Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Use what you have

I appreciate good design and art in any form, but paper crafting can be a wee bit expensive if not controlled. I want to address the question: how do you balance paper crafting with new items and follow the motto, use what you have?

1. Keep your organization and tools simple. I have a large paper filer for my paper. This is sorted by color. I have a bag that carries my tools, brads, washi tape, ribbon and other bulky items. A smaller bag keeps my embellishments. Other than that, I have my computer and a regular printer/scanner. For Christmas, I got a Silhouette Cameo, but I have been functioning using the basics listed above for 14 years. Using less space keeps me organized and less wasteful without hoarding.

2. Get to know a design program. My work set me up with the Adobe package, but if you are not so lucky, Photoshop Elements can become your best friend. It does pretty much everything I do design-wise and is a wonderful tool for any crafter. CreativeLive gives a wonderful 8-hour online video showing you everything! Once you have this and understand the basics, you can design so many things (like words, sentiments, journaling, layouts) on your own.

3. Buy only what you love. Using products that you know you love makes a big difference in your happiness with your craft. If there is a texture paper or embellishment that inspires you, buy it and use it on several projects. Each page, card, or other project that you use with it will make you happy, and that is better than buying 20 pages for 9.99 or a set of stickers on sale (yay!) but that makes you feel drab.

4. Sell stamps on ebay when you are finished with them. Some organizations don't ship overseas, and there is host of people who would love your leftovers!

5. Save lovely scraps. This saving method can easily turn into hoarding, but the key is knowing what you love and what is so-so. Save what you love. Toss something that is so-so. Strips can be used as a banner. Or you can print on it. Squares can be used as part of a grid. (Ex: my Christmas layout in which I used a pink square from 2001. No lie. It is older than my nephew.)

6. Test run a style before you invest. Jumping on the bandwagon can be fun, but some trends are just trends and may not fit your style. Before going out and buying one of every color, try one or 2 of an item to see if it fits your style.

7. Be proud of everything you make. Don't just make to make. Don't just buy to buy. Think about the types of projects that make you happy and the styles that make you happy. Keep track of your tastes on a place like Pinterest to determine what trends or new ideas you think really match your style.

8. If there is a paper or embellishment that you think is starting to kill your creative mojo, use it now to get it out of the way. Make a single card (like I did for a Christmas present) or a set of cards (like I did for Thanksgiving). You're probably thinking: how did you not like those items? Let me tell you: I had had the stickers for at least 8 years each, and they were just sitting there taking up space. The longer they sat, the less likely they were to get used. They were cute, and I did like them, but my scrapbooking style had evolved so that I was not going to use them in my scrapbooks. But as cards, they were great. The end result was adorable, and they are no longer taking up my precious storage space and killing my mojo.

9. Treat yourself on occasion. It's totally fine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Polar Bear Christmas Card

For our Christmas card this year, I followed my husband's taste by having one side of the card a non-photo holiday card with a polar bear. I call this the front of the card. (The back had a full-bleed photo. Oh sneaky me.) Before I made this, I agonized for ages over how I was going to make a card that represented him. Ages! Then it came to me! I had never seen this idea before, but it just made sense: an outline with words.

I absolutely love this polar bear and love how the cursive words look like fur. The secret to my bear? I traced the outline of a polar bear with cursive words, scanned it, and edited the color in illustrator. It was really that easy. To ensure people knew I did it myself, I included our names and the year at the belly of the bear. From what I have learned, very few people noticed this. Many people didn't even notice that within the outline were holiday words. Alas. I still love him.

Font: My own handwriting and Bebas Neue