Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chinese Thank you

One of the complications of making foreign language/culture cards is knowing exactly how to use any given word/phrase. This particular thank you is a very formal one; I would not have wanted to make a "cute" card with it. The background panels on all three are from a Sherwin Williams discontinued wallpaper sample book. It is a very thick, elegant pattern, with thread-like strands running through it.
Another complication is mixing up languages occasionally, ahem, as I did with this one. Thanks to my patient and faithful friend, Ben, I have corrected this post to read "Chinese" Thank you instead of Japanese (see his comment on this post). I do recall him mentioning, when I showed him the stamp, that it was a formal form of the word; so that part is correct. As Japanese, I am told, has four levels of thank you, and Ben can read Japanese as well, it never occured to me to confirm the language!
Being accurate is important to me, so I hope anyone who reads my blog will let me know when I have made an error. :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


We're not cat people here, though we had befriended a neighborhood manx, occasionally setting out goodies for him or her ... my husband initiated the relationship in hopes it would take care of mice. Or so he says. I think he just misses our dog. :-) We haven't seen the cat since the weather got bitter cold, so we'll see.

Anyway, despite not wanting to own a cat, I did think these little darlings would be great for the campus store. The background is a much nicer purple than my camera says it is. :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Doggie Devotion

OnyxXpressions is having a great sale right now, and although I think I exhibited some great self-control, I couldn't resist purchasing at least a few stamps. :-) That gave me the starting point I needed for card posting; I've got quite a few cards, and wasn't sure where to start posting. So, I'll be putting up a few OnyxXpressions cards ...

I try to be very practical when purchasing stamps. But while browsing through their catalog to order stamps for foreign language cards, this dog, and the corresponding text, were just too cute to resist!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas greetings!

I hope everyone had a truly wonderful Christmas! We had a very quiet one, at home for the day, which is rare. Despite our son being in Sicily, Stephen was very much with us, thanks to Skype & a web cam! A tradition at Christmas is that our children sing "We wish you a merry Christmas" outside our bedroom door at the appointed "wake up time" (which mercifully is much later now that they're grown up!). Stephen called on his cell phone, and with our daughters (using an extension to keep together (more or less!) we still were sung to! Then we went downstairs, and connected with him on skype, and opened gifts together. It was fun, zooming in on things so that he could see, getting his reaction to his stuff, etc.

Back to stamping on Monday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Penguins!

Christmas is such a wonderful time of celebrating Christ's birth, that I make few cards that don't have a specifically Christian meaning or symbol. But this little guy was so cute, and in the dollar pile at a craft store that I impulsively snatched him up. I made them into Spanish and Croatian Christmas cards for the Houghton College store. Why Croatian? Simply because my oldest daughter is familiar enough with the language for me to be confident I had the right translation, lol!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spanish Christmas

I just realized I did actually make a couple of other Christmas cards this year: foreign language cards. This is a design I created a couple of years ago. I sponged pinks and oranges (latino Christmas cards do not stick to our American/European traditiona reds & greens) on glossy cardstock, then stamped the three kings in black stazon, then computer-printed the scripture on vellum. I had rejected the background panel because I did not want any "lines," but when I looked at it with the vellum overlay, it looked, as you see, very soft, and like light from a star.

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Joy!

And the last of my Christmas cards, I think, the other Dovely Joy image I mounted ... just in time for it to be delivered before Christmas! I used foil flakes on this one ... this image just begged for it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


As I worked on "recreating" or fixing cards yesterday, I came across two of these "Dovely Joy" panels, and easily made them into cards. This was my favorite Christmas stamp of last year; I must have made seven or eight panels with it, and each one was a little different. A couple might become cards next year...

This one was made with Antiquities embossing powder; I don't believe they are made any more, but they are very similar to Tim Holtz' distress powders. The background was a silent night stamp applied with distress inks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Friends of ours have me make a set of ten Christmas cards each year, and last Christmas they chose this design for this year. A good thing: today was the only day I had to make cards for friends and family, and there's no way I could possibly do that. So, every single card was from my "Christmas box" of cards or parts of cards that were begun and not finished, left over from finished cards, goofed cards (smudged, glued crookedly, etc), etc.

I changed this card slightly from the one I had made last year. I used distress inks, and getting a perfect image with that ink with the wise men image was very challenging, and so for the ten cards I completed, I had nearly twice that many of that particular image that had to be pitched.

The "parchment" map was created by using two or three shades of brown distress inks on old white parchment-like typewriter paper, then rolling Ranger Butterscotch across it for a mellower look.
I had hoped to participate in the smARTworks "word challenge" this month; if I weren't already making a card with smARTworks' stamps, I wouldn't have been able to participate, so that's happy!

Link for inspiration

This is a site I have not yet taken advantage of, but I may today if I can't get a serious dent into my personal Christmas card making. I finished my last cards for selling Monday night, and delivered them on our way out of town for Christmas shopping, and will post a picture later today ... it was one of those designs that was fairly simple, but required using ink that did not consistently give a decent image, so, making them last minute as I did, I didn't make more than the ten I needed for my friend, and there was no time to take a picture before I left town yesterday! So, I'll make a couple more today...

Anyway, this site has some free printable Christmas tags, though I hope if you really like and use them, you'll consider making an actual purchase. Fun stuff! Just click HERE.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hurrah ... I'm free!

Well, perhaps my title is overstating, but it's been a long four months of trying to get enough stock for a local craft store leasing 4 foot x 4 foot spaces, a campus store wanting foreign language cards, and the one craft fair I do each year, a two-day event at the same college. I still have a few responsibilities for the next week, but the pressure is off, oh happy day!

Monday I'll be posting cards again ... I've got quite a pile of unposted one, enough to last me into the new year!

Now I'm headed for bed ... I'll be heading for jail ministry after church tomorrow, so I want to get a good night sleep. I've got some catching up to do, lol!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Card remake

I put cards that I have not yet posted into a file by that name, but I don't always remember to move the image to it's proper place once I've posted. This is one card I'm sure has not been on the blog yet, though it's a remake of one of my old favorites. I never fail to be encouraged by this wonderful scripture!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiger card

This was a stamp chosen for my foreign/language culture cards; it will fit in well with Asian and African cards. I really enjoy the look of this guy ... very sophisticated cat!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rejoice in the Lord!

Here's a second card with figures from the same series I used in yesterday's card. If it looks familiar, it's because it comes from a set of note cards I made last year. The notecard sets have no layers or embellishing, and so are easy to make into other cards. :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We are more than conquerors!

I realized that although I have no translator for Swahili, it's not a language spoken universally in Africa anyway, and these stamps certainly have an African flavor to them, so I hope these images -- I have others in this series -- will make some people happy. I love them, so bold and joyous and "colorable!"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another deadline met & another Swahili card!

Yesterday a guest speaker in our church asked those who worked to stand up. I have been working 60 hour weeks with my card & craft store stuff, but the issue being addressed was the influence we are for Christ on our co-workers, which obviously I don't have, so I didn't stand up, lol! But wow, has it been crazy! In the midst of it, I nearly ran out of double-sided tape (I like to have every card have at least a little, I trust it more than glue for keeping the card together), so was having to ration it until new arrived, and in the midst of waiting, my cutter started making warped and off-angle cuts! Aaaauuuggh!!!! My sister-in-law, Sue, was willing to download a coupon for me and buy a new one (lower quality than what I own, but I was desperately in a hurry), but I still had to wait four days until Thanksgiving when we met to get the cutter! I used the time to switch to making unembellished wallpaper journals, so it wasn't a total loss. I still managed to finish my cardmaking for the college campus store late Saturday night so that my daughter could take them to the college for me when she returned Sunday afternoon. Whew! I was literally working from the moment I got up until I went to bed, taking time out for little else.

The most frustrating thing for me when working up to the last minute, is that, perfectionist that I am, I let a few cards be included that aren't quite to my standards. One layer might be slightly un-centered, or seemed to need one last embellishment or something that I just could not come up with, etc. When I switch out the set, I'll probably remove them for re-work! But, I'm trying to have such a large range of categories and languages, it's hard to meet my goals.
Anyway, here are the other two Swahili cards I made. I still have not found a translator, so I may never make any more. These cards simply say "hello."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Swahili Birthday

Impossible to get this photo to look right. The lion's face was embossed black on black, then Opalite (interference) Golden Mist sponged over it.

I never was able to get my Swahili translations, but I think this phrase was safe enough. It's not technically a birthday greeting, there evidently is none in Swahili, but this phrase means something along the lines of "may you have a very special day," or Congratulations on your special day, I can't remember which now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Another French card. Translation: you are in my thoughts.

I asked my former French professor from Houghton College do my translations for me. I haven't sat under his teaching in over twenty years, but some people you just know will help you if they can. I went through a difficult time my third semester, resulting in my leaving the campus, and I remember his concern for me. College professors are in such an incredible place of influence; I wish parents really understood this when they sent their seemingly independent children off to school. I saw it as a teen, and I certainly see it as a parent and one who has regular contact with other college students. Young people are very, very vulnerable to those men and women who are a huge part of their lives for four years....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am working night and day, literally from when I get up until I go to bed on preparing cards for Houghton College. I got in the first batch last month, but I like to switch whole inventories in and out - it makes life much easier for organization, especially when distance is an issue. It's definitely stressful, though, so I'll be glad when this week is over (I plan to do the switch when we pick up our daughter from college next week.

I made a couple of French cards for the current set of cards at the college. This is the first one. I came up with this design months ago, for an English thank you, but never completed it. It had more "summery colors" so I just adjusted the colors for fall.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Korean Thank You

Well, perhaps one last fall card, but this is in a different language! I've not been able to find a Korean to help me with greetings, but I decided to risk trusting this online translation for thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last of the fall cards!

Someone asked me yesterday if I got inspiration for my cards from card displays in stores. The thought had never occured to me! I've looked at store cards only to see prices; my inspiration comes from blogs, online galleries, and stamping magazines! I'll have to spend some time looking at store cards the next time I'm out. Maybe I just need to get out of the house more, lol!

Another major source of inspiration for me is clothing, and it was a combination of a teal shirt of mine and a brown corderoy jacket that got me thinking in these colors. :-) Leaves are gold embossed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Scripture Card

Finally, a chance to do a scripture card! I found the scripture already stamped, and thought it would look perfect on fall leaves!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One last Pastor Appreciation card

I wanted one more card - well, actually, a bunch more, but only had time for one more Pastor Appreciation card. I had scanned some leaves from our yard to use as a background, and was pleased with the result. To amplify the leafy look, I ran the panels through my cuttlebug. It was the right pattern, but a bit much. So, I softened the embossing by running it through the cuttlebug again .... underneath the folder! Perfect!

I first made the praying for you card for a co-worker of my husband's. When I was trying to fit in one last Pastor Appreciation card, I found an extra panel to use. Happy day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

another ministry card

Camera issues again .... I couldn't get the right color. Anyway, the background is from a card I made a year ago, I think, and as usual, I had made a few extras. :-)
I used the faux batik method: I stamped the image with a border stamp multiple times and embossed clear. Then I brayered on the ink from a Big & Juicy pad, sponging in some of the areas as needed. then I ironed the panel, removing the embossing ink.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gorgeous wallpaper!

I was asked to create an ordination card for a woman, and found this beautiful paper in a discontinued wallpaper sample book from Sherwin Williams that I got a few months ago. It's very difficult to photograph, and as time was an issue, I didn't get a chance to play around with the camera to get a better picture. I made this card with Pastor Appreciation month in mind, and it's a little better than the ordination card. The red you see is actually darker, and I think this card is going to be one of my favorites. I wonder what a room entirely wallpapered with this design would look like? Halway up the wall, with a dark red above it would make a really romantic bedroom.... :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pastor Appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation month, and so I was hoping to get several cards into the two places in which I am selling cards.

This card was partially finished from a couple of years ago, and I was very glad to find something masculine looking to add to. Text is computer generated.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Evening at Sakawa Bridge

Detail stamps are always challenging, at least I find them so. I don't think that the manufacturing of them has quite been perfected, though they're still pretty amazing, and usually worth the bother of playing around with inks and cardstocks to find the combination that works. Definitely glossy is the best, followed by matt cardstock that is very smooth and not porous. But here again, there's no consistent way of being sure. An organized person keeps a record of what works best, but I am not organized, so each time I get a photo stamp, I have to play again!

Photo paper works for some techniques calling for glossy, but not very well for detail stamps. The cardstock on which I stamped this image came from a friend who is in a recycling business, so I have no clue where it came from. It has a sort of mulberry wood pattern on the other side, which I do not especially care for, but the back was the best cardstock I had (I was completely out of glossy).

To my great irritation, I don't know what ink I used! It was either Stazon black, or versafine. I wasn't happy with even this image. I was actually regretting the purchase until I finally persuaded myself to attempt to color it, after Cheryl at OnyxXpressions linked me to a gallery sample. (I love company galleries!) I had first brayered using a Ranger Big&Juicy pad, which is all I had actually wanted to do in the first place. Then I used eye shadow applicators to add more color. Again, coloring is very intimidating to me, so this was scary, lol! When I finished, I still couldn't figure out what the "brown things" were (houses), so I googled the print from which the stamp came, and saw the lights in the windows. :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Japanese/Kanji Sympathy

When purchasing foreign language stamps, I tried to avoid text stamps, as with a limited budget, I wanted to focus on images, which I cannot create, rather than text, which can be generated by computer. But I loved the translation of this stamp:

"We share the grieving of the heart."

The colors are rather off, the gray is actually a medium brown and the ribbon does not clash horribly as it appears to in this picture. It is however, not quite the right shade. Lesson learned: when using various shades of a color, wait until daylight to check for compatibility!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chinese: I love you

I felt this card was going to be just too simple, then I found this butterfly that I had made for another card and not needed. I meant to re-photgraph this card before placing it in the store, but forgot to do so. The true colors are not so orange-y, and blend very well together.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hunan .... what is it?

I found this amazing stamp at Onyx Expressions, but I don't know what it is, nor does my friend from Taiwan! It might be a tree, it might be a fungus. I did tons of searching on the net, to no avail. If you know the answer, please tell me!

I used foil flakes, and the result was so perfect, although I tried, I just could not think of anything else to add to it. :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chinese "praying for you"

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with this image. Then I came across two squares I had brushed twinkling H20's on a couple of years ago (as a background for another card). I wasn't sure if the image would be distinguishable with the vibrant colors behind it, so I used heat embossing. I left one card without text as I still haven't found a translator for the other Asian languages I need, so I am including wordless cards that several cultures can appreciate.

I still haven't found a good photo editing program, so it's difficult to see that I used the Cuttlebug branches die on the black panel. The white flower is made from the same soft, textured paper as the background. I punched it, then ran it through the cuttlebug with the mini-dot pattern from the butterfly die/folder set. The folder design was not quite large enough, so I used a stylus to create the missing dots. I then ran it through the cuttlebug underneath the folder to slightly flatten the dots (a technique I am using often when I am looking for subtle effect, rather than a deeper embossed look). I then trimmed each petal tip so that they resembled the Chinese floral images I have seen. I also cut about a quarter inch into the flower, and slightly bent the petals inward.

Friday, October 16, 2009

...from the infirmary...

My daughters and I are all sick ... my middle daughter got sick while at college, so it's not even with the same sickness. I had been sick the week before, so getting something this soon after that has really knocked me out. So, while I managed a few blog posts, I haven't finished any cards in a couple of weeks, so I'm just letting myself off the hook for a few days. Monday my mother wants to come visit for a day or two, so I've got a house to clean between now and then as well....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chinese Thinking of You

Thanks to my friend Benjamin, I was able to get some basic Chinese texts for cardmaking. It is so intriguing to think in terms of symbols instead of letters. It's making me want to actually learn the language, but seeing as I've been trying to get disciplined in Spanish studies for years, with a definite use for it, I know it will never happen!

I'm trying to do some lightweight, embellishment-free cards for cheaper overseas mailing, that's why this card is so basic. The background paper is very quilt-like in texture, so it's still a nice card.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Asian robe cards

I am making foreign language/culture cards for a local Christian college. It's been a very complicated endeavor. Translation is one challenge. I want to be sure of having the precisely right words, and translation sites can't be relied on for that.

Asian cards have been a particular challenge. For instance, Japanese has four "levels" of thank you, from informal to very formal. An elegant card with the most informal thank you would not work.Then there are culture or religious issues; certain symbols that just look like cool designs might actually have major significance. For example, a Chinese symbol that I really liked turned out to be the source of the Nazi swastika! I used to get frustrated with stamps that were labeled "Asian," instead of Chinese or Japanese. I finally learned that the reason for that was that certain symbols are shared by the two languages! I believe the term for those symbols is "Kanji."

Swahili has been another challenge; there are very few resources for it, and often the translations are not well explained. For instance, when I tried to find out how to say "happy birthday," I came up with a one word term, and a four word phrase! I finally learned that there evidently is no term for "Happy Birthday," so these were two congratulatory terms to substitute!

I also had difficulty finding stamp companies that sold Asian stamps. I had almost given up when I happened to look at the website Onyx Expressions for a different reason, and discovered they had a large number of Asian stamps, primarily Japanese. Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon Stonehouse Stamps, which had very large number of Asian stamps, again, primarily Japanese. However, they had one sheet of Chinese stamps, and it is from those stamps that these cards were made. Although I occasionally set out to copy a card, by the time I finish I've come up with something entirely new. However, these cards really are very little changed from the samples I found here on the website.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Birthday

This was a fun and easy card to make. I already had the happy birthday on the alchol ink backround, and I had a panel, probably made at the same time, with the same colors applied, so I punched the leaves from that. It wasn't until I edited the photo that I realized the vellum oval was marred. I'm guessing the reason I kept it was that I planned to make a frame to cover the flawed part. Hmmm...not to late to add that...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last fall re-do

One last fall card that I re-did to eliminate the need for a paper liner inside the card. The dark green card was cut down an affixed to a goldenrod card.

The leaves were done by embossing with sticky embossing powder, then applying mica powders.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thank you re-do

Another card that needed to be redone. I still kept it simple, just trimmed the red card to a panel and attached to a flax laid card to coordinated with the bronze laid cardstock. The photograph makes the apple look less red than it really appears, lighting tends to do that with stamped images on textured cardstocks.

I love the laid cardstocks. The picture does not do them justice. If you're looking for some nicely textured cardstock like this, I find it at California Paper goods. The bronze laid is no longer sold by itself at CPG, but as one side of a duplex line of papers; the flax laid is still available.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Autumn Wedding

Another re-do card; the rust panel was the actual card, which I cut down and remounted on gold parchment. Although a very basic, simple card, it was perfect for a wedding I went to recently with a very down-to-earth bride and bridegroom. Problem: I forgot to actually leave the card, and it's still sitting in my purse three weeks later....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Thank Yous

I made these when I made the birthday cards I posted a couple of days ago. As with those, the leaves are made with cuttlebug dies on glossy cardstock with the alcohol ink technique.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Simple Scripture Card

I needed to make a quick scripture card, and had this verse already stamped.

Vellum is one of my favorite papers to use. I use a basic glue stick, specifically Scotch brand repositional. I found it rather by accident, using it to temporarily place something, then discovering the glue did not show through, and when I tried to see if it would continue sticking, had great success. Vellum tapes sometimes show through the vellum, depending on thickness, color, and pattern below. But I've never had a problem with a glue stick. I do make sure to weight it down overnight to secure the job. And I still secure it when it works easily to, such as here with the leaves. :-)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another card re-do

This card has been around for awhile, with the dark blue layer actually being the card, with a paper liner for writing. I re-did this a week or so ago, and it's appropriate to post it now as tomorrow we bring our sailor to the airport where he'll head toward Sigonella, Sicilly for two years. We've been blessed to have him home for a little over three weeks, and it's been great. We'll miss Stephen, of course, but it's exciting to anticipate getting to visit him there next year!