Sunday, June 23, 2013


As I've been working on my index card collages this month, I've come to rely on an extremely valuable, high-tech tool:  a piece of paper with a hole in it.

Let me 'splain

When I'm trying to decide on a composition, I do a lot of paper shuffling to see what works.  I don't want to tear or cut a paper until I'm sure where it will go.

The problem is, the index card is now completely invisible and it's hard to see what the composition will looked like once it's trimmed, but I don't want to trim it because maybe it will look horrible and I'll want to use one of the pieces somewhere else, but now the piece is too small.

The simple solution?
Cut an index-card sized hole in the middle of a piece of copy paper and use it as a view finder or frame.

Now I can tweak the background layers, and start playing around with a focal image.
How about this moving van from a 1950's magazine ad?

or maybe this piece cut from a beautiful note card Gina S. sent me (it's from a picture of one of her art quilts)

Maybe I should combine the two images?

No, no, no, no, no!
Ditch the van, stick with the quilt.
Glue it down, trim away the overlapping bits, and add a word from the leftover scrap of dictionary page - circumsolar.
Love it.

On this one (from a few days ago), I knew I wanted to use the donkey and the orange.  I was even pretty sure I wanted to use the trees, but I had no idea what to do for the background.

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

The last one was the winner, but it would have been hard to figure out without my frame.

Here are a few other recent index cards:


#174 (gelatin printed deli paper from Leslie)

#175 (gelatin printed background from Corrine)

#176 (bane of my existence)


  1. loving your ICADS but loving your reference to Princess Bride even more.
    I think its time I watch that again, its been too long

  2. Great tips and tricks! always good to have some tried and true method in that tool bag.

  3. Fantastic process, lovin that donkey card....I so appreciate how you do it knowing that I will never do it that way. Isn't it amazing how we all have a process that makes us happy, but moving paper around is such a visceral experience that we all resonate with. xox

  4. Every one a wonder, so clever and effective. The one with the 'ignored' baby reminds me of psychological tests of 40 years ago, when I was studying psychology. The dear testers would get a tiny baby to crawl along and then the would reach a point where the 'ground' changed to a sheet of tough glass over a deep drop, to see how they reacted.
    Pick that baby up before he falls off the carpet!!
    All very inventive as always.

  5. Squirrel - ha! Donkey - ha! Baby - ha!
    Thanks for making me smile this morning. You've got some fab gifted papers there.

  6. Very smart! I love them all, especially the donkey, I'm a sucker for them. And of course I'm also a sucker for any Princess Bride reference!

  7. ++++++++++++++++!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)))

  8. Well done!...I reckon a mat is indispensable when working pout a composition.

  9. YES!! The index card viewfinder! That is exactly what I do too! A great help indeed! Love your cards...beautiful!

  10. Oh, Karen. You're just too clever for words! Wonderful cards!!

  11. I want to go to glee!! I love my view finder I made. When I use fact I am now wondering where it is. I am really enjoying this series of cards. You seem to be in such a groove at the moment, it is exciting to watch!

  12. Wonderful cards and that viewfinder is a good idea!

  13. I use a similar frame (only smaller) for making ATCs... it works indeed great!!! Love your index cards, especially the orange background, awesome!

  14. Ok...that is cup-caking Brilliant...would have never thought of cutting a hole in a paper in a million years! Love it!

  15. Well, aren't you just the smartest thing!?! Tammy should definitely feature your idea on her blog for ICAD because this is marvelously brilliant!