witticisms by Jess Witty

December 03, 2014

Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking Magazine Special Thanks Blog Hop


Things I know to be true about paper crafting:
a) It's more difficult than it looks.
Especially if one has taken a year or so off from it.  (Hypothetically, of course.)
Seriously... props, paper crafters.  I have a whole new appreciation for this form of art. In my experience, I would not say that coming back to paper crafting has been like riding a bike.  At all.
b) It's more gratifying than it looks.
Seeing a vision come to fruition... man... I love that feeling.
And being blown away by someone else's vision... also gratifying.
c) It's more about the people than the crafts.
And today... it's about the people of Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking Magazine.
 (Go-to-Gals, but missing Kim Hughes! Still love you, Kim!)
I submitted by first few cards for the Stamping Royalty contest of...
oh, man... 
Yup, they had it all the way back then ;)

In a stroke of luck, both cards were picked.
And so it began for me.

I ended up at my first CHA with the long-gone-by-the-wayside Paper Salon team (if you remember Paper Salon, God bless you, because you've been around a while) and met then editor-in-chief Stacy Croninger, and then editors Megan Hoeppner, P Kelly Smith, Cath Edvalson, and Brandy Jesperson.

I'm sure my story is similar to many of yours...
they were so encouraging. 
They made me feel like they were excited to have me.
They made me feel like I had something new to contribute to the magazine.
What more does any creative person want than to be able to express themselves creatively and feel valued in return?  It's our own kind of heaven.
 (Kelly, Susan, me, Anabelle O'Malley, and Cindy Smith of Emma's Paperie)

Over the years some editors rearranged and relationships grew to include Jennifer Minerman Shaerer (who can practically read you like a book after asking your birthday, place of birth, etc, and handing you a personalized astrology analysis) and Susan Opel (of colored hanger fame but also my Bay City buddy) and as time went on, an eventual post as a Go-to-Gal.

I saved the answering machine message from Jennifer offering me a spot (yeah... ACTUAL answering machine. Not a voice mail. ANSWERING MACHINE. Continue on with the story.) and played it for my mom to tell her.

Can it be noted here that any time any one is sweet and encouraging to your own personal mother that they are going to build up within you a well of gratitude wide enough to fill an ocean?  That was the entire editorial team to my mom :) 

Sidenote... it was only a few weeks after taking on the Go-to-Gal gig that we got the call about Noelle (excuse the formatting on that post, please; my older posts have been reformatted so that there are no breaks. Not intentional, I swear.) so I went from mom of 2 to mom of 2 plus a newborn alongside this new gig in a matter of days.  Cath was one of the very first people in my life to know we had adopted a daughter in just a few days time because I was in the middle of an assignment for her.  Only time I asked for more time on a card :)  Thanks, Cath.

I've heard it echoed among many of the other Go-to-Gals say that this call was a dream come true and I'm no different.  But man, getting to have that gig alongside those girls... Teri, Kim H, Maren, Betsy, and Kim K... and alongside those editors... seriously humbling. 

And seriously hilarious.

Infamous example A:

Infamous example B:

And so I offer my small token of thanks that could never match the depth of gratitude for the people of Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking that lives in my heart.

Thanks for your encouragement.
Thanks for your validation.
Thanks for your commitment to us... your contributors and fans of PC&S.
Thanks for your sympathy tears when I needed them.
Thanks for your hugs.
Thanks for your laughter.
Thanks for your friendship.

Thanks for the memories, friends.

My prayer for you is that as you move on you go with the knowledge that you and your work were and are valued and appreciated by me and so many others.  Blessings to you.

Today's hop started over with Jennifer McGuire,
led you here from Rae Barthel,
and continues on next with Annette Witherspoon.

I've enjoyed dipping my toes back in today, folks.
Thanks for having me :)

{Thanks} card
CS - Soft Stone, White, Vellum (Papertrey Ink)
Glitter CS - American Crafts
Ink - True Black (PTI)
Stamps - Thanks All Ways (PTI)
Dies - Headline Alpha, Heart Prints, Love Lives Here (PTI)
Felt - Raspberry Fizz, Aqua Mist, Canyon Clay (PTI)

November 09, 2013

Moxie Fab Thanks

Well, folks... there's not much that could bring me out of my crafty semi-retirement... but this is one of them.

Because... um... yeah... she's Cath.

So unanimously beloved in our little crafty community that she has one of those single name names that doesn't even need a last name to accompany it, or even the "y" that usually comes after those first four letters 99% of the time.

Just... CATH.

And this is what I have to say about said Cath...

Cath... I still remember our very first CHA meeting where your excitement over a submission of mine was darned near unbelievable to me. 

I remember that specific feeling... that moment of "she gets it!"
That feeling of being understood.

Your excitement was about the cards... but it also wasn't.
Your excitement about all of our projects always seemed to be more about... us.

An excitement for us when we came with something that we loved... an excitement for us when we challenged ourselves... somehow it never seemed like it was about the cards.

It's hard to find, isn't it?
Someone who makes you feel encouraged... uplifted... valued.

I wish I had a card to share today... but as life would have it, this week I've been tied up living out what I talked about with you in my last post.  But I've been doing something that I love... challenging myself... trying new things. 

And I'm going to guess that you are excited about that for me :)

Just like I'm excited about whatever good thing is in store for you.

I admit... to me... it feels a little bit like part of the heart of Paper Crafts is leaving.
But I cannot help but think that you are going to end up doing something that you love... challenging yourself... trying new things.

And I think what we want is to make sure you feel is encouraged... uplifted... valued.

It was never about the cards... was it?

Here's to you, Cath.
Along with the most EPIC memory of the Great Wall of China {cake} there ever was :)

You probably arrived here via Ashley Nguyen Newell, so your next stop on this Moxie Fab Thanks tour is...

Jennifer Rzasa

With much love...

August 26, 2013

A Papertrey Farewell...

Well, folks... it's time.

And yet... my heart is beating faster even as I write this and the tears are threatening their descent. 

Have I ever mentioned how not good at change I am? 
Some people thrive on change... not me.
I like familiar.
I like cozy.
I like the known.

And yet... I can't shake the feeling that there might be something different out there for me.

I've had that feeling for a while, but when one {meaning me} is adverse to change, it tends to take a while to get to the actual going about of making said change.  Familiarity is awfully warm and cozy and hard to move away from, isn't it? 

And papercrafting has been my familiar for over a decade.  This adventure started for me when I was a newlywed... with lots of time on my hands... and no children taking it up.  Over the span of this journey 3 kids have come along and with them a changed life... a changed me.  The reality is that just as my life is no longer the same as it was... and I'm not the same as I was. 

These drifting feelings within me started to become clear this spring when I did an exercise requesting that I physically write out my dreams... both big and small.  Yes, it sounds cheesy, and yes, it could have been, but it was an intense moment for me.  I wrote without stopping, and when I was asked, I voiced all of the things that, to anyone else, might seem insignificant or impossible... but not to me.  This exercise... meant to help me focus in on some of the areas where God might be leading me... made me wonder when those things could ever happen.  How would I ever have the time and the space to work toward those things when I'm so intent on keeping things familiar... and cozy... and unchanging?

I started to become convinced of the fact that if I want to see the possibility of other things, I need to be willing to listen and let go of the things that might not be for me anymore.  Instead of closing my heart up and sticking my fingers in my ears when I hear the whisper that it's time to change, I need to be willing and open to the fact that there could be other good things for me. 

And even though it's change... I can be happy about the possibilities in it.

That being said...
I love it here.
I love doing this.
I love this team.
I love being a part of this thing that we *all* love... you and me and all of us together.

It took me a little while to be emotionally ready to leave and it's not because I really ever have to leave papercrafting.  PTI is my last official tie to papercrafting, but my stamps and supplies still have their happy homes with me :) 

It's hard to leave this team.

Let me take a moment and tell you that I will miss being under the leadership of someone so gracious and patient with me.  My admiration for you, Nichole, and my thankfulness at your encouragement over the years is deep and sincere.  It is no small thing to wonder if what you're doing is good enough and to consistently be affirmed and lifted up by someone you respect.

It is also no small thing to get to be a part of and enjoy the benefits of a group of dynamic and supportive women such as this.  Over the years we have taken turns cheering each other on at various points... sometimes in silly ways, sometimes in serious times.  There is a joy in coming to tears over cards and sweet gifts in my mailbox from teammates who simply want to soothe and lift up.  There is joy in sharing monthly chats with friends... cheering and encouraging one another.  There is joy and love and excitement in this team, and I will miss that.  {Unfortunately, you're stuck with me because I still have all of your email addresses and will thus commence pestering you about what you're making, etc.}

There is joy and love and excitement from those of you that have shared yourselves here with me... and I will miss that.  So many of you have consistently come back to share a sweet word or two and yes... I know who you are.  You have done so over the years without ever knowing that words are my love language, and in leaving your words here, you have spoken a bit of joy into my heart. Thank you for that.

As for me and my blog... well... I'm not sure yet. 
I'm leaving the doors of possibility open :)
I am not leaving, nor am I planning anything specific. 
How about I pop in and share with you as I can?

Until then, friends...

August 24, 2013

Stampafaire Gallon:Quart:Pint Challenge

Hello, again :)

Just popping in with a little Gallon:Quart:Pint Challenge card for ya...

I suppose it could be argued that it's a little more of a Gallon:Quart:Quart card... but I kind of think the extra green for the stem and leaf push the ratio over into just a little more green than aqua.  At least, that's what I'm tellin' myself ;)

Any guesses as to what inspired this design?

It's a very loose interpretation :)

Brian and I had a conversation about the movie Jobs this week and it came back to me when I was making this card.  I can remember my very first computer and the rainbow striped logo on the corner of that gigantic screen :)
Anyway, I wasn't going for copy of the logo... I was just looking to pair that sentiment with a piece of fruit and when I realized it would fit inside the apple, the deal was sealed.  A little negative die cut adds some interest.  {If you haven't tried a negative die cut yet, you should!  It's super simple to pair the Gallon:Quart:Pint challenge with it!}

I did a bit of masking on the sentiment to split it into 2 parts... I kind of like connecting the outside and inside of the card by continuing the sentiment.

But wait!  There's more!
Be sure to head on over to Nichole's blog to see all the other Gallon:Quart:Pint cards ;)

But wait!  There's more!
More from me, that is :)
Back in a bit...

{Out on a Limb} card
Stamps - Apple Prints
CS - White, Limeade Ice, Aqua Mist, Berry Sorbet
Ink - Dark Chocolate
Other - Apple Prints die

PTI Stampafaire... Rolled Dough Designs

Happy Stampafaire!
It's time for my first post and it's a doozy, folks. 
I'll be showing you some super simple Christmas ornaments and tags using some simple PTI die cuts and stamps, along with paperclay. 
Lots of pictures, for those of you who just like to see how things are done.
If you've ever rolled and cut out sugar cookies, you are overqualified for this tutorial :)
Here's what you'll need...

Paperclay (this is a very light, moldable, air dry clay made of paper)
Rolling pin
Cookie cutters (not mandatory, but helpful)
Anywhere hole punch (also not mandatory, but helpful)
PTI die cut (I used Parisian Lace)
PTI stamps (I used Bells & Boughs, Simple Alphabet, and Library Ledger Year Additions Mini)
wax paper

We're going to be following the same basic process for both the large ornament and smaller tags, so here we go!
  • First up... roll out your paperclay on some wax paper.  The paperclay is like regular clay in that it will pick up dust, etc, from whatever you roll it out on, so I just used the wax paper to keep things clean.
  • Lay the die cut over the clay and roll over it again with the rolling pin.  The goal is to impress the die cut into the clay a bit and get a nice, deep image.  I tried this process by just rubbing the die cut into the clay with my hands, and I was much happier with the impression when I used the rolling pin.


         Here's what it will look like...

  • Next, you'll want to choose the best area for cutting out.  Just use the cookie cutter as normal, leaving the cutter in place while you then pull the rest of the clay out from around it. 

  • Time to stamp!  You might want to practice on a few scraps of clay, but really, it's super simple.  You just want to find the right amount of pressure to use so that you get a clear image.  I had no trouble with the stamp sticking to clay, however, if that does happen, I would recommend inking it first with some VersaMark.

  • Go ahead and add a hole using an anywhere hole punch.  If you don't have one, a skewer, stick, needle, etc, will work just fine.  This way your ornament will have a spot for a hanger :)

  • That's really it!  Just leave your clay items out to dry for a day or so... mine dried even more quickly than that.  I did clean up the edges a bit by sliding a part of the ornament off the edge of my work table and smoothing the cut edge out.  That could also easily be done by sanding it a bit once it's dry. 

The best thing about this project is that at any point, if you don't like what's happened, you can just roll the clay back out and start all over again.  I so love that.  Pretty much fool proof, accident proof, etc.

I went ahead and painted my dried ornaments with a inexpensive pearl colored craft paint that I had on hand.   Gives it a little sparkle and finished it off a bit in my mind. 

I even made this one in preparation for a wedding this fall...

I thought it would be sweet to use it as a tag on the wedding gift, write a few words on the back in gold pen, and leave a note in the card that it's also a Christmas ornament to celebrate their first holiday together. 

I love dated ornaments :)

I choose one ornament a year to buy and save for my kiddos... the idea is that when they leave home - which, at this point, is never, because I'm not allowing it ;) -  I'll send them off with lots of special ornaments that they can fill their tree with.   I think I'll make some for them this year for a change.  Or, better yet... this project is definitely easy enough to do with the kiddos. 

This would also be a fantastic way to do some personalized baby/childhood ornaments with handprints... just use the alphabet stamps to personalize them.

Nichole has the list of all the other rolled dough projects today, so be sure to check in at her blog.  That's where you'll find the entire list of today's Stampafaire activities... there are *so* many things being baked up at PTI today :) 

Until later...

August 23, 2013

Reasons to Smile... a Prelude to Stampafaire!

The number one reason to smile today?
PTI's Stampafaire is only a day away!
We're kicking things off today by showing you this year's exclusive Stampafaire set (available for *free* tomorrow with a $100 order)... Reasons to Smile...

Such a sweet set. 

The flower image and stems/leaves image are separate, which makes inking everything super easy.  I went ahead and did two inks per image, inking the flowers first in a bright yellow, then rolling Hibiscus Burst around the edges.  The leaves got Simply Chartreuse first, then Aqua Mist. 

I love the way adding the Aqua Mist kind of gives it a bit of something different. 

I topped off the upper portion with a bit of Aqua Mist impressed with the Sunrise Impressions 2 plate.  It gives it that idea of sun rays without being too literal.
Are you guys pumped and ready for tomorrow??
I'll be celebrating my husband's 40th birthday this weekend, so no crafting for me.  I did leave lots of projects and posts for you to enjoy, though, so no worries :)  You'll still see lots from me and even a few videos of me in my work space.
Until then, there's already more Stampafaire stuff to see on Nichole's blog, so head on over!

{Smile} card
Stamps - Reasons to Smile
CS - White, Aqua Mist
Ink - Aqua Mist, Simply Chartreuse, Hibiscus Burst, Dark Chocolate; Summer Sun (SU)
Other - Sunrise Impressions 2 impression plate, enamel dots (My Mind's Eye)

August 15, 2013

August Release in Review!

Hello, there, friends :)

It's about that time.
{If you're a child of the 80's and you just followed that sentence up with "...to break forth, the rhythm and the rhyme..." then I salute you.}

Time for the epic Papertrey Ink monthly release in review post!
As always, all of the new August release products will be available at Papertrey Ink tonight, so be sure to head on over and check it all out. 

But before you do that, we'll whet your whistle with some projects first, k?

First up... Nuts For You...

I just had to give that little cutie pie a foxy girlfriend ;)

The previously released Hello, Foxy image pairs up just right with our little Nuts For You squirrel. 

The little guy is clearly in the midst expressing his heartfelt emotions with the help of a few Bubble Talk word bubbles...

This was the first card I made with the Bubble Talk bubbles... they're just the right scale to use with these little critters and many more - think Tremendous Treats critters, etc. So stinkin' many options with the combinations here. 

My 9 year old suggested I switch the words out to say "You are nuts" instead, which I suppose is a card most of us want to send to someone every now and then ;)

The bubbles would also work great with this... um... critter...?
I guess he's more of an apparition...

This is a little triad of new release projects... the ghost guy is from Polka Dot Parade #7 and the dies are one of the new Tricky Trio dies and one of the new Notched Star Banner dies.

They're all working together here to embellish a little Halloween treat bag...

I really wanted the Notched Star Banner to be big and bold against the coffee bag, so I adhered some strips of cardstocks together on a white cardstock base and then die cut the banner from that.

I love how the white stars peek through and the contrast of the colors against that black Tricky Trio die cut sentiment.  And the spooky/friendly ghost is made from vellum so he's nice and translucent
 against all that color.

Now for something a little more elegant...

For some reason, I'm really loving how this little Mum's the Word card came out. 

The mums are large enough to create a focal point, but airy enough that they're not overwhelming.  I think that makes them a little easier to overlap without looking off to me. 

I especially love the design of the sentiments in this set.  If you're on the fence about this set, think of all the options that more rectangular sentiments like these give you... love them for adding to PTI's banner dies, etc. 

I nearly added the filigree border from Boutique Borders: Sympathy to this card because the sentiments work so well in that image as well, but I held off and let the flowers stand on their own. 

I did pull out Boutique Borders: Sympathy for this one, though...

My goal for sympathy cards is to keep it simple and elegant. 

I rarely add embellishments but I do like to add embossing to add a little detail.  For this card, I started by adding a little pattern with one of the new Autumn Pattern Pieces images.  I knew that I wanted to add a velum overlay but that I didn't want to cover the entire card with it, so I put the pattern at top and bottom.  The pattern peeks out from above and below the overlay and adds a little interest.

Soft Stone + White + Gold...
my love for it will apparently never wane ;)

Up next... Basket of Blessings...

The little vine image at the top makes a sweet frame for the sentiments when you mirror two of the basket images.  I reversed what might be a typical "home base" for a card (light base/dark sentiment) and went with something a little more unexpected for this image.

The white sentiment is balanced on each side with a bit of Soft Stone patterned paper on the card base.  And it should be noted... the sentiments in this set are really fantastic.  I always love the option to overlay the smaller font sentiments over the larger fonts.

Bubble Talk made another appearance this month...

Definitely more of a simple card... I had my 9 year old in mind when I made it.  We're transitioning from a full-time homeschooling family to having our oldest at school this year.  This school model has him attending 2 days a week and still homeschooling the other 3... definitely a change for us.

One that involves sending lunches and hidden notes along in them, of course :)

Heads up... Bubble Talk is seriously awesome for cards for guys.  Just something to consider. 

Well, new school means new teacher...

I thought I'd get us started on the right foot ;)
This card is a bit of a departure for me.
I started playing around and stamping these without being my perfectionistic little self.  As in, I just stamped them and didn't really worry about planning it all out first or being super analytical about getting everything all lined up perfectly.  
So, yup... I just stamped 'em... without a plan... and the sky didn't fall down.
A little stitching adds to the more casual feel.  I added the new Wonderful Words: Thank You die cut at the bottom to kind of echo the thank you stamps.  And the ribbon at the bottom finishes it off.

This one just makes me happy :)
It feels a little different for me... and I like the feeling of stretching myself a bit. 

Well, folks... there's lots more happiness to be found with the rest of the design team today...

Nichole Heady
Betsy Veldman

Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I really do mean that.

I love seeing what you guys think and always hope that something will strike you and bring you your own bit of happiness today.

Later, friends...

{Nuts About You} card
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Nuts For You
Die - Nuts For You, Bubble Talk
Supplies available now:
CS - White
PP - Crate
Ink - Dark Chocolate, Aqua Mist; Copics
Die - Hello, Foxy; In the Meadow
Other - vintage cream felt
{Trick or Treat} bag
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Polka Dot Parade #7
Die - Polka Dot Parade #7, Notched Star Banner Die, Tricky Trio
Supplies available now:
CS - White, Summer Sunrise, Canyon Clay, Raspberry Fizz, Orange Zest, True Black, Vellum
Ink - VersaMark
Other - Filigree White embossing powder, small coffee bag

{Make a Wish card} card
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Mum's the Word
Supplies available now:
CS - Kraft, White
Ink - Dark Chocolate, Orange Zest, Limeade Ice, Simply Chartruese; Dark Peony (ColorBox)

{Here for You} card
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Boutique Borders: Sympathy, Autumn Pattern Pieces
Supplies available now:
CS - Soft Stone, Vellum
Ink - VersaMark
Other - Filigree White & Gold embossing powders

{Give Thanks} card
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Basket of Blessings
Supplies available now:
CS - Smokey Shadow
PP - Soft Stone
Ink - VersaMark; Dark Peony (ColorBox)
Other - Filigree White embossing powder

{You're Super} card
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Bubble Talk
Die - Bubble Talk
Supplies available now:
CS - White, Kraft
Ink - Dark Chocolate; Pumpkin Pie (SU)
Die - Super Star Borders
Other - glitter paper, PP (unknown)
{Thank You} card
Supplies not available now but available 8/15: 
Stamps - Apple Prints
Die - Wonderful Words: Thank You
Supplies available now:
CS - White
Ink - Summer Sun, Orange Zest, Limeade Ice, Aqua Mist, Sweet Blush, Berry Sorbet
PP - Crate
Other - Summer Sunrise ribbon