Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Handmade Note Cards for Homemakers

by Susan Rios

Click for a larger view.

Greeting cards and note cards of quality can be  expensive. You can get a box of 8 at a dollar store, but the scene or art is not always beautiful or as perfect as you might like it. Here is a way for very busy homemakers to have cards on hand for quick replies and notes such as thank-you notes, acceptance notes, invitations to tea, or just thinking-of-you notes.

It only takes a very few supplies to make these quick and easy but bursting-with-beauty cards: a catalog, heavy papers, glue and scissors. This might be a good craft project for children when they need some kind of creative kit to spend some leisurely hours.

These are quite easy, using things you may already have.  After sending in your order for seeds and bulbs, use the beautiful catalog for clip-art. The photographs are bright and glossy and they work well for making quick cards. You might also cut out from scrap papers squares and rectangles to make backgrounds for the pictures you choose. Use any fancy pens you have to make outlines or to write the greeting on the inside.

Seed catalogs have beautiful photographs suitable for making cards.

Find the pictures you really like and cut them out. In this flower catalog, the pictures are free of the catalog numbers (A, B, C, D etc) making them ideal for lovely cards.

Collect the materials: clipped pictures from catalogs, background pieces made from punched paper*, and folded blank cards, which you make yourself from card stock or paper.

Get the card ready by cutting a piece of card stock or heavy paper (or just paper) in half.

 Fold each half in half again to make two cards.

 The paper here is the same size as printer paper, 8 and 1/2 inch by 11 inches. 

 Each cut piece is 4 and 1/4 inch by 5 inches.

The above card is made simply by pasting a picture clipped from a garden catalog onto the center of a piece of white card stock or heavy white paper.

Spend a little time making a lay-out by placing your clipped pictures on the cards or the little background pieces which can be cut with shaped scissors. Change the pictures and the cards to see which ones look best together, taking note of the brightness, the contrast, and the colors. Then, lay out all your selections, with the pictures on the cards, and glue everything, centering them as you wish. Not everything has to be centered, though. Try putting the pictures off to one side, or slanted, or in whichever way looks best to you.   You can also add diamond or tear drop stickers for sparkle or dew on the flowers, but these cards are made mainly with two ingredients: one picture and one card.

If you have a punch, you can make a butterfly and add it to your card.

This picture is placed on top of one of those pieces made by a craft punch.  I love the field of mauve tulips in front of a white garden bench.

Clip art can come from any magazines and catalogs, and work well if the paper is high quality. The teapot and teacup picture makes a perfect invitation to, or thank-you-note for tea.

Another catalog yielded this lovely piece showing a hammock between two trees across a green lawn.

Beneath this picture of a white fluffy flower is another craft punched piece of paper, edged in butterflies.

To make an envelope, open up one that you already have, glue it onto heavy paper or card stock, and cut it out.

Use it for a template by tracing around it on plain paper.  Then cut it out. You can stack several pieces of paper and cut them all out at once.

Fold the envelopes the way the original was folded.

Print out my template below, and follow the directions written on it for folding, making the flat edge fold up over the two pointed edges of the envelop, at the bottom.

These cards make good stationery gifts. I'm giving away this stack of cards to a busy person who really needs them.

This is the way to address an envelope: 
In the upper left corner, write your own name and address.
On the front of the envelope write:
First line: The name of the recipient
Second line: the number and street.
Third line: City, a comma, and the State, and the zip code (not included above, but goes right next to the state, on the same line)
Fourth Line: if you are sending the letter outside of your own country, in clear writing, indicate the name of the country.

Here is the template for the envelope that fits for the cards. Just click on for a larger view and then click "print."  Follow the numbers to determine the folding procedure. Remember to paste it on to heavier paper, then cut it out and use it to trace around for your envelopes.

I personally liked the plain picture on the plain card. It took very little time. If you are a busy person, and don't have time to make a stack of these, try making just one of them.

A textured piece of card-stock, a punched piece, and a picture of tulips from the catalog.

It is easy to be creative when you already have things on hand, and it is also nice to have a stack of cards and envelopes ready at any time. I keep mine on my desk, along with stamps and a pen, so that I can answer mail easily. It is hard to calculate the cost but it does no harm to the family budget.

Use a sticker, or make one by pasting on another floral clipping, to seal the back of the envelope.

This is also a good way to use the calendar pictures from the calendar I made for you at the beginning of the year:

I used Dimensions or Scribbles for the little drops of water on the flower.

Hand-made and hand-written notes are always welcome in the mailbox, and the post office never gets a virus and loses all your addresses like the computer does.

I walked out to the mail box, which was a ways from the house, one overcast, cold day, and found in it a brightly colored magazine issue, with a bouquet of flowers on the cover. It made such a difference in my day, that I thought it must be nice for anyone to open up a piece of mail with something as pretty as that. When I make these cards, I always think of the feeling of cheer it will give someone, and wish the card itself could be seen right away instead of the envelope, like that bright magazine cover. I believe it was one of the older Victoria magazines, and I will always remember how it made me feel to see it in the morning of a gloomy day. It would be nice if the envelope was made of  cellophane or some see through material so that the floral picture could be seen right away when someone goes out to get their mail. You can paste these same lovely pictures to the back of your envelope, or you can add a bright sticker to seal it on the back.  Once you have your envelope template, you can trace it around a large picture or print of some kind. Then, cut a small piece of blank paper on which to write the address, and paste it on top.


Anonymous said...

Those cards are pretty. I like that they are "blank" cards, too. Many times, I pass on a card that has a lovely picture, but the wording is inappropriate. By the way, I work for a greeting card distributor!

Lydia said...

Yes I like blank ones better. You have 3 blank sides on which to write a message as long as a letter.

Lydia said...

These are also one-of-a-kind, custom made. No one will get a card exactly alike any other.

Lydia said...

If you have cards with messages for anniversaries and birthdays and just need a blank card, glue a piece of blank, colored paper over the message section and write your own.

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful idea.

I receive so many magazines and working in the library, we recycle quite a bit of them.

Now I can use the pretty pictures.

Thank you for this Lady Lydia.

Rocky Mountain Homemaker said...

How beautiful. I love these, especially since children can be included in their construction.....Denise

Don and Shelly said...

These are very nice... and what a great craft idea for kids!

Anonymous said...

Those are truly beautiful!!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea to glue a piece of colored paper over the mesage section of a card! I never would have though of that.

Anonymous said...

For Australian readers, the protocol for addressing an envelope specifies the sender's address be placed upon the back of the envelope, upon the top folding seal piece.

A beautiful papercraft entry.

Lydia said...

Yes, that is the way it is in many countries: the sender's address goes on the back of the envelope. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

So pretty!

Finding Joy said...

These are lovely cards. I love making cards, they are so much nicer than bought ones. Only the other day (see link) I wrote about the important of writing notes to people to offer encouragement and brighten up the day for someone who needs that extra encouragement. These cards would be lovely for that purpose.


Blessed Homemaking said...

I love this. Thank you for sharing--they are so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Very pretty! We enjoy making greeting cards around here too. My second daughter, especially, is always on the lookout for interesting papers & cardstock, & has quite a collection of snippets to embellish her creations. Her friends like getting one of these through "snail mail". :o)

Thanks for sharing-