Friday, January 7, 2011

I Love Paper!

As I have been crafting away at my Valentines, I have been left comments to please share my creative process for making them. I am very touched by this request as I also love to learn from anyone willing to share.

My "style" is very simple. Cut and paste. That's it! The challenge I just adore with such a simple style is finding all the ways possible to express these two steps. I hope you will enjoy this peek inside one very busy place to be.

A comment often left, "I just don't like the look of my downloaded Valentines". I don't either, but I don't pay the quality of the image any mind at all. You'll see! Here I have downloaded an image 3.5 x 5 on regular copy paper. You can see the image fills my heart shaped template. A larger image means the focus of the Valentine will be on the Character.

The same image downloaded wallet sized is perfect for a Valentine that tells a Story. There is plenty of room on the template to accomplish this.

I cut away every trace of white background from my image even if it means cutting into the image itself. I will cut along a drawn line to get to hard to reach white areas. On my Story Valentine I have cut out a snippet from a vintage greeting card that is not in the best of conditions. I often buy damaged cards knowing the artwork inside will be just the treasure I am looking for. Already the eye is not sure which is "real" and which is downloaded.

My Story Valentine calls to mind roller skating in childhood in the Neighborhood with the Hills. A perfectly perfect 1960's subdivision with wide streets, manicured lawns, shutters and window boxes flying by through the view from my own long pigtails. Lt. Blue for the sky, green for the grass, a darker blue for the clouds rolling by. My only concern to pattern is the size. Small image, small pattern.
My Character Valentine is about the way it feels to roller skate. A nearly white print on top of a darker print gives the feeling of lift. A light heart is how it felt to me to skate.

A question asked of me that always makes me giggle is "Why does the front of my heart not match the back of my heart?" This is because your template is hand drawn. The right side of your pattern is always slightly larger than the left. My first step in creating any tag is making what I call "The Sandwich". My template is drawn on card stock which I label "front" and "back". You have to flip your template over to create the backside of your Valentine. I use a glue stick to adhere the card stock to my printed paper.

Lessons learned from my Mother about shapes while making grade school Valentines still serve me well. I have used the "heart" shape to create my cloud, Valentines to hold, and even the grass. I traced the bottom half of the heart onto green paper and then cut it several times again as though it were puzzle pieces.

A blue "cloud" Valentine for my Character. Metal skates in my hilly neighborhood meant you HAD to make it to the bottom or risk rolling up a steep drive way and falling into a neighbors grassy yard to stop. In both Valentines you will see the characters are off center to create this feeling of movement. The paper pieces are now ready to be prepared to be adhered in place.

Thrifty scraps of card stock are glued on the backs of each image for sturdiness. I always buy my foam in squares so I can cut them into strips.

I have backed my heart shapes with white card stock cut with scalloped scissors and added a thin bead of silver glitter. My style of paper crafting is very "flat" and plain, but I do love just this hint of sparkle. I will repeat this in silver letters left from Christmas projects. Foam dots behind my grass, everything is ready to assemble.

"I've got the world by a cloud, and my heart is soaring!" This is what my Character Valentine is stating. Note I have repeated the angle of the skates with the placement of the heart shapes as well as "XO" to give the "downhill" feeling I am going for.

The same angle applies to "Skating in the Neighborhood", the story this Valentine tells. The downloaded image has taken on a charm all it's own. Was there ever a cuter skating companion!

A finishing touch to my Story Valentine is the addition of my "signature". Look for this as any random word. I do this in my paper work in honor of my father and the long walks we would take together just discussing favorite words. I absolutely adore words. "Snickerdoodle". Now that's a cute word! Because my image is small, paper print is small, I have kept my edging small as well. A lovely story to hold in the hand.

A very favorite supply used in so many projects is used to form a loop to hang the Valentine. Hot glued in place,

a last traced heart template glued in place. (Don't forget to flip the template!) A white flower to hide. Done!

A final burst of crepe edging to match the lightness of this Character Valentine. A backing heart scalloped only around the bottom. Done!

I share patterns and such all the time on my blog, but to be asked about my creative process is to wear my heart on my sleeve. I hope you have enjoyed a peek inside this Creative Breather. A very happy place to be.


C. Dianne Zweig said...

Oh my..these are so special.... delicious....come visit, Dianne
kKitsch n Stuff

Pam @ Frippery said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. You have such a great eye for design and I just love your whimsical, happy style.

LindaSonia said...

That was such fun!! Thanks for sharing. Love your creations.

Cherry Chick said...

Girlfriend! Where do you get the time??? Envy here.

Donna said...

Thank you soo much for sharing! I can't wait to make my own. I have downloaded some imagaes now off to my scrapbook paper!

Hearts Turned said...

Wonderful, wonderful, my friend! Magic in every step explained...what beauties you create every day!

Wishing you a very lovely & creative weekend, Elizabeth!


Anonymous said...

Super sweet tutorial from a super sweet lady! Thank you! ♥

Nan said...

Thanks for all the great tips E. I'm progressing with my tags trying to develop my own style here.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful tutorial!!!! I am still amazed at your vintage card images....just too cute and so many aren't even from Valentines I bet! To call your art a "simple and flat" method is funny! Your art has real depth, and imagination! And I just love every piece I own!!!! Thank you for this, I always have such a hard time! I am going to let my Cricut do the cutting I think.....:):)

Betty said...

Each and everyone is adorable!! I love your idea of making "motion" with the paper. I'll have to use some of your tips while working on mine!

Nancy said...

How do you KNOW all this??? I'm always amazed at how you explain the reasoning behind your placement. I "feel" what is balanced most of the time, but I can't explain the why behind it. Thanks for this great tutorial - I always learn something here. I've got my post up for the Jan. tagalong but will put my supplies up in another post. This is really inspiring!!! xoxo Nancy

Home and Heart said...

Hello Dear Elizabeth! You can say easy, but your work is flawless! You are so generous and have wonderful giving heart. What a gift you are to us all!

Angela said...

Darling - just darling! The girl and her puppy skating... love it. Thanks for sharing your process because you simply amaze us!
I need to get on it this weekend. Lots of get well cards to create and of course some valentines, too. Happy weekend!

Jenny Holiday & Aaron said...

Elizabeth!! You make hearts happy all over blogland!!!

You dazzler!!!!

xoxo Jenny

Folksie Linda said...

Loved your tutitorial .. you are amazing with paper E and everything else for that fact.. LOL! i wanted to ask do we show our Valentines made or wait until they are shown afterwards with the revealing? Just wondered! I have been crafting away.. of course .. pacing myself but forgot how relaxing it can be. hugs, Folksie Linda

Sandy said...

It is really something to see how you bring your creations to "life" Elizabeth. Truly enjoyable watching your process. It was a long time ago as a little girl that I had roller skates attached to shoes! What a fun image.

Linda said...

I loved this peek into your creative brought back my own roller skating memories! Thank you for sharing this delightful tutorial!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I don't know how you do it Elizabeth. Your mind must be in constant creative motion. All your work is beautiful and those redbirds in the snow are just precious. Wishing you a wonderful day. Tammy

The Travel Realm said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I have gleened some valuable tips. I also love to use vintage images in my work--mostly cards--but am currently putting a chipboard pieced plaque together. I'm kind of new to all this and made my first attempt at a crepe paper ruffle--just wondering how you adhere your crepe paper trim to the back of your chipboard?

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Very much appreciated, Elizabeth! I love the papers and image you used for this tag. I started my first tag last night by printing an image I found and cutting the figures out. The paper is ready and now I am playing with placement before I glue them down. I don't have the foam like you used, but I do have Zots {glue dots} that raise an image or word up in the same fashion. At any rate, my esteemed paper craft teacher, I hope that you will give me your opinion and constructive criticism when I am done with it. : )

ImagiMeri said...

Hi sweet friend,

Your story held some significance for me this time (just like we were saying on the phone the other day). When I was about 5 (1965) I had a pair of those metal skates with the metal wheels, and a wingnut holding it together for sizing. Well, I was out skating one day when one of my skates broke. I slung the broken skate over my shoulder, and proceeded to "uni-skate" home on one skate. I tripped on one of those deep crevices in sidewalks, where they are sectioned, and the hard metal skate, with the metal wheels, came flying back over my shoulder.........conked me on the back of my head and cracked it open. Can you picture me as a 5 year old, sitting on the sidewalk bawling, and blood running down my back???? That was how my mom found me, and how my never-ending journey of accidents and injuries began. I can laugh at it now, but I managed to crack my head open a few more times (lot's of cat-gut holding my head together), and probably why I am the way I am today! What a stroll down memory lane......LOL

Love ya'

Suz said...

I love when you explain your process! I have one question. Are there two valentines? One a Story Valentine and one a Character Valentine? Oh, dear. A third question. How do you determine the size of the valentine that I first run off? Does this make any sense?
Very Interested Suz (who sends hugs, too)

Patricia said...

Wow, what an inspiration ~~~ I've never done this, but this tutorial makes me want to try my hand at this. Love, love, love this.

Happy@Home said...

Thank you for sharing your creative process with us, Elizabeth. Your roller skating Valentine's are just precious and brought back happy memories.
As someone with very little experience with crafting, I was thrilled to see the steps you use to create something so beautiful.
I was wondering how you created your Snickerdoodle word or any of the words you use for that matter. Is it printed from the computer?
I would love to try my hand at making a Valentine to send to my sister. Her world has narrowed so much since having a stroke, but she still looks forward to the mailman's arrival.

Jane said...

How sweet of you to share your creative process, Elizabeth! So much to learn from this tutorial! Now to get busy!
Thank you!

Anita Kehn said...

Thanks very much for the tutorial. You answered some of my questions so I am ready to get started. Valentines are a simple way of making another person happy and I LOVE to make others happy. You are a very talented lady.

Anonymous said...

Cut and paste, huh? So much more in that creative brain of yours. This was such a treat. The Valentine is adorable but the lesson in storytelling and layering is invaluable. Thanks for your open willingness to share all that you do.

My Vintage Mending said...

E. Thanks so much. I really love how you used the hearts for so much more than their intent. Wonderful. Always a pleasure to stop by and learn so much. I cannot wait to share my ideas tomorrow.

lala said...

I find your creativity simply AMAZING!!!!! Everytime I read your blog, I am left speechless by your wonderful creations, I am even fascinated by your entire process of having an idea and making it come to life. Thank you so much for sharing this side of your art.

Valarie said...

This is fabulous, now if you would just share your heart template, my day would be complete. haha
xxoo Valarie


That was very helpful! It's also a darling valentine!
Thanks for visiting me and the kind comment!
Have a great weekend!
deb :)

Sanja said...
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Sanja said...
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Sarah said...

I love it!! Inspires me to make some valentines. :-)

Edana said...

fascinating and so adorable! I've never done papercrafts but you make it seem like I could maybe try sometime (perhaps???!) - thanks for sharing your techniques - I really love your style :-)

LBP said...

Cute! Cute! Cute! As always such greay crafting advice with easy to follow pictures!

p.s. I've finally got my January tag up on my blog! What Fun!



BucksCountyFolkArt said...

Now E, how the heck am I supposed to focus on what I should be doing, when I have these gorgeous posts to look at? You're a Devil-Woman! : P

BucksCountyFolkArt said...

B.I.E. = Bad Influence Elizabeth!

Beedeebabee said...

Oh Elizabeth!!! I came back to blogland just in the nick of time!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your creative process and all your little tips. I'm such a huge fan of your beautiful work, your sweet stories and everything "Bluebird Papercrafts"! I want so much to make some tags for Valentines day, and your tutorial is so perfect! You're so full of talent should write a book! Have a fun weekend crafting away. Oh, I almost forgot...I made your delicious gingerbread man cookies. I still have a few left, but they'll be gobbled up soon. They were soooo yummy. Thank you for that too! xoxo Paulette ;D

Debbie Doughty said...

Simply in awe of all you do. Thanks for sharing your creative process!

I love you style so much that I am having a hard time making myself do something different for my Happy Homemaker tags!

Margo said...

For weeks I have been compiling a letter to you in my head regarding your creative production process! Thank you for reading my mind. :0) Your steped out instructions were perfect. Thank you for sharing with us, as your work is magnificant.

My last question is what paper to you find produces the best results when printing out images to use on your cards?

Thank you again. :0)

aseknc said...

Truly precious! I love your "style" and don't think it's very "flat" at all! I really loved reading through your creative process.

Warm hugs,

Pieceful Bits said...

You are a true artist. You have reasoning behind each step. I see that you purchase the sticky foam in you use the the leftovers in between the squares that are left? Just a tip. I'm sure you do as you use every scrap of paper;)
This Valentine is one of my favorites!!
That girl and her friend on their skates is too adorable.
Happy Saturday

Debby said...

Thanks for sharing your tips. You are so good at explaining. Love your skater girl. I am beginning to regret not signing up. Just didn't feel I was talented enough. Your images are so wonderful all the time.

Laura said...

Very cute! We wish we had more time to do soom paper crafting.We've been so busy painting lately, thanks for the inspirations!
Laura and Michele

Linda Ruthie said...

Thank you for some much needed inspiration as I begin to make the Valentines I have promised to send.

Sewn With Grace said...

I so enjoyed and appreciated this step by step process. Now I can try one myself. I'm still not comfortable to do a swap, but maybe after I make a few. Thanks so much Elizabeth!

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Love the the artist. : )
Mary Lou

Sunny Simple Life said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I'd love to try my hand at it maybe simplifying it for my uncrafty hands. You are such a talent. You should have your own magazine. Everything you create is just stunning. Can you tell I love this blog.

NanE said...

You know E, you don't just explain how you create, you paint a story with your words and inspire along the way! As always, you Valentines are FAB, love the colors and the way you layer everything. Thanks for sharing, xxoo, Nan

Lori Holt said...

Hi Elizabeth!
I absolutely adore your valentines and I think that this is a fabulous tutorial on how you put it together.
I love working with vintage valentines and I have collected them for years!
I am wondering if you would allow me to share your tutorial on my blog?
Thank you so much for all the inspiration!

very merry vintage style said...

thank you for writing the tutorial. i've admired your work and maybe now I'll pick up my scissors and give your method a try!