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 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Inspired by Yoonsun Hur

As soon as I saw this drop-dead gorgeous card by Yoonsun Hur, I had to CASE it. Of course, I don't have the dies she used, so I had to improvise with what I had. The resulting card is simpler than Yoonsun's--and far more complicated than mine usually are--but I love it!

Mine is NOT a shaker card like Yoonsun's (obviously). The sparkle all comes from amazing glitter paper (Michael's). I used the blue and silver glitter papers, die cut the trees (Hero Arts), and punched the snowflakes (Martha Stewart).

Obviously, my trees and snowflakes are heavier than Yoonsun's delicate dies, but that's okay. When working off an inspiration piece using only what you have on hand, some components of the design will change. That's okay! My version still makes me giggle with glee!

I hope you like it, too.

Peace, love, hope, and joy,

stamps: Papertrey Ways to Say Merry Christmas
ink: Hero Arts charcoal (or maybe Archival watering can...I can't remember exactly)
paper: glitter paper, Papertrey white
accessories: dimensional tape, Creative Memories circle cutter, craft knife (for free-hand cutting the snowy slope), tree dies (Hero Arts), Martha Stewart snowflake punches, glue pen

Monday, December 11, 2017

Nontraditional Christmas

I needed to do something funky and fun the other day, so I made this nontraditional Christmas card in pinks and purples.

Card Size 3.5" x 6.25"

Every Christmas, I feel the need to break out of red/green/gold/silver/blue colors for Christmas cards. This year, it's with girly colors.

And it was fun.

Do you ever break out of the traditional color schemes for your Christmas cards? Or do you stick to tradition?

Peace, love, hope, and joy,

stamps: Papertrey In the Meadow, Ways to Say: Merry Christmas
ink: various dye inks from Memento and Archival Ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics to color the rhinestones, post-its for the mask

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Snowflake Thanks

Ho, ho, ho! 

We have, for the second weekend in a row, procrastinated. Our tree has lights and ribbon and an angel on top, but no other decorations. In my defense, I did decorate the book-themed tree in the basement. But the two trees upstairs (the one we cut down before my husband had surgery and a small artificial tree) are simply lighted and beribboned.

If I thought I could get away with leaving them thus, I would. 

I'm a lover of simplicity, after all. 

But my children. My husband. Not so much.

Anyway, I needed a bunch of thank-you cards for myself and made this one when I was feeling delightfully blue. 

Papertrey's Ombre Borders and Hero Arts ombre ink make a lovely card, don't you think? That border stamp looks a bit like frost on a window. The bling is blue, and so are my husband's eyes. Although he has two that are roughly the same size, whereas the card has three of varying size.

I should stop free associating.

May your holiday preparations move more quickly than mine. 

Peace, love, hope, and joy,

stamps: Papertrey Ombre Builders, Hero Arts Thank You sentiments
paper: Papertrey white, baby blue; StampinUp ballet blue
ink: Archival black, Hero Arts ombre blue
accessories: snowflake punches, glue pen, rhinestones, Copics to color the rhinestones

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Bookish Birthday Card

My brother-in-law is a college professor and comes across as a bit, well, professorial. Not surprisingly, I give him a gift card to Barnes & Noble every year for his birthday.

I wanted to make the professor laugh on his birthday, so here's his birthday card.

The books and shelf were stamped on scrap paper, cut out, and glued to the white panel. The middle book is popped up not with dimensionals but with two layers of card stock underneath. Dimensionals would have popped it up too much, I think, but the little bit of dimension is nice. The clock was stamped directly on the pane.

The stamped panel is white, but when I put it on a white card base, it looked pretty stark. The Papertrey natural card stock softens it a bit and adds a subtle masculine feel to the card. I really like how it turned out and hope he does, too!

I like big books and I cannot lie, you other readers can't deny....

Ah, big books. One of life's true joys.

Peace, love, hope, and joy,

stamps: Simon Says To Thine Own Shelf
ink: various dye inks
paper: Papertrey white, natural
accessories: none

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Merry Merry Card

Placement on a clean-and-simple card makes or breaks the design. If something is a little too far right or left, a little too high or low, the whole looks wrong. There's simply no place to hide in CAS design.

So when I made a card in which everything was shifted a bit too high and to the left, I trimmed the right and lower edges of the card until it all turned out right.

This card uses a die I ordered with my birthday gift card to Papertrey. Years ago, a kind reader sent me cuts from this die, and they were simply delightful. Now the die is mine, and there's a Cuttlebug sitting in my craft room with which to use it.

My, how times have changed.

Change is good. Without it, there is no growth. But don't worry. As this card proves, the essence of Simplicity will not change with the addition of a Cuttlebug. Oh, no. Simple I am, and simple I will remain.

This card has only three elements: a bow, die-cut word, and stamped sentiment. The gingham bow makes a bold statement at its jaunty angle, and by stamping Merry Christmas in red to match, I enhanced the unity of the card. The lime green is non-traditional and adds interest.

That ribbon is very soft and won't be as hard to mail as it looks like it would be. I so rarely use ribbon these days, but this one made me happy. I got it right on the first try.

Yay, me!

Love, peace, hope, and joy,

stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple Christmas
ink: Tim Holtz die ink in cherry red
paper: unknown lime, Papertrey white
accessories: ribbon, glue dot, PTI word die, glue pen

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Arboreal Thanks

If yesterday's thank-you post was bottom-line thanks, today's is arboreal.

My arboreal card was totally inspired by Ardyth's pretty card HERE. The idea wasn't original to her, either, but it's her card that inspired me to make this one.

I added bling, of course, and it's oh so lovely!

Our Stephen Ministry group is having its Christmas party tonight. I'm making Cranberry Brie Bites and mulled apple cider. Yum! I love Christmas parties!

I love Christmas!

I love Christ!

Are you going to any Christmas parties this year? Not all parties are created equal. A friend told me today how she's dreading a Christmas party. Do you enjoy the parties you are going to? What makes a Christmas party great for you?

Love, peace, hope, and joy,

stamps: Hero Arts tree, Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Tim Holtz tumbled glass, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, stipple brush, post-it notes