Saturday, July 16, 2016

OLS29: Diagonal Christmas

When I first tried to make a card for OLS29, Christmas in July, I struggled. You see, my urge to purge left me with fewer Christmas sets and, oddly, less motivation to make Christmas cards. But given the length of my personal Christmas card list and my need to contribute to our church's card shop and holiday bazaar, my Christmas mojo simply had to return. I'm running out of time.

A little retail therapy was in order.

Isn't it great how we justify shopping?

Anyway, my favorite of all these sets is Clearly Besotted's Christmas Poinsettia (pictured far left). This classic set provides rather formal yet very interesting images of holly and poinsettias, combined with a similar and wonderfully traditional font.

The holly branch has some wonderful movement to it, and I wanted to take advantage of that on a one-layer card. Largish stamps like that present a placement problem for one-layer CAS cards...they take over a lot of white space, which limits how they can be used. (Consider yesterday's card, which used that huge palm leaf stamp from Hero Arts...not much white space!) In this case, I decided to play around with horizontal and diagonal placement to see which I preferred.

First up, the horizontal placement. This design takes advantage of the rule of thirds by placing everything over the bottom third line of the card. The curves of the branch add movement, and the overlap of the sentiment and holly creates unity.

But I don't like it. The overlap makes the design look cluttered and crowded, and the horizontal design feels forced and awkward. I don't think that opening up the sentiment will rescue this layout at all; forcing the holly into this horizontal position just doesn't feel natural.

So let's look at the diagonal version. Note how open the design is...the elements can breathe. There's plenty of space to use the whole branch without the need to truncate it awkwardly. Also, note how natural the diagonal placement looks. Your eye moves easily and naturally from upper left to lower right. The holly points at the sentiment from the left and leads you into the card on the right. The sentiment is the focal point, easily read and placed in the lower right sweet spot.

Ahhh. This is more like it!

Now, large stamps like this holly branch can be used on CAS cards lots of different ways...but for one-layer cards, it pays to work with the image, not against it. Straight images generally make great horizontal or vertical designs, but loose and flowing images need a loose and flowing layout.

And thus endeth the lesson.

Now, please go play along with the OLS Challenge. Otherwise, come October/November, you'll be panicking!

stamps: Clearly Besotted Christmas Poinsettias
ink: Fresh Ink mojito, merlot
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none


  1. Great lesson! LOVE the second card!! So much 'free-er'. Checking out your ink colors, I can tell why :)
    I so enjoy that you take the time to share your thinking process as it helps me dissect my cards when they just don't go right. Thank you!
    Lu C

  2. Great "show and tell" of how to open up a design to let it breathe. And, I'm totally with you on the fewer stamps=less mojo thing. I went on a crafting fast for a year. At least that was the plan. Halfway through, my crafty mojo was gasping for breath, so I broke my fast. Like REALLY broke it, and the mojo came back.

  3. You're right, the second card is better, but the first card also I like very much. Thank you for this lesson in simplicity :-) You're in this great!

  4. I agree that the second one looks so much better!

  5. I don't think we can thank you enough for doing all this research for us, and guiding us along to good design! I just love the second card, and now I also know why.

  6. Thank you for showing us your first card and for describing the evolution to the second--it is SO helpful! Sometimes we get an idea for a card but just can't make it work and quit in frustration. Love the second card.

  7. I really appreciate your design lessons. This design is perfect :)

  8. I must be learning a thing or two from you. As soon as I saw that first card I thought, "Oh no! That holly branch needs to be diagonal!" Yes, the fixed the up version is the skippy!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!