Pocket Cards & Baby Blocks

We have a new baby girl in my family, so I recently created some gifts to welcome this little one into the world. It’s been hard to be patient, but I wanted to wait until the gifts were received and opened before I showed you what I made.

The first gift is a set of 20 thank you cards, which is one of my favorite gifts to make and give to new parents. Thank you cards aren’t usually high on the couple’s priority list of items to purchase and have on hand prior to their baby’s birth, and once the new baby comes home and the baby gifts start to arrive, there isn’t the time nor the energy to run out and get some.

I started with a pocket card design with a flap.

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It’s important to use a strong, narrow adhesive when creating the pocket to maximize the size of the card insert. I used 1/8″ double sided tape, and place the tape as close to the edges as possible:

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I knew that I wanted a sweet, pink baby elephant to be the main image on the card, and my original thought was to stamp the elephant and some flowers on the flap of the card. By stamping all of the images, the card would remain flat and wouldn’t require extra postage and hand-cancelling at the post office.

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I was definitely on the right track, but this design was too basic for me. This card needed more personality and charm for my taste, so I went back to the drawing board and started over. I did want to show you, however, that with the addition of a twine bow and the card insert, I was able to salvage this simple design and turn it  into a cute new baby card:

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This card would be perfect for a beginning stamper to make. It really is a sweet card, and I could have stopped here and changed the sentiment and used this as my final design, but I wanted more.

I started by punching the elephant out of paper, rather than stamping it, and I adhered it to a die-cut circle. I kept the flowers on either side of the elephant, but added a scalloped border to the bottom edge of the flap. My last addition was to attach a “thank you” tag to the circle die-cut with baker’s twine. Not only did the tag add to the charm of the card, but it freed up the entire card insert for the handwritten note.

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Now this is more like it! What a transformation. How sweet is that pink, polka dot elephant! The elephant, combined with the scalloped border and the tag added the charm and personality I was looking for. Here’s a look at the finished card:

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I packaged the 20 cards and envelopes, along with 4 extra insert cards and the stamps for mailing in a box, and gift #1 was complete.

Gift #2 is a home decor piece for the nursery wall, using a shadow box.  I created a stack of paper baby blocks, and embellished them with a variety of punched/die-cut images. I incorporated the colors of the crib bedding in the design, which are navy, mustard yellow, and mint green, and brought in some pink in the background. This first picture was taken before I put it in the shadow box frame, and you can see the detail much more clearly:

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I die-cut the initial out of both navy and pink card stock, and offset them slightly to create the shadow effect.

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The shadow box frame is 9 x 9, and it caught my eye one day when I was shopping at Michaels. I just loved the distressed look and color of the wood.

I have one last picture for you before I close: we were having some work done upstairs while I was working on these gifts, so I needed to move my operation temporarily to the dining room table. This is a behind-the-scene look at how messy creativity can get!

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Take care, stay warm, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet; the sand be your seat; and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C-

One In A “Melon”

Watermelon; sweet watermelon. It’s so cool and refreshing on a hot, summer’s day. Not only is it a staple at most summer gatherings, but it also seems to be a popular theme and trend this season. I am seeing watermelon images everywhere, from paper products to craft projects. Case in point, I saw this display at my local grocery store several weeks ago:Watermelon display

Stampin’ Up! has even gotten in on the trend–one of the new colors that they introduced in June is called Watermelon Wonder. This has sparked a multitude of watermelon-themed projects, including this mini treat bag designed by Cindy Schuster. I thought it was so sweet and clever that I needed to make one for myself. I used the same basic elements that Cindy did, but I changed the design slightly to make it my own.

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The paper is double-sided, and the striped pattern on the inside breaks up the solid color and adds a lot of interest and charm to the bag. And look at that beautiful lace trim! The color and pattern are very elegant, and yet is takes on a casual, fun appearance in this instance. I made the seeds using a heart paper punch, just as Cindy explains in her blog post. It is such a creative idea!

I decided to turn my project into a thank you note, so instead of enclosing a treat, I made a notecard to slip inside.

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I love having the flexibility to use a product in more than one way, and, in fact, versatility is one of the main factors I consider before purchasing a stamping product. I have to know that I’m going to be able to get more bang for my buck before I’ll buy something. I knew that the mini treat bag die by Stampin’ Up! passed my versatility test when I learned that it can fit inside a standard-sized envelope (5 3/4″ x 4 3/8″). It’s one thing to know that you can create cute projects like this, but to know that you can mail them too–that just put’s it over the top, in my opinion! Who wouldn’t want to receive one of these bags in the mail!

bag in standard envelope_1As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, watermelon seems to be a popular theme for this summer. Besides seeing some interesting projects,  I’ve also found some recipes that I’d like to try. First on my list is The Pioneer Woman’s Watermelon Pico de Gallo (salsa). For all of the other watermelon recipes, products, and projects I’ve discovered, please check out my Pinterest board.

Thanks a “melon” for stopping by today, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C

 

 

 

Vintage Summer Notecards

I’ve discovered that I make a lot of things in sets. I like sets. I like that there are multiple items in the grouping, and that everything coordinates together. One project that I love to create for each current season is a notecard set. It’s so handy to be able to grab one when the need arises, and the size is perfect for a short, handwritten message. I do so little writing by hand that filling up a notecard is about all I can do before my hand starts to cramp.

But, I digress. I want to show you my Summer 2015 notecard set:

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I designed the notecard fronts to look like vintage postcards using a few of my favorite summer-themed images and sentiments. Developing and creating a vintage look is a multi-step process, and I’d like to highlight and explain each step in more detail by taking one of the postcard images from start to finish.

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The ultimate goal is to create an image that looks yellowed, worn and faded, so choosing the right paper, ink color, and image is key. Cream card stock is ideal, as it gives off an aged appearance just because of the yellow tint to the paper. Choosing a muted ink color helps add to that aged, faded appearance, and the ink color will dull even more when stamped on the cream card stock. The image you choose should be classic and timeless, as it lends credibility to the likelihood that it could be old or vintage. On a side note, you may recognize the sentiment used on this postcard design–it’s the sentiment I use in closing each of my blog posts. It came in a stamp set that I purchased back in 2008. I fell in love with the phrase the first time I read it, and when I started my blog, I knew it would be the perfect ending to my posts.

Once you have your images stamped, the next step is to create the illusion of age by sponging the edges of the paper.

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It’s amazing how something as simple as sponging the edges of the paper can add so much. I chose to sponge the edges with the same color that I used for the wording, as I wanted it to blend in, rather than detract from the main image.

Our vintage card is getting there, but it needs some contrast and something to take up the blank space at the bottom.

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I added the cancelled stamp image in the upper right corner, and the airmail stripe along the bottom in black, and that’s just what this card needed. I stamped each image on paper once before stamping it on the card to get the faded black color.

The final steps included distressing the edges of the paper with my fingernail to give it a “beat up” look, tearing the edges in a few spots, and mounting it onto a card base. Here is the final result:

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Now that you know what went in to creating this look, you have a better appreciation for the end product. I have devoted many the hour to mastering this vintage look, and it’s like anything else, once you understand the how’s and why’s of the process, you have a greater chance of success.

Enjoy the rest of your day, and, as always, remember:

“May the waves kiss your feet, / the sand be your seat, / and your friends out-number the stars”.

-C