Monday, 6 May 2013

Love Crafts, but new to Crafting!

Another post after my unplanned hiatus over at the blog. It's unfair sometimes. :( I get so occupied with work and home committments now that I don't get time to jot down my own ideas or thoughts.. let alone blog posts to eleborate my random musings or observations. I have a couple of blog posts pending, I have my material ready but need to compile it together.

The post today is exactly what it says, Love Crafts but new to Crafting!

You may wonder what sparked me to post this today, it's actually something that we need doses of now and then to remind us of what works and what doesn't. I sometimes ask my friends about what works in a layout and what doesn't.. I even try to research and learn more about color and design in my spare time.

I'm not the crafting queen, and my words are not set in stone, so if you have anything to add to these, points, share em :) A background for some who may wonder, I have 4 years of professional design training and almost 10 years of paper crafting experience in the U.S., Pakistan and now Hong Kong... I felt I could share what some of you could benefit from. InshaAllah x

When I began paper crafting, I didn't have all the fancy stuff. (tools, punches, inks, stamps, die cut systems and so forth). I just had a flair to make something and make it look awesome. (even though several attempts were epic fails.)

In the last year specifically, I have observed an improvement in the work I produce, be it in composition, detail or overall effort. You could say it's evolving. And I wanted to share some tips on how you can apply that to see your work evolve, too! :)

  • If it came out of the box, it doesn't mean you 'assemble it' and pass it off as 'crafting'. What I mean to implore here is we often get hold of kits and 'card in a box' or 'album in a box'... what we don't realize is when they say 'it's everything you need to create'... it means you use it as a platform, and make the most of your skills to add to it. Don't leave things 'raw'. ie... take a floral background, and use a red border punch to embellish it. Why? Any other person that gets hold of that background or that punch, is going to be able to do the same. What's your input? Have you composed it? Have you added personalized details? Did you get your hands dirty to paint, ink or create a dimensional flower?

  • Make your work your own. It is very easy to see a color combination you like, with a product you like, and a request to create the same thing. Rule number one, politely hold your ground and clarify that the work requested belongs to someone else, and you would love to create something based on the same idea, ie floral, vintage and so forth but would not replicate the same colors on the same product.

  • Inspiration versus copy. Be confident in your own piece of work. Like someone's idea? execute it in a way that the piece looks like it's your own individual concept, your own aesthetic.

  • Don't stuff every 'color' on the planet onto one canvas. IF not done tastefully, it will look like a colorful mess. (in not so nice terms)

  • I know it's tempting, but just because you're doing an album, don't force a vintage key into it. If your palette is bright bold hues or delicate pastels and you're not careful in placement of your embellishments, that key is going to be smack in your vision and will look off from the rest of your project, despite the ohmg, look at that KEY syndrome.

  • The thing with stamping, embossing, glittered accents, metal embellishments and bling. These 5 are a lethal combination when used and applied the right way. You want them to blend as a theme, as one, and not look like a bit of everything, just because you wanted to. Know when to use them, and when to skip. While the effort is no doubt commendable, it may look too gaudy or over done.

  • Less is more. Work on creating layouts and compositions to help you develop a form of story telling, that moves your eye, and motivates admirers to look closely at your work. The simplest of detail can be most impactful when piecing together your projects. Don't scatter bits and bobbles everywhere to confuse the person.

  • Binding, do I go for jute, ribbon, rings, or spirals?
    If it's a formal affair, avoid using spirals. If you opt for rings, camouflage them with delicate trims and ornate laces. If you want to opt for a natural feel and have managed to blend in eclectic elements, opt for jute. Be careful, as jute and spirals, if used incorrectly can make a fab project look floppy. Ribbons are great for almost any occasion. Be selective about which ones you use, if you use stiff ones or those that are too 'shiny', they may throw off your beautified craft piece within seconds. I personally use the binding rings because they work with formal and fun projects. They look solid enough and don't remind me of a school notebook or something I picked up from the photocopier. (no offense to others, I've got gorgeous journals bound with spirals and I love them to bits.. handcrafted just look different when used with spirals)

  • All that glitters is not gold. While most people look at the sight of glitter and fall to uber appreciation, if used in excessive amounts, can look tacky. Control your glitter urges folks, accent it with a line, a smaller embellishment, as glitter stands out!  You don't want it to over power the rest of your layout. :)

  • Compose, compose, compose. Don't let your work float everywhere. Make it look grounded with a visual experience. If you like working with straight lines, do wonders with them. If you like asymmetry, don't make things float everywhere.

  • Proportions are vital when doing albums and cards. You don't want two large flowers and one small one. Try balancing one large flower with two smaller ones, or with one small or medium. It makes a big difference.

  • Lost in Space. Keepsakes are intended for 'keeping' for the 'sake of memories' for most. If you have created or crafted an album, especially a mini. Make sure you leave room for photos and text and don't centralize your embellishments. Mini albums are smaller in size, and have less room for photos and journaling to start with. If you have large embellishments, it may look pretty, but would defeat the purpose and practicality of being an 'album'.

  • Hand written. If you feel like incorporating your handwriting in a project, try not to let it float or look like a sloppy note you'd pass in class. Take a minute to draw a line with a scale to write on the line. If your cursive isn't the most exciting, don't go for it, print it instead.

  • First Love. Don't fall in love with your work. Be pleased when you put together something you put your heart into, but never fall in love with it. Because that's going to stop you from doing better or striving harder. Which will stump your growth and grooming as a crafter or artist.

Hope these little bits and pieces of information strike a chord and help you rethink your projects and help you for amazing future ones. I have yet to share some amazing work by Pakistani Crafters from our Craft Month Celebrations. You'll see some talent from simplest of pieces when I do :)

I often tell my students, that when you have the eye to appreciate something beautiful, your admiration shows your aesthetics are pretty awesome! So never tell yourself you're not very good at being creative ;)

Much Love.
Smile Sunshine!


  1. This is the perfect set of information every crafter should read before starting a project, I think many of us should print this :P ;). On a serious note: love the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and the second last point ( my favorite!) tfs the information :)

    I would like to add that as we have the 'hype' of getting crafting supplies from a long time now, many new crafters would think they can't craft a thing without those supplies. I completely disagree. Not everybody can afford expensive supplies. I don't have most of the supplies my self. The effort you put in while you don't have anything fancy makes your work more gorgeous. Don't feel down or bad if you don't have fancy tools. A person can create wonders with just paper and some colors.
    All the crafters who have an eye for arts and crafts should appreciate the rising ones about creating things themselves instead of completely depending on tools from the first day.. :)

    Tuba Anwar x

    1. Tuba I am happy to hear that :) and yes, you don't need to rely on the fancy tools. I learned a lot about handmade flowers and jugaar's before I got hold of the tools of the trade. And even now, I don't rely heavily on them. ie, I only use on punch.. in different ways.. die cutting and embossing, once in a WHILE. :D my stamps are a big part of my work though since as a student I took up print making, and I like that feel in my work now. You can do the same with digial collages on the computer. :) When you have limited sources, you tap into more of your creativity :))

  2. Super super post Firefly girl...would it be okay if I share it on my page? love love the Lost in keep sake point! I've seen so many albums, where I wonder, is this to show off your embellishments or to put a photograph?!!

    1. Tejal, thanks so much for sharing :)
      I have seen a few myself that always made me question. I always wondered how one is to use the album. Although the embellishments have always been gorgeous :)

  3. very well written.I am a beginner in crafting,thanks so much for your suggestions.

    1. welcome to the world of craft hun :) glad you can make use of this post!

  4. This is awesome! Learned a lot about crafting! I'll definitely try to keep these in my mind when I craft! :))
    Thanks V!

    1. Keep up the spirit Injela! :) Your work's already progressed heaps mashaAllah! :)

  5. Hi! Thanks so much for the information and tips..

  6. Everything is so well compiled and then in the perfect direction! loved reading it! As for some blunders we all make are when we have a"request" to add just about everything we have made in past..... but cant help n do what our clients like.... i totally get it! hugs!

    1. Goodness! Karuna those are the hardest. :) You're not sure what you're crafting til it's all done and over with and you wonder what you 'left out'. Haha. x

  7. Loved this post.So wonderfully written.I would have not been able to put my thoughts on a post so succinctly.Not in a million years.:-)I loved all your points but I have to say the last one is the one that I really really strongly believe in.Thanks so much for this.If I had to add a point ,I would say that due to the deluge of information and insipiration available via youtube and facebook and stuff,our minds are constantly exposed to so many new things.I personally get overwhlemed.I think one needs to cut off from this from time.Our brain has absorbed the inspiration,it needs to get away for a bit to create and give birth to an idea which is an amalgamation of your creativity and external inspiration.At least I need to do that before being able to create anything!See! Brevity is not my

  8. It's so hard to fall in love with one's own work. Even when I'm all done with something, I have never been able to say "oh perfect". Always feel I could add more. And truly nothing is always perfect and that gets us to do those little things to add or alter that make so much of a difference. They end up bringing about the totally Alhamdolillah moment when your client tells you it's just great.=)
    Is it ok with you if I share this post on my page? It's totally worth sharing. =)

  9. Must thank Tejal for sharing this wonderful and informative post on her wall.... And loads and loads of thanks to you for all the tips provided.... Whenever I am doing a layout, I end up spending a quality time playing with the color combos and embellishments... at times I feel I am no good for scrap booking for the time I spend on each page... but after reading your post I am feeling better ... thanks ...

  10. thanks for sharing such wonderful thoughts and tips :)

  11. Great Tips!! Really Helpful..
    Thanks Firefly Girl!!

  12. Xcellnt.
    Must say jazakallah.

  13. grrt work, i had some querries like where to get flower punches in Pakistan??


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...