Monday, July 15, 2019

Because of you...

Imagine my surprise.
I found not only this Girls Strolling friendship card with my own message, but also myself, featured in the latest  Cardthartic newsletter.  It brought tears to my eyes.  

I know more than ever that what I do, what I write is because of you, the friends and family I have known all my life...and those I wish I had.

Thank you, Cardthartic.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

An Official "Cardie"

It's official.  One of my card messages was published, and my profile is now up as one of the Contributing Cardies at Cardthartic.  I'm excited--and blessed--to be in such company.
I've always loved writing--writing poems and stories and letters.  Ideas come to me best when I'm cleaning.  I'll have to stop mid-vacuuming and quick scribble in a notebook again and again.  

But the words don't always come right when I want them.

This past Christmas I was afraid the words wouldn't come at all.  I had a few lines in mind, but nothing else would fit.  I struggled from every angle, trying to yank words out of this air and squeeze them into some sort of rhyme and meter.  Nothing.  Finally, after confiding my worries to Cousin Denny and finding his warm reply, I came up with a little something.  It wasn't good.  I wasn't thrilled.  But it would do.

Then a day or two later, when I thought I'd given up on even thinking about it, I was cleaning up in the evening, and lines kept falling into my lap.  Good lines.  Lines that actually said what I wanted to say for my dad.

Here's to cards and letters and "Cardies" everywhere.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Inspired by Altenew

I feel like this is Friday, since I've been finishing things today.
First of all, I squeezed in a little time to do a little "homework" for the short course I've been taking:  
Altenew Academy-All About Layering 3, while also making an entry for the 

For my card I immediately imagined using Altenew's Stunning Cosmos stamp set.  I don't have the matching dies, so after stamping the layers I carefully cut out the flowers.

I did the lettering with a white Gelly Roll pen.
I thought about pulling out my white calligraphy ink, but since I had a piece to letter for a customer in black, I didn't want to have to scrub that nib first.

The other thing I finished today was this calligraphy for my client.  Here's a photo before I added the personal message on the bottom for her.

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Watching over me in 2019

I got a Christmas card in yesterday's mail--all that much dearer because it came now and because of the precious words written there. 

Mother and I just took the tree down the day before.
It's always a much sadder job than putting it up, which we do right after Halloween.  The anticipation is no longer there.  The days are already lengthening, and I can feel the evenings slipping through my fingers far too quickly.

 It's time to say goodbye for now to dear things, like Grandpa's beads, the snowman ornament Aunt Norma gave me, the little plastic red Santa ornament Mother got at the town Christmas parade when she was a little girl (his pack was filled with candy), the tiny stocking Aunt Dorothy painted for Mother so long ago, the manger scene Father Cullen gave everyone in my class years ago (I always hang it in front of a light, so that can shine through the little cut-out star.).  

Everything is packed away now in layers of tissue paper.
This year we didn't break anything, and I didn't forget to put the tree stand in the box like last year.

Last year I was determined to learn something new, to take up more challenges.  I didn't happen quite the way I planned.  Oh, there were challenges, but not the kind I expected.
This is a new year. 
When I saw a free course offered from Altenew Academy, I grabbed it up.  Didn't really matter what it was.  I wanted to push myself to do something a little different. So here I am.

With a nod to Lydia Evans's "Sweet Rose Bouquet" card on All About Layering 3- Day 1, I created my own get well card.

While I often turn to vellum when creating cards, she inspired me to use it in a different way.  I don't have the same frame die set Lydia used, but I decided to create a frame of sorts with the flowers themselves--something fairly simple to set off a message.

Altenew's Wildflower Garden set stamped beautifully on vellum.  It needed a little extra drying time before using the matching die-cuts, but I simply shifted over to another project for a while. Once my pieces were cut, I kept rearranging them over a piece of plain pink cardstock, but I wasn't pleased.  

This piece from a watercolor stack by Momenta just begged to be used.  There's only one dilemma.  The splashes of gold are difficult to stamp or write over, but I didn't want to cover them up with another layer, either.  That would defeat the purpose and spoil the look.

Vellum to the rescue!

I die cut an oval of vellum and (since I already had sumi ink and a fine nib ready for a client's calligraphy rough draft) calligraphed a short message.  

I almost wept for joy.  The ink wrote so smoothly, keeping the fine details of each letter, and it dried almost immediately, even on the vellum.


That Christmas card I hugged close to me said, at the closing, 
"May God watch over you in 2019."
I feel like he will.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Last Gift, part two

Time and again,
our hearts get broken,
and still we going on living...
and loving.

When Dad passed away we received flowers and cards from family and friends, new and old.  Mark's wife, Loretta, sent over two homemade suppers.  Bless her heart!  Then after Dad's graveside service down in Fredonia in late September, there were more people Mother and I both wanted to write.

So I needed another easy-to-duplicate design.

I turned to my new stamps delivered from Altenew.  I recently discovered these stamps and dies.  Mother and I looked through their site together and placed an order.  Not only that, but I came across the October 2018 Inspiration Challenge.  Perfect timing.


 Immediately I knew the Cosmos stamp set done up with deep oranges would look autumn-ish and abundantly thankful, which was how I often felt as I was writing.

I used the Tim Hotz stamping platform Mother gave me last Christmas, lined up these flowers--sometimes on plain ivory cardstock, sometimes on patterned scraps--and stamped the various layers in deepening shades of orange, green and brown.  I then trimmed the paper to leave a clean border.  (For 5 x 7 cards, I left a good half-inch border all around; for 4 x 5 1/2-inch cards, I made a much smaller border.)  I inked around the stamped piece before gluing to the front of a card.

I made a few different versions of these, some using thank-you stamps from Altenew, others using my own calligraphy.  I think this one with the watercolor background was one of my favorites.  

Making these, I could almost feel a morning breeze whispering through dewy flowers.

Cardstock:  ivory, Watercolor Splash stack (Momenta)
Stamps:  Stunning Cosmos set (Altenew) Thanks Around the World set (Altenew)
Dye inks:  orange, green, brown (Imagine Crafts)
Chalk ink: orange (Clearsnap)

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Last Gift

I never knew it would be so hard to say "goodbye" to a life that's always been a part of my life.

These were the hardest cards to begin.

Dad passed away in the early hour of September 5th, and amid all the other things that needed to be done--decisions to be made, places to be notified-- I needed a lot of thank-you cards.  Fast.

At first it seemed like a good idea to create one design and copy it on the computer.  It sounded easy.  It wasn't.  I tried three or four times and hated the results.  I felt like a failure.

I cleared all those attempts away, sat down and started fresh...on one single card.

Dad grew up on a farm near Severy, Kansas, driving the horses to plough the fields when he was six years old.  So I wanted to image of a sunrise or sunset.  Digging through my box of stamps, I picked out these wildflowers from Inkadinkado to use as a silhouette.

However, they wouldn't cover a whole width of card, even a small one, so I tried masking, creating a border with masking tape.  Then I sponged sunset colors, using pastels for a soft look.  I stamped thee flowers with black dye ink.

I loved the look, but it was too much trouble.  Too much time and masking tape for 20-30 cards.

Aha!  (Why didn't I think of it before?)  I decided to cut rectangles of cardstock, sponge, stamp, let dry, and then TRIM the edges before adding calligraphy and gluing to a small card front.

I don't remember where I came across this quote from Thoreau, but it seemed fitting.  Not too gushy.
Dad was never a happy man--not with his family.  Since he passed away I found myself mourning the good times we all could have shared...if only...

I wish he could have seen heaven all around him.

These cards were my last gift to him.

You can find them for sale on my Etsy shop:

Cardstock:  Hobby Lobby, Inc.
Ink:  Momenta Tuxedo Black Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko
Stamp:  Meadow Set (Inkadinkado)
Soft pastels (Faber-Castell)
Sumi ink and Brause nib

Monday, November 20, 2017


Don't you just love watercolors?
They give handmade cards such a free and airy look.
But you don't always have to dig out your watercolor pencils.

This monochrome card was easy to create, using Memento Rich Cocoa from Imagine.
I stamped this girl on a leftover scrap of watercolor paper and blended along the outlines with a waterbrush.  For a few of the deeper areas, I stamped color directly only an acrylic block and picked it up to create shadows. 

You can't see it in this photo.....but I must confess I'd forgotten to clean my brush after painting with some Delicata Golden Glitz, so some of that showed up in my first strokes on the umbrella.
I liked the look, so I sponged it along the edges of the textured brown cardstock used for layering.
Gives the whole card just a little shine.

5 x 6 1/2-inch pre-folded ivory card
textured brown cardstock scrap, cut to a rectangle as shown
"Beautiful You" stamp set--Stampin' Up
Memento Rich Cocoa dye ink, Delicata Golden Glitz--Imagine/Tsukineko

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