how do you keep track of your happy mail?

Kit Correspondence 1I thought I’d share a little something different on my blog today: how I keep track of all the cards & letters I send.  I love happy mail, and I send a LOT of it, especially since joining Chemo Angels.  While some are one-time deals, I do have long-term buddies that I write to at least once a week.  (I’m a Card Angel – working with Chemo Angels, they match me up to someone currently going through chemotherapy.  I keep their snail-mailbox full throughout their treatment.)

After a few years of sending to so many different people, it just isn’t possible for me to remember exactly what I sent, and to whom.  So I created a tracking system.  I know It sounds a little practical for something that comes from the heart, but who wants to receive 50 cards with similar designs, and the same words written on the inside?  Or 50 letters sharing the same two or three stories?  I can’t be the only card-maker who suffers from CRS (can’t remember… stuff).  And, if there are any other “OCD” card-makers out there, maybe my tracking system will be of interest.  Other Chemo Angels might find this useful, too.

After trying to create a thorough blog post about this, I decided that it was easier to explain in a video, so if you’re interested…

I have one big binder, with a tab for every one of my current buddies, as well as notes and lists for various “occasionally mail to” people.  KitCorrespondenceAnd I have another binder for keeping track of sentiments.

KitSentimentsBookIt’s hard to come up with little snippets, for inside cards, so I collect quotes.  Every time I find a quote I like, I write it down in this book.   (There’s a post-it at the front of this book, where I keep track of what number I’m on.  That way, I can be sure that every quote has a unique number.)  I have tabs for lots of different subjects, so I can organize the quotes by topic.  This really helps when I want to find a quote to match a particular card.  For instance, I have a page of quotes about butterflies, so if the card has a butterfly on it, the sentiment will fit the card.  And I’m not limited to one category.  One of the Irish Blessings quotes on the page below mentions a butterfly, so you’ll find the same quote, with the same “ID” number, on the page with butterflies, as well as this one.KitIrishBlessingsNow, I don’t think collecting quotes is all that unusual, but this next step might be.  I’ve created a chart, one that I print off for each new buddy, and I cross off the number every time I send them a quote.  KitSentimentsChartThat chart, along with various notes, goes in my big binder, under the tab for that particular buddy.  While it took a little bit of time to set up, it is SOOO much quicker to check off a square, then to write out the whole sentiment on a list, not to mention how I can see what I’ve already used at a glance.

In addition to the sentiments, though, I also wanted to track card designs.  I try to make as many of my cards as possible “unique”, but there are certain designs I like to go back to, especially for all those “one-time” cards.  Originally, I didn’t want to share this – I’m not a big fan of my own drawing – but it could be helpful to see.  I created a template with a pencil and ruler, I scanned it, and I printed a bunch of copies.  Each page has three blank “cards”, and room to write out details.  I have separate sheets for “landscape”, and “portrait”.  Just like the sentiments, I draw out each card design, and I assign it a letter.KitCardDesignsNow don’t laugh.  I’m not trying to draw a perfect image – just enough to remind me of the design.  And, of course, I then generate a chart for each person, crossing off the designs I have sent them.  (This is a blank copy, waiting for a new buddy.  I use different colors just to help me keep people straight.)KitCardDesignsChartI’ve been using this system now for a few years, and it’s working beautifully.  But I am always looking for ways to improve it.  So, how do you keep track of the cards you send?  Or do you not worry about it?  Am I crazy for being this organized?  (Okay, that last question was rhetorical.)  🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a super awesome day!

Here are links to a few of the items you see above, and in the video.  (Some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will be used to keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!)

so sad…

KitSizzixRIPWell, I’m afraid it’s been a bit of a challenging week for this card-maker.  After a good, long life, I’m afraid my Sizzix Vintaj Big Kick has finally gone to that big craft-room in the sky.  My wonderfully talented hubby did everything he could to save her, performed a bit of surgery and bandaged her back up, but he said it was no use… I have, quite literally, worn her out.

I can’t even begin to count the number of shapes I have cut and embossed with this baby.  I pushed her to her limits… and apparently beyond them.  Truly, it’s my own fault.  I use a lot of those wafer-thin dies, some with very elaborate designs.  Those are hard on a Sizzix.  If I couldn’t get the machine to cut all the way through, I’d add a piece of cardstock for a shim… and maybe a second piece of cardstock… and a third.  I know, I know.  It was cruel, and I should have known better.  Hubby says he’s stunned that I managed to do this much damage.  I literally wore down the ball bearings.

Money’s a bit tight right now, so I may have to learn how to make cards again without a die-cutter.  It’s going to be a bit of a challenge – I’ve been spoiled.  Someday, though, I’m going to have to find a new one – I have too many dies and embossing folders not to.  I loved my Big Kick (literally loved her to death), but I’m willing to consider other options.  Any suggestions?

May all of your crafty tools live a good, long life.  Thanks for stopping by!

(Please note:  the above post is all very tongue-in-cheek.  I loved my die-cutter, but this is not a crisis, and it will NOT in any way slow down my mission to save the world through snail-mail.  Hugs!)

more coloring book cards

Kit-card 5-14-16Hi!  Sorry I’m late.  I have gotten a little behind on posting here… temporarily lost my focus.  But I’m back, and more eager than ever to card my little heart out!

Once again, I’m turning pages from adult coloring books into cards.  This time, though, I did a little slicing and dicing, to shake things up.  I’m showcasing three cards here, all from one coloring page, but I still have enough scraps left to make at least one – possibly two – more cards.

The above card was my third go-around, but my favorite of the bunch.  But I’ll start my post at the beginning… or almost the beginning.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, so I didn’t think to take a picture of the full coloring page until after I had cut a piece out.  But you can get a pretty good idea from this:

Kit-ColoringPage 5-14-16I colored it with my favorite Prismacolor pencils.  I did add a tiny bit of detail, here and there, with white and black gel pens, but no fancy-schmancy blending techniques or anything.  Any shading was just done with different amounts of pressure from the pencils.  This is the actual book page, just carefully ripped out from the book.  It’s my goal to make use of every page I have, so that when I’m done, I’ll just have an empty cover to recycle.  There’s nothing wrong with coloring as a creative outlet, a way to relax, a form of therapy… but if I can do something positive with it, all the better.  (You know – all part of my plan to save the world through happy mail.)  🙂

Another benefit?  If you’re crafting on a budget, you can get a whole bunch of different “images” for about the price of one stamp set – and you don’t even need the white paper or ink!  (See below for the book I used – but be sure to shop around.  There are TONS of these coloring books available right now.)

The first card I made uses a triple-layer technique that I have seen done with stamped images.  Well, a coloring book page really isn’t all that different, is it?  I started out with some rectangle dies, and cut a single image into three pieces.  I matted each piece before adhering them to the card base with foam adhesive.  The sentiment was stamped and heat-embossed.

Kit-Card3 5-14-16I didn’t have enough matching rectangle dies to do the image pieces and the mats, so I just matted them with a ruler and craft knife.  They didn’t come out quite as perfect as I would have like, though, so I decided to try this again with square dies (because I have a whole bunch of them). I decided on the size I wanted for the overall image, and then moved the die around a bit, to try and find the best center-point for my focal image.

Kit-CardPred 5-14-16I ran this through my Sizzix, and then decided on how big to make the middle piece.  I chose the appropriate die, and carefully centered it on that first piece I had cut.  I used a bit of “slightly sticky” tape, to hold the die in place – I didn’t want it to shift.  (I used micro-pore tape, which is pretty forgiving, but I stuck it on my hand a few times to remove even more sticky.  Being that I wanted to use it on a colored image, I wanted to be sure that it wouldn’t peel off any of the color.  As long as you remove it carefully, there’s no damage.)Kit-CardPrep2 5-14-16After that was cut, I repeated the process one more time, cutting an even smaller square out of the very center of the “medium-sized” square.  I then cut out mats from black cardstock, using the dies that were just one size larger than each square.   I glued the colored pieces to the mats, and adhered all three layers to the card with foam adhesive.  I wanted to see if using black would make the image “pop” better.  I’m still on the fence about which of these first two cards I like best.  This one I finished off with a die-cut “hello”, cut from black foam, and covered with Black Diamond Stickles.  Kit-Card2 5-14-16

I’m also carrying a bit of the coloring page design onto the inside of the cards.  For the first one, I added some small, die-cut hearts:

Kit-CardInside 5-14-16

While I like the triple-layered cards, I wanted to see just how many ways I could use the same coloring page.  So for my third card, I die-cut six “postage stamp” squares from some teal cardstock, and then cut six slightly smaller squares from the coloring book page.  After some experimenting, I decided to just use five of them, leaving room on the sixth square for the sentiment.  I used foam adhesive to adhere the six squares to some Swiss-dot-embossed white cardstock, and added a bit of black Baker’s Twine.

Kit-card 5-14-16I love how “abstract” that third card looks.  It really shows the versatility of using coloring book images to make cards.  You don’t have to have that “perfect image” page, to make a cool card – nearly any coloring book page can be used.  If the image has too many large, empty spaces, try adding some stripes or polka dots.  Embellish it! There’s really no limit to what you can do with them.  So what are you doing with your finished coloring books?  Are there any other techniques or designs that you’d like to see me try with mine?  I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by, and to paraphrase my favorite little blue fish (you Disney fans know who I mean), Just Keep Coloring!

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will be used to keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and

happy mother’s day!

Kit-Mother's Day 2016It wasn’t my destiny to have kids of my own, but I have a huge respect for those who do.  Being a parent is the most important job you can do – you’re raising the future of our planet!  And being a mom is a lot of work.  Thank you to all of the wonderful mothers out there, and thanks Mom!

My mother is probably looking at this card today and thinking “Okay, who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?”  You see, I’ve had a life-long challenge with the color green.  But I’ve gotten much better with age.  No, I don’t actually have any green clothes… or furniture… or home decor… but I DO have green paper, and I’m not afraid to use it.  🙂

For the record, I swear these different shades of green work together much better in real life, than my ancient camera would have you believe.  And why green?  Well, it actually started with that pretty little label.  Before I said good-bye to my color printer (I now just have a monochrome laser printer), I wanted to use up every last bit of ink I had.  And while searching for things to print, I came across these designs created specifically for the Real Estate Sign Punch by EK Success.  Isn’t this just lovely, with the delicate little butterflies?  I just had to use it.

I actually meant to add other colors, but it just didn’t happen.  I used my Gorgeous Grunge stamp set for the background – yes, I’m wearing that poor set out.  I used a couple shades of green ink, and also some green embossing powder (from Stampendous, but I’m afraid I can’t find a source for it now).  I added two larger hearts, popped up with foam – one cut from green glitter paper, and the other stamped with a sheet music background.  I also added three tiny hearts, covered with that green embossing powder, and I also heat-embossed the layered panel under the punched sentiment.

It’s not my most amazing or elaborate card, but it was made with lots of love ♥♥♥

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will be used to keep this blog going.  Thanks!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and