Unorthodox Crafts
 
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I never intended to make cards. Of course, I never intended to make anything, so I guess that isn't saying much! I was already really busy making earrings, purses and scarves and did not need another craft - especially one that required an investment in new materials.   But several years ago, a few months before Christmas I bought some foil origami paper, thinking it would make good holiday earrings. Unfortunately, it was too flimsy to use for earrings.  Determined to make some type of holiday earring, I started making Christmas tree earrings instead.  LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!  I could use the foil paper to make Christmas trees for cards.  After a few trials to figure out the right size tree to put on a card, and an investment in blank cards and envelopes, a new craft was born. 

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But wait!  I am Jewish!  I need to make Hanukkah cards also!   Fortunately, there are LOTS of origami Star of David patterns.  Unfortunately, most of them are really boring.  I realized that in order to make a good card, the origami needs to be flat enough to fit in an envelope, but  three-dimensional enough to make it visually interesting.  Finally, I found a pattern which I liked.  The first star I folded took me 45 minutes!  Oh well, it was a labor of love and I knew I would get better at it.  And since there is not a large market for Hanukkah cards in Maine, I did not need to have a huge supply.  Ironically, I could not use the foil paper for the stars, so I had to invest in new origami paper.  Happily, the new paper I bought for stars also worked well for trees.  And since I already had the blank cards and envelopes, I was all set.

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Having entered the world of card-making, I was primed to make a Valentines Day card.  The search for an appropriate origami heart was even more difficult than the search for the star had been.  But it was winter and I was recovering from back surgery.  Unable to do much else, I sat on the couch surrounded by paper and folded dozens of hearts.  The pattern I ultimately chose uses a large rectangle rather than standard square origami paper.   OMG, more paper shopping!!  I finally found beautiful large double-sided origami paper which is perfect for the heart.  Fortunately, this paper also makes good earrings, so the scrap does not go to waste.  Then I decided that this card needed to be more of a gift - I added a magnet to the back of the heart so it could be kept as a refrigerator magnet (yup, I had to invest in magnets also...). 

After successfully marketing the Valentines cards I thought I was done with new designs.  I had a request for an origami birthday card, but could not come up with a folded-paper cake or candle which worked, so I abandoned the search.  Then earlier this year, as I was shopping for card-stock to use in the heart cards, I remembered a card which I had purchased years ago.  Suddenly, I was determined to learn how to make it.  I call it a Forever Card,  but you can find instructions on-line if you search for "Never Ending Card."  My first few were very rough - I did not have the right type of card stock or glue or paper-cutter.  But I mastered the techniques and bought more materials: better glue, tape-runners, several different types of paper-cutters, and TONS of paper.  I also purchased some photography (from Maine photographer Nance Trueworthy) to make the cards suitable as souvenirs for our summer tourists.  I have made hundreds of cards and still totally enjoy the process.  They are challenging and fun to make - the options for design are endless.  People often cannot put the cards down once they start playing with them, so the marketing has been easier than I anticipated.    And they are fun to teach - I hold classes in my home and my "students" have made fantastic creations. 
 I love having an excuse to buy more paper - as addictions go it's a pretty harmless one!  I would say I am done designing new cards, but I don't like to tempt fate.  I never know when or where inspiration will strike.  If you are interested in purchasing cards or scheduling a card class (I will teach any of the designs - but the Star of David is really difficult), call or e-mail.