I have a fairly distinctive style. My projects are always clean and simple, feature lots of straight lines and right angles, and use a minimal amount of product. Occasionally, I'll try to make a layout or card that is completely different than that. I usually fail miserably, removing product and tinkering with it until it is back to looking like 'me.'
This can be a problem during a challenge. I refuse to make something I don't like simply to enter a challenge, so I often struggle to make something that fits the guidelines but still pleases me.
One of the Fiskateer National Scrapbook Day challenges was to create a project with two patterned papers, one ribbon, one stamp, and bling. It didn't sound too hard until I actually started putting things together! The two patterned papers were easy, but the ribbon, stamp and bling were tricky. No matter what I tried, I couldn't stand one of the elements and had to remove it. I was running out of time when I finally found a combination that I really liked. Here's the finished card:
It meets all the requirements (the bling is the sugar-coated brad), but I think it is still very much 'me.' Would you agree?
Another challenge was to use at least three different textures on a project. I chose to use textured cardstock, embossed vellum, and a pleated tissue paper accent. I wouldn't normally go for that many textures, but I love the way it turned out. I wish I'd made the tissue paper a little fluffier, but at least this way it won't get crushed in the mail. (By the way, I usually make my birthday cards with someone in mind, even if their birthday is many months away. I put a little post-it flag on the finished card and file it by month. So one of you will be seeing this card in your mailbox later in the year!)
Perhaps the most difficult challenge I've ever done was during the Fiskateers Winter Stamp Out. Tami challenged us to create a card with 5 embellishments, 4 pieces of patterned paper, 3 stamps, 2 punches, and 1 piece of cardstock. Ack! Any one of those elements is a major challenge for a clean and simple scrapper like me. How on earth could I possibly incorporate all those items and still like my finished project? Somehow I managed, just in time.
There are 5 rhinestones, 4 different patterned papers, 3 stamps (the swirl on the brown background paper, the design on the tag, and the sentiment on the tag), 2 punches (the corner rounder and a round punch where the ribbon is), and the base is 1 piece of cardstock. It was really difficult!
I greatly admire the artists out there who are able to do so well with a wide variety of styles, but I've learned that it is just not me. I love the challenge of a challenge and the opportunity to stretch myself creatively, but I have to be true to myself and embrace my distinctive style.