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Card Maker's Notebook

Inspired by Paper!

Are you in need of some inspiration to help with your card making? Sometimes we just need a little nudge to get the creative process moving. This little nudge can be found in many forms, and often we refer to it as inspiration. Inspiration truly surrounds us, and it is there for the taking if we just open our eyes to the possibilities! In this issue we will discuss being inspired to create, by taking inspiration from patterned and predesigned papers. In fact, this issue was actually inspired by the papers used in the sample cards included.

Card Projects Designed by Sharon M. Reinhart

There truly is no shortage of patterned and predesigned papers. They are available in every color of the rainbow and in almost any theme or print that one would need for card making. Patterned papers are available as single 12-inch sheets, but many companies also offer 6-, 8- and 12-inch paper pads! Paper pads are perfect for card making and many of the smaller pads have reduced-image sizes specifically for this purpose. There are some paper pads and collections which also include accent pieces, borders and words.

The beautiful Primrose collection by BoBunny Press was truly an inspiration! The colors and images whisked me away to another time and place (away from the long winter some of us have been experiencing!). All you need is just a couple pieces of this predesigned paper, and you will be in card-making heaven! You might hear these paper collections referred to as "pocket scrapbooking papers," but they are also perfect for card making.

There are a variety of panels that are great for making a quick and easy card. Or for the intermediate and advanced card maker, the ability to take it a step further truly exists. I consider myself an advanced card maker, and I not only enjoyed working with these papers, but it actually became a card challenge for me. My quest was to see how I could make the card my own when using a predesigned card front panel. I think, as you can see in Project 1, that I managed to accomplish this, and I had fun at the same time!

Project 1

Don't be afraid to manipulate predesigned panels. In Project 1, portions of the banner were cut with a craft knife. Then the banners were slightly curled using a bone folder to create a dimensional effect. An additional banner and sentiment panel were created from another piece of paper from this collection and added on top. To finish this card, a handmade floral embellishment and sheer ribbon were added. A portion trimmed from the printed panel was used on the inside of the card. The result -- a simple but charming creation!

Working with predesigned papers is like mixing and matching outfits. Mix and match the elements and even the scraps into cards of various themes and sizes. I purposely switched up the sentiments on the cards to show how truly versatile this type of paper collection is. Use portions of the panels to create smaller note cards and even gift tags!

Keep in mind that even a double panel may be used to create a card. In fact, you could create two cards! Project 2 is a perfect example of this, only half of the panel was used for the card. In order to truly make the card your own try to think of different ways that an element may be used. For example, border strips do not necessarily have to be used just as borders. In this project, one butterfly was fussy-cut from the border strip and then attached with foam mounting tape for dimension. Another butterfly was punched out and edged with ink. Also, areas that may have been designed for a photo are a great spot for a sentiment or embellishment.

Project 2

The background design in the panel provided the inspiration for the pressure-embossed white layer on Project 2. And the finishing touches here were a stamped sentiment and a couple of adhesive floral rhinestones. Another delightful card!

Keep your eyes open for the possibilities but also for the products that will help you make it all come together! While on vacation, I visited a wonderful store in Maui called Island Paperie! This unique store sells beautiful Hawaiian-design papers, not just in 12-inch sheets but also, to my delight, in 4 x 12-inch strips. Many of the design images have been reduced with card makers in mind. Some of the strips come with three 4-inch repeating images and others with two 4 x 6-inch or a full 4 x 12-inch panel of one design. This idea was new to me and one that inspired me to create the card shown in Project 3.

Project 3

The paper used in Project 3 was originally a 12-inch strip which included two 4 x 6-inch panels. I simply used one of the panels. A larger portion from the left side was used for the card front along with a couple layers of BoBunny printed cardstock and some solid green cardstock. A decorative trimmed edge, a stamped sentiment and a few rhinestones were all that was needed. The beauty (besides the beauty of the paper) is that I was also able to use a portion on the inside of the card to create a beautiful coordinated finish. This was all inspired by a pretty little 4 x 6-inch panel! It can't get much easier than this.

Aside from the companies mentioned previously, there are a variety of companies that produce beautiful predesigned papers such as Heartfelt Creations, Graphic 45, Kaisercraft, Teresa Collins, and Echo Park Paper Co. to name a few. You might even have some favorite go-to companies already.

Don't forget that predesigned papers can also provide inspiration for color palettes and image groupings. A great deal about card making composition can be learned by studying this style of paper. Take a good look at how the designer has placed and grouped elements in order to create an appealing visual design. It may help you with future creations. These papers can also be used in the same manner as a card sketch, as a guide for composition when using other papers.

I hope that you have been inspired to create and that you will open your eyes to all of the possibilities available!

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