A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Note: my Privacy Policy can be found at a tab below and you can find my NBUS Challenge online. I hope you'll join in the fun there! Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

August 17, 2013

Card Party Makes and Rants in My Pants

Good Day!

I thought you might like to see the great makes from the card party I went to Thursday afternoon.  We are a mixture of long-time friends and new friends.  Some of us were invited to join an existing group and then we've brought our friends who've brought their friends.  Card makers are a singularly welcoming and generous community and whether one is new to the art or an old-timer, everyone walks away having learned something new and with cool new cards in their stash!
Rather than have one "teacher," we all brought a card and enough card kits for the other ladies to make and take.  In Alpha Betty order, please enjoy!

I made a simple classic embossed card with a ribbon treatment twist:
Gladys made this adorable ice cream card in ice cream colors ~ yummo!  The scoops of ice cream were made from the frosting part of a cupcake die and the cone is a simple triangle.
On the inside of Gladys's card, she added an embossed strip.  Cute and clever and something I've never thought to do before.
Harriet gave us all a great lesson in masking, both positive and negative.  As a lot of the ladies had never seen it done before, Harriet's presentation was the most magical.  In addition to masking and sponging, we overstamped our negative space, like this:

Kathy made this fab instruction sheet for us showing how to make one-dimensional bows from paper and punches!  It has the impact of a ribbon bow, but is much easier to mail.  I popped Kathy's and my finished bows on the page so  you could see how fantastic they look finished:

Nancy made this stunning card out of co'ordinations paper.  It has wonderful texture, looks great sanded ...
. . . and, since the paper is double-side, is cool on the inside: 
Nancy also made me these incredible butterflies I ordered.  Aren't they breathtaking?! 

Sara made this jaw-dropping card!  The flower is made from an ornament die!  Don't you think it would make an extraordinary package decoration?  In fact, Sara found the original idea (which was for a package topper) from Liz at Stamper's Bliss.
And there you have it, lots of card inspiration for you in one post-toasty!  If you'd like any of the specific details for any card, just let me know.
Speaking of mail, I have seen other rants about the postal service both here and abroad so I think it's a pretty universal issue.  Here we are, as card senders, singlehandedly trying to keep the postal service in business and they are making it very difficult!  The prices are bordering on extortion and the service is often discussting.
When I mail a card that might be squished, I place it in a small square padded envelope with thin cardboard on each side.  According to the online instructions, it is a "Large Envelope," it takes two stamps to mail it, and no customs form is required.  I have successfully mailed it, thus, to other states, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.  Last week I sent one off and it came back to me two days later saying it was $6.55 to mail, not $2.10, and it required a customs form.  Seven dollars to mail a card.  Sigh.  No explanation was attached.
Insert cussing.
The thing is, it's not just the cost or the need for the form, it's the lack of consistency that crawls up the back of my neck.  Just make up your mind and make it universal, city-upon-city and day-upon-day.  And for the love of God, please don't have one set of rules in your USPS online instructions and another set of rules in our local post office!  So I got my big girl panties out of the hamper and went to stand on line, hoping to find E. Lucy Dation.
When it was my turn, I calmly explained to the nice lady just what I told you above.  I looked deeply into her disinterested eyes and made my plea for explanation with lots of shrugging of my shoulders, cocking of my head, and splaying of my hands. 
She took the envelope.  She weighed it.  She measured it.  She weighed it again.  She thrust it through the Thickness Testing Slot.  It passed all those tests.  Then it was her turn to shrug.  She said, "Maybe all the others just slipped by without anyone noticing."
Really?  Are these the same people who are checking our packages carefully for poisonous powders and things that go boom?  Really?  A dozen times no one noticed before?  What day will I find Noone and Anyone working, so I can mail my Large Envelope on that day?
And then, before I could respond, she took my package containing my beautiful card and she kneaded it all the way around between her thumbs and her forefingers and then she tried to BEND.IT.COMPLETELY.IN.HALF. 
It makes me sweat just remembering.  I'm pretty sure I shrieked like a caught mouse and there may have been spittle.
Totally unfazed by my hysterical face she sternly said, "It's too stiff.  Now it's a 'Small Parcel.'  It costs more and needs a form."
Seriously?  This is what they do to our cards?  They bend them in half to determine if the exact same envelope is a "Large Envelope" or a "Small Parcel?!"  They bend them in half?!

Eye Yie Yie.  Having said all that, in the bigger picture, I know it's amazing that we get our mail to and from destinations with such speed and accuracy and I think carriers work extremely hard, so please don't hate on me for complaining.  This really did happen and it really is ridiculous.

So now you know what the deal is.  Don't be putting in extra cardboard if the padding of the envelope is enough.  Especially since they are going to bend the crap out of your card anyway.  That way you can send three limp "Large Envelopes" for the same price as one stiff "Small Parcel." 

Please know that if you send me a card, I will always appreciate the time and effort and money you spent to do so!  And if a piece of your card is loose in the envelope, I'll understand why!
Thank you for letting me rant.  Now let's all shake it off and go enjoy our day!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS*
As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower! 
*Life Is Too Short!  


Sue - said...

Love all the cards Darnell especially like your ribbon treatment, and what a good idea for your club. Think I might suggest it for ours although we might have to do it in two stages. Think postal services must be the same the world over!

Sammy said...

OMG! I'd have had a fit... All the hours of blood sweat and tears reduced to a pile of bent card and loose embellishments...

Ok, I'll stop hyperventilating now, lol.

On a happier note, I love the paper ribbon idea! Will definitely be using it!

Di said...

Wonderful cards and ideas here Darnell! I adore the way you used the ribbon on your, such a clever way to use the one sided 'schtuff' and end up with the pretty spotted side in pride of place.

I did laugh about the card posting tale, I know that was very naughty of me and it makes my blood boil too - but could just visualise you having the vapours as Miss Post Mistress tried to bend it in half! I think I'd have reached right under the little space in their glass screen and hauled it out of her destructive paws!

Happy Saturday, hugs, Di xx

Sue said...

Oh my goodness! No wonder you were annoyed, some people just have no idea at all about how precious our creations are.
I really enjoyed looking at all the makes from your card party. The design are wonderful and I have to say I love that bow made from punches
I hope you have a good weekend
Sue xx

roffeycreations said...

Oh Darnell rant away my love - I have had cards go completely missing and the "paying" recipients upset they didn't get what they wanted for their birthday gifts etc... I have evn had one card turn up 3 months after it was sent - who knows where it ended up - I am of course in Australia so it is the same everywhere... I always go into a PO and speak to someone when I send to try and eliminate these issues... oh the cards are fabulous and so many thanks to Kathy and yourself for sharing the Bow instruction sheet - when you see these things you slap yourself on the head and say of course!! Hugs Mxx

Jackie Rockwell said...

Wished I lived closer to you Darnell I would have LOVED to go to the Card Party. I've been trying to put together something like that in my area.

I'm so sorry that you had that terrible experience with the post office. I would have loved to be the fly on the wall when you were explaining the problem to customer service. You described it so well that I could actually visualize it. I agree it's getting too darn expensive to send cards. I hand deliver the layered cards and mail out flatter versions.

What a wonderful collection of cards and the butterflies are so pretty!

shirley-bee said...

I'd like to see the post office CCTV for that one!

Your card party is a great way to share ideas and techniques, and I bet it was a load of fun too!

Carol L said...

I'm with you on the inconsistency with mailing policies! I deal with 2 post offices and they each tell me a different version of why the costs are not equal for mailing cards. The attitudes of some clerks drive me right up the wall. My husband mailed a box for me a year ago (toys for the grands) and the clerk refused to accept his package until he declared exactly what was inside! What?!!

Craftychris said...

ooh wow what a wonderful array of makes! So much to see, a joy for the eyes! I agree with everything you said about the post - I am often found growling! Have a lovely weekend! xx

Claire said...

What fantastic ideas Darnell and beautiful cards. Especially love the masking one. Your rant made me have a good chuckle. I've been ranting about the US postal service myself in the last couple of weeks - I ordered some stamps from PTI and they wanted $44 dollars postage!! Such a shame - it's completely pricing us out of the market here in Australia!

Ustvarjalni utrinki Tamara P. said...

Love all
hugs Tamara

Diane said...

I am jealous, what a fun day you had, I want to come...lol!! A wonderful group of cards, I might have to dream up something like that here!! As for the PO, I can relate, I have had them "toss" a labeled "fragile" package and even drop it!! I used to work for the PO years ago in my MUCH younger years, and I HATED it...not so much the job as the people I worked with...ugh!! Anywho, I enjoyed your post!!

Diane said...

OH and just one more thing, I save those plastic things that the Sizzix embossing folders come in to mail thicker cards in...just wrap then in tissue paper, stick in, tape good and mail, they are very light weight!! And there is an online place that sells a similar thing, too, at a pretty good price!!

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

All of the cards are very beautiful and what a wonderful idea to bring and card & kits. What a fun day! I understand the frustration with the cost of postage these days. I deal with a small (Canadian) post office and the ladies are wonderful. They are also diligent in their job and they recognize me as the 'lady with thick envelopes' and nothing gets by them. I find it's most expensive mailing overseas, but I tell myself (in order to keep calm) that I'm sending a gift (if the person appreciates hand crafted cards). I could go on here, but will stop now:) Have a wonderful weekend, hope all is well :) Hugs, Shirleyx

Karen P said...

All beautiful cards - and what a fab idea to meet up and swap - keeps the creative juices flowing and constantly renews our love of this crafty malarky!

Wowser Darnell, I know I would not have been so calm and polite - it takes quite a lot for me to lose my temper these days, LITS. I would get onto that counter and thump the damn woman - I'd certainly be screaming like a banshee lol! Some peeps just have no idea and no blooming sense or brains - bl***y idiots and jobs worth Karen xx

cm said...

What a fabulous series of cards/projects you shared with us! Oh, to live closer - I'd invite myself in a nanosecond!! No card-making community in my town, except me, so I'll enjoy your 'group' virtually! The paper ribbons - cool+++ Your 'postal' story has my blood boiling too! Bending your card, not providing a reasonable answer - nonsense! I won't even discuss the prices for having things sent to Canada. Grrr...Anyway, another super awesome post!! Enjoy your Saturday!!

Tracey McNeely said...

I do not know where to start Miss Darnell! Ok ROFLMAO love your postal rant and I totally get it as the postal system in Canada is also FAR from perfect. I have to write in big letters on me envelopes and large sqishy envelope DO NOT BEND and still can't be sure that they don't!! On to the good stuff, your card party sounds like so much fun and what great card kits the recipients all prepared! I would love to come sometime, but afraid I personally would be folded in half in my envelope!!

Laurie Unger said...

Love the ribbon effect on that first card! Loved your rant!

jimlynn said...

Love the ribbon treatment on your card and you ladies did a fantastic job with all of these!!! Great ideas abound!
I hear you loud and clear on the postal system!!!

Redanne said...

Hi Darnell, I think you spoke out for most of us with your postal rant, I despair at the cost (and inconsistency of the postal service here too) of sending things nowadays but I guess they have well and truly 'got us'. I wish I had been there with you when you visited that woman..........I am saying no more!!

Love that you got so much from the ladies group, all the cards are beautiful and there were so many brilliant techniques. I have a blog friend visiting next week (we have not met IRL yet) and really looking forward to it. Enjoy what is left of your weekend. Hugs, Annie xx

Jacquie Southas said...

Love the turned back ribbon on your card Darnell - it is always fun to spend a day with other crafters that "get" our little obsession with paper & ink. I like our local post office, but there is still inconsistencies that drive me crazy. Last year I had a Christmas package the took 2 days to get to the "big" city nearest the destination (1000 miles from where it began). It had a nice big "received/city/date" stamped on it. It then took 3 weeks to make it a further 20 miles to the addressee?!

Lisa Elton said...

Your card party sounds like a good time Darnell and the cards are fabulous!

I know the post office is having a rough time of it, but seriously the service could stand to improve. A few of the workers at our post office are down right rude. And the delivery...UGH! I don't know if I could have contained myself when the lady tried to bend your work of art in half!

Carole said...

Card - party - how fun.....everyone learns. I hope you feel better after that rant...it's a good one and you got to shout it out. I know I feel better after I've shared a grievance, some times I'm even rewarded with a gift certificate, but the post office doesn't offer gift certificates and you don't get metals for complaining or killing bats. Go figure. I get a kick out of myself sometimes.Be well Hugs Carole

Inkyfingers said...

What a talented group of crafters attended your group Darnell and I love what you all came up with - especially those wonderful bows!
I could start ranting alongside you about the Post Office. I received a card through the door yesterday morning saying they had tried to deliver a letter that had insufficient postage and I had to go collect it it at the PO and pay a fee of £1 for my trouble along with the shortfall of 9pence. I went along and they could not find it - could I wait 20 minutes for another member of staff to finish his break? I waited, and waited and half an hour later he returned but also couldn't find it. He eventually remembered that he had sent it back out for delivery with no extra charge, so my journey was wasted. I returned home expecting it to have arrived but it is not here. Have they lost it do you think?? I know it contained a hefty cheque for our choir (I am Treasurer for my sins), so I now have to wait until Monday and go into battle with them again!!!!
See you started something - ranting is contagious.

Carol Cel said...

Wow -- forget all the Post office stuff and concentrate on the wonderful day with your friends! Looks like something I would love to do with my friends!

Hettie said...

Great idea to have a cardi party! Some great ideas to glean there too!
I am totally with you about the rants in your pants! I would love to know why they think they can sqwish and bend our cards - dont they think we would have done that if we could?
Huggies. Take a deep breath!

Canonbury creations said...

What a wonderful post Darnell (yours not the post office! ) I've bookmarked it for all the fab inspiration:) I love that bow, definitely going to use that idea and the ribbon on your card was lovely. What a traumatic postal experience! I hope you crossed her off your Xmas list!!
Val x

JD/ Jill said...

The cards are all so nicely done. Would love to have been there with you. I can't complain, I am fortunate that I have two wonderful crafting friends that I get together with to make cards on a weekly basis. We have shared so much. I count my blessings.

Now in regard to the post office...I am with you. I took a package in to the post office that I had carefully packed everything to look nice when it would be opened, and I had put some paper inside to protect it. But I don't think it meant much because when I turned to leave, I caught a glimpse of my package being tossed high in the air and thrown through a window like opening to another room with a big open box with other packages, I heard the thud as it hit the others. All I could do was groan.

More stories, but before my blood pressure gets high again...I'll stop...

On another note...I left you a response to your post on my blog...
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Unknown said...

Hi Dippy - this is a very quick comment as I'm on my way to bed before another hard day at the craft retreat tomorrow (oops, that should read today!). Love all the cards you and your friends made and love your looped ribbon treatment. Can fully concur with your rant - we have the same stupid situation over here. Anyway onto more pressing business.......I've been taking your name in vain this evening......guess who is one of our tutors on our weekend retreat......none other than Neet of Hickydorums - we've had a great chat about you when Neet said about WOYWW and I said oh do you know.......and on it went from there! Small world eh? Understand you will be entertaining a very small person soon......hehe


Karendipity xxx

Greta said...

Oh what a wonderfully fun time you all must have had! Love all the cards--so creative! As to the Post Office--I'm lucky to have very nice people at mine who are helpful. Of course, who knows what happens when my back is turned. As to price, though--1 of them explained that if you use a padded envelope, it's automatically considered a parcel. Now I don't use them--just cardboard. Every cracker & cereal box gets cut up to use.

alexandra s.m. said...

Hello Darnell,

Love all the cards and oh boy can I relate to your postal nightmare! I've had the exact same thing happen to me this past Monday! It cost me $9 to send a thick card!! pfff...I used to enjoy sending little goodies from the US to France or Canada but since the 40% increase in January, it's just impossible any more!..argh...

Thank You for expressing your frustration in such a fun way, it was very cathartic for me ;-)

Sue from Oregon said...

Wonderful creations and oh my..I bet you had steam coming out of your ears when you left the post office...OH MY

Sharon Underwood said...

Thanks for sharing such beautiful cards! I also love your "rant" about the p.o. and completely understand. Appreciate the tips!

Geri said...

Wow! What a whole lot of talented ladies creating in one work space! The air must have been charged with creative energy! Beautiful cards as a result!

I love your ribbon treatment! Seriously, this is such an amazing idea!!! Twisting the ribbon to show both sides adds so much interest....as does that sweet polka dot brad! Beautiful embossing - works perfectly with the mood of the card!

Now about your rant...I'm sure all of North America can relate. Now about our post office fella....I'm telling you, that one of these days I am going to rip his stinkin' little tape measure right out of his hands and fire it out the door! I can hear the "zip, zip" noise it makes as I type this! Then he looks up....grins....and tells me it needs more postage. Honestly, I think he works on commission!!!

Okay, worked myself into such a tither that I think I need a drink!

Robin said...

Hi Darnell! As for your "Makes", all I can say is you cardmakers are true artists and I admire the beauty and time you put into making something that would make the grumpiest of people shine with glee!!! IAll the cards are amazing! And then the card that was instuctions, too cool! It looks like such fun.

And as for "Rants"...oh I am right there with you! I do not understand the pricing of postage at all. I just sent a package, AKA Extra Large Padded envelope, to Canada which contained as much as I could put in it including a tote and a purse and that package cost less than the supplies I just ordered from San Francisco, California which is 3 HOURS away from me!!! Go figure! The news keeps saying that the postal service will be a thing of the past since no one is using it. I guess that explains the long lines I have to stand in to mail stuff off, right? Oh my, I guess your rant was my rant this week too! Hugs, Rasz

Sharron said...

Love your awesome CAS design! And TFS the others--lots of great tips. The bow technique is a fab idea! And feel free to rant all you want. I share your feelings! I can get totally different price quotes depending on the window that I happen to get when I go to the post office! I appreciate all the mail carriers do but cringe when our current one tries to cram my precious stamping mail down the drop box that opens into our house. I know it's a negative of an older house and I've thought of putting another one outside. Our former mailman always carefully put anything questionable inside the front storm door!!

Loll said...

Hi Dolly. What a special day of card making you had!!! The samples are all so beautiful and what fun to get together, laugh, makes cards and learn new techniques ... sounds like the perfect day to me.

BTW ... I think your card is THE perfect CAS card. Beautiful colors ... that turquoise (or Bermuda Bay) is GORGEOUS with all that beautiful white space. The texture from the embossing adds so much interest ... and the twisted ribbon and pop of red is more awesomeness!! :) LOVE IT!!

Sorry about your postal woes ... we've all been there. Good for you for not knocking over the clerk that bent your card in half ... I would have been squealing at that point. Canada post is the same and wants so much $$ for mailing, it's (almost) prohibitive. Lolly xx

Cathy said...

Looks like you had a fantastic and productive craft day, so many great ideas! TFS
My PO just started asking if what I was sending overseas was a greeting card, so we must have a cheaper rate for international greeting cards. It was in a normal C6 envelope though ( with thin card added to protect the front of the card). (I'm in Australia so don't know if they have that category else where) Cathy x

Kim Heggins said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time...looking forward to next time and pray that there will not be any conflicts...so many wonderful and fun cards. As far as your post office comments go, I am in complete agreement with you. I will never understand why they do what they do and we are on their side trying to create more mail for them too. Go figure.

Bonnie said...

Looks like you had a really fun party and so many pretty cards! Wish I was close by! Postage problems seem to be everywhere. There's one lady in our PO that will always charge the extra and one that will actually check and let it go for the cheaper stamp. Unfortunately the first is usually the one I get! I did find out that you can send any letter to a foreign country with the forever $1.10 (I think) stamp. It has the world on it. They told DH when I sent a thick card with him that all it needed was that stamp even though it was a bit thick. I didn't put cardboard in the envelope though, just some cut up padded envelope. Our biggest problem is a delivery person that can't seem to get the mail in the right box. And if I mail anything from our box, it takes forever to get there. It's very annoying to have home delivery and have to go to the PO to mail anything. Off my soapbox now!

MaryH said...

I wanna come to your party...I wanna I wanna! I loved each of these cards. Each one was so different in technique & beauty. You are hanging with some talented ladies (and they're in good company too!). Won't comment on each of their super cards, but will say how much I liked your white & turquoise offering. Had my fav dots EF, and I believe your top Emboss was a SU? I have something similar (NBUS). The color combo was so brisk & eye popping. Then I had to laugh at your ranting. I've had the same thing happen. Took the returned item to the P.O. and this clerk couldn't explain why it was returned. I had mailed another one..same card, same size, same envelope. One went fine. The one I really needed to reach the individual so that she didn't think I forgot her BD, was the returned one! And I won't even talk about international mail. I just take everything to the P.O. - ask them to chk & tell me the postage. Ain't cheap, but has helped my returned for postage rates. So aggravating...Thanks again for sharing some beautiful art & a fun (although really a sad!) story. I could just picture you...especially when there may have been spittal! Hugs

Anonymous said...

First off...love your turned and looped ribbon!
What a fun party to attend- and I love how crafters just bond so easily just like you said. What beautiful cards to share with us. thx.

Bobby said...

I don't know how I missed this post on it's day. I just came here from your recent post to see Nancy's butterflies and I'm glad I did. I know the postal situation is not really funny but your explanation is and I can't help but laugh. I didn't bother to read what anyone else had to say but I will say this - anytime you mail a square envelope it costs more money. I put cards in rectangular envelopes even if the card is square, and then just use thin cardboard on the side with the embellishment. It's worked for me so far. This dilemma is also the reason I keep my embellishments to a minimum.

BTW I think your card party girls did a great job. Wish I lived closer. ;)

maria f. said...

OK, I missed this one and was just going to say what a cool ribbon treatment you did (of course the red upon turquoise polka dots were awesome too) but now I'm laughing my head off cuz I too have postal employees like that. 'Cept they speak Deutsch. I swear to God I come out of there and my blood pressure is 350. But isn't the greater question... "three large limp or one small stiff" - which is better?
Sorry, I couldn't resist ;)