Thursday, November 29, 2012

OLW116 Reminder, a Few More Die Cut Cards, and Peace

Remember that this week, the One-Layer Wednesday Challenge is on Karen's blog and it's Scene It...create a scene on your card! How fun is that?!?! Karen's sample is beautiful, so be sure to click over and get inspired!

Today's Cards 
I'll need to work on a scene myself because today's cards are far from scenes. WAY far from scenes. I wanted to combine a couple of the die cuts Sharon sent with bling and colored card stock. The result is a couple of baby cards!

How easy are these?!?! And a great use of those larger rhinestones that seem to collect as I use so many more of the smaller ones.

Things are ramping up for Christmas for me. Tonight, I'm meeting with my Stephen Ministry group to make ornaments to hand out to the congregation. We did this last year as a way to raise awareness for people who are struggling to feel joy at a time of year when joy is everywhere. People who have lost loved ones, jobs, marriages, friends, health, independence, or faith can often feel an added burden of pain when everyone around them is gleefully going about the holidays with jingle bells and laughter.

Last year, we ran out of ornaments. The message of the ornaments...that it's okay to not be singing Joy to the World if you're feeling like a wretch and need Amazing Grace...struck a chord with a lot of people. Last year's ornaments contained a mustard seed and message about how God takes the tiniest bit of faith and grows it into something wonderful. This year's ornament focuses on peace...the peace that comes from God and passes all understanding.  Heavenly peace.

Peace be with each and every one of you as you move through this holiday season. May it deepen your joy or comfort your sadness. Breathe deep the heavenly peace.  

stamps: none
ink: none
paper: SU pretty in pink, bashful blue
accessories: die cuts, glue pen, rhinestones

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cards I Received in November

It is such a blessing to open the mailbox and find a hand-addressed card amidst the bills, catalogs, junk mail, and magazines. The envelope is extra special when it contains a card made by hand! Here are the hand-made cards I received this month. Some are birthday and some are Thanksgiving cards. I love them all!

Sue C.



Sue B.
Mary M.

Sue C.


Patti M.

What a beautiful collection of cards that now reside on the bulletin boards in my craft nook to give me inspiration and to lift me up each and every day!!!!!

I am so grateful for these ladies--and the many others through the years--who took time to send me cards they had made. I am also grateful for the readers who leave a comment, who send an email, who pray for me, who get concerned when I don't post each day, and who just read my blatherings. You have blessed me in so many ways.

Thank you.

Getting Clever with Die Cuts

Here's another card using a die cut sent by the oh-so-kind Sharon. Peace on earth. Get it?

Happy Wednesday!

stamps: Papertrey Masculine Motifs
ink: Versacolor bisque
paper: PTI white, aqua mist (?)
accessories: dimensionals, die cut from Sharon!, glue pen 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thank you, Sharon!

Kind reader Sharon sent me a selection of die cuts, and here's my favorite card I've made so far.

Darnit all to heck, now I need a Big Shot and a whole mess o' dies. Thanks, Sharon.



stamps: none
ink: none
paper: PTI white
accessories: die cuts, red rhinestones, white satin ribbon, glue dot, glue pen

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love Birds

No time for chit-chat tonight. Had to watch The Next Iron Chef.

It's weird how much I enjoy that show.

Anyway, it's late, I'm tired, and who knows what the heck I'll type, so let's move directly to the card. We have a pair of love birds in a branch from Papertrey's very old set called Out on a Limb. LOVE that set.

Have a happy Monday!

stamps: Papertrey Love Birds, Out on a Limb
ink: SU real red, Memento toffee and pistachio
paper: SU real red, PTI white
accessories: dimensionals

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How Ardently I Admire and Love You

Things are settling down a bit after Thanksgiving and my birthday. Many, many thanks for all the good wishes in comments, emails, and cards! It was indeed a good birthday and holiday, and I hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving too, even if it was just an unofficial lower-case thanksgiving.

Shouldn't we make every day a thanksgiving? I sure think so.

And to cap it all off, I found out today that I had four cards published in the Winter issue of Take Ten magazine!


Page 63.

I submitted the cards for this issue's design challenge, which seemed a little too layered for my taste and therefore a real challenge for this CAS stamper to pull off. I used the layout with just two layers of card stock, some ink, and a few rhinestones. Since I made four cards with one old, old Hero Arts set, they published them in the Variations on a Theme section of the magazine.

I'm so honored!

Eeeeep, I say again!

And now onto today's card, which made me punch happy.

Operation Write Home needs Valentine's Day and general love cards, so I tried to use Papertrey's Heart Prints set with a sentiment from Simply Jane, also by Papertrey. The quotation is from Darcy's declaration of love to Elizabeth Bennett.


Did you know that when I took the "What Jane Austen Character Are You?" quiz on Facebook, I was Eliza Bennett?

Anyway, I tried all those patterned hearts in Heart Prints, and it looked a jumbled mess. So I flexed to solid hearts in a bunch of different shades of pink and red. That seemed to work so much better for me.

Eliza's such a solid character, not silly like Lydia.

I'm so relieved I wasn't Lydia.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: various
paper: PTI white
accessories: heart punches, heart-shaped rhinestone, dimensionals

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Something Unexpected: Wooden Snowflakes

I realized yesterday that drawing attention to something unexpected on a clean-and-simple card makes sense, so here's another card with something unexpected.

The real wood paper (purchased a while back at Michael's) makes perfectly unexpected snowflakes, don't you think? I love how the grain shows and adds some texture to the flakes (click on the picture to see it bigger!). The paper is fragile (especially when punched so thin for the smaller flakes), so I glued the flakes directly to the card base for added support.

Also, the SU cherry cobbler ink has tones of brown in it that fit so well with the wood tones, yet the red gives the whole card a festive punch. I'm sending this card to my aunt the woodcrafter!

I'm not sure how often I'll post for the rest of the week. We're having guests for the holiday, and the focus needs to be on family this week. May your own week--wherever you live--be one full of happiness, thanksgiving, and love!

stamps: PTI Silent Night
paper: PTI white, unknown wood paper
ink: SU cherry cobbler
accessories: various snowflake punches, glue pen

Monday, November 19, 2012

Angel Paper

One key to successful clean-and-simple design is to do something unexpected. Of course, whatever you do that's unexpected also needs to belong to the other words, it has to make sense.

For example, you wouldn't use the font comic sans on a sympathy card. Yes, it would be unexpected, but no, it wouldn't belong. Not one tiny bit.

When I found a scrap of white mulberry paper with gold metallic fibers in it, I knew it needed to be on an elegant card with gold embossing. This pretty, flowing angel stamp from PSX seemed a perfect match.

And it was. Notice the crisp lines of the oval are softened by the fringe of random mulberry fibers, and since straight lines love curves, the gold fibers belong as a contrast for the curvy angel and her oval frame.

That paper is unexpected, unusual, highly textured on flat, matte card stock. But by using only a fringe of of mulberry, it doesn't overwhelm the design either. It complements it.

Go, me!

Also note that I need new embossing powder. This was the best angel I got out of about five attempts. Methinks the shelf life of embossing powder is shorter than anticipated by me.

Technique Tip: To tear mulberry paper like this, place the paper flat on a waterproof surface (I used a cutting mat). Use clean water on a clean paintbrush to "draw" where you want to tear. Saturate the paper along the lines you want to tear. Wait a minute for the fibers to loosen, then tear. You can easily pick the edges out when they are wet. Set aside to dry completely before adhering to your card with a glue stick.

And I mean it about the clean paintbrush. Mine still had some bright-red Twinkling H20 in it. What a bloody-looking mess.

stamps: PSX
ink: gold pigment ink
paper: PTI white, white mulberry paper with gold fibers
accessories: glue stick, dimensionals, outdated gold embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy (a bag of powdered chalk that keeps embossing powder from sticking where you don't want it to stick), Creative Memories oval cutting system, wow that is a lot of stuff for one card by me, don't you think?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Amusing Noel

One of my favorite A Muse sets is Nordic Noel, and this card shows why.

I just love these clean, solid images. For anyone wondering what a visual triangle is, take a gander at the placement of the leaves and berries. Draw lines between them and you get...tada!...a triangle. Those three points sort of unify the whole design, which is further reinforced by the placement of Noel where the deer is looking at it.

Always give your creatures something to look at.

And the nine tiny blings for the berries are just so festive, don't you think?

Of course you do.

Who doesn't love bling?


stamps: A Muse
ink" SU cherry cobbler, old olive
paper: PTI white
accessories: dimensionals, rhinestones

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Be Still, My Peaceful Pinecones

Today's Card

Okay, Peaceful Pinecones is my new favorite Christmas stamp set, for today's card alone. It's everything I love in a well-designed stamp set: pretty, simple images in a variety of sizes combined with useable sentiments in readable yet interesting fonts that aren't too big or too small. Plus, it's timeless and classic...nothing trendy about it. I'll use this stamp set as long as I can stamp.

Papertrey Ink, I'll expect my check in the mail soon. Seriously, you should be buying this sort of advertising.

Nichole, do you hear me? *tap, tap* Is this internet thingie on?

Oh well. Here's the card.

Let's spend a few minutes talking about floating images. You see, without the DMC floss bow on this adorable little pine sprig, this card, technically, wouldn't work. The sprig would be floating around on the card without anything to anchor it visually.

(And can we take a moment to pause and admire how perfect that little bow is...I've made precisely four perfect DMC floss bows in my life and this is one of them.)

Now, as a clean-and-simple stamper who loves, reveres, kneels at the altar of white space, I'm not too fashed by floating images. If they're cute enough or elegant enough or pretty enough or cool enough, they can float all they want and I'll love them anyway.

But the design gurus scorn floating images. This little bow makes the gurus happy.

Me, too.

And thus endeth the lesson on floating images.

Go forth and float if you feel like it.

My Birthday

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Sue and Patti and Linda for sending me birthday cards. They are beautiful and I love them and the three of you. After my birthday, I'll share them and any others I receive because it's just so nice that some of you think to send me cards for my birthday.

Oh, have I not mentioned that my birthday is coming up? How remiss of me not to fish for birthday cards in advance! My birthday is on Thanksgiving this year. Isn't it cool that the whole country will be celebrating my birthday with the traditional birthday pumpkin pie?

I love America!

stamps: Papertrey Ink
ink: Memento markers and pads
paper: PTI white
accessories: DMC floss, glue 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Miss You Birdie

Missing You cards are actually fun to make. Giving a visual representation to separation or absence is relatively easy and lends itself perfectly to CAS cards. After all, white space is absence, emptiness.

Consider something as clean and simple as this:

Poor, lonely little birdie! The line of gray connects the bird and the sentiment and serves the function of giving the birdie a place to roost. It's unified, makes its point visually and with words, and has high impact.

And nary a spot of glitter anywhere on it. Yes, it's going to Operation Write Home. I'm so glad I don't have to send miss you cards to my honey anymore.

stamps: Papertrey Faux Ribbon, Love Birds
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: none

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OLW News

No card tonight, but don't forget about the OLW challenge for tomorrow. It will be on Cheryl's Blog!!!!

No Glitter for the Troops

Several people have asked about the "no glitter" rule at Operation Write Home. Glitter on their uniforms can make soldiers targets for enemy guns, especially at night. Apparently, glitter shows up in night vision goggles really well.

Even though plenty of OWH cards go to troops who aren't on the front lines (naval ships, air force groups, etc.), an errant flake of glitter could possibly cost a soldier his or her life. And y'all know how glitter gets everywhere!

I lifted this directly from OWH's site:

No glitter. Really! Glitter is a safety hazard for our heroes, so no cards with any glitter that will flake off the card are accepted. Stickles or pens that apply glitter that will NOT rub off can be acceptable, but please check your cards by rubbing it on a sweater. If it flakes off, it cannot be used. Small gems are fine.

So I'm careful to clean up my area after using glitter (wet wipes are wonderful, but a damp Bounty paper towel over everything works well, too) and before making cards for OWH. I store those finished cards in a photo box that's never seen glitter.

So there you have it. No glitter for the troops. It's a matter of life or death!

Monday, November 12, 2012


I very deliberately haven't used glitter on Christmas cards for months, simply because I wanted to send lots of Christmas cards to Operation Write Home...and the soldiers can't have glitter (which seems mean but actually could be a matter of life or death). The other day, however, it occurred to me that the OWH deadline for Christmas cards had passed, and now I'm making for myself.

I can use as much glitter as I want.

So here you go.

I wanted to experiment with this layout, keeping everything on the bottom third of a portrait-oriented card. It was, quite frankly, boring before I added the glitter. (Click on the picture to see some of the sparkle.)

Glitter is good.

So very good.


stamps: Papertrey Pinecones
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: glue pen, glitter

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Miss You

Operation Write Home needs miss you, Valentine's Day, love, and birthday cards right now, so I'm breaking up the Christmas card push with some variety. Today's card uses a wonderful Martha Stewart border punch to make the grass, and golly, the results are cute!

The heart was stamped on a scrap, cut out, and popped up. The red creates a very strong focal point for the card, amidst all the green and brown and (of course) white. Placement of the sentiment was tricky. It just didn't feel right floating it in the area between the stylized circle of plaid leaves and the grass, so I put it on the grass, as far from the heart as possible, to reinforce the feeling of absence.

I think it works, but you're entitled to disagree. I'm anti-totalitarian, you know.

On another subject, I'm entering a weird phase of crafting, sort of restless and dissatisfied and a tad insecure. (Can't imagine where that last one comes from...deeply unusual for me!)

Don't panic! I'm definitely not giving up papercrafting, but I'm trying to re-evaluate what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Partly, this stems from my natural ebb and flow with this hobby, partly from my thoughts on minimalism, partly from some other things I want to make time for, and partly from a desire to keep things fresh, for myself and for you.

I'll keep you posted, although in the end, you might not notice any difference whatsoever. This is just further evidence (like anyone needs further evidence) that I over-think stuff. It's a curse.

stamps: Papertrey Trendy Treetops, Love Birds (sentiment)
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white, unknown lime
accessories: MS grass border punch, dimensional

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Super Size

Sometimes, to make an idea work, you have to think outside the box, expand your horizons, and cut your card stock a bit bigger.

And by bigger, I mean 10" x 7", folded into a 5" x 7" card.

Which looks huge when you're used to 4.25" x 5.5".

But super sizing the card was the only way to allow this particular sentiment (Hero Arts, I think) to be matted and have plenty of white space to breathe. The glitter paper (that horridly heavy stuff from Michael's) is so very pretty and sparkly and blue. It was worth super sizing.

This card would be easy to mass produce, by the way. Just sayin'.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Michael's glitter paper, Papertrey white
accesories: Martha Stewart snowflake punch, Corner Chomper

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One-Layer Wednesday 113: Dark Red, Yellow/Gold, and Green

This week's odd-numbered One-Layer Wednesday challenge is to use the colors dark red, yellow/gold, and green on a card. This was inspired by the view out my study window a few weeks back. The trees and bushes positively glowed in those three colors. Interestingly, you could probably make Christmas cards using those colors, as well as autumn/Thanksgiving cards. The theme of the card doesn't matter, just that you use those three colors (plus dark brown or black if needed for a sentiment).

Hmmm. So many ideas!

Of course, I made a Thanksgiving card for the Gratitude Campaign. This one uses a piece of watercolor paper I found in a folder. I inked up the leaf stamp (Fall Elegance, Papertrey) using Memento inks (rhubarb, pistachio, dandelion), spritzed heavily with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Dazzling Diamonds, and stamped.

OLW113 Rules

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

2. Use the colors dark red, yellow/gold, and green to make a card. You may add black or dark brown for the sentiment if necessary. Please remember to keep embellishments to a minimum!

3. Upload your card somewhere online and link to it using the InLinkz button on the sidebar. If you link to your blog, please make sure the link goes to the individual post, not to your blog's home page.

4. HAVE FUN!!!!!! (That's the most important rule of all!)

stamps: Papertrey Fall Elegance
ink: Memento
paper: unknown wtaercolor paper
accessories: Glimmer mist

Monday, November 5, 2012

Words with Punch

Okay, a few of you mentioned that my card here didn't look like I made it, seeing as it's remarkably lacking in my beloved white space. Well, today let's consider a pair of cards that you will have no trouble identifying as LateBlossom creations.


A few words, a punched focal point, a little bling or pearls, plenty of white space...that's all you need to make a card.

A pretty card.

Of course, I love the other card I made, too. It's sometimes fun to play and make unexpected things. But I'll always come back to my happy, happy white space. It seems that card making is the one area in my life where I can get white space, 'cause the rest of it is utter chaos filled with dust bunnies and dirty laundry. *wink*

And yes, I'm giving that mistletoe card to my honey in his stocking this year. Who else could I give it to, after all?

stamps: Papertrey Mistletoe and Holly
ink: VersaColor
paper: PTI white
accessories: punches, rhinestones, dimensionals, pearls

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holly and a Tag

Today's card uses a corner punch I'd forgotten I have...until I pulled out the ticket punch for another card and saw it lying in the drawer.

I'll bet none of you ever has that particular first-world problem...having so much stuff you forget what you have.

Bless our little forgetful hearts.

Anyway, the sentiment stamp from Papertrey's Happiest of Holidays fits perfectly on a tag shape, so that's what I did with it. The holly makes a nice, festive backdrop, too.

The little tiny bling on the tag is the same green as the's just too small to register as anything other than black on the photo. Notice how the red berries guide the eye to the tag? I tried using red thread and then green thread on the tag, but both were visually distracting. White was an okay compromise that doesn't stop the eye from going to the sentiment.

UPDATE on Memento Inks: There's nothing to update. I got a concerned response to my original email asking for photos, which I sent, and I haven't heard anything back. Some of my favorite older pads are starting to dry up (whatever would I do without pear tart?!?!?). I'm going to replace them and hope for the best.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

stamps: Papertrey Mistletoe and Holly, Happiest of Holidays
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white
accessories: SU tag corner punch, circle hole punch, dimensionals, tiny rhinestone, craft thread

Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Images

The large sizes of the images in Papertrey's Mistletoe and Holly set drew me to it, and the same goes for the large sentiment in Happiest of Holidays. Most of my holiday images are smaller, and I really wanted to play around with these large-scale stamps.

Y'all know I like white space, but it's fun to fill it up sometimes, and that's what I did with today's card.

The background takes advantage of the very light shades of green and pink from Memento. Using these pale shades with smaller stamps makes them looks washed out, but with big stamps, the lighter shades are so much more useful! Color and central placement create a strong focal point of the larger sentiment. The strong red pops off the card, and the bright lime green mat helps frame the focal point nicely. The light pink ribbon unites the background and focal point, and the ticket-punched corners are reminiscent of the shape of the holly leaves.

What fun!

stamps: Papertrey Mistletoe and Holly, Happiest of Holidays
ink: Memento
paper: PTI white; unknown lime
accessories: dimensional, ribbon, SU ticket corner punch


Reader Christine from Canada made a comment about how she's sent far more Christmas cards than she has received and how grateful she is for any card she gets. I, too, have seen a drop in the number of cards I receive, which is somewhat shocking because so many of our cards come from military folks, who tend to be rather dedicated to staying in touch with long-distance friends for forever.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for Advent on my other blog...a piece about greeting cards. If you're interested, you might find some inspiration in it either to send out more cards this Christmas or, if cards are a burden and not a blessing for you this year, to make sure that you send out greetings however you can.

I joked around in a recent post about panicking regarding Christmas cards. How will I make enough in time??!?!?!? Well, my panic is sort of real (because I'm sort of obsessive that way) but it is also sort of silly. Even we card makers can *gasp* purchase ready-made cards to send if we can't make enough for everyone on our lists. If you need permission to do so, I'll be happy to grant it.

For now, I'm having a blast making Christmas cards, but if I really do start to stress out, I'm going to put away my Christmas stamps and pick up a box of cards at Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Latest OLW and the Gratitude Campaign and Something Funny


First up, the latest OLW is on Ardyth's blog, and it's called A Song in My Heart. Well, the songs in my heart right now are Christmas themed because I'm thinking hard and fast about how there's less than two months 'til Christmas, and I still don't have a plan.

What will I make? What will I buy? What crafty things do I really want to do?


I'm trying not to panic, but it's hard. You know it's hard. Don't you?

Anyway, my entry for OLW112 gets me one card closer to my Christmas card total of 120. That's what I'm aiming for. I think I have about thirty right now, but I can't remember. Don't want to.

I was playing around with some new Papertrey sets, including Mistletoe and Holly, and Happiest of Holidays. The colors are soft and old-fashioned: VersaColor olive and old rose. Such a pretty pairing and just the right thing to make the card special since there is no bling or embellishment whatsoever.

And the song that inspired it is sort of obvious, don't you think?

Thanks, Ardyth, for a really great challenge!!!

Gratitude Campaign

Well, I've made all my gratitude Campaign cards, and now it's time to start writing in them and mailing them. Just wanted to remind those of you who have embraced the cause of actually giving thanks on Thanksgiving not to get so wrapped up in the fact that Christmas is just around the corner that you forget to send your Gratitude Campaign cards.

Honestly, I just about did forget. How embarrassing.

Something Funny

"Why is she laughing at me?"

Daisy came to my craft desk the other day to beg while I was eating Halloween candy celery sticks, and when I looked down, that is what I saw.

Those little backing pieces for SU dimensionals get everywhere, don't they?