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Old 07-01-2017, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Cost of card making-fun with numbers

Just a long observation:

I keep seeing people say they spend more making cards than they would buying them.

Well. Cards here in NYC can be 13+...the new Hallmark foo foo line. We would call it embellished. The super big cards-you are looking at 20.

And some are 1.99.

So let's split the difference and go with 6. Plenty of them are that much and they are not even embossed or anything...maaaaybe some glitter thrown on. And the paper is getting thinner by the minute. Feh.

Not counting labor-it does not cost me 6 bucks to make a card generally speaking.

Paper is change...ink is change...embellies? Sequins are cents. Embossing powder is cents. Piece of ribbon, pop up dots, adhesive...all cents. I'm thinking 2-2.50 at the most. Less for CAS. If I do a holiday run of 40 cards, less than that even if I bought a stamp just for the run. A 20 buck stamp set is 50 cents a card-and I am not even using all the stamps. If there are 10 stamps in the set so they each cost 2 bucks...I am down to 5 cents.

Now, yes....a heat gun costs money. But once you have used it 30 plus times you are under a dollar and it keeps going down. Stamps and dies are the same thing. So is the work mat, the big shot (well that needs to be like 80x but 80 cards go by fast) and so on. Less if you bought the stuff on sale.

If you have been at this for years, as many have been....all this equipment is already paid for several times over. t the rate people have been using their MISTIs...those are paid for too!

Of course if you DONT use the equipment more than once etc then yes, that card cost you 25 bucks between the stamp, the ink pad, etc.

If you are going to look at it as:
You make x cards/year but you are spending x/year ....you are setting yourself up.

The card (if you use used items) isnt costing you that much. The buying IS if you are not using the stuff.

It isnt fair to say you paid 3.00 for the bling pack, and 2.00 for the ribbon roll and so on...you are not using all that on one card! I dont say the ink pad cost me 6 bucks...I get hundreds of stampings out of a pad before I have to re-ink it!

This isnt a meal where all the consumables are used up in one shot. And do you count the cost of the dishes, the silverware, etc when you calc the cost of a meal?

Just a thought. Not saying people should stop buying. But if anyone is feeling bad about how much a card costs to make...it probably isnt.

And the more you make, the cheaper it is! Absolutely cheaper than therapy which never gets cheaper and only goes up!

So go forth, use your stash and make cards! Happy 4th of July! Put a steak on the BBQ-you saved enough for it!

PS One might start a goodie jar, and for every card you make, you pay yourself a buck (or 2) in recognition of your savings. By the end of a year...you might have enough to take a weekend trip! What a nice way to prove to the spouse there is a definitely an UP side to this for them! (Or go with stamping buddies and use the extra money for massages and stuff)

Lets see them do that behind golf clubs, flies for fishing, new tires for the all terrain bike, new electrical whatever for the man cave-and then have to still buy cards for sympathy and so on....just sayin'.
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:27 PM   #2
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Such a great post, Wavejumper! I agree with everything you said, and thank you for your research on this.

I make a lot of cards, and I send a lot of cards. For example, I just sent out 36 cards for the 4th of July. No way could I have afforded to buy that many to send. Special occasion cards are not boxed like Christmas cards, where you can buy quite a few and they don't cost so much per card.


If you bought them individually, it would be a pretty big expense. That means I wouldn't send many cards!


Even here in downhome Oklahoma, the specialty cards are expensive. My dear daughter-in-law got me a birthday card from the new Hallmark line, Signature series. It had a price on the back of $8.95!


And you are right about cost per use not being much at all - if you use your tools and supplies. My trusty Cuttlebug has been used many hundreds, maybe even thousands of times since I bought it at Michaels with a coupon in 2006 for $40.00!


I'm pretty frugal in most areas of my life, and I never feel guilty about the money I spend on my hobbies. I really enjoy making and creating, and always have something worthwhile to show for my time and expense.
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:07 PM   #3
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That is an excellent point Bugga!

Pretty much only Valentines and winter holidays come in packs/boxes. I didnt think of that!
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:47 PM   #4
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What I worry about not being worth the cost are some dies that aren't used often. Those really add up. You are right, if you use all your stuff multiple times, the cost is reasonable.

But you also have to actually use the cards you make!
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Old 07-01-2017, 04:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by howdyheidi View Post
What I worry about not being worth the cost are some dies that aren't used often. Those really add up. You are right, if you use all your stuff multiple times, the cost is reasonable.

But you also have to actually use the cards you make!
For the most part, I've been pretty good about only buying dies that are somewhat basic, and that I know I can use with different stamps and for different occasions. I didn't get into the "dies that match the stamps" thing. I prefer to fussy cut if that's the look I want.


I send or give all the cards I make. I have a huge extended family with 20 grandchildren and 5 "greats" so there are always several birthdays each month. I also send out quite a few random "thinking of you" cards, and send cards for most holidays.
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Old 07-02-2017, 05:48 AM   #6
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I think one of my cards costs $50.00 to make! Kidding, but what about my unused items, from large to small? (My Cameo Silhouette, WRMK Fuse, Distress crayons, unused stamp or die sets, more.) Or something used once every few years? Or items enjoyed, but how many watercolor sets do I have?)

I met someone at a Stamp/SB Expo class last week who told me she had in the neighborhood of 750 stamps, dresser drawers of embellishments, stacks of paper pads up to "here." That's 100% fine; she seemed a happy, even proud collector. But if everything I purchase - and lately purge/donate - is taken into consideration my per card cost zooms up.

I'll never be frugal but am trying - not always successfully by any means - to shop intentionally. (Goal: to use geometric stamp sets 10, 15 different ways.) That should drop my per card cost down over time, though if it doesn't, so be it. It's satisfying and challenging and frustrating and inspiring and just fun on so many levels, so is worth it.
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Old 07-02-2017, 07:13 AM   #7
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I **bow** before Bugga. I am always SO impressed with how you handle that BIG clan of yours!

I guess it's just b/c I grew up with no money and am not rich now, so I always am thinking cost effectiveness with everything in my life. It's automatic now.

I think the "trick" to matching dies/stamps is you have to get a stamp set you will use a lot and therefore the dies too! I dont always get matching, but I stink at fussy cutting so if there are delicate bits, I might.

Bjeans...If I were to buy something to use specifically-like a foiling machine and I only made 2 cards...then yes, I have a problem with those cards. To me, it does not affect the cost of my quilt die cards.

Maybe I am living in lala land. (shrug) But let's say I turn around and sell off the foil machine...the cost of my quilt cards is totally unaffected right?

You definitely cant do the cost/year against cards/year in the first couple years when you are collecting the big tools like the big shot, cutter, MISTI, heat gun, etc. Unless you take off running big time and crank out hundreds of cards.

I am NOT promoting wild and crazy buying. Or even retail therapy unless you use your wishlist and avoid impulse buys. Because between all companies, tens of thousands of new products come out every year. (Serioulsy-there is at least 1000 mfgs globally, and if they each make 20 new things in a year) A bunch of them will be "trend" items you may not want to play with in a year and may have a harder time selling off. Colors of ink and paper are easier to use up. Stamps, dies, Efs, stencils...not so much.

I am just saying my cards are less than the stores'. Or even with the 1.99 ones most of the time. Especially CAS.

Which is why I suggested the money jar. Good way to prove it to yourself.

You want to make SURE your get value out of something? Sit down and make X cards with it till the cost of it disappears. Sale items will take effort. Then you know every card you make after that with it is "cream". Or at least you got your money out of it.

Now...what is not addressed of course is our time, our fussing with a card, our thinking about a design for days or months...that's priceless and what I cant convey to people.
Like when a plant in the building garden is damaged by drunk jerks at a party and they want a $ value. Seriously? How am I supposed to value caring for it for 20 years? I can tell you what a mature plant will cost to replace it physically (and watch your eye bug out) but that doesnt take in the years I staked it till it was strong enough to stand on it's own, hot summers I had to hand water it, or the year it got an infection and I thought I would lose it, or worrying about late frost that would kill all the buds and possibly the plant. All time from my life I will never get back.

So when we say a card is a hug/expression of caring...we are not kidding.
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Old 07-02-2017, 07:15 AM   #8
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Because we make cards we may not be fully aware of how much they cost......hubby got a Father's Day card from our daughter........very plain and simple.......I looked at the back and it was $4.95. No embellishments or anything on it. I was blown away!
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Old 07-02-2017, 08:22 AM   #9
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"Bjeans...If I were to buy something to use specifically-like a foiling machine and I only made 2 cards...then yes, I have a problem with those cards. To me, it does not affect the cost of my quilt die cards."

I'm not mentally separating like that (wish I could!). Everything I spend goes into the theoretical equation pot, because the crayons and Cameo were bought for cards. (Anyone want a cheap, cute Cameo used once? PM me!)

It's the same as if I bought 5 blouses for $50 each and only wore 2. My blouse cost would be $250, not $100. That said, others could see it differently.

As for making money on unused items, while there are exceptions, I think people generally make pennies on the dollar.

I think there's a lot of retail therapy and shopaholicism in hobbies, and manufacturers and vendors are outstanding at how to encourage it.

Whatever makes people happy is all that counts, and will vary hugely. I just want the conversation with myself to be clear-eyed and clear-headed. Then I may exert more control: make a list of questions, decide to wait X number of days before jumping for the supposed one-time-only sale, write down and remind myself what is truly satisfying vs. the quick spark from buying.

YMMV hugely! : )
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Old 07-02-2017, 09:30 AM   #10
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Like many of you, I got into card-making with the idea of "oh, it's going to save us so much money!", and - of course - my stash probably costs way more than we'd spend on that occasional birthday card in our lifetime.

But, I've since started to look at it as an investment, with savings beyond just the cost of the card I could have bought.

With my stash, I've saved:
- My time, so I don't have to spend an hour in the card isle or have to drive to three different stores to find the special shark-themed card for my nephew who is absolutely obsessed with sharks at the moment.
- My health, so that when work got stressful and overbwaring, I had a relaxing haven where I could just make something pretty/fun/useful just because I felt like it without worrying about deadlines or to-do lists.
- My budget, so that when husband and I had to cut out all but the most basic of expenses, I still had a room full of creative treasures that make me feel blessed and excited to keep creating.

I'm currently on a spending freeze, in part for financial reasons and in part because I want to focus on using what I have (so I have a curated stash). But I don't feel guilty about shopping within my means - just like I don't feel guilty for going out to dinner with my husband every now and then, or catching a movie at the theater, or going on a vacation we saved up for. I'm sure that money could be spent elsewhere, but life shouldn't be about depriving yourself of anything that isn't a basic essential necessity.

That said, I do encourage myself (and others!) to shop mindfully and find joy in creating with what inspires you rather than worry about trends and new releases.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:54 AM   #11
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:31 AM   #12
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I love that gif Lydia. I am keeping it!

Good question. Think I will start a separate thread-would we give as many cards if we were not making them?

Ok Bjeans...let's go with your idea and count everything.

Still holds. If you use it, the costs disappears in savings.
But that's is also true of anything you buy-if you dont use it...it is a waste of money. Unless it is decorative of course in which case you are since it's job is just sit there and be pretty.


I just wanted to say..... The more cards you make using your things, the more the $ cost drops to a point where it is only paper and ink etc. If people stop to think about it...they may realize that they are in this zone and have a feel good moment.


I am hoping people dont walk into their craft space and feel BAD. Yes you may have spent a chunk of money in total. But if you have used it-you got your money's worth!


But as said, there are other benefits from this also. Cant really put a price on bliss.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:24 AM   #13
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As someone else has said, it's cheaper than therapy
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:17 AM   #14
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As someone else has said, it's cheaper than therapy
You're right about that. And I have friends who regularly "escape" to the local casinos and spend hours mindlessly feeding the slot machines to get away from the stress in their lives. They frequently come home with nothing - we have our cards!
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Old 07-03-2017, 03:29 PM   #15
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Bugga, how funny about the casino! LOL! And so true!
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Old 07-03-2017, 03:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
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You're right about that. And I have friends who regularly "escape" to the local casinos and spend hours mindlessly feeding the slot machines to get away from the stress in their lives. They frequently come home with nothing - we have our cards!
I live in Nevada and only go to casinos to eat at the restaurants - I save my money for my hobbies!
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:36 PM   #17
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I never, ever look at store-bought cards anymore, never, ever consider the cost of making my own. I just do what I do because that's what I do, and hopefully the recipient is cool with whatever shows up just because I actually FOLLOWED THROUGH on something, lol! True-er words...
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:00 AM   #18
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I didn't get into this to save money. I didn't actually choose to get into it at all. My sister and my SIL (who was a SU hobby demo at the time), sent me a box of card-making stuff for my birthday. Based on a casual comment I made in a phone conversation with my sister, who had visited my SIL and spent an afternoon in her studio playing around. I think I said something like "Oh, that sounds like fun." You know, politely.

Then I got the box. And I had to use the stuff or seem ungrateful. Then I found that if I wanted to do what I saw in my mind's eye, I needed some more stuff. So now I was not only trying to act in a thankful way for a well-meant gift, I had invested money of my own, and had to make sure it hadn't been a waste.

That's how I started making cards. All by myself, on a little table in my living room. And somewhat reluctantly.

Then I found SCS and the card-making universe opened up.

That was eight years ago. Ha Ha Ha. How things change. I found myself getting sucked into the challenge of making art in a 4.25 X 5.5 format.

I've struggled over the years with every creative question there is through my crafting. It's been a great lens for examining the entire realm of the creative urge through a medium in which one cannot hide behind the idea of it being "Important". There are no Pulitzer Prizes for card making. So you are left wrangling with the basic notions of why do art at all, and how you do art as opposed to how others do it, and what kind of art you really want to do, and whether it matters if anyone else gets what you do, or does what you do.

I've never once considered this as a way to save money. For those of you who do - and I believe you when you say you do, especially if you send out lots of cards and mulitples at holidays - kudos.

In my case, it would be cheaper to buy cards. Maybe a lot cheaper. But that's not part of the equation for me.
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:17 AM   #19
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I do this for fun and relaxation. It really is my therapy and any cards I make and send are by products of that. I knew going in that this hobby would not save me any money. But since I don't have an unlimited crafting budget, I plan and make my purchases carefully, not on impulse. I enjoy using the things I buy so I try to make my purchases count.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:42 AM   #20
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From the OP: "Not counting labor-it does not cost me 6 bucks to make a card generally speaking."
But, in fact, it is labor and design, the thought and effort that went into that which makes up the expense of a store-bought card. So if you also subtract the labor and design from that cost, it could end up being equal to ours. The problem for me when I think of selling is that I can never recover the major expense --my time and thought. It doesn't keep me from selling, but the cost of my room full of supplies doesn't nearly equal the cost of my time and effort.
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:07 AM   #21
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How much are you charging for your cards? I am curious.

Perhaps you are undercharging. A hand-made card is not in competition with Hallmark, who has someone design a card and then churns out a million of them. A hand-made card is a one of a kind item.
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Old 07-04-2017, 01:33 PM   #22
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Yes, I have a stamp that says "Limited Edition One of One".
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:42 PM   #23
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I too do this for pleasure, not money. But everything is under $10.00, except for sets. A lot depends on the venue. Still even when I'm doing similar cards (they're never identical --each is one of a kind with some difference from others), I couldn't charge even minimum wage for the time it takes me to complete the idea and assembly without going way over $10.00/ card. Maybe it's because I'm slow; maybe because I don't do assembly line identical --that would take away the fun for me. I'm not complaining, just saying I couldn't recover the actual costs.
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:55 PM   #24
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I will admit I have a lot of stuff and do go through and purge every other year for a garage sale...but I could NEVER, and I mean NEVER, rack up the kind of "investment" my husband has through the years on his many expensive hobbies! No guilt here-and I HAVE paid for therapy, and believe me, stamping is WAY cheaper...also it's a great hobby and way to meet new people. Plus you make something cool- what's not to like about that?!?
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Old 07-05-2017, 04:13 AM   #25
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I make cards to sell at craft shows and I never know what to charge. My family and friends get my originals and then I copy them and make multiples for the shows. Want them to sell but don't want the cost to be prohibitive. Please tell me what you usually charge. I live in a small rural area that is not quite a depressed area but at least the next thing to it.
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Old 07-05-2017, 04:39 AM   #26
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I've done both and cardmaking is not cheaper than therapy!!
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:03 AM   #27
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I haven't bought a card since 2004 so I have no idea on card prices. There are card shops here in the UK where you can get a card for about 1 I think, but they'd be very basic.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:10 AM   #28
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Well, this has inspired me to realize a way to use every single die, EF, ink, etc., I own. I have wanted to make cards for the residents at my mother's assisted living residence, but have been overwhelmed by the idea of coming up with the designs for them. I realized, just crank out a card of every EF & stencil, etc.. Use DP and coloring with inks for the dies. Ink up all the sentiments stamps on the label type dies. All the stamps can be inked and then cut out with ovals, squares, etc.. Then send it off unassembled for the ladies to have fun putting together. If done several times a year, it gives my collection a work out. Thanks for the post!
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:23 AM   #29
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It has been 15 or 20 years since I have been to Hallmark. I can remember going in there, like for Valentines Day to get cards for the parents, and kids and sis, and spending over $20.00 for just 5 plain cards. That was a lot of money then! I was surprised lately to see that my DD paid 6.00 for a Fathers Day card, and it wasn't even Hallmark, or embellished at all.

I have invested a lot of money in my "collection" of stamps. But it is therapy; even my DH encourages this hobby. I make a lot of cards, but not counting 50 or so I send at Christmas, I send a lot of them. As of this month I have already sent or hand delivered a 100. It is not only a hobby, but a ministry too. I use my stash and knowledge to help others do it too, through a ministry at church. And every card is one of a kind, unless I happen to make a couple at once, even then they are usually a little different.

Keeps me busy in retirement. I also use it for scrapbooking, which BTW is how I got into all of this! The cards came later. Now I do both! This hobby has also enabled me to have all these wonderful virtual friends on SCS, too. One group on here, the Stamp2Spend thread, we do credit ourselves for our projects and subtract what we spend. At least you can see if you are in the hole or not, and if you want to, keep your spending down.

Thanks for posting. Interesting reading. I guess I am saying I probably have spent too much , but I get a lot more out of it than just the card I made or the page I scrapped.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:43 AM   #30
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I love this! I've always thought we were saving money by making our own cards, just never sat down to add it all up.

I make cards because I enjoy it, and my recipients love what I send. I don't play golf, don't eat out that often and am not a crazy clothes shopper, so it is my splurge and entertainment. I just wish I got some exercise while stamping! A standing desk would make it a completely different experience.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:43 AM   #31
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I remember years ago, someone when responding to her husband when he asked, "how much does the card cost?" said, "my first card was $5000. but everyone since has been free".
I used to send many, many more cards when I bought them. I was a Hallmark Platinum Rewards member. Now I spend so much time agonizing over what to make the occasion comes and goes and I did nothing.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:10 AM   #32
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I always stand when I make cards!! Not exercise but...lol. I buy stamps with matching dies when available because I too am a poor fussy cutter. Maybe I need to do it more often? My hubby doesn't say much when I come home with more supplies, or when amazon leaves a pkg. He just rolls his eyes, but when one of his friends has a birthday he sure asks me to make a card and I show him almost every card I make. He always seems more interested in the sentiment on the inside!! For family he wants either their name or it must say son, daughter, ect. I need to purge too but with 3 granddaughters I will probably give to them. Giving pleasure to others is worth all the money I have spent on my stash. Do you ever wonder where it will all go if you pass? I'm 68 so have started to wonder if I should start adding a list to my trust??!! Sorry this got off topic.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:17 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen Weber View Post
I always stand when I make cards!! Not exercise but...lol. I buy stamps with matching dies when available because I too am a poor fussy cutter. Maybe I need to do it more often? My hubby doesn't say much when I come home with more supplies, or when amazon leaves a pkg. He just rolls his eyes, but when one of his friends has a birthday he sure asks me to make a card and I show him almost every card I make. He always seems more interested in the sentiment on the inside!! For family he wants either their name or it must say son, daughter, ect. I need to purge too but with 3 granddaughters I will probably give to them. Giving pleasure to others is worth all the money I have spent on my stash. Do you ever wonder where it will all go if you pass? I'm 68 so have started to wonder if I should start adding a list to my trust??!! Sorry this got off topic.
Helen, my hubby is exactly like that. When I show him a card, he hardly looks at the front, but wants to see the sentiment inside. Then he quickly turns it over, to be sure that I've stamped it and signed it with Handmade By and my name. And he frequently asks me, "Did you send a card to so and so?"
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:24 AM   #34
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I am OK with my $500 cards, I enjoyed the process of finding, buying and making each of them
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:32 AM   #35
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I started as a scrapbooker and then starting making cards when a friend joined su. I enjoy it! Yes I have stuff I haven't used . I make all the cards we need and whenever my mother needs a card I make that too. I make card sets for gifts. I enjoy my get togethers with friends. We have a lot of laughs and fun and get a few cards made!
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:29 AM   #36
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I remember years ago, someone when responding to her husband when he asked, "how much does the card cost?" said, "my first card was $5000. but everyone since has been free". -cjsbaskets

OMG-I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

One idea @Robbinbobbin: Look at a number of techniques. With each one makes notes which of your dies or Efs or stencils will work with it. Fast way to figure out what to do with tools. One stencil might be good for a bunch of techniques!

I am going to try that myself. Why keep making myself nuts trying to figure out a design? Dont just watch vids, have your box of stencils (or whatever) at the ready and pull the ones that will work! Or a notepad and write down die cutting ideas.
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:53 PM   #37
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When I went to my first SU demonstration, I was told I would save tons of money by making my own cards. I bought into that hook, line and sinker lol. Luckily from day two I realized the creating and playing was cheaper than therapy and the cards themselves were a bonus
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:55 PM   #38
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LOVE that oh-so-true $5000 first card! Making my own cards answers the desire for a specific subject matter...like that shark card someone mentioned. I make what I want, when I want it...no searching around and having to settle for whatever is on the rack. Like others answering this topic, creating with paper is my hobby, my therapy, my vice, my challenge, my joy...every time someone asks me why I do this, I can add yet another purpose or reason! Just an added observation on time and labor...know that retirement changes the meaning of both those words. I no longer find it necessary to justify how much time and effort I am putting into a project...a very interesting change in the way I see the world.
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:11 PM   #39
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Just an added observation on time and labor...know that retirement changes the meaning of both those words. I no longer find it necessary to justify how much time and effort I am putting into a project...a very interesting change in the way I see the world. -Merollin



Isnt it cool?
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:12 PM   #40
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You're right about that. And I have friends who regularly "escape" to the local casinos and spend hours mindlessly feeding the slot machines to get away from the stress in their lives. They frequently come home with nothing - we have our cards!
My husband is a smoker - not my fave habit, but he's my fave person, so I make allowances (as he does for me - for what, I don't know, since I'm darn near perfect ). His dollars literally go up in smoke! I told him a couple of years ago that if he didn't quit, I was going to match his spending. Being a woman of my word...
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