Thursday, January 31, 2013

Outside of the Box

A number of years ago, my mom bought a framed art print where the artist continued painting her floral picture onto the mats that framed the traditional 9 x 13 rectangular image.  I admired the way that artist moved the image "outside of the box".  Over the past two years, I have used that idea in my cards.  Moving the image outside of the rectangle adds interest to the overall design of the card because cropping tightens the focus.  It also allows someone who is inclined to be a rule-follower feel somewhat rebellious!

Stampendous Spotz Botz

2011 was the first time I went outside of the box.   
It was simple to do because I just used the die cut  
to move beyond the square border.  
(Notice the use of embossing folders?)  

Stampendous - Mod Hatter (2005)

My next attempt was a bit more subtle.  I wanted to tighten up on the woman to give it more focus.  I turned the square I cut onto its point and then went outside of the frame with the right edge of the hat and the top right and left sides for the butterfly and the line of its travel.

The flowers on these next two cards move past the borders,
 Friendship Jar Summer Fillers - PTI
It's a little trickier to do. I look for the sides that will stay within
the box and cut those first.

Then I use the ruler lines on my paper cutter to help
make the remaining cuts.  One cut will have the image
facing up and the other will be face down.  I mark where
to stop cutting  unless I can see where the colors bleed
through from my Copic coloring.

I use my paper cutter to get as close to the image as I can
and then use use my scissors to cut around the part that is
outside of the frame.  Occasionally, I cut into the image with my paper cutter, but that's not a problem because it gets taped down.
The hydrangeas are so full on top so it was easy to figure out where to stop having my straight cut borders.

Sunflower Bouquet - PTI

The next flower wasn't as straightforward.  In choosing the top edge
and the left side, I had to consider the white space between the flowers.
 My borderline needed to take the placement of the flowers and leaves into consideration. Since I don't have a "straight eye" for cutting, I didn't want to have to go in and try to create a straight cut with my scissors in the middle of the image.

If I choose the wrong line initially, it's an easy fix - and just requires adjusting where I make the straight cut using my paper cutter.  My initial line is often too high, so I just go back and make a new cut with my trimmer.

Give it a try - and leave a comment for me when you do.  I'd love to see your card.  I'm working on another card that uses the outside the box technique.  Hope you will stop back and see it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Welcome back - Week 2!

First off, I would like to thank everyone who has stopped by to visit my blog, my new followers, and people who have left comments!  It's been an exciting first week as a blogger.  At present, my blog has close to 150 visits - and has four followers, two of whom are folks I don't know!  Wooo!   Even my husband is checking my blog (which is pretty cute!).  The only unhappy feedback I've had is from my "Hanging with Friends" partners - because I'm not playing as frequently!

Today's post is a card from this week's Featured Stamper Challenge on Splitcoast.  I was inspired to create a Christmas card (!) from Bonnie's angel card.

As I have mentioned, I often stamp an image more than once.  Some of the extras go into a portfolio that I use as a reference for the Copics I use when coloring, and some end up in the "circular file".   Others are stored in a box on my desk where they eagerly await the chance to be featured on a card!  That was the case for this angel.

Love Lives Here - PTI
You can see that this is another card that has no coloring, but it utilized my second love - embossing!

•The angel, wings and sentiment are heat embossed with white embossing powder.

•A Cuttlebug embossing folder was used for the white behind the angel and SU's Framed Tulips folder completed the main panel of the card, which is then mounted on white.

•The angel is stamped on SU's Pure Poppy paper.  One of the die cuts from SU's Apothecary Accents set is used to cut her out.

•I cut a slit around each arm to insert the angel wings behind her.  This step took a little fiddling around, but I love its overall effect on the card.

If you look at my Splitcoast Gallery and a couple of cards on this blog, you may notice that I have several cards where the image goes outside of the border.  More on that in my next post!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cards without Coloring

Learning to color with Copic markers has taught me many lessons, one of which was to allow myself to “mess around” and enjoy the creative process as much as the fruits of my labor.   I now tend to start my cards with a mental curiosity about what I might discover as I create.  Yesterday’s  CAS (Clean and Simple) challenge on Splitcoast was the source of my latest muse.  CAS cards are not in my wheelhouse, so by their very nature are a challenge for me – yet I am drawn to many of them for their beautiful simplicity.  My first trouble is all of that white space!  My fingers itch to add something to it.  I skirt around the urge by using an embossing folder on the card front.  There’s something about adding texture that suits my eye.  

Finding this stamp from Papertrey Ink's Through the Trees set, reminded me of taking walks in the woods when there is a full moon, so I envisioned trees at night for my cards.  I started by stamping on three different colors of blue paper, wondering which of the three I’d like best.  Much to my surprise, I liked them all!  After experimenting a little more with my embossing folders, I made three different looking cards. 

This is the actual card I posted  for the CAS challenge.   I used white embossing powder on SU's Not Quite Navy paper.  Drawing a line down the left side of each tree with the same color marker gave depth to the image.  I got around the white space by using an embossing border folder and mounted the white card face onto a white card back.  White on white is another way I adapt all to of the white space of my CAS cards!

I really like how this card came out.  It's both clean and simple (especially for a girl who loves to color!).

This card used SU's Night of Navy paper and a Cuttlebug snowflake embossing folder.  I finished it off with a little ribbon.

You will notice that each of these cards starts to have more on it.  Even though this still seems clean, the busy background makes the card less calm to my eye.  After putting on the punched sentiment, the card begged for more - hence the bow!

The image for the third card was stamped on a denim colored patterned paper that had small open circles on it.  The embossed trees made the circles fade into the background.  As I put this card together, it needed a square of color behind the image!  By this time, I've given on up staying CAS!  In fact this card started out with a navy blue background paper (using the same embossing folder as this card and a fancy die cut right side).  The blue background paper just didn't look right, so I went with off-white.  Not only is there a bow, but the bow has a snowflake on it!  I could have added more, but my friend Maura's voice was in my head saying, "Step away from the card!"  

Thanks for checking my blog today.  I' have a busy few days coming up, so won't be posting again until the weekend.  Hope you'll stop back and see me next week!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inspiration Plus!

I love a good challenge!  I can usually find one to jump start my creative juices over at Splitcoast.  Today's post started out with Saturday's Inspiration Challenge from a company in Asia that makes saris.

I was struck by their bold colors, but there was one that with soft off white, ecru, pearls and sea foam green that inspired me to make this card from an old Stampin' Up! set called In Full Bloom.  My flower is a bit more saturated than the inspiration picture, but I was focusing on shading the flower and concentrating on the light source, shadows, and providing contrast.  I have learned to stamp two or three images when I color to allow me to experiment and not worry about making a mistake.  Overall, this one came out well, and I liked the relative simplicity of the card composition.  (The deepest color paper was "as is" from my scrap drawer - gotta love that!)

I didn't stop there, I colored other daisies in pink, yellow and white.  Here are two more - one was finished using this week's Splitcoast Sketch Challenge layout and the other is happily sitting in my stash of cards.

This sketch challenge card used paper from my scrap drawers - always happy to use that up!  Don't you think the yellow ribbon adds a nice touch to the card?  Design-wise, I'm not sure why, but it almost has a "cherry on top" element.
The last card for today was stamped on "damask" patterned paper and then colored. Papertrey Ink's soft stone collection of patterned paper is used here.  Love those polka dots!  I am a sucker for anything polka dot.

By the time I colored this flower, I felt satisfied with my shading (and the light source) - this time I needed to focus on contrast so everything in the daisy didn't blend together.  I knew when I started coloring that this card would be finished in a combination of gray, white and yellow.  The scrap drawer gave me the yellow paper behind the daisy (from an old SU DSP pack) and then trusty Stampin' Up! gross grain dotted ribbon brought it all together.

I have the day off of work and it's another frigid MN day - so I may just spend another day reenergizing myself coloring and making cards!

Blogging, Here I Come!

I have finally taken the leap and started a craft blog!  I've posted cards in a gallery on Splitcoast Stampers for years - which at this time has around 300 cards.  It's been fun to have the gallery as a record of how my cards have evolved over the past six years.   I have always had an interest in crafts and spent time focusing on sewing, cross stitching, doll making, soft sculpture, tole painting, basket weaving, and making jewelry.  I am not trained in art, and never had an art class going through school. Most of my training has been through taking classes in community education, a local craft store, or figuring it out myself.  Last summer I took a Copic Certification class in Chicago.  I have learned about design, color combinations, shading, composition and more through my work on cards.  Card making has helped me become willing to "mess around" and make something for the pleasure of creating.  Who knows what new direction this blog will take me, but I'm in for the ride.

Image - "Blossom" - a birthday card for my granddaughter Quinn's second birthday.

My first cards are from a U.K. company that is new to me - Lili of the Valley.  They are a great company to work with and their unmounted stamps are quality rubber.  Their images are sweet and fun to color.  Bev, one of their design team members had a tutorial on her blog about coloring blonde hair with Copics.  I worked to have the sun hit her head on that one spot.  In the real card, the girl's hair has less orange tones.  My big coloring challenge is keeping the light source true as I color.

Image - "All Our Dreams"
This card is for a new baby boy - what a sweet faced baby!