Buy And Use Miscellaneous Craft Scraps to Embellish Greeting Cards

One woman's remnant, is another woman's reward. Every single garage sale/estate sale I have ever been to has had at least one bag of miscellaneous sewing notions: buttons, lace, beads, and threads for cheap. Or, I've seen them tossed curbside after not selling them in their brief sale.


This is what I do as I look through it at home:

Over the years I have accumulated so many bargain or "found" all-occasion cards so that I have a bundle. The newer ones in stores are clever, have special ornamentation added to the outside, along with a few dollar increase in price. I spend a little time in the card sections of stores a few times a year, learning what/how they've made the old styles special.

Like a scrapbook page, I spend a few rare free hours enjoying the goodie bag, old jewelry box, or tiny brown paper sack of bits and pieces of metallic cording, soutache trim, suede leather remnants, one-of-a-kind trims, left over from someone else's imagination/projects. I then come up with a lot of interesting ideas for improving the most boring out-of-date cards I have, starting with the oldest stack first. I do only a few at a time, in only a few categories.

If I have a card with nothing but a tall pines photo, I use the tiny leather strips for embellishing the bark, and use tiny pressed fern leaves, pre-sprayed with hair-spray, which I've pressed/saved in a phone directory, for three-dimensional leaves on the closest trees. Glue any old unused spices make up "woodsy" ground covering, (with a mini-trimmed feather) and even a tiny paper kite cut-out from a magazine illustration, thickened by glue, attached to a piece of tiny cording, "caught up" in the tree top. A single tiny layer of trimmed thin poly cotton from an old medicine bottle packaging, overlapping one of the highest branches for a cloud-covering adds curious mystique and brings back childhood memories to the recipient.

I'm careful not to make any of the embellished cards too thick for their envelopes, otherwise I must use one of the several odd larger spare card envelopes that I've accumulated from making a mistake from poor writing or messiness inside the original card that I had to toss.

See, I just save and recycle as much as I can and truly enjoy doing it, for free, except for the glues, during the few odd times I have breaks, rare as those times are. Being crafty in the past does help, even as one ages. I'm planning to take some of the supplies to my mother in the assisted living home on a covered tray, so she might enjoy helping me "craft" to give her something to do.

This is very challenging, stimulates the imagination like working with miniatures, and doll furniture and houses, but can be enjoyed by men and boys as well, if they use the more masculine cards, various sorts of pipe cleaners, wires, strings, ropes, denims and more rugged trims, even tiny things from the gumball machines, patches, plaid ribbon for neckties, ideas on men's cards: all good rainy day crafts to work along with other crafters in the home.

Once it's all complete, I add my special applicable pre-printed Holy Scripture to the inside cover, for encouragement or comfort, whatever the need may be, because I live my faith in real life.

I also save unblemished, clean cellophane flat bags from individually wrapped Pop Tarts, and waffles, (when I can afford them) throughout the year, so that I can use them to "final wrap" embellished cards for easier insertion into their envelopes.

Although I can never purchase gifts as I have so often over the years for folks, I find a heart is softened and moved when I take the time to make them this special sort of card. Sometimes they are more attractive than storebought.

By Lynda from TX

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By Linda in Alabama (Guest Post)
July 23, 20070 found this helpful

What a wonderful idea -- I too love remnants and look for them at yard sales. I never leave Wal-Mart without first looking through their remnants! My 11-year-old grandson loves to be creative and I've been trying to find something for him to do with his talent and this would be fun for us both!


Thank you for sharing, and you are truly an inspiration. I applaud you for living your Christian life outloud!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
July 23, 20070 found this helpful

Lynda from TX :
I love your imagination already ! I'd be thrilled if the next time you produce such an interesting & wonderful card to think of us here & upload a pic or a scan of it - so we can really see it ! I too, am a big believer in "trash to treasure" & find it a fun challenge to create from other peoples "clutter" !
You seem to me to be a very special person with a terribly special gift to work such magic !
Thanks for the great uplifting post !!

& Linda in Alabama :
Your grandson could be your most valuable helper I'm sure your aware of that already !
Have you considered having him work the stamp pad & rubber stamp on gift bags or wrapping paper ?


After he creates the first layer of handiwork - you could take over the project so that you can "help" too with details like addressing ...
Just a thought :)

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July 24, 20070 found this helpful

I like your thinking, Girl! I'm going to look for my old cards tonight. Thanks a bunch!

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September 3, 20120 found this helpful

Thanks so much for your wonderful inspiring ideas. I love to make cards, too, for family, friends and soldiers as inexpensively as possible. There are so many embellishments and machines on the market today that I could invest a fortune. But the challenge to me is making a card using things I have on hand and "finds" from unsuspecting places. Thanks again for your inspiration.

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August 24, 20160 found this helpful

This is one of my favorite articles at ThriftyFun. Every single time is published in the newsletter I read it slowly. I love repurposing and making beautiful art out of found objects. I think of the history of my items. I think of their stories that have been told. I do own all the expensive cardmaking tools on the market. Many of them don't bring me happiness or creativity when I use them. What I do find that brings me happiness is a pretty card from a thrift store, a spool of ribbon, buttons from a pretty blouse and the fabric from the blouse. My simple tools make me the happiest. When I set down to create I make something beautiful. When I set down and use my expensive tools I create a disaster and projects that I am not very proud of. Yes, I really love this article. It is one of the most beautiful articles about crafting on the Internet. Thank you for sharing with us. I bet your cards are beautiful.

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