Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cutting the Apron Strings and Letting it Fly

I love making cards but I am probably one of the worst card makers when it comes to actually using them!  I display them on my design tower or on my presentation board I take to workshops.  I give some away attached to gifts and even once in a while I mail one out.  With all my supplies and ideas, you would think that I have cards at the ready to send out!  But I am like the Shoemaker's children running around barefoot.

I am the worst!!!  I am always rushing to put something together instead of using a card that has earned its way to my display rack or my board. Each card I create is like having a baby!  And when it is done, I'm never ready for it to leave the nest!

The concept phase of designing a card is like pregnancy.  You have an idea based on the stamps or the colors or the techniques and they are incubating in your brain growing and getting stronger.  You might start playing with shapes or color combinations.  The concept grows as you "case" someone's design or look at other samples.  Maybe if you take this from here and that from there and combine it over here.  What stamps?  What sentiments? Ooh, how about a pop out center?  Oh if I put three brads over there and what about a ribbon tab here?  The design keeps growing and growing until...Congratulations!  You have just put together a card!

Ok, sometimes the card comes out looking like Winston Churchill but all babies are cute, right?  This is the point in the creative process where you revise.  Assess the card.  What do you like about it?  What works? What's missing?  What piece could tie everything together. Remember when you could dress your kids in anything you wanted?  When shopping for clothes was fun?  But caution here -- you don't want to turn your card into one of those "Toddlers and Tiara's" nightmares with the fake teeth, fake tan and fake hair!

During this time of nurturing, you may totally bling out the card or try it with different colors or DSPs.  You are really looking for a WOW factor. You work diligently on preparing each layer and making sure all the elements work together.  The design may take a left turn and go the complete opposite of what you think you wanted.  It's like when your teenager comes home one day and says, "I'm not going to college.  I'm touring with a rock band for a year."  You'll want to pull back and try to stuff it right back into that original design but somehow you need to find the strength to let it find its way.  This is especially hard for people who have control issues.

As the execution nears to finish it has really become a great card.  It may not be the original concept you started with but it has a unique combination of you and your style combined with elements you used.  It is not a cookie cutter card.  It's ready to leave the nest and bring joy to someone else.  It's all up to you to cut the apron strings and let it go.  Before you let it go backpacking in Europe, make sure you take a picture or better yet, now that you've got the design elements figured out, reproduce it.

Each card will look similar but you will have your unique stamp on each card -- literally.  If you've come up with a design that you really love, stamp a stack of them to keep on hand.  Look at how you might change an element or two to move from a Thank You card to a Birthday Card to a Thinking of You card.

Now, take that card that's all grown up, put a stamp on an envelope and send it to someone!  Cut the apron strings and let it fly.  You will continue to be proud of it and you'll really show someone how much you care for them.

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