Friday, October 26, 2012


One design element that people sometimes forget is Unity. To make a card unified, each component has to relate to the others in deliberate ways, which, let's face it, can be hard when you're working with the "limited" supplies of even an expert-level stamp hoarder.

How many sentiments do you have?

"Roughly a gazillion."

Do you always have just the right one?


I thought not.

Anyway, unity is why using happy colors on a sympathy card is a bad idea, as is putting a rusted-out, old-timer jalopy that's falling apart in an overgrown field on a birthday card. Well, unless you intend to liken the birthday boy to a rusted-out, old-timer jalopy that's falling apart in an overgrown field.

(BTW, what was StampinUp thinking with that set anyway?)

So when I contemplated the empty birdcage stamp in SU's Nature Walk, I thought about how sad bird cages are. When they are occupied, they are prisons for things that should fly free. When they are empty, they imply absence, something missing...something missing that's pretty and sings better than I do.

Oh the moral conundrum of birdcages!

I decided to make a missing you card for Operation Write Home, only all the missing you stamps I had were too small, too large, on two lines instead of one, or ugly fonts. So it became a thinking of you card, which works, but not quite as well.

The birdcage looks a bit too feminine for a dude card, so I went girly with the whole thing: pink and burgundy. Wouldn't this be a great card for a female soldier, sailor, marine, or airman to send to her mother or sister or aunt or besty?

I just love the spray of flowers peeking out from behind the stamped panel. It adds some lovely interest and shows how the empty cage might symbolize loss or absence, but the flowers symbolize hope and beauty.

It also nicely creates some asymmetrical balance on the card. Bonus point!

And really, don't you wish all our troops safe return to their own homes? I was listening to this song today. It's really not the sort of thing you should listen to while driving. But it so perfectly expresses the commitment and sacrifice of our troops and their families.

And that's all I have to say about that. *sniff, sniff*

stamps: SU Nature Walk, PTI sentiment (not sure which set)
ink: Versacolor
paper: PTI
accessories: dimensionals, scallop scissors (to slightly round the corners of the raised panel)


  1. Oh unity is so often overlooked in those "how to" books. Thanks for putting words to something I've always felt.

  2. Love this card, Susan! I really love the asymmetrical balance you've created, also! :-) Pretty and perfect.

  3. Beautiful card.

    If the SU set you are referencing is Countryside, I have to confess I love that one. See nothing wrong with it at all. Never would have made the 'old' connection... it's just a beautiful, vintage truck to me.

  4. Tania, I agree with you completely that the image itself is gorgeous and evocative of the good ol' days. My beef with it is strictly when it's used as a guy birthday image. There were a bunch of cards using it that way posted to SCS way back when the set was new, and I couldn't help but wonder how the recipients felt about it.

  5. Your explanation of unity is well done, Susan. I love the flowers behind the bird cage.

  6. Brilliant post, and beautiful card :)

  7. Well, at least you gave a good reason for putting a birdcage on a card. That's yet another trend that I have not jumped in on. When I started this stamping hobby I had no idea that stamp manufacturers were such trend followers. But, I guess they have to follow the whims of a fickle public to continue raking in the bucks. But, may I say that I think I will scream if I see another Eiffel Tower stamp or yes, another birdcage stamp?

  8. Isn't it wonderful that there are so many different images to satisfy all tastes and preferences?

  9. But just think how many more images there would be if so many companies weren't all doing the same thing because they feel to get the business they have to be part of trend followers. I've just always had too much of an independent spirit to do something just because someone else decided it was the thing to be doing. I'm very sorry if you felt my original comment was inappropriate. It was just an opinion which it seems we independent thinkers are usually better off keeping to ourselves.

  10. Express your opinion here freely! I felt the same way about owls after a while. But as much as I hated them, others loved them.

    I'm just grateful that the trendiness of the industry keeps it growing and healthy, even through this economic downturn. There is so much more available--even with trends--now than there was ten years ago. As annoying as economics is, it's what gives us so much choice.

  11. As I mentioned yesterday, I have the Nature Walk set and I love it - except for the birdcage which I've never used and probably never will (even after reading your explanation for using it). The thought of a bird in a cage makes me so sad that I hate even looking at birdcages!

    I'm totally with you on the issue of having gazillions of sentiment stamps. In fact, I just bought some more Christmas sentiments just to be sure to have the right size for possible future designs!

  12. Okay, this is how good your cards are: I had such a hard time trying to figure out how to use this set that I ended up giving it away. NOW I think I am going to have to buy it again!!!! GAH!

  13. I hear you with the bird cages. I don't like them for the same reasons you gave. So why do I own so many, including dies? I ... have no idea. But I'm pretty sure I've never stamped a bird inside a cage. I do use the other stamps from sets, though, so it's not a total loss.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!