Saturday, April 30, 2011

Card: Anniversary - Silk Heart

Inspiration:  I used to do quite a bit of batik-method silk painting.  However, the paint and the chemicals to set the paint into the fabric became harder for me to find locally.  So about 3 years ago (just before getting pregnant with my daughter), I used up the last of my paint and made small designs on a handful of silk scarves.  I later cut these up to use on cards.  I thought combining the fushia and the purple would look really nice with hearts.

How I Make Them:  I talked about the silk painting part briefly above.  Basically I use resist to draw the shape, then paint over the whole piece using foam wedge brushes.  For these I didn't worry if the colors mixed a little.  After they dry, I use a chemical set (I used to use a heat set but couldn't find heat set paints anymore).  Then I rinse out the resist per the chemical set instructions, let the piece dry and iron it.  Finally I cut my shapes apart and then sewed them onto cards using embroidery floss.  I added the "Happy Anniversary" using a gel pen.  I tend to use these cards to write personal memories about the couple I'm sending the card to.

  • Heart shapes can also be used for Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day, Mother's Day (which is coming up soon), Grandparent's Day and a number of other holidays or just to say "I love you!" to someone dear.
  • I've done other resist designs in silk for cards that I'll feature later.
  • I like trying out different fonts for the text on these cards - it keeps any two from being exactly the same.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bookmark: Hebrew/English Calligraphy - Start Nothing You Can't Finish

Inspiration: I thought the quote "Start nothing you cannot finish!" was rather appropriate for a bookmark.  Even if I finish most books the same night I start them.

How I Make Them:  As you can see near the top of the photo, I've got a card with the calligraphy and notes on it.  Those are my guidelines whenever I make more of these bookmarks.  I start with pre-cut bookmarks that I buy in wrapped packets of about 50 from Hollo's Papercraft.  Most of the ones I get measure 1.75 inches by 6.6 inches.  This is one of the few that I make vertically.  I start by measuring out my pencil lines using a MM calligraphy ruler.  From the top of the bookmark, I draw lines at 3MM, and then every 7th MM until I've drawn 8 lines.  From the bottom of the bookmark, I draw lines at 1MM, 5MM, 6MM, 10MM, 11MM, 15MM, 16MM & 20MM.  Then I calligraphy the Hebrew using an M nib and green calligraphy ink (I currently have Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay Green India Ink but have used a Speedball green ink before too).  I calligraphy the English at the bottom next.  I got back with either a Hunt Globe Bowl 513EF nib or Hunt Ex-Fine Bowl 512 nib and add the vowels to the Hebrew again in the green calligraphy ink.  Finally, I use green and gold gel pens and free-hand draw the ivy.  After it's dried I laminate it using my Xylon sticker laminator.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Card: Invitation - Birthday Balloon

Inspiration: My daughter loves balloons.  When she was around 1 year old, her favorite color was red (now it's yellow though I think it's changing to brown given her comments in the car this evening).  So I thought I'd make her birthday invites a balloon.  I was even able to add a surprise.

How I Make Them: I used a scrapbooking template/stencil for the balloon shape.  I actually used a few different ones so not all the invitations were exactly the same.  I glued the balloon shape to the card but only at the top of the balloon (for the surprise).  After the glue dried, I folded up the balloon and glued a small recent picture of my daughter on the back of the balloon.  On the card, underneath where the balloon lays, I wrote "Hope to see you soon!".  If you look closely at the photo, you can see the 2 small dots that I made to let me know where the limits would be for my writing (I forgot to erase them on this one).  Then I drew a number 1 on the balloon, the string wrapping around the end of the balloon and the string from the balloon.  I wrote "You're invited..." on the outside and put all the details on the inside after "to join in the celebration of 's birthday!".

  • For thank you cards after the party, I did another red balloon using a photo from the party (my daughter about 1/2 way through eating her smash cake), on the outside of the card I wrote Thank You.  On the balloon, I wrote "Peek a boo" and under the balloon I wrote "It was fun to see you!"  Then I wrote a short personalized message inside.
  • You can use any number on the balloon.
  • I used pictures of my daughter on the thank you card, but it would be even more special to use pictures of the guest or the guest and the celebrant.
  • I would also make a nice birthday card (especially with a picture of a much loved pet or friend).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Card: Birthday - Gift

Inspiration:  Who doesn't like to get presents for their birthday?  I figured, why not make the card look like a present too.  This works especially well when the gift is a gift card tucked inside the card.
How I Make Them:  The first time I made this card, I used an already folded card to make a template.  Obviously the box part was easy.  It was coming up with the right shape for the bow that took a little more time.  I think I eventually found a card that I had received that had a nice sized and shaped bow on it and I "borrowed" it to get the shape I wanted.  Now I just use the template.  I actually cut out the top part of the card.  I made an outlined template for the bow that I cut out of one color paper and then use a different color or a patterned paper for the gift wrapping.  Occasionally I actually cut out the inside loops of the ribbon, but not very often since it isn't easy to do.  A thin strip of paper in the color of the ribbon or a thin solid colored sticker strip is used to wrap around the box (vertically) or put at diagonals on opposing corners.  I usually just cut out a little tag shaped piece from white paper and hole-punch it before gluing it on.  I write the "To:" and "From:" and add the recipient's and sender's name(s) when I'm ready to send it.  On the inside I write "Hope your birthday is filled with many wonderful gifts."
  • Besides patterned paper (the kind you usually use for scrapbook page backgrounds), I've even used real wrapping paper on these cards.
  • Depending on the patterned paper you use, this card could be used for any gift-giving ocassion: birthday, anniversary, wedding, baby shower, etc.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Card: Birthday - Calligraphy


Inspiration: I like doing calligraphy.  While I often make gifts with quite a bit of it, I don't often use basic calligraphy in my cards.  So once in a while, I do a card like this and then add some color to brighten it up.

How I Make Them:  I usually add lines in pencil on the card to help me keep the wording straight.  I use a ruler to space out the lines and I try to draw them fairly light so they are easy to erase after the ink dries.  I have a variety of calligraphy pens that I use (I'll write about them in a later post) but I do tend to stick with a thicker letter when making this card.  When using black, I use India Ink.  If I'm using colored ink, it might be Speedball or another brand usually meant specifically for calligraphy.  I've also made my own ink using mixed watercolor paint but when I do that, it's only with my dip pens.  I let the ink dry, often overnight, and then erase my pencil lines.  Finally I take colored pencils or markers and add some color either going over the letters or outlining them.  With this card, I often write "May you have a bright and happy day!"

  • I use this basic style for Thank You cards quite a bit.  As long as the words on the front are kept short enough, the could be used for just about anything: Happy Anniversary, You're Invited, Congratulations, etc.
  • I've always wanted to try this with a resist method - using a resist medium for the calligraphy and then coloring or watercoloring the card and then removing the resist - maybe one day...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Card: Bat/Bat Mitzvah - Torah

Happy Pesach (Passover) to all my Jewish family & friends!  While I don't have a nice Passover card to share (I should probably think about making one though!), I do have this Bar/Bat Mitzvah card that I think is pretty nice!


For those who are not Jewish or are not familiar with these terms:
  • Bar Mitzvah - a boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah, son of commandment when he turns 13.  In many synogagues, he often leads or is honored in the Shabbat services on a Saturday near his birthday which includes his reading from the Torah for the first time.
  • Bat Mitzvah - a girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah, daughter of commandment at either 12 or 13 (the custom varies among Reform, Reconstructionist & Conservative synogagues).  She often leads or is honored in the Shabbat services on either Friday night or the Saturday near her birthday and this sometimes includes reading from the Torah.
  • Bas Mitzvah - this is the same as Bat Mitzvah.  The Hebrew letter "tahv" which makes up the last letter of "Bat" is sometimes pronounced with an "S" sound in the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish tradition.

Inspiration: The inspiration for this card came from the saying that I have on it, "The students of Torah add peace to the world!".  To me, the saying translates to something along the lines of those who continue to learn from every aspect of their life continue to make the world a better place.

How I Make Them:  The Torah shape comes from a die-cut that I ordered a long time ago from Creative Memories (I'm not sure if they still have it or not).  I just use the original paper that it was popped out of as a stencil.  I have two sizes, a large one and a small one.  If I'm doing a larger card, I use the large template and make 1 Torah, often out of blue hand-made paper and glue it to the card.  If I'm doing a smaller card, I use the small template and make 2 Torahs, one in either silver or gold and the other in pink or purple for a girl and usually blue for a boy.  I overlap the Torahs slightly near the bottom (kind of like how they often lay closer together near the bottom than the top when in the ark) when I glue them to the card.  For the large version, I write the saying "The students of Torah add peace to the world" in a wave above the Torah so it almost looks like a tallit over covering over the Torah.  On the smaller version, I break it up a little and write "Students of Torah" near the top and "add peace to the world" below the Torahs or if there isn't room I write the second part inside.  I typically keep these cards blank inside to write a personal message congratulating them on becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

  • Besides Bar/Bat Mitzvah, I sometimes use this card for Confirmation which is sometimes viewed as kind of like a graduation from Jewish religious school.  It could be used for other graduations as well.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Card: Baby Announcement - Geocacher


Back when I published this post, you may have noticed the 2nd announcement card in the lower right corner.  That was the card I'm showing today.

Inspiration:  My husband and I are avid (obsessed?) geocachers.  The community of geocachers where we live are the greatest!  So many of them helped us out as we got ready for our daughter to arrive.  And since many of them don't know our non-geocaching family I wasn't sure that the family tree card would be the best to send them (plus after making over 80 of them I needed something different to do).  I came up with this idea of using a stroller and our GeoChums ( images.

How I Made Them:  I used a hand-made paper for the stroller seat because I though it looked more like fabric.  I used the GeoChums mascot images from the website and made templates for the 2 adults that I cut out in orange and green.  I made a much smaller one in blue for the baby.  I glued the pieces on the card and used a black Sharpie to finish drawing the stroller.  I added "Joining us on the Geo-trails..." in a green Sharpie.  On the inside, I attached the same printed announcement as our other cards but used a green ribbon to hold it in place.

  • An invitation to a party or a geocaching event.
  • Since the images are just faceless dolls, I guess it really doesn't need to be a geocaching theme.  It would work for hiking or just a reference to strolling.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Card: Graduation


It's hard to believe it's already the middle of April and that for some, graduation is less than a month away!  So before you need them, here's a graduation card example you could use for someone graduating at any educational level!

Inspiration:  The cap is one of the first things I think of when picturing graduation.  I still remember my brother & sister's pre-school graduation.  Plus my cap from my pre-school graduation is still in my baby book in the closet (at least it will be until my daughter finds it and adds it to her hat collection).

How I Make Them:  I cut out the graduation cap using a scrapbooking template.  I use my folded card sideways on this one so that the whole cap fits better.  I glue it on and then color it.  If I know the graduate has a specific set of school colors, I might try to use those.  However, when I'm not sure I tend to stick with pastel colored pencils for filling in the colors.  I do sometimes color the tassel in gold or silver though.  I write "Congratulations, Graduate!" on the outside of the card.  While I usually try to personalize the inside message, I always congratulate them on their achievement and share a wish for their continued growth through learning.

  • As with many cards, a graduation cap could be used as the invitation to a graduation party.
  • It would be a nice treat to make a graduation cap card with "Thank U, Mom & Dad" on the cap to show your parents your appreciation for all they helped you achieve.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Card: Birthday - First Birthday


Inspiration:  I always like doing a number card for a birthday.  I also love getting cards like this.  Why?  Because I keep many of the cards we receive.  For my daughter, it makes it very easy to quickly remember which birthday a group of cards is from when at least one of them has her age on it.

How I Make Them:  The first time I made a "1" card, I created a template from a folded card using a ruler to measure out where I wanted to make my cuts.  Since then, I just trace the template.  Of course, I make sure I leave plenty of room where the fold is so that I don't end up with 2 pieces.  I like to outline the number with a thick, dark marker and then fill it in with decorations.  In the example above, I colored in markers in rainbow order.  I've also used color pencils for a more pastel tone or stickers for a child who really liked a certain character.  I finish up by writing "Happy 1st Birthday!".  I usually leave the inside of this card blank so I can write a personal message to the recipient.

  • As I already mentioned, one of the great things about large outlined letters is that can be decorated just about anyway with any material: coloring, stickers, ribbon, even pom poms or buttons!
  • Any number can be used.  I'm even thinking about using a 50 for my husband's birthday in a few years (he he he!).
  • The number can be the Happy Birthday Card or even the invitation.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Product Review: glitter marker set

Sorry this post is a bit late (ok, just on my schedule it's late) but I've been under the weather and am just starting to "Catch up".  Now on to the blog entry:

glitter marker set from Martha Stewart Crafts

Back in December, I picked up these markers.  I can't remember if I'd read a review on them or not.  My old stand-by gel pens are almost used up and I just haven't found the same ones anywhere lately.  I've been using Sharpie's as of late, but they just aren't the same and I'm always worried they might bleed through the paper (even though using the fine end ones haven't done that).  I also thought having some glitter-y-ness might be nice on some of the cards.

This particular set came with 6 markers: pink, orange, yellow, green, aqua, and blue.  There were also 2 other sets, one was more "summer" colors and the other was more "winter" colors.  I went with this one for the variety.  I've provided a link to the set at Amazon below.  I'm sure you can find it at other stores and for different prices.  I'm pretty sure I got mine at either Walmart or K-Mart, but I can't remember how much I paid now.

Be sure to read the instructions on the back of the package for starting these markers.  It said to shake well (and you really need to do that each time you use them).  It also said to depress the tip to start the ink flowing.  It was more like push down on the paper with the marker so that tip presses in and hold it there until you can see the ink flowing.  The first time, it took quite a bit to get each marker started.  While I'm used to having to draw a few little circles on scrap paper to get a new pen going, this really did feel like a long wait.  Plus, I've learned that every so often you need to press hard to get more ink into the tip again. 

They're finer than I imagined they would be. When I want a thicker letter, I need to make an outline and fill it in.  However, these definitely aren't the best pens for filling in large areas.  They're great for short lettering work though and the glitter-y-ness is nice.  They do seem to work best on white paper or paper in the same color as the ink.  The blue just didn't look good when I used it on pink paper, and no it didn't really look purple either.  

As for how long they last, I've had them since December and it's now April.  I've used them on at least 100 cards but for small writing parts.  Each of the 6 markers is now only about 1/3 full of ink (the markers are kind of a frosted white so I can see how much ink is left when I leave them still for a while).

Would I get them again?  I can't say for certain.  They're ok.  They're not my favorite.  If I had something specific I wanted glittery words on, then yes, probably.  However, for most of the work I do with cards, I think I'm still looking for a good new pen set.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Card: Baby Announcement - Family Tree

The above image comes from my daughter's baby book.  I made about 80 of these for family and close family friends to announce her birth.  They were all finished except for the inside before she made her appearance.  Though I wish I had kept one or two more as this is the only one I have left.

Inspiration:  The ketubah (marriage contract) we had chosen when we got married featured a large tree (a link to the ketubah is found near the end of this post).  I had used the tree image for a Rosh Hashana card several years before and knew I could fit what I wanted on the branches.  I thought it would be very cool to tie in the same "tree of life" as our ketubah into a "family tree" to welcome our new baby into the family.  Also I was able to incorporate a lot of symbolism into this card design.  The leaves on the tree are family members and the flowers under the trees are friends we've cultivated (our garden).  There are only 18 leaves on the tree - 18 in Jewish tradition symbolizes "life".  Of course, the cradle is reminescent of "Rock a bye baby".

How I Make Them: I already had made a template of the tree.  I used this template on a dark brown paper, cut it out and glued it to the card, low enough so that I would be able to fit all the leaves and some text above the tree.  I cut out the leaves as pointed oval free hand in greens, blues, magentas, and purple papers - primarily on the darker side of the spectrum.  I cut the cradles out of a manila folder after making a template.  I cut little pink blankets out of scrap pieces of paper free hand and used a hole punch with peach paper to make the heads.  The flowers were cut freehand out of pastel colored papers.  I glued all the pieces on the cards.  Before gluing on the flowers, I hand-drew stems and leaves using green gel pens.  Once the glue was dry and I knew who the card was going to, I was able to write on the leaves and flowers.  Each tree was slightly different.  The 18 leaves included the person's relationship to our daughter (e.g. Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Aunt, Cousin, etc.) and their first name.  I always included Mommy & Daddy and the immediate family members that the card was going to.  If the card was for friends,  their names were on the flowers and I had a group of 18 family members that I always used on those cards.  I added the text "We proudly welcome to our family tree..." in gel pen on the front of the card.  After our daughter was born, I printed up the detailed information (her name, birth date, birth time, location, weight, height, etc.) on the computer and used thin green fabric ribbon to secure it through 2 hole punches on the inside of the card.

  • I've already mentioned that I've used this tree design for a Rosh Hashana card before (see link to image below).
  • A family tree card would also make a great invitation to a Family Reunion.
  • If you wanted to include a family pet, you could make a small cat or dog lying under the shade of the tree.
Additional Links: