Well, the results are in…and it’s a shocking upset!
It was down to the wire – the battle was settled by only a few votes on a single tag – but the rookie pulled out a victory: Mike is the family tag feud winner! The final score was 7 tags to 5 tags in his favor. That’s the last time I teach him to do anything…
So…here’s a look at the tags again, along with the reveal this time of who made which one, and a few random notes about what we did on them.
Results: Nancy 60%, Mike 40%
Nancy : The bingo card is a digital element that I resized and printed out. I had already attached it when I decided to use the music stamp, so I laid a blank index card over the bingo card as a protective mask while I stamped the music stamp.
Mike: He drew a line of Stickles and then smeared them with his finger to the distressed glitter effect. He says this is an old oil painting technique that he knew. The background is actually a collage created from torn pieces of paper that were glued down in layers.
This was the tag that ended up deciding the battle. It came down to less than two dozen votes and this one wasn’t decided until down to the wire!
Nancy – The music stamp made another appearance on my work already on Day 2. It became a “go to” item for me. You’ll notice as the feud went on that we both had our favorite items that we turned to again and again to use.
Mike – Mike’s “go to” item also appeared on this day’s tag, the Christmas tree stamp that he bought while we were out shopping. His other favorite item, Stickles, also appears here. The man is fascinated with Stickles!
Nancy – This holiday travel-themed piece has more texture in person than in the photo. I tried layering a lot of stamping techniques here and didn’t get quite the effect that I had hoped for.
Mike -Mike wanted to experiment with the Cricut and this tag grew out of that. He embellished the moon cut-out with crackle and some other products just to see what could be done with it. He says he would have liked more crackle on the moon but found over the course of the tagging that none of our crackle stuff “crackled” as much as he would have liked (but it’s possible he says that he’s not using it right).
Nancy – This tag centered around me wanting to try using the floral Sizzix die to make a poinsettia flower. And the theme is a bit of a hidden message sent with the “What Do I really want?” and “Wish.” The tie on it was made by dyeing a strip of fabric with some Studio Calico Color Mist – a detail that I was particularly proud of.
Mike – The music stamp makes an appearance on Mike’s work! This was Mike playing with the fragments. He drilled the hole, mounted paper on it, Stickled it, etc., just to see what he could do with it.
Mike – Mike was trying here to see if he could bring a more familiar world (digital) into the look and feel that he’d been learning about in paper. He liked the result but kind of felt like he was cheating because he could never have done this in paper (the effects he used just couldn’t be replicated in paper).
Nancy – As soon as I saw the tag of Tim Holtz’s from 2007 that did this with the fragments, I knew I wanted to try my own version of it! The 3 flowers reflect my obsession with the rule of 3’s – that elements should be placed in odd numbers. I was really happy with how this one came out.
Nancy – I hated this one…I knew what I was trying to do and it totally didn’t come out anything like I envisioned. It’s a bit better in person than it photographed, but I’m still not happy with it. The top part just has NO dimension, and the rub-on isn’t straight, which really bugs me.
Mike – This was Mike’s first effort at trying to use lighter colors. The tree stamp appears yet again…he says he used it a lot to see what would happen if he used it in different ways.
Nancy – This seriously may be my favorite of all of my tags! It’s got texture and depth…and I love the color scheme. I love that it is so heavily vintage! I can’t believe that I made something collage and vintage when I’m normally so heavily graphic in my layout of things. I was also excited that I managed to incorporate the Cricut cartridge that I love, A Child’s Year.
Mike – His motivation was that he wanted to play with a bunch of different embellishments here. He made the packages from scrap paper. You’ll notice it is, as it’s base, another Christmas tree with Stickle balls on it. He says he learned from this that pre-made embellishments are HARD to use because they are opposite of what you would think – giving them somewhere to shine is hard, you can’t just slap them down!
Mike – This is one of Mike’s favorites even though the voters didn’t receive it well. It was the digital world and the crafting world colliding – he used a lot of percentage blends and transparencies that you can’t duplicate in straight ink and paper so it’s a bit of a cheat in his opinion again. But he liked the way it came out.
Nancy – This was really simple in appearance but actually took me a long time of fussing over to get just right. I was really pleased with this one – it has more texture in person because of the embossing, and it has a bit of a folk art thing going that I was pleased that I pulled off.
Nancy – This tag skirted disaster but then came out really well I thought. I ADORE this bird die by Tim Holtz and just had to try it out when it arrived. The background has a lot of stuff on it – layers of ink, the music stamp (again), the painted edges, and the rub-ons of holly. I was really scared I was going to screw it up doing all that! But I was really happy with the final result.
Mike – Mike wanted to use the flowers and so everything started to turn pink as he built the tag around it. He was in a Stickles phase here. He became fascinated with the way Stickles worked doing this because, as he says, “the last time I played with glitter I was in preschool and it involved Elmer’s glue” – and so it ended up very glittery. Every single tag I think that he did had Stickles (except the digital ones) because he said “it was amazing being able to pinpoint the glitter and when else but the holidays can you get away with that much glitter?”
Nancy – This photo was printed on a matte self-adhesive paper that is semi-transparent to make it kind of faded out. I think it makes it look kind of antique or like a polaroid in this application (although it looks better in person than it photographed because the flash faded it out more).
Mike – Another exercise here for Mike in playing with embellishments. He used a few smaller embellishments here and then the bells. The tree stamp makes an appearance again too! He also used a stamp as an embellishment which he hadn’t really done before.
Nancy – This tag is a combination of my obsession with graphic layout & elements (the graph background, the joy to the world typeface, the tape) and very vintage elements. I love these sorts of elements like these cards but struggle to know how to use them. (I like how this came out though.) This is another example of my rule of 3 compulsion with the metal embellishments.
Mike – The tag was supposed to feel “old”. The quarter was supposed to be reminiscent of back when a quarter would have been a good Christmas gift. He finds working with grunge paper very frustrating because it always seemed to shrink like a shrinky dink under a heat gun for him. Here he made that work to his advantage, and did that intentionally to the starfish since it kind of worked for this.
Nancy – The bird and cage are a hidden subtext here. The design is simple but all of the elements were extremely carefully created and detailed. I loved the color scheme that was created on the numbers when I painted the white crackle paint over red inked chipboard that wasn’t apparently dry. The red bled into the paint for a nice pink effect.
Mike – Another variation on the tree, this tag is probably one of his least 4 favorites. He wanted to do a dark contrasty one this time. Actually there are only 3 colors in the whole tag, really. Basically it’s a monochrome exercise. The one thing he says he still doesn’t get about scrapbooking, and that he’d like to get feedback on – the swirl in the upper left corner is there to just fill space…he’s still not sure what it actually brings to the tag. He says he knows it works but is not sure why that works.
In conclusion…some notes from Mike:
A few readers have been asking me to comment on my experience making our 12 tags this holiday season. There were numerous funny moments, frustrating moments, and amazing moments along the way. I’ll take away those priceless memories along with two main impressions from my great paper crafting experiment.
#1: Paper crafting allows for far more creativity than I ever imagined
Having gone with Nancy on more than one journey to the local scrapbook stores and having a ton of exposure to the hobby over the years in many other ways, I still had the impression that paper crafting would feel limiting to me. My background is primarily digital having worked in the photography, digital design, and printing industry for the better part of the last two decades. I was sure that I would feel limited working in the analog world of pre-printed papers and the limited color palette of whatever inks and such might be in Nancy’s current stash.
I was wrong. Using various techniques that Nancy was able to show me, along with watching some video tutorials from online sources such as the amazing Tim Holtz and others, I was able to create some amazingly satisfying complex and organic effects. In fact, it was the unpredictability of paper crafting that appealed to me the most.
#2: Paper crafting is hard
Not to sound insulting but my other opinion of paper crafting going into this exercise was that it was relatively easy. It seemed to me before this that so much of the hard work, the creative design, is often done for the artist through the use of pre-purchased embellishments, papers, fonts, etc. For me, paper crafting sounded sort of like putting a puzzle together. The challenge was putting the pieces together in the right order. The picture was just a result of being successful.
Again – wrong! Sure, a pre-printed sticker or piece of paper certainly gives the paper crafting artist a head start on their project. But I quickly learned that using pre-made pieces was no different than having a broad collection of paints and brushes. The skill is knowing how to use the resources you have and not trying to let the purchased materials do the work for you. I’m sure many of you see my limited talents shining through in most of my tags this year. Just pasting down a bunch of stickers and ribbon on a fancy piece of paper is not what paper crafting is about.
So, with a much deeper respect I bow to you the paper crafters of the world. I will happily hide back in my world of the pixel and the undo button for now and allow you all to continue to amaze me with your special skills and wonderful artistic creations. Thank you for letting me invade your craft for a few weeks, making me feel welcome, and even being kind enough to appreciate if not the result at least the intended result of my efforts.
Let’s do this again sometime!
In conclusion…from Nancy:
First, I’d like to thank the talented Tim Holtz for inspiring this project with his 12 Tags of Christmas (and planting the seed for some other personal projects I am now planning thanks to my new obsession with tags). Tim not only does things that don’t seem possible with inks and paper, but then he shows you that you can do them too – which is the most amazing part of what he does.
I’d also like to sincerely thank everyone who followed along with us on this journey. We never imagined that so many people would get so much enjoyment out of it. We really just started this as a way for Mike to share in my world of paper crafting and learn about it, and as a holiday activity to share together. It was a very special time for us as a family, sitting at the kitchen table together over our his-and-hers craft mats, and we are touched that so many people enjoyed sharing it with us. Thank you all.
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