Two Ways to Dress Up a Gift Card

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of gift cards. I’d rather buy (or even better: make) a meaningful gift. But there are those occasions where a gift card just makes sense. So to add a little personality and flair, why not make a gift card holder? I followed this tutorial (the step-by-step instructions, not the video) to jazz up this card for a college grad.



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This isn’t the first time I used a tutorial from this same page, but last time I followed the instructions in the video. I didn’t have anything to fasten the card, except for a ribbon, which is why I opted for the other version this time.

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There you have it, two ways to dress up a gift card!

What are your thoughts on gift cards? Do you love to give them or would you rather a hand-picked item?


Budget Friendly Invitations

This week, I posted a photo on Facebook of a new sample set I’d just finished assembling and mentioned that they are budget friendly. I am so excited to share my inspiration for these invitations today:

Recently, a friend asked me about no-frills, affordable wedding invitations. Immediately, I thought of this wonderful wedding website (which I sadly didn’t discover until after my own wedding,) A Practical Wedding. Her first blog post resonates with me even though I’m almost two years removed from wedding planning. I remember reading a post of hers about not being a fan of the phrase “budget wedding” because of some potentially negative connotations (cheap, boring, etc.) and I 110% agree with that too. But I decided to title this post “Budget Friendly Invitations” anyway because “Practical Invitations” seemed like it would be too bold and a bit like stealing Meg’s blog title.

Regardless of which adjective you prefer (budget, practical, affordable…), these invitations fit the description. Beyond being affordable, my criteria included vintage/rustic, kraft paper (because I’m obsessed), and a color scheme inspired by this outfit:

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You’ll never hear me claim to have fashion sense, beyond knowing how to create a nice color palette.

On that day, I remember looking in the mirror while washing my hands thinking, “this would be a great color scheme for my new invitations!” (Please allow me to take a moment and apologize to my mom for the time I laughed about her need to match paper colors to my outfit.) Of course, I also did a brief Pinterest search for “vintage invitations” and wasn’t surprised to find doilies, lace, and fancy flourishes; however, I was surprised to see one with an adorable blue sunburst background. It reminded me of a 1st Birthday invitation I made for some awesome friends of mine. Then I let the creative inspiration do it’s thing and came up with 6 varieties of invitations, each with just two pieces (the invitation and an RSVP postcard) in two themes: sunburst and lace-esque. Take a look!

Basic #1 (left): This is the most affordable of the 6 varieties because it only features color on the front of the invitation, which cuts down on printing costs.

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Basic #2 (right): One step up from Basic #1, this version is in full color.


Up close and personal (Basic #1)

Layered Front #1 (left) & #2 (right): The front of these invitations have more dimension with a lighter layer, while the reverse side of the invitation remains similar to the Basic. Once again, there are partial and full color versions.

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Up close and personal (Intermediate #1)

Two-sided Layers #1 (left) & #2 (right): These are the most detailed and feature a lighter layer on both the front and reverse sides of the invitation.

Two-sided Layers #1 is a full color invitation front, while the reverse side is gray scale.

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Two-sided Layers #2 is full in color, making this option the “high end” of the varieties.


Up close and Personal (Two-sided Layer #1)

As with many things, the cost of each option will vary based on the total number of invitations needed, and due to many fixed costs, the cost per invitation decreases as the number of invitations needed increases. For comparison purposes, I calculated the cost of the design fee, supplies, printing, and estimated assembly time based on 120 invitations, here is the breakdown:

To give budget conscious shoppers the option to compare rates, packages of 40 kraft, vanilla, and white envelopes are available additional $8 (120 envelopes for $24).  The design fee for existing designs is $35 (which covers three rounds of edits), and for custom designs the design fee is $50; simply add $15 to the rates above if you’re considering the custom route. Because I am most inspired when working on custom projects, I highly recommend that route if you’re not in love with the vintage designs above

So back to the budget vs. affordable vs. practical debate, which phrase do you prefer? Do you dislike calling something “budget” because it can sound negative?

Mother’s Day

The story behind my Etsy shop stems from the creativity that my mom fostered throughout my childhood (and even today; she’s hands down my biggest fan.) So when Shane and I decided to make the trek to Wisconsin for Mother’s Day, I started making a list of projects I wanted to tackle:

  • print new invitation samples and cut them with framelits
  • start a new wedding invitation order
  • check out Stampin’ Up!’s new photopolymer stamps
  • take a sneek peek at the new Stampin’ Up! catalog, especially the new colors coming out in June (as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, my mom can preview new products before they’re available)
  • (re)learn how to use a sewing machine

Our weekends together always seem to be jam packed. Not because we plan them that way, but we always think of tons of things to do. Most of this list was pushed back to Sunday afternoon, which made for a very meaningful way for Mom and I to celebrate her day!

I hope to get some new samples posted on Etsy very, very soon. I was busy printing and cutting away while Mom spent some time organizing her crafting space.

I actually started working on the new custom order on Friday, then we finished the sample together on Sunday. I love collaborative projects! I don’t generally use a lot of stamps and accessories, and Mom prefers leaving the graphic design work to me, but together our projects are better than anything either of us would create on our own. I hope to share a preview sometime this summer!

The photopolymer stamps look awesome. I didn’t do much with them, I was just anxious to see them in person. I will probably order some in the future, the set seems very versatile. They do seem very easy to lose (some teeny tiny pieces), so I may need to keep a spray bottle handy to ensure cats don’t steal them. Never underestimate the sneakiness of cats.

I was even more anxious to see the new colors in the 2013-2014 Stampin’ Up! catalog. I already created a paper colors image to include with Etsy listings. I’m easily mesmerized by colors… Check it out, aren’t they just so pretty?

etsy paper colors

And last, but definitely NOT least, we finally opened Mom’s “Sew Petite” machine! I looked at her and said, “I think the last time I sewed anything was in 7th grade home economics,” to which she simply replied, “yeah, that sounds about right.” So we knew we were on the same page. Thankfully, the instructions were straightforward. We agreed that a memory refresher is always better in company. Trying to re-discover sewing on my own wouldn’t have been half as fun. I probably would have whined to Shane and given up before the bobbin was even wound (ooh, look at me using fancy lingo. Sorry, just have to show off my new skills!) We each did a some straight stitching, and then I did a zig-zag.

sewing practice

There you have it, our first sewing projects since middle school! What do you think? I want to hear about your sewing projects: are you an avid sewer, or just starting out? Do you prefer paper or fabric? (what am I, a grocery store bagger?!)

Sew long for now! (haha, I can’t resist a pun.)