Thursday, December 29, 2011

Birthday Cards

A week or so ago, Operation Write Home's Stars & Stamps blog asked for birthday cards. Before LSS Pizazz It! closed its brick and mortar store, Tiffany showed us how to make adorable birthday cards using rectangles and a leaf punch. The following are cards based on Tiffany's design -- all made from scraps of designer paper, cardstock, and/or simple embellishments.

Bo Bunny's Snowfall Collection -- Yes, I know you're shocked!

Miscellaneous scraps with scoring for added texture/dimension -- perfect for kids.

Kaiser's Hippie Girl Collection -- Love the texture of this paper!

Miscellaneous scraps... scored, inked, stickled

DCWV's All Dressed Up! Collection -- glittery paper for the girlie girls in our lives.
(Could also make  lovely wedding/anniversary card. Paris, anyone?)

A more masculine color palette from Kaiser's Up, Up & Away Collection

To see more of Tiffany's designs, check out Tiffany's blog. And rumor has it Pizazz It! is opening an online store in the near future. As soon as that happens, I'll post information here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snowflakes of Gratitude

There are two colleagues at work whom I wish to thank for their kindnesses when I return back to work. And, I couldn't find any nicer way to do that than with handmade cards made from Bo Bunny's gorgeous Snowfall collection.

Carolyn was one of the co-organizers of this year's Craft Show. A few days before Christmas, she sent me an e-mail with an offer of cardstock that she had received from a vendor. Oh my gosh, this cardstock is gorgeous -- a great weight, a lovely warm white color, and a linen texture. And, she had about 1,000 sheets that she donated to my card-making efforts! Talk about a random act of kindness! Needless to say, Carolyn will be receiving the first card I made from her wonderful donation.

Karen was replacing her Thirty One lunch bag with one of the newer Thirty One models. As much as I'd wanted a Thirty One bag, I'd managed to resist the temptation when faced with the choice of buying card-making supplies or a new lunch bag. However, when Karen was willing to take a few cards in exchange for her old bag, a deal was brokered! So, a Bo Bunny thank you card is headed her way, as well.

The first card made from Carolyn's cardstock!

Not from Carolyn's cardstock, but still made from Bo Bunny's Snowfall papers. :)
More good news: Terri at Scrapbook Art ordered me two more packs of this paper for next season's holiday cards!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Most Treasured Gift...

Mom loved Christmas. She lovingly created memories that have lasted a lifetime -- starting with coming home from school to freshly-baked cookies right out of the oven, culminating in the opening of that one special gift, and everything joyful inbetween.

Christmas Day 1987 was poised to be a most special Christmas. It was the second Christmas my husband and I had hosted both of our families for Christmas dinner. And, Mom and I truly rejoiced in the day's events -- cherishing every moment. As an added bonus, Mom looks radiant in our photographs from that day -- even though she usually took terrible pictures.

How could I know a life-changing moment was about to happen? How could we have known that would be our last day together? There are times that even today it's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my mom died in a car accident shortly after leaving our house that night.

The grief was immeasurable -- as were the blessings that came into our lives through the love and kindness of family and friends. Getting through the year was the toughest thing I have ever done. I had no idea how I was going to handle the Christmas season.

And then came the gift -- a simple, heartfelt sentiment handwritten at the bottom of a Christmas card from a fellow teacher and his wife. Denise had written, "May your most treasured gift this holiday season be your memories of Christmases past."

Sadly, a colleague at work recently lost a parent. Tonight I made the card below to give to her. And, as with every Christmas card I've sent over the years to a loved one or friend who has lost a parent, or spouse, or child, I have passed along Denise's words of comfort and joy.

"May your most treasured gift this holiday season be your memories of Christmases past."
This holiday season, live in the moment, cherish time spent with loved ones, and treasure memories of Christmases past.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2 Challenges = 1 Tutorial

Challenge #1:

The initial idea for this first card came from a post by Yolanda on this weekend's OWH blog hop/skip promoting the new OWH Hero Arts stamps.

OWH is seeking some last minute Valentine's before the December 31 deadline. And, Yolanda's second card got me thinking about an idea for a Valentine's Day card.

I must confess, however, the card took on a little life of it's own. I originally planned to do a masculine card, but ended up with a card that would be perfect for one of our heroes to send to a daughter.

Paper is from DCWV's Sweet Matstack with Glitter.
The stamp is from Snag 'Em Stamps by imagenisce.
Challenge #2:

This second card was inspired by the OWH post to create your own background paper. This was my first attempt at using one of the larger stamps. Heat embossing with metallic powder seemed like the perfect way to make the snowflakes sparkle. (Yes, I know white or silver snowflakes might make more sense, but my gold embossing powder was working the best.)

Interestingly enough, most everyone who shared a card for this challenge had a far more involved design than this one. Since I loved the way the stamped image came out, I decided to let it speak for itself -- simply popping it with a contrasting background color and accenting it with a bow.

Unfortunately, I finished this design too late to send to OWH this season. So, a few close friends and work colleagues will be its only recipients this holiday season. But, I'm thinking it might make it my OWH shipment next year.

Snowflake background was stamped with a DesignBlock from Hero Arts.

So, have you spotted what these two cards have in common?

Yep, it's the bow. OWH's own Dixie posted a wonderful no-fail-ribbon-tutorial on a fabulous embellishment technique.  Wish I would've know about this ribbon technique earlier in the holiday season -- and very happy to know about it now!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OWH Sketch 99

The card below was made for this week's OWH Sketch 99. I had a couple of thank you/gratitude stamps I hadn't used yet and thought they might compliment each other well in this sketch.

Paper is the Natural collection -- with coordinating cards -- from DCWV.
Smaller stamp is from Hero Arts -- and was only 50 cents at a scrapbook garage sale!
Can't remember the source for the bigger stamp.
I love the flexibility of this sketch -- and really like the way this masculine thank  you card turned out. (Even better, my husband liked it, too.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scattering Joy

A friend and I went to a fabulous holiday concert at Capital University last Friday night with the message to scatter joy. So, I was looking for a way to keep the spirit alive when I read the challenge on OWH's Stars and Stamps blog to make a card using OWH Sketch #98. Immediately, "JOY" came to my mind for the three squares.

This card, which I'm giving to a few friends this Christmas,
may very well make it in next year's OWH cards.
Paper is from Bo Bunny's gorgeous Snowfall collection.
Wish the Icicle stickling on the left edge,
around the blue circle, and on the letters
showed up better in the scanned image.
The sentiment came from a reading during the concert.
Sorry I don't know the author.

I have to say I loved the sketch and LOVE this card. It's one of my all-time favorites and the image shown just doesn't do it justice.

And, with this post, let the joy scattering begin!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Craft Show -- Take Two

For the sixth year, the McGraw-Hill Polaris office held a lunchtime Craft Show for employees, family, and friends. So, inbetween making Christmas and Valentine cards for Operation Write Home, I designed and made cards to sell at the Craft Show -- with proceeds to benefit Operation Write Home.

This was my first craft show of any kind and I really didn't know what to expect. I'm thrilled to report that I took in almost $300! (While I don't know for sure how much money I invested in the cards, I'm thinking $50 might be a good estimate.)


As a result, I will be able to:
  • make significant shipping donations when I send cards,
  • use even nicer paper and more embellishments, and
  • invest in additional punches, embossing folders, etc.
So, what were the secrets to my success?
  • Minimizing expenses by: sharing a table with a colleague selling cupcakes, maximizing the number of cards made from materials purchased, and using a picture/postcard display that I already had to display cards,
  • Including birthday card designs -- which went really fast -- along with holiday designs,
  • Using a variety of papers -- some feminine, some masculine, some kid-like -- for the birthday cards,
  • Limiting holiday designs to three types -- a traditional punched-out tree on Bo Bunny's Father Christmas collection paper; stamped and painted Baby Rudolphs, aka Rudy, for kids big and small; and embossed, hand-decorated ornaments with a little more artsy take,
  • Packaging each card in a clear plastic sleeve,
  • Sending a pre-event e-mail to colleagues who have previously supported Operation Write Home events, as well as to team members and friends,
  • Displaying a poster of card designs in my cubicle a few days beforehand, and
  • Reaching out to potential customers at the show as they walked by -- not hesitating to ask if they were familiar with Operation Write Home.
And, what would I do differently?
  • Not maximize expenses quite so much. I tried to use as many sheets of paper from my 6 x 6 paper pads even if the combinations were not my favorite,
  • Building on the previous statement, trusting my instincts when it comes to card design. The cards that weren't my favorite, didn't sell nearly as well,
  • and include one or two more non-holiday cards, like thank you cards.
All in all, a fabulous craft show debut -- with lots of money to put towards 2012 OWH card-making endeavors! My sincerest appreciation to everyone who supported the event.