Monday, August 3, 2009

My Divine Details and WINNERS

If you're looking for the Anni-VERVE-sary blog hop, CLICK HERE. We'll be announcing the lucky mystery jackpot winner on Wednesday, so you still have a little time to comment.

Okay, so did y'all enjoy this month's project parade as much as I did? What a treat to get to see a glimpse of the design process our talented Divas go through. I know I jotted down several tips to try myself. I'll be walking you through my process in a minute, but first it's time to announce the winners of our Divine Details Project Parade! So without further adieu, let's give it up for this month's winners...

1. Susan aka Crunchy
Kim Stewart
They win any stamp set of their choice from Verve.

Our mystery gift certificate for the Divine Details Project Parade was hidden in Laurie's post and our lucky commenter is...

Cheri Howard who said... What a stunning card! I love the bold, rich colors you chose!

Congrats girls! Email me at to claim your prize. If you won a stamp set, please include your shipping address and the name of the set you would like.

Okay, now you'll want to grab a cup of joe and maybe a bit of chocolate (it never hurts) as I walk you through a bit of my design thought process. Before I get started, please forgive my messy workspace and my ink stained stamps. We're keeping it real here, and this is the usual state of things around my studio! :) I'll keep the photos small so this isn't a trillion pages long, but you can always click the photo to see it bigger. For those who like to read the last page of the book first, here's the finished project. :)

As I've been thinking about my process the last few weeks, I've noticed that I approach almost every project from a different angle. Sometimes I stamp first, sometimes last. Sometimes I free-form and sometimes I start with a sketch. Sometimes I have an embellishment in mind and sometimes the embellishments are after thoughts. But no matter where I start, at the heart of each project is some definite thought to the tastes and styles of the recipient. I almost always make my projects with a specific person in mind. The art of cardmaking is about giving, so I think things just flow better if I keep that at the center of my projects.

So for this project I started with Jen T.'s birthday in mind. I wanted clean lines - nothing too frilly - and a tropical feel because this girl lives in paradise! So I started with some papers from the Sunsplashed collection that I had picked out for her on my last shopping trip and one of my favorite Verve flowers.

The next step in the process was to decide whether or not to use a sketch. I had been struggling a little in the mojo department, so I decided to take some of the creative pressure off myself and work with one of Amber's fantastic Viva la Verve! sketches. This was one from July {VLVJUL01} (I know, I'm a whole month late, but I really wanted to play!) that really called my name, since I just love skewed panels. No matter whether I use a sketch or free-form my layout, I always cut all the pieces and shapes and lay them out to determine the best proportions. As a general rule, I always work with a 4" x 5.25" piece and keep the top focal panel to 2.25" x 3.25" or smaller, with 1/8" mats on every layer. Chocolate chip is a go-to accent color for me, especially when using cream. Black is my go-to accent color for white. And then since this sketch called for some ribbon, I laid out a few choices of ribbon to think about as the card progressed.

Once I have my basic layers decided, I'll layout my stamps (sometimes directly on my project to determine placement. This layout seemed kind of right heavy, so I chose to do some off the edge stamping to balance things out. So I embossed the flower from Meditations on the panel and then 2 more times on pearlized cream. {Tip: I always stamp an extra of anything I'm cutting out or coloring in case I mess up.} Next I colored with Copic markers and cut out my popped up flower. I always do a little coloring of the flower that's being covered up in case someone is looking from the side.

The twist for this sketch was distressing, and my favorite of all distressing methods is sponging. I add a little bit to almost all of my cards to add a little depth and interest. For this project I picked my two favorite inks for blending - Ranger Distress ink in Tea Dye and Vintage Photo. As you can see, my Cut-n-Dry foam square has been used quite a bit. I use it over and over for the same colors until it starts to crumble, then cut another square. One side I use for a lighter shade and then go over with the darker shade, always pulling from off the paper into the center of the piece. (That's why there's so much ink on my grid paper.)

After I have the focal image done, I choose my sentiment. Every once in a while I choose the sentiment first, but most of the time it's the last stamping choice I make on a card. Here I chose the You're the Best sentiment from the Kindred Spirits set, laying it out to make sure it would fit in the space I had. Once I've stamped my sentiment, it's just a process of gluing down mats, deciding what layers the ribbon should be under and which layers should be on dimensionals. Here's the usual time when I realize I haven't left myself much room for embellishing.

I love collecting all sorts of embellishments, but usually stick with glitter, pearls, ribbon and photo corners. Most of the time I try to make the artwork be the embellishment with dimension and glitter. I also LOVE photo corners. They're perfect for hiding fingerprint smudges and for helping focus the eye on where you want the attention drawn. Here I chose a ridged metal photo corner that seemed to work well with the clean layers. I also added a fallback of mine - a mixture of Diamond Glaze and glitter for just a little shine and sparkle to the flower. Another favorite detail I usually add to my cards is a trio or quintet of pearls, rhinestones or brads. I always stick with odd numbers, because groupings that aren't symmetrical are more pleasing to the eye.

Okay, that's a little peek into my design process. I hope you've enjoyed our series of Divine Details. Thanks for stopping by!