Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Couple of Cards, and a Whole Lot o'Bookmarks

It's funny how the holidays sneak up on you.

I mean, next weekend is Halloween.  Then, there's Veteren's Day, just a couple of weeks later.  That's when I like to do the bulk of my Christmas shopping.  It is so great!  The stores are pretty well stocked, but they're not crowded and you can park with no problem.  I started shopping on Veteren's Day when my daughter was a baby, and it saves me a lot of stress during the holidays.

Then just a couple of weeks later is Thanksgiving.  Yikes!  Then you know what happens after that...the weeks fly by, and you blink, and suddenly it's like 3 days before Christmas.  And there you are, cruising Target at 9:30 on a Tuesday night, frantically searching for what can pass for a few more stocking stuffers, crazily trying to remember if you have enough wrapping paper left, eyes glazed over as you survey the remaining dregs of holiday decor that lies limply on the shelves, and you silently scream to the heavens, "WHY?  Why didn't I SHOP SOONER????"

Not that I have any personal experience with this, or anything.

So anyway, yes, the holidays are nearly upon us.  Target has holiday cards in the same aisle as the clearance Halloween stuff.  Michael's finally- FINALLY- has some Christmas papers.  Yay!  Any holiday crafting that is going to get done had better get started real soon!  This hit me sort of all of a sudden this morning.  It's not that I wasn't aware that the holidays are coming, I guess I was just sort of in denial.  When I realized it's only a week until Halloween, it sort of lit a fire under my behind, and it got me thinking about doing some holiday decorating in my Etsy shop.  Not only that, but there's a local holiday bazaar that I would like to participate in, and I realized that I probably need to get some inventory going for both.  Funnily enough, I got an email just today that the holiday bazaar in question has been scheduled, and is only 2 weeks away!  I'm still waiting to hear if there is space for me to set up a table, but in hopes that I can, I spent today trying to figure out what I can offer there.  I also did some thinking about my Etsy shop, and what I might be able to offer that would appeal to holiday shoppers.  First, I decided that maybe some holiday-themed items would be in order.  I came up with a few winter and winter-holiday bookmarks that are pretty easy to put together.

  These are still a work in progress. I like the poinsettia one, and I mostly like the snowflake one, though there are a few tweaks I have in mind for that one.  The star bookmark, I'm not so sure.  I used a midnight blue border, white background, and an embossed silver stripe up the center to a star that has gold and silver layers (it's hard to see the silver in this picture).  It looked ok in my head, but now when I look at it, it makes me think of football helmets, like it should be a logo for a NFL team.  So, back to the drawing board on that one.  I like the stars though- they are from a new Sizzix die set that I got with a coupon at Michael's.  I just need to figure out a good way to use them.

Next, I thought about what might make shoppers in my Etsy shop want to buy rather than just browse.  It's true, my bookmarks are expensive for bookmarks.  If you're talking about stocking stuffers, maybe you don't want to spend $5 or $6 on something like a bookmark.  So, I came up with some designs with just one pressed flower per bookmark, and use embossed or patterned paper for visual interest.  My idea here is to offer these less expensive bookmarks in a "stocking stuffer multi-pack"- maybe 3 or 4 to a pack, for one package price.  I spent a couple of hours this afternoon in a creative brainstorm and made a bunch of different samples.  Some I like, some, not so much, but I never know how an idea will really look until I actually create it.  I think I got at least a few here that I will try again.

The general design for these was inspired by a bookmark that my BFF Kendra made awhile back.  She is so much better at layouts than I am!  Her mom is an artist, so it's in her blood I guess.  Anyway, I'm going to keep working on this concept, and hopefully have some to list in my shop before holiday shopping gets into full gear.

Also this weekend I played around with making some pressed flower cards.  I have had some trouble figuring out the best way to do these, because I'm concerned about keeping the flowers safe once they're attached to the card.  I have posted before about my experiments using Mod Podge to protect the flowers, but in the end, I really don't like how the texture comes out.  The flowers maintain a sort of "wet" look even after the Mod Podge has dried, and even with the matte finish it creates a somewhat glossy surface.  I have also noticed that it leaves a slightly yellow coloring, which is fine if you have yellow items, but not otherwise.  I then tried a Krylon acrylic spray, and experimented with spraying the flowers before adhering them to paper.  It sort of works- the problem is that when it dries, the flowers sort of curl up at the edges, which makes them hard to work with.  Spraying them after they are adhered to paper or card stock is not ideal either, because then there is some warping in the paper.  What I have figured out that looks the best is to use the Mod Podge to adhere the flowers to the card stock, but leave them unfinished on top.  A light coat of the Krylon spray seems to do ok, at least it doesn't warp the paper too much, but I'm not sure how much protection it offers.  I'm especially concerned with sending cards like this through the mail- I'm not sure if they would hold up being processed through the USPS machines.  I think what I'll do is mail one to myself so I can see how it comes out in the end.

Here are the two cards I made this weekend.  Since my daughter has been going to a lot of birthday parties lately, that's where my mind has been, so I made these with bright, fun colors that appeal to girls.

I know I said I would be doing more leaf projects, but I didn't have time this weekend.  I'm going to try to get my giveaway organized this week and hopefully post it next week- so if you like my fall leaf items, be sure to check back, because I'll be giving some of them away!


  1. That last card with the four the lay out and it would be perfect for a bookmark where those flowers are:) You may use my layouts any time...I really like those bookmarks.