Friday, March 5, 2010

Easter Blessings

Can I say this one more time -- I'm SOOO excited to guest design for Taylored Expressions this month and next! Today is release day, with three new sets and two Key Ingredients kits available for purchase in the store *right now*! The Baker's Dozen designers have been showing some gorgeous peeks already this week. Taylor has links to everyone's blog posts on her blog HERE and HERE. You will love everything these designers have done!

Today is my TE "debut"! This first project uses a gorgeous set called Easter Blessings. While I really love all the adorable eggs, chicks, and bunnies that pop up this time of year, my very favorite Easter sets are always the religious ones. Easter Blessings is just such a set -- beautiful cross images, Scripture, and sentiments that highlight the meaning of Easter. I've paired one of the cross images with the Matthew 28:6 verse: "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said." And *that* is what Easter is all about -- He is Risen, indeed!

I've incorporated many of my very favorite things in my card design - beautiful patterned papers, die-cut shapes, dimension, machine stitching and lots of distressing. Today, I'm going to share a little bit more about distressing and working with multiple patterned papers.


When distressing, my first step is always to reach for Ranger Distress Inks. For lighter-colored papers, my go-to inks are Antique Linen, Old Paper, Tea Dye and Frayed Burlap. For medium- and dark-colored papers, I use Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain (but if I had to pick only two, I'd choose Antique Linen and Vintage Photo). I apply the ink with sponge daubers. Load up the dauber, gently swipe it across scratch paper (takes off the excess so you can avoid the splotchy, streaky look), and then apply to your paper panel, working in small circles from the outside in. By starting off the panel and working your way in, you can easily achieve the soft gradation of color. Most of the ink will be on the scratch paper - that's okay!

Next, I like to rough up the edges using a distressing tool. Just repeatedly scrape the tool across the paper edge to break down those fibers. After that, I like to hit a few spots around the panel with my fingernail for a more irregular look, otherwise the distressing looks a little too uniform, which kind of defeats the purpose :) For even more distressing and texture, tear a few small slits here and there, curling back the sides just a little. Last, lightly sponge some distress ink onto the rough edges you just made. Most patterned papers have a white core, so where the core now shows, give it a tiny bit of aging as well.

I often finish off my distressed panels with some machine-stitching. Since the whole panel is purposefully messy, you don't have to worry too much about stitching in a straight line - a good thing! Just be careful when you stitch over the little slits and don't sew them back closed like I did ;)

Remember to sponge the edges of your card base, too. You probably won't want your aged, distressed, well-loved panel/s to be framed by something bright and new-looking.

Working with Patterned Papers

I like to use patterned papers and lots of them! But it hasn't always been that way. There was a time not that long ago when I was scared to death of it. Here are three things that have helped me embrace it:

First is an obvious one -- if you're uncomfortable working with multiple patterns, start with papers from the same collection. The matching and coordinating are already done for you! I'm not at all against mixing collections and manufacturers, it's just that it can be easier when you stick with one collection.
All of the papers I used are from Webster's Pages.

Second, have a hierarchy. For most layouts, choosing one or two dominant patterns works best. These will be the papers that cover the majority of your card. Secondary and tertiary patterns should have much less weight visually. You might use them for borders, accents, sentiments, and other small areas.
You can see on my card that the larger background pattern and the stripe are the two dominant patterns. They compliment each other, rather than compete. My sentiment and accents are all done with additional patterns. The piece behind the cross, the sentiment, the flourish, and the corner accents all use "safe," monochromatic patterns. The boldest pattern, the diagonal grid design, is used only for the two narrow horizontal strips, so as not to compete with the dominant patterns, or, more important, the image and sentiment.

Third, be mindful of the sizes of your patterns and the colors within them. Avoid using too many prints with very small patterns, which can get "busy" quickly, especially when they're all colorful. Instead mix a small print with a larger print or any print with a stripe, plaid or polka dot. Or, mix a colorful pattern with a monochromatic pattern.
Again, I have a large pattern in the background, mixed with a stripe and a small touch of a bolder, grid design. The rest of the patterns are monochromatic.

Just yesterday, I received a comment about needing to learn how to blend patterned paper more, so I hope some of this is helpful to at least some of you!

One last tip as promised in the TE newsletter: See those little corner accents on the striped panel?

They are just the decorative ends of one of the Spellbinders Fancy Tags dies. A cast-off during my card design was a sentiment that I had die-cut with this die. Rather than pitch it, I cut it in half for two corner accents. Always be on the lookout for ways you can make your dies work double duty!

This has been a looooooong post. If you're still with me - thanks! I'm not used to "talking" this much. I have a second card with another of the new sets, but I think I'll save that for another day. I'll have some "talk" with that one, too ;)

Thank you SO much for stopping by, and thank you, Taylor, for the guest designer opportunity!

Stamps: Easter Blessings (Taylored Expressions)
Paper: Papertrey Rustic Cream, Webster's Pages 6x6 designer paper collections
Ink: Ranger Antique Linen, Tea Dye, and Vintage Photo Distress Inks
Accessories: clear embossing powder, Spellbinders Labels 4 Nestabilities, classic circle Nestabilities, and Fancy Tags dies, BossKut flourish die, distressing tool, sewing machine, foam adhesive


Cindy Lawrence said...

Goodness gracious, girl, this is GORGEOUS! Your eye for detail is second to NONE, my friend! AMEN to the sentiment too...that IS what Easter is all about! {{hugs}}

Oliwiaen said...

Beautifully done - could it be otherwise?

Cheryl said...

Beautiful card! Thank you for all the information you shared.

Karen Giron said...

This is absolutely gorgeous and perfect! I love all the extra detail you put into the distressing - the the cross and scripture are beautiful! That is the true meaning of Easter.

Donna Baker said...

gorgeous, Amy!! wow

Linda L said...

Wow, loved reading about how you choose your PP's Amy...thanks for all the tips. It's certainly something I have long admired about your work. Have a great weekend.

Carolina said...

Thud! What an amazing all the distressing, the sewing, just all the little details. Beautiful in every way!

Maggie said...

I always look forward to your postings with sweet anticipation and you never disappoint. Another lovely card and thanks so much for your take on mixing and matching patterned papers. I struggle with that, but will give it a go. *wink*

Charmaine (CharmWarm) said...

Just gorgeous, Amy! All of that distressing is just fabulous!

Conniecrafter said...

Beautiful Easter card, great combo of papers, thanks so much for sharing all your tips, it is very helpful, I have such a hard time using more than one pattern paper

Marisa said...

Fabulous tips on distressing and using DP, Amy! Thank you!! You are a fabulous teacher and writer. I can use help in both areas and will save this and print it off to join your wonderful photography tutorial :D Lovely sample card and congrats on the TE guest spot. Your work is always amazing!

Melissa Sauls said...

Oh my goodness, what a strikingly gorgeous card!!!! Love all your little details and, of course, all the distressing. :)

Denise Marzec said...

LOVIN' the butterfly papers and all your distressing. Fabulous, Amy!

Anna Fearer said...

Very elegant