Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Card

Good Sunday morning!  I am excited, because I am trying something new this week.  I think I am finally ready to go a little more "public" with my cards, so have been thinking of ways I might do that.  I already listed one card in my Etsy shop- this one, and what's really exciting (for me, anyway) is that someone favorited it!  I eventually would like to work up to listing more cards, but I have to make some first, of course.  Always on the lookout for new inspiration, I spent some time this weekend surfing the 'net looking for card sketch sites.  I already check out MojoMonday on a regular basis, and wondered if there are more like it out there.  There are!  I found this one- CardPatterns, and enjoyed checking out the sketches there so much, that I decided to try out their sketch for this week.  There are birthdays coming up for several family and friends, so this is great timing- I plan to send this one to my sister-in-law, whose birthday is in the first week of October.

So, here's the sketch:

And here is my take on it:
I printed out the sentiments on the computer, and punched them with a 1" circle punch. Ideally, I would have loved to have stamped and embossed these, but since the "Happy" and "Birthday" are on separate pieces, it didn't work out that way- all of my Happy Birthday stamps have the whole phrase together.  The flowers are punched from a MS 4-petal flower punch, and the leaves are also a MS punch.  I used one of my favorite papers on this one, because it has so many nice color shades to work with.

So, now I just have to upload a link to this blog post to their site, and it will be out there for everyone to see!  I hope my work is up to par with the rest of the submissions!  I will look forward to future sketches from this blog.  What's nice about it is that the sketches are posted on Saturdays, so that gives me the weekend to work on something.

Also this week, I started testing the waters of teams on Etsy...I have resisted thus far, but decided it might be advantageous to be able to chat with other shop owners with similar interests.  I applied, and was accepted to, the Flowers and Romance Lovers team, as well as the Card Crafters of Etsy and The Oregon Etsy Team.  I have applied to two others, but have not been accepted yet. :(  Hopefully it is just that they are not very active (they don't seem to be), and not that they don't like my shop!  Oh, and I also joined the Etsy Garage Sale team, which is where shop owners can post advertisements of sales.  In addition to joining some teams, I also got a Twitter account!  I have no idea what I will do with it, but I decided to finally see what it's all about.  I have not yet figured out how to get that little thingie that says "Follow me on Twitter" on my blog, but if you DO want to follow me, I think you can probably search for me on Twitter- just look for bgardencreation (no "s" on the end, as I guess that exceeded the character limit).

I have a few ideas for some other cards I would like to make for my shop, and I am going to try to work on those today.  I might be back to share that stuff later.  Also in my plans for the near future is making a card for my BFF Kendra, whose birthday is in a couple of weeks.  She's leaving on vacation on her birthday, so I don't know if I will have something finished and mailed by the time she leaves, but if not, it will be waiting for her when she gets back from Hawaii, all tan and rested!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Few Cards and a Bookmark

Whoo, it's been busy since school started!  I finally had a chance to get some crafting done in the last week though.  Things kind of started to back up on me a little...I had the card for the fall card swap for the PBS Swappers group that I needed to do, plus my daughter got some lovely gifts for her birthday, so I wanted to make some thank you cards that she could send for those.  I managed to do all of that this weekend, so I feel like I really accomplished something!

First up is the fall card.  I am hosting this swap, the first one I have hosted.  The theme is fall, and it could be a fall holiday (Halloween, Thanksgiving) or just a fall theme.  Since I have acquired quite a few leaf stamps, I wanted to do a card with fall leaves.  The book I have had a neat one that I liked, so I used it for inspiration.  It used a rainbow stamp pad in fall colors, which I could not find in any store, so I ordered it from the JoAnn's website.  I also found a cool oak leaf embossing punch at Michaels for 40% off, and thougth it would be perfect for embellishing the card as well.  So, here is the card:
The card base is kind of a rusty red, then there is a layer of deep mustard yellow, then a deep olive green before the off-white front stamped with fall leaves.  I used a crinkle technique with the green layer, the same one I used on the sympathy card in this post.  Mental note: next time I decide to use that crinkle technique, it should be done BEFORE cutting the paper to the measurements I need.  Crinkling shrinks the paper a bit, so that can throw off everything else!  Anyway, I really like the multi-colored leaves.  I paid a bit more for that stamp pad that I normally would have spent on something like that, but I think it's worth it!  In addition to stamping the leaves on the card front, I also used the ink from the same stamp pad to color the punched/embossed oak leaf.  Here is a close-up:
I picked up a cheap package of make-up sponges at Target the other day, and used those for applying the ink to the leaf, which was punched from off-white paper.  I really like how it came out!

Next is some thank you cards that I made for Meredith.  I started out making them with one paper, and then ran out, so had to do a couple in a different paper.  The card bases are packaged cards that I got in the $1 bin at Michaels, and it was perfect, because we needed 8 cards and there were 8 in the package, plus envelopes!
The first one has the paper I started with, but I didn't have enough, so had to dig into my stash and find another one that worked.  They are both a pretty simple design, and the inside is blank so that Meredith can write a personalized note to each person to thank them for their gift.

One other thing I did a couple of weeks ago was to make a bookmark...for myself!  Yes, I have dozens of bookmarks around the house and am never lacking for one, but since I started doing this almost 2 years ago now, I have never really made one specifically for myself.  For this one, I had inspiration- this:
This is a book cover I purchased from Rdsutherland311 , an Etsy seller, a couple of months ago.  I loved the blue and purple batik fabric- two of my favorite colors, especially together!  The shop owner, Rebekah, was absolutely wonderful to work with- she customized the book cover for me, adding the velcro closure.  Her book covers usually come with a built-in ribbon bookmark, however I wanted to be able to use my own bookmarks, so I asked her to leave the ribbon bookmark out.  She made this beautiful book cover within a couple of days after I ordered it, and I had it very soon after.  It is so pretty- I just love looking at it!  After using it for a few weeks, I decided to make a bookmark in the same color scheme:
Hopefully you can see that the middle layer is a mottled purple and blue paper, which really ties together the blue border and deep purple larkspur flowers.  It's the same paper I used in this card
 awhile back.  I think it looks really nice with the book cover.

That's it for now.  I have a few things on the horizon- a few family and friends birthdays that I will probably try to make cards for, as well as another swap I will be hosting at the PBS Swappers group.  This one is for winter/holiday gift mini-cards.  I already have some ideas, so am looking forward to getting started on those!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday Invitations

I am happy to report that I heard from Carol, the nice lady who ordered a personalized bookmark last week, and she loves the pictures of the gift envelope!  I am so glad, and I can't wait for her to be able to see it in person!  Hope she likes it as much in reality as in the pictures!

The only other project I have done is some invitations for my daughter Meredith's birthday.  We are going to invite a few of her friends from dance class out for ice cream after class on the Saturday after her birthday.  I decided I'd like to make something that had ice cream embellishments on it, because...well, because it's ice cream!  I was surprised that I had a hard time finding anything in the craft stores.  I went to Craft Warehous, Joann's, and Michaels, and only had luck at Michael's.  Craft Warehouse had a scrapbook paper with ice cream cones on it, but the colors were not quite the palette I had in mind.  I came up empty at JoAnn's- I think that's the first time I have left JoAnn's without making a purchase.  Finally at Michael's I found some really cute ice cream cone dimensional stickers that I figured I could do something with.  I also found some striped paper in the same color palette, so that is what I started with.  Here are the finished products:

I printed the text out on the computer, and stamped and embossed the "You're Invited" part wtih a stamp.  I used a glittery embossing powder, so it is nice and sparkly.  The blue outer paper has sparkles in it too, as does the magenta paper that frames the ice cream cones on the reverse side.  I like them, and hopefully Meredith will too!

I ordered an autumn leaves color stamp pad from JoAnn's online that I plan to use for my fall cards, and that will be my next project.  I'm also still working on my Etsy shop- I relisted a few fall leaf bookmarks that were left over from last year, and I reshot some photos as well.  I finally figured out why my pictures have not been looking very good- somehow the resolution setting got changed to the smallest resolution!  I managed to figure out how to change it, and now the pictures are looking much better, not so fuzzy/blurry.  I still have some more that I need to retake, but I'm just trying to do a few at a time.

Also, I wanted to mention, I am having a clearance sale in my Etsy shop- selected items are half off!  Check it out!

That's all for this week- see you next time!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Personalized Bookmark and Gift Envelope

Whew, it's been such a busy time the last couple of weeks!  School starts for my two kiddos next Wednesday (the 7th) so we've had all kinds of things going on in preparation.  My son (10th grade) had 2 weeks of marching band camp, my daughter had her summer dance recital at the state fair last Saturday, and both of them have been trying to cram in as much fun time with their friends in these last few days of vacation.

While I haven't done a lot of crafting, I have been doing some behind-the-scenes stuff...organizing supplies, trying to decide on what to do for a fall card for the swap I am hosting at the PBS Swappers Paper Crafting group.  I had to do some maintenance on my Etsy shop, since they changed to relevancy search (which, by the way, I think is fantastic)- my titles and tags needed editing, and with almost 50 items in my shop, it took me awhile to get it all done.  Next, I really need to redo a lot of my photos, because they changed the photo resolution awhile back, and now all my pictures look awful- close-ups are blurry, and the colors are all off.  So that is going to be quite a project!  I am also planning out what I want to have in my shop for fall and winter, and am thinking about cleaning house and clearing out some of the older bookmark designs.  I might just have to have a big clearance sale!

I did get an order this week, and I was excited about it, because it is for a personalized 2-flower bookmark.  My customer is a very nice lady named Carol, and she inquired about a pretty envelope for the bookmark.  How perfect is that?!  I told her I have been experimenting with gift envelopes, and she agreed to be my first live guinea pig!  I offered her a gift envelope for no extra charge, since I'm still developing the concept, and asked if it would be OK with her that I post pictures on my blog and possibly use them in the future as example pictures in my shop.  She agreed, and I very happily made an envelope to go with the bookmark.  I am very happy with how it turned out, and I really hope that Carol likes it too!

This is the front (or would that be the back?) where it opens:

The seal is similar to the other ones I did, punched with a scalloped circle, then layered with smaller circle punches.  The lighting was not great this morning when I shot this picture, but there is a clear jewel in the center, looks like a little sparkly diamond.

Here is the other side:

As you can see, the envelope itself is a deep bluish-purple.  I used it along with silver, because those are the colors in the bookmark.  I had this pretty silver and white toille patterned paper and thought it would be perfect for this, and I love it!  It is layered with a strip of metallic silver paper, then with a strip of purple, which has been punched with a floral border punch, so that the silver shows through.

And here is the bookmark, inside the envelope:

I lined the envelope with white and used a lace corner punch on the corners, which I also used on the front flap of the envelope.  Temporary adhesive holds the bookmark in the envelope, and it's nice because it usually does not leave any residue on the back of the bookmark.  It wipes off easily if some does remain, though.  I used the same temporary adhesive on the seal, so that it is easily opened and resealed.

I'm really happy with this, and I hope Carol likes it!  It sure was a lot of fun to come up with the envelope design, and now I am more motivated than ever to offer this option in my shop.

Hopefully next time I will have a fall card design to share, as that will be my next project.  Also, my daughter's birthday is coming up later this month, and I think we will take a few of her friends from dance class out for ice cream at Dairy Queen after their Saturday class.  So I'm thinking of making up some little invitations to hand out for that.  We're not doing a big birthday party at home this year, but I know she will enjoy ice cream with her friends, and she will like helping design and make the invitations too.