Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Working with Things That Aren't Your Fave...

So this might be a touchy subject, but here goes!

How do you handle working with colors, themes, products, etc that aren't your usual aesthetic or that don't inspire your creativity?  You know, like when you have to make a card for your manly uncle but your heart only loves pink, pink, and more pink.  Or when you are asked to create something for someone using a paper company you don't ever buy (is there such a thing?). And then someone asks you to alter something without using lace (really, is there such a thing?).  What do you do to get those creative juices flowing??
Ya'll know that I design for Gina and she makes amazing custom chip pieces.  So I must love chipboard right?  RIGHT!!  I do love chip!! No, I really do love chip, (Gina's chip not the yawn Mike's chip pieces) because it is versatile and because of how different Gina's designs are.  I wish I could only work on the things that I like, but I can't.  Because I vendor for scrapbook retreats, I really have to create with the scrapbook ladies in mind.  AND??  What is the big deal right?  The big deal is that I don't scrapbook! SHHSSHHHH!! I used to scrapbook when my daughter was born.  I got divorced when she was barely a year old and life became too painful. We really struggled as our lives were thrown into a crazy tailspin and scrapping became a luxury that I couldn't afford and way too painful too.  Ever since, even though our lives are rich and full now, I have had an aversion to scrapping that I haven't really gotten over.  I am trying to start Project Life with the hopes that it will make we want to scrap again, but for now, working with paper to alter and create makes me very happy.  So now that you know my dirty little secret, it might explain why I struggle with creating layouts and mini albums using even the most amazing chipboard.  My solution?  I am trying to bring my completely 12x12 scrap ladies over to the dark side of altering...and slowly they are coming around!  But until then, I still want to know what YOU do to work past the blocks of working with things that aren't your usual.

I recently was asked to create using a color I am not a fan of at all...purple.  Ugggghhh, have we met?  I am the girl that wears gray and black.  The craziest colors you will ever find me wearing can be found on my nails and toes (and sometimes in a streak of my hair).  If someone asks me my fave color I say white and maybe, just maybe, sun-faded beachy greens, blues and neutrals.  But PURPLE????  The scream of "NOOOOO" could be heard around the world.  The other part that had to be included was butterflies.  While I am not anti-butterfly, I feel the theme is just played FOR ME.  I like things that are different from every other crafter out there.  It is the same reason I have a French bulldog, dislike the color pink and drive a big, huge, gas-guzzling Jeep Wrangler.  They just don't fit the stereotype you see when you look at me or when you find out what I do for a living AND I LOVE THAT!  I love being different.  I love not being afraid of being unique (bc I really used to be).  I love that I surprise a lot of people.  
So then what do I do with purple and butterflies??  I can't say no (though I wanted to).  I can't turn it into light blues and pin up girls (though once again I wanted to). I decided to throw a little me into it and PRAY!
I started with a burlap canvas.  Because I wanted a bit of a watercolor bleeding effect, I didn't cover it with gesso first.

There is purple...SCORE! But there are also some light greens which I like and which compliment the dreaded purples.  I did use a stencil and heavy modeling paste to create the texture.  After really watering down the acrylic paint, I started with the green (to get movement on your flat surface, use more than one shade of the same color and start at the top or bottom making it lighter or darker as you move in either direction) and then painted the flowers with different shades of purple. 
There was some wicking but I was okay with it as that also adds movement to a painting (another way of achieving movement is to bounce the colors you are using all over your piece, not just where it is supposed to go).  Just for the record, I could have stopped here and been perfectly happy with this piece. 

And there is more purple and perhaps even a butterfly.   

The next stage in the evolution was not too painful.  I got to work with some of Gina's chip and use my brain to make it come off the page.  The door is Gina's (a new collection and part of Nancy's Garden).  I used shims to make it look as if the door is open.  The metal hinges and decor are part of some happy mail my friend Mo sent me from her Zibbet store (she is Butterbee Scraps on YT and at her Zibbet store and she is freaking amazing).  I like how it grounds the canvas a bit.  The flowers are from Hobby Lobby and they are purple...nuf said.  I did fussy cut some butterflies from a really old paper stack and added some Stickles to make it shiny (not a fan of the bling either...sorry ya'll).  Once again I could have stopped here and been just fine.  Maybe I should have stopped here...I am my own worst critic.  

This might be where it got painful....
And this is where I lost my vision.  I had to add a quote; partly because I LOVE quotes and partly because it was needed for this particular gift. The quote was cut apart, wadded up, and distressed with purple Distress Ink.   I fussy cut, die cut, and punched a bazillion purple butterflies as well as using some of Gina's butterflies and some of Mo's metal butterflies.  My original plan was to have the butterflies all going in the same direction (off to the right) and in somewhat of a cluster.  I deviated from that and wish I hadn't.  While I am confident it will be well-received, this is not one of my fave projects.  Is it because of the purple?  The butterflies?  Or is it because it is just not as cohesive as I would like it to be.  And is it the case that if you aren't feeling the love, then it will reflect in your work??  I will totally ponder these things INSTEAD OF THE LAUNDRY!!  

 Thanks for stopping by and please leave a girl some advice, critique, words of sympathy and understanding or WHATEVS!!  Because you know you are totally reading blogs INSTEAD OF THE LAUNDRY!!



  1. well, this may not be your colors, but they are totally my personal favorite color combo. I LOVE purple, and even more so mixed with green. This is gorgeous, definitely my kind of project :)

  2. Thank goodness for your secret! I am with you - life has been too painful to put down in a layout.
    I do 'alter' with paint, stamp & ink on cards n canvas tho'. I love that this is 'the dark side' :)
    Interestingly ( for me), I wear a lot of black, with touches of purple, but don't use purple much in crafting.
    I look forward to following your blog.