Handmade Gifts for a REAL Holiday: Making Cards

There are several people in my live who have inspired me to make things. My Great Aunt Adeline is one of them. She was always working on something whether it was painting on her shoes, a porcelain doll face, an egg, a canvas or her kitchen cupboards, I was always intrigued. My mom also has inspired me to be creative and it is those people in my life that I thank for allowing me to always be creative.

Doodle Cards - just doodling on cards

I have several of Aunt Adeline’s hand painted cards, eggs and paintings. They are so fun to look at and they always make me smile. I can only hope that some of the things that I make and give have that same affect on friends and family.

Cards for my brother

While I have hand made cards since I was a child, it wasn’t until the mid-1980’s when I really started seriously making cards. For many years I made my Christmas cards and also personalized handmade cards.

stack of "monogrammed" cards to give

In the early 1990’s I started making cards using rubber stamps. Other cards I would just doodle on, others would be made using watercolors or even collage. As you can tell I like dabbling in many artsy-fartsy things.

Trying color combinations out

When we have moved to Texas I have re-connected with a long time friend up in Austin and she reintroduced me to stamping. Well, I dug out my boxes of stamps and we had a wonderful day stamping. So much had changed in the stamping world since I had last picked up a rubber stamp and it was a lot of fun to see what she had made. I had several boxes of stamps that had been gifted to me almost 10 years ago that I had never really used and so it was fun to dig through that box of treasures and start playing.

The holiday season is upon us. One of the gifts I decided to give my nieces this year is cards. At first I thought I would make them each a stack of personalized “monogrammed” cards. Then I realized that they are at a point (8 and 10 years old) where they like projects and new things, so why not let them make the cards. They live in Wisconsin and so it isn’t easy to just stop by and do craft projects with them (although I wish it was) so I thought I would do some of the work and let them finish the cards by putting them together.

working on a layout

I had already made several “monogrammed” cards for them, so I will send those along as examples. Then I set out by picking out plain card stock and designer paper combinations that I thought they would have fun with. When ever I sit down to make stamped cards the process can sometimes go real smoothly and other times it can be a struggle. When things are a struggle it is best that I just walk away from it and come back later. I am lucky enough to have a huge room upstairs where all my arts and craft supplies are. I found a HUGE long table at Salvation Army that makes a wonderful work space. Most of the time I never pick up the mess from my previous project, so that is the first thing I have to do – clean up the table. Lucky for me, the last thing I worked on was cards, so it didn’t take long for me to straightening things up.

cutting paper

Picking out papers. I am very frugal with buying my supplies. I check out the Sunday advertisements for both of the craft stores in my area to see who has what on sale. If one of them has a sale on paper and I am in need of more paper, I make a point to head that direction. Also, I make sure that I am armed with any coupons they have and always check the clearance sections because you never know what you will find there. I have found a lot of deeply discounted papers in that area. You can also make contact with a stamp demonstrator from your area. When I visited my friend in Austin I learned about Stampin’ Up. They have demonstrators all over the world and most likely there is one in your area. Those demonstrators can have all sorts of activities from stamping cards to scrapbooking. Several demonstrators will have a “stamp-a-stack” where you pay a fee to go stamp a stack of cards. They do all the planning and paper cutting and you just go and stamp the selected images and put it all together. What a deal. Some of the craft stores will also have stamping classes you can look into. That way you don’t have to buy a ton of supplies, just go, take the class and bring home some finished cards.  I decided to partially make the cards for my nieces. I think they will enjoy this gift. It is creative, handmade and they get to have some fun with it too. I hope it will bring a big smile to their faces when they each open their gift.

Applying adhesive

My mom is difficult when it comes to gifts. She is at a point where she has everything and doesn’t want more “things.” I have found making cards for her to be the answer. Right now I am making her Christmas cards and throughout the year I give her other cards as gifts. She can use them herself or use them as gifts for other people. I want to make sure I am making cards that she will like, so she is involved in the process, picking out styles and colors that she likes. I know that takes some of the surprise factor away, but in the long run I know she is happier to get a gift she likes and can use.

using foam to raise an area

Sincerely, Emily

This entry was posted in Cards, Homemade, Homemade Holiday, Real Holidays and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Handmade Gifts for a REAL Holiday: Making Cards

  1. Joanna says:

    Thank you! Thankyou! Guess what came in the Mail!! that was such a surprise Emily you are very kind! your beautifully scented handmade soaps, hand wrapped and one of your lovely cards. I am so touched that sent me these gifts, the soaps will be a pleasure to use, I adore lavender and lemon too.

    I have tried making cards but I get impatient, usually leaving it to the last minute, (always a mistake) but we have some good local shops, one in particular whrere a group of women both run the shop and have a work area towards the back where they design and create work and often turn their wall pieces into reproducible cards. They only sell their own work and I like to support them. Well that’s my excuse. My stepsister used to do a lot of silk screening and would print cards too, she is the artist in my extended family. I wish I had more crafting skills, but I love reading about what you do, and was delighted to get this early birthday gift from you. 😉 🙂

    • OH I am so glad you like the soap. I went back and forth about telling you that I sent something, in the end I am glad it was a surprise. The local shop in your area sounds like the perfect place to get some handmade cards. I think taking on a new project at the last minute, especially during the holiday with all the other things people have going on isn’t usually a good idea. Starting early is much better. Early Happy Birthday to you!

  2. Dani says:

    What a lovely idea 🙂 And simultaneously encouraging your nieces to make their own, as opposed to buying shop bought.

    • Thanks Dani. I had already made several cards for them when I had this brainstorm of an idea. I think they will like it. I need to put together a little “instruction” sheet for them, then they can jump right in when ever they want. The only thing I am no sending is adhesive tape so I will tell me brother about that so he knows ahead of time too.

  3. Deb Benson says:

    I Love this post, Emily. My goddaughter is getting a Cricut for Christmas and I see many paper projects in our future. In the wholesale commercial district right by our dog park, they had a warehouse event last week. Included in the 15 or so businesses was an artist’s supply company with tons of handmade paper for $1 a sheet. I spent about $30 picking up gorgeous papers for my stepdaughter and goddaughter. What fun!

    • Hi Deb! oh you and your goddaughter are going to have a lot of fun with the Cricut I imagine! And what a steal on the handmade papers you found. And you always incorporate beads into the cards.

  4. I saw the soaps on Joanna’s blog. So cute!!!!! These cards look wonderful, Emily! Come by my space. I just did something new. See ya!

  5. PS: You are super talented!

  6. zonnah says:

    They look beautiful.

  7. Pingback: Family Time: Exploring, creativity, adventures, learning « Not Dabbling In Normal

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