Posts Tagged ‘greeting cards’

Potato-Stamped Postcard Set (March 2010)

I’ve been busy.  The last few months have been a flurry of activity: first AWP and a million department events, then turning in my thesis, then finals, then graduation, then a nice long visit with D & friends (and another IV wedding!) in NorCal; then I moved back to the East Coast (I’m living with my parents for the summer) and promptly got sick and lay around flat on my back for four days, after which I then proceeded to spend a week living in a cave while I was working on putting up the first issue of Lantern Review.  In short: no time for personal blogging.

Case in point: Back in what must have been February, I committed to blog for Ada Lovelace Day (in March).  Unfortunately, (as you can see) I never got around to that.  I did write a poem about Ada Lovelace, though.  Does that count?

However (as the photo at the top of this post — which shows some potato stamped reply postcards I made to send with a fellowship app — indicates), I have still been crafting and baking and gift wrapping (bento, not so much), despite my silence here.  And since I took pictures of most of the mini projects I completed, anyway, I thought I would share them now.

Cookie Thank You Gift (March 2010)

Back in March, when I applied to the fellowship for which I sent the postcards I mentioned earlier, I baked up some of Katie Goodman’s White Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies to thank the professors who wrote letters of recommendation for me.  I colored the stars on the tags red to complement the cute polka-dotted ribbon I picked up in the dollar bin at Michael’s.  I didn’t get that fellowship in the end, but apparently the cookies went over quite well with their recipients.  So that, at least, was encouraging. 🙂

Refashioned Rosette Tee (March 2010)

The idea for this tee was inspired by Charissa’s beautiful Double Ruffle Gift Topper post over at The Gifted Blog.  I’d been seeing a lot of embellished tees in the stores for some time and had been thinking that I might be able to find some way to do it myself.  Charissa’s technique gave me both the idea and the impetus to actually attempt the project.  So I took an old, rather faded t-shirt, recut the neckline, chopped the sleeves to 3/4 length (which you can’t, unfortunately, see in this set of photos), and used the scraps to sew little rosettes in the yoke area.  I’ve worn this tee several times since, and I’m pleased to say that despite my initial worries, it turned out to stand up pretty well to machine washing (I usually turn it inside out and line dry it just to be safe, but I think it would still survive a trip through the dryer if one day I forgot to take it out before transferring the load).

Lime Cookie Gift (March 2010)

I baked a batch of Simply Recipes’ Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime (although they weren’t exactly that, as I subbed chocolate chips for the cocoa nibs–I cook on a budget and your average Indiana supermarket does not carry such niceties) and sent them off with some candy and a card to D for our 5-year dating anniversary.  The tag on this box matched the card and the tag on the candy box.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I did the best job coordinating everything else in the suite of gifts, so I’m just showing you this one, which came out the best, in my opinion).

The end of March and all of April was incredibly nuts (seriously: I attended four conferences, D visited, and there seemed to be a department-sponsored panel or reading almost every free night that month), so not much crafting or baking (let alone sleeping or breathing) happened then.  But when graduation time rolled around, I found myself back in crafty mode once again, what with goodbye gifts and thank-you gifts.

Nest Necklace & Box (Late April 2010)

I created this bird’s nest necklace using this tutorial as a thank you and goodbye gift for my friend R.  She’s doing a publishing internship in the city this summer, so I modeled it after the ModCloth-ish kind of jewelry I used to see some of the Brooklynite types in my office wearing last summer. The chain is longish — around 18″ I think? — and the nest itself is about an inch and a half in diameter. I used my last two faux pearls (they are vintage, from my late paternal grandparents’ stock, and the finish is chipped, but I liked the feel of that in this necklace), and a filigree bead (also from my grandparents’ stock).  The box was created with thin white cardstock, using Patricia Zapata’s matchbox project (though I messed up the final set of instructions; hence the slightly wonky sides).  I cut the butterflies out of cardstock with an X-acto knife and used rolly tape (out of a dispenser-applicator that looks like one of those rolling tape white-out dispensers — I officially love that stuff now) to stick them onto the top.

Blue & Brown Gift (Late April 2010)

This is a more successful version of the same box as above.  This time, I used it to wrap a thank you gift for a professor.  This time I followed the instructions correctly (though I’ve discovered that you have to notch the long sides before folding them in at the end to get them to fit snugly with the added thickness of the cardboard on the short sides), and used a Triscuit box. I lined the inside bottom with the same blue cardstock I used for the sheath and cut the tag out of the Triscuit box, too.  The ribbon is also (sort of) recycled — originally the gift had been wrapped in another box, but that box got rather crushed in transit, so I just reused the old ribbon on the new box.

ED's Bracelet (May 2010)

Another handmade gift and its wrapping.  Stretchy green glass bracelet for a friend who loves the color (once again, all the beads except the white focal are vintage), and the wrapped version (makeshift mini-box from the leftover bits of the Triscuit box wrapped in cream tissue I’d recycled from another gift, twine, and a red heart cut out of scrap paper).

Wrapped Sweet Pea (May 2010)

This thank-you gift was one of the miniature versions of Kim Westad’s “Sweet Pea” pieces, which I packaged securely into a kraft box from Michaels, tied up with twine, and topped with a red-rimmed tag (the inside of the vessel is glazed in a deep terra-cotta red, so I tried to reflect earthy tones in the packaging) and a Martha-Stewart style tissue flower (made from the tissue that had wrapped a graduation gift I’d received, no less!).  I tucked the ceramist’s card in under the string so that the recipient would know where it came from.

M's Gift (May 2010)

My friend M loves a particular roll of striped wrapping paper that I have, and has borrowed it to wrap gifts before.  So I thought I’d use a square of it to decorate her gift.  The idea of using a graphic, sans-serif initial on the square was inspired by this post at Bugs and Fishes.  (Please excuse the weird stripey texture — that is a result of my taking this photo too close to my screen door, which gets good light in the morning).  As you can see, the box is another one of Patricia Zapata’s matchboxes.  I was a huge fan of them by that point (and still am!)  What’s inside, you ask? A pair of handmade earrings.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to snap a photo before I wrapped them.

Bananagrams Replacement Bag (May 2010)

This was part of D’s birthday present.  (I always try to give him one thing that’s store-bought, and a little something that’s handmade).  We both love to play the game Bananagrams together (partly, I’ll admit, because I am incompetent at most board games, but actually “get,” and get excited about, this one) — but unfortunately the cute banana-shaped case that holds the game broke recently, so D had been temporarily storing his Bananagrams tiles in his Scrabble tile bag.  Which, we both commented, was sort of a shame, because the banana-shaped bag is part of what makes Bananagrams Bananagrams.  Hence, I decided to surprise him with my version of a replacement for his birthday.  I am, admittedly, very much a beginner sewer.  And I don’t own a machine.  So a simple, rectangular drawstring was the most I could do (no banana shapes for me – figuring out how to line it was hard enough!)  To compensate for that, though, I added a little embroidered felt monogram in the shape of a banana, and used banana colors (white fabric, yellow ribbon).  I even wrapped the thing in white tissue and yellow ribbon (didn’t get a picture of that, though).  D liked the bag a lot, but the best payoff came the next day at his party when his brother and sister-in-law asked, “Where did you get a Banagrams bag that has a banana with your name on it?” To which D replied, “Take a guess: it’s hand-sewn and hand-embroidered,” and pointed at me.  🙂

J&J's Wedding Card (May 2010)

Okay, this is the last one, I promise (and then I really have to go to bed).  As usual, I couldn’t find a wedding card that wasn’t dripping with sappy sentiment in the store, so I made one.  the invitation was cream and light purple, so I decided to follow a similar theme.  The caption under the hugging pears says “To a perfect pair (pear?)”  Which is cheesy, I’ll admit, but — in my opinion — at least rather more cute than sappy (plus, I got to write the bride and groom a nice long personal note inside, which was nice).

And now — to bed.  But now you know, in part, what I’ve been up to since March.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to post this summer.


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If you remember, I posted last year about how I like to reserve most of my Valentine’s Day energies for celebrating my friendships rather than buying into all of the sugar-crazed, hyper-commercialized craziness.  This year, since I’m long distance with D, I sent him a little package of homemade goodies just to mark the day (I’ll post pictures of it later in the week), but really, we’ve already done our celebrating (he surprised me with a nice lunch at a Thai place while I in CA for a conference last month).  So instead I spent a week or so cooking up stuff for my roommates.  This year, I decided to try and teach myself to use Illustrator, since D gave me a copy of Creative Suite for Christmas.  So I designed a little image of a girl flying a kite and turned into cards and matching sets of matchbook notebooks:

The notebooks. (One set of three per roommate – I threw the monogrammed ones in there on a last minute whim just to give them a touch of something special). The pages are cut from the leftover sheets in a class notebook that I wasn’t able to fill during the course of a quarter.

The cards. I don’t have a color printer so I had my pdf templates printed on ivory cardstock at FedEx/Kinko’s. The front image printed a little smaller than I’d imagined it would be, but I still think it works.

Since I didn’t have any thin red satin ribbon, I bought some kitchen twine to wrap up each little set. I love the homey touch the raveling ends add (and my bank account liked the price of twine vs. ribbon, too!)

The envelopes came in a pack of 10 from Meijer, on sale. I drew the little kite motif onto the corner of each just to tie everything together nicely. (I didn’t smudge the ink on my roommates’ names, by the way; I purposely blurred them out of the photo for privacy reasons).

My roommates will receive their gifts a few days early, as I’ll be in Chicago for the 2009 AWP Conference on the 14th proper. Hopefully they won’t mind. 🙂

And, because I feel a little silly having spent so much time on a design that will only be used for three gifts (I like to do something new each year) – I figure that the random people who read this might as well get some use out of it, too. So here’s a .pdf file with templates and instructions to make some matchbook notebooks of your own (using the Kite Girl image). Print them out on cardstock, cut, fold, and staple. A few tips: 1) score the folds before you make them. the fold lines will print on the side opposite the one you need to score, so what I did was hold each notebook against a lit lampshade, printed side to lamp, and trace little guide notches on the blank side where I needed to score. 2) be careful to cut inside the black lines. i cut outside at first, and had to trim every edge down; it ended up being kind of a pain. 3) staple as close to the base of the notebook as possible (you want the top flap to have a substantial lip to slip into), but not so close to the base that you staple the cover to itself and miss the pages.

Kite Girl Notebook Template (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Each template makes six notebooks. Enjoy!

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Hooray. I’m too lazy to think of a creative title for this post. But really, how else could I have worded it? The items I have to show you really are sort of a hodge-podge. 🙂 I’ll have a valentine’s craft update coming soon. I’m working on completing gifts (baked goods and papercraft) and cards this weekend, so I’ll try to post them early in the week (of course, having said that, the update probably won’t happen till March…but oh well; I’ve long since ceased to hold myself to any sort of posting schedule).

To start, the most recent item (actually, from today). A bento that I brought for a bring-your-own-lunch date with a friend from church:

[sidecar]: leftover green Thai curry that I’d made for last night’s dinner
[shorter tier]: rice with carrot hearts, mini container of cilantro and lime
[taller tier]: slightly freezer-burned jiao xie, carrots, half a kiwi, piggie full of soy sauce, grape gummies
Comments I hadn’t used this box in a REALLY long time – since at least November, I think. But since I picked up some cute little blue mini containers a few weekends ago when I was in CA for the LTS conference and wanted to inaugurate them (I made a special trip to Trader Joe’s and Daiso one morning), I decided it was about time to break out the red box again. I also decided that since I was using a proper box today, I might as well make a proper bento (hence the carrot hearts). As noted above, I was sad to find out that my jiao xie have gotten freezer-burnt in the last week, even though I store them in an airtight freezer bag (I had some on Sunday and they were fine!). Also – I made the mistake of refrigerating a portion of curry in the sidecar overnight and then microwaving it in the morning. I don’t think the little blue containers are particularly microwave safe, as the plastic got worryingly soft after just 40 seconds. Fortunately, I took it out before it warped. Next time I’ll microwave in a separate container and then transfer the food. Or, just use cold foods in the blue containers. The lunch, except for the dumplings, was satisfying but not overkill, though I was worried about having packed too much food at first. I got compliments on it from both the friend I met for lunch, and one of my roommates, who saw it laid out on the table waiting to be lidded while I was washing my dishes. Her comments were quite sweet. She told me “your food looks like art,” and later admired the little piggie container, saying that “you’re really a poet – you make poetry with your food, too.” ^_^

* * *

Now, onto other things. A homemade cake, flowers, and a handmade card from a joint birthday surprise that 2 of my roommates and I planned for our 3rd roommate M a few weeks ago:

The cake. (A plain chocolate cake, using this recipe – but modified to include a little nutella and some subs of brown sugar and honey since I was short on cocoa and white sugar – filled with a mixture of marmalade and apricot jam, and iced with dark chocolate ganache, fresh whipped cream, and Starburst roses). I’m afraid that my piping skills leave much to be desired.

Purple tulips, and the card. The card was drawn using brown Stabilo marker and prismacolor pencils on ivory cardstock. I missed the bus and had to walk home from the grocery store, so the flowers unfortunately got a little frostbitten on the way home. On the flip side, however, I was pretty proud of myself for coordinating the color schemes of the cake and card. ^_^

* * *

That’s it for now, folks.

– s.

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It was someone’s birthday yesterday, and, being the eternally-late person that I am, I only went to the store today to buy her a card — it wasn’t until I got there that I remembered why I stopped buying greeting cards two years ago. Cards cost something like an average of $3!!! It’s so much cheaper, and plenty more fun, to make my own.

So I came home and got out my micron pen and prismacolors (I had time to do this, btw, because I actually TURNED IN MY LAST GRAD SCHOOL APP TODAY. (Yayyyy!!!)

Here is what resulted from my creative frenzy…


Forest Child Card 1

Inside :

Forest Child Card 2

The very best part, however, is the following:

Forest Child Card 3

When you put it in the envelope, he appears to be peeking out!! (You have to put him in sideways to fit properly, but the envelope still reveals one curious eye and part of a pudgy nose).

I’ve outrun my store of creativity for the day. And don’t want to write my 1 page response paper that’s due tomorrow. So it’s to bed now, and up early tomorrow morning.

– s.

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