a single layer of card stock folded in half. No other layers allowed.

2. Make a card with images of bugs on it. Please keep embellishments to a minimum.

3. Post your card online somewhere and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar of Simplicity. If you link to a blog post, please make sure you link to the individual post and not your blog's main page.

4. The most important rule of all...HAVE FUN!

stamps: Hero Arts Antique Engravings, shadow stamp (both discontinued); SU Nature Walk (bee); Papertrey Pond Life (sentiment)
ink: Ancient Page Neptune, Memento cocoa
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: clear rhinestones, Copic marker to color them

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Ardyth-Inspired Card

After I made the birthday card for and inspired by Ardyth, I was still feelin' the inspiration, so I made this glittery spectrum card.

It's so sparkly! I wish I had a cool explanation of the card's design, but it felt like I was using the force. The card sort of made itself.

And sometimes, the universe (not to mention Ardyth's amazing inspiration) gives us a gift. Who are we to question it?

I'm sticking this one in my hub's lunch box tomorrow.

stamps: Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: a variety of Stickles, dimensionals

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Two Cards Inspired by A Perfect Evening

Yesterday evening, the hubs and I were sitting on our deck sipping wine (a delightful Argentinian Malbec blend) and reading books. We bought our house as much for the lot (1.75 acres) and the deck as the house. The covered deck is high above our back yard and faces east, which means that after noon, it's completely shaded and a wonderful place to sit and listen to birds and water babbling in the creek hidden by the vegetation on the right side of the yard.

It's our little bit of heaven on earth, really.

Please excuse the bare patches in the lawn. We put this lawn in last summer in drought conditions. Under the circumstances, it looks amazing. Hopefully by next year, it really will be amazing.

Anyway, we were sitting on the deck and a cold front started to move through from the west, with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour. We were protected from the wind by the house, but the leaves all around us rustled continuously.

It sounded for all the world like ocean waves to me.

I love the sound of ocean waves. So relaxing. So peaceful. Right there in my back yard were forest bird calls (including a nesting woodpecker pair), leaves rustling, and waves hitting a sandy shore. Oh. My. Goodness.

So today, I made a couple of cards inspired by our evening on the deck.

First up is the breezy day. The sentiment is from A Muse, the tree from Papertrey (Through the Trees), the pair of leaves from Papertrey (Father Knows Best), and the grassy hill from Hero Arts (Horizontal Graphics, discontinued). The green is StampinUp's green galore, stamped both full strength and off-stamped to add some depth and sense of movement. The trunk and sentiment are stamped with SU Sahara sand.

To kick the card up a notch, I rounded two corners to add more sense of movement and randomly added glitter to leaves with a Quickie Glue Pen. Because GLITTER!!!

Now for the ocean. This Kate Chopin quotation is wonderful, and from Impression Obsession. I have had it for years and have no idea if it's still available. I wanted it to be the focal point of the card.

The ocean waves are a swish stamp from Hero Arts Horizontal Graphics (discontinued)...the same stamp I used for the hill on the tree card. I stamped it repeatedly in full-strength Memento Bahama blue and then inked, off-stamped (once or twice), huffed, and stamped on the card until I liked the results.

This was my second attempt. The first one got too busy-looking.

Note that I didn't round two corners here. There's plenty of movement on this card without rounding anything.

If you've stuck with me this long, I have a question to ask. Do you tend to stick to occasion cards, or do you at least occasionally make cards using whatever wonderful quotations or sentiments you have that suit your mood?

Neither of these cards is for an "occasion." I make very few of these types of cards anymore, mainly because so many of mine go to OWH and they generally want occasion cards.

I'll send the ocean card to my mother because she'll love it. The life's a breeze card will be harder to'll have to go to someone who's experiencing good fortune. It can't go to OWH because of the glitter and because deployed service members aren't exactly experiencing life as a breeze, nor are their families.

How do you feel about this subject? Do you ever make a card just because or do you stick to occasion cards?

supplies are listed above under the cards