Sunday, 30 October 2016

Save Money on Christmas Cards

This year and every year going forward.

The holidays are coming and you can sense that your credit cards are taking a deep breath in expectation of all the debt that is going to be put on them. How do I know that the holidays are coming, the stores are starting to expand their Christmas products (that have been in store since August) out over the whole store. This is the time to start to plan your holidays, what gifts to buy and for whom, how many Christmas cards you will need and who you will be sending them too, checking the list twice to make sure you have not left anyone out. Time to put that year planner to use and mark of days that you will not be available as you have already agreed to go to a social gathering.

Let’s get one point straight, saving money on Christmas cards will not mean that you will be sending poor quality cards or that everyone will be getting the same card for the next twenty years but if you do find value cards at hundreds for pennies then I will show you haw you can use them letter on. Knowing how many Christmas cards you will need and for whom will mean that you are prepared when you come across an opportunity like a sale in a store. I know some people that got some or all of this year Christmas cards in the January sales (that would be me). So get that list written after you have finished this post so that you will be ready for the next opportunity you come across.

You may have missed the January sales but there will be other sales both on the internet and in the high street before the holidays, in fact it feels like not a week goes by without me getting an email telling me about a sale with 20%, 30%, 40% or 50% off. When I find cards that I like and want to buy I make a note of the product number in a file on my computer, I group them together under the site if found them on like Zazzle, Greeting cards Universe or Caf├ępress so that when I get notice that the site is having a sale I can go straight to the cards on the site, saving me both time and money.

Making your own Christmas cards can be fun and very enjoyable with the added advantage that the card will be uniquely yours and that the recipient will not be getting the same card from anyone else. You maybe thinking that you have no skill in making cards so yours will look terrible and cheap but with a little practice you can be producing wonderful cards that your friends and family will love.

Everyone has some skills that can be applied to card making, weather that be sewing, scrap booking, photography, calligraphy or even finger painting that you loved back in kinder garden. All of the skills used in card making are easy to learn but you do not need to learn all of them, just the one or two that you need to make the card you are working on at the moment.

So now I guess you are thinking “how are you going to save money after buying all the card making equipment and the materials you will waste learning the skills needed”. First off, do not buy any card making equipment, let me say that again DO NOT BUY ANY CARD MAKING EQUIPMENT not at first anyway because at the moment you do not know what you need. Make do with what you have around the house and as you make cards you will learn what you want from your tools, maybe you need bigger scissors or smaller scissors or it is not scissors you need at all but a craft knife. Rather than learning new skills using your card stock try honing your skills using plain printing paper, the cost of a ream of printing paper is less than one or two greeting cards and before you have gotten half way through the paper you will be confidant in many new skills that you can add straight to your card stock.

Not everyone is confident to make greeting cards starting from just an idea; some need a little help before they can believe that they can do it, so here are two methods to help you get started.

The first is kind of like a kit greeting card. When you buy a greeting card you like you down load a file or a PDF that has all of the key elements on and maybe some extra ones so that the PDF could be used to make a birthday card or a thank you card. If you make an error you can just reprint the PDF and start again or just use the element that you need. This bring us to the money saving aspect of this kind of greeting card, the PDF sits on your computer and if you need another card you print it out again, if you need 10, 20 or 100 you just keep printing out as many as you need. It does not stop there, as you get more adventurous you can start to mix and match different elements with different cads giving you more unique greeting cards. A good place to start is Digi Design Resort or at Crafts U Print as well as having many card templates they also have lots of tips and an active forum where you can ask questions, they also have a selection of free templates for you to down load and try to see if it is for you.

The last method is to alter cards to make them uniquely yours, remember them bargain cards you found. You can add as little or as much as you like after all the card did not cost much or was even free. From adding glitter to highlight a few elements to a complete makeover so that you can not recognize the original card. If you want to cover large areas of the card in glitter it is easer to paint on the glue and then sprinkle on the glitter but if you want to add glitter to smaller elements of the card like the trim on a Christmas tree you can buy glitter in different colours already mixed with glue and this method is like drawing with the glitter or like piping icing on a cake. I design greeting card on my computer and then print the image on to card blanks of different colours to get different effects One time I printed the image upside down, rather than throw the card away I cut in two and added it to one of my bargain cards (the right way round) with a strip of coloured paper on the spine of the card to make it look a bit like a book so that the only part of the bargain card my recipient would see was the inside massage. Altering bargain greeting cards can also be a great way to get your children involved to make personalized Christmas cards for their grandparents and friends.

If you have found this post useful then please share it or leave a comment or both. If you know of any other money saving tips or crafting sites leave a link in the comments so others can benefit. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Finding Wedding cards

Planning your wedding can be a stressful and frustrating, not lest time consuming. All that time spent finding a venue for the ceremony, meal and the evening event and will they meet the needs of the size of the wedding you are planning. Great you have ticked all the boxes including a location that all your guests can reach but hang on, what style of wedding are you having. Will it be formal, informal, or themed and will the location fit your needs.

This can be a challenge and I have not even mentioned what people will be dressed in or the flowers let alone the other little things like place cards, thank you cards, and invitations.

Finding the perfect Wedding cards can be hard, especially on your feet as you travel from store to store only to find the same type of cards. There is another way and one that your feet will love you for, the internet. Sure, you can go to the online versions of the stores you visited on the high street to see their full range that they did not have in the physical store but there are many stores that only exist on the internet and these are the ones that we will be looking at today.

POD or print on demand sites, these sites have hundreds of thousands of designs on file and only produce a product when someone buys one. This way they can offer you all the designs and not just the popular ones. Because the card designs are created by artists from around the world you get a lot of different styles and themes to chose from. On Greeting Card Universe below says “any greeting card imaginable, if you can’t find what you are looking for just ask”, you can post your request to the site and this will be sent out to every artist to invite them to fill your brief. Another way is to contact an artist whose style you like to see if they would create a wedding card for you or make changes to one of their cards to suite your needs and this can hold true for the other sites to.

Here are some of the POD sites that I like to use but there are many more to be found on the internet.

Another place to look for ideas is Pinterest where you can click through to buy a product. One of the problems of buying from the internet is that the colour you see on your computer may not be the same as the card in your hand. This is because not everyone’s computer monitor is set to the same specifications as the POD sites printers and each POD site can be different. For this reason it is easer to order one of each of the cards that you have narrowed down so that you are sure about the look and feel in your hand. One of the advantages of buying from a POD site is that they are not going to run out of the card you have chosen so you can wait till they have a sale on (they are always having sales) before you place your order.

Still not found that unique card for your special day, why not have a look at hand crafted cards. Many skilled artists on sites like Etsy and Folksy. Another option is to make your own, at sites like Crafts U Print you can buy a file that has all the key elements that you can print out over and over again to make as many cards as you need including you practice attempts. Still not found what you want, why not have a go at making your own cards. If you are not sure how to do this then the book below is a great place to start.

The Complete Practical Guide toCard-Making: 200 Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects with 1100 Photographs

Beautiful to receive as well as fun to make; here is a sparkling selection of fabulous card-making projects designed for maximum decorative and creative effect. There are cards for holidays and festivals, birthday celebrations, special anniversaries and red letter days, plus cards to express love, friendship, apology, sympathy and much more. The introduction outlines materials and equipment you will need and demonstrates over 50 papercraft techniques to help you achieve your desired design. Bursting with ideas and illustrated with 1100 practical photographs this book is a treasury of inspiration for every creative crafts enthusiast.

I hope that you have found this post useful, if so please leave a comment. If you know of any places to find great Wedding cards post the link in the comments to help other people find them