If you are at all a creative person and enjoy papercrafts, I probably don't need to tell you that sets of cards make great gifts. I especially love giving a set of handmade thank-you cards as part of a teacher gift, a shower gift, or a graduation gift. Teachers, I've learned, go through TONS of thank-you cards, so even if they like to make their own (teachers are generally pretty crafty), it's still nice for them to have a "stash" of cards and not worry about running out. Brides and new graduates typically receive lots and lots of gifts, so some extra thank-you cards can really come in handy, especially if you toss in a booklet of stamps, too. But I also like to make cards as "just because" gifts -- to surprise a friend or let someone know that I'm thinking of them. A set of all-occasion cards can be a great gift for Mother's Day or a birthday, too.
When I make a set of cards, I like all of the cards to have something in common. Typically, all of the cards will have similar sentiments (all thank-you cards, all "thinking of your" type cards, all birthday greetings, etc.), and I generally like to pull from a common stash of supplies to make all of the cards in the set. While I love using paper scraps from my scrapbooking to make cards, I generally DON'T use scraps if I'm making a set of cards, because I usually won't have large enough pieces of three or four coordinating patterned papers to made several cards. So, instead, I start with three full 12x12 sheets of patterned paper that are all from the same line, and that mix well together. Then I'll make anywhere from six to twelve neutral, but coordinating, card bases (obviously depending on how many cards I'm going to have in the set). Then I'll pull out some embellishments that go with the colors in the papers and that can be used in multiple ways (stamps, paper flowers, brads, ribbon), and I'll start creating.
As I think I mentioned in my last post, where I raved about the Card-a-Day book, I used to think that all of my cards had to be creative originals. Now I love to use sketches or ideas for cards I find in scrapbooking magazines for inspiration.
Here are four more cards from the "thinking of you" card set that I made today.
As you can see from the photos, for these cards, I chose a light blue floral print paper, a brown paper with light blue stylized flowers and vines, and a paper with a small all-over graphic pattern. All of the papers are from the new "Best of K&Co." paper stack that I found at Jo-Ann's last week for a mind-boggling $15. My card bases for this set were light blue and tan. I also used mini brads in browns, pinks, and blues, as well as a Quickutz tag die, Prima paper flowers, and some 3-D layered embellishments that I had leftover from a mini album that I made (I have a special drawer where I store little leftovers like that). Then I pulled out a few clear stamps that I recently purchased, and I decided to use the same Quickutz font (mini Blossom, one of my favorites) cut from dark brown cardstock for most of the sentiments on the cards.
Each of the resulting cards is clearly different than the others, but because I used the same papers on all the cards and I picked embellishments from a small, coordinating stash, the cards clearly form a cohesive set and look nice together. Because these are meant to be note cards, I left all of the insides blank, but if I were making birthday or other "special occasion" cards, I'd probably stamp a sentiment on the inside of the cards.
My favorite way to package up cards, by the way, is simply to stack the cards (half with the folds going one way and half the other), then stack the envelopes underneath, and tie up the whole shebang with some wide, sheer ribbon in a coordinating color. This makes a really pretty presentation, and it's easy to tuck the set of cards in the front of a gift bag if the cards are only part of your planned gift.
A set of handmade cards makes such a nice "extra" for a bigger gift, and even if you don't start with scraps, you can make a dozen coordinating cards for mere pennies each. So do YOU know a graduate, or bride, or mom-in-law, or teacher, or friend who would love to receive a crafty and useful gift? I thought so. So go on, pick some supplies and get going!