This might look like a repeat post but this really is a card that I just made yesterday to go with a notepad/pen set that I made last month.  I’m using this card as an example of how to keep things simple but still expend some effort so your friends/family don’t think you’re just slapping any old card together for them.

First the card, then the tips:

Okay, as you can see, the card is pretty much like the notepad except I reversed the patterned paper and I didn’t do any sewing on the card.  The notebook/pen set was made a while ago while I didn’t have the stressful claw of Christmas pressing on my throat (I’m deliberately over dramatic here to illustrate a point).

Move forward a few weeks and it’s just a few days before Christmas.  Baking and cleaning need to be done.  The turkey needs to be defrosted which means making space in a fridge filled with holiday goodies.  Last minute gifts need to be wrapped and some annoying household maintenance can suddenly not wait another day.  I’m sure you can related to most of this plus add in a few extra chores if you have children.

Here’s a great way to crank out as many cards as you need and still have them look like you spent ages on them:

1. Pick a classic layout and stick with it.  You can change the papers, colours, and images but you won’t have to waste brain power fussing over what to make.

2. Use bold papers and do away with stamping a sentiment on the front.  You certainly don’t have to do this but one less thing to ink up and clean will cut your crafting time plus it’s one less chance to ruin the card by stamping on an angle or smudging the card with ink.

3. Don’t sew.  My notepad has a strip of cardstock with a zigzag stitch over the patterned paper join.  On my cards, I cut out several strips of cardstock the required size (4.25) and put them all in an embossing folder at the same time to create my embellished strip.  Easy and quick!

4.  Use glittered paper or embossed paper on part of the card.  It will add sparkle and dress the card up a little bit.

5.  Don’t emboss your nestability die cuts.  Just run them through the machine at once.  Trust me, nobody is going to notice that there isn’t an embossed impression around the border.  EVER.  We do that for ourselves.  This is a great time to skip that step.

6.  If you are really pressed for time, use a snowman image for your card.  You will have a lot less colouring to do.  This is not the time for paper piecing and uber shading with copics.  I know my card has a fussy cut gingerbread man but I coloured a few and cut them out while watching television and they’ve been sitting on my desk just waiting to be used.

7.  This is the best tip, in my opinion.  Chose 2 or 3 Christmas sentiments that you like and print them on separate cheap cardstock rather than printing directly on the card or stamping a sentiment.  I like to use Word to print out 4 sets at a time.  I then cut them to 4″ X 5.25″ and place them in an envelope until I need them.  I do this with birthday cards too.  That way, I don’t have to waste time messing around with Word, my printer or my paper cutter when time is an issue.

That was the last tip.  If you’re still reading, I’ll leave you with a little bonus – here are two of the sentiments I’ve been using on my Christmas cards this year:

1. Wishing you all the simple pleasures and little joys that make a holiday happy.

2. Wishing you happiness, joy and good cheer, at this wonderful, magical time of the year!

Not sure if I’ll be back before the big day so, if not, have a wonderful Christmas!