Preserving a Garden on a Card: Green Leaves and Heart Petals

Green leaves blank card paper crafts

“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” – Leonard Nemoy. We enjoy gardening. And we enjoy making cards. Summer may winding down, but the love of both these hobbies continue through the seasons.

It may be the beauty of a new flower, the excitement of emerging fruit, or the taste of freshly picked herbs quickly thrown in an omelette. Spring and summer gardening truly awakens the senses. We dwell on the season’s surprises and yet accept its temporariness. We don’t know what it is about this hobby of gardening. But once the spark of curiosity or awe is created, the burning desire to learn is set in motion and the fear of judgement subsides. Maybe that’s what keeps us present and engaged season after season. It is just us, and the soil and the seed. The rest is left to nature’s systems and cycles (and hope!)

Above are some sights of the season (L to R): cherry tomatoes, chocolate mint, green onion (flowering), a succulent arrangement, a wild flower (name?), and young Genovese basil. Our garden was very green and teeming with life!

This leads us now to today’s garden card. We decided that today’s design will fill the entire cover. We wanted lush green leaves to surround heart-shaped flowers.

Drawing veins on leaves card making green cardstock and gold gel pen

We used a gold gel pen to add veins to each leaf. This created a subtle brightness and shimmer to the card.

To first create the leaves, we first used circle punches (1 and 2 inches in diameter) to cut out some circles from green cardstock. Next, we re-punch parts of the circles to carve out leaf shapes.

Using a circle punch to cut leaves out of paper
We used circle punches to create leaf shapes.
Cut leaves from circle paper cardstock card making
Green leaves from cardstock

Once we finished making the leaves, we decided to add different colors of flowers on the card. Using a small heart punch, we cut out orange, magenta, pink, and purple heart confetti. These are colors we spotted in our garden (wild flowers and marigolds) and in walks around the neighborhood.

Yellow orange pink and purple cardstock hearts punch

To make the blossoms, we used five hearts of the same color and arranged them in a circular pattern. Doing so created a pretty flower.

Heart petals orange yellow pink magenta and purple cardstock

In the final steps, we arranged the leaves and flowers on the card. Once we were satisfied with the layout, we started with one corner of the card and carefully glued each piece. We paused every now and then to review the amount of negative white space between each leaf and petal.

Flower leaf pattern cardstock

We ended up loving this pattern on its own, without any sentiment or greeting on top. What a great way to honor memories of our garden! We realized that nature always manifests unique patterns of its own, sometimes with its own rules. Feeling stuck creatively? Just look no further than outside to cultivate some inspiration.

If you make cards, what inspires your style and themes?

How to Make a Gratitude Owl Card

This 10-step tutorial will show you how to make a homemade owl card from start to finish. This greeting card is for all the teachers, mentors, and loved ones who have made a difference. If you are heading back to school or want to thank someone for their influence in your life, this is the card to make.

Owls are a symbol of wisdom and learning. There are so many ways to design them when crafting by paper. In this tutorial, we wanted to describe how we put this homemade owl card together.

For this card, we used a 5 x 7 inch card and a 4 x 6 cardstock for the background.

Step 1. We first made and assembled different parts of the owl’s body. From our stash of scrapbook paper and card stock scraps, we found some interesting patterns of paper to use. We also used circle paper punches of various diameters. If you don’t have circle paper punches, use stencils or trace around household circular objects at home. Here’s what we needed:

  • 1 circle (2 inches in diameter) for the owl’s body. We used a dotted pattern paper for this.
  • 1 circle (2 inches in diameter) for the owl’s wings. We used orange patterned paper that looked like abstract feathers. We cut this particular circle in half to make two wings.
  • 2 small circles (each circle should be 1 inch in diameter). We used blue paper for this. These circles will be the backdrop to the eyes.
  • Finally, we cut out a small triangle out of a dark magenta paper for the beak.

Take a look at some of these shapes below:

Step 2: Next, we made the owl’s feet (or rather, talons). We decided to take a unique approach to the talons. We aren’t owl experts, but we read that certain owls can turn their talons so that only 2 or 3 are front-facing. Cool fact. To make the talons, we decided to use a snowflake punch from our craft stash. We found one small snowflake that looked like talons. We punched two snowflakes and cut each of them slightly in half (or slightly more than half). You need to have a little more than half of a snowflake so you can glue that part behind the body of the owl. See the pictures for reference. If you do not have a snowflake punch, you can also use star punches, three triangles or simply draw and cut them out. Get creative with it!

Step 3: In this step, we stumbled upon a unique way to shape the owl’s “ear tufts”. When we were trying to figure out how to design our owl, we were playing with the idea of making a heart face for the owl. We kept cutting away, and eventually we decided to use the left over scraps as feathery ear tufts instead. Certain owls have ear tuffs which are feathers on top of their head that look like they could be ears. But these feathers are not ears.

It worked out in the end. Really, we think you can just cut this shape out because it looks like a crescent moon with a “nose.” But if you are really curious as to how we ended up with this shape, see our steps below.

  • First we punched out a 2 inch heart.
  • Second we rounded out the bottom of the heart using scissors.
  • Third we decided to further sever the top of the heart from its bottom by carving out the top portion of the heart out so it looked like a peanut or sunglasses or the number eight.
  • The result: What was once the bottom of the heart now looks like a crescent moon shape. Or a mustache. However you look at it, we used it as ear tufts.

I guess our love of experimenting with paper punches was worth it! However, like we said, you can simply look at this shape and then draw and cut it out. It does not need to be symmetrical. In fact, that may add to the uniqueness to your owl!

Step 4: Once we cut or punched out all the pieces of the owl, it was time to assemble and glue it together.

  • Lay out the feet.
  • Lay out the wings.
  • Glue the 2 inch circle body on top of the wings and feet.
  • Next, it was time to arrange the owl’s face. Add the beak on the body. Also arrange and and lay the 1 inch circles next to each other on the body. Lay out the eyes. We used googly eyes. Once you are satisfied with placement, glue it all together on the body.
  • Arrange the owl’s feathery ear tufts on top of the owl’s head and eyes. Once you are okay with the arrangement, glue it on.

Step 5: Next, we drew a tree with branches on brown paper and cut it out. Here, we just drew the tree trunk and branches out by hand. This does not need to be perfect. Look up some pictures of trees if you need some guidance. This is really a chance to practice your drawing skills!

Step 6: Next, we cut out and glued a 4×6 inch color cardstock to the card. Then we arranged and glued the tree to the cardstock first. We then decided that the owl should be perching on the tree branch. So we arranged (but did not glue) the owl on the main branch.

Step 7: Next, we needed leaves for our tree. So we used a small heart punch to make 20-30 paper heart leaves. We arranged and glued most of these hearts to the smaller branches to fill out the tree. We chose a small magenta blank card we had in our stash. It had gold foil on it. We loved the detail and decided to use it.

Step 8: We finalized the position of the owl on the tree and glue it. We added a foam adhesive behind the owl to give it some height and dimension to the card.

Step 9: Next, we printed out the “Owl Alway Be Grateful For You” sentiment on white paper. After deciding on the proper font, we typed and printed the sentiment and glued it to dark magenta cardstock. We cut that cardstock out and positioned it in the center of the card. We affixed the sentiment to a foam adhesive to add height and also make it stand out on the card.

Step 9: Next, we stamped a sentiment inside. We also decided to stamp “Many Thanks” inside the card. I think this stamp is from Recollections (a Michael’s Store purchase). Additionally, we decided to make this a pocket card so you can write your gratitude on separate stationary if you wish. You can then fold the letter up and slip it in the pocket. This is great for people who prefer to write a longer thank you letter.

Step 10: Add a “Made With Love” greeting on the back of the card. Because, why not? Let the recipient know it was made only with love, and nothing less.

How cute is this? An owl card for teachers, mentors, and people who have inspired you. We enjoyed making this card and we hope you enjoy trying it out.

What other animal-themed cards should we make next?

Make A Homemade Bear Card For Your Loved Ones

“How far is near, and how near is far? If you’re looking up now, we see the same star.” – Jack Piatt

This was a poem (or quote) that was listed on the back of one of our key chains from many many years ago. And for some reason, it still sticks. Could it be the memorable rhyme? Or was it the simple reminder of the truth? Either way, it brings to light the true yearning of the human heart: finding a way to connect with someone you miss dearly.

And maybe that’s why we decided to make this “We’ll Miss You Beary Much” bear card. So many of our family and friends and their kids live in different cities. And we wanted to let them know we are thinking of them, missing them, and hoping to see them soon.

Funny thing is, what started as one homemade bear card quickly turned into eight homemade cards! I guess we realized how easy it was to make this homemade bear card. Additionally, for this project, we mailed out unassembled pieces of the bear along with the card so that the recipient got a chance to be crafty like us.

If you are looking for a fun homemade card for both the sender of the card and the recipient, then try making this bear card.

This homemade card is very easy to do. For this project we used a 5×7 inch card and for the most part, scrapbook paper and cardstock. Making the bear was not difficult at all. The entire bear is made of circle shapes. We wanted to use our circle paper punches we had in various sizes. If you do not have circle punches, you can use a stencil or trace around circular objects in your home.

To make this bear, you will need to punch or cut out circles in the following sizes: 3 inches, 2 inches, 1 inch, and the smallest circle (.5-.75 inches).

To make the bear, choose a colored paper of your choice for the body. For instance, we chose various shades of brown and then decided to make at least bear all purple. We then chose and a contrasting color or pattern to be used for the stomach and ears. Here is an example of how we assembled the circles to make the bear. The specific instructions are below.

  1. Start by punching or cutting out a 3 inch circle for the bear’s body. In the example above, we used brown paper for the body, head, ears, and paws.
  2. Next, punch or cut out the bear’s head using a 2 inch circle. When you are ready, glue the head onto the body, slightly overlapping the smaller circle on top of the bigger one (see picture).
  3. After that, punch or cut out another 2 inch circle (using a different color or pattern) which will be used as the bear’s stomach. Choose a contrasting pattern or color to use for this circle. Glue this circle to center of the body.
  4. For all of the bear paws, punch or cut out four circles that are 1 inch in diameter. Glue the arms slightly behind the body. Position the feet at the bottom and glue them slightly on top of the bear’s body. See example above.
  5. Punch or cut out smaller circles (between .5 and .75 inches) and glue it on top of the feet. Make sure these smaller circles are centered evenly before gluing them down to the feet. Doing so will add a bit of dimension to the bear.
  6. Next, work on the the bear’s face by punching or cutting out a 1 inch circle. We upcycled a grocery bag for this step. Using a pencil, black pen, or felt tip thin marker, draw the bear’s nose and mouth. See example above. Glue this circle on the bear’s head.
  7. Continue working on the bear’s face by cutting out the following circles. First, cut or punch out the bear’s ears using two 1 inch circles. Then punch or cut out two smaller circles (.5-.75 inches) from a contrasting color or patterned paper. Before attaching anything to the bear, center and glue the smaller circles on top of 1 inch circles. Then glue each ear slightly behind the bear’s head. We tried to glue the ears equidistant from each other.
  8. In this final step, add the bear’s eyes. We have so many google eyes in our craft stash. So we used google eyes for this project. However, you can make some out of paper or draw yours on if you wish. You’re done!

Make the bear extra special by adding a tiara or crown. If you have a snowflake punch, punch out a snowflake and cut it in half. Or you can draw a simple three pointed crown on gold or yellow paper and cut it out. Glue it to the bear’s head.

Heart Balloons. We added the words “We’ll Miss You Beary Much” on hearts punched out of cardstock. We just wrote the words out by hand.

Putting it all together. The following photos show you how we finalized the 5×7 card. We glued on background paper (and other interesting decorations), the heart balloons, and then finally, the bear. We added foam adhesives to the back of the bear and to the back of one or two word hearts. This added height and dimension to the card. As mentioned above, we went crazy and made a bunch of bear cards. Inside the card, we glued on a smaller envelope and packaged unassembled bears for our recipients to make bears when they received it.

Sending unassembled bears and mailing it to our family and friends so that they can craft at home. Maybe it’ll inspire budding card makers?

In the end, we wanted this card to be as interactive as possible to spread the joy of paper crafts. We mailed these cards to family members and included unassembled bears so that they can make it at home on their own time. We did not include instructions but instead challenged them to “study the prototype” on the front of the card and assemble. We think this is a great craft activity for kids ages 5-9 (with adult supervision for the younger ones). Why not give it a try?

Thank you for “bearing” with us on this tutorial.

We had a “beary” good time sharing it. 🙂

A Card Dedicated to a Dog Named Bruno

To a gentle, loving and loyal dog called Bruno.

Bruno is a peaceful and loving dog owned by two of our friends from church. Every time we saw Bruno, he displayed such calm and gentle behavior. Whether he was at the beach or lounging at a picnic. He was really special. Just a great companion all around. We wanted to dedicate this card to him.

To make it, we used the following supplies: circle and heart punches, embossed cardstock, glitter cardstock, gems and stamps.

We used the heart punch to punch a white and grey heart for the center the face. We then used various-sized circle punches to punch out full circles, half moons and crescent moons in grey, white, and off-white cardstock. You can create so much by overlapping circles and crescents. Layering these cut-outs gives texture and dimension to Bruno’s face and fur.

We used some small scraps of white paper we had kept around from a previous project to add “kawaii eyes” to Bruno. Kawaii is a type of cute drawing style that is seen in Japanese anime or pictures. The result is a playful, curious look.

Next, we added a glittery black nose and a pink mouth.

Finally, we glued gems to the background and added a “Sending Love” stamped sentiment.

Big hugs to you Bruno!

Crafting in August: Write and Send a Poem

Yes, yes, we know. Fall is a few weeks away. But we think writing a poem on a homemade card is a beautiful way to honor the changing of seasons.

Are we the only eager crafters out there that want to jump-start the season? By the way, we haven’t yet ventured into the world of “Christmas in July” cards yet (Card crafters, tell us how this trend emerged?) Maybe we will take the challenge next year when our confidence builds.

One thing is for sure. A poem makes for a great focal point on any card. Liz’s son loves poetry (thank you kindergarten, first and second grade teachers!). He helped Liz write an find rhyming words to this poem. He even gave it the title, “Fall Life”. After that, there was no turning back–we needed to put this on a card.

This “Fall Life” card is the perfect way to use your “someday” scraps stash. We punched out leaves from many hues of red, orange, brown and yellow paper and used them to frame the text. We did this using an oak leaf paper punch (we did not have a maple one). We also used gold ink and added shimmer to the leaves. It actually gives it a nice sheen that adds interest and enhances the beauty of the card.

Here’s how to make it.

Step 1. First start with a card of your choice. We chose a 4 x 6 inch card (A4) which was brown (more like cardboard or “kraft” style). Brown feels mellow and gives it a very earthy feeling.

Step 2. Add a background. We chose burlap fabric because it looks rustic and brings warmth and texture to this project. Liz had this fabric for years and we have now been using the fabric roll in our projects.

Step 3. Next, write out a poem or print one of your choice (We’ll include the full text of our poem at the bottom of this post). We printed the poem on off-white resume paper because we liked its texture. Next, glue the poem to a background paper of your choice, but do not glue the edges. Leave the edges unglued because you will be sticking leaves in there.

Step 4. Now it’s time to punch out the leaves. Choose various fall colors from your yardstick or scrapbook paper stash. Orange, red, burgundy, yellow, browns, blacks, and gold are fall are autumn colors. Using our leaf punch, we probably punched 30-35 leaves from our scraps. The only glittery paper we used was an orange one.

Step 5. This is the fun part. We decided to sponge gold ink on certain leaves (okay, almost all) to make it extra special. If you are crafting with kids, assign this task to them! Basically, we took a discount store makeup sponge and tapped it into CraftsMart’s Pigment Ink Pad in Gold. We sponged each leaf a few times. Doing so added a slight gold sheen to the leaves when light hit it from different angles. This subtle but elegant touch added some magic to the card.

Step 6. Finally, place the leaves around the poem and tuck them behind the poem. Place one or two on top of poem if you wish. If you like the arrangement, glue it in place. Doing it this way makes it look like the autumn leaves are bursting out of the poem.

Finally we found some scrap paper that had some sweaters on it. We decided to cut it out from the paper and dedicate it to the mother and son who wrote it (Liz’s son chose the orange one).

Is it sweater weather yet?

Fall Life

Leaf races in the gutter

Rainy days, no more summer.

Gourds and baskets, golds and browns

Look–people are scurrying in the towns!

Scarves and boots, soups and bread

So thankful for this needle and thread!

Teas to soothe the hands and heart

The harvest is plenty, let’s do our part!

The slight chill of autumn

Has finally come

It will usher in good cheer

And that’s great to hear!

By E&E