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Monday, November 22, 2010

christmas card making (& craftin' crystal giveaway)

About a year ago, when I finally got fed up with paying 5 dollars apiece every time I went to Hallmark, I started making my own cards.  Unfortunately for everyone who receives them, my homemade cards really aren't pretty--an awkward combination of scrapbook paper & some sort of greeting card appropriate vellum sticker sentiment.  Passable, (if it's the thought that counts), but certainly not impressive.

I have always wanted to learn how to stamp.  Every time I go to the craft store I spend way too much time drooling over all the pretty stamps & imagining how nice my cards could be if only I could figure it all out. But then I start to get overwhelmed by all the choice--the stamps, the ink, the embellishments--and I just give up and sadly resign myself the the idea that my poor excuses for a card will simply have to do.

My friend Crystal, on the other hand, is simply an amazing stamper, and when I want to be truly inspired, I visit her lovely blog, Crafting & Rambling.  She is truly an artist and makes some of the most beautiful cards I have ever seen.  After many months of (somewhat jealously) admiring her designs online, I was lucky enough to receive a handmade card from her, and I finally couldn't take it anymore.  I begged her to teach me.

One of the sweetest people on the planet, she happily agreed, and put together a little beginner's tutorial package for me, complete with stamps, ink, paper, embellishments, and, most importantly, instructions.

The package arrived, and I am ashamed to to admit, I was terrified.  I honestly don't know why the idea of stamping scares me so.  I guess I just don't like to fail, and I was really scared I would mess it up.  I finally gathered up my courage and opened the package.



I needn't have worried.  She sent me the supplies and materials to make 3 different cards with the same Serene Snowflake theme, and then broke it down for me by project.  


From the moment I made my first practice stamp on a piece of scrap paper, I knew I was hooked.  I need another hobby like I need a hole in my head, but this was fun!


After a few practice stamps, I felt ready to get started on the first card.



The little glue pen (for adhering the glitter) was especially cool, although Crystal recommended using a regular glue stick for the larger areas.





Crystal also helpfully pointed out in the instructions that each piece of cardstock has two sides, so if I messed up I could just flip it over and try again.  This advice came in handy.







These little sticky pads were used to make the second card more 3-dimensional.



The third card was a small gift tag.  I used a mini glue dot to stick on the bow.  Unfortunately I didn't get it in the center of the snowflake.  Those little buggers are really sticky.



My finished cards side by side with Crystal's examples.  Bet you can't even tell which ones are which!  (Okay, you probably could if you looked really closely, but not too bad for a stamping virgin.)

Crystal not only makes & sells beautiful cards on Etsy.com, but as a demonstrator for Stampin' Up, she also sells the materials to make your own beautiful cards.  Her wealth of knowledge is impressive, and if you are at all interested in learning how to make cards, I highly, highly recommend visiting her blog.  You can order stamping supplies 24/7 right through her site, and I know she would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have and get you started in the right direction.

If you, like me, are just overwhelmed by the whole process but like the idea of handmade cards, visit Crystal's Etsy shop instead.  Her prices are ridiculously reasonable--way less than Hallmark--and her designs are just incredible.

And by now you had to know it was coming, but there is more good news when it comes to very pretty Christmas handmade cards: a giveaway!  Crystal has generously offered to give one very lucky reader their choice of either a Stampin' Up product package (to make your own cards) or an assortment of 12 handmade greeting cards for every occasion (in case you'd prefer the easy way out!)  



Here is how to enter:

Mandatory Entry:

-Visit Craftin' Crystal's Etsy Shop and tell me which handmade card you like best, and who you would send it to. (1 entry)

Optional Bonus Entries:

-Become a follower of Living Well, Spending Less via Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, or RSS feed.  Leave a separate comment below to tell me how you are following. (1 entry)

-Visit Crafting & Rambling (Crystal's blog) and beecome a follower via Google Friend Connect or RSS feed.  Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)

-"Like" Living Well, Spending Less on Facebook.  Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)

-Follow me on Twitter.  Leave a separate comment below. (1 entry)

-Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter or post it on your Facebook wall.  Leave 3 separate comments below. (3 entries)

-Post a link on your blog to this giveaway.  Leave 3 separate comments below.   (3 entries)


Entries for this giveaway will be accepted through Sunday, December 5th, and I will draw a winner at random using Random.Org on Monday, December 6th.





36 comments:

  1. Those are just beautiful. My mom got into it and I just don't have the patience. I do love them though. Also, I'm a follower :)

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  2. I love the Christmas tags candy cane set. They are so cute! I would use them on my Christmas presents this year.

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  3. I've been following Crystal for a while now and I too am truly amazed at all she has too offer. She is one talented lady. As a result of following her, I am now going to be following you, because your blog is amazing and I think a site I'm in need of........so I get two for one. Thanks so much for your wonderful commentary on Crystal and yes, it was hard to tell your cards from hers. Beautifully done for someone new to stamping............have fun with this marvellous hobby but be warned it's addicting.

    Penny
    http:pennytokensstampinspot.blogspot.com

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  4. I like the Simple Kiddo Thank You Notes, because Christmas is coming up and these would be great for the boys to send to all our relatives.

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  5. I love the Swiss Christmas gift tag set. They are so classy! I'd put them on all my gifts this year.

    jojo1958@yahoo.com

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  6. I love everything, but the Happy Holidays glitter card really caught my eye...so cute! :) If only I could buy 100, I'd send them out to everyone I know!!

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  7. I love the personalized money cards for gift cards or cash presents for my rotten 21 year old :)

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  9. It was so hard to pick but I would go with the Masculine Truck card and send it to my father in law cause masculine card are just so hard for me.

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  10. I am already a follower of Crafting and Rambling, Living Well Spending Less.

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  11. love the Happy Holidays glitter card but i am not sure who i would give it too. I might have to buy enough for everyone.

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  12. I follow Crafting and Rambling via google.

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  13. I'm loving the Fir Tree Card for one of the Dad's in my life. It's always hard to find a masculine card and Crystal has such a great eye for color and composition. She is so very talented! My kids love the cards she has made that they received from their Grandma! So creative!!!

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  14. I would give the Cute Baby Girl card to my friend who just had twin girls. What beautiful, original cards. =)

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  15. The simple kiddo thank you cards would be perfect for sending out thank yous to all of our family and friends this season :)
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  16. Following you on GFC
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  17. Following Crystal's blog on GFC
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  18. Following you on Facebook
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  19. Following you on Twitter
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  20. Tweet:
    http://twitter.com/#!/angelicasmommy/status/10155325294383104
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  21. Tweet:
    http://twitter.com/#!/angelicasmommy/status/10155325294383104
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Tweet:
    http://twitter.com/#!/angelicasmommy/status/10155325294383104
    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/angelicasmommy/status/10808934948409344

    sunshine131 at gmail dot com

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  24. Didn't realize you were on FB... consider yourself "liked" :)

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  25. Posted on my wall... I have lots of couponing friends and family... maybe they'll see too

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  26. This one is my fave Crystal!!!Thanks for giving Ruth your wares to share with us :)

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/60281673/happy-holidays-glitter-card

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  27. Posted on my facebook wall entry trois... :)

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C'mon, give me some love! Your comments make my day and are truly the reason I keep blogging. I read each and every one and will respond to any questions as best I can!

 
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