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Old 11-10-2007, 06:36 AM   #1
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Default Question for clean and simple stampers

After years of experimenting, I decided that the "more is more" approach to cardmaking just doesn't work for me. I LOVE other people's cards in this style, but when I do them, I am always dissatisfied. I crave clean and simple cards with lots of white space and good balance.

Here's the problem: how do you keep "clean and simple" from being "dull and boring"? I really struggle with this enough that it's getting frustrating. I feel like there's some secret to the puzzle that I haven't figured out, so my successes are always pleasant surprises, LOL! But too many of my cards are just blah--not bad, just blah.

What are your tricks for turning blah to simply beautiful?

TIA
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:00 AM   #2
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For me, it's a great color combo, a great layout, and simple embellishments. And looking around the gallery, of course, for stampers who match my style. Or I take a "more is more" card and just scale it down, like eliminating layers and maybe embellishments.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:09 AM   #3
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I get a lot of inspiration from old (and current) SU catalogs. Mostly, I am looking for color combos that are pleasing to me.

The majority of my cards are very simple, but I did try faithfully recreating all the great "over the top" cards in the Perfect Princess gallery - a real departure for me, and great fun!

As a result, I made the most ornate original design of my life... then returned to my simple cards the next day ~ LOL!
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:14 AM   #4
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Great question! I struggle with this too.
I think as others have said- dynamic layout, good color scheme and a good coloring job. I have seen some very plain cards that had a beautifully colored image which made the card 100% elegant.
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:28 AM   #5
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Susan, I just scoped out your gallery and everything in it is beautiful! Clean and simple is your style and each card in your gallery is just lovely.


Quote:

Originally Posted by LateBlossomView Post
After years of experimenting, I decided that the "more is more" approach to cardmaking just doesn't work for me. I LOVE other people's cards in this style, but when I do them, I am always dissatisfied. I crave clean and simple cards with lots of white space and good balance.

Here's the problem: how do you keep "clean and simple" from being "dull and boring"? I really struggle with this enough that it's getting frustrating. I feel like there's some secret to the puzzle that I haven't figured out, so my successes are always pleasant surprises, LOL! But too many of my cards are just blah--not bad, just blah.

What are your tricks for turning blah to simply beautiful?

TIA
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:45 AM   #6
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For me, simple means you need to pay even closer attention to your little details - a rhinestone in the center of a flower, some judiciously placed stickles for a little sparkle, a piece of really nice ribbon or a really pretty pearl brad adds some elegance to any card. Sharon (Notimetostamp), is one of simple and elegant stamping heros. She does weekly "Stamp simply" challenges on her blog, too. Here's the link: http://notimetostamp.blogs.splitcoaststampers.com/
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Old 11-10-2007, 08:55 AM   #7
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Clean & Simple is what I've discovered to be just my style... I have tried adding more and more, but my eye is always brought back to clean lines and color combos.

Layers for framing - clean yet adds a lot.

Pop Up - popping up small elements can really give a card extra "oomph"

Backgrounds - give it some interesting elements without throwing in the kitchen sink

Just enough - adding embellishments is not necessarily taking away from the clean lines, as long as you don't over-add them... just one or two things can go a long way.

Highlighting - just the art of bringing emphasis on one element of a card is a great way to draw attention without needing too much other stuff.

Those are just a few thoughts I have on it - oh, and a bit of glitter or shine can go a long way, too!

Happy Stampin'~
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:27 AM   #8
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Thanks to all for the great ideas! Michelle, you sum it up well--pay extra attention to the little details (and thanks for the link to Sharon's blog--I bookmarked it!). I'm gonna make a reference list of all these ideas and post it in my craft room to remind me of stuff to try when I've got the "blahs."
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:12 AM   #9
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I was a little surprised to see you starting this thread, Susan. You're one of the people I would have gone to for an answer to your question! Whatever you're doing, keep doing because it's working for ya!

I love all kinds of cards, but sometimes just need clean simplicity. JulieHRR's gallery and blog are worth studying, as are Amuse and Savvy Stamps. All the advice here is great! One thing I've noticed is that if you use really nice card stock or paper, like Fabriano, it makes such a difference. And glitter makes everything better! I was studying the sample boards in AC Moore the other day, pondering this very question, wondering why Savvy Stamps' simple cards looked so wonderful and those are the things I came up with.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:39 AM   #10
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It's my favorite way to make cards, and the most rewarding for me personally, altho I adore and drool over the beautiful, more elaborate creations of others.

I am hoping to teach a class (online) this coming Spring on simple yet sensational card design. It is in development stage right now, but, I hope there will be interest in it.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:45 AM   #11
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LateBlossomView Post
After years of experimenting, I decided that the "more is more" approach to cardmaking just doesn't work for me. I LOVE other people's cards in this style, but when I do them, I am always dissatisfied. I crave clean and simple cards with lots of white space and good balance.

Here's the problem: how do you keep "clean and simple" from being "dull and boring"? I really struggle with this enough that it's getting frustrating. I feel like there's some secret to the puzzle that I haven't figured out, so my successes are always pleasant surprises, LOL! But too many of my cards are just blah--not bad, just blah.

What are your tricks for turning blah to simply beautiful?

TIA
Um, Susan? I just visited your gallery.

I think you have seriously underestimated your ability in this arena!

I love your work, and will be bookmarking your gallery soon as I finish typing this!

Thank you for inspiring!
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:54 AM   #12
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i find i'm having the same trouble. i am new to stamping and card-making in general so i have very limited supplies. a lot of the things i would love to try (embossing, etc), i just don't have the supplies or the tools needed so my cards tend be very plain. i'm in a "blah" stage with my cards and my ideas. it seems i spend hours each week looking at the gallery looking for ideas that i can use to spice up my cards. so much so that my husband has taken to calling SCS "craft porn". LOL.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:12 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rsalamonView Post
i find i'm having the same trouble. i am new to stamping and card-making in general so i have very limited supplies. a lot of the things i would love to try (embossing, etc), i just don't have the supplies or the tools needed so my cards tend be very plain. i'm in a "blah" stage with my cards and my ideas. it seems i spend hours each week looking at the gallery looking for ideas that i can use to spice up my cards. so much so that my husband has taken to calling SCS "craft porn". LOL.

SPEW!!!!!!!!





ROTFLMBO!
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rsalamonView Post
... my husband has taken to calling SCS "craft porn". LOL.
LOL!! How appropos.

I have to add to this thread that I think that judiciously used DP (designer paper) can also be a part of a simpler style of card-making. I literally drool over my beautiful Basic Grey paper stacks and my piles of American Craft, Me And My Big Ideas, Prima and other brands' sheets of DP. I think that a vibrantly colored sheet of card stock, a fabulous sheet of DP and a simple stamped image and sentiment are just about all I need to make a card - maybe with just another bit of neutral card stock for matting.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:30 AM   #15
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JulieHRR is bookmarking MY gallery!!!!!!

Breathe, breathe, OMG I'm passing out......
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:34 AM   #16
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JulieHRRView Post
I am hoping to teach a class (online) this coming Spring on simple yet sensational card design. It is in development stage right now, but, I hope there will be interest in it.
Will there be interest in it?!?! (Rolls eyes) Of course there will be--sign me up!
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:42 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jessrose21View Post
I was a little surprised to see you starting this thread, Susan. You're one of the people I would have gone to for an answer to your question! Whatever you're doing, keep doing because it's working for ya!

I love all kinds of cards, but sometimes just need clean simplicity. JulieHRR's gallery and blog are worth studying, as are Amuse and Savvy Stamps. All the advice here is great! One thing I've noticed is that if you use really nice card stock or paper, like Fabriano, it makes such a difference. And glitter makes everything better! I was studying the sample boards in AC Moore the other day, pondering this very question, wondering why Savvy Stamps' simple cards looked so wonderful and those are the things I came up with.
Aww, you're so sweet! If only you could see the piles of cards I DON'T post.... Oh, the poor trees, giving their lives for my failures. Please don't tell Al Gore.

I've been a Julie stalker for a l-o-n-g time but am very careful not to click on her links to Amuse--my only defense to protect my checkbook balance, LOL! But you're right. Studying the samples on Hero Arts has helped me, so now I need to start branching out.... Good thing I've already bought most colors of Stickles. Now I need to use them more!
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:50 AM   #18
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Aww, you're so sweet! If only you could see the piles of cards I DON'T post.... Oh, the poor trees, giving their lives for my failures. Please don't tell Al Gore.

I've been a Julie stalker for a l-o-n-g time but am very careful not to click on her links to Amuse--my only defense to protect my checkbook balance, LOL! But you're right. Studying the samples on Hero Arts has helped me, so now I need to start branching out.... Good thing I've already bought most colors of Stickles. Now I need to use them more!
You'd best be watchin' yerself, Susan--you've become the stalkee!
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:43 PM   #19
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Great thread! I'll add my .02 to the already perfect advice from others... and that is, attention to detail. For me, that detail is usually color and color application. And I never skimp by using cheap papers when I'm creating something simple and clean. Fine papers only enhance a design.
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:52 PM   #20
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JulieHRRView Post
Um, Susan? I just visited your gallery.

I think you have seriously underestimated your ability in this arena!

I love your work, and will be bookmarking your gallery soon as I finish typing this!

Thank you for inspiring!
Ditto to what Julie said .... girl, you've got it down!
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Old 11-10-2007, 01:10 PM   #21
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Ditto to what Julie said .... girl, you've got it down!
Another ditto here! You are doing just great with the clean and simple approach. Only thing I can add: another gallery and blog to study is notimetostamp (Sharon Johnson). Her talent for making simple designs look fabulous never ceases to amaze me.

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Old 11-10-2007, 01:17 PM   #22
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I am like you... I love others fancy cards but find when I try that style, it doesn't work for me. I also have tried the clean and simple style and find that my cards look like something is missing! I am currently stuck looking for my "real" style... but I'm having fun looking for it!!
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Old 11-10-2007, 01:18 PM   #23
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Susan

I am SOOO glad you posted your question - so we could all be directed to your unbelievable gallery! I'd love to comment on every card - I love them all! Thank you for finding your style - and then sharing it!

Asie to JulieHRR -- I'll be stalking the online class sign up for sure!

Patti
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:16 PM   #24
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I agree with julie... your gallery is lovely!

I I find I can only make two types of cards... super simple, or more is more. there is no in between for me!

Maybe try experimenting with "flat" embellishments or coloring techniques? items like small rhinestones, or brads... glitters, flocking or foiling? then you can keep a simple flat style and still have unique but subtle textures?
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:02 PM   #25
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Maybe try experimenting with "flat" embellishments or coloring techniques? items like small rhinestones, or brads... glitters, flocking or foiling? then you can keep a simple flat style and still have unique but subtle textures?
Flock and foil? Hmmm. Haven't got those, yet. I'm intrigued. Your comment does remind me that I've got gold leaf (the real sheets), size, and an agate burnisher tucked away somewhere.... Got to dig those out.

Thanks, everyone, for the great ideas and links! I'm feeling very inspired now to try some new stuff!
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:39 PM   #26
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But too many of my cards are just blah--not bad, just blah.

What are your tricks for turning blah to simply beautiful?

TIA
have you been to your gallery?

your projects are simply GORGEOUS!!!!
just look at your view count and favorites! thats a lot more than some others i've seen, and i have quite a few of yours favorited!
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:41 PM   #27
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Just have to say that I also checked out your gallery, Susan and I ditto what all the others said. Your work is wonderful. You have the clean and simple down just great. I love your style.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:42 PM   #28
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Me too, Susan - you're getting a lot of fans here!

Clean and simple can be just as beautiful... especially for those of like minds like we are. Keep on doin' what you're doin!!!
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Old 11-11-2007, 04:34 AM   #29
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have you been to your gallery?

your projects are simply GORGEOUS!!!!
just look at your view count and favorites! thats a lot more than some others i've seen, and i have quite a few of yours favorited!
But Sharlene, you only see the ones I am willing to POST, LOL! For each card I post, there are dozens of blah cards that lack that "certain something" to make them good.

You very kind ladies have NO IDEA how gratifying, blush-inducing, and inspiring it is to read such nice praise, but I didn't post this thread to troll for comments and compliments. Honestly!

Despite the fact that I study quite a few blogs, magazines, and the gallery here (and have done so for several years now), making a nice card feels like an accident to me. I sit down at my craft desk and spend w-a-y too much time staring at cardstock and stamps and ink and embellishments wondering "What do I do with all this STUFF!" I've got a ton of stuff, but go into brain freeze when my bottom is in that chair.

It's like my 7-year-old learning addition and subtraction. His brain locks and he forgets to start counting (four plus two is four, five, six!). He just stares at the numbers like they are Sanskrit, completely beyond his ability. Too often at the craft table, that's me!

I love the "accident" part of the creative process, actually, but not the brain freeze part. THAT is what I want to eliminate. I want to loosen up, play, not feel like a failure when something doesn't go right but like a confident kid learning something new from mistakes who knows she's gonna get it eventually. Where's my inner kindergartner?

As I posted earlier, I'm going to put all the fabulous suggestions here into a list. (Definitely a list person here!) I'll post the list to this thread (if I can figure out how to do that!) as a Word doc since others have expressed the same problem I have. Any time I feel brain freeze coming on, I can look at the list. One day maybe I won't need the list--it'll be internalized and come automatically. That's the goal, at least, and thank you all for helping!
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:44 AM   #30
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Your gallery is amazing. I agree with Julie and others who have said you are underestimating your talent. I just added your gallery to my list to get inspired. I started looking and can't wait until later when I can finish viewing everything. I am trying to also go a little cleaner with my designs. For me balance is the hardest thing to accomplish. One thing that has helped me is looking for samples here that appeal to me and then paying attention to the details that make the card stick out to me.
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:48 AM   #31
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You'd best be watchin' yerself, Susan--you've become the stalkee!
And when Julie stalks someone, she REALLY stalks them! Trust me, I *know*....
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:52 AM   #32
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Susan I am jumpin on the band wagon here and saying WOW!! I feel your pain. I see the beauty of the cards with all the more, and think to self how fabulous I must do that. Then it comes down to it I can't. I will make my simple card and then look and think I like it but it ain't all that. I think for me it comes down to the complete overwhelm of talent and styles and creativity on this site. It can be down right crippeling at times. YOur work is amazing and thanks so much for starting this thread. I learned alot about me.
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:28 AM   #33
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And when Julie stalks someone, she REALLY stalks them! Trust me, I *know*....
Heh, heh, heh!

Yes, indeedy . . . Jan would know . .. heh, heh, heh!
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:36 AM   #34
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Somehow I suspect that's the kind of stalking none of us would mind!
Thanks for all the great ideas for simple stamping, ladies. It's hard sometimes when your style doesn't seem to match the latest trends!
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:49 AM   #35
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LateBlossomView Post
But Sharlene, you only see the ones I am willing to POST, LOL! For each card I post, there are dozens of blah cards that lack that "certain something" to make them good.

Susan, the same can be said for many! People only see the ones I am willing to post; I rarely post the ones that I feel I missed the mark on. They hit the circular file.


Quote:

You very kind ladies have NO IDEA how gratifying, blush-inducing, and inspiring it is to read such nice praise, but I didn't post this thread to troll for comments and compliments. Honestly!
Your post seemed a very genuine request for insight and help, not in search of validation or praise.



Quote:

Despite the fact that I study quite a few blogs, magazines, and the gallery here (and have done so for several years now), making a nice card feels like an accident to me. I sit down at my craft desk and spend w-a-y too much time staring at cardstock and stamps and ink and embellishments wondering "What do I do with all this STUFF!" I've got a ton of stuff, but go into brain freeze when my bottom is in that chair.

It's like my 7-year-old learning addition and subtraction. His brain locks and he forgets to start counting (four plus two is four, five, six!). He just stares at the numbers like they are Sanskrit, completely beyond his ability. Too often at the craft table, that's me!

I love the "accident" part of the creative process, actually, but not the brain freeze part. THAT is what I want to eliminate. I want to loosen up, play, not feel like a failure when something doesn't go right but like a confident kid learning something new from mistakes who knows she's gonna get it eventually. Where's my inner kindergartner?

As I posted earlier, I'm going to put all the fabulous suggestions here into a list. (Definitely a list person here!) I'll post the list to this thread (if I can figure out how to do that!) as a Word doc since others have expressed the same problem I have. Any time I feel brain freeze coming on, I can look at the list. One day maybe I won't need the list--it'll be internalized and come automatically. That's the goal, at least, and thank you all for helping!
I don't believe there's a one of us that doesn't wish that every single time we sit down to create something, we pull a rabbit outta' the hat! But, the honest to goodness truth is that we all experience failures. And, we learn from them, and keep trying, always in pursuit of that occasional "booyah" moment.

Here's a great thread, authored by JanTink, whose work I have admired for pretty much ever, that discusses much of the above, in case you missed it: http:////www.splitcoaststampers.com/...d.php?t=141484

It's an oldie, but a goody.
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:21 AM   #36
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Susan, your gallery is full of gorgeous cards. And can I just point out how few comments there are on these cards? I'm not saying this because I think there "should" be more comments, but merely pointing out that an outstanding gallery can have few comments. Number of comments does not equal value of gallery!!

Now, to get back to your original point -- IMHO -- cards with few layers, etc. are very hard to CASE without just outright copying the entire card. I've tried to take a clean card and make it my own and failed miserably. Sadly, it requires inborn talent, or the ability to learn the designs principles and apply them.

I hope I'm making sense. I do not have that "eye" and hope I can take Julie's class. If not, Whidbey Island, here I come!
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:45 AM   #37
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Susan, your gallery is full of wonderful, beautiful cards, and I must add that your photography is spendid as well. Keep sharing your work with us.
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:18 PM   #38
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Thanks, Joan and Julie! It's not failure that bothers me, though. There's a rule in photography that to get one good picture, you have to take 100 bad ones--I think that applies to stamping, too!

What's bugging me to distraction is that I tend to get paralyzed and don't know what to do next. I want to have the confidence to say, hmmm, this card needs something....let's try this....what about this....hmmm, how about this...wow, that soooo didn't work, back up and try this....

Does that make sense? It's keeping moving forward rather than getting brain-lock, it's playing and having fun with both failure and success. It may even be about trusting myself enough to let go and "Just Do It."

Wow. I'm not sure where that came from, but hey, it felt good to type it!

Back to the original topic...how do you keep "clean and simple" from being "dull and boring"?
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:37 PM   #39
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Someone just directed me to this thread -- thanks so much for the mention of my gallery/blog. And to tell you the truth, I am totally honored to be mentioned in a thread focusing on clean and simple -- it is a look I love -- and though most all of my work is definitely simple, I'm not so sure it's always clean -- LOL!!! The entire focus of my new Blog is to show people how SIMPLE it really can be, and if that is coming across, then I am totally thrilled!!!!

I'll offer a bit here on what works best for me, not that it is necessarily the right way, but it's *my* way:

1) I *think* better when working on a clean surface, no people around, absolute silence (aren't I the exciting one!!!) To me this is crucially important.

2) I start with color -- pull out the papers I want that coordinate perfectly with each other. And MY color does come from paper -- not from coloring.

3) I pull out the embellishments I think will go well with my papers and *type* of card I have in mind.

4) With everything I think I'll need right in front of me, I start. And the thing I probably pay most attention to as I put my card together is balance -- it HAS to balance properly -- both in terms of color and weight.

And here's a hint: DON'T hoard what you love (paper, embellies) -- USE THEM!!! When you use what you LOVE, your project will show it!!!

So, that's pretty much it -- how simple, huh???? LOL!!! Fun thread!!!
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Old 11-11-2007, 03:32 PM   #40
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Quote:

Originally Posted by LateBlossomView Post
But Sharlene, you only see the ones I am willing to POST, LOL! For each card I post, there are dozens of blah cards that lack that "certain something" to make them good.

You very kind ladies have NO IDEA how gratifying, blush-inducing, and inspiring it is to read such nice praise, but I didn't post this thread to troll for comments and compliments. Honestly!

Despite the fact that I study quite a few blogs, magazines, and the gallery here (and have done so for several years now), making a nice card feels like an accident to me. I sit down at my craft desk and spend w-a-y too much time staring at cardstock and stamps and ink and embellishments wondering "What do I do with all this STUFF!" I've got a ton of stuff, but go into brain freeze when my bottom is in that chair.

It's like my 7-year-old learning addition and subtraction. His brain locks and he forgets to start counting (four plus two is four, five, six!). He just stares at the numbers like they are Sanskrit, completely beyond his ability. Too often at the craft table, that's me!

I love the "accident" part of the creative process, actually, but not the brain freeze part. THAT is what I want to eliminate. I want to loosen up, play, not feel like a failure when something doesn't go right but like a confident kid learning something new from mistakes who knows she's gonna get it eventually. Where's my inner kindergartner?

As I posted earlier, I'm going to put all the fabulous suggestions here into a list. (Definitely a list person here!) I'll post the list to this thread (if I can figure out how to do that!) as a Word doc since others have expressed the same problem I have. Any time I feel brain freeze coming on, I can look at the list. One day maybe I won't need the list--it'll be internalized and come automatically. That's the goal, at least, and thank you all for helping!

Oh Susan, I know exactly were you are coming from. I have never been "artsy" in my life! did not start till I had kids. And it was my then 2 year old dd that started me with stamps! Bought her an xmas set to stamps envies and it started there! Now she is going to be 10 and we need an "craft" room bad!

I will sit at the table some time I can make a card in no time flat and others, well more go in the trash than get mailed! Sometimes it will take me days to "design" a card. But I know I have no "background" or "schooling" in art or design. So I understand this will be diffecult for me. When it gets to the point of not been "FUN" put it away for anothetr time!
This is to be F U N.

Your gallery is Awesome. You do have Beautiful cards. And you have Julie HRR stalking you too!!!

Don't worry about comments. There are over 800 uploads a day now. not everyone can keep up commenting in the gallery. I can't do it everyday any more either. Check out the comment thread. All you have to do is post 2 comments to the gallery of the poster above you. then the poster below you makes 2 comments in your gallery and so on. It is a fun thread.

When you have stampers block just check out the gallery and look for the stamp set you want to use. Chances are you end up makeing your own card and not "casing".

Good Luck and have F U N Stamping!!
Leslie
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