Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dreams Are Made with Tiny Embellishments: A Lesson

Hero Arts' new set called Dreams Are Made makes me so very happy. It's a lovely set, full of quotations mostly from Shakespeare and also mostly from A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of my favorites of the Bard's many plays.

One quotation, however, comes from Hamlet and is clearly taken entirely out of context, which inhibits my use of it, seeing as I'm a master of literature and all. (We have rules, people!) When Hamlet says, "To sleep, perchance to dream..." in Act III, scene 1, he's depressed as all heck and reflecting on suicide. It's not a nice line, yet here it appears in a gorgeous dream-land stamp set full of stars and the moon and an owl and clouds, sounding pretty dreamy and innocent.

Those of us who know better will struggle to dissociate it from its original intent. My apologies if I've now ruined that quotation for you. I still bought the set because, as I said, it's lovely.

The quotation on my card today isn't from Shakespeare at all, but from 19th-century British novelist Sarah Williams. I love it, though, and used it here happily.

With this set, the most logical use of it is to clear emboss images and sponge a dark blue sky over them, simulating night. I've done that HERE. But I wanted to see how it would look in blue on my beloved white card stock, and the effect was surprisingly pleasing.

The card looked fine with just the ink and paper, but it still needed a little something-something, so silver half-beads to the rescue!

Several people have asked about rhinestone/bead placement, and there are a few guidelines I use that might help you. But WARNING! I screw up cards all the time either by going "a bling too far" or by following one of my guidelines and not liking the results. There's no hard and fast rule that works all the time, and sometimes it feels like I'm using the Force. With that disclaimer assertively out there, here are some guidelines.

1. Odd numbers generally look better. Not always, but usually.
2. Arrange the bling in triangles...very irregular triangles, like acute or obtuse, not equilateral.
3. Vary size of bling when possible, and also consider using different colors if your color combination allows for it.

So when we apply these three guidelines to the above card, we see I sort of followed them. The top three half beads are almost an equilateral triangle, but since the bottom bead is on the raised panel of the card, the symmetry doesn't seem so noticeable. I didn't add the bling on the raised panel until all the other bling was placed...hadn't intended to put any up there because it'll make this card hard to mail. That bead placed right next to the beginning of the quotation went there to draw your eye to the words.

The two beads on the bottom of the raised panel form an irregular triangle with the bead at the beginning of the quotation, and also with the top bead below the raised panel. That helps pull your eye down and through the design. That bead just below the raised panel also forms an irregular triangle with the two beads directly above it.

See what I did there? All the triangles are linked, if you will. Pretend that the beads on the raised panel aren't there. Those top two beads form a triangle with the first bead below the panel, which then forms another triangle with the bottom two. Five beads, two triangles, both irregular. That was my plan.

I thought that would be enough, but it just wasn't. Adding another triangle on the raised panel created more links, drew the eye to the beginning of the quotation, and brought the fabulously starry owl into the design, unifying everything.

Also, you'll notice that all but one of the beads are medium-size. That one small bead on the raised panel made sense (especially when you have to put two beads pretty close together...the variation is size is generally more interesting), but as I held the small beads over the dark blue stars, I realized they just disappeared into the visual chaos of dark blue. The largest beads on the backing sheet overwhelmed the chaos. Thus, the plethora of medium beads.

So if you've followed all this, you realize that it can be hugely easy to screw this balancing act up, and the process of finding your way toward something successful is as much trial-and-error and plain good luck as it is thoughtful planning.

For me.

Believe it or not, there are people who look at a design and "see" in their mind's eye where everything needs to go. Those people need to keep their traps shut and not rub it in because the rest of us poor schmucks have to waste a lot of bling and paper getting this stuff right.

So I close with a comforting reminder of two simple mantras I repeat to myself frequently:

1. It's only paper.
2. Bling is really cheap if you buy it at Michael's for half price.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love in the new year,

stamps: Hero Arts Dreams Are Made
ink: Archival cobalt, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Prismacolor silver metallic marker, metal ruler, craft foam, glue, silver half beads


  1. I can spend so much time trying out different places for bling and do try to follow these rules but a lot of the time I just play around until it looks right to me!

  2. Gorgeous card, of course. Just wanted to say that I also bought this set, though I have the exact same problem with the Hamlet line! Too funny.

  3. Thanks for the tut on bling placement! That has driven me a little nuts over the years. Sometimes I just take a few sequins and drop them on the card for a totally random effect. I then pick up what's obviously out of place & just go with it. But what is it about good paper that I such a hard time tossing it out when mistakes are made? Sigh.

  4. Believe it or not, there are people who look at a design and "see" in their mind's eye where everything needs to go. Those people need to keep their traps shut and not rub it in because the rest of us poor schmucks have to waste a lot of bling and paper getting this stuff right.

    You crack me up! But, you are so right! My daughter is one of those "seers" while I am one of those schmucks!


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