Two Kinds of Simple, Stitched Thanks Cards (Notes of Kindness, Hanging Garden, Very Vintage)

Hello again… I thought I’d pop on while multitasking and detail a couple of simple cards I made recently. I got distracted last week before my husband and I went to Florida for his job (Florida in January from Ohio – huge perk, right? Well, if one stays healthy, yes. 🙂 ). When I should have been packing or finishing a card order, I ended up pulling things together for a card I didn’t anticipate making. Then last night I made another one since the first was so easy and I had a second stitched piece yet to use. 🙂

Since I’ve started selling cards and making custom items, I’ve been looking for ways to make more cards faster to keep more customers happier. I’m not really a “fast” card creator; I spend too much time in the details that I love. Creating keepsakes is really my thing, but most customers don’t need that much hoopla or focus on cards they’re just sending to be thoughtful. So I have started reserving that “type” of card for specialty or specific occasion ones, cards that the recipients will love and treasure.

Through this process, I’ve figured out that card kits, though not my first love, are rather useful for making lots of cards with limited supplies and time, and when the kits come with a stamp set too, all the better. Today’s cards were not from a kit but rather from a DCWV pad of paper that was made up of various stitched designs, so it’s a similar idea. I bought the pad when I was first starting out in cardmaking and thought then that it would be a cheap way to have several nice card fronts right there at my fingertips. I’m happy to report that my hunch was correct and I only have four left to use up, which feels great. 🙂 I love the look of stitchery, being a “soft crafter” myself. These cards are the same flowered design on kraft but they look totally different because of the papers and colors I chose.

The original green, yellow, and blue card has a green Mossy Meadow card base from Stampin’ Up. I paired the base and flower panel with some Designer Series Paper (DSP) from Stampin’ Up’s retired “Going Places” pack. I still have lots of useful papers in it, and one of its colors is Mossy Meadow. I don’t have much of that shade, so when I also found a Mossy Meadow grid paper in the same pack and they coordinated perfectly, as Stampin’ Up does, I stopped overthinking and put them together. It felt like it was headed toward a masculine or gender-neutral kind of card, which I don’t make as often as I should.

My detailed self, however, needed some kind of embellishment near the stem of the flower to accent where I was going to place the sentiment, so next I picked up what little remains of my Copper Twine and wrapped it around the DSP/flower panel a couple of times before gluing the panel–off-center–onto the card base, to leave room for the large “Thanks.” I just love that twine and wish I had more of it, but it was from the Notes of Kindness kit from Stampin’ Up. (Mental note: must order refill to get more!)

In keeping with the contemporary, simplistic, somewhat masculine style of the card, I needed the sentiment to be brief and obvious. The “Thanks” stamp also from the Notes of Kindness card kit was just the right thing. I used my Mossy Meadow Stampin’ Spot inch-sized ink pad and stamping platform and had it done in a jiffy. For the inside, I laid down a white paper to write on (just eyeballed a measurement for borders I liked and cut it to size with my trimmer), before using a Spellbinders die for the sentiment spot on the inside and going around the edges of it with my Mossy Meadow marker before gluing it. I used Stampin’ Up’s current Very Vintage (host only) stamp set for the “You’re a blessing” wording and accented it with three dark rhinestones from Recollections in my stash. And I added a strip of the Mossy Meadow grid paper to the bottom of the white piece for some color and continuity and a piece of matching DSP to the envelope flap to dress it up a bit. That’s it!

It was so simple that I made another card last night with the remaining flower panel. Since I had used up the grid paper with the last card, I had to go a different direction for the new one. I have a photo box full of cut-and-scored A2 card bases, and when I remember that I have them, I pick one of those out of the box rather than take time to cut and score a new one or two from my loose cardstock sheets. I thought a retired Tip Top Taupe card base from the photo box matched the kraft piece well enough. Then I had to find papers to match. I started riffling through my loose stack of random 6×6 papers just because they were behind my chair and I really should use them up. They come from swaps or generous RAK-givers or are leftovers that would get lost in my patterned paper drawer because of their size.

Included in that stack were three coordinating 3×6 sheets someone had once sent me in the mail. And one of those was the houndstooth pattern I decided to use for the new card. I’m not sure what is different about the sizing between the two cards, but it seemed like it wasn’t working to fit a second piece of patterned paper and sentiment with the houndstooth the way it had with the marbled and grid papers on the first card. Losing a layer bothered me at first, but I made myself continue and (again) stop thinking and just go with it.

(One way to faster cards is to stop looking for the “perfect” thing and use what I know matches and will work. Yes, there are probably lots of options in my craft room, but how much time do I really want to waste, sifting through papers and getting paper cuts in the process? This is a battle I wage constantly with myself. No one will really know the difference anyway, whether it should have been THIS paper over THAT paper. One paper is likely about as good as the other, unless they’re just hideous choices. 🙂 Even saying that makes me feel like I care less than I should, which I do not like. But it comes down to time, always.)

So. Since one paper worked just fine and didn’t really require another paper with it, I stopped frowning and cut a couple of strips to attach to the sides of the flowered panel. Then I did the same kind of wrapping with baker’s twine–white this time, because I really didn’t want to use up the rest of the copper–and pulled out the Mossy Meadow sentiment I’d created in duplication when I stamped the first one last week. 🙂 I’ve started keeping a drawer full of blank tags and another of sentiments as a way to speed things up, and so far that’s working! I added three of SU’s Metallic Pearls (current item–love them) to the kraft around the flower for some pizzazz.

I sold the first card already, but this one was going to a special person as a thank-you for a very thoughtful Christmas gift she’d sent me (yes, I know, it’s February). So I had a certain sentiment for the inside in my mind, but I couldn’t find it on my shelves. It’s probably in the ones I stacked aside that are baby-, wedding-, or general-themed, for my upcoming gift shop cards. I’m really going to need to separate those. I keep missing particular stamp sets. I searched my shelves for similar options and came up with one from a current SU set called Hanging Garden. It’s the second time I’ve used it, but I think it’s going to be a favorite: “To one of the loveliest people I know.” And when I use it, I mean it. (That’s one of the nicer things about stamping these days–designers are doing a wonderful job with creating sentiments from the heart for all kinds of situations. I feel like we have more options these days than we used to.)

I stamped the Hanging Garden sentiment in Mossy Meadow on a sheet of white to match the sentiment on the outside and then cut another strip of houndstooth paper to accent the edge. Nice and simple, good for male or female. I’m happy to report that it has already been mailed and is winging its way to Missouri (higher postage notwithstanding).

I feel rather eager to continue using those stitched panels, so you may see more from me in this vein. There’s a certain feather floating around in my mind, and I keep mentally sifting through sentiments that would go with it. But for now I must focus on a fox card and two birthday cards this weekend. The lemons are done (blogs to come), and so are J’s wedding and sympathy cards (though two more Thinking of You are also on the list). And the Etsy sale is on (10% off!) and the order to S is wrapping up, so things are moving along. Life feels good right now. 🙂 Thanks for coming along for the ride.

 

Yes, Another Sympathy (a Decoupage One This Time)

A dry decoupage sympathy card using Stampin’ Up for everything but the main image (at last!).

The hits keep coming. Two more sympathies on my to-do list, along with a celebration theme for a blog hop. For these two, at least it’s a celebration of sorts, though sad now. Still, I feel muddled. My heart aches for them, so I went looking for something that spoke to me and seemed to reflect the people I’m thinking of. My “card toppers” bin bailed me out for the one I’m blogging about today. (The other, yet unmade, will focus on Stampin’ Up’s Graceful Glass vellum DSP and alcohol markers, so stay tuned for that.)

My mother used to say that I was “an accident waiting to happen.” She’d probably still say that, given the chance. That phrase came to me as I wrestled with this card. I began to feel like it was one accident after another. I love how it turned out in the end, but my goodness, the process! (This means there’s hope for me, right?) Another case of “when things don’t go well.” Please tell me you’d never know. 😉

One of my husband’s coworkers lost her dear husband last week, and it’s been such a sad thing. I wanted to make a beautiful card – part masculine in remembrance and part feminine for her – but had no idea where to start. Since I often clean or organize when I have a problem to mull over, that’s what I ended up doing, which led me to the main cross piece seen on the front of the card today.

Finding a brown card base to match the topper was easy; Stampin’ Up’s Baked Brown Sugar, a retired color, matched the foiled copper/silver/gold/burgundy/blue cross the best. I only have so many browns, and I usually use SU for my card bases since I like how the 80-lb weight cardstock stands. (I grab premade bases only if I start with the base first rather than the main image. It’s just easier to match it that way rather than working in reverse.)

During my cleaning spree, I was also looking at and putting away some new SU Designer Series Paper. So when I tried to find paper the cross could match, the blue piece was fresh in my mind and looked prettier than any other neutrals I put next to it. The blue paper is from the Tranquil Textures DSP pack in the current Annual Catalog from Stampin’ Up. It’s not a solid blue, but it it hard to tell that with the dry embossing I put on top of it to give the card some texture. I used the “Oxford” Cuttlebug folder for the textured design. I wanted something light and barely textured like Stampin’ Up’s Subtle embossing folder, but I don’t own that particular one yet.

Here’s where things got tricky. The card is a 5×7 because the cross is so tall. But because it’s narrow, there was a lot of “white space” around it. I don’t like white space (even if it’s blue). So I started to wonder what I could do or put next to the cross to take up the width. A sentiment would only be so big, as well as being awkward to work with around the 3D leaf layers toward the bottom, so I wasn’t sure that was the answer. I thought maybe I could make a decorative edge to the card front at the right instead. I could see it in my mind but wasn’t sure how to achieve it (story of my crafting life, btw). That seemed to be the best thing to try…but all my dies were too small to stretch across 7 inches. Nothing felt right. So that night I went to bed frustrated, having made only the card base and embossing the paper.

The next night I attempted to keep going on the card while I was on the phone. I should have known better. I spotted a long Spellbinders die on my die wall and got all excited because it would fit lengthwise. I didn’t think about the fact that ALL of the edges of the die does indeed cut…until I wrapped a card base around a Cuttlebug plate (so that I didn’t cut through the second layer), positioned the die, and wondered why an inch of the card base separated from itself after I ran it through the machine. (*insert facepalm here*) To my defense, I was still on the phone. LOL

So suddenly I had a card base with one side shorter than the other. That was not what was supposed to happen. Not to mention, the magnetic plate dinged up the middle of the card base, and the B plate left marks on the back side of the base, making it warped and weak. Sigh. Time to rethink. Maybe I needed to make a new card base.

I tried to process where to go next. The decorative edge thing hadn’t worked and I couldn’t think how to make it work other than an edge punch – if I made a new base. I’ve never tried the popsicle sticks I’ve heard about, to keep part of it from cutting, so I wasn’t sure how to do that either (again, on a new base). But I hated to destroy the one I’d just cut. What I did manage to do after thinking was flip the card base around (even though I’d folded it correctly after scoring the first time). That would give me a chance to add paper atop the marked-up part to hide it and also add some stability with the extra paper layers. I hoped. I also took my bone folder and tried to work out the middle bumps and crease it sharply.

Once the base was salvaged, I decided to play with the pieces and arrange them just to see what I could do. I ended up liking a little bit of breathing room between the die cut and the now-shorter edge of the card base, rather than placing the die cut right up against the piece it had just been cut from. And obviously if there’s a peekaboo die, something needed to peek through it underneath. I grabbed more blue DSP and left it as is on the inside of the card rather than embossing it for texture like the front.

I also realized that I needed to run the textured piece through the Cuttlebug again, as one side has trouble with a piece of paper I got stuck in the roller years ago. Part of the paper was hardly embossed, so I realigned it in the folder, flipped it around to the other side that impresses better, and ran it through again. Came out perfectly that time.

The trouble was that when I left that breathing room space between the die cut and the base, it was not centered once the card was opened. I didn’t like that. But it looked like I had enough room to add 1/8″ of ribbon or something else. I chose SU’s gold and white ribbon to match the cross and the browns and loved how it looked.

But then I couldn’t get it adhered. The ribbon is thin enough that the line of Art Glitter liquid glue I laid down soaked right into the ribbon. I wasn’t confident it wouldn’t end up slightly sticking to the inside of the card once it had been closed for a while. But as I told a friend last night, when a person has too much product in her house, she will find a way. I decided to use my Cosmo Cricket Glubers Adhesive Strips. I rarely use them, but sometimes they’re just the best option. They are 1/4″ strips, though, so I took my nonstick microscissors from CutterBee and cut right down one of the strips, eyeballing it to just under 1/8″. And then I placed it with my tweezers and stuck a new piece of ribbon to it. I was much happier with the inside then.

I decided not to stamp a sentiment on the inside yet. I needed to finish up and get to bed and I wanted to really look through my stamps to figure out what I wanted to say on the card. I will probably go back and add one later, but right now it’s blank.

I’ve spoken about dry decoupage in past blog posts. A reader had asked me to do a tutorial on how to do it, and I am working on that currently. I hope to post one soon. For now, here are a couple of closeups to be able to see the decoupage layers that make up the cross. I should have trimmed off the little perforation bumps more as I was making the topper, but it’s probably too late to fix it now.

The cross has several layers of dimension to it in the squares as well as the leaves, which made it interesting to put together. And the leaves are the top layer.

Thanks again for coming to visit my blog! I appreciate your readership!

Cream-and-Green Sympathy with Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper

Thank you for joining me once again on my blog! I have another sympathy card to share today, but I do have other themes coming up soon. I just couldn’t wait to use Stampin’ Up’s Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper, and it was one of the first things I ordered from the annual catalog. I kept this sympathy card simple partially because it was for a masculine friend and also because I didn’t want to cover up the beautiful paper.

The Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper from Stampin’ Up has eight sheets in the pack, four each of two designs. One design is a full 12×12 of gorgeous delicate flowers, and the other design has several borders and six card fronts that can easily be cut apart. Some of the latter are backgrounds, like the one I used here, and others are shaped pieces like circles or an oval or borders. As a bonus, the papers are vanilla on one side and white on the other–perfect for any color scheme! I’m looking forward to playing with the rest of the patterns as well.

I first took a cream card base and covered the front with some retired Mellow Moss cardstock from Stampin’ Up. I love vintage, muted colors like this in general, and they are appropriate for a lot of what I create, like sympathy cards.

Then I simply cut apart one of the card front sections of the laser-cut paper and adhered it to the Mellow Moss cardstock with touches of Tombow Multi Glue, displaying the vanilla side. I chose the vines background on purpose because it was my friend’s grandfather who had passed and vines and trees always remind me of genealogy, another favorite hobby of mine.

While wrestling with what I wanted to create for this card, I saw a filigree Spellbinders tree on my die wall and thought it just might do the trick and bring the theme together. Plus the size worked well.

Because both the paper and the tree are delicate-looking, I needed a divider between the two so the tree didn’t visually disappear. The square 3×3 piece I used was from a scrap pack I bought years ago, but it was perfect. It’s slightly textured as well, which just adds to the look. And the tree fits just right on top. It’s not quite the same color as the specialty paper, but I deliberately used both cream and white throughout the card so it wouldn’t look odd.

We all get into little habits with what and how we craft, and I’m just now remembering that I had intended to put brads vertically in the corners of my cream diagonal piece. That idea left once I saw how far the tree extended – but now I see that I could have put them horizontally instead. However, it’s probably just as well that I didn’t fall into my same rut anyway. 🙂

Instead, to keep it simple, since it was a masculine card and all, I merely tied a knot in a piece of Very Vanilla/Copper 1/8″ ribbon from the Tea Room Ribbon Combo Pack from SU and stuck it onto the tree trunk with a tiny Bling Zot.

The scripture piece underneath the tree was cut from a storebought card that was sent through the mail–I reuse things like that sometimes if they seem appropriate and unique. And if I can cut them straight, it’s kind of like using a sticker anyway. 🙂 This one I popped up with foam dots and used as a bottom border.

I confess, I made this card over several weeks around other things calling my name, so by the time I got to the inside, it was easiest to scrounge around in my drawer of sentiments that I keep full for when I’m short on time or ideas. A generous crafty friend once die-cut a few of the “Thinking of You” pieces for me and I’d not yet used any. The green-and-white piece matched well enough to fit this card, so I was happy to finally use one. On the inside left I placed a scripture sticker written in silver. The inside overall is simpler than I like, but it was better to have it done and mailed than lingering. It left me space to write a heartfelt message anyway, and that’s really more important.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little offering today and that it’s inspired you to create something lovely too. If I can help you order something from Stampin’ Up, feel free to contact me or look me up on the Stampin’ Up Demonstrator Directory. You can also search for my name and state (Ohio) under Find a Demonstrator. Thanks for being here!