Saturday, August 30, 2014

An Explanation of Yesterday's Card

If you're in the dark about yesterday's card, you're not alone. Apparently, there are plenty of people who don't watch the hit show called The Big Bang Theory...the funniest show about geeks EVER.

Yes, I am a geek.

The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom centered on four scientists (Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj), each with his own unique set of issues, and the women in their lives (Amy, Penny, Bernadette, and whomever Raj is dating). My favorite thing about the show is how these mostly messed-up human beings form a group and love and support each other despite (and sometimes because of) their quirks and oddities.

Plus, it's geeky and funny and it has Sheldon.

Yesterday's card was inspired by a Halloween costume from the show's first season. The costume, worn by lead character Dr. Sheldon Cooper, is a visual depiction of the Doppler Effect. Sheldon is a theoretical physicist, and the following video shows outtakes from the show relating to the costume.

The Doppler Effect

And now you know.

Friday, August 29, 2014


I cannot speak. PleeEEEEEasssse tell me you get this.

If you don't, you're seriously watching the wrong television shows.

PS My husband and 14-year-old son got it right away, and both claim it's the best card I've ever made.

stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builders
ink: Memento Deluxe Black, which already needs to be the reinker when you buy the pad, people!
paper: Papertrey White
accessories: circle punch, dimensionals

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gettin' Punchy, Squared with Pop Culture and Renaissance References

More punches.

More, more, more. How do you like it? How do you like it? More, more, more....

Wow. That is just...sad.

But the card isn't sad at all.

Nope. It's merry.

I have a LOT of square and circle punches...including scalloped squares and circles. They take up a lot of space. But unlike my friend Leslie who got rid of her punches (and has a serious addiction to collection of dies), I'm keeping them. For me, they're worth the space.

Today's card offered a chance to use three square punches and some of the baker's twine that I had to have, but now I know not how I shall use it.

The end of that sentence sounds like Shakespeare.

To be, or not to be...that is a really lousy question. To stamp, or not to stamp...that's a no brainer.

May your Labor Day weekend be inky. And safe. And free of Mommy ADD.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: SU real red
paper: Papertrey white and kraft
accessories: baker's twine (Papertrey), dimensionals, square punches

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gettin' Punchy Under the Sea

Yes, we're still "Gettin' Punchy." I have too many punches.

Bwaaahaaaahaaa! "Too many punches"?

Not. Possible.

The number of punches a person needs may be determined using the following equation: x + 1 = y, where x is the number you have, and y is the number you need. Obviously, you can never actually get to "too many punches." The math just won't work.

I have a number of Martha Stewart ocean-themed punches, so I decided to make an over-the-top (for me) card using a couple of them, plus a Fiskar's ocean wave border punch and some random foliage punches to play the role of seaweed.

See what I did here? The large popped panel uses the wave border punch, and the seaweed hangs off the right edge while a little more sneaks a peek from under the popped panel. One fish, one sea horse, and the seaweed fronds on the bottom right are popped up as well, although the seaweed is merely curled up for dimensional effect rather than popped with dimensional tape.

This was a fun card to make in all white, but photographing it was tough. In real life, the white-on-white effect is gloriously bright and clean.

The sentiment might seem a bit odd for a sea-themed card, but I made this for my 70-ish aunt who broke her back about a month ago. She's healing very slowly and has many more months in a back brace before she will be able to resume her normal, very active and busy life. She loves the beach.

stamps: Papertrey Faux Ribbon
ink: Hero Arts pool
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: assorted punches, dimensionals

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Coloring, and a Few Questions

I decided to color using Copics, Bics, and Sharpies.

Why do I feel the need to announce this? Well, perhaps it's because it almost never happens.

I need to order more Gina K card's hard to believe I've used an entire pack of it! Guess I color more often than I think. Anyway, for one-layer cards, it's best to use Gina K's 120# Deluxe White card stock. It's coated and the markers will not bleed through.

The banner stamp is from Hero Arts Leaves Autumn clear set. To make the punched leaves, I colored on a scrap of card stock and punched out of the scribbles. Doing that, rather than punching leaves out of colored card stock, makes the whole card feel more unified and cohesive.

And now on another note....

Have you ever felt uneasy in your crafting? That's how I've felt lately. Every time I sit down to stamp, I feel...a lack of focus? ...overwhelmed? ...bored? ...restless? Honestly, it's hard to find a label for how I feel.

This has happened to me before, and not just in crafting. I'm at a crossroad, a fork in the road, due for a course correction. This particular course correction has probably been prompted by Operation Write Home's announcement that they need fewer cards, that the military draw-down is reducing demand.

I'm thrilled our troops are coming home. I'm thrilled for them and their families. Sandy has asked that we focus on quality, not mere quantity, with the cards we send to OWH.

Yes, ma'am. Will do.

But with CAS cards like mine, some of my best work takes way less time than my worst! Where, then, will all the creative energy flowing compulsively through me go?

That is the question.

What else can I do? I've got the itch to finish writing that book I keep talking about and making snail's pace on. THAT will be a good focus for the new school year, don't you think? I suspect the book might result in a little less posting of cards here, so don't be alarmed if I drop off on posting a bit.

Also, I pulled out my Christmas craft notebooks last weekend and began strategizing what--if anything--I will make for the holidays. The Stephen Ministry ornament is already planned...just need to get more supplies. (If you want to learn more about this, last year's ornament is on THIS POST.) I plan on setting up my artificial tree in the basement again and decorating it with paper ornaments. I'm also planning on making this year's Christmas even more minimalist than last year. 

More minimalist? An oxymoron?

You be the judge.

Anyway, I'm curious to know if any of you A) get a crafty restlessness and what you do about it, and B) have already started planning Christmas crafts? If so, what?

What say ye?

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento cocoa
paper: Gina K
accessories: Bic and Sharpie markers, leaf punch

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Cloudy Chagrin

I bought two Fiskar's cloud punches about a year or so ago, and I don't think I've used them on a card yet. When I pulled them out to play this time, I remembered why.

First, I wanted to make a white-on-white card, but couldn't make it work.

Second, I used a piece of light blue card stock and tried all sorts of white paper (velvet, vellum, regular card stock, rice paper, etc) to make something interesting, and all results were...unsatisfactory.


In frustration, I pulled out a light blue Copic and scribbled a sky, plopped two clouds on it, added a sentiment and a little bling, and thought, "Well, it's not bad. Not great, either, but not bad."

Some days, I am willing to be happy with a "good enough for government work" sort of accomplishment. How about you?

BTW, anyone want to buy these two cloud punches? It think I'm done with them!

stamps: Clearly Besotted, A Little Sentimental
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Fiskar cloud punches, rhinestones, copic marker

Friday, August 22, 2014

Gettin' Punchy: How to Make the Easy Hard

Yesterday, I wrote that I would post a more difficult negative-space card. It is more difficult than yesterday's card, but not for reasons you might expect.

Basically, it's the exact same idea, but getting the placement of the background correct was made very difficult by the closeness of the negative space to the edge of the card stock.

Take a look. 

The leaf punch doesn't allow a lot of space between the edge of the negative space and the edge of the paper. Because of that, I had difficulty placing the stamp. Instead of risking getting it in the wrong place (and because I'm WAY TOO LAZY to use a stamp positioner!!), I cut out the stamped area and glued it down where it needed to be.

A stamp positioner and pencil guides would have made this a piece of cake, though. Lazy people spend too much time figuring out work-arounds.


Anywho, notice that the spectrum moves side to side rather than top to bottom as with yesterday's Christmas tree. My design intention with this was to unify the leaf and the sentiment with that fabby olive green. The orange between is the icing on the cake.

The pumpkin- and cinnamon-flavored icing. Oh, yeah.

I love fall. A few of our leaves are starting to turn already, but it's hot and humid as all-get-out outside. Blech. Looking forward to cool, crisp days and clear blue skies.

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, leaf punch

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Negatives

It's always fun to play around with the negatives left behind when you punch something. Combining negatives with Kaleidacolor spectrum ink pads pretty much had me bouncing in my chair with glee. Today, I'll show you the "easy" card, and tomorrow I'll address a bit more challenging creation.

First, let's start with a card base, a shadow stamp larger than the punched negative, and a green Kaleidacolor pad. Here's what you get.

If you look closely, you'll see faint pencil marks that helped me center the shadow stamp where I needed it on the card. Those erased easily once I was finished.

When I placed the negative over the stamped area, it looked great but a bit plain, even after I stamped the sentiment in red underneath. Sooooo, I pulled out my Stickles bottle and embellished the negative. I love how it turned out!

Here's a close-up of the Stickle-y edging.

Yay for negatives! And glitter!

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Kaleidacolor, Hero Arts
paper; Papertrey white
accessories: Stickles, dimensionals, corner rounder

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with a Christmas Tree Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a plain, white piece of scrap card stock.

On one dark and gloomy night, the poor, white card stock--innocent of any wrong-doing--was suddenly violated by a big, bossy shadow stamp who'd done unspeakable things with a green Kaleidacolor ink pad and a spray bottle.

"Oh, woe is me!" cried the card stock.

The sad and wailing card stock was overheard by a tree punch from EK Success.

"What's wrong, little piece of card stock?" the punch asked.

"I have been stained green by a mean ol' stamp!" answered the card stock.

"I know just what to do," said the punch.

And the card stock found new purpose in life, was showered with riches, and lived happily every after.

The End.

stamps: Hero Arts shadow stamp, sentiment
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Kaleidacolor green spectrum pad, Hero Arts Red Royal
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals, EK Success tree punch

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Tiny Tags

I have no recollection of the name of this punch from SU. It was given to me by the magnificently generous Audrie Magno-Gordon years ago, and as with so many of my punches, I don't use it enough.

So I pulled it out and used it with another neglected supply in my craft space: baker's twine.

This card's design puts the focal point in the upper right sweet spot rather than the more usual lower right or upper left sweet spots. I like it.

Also, I used scallop-edge scissors to round the corners of the layer and card base a bit so they match the slightly rounded points on the tags. It's a subtle way to increase the unity of a card that has so very few elements to it.

The close-up photo shows more of a color difference in the bling than there is in real life, but I wanted you to see how the bling visually anchors the tags to the twine. The twine is securely taped on the back of the card so it won't move, but the tags are not adhered to the twine in any way. They are attached using dimensional tape that sticks directly to the card stock.

The key to this layout is that elements are very precisely placed and straight. Can you image how, ahem, awkward it would look if the tags were askew or the twine not perfectly level? There is simply no room on this card for the slightest bit of looseness.

So can you guess the one thing I would change about this card? Think.



Did you guess the font? That would be a yes. The whimsical font is darling...but not on this card. With all else on the card looking so precise and perfect, that font just looks out of place. I wish I'd used the tiny sans serif font from Papertrey in all caps. THAT would have belonged perfectly.

But alas, art isn't always perfect, and I'm at peace with that. Perfection would be such a bore.

(But that won't keep me from trying!)

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: tiny tag punch (SU), dimensionals, baker's twine, scallop-edge scissors, rhinestones

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with SU's Slit Punch

Perhaps I should have named this series "This Old Punch" instead of "Gettin' Punchy."

As I've been playing with punches this week, I've realized how many sit unused in my drawers. It's sort of sad, actually, because the hoard collection is pretty nice and varied, but it's not getting used as it should be.

So when I saw the SU slit punch I bought so many years ago, I wondered if I'd ever used it. Honestly, I can't remember. So here's what might possibly be my first card with this old punch.

To make this card, cut 3/4" off the end of a 5.5" x 8.5" half-sheet. Score it at 4.25" (as usual), and punch the slit in the middle of the edge of the 4.25" portion. The shorter, 3.5" flap will fit perfectly into the tab.

I adore red-and-white winter cards. They make me think of bulky, warm Nordic sweaters. Plus, the bright red pops so nicely off the white and allows for interest without fussiness. There's not a single embellishment on this card, although it could be fun to put a red rhinestone in the center of the large snowflake.

But this card doesn't really need embellishment.

What do you think?

stamps: A Muse
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey Ink
accessories: slit punch

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gettin' Punchy with Faux Postage

After a few week's hiatus from stamping, I've finally carved out time to make stuff. To give me some focus, I decided to pull some punches out and play.

If you have some old, unused tools that have been neglected lately, why not pull them out? It's fun going retro! I should probably work for a month or more just using all my hoard of punches, but I'm sure my ADD will kick in before too long.

Look! Squirrel!

I'm sure you understand.

Today's card employs not only a punch but is somewhat technique-y...or at least as technique-y as I get. Check it out:

Here's a close-up of the focal point.

First, I punched the stamp from white card stock using an old Marvy-Uchida punch. Then, I masked the edges of it with...wait for it...washi tape. To make sure the washi released from the card stock easily, I stuck it on my jeans first, then on the card stock. Once all four sides were masked, I used a combination of three shades of orange Bic and Sharpie markers to create the ombre effect. This took next to no time at all, and I wasn't fussy about it.

I love that the markers don't bleed through the washi like they would bleed through post-it notes.

Before removing the washi, I stamped the leaf twice and the sentiment in dark brown Memento ink. After carefully removing the washi, I was so happy with my little faux postage stamp! It's just too small to put on a standard card all by its lonesome, so I began experimenting with ways to ground that little stamp.

After several failed attempts using ribbon stamps, I decided to create a "ribbon" of the same Bic and Sharpie markers, masking off the space directly on the card base (again with using my jeans to reduce the tack of the washi tape). This looks AMAZING in real life. The colors glow in all that white space!!!

Of course, I used Gina K 120# Deluxe white card stock for the base. Bics, Sharpies, and Copics will not bleed through it as they bleed through my standard Papertrey Stampers Select White card stock.

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Hero Arts (Leaves Autumn), Clear and Simple Stamps (sentiment, discontinued)
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white, Gina K white Deluxe
accessories: washi for masks, stamp punch, dimensionals, Bics and Sharpies

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Staples commercial has it right...back-to-school time is the most wonderful time of the year.

Except for the early wake-up for our kiddos.

And ourselves. Ugh.

Still, I'm looking forward to school starting again. This summer has blitzed by in a flurry of craziness that has left me breathless. The school year will start crazy as well, with Ironman Wisconsin looming on the horizon. My husband and I will join my sister-in-law and her husband in Madison the weekend after Labor Day for George's annual self-abuse at the hands of his crazy hobby.

Then, we have two weeks of company coming to our house.

Then, things might get, um, normal.

Whatever that means.

Anyway, I said good-bye to my zippy red VW Bug rental today and picked up my Mazda at the body shop. I love my car. Seriously. I was giddy with joy. So of course on my way home I stopped in at Barnes & Noble to sniff the books in celebration. There, I found this:


It's August 14th, and the DIY industry is already pushing Christmas. A quick flip through the magazine shows not a single, solitary craft for Thanksgiving, despite pages 8-22 being dedicated to Halloween.

So I want to remind everyone that...

Thanksgiving is a Thing.

We will be gearing up for our Thanksgiving Crusade again this year. That link takes you to the special page for my Thanksgiving Crusade (previously called the Gratitude Campaign but due to a cease-and-desist email, I had to rename it...long story). That page shows the two InLinkz collections for 2012 and 2013. Beautiful inspiration there!

The Thanksgiving Crusade is one woman's attempt to save Thanksgiving from the huge commercial shadow cast by Halloween and Christmas. I'm tilting at windmills here, but dag-nab it! Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday that deserves more attention.

And not just because my birthday falls around then.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on October 13th this year, and in the States, we celebrate on November 27. Please consider joining us for the Thanksgiving Crusade even if you're not Canadian or American...thanksgiving knows no national boundaries.

The only rules for my Thanksgiving Crusade are that you make and send cards of thanks by whichever deadline you choose (October 13 or November 27). You may thank the people closest to you, or you may choose to thank people whom you haven't seen in years or you may thank someone who doesn't know you at all. Doesn't matter. Let's just take this as a perfect opportunity to thank someone.

Show gratitude. Give thanks. Save Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a Thing.

So let's celebrate it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Again with the Caring...

Isn't it wonderful that we can use our obsession craft to offer care and love to people who are hurting? I think so. That's why I made this card specifically for a friend whose mother is ready to go home to awful situation for those who love her and want her to stay, but sometimes, people are just ready and we have to let them go. At times like this, faith can be helpful, and this friend is leaning heavy on God right now...hence, the symbol of the cross, salvation, eternal life.

On a different subject, I want to say something about Robin Williams' death, but I am not sure what to say. I did not know him, but I do know what it feels like to be depressed. I'm going to try to write something for my other blog on this subject. Right now, I'll just say that Robin Williams was a great talent who gave generously to his art and his country, and I will miss him.

stamps: Papertrey, Gina K
ink: Impress, Versacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestone

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Little Addition

Yesterday's card showed the simplest use of stamps possible...a single sentiment in a single color on a single layer of card stock. Really, that's all you need to make a card, but fact is, we like at least a little embellishment, a little image to emphasize the message, to add visual interest, to make it a bit more special.

So today's card takes the concept of yesterday's card one tiny step up the embellishment ladder.

Here, we have a sentiment in an appropriate font accented with a tiny sprig of flowers. The deep blue ink of the flowers isn't perky or's soothing and calm. The rounded corners on the bottom of the card help soften the feel of the card as well. Here's a card to provide comfort where comfort is thin on the ground.

And yes, this was my second effort. First time around, the flowers didn't stamp evenly (definitely user error!!!). Always remember that something this simple isn't necessarily easy. Even the slightest mistake is glaringly obvious because there is so little here to look at!

Sympathy cards are hard to make, and my stash has, unfortunately, dwindled to nothing lately. I need to restock now because there will be need soon enough. Here's the first card in that effort.

Why not check your own stash and see if sympathy cards--or some other theme of cards--need to be restocked? I try to do this often so I'm not caught unprepared. What are you restocking now?

stamps: Gina K, Papertrey
ink: VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm Back!

After a wonderful and completely exhausting week in Pittsburgh, I'm back home. I have so many thoughts in my head right now it's a miracle I can walk around and respond coherently to other human beings.

At least I think I'm responding coherently. Oh, heavens. Please let me be coherent.

Needless to say, when I hit my craft desk today after a week and a half absence, I felt the need for white space and simplicity.

Extreme simplicity.

After all, do sentiments really need an image?

Guess not.

This card was born of a need for religious thinking-of-you cards to send out ASAP. You try spending a week in a conference room with 350 other people who all worship the same God and not walk away with a bunch of stories of sorrow, grief, and stress.

It can't be done.

So in my brain-impaired state, I figured this lovely, simple, sans-serif font could stand alone. And it does. It's from Beautiful Blessings by Papertrey Ink.

So I'm back, and as CAS as ever. I hope to catch up on commenting on the OLS#8 challenge entries this week. If you haven't played along, I hope you will! And I hope to get stamping--perhaps even with some images--in the next few days.

Thank you all for your good wishes and prayers while I was away last week. I have a few stories I'll share soon!

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blessings
ink: VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

OLS#8 Strikes Again

I fell in love with this inspiration photo because it combines really soft blues with a strong olive green...what a great contrast!

To make my card, I masked the bottom of a full-size card and stamped the flower stamp (all the flowers are on one stamp) after inking with Baby Blue VersaColor ink and rocking and rolling with Atlantic, also by VersaColor.

It's sort of weird to stamp the flowers first, but I wanted to nest the flowers across the card in an interesting way, so I figured positioning them first, rather than the stems, would be best. Sadly, my gridded block got turned upside down when I stamped the last of three impressions of the flowers. ARRRGGHHH!

So I stamped the stems on the two upright flower sets, removed the post-its, and trimmed the mistake off the card. That change unbalanced the design, so I trimmed a bit off the bottom as well. I have no idea what the final dimensions of the card are, but it balanced in the end.

The sentiment is stamped in the dark brown of the inspiration photo, but I was left with the masking line to cover up. Silver seemed the best choice...brown would have made the card too heavy, I think, and the silver draws more attention to the soft gray-blue of the flowers and brightens the whole thing. Plus, none of the light blue pens I have would cover the mask line opaquely and would have looked a mess.

I hope the challenge hostess doesn't get mad at the silver.

Oh, yeah, I'm the hostess.

Well, no point getting mad at myself over a lovely card!

Always remember that little tweaks to a challenge for good artistic reasons are fine...but big changes mean it's best not to link up to the challenge. Sometimes the creative process takes you farther afield than expected, which can be a very good thing!

stamps: Papertrey (flowers), Clearly Besotted (sentiment)
ink: VersaColor, VersaMagic
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver metallic pen by PrismaColor

Sunday, August 3, 2014

An Easy Fix for an OLS#8 Card

As I was making samples for the OLS challenge, I ended up with a card that just didn't look right. It used this color combination as inspiration:

I just love daisies!!!

Now for the card, which is a fun underwater scene using stamps from A Muse (kelp), Papertrey (fish and bubbles) , and Echo Park Paper (sentiment). A quick glance will show you the problem with the card...the scene is unpleasantly off-center. As your eye (if it's anything like mine) moves around the design, it fights with the white space.

Awkward and unbalanced design

So I trimmed the excess from the right and bottom edges, and now, the design doesn't fight your eye. The sentiment is roughly on the one-third line at the bottom of the card and anchors the whole design nicely.

Much better!

I hope you'll play along with OLS#8 this month! Remember that the challenge runs until the 24th of the month, and that you can enter as many cards as you like. Have fun!!!

stamps: A Muse, Echo Park, Papertrey
ink: VersaColor (teal), Hero Arts (butter bar, rust)
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: corner rounder

Friday, August 1, 2014

One-Layer Simplicity #8: Shades of Summer

This month's OLS Challenge is Shades of Summer! Use one of the six color combinations from the challenge to make a summer-themed card!

The color combo that inspired my first card is this one:

And here's my card.

I tried to use as many of the colors as possible, and had to off-stamp to get the lighter pink...all my light pinks are just too light, but off-stamping the Hero Arts Ultra Pink got me a nice, mid-tone pink. The green ink is Memento New Sprout, and the gold and orange are Hero Arts Butter Bar and Orange Soda.

I hope you enjoy this challenge. There are LOTS of ways to vary it, and LOTS of different color combinations to make since you don't have to use all the colors in each combination. Pick and you would pick fruit at a summer fruit stand. Whatever works for your recipe!

stamps: Hero Arts (flower), Clean and Simple Stamps (sentiment)
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder, rhinestones, Sharpies to color some of the rhinestones to match