Psssst. Let me tell you a secret.

Creativity is a process. It is a journey. Not everyone is gifted with the “Artist Gene”.

Are you new to card making or scrapbooking? Are you totally excited by all the blogs you read and YouTube videos you watch?

Does your heart quicken and your brain get amped up with ideas?

Do you come crashing back down to earth in a broken heap when you look at your craft stash? Do you beat yourself up when you attempt to recreate something you just saw and your results are far off the mark?

My own personal experience has been just like yours. I have days when things click and fall into place. Most days I struggle to get a spark of an idea to catch aflame.

Kind of like rubbing two sticks together over some dried grass in an attempt to build a fire for warmth. You know it works but it seems to take forever before the first wisp of smoke appears. The activity feels hopeless and daunting and your physical strength is about to give out.

Give yourself permission to experiment. You need the practice of inking stamps, finding out how the paper trimmer works, or the best way to crop a photo.

Yes, indeed, you will have a lot of waste in this process. You may even cringe at seeing the amount of paper you have “ruined” just to accomplish one thing.

Card making is difficult for me. Most especially rubber stamping! I smear the ink, don’t apply proper pressure, cause the stamp block to hop and ruin the image, and get frustrated with my results.

Case in point.


Jann Gray, of WhatYouMakeIt, has recently made some fantastic cards with a variegated floral background.

My traveling stash is small and I have to work with what I have. I’ve chosen to use the butterflies from Inkadinkado to create a similar background as Jann did with her florals.


My results? No where near the mark.


I did find a configuration and color I liked.


I’ve used nearly an entire sheet of 12 x 12 paper to get the results I am happy with.


When you find a configuration you like, stamp it another time with a different color(s) and do some further experimenting. I’ve added Liquid Pearls to the butterflies. One of the images didn’t quite get fully stamped but that is alright. I can cut these out and hide the oopsey underneath something.


Use the space you have available to experiment. There is nothing wrong with this process and the benefits are many. Most especially is your confidence and your self esteem. You are now on the right track. You are finding your “Voice” among the many and finding your style.

By experimenting you learn about your tools and your products. Each one has a learning curve and their own quirks to overcome for the best results.

You have your own surfaces to consider. Do you have a table that wobbles or is warped a little? You have to learn these things as well.

I’m working on a dresser top that is unfamiliar to me and I have to compensate for that. Press harder and longer than I would at home, and it is higher than my table at home.


The paper crafting industry is continuously changing and evolving. Rubber stamps were always mounted on wood blocks. Now you have a myriad of choices in red rubber or clear that are mounted on clear blocks. Some blocks are crystal clear while others are lined with a grid. There is no right or wrong selection. Just which ever you prefer.

Do you need a little guidance in color selection? Make a trip to your local paint center and pick up some of their paint sample brochures. This one I picked up at a Lowe’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico today. Valspar Paints has these brochures over at their paint chip section. They are free and are a good reference tool for you.



Keep in mind the colors shown are not the colors of your papers or inks. These will not be exact matches but can come close.

I used one of the swatch pages for my paper selection for a card I’m making for a friend who has recently had a stroke.


I used the Sizzix embossing machine I purchased in Dayton, Ohio last month to add a bit of texture to the card front. It got a little lost in all the dark paper.

I used a white gel pen to enhance the embossed design. At first I felt as though I had just gone and totally ruined a perfectly good card as I drew away. Now I like the effect it has made.


I added a piece of white card stock to the inside of the card and attached one of the large butterflies I made this morning.


Your crafting ability will get better as you experiment and get comfortable with the craft.

Don’t worry over much about your work. Some people will be totally delighted with your efforts while others will not. Don’t take it personally.

There will be people only a store bought card will make them happy. For them, don’t sweat it. Make your cards and give them to the people that appreciate your work.

A time will come when your creativity will be better than any store bought card any day. Just enjoy the process.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracy :)
    Jul 10, 2012 @ 21:56:42

    Great post Leslie
    Even the most experienced (which I am not) crafter still has their off days.
    But as long as we enjoy the process, then nothing is really wrong is it.
    I also have that stamp set and love what you have done with it, Your butterflies are so beautiful.


    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 12, 2012 @ 10:12:50

      Thank you Tracy for your compliment and your comment.

      The magic you inspire in your card making and journals, along with your daughters artistic and photographic skills are awesome.

      I appreciate you, way up north in the wilds 😀 of Canada.

      Love you – Leslie


  2. gardenpinks
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:33:48

    Beautiful card Leslie, love both versions with and without the white pen and those butterflies are beautiful.
    I do lots of stamping and still drop clangers usually because I am rushing to the next stage 🙂 Most times I stand to stamp as I have found I get better pressure that way and have also found that a pad of paper under the card I’m stamping onto gives me a better impression too. Some of the clear stamps don’t need too much pressure though otherwise they squish out making the image blurry. As you say it all practice and finding a way that suits you 🙂
    Keep up the good work and don’t sweat the detail 😀

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx


    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 13, 2012 @ 00:12:38

      Thank you Lynn for contributing your knowledge and experience here. There are quite a few new comers to the craft and I forget, sometimes, the struggles that I had starting out.

      I appreciate your kind comments on my card. I’m really liking this Liquid Pearls stuff. I like that it retains its shape, for the most part, and the sparkle is fantastic.

      Love you – Leslie


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