Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Mother" card rescue

Step One: Snack – I had just eaten dinner, so no snack. :)

Step two: Choose a card – Last year I created this fancy digi-stamp (available here) for my Sunday School students to use when making their Mother’s day cards. For some reason, this one printed off-center (waaayyy off center). But, since I needed a demo card to use with my students, I colored this one. I knew it was redeemable so in the rescue bin it went.

Step three: Research – The problem was obvious, so what I needed was a layout. I decided to do a tent card (a portrait layout with a top fold). I’ve seen quite a few tent cards recently, and concluded it would provide a better emphasis for the stamp since it will take up more of the side to side layout, making the image seem bigger.
Step Four: Color palette, paper and glitz - I went with yellow because that is my mother’s favorite color and is the main color in the image.  I knew I wanted a double mat so I grabbed a solid color for under the image and other paper that had related colors from the image. I actually pulled three papers, one with flowers, one with spots, and the striped paper that I eventually chose. For glitz, I chose a butterfly stamp and some jewels/pearls.

Step five: Design- For this card it took the longest. I started by cutting out the image, the laying out all of my options until I was satisfied with the combination. In the end I chose the striped paper because it contrasted with the horizontal layout of the image, while emphasizing the top fold of the card. But, the stripes were too much alone, so I placed the embossed paper over the bottom in place of a ribbon, and made note to ink that paper to match the palette
Step six: Assembly – I started by using my colored pencils to improve the crayon coloring. (I added shading, more color intensity, and more accuracy in color placement.
I added weight to each of the layers by inking the edges (vintage photo) and the whole of the embossed white strip (mostly mustard), then glued each of them down. Next I stamped the butterflies on another sheet, hand colored and cut them, then added them to the card with dimensional adhesive. Then I added the jewels and pearls.
Last, inside I added inking and stamped on the flourishes.
Note: The next day when I looked at the card, I realized the bottom seemed like an afterthought since all the action was around the image. I moved the smaller butterfly down to connect the embossed strip to the rest of the card.


Supplies list:
·         White card base
·         Striped scrapbook paper
·         Yellow with white distress spots scrapbook paper
·         White card stock scrap
·         Leaf embossing folder
·         “mother” image available here 
·         Floral flourishes stamp (Inkadoo I believe)
·         Butterflies stamp (Dollar tree – 5 or so years ago)
·         Jewel and pearl stickers
·         Inks: Ranger distress ink in vintage photo and Mostly Mustard by Stampin’ Up
·         Colored pencils, scissors, glue, acrylic stamp blocks

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Frog Card Rescue

Step One: Snack:  PB and crackers.
Step Two:  Choose a card: This card is the oldest in the bin - around 10 years of age (sigh). Relegated to the bin after other attempts to fix it the week I made it and it just looked sad. The obvious problems includes: the rocks that are stripes, the paper is wrinkly and curly (wasn’t taped during painting), and the frog is not a strong image. I realized today was the day. Fix it or toss it (I’m spring cleaning too so this is serious).

Step Three: research:  I specifically looked at cards with unusual edge shapes, but didn’t see any that suggested a fix. However, in the process, I realized there was too much white (a white sky – really? What was I thinking). I also realized that the frog’s sideways position decreased his importance so I was going to have to move him. I looked around more and noticed cards with cute grassy fringes like this one and realized I could use that, create rocks from paper, keep the silk flowers and have many layers, plus a new home for the frog.  

Step Four: Paper and glitz:  Looking at the glitz I was keeping; bee, frog and the flowers, I realized I needed greens, browns and blues that were warmer (warm as in undertones – if you don’t know about undertones, research color theory. It’s very important in design. Here is one site J Or, you can wait a couple months and I’ll put one together *makes mental note*) Lastly, I chose all plain cardstock so I didn’t have to worry about clashing patterns.

Step Five/Six: design and assembly: First, I removed the flowers, bee and frog from the original card. Then, I used colored pencils to increase the color intensity of the frog. Then, I hand cut rocks from cardstock and inked their edges, going in deep to provide some sense of shape. The emerald green paper I trimmed to 1.5” high then fringed by hand and cut to a hill shape. Next I inked the edge of the sky with deep blue to add interest. Last, I started to glue things down. It was a little fussy because the rocks kept catching in the grass (imagine that!) and the whole layout would shift.
I originally planned to put the flowers in the grass, but as I was sorting out the layout, a piece of grass and a flower ended up in the sky. It was a happy accident, and I was sold. Putting the flowers on stems that extend into the sky creates movement, provides a scale for the frog and creates a design triangle with the other visual elements (or a zig-zag if you include the background lines) It also reduced the negative space (open sky) using a natural element.
However, I was still unhappy with the frog. He was still boring. So, I added wiggly eyes and deepened the color more, which made him pop. The bee was still sad looking, so I added a hexagon shaped glitter to the wings and added them both to the card.  Note: after the photos were taken, I shifted the bee slightly to the left to exaggerate the Z. Slight design shifts happen often in the 24 hours after I finish a card –even one I like. It’s why I like to have a couple days before I have to hand out a card.  

Lastly: the inside was still boring so I used a floral flourish then used ink and pencils to accent.

So now it is finished! Tell me what you think!

Supplies list: To recreate this card you need:

·         Stampin’ up: Pocket Pals (frog)

·         Inkadinkado: 98973 Beauty Stems from Here (flourish)

·         Bee mini stamp (Dollar Tree a decade ago)

·         White cardstock base & Envelope

·         Three shades of brown cardstock

·         Green paper (approx. 80lb)

·         Light blue paper (approx. 60 lb copy)

·         Distress Ink: Walnut stain

·         Stampin’ up ink: Night of Navy

·         (3) 1” silk flowers

·         (3) brads (two lime, one lemon)

·         Holiday Industries: Iridescent glitter.

·         (2) 1/8” google eyes

·         Glue, scissors, awl (brad hole), sponges for ink, colored pencils.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Melting Snowflakes card rescue

So last week I explained the steps that I take to rescue a blah card. This week (and for the next two) I'll show this process at work. This week is a card I call: MELTING SNOWFLAKES.

Step One: Choose a Snack – skittles. My creative brain loves sugar.

Step Two: Choose a card. I chose this card because it is a newer addition, and it has been on my mind. Don’t adjust your screen, the blurriness is the problem. It was a heat embossing mishap.
Heat emboss mess. The snowflakes are melting together.
This was the base of a card I’ve made several times, but when I double stamped and embossed the snowflakes, it offset, which I didn’t see until after embossing the second time. But, it’s good watercolor paper and I just knew I could save it.

Step Three: Research.  On Pinterest, I found a few examples of snow globe cards. I had a set from forever ago (purchased at Michaels) that was smaller, but I realized this would provide a strong image that would cover push the double emboss into the background. I could then create a strong design triangle using die cut snowflakes, stickers and embossed aluminum (Kitchen foil!) that would suppress the offending image.
The card with the design triangle highlighted in blue.
Step Four: Colors and papers. The colors were in the original card. But I knew I needed to use high contrast to make the image ‘less important’ to the eye, so I went for a color palette of plum and navy, and used those in the matting layers. The plum and foil I used was already embossed from another project. I also had parts of snowflakes left from other cards so I grabbed those.
Step Five/Six: Design and assembly. First, I used a larger card so I had plenty of room. I chose stark white, again, to increase contrast, drawing the eye from the problem area. I inked the corners with aqua to tie it in. I glued the plum to the navy and trimmed it so ¼” of white would show and then trimmed the original background to show ¼ of the dark mat. I glued down the snowflake pieces then trimmed them to the edge of the card.
Next, I stamped the snow globe and added a snowman (I seriously considered the snow bunny…). This was colored with markers and pencils. While stamping I decided to add the word “joy!” to the foil so it wasn’t plain and again, draws the eyes away from the problem area. These were attached to the card using dimensional foam adhesive.
The last step was adding the aqua and blue sticker to the plain white snowflake. This was needed as the large snowflake at the top was “heavier” than the small snowflake. The added height and color provides weight and balances the asymmetrical layout.
Another design note: The snowflakes, snow globe and foil have strong contrast and depth and create a strong bottom left to top right movement which is counter to the problem image. This movement causes the lower contrast background image to recede, allowing me to use it without it bothering the eye. If the image were black or the background higher contrast, this would not work.
Supplies: (if you wish to create)
·         Snow Globe set (Michael’s Crafts purchased 10+ years ago. Brand unknown), Mini letter stamps (Walmart 10+ years ago. Brand unknown).
·         Inkadinkado: 98397 Snowflakes A-plenty
·         Sizzix Framelits Die Set 3PK - Snowflakes by Rachael Bright
·         Spellbinders S5-065 Shapeabilities Moroccan Motifs Die
·         Flourishes Embossing folder (Hobby Lobby brand I believe)
·         Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
·         K&Company Dimensional Stickers: Snowflake 30-668775
·         Inks: Stampin'-up: Aqua, Night of Navy, Perfect Plum; VersaMark  ink
·         Cardstock: White, Plum, Navy
·         Other: emboss powder, heat tool, glue, scissors, acrylic block, colored pencils, markers

Have fun rescuing your own cards. I'd love to see pictures of what you do!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Card Rescues

 I love to make cards. But, they don’t always turn out; they look – blah. Those go in my bin of blah cards. When I need a challenge, but don’t want to design something new; I rescue cards.

one of the rescued cards
I will post the process for each of the three cards I rescued today separately and link back here. This is a description of my general process:
Step one: Choose a card.
Step one: find snack of choice.  
Step two: Choose a card.
Like most artists, I flip through until something catches my eye (or fills a need). For this series I chose three. All of which really need help and one that really need to get out of the bin.

Step three: research. 
This is one of my favorite parts of rescue. I spend time on Pinterest perusing my card boards to get some idea of what is missing/fixable. For most cards, there are some common culprits: 
A successful card of mine. It has three layers, one of which is 3-D. All three are inked.
It has a minimal color palate.The quilling is asymmetrically balanced and provides"glitz."
                1 - Layers – Popular cards online have 3-5 layers including a 3-D element. In addition, edges are can be inked or distressed to provide more interest. If rescuing, layers can help you mask an issue. My rescues are single layer cards.
                2 - Colors – You want a cohesive color palette chosen with the sentiment in mind. If you don’t understand this, read up on color wheels and color theory. It really helps. Top problems to watch for:
     Clashing colors: Blue and orange can be great, but can also kill a card.  
     Too much contrast: do the colors make your eyes squint because they glow next to each other?
      …Or too little contrast: white on white on white– umm… you just lost your layers and your stamped  image isn’t standing out.
     Fighting patterns: yes, I know you like polka dots and stripes and chevrons. If you put them all on one card, it gets to be too much. Solid color is a good thing. It allows the eyes to rest.

                3 – Bland vs. Glitz: Cards need something to make them special (just like you!) A single small image may not be enough. Options include embossing, die cuts, jewels, brads, etc. They all add a little something to the card. Use these with care. If overdone, it will leave the card looking like a summer camp reject.
                4 – Imbalance: Do you remember Symmetry and Asymmetry? Symmetrical balance is when one side mirrors the other. If your symmetry is good, perhaps you are finding that arrangement boring (our minds often do). Asymmetrical balance is harder to achieve, but is generally done through a design triangle (which is why so many beginning designers rely on the rule of three).

Look at your card. Are any of these your culprit? If not, keep researching until you find what the problem is.
Step four: choose color palette then possible papers/ink then possible glitz

Choosing a color palette for cards is just like choosing them for a room. You start with a neutral color, usually white or cream. This is your card base and envelope color. Then add accent color(s). The accent color is usually found in your patterned paper, your mat layers and your central image.
For me, this step means sitting in front of my paper and glitz bins and pulling out a dozen possibilities and returning to my workspace where I have really good light and making a final choice
possible papers for the "mother" card rescue
Step five: design

This can be the hardest part. I’ve already missed once with these cards so I’m always nervous. But if I’ve done my research, I usually have a basic plan. For me designing involves physically layering the papers in different ways, squinting and then switching things out until I’m happy. If I’m not sure, I take a picture and look at that. It’s amazing how different things look on a camera.

Step six: assembly

Once I’m happy with the design and have all the elements, I’ll put it together, then take another picture. If I like it, YAY! If not, I will go back to step three and make sure I didn’t develop a new problem, while trying to solve the original.

Step seven: give it away (or sell it, or put it in a box…)

Cards are made to be used. Make someone’s day and give the card away with an uplifting message inside.
Final Thought: Creativity is looking at many different ways to solve the same problem and then choosing one. Rescuing cards is one great way to develop it.