Friday, September 23, 2011

Thankful Trees: Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Thankful Trees project is complete, with Phase 3 underway. The first picture shows a whole tree.  It's hard to get a good angle to photograph these things....

Next, a close-up of one of the chipboard tags:

Another chipboard tag:

How-To Tips on Chipboard Tags: The chipboard tags are from Basic Gray and have been in my stash for years. I traced each onto PTI natural cardstock and cut out fronts for them. Then, I trimmed them as needed to fit onto the face of each tag. Next, the tags were stamped with various Papertrey fall set images, although one has a Hero Arts tree, but my close-up picture of it didn't turn out...and I'm too lazy to take another. Just keepin' it real.

Anyway, I set aside the stamped card stock and painted the backs and edges of the tags with Making Memories Paper Bag acrylic paint (also been in my stash for years). When the paint was dry, I glued the stamped card stock panels to the tags and used a bone folder to smooth down the edges. You can see the effect of that smoothing on the upper right corner of the Plentiful tag picture. The thread actually comes from burlap...just pulled individual strands. They are kinky and give a fun texture to the otherwise flat tags. The bows are attached with a glue dot.  

Now for a close-up of the simple punched tag:

How-To Tips for the Punched Tags: This tag came from a punch I bought at Hobby Lobby that punches three sizes of tag. This one is maybe 1 1/8" wide by 1 3/4" tall. Both sides of the tag are stamped identically, so no matter what angle they are at on the tree, you can see the "right" side. It's stamped with stamps from two different Papertrey sets.

Problems with the Thankful Tree project: I'm starting to realize that putting too many different types of ornaments on a single tree creates visual chaos and it's very hard to get the ornaments arranged in a pleasing and balanced way in three dimensions, much less in a two-dimensional photograph. I have a feeling that I'll be making more layered leaf ornaments and end up not using some of the other pieces, just to keep the whole project nice and simple.

This plays up one of my weaknesses as a designer. I have to actually see something in real life before I can figure out problems. Some people can visualize the end product easily and anticipate problems like I've encountered before they happen.

I sometimes wish I were one of those people.

But I'm not. And that's okay. I'll muddle through and figure it out in the end, and furthermore, I'll even think of something else to do with any pieces that get edited out of the final product, such as using tags on gifts or on cards.

Hopefully, this example of my creative process will help one or two of you have more confidence in the "muddling through" part of creating.


  1. You are doing an amazing job, love those stamps, can't wait to see what's next.

  2. Susan, this is such a beautiful tree! Having a Thankful Tree is a wonderful thing --- it's a visual, constant, confirmation of all the good things we have. We all need to be reminded of all our gifts; we take so much for granted. Having this tree in our homes would help make us more aware of all we have. I'm going to try to make one for my home, too. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  3. I muddle too...have to move a piece of furniture to a new location to see if I like it and don't get met started on how I create my cards LOL! Love the layered maples leafs. But then, I'm biased. I am Canadian :)

  4. Dear Susan,
    I am selfishly glad you are not one of "those" people.. I learn so much more through your efforts and your reasoning out of design flaws. Thanks for all you do to help me grow
    patti moffett

  5. I can't wait to see Phase 3! It's so interesting to see your variations. I love the tags and I think they'd be perfect to use on cards if you decide they won't be staying on the Thankful Tree.

  6. What a wonderful idea to have a tangible reminder of our blessings. I would start one today if we didn't have 3 cats living with us. The tags would be in shreds and the tree would be on the floor. Love our four legged family members though.
    Thanks for a wonderful column; love reading your thinking process.

  7. What a beautiful idea...awesome!

  8. I like the tree with variety. And if you run out of room, you can just start putting your tags and ornaments on a big burlap canvas, like an ultra-CAS version of Paula's junk drawer advent calendar.


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