Monthly Archives: January 2015

Color Choices in Card Making

Lotus Blossom in Melon Mambo (image c. Stampin' Up!)

Lotus Blossom in Melon Mambo (Image c. Stampin’ Up!)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent the afternoon making cards (as I do most weekend afternoons). I was working with a colorful group of Stampin’ Up!’s designer series papers and their coordinating solid colored card stocks (mostly Melon Mambo) but was getting tired of making thank you, birthday, and thinking of you cards, more appropriate to the colors I was using. So my mind started to wander to the new Lotus Blossom stamp set I’d received during this year’s Sale-a-Bration promotion. I decided to try it out using Melon Mambo ink.   The results were spectacular, as you can see.

But the question now was, what type of card should I make to go along with it?   My answer? A sympathy card! The message inside reads “May you find comfort in God’s word and in the knowledge that others care and sympathize with you.”

Sympathy Card in Pinks with Lotus Blossom (images c. Stampin' Up!)

Sympathy Card in Pinks with Lotus Blossom (images c. Stampin’ Up!)

Apology Card in pinks (images c. Stampin' Up!)

Apology Card in pinks (images c. Stampin’ Up!)

I used the same patterned paper, stamp set and light pink card stock base to make a general “apology” card (there is no sentiment stamped on the inside so it can be used for any occasion where “I’m sorry” needs to be said).

As I think I’ve written here before, I love bright colors.  But as I step back now after a few weeks, I must admit I’ve begun to question that decision. Seriously.  Pink for a sympathy card?!?!?!  What was I thinking?

Obviously, I wasn’t.  While I can’t quite bring myself to dislike these cards (I just love the colors) I know in my heart that the colors clash with the sentiments they convey.  And as much as my head tries to rationalize it (even as I write this I continue to try to justify the color choices…..), I know I went a little too far with my creative license on these.

Just as per Ecclesiastes 3:1, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, to every occasion there are fitting card designs and less fitting ones.  Not that an occasional non-traditional look isn’t good.  It can be great in fact, but more me, at least, I think I’m going to stick with the traditional from here on out.  In fact I spent this morning working on sympathy cards that can be used at work.  They are all done in browns, ivories, greens, and rich purples.  They look much more appropriate, don’t you think?


Sympathy Cards by Certain Smiles, images c. Stampin’ Up!


Sympathy Cards by Certain Smiles, images c. Stampin’ Up!

Sympathy Cards by Certain Smiles, images c. Stampin' Up!

Sympathy Cards by Certain Smiles, images c. Stampin’ Up!

I could go on about the “psychology of color” (and there are plenty of websites out there on the subject), but I think, for now at least, I’ll just stick with my gut instincts….and avoid pink for sympathy cards in the future!!


Filed under Card Designs, Colors, Sympathy Cards

Encouraging Words for the Job Seeker

But enough about me already!   You hopefully came to this blog to be inspired, not to get bogged down in my insecure ramblings about my own self doubts. So it’s time to turn my attentions outwards. And as I look ahead at the New Year, I also reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for – such as my friends and family, my health, my job. Yes, my job. You see, I have a great boss, work I enjoy doing, and a fairly flexible schedule (thanks to that wonderful boss). But best of all, and something I remind myself of on those days when (and come on, admit it, we all have them) the work isn’t the most thrilling thing I’d like to be doing. Still, I tell myself, at least I have a job and it pays the bills.

You see, I have a very good friend who has been out of work for eight months now. His unemployment benefits ran out a couple of months ago, he’s back living at home to limit expenses, and he’s almost gone through all of his emergency savings. Now something as simple as an invitation out to dinner can be a cause for discomfort because he’s on a really tight budget and doesn’t want to be doing any unnecessary spending.

He’s a great guy with a fabulous attitude and a strong faith. With every interview he’s brimming with confidence that this will prove to be “the one”; only to be disappointed. Still, his faith allows him to believe that there will be another interview and a job for him – soon. I share that belief. But the waiting is tough sometimes. I know despite all his optimism, every now and then he gets discouraged.

At those times, I wish I had magic words; some phrase or nugget of wisdom that would make it all better. For the most part, I’ve learned he really just needs someone to listen. That there is nothing to say that will “fix” things. But maybe there are some things that could be said that might offer some hope and encouragement. Perhaps not to be said at the moment when he is at his lowest – anything said then would no doubt come off as trite and clichéd – but maybe in a card or note sent by way of encouragement at some other point during this difficult time of unemployment.

So with that in mind, here are almost two dozen of the best sayings / quotations I came across that would be appropriate for job seekers / someone who’s unemployed / has lost their job:

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” –Alexander Graham Bell

“When God takes away something, remember that He is ensuring that your hands are free to grab new opportunities” –Author unknown


“Getting fired is nature’s way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place.” Hal Lancaster

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something.” Randy Pausch


“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” –Helen Keller


“God uses suffering as a whetstone, to make men sharp with.“ –Henry Beecher


“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.” –Bernard Baruch


“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” –Helen Keller


“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” –Harriet Beecher Stowe


“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end, may also be only the beginning.” –Ivy Baker Priest
“Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.” –Aldous Huxley


“Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.” –Author unknown


“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” –Claude Bissell


“A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.” –Author unknown


“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” –Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha


“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford


“The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.” –Thomas Carlyle


“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” –Dale Carnegie


“Understand that it is ok to be scared or uncertain, however right beyond those barriers ultimately lies your dreams.” –Josh Hinds


“It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again.” –Vince Lombardi


“Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.” –African proverb


“You don’t have to figure out how it’s going to happen. It may not work on paper; there may not be a logical solution. In the natural, you don’t see a way, but that’s not your job; your job is to believe”–Joel Osteen

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” –Suzy Kassem


Here are links for some of the sites where I found these. The first was the most useful.



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Filed under Card Sayings, encouraging quotes

Happy New Year 2015!

Handmade Happy New Year greeting card

Handmade Happy New Year greeting card

Out with the old, in with the……old?

Started the new year bound and determined to “kick it up a notch” on my card designs! Bring new life to my Etsy shop! And so, I sit down to craft and look at my Pinterest page to check out samples of cards I’ve pinned over the past year. And what happens?  Yup, despite all the lovely and creative designs in front of me, I end up going back to my basic “go to” design — which involves using a large piece of Stampin’ Up! designer series paper as the feature.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  You see, I can’t get enough of those designs and colors.  They just call out to me.  They are so pretty and inviting and I hate to cover them up with any embellishments or other pieces of card stock…..  Here are a few samples….See what I mean?

Handmade Encouragement Card by Certain Smiles

Handmade Encouragement Card by Certain Smiles


Handmade Get Well Card by Certain Smiles


Handmade Sympathy Card by Certain Smiles

Not bad.  The paper is the star – as it should be.   I have a theory as to why I let the pretty paper do most of the talking in my designs:  Someone else has already done the job of making it beautiful.  Why mess with perfection?  The coordinating colors, the intricate details, the fun and funky patterns – what do I have to add?

Answer: A lot!  So stay tuned.  I know I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I’m going to keep trying, keep creating and will eventually find my own style, my own groove, my own “look”! 2015 is going to be wonderful.

Thomas Edison on Failure

Thomas Edison on Failure




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Filed under About Me, Creativity