Customizing for a Gift Card

Gift cards by their nature are impossible to wrap. They are small, square, flat and boring. Not to mention that they always fall out of greeting cards. The upside is that it’s easy to customize a gift card pocket into any greeting card. All you need is a pocket for the gift card to rest in. The pocket can be made easily by cutting a piece of card stock to slightly larger dimensions than the gift card and using glue or glue dots, adhere 3 sides of the cardstock to the greeting card. Simple gift card holder. For added security modify your gift card design to include a sealed flap, ribbon ties or other closure.

This one is designed by my friend Rose Conley. It features a slit closure design and Stampin Up two sided paper.


Customized Binders

It’s back to school season again and this year my youngest Spawn needed a 3 ring binder. Not wanting to spend $6 on a zip up style binder we decided to get a cheaper, plain binder and decorate it ourselves. Here’s what we did.


  • Binder (any size), cost between $0.97 and $2 depending on where you shop.
  • Printed Duct Tape Sheets, cost $1.88 at Wal-Mart (we used 2)
  • Scissors and Markers


Remove any stickers or tags from the items. Be sure to rub off the adhesive residue well. Layout the design that you want for your binder. Cut as necessary to match the pattern or design. Peel and stick. When sticking you want to resist the urge to wrap the spine of the binder. Instead decorate the front and back and then cut a strip for the spine if you want to decorate it. If you don’t the tape will bunch when the binder is open causing it to loose its stickiness and eventually fall off. Here’s our finished design.

For our binder, we further embellished by putting my son’s name on the binder. He’s leaving the space at the bottom to write what it’s for once he finds out from the teacher. This was his design. You could use stencils, other stickers or Washi tape to design your binder. You could glue scrapbook paper although I haven’t tried that yet.

My Traveling Beading Bag

As crafting becomes more popular more and more people are looking for ways to transport their projects to various gatherings. There is no reason to go out and buy a specialty case for this. Just revamp what you have. This is my bag.

It’s actually a make up bag from 31. It was the free hostess item when I had my party. I had no need for it as I don’t usually use make up and what I have can fit easily in a sandwich size Ziploc if it really needs to travel. Needing to find a use for the bag I realized that my beading projects would fit nicely into it. The bag has an outside zippered pocket and 2 interior sections which can be accessed separately.

The first section has 2 clear zippered pouches which attach to the bag with Velcro. The one on the left has 2 stackable bead containers and the project itself. The other pocket has a variety of things that I would need for most projects. Headpins, clasps, jump rings, extra needles. All that fuss that you usually forget when your packing a project. There is also a flat pocket, not shown, that I keep a piece of folded up felt in. I use the felt as a bead mat. It’s only a few cents at the craft store and works just as well as pricey beading mats.

The second section has one large, clear zippered pouch that attaches with Velcro. This pouch is perfect for holding larger items like my sinew, Firewire, and threads. I also keep larger packages of headpins and findings here. The other side has a pocket with an elastic top. Perfect for my tools, grips and scissors. There is a clear flap that falls over the pocket to help prevent the tools from rubbing against the clear pouch when closed.

This turned out to be the perfect use for freebie bag that I would have otherwise put in the attic and forgot about. If you need a way to store your items go back through your collection of old bags and see if there is something that you can make work. Hope you enjoyed a look in my bag, be sure to share yours in the comments.

Wedding Card Idea

There is a great woman named Rose who hosts Stamp Camp once a month. She cuts out and preps 5 different cards to make all with carefully written instructions. This would be were I have the most problems. It’s not that the directions aren’t clear. It’s not that she doesn’t review every step with us. It’s that I always do something that ends up deviating from the plan.

This card features a stamp that has words in the shape of a wedding cake. This was supposed to have the ribbon wrapped around the card that stamped square piece on top. Instead I was taken by how much the pleated ribbon reminded me of a basket handle.

I placed the square at the bottom of the card and curved the ribbon so that it was tucked behind the square piece. This design would also work well for a spring themed card. Just use a shorter box and longer piece of ribbon and you have plenty of room for stamped flowers or to put other items.

The trick is using the pleated ribbon so that it lays almost flat. I tried to replicate the look with regular ribbon but it didn’t lay as flat.

Cards for Guys

Most guys are not into crafting and firmly believe that handmade cards are distinctly “girly”. This doesn’t have to be the case. At last month’s Stamp Camp I learned a cool technique to give a card a more masculine appeal. This card is made using paper, ink, stamps and sponges.

Personalizing your envelopes

A fun trend in cards is to decorate the envelopes. This provides an extra professional look while maintaining the homemade and crafty appearance. Decorating envelopes can be simple but you need to keep a few things in mind.

Remember the purpose

An envelope is a way to package your card so that it gets to it’s destination safely, and without a bunch of strangers reading your message. Envelopes must conform to several standards if they are going to be mailed. The main one being that the mail carrier needs to be able to read and identify where it’s going.

This card is adorable and the envelope is cute, but can you spot the issues?

First, the decoration is stamped onto a separate piece of paper which is then attached to the envelope. This is an issue as anything attached to the envelope must be completely sealed down or it will get stuck in the machinery used to sort the mail.

Second, the punched circle overlaps the edges of the envelope. Again it will cause issues for the sorting machines, and may cost you more in postage because of the hand sorting that will be required.

The final issue is that the decoration is placed where the return address is supposed to be. If you place one small stamp next to your return address it’s fine. But this is large and precludes the ability to have a return address on the front of the envelope. A return address is not a requirement for something to be mailed but it’s nice to be able to get something back if it can’t be delivered.

Subtle is better 

Subtle decorations can add a fun element.

Use the same stamp and ink color on the envelope that you used on the card. This provides continuity between the card and envelope without disrupting the function.

Another whimsical idea is to stamp the card and then, without re-inking, stamp the envelope. This will give the envelope a softer imprint of the design from the card.

Remember to watch the placement. The lower left corner, and both right corners are great for stamping. Keep in mind that the postage will be placed in the upper right corner so only put something there that won’t be lost under the postage.

Not every envelope has to be mailed

Now that I’ve reviewed what to watch out for don’t throw out the envelopes that are decorated but can’t be mailed. You can always save those cards for hand delivering or place them in a larger envelope than can get through the postal service.


Flat Cards


How many times do you receive a homemade card for your birthday or as a thank you and then think, “What will I do with this?” I know it sounds harsh but do you store all those cards? Leave them displayed on the mantle or taped to the door? Do you quietly feel guilty as you throw them out, not wanting the clutter? The solution to this dilemma is flat cards.

Flat, or non-opening, cards are becoming more and more popular. They can be easily framed for displayed or stored flat in a scrapbook. Yet they still have all the creativity and design of their hand-crafted cousins.

The card in the image was created using 5×7 card stock, 5×6 card stock textured with a BigShot (Stampin’ Up), card stock remnants, assorted kitchen themed cutouts and stickers.