Creative Blog Hop with a Difference

If you're here for my Anni-VERVE-sary Release Retrospective Hop post, click here or scroll down.

Hi friends! Today I'm doing a different kind of post. I've been tagged recently by a couple of people in the Creative Blog Hop and the Blog Hop with a Difference by Chaitali Narla and Nancy Leppek.  Thanks for the nominations, gals!  I'm so honored.  

The main premise for both hops is similar, (answer a few questions about your creative process and then nominate a few others to continue the hop on), so I'll be answering the questions from both.  But first, it's Mojo Monday, so I'm sharing my take on this week's Mojo 363 card sketch.

I used the Small Packages set and coordinating Cupcake Frame Die Set from Verve.  The coastal cabana layer is stamped randomly with the small cupcake stamp and then accented with stardust stickles.  I embossed the belated sentiment directly onto patterned paper, then stamped the from all of us sentiment on blushing bride and hand trimmed as a banner.  The star is a resist chipboard star that I sponged with pool party and coastal cabana inks and then around the edge with black ink.  I stamped and cut out one cupcake with the die, then colored it with Copics and accented with stardust stickles.  The only other accent was a big crystal star stick pin, that I stuck through my layers to hold everything together.  Okay, now to answer the questions for the blog hop.

How does my creative process work?
I usually start with selecting a stamp set.  I'll stamp, color, die cut and create a focal point.  Then I choose cardstock to match and build the card and layers up, distressing as needed.  I don't glue anything down until the end, choosing ribbons, twine or small embellishments at the very end where needed to balance the card out.

For illustrating, it always starts with an inspiration.  Something that I hear on the radio, see on my drive to the post office, read or come across that gives me a desire to get designing.  I may just go create that one stamp and see if a set just reveals itself, or I might write the idea down and mull it over for a while, jotting down other set ideas until I have the time and motivation to sit and create. Then it's refine, refine, refine.  I spend a lot of time fine-tuning things, mulling and cutting, changing fonts, starting over.  Some sets come together in a day, others I may start and stop and start again over the course of a few years!

What project am I working on right now?
I've been going through a bit of a creative lull and have not been feeling much like stamping. When this happens I like to try something new to get the mojo going again. So I've been doing a bit of doodling and also started Bible Journaling. Hoping a little practice at sketching and doodling and hand lettering will get me more comfortable with a pen in hand. Seems I don't get much time at the computer anymore, and it would be so much easier if I could just have a sketchpad and pen when illustrating (instead of a mouse and keyboard), so I can design amongst the chaos of toddler life.  Other than that, I'm trying to decide what to make for the Coffee Lover's Blog Hop next Monday, trying to motivate myself to work on designing some Christmas stamps and starting the behind the scenes work on Verve's next release.

How long does it take to create a project?

Oh goodness, I used to be the slowest stamper ever and cards took 2-3 hours!  Then I had the twins and my time got cut so dramatically that I now create most of my cards in 30 - 45 minutes.  I think most of the decrease is spending less time deciding on things.  I use a lot less designer paper and embellishments these days, which used to take me FOREVER to choose just the right pattern/color/mix.  I just get way too overwhelmed by all the choices!  And since most of my creating lately is either for a Mojo Monday sketch or a Viva la Verve sketch, I don't have to spend any time fussing with layout.

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?
Oh, wouldn't it be nice to know exactly how to inspire yourself and stay inspired?  {grin}  I usually look for inspiration in the things around me.  Love looking at fonts and designs on packaging and advertisements that catch my eye.  Love to go to home decor stores and look at all the displays to get seasonal ideas.  I also peruse Pinterest here and there for ideas on mixed-media and art journaling techniques.  When I'm in a slump, I will often look back in my gallery to a time when I felt particularly creative and pick out something I really liked and try to recreate it in a new way.  I also try to do some positive thinking anytime I have a deadline or commitment to meet and not much time to do it in.  I'll spend the day telling myself I'm going to make an awesome card that night.  And then things always seem to go so much smoother than when I go into my stamp room  thinking, I really hope this turns out!

What is my signature style/how does my work differ from others in my genre?
They're pulling out the tough questions, huh?  I would say my style is layered and graphic with a distressed bent.  I play around with lots of styles, though, never afraid to incorporate something new.  I guess one thing that's pretty common on my cards is sponging and dimension.  Even my cleanest cards usually have some sort of sponging on them to create depth and I can't remember the last time I made a card without dimensionals.  What do you think?  Do my cards have a defining characteristic?

Why do I create what I do?
I guess the reason I make cards is to connect with others.  I'm painfully shy and hate to talk on the phone, so when I first got into stamping it was to make cards to send to friends to keep in touch. (Back before email and Facebook and texting and unlimited nationwide long distance!) My favorite cards are always the ones that I have a special person in mind for when I'm creating the card. I like to tailor it to the person's likes and think and pray about the person as I create. Although, I must admit that even though I make many of my cards with someone special in mind, they typically don't make it to the post office in a timely manner.

I do mixed-media for myself.  I love the freedom it gives to explore and experiment and mess up and cover it up and make something beautiful from so many layers, many of which are hidden and only the artist will ever know.  It's like putting a picture of what's going on in your soul out in the world, but not having to put those feelings into words, because the words are so inadequate.

One random fact about me: I think embossing folders are the coolest invention ever!  I just counted and I have 156 full card front sized embossing folders and tons more borders and smaller sized ones, too.  And in case, you were thinking it, the politically correct term is collector NOT hoarder!  LOL

Live Nominations...
Okay, it's the time in the show where I get to introduce three people that inspire me and invite them to continue on in the hop.  I ran out of time for anything last week and completely forgot to email them about this ahead of time, so as Mark said, just tell people these are the "LIVE" nominations.  haha

First up, Alma de la Rosa from The Cat's Pajamas.  I fell in love with her adorable retro comic style cat images as soon as I saw them back in winter 2006 when I first discovered SCS.  And if I hadn't loved her stamps so much, I might not have rekindled my love for stamping and Verve would never have been.  She is an amazing artist and company owner.  She gave me my first spot on a design team and was so gracious and generous and even created a new position so I could continue with the team after I started Verve.  I will forever be a fan.

Next is Claire Brennan from Waltzingmouse Stamps.  I'm so inspired by women who already have families and start their own business.  And women that tirelessly do it all themselves.  I know just how hard it is, and I doubt Verve would have come to be if I'd already had kiddos.  It's super tough running a family and a business and Claire makes it look easy.  Her stamp designs are unique and fresh and she is the sweetest person ever and always knows when to pop a message my way to lift my spirits.

Finally, Dina Kowal.  She's a stamp designer, a missionary, a mom, an instructor, Artist in Residence for Splitcoaststampers and she's just an all around amazing artist.  Her mixed-media work is the kind of stuff that you see and you realize, "that's the GOOD stuff".  The type of art that comes from a heart of passion, reflects the soul of an artist and is so much more than just a card.  More often than not lately, if I get inspired to stamp it's because I've seen something on Dina's blog and just have to put ink to paper.  

Okay, if you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading my ramblings!  Hope you enjoyed reading a little about me and my creative process.  If you aren't familiar with these amazing ladies, you should definitely go check them out!  Hope you have an amazingly creative week.

Enabler's List
Mojo Monday 363
Stamps: Small Packages (Verve Stamps)
Paper: Hello Sunshine (Echo Park), Pattern Prints, basic black and coastal cabana (SU!)
Ink: coastal cabana, pool party, blushing bride (SU!), black soot (Ranger Distress)
Accessories:  Cupcake Frame Die Set (A Cut Above by VERVE), star stick pin (Maya Road), resist chipboard star (Heidi Swapp), stardust stickles (Ranger), polka dot embossing folder (Cuttlebug)


  1. Completely enjoyed reading this this morning! You are oh so talented and have such a way with words to boot. We are the lucky ones! Have a great day

  2. LOVED reading about you! I can't imagine being a designer - I would get in a creative rut just thinking about it! And I think it's so cool that you are Bible journaling. I just got some new calligraphy pens and now I just focus on the verse of the day and try to turn it into word art. It's something I can do with the kids around and I think it's important for them to see me doing it. Bless you and your family!

  3. Such a cute card! I love the colors and all the texture and touch of bling. I also enjoyed reading about your life and ventures -- I also have a little one under foot and try not to have my head in the computer while he is awake all the time. Thankfully he is a good napper. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I loved reading about you and think it is amazing all that you do. I love the Verve stamps and products.
    Your card is beautiful. Love all the details and texture.

  5. What a wonderful blog post to read through!! Always love knowing more about the person and process behind the cards as it breathes so much life into their creations.

    Love a well used/read/margin filled Bible - great doodling and focusing on the verse that touched you - nothing better to fill one's soul :)

    156 EFs!!! I'm jealous LOL! Glad I have you to inspire me as to which ones I "need" wink, wink.

    Always, always love your creations, Julee, and this card is no exception. That big star is fablous as is the cupcake background on the one panel. SO, so blessed to be a part of the Verve DT and hoping some of your fabulous talent rubs off on me. Hugest of ((hugs)) to you and thanks for sharing :) Love you to bits MWAH!

  6. What a treat to read about your creative process! And you've inspired me to get out the sponges more often -- that never seems to occur to me. Color me in awe, as usual! And I couldn't agree more re: the oh-so-fabulous Alma. :)

  7. I love the peek into your life and designing, Julee. Your journaling in the margin of your Bible is wonderful - and so echos my heart today. I had to laugh when I read about you not liking to talk on the phone. Oh, me too!!! Thanks for your investing in our lives through your stamps. You are a blessing to me!


  8. Loved your sharing and getting a glimpse of what goes into a fabulous designer's creative process! And the card is gorgeous, too!!

  9. Oh how fun. It was fun to learn a little more about you and to also get a little more insight on your personality by who you nominated and why.
    Thanks for taking the time in your busy life to share.
    Maybe our crafting mojos took a little vacation together? Still waiting for mine to come back or at least send a postcard. lol
    Crafty hugs,

  10. The card is fabulous as usual!! Loved hearing the "inside story"! Totally understand the lack of mojo....mine seems to come and go these days!!

  11. thanks for sharing how you describe your signature style


Thanks so much for taking the time to brighten my day with a comment! I love hearing from you.

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