Working the Workshop

Close to my Heart has some great books to help beginning card makers make great cards, with layout sketches and samples for all kinds of cards. Their latest book, Wishes, not only has interesting designs for individual cards, but has several workshops in which you can cut up cardstock for several cards at once. I thought that doing one of these workshops would be a fun way to make my Christmas cards this year, so I looked through the book and was intrigued by a particular workshop that makes 20 cards, 2 each of ten different designs, and only uses 6 sheets of 12x12 cardstock/paper (and card bases, this particular workshop just makes the fronts).

I bought some gorgeous CTMH cardstock and paper to make these cards, but I wanted to do a test run first. After all, there are little things that occur to you in the middle of these workshops that would be good to know way back in the cutting portion. For example, if you have six different cardstocks/patterned papers, which one needs to be the white one for your stamped images? Are some of the focal points dark colors? what if you want ovals or circles on some of your cards - is there room in the cutting diagram for little changes? How would a metallic cardstock work? Which stamps will work best with which cards? What embellishments will I need?

I figured out pretty early on that to do this, every single pattern and color had to work well with every other pattern and color, no matter what combination of elements I used. This is one of those situations where buying your cardstock and papers together in a set is a really great idea. However, this is my test run, so I was looking for my cheapest stuff to play with. I did, however, use a very nice metallic just to see how it would work with everything else.

How does the workshop work? The book gives you cutting diagrams for each of the 6 sheets - four sheets of cardstock, two of patterned scrapbook paper. Each diagram is different. Trust me, if you are easily confused, distracted, or have no understanding of geometry, this is not going to be for you. However, I stayed focused, and was smart enough to set up twenty envelopes marked with the card diagram number, and put the pieces in the appropriate envelope as I cut them. It took about 45 minutes to set up the envelopes, cut the sheets, and put the little pieces in the envelopes.

Once everything was cut and sorted, it was pretty easy to grab an envelope, look at the diagram that corresponded to the pieces in the envelope, and start putting it together. I chose somewhat christmas-like colors because I was hoping to give my holiday stamps a fitting, but some of them I just made into other occasion cards. Here are a few:

This one is a pretty straightforward design. I have wanted to use this stamp set for a while. I love the little birds in it. I used a metallic copper cardstock, so I heat embossed the stamping with copper EP, and colored in the images with gel pens.

This image is from the same stamp set, I love these TAC holiday birds. I thought I would see how the image looks without being colored in - the copper embossing is a really strong statement, I think.

This one is stamped with old SU stamps. The ink used for the deer is Tim Holtz Distress ink; it is very good for heat embossing.

My embellishments aren't brilliant, those could use more work. It's fun seeing each card come together.