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Unread 09-17-2015, 01:13 PM   #1
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Default Why is A2 considered 'standard' card size?

Hello everyone! I have a quick question. I didn't quite know where to post this, so forgive me if I've done it in the wrong place. I'd like as many answers/opinions on this as you wish to share: Why is the A2 card size considered 'standard'?

When I look at store-bought cards, most of them seem (to me) to be bigger than A2. So is A2 just the standard for hand-made cards? When I first got in to cardmaking (not long ago) I was kind of shocked that A2 was considered standard, as they look like little invitation sized cards.

I know one can make cards in any size they please, but I'm just curious as to how A2 became the standard. Thanks!
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Unread 09-17-2015, 03:52 PM   #2
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I think because it's the half of the standard size bit of paper/cardstock that you buy.

edit to add ... when I say half the size .. I mean that you fold the half piece to get the card .. if that makes any sense at all lol
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Unread 09-17-2015, 04:48 PM   #3
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I think A2 is the size made by a lot of cardmakers, because you can get 2 cards from one piece of 8-1/2 x 11 cardstock, cut in half lengthwise, and folded. If you make 5 x 7 you can only make one card from one piece of cardstock.

Also, the envelopes to fit the A2 size card are easily found at a lot of office supply stores and are pretty inexpensive. They also call this size envelope "Invitation Size."

I mostly make A2 size for the economy factor, and because I can buy boxes of envelopes for that size pretty cheaply.

I sometimes make a larger card, like 5 x 7, for my grandchildren for their birthdays, but mostly I make the A2 size.

Also, I do a lot of layering and make multiple cards, and you can get 4 card fronts, 4-1/4 x 5-1/2 from one piece of cardstock with no waste or leftover scraps.
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Unread 09-17-2015, 04:56 PM   #4
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I'm old, so I remember when "store bought" cards were a full sheet folded in quarters. Many years ago I had a card creator software program that printed on a full sheet & then you folded in quarters.
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Unread 09-17-2015, 05:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamvics View Post
I'm old, so I remember when "store bought" cards were a full sheet folded in quarters. Many years ago I had a card creator software program that printed on a full sheet & then you folded in quarters.
Thanks for the memory, Vic. I am old, too.
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Unread 09-17-2015, 05:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buggainok View Post
Thanks for the memory, Vic. I am old, too.
If you ever come across vintage cards at flea markets & antique shops most of the are like that.
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Unread 09-17-2015, 07:30 PM   #7
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It might not be the typical size of single greeting cards, but I think it's the typical size for boxed cards (like from hallmark) that you would use for general correspondence.
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Unread 09-17-2015, 08:06 PM   #8
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Growing up, A2 was the size of thank you notes, party invitations and notecards. Greeting cards were always Hallmark size (5x7-ish) because everybody bought them at the store!

I like getting the rationale for why this became a homemade card standard size — I always wondered. I posted a little confession a while back that I really don't like A2 Not enough room to work! When I make a homemade card, it's usually 5 x 7, but lately I'm loving 4.5 x 6, too.

Last edited by poppydarling; 09-17-2015 at 08:09 PM..
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Unread 09-17-2015, 09:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydarling View Post
Growing up, A2 was the size of thank you notes, party invitations and notecards. Greeting cards were always Hallmark size (5x7-ish) because everybody bought them at the store!

I like getting the rationale for why this became a homemade card standard size — I always wondered. I posted a little confession a while back that I really don't like A2 Not enough room to work! When I make a homemade card, it's usually 5 x 7, but lately I'm loving 4.5 x 6, too.
When I first started making cards quite a few years ago, I was like you, and felt like the A2 size was too small, and was making 5 x 7's. Then as I got more and more into cardmaking, I fell into the syndrome common to some papercrafters - "I can't bear to waste this leftover paper."

My solution was to switch to A2 and get two cards from one piece of cardstock and have nothing left over! My brain adapted to the smaller size, and I have no trouble with quickly coming up with a layout for the A2. Now, I have trouble "filling up" a 5 x 7 when I make them for a special occasion, like my grandkids' birthdays.
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Unread 09-18-2015, 06:34 AM   #10
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I am so glad that you asked this question, BohemianBelle. For years I've wondered the same thing.

It does not surprise me that A-2 became "standard" due to the ability to get two card bases from a single piece of cardstock, without any waste. The cheap side of me appreciates that. But there is also a side of me that worries people will automatically assume I'm being cheap if I give them a tiny card instead of the traditional size they are used to buying from Hallmark.

I don't have many reasons to make cards or people to give them to (another reason why I LOVE the Hope You Can Cling To challenge!) When I do make my parents or kids a card, it's usually 5x7. But most stamps are tiny, made for small cards and look funny on a 5x7 unless they are matted a few times.
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Unread 09-18-2015, 09:07 AM   #11
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I'm like Poppydarling and need the extra space the 5x7 provides. I use the strips from cutting the paper down to size for sentiment panels or banners and bookmarks. And yes, I have a huge stash of them = ) I've also used them to create mitered frames for images.
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Unread 09-19-2015, 12:05 PM   #12
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There's a part of me that is kind of getting tired of A2 but there's a bigger part of me that really dislikes trying to fill the space on a 5X7 and still have all the bits be in proportion to each other. The perfect size to me would be a 4 1/2"x6" card which would require a 9x12" piece of card stock to make 2 cards. 9x12 is the same size most construction paper is. I obviously don't want to make cards with construction paper though
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Unread 09-19-2015, 01:55 PM   #13
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As others have said, the fact that cardstock is sold in letter-size (8 1/2 x 11) is absolutely the reason. I used to sort of chuckle when I started seeing people refer to "standard size A2 cards" because to my mind, there was nothing standard about it! It just happened to be the size crafters like because of the 2-bases-from-one-sheet factor.

I agree that most conventional store-bought cards (at least since the 70's or so) are not A2 size, they're more likely A6 or A7. I've gotten used to the A2 size because of getting into cardmaking, but to the average civilian non-crafter it does look, let's say, like a "specialty" size, or invitation/notecard (i.e., not *greeting card*) size.

Not that there's anything wrong with anybody's preference -- just giving my take on where this has come from and how it looks to the average viewer.
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Unread 09-19-2015, 05:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaddict View Post
The perfect size to me would be a 4 1/2"x6" card which would require a 9x12" piece of card stock to make 2 cards. 9x12 is the same size most construction paper is. I obviously don't want to make cards with construction paper though
That's the size I've been making lately – love it. The heck with the scraps. They go right into the recycle bin ::rebel::
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Unread 09-20-2015, 12:13 PM   #15
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What size envelopes do you use for 4 1/2 x 6" cards? I size my card bases according to the size of the image. I frequently make 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 square cards that fits into a A-2 envelope. I also make 3.5 x 5" cards that use a reply envelope. Both sizes are very well received by my friends and family. So, now a "regular A-2" looks very large to me. Have a great day..Bobbi
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Unread 09-20-2015, 12:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mheartm View Post
What size envelopes do you use for 4 1/2 x 6" cards? I size my card bases according to the size of the image. I frequently make 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 square cards that fits into a A-2 envelope. I also make 3.5 x 5" cards that use a reply envelope. Both sizes are very well received by my friends and family. So, now a "regular A-2" looks very large to me. Have a great day..Bobbi
Here's a link to Staples for A6 envelopes, 4-3/4 x 6-1/2, which would probably work for 4-1/2 x 6 cards:

LUX® 24lbs. 4 3/4" x 6 1/2" Square Flap Envelopes W/Glue, Bright White, 250/BX | Staples®
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Unread 09-21-2015, 01:50 PM   #17
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I love the A6 envelopes I've been buying at my local paper store - they still fit the A2 cards, and accommodate extra inserts, the occasional longer card, or 'bumps'.
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Unread 09-23-2015, 04:35 AM   #18
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my most made cards are either UK a6 (4 1/8" x 5 3/4") or 5 3/4" square. luckily here in the uk we don't get penalized for posting square cards.
alternatively, why don't you just fold a sheet of letter sized card in half. that way there's no waste!!!
just because Hallmark make cards in certain sizes doesn't mean you have to maek them the same.
and if someone thinks you're being 'cheap' by making them a smaller handmade card then they don't deserve to receive any cards whatsoever imho!!!
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Unread 09-23-2015, 04:36 AM   #19
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When I first started out a couple years back, I was making larger cards too. Then I noticed all the samples at my LSS were A2 and I asked about it. I thought it was just b/c they were sample cards. They also taught classes with that size.

I felt like theirs were "fuller" in coverage/image, etc.

I got the same answer as above about paper size-both about postcards and cutting 8 1/2 x 11, but also that many stamps fit the A2 size better in scale. The most common biggest wood stamps fit the A2 for example.

But they also said it is a personal thing-people can make any size they want to. Which of course is totally true
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Unread 09-23-2015, 10:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamvics View Post
If you ever come across vintage cards at flea markets & antique shops most of the are like that.
I remember them well. I own several I can't part with from my grandma and godmother. There are close to 50 years old and I keep them away from sunlight and other elements.

I cherish everything vintage, it also says I'm old 😘
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Unread 09-23-2015, 11:02 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa59 View Post
But most stamps are tiny, made for small cards and look funny on a 5x7 unless they are matted a few times.
Really agree with this comment. There are so many stamp lines that design for tiny, KISS cards, single layer cards - the stamps are not big enough for a 5x7 card. I have some stamps by popular designers that look puny even on an A2 card also. It requires me to become so much better at matting, or using all the stamps on the set to create a multi-matted theme on a 5x7 card. For this reason, I tend to stick with Hero, Indigoblu, IOstamps.com, Justrite, etc. I am very careful to get the size of the image now before I buy.
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Unread 09-23-2015, 12:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet1000 View Post
Really agree with this comment. There are so many stamp lines that design for tiny, KISS cards, single layer cards - the stamps are not big enough for a 5x7 card. I have some stamps by popular designers that look puny even on an A2 card also. It requires me to become so much better at matting, or using all the stamps on the set to create a multi-matted theme on a 5x7 card. For this reason, I tend to stick with Hero, Indigoblu, IOstamps.com, Justrite, etc. I am very careful to get the size of the image now before I buy.
I finally caught on to this, and it has saved me so much money! No matter how pretty, I bypass most designs proportioned for A2 sized cards. Easier to shop
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Unread 09-23-2015, 01:23 PM   #23
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Default A2 ???

What does the 'A' stand for and what does the '2' stand for?
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Unread 09-23-2015, 02:04 PM   #24
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I make my cards a size that works for the design. I have a lot of larger stamps that don't work on the A2 size. So I tend to make my cards 4 1/4 x 6 1/2. I just use an over-sized envelope for them. They are handmade and I've never had a person complain about the envelope size not matching the card perfectly. And if they have a problem with it then I don't need to waste the time making them a card. I rarely make the A2 size because they are too small a canvas for me.
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Unread 09-23-2015, 03:40 PM   #25
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The frugal crafter ,Lindsay Weirich, tells us you can make any size envelope. Just measure the card diagnonally add one inch to the measurement and then cut a square paper of that size. Fold the corners in, leaving a pinch of extra space, and you're done! The envelopes start at 11:25 on the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg4dPSjSpeE
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Unread 09-23-2015, 04:39 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerlily55 View Post
The frugal crafter ,Lindsay Weirich, tells us you can make any size envelope. Just measure the card diagnonally add one inch to the measurement and then cut a square paper of that size. Fold the corners in, leaving a pinch of extra space, and you're done! The envelopes start at 11:25 on the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg4dPSjSpeE
Thanks for posting this. So simple of a concept... so glad I just bought the envelope punch board LOL.
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Unread 09-24-2015, 08:09 AM   #27
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My favorite is the square card but I hate paying the extra postage
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Unread 09-24-2015, 09:32 AM   #28
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Quote:
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My favorite is the square card but I hate paying the extra postage
I never understood why they charge extra for a square letter. It runs through the machines the same way as the other sizes. Indiscriminate revenue generator?
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Unread 09-24-2015, 10:05 AM   #29
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Quote:
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My favorite is the square card but I hate paying the extra postage
Some people who like square cards just use a rectangular envelope for their square card and avoid the surcharge that way.

Find a size so that the shortest edge of the envelope fits your square, ie. 5 x 5 will fit in a 5 x 7 envie.
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Unread 09-24-2015, 11:36 AM   #30
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Quote:
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I never understood why they charge extra for a square letter. It runs through the machines the same way as the other sizes. Indiscriminate revenue generator?
I'm not a postal employee, so I don't really know...but maybe because a square envelope could go through the machine 4 different ways, and it would be harder to cancel the stamp? It probably is more efficient to just have to line up a rectangle for the machine.
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Unread 09-24-2015, 12:02 PM   #31
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I was looking at Cat's Pajama web site. I love those stamps. They are so cute. But the whole set of stamps fits on 4x4 inches or less. They are tiny stamps.

My cards are usually 6.5x5 inches - so I'm starting to look at digital stamps so I can resize the images to fit my card or my design.
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Unread 09-24-2015, 12:14 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet1000 View Post
Really agree with this comment. There are so many stamp lines that design for tiny, KISS cards, single layer cards - the stamps are not big enough for a 5x7 card. I have some stamps by popular designers that look puny even on an A2 card also. It requires me to become so much better at matting, or using all the stamps on the set to create a multi-matted theme on a 5x7 card. For this reason, I tend to stick with Hero, Indigoblu, IOstamps.com, Justrite, etc. I am very careful to get the size of the image now before I buy.
This is an interesting perspective. I myself don't tend to think of images as being "too small" for a card (too big, yes... if the image doesn't have enough "breathing room" around it, or literally a character's head gets cut off, etc.). I think it's because I've seen a lot of cards where a smaller image is matted or maybe repeated, or forms a smaller part of the whole layout. Gina K does a lot of cards like this.
I can see what you mean, though, if you want to do a single-layer CAS card and have an image that's getting swallowed up in white space.

Not a criticism, just an observation. My issues with size tend to be more with patterned paper having too large-scale a pattern for a particular size of card. Stamps have never struck me this way, so this type of preference hadn't occurred to me before.
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Unread 09-25-2015, 04:39 PM   #33
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Actually "standard" means that the size is typical. You can easily get envelopes for all "standard" size cards if you check with companies that make envelopes. I have templates for all the common "standard" sizes, so when I make a card, I decide what the design will need. I really like the 4 1/2 x 6 1/4 standard size, even though there is waste cardstock when using 8 1/2 x 11 sheets.
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Unread 09-25-2015, 06:36 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Carol W View Post
My issues with size tend to be more with patterned paper having too large-scale a pattern for a particular size of card.
Why I started migrating more towards 6x6 paper pads. The images are scaled down to 25% and look better on a card. Most do, that is.
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Unread 09-27-2015, 06:11 PM   #35
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I'm right into the shabby chic style lately, and look at a number of blogs from super-talented ladies in Poland & there-abouts. Mostly they do square cards, and it is a size I love the look of, and it gives a little more room for all those shabby elements. However, in Australia, the postage is higher for square cards, so I make 99% of my cards as A2. I'd never questioned the A2 size until recently, but yes, those store-stocked cards are always larger than A2. I have sold hundreds of cards and no-one has ever raised it as an issue though!
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Unread 09-28-2015, 05:21 AM   #36
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One of the major reasons I switched sizes was because embossing folders and die cuts were that size. I felt the elegance of embossing got "lost" once layered several times to fill up an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 size card so I eventually caved and started making A2 cards.

I know there are larger machines now, as well as dies and EB folders but I have sunk way too much $$$ into the smaller size to switch at this point. I just simply can not afford it and don't mind the smaller size now that I'm used to it.
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Unread 09-28-2015, 05:52 AM   #37
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I use the Hobby Lobby 5 x 6 1/2" card bases and they are perfect for me. On the smaller stamps I add layers or embellishments. I only like A2 cards for thank you notes. I realize they are money savers, but there is a lot you can do with the scraps without having (forgive me) chintzy cards.
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Unread 09-28-2015, 12:35 PM   #38
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One of the major reasons I switched sizes was because embossing folders and die cuts were that size. I felt the elegance of embossing got "lost" once layered several times to fill up an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 size card so I eventually caved and started making A2 cards.

I know there are larger machines now, as well as dies and EB folders but I have sunk way too much $$$ into the smaller size to switch at this point. I just simply can not afford it and don't mind the smaller size now that I'm used to it.
Totally agree. I purchased some Spellbinders M-Boss recently and they are 7.5X5.5 which is wonderful. I make 6.5X5 cards, so these fit great. Otherwise, I have to run the cs through the Sizzex twice, trying to match up the pattern on the other side of the folder.

I've invested so much in folders, and figuring out ways to extend the folder sizes, that I would not migrate up. Once the Plus gets up and running, the small embossing folders are going to get cheaper (or maybe that's just my fantasy thinking ).
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Unread 09-28-2015, 12:58 PM   #39
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I've invested so much in folders, and figuring out ways to extend the folder sizes, that I would not migrate up. Once the Plus gets up and running, the small embossing folders are going to get cheaper (or maybe that's just my fantasy thinking ).
Wouldn't that be nice? I really hope I can purchase a Plus sooner rather than later. I'm so sick of doing what you've spent time doing that I'm thankful I didn't invest too much in tools for small format cards. It took me the longest time to catch on to why everything looked so shrimpy — I figured they were expecting us to do this extra work
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Unread 10-16-2015, 09:41 AM   #40
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I'm old, so I remember when "store bought" cards were a full sheet folded in quarters. Many years ago I had a card creator software program that printed on a full sheet & then you folded in quarters.
Yes, I had that software too and you always had to take the card from the printer after doing the front, flip it around and feed it back through to make sure the sentiment was done the right way when folded!
OMG! The headaches.
When I remarried, my hubby and I decided we were both adults who had been living together for 3 years, so we did not need a big wedding and all of the trappings involved. I had a big Irish Catholic wedding the first time and it didn't last 8 years!
We didn't tell anyone and went to Myrtle Beach with our dog in attendance! We got a JOP to marry us on the beach.
We bought that software and a pretty parchment stationary to print our own announcements. I think we messed up half a box of that stationary before we got the hang of it!!!
Ah, memories!!
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