Monday, April 27, 2015

Cool vs. Warm, and a Comment about Ink

It's fun to play around with colors by making two versions of the same card in two different color schemes.

Please tell me that's not a sad way to have fun. Please.

Anyway, I made these two cards over the weekend.

Note that I fiddled with the sizes of the banners. Also note that the proportions in the cool card work better than the proportions in the warm card. But that's an example of living and learning.

Dang, that yellow banner is just too long!


I really prefer the cool card, but the warm one is a close second. Note that the green on both is the same (Fresh Ink mojito), which wasn't my original intention. I'd stamped a banner in VersaColor brick to go with the yellow and orange, but there wasn't enough contrast between it and the orange (which is Memento Luxe Morocco). I had the extra green one lying on my desk and thought, "Huh. This might work." And it did.

Contrast is important when overlapping elements in a design. Don't you forget it.

And now it's time for a comment about ink.

I really like the way thick, pigmenty inks (Memento Luxe, VersaMagic, Impress Fresh Ink) look when stamped with clear stamps. They do, however, dry more slowly than thin, watery inks (Hero Arts, Memento, Ancient Page). Recently, a reader of mine had real problems with an ink drying, and since I'd recommended it to her, she emailed me to ask if I'd had any problems. In her case, the ink never dried even after a week, smeared dreadfully, and ruined her whole project.

I felt terrible because she'd bought the ink on my recommendation. The company is working with her to resolve the situation, so I'm not going to name names or anything. But she asked me if I'd noticed some colors of ink drying more slowly than others.

Honestly, I'd never paid that close attention. So when I made this card, I did, and the Fresh Ink Island dried more slowly than the other colors. By about an hour. Weird, but there you have it.

If you're new to the thicker inks like Memento Luxe, VersaMagic, VersaColor, Impress Fresh Inks, or others, please note that some colors DO dry more slowly. Test your inks, and know that they dry differently on different papers, too. (That wasn't my reader's problem...she was using PTI white, just like I do.)

Anytime you have a serious problem with an ink or any other product, email the manufacturer. And note that individual results WILL vary!

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Papertrey Note Niblets
ink: various
paper: Papertrey
accessories: rhinestone heart and gem, dimensionals

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hydrangea Inspiration

Today's card owes its existence to a card by Heidi Van Laar that appeared in Paper Crafts Card Style 2010.

Card by Heidi Van Laar, Card Style 2010

Heidi used wood paper for a natural feel to this wonderful wedding card, and wow is it lovely! I decided to use her idea of tumbling hydrangea blossoms for a mother's day card because YES, I HAVE THIS EXACT PUNCH and ohmygosh it's fabulous. It's not often I stick so close to the original inspiration piece, but in this case, it wouldn't pay to mess with success.

My mom's favorite color is blue, so I chose my colors accordingly.

This will be mailed in a box with a gift, so no worries about those big pearls or the curled blossoms. I'm going to put it in a larger envelope so it's not totally flattened when she takes it out.

Thanks, Heidi! Your card from five years ago is still inspiring!!!!

(Note: Heidi's blog is closed, so I'm not sure she's still stamping. She does have a Pinterest page.  Does anyone know if she's still designing?)

stamps: Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white, some SU shade of blue, I think
accessories: half pearls, Martha Stewart Hydrangea punch, glue pen, butter knife to curl petals, corner rounder

Saturday, April 25, 2015

How Scale Changes Design

Back to the 2010 issue of Paper Crafts Card Style for some more inspiration...this time from Courtney Kelley.

Card by Courtney Kelley, published in Card Style 2010

A few observations about Courtney's CAS cutie: 1) busy patterned paper can work on CAS cards, if you use it sparingly and smartly, as she does here, 2) punched flowers look better with stems, 3) pair a really, really clean and easy to read font with something crazy like this patterned paper and they balance each other out so well, 4) putting three things--a ground of some kind, a focal point image, and a sentiment--is all you really need for a well-designed card. Yay!!!

Now, as most of you know, I eschew the use of patterned paper in my card making on the principle that every time I use it, it looks awful. Like sequins, patterned paper is for better crafters than I. But now that I've made peace with washi tape, I have a most excellent substitute.

This may be my first Christmas card of the year. Not sure and too lazy to check. But still, by jingle bells, I nailed it! Thanks to Courtney's inspiration, of course!

My focal point was a good bit larger than Courtney's, and this necessitated some shifting around of elements. If the sentiment were above the washi, your eye would start at the sentiment, move to the star, and then dropped straight down to the bottom of the tree that's all silvery with glitter...and stop right there. There's nothing to lead it back to the sentiment above the washi. That large sideways L-shaped triangle isn't a good design because you want the eye to keep moving. Courtney avoids my problem by keeping things smaller and tighter together in a more linear fashion that brilliantly uses the busy patterned paper. My washi, however, forcefully takes the eye only in one direction.

So my big ol' tree meant adjustments needed to be made. On my card, your eye moves around a nice, big triangle from sentiment to star to tree and back again, which adds stability, balance, and unity to the larger design. Note how the red diagonal washi points between the sentiment and star, and the red ornaments zigzag you to the glittery trunk of the tree? Cool, eh? The three spots of silver give a kind of anchor to this design, and the movement is provided by the red diagonal and dots. Since there's nothing between the trunk and sentiment, it's easy enough for the eye to bridge that small gap.

I hope all this makes sense. It seems more complicated to explain than it felt to design, LOL!!!

Because my focal point is white, on a white background, there's a huge risk of it disappearing into the card. So I needed some sizeable embellishments for it. Those giant (and relatively flat) enamel dots worked like a charm!

Many thanks to Courtney Kelley for giving me such a fine inspiration piece!

And that's all I have to say about that.

Stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple Christmas
ink: Brilliance silver
paper: Papertrey white, silver glitter (from Michael's)
accessories: washi, dimensionals, tree punch, star punch, enamel dots

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Inspiration Never Gets Old

I miss Paper Crafts magazine. Seriously.

It's a good thing I kept a bunch of back issues and special publications, including Card Style 2010, where I found Julia Campbell's card with this darling little bling detail:

The rounded corner and differently-sized bling completely inspired me to make the following two cards.

First up, a little number I call "A Woman Can NEVER Have Too Many Sizes of Bling."

Note that rather than using the bling as an accent, as Julia did, I chose to make it the star of the show because it was such an excellently cool idea. On a CAS card, even small accents can become big focal points if you use white space properly.

Next up, a little number I call "Pattern in Bling."

I made this card just because I could...because I have lots and lots of bling, and I'm not afraid to use it. I love how fun and whimsical this card it. It feels so different from the first, more elegant card, yet it's the same layout. Subtle changes can completely shift the mood!

If you're looking for inspiration, search your stash of old magazines. Despite the trendiness of our hobby, you'll find all sorts of timeless tips and fun ideas!

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, dimensionals, corner rounder

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Go Big or Go Home

Have you ever picked up some embellishment at the store and thought, "Dang, this is too big to put on a card. It would never go through the mail"?

I think that all the time. And when I made scrapbooks, I thought, "This is too bulky for a scrapbook page. It will damage the facing page!"

Bulky embellishments are often lovely, but they aren't entirely practical.

Sometimes, however, you just have to go big or go home!

Eeep! I love these giant heart rhinestones! Look how bulky this thing is in the close-up:

But I used it anyway because it's going to my honey-bunny husband and needs no postage. Yay! I don't have to be practical all the time.

The circle is from Trendy Tree Tops by Papertrey. It demonstrates the principle of "angles love curves." The tension between the straight lines of plaid in a round shape and the curvy 3D heart works so well. Add to that the fabby font of the sentiment and a straight line of little hearts, and you've got lots of clean-and-simple style!

The color combination is one of my favorites. There's just so much energy and fun in aqua and red.

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Papertrey Trendy Tree Tops, Simon Says (row of hearts)
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: giant heart bling, corner rounder

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When OCD Does NOT Work: A Before and After Post

While still playing around with the idea of running large stamps off the edge of cards (see yesterday's post), I tried to make a card with the largest butterfly in Papertrey's Beautiful Butterflies set, all lined up on the edge. Sadly, this card absolutely doesn't work for me.

Sometimes, OCD layouts don't work. Do NOT do this
to butterflies. 

The generic layout is fine, and the colors are positively yummy, but butterflies just don't line up like that. Ever. Okay, maybe pinned up in display cases, but seriously, do you want your card to evoke dusty nature-museum collections of dead butterflies? Surely not.

No, you want those butterflies flitting about, alive and well and oh so natural.

Yep. That's much better.

Fly, little butterflies! Fly free!

And in a lovely visual triangle. Yay!

This post is brought to you by the design concept formerly known as Unity but now called Don't Pin Down the Butterflies!

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Butterflies, Happy Trails (sentiment on first card)
paper: Papertrey white
ink: Impress Fresh ink, VersaMagic, Memento Luxe
accessories: corner rounder

Monday, April 20, 2015

Can Big Images Be Used on CAS Cards?

Well, of course they can! But it can be tough to maximize white space. An easy solution is to run the large image off the edge of a this:

This tree from Papertrey's Mighty Oak set is huge, so I took it as far to the right as possible, which gives plenty of room for the sentiment in the upper left "sweet spot." After stamping the tree, leaves, and sentiment, I still felt the card needed a little something, so red berries it was! Red is the complement of green, so the combo adds energy to the design.

Of course, you can always go left, like Leonard Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory. *hee hee*

I had to make a card with the large ginkgo branch from Papertrey's Harvest Berries set, which gives such lovely vertical curves on the left of the design, doesn't it? I like how that contrasts with the strong, straight horizontal line of the sentiment, but it made me want to add the single rounded corner on the right.

Search your stash for big stamps, and see if you can make some CAS cards by letting the image slide off the edge.

"I'm a donkey on the edge!"

My son is in his high school musical Shrek. Performances start later this week. That is apropos of nothing, I suppose, except to say that my son can both sing and dance, while I can do neither. Sometimes the apple does roll away from the tree. Or the ginkgo berry gets carried away by the donkey.

I'm sorry. I'll shut up now.

stamps: Papertrey
ink: Memento Luxe, VersaMagic, Impress Fresh Ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: corner rounder