Don’t Throw Yesterday Away…(and a DIY Birthday Card)

So, a good friend of mine has a birthday coming up. I had a card on my Target list, along with about 4 other cards I needed to pick up, a birthday gift for someone else, a warmer coat for Baby Girl (because YES, IT IS FINALLY FALL) and some flossers for Big Boy. (Seriously, how do you floss kids’ teeth without flossers? I tried regular floss when the flossers ran out, and I almost lost my mind.)

I wasn’t pleased with the Target card selection. In the Woman’s Birthday section, there were lots with allegedly humorous comments on dating, shopping, and drinking margaritas. It wasn’t what I was looking for. And the blank cards weren’t cutting it either. I’ve made cards before, just using paper, but I had just seen something on Pinterest about using your fabric scraps, so I thought, SOLD! Let’s get out of this crazy place!

So, turns out I don’t have a lot of fabric scraps. Sure, I’ve got some t-shirts, some cute red and white gingham for a dress I want to make for Baby Girl, and some fluorescent pink satin leftover from wraps I made for a belly-dancing baby shower I once threw with my book club friends. (Yes, you read that right.) None of those scream “Happy Birthday, Dear Friend” so I thought the idea was a bust.

But then, lurking in the corner, I saw some scrapbook paper. (OK, let’s pause a minute to enjoy this Scrapbooking Calendar. I never used it as a calendar – HONEST! At the time, I was really trying to become a scrapbooker, and I thought having so much paper to choose from would be great. And you can see that I haven’t scrapbooked since 2004. The calendar’s subtitle is my favorite: “Don’t throw yesterday away…Just Crop It!” OK, moving on.)

I worked backward from the size of envelopes I wanted to use.

I created the base of the card with white cardstock, cutting an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet down to 6 1/4″ x 9 1/4″. I folded it in half and used an old ID card to press it down to make a tight fold.

Next I played around with the scrapbook paper – you could cut it out in a decorative shape, but I went simple and just used a rectangle slightly smaller than the size of the folded card. I used double stick tape to adhere the paper to the cardstock. I picked out some coordinating thread and prepared my machine to sew. I used a 3/8″ “seam allowance” to run a stitch around the inside of the scrapbook paper.

Problem: I couldn’t stitch in a straight line. (No, there weren’t margaritas involved.) Every time I started down a new side, the paper seemed to shift over and create a wonky diagonal line instead of a straight one. I kept sewing, trying to figure out what was going on. And then it hit me.

OK, confession time. When I was doing 31 Days, the first sewing project I completed required using several layers of fabric, thick elastic, and a zipper. I just stitched through everything like it was nothing. And I bent my sewing machine’s needle. Like, REALLY bent it. But I was in a hurry, trying to finish the skirt, so I took the needle off, tried to bend it back into place, and just kept going. And it was fine. I completed every single project in October with a bent needle. I know, Sewing Professionals, BLASPHEMY! But it really didn’t seem to make a difference on what I was sewing. (I’m sure Molly would be able to tell in an instant.)

But now, trying to sew on paper, it was VERY obvious. And the card looked terrible. So I scrapped that one, went off to find another needle, and started over. (No photos of the scrapped one – it’s been Operation Getting Things Done around here lately, so I’m trying to get rid of unnecessary things quickly – too quickly this time – I’d love for you to see the wonkiness and laugh at me. Well, on second thought, let Operation Getting Things Done proceed as usual.)

So after changing out the needle, I created another card base with cardstock and stuck the new paper on top. I ran it through the machine and made perfectly straight lines.

I liked it, but it didn’t seem finished.

So I ran it back through the machine, this time using a zigzag stitch on the top and the bottom edges. Much better.

I left the threads hanging rather long, and I pulled them both to the back through the final stitch hole and tied them off. I had to do this on all four corners.

And there you go – a DIY birthday card. There’s so much paper left in my “Easy Scrapbooking Calendar” that you might be getting one of these cards any day now. Check your mail box!


3 thoughts on “Don’t Throw Yesterday Away…(and a DIY Birthday Card)

  1. Why do the card companies think that all women do is date, shop and drink, like you said? It is insulting! But the card you made is very chic! I personally would rather have something that someone took the time to make. Good work!


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