I’m taking a trip down memory lane today and seeing how far I’ve come as part of the Power Of Practice blog hop. (This is one of two hops I’m participating in today. Click here if you’re looking for the Autumn Inspirational hop.) If you’ve already been hopping through you should have arrived here from my wonderfully talented friend Ishani. If I’m your first stop on the hop, no worries, you can find all the details for hopping through later in this post.
I have made a card specifically for this hop which you can find a bit further down, but first I want to take the time to talk a little bit about my crafting journey. I consider the beginning of 2016 to be when I really started card making. I had made our save the dates and wedding invitations before that (we got married in 2013), but 2016 is when it really kicked off.
When I first started I had very limited supplies. I bought some patterned papers, a cheap stamp set from a local craft store, and some inks that were truly awful. I didn’t have a die cutting machine, so I would draw around cookie cutters and cut them out by hand to make the shapes I wanted.
Gradually I started investing in more stamps and better inks. I used colouring pencils and paints from when I’d studied art at A level. I bought a couple of punches but never really fell in love with them, and eventually I got a die cutting machine. My very first YouTube video is unboxing it.
Even now I consider card making a learning process. I enjoy seeing how I continue to learn and evolve. I’ve always enjoyed watching crafty YouTube videos, and found them a great way to learn new techniques. As my crafting improved I started to apply for challenge Design Teams, and my first success was with Cupcake Inspirations. I joined their team in August of 2017 and I still design for them.
I so enjoyed being part of a Design Team that I joined several others. As well as Cupcake Inspirations I’m currently on the team for The Male Room (which I joined later in 2017) and Christmas Craft Creations. I actually now run Christmas Craft Creations, which I took over back when it was Christmas at Sweet Stampin’ in 2018.
Over the years I’ve also been lucky enough to be on four other challenge Design Teams, plus guest designed on a number more. I’ve also been on some small company Design Teams, from YouTube teams to product release teams. Currently I design for Skull and Cross Buns, and Stampers Delights. But I think I’m going off topic here, so I’ll return to talking about card making. (If you’re interested in learning more about my DT work, you can find that information here.)
Over the years as my skills have developed my style has changed too. As mentioned above I started out with patterned paper, but I’ve learned that I prefer a cleaner style and don’t actually use patterned papers all that much. If I want a patterned background I prefer to make my own, whether that’s with stamping, stenciling, or other techniques. I lean towards clean styles but I like to experiment too.
My card making isn’t the only thing that has improved over the years. I’ve got better at staging my photos (though there’s still room to improve), and better at getting good quality photos in general. I started a YouTube channel and have learned to edit videos. I’ve even started selling my cards on Etsy. As the name of this hop suggests, practice is a very important part of my craft and I am so happy to keep practicing, learning and improving. I hope I will be able to inspire others, just as I love finding inspiration from other crafters in this wonderful community.
If you’d like to see more of how I’ve developed over the years, why not take a look at my Accolades pages? These show all the projects that have been chosen as favourites, top picks, etc. in challenges. I have a page for each year, and you can find them here: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Well, after that trip down memory lane, how about a look at the card I made for the hop? I thought it would be fun to recreate the first card I ever shared on this blog. The original card was made with patterned papers, hand cut yellow balloons, string, and a printed sentiment.
For my recreation of the card I wanted to keep it more in line with my current style, so I skipped using the patterned papers. Instead I masked off one side of the card base and created my cloudy background by ink blending Tumbled Glass Distress Oxide over the MFT Mini Cloud Edges stencil.
For the balloons I used STAMPlorations’ Oval Shaker Balloons dies. I cut them from yellow card to match the yellow balloons on the original card. On my original card I just left the balloons as they were, but I wanted to step these up and make them more dimensional. I did this by ink blending around the edges with Wild Honey Distress Oxide. I concentrated the colour mostly on the left side of each balloon, but also added a little onto the right side as well just to help give that roundness. They were still looking a little flat so I bought in some white pigment ink and blended that down towards the right, but not on the very edge, of each balloon.
Before adhering the balloons into place I did want to add a dividing line between the ink blended part of the card base and the uncoloured area. Usually I would use a Love From Lizi Peel-Off for this but I wanted a dark blue and didn’t have an appropriate Peel-Off. Instead I trimmed a very narrow strip of some dark blue card that was sitting on my desk (and had been sat on by a cat… but with such a narrow piece you can’t tell that it had been squished!) which I adhered into place with Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue. I then added my balloons, using snippets of the same card to raise the left-most balloon over the strip, and lift the middle balloon slightly as well just to give a very slight dimension to the design.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my crafting journey, seeing how I’ve progressed, and of course learning how I made this card. I’d love to hear about your own crafting journeys, so please do leave a comment and let me know a bit about yourself! If you’ve ever felt disheartened by your creations I hope this helps to show how practice can lead to improvement. Remember to keep hopping to see more ‘before and after’ from the other talented creators.
Head over to Jeanie to continue hopping! If you get lost, you can find the full line up below.
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CAS Colours & Sketches – Sketch (I flipped it on its side)
Digi Choosday – Anything Goes
Dragonfly Dreams – Happy Birthday
Fun Friday Challenge – Keeping It Clean
Polkadoodles Craft Challenge – Anything Goes
STAMPlorations Summer Challenge – Anything Goes
The Paper Shelter – Birthdays
Watercooler Wednesday Challenge – All About Occasions