Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shimmery Background and a Question for You

One of the easiest ways to use Twinkling H2Os is to create a simple wash background. Using two shades of purple (lavender and grape), I made this shimmery backdrop for a lovely Penny Black stamp.

Check out the shimmer in this close-up. Awesomely pretty.

To make this wash, I loaded a wash brush (flat ferule with squared-off bristles) with the lighter lavender shade and painted the entire scrap of card stock. Then, I loaded the brush with the grape shade and started from the bottom to work it up into the lavender.

After letting the piece dry, I stamped the image and sentiment, and then cut out the prettiest part of it, which ended up being exactly 4.25" wide, so I mounted it on a portrait-oriented card with glue, not pop dots. This helped flatten the piece, and with that much spectacular shimmer, it didn't need to be popped off the card to grab attention anyway!

This series of cards using Twinkling H2Os got me thinking. One of my favorite and most satisfying ways to work involves focusing on something--a paint, an embellishment, a new stamp set, an old stamp set, a color scheme--and playing around with variations. Sometimes the variations are wildly different, as with these Twinkling H2O cards (here, here, and here), and sometimes they are variations that clearly relate to each other.

This method of focus and variation intrigues me; the challenge of variation excites and motivates me. Do you do the same thing? Or do you prefer working fresh with each new card? Or do you find a design you like and make multiple copies of the same thing?  Or do you do something completely different? What process of creating excites and motivates you the most?

stamps: Penny Black, Clearly Besotted
ink: Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: brush, Twinkling H2Os, glue


  1. I'll often make a batch of similar but not identical cards when I find a technique that grabs my imagination too

    Love your make AND especially the colour!


  2. Usually, I start with either the occasion, the technique oder the material (paper, colour, embellishment etc.). Then, when I have enough time, I like to do several variations, all in one style, but never identical to play with the momentary theme. Mostly, the ideas come while working on the first card...oh I could also do this or that, combine these colours and so on. Lots of fun :O)

  3. I used to start from scratch with each card, but I've found it easier to take an idea and duplicate it. I still try to change it up so each one is unique.

  4. I start with an occasion---birthday; Halloween; sympathy, etc. Then I chose a stamp set or theme. Then I chose a color pallete. If I am using designer paper I choose it first, then choose the inks and cardstock that co-ordinate. Then I choose a card layout based on the base card design---if it's a special fold, that will determine the size I need for a focal point and any text for example. Then I design my card taking all of this into consideration. By the time I'm finished I'm ready for something new, so I rarely make duplicates should the card be pleasing to me---too boring. I do think it wise to make duplicates of cards I love and stash them away though.

    However---doing it as I described above is quite time consuming. I've recently started buying Stampin Up products and it is so much easier to reproduce what a SU person has already published. And easy since I can buy the exact products and papers. It's motivating to know before I start that I will end up with a great looking card.

    You ask what part of the process of creating excites and motivates me---it's the planning process which takes place before I make the card, be it searching for a SU card I love or for inspiration for an original design. I find the actual card making mundane once underway. But when it all comes together, then it's it's a bit of a thrill if it turns out well.

  5. Yes, I absolutely do that. I hate to make the same card twice, but quite often I'll make 3 to 5 cards at the same time that are variation on a particular theme. When you get into a groove, you need to run with it!

  6. I tend to use what is lying around on my desk when I need inspiration. At the moment I have my small case of Twinkling H2Os, some corrugated card (I thought it might come in handy) and some gelatos (the non-edible variety).

  7. I Make individual birthday /occasion cards BUT xmas I make a few individual then decide which one will be quick and easy to make on mass .(throwing away /recycling card -ones that just dont work :( ) SO i enjoy your blog for the inspiration it gives

  8. I make cards one at a time, very slowly. I don't think it is fun to mass produce. I have saved so many card ideas, and that is where I start; I use the idea/design and make it my own. I have lots of your cards saved, although I also get enchanted with complex cards with paper piecing, fancy folds, etc. However, this is no way to use my stash!

    1. I love that so many of my readers don't limit themselves to CAS cards. It's exciting to know that many crafters like you, Janet, love to play and experiment and don't tie themselves to a single style.

  9. Susan your card is beautiful.
    now for me lately, since I'm on a design team what I do each month is take the stamp set in front of me and just create cards using the images in that set. when I create for myself I just go for it and use whatever strikes my mood.
    stamping sue

  10. Wow! So loving that shimmer...and I know it's got to look really good in person! Great job!

  11. Stunning card Susan, I've never used twinkling H2Os this way but will definitely give it a go, thanks for the inspiration, Cathy x

  12. Sometimes I use Pinterest for inspiration. Then I look to see what kind of stamps I have that will kind of match or correlate to that inspiration. I will also open a drawer and try to come up with something that will use an item in that drawer. (That could be stamps, inks, ribbon, punches or paper)

    I tend to do several of each card. Not mass produced certainly; but if I find something that works I make a few. I also hate making a card I really, really like only to give it away. I try to keep ones I like a lot for more inspiration. I know I should take more pictures; but I just haven't gotten into that groove.

    Right now I am mass, mass producing. I am hosting a card making class as a fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness next Saturday. All participants make 10 cards to take home for a donation. I invited 20 women; thinking that I would get 10. At the moment I have 15 ! coming. Luckily about half are paper crafters of some type or another and I am counting on them to help out the rookies.

    So, I am creating 10 cards. I am cutting out all the paper, doing some of the embossing and I did some die cutting. I am trying to make it easy; but fun. I want a no frustration zone. I am a bit nervous about people stamping. I have a weird thing about "cross contamination" on my ink pads. I am working on making designs kind of fool proof to prevent it. Although; as you know, nothing is foolproof when their is a human element. LOL

    I promise I will TRY to post some pictures so you can see the chaos and creativity!

  13. Back in the day I would make only one card at a time. Never wanted to mass produce my cards. But now that I have limited space and time, I make at least 12 of each card so I can keep my card racks full at the stores I sell them at.
    I really like to start with a clean work space. It can get messy in seconds once I start. It's amazing how small of space you end up working on after a few hours of stamping.
    I've been trying to use up what I have (and I have a lot) so my creative challenge is to work with what's in front of me. Can't remember the last time I purchased a stamp. I did invest in some copic refills last week because there was a great sale on them but other than that, I work from my stash.

    1. Lisa, I KNOW what you mean about the mess. My husband asks if I'm making progress or going backwards. I think the hardest part is putting away the bits and pieces when you are done. What do you save, just in case; and how?

    2. Marie, I don't save anything anymore. If a card isn't working out, I toss it and move on to another one. In the past I would spend hours trying to get a design to work. I will save white or black card stock scraps that are bigger than 3".
      My advice with your card class and not have cross contamination is only use one color - black dye base ink. If you want to add color use marker pens. If you plan to heat emboss, set up stations, one for stamping and one for embossing. I've had people point the heat gun right at a full bottle of embossing powder or cover the ink pad with embossing powder.
      Don't make the cards to fancy and they have to be cards you can make in less than 10 minutes. The time is double/triple for your students. Put your sample card in the clear sleeve and then one of those standing picture holder. Keeps it from getting mixed up with other peoples cards and doesn't get lost on the table.
      Always use dry adhesive (wet glue will make a hot mess) and try not to use stickles, which doesn't dry fast enough for a class.

  14. I usually make one card at a time, but if I really like it I'll make variations so that each one is unique. I get inspiration everywhere, but I never copy. Instead, I use it as a jumping-off place. (I do make one design of a holiday card and send to everyone on my list. I think of ideas all year long and keep a list on my computer. When it's time to make them, I'm not faced with "creator's block" and have a choice of designs.)

    I take a photo of each card (using a lightbox I made that shows if off nicely) so that I won't duplicate a card I sent last year and which also provides me inspiration for other cards.

  15. Well, it depends on my mood - and of course the time I have. Making only unique cards is much more time consuming than I sometimes have :-(

    But for very special occasions I made truly unique things - like the travel scrapbook I made for a very close friend (I have just uploaded it to my blog).

    Usually I made each card twice. One for sending out and one for myself as a "memory". So when I need a card but my muse is out of town I can flip through my binder and take a look at all these "old" cards I made. And usually I will get some new inspirations.

    I don't mind to make "mass productions". Often I don't upload my cards on my blog so there won't be any satiation for my readers or the receivers.

    But mass production doesn't mean to make a card 100 times or more. I don't have to send out such many cards. I am not a demonstrator who participate in any of these SU meetings so no need to make that much.

    Making more than only one card of a style is often a life saver for me. You know, even in rough times birthdays aren't out of business :-) So it is really comforting to have some cards on hand which can be send out quickly.

    The card making process varies too. Sometimes I start with the occasion (birthday, wedding, baby shower), sometimes I start with a specific stamp set (mostly, when it's new for me) and sometimes with a technique or a tool I want to use.

    Inspirations came from my old cards, cards I (rarely) receive, stamp magazines (Take Ten mostly), online ideas or workshops I participate (rarely, too).


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!