Monday, November 15, 2010

Punches for Backgrounds and Frames

Here's a few cards made with my new punches. I love the intricate designs. They fit in well with my vintage inspired cards.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Flickr Group for Cardmakers

If you are an ArtFire artisan selling handmade cards, you might want to join my new FlickR group, Cardmakers on ArtFire . You can upload up to 12 photos a day, but they must be greeting cards - no scrapbook pages, embellishments, etc. I'm hoping this group will give us and ArtFire a little more exposure. There are many talented cardmakers selling their creations so let's show the world what we can do!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Handmade Cards vs. Mass Market Pricing

I was reading a post on a handmade selling venue a while back taking a poll as to how much shoppers would pay for a handmade card. It shocked me when I read how little some buyers were willing to spend. If I remember correctly, the average price was about $3.00. Now it's incomprehensible to me that shoppers will buy shelf cards in their local stores for $5 or $6 a pop, but hesitate to purchase a handmade card for the same or lower price! As any paper crafter knows, it takes time and supply money to create something special. It's not unreasonable to expect the same or higher prices than mass market cards! But alas, many card makers create for the sheer pleasure of the craft and must sell cheaply to make sales. Too bad... card crafting is an art form. Card makers (and scrapbookers as well!) should get decent compensation for their hard work. I'd love to hear what you have to say on this subject.

Women Who Dare

I recently completed three Women Who Dare cards commemorating strong women of the past. The photos, Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman (1st African American aviator), and Therese Bonnet (military photographer), are cards from the Library of Congress Knowledge Cards, Women Who Dare, series I. The inside of the greeting card has a short biography of the woman, computer generated from the back of the knowledge card. Very unique cards to motivate and inspire. I have the entire deck of cards, so there will probably be more to come.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Vintage Flair Card Studio

After a 2 year hiatus from cardmaking, I am pleased to announce that I have just opened a new card shop on ArtFire. I'm very excited about this new venture and plan on adding new cards on a weekly basis. I have also started a FaceBook page for shop updates and new card additions. Please stop by, "like" me, and add me as a favorite.
If you're unfamiliar with my work or would like to see some of my previous card art, visit my gallery on Flickr.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Retro Birthday Card for Dad

Here's a cute birthday card I created using a few recycled embellishments. The little boy is coated with diamond glaze and mounted on a painted puzzle piece. The crown and king emblem are made from soda cans that I've diecut. There's a metal plate on the bottom that reads happy birthday. "Dad" has been diecut from a foam sheet. Everything is mounted on textured scrapbook paper with a strip of patterned paper and two vintage buttons. I'll be making a second card for "Mom" with similar embellishments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Where does one start in purchasing a supply of adhesives? There are so many on the market today it's easy to get overwhelmed. There are only a few types that I use, and they will not be everyone's choices. But I find they work the best for me.

My mainstay is some type of tape runner adhesive. There are lots of them available and it's tempting to buy the least expensive you see. WAIT! Check the length of that tape! The product that costs most, just might be the most economical. I usually use Therm O Web's Memory Tape Runner. It's dependable, the tape doesn't tear or stick to the applicator, it has good adhesion, comes in permanent or repositionable, and is acid free. I like the tape runners primarily for their ease of use.

Liquid Glue Pen. I like these to adhere small paper pieces like diecut letters. They come in different sized tips for various applications. I like ZIG 2 Way Glue.

Glue Dots. These are great for adhering small embellishments. I have found, however, that in the Vegas heat, they often get soft and let your attachment slide around a little.

Glue Stick. I always have these on hand, but don't use them too often. It's usually a back-up when I run out of tape runner! Make sure you get a brand name and apply enough glue, but not too much to lump up.

And finally - the cream of the crop - Xyron! I have 3 different size sticker makers as well as the Cheetah. I love using them, but the adhesive is quite expensive. I always buy it on sale or with a 40% off coupon from the craft stores. By far my favorite is the tiny sticker maker - runs about $7 at a discount and refills about $4. The Xyrons are great for anything you can feed through - paper, ribbon, magnetic sheets, fabric, etc.

So there you have it. Undoubtably, everyone has their own favorites. Some may even hate my choices. So if you see something interesting that you think you might like, try it! There's lots of good choices.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Make Your Own Envelopes

One of the nicest things about making your own cards is that you can make them any size or shape you want. But if you don't want to make your own envelopes, it's important to make your cards the proper dimensions to fit a pre-made envelope. These are the three most common envelope sizes and the size of the cards that fit:

Envelope Dimensions Card Dimensions
A-2 4 3/8" x 5 3/4" 4 1/4" x 5 1/2"
A-6 4 3/4" x 6 1/2" 4 1/2" x 6 1/4"
A-7 5 1/4" x 7 1/4" 5" x 6 7/8 "

If you want to make your own envelopes, it's easy enough - it just takes time. Take an envelope the size you want and carefully open it up to form a template. Trace it onto the paper you want to use, score, fold and glue. DONE!
You can also buy templates for various size envelopes. Do a web search for envelope templates and you'll find anything you need.

Now you'll have to add adhesive so the envelopes can be sealed. You have a couple of choices here. You can use a strip adhesive where you pull off a strip of paper to expose the glue, or you can use a remoistenable envelope glue that you spread on, let dry, and then lick it as a pre-made envelope.

Don't be limited by using plain envelopes, either. If you use a scrapbook paper just be sure to leave a space for writing an address, or use a mailing label.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Creating with Discarded Vintage Books

Vintage books contain wonderful images. I attempt to salvage them by creating one of a kind notebooks, notepads and journals so that these priceless images will not be lost forever. I always use books that are in poor condition. Good vintage books and collector's editions should always be kept intact for future generations. Here's an example of a small notepad created using the pages of a vintage Alice in Wonderland book.

A nice addition to these notebooks is the use of entire pages from the original books randomly inserted between blank pages. They may be more images or interesting quotes from the story line.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recycle Your Old Books

I loved recycling old books into journals. I use the Zutter Bind It All to punch and bind 50 to 100 blank pages between the front and back covers of unwanted books. I also use vintage books that are in bad condition, but have great graphics on the cover. These books could also be put together using standard binding techniques, or even by punching holes and tieing with twine or ribbon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One of My Favorite Cards

Being originally from Buffalo NY, I lived only about 7 miles from Niagara Falls. I love incorporating my home town memories into my artwork. This card uses an actual vintage postcard as the background. If you look closely at the WELCOME sign over the photo, you'll see that it actually says " always a friendly Welcome " - just a slightly naughty addition! The ticket is a photocopy of a vintage Niagara Falls hotel room voucher. I'm still not sure if this card will go up for sale or remain in my collection. Click on the card for a better view.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Recycled Embellishments

You can find all kinds of commercial embellishments to finish that special card, but if you want to be truly unique, bypass the ready made embellishments, and dare to be different. Some of my favorite places to search for one of a kind items for my cards are flea markets and garage sales. They're also the best place to find alterable items.

To create successful art you must see things not as they are, but as they could be. Look for vintage photographs and postcards. You'll be amazed at what people are giving away for almost nothing. Vintage ephemera - newspapers, magazines, books, menus, maps, travel brochures, etc. can all be used in your creations. Don't overlook things like small hardware and jewelry pieces. They can be attached to almost anything. Rip things apart - don't always look at the whole piece - there are some extremely interesting components to other people's "junque". Old games - scrabble, dominoes, mahjong, etc. provide alterable items as well as embellishments. Look for inexpensive books, records (if you're old enough to remember what they are!), boxes, tins, clipboards, picture frames, and anything else that you can recycle.

Some other unusual embellishments that I enjoy working with are cancelled postage stamps (make sure to watch your mail!), flattened bottlecaps, buttons, mesh bags from vegetables, broken jewelry pieces, puzzle pieces, playing cards and fishing items (not the hooks!). Keep your eyes open for any small item and save it - it might come in handy later. Using these types of embellishments will make your cards and other creations truly one of a kind.

One final thought - my rule which I have broken too many times and later regretted it:

If you pick something up twice it better go home with you.

Leave it behind and you'll be sorry later that cheap treasure got away!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I've been away far too long from my first love in crafting - vintage inspired collage greeting cards. I was looking back at some of the cards I've created and remembered the pleasure I felt when I finished something I was really happy with. Well, here's my first card in over a year.


Monday, February 8, 2010

All About Paper

Visit any craft store and you can easily become overwhelmed by the hundreds of papers available for purchase. It's all too easy to become addicted to obtaining everything presented, so I'm going to list the papers I always keep in my inventory. An assortment such as this can easily be all that's required for the majority of your projects.

Plain Quality Cardstock in assorted colors: A basic necessity. I prefer a 110# weight. This is heavy enough to make your own base cards. Why spend $5.00 for 25 precut cards when you can purchase 150 sheets of white cardstock for less than $10.00. It's also used for die cuts, frames, backgrounds, almost anything you can think of. I often print on it.
Patterned Scrapbook Paper: Another required supply. These can be purchased as single sheets or in stacks. Extremely reasonable when purchased in stacks with a 40% off coupon from your local craft store. They come in an unlimited number of themes and colors.
Textured Cardstock: Really important for giving your cards or scrapbook pages a special look. They come in plain colors and in patterns, and often give the impression of fabric rather than paper. I prefer the small 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" stacks because they only need a little trimming to fit perfectly on a card.
Metallic Cardstock: Gives a gorgeous, elegant look to any card or scrapbook page. You can also get matching colored envelopes.
Velum: Use it as an overlay, or for printing.
Parchment Paper: I line all my cards on both interior sides with parchment paper. Makes a perfect letter writing medium or a simple site to stamp a sentiment.

Well, there you have my basic essential papers. But just like everyone else, I have my small stash of non-essentials: handmade paper, mulberry paper, metallic-textured cardstock, glossy paper, corrugated cardstock, etc, etc, etc! And yes, I do use them occasionally. But if you stick with the basics I've listed and add a few of your own favorites as you go along, you won't go wrong!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Calendars into Envelopes

January, 2010! Time to take down the old calendars and post the new! But don't discard those obsolete calendars... I say turn those pictures into one of a kind envelopes and matching cards. They're fun and easy to make.

Find an envelope you like and open it up to make your a template. Transfer the template to chipboard or plastic and trace around it on your calendar page. Carefully cut and then score the paper for the folds. If your calendar pages are thin you might want to attach them to a duplicate sheet of white recycled paper prior to folding your envelope. (This is especially important if you plan on sending them through the mail.) Glue the envelope together using double sided tape. Use a lick and stick glue for the flap on matte paper and double sided tape on glossy paper. Don't worry if you can't write an address over the picture - just use a plain white adhesive address label. So simple, yet so elegant.

Chances are, you did not use the entire picture for your envelope. Use the leftovers to create a matching card. If you have a large enough piece left, cut it appropriately and mount it on textured cardstock, then on a card that will fit your envie. Otherwise, use a punch for smaller cuts and assemble them in a mosaic arrangement. Use your imagination!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Notebooks from Recycled Materials

Handmade notebooks are unique and fun to make. It's a great recycling project for almost anyone because there are so many options available. All you need is a suitable recycled front and back cover, paper for the inside pages, and something to hold everything together. This adorable notebook is made from a postcard and a zutter binding.

COVERS: The size of your finished project will determine what you use as the covers. Small notepads can be made from playing cards, board game cards, old photos, postcards, etc. Larger notepads can use covers cut from boxes with great graphics. You can even use thin wood or metal. I like to use plain chipboard for the backs.

PAGES: Your choice! Use recycled paper, handmade paper, parchment paper, cardstock - whatever you have on hand.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Punch holes in your covers and pages using a hand held punch, hammer punch, or one of the reasonably priced binding system punches for the home crafter: Rollabind or Zutter. If you're not using a binding system, you can start with a simple tied binding using ribbon or twine, or just hold everything together with book rings or o-rings.

Rollabind Binding System
Punch your pages and bind with plastic disks

Zutter Bind It All
Wire binding system.

Sewn Binding Technique
Make or repair books with this easy technique.