Quick greetings to the ladies!

It appears that I am on some sort of momentous do-it-all marathon today. I woke up before 8 (on my day off!) and decided to immediately head on over to the home improvement store for some paint testers. Three, in fact. And some spackle. And a new paintbrush. Indeed, I am about to repaint my kitchen! It's about time.

On the way, I picked up some natural almonds because I planned to bake almond coconut bars. Check! (They just came out of the oven; will definitely share.)

Somewhere in there, I realized that I have been wearing my shirt backwards all day. Apparently it's not too obvious.

And between paint-swatching every feasible section of wall in my kitchen and concocting semi-experimental dessert bars, I decided to write old-fashioned lick-em-and-stick-em letters to two of my west coast friends from college. So I made some very simple handmade cards to send off tomorrow when the mailman comes 'round.

Nothing pleases me quite like a well-sealed letter. It's endearing to both write and receive them, not only because of the message inside, but the very essence of real mail, which is more and more lost to the annoyance of what usually comes in the mail these days: bills, credit card pre-approvals and catalogs for shops we've never heard of or didn't know we signed up to receive. I'm glad certain things can be done exclusively online now, like banking. Who needs paper statements every month, really? But what I do miss is a really good letter, stamp and scribbly handwriting and all.

I love being able to rip open the envelope, not quite sure what kind of stationery or card I'm to expect, and opening it up to find a thoughtful message inside. On the other side of that coin, I love preparing my own messages, whether on a greeting card or some bizarre-cute Japanese stationery. Sealing that envelope, sticking the stamp, and writing down the address are practically a lost art. I revel in it. It may be weird, but I just like to admire letters waiting to be mailed.

So I wrote two notes today. I have made a lot of greeting cards in the past and have a load of papers and stock to choose from. I went for one piece of simple scrapbook paper that I cut into four pieces, two for each card. The back of the paper, or what would become the inside of the card, was light-colored, so handwriting would be legible.


1 sheet decorative or scrapbook paper with light backside
needle and thread
paper images for front of card
envelope (2)
glue stick
paper cutter (optional)

I started with an envelope, which may seem odd, but since I was cutting the paper to make the cards from scratch, I needed a template size. Knowing exactly what envelope I would be using made it easy to cut precisely the right size out of the paper. I didn't bother measuring, but feel free to measure the length and width of your envelope and transfer those measurements to the paper, minus about 1/8" to 1/4" both length- and width-wise so that the card slides easily into the envelope.

Cut the paper using a scissors or a paper cutter (more precise). Turn the light-colored backsides toward each other in the middle as the inside of the card, and the decorative colored and/or patterned side is on the outside.

Next, I sewed up the seam. I only had black thread at my disposal, so I chose a paper color that the black complemented. I wanted to make a large, basic cross-stitch pattern up the spine of the card to put both pieces together rather than gluing. The front looks like this:

The back looks like this:

I didn't put any glue where the stitches are, but if it helps keep it together, it wouldn't hurt. Just make sure that the glue doesn't seep onto the inside of the card where there will be writing. I used a ruler laid across the stitched edge and folded the top of the card back over it to make a straight, neat crease so that the card was easily opened.

Next, I found one of my Dover Publications copyright-free books (there are tons out there, for cheap). They're perfect for scanning and copying, but I cut them right out of the book rather than sending them through my lame inkjet printer. I would suggest that if you have a laser printer/scanner it would work much better. Inkjet ink smears too easily and can look cruddy in some images. But if you don't mind cutting right out of a book, have at it -- I did. I just had to make sure I wasn't cutting into something cool on the backside of the page!

I cut out around the image right to the edge, but it looked cool to leave a little bit of a white border, too. I placed the image on the top of the card, either vertically or horizontally to see which way worked best. I got an idea of how I wanted it situated and then trimmed off the edges so it lined up with the edges of the card.

I ran the glue stick over the back of the image and affixed it to the front of the card. Et voila!

Drop in envelope and send. :)

...I'm about to try a coconut almond bar. I'll get back to you!

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