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)