Monday, August 22, 2016

Giving Thanks for Fall Colors and Stickles

Y'all know how I feel about Stickles. A stamper can never have enough.

While I had Simon Says Stamp's Giving Thanks set out, I decided to play around with Papertrey's terra cotta ink, which is my replacement for Ancient Page henna, which is, alas, no longer available. In the process, guess who learned that Stickles paprika matches the terra cotta really, really well?

*raises hand*

A copper metallic ink border gives some needed outline to the panel (believe me, I tried it without and it looked blah).

What's your favorite color for autumn leaves? Have you found an ink that captures that color? My favorite is a blazing orange that, when back-lit by the sun on a blue-sky day, looks as if the tree is literally on fire.

Of course, it isn't literally on fire. It just looks that way. If it were literally on fire, I'd have to dial 911 and pray the fire doesn't spread. But every time I see that particular shade of orange, I ask myself, "Is that tree on fire?"

And no, I've never found an ink that does that particular color justice.

stamps: Simon Says Stamp Giving Thanks
ink: Papertrey terra cotta, Hero Arts cup o' Joe
paper: papertrey
accessories: Stickles (paprika), craft foam, glue, copper metallic pen

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kicking It up a Notch

I pulled out Simon Says Stamp's Giving Thanks set and started playing around. Karen's Card Shop, our church's fundraising card shop, needed some thank-you cards.

My first effort was extremely me, meaning super clean and simple.

Of course. A fun, stretched-out sentiment that serves as a perch for a single grateful bird makes for a perfectly minimalist card.

But then, I decided that stretched-out sentiment also might make a lovely ground for the tree in the set, so this autumnal card evolved from the first.

Still clean and simple, but a bit more colorful. There's also nice movement of the eye around the card, thanks to those tiny leaf stamps sprinkled around.

I'm longing for autumn right now. You'll be seeing more fall cards in the next few weeks, including my recent flourish of Halloween cards. Ordinarily, I don't enjoy making Halloween cards, but I got on a roll and the results surprised me.

Apologies in advance for those who don't like seeing new seasonal stuff too soon, but autumn is my favorite season. I'm getting excited! Besides, maybe my early-bird efforts will spark your creative energy. That's my hope.

stamps: Simon Says Stamp Giving Thanks
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none

Saturday, August 20, 2016

IC559...In Celebration of Coffee and Books

As soon as I saw this week's Inspiration Challenge #559 at Splitcoast, the idea for this card popped into my head.


Lydia (UnderstandBlue) is the host this week, as Audrie takes a break, and she linked to EcoCycled on Etsy for the inspiration. As a fellow English major, Lydia is a fan of words just like I am, and she found the EcoCycled idea of making art on top of book pages inspiring. So did I!

Of course, I needed more white space on the page than the inspiration photos allow, so changing the scale of the "book page" worked for me. My little panel (1 5/8" x 2 7/8") looks more like a collage than most of the inspiration photos, but the overall effect is similar.

To create my faux-page art, I used Papertrey's Text Style, stamped repeatedly and offset with each stamping so the words wouldn't so obviously repeat. The ink is Hero Arts charcoal, which eliminated the harshness of black but still looks bookish. The mug, from Papertrey's Warm Happiness, is stamped in Memento Luxe rich cocoa and the steam curls are in a Colorbox chalk light brown for added warmth.

I actually contemplated stamping some color in the mug (there's a stamp for that), as so many of the inspiration photos have color in them, but decided to let the letters carry all the color. Glad I resisted. It simplifies the whole thing, and there's already a lot going on in such a small space.

The words were stamped with an old StampinUp alphabet set whose name has been lost over the years. The ink is Memento Luxe rhubarb stalk, which gives a nice pop of color amidst all the neutrals. The word panels were cut by hand and popped up on little square dimensionals.

I also wanted the text to relate to the images, even if it was subtle, so when I selected where on my prepared text panel to stamp the coffee mug, I tried to make sure words like "delights" and "joyful" were conveniently centered near the top of the mug. I didn't plan the fact that "happiness" shows between the coffee and book panels...that little bit of serendipity made me giggle with glee.

Ordinarily, I can point to a specific inspiration photo that I worked off of to create my card, but this time, I just took the general idea of the whole site and made it my own. But here's an example of the book theme being used, and here's an example of a line drawing over the text without color.

This was so much fun, and there are countless ways you could play off a text background or use an actual page from a book as your background. Click on over to the challenge and play along, if you feel so inclined!

stamps: Papertrey Warm Happiness, Text Style; StampinUp alphabet
ink: Hero Arts charcoal; Memento Luxe rich cocoa, rhubarb stalk; Colorbox chalk light brown
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensional squares

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Playing with Altenew

Note that Altenew sent me the two sets I'm using today gratis, and I thank them for that!

Botanical Garden from Altenew has such a wonderful vibe, doesn't it? It's feminine and loose but also elegant. Love it!

To design this card, I started with a long strip of scrap white card stock. After stamping the three butterflies in a visual triangle of Memento Luxe Morocco, I filled in the rest of the strip with the branch and flower using Impress Fresh Ink ginger. As I tried to figure out how to add a sentiment, I realized there was a perfect blank place for the hello stamp from Sentiments and Quotes.

Now of course my first instinct was a white-on-white layering but it looked off, somehow. So I rummaged in my scraps of colored card stock, which were feeling so neglected and lonely. The Papertrey terra cotta is a few shades darker than the Memento Luxe Morocco, lending a strong visual anchor to the design. Don't you love it when three colors from three different companies work so well together? Of course you do.

The design is strongly oriented to the vertical, but the sentiment, small as it is, gives a touch of horizontal. The contrast gives the sentiment more visual weight than it should have given how small it is. The Memento Luxe espresso truffle ink reinforces that.

And it was totally serendipitous, not planned at all. I'd rather be lucky than good any day!

stamps: Altenew Botanical Garden, Sentiments and Quotes 
ink: Memento Luxe, Impress Fresh
paper: Papertrey white, terra cotta
accessories: none

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's Not Hoarding If It's Books

I haven't talked about my bibliophilic tendencies lately because, let's face it, this is a stamping blog, not a book blog, and we English-major types can get a little carried away on our favorite subject and bore the dickens out of normal people.

Dickens. Get it?

Anyway, I'm a reader and love books of all sorts. And no, I'm not a snob about paper books. If you have an e-reader (mine's a Nook tablet in a delightful liturgical-red leather cover that's very satisfying), that's fine with me. If you only read printed books, that's fine, too. To each reader, his/her own preference. The world is big enough for us all.

It wasn't until I started watching Fixer Upper that I really thought about what books look like on a shelf. Joanna Gaines is a genius with decor, but she tends to cover books with neutral wrappers and use them as decorative accents. While the effect is charmingly coordinated and certainly appeals to my minimalist, monochromatic tendencies, the neutrality and anonymity of the books bothers me. What's inside those covers? Are they good books or mediocre books or prurient books or fiction or nonfiction or old books or new books? Who wrote them?

Those linen wrappers hide all that makes a book special. It feels wrong.

In a world where children are starving to death, I'm bothered by this. Seriously?

Anyway, My own bookshelves are not color-coordinated and artistically arranged. They are organized by subject, and the subjects include medieval literature (biggest section), medieval history (second biggest section), medieval art and architecture, Christian, classic novels, poetry, mysteries, series (including Jan Karon's Mitford books and Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency), autism, miscellaneous non-fiction, and so on. This means I know just where to go to find a book. In seconds, that lovely tome is in my hand, open and useful.

I'm not so obsessive-compulsive that each section is alphabetized by author or title. But still. It's easy to find books in my house.

Did you know that during the middle ages, libraries organized books by size? Yep. Can you imagine searching chests to find a folio-sized book of Ptolemy's Almagest or a quarto-size copy of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People or an octavo-size copy of Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls? It sounds like a lengthy treasure hunt compared to navigating the Dewey Decimal System or my own shelves.

Anyway, when I decided to make a card for my friend who started our book club, I made the shelf more reminiscent of my practically-organized shelves rather than Joanna Gaines' artful shelves or the uniform sizes of the library at the Abbey of Montecassino. Although I added a plant...just for fun and because my friend is quite the gardener as well as a bibliophile.

Now, aren't you glad I rarely talk about books on Simplicity?

Of course you are.

stamps: Papertrey All Booked Up (sentiment), Simon Says Stamp To Thine Own Shelf (everything else)
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

In Praise of "Collecting"

While SOME stampers have been known to over-buy and hoard supplies, sometimes never using them at all, I think it's important to acknowledge and praise the efforts of those of us who "collect" supplies and turn around and actually USE them.

Because...go, me!

This card contains dots of Stickles from five different bottles. Now, I've never counted all my Stickles bottles, but it's easily upwards of 20. And it was delightful to have just the right shades to match the inks in the Kaleidacolor Caribbean Sea pad.

I have upwards of 12 Kaleidacolor pads, with five colors on each pad. Clearly I do not have enough Stickles.

This may or may not be how we stampers get into trouble.

The end.

stamps: Papertrey Good Times, Wet Paint
ink: Kaleidacolor Caribbean Sea, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: black Sharpie marker, ruler, Stickles

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ink Performance and Detailed Stamps

It's a given that with detailed stamps, ink matters. A lot. But it appears I've not thought much about that lately, and when I stamped the first version of this card, my immediate response was, "Yay, looks great!" But five minutes later, it looked like this.

The inks here are Hero Arts red royal and pool. It's pretty clear that the pool did a lovely job for the holly and Christmas stamps, but the Happy isn't so happy, now, is it? Generally speaking, I like the performance of my Hero Arts inks (and the colors are fabby!), but this was a disappointment.

So I pulled out my closest colors in pigment inks (Memento Luxe love letter and VersaMagic Aegean), which normally work great with detailed stamps. The shades aren't as nice, I think, as the dye inks (love letter is candy-apple rather than rich red, and Aegean is more gray than blue), but the impression of Happy is certainly crisper.

The problem with pigment inks is that the thickness of the ink can fill in the fine details (you see a bit of that on the H in Happy). I recently bought a couple of Ranger Archival Inks, just, you know, to try out. (No, I don't have a problem. Do I?)

Anyway, here's the Happy stamped in Archival leaf green.

I was VERY impressed with how the Archival ink preserved so much detail. Apparently, these inks have an oil base, which allows them to keep detail better than other dye inks, which are water-based.

My 50th birthday is this year. Perhaps the full line of Ranger Archival Inks is in my future....

We shall see. A girl never can have enough ink. Right?

stamps: Clearly Besotted Happy Days, Papertrey Holly Jolly
ink: listed above
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue, silver metallic marker