Card-making through the Ages

And by “ages,” I mean the last 5 years….

Making my friends and family back home birthday cards when I first went off to college  was how I first really got into crafting.  I thought it might be fun to go through and post a selection of some of the various cards I’ve made throughout the years.  It’s kinda fun to see how my style changed, and how getting a Cricut machine really amped up the cuteness.


Unfortunately, it seems that I do not have photographic evidence of the cards I made my freshman year.  This is the card I sent my family friend Graham for his 8th birthday in January of 2007.  (Is Graham really about to be 13?  Man, I’m old.)  It’s a GREAT example of the style of birthday cards I sent my first two years of college.  I would ALWAYS put an intricately layered cake on the front of the card (I think this was when fondant cakes were first getting really popular).  Then for the inside of cards I was making for kids I would print out several copies of an online coloring page, cut them up, and trace the various parts on different colored cardstock.  They usually turned out pretty well, but were a TON of work.  This one features the main characters from the animated tv show “Avatar” (now probably better known as “The Last Airbender” to avoid being confused for those blue people.)

This was also the year I made 17 Valentine’s cards for all the kids I ever baby-sat.  As you can see, they were mostly all variations on the same pattern.  (I think I actually copied the idea from a July 4th card I saw— hence the stripes in the background.)


This was the birthday card I sent my good friend Jaclyn when she “studied abroad in Disneyland” the second semester of sophomore year.  It is bright and glittery (a definite trend during that period of my crafting evolution) and also includes pictures of us as well as our favorite TV shows at the time (“Battlestar Galactica” seems to be favored, though “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” are definitely represented as well).

This is the card I made for my cousin Todd that year.  He’s a computer engineer (hence the computer) and that was during the early days of (and he was the first to introduce it to me).  I think this was my first tentative step toward doing something other than cakes on the front of my cards (though there WAS a cake on the inside— it was a baby step).  I remember that Todd actually sent me a thank you note for this card; I thought that was just the best thing.

Here’s the card I sent my grandmother for her birthday in the fall of my junior year.  It marks a definite departure from cakes!  (In all honesty, that change was probably necessitated by the fact that I had literally created a cake card for everyone on their previous birthday and now realized I needed to do something different.)  But it also incorporated non-paper elements; that’s right, a tiny bit of string!  Still lots of glitter, though.


My cousin Emily’s card that October.  I include it as an example of my crude skills at creating paper people before I got the revolutionary “Paper Dolls” Cricut cartridge.  For a comparison of how Emily & her husband John look when they’re cut by the Cricut, check out John’s children’s book (or just keep reading!).


Cards I made for my roommate Sophie’s sisters Laura & Izzy in the spring of 2008.  At the time, the thing Laura loved most in the world was the Counting Crows (see: lyrics to “Colorblind”) and the thing Izzy loved most in the world was Joakim Noah (it’s possible that he is STILL the thing she loves best in the world…..).


The card I made for my mom’s 50th birthday that April.  She had just gotten TiVo and was OBSESSED with it, and our yard got “flamingo-ed” in honor of her birthday.  (Note: that is really not what our house looks like.  I promise it has windows.  It DOES have a green awning though– at least that part was accurate!) I remember the worst part of making this card was cutting out ALL those flamingos… very time-consuming!  But I’d just started dating Biff, and he was sweet and kept me company as I worked on it and we watched “The Office” on DVD.  Guess I should’ve known then that he was a keeper!


Speaking of Biff, here’s the graduation card I made him!  On the inside, I included a collage of his favorite things (or at least the things I knew he liked a month into dating him).  The most time-consuming part was definitely making that little crossword puzzle!  I know Biff keeps most of the things I make him, but I wonder if he still has this one….


Welcome to the Cricut era!  These are cards I made for Emily & John after they announced they were expecting their first baby last fall.  (Baby Marshall was born in April.)

A card I made last year using the “Wild Cards” Cricut cartridge.


And of course, the large collection of Christmas cards I made for Candler to sell last year, and the engagement card I made over the summer for my good friends Tessa & Boris.

And finally, this Get Well card I made last spring using the “Just Because Cards” Cricut cartridge.  I’m still pretty obsessed with this card.  Mostly because I made it for my friend Jonah after he was in a bad bike accident.  Jonah. Whales. You get it.  I tell you, I crack myself up.

I’ve actually made a bunch more cards that I don’t seem to have pictures of (yes, I know that seems impossible given the length of this post).  I think my parents have kept nearly all of the birthday/mother’s day/father’s day cards I’ve given them over the years; at some point I’ll have to get them to take a bunch of pictures of them for me so I can write a whole “Cards made for my Parents” blog entry.

Looking back over so many of the cards I’ve made makes me itch to break out the crafting supplies and make some more!  Maybe that’ll be my project for this weekend…. I’ll keep you updated!

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Shuffle Up & Deal: a deck of cards book

I just got back from the Marriage Confessions meet & greet, where I got to meet the super sweet Katie & fam, plus the equally lovely Lauren, so I am now all excited to blog again.  This could be a short-lived excitement, so I’m gonna try to roll with it while it lasts.  (It also didn’t even occur to me to whip out my camera or phone to take pictures of the MC meet-up, but I WAS in pictures that others took, so hopefully you can expect those to show up on the interwebs soon!)

WAYYY back in July, I had decided not to craft anything for Biff’s birthday this year.  I’m not quite sure why I made this decision– maybe it was because I procrastinated ahead of time, and was about to leave for the beach, and was planning on going to the Harry Potter movie at midnight anyway?  (What, procrastination might have played a role in my decision-making process?  Never!)  But then I saw this amazing idea on Pinterest, and had to do it myself.

(For those who don’t know, Pinterest is basically the best thing since sliced bread.  It’s a way to save all the cool ideas/pictures/recipes/blogs/whatever that you see online and might want to look at again one day all in one place.  It also lets you look at what your friends are saving too, so you can get ideas from what they like!)

Someone else had put this cool blog post on Pinterest that described how to make a little book out of a deck of cards.  On every page, you write one reason you love the person who’s the recipient.  A quick look through Google showed me a bunch of variations on this theme, but this was the one I liked the best. It immediately struck me how perfect this would be for Biff, since he LOVES playing poker.  I also realized that if I waited to do it for Valentine’s Day, I would undoubtedly forget about it til halfway through March.

And so, at the last minute (literally, as I was staying up late to make it to the Harry Potter midnight showing the night before we left for the beach), I embarked on the process of making one for Biff.

I started by making a list of 52 things I loved about him (worked out this throughout the day; it’s funny, when you have to list them all at once it’s hard, but I was thinking of extra ones for days afterward) and then typing them up and formatting them so that they’d each fit on a playing card (if I had to do it again, I’d probably make them a tiny bit smaller).  Then I printed them all out, cut them up (and rounded the corners), ran them through my Xyron machine, backed them in red paper, and ran them BACK through the Xyron.  That yielded this:

Then I set to work on the actual cards themselves. A trial run showed that the Xyron adhesive was NOT going to permanently stick to the slick surface of the brand-new cards, so I used some sand paper to scuff them up a bit. Next, I punched holes where I wanted them in one card, then used binder clips to hold a few together and punch all the holes in the same place:

I went through and stuck all the printed out reasons onto the cards:

This is true: Biff uses his poker winnings to reinvest in his poker playing by buying books on poker & studying how to become a better poker player. How cute is that?

Finally came the problem of binding the book together.  I’d originally planned on using binder rings, hence this artfully posed shot:

But my book ended up being a lot thicker than the one I’d seen on Pinterest because I’d backed my printed-out reasons on cardstock, instead of printing the whole thing as a label with a border.  So, I had to improvise.  Enter my extensive selection of crafting ribbon!  In no time at all, I found one that would match the poker-themed book:

And voila!  The finished product:

That's right, not an astronaut, an astronomer. I love that.

I boxed it up, mailed it to California, and Biff got it just in time for his birthday.  And, much like the flip book, it was a surprise hit!  Biff loved it!  For the last several months, most every night when we talk he’ll ask me to pick a number, flip to that page in his book, read the reason to me, and I’ll expound on it.  It’s been a really sweet way to remind each other about all the reasons we care about one another.  It also wasn’t that hard to make– you could even simplify it by writing out the reasons by hand instead of typing them up.  I recommend it to anyone as a Valentine’s/anniversary/just-because gift!



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Biff’s Flip Book

When Biff first moved to CA, I gave him a lot of grief for not decorating his room.  For a while there, his walls were pretty stark.  (I used to tell him it was like a prison cell, except that even in Shawshank Andy Dufresne had a Rita Hayworth poster.)  As part of my secret mission to get him to give his bedroom some character, I really wanted to give him a framed picture (or two) of both of us.  But I always kinda felt like framed pictures might’ve been going a little bit overboard.  (It’s one thing to put a framed picture in your own room, but when someone gives you one you kinda feel obligated to put it up.)  So for the next couple years I continued to buy him Snakes on a Plane posters to put on the wall, and settled for making him scrapbooks w/ pictures of us that lived on the shelves.

Until last Christmas, when I finally found the perfect combination of framed picture & scrapbook.  Enter, the flip book.

If you remember, I’d previously made a flip book for my college roommate Sophie and one for my grandmother. (Sorry, there’s no blog post that one; I forgot to take pictures of it before I gave it to my Grannie.)  Both of them had been well received, so I decided I’d make one for Biff.  I used the Mayan Road calendar stand and  Cosmo Cricket’s Cogsmo paper pack and picked some of my favorite pictures of the two of us.

And you know what? Biff LOOOOOVED it.  He told me for weeks how much he liked flipping to a new picture every day.  It was basically like a small scrapbook that you can display like a picture frame.  While it probably would’ve been ok for me to give him a framed picture, this was definitely a bigger hit.

So if anyone’s been thinking about making their significant other something crafty, I’d definitely recommend making a flip book!   Here are the pics (sorry for the quality, I took them after I gave it to Biff & I didn’t want to be too particular while he was waiting for me to finish).


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Tessa’s Engagement Card

At the very end of last school year, my dear friend Tessa from Carolina got engaged to her longtime boyfriend Boris.  Her mom & a couple of our friends threw them a surprise engagement party in June.  I wasn’t able to go, so I made a card for Sophie to take.  Tessa had emailed out a couple pictures from the night they got engaged, so I decided to try to recreate that scene out of paper.

They got engaged in Boris’ apartment, where he’d moved all the furniture out of the way, draped Christmas lights, and recreated a scene from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on the wall.  The ring didn’t arrive in the mail in time, so Boris ended up proposing w/ a ring pop (something they’d joked about for years).  Ok, I think that’s all the background you need to understand the card!

Paper Boris & Tessa



And this is what my crafting table looked like once I’d finished the card:


Congratulations again, Tessa & Boris!

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I’m Back!!! (or, What I Did This Summer)

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since Christmas!  That is just shameful.  But I’m about to start a new school year, and with that comes a new commitment to blogging.  I did a lot of crafting over the summer and I’ll write individual posts about those projects in the coming days, but to get things started I thought I’d start out by posting some of my favorite pictures from the summer:


At the end of the school year, Biff came to see me in Atlanta and we went to the World of Coke and tried on these funky hats.  I love this picture so much, I kinda wish I’d bought my funky hat.  (Though not really, cause I really don’t wear hats that often.)


When I first started baby-sitting this summer, Tate & Martha taught me how to use a pogo stick!  We also did a fair amount of Slip ‘n’ Sliding:



In June, Martha & I made 2 trips to the zoo in one week while Tate was at science camp.  Our favorite part was the new flamingo exhibit.  If you ever have the chance to see flamingos, I highly recommend it.


Tate & Martha & I read a lot of 1990’s era comic books (mostly Sonic the Hedgehog) this summer, and they all included dated ads like this gem.  Gotta love Jurassic Park!



For July 4th weekend, I visited Biff in CA, where I of course had to try on the fedora he received for winning our fantasy football league.


On that same trip, I also (finally) got to meet Biff’s friend Stephanie’s California king snake, Henry!  He was unbelievably cool.


The kids & I also made our yearly trek to Chick-fil-A’s National Cow Appreciation Day and got some free food!


In the middle of July, my family spent a week at a condo in Navarre Beach, FL.  While there, I saw this:


….and this:


….and got to spend time with this little bundle of cuteness:




The kiddos got a dog at the end of the summer, which basically made Martha’s life.  Here she is, gazing adoringly at her Gabby.


The epic Lego scene Tate staged of the final battle between Harry Potter & Voldemort.


Went to a wedding the first weekend in August and reconnected w/ lots of high school friends.  This is the lovely Megan Wanee and the not-s0-lovely-looking me, in a photo accidentally taken by my brother.


I capped off the summer w/ another visit to CA to see Biff, where, among other things, we went to the beach.  And took a lot of pictures:


Here’s a little-known fact about Biff: If you turn to him and say, “Let’s take a picture to be your new Facebook profile pic!” he panics.  And does not know what to do.  And ends up saying, “I”m a little tea pot” and doing this:

This is unlikely to ever appear as Biff's Facebook profile.


So long and thanks for all the fun, Summer!  I’ll catch you on the flip side.

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The Christmas Cards Post

A couple months ago I was asked to craft something for an alternative Christmas market that my school was holding to raise money for an orphanage in Zambia.  I decided to make Christmas cards (and some non-Christmas-y cards) since they’d be easy to mass produce.  They held the market yesterday, and were able to raise $565 for Front Porch Orphanage!  Yay!  I’m not sure if my cards were big sellers or not, but they were certainly cute!  I, of course, fell victim to Captain Procrastination and didn’t get to work on my cards til the last couple weeks before the deadline, but I still was able to crank out about 40 cards to donate.  Here are some pictures!



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