Friday, August 31, 2012

Courage in Rehab

I made this card for a gal who is on one of the Yahoo groups I am on (Canadian Stamp Talk). Turns out she was recently in a terrible motorcycle accident and has now been transferred from hospital and far from friends and family to begin the road to recovery in a rehabilitation unit. I just cannot imagine....

I thought this lovely hand-lettered (and then turned into a rubber stamp) sentiment from Quietfire Design was just the right encouragement. It is accompanied by another stamp that I placed inside that simply says: "Never give up."

I gold embossed the floral frame, cut it out and then watercoloured it, going for a verdis gris effect. I popped it up on pop dots to provide a shadow box effect for the sentiment. I hope it inspires the recipient to press on.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

For Claire

There's a wee mouse in Ireland who is struggling a bit with some trials at the moment. Claire Brennan is the purveyor of all good things at Waltzingmouse Stamps and it seems her manufacturer has let her down this weekend on the shipment of goods for her August release.
These things happen. That's life. But Claire is devoted to her customers and feels badly about letting them down. And in turn, we feel badly for her.
Nerina said it best on her blog, which asks us to post a card for sweet Claire to boost her spirits and let her know we understand.

Here's my card. I think it is appropriate for the occasion, and for Claire, who has remained lovely in the face of adversity. And let's not forget, people, it's just stamps!! They will be released soon, and in the meantime, we can pull out some oldies, but goodies, like these stamps from Afternoon Tea and Ovals - Classic Frames. Why not make a card for Claire and link to Nerina's blog today? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cardmaker's Dilemma

How long does it take you to make a card? I have not had a lot of time for papercrafts lately. (Nor blogging, apparently - it has been almost a month since I last scribed here!) So when I do, it is usually spent making something on my To Do List for someone. And when I make something for someone in particular, I try to make it to suit them. This, however, poses a dilemma.

For instance, I had wanted to send a colleague who is retiring a wee gift. I bought a beautiful designer scarf, which I can picture her wearing with pride. It is bright and vivacious, just like her.  Here's the scarf:

The store could not provide an appropriate box for the scarf so I decided to make one. Long before Crafter's Companion and Scor-Pal came along, there was this:
Do you have one of these? I used to be addicted to the Aleene's craft show on TV, but I believe this is the only thing I ever ordered from them. I dusted this baby off and set about making a box from some chipboard and patterned paper. My first attempt was lovely, BUT I had not considered the scarf colours in choosing the paper, so once it was made I realized it would clash. So I made a second box, and then I made a card to go with it.
Doesn't that sound simple?

Ah, but here is where the real work comes in - dreaming up a card that fits the personality of the recipient and coordinates with the box and gift. I tend to avoid cool colours, and modern styles. Hence the dilemma. When I looked at all my stamps and other supplies, I realized that - while I prefer vintage, antique images, and muted autumnal colours - most of the people I make cards for do not!

So I buy stamps and papers to please me - but I am never making things for myself. With my limited craft time, I am making things to please others. Birthday cards, thank you cards, farewell cards - you name it, they almost always are for people who prefer funky images and zippy colours! It becomes a real exercise in creativity when I want to customize a card for someone modern, bright and vivacious!
I started with this bird. I was thinking of retirement as freedom; flight from a cage. I already had the bird die cut from a gessoed old music score sheet. The bird cage was a natural, as well. I pounced it with Dusty Concord Distress Ink, then softened it with an acrylic paint dabber in Pearl.

I backed the cage with more score sheet that I coloured with Mustard Seed Distress Ink. It seems to glow against the purple background. (I think I used the paper upside down - oops!) I used a large rhinestone flourish from my stash. I have a few of these, but I think this is only the second time I have ventured to use them. 
I tied some sheer polka dot ribbon through the cage holes and added some rhinestones in purple and clear. 
I created a couple of mats for these items, one stamped with big blooms in Pearl acrylic paint and Brilliance blue polka dots; the other incorporating some of the paper used on the box. This is the fun of making things yourself - that ability to customize and coordinate; beats a store-bought box hands down!
I topped off the cage with a Grungeboard label that I inked, painted and lettered, and another bit of ribbon. The teeny white brads echo the dots in the ribbon.
Done! Am I alone in my dilemma - buying craft stuff that *I* like, but finding it doesn't help me achieve my goal of making lovingly hand-crafted items for friends and family that reflect them, their personalities and what they would like? Or do you struggle with this, too? Can you understand why, when I am asked "How long does it take you to make a card?" I can legitimately answer "ALL DAY!"