Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Inspired by Soap Packaging, Part 1

It's always fun to see something on Pinterest and immediately feel inspired to make cards. This photo has so much goodness in it!


The first card I made uses the layout of the beehive package (far left), with the cute little bees randomly buzzing around. In my version, they become red snowflake polka dots. Don't ask me why. My muse said red, so I went red.

Now, initially, I'd stamped the red dots onto the tree as well, as ornaments. But when you stamp red pigment ink over green dye ink, the results look rather drab and brown. So how to fix it? Well, I figured gold beads would make better ornaments; in addition, the panel needed some sort of border. With the gold metallic border, the gold beads look intentional rather than stuck on as an afterthought to cover a boo-boo.

I'm not bothered by the unrealistic color of the snowflakes (or, as I think of them, polka dots), but perhaps some literalists find it disturbing. If so, they might find tomorrow's card more sensibly colored.

stamps: Clearly Besotted Tiny Trees, Hero Arts Holiday Greetings, My Favorite Things Party Patterns (the green blob)
ink: Memento love letter, rich cocoa; Ranger Archival leaf green
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: gold half beads, gold Prismacolor marker

Monday, August 29, 2016

Abundant Thanks

When thanking someone, it's good to be abundant, lavish, generous.


Silver beads decorating a red tree. Silver border around the stamped panel...which isn't popped up on craft foam because the beads add enough dimension. Oh, yes. Abundant holiday thanks.

Do you make holiday-themed thank-you cards? It's a good idea, plus you get even more use from your holiday stamps!

stamps: Penny Black (tree), Papertrey (sentiment)
ink: Hero Arts red royal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: silver half-beads in two sizes, silver PrismaColor metallic marker, glue

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Stepping Up a Design

Y'all know that minimalist design makes my heart happy, but I also understand that my level of minimalism makes some people twitchy. So after I made today's first card, I decided to experiment with stepping up the design a bit. You be the judge.

First up, the super-minimalist card. Two birds in red, a sentiment in black...nothing else needed to convey the point. The red birds pop right off the card, and aren't they just lovely! They are from Clearly Besotted's Paired Up, and the sentiment is from Papertrey's Beautiful Butterflies.

I like this design. It's clean and minimalist and LateBlossom-y. But when I stepped it up a notch, several changes took place.

First, I changed the sentiment (an old PSX wood-mounted stamp) and placed the birds asymmetrically. This creates far more movement in the second design. That looked good, but my placement was slightly too high on the card for it to remain one layer, so I cut off the bottom off the front of the card, edged it with a black sharpie, and added a punched border.

The red card stock and ink actually match much better in real life, but the card stock looks darker in the photo.

I liked the first card well enough before I made the second one. There's just so much fun movement in the second one that really appeals to me. Still, if I were to give one of these two to my husband for our anniversary, I'd give him the first. When I asked his opinion, he really hated the "crap on the bottom of the second card," although he preferred the bird placement and sentiment of the second.

Which do you prefer?

stamps: Clearly Besotted, Papertrey, PSX
ink: Hero Arts intense black, red royal
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp real red
accessories: border punch (Martha Stewart), black sharpie

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Definition of Insanity, and Ink Issues Meet Crowd Sourcing

Y'all may have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, by that definition, I'm bat-guano crazy. Why do I keep buying layering stamps? Seriously?!?!? This time, results were slightly more satisfying than in the past, but basically, I'm not teachable.

Here's my first card with Hero Arts Color Layers Seahorse set. There's so much to talk about here regarding product, but before we get off on my little whine-fest, please know that this layout was totally inspired by a card in the brand new Take Ten, page 27, by Shannon Slessman. Thank you, Shannon. Any and all failures of this card are mine alone. (But really, I love the idea and the layout!)

And before I get started, let me say that I know a MISTI would help with the layered stamping. I'm just not prepared to buy one for myself at this time. Perhaps for my birthday, along with a bunch of Ranger Archival ink. But we shall see.

The color layering of the seahorse and the other stamps in this set is somewhat easier than with other sets I've purchased, though as you can see from the close-up, it's not perfect. It is, however, good enough for government work. I practiced a lot before stamping this and found that stamping the middle layer first, then the light layer, and then the detail layer works best for me. The seahorse is also easier because it has an eye...which gives you a clear reference for the two darker layers.

The colors here are, from light to dark, Hero Arts tide pool, ocean, and deep ocean. Great combo!

Now, about deep ocean. This ink is from Hero's new hybrid ink line, and I'm not sold. The color is AWESOME, but the watercolor stripe above and below the focal-point panel was stamped with it, and as you can see, the image quality is appalling. It handled the details of the seahorse just fine, but on a large, solid block stamp, it's blotchy and uneven. And the stamp, from Papertrey's Watercolor Wonders, is a much used, well-seasoned stamp, so I doubt we can blame the stamp.

I have several colors of this hybrid ink (moss, green apple, tangerine, aquatic, and deep ocean), and they all do this. Very frustrating. So I got the idea today that it might be the paper. Papertrey white, which I use about 98% of the time. is porous and absorbent card stock. I tried to stamp deep ocean with the same stamp on Gina K's deluxe white, which is a coated card stock. The results were definitely better.

While not as even as one might hope, it's at least not blotchy and has good coverage of the paper. I imagine this hybrid ink would work great on coated paper with outline images or more finely detailed images. I need to put some time into exploring this. Any of you who've used the Hero Arts hybrids are encouraged to weigh in on this. Any and all help is very appreciated.

This points out one big issue with ink: individual results WILL vary. Ink performance depends on so many things...type of paper, amount of inking and pressure of stamping, humidity.

I'm going to do a post on some other inks that aren't working for me (trying to do a video post...not sure I'm cut out for video). Communication with manufacturers hasn't yielded any good ideas, so I'm going to throw it out there for you all. I KNOW I'm not the only person having problems with some of these inks, and I also know that there are people out there having good luck with them.

Perhaps we can bring these two groups together and troubleshoot the issues via this here blog o' mine.

This post has been a tad whiny, and I don't like that. There are much better things to whine about in the world...human trafficking, children going to bed hungry, war, genocide, racism...etc. Layered stamping, ink, and image quality rank pretty low on the list.

Speaking of which, my husband just told me that you can buy flamethrowers and napalm online. I'm filing this tidbit of knowledge under "Signs of the Coming Apocalypse."

So let's end on a happy note. Here's my haul of stamps from orders placed earlier this week. Because I love the smell of new photopolymer in the morning.

stamps: Hero Arts Color Layer Seahorse, Papertrey Watercolor Wonder
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Wreath Card for Halloween

FYI, I only make five Halloween cards per year. They go to my two boys, two nephews, and one niece. Only three this year are worthy of the blog (the other two are fine but not particularly creative), and tonight's card is the third I'm willing to share. Aren't you relieved.

Here's the card that's going to one of my sons this year.

Card Size: 6.25" x 3.5"

The tall, narrow profile of this card is perfect for offsetting the wreath. The sentiment and wreath placement creates both balance and movement for the eye, even without a visual triangle.

The wreath, from Papertrey's A Wreath for All Seasons, is stamped in Hero Arts Intense Black and Memento Tangelo. Then, I covered random spots with a dark orange Smooch, which adds some shimmer and depth to the berries on the wreath.

I love using non-Halloween stamps to make Halloween cards!

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons, Clearly Besotted Happy Days
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Smooch

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Halloween-y Wreath

My niece is 16 years old, and that's such a hard age. You're not really grown up, but you're certainly not a kid. You're probably too cool to go begging on Halloween...and also too cool to hand out candy. You want to be treated like an adult, but inside, you know you're not.

Even if it were possible, there's not enough money in the world to entice me to be 16 again.

Every year, I send my niece and two nephews each a different Halloween card. This year, I wanted Rory's card to be more grown up and sophisticated, rather than something cute with witches and ghosts and goblins, so I pulled out Papertrey's A Wreath for All Seasons set and had fun.

The charcoal gray and dark orange colors speak to sophistication, and the card doesn't look too Halloween-y. Inside it is stamped with a simple Happy Halloween sentiment so the point gets made, and I hope Rory feels more grown up receiving her card this year.

The arrangement of gray and orange rhinestones was carefully planned to try for a good balance, and it seems to have worked. The gray and orange turned out even more sophisticated than I expected, but wouldn't it would be fun to experiment with other colors as well? For a more Halloween-y look, I might try purple, lime green, and orange.

Wow. It says something about me that I'm loving the word Halloween-y. Not sure what it says, but it says something.

What colors do you prefer on Halloween cards?

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Seasons
ink: Hero Arts charcoal
paper: Papertrey white, terra cotta
accessories: rhinestones, Martha Stewart bow punch, glue

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Halloween in August

It's less than six weeks to October, which is the month of Halloween, so it's not too early to get started on Halloween cards. Right?

Perhaps I'm delusional and have jumped the gun on this one, but nevertheless, Halloween cards are what I have to post for the next few days.

I love three of the Halloween cards I've made. LOVE them.

I never say that about Halloween cards. So here's the first, which includes actual sponging and masking. If you get some inspiration to get a head-start on Halloween, so much the better.

This large tree stamp from PSX is generally hard for me to work with, seeing as it leaves little space for white space. This purple panel, however, creates a spooky scene while still allowing plenty of white space, and my nephew will love it!

The card has only two layers. The sponged panel is edged with a black Sharpie marker rather than matted on black card stock. It's cleaner that way. Without the edging, though, it looked rather blah.

Now, see? Halloween in August isn't so bad.

I hope.

stamps: PSX tree, Clearly Besotted Happy Days
ink: Memento Luxe black, Distress ink, Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: circle punch, post-it, black Sharpie marker