Saturday, February 21, 2009

St. Patrick's Day: a man's holiday!

What better way to start off a man card blog than with what many people consider a man's holiday: Saint Patrick's Day. So off I went to create a card or two. Well, easier said than done! Let's face it, I'm familiar with the concepts of leprechauns, money pots, shamrocks and beer glasses when it comes to Saint Patrick's Day cards and all are available in sticker or rubber stamp formats. However I wanted something different, something a little more in keeping with the idea of the beauty of Ireland, as well as the serenity that could go with it. Having no irish blood, this wasn't easy. What to do?

Well, I decided to take the high road (sorry for the pun) and create something more woodsy and inspirational. I have some great background stamps from Beeswax and used one of those as my point of departure. Then I found an irish proverb stamp that I thought appropriate. Added some celtic design details and there it was.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Starting this blog was not only a lot of work for me but also an eye opener in more ways than one. While creating my profile I took the opportunity to look back at my twenty plus years of card making and was amazed to see the changes, both in styles and materials, that have taken place. When I started back in the late seventies/early eighties to make my own cards I relied on cutting up and re-assembling store bought cards (sort of early twentieth century recycling), because rubber stamps, stickers and die-cut machines had not been invented yet! Unfortunately there are no surviving examples of those really early cards (unless some long lost friend or family member has one stowed away somewhere).
At some point in the early eighties I decided to use my art background and start drawing/painting my own cards. It is also at this time that I created my personal signature image: the heart shaped nose Teddy Bear. Of course then I made only a few cards every year for a select group of friends and family and for only a couple of occasions. One of my early efforts was a multi-fold card that spelled out the word "LOVE" (see Valentine's Day 1986). Unfortunately only the first panel remains today faded and aged but the heart shaped nose Teddy Bear is still visible. The panels decreased in size (the "L" panel being the largest) and the hearts hid the letters when the card was closed. It was an ambitious project when done all individually by hand.
However, as my list of friends grew, so did the number of cards and I knew I needed a better way to do multiple of these. Photocopying them was not really an option, due to both the cost and the poor quality of paper available. In the mid nineties I discovered rubber stamps but after purchasing a few (at what seemed like a great cost back then) I realized that the designs available were limited. So one year I decided to have three of my designs using my signature Teddy Bear turned into rubber stamps at a local office supply store. I made one for birthdays, one for Christmas and of course one for Valentine's Day (see Valentine's Day 1999). These were a great success but after using them two years in a row friends commented about the already seen image. I soon realized that having to make new stamps each year was going to be a costly proposal. Then of course there was the storage of all these rubber stamps. What to do? So in 2000 I changed my media again and went back to recycling.
This time is was really recycling: anything and everything, from gift wrapping paper, to old ribbons to magazine images. It is also about this time that I found my first craft store and started amassing my now huge collection of supplies and tools. One of the first tools I bought was the Fiskars Deckle Edge scissor, which to this day remains one of my favorite. My cards started to take on a collage or layered look incorporating many different elements, which I always tried to tie in together through color (see Valentine's Day 2001). I also started to use stickers and envelope seals. These were easy to store and were relatively inexpensive, which really attracted me.
Over the years since I've learned to incorporate a variety of medias (sometimes all of them) in one card and now even create 3D cards (see Valentine's Day 2009). I hope you enjoy this little trip down Nostalgia Lane and at the look into my past as much as I did. Oh and in case you didn't get the idea ... Happy Valentine's Day to all.