Thursday, June 26, 2014


As I sat at my craft desk for the first time in almost two weeks, I experienced that mental blank that comes from being away. What in the world should I make? How do I choose among so many options? Have I lost my touch? Will my Muse show up for this? Will my own brain show up for this? Oh, man, my head hurts....

Flailing around randomly, I pulled out several sets in my new stamps bin and stared at them for a bit. What would happen if I used that frame in the Clearly Besotted set? Maybe off to the left, vertically like that room d├ęcor pin, with a sentiment to the right? Nah. I already did that. What about centered and sponged, with butterflies stamped over it? Let's see.

I stamped the frame in the center of the card and surrounded it with post-it notes, pulled out my plastic drawer with sponges in it, consulted my ink chart to choose two colors to create a gradient in that small rectangular frame, and withdrew Hero Arts Butter Bar and Orange Soda.

Butter Bar went down first, thoroughly saturating the whole space. Then, working up from the bottom, I added Orange Soda only to the bottom half of the space. When I was satisfied that there was sufficient gradient, I pulled off the post-its and stared at the results for a bit.

That's when I decided the sentiment belonged in the frame...a sentiment in a clean font that would allow the gradient to show beautifully. Hero Arts has an old clear set with a fabulously neutral font for a hello stamp. Yep. That works.

What to do to create a bit more interest?  Stamping butterflies didn't feel right, but I still had butterflies on my brain, mainly because I saw so many in Minnesota that I never see in Ohio, plus the die cuts from Joyce were sitting on my desk...looking way too big for this card. Out came the Martha Stewart butterfly punch. I tried to arrange three in a good little visual triangle, but it looked like too much. TOO MUCH, I say!

So much of design requires using the Force, don't you think?

Anyway, with two butterflies on opposite corners arranged to keep attention on the sentiment, I was mostly happy. But of course, it needed bling. I searched my orange/yellow embellishment drawer and found a small zip bag with about 8 or 9 Swarovski crystals in it. I have lots of these in various colors thanks to a reader who sent me a huge stash years ago, but I don't use them often because gluing those tiny things is sort of a pain.

But those little crystals are so much prettier than the cheap self-adhesive kind, and they truly are worth the extra effort. My friend Joan once posted this saying, which I love: "Do Simple Things Well."

In my lazy, get-'er-done-quick mentality, I too often forget that.

So I glued the crystals down, and here's the final result.

Lots of white, a pop of strong color, bling. What more could I want?

As I wrote this post, I realized that the way we make design decisions is so personal, individual. You, for instance, may have chosen different colors, either because you don't like yellow and orange or because you didn't have good dye inks in the those colors. You might have placed your frame in a sweet spot instead of dead center, or vertically in a pair, or falling off the edge of the card. You might have punched butterflies in colored card stock or vellum or patterned paper, or gone with something entirely different, like lady bug buttons or flowers. You might have used pearls or several smaller gems rather than one larger one as I did. You might have popped or layered any or all elements on this card.

Isn't it wonderful how we're all different!

But the main point here is that we HAVE to make decisions, choose one way or another, repeatedly. Otherwise, nothing ever gets made. Some of you may have no problems at all making design decisions, but others (I suspect most of us) get all insecure and question and doubt and second-guess our decisions and gum up the process. Overcoming those road-blocks is powerful and empowering, and requires that we trust ourselves and the process itself and accept that we will fail sometimes...and that failure is okay. Really, it is only paper.

Trust the process. Trust yourself.

And thus endeth today's lesson.

stamps: Clearly Besotted, Hero Arts
ink: Hero Arts, Memento
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: MS butterfly punch, Swarovski crystals, glue, sponge, post-it notes


  1. Gasp ... perfect! Wise words, Susan ... someone who never makes a mistake, never makes anything! Anita :)

  2. Beautiful, the colour choices are perfect. Love love the layout. Agree with all that you said. Sometimes it can be so hard, you will think of a part of the card, go thru every idea, spend so much time overthinking then its time to bite the bullet and of course it all falls into place.

  3. What a wonderful post! I read thru thinking this is just like myself when I'm creating. I'm always second guessing and doubting my ideas but its so nice when it finally looks like the image in my head. Card making is supposed to be fun and I sometimes turn it into a stressed out chore. So every now and then I miss out a few challenges, don't touch my craft area and catch up with other things. When I really feel like coming back, I find that the joy has returned. And by the way, your card is absolutely perfection!!

  4. "Really, it is only paper"
    I think we ought to frame it and hang it over our craft space :)

  5. Glad I'm not the only one that struggles with what to make though I think I knew I have company. I love the card, and I think I have that Martha punch.

  6. Thanks, I needed this lesson! Lots of days lately, I cannot decide what to do. I thought it was advanced aging going on. BTW, your beautiful card is not at all like I pictured reading your story. Funny mind here! Love the card.

  7. Your yellow/orange stamping is perfect and so eye catching - like a beautiful sunset. Love the butterflies and the bling. Great choices :)

  8. For sure, analysis paralysis is the enemy of creativity. And sanity!


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