Monthly Archives: February 2015

Masculine Card Designs

Thank You Card created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin' Up!

Thank You Card created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin’ Up!

A card making group I belong to had a challenge this month — give away two of your cards at random.  Easy enough, right?  Well, maybe not.  I decided that one of the mine would go to a contractor I’ve worked with in the past.  He was coming over to give me an estimate for some additional work on my condo.  I thought it would be nice to make a couple thank you cards for him to have on hand for clients or coworkers.

But when I sat down to design the cards, I found myself a little stumped.  These were different than most cards I make.  There were for a guy to possibly give to another guy.  That seemed to eliminated probably 90% of my card stock, punches and stamps!  OK, maybe I exaggerate slightly, but it definitely made me rethink my usual “go to” designs.

According to the Greeting Card Association, women purchase 80% of all greeting cards, and spend more time selecting the ones they do purchase than men do.  So it wouldn’t surprise me if similar numbers (or more) of women than men make cards and so logically the designs on those products are naturally geared towards a female audience.  Butterflies, flowers and bright colors seem to dominate the design landscape.  No wonder men stay away.

So what makes a “man’s card” and how does one make one?  The card at the top of this page is what I ended up giving to my contractor.   It was pure coincidence that Mary Fish, a spectacular Stampin’ Up! demonstrator whose blog I follow daily, posted today about masculine cards.  One of her tips for these designs is to keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to add a splash of color – pretty much the path I took when I added the medium blue accent to set off the browns.

How else can you add that extra “something” when ribbons, buttons, and (gasp) glitter are off the table?  First, try bold, not bright colors.  Pastels, though pretty, aren’t going to cut it.  Go with strong colors — red, blue, orange.  Second, find boldly patterned papers to add some interest.  In its 2015 Occasions catalog, Stampin’ Up! recognized the “man niche” with its Adventure Bound Designer Series Paper stack.  These designs, with some plaids as well as some photographic images of bricks, trees, logs and stones, give a wide variety to let your imagination soar while still coordinating with several of Stampin’ Up!’s card stocks.

Homemade "Designer Series Paper" using Stampin' Up!'s Gorgeous Grunge Stamp Set

Homemade “Designer Series Paper” using Stampin’ Up!’s Gorgeous Grunge Stamp Set

Or, make your own patterned paper.  This “Designer Series Paper” made with Stampin’ Up!’s Gorgeous Grunge stamp set, and several Stampin’ Up! inks — Cherry Cobbler, Chocolate Chip, Sahara Sand, Not Quite Navy (retired), and Pumpkin Pie on a piece of Whisper White card stock. I just randomly stamped, starting with the thin parallel line stamp, followed by the thick slanted line stamp, and finishing with the random spots stamp in two different colors.

As noted, I used Gorgeous Grunge for my paper, but Stampin’ Up! sells many sets that can be used to make your own paper.  These include, but are not limited to:

Stampin’ Up! Hand Carved background stamp (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Hardwood background stamp (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Positively Chevron background stamp (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Work of Art Stamp Set (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Geometrical Stamp Set (available in wood and clear mount)

Stampin’ Up! Eye-Catching Ikat Photopolymer Stamp Set

Here are two of the cards that I created with my paper:

Birthday Card Created by Certain Smiles, Images c. Stampin' Up!

Birthday Card Created by Certain Smiles, Images c. Stampin’ Up!

Thank You Card Created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin' Up!

Thank You Card Created by Certain Smiles. Images c. Stampin’ Up!

You’ll see I also used some textured embossing in the birthday card for some added interest as well.

So remember, when creating a card for a guy, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple, but add a splash of color or a striking design element.  Just be sure to leave the glitter at home.

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Some Thoughts on Valentine’s Day Cards

Oops!  I realized this morning as I walked through the drug store – and passed the blazing red Valentine card display – that this was a golden opportunity to post to my blog — and I’d almost totally forgotten about it!  Not like this isn’t one of the biggest card holidays of the year – with, according to the Greeting Card Association, 145 million “units” purchased annually.

But what to write about it? Suggestions for what to write in your card? Maybe some other time, when I haven’t forgotten the occasion and have more time to prepare — like next January…. In the meantime, there are loads of other sites out there that do that.  Just check Google.

No, that’s been done before.  So here are some random thoughts on Valentine’s, for what they are worth.

1.  Apparently the origins of St. Valentine’s Day are not well known and there are conflicting facts and theories about it.  But regardless of its origins, it is generally agreed that by the Middle Ages, February had become a month of romance and Valentine greetings were being exchanged.   Interestingly, according to, by the 1900s, printed cards became popular, in part, because they were “an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged.”  Now, on Twitter and Facebook, people just bare all!  I wish they’d just do it privately in a card….

2.  I think at some point the card, candy and jewelry industries hijacked Valentine’s Day.  I remember the few years after my dad passed away loathing commercials around Christmas time — no matter what product they were selling, they all promoting the themes of family and togetherness.  Intellectually, I knew the people in them were just actors, had no relationship to each other, and the snow was fake, but emotionally, they tugged at my heart – for the opportunities never to come and for the reality that never existed.  It’s the same way with Valentine’s Day.  Watch TV from mid-January through mid-February and you’re bombarded with reminders that she’ll love you forever for getting her that sparkly, pretty this or that to put on her ears, finger, wrist, or neck.  And that if you’re a woman who doesn’t have a guy to buy you that bling, well, suck it up sweetie, because everyone else but you has someone who will (or so society / Hollywood / advertising would lead you to believe).    If you want to read an incredible blog post by a very insightful and intelligent young woman along the lines of this subject, check out my niece’s blog, Within the Ivory Palace.

3.  Try as they might, Hallmark doesn’t always say it best.  I’ll admit it; I’m one of the lucky ones.  After many, many years of not having anyone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with, I am now blessed to have found a “special someone”.  I’ve already made a card for him.  He hates glitter, so it’s nothing too frilly, but I think it’s something he’ll like.   But when I was at the store I thought, well maybe I’ll just take a look and see if there is something here that I should get as well, something that just hits the nail on the head when it comes to describing our relationship.  Well, I stood there for at least 10 minutes picking up card after card (yes, even the ones with glitter).  Some had multiple paragraphs, about love and relationships, shared history, shared memories, not saying I love you enough, wishing to spend more time together, and more.  The whole gamut of emotions regarding romantic relationships printed up just waiting for a signature…. yet none of them fit.  Oh sure, some fit in part.  I’d think, yeah, that’s perfect, but then the next line would be totally not us.  I even walked away and then returned, thinking maybe I’d missed something.  But no, I hadn’t.   What I write in my card to him probably won’t be as flowery – or as long – it may simply be “Happy Valentine’s Day”.  I probably said more in the “Thank You” card I sent him card a few weeks ago where I thanked him for bringing out the best in me.   But whatever I say, it will be better than letting Hallmark do it for me.

4.  Some of the best Valentine’s I’ve ever received have been (a) unexpected, (b) from friends, and (c) from my cats.  Yes, my cats.  You see, Valentine’s Day is for celebrating love – of all sorts.  Not just the mushy romantic stuff forced down our throats by people trying to sell stuff because it’s one of their biggest revenue generators of the year (see point 2 above).  A card from a friend letting them know how much you value their friendship or a card to your parents or kids is just as important.  And yes, my mom does help out the cats with their cards to me — and because she captures their personalities so perfectly with what “they” write and has such a fun sense of humor about it, they are some of my most treasured cards from her/them.

So, as usual, my suggestion is to write from the heart.  Sure, go online and get some ideas as to what to say, but don’t let Hallmark or anyone else do all the talking for you.  And don’t let anyone tell you whether or not you can celebrate Valentine’s Day based on your relationship status.  Everyone has someone in their life (I hope!) worth celebrating a relationship with — a friend, coworker, sibling, parent, or romantic partner.  Even if you don’t do it in writing, or otherwise formally acknowledge it on Valentine’s Day, at least say a little prayer of thanks for that blessing in your life.

Everyone deserves a Valentine's Day card like this one.  Image c. Stampin' Up!

Everyone deserves a Valentine’s Day card like this one. Image c. Stampin’ Up!


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