Before you toss them…

My Nana Anne saved every card and note she was ever given. She stored them in those plastic zipped bags that blankets come in, and after she passed away, we spent several wonderful (and teary) days going through them and making up little bundles to return to certain family members. After a few hours, we could often look at the outside of a card and guess who it was from before looking inside… we all must gravitate to the same type of greeting cards each year!

But that wasn’t all Nana did with old cards. Coming from the “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do Without” generation, a stash of old greeting cards was a treasure! When I was little, if I mentioned having nothing to do, Nana would always pull out a box-ful of cards, buttons, fabric scraps, or magazines, along with some scissors and a bottle of Elmer’s and tell me to “make something.”

And I did. These were the pre-video game days. We didn’t even know what a video was. Her TV only got two channels, and one of them was PBS, and I thought I was too old for Sesame Street. So days spent at Nana’s house were constructive instead of entertaining. If I didn’t busy myself by “making something,” she’s find some work for me to do… but she’d make that fun too. ūüôā¬†We’d take those old cards and cut them up to make new ones. Or gift tags.¬†Or collage pictures. Or we would try to draw the picture that was on it.

“Be creative,” she’d say. “Imagination is a great nation.”

When I was in middle and high school, I became very interested in art, and developed close relationships with my art teachers. And guess what? They saved greeting cards too! In the pre-Google days, greeting cards were a free way of obtaining reference photos for drawing. Both of my favorite art teachers kept filing cabinets full of greeting cards, organized in manilla folders marked “Birds,” “Snow Scenes,” and “Flowers.” If I needed to know how to draw a rabbit, they would send me to dig through the “Reference File.”

So with that in mind, as I was taking down the Christmas cards this morning, I thought I’d share some ideas on how to re-use them before recycling or throwing them away…

Cut them up to make new scrapbook-style cards!
Save pictures that can be re-used, or even the sayings
from inside the cards! A box-full of card parts can keep
little hands busy on snowy winter days!

Use them to make Scrap Ornaments!
Scrap Ornaments date back to Victorian times,
when greeting cards were just coming into fashion.
Blumchen is a great resource for tinsel and other
supplies to turn your card tidbits into something special!

Make Gift Tags for next year!
Sometimes a small picture or  the saying from
inside would make the perfect gift tag!

Start an Art Reference File!
Take an old shoe box, put in some cardboard dividers,
and file greeting card pictures according to subject!
The next time your 8 year-old wants to know how to
draw a camel, you’ll be prepared!

Draw it…
Tape a picture from a greeting card into your
art journal, and try to duplicate it on the opposite page.
Or, just try drawing elements of the picture,
such as a candlestick or manger.
It really does help to see how other artists depict
simple subjects. Artists often do a lot of “copying”
as they are learning how to draw!

For a challenge, tape HALF of a picture into
your journal and attempt to finish the other side!
Or tape in a picture of a person or animal
and draw the background around them!

Make a collage using bits and pieces from old cards!
Using Modge Podge or watered-down glue,
decorate a box to hold special Christmas treasures!

Make tiny boxes out of them!
Tutorial HERE!
We had a fun girl day, many years ago,
and spent the afternoon learning to make tiny
greeting card boxes! (Hello Poe Family!)
Jo and Kate showed Nana Anne how to make them,
and we soon had oodles of precious little boxes!
We even received the one on the left for Christmas this year,
made by ladies at church! (Hi Donna & Barbara!)

There are lots of other ways to use old cards…
A quick internet search will give you plenty of ideas!

Be Creative! Imagination is a great nation!
~Nana Anne~ 

Some things are just too pretty to throw away.


I took a flying leap last night. We all got busy with things when we first got home, and then around 7-ish I thought it was about time to start something for dinner. I browned some turkey bacon, fried some apples, and was scrambling eggs when Hubby asked me if I wanted him to finish them. “Sure!” I said… “I’d love to get in my jammies and just be comfortable.” So I FLEW up the stairs, rounded the corner into our room, and simultaneously started to pull my ankle length jumper over my head. And… got my right foot tangled up in SOMETHING. While airborne, I wasn’t sure if I should clear my vision, untangle my foot, or catch myself, so I attempted all three. I would have gotten a “10,” had I landed on my feet, but I ended up on my backside, my foot wrapped in a stool I had used to open the attic stairs, with my jumper wrapped around my head. ¬†I was still trying to assess the damage and figure out what was hurting by the time Chris and Kate made it up the stairs. Not my most graceful performance, and thankfully I’m just sore, and nothing was broken! I don’t usually write about changing my clothes, but that was definitely the most impressive thing that happened to me yesterday.

I cleaned up the website a bit the other day, and added some of the collage pictures we did with Jo’s Spencerian flourishes! In the works this weekend are kits for the papercuttings we did with the class (Nearly done!) and Lions and Lambs and Chickens! I’m hoping to pull things together this morning so I can cut at the store this afternoon. I can get quite a bit done there on a Saturday afternoon… even though it’s busy, I’m not looking at laundry or dishes!

Hope you have a great weekend!