I will be the first to admit, I love, Love, LOVE Stampin' Up's designer series paper! I have gobs of it...current, retired...it is so fun to use!
But a few years ago, I was actually "Anti-DSP" Gasp!! I rarely bought those individual sheets in the big box stores...thought they were often "too busy" for scrapbooking, and the colors always clashed with my SU! Card stock.
I'm not sure when SU started selling packs of dsp (way before I was a demo), but I remember falling in love with the Recollections pattern. I didn't buy it...until just before it retired. Why?? All I could think was "I am a STAMPER! I don't need someone else's patterns!!" I would frequently make patterned paper and use it in a One Sheet Wonder card set. It was fun.
Now I love dsp, and I realize there are neat ways to use it. BUT, I still love making my own!!
One of the Dare to Get Dirty challenges called for us to make our own dp AND embellishments! WOW! So, I used 3 similar colors...Early Espresso, Soft Suede, and River Rock, with one single stamp from Baroque Motifs on Very Vanilla. Just made a random pattern...it's that easy! I sponged the edges with River Rock. I also cut one of the medallions out, then used my Not Quite Navy Stampin' Write Marker to color in a simple dot. I then placed a drop of Crystal Effects on top and let it dry...my own little faux brad! Instead of ribbon, I ran a strip of NQN card stock through my neglected paper crimper. The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes, on a piece of vanilla punched out with the word window punch.
This second card uses the Brights Collection: Rich Razzleberry, Pacific Point, Daffodil Delight, and a touch of Wild Wasabi. I ran the pacific point through the Big Shot with the Petals-a-Plenty embossing folder. I used images from the stamp set Hello Again to make my dp. I then used my markers to color the flower image (Hello Again) and the ribbon! That way I could match my green stem. The sentiment is from Thank You Kindly. Ice round rhinestone brads and the corner rounder punch finish it off. One tip...whenever I use brads, especially large ones like these, I put dimensionals on that layer. It keeps the layer more even.
I still will use Designer Series Paper (DSP) from Stampin' Up! because it allows me to create a quick card very easily. But I know I can do it on my own too...choose my own colors and my own patterns. The possibilities are endless!!