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Old 12-10-2017, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default Need advice re: Christmas card

Hi all--I am having a bit of trouble designing a Christmas card, and I invested so heavily in supplies that I don't want to abandon the project.

I'm using Tim Holtz's Mini Swirly Snowflakes and the Handwritten Holidays Christmas Greetings. What I was aiming for was the snowflakes sort of swirling on the front of the card. Colors I had in mind: Tumbled Glass, Broken China, salty Ocean, Iced Spruce, Worn Lipstick, Seedless Preserves and Cracked Pistaschio. Inside, I wanted to stamp one of the greetings in Festive Berries.

The size card I'm using is Cougar Opaque A2 (I wanted A6 but for some reason thought that was too big to go thru the US mail).

OK, nothing about the designs I've tried looks right. First I used all the above colors, and the Preserves and Lipstick just didn't seem right. So I narrowed it down to the blues, grey and green. I can't get the snowflakes to look oh-so-swirly-and-nonchalant, if you know what I mean.

If I overlap them, they look crowded. Maybe because it's such a small card. The fact that I'm working with so few colors now means I'll get, say, two of one color and the rest are all different colors.

Man, I thought this was gonna be so easy. I had seen examples on a TH group on Facebook, but thanks a an FB screwup, I can no longer see them.

I don't know if it's that the sizes are not varied enough, or if the colors just aren't right, or what. I thought about doing a background using the blues and green, and then stamping in white, but I don't know if that will solve the problem.

Also, I'm not sure how many passes on the Stamping Platform I will need to do this.

I've been scouring the Internet for ideas. Have not found a lot, but here are some:

This one has a sentiment in the middle on the front of the card. If I also put one inside, will that be silly?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/4751570...f=sr_gallery_4

I don't have any teeny tiny snowflakes but I like this.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/5687062...=sr_gallery_39

This is sorta what I had in mind:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/1688563...=sr_gallery_33

I thought about these--maybe they'd work better--but I've got to get this done in the next week. Oy vey.

https://stampersanonymous.com/tim-ho...es-cms098.html

Open to any and all advice! I don't have photos of what I've done already as I'm at work, but I could post some later.

thanks!!
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:43 AM   #2
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we are always our own worst critic!! From the samples you put up I counted three or maybe four colors ( the last one had two partial flakes in a dark blackish or navy color) stamp the senitment in the same color and see if you like it.

Lets see some cards!!


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Old 12-10-2017, 10:45 AM   #3
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Stamp your snowflakes in multiples in all your shapes and colors on tissue that you can see through, trim them (don't get fussy, just get excess trimnmed out) and play with the arrangement on an A2 cardfront-sized paper until it feels resolved.

Yes, A2 is going to be better with fewer images. But overlapping should be fine if you don't let things get crowded. Start simple and build until you feel it looks too busy then pull back. Let go of preconceptions, of what you thought you were going to do. Just play with your images. Take breaks if you need to and then come back to see what you think of how it looks. If you do this and don't tell yourself you need to use every single color (and maybe you will use them all and maybe you won't), the design with fall into place. Once it has, then production should be pretty fast and easy using a stamp platform. It's the planning that needs the time.


Just my take.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:00 AM   #4
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Thank you, Rachelrose. That sounds like an excellent idea. I think very often with art, I have preconceptions and when my work doesn't live up to it, I get very upset.


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Stamp your snowflakes in multiples in all your shapes and colors on tissue that you can see through, trim them (don't get fussy, just get excess trimnmed out) and play with the arrangement on an A2 cardfront-sized paper until it feels resolved.

Yes, A2 is going to be better with fewer images. But overlapping should be fine if you don't let things get crowded. Start simple and build until you feel it looks too busy then pull back. Let go of preconceptions, of what you thought you were going to do. Just play with your images. Take breaks if you need to and then come back to see what you think of how it looks. If you do this and don't tell yourself you need to use every single color (and maybe you will use them all and maybe you won't), the design with fall into place. Once it has, then production should be pretty fast and easy using a stamp platform. It's the planning that needs the time.


Just my take.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:45 AM   #5
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So, this might sound silly, but if you try it, I almost guarantee it'll do the trick. Get out some cheap CS, stuff you plan to toss, and cut it into 4 A2 sized card fronts. Now, make at least four for-the-trash cards where you have no intention of doing anything other than playing with your elements and having fun with them. You'll discover ways things work together that you didn't expect when you don't have the pressure to 'get it right'. After that, I bet you'll be off to the races.

(I did snowflakes this year, too. Do you already know about the rule of threes and the 'sweet spot'? I found that if I used the upper left sweet spot for a large 'focal point' snowflake and the lower right one for the sentiment, and all sorts of different snowflakes all around, it made for a nice look. The fun part of this mad hobby is there are a hundred ways to put things together and have something new. Whatever you come up with, it'll be uniquely yours and I'm sure it's gonna be lovely!)
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:51 AM   #6
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Yes, jeaniebean has a good idea. One way or another, you need to spend some time messing around not worrying about the finished project and that's how you'll find your composition. It will be worth the time.

Once you're happy and set, production won't be an issue.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:36 PM   #7
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I do know about the rule of threes, but not the sweet spot. Is it a focal point?

You know what is funny? I've been doing art for about 10 years, making ATCs and art journal pages etc. That's why I thought it would be easy. But when I think about it, there's an awful lot of shifting and moving elements around until I am satisfied.


Quote:

Originally Posted by jeaniebean55View Post
So, this might sound silly, but if you try it, I almost guarantee it'll do the trick. Get out some cheap CS, stuff you plan to toss, and cut it into 4 A2 sized card fronts. Now, make at least four for-the-trash cards where you have no intention of doing anything other than playing with your elements and having fun with them. You'll discover ways things work together that you didn't expect when you don't have the pressure to 'get it right'. After that, I bet you'll be off to the races.

(I did snowflakes this year, too. Do you already know about the rule of threes and the 'sweet spot'? I found that if I used the upper left sweet spot for a large 'focal point' snowflake and the lower right one for the sentiment, and all sorts of different snowflakes all around, it made for a nice look. The fun part of this mad hobby is there are a hundred ways to put things together and have something new. Whatever you come up with, it'll be uniquely yours and I'm sure it's gonna be lovely!)
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:53 PM   #8
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I so get you on that. I spent years calling myself a "slow" crafter. I castigated myself because card challenges often turned into frustrating experiences for me since I couldn't post a card by the end of the day or even the next one. Then I had the realization that I have always worked in a contemplative manner in every single creative endeavor. I write slowly, going back over thing again and again to discover new truths; I love to do any kind of home decor but I can't do anything quickly, I like to add something and then "live with it" for a while until the next thing becomes clear. And on and on.

This sounds like a lightbulb moment for you. Of course you can do this, you just have to do it honoring your process.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:57 PM   #9
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Where is fionna? She explains the sweet spots so well ... please forgive my try (and fionna, if you're out there ... help! lol!)

OK ... here's a way I think I can explain the sweet spots. Make an A2 template out of copy paper. fold it the long way into thirds. fold it the short way into thirds. where the lines intersect are the 'sweet spots', and if the eye can land on one of them with a focal point, it's sort of like music chords coming together in a satisfying way. If you can create a focal point in one, and a minor focal point at it's diagonal, that can be nice too. BUT ... this is my rudimentary version. others (especially fionna) can explain it way better.
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Old 12-10-2017, 02:15 PM   #10
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How have I never heard of the card making sweet spots??! I mean I’m familiar with the term, but not in this context. To me, the sweet spot is where my chocolate stash is hidden. And yes, I have one. In my craft room. Woebetide anyone who messes with it!
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Old 12-10-2017, 02:24 PM   #11
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Hmmm...OK, I will give that a try!
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:56 PM   #12
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Okay, "sweet spots"!

This is the rule of thirds (the rule of threes is a different rule). It is a very basic composition guideline...for all types of art and photography.

Divide your card into thirds in each direction. It looks kind of like a tic-tac-toe game.

The places where those lines intersect are the best place for a focal image. Your biggest snowflake, or the sentiment, or whatever.

But if your image (or a sentiment) is longer, then you want to place it along one of the lines.

Just don't be a slave to this one rule. The lines on the thirds are a close approximation, not something hard and fast. And many other factors figure into composition. To me, movement is more important because it sends you straight to the focal point.

If you want to read a good, and simple, article about the rule of thirds, this one is good: Rule of Thirds ? How to compose great artwork!
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:58 PM   #13
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cardmaker2View Post
To me, the sweet spot is where my chocolate stash is hidden. And yes, I have one. In my craft room. Woebetide anyone who messes with it!
Mine used to be in a drawer labeled "chalks". I wasn't (originally) trying to be clever, but it worked well!
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:54 PM   #14
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Something else I would try is this. Start with a full size sheet of card, and stamp one snowflake four or five times in the strongest colour of ink. Then stamp again with softer colours filling the page up. Often starting with a larger canvas takes away the feeling of being cramped...and chances are that when you cut it into four panels, while they won't be the same they'll all look good.

For a different look, I remember a couple of people used snowflake stamps to great effect for the Smack-Down TLC. Here's one of them: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/g...118?&si=TLC639. Maybe a loose variation of that technique would work for you. It was TLC639. There's a master list with links to all the challenges at the top of the TLC challenge forum.
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:10 AM   #15
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Quote:

Originally Posted by fionna51View Post
Just don't be a slave to this one rule. The lines on the thirds are a close approximation, not something hard and fast. And many other factors figure into composition. To me, movement is more important because it sends you straight to the focal point.
Amen!
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:13 AM   #16
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cardmaker2View Post
How have I never heard of the card making sweet spots??! I mean Iím familiar with the term, but not in this context. To me, the sweet spot is where my chocolate stash is hidden. And yes, I have one. In my craft room. Woebetide anyone who messes with it!
LOL! Best kind of sweet spot!
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:16 AM   #17
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cook22View Post
Something else I would try is this. Start with a full size sheet of card, and stamp one snowflake four or five times in the strongest colour of ink. Then stamp again with softer colours filling the page up. Often starting with a larger canvas takes away the feeling of being cramped...and chances are that when you cut it into four panels, while they won't be the same they'll all look good.
Another great idea! And you'll be making four cards at once.
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:13 PM   #18
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Thank you very much--I appreciate it! You did explain that very well.


Quote:

Originally Posted by fionna51View Post
Okay, "sweet spots"!

This is the rule of thirds (the rule of threes is a different rule). It is a very basic composition guideline...for all types of art and photography.

Divide your card into thirds in each direction. It looks kind of like a tic-tac-toe game.

The places where those lines intersect are the best place for a focal image. Your biggest snowflake, or the sentiment, or whatever.

But if your image (or a sentiment) is longer, then you want to place it along one of the lines.

Just don't be a slave to this one rule. The lines on the thirds are a close approximation, not something hard and fast. And many other factors figure into composition. To me, movement is more important because it sends you straight to the focal point.

If you want to read a good, and simple, article about the rule of thirds, this one is good: Rule of Thirds ? How to compose great artwork!
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Old 12-11-2017, 03:15 PM   #19
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Thanks--. i will try that too. That's a lovely card.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Cook22View Post
Something else I would try is this. Start with a full size sheet of card, and stamp one snowflake four or five times in the strongest colour of ink. Then stamp again with softer colours filling the page up. Often starting with a larger canvas takes away the feeling of being cramped...and chances are that when you cut it into four panels, while they won't be the same they'll all look good.

For a different look, I remember a couple of people used snowflake stamps to great effect for the Smack-Down TLC. Here's one of them: https://www.splitcoaststampers.com/g...118?&si=TLC639. Maybe a loose variation of that technique would work for you. It was TLC639. There's a master list with links to all the challenges at the top of the TLC challenge forum.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:40 AM   #20
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OK, so I fooled around last night with the pieces of tissue paper with the snowflakes and sentiment stamped on them. I still didn't find a design I liked and am just not sure what to do. I hate doing stuff "under the gun" and should have ordered everything sooner.

I do have a bunch of these:

https://www.dickblick.com/items/11988-1040/

that I got a couple of years ago and rarely use. When I laid out the flakes on a card, I liked the design. I really think the cards I got are way too small.

Has anyone used those Strathmore cards for stamping? I didn't have time to ink up before work and try it myself.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:58 AM   #21
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So it was the size that was tripping you up. I get that. You get an idea, you need the right amount of space for it.

I haven't used those cards, I've never bought premade cards because almost all of my bases are a color. But why not cut card fronts and then adhere them to the cards? That way you aren't going to mess one up, and you can work on a familiar stamping surface.


I realize that's easy for me to say, just cut card fronts. I have the card creator sets A and B from Spellbinders, and I use the largest one from either set for every card I make so I can diecut them. I never stamp right on a card. I work on a card front and attach it when I'm satisfied. But once you have your measurements, you should be able to cut the front pretty fast using a trimmer.


Possibly easier to do production stamping on a single piece of CS also, especially if you use a stamping platform.


Really glad you worked out your design, though. Now it's just the logistics of production. You'll get there!
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:07 PM   #22
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I don't have any stamping cardstock. If they don't have it at Joann's or Michael's, I would be out of luck. The only cardstock I have is something from Staples that I bought for Gelli Printing a few years ago. I have no idea if it would like the Distress Inks or not. I guess I could try.

I do have a paper cutter/trimmer, luckily.

What sort of adhesive do you use for adhere the cut fronts to the colored stock?

Quote:

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So it was the size that was tripping you up. I get that. You get an idea, you need the right amount of space for it.

I haven't used those cards, I've never bought premade cards because almost all of my bases are a color. But why not cut card fronts and then adhere them to the cards? That way you aren't going to mess one up, and you can work on a familiar stamping surface.


I realize that's easy for me to say, just cut card fronts. I have the card creator sets A and B from Spellbinders, and I use the largest one from either set for every card I make so I can diecut them. I never stamp right on a card. I work on a card front and attach it when I'm satisfied. But once you have your measurements, you should be able to cut the front pretty fast using a trimmer.


Possibly easier to do production stamping on a single piece of CS also, especially if you use a stamping platform.


Really glad you worked out your design, though. Now it's just the logistics of production. You'll get there!
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:51 PM   #23
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Did you like the size of the Strathmore cards and do you have enough of them for your project (plus one or two that might turn into 'oops' cards)? It's a slightly larger size than the A2*, but one that's more common in the non-cardmaking world. If you like it, and it works with your design, I'd say go with the Strathmore. They are a quality product and the size is great for a holiday card.

* (the size more common in the US cardmaking world because it's half a sheet of cardstock)
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #24
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adhesive ... lol! there are whole threads on that one. If you're new to adhering a card front to a base, a liquid adhesive is a nice way to go, because it allows a bit of time to adjust your piece to line it up. And if both the card front and the card base are thick enough, you won't get any lines or bumps where the wetness of the glue causes the fibers to swell and show through. Tombo is a pretty popular brand.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #25
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If you decide to work on cardfronts and not the cards: I use my ATG gun or Scor tape to attach mine usually. The ATG gun (or any kind of tap runner) is quick. Scor tape is more of a chore, because you have to peel the backing off the tape. A strip of tape-runner down either side and one down the middle would be more than enough.

I do agree with Jeaniebean about liquid adhesive, though. It does give you that extra wiggle room in case you put the front down crooked. Tombow is my first choice for that.

I think the size of your Strathmore cards is a nice one.
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:36 PM   #26
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Another option for those who aren't comfortable with ATGs (me and my hand) is a smaller tape runner than an ATG that is fairly repositionable as long as you don't press down too hard initially. Then it holds well. Tombow's pink runner used to be perfect for that, but they discontinued it. (I bought mega-quantities of refills after I heard that was happening.)

The newer one that Jennifer McGuire found after the beloved "pink" disappeared is the Kokuyo tape runner. The tape itself is apparently similar, just a slightly thinner line, which actually is nice. It can be found in various on-line stores. There are two sizes. Here's a video about it in case anyone is interested:
Update: Favorite Adhesive + Giveaway - Jennifer McGuire Ink

I stamp on a card front and then attach to a base 99% of the time, just using my trimmer to trim off a bit of card front. Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:56 PM   #27
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Yes, I do have enough of them.

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Originally Posted by jeaniebean55View Post
Did you like the size of the Strathmore cards and do you have enough of them for your project (plus one or two that might turn into 'oops' cards)? It's a slightly larger size than the A2*, but one that's more common in the non-cardmaking world. If you like it, and it works with your design, I'd say go with the Strathmore. They are a quality product and the size is great for a holiday card.

* (the size more common in the US cardmaking world because it's half a sheet of cardstock)
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:58 PM   #28
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I like those smaller tape runners, esp. one made by Scotch (can't recall which one). I heard some people call them "snails." I use them in my travel journals.

Had an ATG once. It was a nightmare to load and use. I ended up taking it back to the store and throwing out a ruined roll of tape.

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If you decide to work on cardfronts and not the cards: I use my ATG gun or Scor tape to attach mine usually. The ATG gun (or any kind of tap runner) is quick. Scor tape is more of a chore, because you have to peel the backing off the tape. A strip of tape-runner down either side and one down the middle would be more than enough.

I do agree with Jeaniebean about liquid adhesive, though. It does give you that extra wiggle room in case you put the front down crooked. Tombow is my first choice for that.

I think the size of your Strathmore cards is a nice one.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:39 AM   #29
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I'm a little late responding but wanted to suggest using fewer stars or snowflakes and then filling in by hand drawing dots, dashes, asterisks, etc with a gel pen or something. Doing this gives you control and enables you to create the swirls you had envisioned. We get so wrapped up in using stamps that we sometimes forget it is okay to mix our media on cards, even those of us who do mixed media in other artistic adventures.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:07 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by ladyinblack1964View Post
Yes, I do have enough of them.
Then I think you should go for it!

Michaels has Recollections card stock, which is a good quality if you want to go the card front to card base route. The advantage is that if you mess up, you're only out a card front. The disadvantage is that getting it on straight can be a little bit tricky, and if you're a perfectionist like me, it can drive you a bit batty. bjean's solution is a really good one, imho.


If you're getting comfortable with your layout, you could maybe do it up right on the cards you have, and for those that don't turn out the way you wanted, try the card fronts over the first try. (I hope I'm not insulting you, throwing out things you'd already figured out and/or discounted. On one hand, you're not new to the 'artsy' world, on the other hand, card making is new-ish. It's hard to know what you already know and what might be helpful ... so apologies if anything is a 'no duh' moment. It's so not intended that way!)
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:14 PM   #31
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I am no help but I am going to tell you all my Tim Holtz Christmas card stories. Yes I did this not once but twice. I bought all the supplies to make the card exactly and after 200.00 I was ready to sit down and work it. Okay supplies all either given away or sold. I can never be anything close to Tim Holtz. Fast forward to second time... Bought all the supplies but it was only about 75.00. I did about 2 dozen and realized it was just too much work. lol. This year I bought the snowflake kit from MFT, $75.00 delivered to Canada. Of course my card was no way near as beautiful as the one that caught my eye. My daughter saw it and thought it was "gorgeous" REALLY!! Okay so I made my 30 cards and they are now ready to be mailed. And I am not going to get rid of the kit as the stamps and dies are truly awesome.

Regards Ladies,


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Old 12-16-2017, 08:26 PM   #32
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When you have a moment, I hope you'll give us an update on your project. Hoping things are falling together for you.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:17 AM   #33
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Oh dear! Sounds just like something I would do.

I'd love to see your cards. What is MFT?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Lorri.V.View Post
I am no help but I am going to tell you all my Tim Holtz Christmas card stories. Yes I did this not once but twice. I bought all the supplies to make the card exactly and after 200.00 I was ready to sit down and work it. Okay supplies all either given away or sold. I can never be anything close to Tim Holtz. Fast forward to second time... Bought all the supplies but it was only about 75.00. I did about 2 dozen and realized it was just too much work. lol. This year I bought the snowflake kit from MFT, $75.00 delivered to Canada. Of course my card was no way near as beautiful as the one that caught my eye. My daughter saw it and thought it was "gorgeous" REALLY!! Okay so I made my 30 cards and they are now ready to be mailed. And I am not going to get rid of the kit as the stamps and dies are truly awesome.

Regards Ladies,


Lorri
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:17 AM   #34
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For everyone who's been reading this: I finally finished and mailed the cards. I posted both the draft and the final product in the gallery.

Not the glorious snowstorm I had pictured, but hey...at least they are done! And I have my stamping platform.
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:31 AM   #35
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I like them both!

Speaking for myself, I have found that I am incapable of CASing a card. I start out wanting to make something just like something else, and either I can't get it to work or - more usually - I veer off in my own direction and the final result is "inspired by" the original.


Glad you got them done and off! Everyone will love them without a doubt.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:21 AM   #36
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Oh! I love your card. Simple, almost elegant, but that's not really the word that I'm looking for. The color wash gives it that swirl feel, and the single delicate snowflake really gets to shine. It may not have been your original idea, but boy did it ever turn out!

(and between you and Robin, now I'm inspired to play around with the paper dolls ... something that didn't catch my eye until I saw the interesting ways you two are playing with that concept.)
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:28 AM   #37
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Thanks very much, to each and every one of you for your help and advice!

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Originally Posted by jeaniebean55View Post
Oh! I love your card. Simple, almost elegant, but that's not really the word that I'm looking for. The color wash gives it that swirl feel, and the single delicate snowflake really gets to shine. It may not have been your original idea, but boy did it ever turn out!

(and between you and Robin, now I'm inspired to play around with the paper dolls ... something that didn't catch my eye until I saw the interesting ways you two are playing with that concept.)
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:41 PM   #38
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Both cards turned out great, and MFT stands for My Favorite Things, a stamp company.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:09 AM   #39
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well shoot! bummed I didn't run across this earlier. May be too late for ladyinblack, but for those in the future, wanting to play with a snowflake background ... the first 8 min or so of this tutorial might be useful: [Merry & Bright - Embossed Trees Holiday Card - YouTube]
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