Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ruby Christmas

I saw these wonderful little houses on the Martha Stewart Christmas line and fell in love with them -- I think they have such personality and are so unique! Luckily for me, three houses in this style were available in the MS Gingerbread men stamp set! I think I'll get good use from them year-round, not just at Christmastime.
When I sat down to make these cards, I knew I wanted to use:
  1. my Giga scalloped oval punch
  2. one of the houses from the MS gingerbread men stamp set
  3. some of the ribbon in the American Crafts Christmas set I picked up at Hobby Lobby on clearance a few years ago
  4. my new Memento dewdrop inkpads
Other than that, I had no clear plan, so it took me FOREVER to make the first card. I started out by stamping the house on white cardstock and punching it out, but quickly found it was much easier for me to punch first and then stamp my image centred in the oval. So, I created several focal images (about a half dozen) so I could move on to the card design; this also let me use some of the less-perfect stamped ovals to test the results of inking, sponging, etc before I committed to using a technique or product on the card itself.

After much trial, error, and gnashing of teeth, I finally made a card I was REALLY happy with using SCS Card Sketch #201 as my starting point. I worked on that first card for an entire evening before leaving it unfinished and going to bed. Then the next morning, I assembled it in fifteen minutes, then made a second identical card in ten minutes flat! The second card is on the left in the topmost photo -- you can see I went a little haywire with sponging on the walnut stain ink on the mat for the focal image. :) The design choices I made to get this card to "work" were:
  • go with a monochromatic colour scheme
  • sponge my neutral colour (in this case, a chocolatey brown) over the patterned paper and on the white cardstock to reduce contrast and thus let the focal image take centre stage
  • sponge the edges of the card base with my neutral colour to unify the cardstock base and the patterned paper attached to it, and frame the focal point of the card
  • go with clean lines to balance the scalloped shape and richly patterned paper
  • use the complementary colour to accent around my focal layer and give it more visual weight
Stamps: house and snowflakes from Martha Stewart gingerbread men stamp set
Inks: Rhubarb Stalk, Bamboo Leaves, and Rich Cocoa dye inks by Memento, Walnut Stain Distress Ink by Ranger
Papers: "Devotion" patterned paper from Basic Grey Blush collection, Cherry Bazzill Smoothies cardstock, white cardstock by Domtar, brown cardstock from Hobby Lobby open stock, so probably by Paper Salon
Other: paper edge distresser by Heidi Swapp, black antiqued mini brads, silver-edged double-faced satin ribbon by American Crafts, Giga scalloped oval punch by Marvy

Because I had made several of the houses on scalloped ovals the previous night, it was very easy for me to continue playing around with making another card using the supplies I already had out. :) For this next card, I used the same Cherry card base, chocolate brown cardstock, and focal image, but this time incorporated some American Crafts Christmas rub-ons I'd picked up last year.
I found I liked this little house image best when it is set against patterns more than when it is against a plainer background. I wound up stamping the grey layer with a "Season's Greetings" script stamp from an MSE holiday sentiments set in Versamark. The card base is stamped with paisley images in Moonlight White ink.

Here's a closeup of the stamped grey cardstock. Don't tell anybody, but I glued the grey cardstock onto the brown upside-down... the "Season's greetings" script is facing the wrong way! But, it still fills the design role I needed it to, and it took me a while to notice this so I'm not too worried. :)

Stamps: house from Martha Stewart gingerbread men stamp set, sentiment from My Sentiments exactly
Inks: Rhubarb Stalk Memento dye ink, Versamark, Moonlight White Brilliance
Papers: Cherry Bazzill Smoothies cardstock, white cardstock by Domtar, brown cardstock from Hobby Lobby open stock, grey "True Value" cardstocks from Michaels
Other: ticket corner rounder punch by EK Success, white Gelly Roll Souffle pen, green sentiment and flourishes American Crafts rub-ons, paper piercer, Quickie glue pen, Martha Stewart yellow gold glitter

Sheldon and I will be putting up the Christmas decorations today -- woohoo! We spend SO much more time in our office/hobby room than in our living room, maybe we will decorate the office this year and leave the living room plain -- who knows!

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