Dec 30, 2014

Inspiration v. Theft

I'm tired of worrying about the difference between inspiration and theft.  I've censored my crafting, concerned that if it wasn't "original" it wasn't worth making and/or that I'd be labeled a thief. 

Google "inspiration v. stealing ideas" and you'll find lots of other people have been talking about this same thing for like forever.  In fact, even the quote "Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal," widely attributed to Picasso, was probably stolen from someone else.

So, I'm inviting you to join me in setting yourself free from the fear of stealing.

Image from

I am inspired.  A tie, a card, a book cover, a tray of fancy chocolates, those gingham curtains next to a floral print that I just noticed on an episode of Law and Order called Acid?  It's all out there.  Embrace it -- it is human, it's a good thing to be inspired.  We need it.

Copying every element of a design is boring and not attributing a copy to someone else is unethical and sometimes illegal (I'm still startled when I see this and I see it all the time).  It's the execution, or the little extra something that makes it our own that makes it fun (not necessarily better, because we can be inspired and still make something awful).  But taking an element and running with it is not stealing.  It's being inspired.  Sometimes I don't know the difference, but I try and respect others and that is the best I can do.

So put gingham and florals together.  The set designer on Law and Order wasn't the first, or the last, person to do so and didn't feel the need to let us know. 

Dec 26, 2014

Your Holiday Mileage May Vary

If you are reading blogs (and you are), or are on Facebook, instagram, etc. you've seen innumerable pictures of Walton-style families (loved that show!) gathered over the holidays.  Some traveled to amazing locations, others have Martha Stewart-worthy trees and decorations.  Lots of pictures of smiling families, cute kids, adorable dogs and cats (lots of cates).  (Ok, I'm not a fan of cats.  Feel free to hate me). 

No lingering resentments, recovering or not recovering addicts, step-family woes, challenged children, college drop outs, debts, lost jobs, depression, sibling rivalries, divorces, etc.  I mention this because I read a post on Facebook that softly suggested that it appeared that everyone had enjoyed an amazing Christmas.  The underlying message seemed to be "Glad you did, but I didn't."

I did enjoy a lovely Christmas.  We spent it with our son and much of my husband's family.  This is a family that knows how to get along.  There were lots of laughs, board games, and food.  Not a cross word.  Yes, I had moments of high anxiety, worry, etc. but they were just moments.   I loved being with them.

It wasn't always this way -- almost every holiday in my past was dominated by the cause and existence and aftermath of addictions.  My brothers' problems became my problems, because that is how addictions work.  But now they are all gone, and I am introducing myself to the holidays in a new way.  It is hard to shake the past, but I'm shaking it as fast as I can. 

Yet -- even with a good drama-free Christmas, my life is no different than most.  Lift up the social media of happiness, and there are some issues.  I post this just to remind us, particularly in the world of public sharing on social media, that I've yet to meet a perfect family.  We all struggle with a few (if we are lucky) not-so-happy things.  Online is not real.

One blogger I know, who is a riotous pleasure online, has serious, movie-worthy, sad family problems.  Her blog is full of witty commentary, but her life behind the blog is anything but witty.  I think of her every day, knowing her struggles.  Another posts gorgeous creations, while she has shared with me that her husband resents every dime and minute she spends on paper crafting.  Her life is complicated....  A facebook friend has an amazing life, except that one of her children is paralyzed by depression. I'm sure you could add more examples. 

So if you are wondering how every other family manages to pull off the big glorious holiday and life, the answer is that they don't, although the reality is that some folks are suffering more than others.  In any event I suspect that everyone is displaying just a slice of their lives.  And that can be a good thing, because happy slices uplift the soul.  However, the downside is that we may forget that we are only seeing a slice.

Whatever holiday you and your family celebrate, and particularly if you are struggling to celebrate anything, I hope that the social media frenzy of perfection doesn't add to your struggles and make you feel more alone.   You are not. 

Dec 19, 2014

Not A Christmas Card

All the Christmas cards and stamps and embellishments ran out of here in protest from overuse.  They are exhausted and need a vacay.  Preferably one with eggnog and sleep.
In came blue leaves and gold hearts and sunshine.  They took up residence on this card.

Stamps: Simon Says Summer Garden and Sending Happy Thoughts
Paper:  Neenah Solar White and SU gold foil
Ink:  Fresh Ink Sky Blue and Versamagic Red Rocket
Other:  circle and heart dies

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = Is that what you were doing at 3 am?  (Why yes it was.)

Dec 13, 2014

Casology Week 125: Silver

Love this set and pulled it out for a non-Chrismas holiday card.  There are silver snowflakes and a general pale gray silvery look, and therefore, fits the Casology Silver theme this week. 

Can you see those very pale gray snowflakes on the sentiment strip?  They are there, I promise, stamped with a very pale My Favorite Things Grout Gray.

That's Memories Unicorn white ink and Memento Nautical Blue.  The "snow" is a Simon Says Stamp stencil with Hero Arts ink dauber....

Noticed that Clear and Simple stamps has a new website.  They haven't released stamps in ages and I'm hoping they get back into production next year as I love the company's look.

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = Trendy  (what???)

Dec 7, 2014

Grow Old With Me: Casology Week 24

Inspired by the Casology Week #24 challenge, which is the cue "old".  

How I Made This Card:

1.  Took some watercolor paper on which I had embossed in white some houses from Stampin Up Holiday Home.  Realized that I wasn't going to use them anytime soon, so cut them into strips.
2.  Watercolored strips with Tombow markers.
3.  Ran an SU black marker onto an acrylic block and flicked a wet water color brush over an A2 white card.  (Note:  the SU black marker produced gray/purple speckles -- need another black marker.)
4.  Starting in the center of the card, glued the centers only of each strip onto the card and snipped off the ends. 
4. Made sentiment (one dear to my heart) with a Dymo Label maker (love that toy).

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = (He hasn't seen it yet)

Dec 4, 2014

noel 2014

Using up some Lawn Fawn Patterned Paper.  And then did it again, this time using Silhouette cut numbers rather than the Dymo Label ones.

Noel and snowflake also cut with the Silhouette.  Love this color combo!  Hope your December is under control.  And, if not, that you don't care too much!

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = Like the red

Dec 2, 2014

Kiss Me!

Lots of fun making this.  Since the process isn't obvious, it's detailed below.

Entering this card in the Virginia View's Challenge #10.

How I Made This Card:

1.  Cut out Mistletoe with the Silhouette onto white paper.
2.  Sponged with Ranger Distress inks, and stamped the bottom of the petals with Waltzingmouse Vintage Christmas Backgrounder in Encore Gold ink. Painted a bit with Peerless watercolors while the gold ink was still wet, which smeared most of the background.  But that is ok because the bottom has a nice golden touch.
3.  Stamped a circle background with Hero Arts pink neon ink stamped off once and Hero Arts Brush Strokes.  Love that set.
4.  Assembled by covering the background with vellum that's a bit larger than the background and tying the mistletoe with twine.
5.  Made sentiment with a Dymo Label Maker (obsessed with this thing).
6.  Flicked some pink and black paint onto a white card.
7.  Adhered it all.

MOOD WHEN DONE = I feel pretty, I feel witty, I feel....
HUSBAND'S COMMENT = Haven't given it to him yet....

Dec 1, 2014

a merry little .....

Love Essentials by Ellen by Julie's Christmas Scribbles.  That sentiment gets me every time!

Embossed the sentiment on watercolor paper.  Colored Tombow markers on the dry watercolor paper and then brushed over with water.   The watercolor paper is hand cut and not even (on purpose!!).  I'm trying for a more relaxed style...(can you try to be relaxed?).


Stamps:  Christmas Scribbles (I cut the star away from the tree)
Paper:  Neenah Solar White, watercolor, and vellum
Ink:  Memento Tuxedo, Versamark, Tombow markers
Other:  White embossing powder, silver wire pulled from ribbon, embossing buddy, water brush, heat gun, paper trimmer, mono multi glue, and dimensionals.  (It takes a village).

MOOD WHEN DONE = Merry, Not Relaxed
HUSBAND'S COMMENT = "That's nice."  (Kiss of death, but I'm partial to this card anyway)

Nov 28, 2014

Crystal Christmas

Three flat, easy to mail, Christmas cards using Hero Arts Chrystal Christmas and few background spots and flicks of paint.  Just a bit of Peerless Watercolors and a tiny bit of water and no watercolor paper needed.  More pictures:

Nov 25, 2014

Deer in the Headlights

I think this guy has had one too many party nights.

Really, what more do you want?  Cute deer, wreath, candy cane stripes, awesome sentiment.....Ranger's Glossy Accents, Copics, White Gel Pen, Gold, Wink of Stella glitter antleers...  I've thrown the kitchen sink into this card, trying to keep it fresh and not too crowded. 

Deer stamp from Savvy and sentiment from Technique Tuesday.  Stripes from Impression Obsession

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = "Oh, I like that card."  Whew. 

Nov 24, 2014

ReDesign on a Dime: Studio Sarah

Studio Sarah sells this lovely Christmas card.
The color, gently falling stars,
and the small sentiment all combine to make a serene Christmas card.
The silver envelope sets it off nicely.

You can find the Studio Sarah card here.  

So I set out to remake the card, without buying anything new, and came up with this: 

Pretty close!

And then I made this:

Snowmen don't fall from the sky, but they do ski down on 
invisible hills.  Use your imagination!

The silver ink is pigment ink -- just set it out to dry 
and no embossing needed. 

Supplies for both cards:

Stamps:  Stampin Up Holiday Home and Papertrey Ink Inside Out: Holiday
Ink:  Encore Silver
Paper:  Neenah Solar White


Nov 22, 2014

Sunday Savings: Planners

It's the dream -- write it down (preferably in something fun and trendy and pink), do it, cross it off, feel fabulous. 

My reality is -- write it on the yellow pad by the phone, or in my IPhone, or on the back of an envelope, or a sticky thing at work.  That's how I ended up with 2 appointments yesterday morning 30 minutes and 6 miles apart.

So I've been intrigued by all the Planner Posts.  You can see some here, here, and here.  But I didn't want to spend $$$ for a planner.  I wanted to spend $.

I was in Target yesterday looking for chalk and soup -- isn't capitalism great? -- when I walked by a Sugar Paper Planner and Calendar Display.  Awesome stuff.  And only available for a short time -- until January.  

I got the Pink Striped Organizer -- it will fit in my purse, which is essential.  Plus it's Pink.  And Striped. And Gold.  And the cover is that clear/frosted hard plastic stuff that will keep it clean.  And it has a spiral binding.  There is a page for each month, plus space for daily things to do and cute tabs.  Love.   The only thing I don't like about this line of products is that they are made in China.

I paid $7.99 plus 6% tax (when did Virginia's sales tax go to 6%??), but got a 5% discount for using my Target Credit Card.  

Or, you could go with kraft, white and gold.
Or, Navy, White, and Gold:

I seriously wanted them all just to stare at their loveliness. 

MOOD WHEN DONE = Pink, Planned, and Organized 

Nov 4, 2014

Pale Blue Sky, Brilliant Leaves

Stamped a leaf from Essentials by Ellen's Autumn Acorns three times onto pale blue cardstock from A Muse Studio. 

Added a couple of strips of unknown patterned paper that I had colored over with a yellow Copic because the tone must be right, right?

Popped up the sentiment from the same set and inked a few times to give it a gradient look.  Almost worked.

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = I like those leaves.

Nov 3, 2014

Thanks For Asking

Used Essentials by Ellen by Julie Autumn Acorns and some patterned paper (source unknown.)  Love this color palette. 

HUSBAND'S COMMENT =  Will that fit into an envelope?

Why, yes it will, because the card itself is only 4 inches wide.  But thanks for asking!

Oct 29, 2014

White Pumpkins

Love white pumpkins.  I haven't taken the time this year to do much about autumn or decorating, but did buy two teeny orange pumpkins and a slightly larger white one, and the latter inspired me to make these cards.  The lacy white pumpkins are a cut file from Silhouette. White on Cream and White on Unknown (not Kraft) cardstocks. 

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = Not my colors

Happy Wednesday everyone!  

Decided to enter the Cure for the Monday Blues Challenge, which you can find here.  

Here is the inspiration photo. It's a beauty. 

Oct 26, 2014

Easy Halloween Cards

Sometimes using an electronic cutter, such as the Silhouette Cameo or the Cricut, can really save time....

Here I used a file from the Silhouette Studio store, cut out both pieces (the open socks and shoe and a solid shoe) in two different sizes.    For the glitter socks,  I traced the die cut over the glitter paper and hand cut.  Went overboard on the size, so I had to trim the point of the shoe. It's not perfect, works.

For this card, I colored the stripes with Copics.

Both cards have a solid shoe for a backing.

Cut the frames with the Silhouette and used dimensionals to pop up the images -- letting the point of the shoe rest on the frame.


HUSBAND'S COMMENT = Ooh, I like these.

Oct 19, 2014

Sunday Savings: Get Advice and Follow Directions

Cringe when I think about how much I've wasted because I didn't know how to use something properly and didn't take the time to find out.  This card provides two examples -- Ranger Glossy Accents and the Cameo/Silhouette.

Ranger's Glossy Accents  How many bottles have I tossed?  Love this stuff, but the tip clogged every single time.  I'd stick pins in the top, trim the top, run the bottle under warm water, etc.  Nothing worked and I'd ruin the bottle.  I would buy more thinking that somehow a new bottle would be better.

No, I was the problem, not the product.

Finally, asked on Facebook for advice and someone pointed out that Jennifer McGuire has posted that the way to avoid a clogged tip, is to use it, and then tap the bottle until the glossy accents recede out of the tip into the bottle.  If any remain in the tip, push out, tap and repeat until the tip is clear.   

See that glossy joy above?  Sometimes it takes a little patience, but so far I've used my one bottle repeatedly and have had no reason to toss it off the terrace. 

Cameo/Silhouette -- So frustrated over the years with jagged cuts.  Finally slowed down, got out a new blade, followed the prompts on the screen, and got a clean cut on this fairly intricate design (the "o" in joy is tiny).  This cardstock is 100# -- this was the first time I got a clean cut using cardstock this thick.  I've wasted a lot of paper just moving too fast...

Although this tip is obvious, we can save money slowing down, reading directions, and getting (and following) advice!  

And the card --


Stamps:  Essentials by Ellen Bokeh Dots 
Ink:  3 varieties of green (two Hero Arts and One Versamagic) -- just use three shades for depth
Paper:  Michaels Recollections White, SU vellum, Simon Says Stamp Cotton Candy, Cosmo Cricket Self Adhesive Glitter Sheets
Other:  Simon Says Stamp star dies, dimensionals, Glossy Accents, Silhouette (to cut out the word Joy)

HUSBAND'S COMMENT:  Oh, pink.  For Christmas. That's different.

Edited to add:  At Taheera's suggestion, I'm entering this into the Cure for the Monday Blues challenge that she hosts every week.  You can find it here.  

Oct 14, 2014

SU Holiday Home, With a Pop of Green

Devil of a time photographing this card....but lots of fun making it...

Used Stampin Up's Holiday Home to create a white, gray, and bright green card.  The strip of white on the side, the trees, snowflakes, and wreath are painted with Wink of Stella clear brush pen (love that stuff).

HUSBAND'S COMMENT = "I like the green." 

Oct 7, 2014

The Ocean

We went to the ocean.  I did not want to return, but good human that I am, I did.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Serene  (let's see how long that lasts!!)

Oct 5, 2014

Hello, Autumn Style

Used the tiny set of four leaves in Stampin Up Holiday Home to make a background to peek out from the die cut heart.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy for Autumn


Stamps:  Stampin Up Holiday Home; Mama Elephant Basic Borders and Hero Arts Everyday Sayings
Paper:  Michael's Recollections Cream
Ink:  All markers (various)
Other:  Twine colored with Copic marker, Paper Source Envelope, Clear and Simple Stamps Heart Die, dimensionals


I know I am way behind on ReDesign on a Dime and Sunday Savings posts.  They'll be back when time permits.  In the meantime, I hope to post a few cards here and there.

Sep 22, 2014

Letting the Background Do the Work

I Make I Talk Joan Bardee using AHA Arts

This pattern, which I made with a new to me company called AHA Arts Stamps (purchased at Paper Source), reminds me of Marimekko, which was so popular before many of you were born!  I LOVE Marimekko! 

Those bold colorful patterns make me happy.  The background is so bold and bright that I only needed white cardstock, ink, and a sentiment. 

Speaking of the sentiment, it is from Altenew's Quilled Elegance, which I won, along with a ridiculous amount of other stamps and items.  Jennifer Rzasa held a quick contest on Facebook and I guessed the right answer first.   Score!



I was able to get even coverage even with dye ink by stamping with a new product called MISTI.  It is like a plastic book/stamp positioner that allows you to stamp in the exact spot over and over.   At the moment, they are out of stock and the price just went up to $50, which is a lot of money.   But this thing is worth it as you'll save $$ on paper.  Shari Carroll did a video on how to use it here.

Sep 15, 2014

Waltzingmouse Pajama Party/Wedding Card

I'm playing along with the WMS Pajama Party this month.  One of the challenges was to use an older WMS Christmas set.  I misread the challenge and am using an older set period.  But I'm declaring that Christmas involves love and therefore, that I am using an Older Christmas Set. 

The heart and sentiment is from My Heart.  The flourish is from Funky Feathers.  Since I need a wedding card, I thought this would be perfect.

The card has 3 layers -- white A2 card, a smaller vellum layer and then the top layer is the white trimmed to that the vellum peeks out around the edge.



Stamps:  WMS My Heart and Funky Flowers
Paper:  Recollections White, SU Vellum
Ink:  Versamagic Pixie Dust and Grapefruit Pink, and Versamark
Other:  Gold Embossing Powder, embossing buddy, pearl, dimensionals

Hope your Monday is a good one!


Sep 14, 2014

Sunday Savings: Cleaning Stamps

Today's tip is saving money cleaning stamps.  Boring, but a dime is a dime, right?

I’ve used specialty cleaners and a scrubber, but hated buying the cleaner and the scrubber sometimes left little pieces on my stamps.  I switched to baby wipes, but they are pricey and not environmentally friendly.

I kept reading about the Absorber and thought I'd give it a try.  I think it was made to dry off cars, but the chances of me ever washing or drying a car is zero.  

Bottom line, it's great!  Since I couldn't figure out what to do with it (brain cell issues), I thought I'd share how to use it.

I got the mini version -- it's less than $10 for a very large piece (17" x 13").  I cut a smaller piece and put away the rest, where I suspect it will outlive all of us.

It comes in a plastic tube, and out of the container is soft and pliable.  I soon learned that if it sits out in the air, it dries and becomes hard, like cardboard.  (I thought I had killed it.)   

Also, I kept trying to clean the stamps with the absorber and nothing else.  It didn't absorb a thing and I wondered what was wrong.  Finally, it occurred to me to wet it.  It's a miracle!!  The water and ink and alcohol all just get "absorbed." I have no idea where they go. 

If water doesn’t clean my stamp, I put a little cheap rubbing alcohol on the absorber and that does the trick -- this works really well for metallic inks.  And, no, it doesn't harm my stamps.

Before I start stamping, I see if it's too dry and if so, spritz with water and it's fine.  If I keep it out for a few hours, I spritz again. 

Here's mine, in its container .... 

Lovely, isn't it?  I've used it for a few months without washing it.  Guess it's time to throw in the washer (but not the dryer)!  Love this thing...

Now they need to make a synthetic cook (The Cookster) and I'll be all set.