Friday, May 19, 2017

Graduation Cards

May is always a busy month, which is why this is my only blog post. This year is busier, because my daughter is graduating from high school and family is coming to visit. I have been making graduation cards and stocking up on thank you notes. (I will share some of those in June.) These are my favorite cards - each with a purpose. 

I made four of this design especially for "The Squad"; the girls who spend the night, text endlessly, and offer unconditional support to one another. 
The sentiment is from Impression Obsession and the "chips" stamp is from Unity Stamp Co
 WHS school colors are blue and red. This one works for many graduates. 
Stars, sentiment, and punches by Stampin' Up
Two special girls are taking a gap year to study and serve
in other countries before going to college.
The globe stamp is from Hero Arts.

T-minus 4 days, 1 hour and 53 minutes until graduation! I won't add, "But who's counting?", because I know my daughter is. 


Friday, April 28, 2017

Card of the Week

Funny thing about setting a goal for yourself – you have to figure out how to keep it going. My goal for 2017 is to post here weekly and write a weekly letter. The letter part is easy, because I don't have to share it. The cards and posts are harder, because I try to tell a little story without rambling. I'm not sure I have much of a story this week. 

Today is the twenty-fifth day of #The100DayProject, and this is not the card I posted (go to @lettersarebetter on Instagram to see that one), but of all the cards I made this week. This is my favorite. It's a simple design and I really like how the colors blended on the daisy, plus I am always fond of a textured background. Ahh! Hello Weekend!

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gift Card Envelopes

Gift cards are often appropriate tokens of appreciation, but the basic envelopes they come with are a little bland if you are not putting them inside another card. I have an envelope template that makes short work of a nice piece of decorative paper, and since I used my flower stamps and punch, I was finished in a snap. I think I will make a few more just to keep on hand!


These are all to say "Thank You!" to the girls from whom my daughter borrowed prom dresses this past month. She attended three dances and borrowed three dresses. Paying for dry cleaning and a few gift cards was a bargain! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Card

 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:9-11

Sentiment byUnity Stamp Co. heat embossed with gold powder.
Wreath die by Penny Black. I trimmed it to create the crown.

Happy Easter!
He is Risen!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Starting 100 Cards

For a second year I am participating in The100DayProject with Elle Luna. It started this past Tuesday, so I am a full three days in! My goal this year is to use my flower stamps and push my creativity within that limited focus. I may complete a card each day in the process, or I might just complete part of the process. 

Last year I discovered as the days passed the creativity almost multiplied, or at least the creative vibe flowed and the ideas seemed close at hand. I expect I will enjoy the challenge just as much this year. Participants are asked to create a unique hashtag for the project which makes it easy to follow the progress. Mine is #pz100stampedflowers.
Daisies colored with Prismacolor pencils and mounted with foam tape.
Daisies are stamped with Versamark ink and heat embossed with copper powder on cream color cardstock and again on copper metallic paper.
I love making a single layer card with a rainbow inkpad. Ink by Kaliedacolor.

So, why did I include PZ with my hashtag? My childhood nickname happened like this: Patsy = Patz = Pz. 


Friday, March 31, 2017

The Cure for Anything Card

When I first heard this wonderful quote I assumed it had to have been written by a woman. When I found the stamp at a show last summer, I was a bit surprised to see a man given the credit. So I looked him up and I am learning this as I type – Isak Dinesen is a pseudonym of Karen Christence Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke. She also used the name Pierre Andrézel. She lived from 1885-1962 which explains (sadly) why she wrote under men's names. Oh, but a bit of joy to discover, that indeed, a woman would know the cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea. 

The quote stamp is by Verses Rubber Stamps;
the girls above and the boats below are older stamps by Stampin' Up. 

Her notable memoir is Out of Africa, and now I believe there is a movie I need to watch. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Baby Pink Cards

One of my daughter's favorite teachers is having a baby, and I am happy to have a chance to make a baby card. Since I made teddy bear cards last week, I chose non-traditional baby images, but I used pink ink, because the teacher is having a girl. 
I made thank you notes with the Dickens stamp when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and used it for the birth announcements of my second daughter. It is such a precious quote, and I use it often for baby cards. That stamp company is no longer in business; the angel is by Stampin' Up. 
Local King Rubber Stamp makes the giraffe stamp and the set includes Mother's Day and parenthood sentiments plus another cute mom and baby giraffe. The "hello baby" sentiment and the punch are from Stampin' Up. This is the card my daughter wants to give her teacher. 
If the phrase "baby blue" immediately conjures a color in the mind's eye, why not "baby pink"? It is different from "bubble gum pink" and "cotton candy pink", after all. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bear Hug Cards

Whenever I don't have a story, I google some element of my cards and go from there. Today it's bear cliches such as baby bear, mama bear, and Yogi Bear, who is better than the average bear. I can be hungry as a bear, wonder if bears poop in the woods, or read Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My cards depict the best ones though–– bear hugs and teddy bears!

Sentiment by Simon Says Stamp is heat embossed in black.
The bear is an older stamp from Stampin' Up colored with Prismacolor pencils.
Background stamp by Local King Rubber Stamp.

One thing you won't find in my blog is bare naked cards. Oops, wrong bear. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stamped Cards

Coming up with a title each week with the word "Card" or "Cards" if fun for me. It narrows my creative focus, plus I think I am terribly clever. One could question that this week, so please read on. The real commonality between these cards is the 30 Day Coloring Challenge with Kathy Racoosin at The Daily Marker. I have participated in her challenges before and every time I am exactly that - challenged! That's why I used small stamps this week! 

The flower is by Unity Stamp Co and I colored it with Prismacolor pencils.
The flower embossing folder is by Darice. 
Happy Mail and envelope are by Honey Bee Stamps.
The cancelled postage is thanks to my in-laws. I am lucky to benefit
from their hobbies of stamp collecting and collage making.

I am so glad a little bit of coloring goes a long way – kinda like postage stamps on Happy Mail. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Izzy's Mom's Card

Here is good question for all Moms: What is better than one of your children asking you to make something special for them? One of THEIR FRIENDS asking you to make something!! I am on the crafter's equivalent of cloud nine! YEP! My daughter's friend asked me to make a card for her to give her mother on her 50th birthday. I am so very flattered and happy to do it for her. She looked over my IG account, told me the color and style ideas she liked, and this is the end result. 

I actually do not own a stamp that says Mom, so I printed the sentiment from the computer. I used a gold leafing pen to outline the nesting die cuts. The stamps are by Stampin' Up. I used Versamark ink and clear embossing powder to heat emboss the flowers on the turquoise paper. 

Three important question are raised here, but only one can I answer with certainty: 1) How much longer before I own a "mom" stamp? 2) What is really the equivalent of cloud nine for a stamper? 3) Will Izzy's Mom like her birthday card? Of course, she will. It was her daughter's idea!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Single Layer Cards

Single layer cards are a fun challenge and (for me) so is coloring. After the first card, both of these techniques became my goal this week. I even pulled out stamps I haven't used in a while. I could almost hear those brain synapses firing away while I worked. Actually, I had some smooth jazz playing in the background, and I enjoyed being lost in the process. 
Dragonfly by Great Impressions; colored with Prismacolor pencils
and covered with clear Wink-of-Stella; sentiment by Hampton Arts.
Adobe by Stamp A Mania; colored with Prismacolor pencils;
background and sentiment by Impression Obsession.
This would have been a true single layer card if I hadn't blurred
the sentiment the first time I stamped it. #tricksofthetrade :-)
Strawberry by Art Impressions; sentiment by Impression Obsession;
washi tape grass on the bottom of the card. 

What else is smooth like jazz? Flat ironed hair; a crisp dollar bill; warm creme brûlée; and single layer cards! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beautiful Cards

Bonito. Schön. Bell. Mooi. Beau. Falleg. Bellissimo. Hermosa. Kaunis. Smukke. Álainn. Frumoasa. 
Stamps and sentiment by Simon Says Stamp;
heat embossed on watercolor paper and
colored with LuminArte paints.
"Be-You-tiful" die by Ellen Hutson;
background stamps and layered dies by Stampin' Up;
I used a gold leafing pen on the edges of the card.
Sentiment by W Plus 9 stamps;
sun by Stampin' Up is heat embossed in gold. 
No matter how you say it, it's true. You're BEAUTIFUL.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Family Birthday Cards

Today is my husband's birthday and I am sharing the cards I made for the girls and me to give him. Birthday cards to the family are not always my best cards artistically, but they are by far the most fun to create, because each design has that person in mind. 

Look over the cards and see what you can discover about my husband's favorite things? Daughter number one gets a kick out of Dad when his eyes tear up after he takes a big bite of wasabi, and daughter number two chose the motif for the next card, because she is baffled by his fondness for all things "pumpkin spice" (as in pumpkin spice peanut butter???). And, the last card, to be honest is described like this: "Oh, look! Stamped images are left over from my father-in-law's birthday card, and I need to start dinner, and these colors go together....done!" 

"Dad" by Avery Elle stamps; sushi set by Lawn Fawn.
Coffee mug by Impression Obsession; Happy Birthday by Stampin' Up;
Dad by Avery Elle; border die by Pretty Pink Posh.
Birthday sentiment by Rubbernecker Stamps;
fishing real by Deep Red Stamps; large fish by Fred B. Mullett

Family birthday cards and my hobby go together like sushi and wasabi, or pumpkin and spice, or rubber and ink. I just love my hobby and my hubby! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Washi Paper Cards

My dilemma with making cards with washi paper is this: All I really want to do is adhere this regal rectangle on color coordinating cardstock and say, "Viola!" (or the Japanese equivalent). That's a funny thing for a card maker to say, but I would rather let the paper speak for itself. 

The Rare Orchid has a tantalizing array of washi papers and tapes, and I mean to compliment them in my cards with as little intrusion as possible. I couldn't even bring myself to cut a second piece of paper this week to show off another of their designs. However, I do think the different background colors with this washi paper give each card a unique tone.

Cotton Candy Dreams is the name of this paper.
The sentiment is by Honey Bee Stamps in the Beautiful Life set.
Courage sentiment is by Unity Stamp Co.
Oh, and speaking of letting the paper speak for itself; it is not just washi paper. It's "Fine Japanese Hand-Silkscreened Chiyogami Yuzen Washi Paper". 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Numbered Card

Darkroom Door released a fabulous set of border stamps a few months ago. I was the lucky recipient of two of them, thanks to a "guess-the-new-release-theme" contest on their Instagram account. I waited until after the holidays to pull out the first one, because they are SO BIG (see last photo), and I wasn't sure my small cards would do them justice. But who doesn't love a crafty challenge, right? 

Birthdays are all about (eating cake) celebrating numbers - an excellent reason to put my new numbers border to use. Stamping the image only four times gave me a large background to work with, and then I found just the right sentiment stamps to go with all those fun numbers. 

I used Kaliedacolor ink pads and some fussy cutting with
the numbers border from Darkroom Door;
Happy Birthday is from Stampin' Up. 

Forever 29 is by Unity Stamp Co.
I stamped the cupcake (an older stamp from Artful Inkables)
on printed paper and adhered the bottom to the one I colored. 

Another apropos sentiment from the So Glad You Were Born
kit by Unity Stamp Co. The matching dots and color
on the washi tape and cupcake paper were just luck!

Look at the size of this border! So many possibilities!
I think sending birthday cards is a sweet way to make my numbered days count. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Koi Fish Cards

Here is your fact/trivia lesson for the day. "Koi are a legendary fish. Graceful, vibrant, and one of the most recognizable fish in the world, koi are well-loved and respected. Often associated with Japan, koi actually originated from Central Asia in China. They were introduced to Japan by Chinese invaders. The koi got their name around 500 B.C, but the fish itself has been around for much longer. Fossils of ancient koi date back 20 million years." - from Koi Story
Koi fish stamp by Local King Rubber Stamp; hello stamp by W Plus 9
is embossed with gold powder on black ink.
I blended markers on the rubber stamps to color the images on these cards, and you can watch Lisa, the design artist for Local King Rubber Stamp demonstrate this on her YouTube video.

Koi fish and background stamps by Local King Rubber Stamp,
and hello by W Plus 9.

"The integrity and high sense of character koi are known for make them a popular tattoo choice both in Asia and America." This could explain why they are so popular with stampers, too. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Snowflake Cards

As I type, the outdoor thermometer reads 68º, which is one degree warmer than our inside thermometer! It is January though, and that demands snowflake cards. Okay, "demands" is a strong word, but we did have snow and ice over the weekend, so my card crafting was inspired. Yes, I do appreciate the seasons and the holidays (and their color palettes) as creative muses. 
Stitched edges dies by Paper Smooches; polar bear by Memory Box;
sentiment by Simon Says Stamp; snowflake punch by Martha Stewart;
I used glossy paper for those. 
Snowflake embossing folder by Darice; fox by Hero Arts; sentiment by My Favorite Things.
I used a dauber to add color to the back side of the embossed snowflakes,
which makes the white stand out, and I heat embossed the fox with silver embossing powder.
Sentiment by Unity Stamps; snowman by Stampin' Up.
The snowman is a kit with many individual parts; this card took longer
than I expected, because I played around with whether he needed stick arms. 

I wonder what my January cards would look like if I lived in the Southern Hemisphere? 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Banner Cards

Happy 2017! With the new year I return to my weekly blog. August claimed my last post, because I was happily lost in my 2016 project of writing a letter a day. You can see how that progressed and many of my cards on Instagram @lettersarebetter. And speaking of progress: I changed the name of my blog from Letters Are Better-Handmade to A Handmade Prayer. Now the name and web address (and my purpose) match.

I have missed my blog, so the goal for me this year is to post cards once a week (and I will mail one, too). Each week I plan to show two or three cards using a stamp or a design aspect in different ways. I find this sort of challenge my favorite way to stir up creativity. 

Dog by Magenta Stamps; thanks by Paper Smooches.
What would you do with a dog head stamp?
Birthday stamp and banner dies by Stampin' Up.
Stitched border by Pretty Pink Posh.
The card is three inches wide, which shows off the banners better.
I can't identify the stamp or the circle die, but I can tell you
this will be my husband's Valentine card next month.

I hope 2017 has started out with a bang 
and ends up a banner year for you!