What do the three cards above have in common? I know, easy-peasy, right? They were all made from a single card sketch. The sketch itself came from one of my favorite cardmaking idea books, which is featured to the left. It's called Joy of Cardmaking, and I have the "collector's" edition, which is both volumes of this great resource in one hardbound edition. If you don't yet have this great book, I highly encourage you to get it. That is, if you never want to run out of great ideas for every kind of card you can possibly think of! The book features a large number of card sketches (called "recipes" in the book), and then shows a bunch of lovely, beautifully photographed samples, all made from that same sketch. What gets me about nearly every "recipe" in the book, as well as my own examples in the pictures above, is how different three or four or five cards, all made from the same sketch, can look. My three cards, put next to each other, are actually pretty similar, in that I didn't alter the placement of the sewn-on patch or the sentiment. Yet each card has its own distinct feel, and they definitely don't feel like ho-hum, mass produced cards.
For whatever reason, I've really been into cardmaking lately. Maybe it's because I've been working on cleaning up my scrap room, and in the process, I came to realize just HOW MANY scraps of patterned paper I've managed to accumulate. While I do try to use my scraps when I'm scrapbooking, I find that I often forget about them, or decide it's too much trouble to haul them out. But I make cards pretty much exclusively from scraps, so when I'm in the mood to make some cards, I grab my scraps and one of my idea books and go to town.
I'll admit it -- while I admire complex, time-consuming cards, the ones I produce myself are usually fairly simple. I like to get a nice quantity of cards done in one session, and to accomplish that, I need to keep them somewhat uncomplicated. And that's what's truly so great about card sketches like the ones featured in Joy of Cardmaking. If you want to keep things simple, the sketch gives you sort of a bare-bones place to start from. But if you do want to make a special, more complex card for a special person or a special occasion, you're bound to get some great ideas by looking at the sample cards that accompany each sketch.
Oh, and while we're on the topic of cards, I'll share a tip with you that is featured in the book, but that is actually something I learned from a wonderful friend of mine named Sandy. Sandy makes the most gorgeous cards, and whenever she'd send me one of her handmade creations, I always noticed that even though she might have stitched on the front, or added eyelets or brads or ribbon or staples, the inside of the card was always pristine. What Sandy does to achieve that is basically "build" her card front on a separate piece of cardstock. She does all of her stitching and hole punching and whatever else on that card front. When the whole piece is finished, she adheres that to the card "base" to make the finished card. The result is a card with all of the beautiful handmade touches on the outside, but with a perfect, unspoiled inside, that can be written on from top to bottom, should the sender so desire.
Now, seeing as how I am much lazier than Sandy is, even though I admired her cards and her cool trick to ensure perfect card insides, I didn't usually do it myself. Yep, my cards might be nice to look at on the outside, but they were generally a disaster on the inside. Well, after leafing through Joy of Cardmaking a few times and realizing the authors also use and recommend this technique (it appears several times in the book), I decided to get off my lazy butt and give it a try on the pink and green card featured above. Wow. It's pretty special to open up a card that looks nice on the outside and have it look nice on the inside, too. So, that's my new goal. I'm going to try not to slip back into my former laziness, and "build" my card fronts separately so that they can be adhered onto the cards at the end, ensuring those perfect card insides. Oh, and in case you're wondering, that's just one of, oh I don't know, HUNDREDS of great cardmaking tips that appear in the Joy of Cardmaking book. Even crafters like me and you, that have been scrapbooking and cardmaking forever, are bound to find some useful tips in there!