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Archive for the ‘Handcrafted Cards’ Category

February 7, 2014 Edition The figure of speech “Jack of all trades, master of none” suits me to a T. It refers to a person who shows competency in many skills, but is not particularly outstanding in any one. I recently learned some of the reasons why I am this way. Last week, in an astrology class, I learned that I possess something called Cardinal Quality. The site Astrology.com states: “Individuals possessing a Cardinal Quality like to get things going. They are active, quick and ambitious. Many projects get started, thanks to Cardinal initiative, although a good deal of them are never finished. That’s because Cardinal folks are much fonder of starting things than finishing them.” Adding to that, I also learned in class, that my zodiac sign’s temperament is that of air. Astrolibrary.org says this about those who have the of element of air, “They love learning, but bore easily . . . Air signs are into ideas and people. They are communicative; they must share information, interact with others, and influence society.”

Let me share an example of the Cardinal Quality-Air Element combination: In November, I decided to knit my son an afghan for Christmas. Having only knitted scarves in the past, I don’t know why I took on a project of that magnitude. After many “do-overs” and calls to my daughter-the-knitter, I completed the project, but ultimately decided that knitting was not for me. In January, I took a crochet class and decided to make a throw for my daughter. Again, with multiple “do-overs” and a bit of ad-libbing, I completed the project. Crocheting was easier, but again not for me. To make a long story short, I yearn to learn, but I lack the temperament and interest to stick to a single subject for very long. Hopefully, I’ll have better luck in the photography class I start next week!

#1 – Are You a Creative Person?
12 Tendencies of Creative People Have you ever considered yourself a creative person? Check out the 12 Most Striking Tendencies of Creative People and see how many of these traits you share with other creatives. For better descriptions of these tendencies, read the entire article, but in a nutshell they are:

1. Are bored easily
2. Are willing to take risks
3. Don’t like rules
4. Ask “what if . . .”
5. Make lots of mistakes
6. Collaborate
7. Are generous
8. Are independent
9. Experiment
10. Motivate themselves
11. Work hard
12. Aren’t alone

#2 – Valentine’s Day Printables and Love Quotes
The best Valentine’s Day cards or gifts do not have to come from a store. Homemade cards, treats, or gifts carry more love because of the sweat equity involved. Making homemade Valentine’s Day cards and treats are a cinch, especially if you use free printables. Whether it’s finding the right words for your Valentine’s Day card or making/assembling treats for school or for the office, you’ll find some creative assistance below:
Valentine's Chalkboard Printables Valentine’s Chalkboard Printables
75 Awesome! Valentine’s Day (Free Printables)
Free Valentine’s Day Bag Toppers
Treat Bag Toppers
Love Quotes for Valentine’s Day Cards
Valentine’s Day Quotes

#3 – An Extraordinary Gift
Extraordinary Graduation Gift
Because of its inspirational message, the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss makes a nice graduation gift. When one man’s daughter graduated from high school, he gave her the book and, as she opened the book to read it, he told her, “Every year, for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten I’ve gotten every teacher, coach, and principal to write a little something about you inside this book.” Why am I sharing this story with you months before graduation season? This is a wonderful gift idea that obviously requires some advance planning. Even if you did not start this project at the beginning of your child’s academic career, you still have time to get your child’s teachers and coaches to write something in the book for this year!! Click here to read more about this story.

#4 – Smart As A Dog
Watch this video and fall in love with Misa, a tiny Yorkie. This little pup is not just a ball of adorable fluff. Judging by the number of tricks in her repertoire, she’s pretty darn smart, too!

#5 – Learn
“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”
Thomas Huxley

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
Pablo Picasso

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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DIY Gift Book Life is a series of bridge-crossings. We come to points in our lives where chasms, sometimes shallow and sometimes deep, appear before us. Questions swirl in and around our souls. Do we dare cross to the other side or do we stay in place? Will we be okay if we cross over to the unfamiliar and the unknown? Do we have the resolve and strength it takes to step onto the bridge? To cross a bridge is to make a commitment. It means we’ve decided to let go of where we stand and move forward.

As I watched a friend deal with back-to-back life-chasms, I witnessed the exhausting decisions she was forced to make. She bravely crossed one bridge after another, until she came to a big one: to sell her home, to leave behind memories, and to start anew. Knowing that this was a monumental step for her and knowing the memories that the house held for her, I gave her the only thing I could think of – a “bridge” book. My concept of this book was to link her memories with inspiration for the future. I accomplished this by taking photographs of beautiful and meaningful areas surrounding her home and paired them up with inspirational quotes. After informing her real estate agent about my project, I took most of the photos during an open house. On occasion, when I knew the lighting would be perfect in her garden, I’d sneak into her yard and snap a few more! With my friend’s permission, I’d like to share a few pages of her Bridge Book with you:

The Bridge Book: A n Inspirational Book for Moving On

Introductory Page

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Greenhouse: A Husband’s Hobby

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

Liquid Amber: A Father’s Gift

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift for Someone Moving On

The Bridge

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

Closing Page: A New Beginning

As we cross the bridges that lie before us, may we remember to always move forward and to only look back for inspiration.

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Photo Mosaic Quilt Card Words communicate thoughts and feelings, but when trying to comfort someone who has lost a loved one, words prove to be inadequate. A few months ago, my family lost a dear friend, one that my mother had known since she was five-years-old. While struggling with composing a note of condolence to my “Aunt’s” children, I reflected on my fond memories of her. Besides her family, quilting was her joy. Lovingly and painstakingly, she crafted quilts to give away to family and friends. Although, she is no longer in our presence, she lives on because the gifts of her joy have become our joy. As a tribute to her, I created a photo-mosaic quilt card and wrote these “inadequate” words . . .

She is part of earth’s patchwork now.
Feel her spirit when you see nature’s patterns and textures around you:
The concentric layers of delicate petals of rosebuds,
The precise symmetry of leaves,
The geometric shapes of snowflakes,
The cotton-like-fluff of clouds above . . .
She’s there.

#1 – An Inspirational Life
Age is not a requirement, nor a factor, to be an inspiration to others. During the last several months, such a story has been shared on Facebook and on You Tube. For those who are not familiar with Zach Sobiech’s story, I share it with you. At the age of 14, Zach was diagnosed with a terminal case of osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone. He dealt with dying with a wisdom and a peace beyond his years. Although he lost his battle against cancer this past Monday, May the 20th, in no terms was Zach a loser. View this documentary, with tissues in hand, and marvel at the beautiful spirit of this young man. These words, that Reverend Mike Miller said at Zach’s memorial service, “Zach was someone who wanted everyone to know, ‘You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living,'” should be remembered by everyone.
Zach left many gifts behind for the world and one of them is his song Clouds. I downloaded it, so that I can be reminded of living my best life every day. Here’s a surprise celebrity music video presented to Zach of his song:

#2 – Picture This

If different planets replaced the moon

If Neptune replaced the moon in the night sky

Things happen when the stars and the moon align correctly, but what happens when they don’t? Imagine what the night sky would look like, if planet Neptune took the place of the moon. The images from How The Sky Would Look If The Planets Were As Close As The Moon answers those questions. Because I found some of the pictures a bit unnerving, I like our moon more and exactly where it is located!

#3 – The Best Time
According to this infograph, based on the body’s circadian rhythm, there are better times to play a tennis match against a formidable opponent, to study for a big exam, and to paint, write, or solve problems. To have a more productive day, check out this information:

A Productive Day

#4 – More Amazing Ideas
Storage Solutions For those idea junkies out there, here are 16 Amazing Do It Yourself Home Ideas. On my why-didn’t-I-think-of-that scale of 1 to 10, some of these scored a 10.

#5 – How to Live
“The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

During this Memorial Day weekend, please take the time to honor and to thank those who have died in our nation’s service.

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Three envelopes with photo transfers

Print, cut, dip, rub, dry, and voilà you’ve just made custom tape! Use your custom tape to personalize greeting cards and envelopes. I first learned about the process of transferring photocopy ink from my oldest son when he was in high school. Back then I thought it was a pretty cool artistic process, but one that I could never see myself using. Now fifteen years later, I’m personalizing envelopes using a technique similar to his. Thanks to the site Lil Blue Boo for the inspiration. I can’t wait to experiment more with this technique and to try using it in other ways.

Supplies:
Supplies 1. Photo images on paper
2. Scissors
3. Clear packing tape
4. Straight edge
5. Bowl of water

Directions:
1. Select the photo image you want to use. Make a photocopy of the photo or print it up using a laser printer, not an ink jet printer. Larger images work better than smaller images that contain a lot of details. Images with a fair amount of contrast will also show up better. If printing the image from your computer, you can format it to have multiple copies on one page, thus creating a strip of photos. This technique also works with images from a magazine. Black and white wedding photos

2. Cut out your image and lay it face up on your work surface. Cut off a piece of packing tape about four inches longer than your piece of paper. Center the tape over the paper with sticky-side down and 2 inches of extra tape at each end. Press tape down gently on paper. Rub a straight edge, a ruler, or a paper boning tool over the entire surface of the tape-covered paper to ease out any bubbles and to make sure the ink is evenly and securely adhered to the adhesive.

Place tape over photos

Place tape over photos

3. Holding the two ends of the tape, immerse the paper-side of the tape into a bowl of water until the paper absorbs water and softens.

place tape with photos in bowl of water

Place tape with photos in bowl of water

4. Using your fingers, gently rub off all the paper from the tape. You may need to dip the paper in the water several times to remove all of it.

Rub paper off of tape

Rub paper off of tape

5. When all the paper is removed, the tape will resemble a clear photo negative (even though it is a positive). Hang to dry.

6. Press the dry tape to your desired surface.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I made custom tape to decorate Valentine’s Day cards for my favorite couples and for anniversary cards, but I think personalized tape would be cute for other occasions, such as baby showers, birth announcements, etc.

2. You are not restricted to photos. You could also create personalized text. Again, just make sure you use either a photocopy or a print out from a laser printer.

3. I also transferred a color image from a page out of a magazine. That opens a whole new realm of possibilities!

4. This process would be a fun activity to do with children!

Enjoy!

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inspirational Tolstoy quote

Photo by Linnell Chang

As today is the first day of February, thoughts of hearts naturally come to mind. The record player in my head reveals my age by playing this Eddie Fisher song You’ve Gotta Have Heart all day long. (Click on the link to hear the song)

#1 – Free Valentine Printable
Valentine flower printable

Looking for a cute, easy, and inexpensive Valentine’s Day project for my National Charity League group to make for residents of a senior citizen’s home, I found this free printable on Skip to My Lou. I downloaded the free printables (a page of flowers and a page of leaves), printed them on colorful cardstock paper, cut them out, and punched out hearts from the paper scraps. When my group meets, all we’ll have to do is glue hearts on the flower petals and assemble the valentines. So that the seniors know who this treat is from, I added “From your National Charity League friends” to the leaves before printing them up. 95 hearts are going to be very happy when they receive their flower and lollipop Valentine’s Day cards!

#2 – Every Heart Has a Story to Tell
Four minutes of inspiration. What kind of story does your heart tell?

#3 – Game of Hearts
Ace of hearts
Remember playing the card game Hearts when you were younger? Here’s a free online version complete with opponents. How many hands can you win? You’ll ♥ it!

#4 – Go Red
The month of February not only highlights chocolate hearts and paper hearts, it is also the month designated to recognize women’s heart health. Today is the 10th Anniversary of the National Wear Red Day, a movement created to raise awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. What are your chances of getting heart disease? Check out this infograph from the American Heart Association: risk of heart disease infograph

#5 – Your Heart Knows
“The trouble comes when we try to fashion our success to the outside world’s specifications even though these are not the specifications drawn up in our own hearts.”
–Howard Whitman

Have a lovely weekend!

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We do not remember days,
We remember moments.

Cesare Pavese

The courtship . . .
The ring . . .
The dress . . .

May you have many more unforgettable moments!

Looking for a special and unique card for a bridal shower or a wedding? Why not make your own? Using a paper doily and following the easy directions for an origami paper dress in a You Tube video, I created an origami wedding dress card for my future daughter-in-law’s bridal shower. I also fashioned an envelope for the card by using a large square doily. By using any paper with a small print, you can create cute dresses for use on other cards for different occasions, too!

Origami Wedding Dress Card with Doily Envelope
Supplies:
Glue that dries clear
Sticky adhesive dots
Glitter glue or self-adhesive small rhinestones
Foam pop-up dots, optional
Text-weight paper or card stock for printing card insert
Repositional glue, optional
Pretty paper or paper doilies

Small square doily for the dress

Large square doily for envelope

If you cannot find square doilies, you can always attempt to cut a round doily down to a square.

Card Instructions:
1. Watch the video to learn how to fold the dress:

2. On the back of the folded dress, glue down strategic areas to keep the dress together and let dry.

3. Add a little sparkle to the dress by using glitter glue or self-adhesive rhinestones. Let dry.

4. Using sticky dots, adhere dress carefully to the front of a piece of scored and folded card stock. Glue can be used here instead, but I find that sticky dots are more efficient because there is no drying time involved and they adhere well to metallic or pearlized paper.

5. If desired, apply pop-up dots underneath the dress in key areas to help the dress keep its three-dimensional form.

6. Either use the sentiment I used above or select your own. Print it up and trim it to fit the interior of the card. Adhere it to the inside of the card.

Envelope Instructions:
1. Using another card or piece of paper the same size as the wedding dress card, center it in the middle of the large doily and fold all four sides down around it like a diaper: fold bottom flap up first, fold in the two sides, and then fold the top flap down. It is important to use another card the same size or else your pretty paper dress card can be damaged during the process of folding and gluing the envelope.

2. Open up the flaps and carefully apply glue to the inside edges of the lower portions of the two side flaps. Press them down to adhere them to the bottom flap.

3. Apply repositional glue to the edges of the top flap. Reposistional glue is advised here, so that the envelope can be opened and closed repeatedly. If using a permanent-type glue, there is a chance the delicate doily will tear upon opening.

4. Remove the dummy card and insert the real card. Fold the top flap down and press to adhere.


Have fun designing dresses and making cards!

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Being a creative person is a joy, but it also gives rise to odd looks and a lifetime of explanations. For example, one time at work someone presented me with a box of wide, purple, satin ribbons. “What should we do with this?” she said. Off the top of my head came this answer, “We can weave them together and make clutch purses!” The look I received in return translated to “Are you crazy?” In my mind, anything is doable if given an appropriate amount of creative thought. Today’s post is dedicated to all the creative people who think outside of the box, who envision things as others can’t, who are the problem solvers of the world, and who often say, “What about this?”

#1 – Create For Free
Finding this site was like a dream come true! From Everything Etsy is a list of 101 links for printable gift tags, recipe cards, labels, thank you notes, baby shower invites, sayings, travel games and more! Not only are some of them really cute, they are also FREE! You’ll want to bookmark this page for your future creations!

#2 – 365Q
365Q pairs photos with inspirational sayings and is a project by photographer and graphic design student Julian Bialowas. His goal is to post one of his own photographs everyday for an entire year. We are the lucky recipients of his endeavor!

#3 – Escape Motions
Drawing is just not for kids. Create a piece of art that moves and changes color just by dragging your cursor in a black square on your computer screen. You’ll escape temporarily from your daily drudgery and duties. Amber Starfire of Women’s Memoirs writes, “Drawing engages the right side of the brain while relaxing the left side, allowing visual, emotional, intuitive expression. And when you draw, if only for a few minutes, it improves your ability to problem-solve, including your ability to understand and see into yourself.”

This is so true for me – doing something creative energizes and rejuvenates me. To create something beautiful just for yourself, click here first, then click on the play icon and start moving your cursor around. Just like magic beautiful swirls appear! To check out other escape motions by Peter Blaskovic, click here. Take a moment and enjoy yourself!

#4 – Hotel Tips
Escaping to another place altogether? Create a perfect hotel stay by checking out these tips submitted by readers/travelers on Gadling before you go.

#5 – Don’t Stop Playing
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Create a weekend that rejuvenates your soul!!

Note: The photo above is a screen capture of a “Wordle” that I created. Make a Wordle using your own words or a favorite quote by clicking here.

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