Welcome to another guest post from my own personal circle of inspiration. Meet my Aunt Annie (we pronounce it “ant”–and we like it that way!), but you can call her Ann. Or “The Favorite”. She answers to both.
She can sew, knit, crochet, quilt, decorate, and sling a hot glue gun like nobody’s business. She’s taught me a lot of what I know about fabric manipulations and put up with my drop-stitching, left-handedness while teaching me to crochet. I would love to take credit for introducing her to papercrafting and card-making, but honestly, it’s just another expression of her general crafty, gluey, beady, ribbon-y, fabric-y…ok, you get the point and my spell-checker is going crazy–Enjoy!
I’m not a writer, and I don’t play one on TV, so when Jamie asked me if I would like to contribute as a guest blogger, I immediately went into panic mode because I do not want to disappoint her followers, as I know they have come to appreciate her style of writing and I knew there was no way I could come close.
Now that your expectations are properly adjusted, let me tell you about my experience making cards. I’m not a beginner, and I’m nowhere near considering myself an expert, but I do enjoy papercrafting. It all started when Jamie invited me to attend a card party. To be honest, I thought we were going to sit around and play Spades or something…I had no idea about the obsession that I was about to embark upon.
Turns out a “card party” is an event with an official demonstrator who tells you about the products and techniques of the company they represent, in this case Stampin’ Up. During the party Jamie and the demonstrator, Rachel, were so enthusiastic and passionate about the products it was contagious. We even got to make two cards each, and they were beautiful. I could actually envision myself choosing the handmade card over the store-bought cards. I promptly ordered probably close to $200 worth of supplies to get me started…a starter kit and some designer papers that I fell in love with. I got my goodies and it was like Christmas morning for me, I couldn’t wait to get started and make a card for everyone I could think of.
However, I made the typical rookie mistake….in my order I had several different designer papers and various colors of cardstock, but I had not ordered any stamps, inks or embellishments. Heck, I didn’t even know what an “embellishment” was until I really got going a few months later. Rachel and Jamie had made it look so easy, and my sample cards were beautiful, I just couldn’t understand why my cards were looking so lame.
As a beginner, I was not “in the know” of several tricks of the trade. I wanted my cards to be legendary masterpieces that would be the topic of conversation for everyone who received one. Turns out, for me, unless I had an experienced person standing next to me giving guidance or step-by-step instructions on how to make a certain card, my creative juices just were not supporting my desires. My cards just lacked “personality” and that special wow factor that I was looking for. Jamie suggested that I check out Splitcoast Stampers to see the sample cards that had been posted, hoping that would give me inspiration. Well, I was sure that would do the trick.
I began to look at cards a whole new way. Rather than seeing the final product, I was analyzing each individual part that made up the end result – brads, lace, ribbon, layering, pop-up dots, punches, etc. This, I was sure, was going to be my secret weapon in my plan to dominate the homemade card creation arena. Boy was I wrong!
Just being obsessed with having all the right supplies (and believe me, I went crazy and bought just about every embellishment I saw on any sample card) did not make my cards any more creatively breathtaking. Ugh…what was I to do?? After several more discussion with Jamie and Rachel (these ladies are not only very knowledgeable about papercrafting, but have the patience of saints), I realized that the old adage practice makes perfect was the new approach that I was going to need to adopt.
So, I began making cards with a brand new mindset, trying to image what end result I wanted and then figuring out what it would take to achieve it, and it has worked much better for me. I have seen a real improvement in my cards since I first started and can’t wait to see what I will be creating a few more months down the road.
Who knows…maybe I’ll try the heat embossing or one of the other techniques that I used to find intimidating – the possibilities are endless!