Sunday, June 22, 2014

Card-Making Endeavors

As I mentioned earlier, my grandfather died this April.  Now that life has settled somewhat, my grandmother decided it was time to start writing thank-you cards for the dozens of people who came out of the woodwork to help and support her.

Something you have to understand about my grandmother:  She took up card-making as a craft several years ago.

The way I am about yarn, she is about cards.  She has diecutters, various types of ink, the hugest collection of stamps I've ever seen (yeah, the rubber ones like kids play with), embossing powder, ribbons, glitter.  She makes these work-of-art cards for every birthday and holiday and we just marvel.  When my aunt moved out, Grandma took her room and converted it into something like a study/craft room.  The closet is like a tiny card workshop.  It's fabulous.

But she has 50 to 100 thank-you cards to send out, so she reluctantly decided she'd save herself the work and just buy them.  So off she went to every store she could think of, looking for simple elegant thank-you cards that suited her taste.  Unfortunately, she couldn't find anything that wasn't tacky or too plain.  She could always find something to improve, and she wasn't willing to send out any less than the best.  Eventually she gave up the hunt and resigned herself to making them.  Still not quite ready to make them all from scratch, however, she found a box of 50 black-and-white patterned plain cards she could embellish, and enlisted my help.

So Thursday afternoon we planned and had a few mild arguments over the designs. (Mostly I just sat around while she tried things, and occasionally gave input on ribbons.)  Friday afternoon we really set to work, and I was smart enough to pull out my camera and take a bunch of pictures of the process to share with you.

Here was our setup.  There were ten different patterns, five cards of each.  We experimented with different ribbons to find which style suited which pattern, and then I cut the ribbons to the right length and put them on top of the proper stack.  Because four of the sets required a second ribbon layer, that was 70 ribbons to cut.  I got through probably 50 of them before realizing I'd somehow started cutting them too long.  Redoing that was a nightmare.

In addition we had two-layer labels.  The top layer was white with "Thank You" stamped on it in fancy letters (and embossed), and the bottom layer was black, offset so it looked like a shadow.  On the right of the picture you can see my grandmother's hands assembling some of these labels.

These fancy tape dispensers are the best thing.  Just roll it along the surface and it lays down tiny tape strips.  A sharp tug at the end breaks the chain of tiny tape strips, and you're done!  Simply stick Thing One to Thing Two.  The top left of the picture is my two stacks of unfinished labels, the bottom is the currently-being-assembled label, and the top right is a finished label.

Once all these labels were assembled, Grandma got to work with the ribbons, gluing the double-layer ones together and then gluing them to the cards.  While she did that, I used the handy tape dispenser to attach another type of label to the back of the cards.

She writes her initials and the date in teeny-tiny characters on that little line.

When she finished gluing the ribbons to the front of the cards, it was back to me and my trusty tape dispenser to attach the "Thank You" label.

Within a few hours all 50 cards were properly labeled, beribboned, and labeled again.

 As you can see in the upper left, I'd already started experimenting with the final stage of construction, which was to layer paper flowers and attach them with sticky glue dots.  After finishing those five cards, I decided to just make flowers and let Grandma figure out which cards got which flowers.  Here's some of my handiwork.

I'm quite proud of these.  Each different color or pattern is a different flower.  Some of these are two layers, some are three.  Some are big, some are small, some are medium-sized.  Some have six petals, some have seven, some have five, some have too many to count at a glance.  I amassed quite a pile of them, and it took Grandma a while to catch up with me.

We only got through half the cards before her broken air conditioning forced us to flee to my parents' house for the night.  But I was pleased with the result.

Click for a closer look

Don't they look fantastic?


Ian invited me over tonight to watch the US/Portugal football [soccer] game.  It was supposed to be a few of us but everyone else had to cancel, so it ended up just being the two of us with his dad and youngest brother (who sort of popped in and out throughout the game).

His dad is hysterical, and very into the sport.  There was much shouting and plenty of mocking (he called the Portugal team a bunch of pansies at least four times), sometimes in his best shot at a Portuguese accent (it came out more Italian).  That last goal with maybe thirty seconds to go basically broke his heart.  He was very, very upset.

It was a pretty good evening.

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