Saturday, February 18, 2017

An Experiment: Day Ten

Yesterday, I read our pastor's weekly email and discovered that two of our congregation had lost loved ones during the week. When I went to my stash of sympathy cards, there was but one card. With this on my mind as I fell asleep, I got the idea to focus on a very basic layout similar to Day Four of An Experiment and see what different monochromatic color variations would look like.

It was a great opportunity to use up a lot of white scraps that had accumulated over the past few months. Each scrap panel was cut to a proportional size (see this post here) before being stamped, and then mats at increments of 1/16", 1/4", and 1/16" were cut to give the panels a pretty frame, just as on Day Seven of An Experiment. (See below for details on cutting these.)

As you can see, some stamped panels were larger than others, but all follow the same basic layout. Each color scheme uses a very pale shade, a medium shade, and a dark shade, and for most the sentiment is stamped in the dark shade. It was fun experimenting with colors. The blues and purples of course look "sympathy-ish" but I was surprised at how good the yellow card turned out.

It uses Hero Arts soft vanilla and Archival saffron and sienna. Its warmth really made this work for me.

The red card, however, feels a little too bright for a sympathy card. Plus, red's association with blood sort of makes this disturbing to me. The colors are Hero Arts soft blossom, Memento rhubarb stalk, and Archival plum. What do you think?

Note that what makes this layout so solid and balanced is the use of the Rule of Thirds. The flowers cover about a third of each panel, with the weight in the bottom right, while the sentiment sits in the upper left sweet spot. The diagonal adds movement and interest as well.

At least now I have a goodly selection of sympathy cards for my personal stash, and a severely depleted scrap drawer...both of which were absolutely worth it.

Cutting Perfect Mats
I cut mats exclusively with a craft knife and quilting ruler. The ruler's registration allows for perfect 1/8" increments and always gives me a perfect right angle. To cut these particular mats, I took the panel dimensions and added 1/8" to cut the first mat, then added 1/2" the first mat's dimensions to cut the second mat, and finally added 1/8" to the second mat's dimensions to get the third, largest mat.

For example, a 3 1/4" x 2" panel would have mats that are 3 3/8" x 2 1/8", 3 7/8" x 2 5/8", and 4" x 2 3/4".

Glue the mats from top to bottom. I use Scotch Tacky Glue in a thin bead around the edge of the back of the stamped panel to start, then position it on the smallest mat. The liquid glue gives me a little wiggle room to reposition. Then, flip those two layers over, add another bead of glue, and place it on the middle mat. Repeat with the third mat, and finally the card base.

Here's a pictorial guide to how I cut the mats that might help.

Whew. There's a lot in this post. I've decided to add a tab to the blog that lists useful posts like how to cut mats and proportional matting. That way, those posts will be easier to find. Look for that soon!

stamps: Papertrey Life and Mega Mixed Messages
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: quilting ruler, craft knife, glue


  1. I really like these sympathy cards, Susan. Your matting is perfect. I agree with you about the red one. I don't really care for those colors on a sympathy card. I look forward to your new how to tab. Thanks for thinking of a way to make it easy for us to locate helpful info on your blog. (BTW, I'm also working on a stash of sympathy cards using an embossing folder I borrowed from a friend.)

  2. I LOVE the elegant look that the extra matting gives these cards! They are just stunning!

    I agree with you about the red card, but then again I"m a ER nurse. :)

  3. These are stunning ... gorgeous set

  4. Absolutely beautiful, Susan! I love the white on white matting.

  5. So lovely. I agree about the red one; my eye was immediately drawn to the blue and purples. Thank you for the matting lesson. I'm scared to use a craft knife but I appreciate the measurements!

  6. Actually, I like the red problem with the colors at all. From experience on the receiving end, it's what is handwritten inside that matters most.

    1. I love them all but think the red is stunning...It would be nice to use as a fall sympathy card

    2. I love them all but think the red is stunning...It would be nice to use as a fall sympathy card

  7. I think these are my favourites from the experiment. I can see why you're not keen on the red but the combination of colours looks so good and I think the darker, more sombre sentiment gives it a sympathetic but uplifting feel.

  8. Gorgeous set of cards and all the layering is something i might try although I will need to weigh it first, we can only go to 20g here before paying double for postage. I'm not keen on the red BUT if you donated these to your church I am certainsomeone would choose the red because they may know the recipient would love that colour combo. Nobody knows tiddely-pom....!

  9. I always like how you say "I need to do this" and then do it! If only I could do the "do it" part the same month I come up with the idea!

    I like you showed the stamped panels by themselves and then on the actual cards so we could get a good perspective of their size. I think they are all great, even the red one. I would be careful who I sent that too though. For someone older and perhaps more traditional I wouldn't use that one.

  10. A wonderful set of cards, even 2 years later. Thanks for all of the tutorial info.

  11. Cards are nice, and personally I do like the red one. A brighter color to such a gloomy time. I think it just in the perspective and sometimes a person needs a bit of uplifting.

  12. Hey, Susan! I created several cards inspired by your wildflower silhouette series, especially this monochrome set. Thank you for your inspiration and explanations; I've learned a lot about card design mechanics from you, and I've always loved your wildflower cards.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!