For instance, I had wanted to send a colleague who is retiring a wee gift. I bought a beautiful designer scarf, which I can picture her wearing with pride. It is bright and vivacious, just like her. Here's the scarf:
The store could not provide an appropriate box for the scarf so I decided to make one. Long before Crafter's Companion and Scor-Pal came along, there was this:
Do you have one of these? I used to be addicted to the Aleene's craft show on TV, but I believe this is the only thing I ever ordered from them. I dusted this baby off and set about making a box from some chipboard and patterned paper. My first attempt was lovely, BUT I had not considered the scarf colours in choosing the paper, so once it was made I realized it would clash. So I made a second box, and then I made a card to go with it.
Doesn't that sound simple?
Ah, but here is where the real work comes in - dreaming up a card that fits the personality of the recipient and coordinates with the box and gift. I tend to avoid cool colours, and modern styles. Hence the dilemma. When I looked at all my stamps and other supplies, I realized that - while I prefer vintage, antique images, and muted autumnal colours - most of the people I make cards for do not!
So I buy stamps and papers to please me - but I am never making things for myself. With my limited craft time, I am making things to please others. Birthday cards, thank you cards, farewell cards - you name it, they almost always are for people who prefer funky images and zippy colours! It becomes a real exercise in creativity when I want to customize a card for someone modern, bright and vivacious!
I started with this bird. I was thinking of retirement as freedom; flight from a cage. I already had the bird die cut from a gessoed old music score sheet. The bird cage was a natural, as well. I pounced it with Dusty Concord Distress Ink, then softened it with an acrylic paint dabber in Pearl.
I backed the cage with more score sheet that I coloured with Mustard Seed Distress Ink. It seems to glow against the purple background. (I think I used the paper upside down - oops!) I used a large rhinestone flourish from my stash. I have a few of these, but I think this is only the second time I have ventured to use them.
I tied some sheer polka dot ribbon through the cage holes and added some rhinestones in purple and clear.
I created a couple of mats for these items, one stamped with big blooms in Pearl acrylic paint and Brilliance blue polka dots; the other incorporating some of the paper used on the box. This is the fun of making things yourself - that ability to customize and coordinate; beats a store-bought box hands down!
I topped off the cage with a Grungeboard label that I inked, painted and lettered, and another bit of ribbon. The teeny white brads echo the dots in the ribbon.
Done! Am I alone in my dilemma - buying craft stuff that *I* like, but finding it doesn't help me achieve my goal of making lovingly hand-crafted items for friends and family that reflect them, their personalities and what they would like? Or do you struggle with this, too? Can you understand why, when I am asked "How long does it take you to make a card?" I can legitimately answer "ALL DAY!"