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craftyvron 07-13-2016 05:36 AM

Desperate for Help/suggestions
Hi all, have been looking at SCS. for ages and post once in a while. Never post any cards I make.....to unsure to do that :-)
Am 70 and because of health probs. (like a lot of us) had packed up all my craft stash for the past 4-5 years.
Am now starting to unpack with the hope of restarting my card making which was only ever for family etc. not for selling.
Find myself so out of touch and unsure of everything that am at a complete loss. Have bought things even though stash was packed away but not used any of it.
So, have stamps, punches, inks cardstock but most of all, dies and embossing folders and no real idea how to start using them. The dies look great when I see them on selling channels or YouTube videos but now that I look at what I have--- I don't know where to start or what to put with what.
My colour match talents leave a lot to be desired so end up looking at board after board on Pinterest for ideas but not doing anything for myself.
ANY and ALL advice/suggestions would be so very, very welcomed.

Rachelrose 07-13-2016 05:51 AM

Make a card. Make an ugly card. It doesn't matter if you don't like how it turns out. Pick one thing - a stamp you like, a die, some bling, some DP, and make a card using it.

You just need to practice. Don't expect your first efforts to be masterpieces. Ideas will only start to flow if you get going and unfreeze yourself. And it may take a little time for that part of your brain to kick into gear. But it won't unless you do something.

Picasso famously said - "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."

I've got that posted on the wall in my studio. Prominently! ;)

TeeGeeDee 07-13-2016 05:51 AM

Welcome back to crafting. My suggestion is to just allow yourself to play with your supplies. Playing is therapeutic (and FUN!)

I most often start by choosing an image suits the reason I need the card but sometimes I have nothing that works so I use the recipient's favorite color (or mine if I'm clueless LOL).

If I am not having fun I walk away and watch TV or go to bed (I tend to be a late-night crafter).

Just have FUN!

Annecards 07-13-2016 06:10 AM

I hear you, I'm just turning 68 this month. I'll admit to being slow and taking an hour or two, even longer sometimes, to do one card! I'm worried my mind is going at times. I don't care, because it's my therapy and I don't have to post how long it took me :cool: I'm bad at posting my cards, but I'm going to start thanks to your post. Everyone is so helpful here, and help is available 24h/365 days a year. Relax, and just have fun you're not alone! Thanks for your post, and happy you're feeling better.

jray 07-13-2016 06:29 AM

Just set and play, don't think about a finished card. Try different color combos add mats, use your embossing folders and dies. And before you know it a card will come together. Remember this is about bring joy to you the artist.

And black works as a mat with any color or style and will help pull a card together.

Have fun and don't be so hard on your self.


JBgreendawn 07-13-2016 07:23 AM

I would just do what has been mentioned.
play with your tools.

maybe make some die cuts and some embossed texture pieces and push them around together looking at them.

keep it simple. you know some of the most elegant cards are the ones with a monotone of color. (don't worry about matching)
if you do some of these bits of things in whites you could add color later if it looks like it needs it when the ah ha idea hits.
and if that turns out to be something you would never send to anyone. It doesn't really matter in the long run, its just paper.
and now you know that (what ever it is you found out,) maybe one die does not like to cut through a certain paper, maybe it looks really cool with that texture over there. but, your not going to know that until you play with them.
Have fun

wavejumper 07-13-2016 08:39 AM

You are not the first and you wont be the last. Happens all the time. I am glad your health problems have gone away :)

Good advice already. I am going to go in a different direction.

Take some of the thinking out of it. Find some CAS (clean and simiple) cards here in the gallery and copy them. You dont have to have the exact color match or image but it will give you a layout. Or go backwards. You have blue paper and ink-find a blue card if that makes you feel better.

CAS - Homemade Cards, Rubber Stamp Art, & Paper Crafts - Splitcoaststampers.com

We do it all the time with all kinds of cards-it's called CASEing. It's just easier to do with a card with less on it.

CAS cards have one principle. One main focus. The rest of the card could be blank or it could have some minor stuff that does not pull the eye from the focus.

It sounds like you might want to spend a little time pulling stuff together though so you know what you have and where it is. Having to constantly stop and rummage can be defeating. It does not have to be fancy. Heck, cut down some cardboard boxes for the time being. I've done that. Over time you will decide what you like and dont like and want to keep and not keep and then in the end how to store what you keep.

Are there any beginner classes around you or card groups you could join? After two classes you could be up and running again. Or else find vids on You Tube for beginners...dont go to the advanced. They have them for specific tools, techiniques or even card layout/making. Dont get into fancy folds and 15 layer cards etc right away.

Color wheels are not expensive and are your friend for combining. I have one. Dont mix patterns yet. Stick to solids or one pattern.

Embossing folders are wunderbar. If you have one that covers the whole face...tah dah! Add a sentiment and you are done! :)

Dont fret. It's like riding a bike. Once you get started it will come back to you :) And we are here all the time if you have any questions! There are no dumb questions!

You are going to be happy you came back to this. You'll see :)

mof118 07-13-2016 08:48 AM

I've been where you are! For me, sometimes it's just a matter of really taking time to play with no particular goal in mind...I run into frustration when I sit down to make a last minute card and feel pressed for time. Also, I am not good at matching colors, etc, so that's why I have started to narrow my buying to Stampin'Up because the patterns and colors coordinate. Just a thought. Be gentle with yourself and just relax and experiment.

Angelnorth 07-13-2016 09:36 AM

Hello from the other end of the UK! Good to hear your health is good enough for you to start thinking about some crafting again.

I agree absolutely with the "just play" sentiments expressed so far. If you don't like what you made, you don't have to show it to anybody and it's only paper - imagine being a silversmith plagued by the same kind of doubts! Try not to see it as a "waste" of time if you end up binning whatever you made, it's simply time spent on your hobby (if you took a country walk or played a round of golf you wouldn't have something in your hand at the end of it).

It sounds as if you may be suffering too much choice. Try focusing on a single thing (a stamp or die cut shape, for example) to start with. Make something simple using that one thing as your starting point, adding just one or two other bits from your stash if inspiration strikes. You could even go back to the archive of "Limited supplies" challenges here at SCS and try one or two of those (they ran on Fridays before the "Free for All" challenges started).

rockybeta 07-13-2016 09:49 AM

Maybe pick a stamp or die you already have and go on Pinterest and see what others have done with that particular item and just copy it.......as someone once said.......the journey starts with one single step (or something like that).........welcome back!

Hoboken Paper 07-13-2016 10:12 AM

Completely agree with wavejumper -- find a card you like and see if you can make something similar.

I am not so old, but it still takes me hours to finish a card. Often the idea that I had in my head when I started doesn't quite work the way that I expected it to. I make a lot of components -- a pretty pattern, stamped and die cut images, a length of ribbon -- and then start moving them around until I start to like what I see. It's a lot of trial and error.

Also, consider doing some of the challenges here on SCS. It provides a "beginning" and a direction for a project. There are plenty of color and composition challenges on the web. They're also a fun place to start.

Here are a few nice ones:
Mojo Monday - The Blog


Challenge | Your Next Stamp

The Paper Players

Tuesday Morning Sketches

Stamp, Ink, Paper Challenge ? Weekly Challenge Blog

As others mentioned, there are a lot of great blogs and youtube videos with tons of information and instruction. I really like Jennifer McGuire's blog:

Hi There - Jennifer McGuire Ink

She has a lot of videos.

Finally, here's a book for moments when you feel hesitant to just get started:

Although it's technically a children's book, I think we all feel this way sometimes -- anxious about starting a project.

craftyvron 07-13-2016 02:18 PM

Re Desperate for Help/suggestions .....
Am sitting here in tears reading through all your thoughtful and helpful ideas and suggestions.
Health problems are something that is with me permanently but the feeling of being overwhelmed by my craft stash is not something I was expecting :-)
Had even reached the point of thinking of giving it all away and deciding I would never get to doing anything with it now. Cannot tell you how much all your responses mean to me.
Have to wait for a couple of weeks before I can gather my bits and bobs together but am determined to give some of the great suggestions a try. Will try to just 'play' not worrying about actually making something. Just the thought of putting a couple of stamps on paper or running an embossing folder through the machine sounds exciting right now. Silly how you can give advice to others but never dream of applying it to yourself :-)
A BIG thank you to all who have taken time to respond with such fantastic ideas and suggestions and so much empathy and understanding. Tfs and caring

nibs 07-13-2016 03:01 PM

You may want to do some “warm-up” stamping rather than putting pressure on yourself to create a masterpiece. Pick out one of your favourite stamps and do some or all of the following:

1. Sacrifice one piece of Georgia pacific (inexpensive paper) and stamp the image multiple times without worrying about wasting the paper or using the images;
2. Stamp and emboss the image in white on Kraft paper;
3. Stamp and emboss the image in black on white paper;
4. Stamp the image over one or more shadow stamps;
5. Make a card with the stamp image as the main focal point;
6. Make background paper using the stamp;
7. Make a card by stamping the image three times;
8. Stamp the image on some designer paper;
9. Do paper piecing with the stamp;
10. Stamp the image on the wide fishtail die or the Top Note Die and incorporate on a card;
11. Use the stamp image to make a book mark;
12. Make “inchies” by using a round or square punch to punch out parts of the stamp image;
13. Any other techniques that you like to use …

gregzgurl 07-13-2016 03:54 PM

I agree with Joanne (angelnorth): you may be overwhelmed with choices. If I'm faced with too many options I freeze, so I can empathize/sympathize with that! I had to purge a good portion of my stash and index what was left just so I could feel like I had a handle on it!

Lydia (UnderstandBlue) does what she calls "creating for the trash" - talk about a freeing concept! Yup - that's where I'm heading this weekend... Welcome back to creating, and do whatever blows your hair back! It's YOUR journey, after all...

wavejumper 07-13-2016 04:34 PM


stampinindieeditor 07-13-2016 05:36 PM

I'm bad at color combinations too, and I saw somewhere, maybe a youtube video, where the person went to Pinterest to pick color palettes. There will be an image and then the colors from that image will be printed to the side or below. The person printed several of those palettes in cheap photo paper so she could have several color combinations that work to choose from.
Also, before getting started making anything would be a great time to practice coloring your favorite images. I sometimes stamp and color images with my Copics because if I don't do it for too long, my coloring looks unpolished. And you can brush up on new skills like coloring hair or blending by watching youtube videos. Is there a type of card you want to make, like a shaker card, and you have never done one? Watch even more tutorials on youtube! I've been glued there and recently made my first shaker card in a decade.
And like other mentioned, pick a stamp set you really like and want to use and look for examples of cards other people have made with it, to get ideas flowing.

TinaMarie1 07-13-2016 07:01 PM

Hello craftyvron! I just very recently started back stamping again also! It is difficult and can be overwhelming. I also had many great SCSers give me advice and really help me start back up again. I am forever grateful to those ladies.
I took the advice and started on CAS cards. There are so many in the Gallery that were easy to do.
One struggle I had was I remember all of the supplies I had before. I had to sell everything I had as we needed to move several states away in a hurry by my dad as he has cancer. Once I got those "memories" out of my mind and really started looking in the Gallery and on Pinterest it was much easier.
In fact, I now am enjoying making simple cards. My choices are more limited but there is no pressure that my cards have to be all decked out.
I wish you the best of luck and keep us updated on how you are doing.

craftyvron 07-14-2016 01:06 AM

~Thank you all for all the lovely, encouraging ideas and for the support. Not able to start crafting for a couple of weeks yet but because of all the great ideas am using any 'idle' time :-) to jot down ideas using formats suggested here.
So far have decided to choose one stamp set, a couple of basic card colours ( may even have just white) and one embossing folder. Looking on YouTube is saw one lovely lady who took one stamp set and simply stamped several white pieces of cardstock with the images in varying layouts. She then took them with her along with her copic markers and coloured the images in while waiting for a firework display to start :-) Thought the idea of simply stamping layouts and colouring them in was great. The cards she completed later with those pieces looked good and they were simply one layer on top of the card base....done and dusted.
So, ladies, your ideas and suggestions are being put into my little 'ideas' book so that I don't forget when I come to play.:-) :-)
Instead of feeling overwhelmed and out of control with all the craft stash, am beginning to look forward to actually having some 'me' time with my stash. Thanks so much :-)

Allistamps123 07-14-2016 02:36 AM

After tens years of card making I still case-meaning I duplicate or "copy" cards I see. Now they always come out somewhat different due to what supplies I have.

Also, I may purposely change something, not add as many layers, add a few rhinestones, etc. so in a small way I'm tapping into my own creativity.

After all these years I do have basic designs in my head so here and there I create from scratch. Usually though I copy and I'm perfectly happy riding on the coat tails of other creative geniuses!!!

shazsilverwolf 07-14-2016 05:03 AM

Craftyvron, as you mentioned embossing folders, have you considered simply a 'white on white'? Just a piece of white embossed card, mounted onto a white card blank, than adda stamped greeting on a banner. Then you could add a flower/sticky gem to the banner.You could jazz it up by using another colour for the banner, then maybe another version with the embossed panel matted onto a sheet the same colour as your banner?

bjeans 07-14-2016 07:59 AM

Too many choices can do us in - take it from someone who knows! Narrowing focus or just playing can sometimes free me.

Playing can mean grabbing any stamp and stamping that image with different colors on cheap cardstock or printer paper. Just seeing the color and image is fun. And that's all it has to be.

You can make it a game. Put some stamps in a pile, close your eyes and pick one. Stamp away.

Yesterday was a tough day (bad news) and I needed a break from my brain. There wasn't a creative molecule in me. But a while back I had made a pop-up gift card holder for someone and decided to make the identical one for my "historic" card stash. It took concentration. Copying helped me relax. You can copy too - just pick a simple card from the gallery or elsewhere and make it, or a variation, since you won't have the identical supplies. And you can make it again but in different colors.

You aren't trying to get into the Tate.

And age has nothing to do with being overwhelmed by too many choices. I think some people are naturally - or through practice or training - more adept at not being overwhelmed. But some of us are. (You should see me when confronted with many recipes.) It's a lot for some brains to manage. And that's normal for us. it's okay! Just play.

And be here.


ctab 07-14-2016 08:36 AM

Card sketches can be a great place to start. Pinterest has a ton of them.

hoptownracer1 07-14-2016 09:59 AM

Sometimes a card sketch will help me to get started. I can pick out a stamp I've been wanting to use and start from there. You could also look at cards and CASE one, changing it enough to make it your own! So glad that you are getting back into a hobby you enjoy! Best wishes! (((HUGS!))) :D Ctab is right! Pinterest has tons of sketches and cards to look at. I know this site and The Outlawz also have sketches.

contrapat 07-15-2016 11:03 AM

I've had a single button start the creative juices flowing. This card came out of wanting to use the button on it!

Green Card by contrapat - Cards and Paper Crafts at Splitcoaststampers

And I can take the major portion of a DAY making as card, not just an hour or two. Just play- try it this way, try it that way, use things that please you, colors, stamps, embellishments. It's not supposed to be serious, it's supposed to be FUN!!!
While I like looking at the galleries of other stampers, mostly, my cards come out of my head- you just have to give yourself permission to try things. If you mess it up, what have you lost, a chunk of cardstock?

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