Monday, August 20, 2012

Cardmaker's Dilemma

How long does it take you to make a card? I have not had a lot of time for papercrafts lately. (Nor blogging, apparently - it has been almost a month since I last scribed here!) So when I do, it is usually spent making something on my To Do List for someone. And when I make something for someone in particular, I try to make it to suit them. This, however, poses a dilemma.

For instance, I had wanted to send a colleague who is retiring a wee gift. I bought a beautiful designer scarf, which I can picture her wearing with pride. It is bright and vivacious, just like her.  Here's the scarf:

The store could not provide an appropriate box for the scarf so I decided to make one. Long before Crafter's Companion and Scor-Pal came along, there was this:
Do you have one of these? I used to be addicted to the Aleene's craft show on TV, but I believe this is the only thing I ever ordered from them. I dusted this baby off and set about making a box from some chipboard and patterned paper. My first attempt was lovely, BUT I had not considered the scarf colours in choosing the paper, so once it was made I realized it would clash. So I made a second box, and then I made a card to go with it.
Doesn't that sound simple?

Ah, but here is where the real work comes in - dreaming up a card that fits the personality of the recipient and coordinates with the box and gift. I tend to avoid cool colours, and modern styles. Hence the dilemma. When I looked at all my stamps and other supplies, I realized that - while I prefer vintage, antique images, and muted autumnal colours - most of the people I make cards for do not!

So I buy stamps and papers to please me - but I am never making things for myself. With my limited craft time, I am making things to please others. Birthday cards, thank you cards, farewell cards - you name it, they almost always are for people who prefer funky images and zippy colours! It becomes a real exercise in creativity when I want to customize a card for someone modern, bright and vivacious!
I started with this bird. I was thinking of retirement as freedom; flight from a cage. I already had the bird die cut from a gessoed old music score sheet. The bird cage was a natural, as well. I pounced it with Dusty Concord Distress Ink, then softened it with an acrylic paint dabber in Pearl.

I backed the cage with more score sheet that I coloured with Mustard Seed Distress Ink. It seems to glow against the purple background. (I think I used the paper upside down - oops!) I used a large rhinestone flourish from my stash. I have a few of these, but I think this is only the second time I have ventured to use them. 
I tied some sheer polka dot ribbon through the cage holes and added some rhinestones in purple and clear. 
I created a couple of mats for these items, one stamped with big blooms in Pearl acrylic paint and Brilliance blue polka dots; the other incorporating some of the paper used on the box. This is the fun of making things yourself - that ability to customize and coordinate; beats a store-bought box hands down!
I topped off the cage with a Grungeboard label that I inked, painted and lettered, and another bit of ribbon. The teeny white brads echo the dots in the ribbon.
Done! Am I alone in my dilemma - buying craft stuff that *I* like, but finding it doesn't help me achieve my goal of making lovingly hand-crafted items for friends and family that reflect them, their personalities and what they would like? Or do you struggle with this, too? Can you understand why, when I am asked "How long does it take you to make a card?" I can legitimately answer "ALL DAY!"


Karen said...

Charmaine, your work is beautiful and you craft from the heart. We can't please everyone so we need to craft what makes us happy.

Theresa said...

I agree with you for the most part. I do not have too much trouble making cards for family and friends. They get what I make and usually love it. I tend to use lots of blues and greens. Where I have trouble is with kids cards. I send a lot of cards to Send a Smile 4 Kids (Canada) and I do not have a lot of cutesie stamps. What I do instead for these cards is use digi stamps that I have collected for this purpose. It is a challenge for me to make these cards but I love doing it. And It gives me a chance to use some of the bright and bold cs and dp that have found their way into my stash.
As far as the time that it takes to make a card, usually the actual card does not take too long at all. It is the "getting it exactly right" that takes all day. Once it is right, the card usually comes together pretty fast.

Froggietalks said...

Well, I make cards to sell at a craft fair as well as for family and friends. The family and friends will take any style card I give them, but to sell, I am finding that super simple CAS cards go like hotcakes. Mind you, my town has dollar store mentality, so I wouldn't want to do a fancy card, then sell it for a buck. I have a few fav CAS sketches, and I can make tons of cards with them, and they'll sell. I think you need to balance what you love, with what they love. For instance, they might like bold and modern, but maybe you could do something antique with some bolder colours as a compromise.

My saving grace: I'll use die cuts on paper I won't use on cards, and it's perfect for those cards that I'm not really into making. :D

Lynn Mercurio said...

Wow...what a lucky friend you have. This is an amazing card (and I'm swooning over that gorgeous scarf). She will be so impressed that you took the time to give her a gift so full of thoughtfulness and your hand-craftiness.

The most precious gifts I have ever received have been those that were either handmade, or items that I know the giver put a lot of though into. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi Charmaine:
Like a lot of others including yourself, I try to make or give
a card from my stash based on the person's likes or favorite sports, etc.
Where I run into most of my problems, is when I do a card class,
and when I choose colours I like,
I find there is one person, who never likes the colour!!! And others who might not love the colours, but go along with it.

Take care
Dorothy Cummer (the Pest in New West)

Sylvie said...

First, let me say that your box and card are absolutely beautiful.
You want to make a card that "fits" the recipient. However, is what "fits" them always what they like? I have a friend/customer who tends to make very involved, vintage like cards. Yet she came regularly to my classes where we made more clean lines, bold cards. And she really enjoyed making those cards too.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Your cards are always beautiful. Your caring and loving nature shines through. I try to make cards in the colours that the recipient loves and if they have a hobby I will design around that hobby. My sis-in-law loves shoes and hats and women's faces so making cards for her is easy. All my grandkids are into sports and music so that's easy too. The difficult part is making cards for the four brothers (grandsons) in music or sports themes and making them all different.

Wanda H said...

This card is gorgeous!!! She must have loved it!!! I could see what your saying being a dilemma... I have too much stuff and like too many different things... plus I love to make my own backgrounds so I can whichever way... a good thing I guess!!