Thursday, February 7, 2019

Inspired {XOXO}

 Welcome to this week's Inspired By Challenge! It is one you will definitely want to play along with; just chock full of gorgeous images and details! Today I will be sharing all of the details of how I made my card {with a few step by step photos} as well as the pieces that inspired me! You can read all of the details about the challenge HERE and get your own creation linked up!
The details that caught my eye, and in turn inspired my card, are: the gold cups/vases on the table and the lower left hand side of the ladder, the gold XOXO decor piece and the gorgeous Ombre colors.

As soon as I saw the gorgeous beveling on the flower vases, I knew immediately the direction that I would be taking my design. It reminded me so much of the fabulous Next Level Geometric embossing folder that I always love using, but it doesn't get utilized nearly enough.
To begin my design, I taped a 5 by 7 piece of cold pressed 140 lb. watercolor paper to my mat board with washi tape. I spritzed it with water and started laying down some pink watercolor paint from my Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi palette. I wanted to create an Ombre effect, so I kept it heavy on one side and light on the other. Once that was done, I took some of the Pearl White from the Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi Pearl Watercolors set to give it that pearl like finish that I love. Now, you might ask yourself "Why didn't you just use the pearl white from your 36 color set?" to which I would reply "Good question! It's because it was muddy with blue paint and I didn't want to rinse it out!" LOL! Since I didn't rinse it out after my last use, it was quite blue but I did add some anyway! You can see just a hint of purple at the bottom of the finished piece and that is why, but you know what? I actually love it! I also spritzed it with Shimmer Spray for some sparkle!

I just love the Ombre effect and the embossing folder really helps give dimension and shadows to really enhance the gradient colors! You can see that purple at the bottom quite well in this photo. Once I had the watercolor piece how I liked it, I set it aside to dry and got to work on the letters. As I mentioned earlier, I was inspired by the gold XOXO decor piece in the photo. I toyed around with a few options on how to achieve the look I was going for, but in the end decided on die cut letters and brushed gold specialty paper.
I used the Bookprint Alphabet Upper dies to die cut the Xs and Os. I die cut two out of white cardstock and one out of the brushed gold. I needed to make three sets of each letter for the layout I wanted. Once they were all die cut, I used liquid glue to adhere them together. While those were drying I got to work finishing the background.
By the time I got all of the letters cut and glued, the watercolor piece was dry enough for me to trim and emboss. I cut it down to 4 by 5 1/4 inches and ran it through my Cuttlebug using the embossing folder {linked above} and set it aside. If you use these embossing folders, please be aware that they are two sided. You will get a different impression depending on which side you lay your paper in. I made sure I had it on the side that would give me the impression that looked the most like the vase. If you are unsure, I would just run a test piece of scratch paper through once to make sure.
I quickly heat embossed the sentiment onto a strip of vellum using gold powder. The letters were all dry and the background was ready as well!

I arranged the letters how I wanted and got to work gluing them to the background. This is a bit tricky because of the deep grooves of the background, but I was able to catch enough of the peaks to get them to stick. I placed a bottle of Nuvo drops, or other weighted trinket I had laying around to each letter as I glued it on to give a little bit of extra pressure to make sure it adhered properly. But...guess what? I glued one of the Xs upside down!!!!! Ugh! I had photographed my card and everything and noticed it when I was editing it! Thank heavens it was easy to pull off since it didn't have much to grab onto!

 I wrapped the vellum strip around the card and secured it to the back of the watercolor piece using clear tape. I adhered the painted piece to an A2 top folding card base using foam squares. I left a little bit of a long border at the bottom to balance out the large space at the top. I added some sparkling clear rhinestones here and there for some added shine. For those of you who haven't learned my trick for making these babies shine to their fullest, I simply glue them upside down. They stick marvelously well and they don't lose their luster. If you glue them the way they were intended, they look a bit cloudy. At this point, it felt done, but maybe not quite. I grabbed a Prima flower that I purchased recently to make some Valentine gifts and added it to the O. I couldn't decide which way I liked better. I have a few photos down below, which are from the series BEFORE I noticed the upside down X, that show it without the rose. Let me know which version you like better. I can't decide! 
 Here it is without the rose. I like it for clean and simple purposes, but there is something I felt was missing, hence the addition of the flower. Please let me know which version you prefer and why!
Here is the upside down X in all its glory! LOL! Anway, I hope you get a chance to play along this week, especially since Valentine's Day is a week away! Thanks for fluttering by!


Susie said...

I really studied this card since you asked for our opinions, and as always, I learned some tips and tricks from your design experience.

1. The ombre watercolored background was a fabulous idea and really set the stage with that 3D embossing! The addition of the pearl-essence was icing on the cake.

2. Photographing cards is an art in itself, and something Amy Sheffer really impressed upon me many years ago when I was starting my blog and posting to SCS. Many times (and I mean many!) I will look at my card and feel it needs more. The temptation to add more can be strong (for me). Our son who was a senior photo editor for many years is my "checker" at times like that. Most often he will say, "Mom, you don't need more - it doesn't add additional value to the design." To tie this comment into the photograph: When I looked at your card photo's on Instagram I went through them once. Then I went back through the first three (with the flower). The first and third photographs were lovely and the angle perfect. The third photograph (IMO) didn't do justice to the flower (I think it was the angle). The other two photo's gave a truer picture of the card w/flower looked like in IRL. Once I saw that, I looked at the photo's without the flower again. I'm going to take our son's advice and say this: the flower didn't add additional value to your design. When I look at the "Inspired By" photo, your design reflects the challenge beautifully. The flower was almost a tertiary idea.

3. The vellum strip, and that beautiful crisp and clean embossing was the topper for this gorgeous graphic design. These are the types of card design seen and sold in stationary stores or speciality boutiques. Yesterday I was downtown Charleston and stopped in a parfume boutique (it was lovely). The owner had just come back from Paris and was showing me what he had brought back. I noticed on the back walls he had speciality cards (wedding, anniversary, birthday, thank-you) I was interested in how he was staging them with the french parfumes and told him that I created one-of-kind greeting cards. I showed him my latest card designs, and to my surprise he was interested. The difficult thing is selling the cards at a price point that allows the owner to put their mark up on them and sell them. He was telling me that many times tourist's will choose the least expensive and attractive card (why not go to Hallmark for that?). He had some lovely graphic cards and we looked at his samples and talked about the appeal to the customers (both price point and design). I say all of this because your card reminded me of the beautiful graphic designs the owner had, and because many people gravitate to that design when choosing a card. I think in this case the flower was probably more appropriate for the project you created.

So that's my opinion (for what it's worth), Kelly. And thanks for the tip on the clear sequins - who knew! *LOL*

Susie ~

Debbie said...

Absolutely beautiful , Kelly. That embossing folder is gorgeous. Just saw your two cards on the Reverse Confetti blog... stunning!

Patt H. said...

I love both versions, Kelly, & had to look back several times to see which I preferred. The flower is a lovely addition & I would use that if giving the card in person. The background & gorgeous ombre coloring is what I was first drawn to when I saw your card. I mail most of my cards & think the card w/o the rose is just as lovely so would make that design myself. Thanks so much for reminding me that I have that EF & should use it more often!!

Nancy Guse said...

Kelly both cards are gorgeous, it is very hard to choose which one I like best. The flower does add that extra special something but I think I will go with the card that doesn't have the flower as my favorite.

Rebecca Ednie said...

I think it’s much better without the rose. It’s so graphic that the Rose doesn’t really fit. But it’s amazingly gorgeous without!

Bek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bek said...

This is absolutely beautiful! I've had this embossing folder on my Amazon wish list forever & thanks to your pretty card, it's definitely going in my cart ;) Thank you for sharing and for the great tutorial. I prefer the card without the flower, mainly because I think it's pretty enough on its own and the flower slightly detracts from the overall design. Either way they are both gorgeous!

P.S.- I couldn't tell which X was upside down <3

danni reid said...

Absolutely beautiful, love your design and gorgeous details!

Keep It Sweet and Simple said...

Stunning cards. Love that ombre embossing.
I've looked and looked, but cannot see which X is upside down. :-)