Friday, December 15, 2017

Dies Go CAS: Little Florals

Integrating dies into my clean-and-simple (CAS) style is proving harder than I had thought it would be. Oh, how I love a challenge, and thanks to my friend Eva and her gift of a Cuttlebug, it's a challenge I accept!

As I'm feeling my way forward with this, I thought it might be helpful to me--and hopefully to you, too--if we organized a series of posts discussing the issues of CAS design with dies. My plan is to share my successful CAS-die designs and discuss why each works.

If it feels right, I'll also share some not-successful designs and discuss why they don't work. Right now, there are lots of not-successful designs in my trash, and sometimes looking at failures helps me learn...and presumably helps you learn, too.

Of course, many of you are already experts at CAS card design using dies, so feel free to ignore my blatherings and just look at the cards...or chime in with your own tips!

I still very much enjoy making cards without dies, so not every upcoming post will include them. Consequently, I'll try setting up the labels widget on the sidebar so you can quickly find the Dies Go CAS posts. My labels became horribly unwieldy years ago, so I quit using them, but for this, they might be useful if I can just get the Dies Go CAS label to show. We shall see.

Now let's move on to today's card!

When I saw this absolutely adorable Christmas card on Pinterest  by Chris C. (now pinned to my Cards board), I felt a CASE coming on. What I love about the card is how a small bird, expertly colored, is such a strong focal point. I wanted to try my hand at the same with one of my small dies. Here's the result:

Eva and I met for coffee last week, and she gave me a set of stitched rectangle dies I had actually been looking for! Yay! Thank you, Eva! So I used them here.

Elements kept from Chris's card include a colorful die cut, thread (floss instead of twine, but still), a gray text background, and lots of glorious white space.

Note that my card features a sentiment panel that's not present in the inspiration card. The inspiration card has that adorable bird--colored expertly--perched on the twine next to a jingle bell and star die cut (brilliant!). When I added the sentiment panel, I needed to balance the elements differently. Putting the flower over the bow accomplished that.

Three elements are black: the floss, the Stickles in the flower, and the sentiment. That creates a strong visual triangle that anchors my version nicely.

Now, the original card's birdy focal point is colored EXPERTLY with (I'm guessing) Copics. My Copic coloring was somewhat disappointing. This was my second effort on that little flower, and it's "good enough for government work" but not entirely satisfying. Tomorrow's card will show a much more satisfying attempt at coloring another flower from this same Hero Arts set.

And that's all I have to say about that.

For now.

Peace, love, hope, and joy,

stamps: Hero Arts Little Florals, Clearly Besotted Tiny Type, Papertrey Text Style
ink: Hero Arts soft granite, Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Copics, dimensionals, floss, Little Florals die, stitched rectangle dies 


  1. I appreciate the time you take for explaining the reason you do and use items. I am learning with many of your cards. Thanks.

  2. I agree with kramomma! And you're inspiration card is adorable!

    1. I know! There are so many wonderful cards out there to get inspired by!

  3. Your posts are very educational. Thank you for taking the time to explain your design choices.

  4. I'm so excited that you're going to be doing a series of explanatory posts using dies. When I first started lurking here a couple years ago, I was already familiar with the rule of thirds but struggled to get my designs to look right when I did anything but center a focal point with a matte. You've helped me firmly grasp not only why thirds and visual triangles work but how to implement them effectively.

    I got a die machine last Christmas, and it has proved wonderfully helpful for cutting out coordinating stamps (as a perfectionist, I'm too fussy to fussy-cut satisfactorily). So far, my use of dies has been mainly to pop up an element or to layer a scene without masking, since I've continually run into the challenge of how to use dies without the result looking cluttered. You're so skilled at breaking down why a design works or doesn't — I'm looking forward to learning with you on your journey with CAS dies.

    1. So glad you're on this journey with me! Trial and error. I'm finding there's lots of error in the beginning but have faith it will get better!


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