Breaking Through the DIY Fear

When I see the acronym DIY associated with art projects I often freeze up. Over the years I’ve taken painting classes, sewing classes, photo album making classes…you name it. I usually leave the class frustrated and not very pleased with the final result. Photography has been my passion but even in the dark room while developing my black & white masterpiece I grew impatient and dissatisfied. Maybe I’m a closet perfectionist when it comes to creating something with my own two hands. Whatever the reason, my fear still hasn’t stopped my intrigue to try new things. Which is why I was enthusiastic to sign up for a Valentine’s Card Workshop at Paper Source a few weeks ago.



I mean, how hard could it be? The students follow an instructor in how to create three differently styled cards and, on the way, if you get creative and decide to put a twist on the sample card, go for it.

Being a gal who follows recipes to a T, I hardly veered from the examples but, surprisingly, I did get a new rush in the creative side to card making. It’s unclear if it was the combination of a variety of stamps, baker’s tween, colorful paper, sparkling powder or chocolate but at some point I hit a creative groove and I was digging it! There is something so rewarding about making a piece of art with your own two hands especially when you like the way it turns out.




Other than the occasional leaf blower, power tools have never been my thing. But once I was handed the Heat Gun I entered a whole new world of gadgets. Every student in the class was already a proud owner of the device but that did not hinder their excitement towards my new tool. Paper Source says it’s one of their favorite crafting tools, essential for effectively applying directional heat and bringing rubber stamping to life. Needless to say, I walked away with my own heat gun, embossing powder, a Versamark pad and enough stamps to last me a through a few more holidays. Bring on the homemade Easter cards with yellow embossed eggs!! And if you are so moved, follow this link where a card designer from Paper Source takes you through the heat embossing with rubber stamp process.  Super straight forward.

Although I might not have been born with the creative gene, my husband’s side is flowing with it and the Brown Family enjoys all of their creations. Nick’s Aunt Lucy, who lives in Vermont, makes cards from her drawings and watercolors. Most of her subjects come from the garden or “whatever else lands on our kitchen table…(which) has intriguing colors and shapes” she shares. The originals are usually larger so to make the cards she uses a commercial color copier and reduces the originals to card size. Lucy recently set up a new space to work, a large drafting table which welcomes in the morning sun and a view to the garden and lilac bushes.









(Lucy’s holiday cards above)

Aunt Wendy is also a talented card designer and maker. We see this in each birthday and holiday greeting which lands in our mailbox.  Check out her “Black Cats in a Pumpkin Patch” below. Of course it’s always an extra bonus to see how Wendy wraps and creates name tags on the holiday gifts. It often pains me to open each one!

A good friend of mine, Alecia Stevens, wears many hats. Not only is she a phenominal interior designer and writer/stylist for national magazines, she is also a fantastic photographer. Recently, Alecia created a book of postcards, Genus Loci: Italia, filled with black and white photos from her travels in Italy over the past six years with her husband, Lee.  She has selected her favorite moments of Italian life and created this momento to share with others. Lucky us!! The book was printed and bound locally in Minneapolis by Smart Set and can be purchased at Gallery 360 or on her blog.



And tada!! My final creations. To be honest I have yet to open my heat gun but have full intentions to start enjoying all my new gadgets especially since it motivates me to write more letters to friends. So I encourage you to break through that fear: it’s inexpensive, messy and rewarding. All good adjectives.

2 thoughts on “ Breaking Through the DIY Fear

  1. Pingback: scraps, lace & red ink | brown ink

  2. Pingback: Heating Up Hearts | Brown Ink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *