smARTworks, we do a Design Team challenge every couple of months. Susan sends each of us the same stamp set, and without consulting with each other, our instructions are to make something. This time, the set was Piggy Dreams, which I think is way cute. I mean, how many times have you said to yourself, “Yeah, when pigs fly!” Well, you have to dare to dream! And, if you’re going to dream, dream big. Maybe you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Which is kind of where I went with my card. I decided that my little piggy needed a really fancy and ornate silk purse kind of a card.
I started off by stamping the piggy on white paper (Neenah Solor White, I think) with Adirondack Pitch Black ink and coloring it with Copic markers. I cut it out leaving just a bit of a white margin to help it stand out from whatever background I would dream up. OK, next I needed to find some paper to go with my piggy. I wanted something fancy, but not shiny fancy…something more along the line of shabby chic. I poured over my paper collection and finally decided on using paper from my Basic Grey Sugared 6x6 pad. The paper is pretty, and the colors were the right shades to match the piggy I’d colored, but the colors were a bit brighter than I wanted. So, I used my Copic airbrush and an olive green pen to tone things down a bit and give everything more of a vintage, shabby look.
At this point, I liked the colors and the patterns, but it just wasn’t fancy enough. I had just picked up some ornare templates at a stamp show, so I thought I’d add piercing designs and quickly decided that a pink vellum overlay would look amazing. Truth be told, the vellum overlay didn’t look as amazing as I had hoped, but after all that piercing, it was going on the card no matter what! But, I didn’t like the way the piggy looked just sitting on the vellum, so I made the blush pink panel by embossing it in my Cuttlebug. I used an olive green chalk inkpad to highlight the embossing and darken the edges of all my panels so that nothing looked brighter and newer than anything else. I also distressed the edges on the paper panels, and dirtied up the vellum panel and pink panel a bit using my airbrush and the brush tip of my olive green marker. The brush tip makes more of a spatter pattern, while the chisel tip makes a fine mist of color.
OK…we’re getting there…I just needed a sentiment, which I decided should be stamped directly on the vellum panel. Yeah, I do that lot. After spending all that time doing the piercing, I decided to risk ruining everything by stamping something on it. Crazy, I know, and I almost did wreck it. I stamped the sentiment with olive green chalk ink, and it just blended in with the background. Now what? Well, I really had nothing to lose, so I figured I would try heat embossing to help the sentiment stand out a bit more. My ink was still wet, so I sprinkled on some clear EP and gave that a try. Grrr…it still didn’t stand out. Desperate now, I grabbed my olive green Copic marker and colored over the embossing. Phew…that did the trick! Afraid that I would ruin everything for sure if I tried to do too much more, I assembled the card, popping the pink panel and the piggy up on pop dots, and added some ribbon and a few dew drops just for good measure. There. Done. And I even liked the way it turned out. Cool!
Did I have a point in all this? Sort of. I’ve been asked a few times lately how I come up with my designs, and the making of this card is a pretty good description of how it usually goes. I can’t always work this way because it is time-consuming and the end result is pretty unpredictable, but it is my favorite way to create…just flying along by the seat of my pants.
Maybe pigs never will fly, but you can...even if it is by the seat of your pants. And, while you're up there, fly on over to Susan's blog for a chance to win your very own Piggy Dreams stamp set.