Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Wishes and Illuminating Definitions


I want to thank all of you and my talented Design Team for making the Twofer Card Challenge a success this year! I sincerely appreciate your support and enthusiasm! There won't be a challenge this month as we take time off to prepare for the holidays and enjoy time with our families.

As you know the Twofer Card Challenge is unique and, well, challenging! It encourages you to use your product more than once and to stretch your design skills. This first year has been a learning experience for us as well as our players. I have received several emails and comments over the course of the year asking for clarification of the challenge concept, terms, and rules.

If you feel like you've needed that kind of illumination as you have played along (or thought about playing along), I've put together this post for you explaining how I and the Twofer Design Team interpret the terms we use, as it relates to our challenge. Grab a beverage and a comfy chair!

Clarification of Terms.

Let's go through the basics set out in the badge:
1. "Two different designs."

What do we mean by "two different designs?" For that matter, what does "design" mean?

Design. For our challenge, design is the "sketch" or "layout" (the blueprint if you will) of your cards. We visually break your card down to the underlying sketch layout in much the same way you probably do when you mentally or literally sketch out the basic layout of your card before you begin creating.
Rather than having you make two cards the same or very similar, we are looking for you to stretch your design skills and create two different design layouts for your cards. 
Style. Style refers to the terms that we've all come to know in our community. Terms like "clean and simple" (CAS) or "clean and layered" or "shabby chic" or "mixed media," etc. There is another challenge in Blogland with an emphasis on style and that's The Card Concept. On the tabs there you will find an excellent description of common card styles, so I won't repeat them here.
You're welcome to use the same style or two different styles when you create your two cards, as long as the underlying designs are different for each card.
Technique. When we speak of technique, we are referring to elements such as embossing, smooshing, ink blending, masking, embossing paste, sewing, etc.
You may use the same techniques or different techniques when you create your two cards, as long as the underlying designs are different for each card. 
Here are some examples:

A. Different Designs. Using the same stamp, I recently made these two cards. I found similar sketches (to avoid my lame drawing skills) to show you the basic design sketch/layout behind the card:
 [The sketch on the top right is by Chrissy Larson and the sketch on the bottom right is by N@Ali, used on the CAS(E) This Sketch challenge. All these sketches can be accessed on Pinterest via a tab on the top of the CTS blog.]

These are very clearly two different designs using the same companion stamp and die. This is what the Twofer Card Challenge is looking for.

B. Same Designs.

Because we are looking for different designs, below are examples of cards that would not work for the different design aspect of the Twofer Card Challenge.
In this example, I turned my second card to a landscape orientation, I used different techniques of heat-embossing and watercoloring, and I added a piece of patterned paper. Even so, you can see that the basic sketch layout for both cards is the same: floral or leaf image above a sentiment with no image below the sentiment.

Another example of same design can be seen in a recent Penny Black video showing, "One Layout, Three Cards":
They all look different because of the different critters, patterned paper, and sentiments, but the underlying design layout is the same for all three cards.

And one more example:
Do the above two designs look like different designs or the same design? They are the same design. It doesn't matter if you change the shape of the aperture, move your sentiment to the right or the left under the image, or change your card orientation, the underlying sketch blueprint (design) is the same.

Here's an example of how you could change one of your cards so that each card is a different design even though the elements are the same:
You can see that now the card on the right is a different design. The sentiment has been moved to inside the aperture and the focal image has been moved partway outside the heart to a different location which changes the underlying sketch blueprint. Of course, you are welcome to make the Design Team's job a lot easier by creating two wildly different designs so there is no question that the two design layouts are different!

If you have trouble getting started when creating a card design, there are several card sketches available to you via Pinterest and Google. There are also sketch challenges so if you use one of their current sketches, you have the bonus of entering their challenge as well as the Twofer Card Challenge! A few examples are: CAS(E) This SketchFreshly Made SketchesCAS Colours & SketchesFusion Card Challenge, My Favorite Things, and STAMPlorations.
2. "Two different occasions." 

Even we on the Design Team have been caught up by this leg of the challenge. Oftentimes a prompt will automatically fit a particular occasion, such as "balloons" for a birthday card, "wreaths" for a Christmas card, or "hearts" for a Valentine's Day card, so sometimes it becomes a real challenge to stop and think of a second occasion for using the prompt on your second card!

Keeping in mind #1 above (particularly the Penny Black example), simply changing the type of occasion via papers, colors, or placement of your sentiment does not change the design of your second card. Note that we do allow you to leave your card front without a sentiment, but you must tell us in your post for what occasion you designed your card.

[A+ for the sharp-eyed among you who noticed that the two cards in example A above would not be eligible to win in the Twofer Card Challenge because they are for the same occasion!]
3. "Using the same stamps, stencils, and/or dies."

When you make your second design, make sure you use the exact same stamp (or portion thereof), not just the exact same set that you used on your first design. The same is true of your stencils and dies. 


Conventional / Unconventional.

When our challenge first started, a few players and members of the DT were very creative in how they used their same stamps and dies to make their second card. They turned butterflies into flowers and hearts into fishes, etc. As a result, I heard from many of you that you had trouble being "that creative" and you weren't playing as a result. 

I would like to reassure you again that this challenge has no rule about making one of your cards "conventional" and the other card "unconventional." That is strictly a personal choice. We welcome your entries that use the prompt in conventional ways on both of your cards, as long as your cards have different design layouts as talked about above.

Miscellaneous Reminders
  • Computer-generated images/digis. You may use CPI/digital elements in your designs, but in order to have a level playing field for our participants, you may not use them for the prompt element of your designs.
  • Gallery photo. We need to see both your cards in one photo for the link up.
  • Card challenge. We are a card challenge, so your two designs must both be cards.
  • Commenting. Please leave an encouraging comment for at least three other participants.
  • Follow this blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! You may also want to check out the FAQ tab at the top of the home page if you haven't read them before. If you have additional questions, please use the contact form on the side bar. 

I hope these clarifications, ruminations, and illuminations will help those of you who played last year and encourage newcomers to join us next year. We look forward to playing with you in January! As always, the most important thing is for you to have fun! That's always our main focus!!  

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!!

đŸ’‹Darnell and the Team:
Anita, Bev, Kara, Loll, and Susanne


  1. Thank you for this very exhaustive explanation Darnell, especially with the images to make it clearer. I for one understand it better now and really look forward to January's challenge! Wishing the whole team a very Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it and Happy Holidays for those who don't, but to all a GREAT start to 2019!! Hugs, Gwendolyn

  2. Exceptional explanation. Love your challenge I hope in 2019 I have a bit more time. Merry Christmas to you and your fabulous design team. See you in 2019

  3. What a great explanation of what you are looking for in this challenge. I appreciate that time it took to share. Someday I may have time to play, but until then I hope you all have a fabulous time!

  4. Dear Twofer Design Team: I'm taking this opportunity to wish you and your families, a wonderful Christmas and a Healthy, Peaceful and Joyful 2019.
    Thank you all for your inspiration and for this challenge, from day 1 I've been a fan of it for all the reasons stated on the banner, "Two different designs, for two different occasions using the same stamps, dies/stencils", what a wonderful way to challenge all of us, to be more creative.
    I had a bit of trouble understanding the requirements at the beginning but now, it's perfectly clear to me, especially after this amazing explanation, thank you Darnell for taking the time writing it.
    I'm looking forward to the first challenge for 2019, I'll be patiently waiting for that post.
    Much love to you all.
    Maria Rodriguez.

  5. Dear Darnell, thank you to take time to write all the rules for the Twofer challenge. It is so useful to refresh some terms. :-)
    Thank you and your team to start such a fun challenge and to let my grey cells working harder. :-)
    I wish you and your wonderful and cerative leadies from designer team Merry Christmas and Happy and Creative New Year! <3

  6. Thanks girls! Wishing each of you every blessing of the season xoxo

  7. Thank you (and your wonderful team) so much for a fun year of challenges! Also, thanks for this comprehensive post explaining everything we need to know ~
    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Crafty New Year!!!
    Barb xx

  8. Thanks for a fun first year and also for the detailed explanation. I am glad there is no challenge this month as I am too busy to join. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas though and a joyous new year.

  9. Well done. This is a challenge that I love and hate missing when I travel. ITs good to stretch our creative brains.

  10. Darnell, the very fact that you took the time to write this up with examples and everything clearly shows your kindness and consideration for all of us players. You just want us to have fun! You know I've loved this challenge from the start. Thank you, and happy Christmas and new year to you and all the team!

  11. You have explained the challenge really well and spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into clarifying things which we all appreciate greatly. Hoping to be able to enter a bit more often in the new year. x

  12. Thanks for the illumination - that really helps. Thinking back, I realize I totally blew it with a couple of my Twofer entries! Will try to do better next year!!

  13. Thank you for the inspiring challenge. I love the idea and hope to have more time to join in next year.

  14. Thank you dear friend for all your time consuming clarification of your awesome Twofer Challenge. Because of you and your challenge I am more often making Twofer's while I have my supplies out. Sometimes for your challenge and other times to add to my stash. Thank you for all the inspiration and your time, energy and sense of humor that make up your wonderful challenge.

    Merry Christmas Dolly to you and your wonderful family. Can't wait for 2019 Twofer Challenges:-) Love and Hugs..Nancy

  15. I found this post really interesting . Thanks!

  16. Thank you so much for the clarification. I love the creativity of the challenge and your DT are so friendly and inspirational. Just wanted to also say a huge Thank you for my Christmas card that came through safely today. Made my day! Glorious card, loved everything about it....It's a keeper....Thank you so very much x (I posted yours on the 4th December so hope it arrives before the big day x).

  17. It took me some time to figure out what's required in these Twofer challenges, but thanks for your patience in helping me finally get the hang of it! It's still one of the most challenging creative experiences I've ever participated in, but that's what makes it more fun! Thanks for a fun year of learning and growing, and I look forward to another fun year of creating in 2019! Thanks everyone, and I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous holiday season of joy!

  18. Happy holidays, Darnell & Team Twofer!! I've enjoyed playing in your fun challenge this year!! Great idea to clarify what you're looking for; reviewing my entries for the year, I think I kept true to your vision. Have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to crafting with you again in 2019!!

  19. Thanks for the explanation ...... you've covered absolutely everything there.
    Thank you for the fun challenge too, although I haven't played along as much as I would have liked. Looking forward to 2019.
    Have a wonderful Christmas, lots of love and festive hugs to you and yours, and all the best for 2019! xx

  20. Merry Christmas to you all! Thanks for giving us all such a fun and challenging challenge:) Thanks also for the clarification!

  21. Thanks for the wonderful clarification... and for sponsoring this great challenge. It truly does inspire me to think outside of the box. I look forward to all the great things you have in store for us next year. Until then, have a Wonderful Christmas and New Years.

  22. Omg.. I am thankful to you for clarifying and these are really helpful for playing here and also expecting a recognition. I had come to check if there was a new challenge up and found this knowledge up here. So sweet of you for writing so exhaustively and also making cards that explain so well. Wish you all a very Happy New year!