Today's Wonder hails from the Hawkeye state - Rockwell City, Iowa, to be specific, and I have put off writing her interview this last week because I literally couldn't choose which of her cards were my favorites. If it was up to me, I'd be high-jacking half of her blog and plopping down the whole thing right here. But making hard decisions is why they pay me the big bucks! (Or would pay me the big bucks, if anybody were paying me, which sadly enough is not the case.)
But enough meandering! Ladies, please meet Julie Batta - a bona fide master of simple brilliance.
Look at her beautiful skin - she flat-out glows, doesn't she?
So what's the big deal about Julie's creations? She does with ease the hardest creative task: she does Simple. Simple designs executed with a minimum of product and fuss. This Haweye's got the eye.
Now here's the part where I'm supposed to show you one of her cards as an example of what I'm talking about. And this is where I hesitate because it's like asking a mother to pick her favorite child - and these aren't even my children, for crying out loud! But since somebody has to be chosen, take a gander at this understated beauty:
This is classic Julie: card stock, stamps, and limited color palette. She's got an attractive sentiment that is framed like a diamond solitaire is nestled in a setting; a diamond is nice, but it's the setting that shows it to its best advantage - same is true of our sentiment here. She puts the framed sentiment in a primary visual place by following the rule of thirds, and she also gives it primacy by lifting it from the page with pop-dots. She then adds a dash of interest by pairing it with some cut-out stamped images that lead the eye outward toward the edges of the card, so we got movement/energy. The raindrop background provides some subtle contrast that helps set off the the sentiment rather than detracting from it. There's no ribbon because who needs one here? There's no bling because where would we put it that could possibly improve upon this composition? And one last thing - the sentiment is surrounded by an ornate, curvy frame and some curvy branches. Angles love curves - and her card accommodates by keeping every other edge on this card straight.
Here's another one - a little looser this time (she's branching out into buttons and bling):
Again, we have no ribbon and the 3-D items are used with restraint. I love, love, love how she uses a border punch to scallop the edges of plain card stock and then layers them providing a very simple yet effective design element. Close your eyes and try to see this card with a pattern stamped on the background of the card base....
And just that quick, you see how her sense of restraint is perfectly tuned here.
Here's another one that makes me happy:
Here she's using this cardstock lattice very effectively to add visual interest without bulk. The angled lines of the lattice are clean and crisp, while the scalloped bottom is a nice contrast and echoes the curves found in the flowers above. She's staying within a tight color palette, hanging out with the Purple Fam, and then adds some pop with that pale yellow ribbon. Nuthin' but net.
Here's Julie getting a little more "complex":
One of the best things about Julie's cards is how quickly they can be made. (Bonus!) I have no idea how long it takes her to come up with a design, but its execution promises to be swift.
Wanna see where she creates her art? Here's Julie's self-proclaimed "Tiny Little Corner of the Universe":
Now this is surely a lesson to me (to many of us, I imagine) of how less is more. By deliberately keeping her holdings small, Julie increases her productivity. Everything she needs is an arm's length away. Everything she has, she can see (and therefore be more likely to actually use it). And, as I'm sure you'll notice as you read this post, a lack of real estate and/or additional supplies is not negatively affecting her creative output at all.
Julie's creations have received plenty of attention: Hero Arts Blog: Minute Card Challenge (Honorable Mention); Colorful Challenge (1st Place for Scrapbooking); Valentine Challenge (1st place for Scrapbooking); My Message Challenge (Honorable Mention); and Go Green Challenge (3rd Place). Dawn McVey's Raspberry Suite Color Challenges in the Spotlight: Weeks 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 18, and 19. Papertrey Ink Guest Star Stamper July and September, 2009 (Honorable Mentions). Aaaaaand....one of 20 winners in the PaperCrafts World Card Making Day challenge. She's also about to be published in the May, 2010, issue of Cards magazine.
Although Julie's never been on a Design Team, this is only a matter of time. I fully expect her to eventually work for one of the product manufacturers. There's nothing like simplicity to show off a product, and Julie's some kind of wonderful when it comes to the art of simplicity.
So let's get on with learning about today's Wonder! Please raise your Diet-Cokes to Julie Batta, a leader of the K.I.S.S. nation!
Julie's Wonder-ful Interview
1. Do you pre-sketch a design or do you just leap out of the gate? How long does it usually take you to make a page? A card?
I usually just jump out of the gate. But on occasion, if I have been making quite a few layouts at one time and need a fresh or invigorating idea for my pages, I will use a sketch to get the creative juices flowing again. A layout can take me anywhere from 1-3 hours to complete. As for my cards, I usually don’t use a sketch unless it's called for by a challenge. My cards take me anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.
I could just weep. I am such a turtle....
2. How many, on average, pages per week do you make? Cards?
On average, I make about 1 page a week and about 6-7 cards - all depending on my level of creativity: sometimes I crank out more, sometimes none.
3. How has your process evolved to make you a leaner, meaner crafting machine? (In other words, what are some lessons you've learned or tips you can share that allow you to make better and faster design choices?
The quickest way for me to put a page or card together is to use one coordinating line of paper and supplies and use those products only for my pages or cards. For instance, for our summer vacation album I used only the Traveler line from Little Yellow Bicycle to complete my whole album. I was able to finish my 40-page, 12x12 album in 2 weeks because I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of mixing and matching other lines together.
And since I just recently started submitting cards to magazines, I make sure to keep all my product in the original packages. It makes it so much easier to identify all the brands of products I used without going on line to find out who produced what.
And, simply, keep all your most used tools close (a good time saver). And be organized so you know exactly where you have a certain stamp or embellishment when you want it.
LOL!!! I wish it was that easy to create. I usually don’t get the pleasure of a quick meal and then off to my scrap room (corner). I always scrap at night after the kids go to bed and stay up until 11:30-midnight most nights. I think better with no distractions at all. But, if I were to be so lucky, my kids ask nightly for pizza, and I would be the hit of my house if I always gave them that. But it’s not delivery, it’s Digiorno. :o)
If you were stranded on an island that had a billion supplies but NO
tools, what ten TOOLS would you HAVE to have? (All the stamps in the
world are available, so you don't need to list them as one of your
tools. EX: we've got all the embroidery floss in the world, but you're
going to have to bring your own needle if you want to use any of it!)
You’re killing me here - all the product I could ever want and only 10 tools?! There are computers on deserted islands, aren’t there, so that tool shouldn’t count? OK, fine. If I have to pick them they would be, in no particular order: Creative Memories trimmer, BasicGrey rub-on tool, Cricut and graphically speaking cartridge, craft knife, scissors, Crop-a-Dial Big Bite, bone folder, acrylic blocks, and all my punches lumped into one, pretty please.
Okay, sure. The island's already gained mythical proportions with celebrity cabana boys, electricity, permanent 72-degree weather, and bottomless Margaritas. What's a 50-in-1 punch? You go for it, girlie! (You have to pay to have it shipped, though!)
you were still on that island, what kind of noise would you want (if
any) in the background? List as many as five different favorite musical
Ingrid Michaelson, Daughtry, cast of Glee soundtracks, Lenka, Rascal Flatts.
7. If you could have
anything you wanted, (concerning scrapping or stamping) what would it
I would love to have a nice paper trimmer. It is so hard to get a good cut with the ones I have tried, either the blade dulls quickly or the cut isn’t precise. Being a perfectionist really gives me troubles when I have jagged edges from a dull blade or uneven cuts. So to relieve my anxiety,a nice trimmer would be incredible. I am open for suggestions.
It's your lucky day! I, too, am a perfectionist, and I, too, was plagued by trimmer woes (I do believe I've tried them all). But I finally found The Answer in the Tonic Guillotine Trimmer - it changed my life! I have the 12'x6" because it travels easily: the arm's handle and the 12" measuring arm are easily removed and are stored in its underside. (You can also get the 12' x 12" version - the slimmer design is better for me because it takes up less room on my desk.)
I wonder if they'll pay me for the free advertising...?
8. What about your style/artistry are you least satisfied with?
I am not very good at coloring in images. That has a lot to do with not having the right tools (like Copic markers) but even when using colored pencils and watercolor pencils, I don’t like the results. I usually avoid coloring at most costs. I also wish I could sew on my pages and cards effortlessly; it's always so much of a chore for me.
9. What cameras have you tried, which one is your
favorite, and why? (You can shorten this to just the one you're using
now if you like.)
I am currently using a simple Kodak Z650 digital camera. I haven’t really tried other cameras.
10. What's the word or phrase that comes to your lips when you mess up while creating? ("Unprintable" is definitely an option!)
"Shykee" (pronounced like you see it). Just a made up word that seems to do the trick. And you can really get some good pronunciation behind it - all the better. I use this playing volleyball, too, and it also does the trick there.
You are a woman after my own heart. Do we have variety in this word - like, "You shyking glue?!" (Because I have some glue that needs a good shyking, I think.)
A 4-year-old cat named Tiger and a turtle named Flipper. We are real creative on the names aren’t we?
We name our pets after food, so who am I to judge?
12. Give us a quick description of your job.
Stay At Home Mom. I love my job because I get to be with my kids and be available to them. And since my oldest has started junior high sports, it is really nice to be able to go to all his events. I have my moments, though, when a job would be nice to get out of the house some, but I will be happy to have spent this time with my kids. I'm assuming I don’t have to list the description for my job - we all know how hard it is to be a mom - but also how rewarding.
That we do. Despite my understanding and appreciation of why certain animals eat their young, I can honestly say that my desire to devour Gigi is usually minimal.
13. Give us a quick description of your family.
My husband Curt and I have been married for 13 years, and we live in rural Iowa with our three boys (Jordan - 12, Zach - 10, Gavin - 4) and our girl (Riley - 5). Curt and I both grew up around here. Once we were done with college and had a family, we both new that we belonged close to home and in a small peaceful environment. So we are pretty much Iowa lifers and are proud of it.
That's so cool. I envy you that.
14. Got a fun or little known fact about yourself you’d like to share?
I never owned a cell phone until three years ago and never got my ears pierced until I was 31. Sad, I know!!!
Not as sad as being one of those nits that insists on driving and dialing at the same time, or one of those people who've mistaken their face for a pincushion!
15. What’s your favorite stamping technique?
Eek. Can I say "simple"? I just like to stamp on all sorts of card stock and cut it out to make it pop off my page. I don’t do anything fancy, I just like to ink up my stamps and go to town.
I say, don't fix it if it ain't broke - and in your case, it definitely ain't broke!
16. What do you find more satisfying - the process or the product?
I love my mailman as much as anyone else, but I love the process of creating more. I love getting a new punch, but love more the thoughts of how many different ways I could use it. I love the first time I stamp a new stamp but love more the thought of getting out my scissors and enjoying the process of cutting out my stamped image. Don’t get me wrong, I fall in love with certain products and have to have them to make myself a happy little crafter, but to be completely happy, my creativity takes me there.