Monday, September 10, 2018

A Determined Set

Many years ago, while poking around through books on bookbinding, I read an explanation of how art supplies can be highly "determined," meaning they are already invested with a lot of specific meaning before you use them, or highly "undetermined," meaning they don't convey a lot of meaning by themselves. This explanation applies to stamp sets as well. Some sets are incredibly flexible and can be used in lots of different ways for different purposes (undetermined), and other sets are not as flexible (more determined).

A Wreath for All Seasons by Papertrey is fairly determined.

It's challenging to make fresh-looking, clean-and-simple cards with it because its images are so very strong. Where do you put a wreath on a card so it doesn't look weird? There aren't that many places, actually. Also, in real life, wreaths appear on front doors as a decoration of hospitality and welcome. They can be adapted to seasons, of course, with different sentiments, colors, and embellishments, but the message and meaning are basically the same.

So what do you do with a set that's determined and hard to adapt to CAS designs? Well, one thing I like to do (because I adore this set immoderately) is make as many different color and embellishment variations as possible of a simple design that works.

Today, I'll share two of those variations that feature sparkly, shimmery inks. First up, a Delicata ink, gold-and-silver confection that is way more gorgeous in real life than my photo can convey.

Note that the design itself is very straightforward. The wreath is one-third the way down the card, while the sentiment is two-thirds down. Both are centered, and the matting is simple white-on-white. The birds are facing each other. Peace and harmony abound!

The birds were die cut out of paper that had been stamped with a shadow stamp loaded with Delicata gold. This adds to the harmony of the card because the birdies are the same color as the berries. The golden stars (not nearly so red in real life!) are subtle and festive. They're from a sequin packet from Hero Arts. Without the stars, the card seemed to be lacking something. With them, it's so much better!

After making this card, which had me humming "Silver and Gold" from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I decided to try again with more traditional colors...Brilliance pearlescent thyme, chocolate, and poppy. Could the result feel any more different?!?!

For the traditionalists out there, I'm sure this is your favorite of the two cards. Eeeep! It's so strong and packs a wallop with those darker colors, doesn't it? Red and green are complementary colors (opposites on the color wheel), and complementary colors automatically up the energy of any card.

My original plan for this card was to add some red Smooch over some of the berries because, in my head, two-colored berries would make it more interesting. Once I stamped that fabulous thyme, however, I knew it was interesting enough as it is. After all, the berries on holiday wreaths are generally red.

Do you ever get good ideas that shouldn't see the light of day? That's what I call my idea about adding red Smooch. A good idea that shouldn't have seen the light of day.

Maybe you have a set you love that is highly determined. Maybe you wonder if you can ever do anything useful or different with it again. Maybe you should pull it out and give it a try. Change up inks, colors, and embellishments. Mess around and see what happens.

It's only paper after all. And you might just get some great cards out of it!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey A Wreath for All Season
ink: various shimmery inks from Delicata and Brilliance
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Poppy Stamps cardinal dies, dimensionals, Hero Arts star sequins


  1. I love the gold and silver combo - stunning

  2. Both cards are fabulous! The gold and silver combo is one I would have never thought to put together!

  3. I discovered A Wreath For All Seasons thanks to you. It will be the design for my Thanksgiving cards. Agree with the others silver and gold combo is lovely.

  4. I too think both cards are wonderful. Thanks for the inspiration and explaining card design to us. It really helps me.

  5. I love these both (and I have both the wreath and bird die...maybe I'll CASE!) but the gold really, really caught my eye! Very pretty and unique! And I am still trying to figure out if I am determined or undetermined!

  6. Both of these cards are so awesome. The gold wreath is so perfect. I have a wreath stamp and each year I stamp all these ideas and never have liked one enough to use it in a card. This year I am going to use your great ideas. I will let you know how the cards look. You are such an inspiration. Thanks

  7. Both of these cards are beautiful! The yellow/silver combo is stunning. Would make a good Thanksgiving card as well. You give me incentive to find my never used wreath stamp and set down for a play date. Thanks!
    Lu C


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