Visions of Christmas card creations danced in my head.

Last week, while driving from Ohio to Texas, I was feeling out of sorts.  Mostly because I had a really bad head cold and I had twisted my ankle one dark night.  There are times that I think I’d really like to get off the road forever and just create things.  The urge hit me with a vengeance last week while I suffered through some NyQuill induced hallucinations.

Being alone, for hours at a time, watching the white lines pass under my truck I get bored at times.  To relieve the boredom I get ideas.  This idea had me so excited that I fleshed it out for days.

Imagine this.  A box made from chipboard.  Sectioned off to hold A2 (4-1/4 x 5-1/2) Christmas cards and envelopes, 3″x3″ gift cards, and a final section to hold gift tags strung with ribbon.  I did the measuring in my head while driving.  The one part of my idea that I waffled on was creating “doors” to the box top that would open and display all of my beautiful creations, OR, a clear acetate lid that would be held on by ribbon so all of my awesomeness could be displayed for all to see.

I really got into this idea and it kept me occupied for several days.  I even thought about using pieces of left over gift wrap to adhere around and inside the box in a collage technique.

As I coughed my fool head off and blew my nose until I wondered if I had somehow turned into a snot factory all I thought of was creating that box.  In my delusions the cards and gift tags would just magically appear.

I am NOT a card maker.  I make attempts at making them but I am not happy with the things I make.  This Christmas card box had me stoked and so ready to get home and begin creating the cards and tags that would fill it.  There is where REALITY hit.  Hel-lo-o-o-o (you have to put the accent on the “lo-o-o” part and really drag it out lyrically).

Tools.  I have an abundance of tools.  Paper, ink, trimmers, templates, embossing folders, colored markers, spritzes from my personal brews, Distress Stain dauber thingys, and so much more.  With all the things I have making Christmas cards will be a snap!  Right?  Uhmm, no.

Rubber Stamps

Sizzix Simple Impressions

Embossing Folder

Inks, markers, punches, and other things

Okay, now is when things begin to fall apart and my dream of having Christmas cards and gift tags boxed beautifully begin a headlong rush down the river toward a steep waterfall.  Yikes!

First is my choice of paper.  Two (2) sheets of white 12″x12″ card stock and one (1) sheet of  8-1/2″x11″ gold vellum.

White card stock and gold vellum

Precisely cut to the dimensions listed on one of the card making instructions from my Club Scrap Card Making Deck.

Assembly Line card making from Club Scrap

Nice 😀  Yep, that went pretty well.  Although the gold vellum looks to be a poor choice right now but I can make this work 😀

That is UNTIL I put the Candle Simple Impressions folder on the paper upside down.  Drat and double drat.  Crapazoid!  I really should have done the embossing thing on a separate sheet of card stock.

Upside down embossed image

Okay.  I’ll just take the metal stencil out and trace around the image on the bottom left of the card front.  That will work.  😀

Remove the metal stencil from the folder

Trace the stencil

Color the flames and add glitter.  YES!  I’m on a roll now!

Add color and glitter

If you don’t look too closely you won’t see the upside down candle embossing at the top right of the card.  Crapazoid!  I seriously can’t do that.  Perfectionism leaves little room for spontaneity.

So, now what do I do?  Punch out the oopsy of course!  Stamp a Christmas greeting on the gold vellum and adhere it on the inside of the card.  Let’s make this trip to the waterfall even more adventurous by adding Krylon Gold paint to the circle then use a snowflake embossing folder to take up the screaming white space.  Yes, let’s just do that.

Next step is to really botch this job up.

Knowing full well that this was just plain unsightly I went to Joe with this card.  It was my hope that he would say “Now that is totally unique and I like it!”  Well….that didn’t happen and I then went crashing over the waterfall.  😦

Today is another day.  Let’s get in my room and do something totally different!

I want a window on the front of a card.  Peering into a home ready for Christmas.  I have a card with an adorable illustration by K. Lawrence for American Greetings I’ve had since about 2000.

Illustrator K. Lawrence for American Greetings

I have a Fiskar “Window Template” from about 2002.

Fiskar Window template

A “Texture Plate” of which I’m not sure if it is Fiskar or Sizzix.  Acquisition is unknown but I do believe it is about the same time – 2002 or 2003.

Texture plate

Trace around the window template and use a craft knife to cut out the pieces.  I don’t own one of those space ship doo dads with the blade that zooms around inside the template so I have to be careful I don’t tear the paper.  Spritz the paper with a bit of water before placing it on the texture template and running it through my Big Shot.

Texture plate, Big Shot, paper, and water

My friend, Maureen, told me about lightly spraying water on your paper before using the Texture Plate to get a better impression and it works great.

Great texture impression

Cut the image down to fit behind the “Window”.  I wanted to have a “glass” look.  Inspiration struck in the form of a sheet protector.  Cut the sheet protector to the size of the image and adhere it to the front of the image.

Cut the image to fit the "Window"

Sheet protectors from the office supply store

Cut the sheet protector to fit the image

You don’t need to have both pieces of the sheet protector on the image, just one side of it will do.

I’ve used Antique Lace Distress Ink over the textured “Window” and used Tea Dye Distress Ink on the outer edges of the “Window”.  The adhesive used to attach the sheet protector to the image is hidden behind the “Window”.  A piece of bright red raffia ribbon was wrapped around the image and attached using foam pop dot things.

The completed card front

Raised with foam pop dots

I have vindicated myself from yesterday’s fiasco.  I even got the “That is really cute!” approval from Joe.

Now, I have to give some thought into how many of these I want to make.  Realistically the box will not be made, the cards will be less time consuming, and quite frankly my NyQuill hallucination will have to put on the back burner for possibly next year.

I did get to spend some time in my room and used some tools and things I’ve had languishing away behind cupboard doors for many years.

If you want to tackle this type of a card….Joe suggested the illustration could be replaced by a photo of our grandson, Simon.  Do you have some photos of your children or grandchildren you would like to have featured in your Christmas cards this year?  How about this idea to make you go crazy and end up saying some not so kind things about me 😀

Enjoy your Friday and the upcoming weekend.



16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 12:57:36

    Oh, Leslie!! I do LOVE your commentary! lol What a wonderful post this is! Your finished window card is just fabulous! Cards are hard, aren’t they? I have just started being happy with my cards the last little while. I don’t remember ever having a struggle with a layout…but I found cards so very intimidating for some unknown reason! I did start looking at them more as a smaller layout than as a “card” and for some reason that seemed to help. I also find that working with a patterned paper helps a lot, even if it’s a small piece. Then you have the option of pulling out some of the colours or the theme for inspiration. I would have a hard time working with the white and the vellum, so big kudos to you on that one. Also, you obviously know the old craft adage…”There are no mistakes in crafting, just embellishment opportunities!”
    I have to give you HUGE thanks for all your WONDERFUL words of encouragement on my blog, my dear friend! I appreciate each one so very much; just as I appreciate you…always!
    Love and Prayers,
    Nancy 🙂


    • Message In A Fold
      Oct 19, 2012 @ 14:28:55

      Thank you, Nancy 😀 I can do scrapbook layouts and books with nary a problem. Put a blank card in front of me and my brain totally shuts down then runs away and hides on me. I’m all to familiar with the “intimidation” you speak of. How in the world can one piece of paper be so terrifying?!

      I really enjoy your blog. Seeing the things you create, the stuff that comes out of your pointy little head, totally amazes me! Each time I view your blog I think….”That looks like something I can do” and then I have to go back to work 😦 Oh well, some day.

      You and Tracy, another woman’s blog I follow, both do a lot of coloring of stamped and digital images. You two are bad. BAD I tell you! Each of you is dragging me, kicking and screaming, into thinking about coloring stamped images. I’ve resisted so far but I fear I won’t be resisting too much longer 😀 Right now, it is a good thing I have to go back to work 😀

      Thank you, so much, for being my friend all these years. I appreciate you very much. I consider you my “Sister who lives far away” 😀

      Love you – Leslie


  2. Tracy :)
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 17:26:40

    LOL, I think we channeled each other, lol.
    As I was driving for 8 hours to Winnipeg, I thought of a great gift to give of hand made cards put into a hand made box. Trying to stay awake, I came up with lots of creative ideas…but forgot most of them, lol.
    Oh ya, I had to listen to my oldest daughter blowing her nose most of the way there, poor thing sounds like a elephant…but it kept me awake, lol.
    Oh ya, I am planning on making my cards out of scraps.
    I will share it when (if) I get around to it 😉


    • Message In A Fold
      Oct 20, 2012 @ 06:19:29

      Doo do doo do doo do doo do. No, I’m not saying poop, I’m trying to imitate the Twilight Zone theme song. How cool is that! Both you and I think of creating a gift box of cards while we are driving.

      Man, I’m sorry to hear that your daughter may have been stricken with this stupid cold/flu thing. Hopefully it is just a weather change bit of sinusitis. I’ve been fighting mine for over 10 days and I think the end has finally come…not of me but of the cold 😉

      I have to ask… many Justin Bieber songs were joyfully sang in your Jeep on the way home after the concert? 😀 Do you now have one of them bouncing around in your head on a loop? 😀

      I’ll keep watch on your blog to see what you come up with for Christmas cards. Wait, maybe I won’t. You are sure to use your adorable stamps and color them in, thereby increasing my risk of joining the colored marker ranks. I’m still holding out but I think my grip is slipping 😀

      Love you – Leslie


      • Tracy :)
        Oct 20, 2012 @ 20:28:13

        Would you believe the girls slept the whole way back from Winnipeg. I was hoping they would keep me awake by chatting with me, but nope.
        I am keeping the cards very simple. I say simple, but really their not, as I picked a sketch that needs to be straight, lol.
        I have some of them posted 🙂

      • Message In A Fold
        Oct 21, 2012 @ 21:56:14

        Ooooh, I’m running right over to your site to see the cards you have created. I’m glad you girls all got safely home. Not easy staying awake on those long road trips, but I’m glad you did.

        Love you – Leslie

  3. gardenpinks
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 18:07:57

    Now I am scared silly by layouts and mini albums – actually mini albums don’t scare me they just frustrate the hell out of me because I haven’t a clue. I was recently in a swap where we swapped items to make up something – so each of us had to put together cardstock, patterned papers, stamped images, etc and tell the other person what to make well I shrivelled and died when I opened my envelope. I was to make a mini album with (to my mind) hideous paper, coloured cardstock I wouldn’t give house room to and stamped images that were from a freak show – all my own opinion you understand 🙂 I messed about with that stuff for some time feeling more and more frustrated and resentful that I was spending time doing something I disliked with product I hated! Finally I just glued bits onto bits and added charms and stuff, took a photo of it to prove I had made something and threw the lot into the bin 🙂 I then thought okay I’ll try again with this swap, I might get lucky this time….what arrived???? Another envelope of cardstock, hallowe’en papers, images, etc to make another mini album – I HATE HALLOWE’EN!!!!!!!! Shall I throw it all away now and claim ill health???
    I love the sound of your box filled with cards and gift tags….now that I could spend forever making 🙂
    I have made a box with an acetate cover, the box is divided into four sections and each section is filled with gift tags. No I don’t have photos because I didn’t get the sections evenly spaced but if you really insist on seeing it I will search the box out 🙂
    Love your Christmas card with the image – but why did you use a page protector and not a piece of thin acetate?? Whatever the reason it is gorgeous and don’t trash the other card because it would make lovely tags 🙂

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx


    • Message In A Fold
      Oct 20, 2012 @ 06:49:01

      Oh Lynn, the swap thing sounds like a great big Crapazoid :\ I’m sorry to hear that you were uninspired by the items sent to you, and to boot, you were artistically frustrated 😦 That is not good. I’ve wondered about swaps, and been a bit skittish to get in one. Not just because of my job, although that is the biggest part since I won’t be getting any work done on the pieces, but like you – receive a bunch of papers and things that would be more of a challenge to make something useful from the proffered items.

      I know you can make boxes. The one you made for your Jill’s wedding was stunning. To use your colloquialism I was “Gobsmacked” by that splendid box. That cute little box you made for me that one Christmas is safely tucked away in a cupboard. Each time I open the doors to get my glue or tape out I see it and I smile 🙂

      As to our question of why I didn’t use acetate for the faux glass…..the last time I shuffled my room around in an effort to get better organized I have forgotten where I put my stash 😦 I did know where the sheet protectors were 😀

      Thank you for your sweet comment on my card. The first one is about to enter the bin. The front piece anyway. I can still use the other part of the card – the back – on the embossing folder things to make sure I have no more upside down impressions 😀

      Love you – Leslie


  4. charmingliltrinkets
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 21:57:06

    Ya know, I don’t think the first card is THAT bad, especially for someone who’s not experienced/new to card-making. The second one, however, is gorgeous! I was thinking about doing some cards this year with a window.. I wonder if perhaps I’ll change my idea a bit to incorporate some of yours. Originally I was going to use vellum but the clear plastic looks great! Also, this.. “My friend, Maureen, told me about lightly spraying water on your paper before using the Texture Plate to get a better impression and it works great.” I love. I’m gonna try that next time I emboss.


    • Message In A Fold
      Oct 20, 2012 @ 07:00:29

      Thank you for your sweet comment on my cards. I appreciate you.

      Do use the light spritz of water on your paper before embossing. It really does raise the texture lumps and bumps. Once the paper dries, fully, it will accept the liquid applications of glitter spritzes so much better….and inks as well.

      I’ve been to your blog and I see that you are sick with this awful cold/flu thing. One word of caution….maybe it is already too late….sharing is nice, BUT, sharing this cold is not. Hope your boyfriend doesn’t succumb to it. The both of you would be moaning, coughing your heads off, sneezing until you are dizzy, and your trash cans will be full of used tissues. Get better sweetie. Soon you will be back to your well self.



      • charmingliltrinkets
        Oct 20, 2012 @ 23:23:44

        Awww, thank you! I’m feeling much better, and it seems that boyfriend did catch my bug, but his body didn’t react to it nearly as badly as mine did. We’re both doing much better and hope to be back to 100% ASAP =)

      • Message In A Fold
        Oct 21, 2012 @ 21:57:58

        Just to make sure, both of you keep your mouths to yourself 😀 Ya Right! I know but some forms of “sharing” are not really nice. Cold/flu yucky is one to keep to yourself…..or keep to himself 😉


  5. Linda
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 23:57:37

    Your window card is STUNNING and AWESOME! I love it!


  6. tina kuhlmann
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 01:45:39

    hi leslie
    another wonderful post…both ur cards are beautiful. i am like you cards scare me. thanks for visiting my blog and posting all the wonderful comments….the reason i don’t write a whole lot right now is i used to but 2 times now for some unknown reason everything will disappear. which for one makes me a little gun shy. and also i work 2 jobs and i’m doing layout a day. which really stretches me time wise. but soon i hope to get better. lol oh and i’m glad to hear ur much better..


    • Message In A Fold
      Oct 20, 2012 @ 07:21:00

      Hey there Tina. Thank you for your sweet comment on my card(s). I appreciate you.

      I’m happy you are not about to bang me over the head with the first hard implement you can get your hands on 😀 I really like your work and am totally thrilled I got to see what you do. How odd that your posts go off into the ozone somewhere when you write. I have such a hard time with Blogspot trying to leave comments. For some reason it doesn’t like me 😉

      Holy Cow! You work two jobs! Girlfriend, you are amazing! I am humbled by your strength and your stamina. I have to admit you have a stronger constitution than I have. Were I to be struck with your constant pain I’d be into “Drama Queen” mode all the time and would surely not be out working…only moaning and driving people away from me.

      Once again, I really love your work and am happy to see what you do. I’ll be back to see what you have recently posted. Keep going, you are on a roll now 😀

      Love you – Leslie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: