Category Archives: Personal Care Products

Making self-care cards out of Project Life cards

I know several people who could use some encouragement right about now, including myself. I decided this week to get out my paper craft supplies to have a bit of creative fun and make supportive cards to use and more to give to people I know.

First I’ll explain what both self-care cards and Project Life cards are. Self care could be considered the practice of maintaining your physical and mental health in order to prevent burnout and breakdowns. While looking for some resources for my Self Care Pinterest board that I use for reference, I found some specifically aimed at caregivers of different kinds. Even if one chooses from their own free will to be a caregiver, it’s still a tough job. As these resources I found mention, one should not feel guilty for practicing self care even if you are naturally inclined to be giving – a burned out or broken down person is not in a good position to help others. We are able to be of much better service when we are strong. We are often socially engineered by individuals and institutions to sacrifice our own agency to serve interests not our own or of our own choice. I think it’s a beautiful thing to voluntarily share but not to be manipulated or coerced into it. The latter is just being a victim of people who choose to live a parasitic lifestyle.

So what are self-care cards and where do they fit in? There are many types of cards with different information that people have used over the years as reminders or teaching tools. Small cards are portable and fit in a wallet, a planner, a journal, a pocket or wherever so that you can access reminders on the go or wherever it’s convenient. When learning new life habits we might need a touchstone of sorts to keep us on track. Self care cards are just cards with self-care content. They can be purchased, downloaded for printing, or handmade. I often like to use a combination of desktop printing and paper crafting methods to make or decorate self care cards for myself.

What are Project Life cards? Project Life is a commercial product developed by designer Becky Higgins intended to make scrapbooking and related memory crafts easier and less time consuming, and to relate the activity to living well and positive personal goals. Pocket scrapbooking is a generic term for using clear pocket album pages to organize cards and various paper items. Like a lot of people, I picked up the modern form of the hobby of scrapbooking in the 1990s. When I first heard of pocket scrapbooking I was intrigued and purchased some cards to use in conjunction with with my “conventional” scrapbook pages and also in other paper crafts.

Several years ago I purchased the Project Life Cinnamon Core Kit and the Road Trip Theme Pack. These sets featured lots of colors I used a lot, and graphic themes that were complementary to a number of products I already owned.

I’ve used a lot of the cards in scrapbooks and other paper projects over the years but still have a good quantity left. Because some of the Project Life cards feature positive messages and others contain grids or lines to help with journaling or record keeping of various kinds, they are well-suited to use as a base to make self care cards. If you want to make these of course the bases of your cards don’t have to be specifically from Project Life – a variety of products could be used.

One activity that I learned a few years back from a depression support group web page is the acronym G.R.A.P.E.S. It stands for:

  • Being Gentle with yourself
  • Relaxation
  • Achievement
  • Pleasure
  • Exercise
  • Social

The idea behind using this acronym is to try to do one activity on the list from each category every day. From my own experience and from what others have told me who have tried it, even if it isn’t possible to do each category each and every day, striving to do it and tracking the activities each day to make sure one is continually improving does result in better mood and health. It helps you “social engineer” yourself into having a better life. This is anecdotal information of course, but if you delve into scientific research on mental health you will find out why it’s effective. In this project, I’ll show how I made self care cards track the use of activities from the G.R.A.P.E.S. categories. I put more “decoration” on these cards than is strictly needed but it’s fun to use up paper scraps while making cards that fit my own personality. And paper crafting itself is a great way to get the Pleasure “task” checked off for the day!

paper crafting materials

Tools and Materials

Project Life or other cards
Scrap papers in harmonious colors
Scissors
Paper cutter
Glue sticks
Thin markers in black and colors harmonious with chosen color scheme
Small letter stencils
Small letter stickers
Assorted encouraging stickers, die cuts, paper scraps featuring helpful sayings or sentiments, or other appropriate embellishments
Rubber stamping ink – black and harmonious colors
Rubber stamps
Hole punch
Cord or string to loop through hole

First I added paper scraps to the existing Project Life cards I had whenever I wanted to make the existing designs more to my taste. Mostly this consisted of adding paper scrap strips to the borders on some of the cards, leaving the grids or lines in view. Some of the cards were fine the way they were.

Next I assembled a variety of letter stickers from my collection that spelled G.R.A.P.E.S. For more variety, I drew some letters with marker through alphabet stencils and cut those pieces of paper out. I added the letters G.R.A.P.E.S. along the side on on side of the card. Since these cards came with designs on both sides, I used the other sides for spaces to take notes, or for making a mini encouraging collage with stickers and paper ephemera.

When necessary to make a grid to keep track of activities, I added vertical lines with thin markers.

I punched a hole at the top and added some string with a lark’s head knot so that I can use these cards as bookmarks also.

I thought some of the cards needed just a little bit more added to make them looked finished, so I stamped here and there with assorted rubber stamps and added a few more stickers.

As I complete daily activities that fit one of the G.R.A.P.E.S. categories, I’ll put a checkmark in the proper spot on the grid.

Additional Resources:

My article "Self-help Techniques for depression"

Link to a PDF file I made with motivational quotes and graphics with the letters G.R.A.P.E.S. for printing out

My Self Care Pinterest board

Art Journaling Pinterest board

Pinterest board of Planners, Journals, Albums, Scrapbooks and Handmade Books

Scrapbooking Page Sketches Pinterest board - includes a section on pocket scrapbooking

Spiced Coffee Soap Bar

Spiced Coffee melt and pour soap bar
Spiced Coffee melt and pour soap bar

This soap bar is colored entirely by real coffee beans and the fragrance comes from the beans, vanilla powder and also from soap fragrances. If you enjoy the smell of coffee and spices you should like this one! The goat’s milk powder will soften your skin too.

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Invigorating Melt and Pour Soap Bar

Invigorating Melt and Pour soap bar
Invigorating Melt and Pour soap bar

I chose the ingredients in this bar to use some of my peppermint harvest and being aware that cold and flu season is upon us I added some essential oils from a cold and flu blend I mixed up for my own use last year.

Will this soap bar help prevent colds and flu? Many culinary herbs and spices are antibacterial, so maybe. Some people have used anise, peppermint, cypress and patchouli to treat colds so this bar might help you feel a little better if you have a cold. Camphor is an ingredient in Vicks VapoRub15, which in childhood my Mom used to rub on me whenever I had chest congestion. Some of the ingredients are also in my energy and sore muscle blends, so it might be especially good to use in the morning before or after a workout. I’m not qualified to know anything for sure other than this combination of ingredients smells good in a slightly medicinal way and feels invigorating!

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Insect Repelling Incense Sticks

My brother likes to grill so I made him some incense sticks to keep bugs away while he’s enjoying time in the backyard. They turned out to smell so good that I’ve been burning a few in my studio just to enjoy the fragrance while I work – I felt more relaxed and creative for some reason! (My studio is not near my pet birds’ cage – don’t burn incense or candles near birds!)

Ingredients: Unscented incense sticks, DPG (Dipropylene Glycol), Citronella essential oil, Litsea Cubeba essential oil, Camphor essential oil, insect repelling essential oil blend (contains eucalyptus, lavender, palmarosa, citronella, rose geranium and rosemary), Neem oil, Rosemary Oleoresin Extract (ROE), Lime Citronella soap fragrance.

Instructions: I took out a shot glass and added one eyedropper each of all the ingredients except the DPG and Lime Citronella fragrance. I filled the rest of the shotglass to the top with the fragrance. I emptied the shotglass contents into a glass measuring cup then added three more shotglasses full of DPG and mixed well. I placed the incense sticks in a glass baking dish and poured the mixture over the sticks then covered with foil and let soak for 24 hours. To dry I poked the sticks into a chunk of scrap styrafoam and let sit out. They burned ok the next day but I wasn’t sure they were totally dry so I let them dry a few more days.

The sticks make a good room air freshener until burned so I’m going to store mine upright in a vase. I had some fragrance mixture left over so I stored and labeled that for future use. I’m so pleased with this first attempt at incense making that I’m going to order some natural ingredients for making incense cones from scratch and phase out the synthetic ingredients once they are used up. The smoke smell mixed with the fragrances is so much better than the fragrances by themselves!

Scrap Soap Bar #1

I’ve noticed that sometimes when doing ceramics that scrap glazes can be some of the best. I’ve made some great polymer clay beads with scrap canes and paper projects from scrap paper. I had some leftovers from my last several batches of melt and pour soap so decided to make a scrap soap bar to see how it turned out. I’m really pleased with the results – the colors are nice together and I find the resulting fragrance blend much to my liking – warm and fresh, natural rather than “perfumy”, not too strong. It’s hard to say what it smells like but I would say orange and musk notes dominate.

For complete ingredient list, go to www.chasenfratz.com/soaprecipes