Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cards for Charity

Happy New Year!
Hope you have had a great start to the year, as I have.  Having lots of fun with my family at the moment, and getting a lot of satisfying crafting work done too!

As a Demonstrator, I wind up with tonnes of card samples over the course of a year, as we make multiples of our designs and swap with each other as a faster way of getting lots of different cards for ourselves and our customers to be inspired by.  I make hundreds of samples each year myself to swap, so you can imagine how much cardstock comes into this house and then doesn't always leave...  I admit to having hoarding tendencies when it comes to card samples because I know how much love and effort and time goes into making each one!  But once the products used to make them retire, they're less useful for me.  In order to let them go, rather than tossing them in the recycling bin (I am too much of a "greenie" to throw them in the rubbish!), I've given some to my lovely customers in the past, but I still had a lot here to deal with as they are all too polite to take many! 

Most of the samples are just card fronts, so can't be used as cards just as they are.  The solution?  Turning them into full cards by mounting them onto card blanks, sometimes trimming layers to do it. Then I stamp the Stampin' Up! copyright stamp on the back (if you haven't heard of the Angel policy, it requires the copyright stamp to be added in order to sell our work) and individually bag the cards up with an envelope, all ready to go.  Here's the box of cards I'm sending off this week, it's going to one of my team who supplies cards to a hospice for them to sell.  Ever wondered what 160 cards looks like after you've finished putting them all together?

These will be on their way to Tee-Jay soon!  If you're in Wanganui, she's doing some fund raising for her son to do some volunteer work in Papua New Guinea in February - this is a great cause so check out her fun event details here:

This has been so satisfying for me, so although it's not exciting to look at, I just had to share!  I still have some more here to deal with, this is going to be an ongoing activity for me and I aim to keep on top of it more from now on.  I've previously donated cards for cancer patients at the hospital to use too, it's such a great feeling to make cards that others less fortunate than ourselves can use and brighten someone else's day.

Now that you've suffered through that blurb, here's something more like the "card candy" you've probably come here to see!  This is the "secret santa" gift I made to take to my team leader's Christmas Breakfast back in December.  Each of us takes a gift and we draw numbers and get to pick something.  Anyway, this is a chocolate vase - the chocolate is three blocks of chocolate hidden in the base!  I made it so that the recipient could get to the chocolate without destroying that gorgeous Cheerful Treat patterned paper vase.  Yes, I used that paper again...

I had lots of fun making the flowers and attaching them to skewers to insert between the chocolate blocks in the vase.  Lots of die cutting and punching here, I was in my element!  The leaves were die cut too, and the holes were just big enough for the skewers so I could move them up and down but they stayed put where I wanted them.  The brown shredded "dirt" in the vase was made by crimping some of the brown paper that Stampin' Up! put into our order boxes, and then cutting narrow strips of it.  I told you I was into recycling, right?

And finally, I thought I'd share a couple of pics of the "annual" gingerbread house that we made on Christmas Eve.  This is a newish family tradition that I've introduced so that my daughter has a special activity that she'll remember as part of our Christmas celebrations each year.  Last year I nearly killed myself baking the pieces for the gingerbread house, as the first recipe was disgusting with tonnes of molasses (yeech!) so I spent a bit of time trying to find a decent one and then triple baked it getting the pieces hard enough!  This year I was smart (or rather, I cheated) and bought a package of pre-baked pieces. 

The kit had a few broken pieces (hence the very visible "repairs" on the house!) but it was so much easier than making my own!  I still had to make the royal icing and get the decorations though, as those weren't part of the kit I bought.  No big deal - I have a great recipe for royal icing and had some Christmas themed jelly beans which just happen to be Miss 7's favourite lolly she says.  We also used a few silver cachous from my stash of cupcake decorating supplies and of course we used one of my many piping bags and nozzles... I'll share some more treats with you here soon, I promise!

This house is no more - it was quickly devoured after Christmas was over.  Forgive my lack of piping skills won't you - this is why I am a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator and not a pastry chef!

I hope the rest of 2012 is as fun as the last couple of weeks has been!