Greeting Card Stories: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

After my post about my greeting card plan for 2016 and 2017 I realized I should really start making more personalized greeting cards in my life. It’s been a long time since I’ve made handmade cards for anybody. Lucky for me, as per usual, I had a list of greeting cards ready to be made. This week I will be sharing with you the story of those six greeting cards, three at a time. Firsts comes the story of the thank you card, the thanks so much card, and the you go girl card.

The thank you card was for a friend who bought me tea. The thanks so much card was for a friend that let me stay at her house a few weekends ago. And the you go girl card was for a friend who moved to Chicago to try her hand at a new city.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

The first thing I do is always find a stamp, sticker, or piece of paper to base the card on. For the tea card I chose the gray, white, and coral wall paper sample that I’ve been holding onto for just the right person. For the staying at a friend’s house card I chose the mustard colored tree and birds patterned wall paper. And for the you go girl card I chose a You Go Girl sticker made by the lovely Sarah Moore (which clearly had to be put to super good use).

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

Next I chose some additional sheets of paper and colors to be used for each card.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

Then I cut them down to size.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

And aligned everything to see how it looked. This was approximately when I realized that the green polka dots on the You Go Girl card were not nearly as cute as I had hoped they were going to be. So I decided to add some small rectangular strips to the card instead that were the same color as the dots on the back of the paper.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

I started to piece them together and add some white dotted line embellishments. This was also approximately the time that the mustard yellow card needed to be trimmed down because it was no where near even.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

The hardest part is always adding words to the cards. You can see on the first card I tried writing what I wanted to say directly on the front of the call, but I decided that it looked silly being so tiny so I wrote it on a bigger sheet of paper and decided to cover it.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

Then I glued everything together and added the final touches.

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

The Story of 3 Greeting Cards: Thank You, Thanks So Much, and You Go Girl via Chrystina Noel

It felt really good to get the creative juices flowing again. It’s so interesting to be able to start with a completely blank slate. The sky is the limit. I can’t wait to keep creating and pushing the limits. Which one is your favorite?

Closing Down Shoppe

When I was little I used to tell people that I wanted to own a handmade greeting card shoppe. That’s right, s-h-o-p-p-e. And by little I mean through college.

I opened my online greeting card shoppe in October 2014. I sold postcards and calendars and handmade greeting cards in my online shop.

The Blog Connect Thank You Cards

The Blog Connect Thank You Cards: Step One

There were a few things that I learned very quickly:

  1. Making handmade greeting cards is not a scale-able thing. A card always takes 10 minutes to make. There are very few ways to make it more efficient. Which means that you can only make 6 an hour. Which means that if you want to bring in even $30k a year you’re going to be charging about $20 per greeting card once you factor in how much time you need for shipping and marketing.
  2. I don’t like having a stock of handmade greeting cards laying around. I don’t like that I worry about the glue holding up for months at a time when they’re sitting in plastic in a hot drawer in my house. I don’t like that I put a lot of time and effort into cards that might not ever actually sell.
  3. This one’s a doozie. And moderately hard to admit on the internet. I don’t really like making generic greeting cards for somebody to give to someone else. For friends who need cards for specific situations where I can completely customize the card and make it feel like my own, great. But in general, if I don’t feel connected to the person who is going to get the greeting card, it’s not really my jam.

The Blog Connect Thank You Cards

The Blog Connect Thank You Cards: Step Two

These three things don’t make for a very good business model. (Nor does constant travel for work, but that’s a different story.) There are a few positive things that I learned along the way:

  1. I do really like finding time in my day-to-day life to mass-produce greeting cards for friends.
  2. I like cards that say things that feel awkward to say out loud, for example “I think you’re cool” or “I really appreciate you”.
  3. I definitely have a style of card that I enjoy making. They’re usually rectangular (maybe with rounded corners) and have a pretty printed paper glued on top of a plain base with a message written on a popped up smaller sheet of paper.
  4. I learned that it’s not that hard to start a business. (It is however, hard to keep it going. You’ve got to be really passionate about it to see it work.)
  5. I learned that while I thought a handmade greeting card shoppe was my dream that it’s actually not, which now means I get to spend more time searching for the right thing.

With all of this information in mind, I’ve decided I will be closing down shoppe on July 5. If you’re interested in purchasing anything, use the card SHOPPE for 30% off of your order.

The Blog Connect Thank You Cards 03

The Blog Connect Thank You Cards: Step Three

Don’t worry, I’m going to continue to make handmade cards for people in my life. I just bought $100 worth of stamps that I can’t wait to use.

And I’m super excited to figure out the next adventure. I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna be good.

PS. Don’t worry, the blog’s not going anywhere. That would just be silly.

I think you’re cool.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 00

I’ve had the chance to meet some really awesome people over the past few months. In February I went to Thrive Blog Conference in Houston, TX and in March I went to The Lady Project Summit in Providence, RI. (Not only that, but I now have two more conferences booked for the year: The Yellow Conference in Los Angeles, CA and VenturePOP in New Orleans, LA – seriously can’t wait.) I wanted to make sure I got the chance to connect with the awesome ladies that I’ve met at these events after the fact and I finally found some time to make some handmade cards for the list of people that’s been sitting on my desk for two months…

The inspiration for these cards came from Carley at The Renegade Rulebook. She and I spoke on the blogging panel at The Lady Project Summit. After our panel was done, we both walked back to the main auditorium for the closing speeches and on the way back she said that she thought I was cool and would like to stay in touch.

How cool is that? Simple, direct, says what you mean, explains that you want to continue this relationship going forward without being awkward. We call that winning. Especially because I super duper have a tendency to get awkward when I’m not sure how to say something. I think she’s pretty cool too.

So when I decided to make handmade cards to sent to people that really inspired me along my adventures, I decided that was the way to go. A simple phrase on the front that says, “I think you’re cool”. I decided on the Ashbury Heights Decorative Paper Pad and got to work.

Here’s how it went down:

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 01

Lighter colored backgrounds to make sure that the paper designs popped.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 02

Paper lined up by base paper color.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 03

Rounding the corners to soften the tone.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 04

Slowly starting to piece them together.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 05

Writing the message 13 times.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 06

Sticking the foam squares to the back for some three-dimensional flare.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 07

Then you piece it all together.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 08

Write your name on the back.

I Think You're Cool, Handmade Greeting Cards by Chrystina Noel 09

And step back to admire your work.

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Tips for Making Handmade Christmas Cards

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps

This post was sponsored by Hero Arts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s that time of year again where I send handmade Christmas cards. This year I’ve changed the game a little bit though and split my holiday cards between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s to make it more manageable. I sent 30 Thanksgiving cards, I will be sending 80 Christmas cards, and finishing it up with 20 New Year’s cards.

People I see the most got Thanksgiving cards because understand why I needed to start early. People I work for and clients will get New Year’s cards because it takes away the “problem” with sending Christmas cards. Also, people that don’t celebrate Christmas ended up on either the Thanksgiving or New Years’ list (for the most part).

This year I paired with Hero Arts to make my handmade Christmas cards. They sent me three awesome holiday stamps to use in my Christmas card designs: Peace & Joy, Merry & Bright, and Season’s Greetings. I love the hand lettering feel they each have. This past weekend I spent 10 hours making all 80 cards (this includes writing in 24 of them). Here are my best tips if you’re crazy enough to hand-make your cards as well (which I highly encourage):

Make your list first

Make the list of people you want to send cards to before you start. This way you know exactly how many cards you need. That said, always add a few to the final number.

Browse your stash

Go through your craft supply stash to see what items you have a lot of that you’ve been meaning to use. I used this year’s cards as a chance to (a) use some patterned scrap paper that is filling my scrap bin, (b) use a small pad of paper I have that I never remember to use otherwise, and (c) use some of my excess of black paper I got from Texas Style Council.

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps

Think outside the box

Remember your cards don’t need to be red, green, white, gold, blue, and silver. There’s something whimsical about a purple, yellow, or orange Christmas card.

Get inspired

Browse Pinterest for inspiration (that’s what it’s there for). Here’s a link to my handmade card Pinterest Board if you need a place to start.

Only do each step once

Cut everything at the same time, fold everything at the same time, glue everything at the same time, stamp everything at the same time, and put your logo on the back at the same time. If you complete one card at a time you’re going to waste a heck of a lot of time.

Finish the envelopes before you start writing

Put the return address on, stamp them (this will hold you accountable to actually sending them), and write the recipient’s name on the envelope. When you write their name on the envelope, cross it off your list. Then place the envelopes with the finished cards. All that is left to do is write and address them – which means you can throw the stack in your bag to do during any random free time you have – or you can set up in front of the television and watch holiday movies.

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps

Deal with the addresses in bunches

I sat down Sunday night with my computer and my address book. I wrote the addresses I had on the finalized cards, and every time one came up that I didn’t have an address for I immediately emailed or texted the person. By the time I got through the 24 cards I already had some responses.

Here’s a look at how my Christmas Cards turned out –

Using the Hero Arts Season’s Greetings stamp was the easiest for me. It’s the perfect size. I thought I Was going to be able to just stick the gray rectangle onto the colored background, but when I did that it felt like the card was very dull. An extra pop of white between the gray and colored edges was just what it needed. That said, it was pretty time consuming to glue in the extra layer. (Specifically because I forgot a piece of my tape roller so it wasn’t quite as automatic as it should have been.) Also, I always like to add some kind of embellishment to the cards. In this instance I decided washi tape would be a fun change of texture. Plus, it was super easy, it already sticks.

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps

The Hero Art’s Peace & Joy stamp was a little bit more difficult for me to decide what to do with because it was so large. Pinterest helped out in this instance. I knew that I wanted to use the kraft brown paper, but it needed a pop of color. All over Pinterest people use stamps on printed paper, so I went back to my collection to see what else I had and found a stocking. I decided that would be the perfect addition to the Peace & Joy stamp. Then I attached the stocking to the card with foam squares to give it a bit of dimension (the embellishment on this card). When I was done I knew it needed a little detail so I added white dashes to the edges, which fit with the minimalist feel I was going for with the kraft paper. It didn’t take quite as long as I thought it was going to, which was cool. The longest part of this process was cutting out the stockings because my paper choice was pretty flimsy.

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps

Somehow the Hero Arts Merry & Bright stamp was the hardest for me to figure out how to use – probably because it’s not just words, it also has little stars as decoration, so you can’t add it to the middle of a larger sheet of paper because it would look misplaced. I waited 36 hours after designing the first two cards before I could figure out how to design these. I ended up deciding that since it was a square stamp it reminded me of Santa’s belt buckle. I used white ink & embossing glitter to add a little texture to the stamp on blue and red paper. When I attached the stamped paper with black border to the card itself, I used the foam squares as well to make it look more like a belt buckle.

Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps Chrystina Noel Handmade Christmas Cards with Hero Arts Stamps

And there you have it, my three Christmas Cards of the year. It only took one weekend day and gave me the chance to watch a lot of sitcoms (one of my favorite past times). I’ve written 24 cards, and the next set of 24 is currently traveling with me in my metal Phineas and Ferb lunchbox (proof or it didn’t happen) so that as I get free time this week I can write a few more each day.

Do you make your Christmas cards? Or maybe just for one special person? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below – mainly to know that I’m not the only crazy one out there. Because, you know, crazy likes company.