Tag Archives: greeting cards

Finally Finished My New Year Cards!

For many years I’ve responded to Christmas Cards by sending out New Year cards – I explained why I do that in this previous blog post: Why I Send New Year Cards Instead of Christmas Cards.

I started this year’s design by collaging small pieces of paper onto scrap paper strips that were about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches wide. I began with the numbers “2018” which I cut from the 7gypsies papers Paddington Blackfriars and American Vintage: 12×12 State Plates Paper. I filled in the paper strips with assorted scrap papers from my small scrap box.

Next I rubbed on some images from the set Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build which were a good fit for my chosen theme “Let’s build a great 2018!”. I added a bit of Tim Holtz paper tape.

I trimmed my strips with scissors to make the edges as even a possible then I scanned them and used Adobe Photoshop software to refine my trimming job and arranged some of the strips into a rectangular digital collage for the front of the card. I made a selection outline of all the areas with the year numbers and turned up the contrast so that they would stand out more. I added some grid designs and hardware looking graphics using Adobe Illustrator then I saved a PDF file of my cards to take to the printer.

While I was working on the collages for my New Year card, I also completed a project for Canvas Corp Brands. I’ve been selected for the 2018 CCB Creative Crew , the design team that makes samples and comes up with projects for Canvas Corp Brands products. Our first challenge was to decorate a 4 x 4 inch canvas in a way that highlights our personal style.

To create the above decorated mixed media canvas I cut three of my collage strips to fit the 4 x 4 inch stretched canvas from Canvas Corp.

I squirted some StazOn Timber Brown permanent rubber stamping ink onto an old food lid to use as a palette. I used the side of an eraser to print a line of Timber Brown along the edges of each collage strip.

I painted my canvas with yellow acrylic paint and allowed it to dry.

Then I applied Tattered Angels Color Wash paint in Rose Gold with a brush along the sides and around the edges of the canvas.

To finish my canvas, I glued the collage strips to the front with Turbo Tacky Glue and nailed tiny tacks into the corners of each paper piece. All done!

My Handmade Greeting Cards are Available at Schnarr’s in Ladue

Carolyn's cards on the rack at Schnarr's Ladue
Carolyn’s cards on the rack at Schnarr’s Ladue

The Schnarr’s Hardware store at 9800 Clayton Rd., St. Louis, MO 63124 has a very active shipping department that does UPS shipping and sells a selection of shipping supplies. Greeting cards are also offered and I have some of my own cards on the rack there for sale now. They are all handmade and blank inside. The current selections include cards for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, as well as Birthday, Thank You, and multiple occasion cards. I decorated the cards with a variety of paper craft techniques including collage, stenciling and rubber stamping.

Some of my cards are also available with other handcrafts in my online store in the Handmade by Carolyn section.

Using Sketch Challenges for Inspiration

Usually my problem is an overabundance of ideas for new projects, way more than one human being can ever do. Occasionally I need a new idea for a certain specific purpose and I find myself coming up dry. This weekend I was trying to create a new Halloween greeting card design and decided to check out some card sketches to see if anything inspired me. I made a new Pinterest Board, Greeting Card Ideas and Sketches to help me keep track of my finds.

I found a lot of sketches I like on a web site called CAS(E) this Sketch! They specialize in clean and simple designs which appeal to me because a lot of times I think paper crafts that I see out there have WAY too much “stuff” on them. I’m sure a lot of people think my own designs are too spare. That’s ok, we all have different taste.

Here is my entry for sketch challenge CTS #137.

CTS #137

Making this card helped me get over my creative block and I have some more spin-off ideas that really don’t look much like this result at all, one of them isn’t even for a card, but are things I never would have thought of if I hadn’t done this exercise. That’s how creativity often works!

The rubber stamp images used in this card are from my own Carolyn’s Stamp Store, 7gypsies and Clearsnap. The small bug stamp is unknown. Here are links to some of my stamps that I used:

Cicada Unmounted

Crow Silhouettes – Set of Three Unmounted Stamps

Why I Send New Year Cards Instead of Christmas Cards

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For about 10 years I have sent cards to celebrate the New Year instead of Christmas. Why do I do this?

One reason is that I like to design my own cards, and everyone on my list does not celebrate Christmas, so a New Year card saves me from having to design multiple cards and remembering who celebrates Christmas and who does not. Another reason is that it’s different, and I never mind being different. Still another is that I make a lot of my own Christmas gifts and it’s difficult getting the gifts AND cards done all at one time.

But the main reason is that the act of designing the cards reminds me of one of the best Christmas/New Year holiday seasons of my entire life and by making the cards I can have a private celebration of that memory to give me hope for the year to come. I was still in college and I had recently completed one of those design class projects where you are assigned to depict the four seasons in an abstract manner. We did one set with paint, and another with collage papers. I was really enthusiastic about the project because I love to work abstract and I especially enjoyed the collage part.

I was still fired up about collages when Christmas break of 1988 came around and I didn’t want to stop doing them. During the break between Christmas and New Year I had some rare time off from both work and school and I was able to work on some projects just because I wanted to do them. My uncle had given me a new Devo tape (one of my favorite groups of the 80s) for a Christmas gift and I listened to that over and over while I worked on several collages that I was really pleased with. I thought they were the best work I had ever done up to that point and I used ideas I developed during those few days for spinoff projects for some time to come. One of the pieces was a collection of “thumbnail” collages in a Mid-Century modern style that I still keep in my studio and still periodically get ideas from. I will never forget what that burst of creativity was like, it’s hard to describe but I felt fully alive and purposeful for one of the first times in my life. It’s a feeling I’m always working to recapture and I do succeed from time to time but it is not easy to get “in the zone” like that.

For this year’s design I decided to do a four seasons treatment, using collage in a sort of DADA/Constructivist style. Those kinds of pieces are typically either chilling, disturbing or both so I watered down the type if imagery I’d normally use for that type of collage because I wanted to convey a positive feeling about the New Year! I used my collage paper collection that I’ve been building up since 1985 and mostly let the colors carry the message. I did a little bit of editing with the computer after scanning the collages to finish  them off and size them for cards. Each card recipient is going to get one of the four seasons at random this time, instead of everyone on the list getting the same card. I wish everyone a creative New Year in 2015!

If you want to see what handmade greeting cards I have for sale, go to http://carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/handmade-carolyn-c-47.html