So, what does one do on a gloomy, strangely warm and foggy winter night? You still want to get together, right? Well, be glad that you booked PaperTrailsNJ, a unique fun concept that brings papercrafting to you! You'll laugh and relax while the creative you emerges to make something personal and unique. Tonight, this particular workshop was "Intro to Card Making", which consists of making five greeting cards; Happy Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Personal Stationery, Thank You, and Miscellaneous/Free Choice. The techniques that were taught included: stamping and heat embossing, envelope lining and precision cutting. If you are not familiar with the versatile card making world, don't worry I'll explain later what these things are! The women who chose to be with us this evening were a tight knit group of young ladies, all in their lower 30’s. The hostess of the night was one of Samantha's long time friends, who has always shown her lots of support for all of her paper crafting endeavors! Lots of laughter, joking, bonding, snacking, wine drinking and of course, crafting was in store for this lovely group of ladies. From the start, we knew from the warm vibes in the room that it was going to be a great bunch to work with.
This Friday night card making gathering was at a community room in a Jersey City high rise building. The event/community room had a bar area, kitchenette, living room, pool table, extra seating areas and bar stools for each area. The kitchenette was a perfect place to set up due to the nice counter height with build in outlets ... perfect for our heat tools! Samantha and I always make it cute, yet functional and provide everyone with their own set of essential tools: a ruler, pencil, tape runner, glue stick and scissors. The rest of the materials we have all prepped and ready to go in baskets and hand them out when they are needed.
Samantha began to lead the workshop, providing step by step instruction and answering any questions as they came along. I was in in charge of more personal interaction if any more questions were asked or extra help needed. It is so rewarding for us to see our clients start to smile, giggle and enjoy their own creativity. As we began the Happy Birthday card, one of the women decided she wanted to alter her design although use the same materials and keep with the theme. We of course always like to encourage going off the beaten path because we want you to explore your creativity to its fullest potential. Not to mention we also find it extremely inspiring to see what people develop! In this particular case, I was so glad that I took the time to pick out extra coordinating papers beforehand during our prep because she appreciated the plethora of choices that allowed her ideas to flourish. The other women also had fun picking their favorite paper patterns that appealed to them the most. I had color coordinated 3 sets of papers for this card so the mixture of candles would be pleasing to the eye. Coming from an interior design and display background, I love the opportunity to mix and match pretty papers because it reminds me of coordinating fabrics - you want the color, design, pattern and texture to compliment each other and blend well together. It's like being a decorator but with paper! It also helps that the materials we use are always fine quality and help make your card unique. After they chose their papers, we had them stamp the sentiment "Happy Birthday" using a nifty tool called the Prima Press. This is a stamp tool with individual letter blocks that are re-positionable and allow you to stamp any word of your choice in one swoop. We started off with this card because it taught them the basics of stamping with a chalk ink (fast drying ink that doesn't smudge) and allowed them to learn how to use a tape runner while placing their candles on the card. If people are new to papercrafting, the tape runner is always a wow-facter due to it's mess-free, easy application. Like white out, you drag it down your paper and just like that your paper is sticky and ready to adhere to your card.
The next card that we did was the Personalized Stationery, which proved to be hilarious considering the choice expletives some of the girls chose to put on the front! But while some chose to be funny, others chose either their own name or someone else's name to print and one just decorated the front and chose not to stamp a name. We had them pick their color combos and stamps for their backgrounds. We love giving choices because it makes it more interesting and the end results are all unique. This was also their first opportunity to learn stamping and heat embossing along with lining of an envelope. Now if the tape runner didn't impress you, here is where you'll get hooked. Stamping and heat embossing is like watching magic happen. It's a technique that everyone uses in the card-making world and it really adds that extra "pop" to the look of your design by creating a glossy, raised look to your stamp. Envelope lining is a nice add-on to a set of stationery that is made to match your stationery and impress the recipient opening the card. If you can trace, cut and use a tape runner, then you can make an envelope liner! Lastly, they used the Prima Press again to stamp their sentiment on their strip of paper on the front. By now, they were becoming more confident in their stamping and their cards were coming out better and better.
Moving along, the next two cards we did were originally "Wishing You the Best" and "Thinking of You". We decided to mix it up a bit so they could pick their sentiment instead of being boxed in. Again, this allowed for more of a variety within the group so each person had something a little special. These two cards consisted of layering pre-cut coordinating pieces of paper and adhering a stamped sentiment of their choice, then lastly adding a special embellishment with either tacky glue or a metal brad to complete "the look". We also introduced them to foam squares, which allows you to add dimension to your card. This was done on the "Thinking of You" card (left) with the sentiment being "popped up" with a foam square. We gave them a choice of using chalk ink or gold heat embossing and as you can see below, most of them chose the heat embossing once again!
A little break and a couple sips of wine later, we finished with the Valentine's Day card. We had them adhere a textured, chocolate candy patterned paper onto the base of the card along with a smaller gray piece in a staggered position. Then we provided them with a pre-cut rectangle pink piece of paper to stamp on the sentiment "All You Need in Life is a Friend Who Has Chocolate" and heat emboss the phrase, this time using pink powder to match the chocolate candy paper. Then to give it a finishing touch, they popped it up using two foam squares. This one was definitely the most uniform, took the least amount of time, and turned out very cute. The end result was priceless:
Wrap up thoughts:
Overall, we were so pleased with how well this group did and how enthusiastic they became about PaperTrailsNJ! In the beginning, two people admitted that even though they were happy to get together and have something to do, they were not totally on board with the papercrafting. However, shortly after we began our workshop, the reluctant two confessed to me again that they were having SO much fun and were glad they came. We would be kidding you if we said that no one is ever reluctant to try us. Unfortunately people don’t always understand from a first glance what we do or how much fun papercrafting can be. However, we are discovering that once people experience us, they tend to get on board and give us great feedback. This positive outcome proves that our mission is working, slowly but surely, to provide people of all ages with a new creative outlet that is beneficial for the mind and soul. We've noticed over time that our parties or workshops seem to attract such fun, nice people. There hasn’t been an event yet when we haven’t thought we would miss these people. Hopefully they will book us again and we will see them again soon. We promise to always keep it fun!
Thank you to a great group of Jersey City and New York City women!