Sunday, February 26, 2017

Making Lemonade out of a Lemon

Often, the creative process devolves into a problem-solving exercise, especially when you're working from an inspiration piece. Today's card is a perfect example of this.

First, the inspiration piece, which comes from (I think) the same delightful artist who inspired my post here and whose pin links back to her blog.

Isn't this just perfect? The twine on the fold, the light and loose calligraphy and the bold span of color and the little, neat letters underneath...perfect!

When I set out to make my version, I knew that my large sentiment would be heavier and not so loose. But it came with a smaller sentiment that would work perfectly underneath so I took the plunge. Here's the final card.

So the first mistake I made was to use Memento Danube blue ink on the shadow stamp, spritz with water, and stamp. The result was just too solid and not watercolor-y enough, so I started over again by pulling out the sky blue and Danube blue markers and got a much prettier result with some lovely gradation.

Unfortunately, I stamped the blue block just a bit too high on the one-layer card. When I got all the black stamped, it was clearly not balanced...too much white space on the bottom.


Fortunately, I measured the area and realized that I could cut a 5.5" x 2.75" panel that would mat perfectly onto a 6.25" x 3.5" card (which fits neatly into a standard #6 3/4 envelope). A silver metallic border on the panel provided just the right definition against the white card, but there was still something missing.

Cue the fretting. Oh, my. I pulled out all sorts of bling trying to figure out how in the world to connect that big, bold, black hugs to the smaller clause below. Indecision may or may not be my problem. The best of many options seemed to be the dark blue enamel dots, but they weren't quite right.


The essential problem was that there wasn't enough movement of the eye around the card. The inspiration piece has such wonderful movement in the lettering, but my stamp was just too ordinary to lend enough movement or interest. I needed something strong enough to move the eye but unifying enough to bring the whole design together.

That's when the tiny flower punch came to mind. The flowers bring some white into the blue block for unity with the white card base, and the punch of dark blue enamel dots is a good, strong draw for the eye. Their placement at the left and right of the blue block mimics a hug and adds to the unity.

At least, that's my interpretation of it, and since I love the final product, I'm sticking to it!

As you work from an inspiration piece, you'll find your adaptations require changes you can't anticipate. Thinking like a problem-solver becomes essential. You never know where your solutions will lead a fabulous card or something that ends up in the circular file. With practice and determination and a dollop of luck, you can turn your lemon into lemonade.

Never, never, never give up

stamps: Papertrey Big Hugs, Hero Arts shadow stamp
ink: Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Memento markers, water spritzer, flower punch, enamel dots, glue, craft foam, silver metallic marker (Prismacolor), ruler


  1. Beautiful card Susan, love reading your thought processes. Gives me hope, as I so often start and then end up having to change as I try to balance what I am doing. Such a learning process.

  2. I second what Aileen just said. I love reading your posts; it's like looking inside your mind. Your thought processes are great! This card is very pretty. The HUGS is pretty heavy; but the flowers just seem to balance it.

  3. I love reading your step-by-step creative process. It's like a class that I love to attend. Such a great idea to add the flowers for movement.

  4. Great card and great post! You are giving me the courage to step away from copying everything from Pinterest. I have to just do it and see what happens!

  5. The flowers are perfect with the inking and the sentiment. I love the silver border also.

  6. Brilliant description of your thought process. I love the end product.

  7. The inspiration piece is interesting. It's a toughie I think! but you rocked it.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!