Sunday, January 26, 2014

Custom Valentine Card Project

Awhile back, I mentioned that I have a very nice repeat customer who likes to order my cards for his girlfriend.  I did an exploding box card for her birthday back in October, and he reported back to me that she loved it!  Well, the New Year was barely upon us when I got a message from him.  He was already thinking about Valentine's Day, and wanted to order something special for his girlfriend again.  (Is he a keeper or what?!)  My immediate thought was "uh oh..."  He got her a never-ending Valentine card last year, and then the exploding box for her birthday, and those are pretty much the top of my line.  I was pondering ideas on what I could possibly do to follow up an exploding box, when he suggested a mini photo scrapbook card.  What a GREAT idea!  I have never done one before, but heck, I'll try anything once.  (Except haggis.  I have to draw the line there.  But I digress.)

So, a scrapbook...I have never gotten into scrapbooking for some reason.  I guess I like doing shorter-term projects than a huge scrapbook album that takes forever, and that's why I stick to cards and bookmarks.  But this was an intriguing idea, and I felt up to the challenge.  I suggested a standard 5x7 size, and he agreed, but wanted a center page added.  It took me a couple of days to work out how I was going to do that.  I didn't want to use staples, and glue wouldn't be stable enough, so had to figure out some other way to secure a center page.  One night when I was having a bit of insomnia, I started thinking about the possibility of sewing it in, like a book.  It worked out pretty well!  The center page is actually a 2 pages from one folded piece of card stock that is adhered together to create one page.  I sewed in the page before adhering the two sides together so that the stitching is not visible on the inside.  It was on the outside spine though, so I just cut a strip of card stock in the same color, folded it, and adhered it on to cover the stitching.

With the technical aspects taken care of, I turned my attention to design.  I went through my Valentine paper stash and didn't find anything I thought would be appropriate.  One challenge I was facing was the fact that I had already used a red/pink color scheme on the birthday exploding box, so didn't want to do something that was too similar to that.  But it's Valentine's Day, and those are the traditional colors.  I scoured my local craft stores for a paper to inspire me, but came up empty- everything was too cutesy, and I was going for a more elegant feel for this.  I started looking online, and found a paper I liked, and took off from there.

So, here are the pictures of the finished product:

This is the front.  The right panel folds over and ties closed with the ribbon.

This is the first open page.  The sentiment, provided by the customer, says "To the woman who makes my day just by being there".  How sweet is that?!  He asked me to put an area by each photo where he could write a note, so that's what the blank white areas are.
And the second open page.  (Note that I have blurred out the faces to protect their privacy.)  Since the paper I used is pretty subtle with the Valentine theme, I added some fun heart embellishments on all of the pages.

Now, notice that the front has some 3-D roses.  I really liked it with the roses, but it presented a problem of not being able to fit into a standard envelope.  So, like I have done in the past for the never-ending cards, I made a custom envelope, this one 3/4 inch thick to accommodate the roses.

It closes with Velcro, which is what the black rectangle is in the second picture.

So, that's it!  I am happy with it, and when I sent the final pictures to the customer, he said he was very happy as well.  I can't wait for him to see it up close, and especially for his lovely girlfriend to see it!  I hope she likes it!

In other news:
I am working on organizing our first Salem Etsy Team Valentine sale!  We are having it at the same venue that we had the holiday sale, so since I've done the floor plan once, I can use the same one for this sale.  I have always wanted to do a Valentine sale (well, a successful one, that is, unlike the one from last year), so I have high hopes for this one!  Now that I am done with the above custom order, I am busy making new cards in preparation.  A few are listed in my shop already.  Once the Valentine hoopla is over, I will have to start preparing for the 2nd annual Jane Austen Faire, which is in April this year.  Last year's was a huge success, so I am looking forward to this year!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Odds and Ends from 2013

Happy New Year!  Before I gear up for Valentine's Day and spring of 2014, I have been going back through some of the projects I did last year.  I try to remember to post about most of them so that I have a record and can go back and find pictures and descriptions if I need them, but when things get busy, I don't always remember.  So, here are a few projects I did but neglected to post about at the time.

This is a birthday card that I made for my dad last March.  I actually made a second one for my husband's friend's father, whose birthday was close to my dad's, and we were going to be seeing him, so I thought it would be nice to make him a card.  I have used this blue argyle paper quite a bit, and unfortunately I can't find it anymore. :(  This was also a great opportunity to use the argyle embossing folder that I got awhile back, as well as the diamond shaped Spellbinder dies.

This was a baby boy card that I made for my daughter's best friend's mom, who had a baby boy at the end of May.  I loved the green and blue camo paper when I found it online at and was excited to have a use for it!

Here was a custom bookmark and gift envelope order.  I love the combination of dark and light purple.

A custom graduation exploding box I did in June.

This is the birthday card I made for my BFF Kendra in October.  I really liked how this one came out!  Love the shades of teal and tan in the floral papers.

This is something new I have been working on in my limited spare time- picture frames!  I have always found it a shame to throw away scraps of washi paper because it is so beautiful, not to mention expensive.  So I decided to try my hand at decoupaging picture frames with it.  I picked up some wood frames at Goodwill, and these are my first two tries at it.  I like them!  I have a good stock of frames, so now just need to spend some time making more!

Here is another graduation box I did in December.  This picture was shot before it was completely finished.  For this one, I tried to get permission from the university from which the graduate was graduating, but no one ever responded to my email. :(  Boo!  Well, my customer seemed happy with the finished product anyway.

So that is a wrap on 2013!  I am looking toward Valentine's Day now, have already relisted my stock left over from last year, and am dreaming up designs for some new cards.  We are going to be doing a Valentine's Day sale with the Salem Etsy Team, and I am really looking forward to that!  Valentine's Day is one of my best selling occasions, and I've always wanted to do a bazaar before Valentine's Day.  (A successful one, that is....which the one in January last year was NOT.)  I have a better feeling about this one!  Our team holiday sale was great, and I think we have an awesome group of sellers who will do a lot to promote the team and the sale.  Also, I just received my application for the 2nd annual Jane Austen Faire, which will be in April.  Last year's Faire was GREAT for me- of course it was the weekend before Mother's Day, so I did really well selling cards!  This year it will be at a larger venue and is more expensive to participate, and it is more than a month before Mother's Day, but I am going to give it a shot and share a large booth with another SET member.  So I will be looking to make lots of new spring items in the near future!