Thursday, August 5, 2010

And now for something a wee bit different...

Not completely or radically different, just a little strange turn or two...

As you may or may not know, I subscribed to a year of online membership to one of the best stamping publications I've ever experienced: Technique Junkies. A year's subscription to the snailmail version is quite reasonable, but I decided to get access to all of the techniques since 2002 for a one-year timeframe, and that costs like 3 times more. But, I'm glad I did it. It has really helped my skills and my confidence with cardmaking and stamping, not to mention that it has forced me to use my inks and inking/stamping tools in new and different ways.

This card is a great example of my progress. Let me explain. First, the background blue and red was a technique called Bingo Blast that was really difficult for me because I lacked all of the proper materials and had to improvise. Also, what you have to do in the technique was a little scary to me. Then, when I got that far, my results were inconsistent. For example, the bottom half of that piece on the card turned out great, but the top half did not.

But, had I not mentioned it, would you even have noticed? I truly doubt it.

I sat on that background for a while, trying to come up with a way to make it into a card that screamed it wanted to look that way. Finally, while stamping my cd cases and index sheets, I saw my Cat's Pajamas rocket ship and asterik. A-ha! An idea took root. But when I got the rocket on the card, it disappeared into the background. I needed some way to make the rocket stand out. So, I got the idea of doing the Marker Tapping technique on the rocket's wings and nose, then outlining it in silver, then Sharpie paint-penning some exhaust. I got a pattern of white pops started that helped balance all those bold colors, and I completed it with the colors of the sentiment.

I truly cannot see me ever attempting this before trying the TJ techniques. Just matching or blending the reds would have stopped me before. Now, it's like play time. (Well, with a little anxiety, but I get past it!)  I am cursed with a too-healthy sense of perfectionism and forcing myself to use less than perfect media is good for me. It stretches me. I occasionally bomb in making lemonade out of lemons, but when I succeed it's the best feeling. In my book, money well spent indeed.

Here, we have another little departure from this week. I have a little secret: I've always been a bit afraid of directly stamping layers. And I'm not saying that I shouldn't still be afraid of it, because like everything else, it is complicated. But, one of the themes of my atc mingle group was Stamping Only and I took it literally. So literally that I wanted to color the entire card base to begin with and didn't have a solid stamp that large.

So, I brayered ink onto an acrylic mount and used that as a stamp. Then, I put a slightly darker layer of the same colors on with a solid feathered background stamp that covers 3/4 of the card. After that I stamped the sentiment (a quote by James Dean) and made a paper mask for it. Covering the stamped sentiment with the mask, I then stamped a large script background stamp over the whole card. Finally I stamped two different sets of photo corner stamps to frame the card. (Stamps by Technique Tuesday, Urban Lily, Heidi Grace for Fiskars, Impression Obsession and Starving Artiststamps.)

I'm so proud for having done all that...not because I think it rocks that technique because it totally doesn't. I mean, what I did is very simple in comparison to some stamping divas I know. I'm proud because I got to the end of it with a useable creation intact. And maybe my next layered stamping project (or my third or thirtieth) will be awesome techniquely and artistically.

Okay, so this Vegas Cigar notecard rounds out my little departures. Don't know what got into me with this one. I suspect the seeds of it were planted during Hubster's last off-days, because I found some of his cigar catalogues and was telling him to save them for me because they have some cool images to match the cigar label brands I have in my stash. In fact, he even ended up ordering some Black Pearl cigars because that would get me the labels to go with some pretty images of Black Pearl in the catalogues. Oy! Like I don't have too much to work with as it is, eh?

Anyway, I think making this card was my creative subconscious trying out that idea. I did not need to make a special card to go with the atc I was mailing to my mingle partner, but what the hey. The card front was a great way to use a negative punch out from a Nestabilities die, as well as a Vegas cigar label and a catalogue image of said cigars. Inside, I did some layered stamping in 3 coordinating colors with some gaming (playing cards and dice) stamps from Stamp Camp. I also used a checkerboard stamp from SeeD's to frame the inside sentiment that I printed out from my graphics software, and I sponged that with a coordinating color.

And, it was fun, from start to finish. Not anything that I could cross off my list, but I've been into hating that list lately. Plus, my partner loved it and appreciated it very much. Who could ask for more? Not me.
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