Borders, matting and layers.

The majority of my card bases are half A4 card size, or  just under 4 1/4 by 5 3/4 inches. (10.5cm x 15cm).

One of my first cards
The majority of my square cards are usually 4 1/4 inches square, although occasionally I have done  5 inches square and even more rarely 5 1/2 inches square.

To make my standard card base, I cut an A4 sheet card stock in half, (Generally my white cardstock is Nopa from Officeworks) then I score & fold this in half and away I go.

Simple even sided layers is generally the easiest form of card making once the focal point is designed. It is a great way for beginners to start their card making until they are comfortable and confident to move on. I frequent come back to this even after 20 years of card making especially when making quick and easy cards in bulk.

When it comes to the size of my layers, it becomes less standardized. Frequently I work from the top image down unless it is 3 dimensional, layering as I go depending on my image size and the card design I have in mind. Many times I tend to stick with basic squares or rectangles, unless it is meant to be a specific shape eg one of my nestabilities shape or a trapezoid etc.  I only rely on my guillotine for the accuracy of my 90 degree angles. I really should think to use the many Nestabilities dies and labels I have... Um ... A new resolution??? I will try...It would certainly add more variety to my cards.

I rarely ever measure my borders or rather I tend to think of it as frames as I tend to eyeball it with my guillotine.  If I were to measure it, I suppose the majority would be a narrow 2mm border. If you want to make it quick and simple for simple matting, then you can't go past the Ezy Spacers from (Australia's) Stamp it, which gives you 3 different widths of a clear polymer 'stick or rod' so that you never have to measure again. These are approx 2cm, 1cm & 0.80cm, You can turn these on their sides to double the variety of widths. 

I also like to use my border punches and or my Nestabilities, so these might determine the size of my layers.

The Ten Commandments of Crafts

I have been thinking of the accumulation of all my stuff  and we all know just how expensive our hobby (any hobby) can be. This led me to think that maybe I should have a 10 Commandments of Crafting. I guess it would go something like this:

FIRST COMMANDMENT: Give yourself permission to have some time out! It is therapeutic.

SECOND COMMANDMENT: You shall not buy any more supplies without first using the stuff you already have. Don't be a victim to the advertisers and marketing people. As much as we love the new stuff, we really should make a commitment to use up the supplies we have on hand. Do you really need that new doovey lackey or that new pattern. I am effectively rediscovering stuff I had totally forgotten I had, so in a sense it is like a new item, but without the dollars being spent.

THIRD COMMANDMENT:  Life is too short for bad supplies. Depending on your craft and the purpose of it, don't buy cheap stuff as quite often it will not last the distance especially if you want to have something last a lifetime.

FOURTH COMMANDMENT: You don't need to be monogamous. Your taste and your needs may change. Your confidence will grow and you might want to try other crafts. Some will have an instant attraction, others may grow on you, some will be a trend or a flash in the pan.

FIFTH COMMANDMENT: Cover new ground, experiment and stretch yourself - you may surprise yourself. If you are into stamping, try stamping onto cloth or wood. If you are a machine quilter, try free hand machine embroidery or making a quilted vest! Do not conform to other's ideas. It is your craft and your time to use as you see fit.

SIXTH COMMANDMENT: Don't pretend to know it all. You need never stop being inspired and learning if you are open to new experiences, ideas and concepts.

SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: Always be welcoming and encouraging. Share your passion and make friends along the way - you never know who your new best friend will be. 

EIGHT COMMANDMENT: willing to teach others about your craft. Unless this is your very first lesson, then you are at least one step ahead of someone! I had been teaching papercrafts for years, when one of my students taught me to look at colours in a whole new way! I taught her how to make cards, she taught me to be much bolder with my colours and how to combine them successfully! I am still learning from my students and friends.

NINTH COMMANDMENT: Share your tools and maybe they'll lend you that punch you got your eye on - that you know you would only use 5 or 6 times at most and can't really justify spending your hard earned dollars on.

TENTH COMMANDMENT: Learn to appreciate a great artist. Go to art & craft shows in your field of interest. Also go to shows of different mediums as there is so much to gain from new insights!

And as a bonus there is one more - it is probably the most important one!

ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT: Always remember that craft is supposed to be fun. It’s up to you to make it enjoyable. Don't let it become yet another stressor in your life. Take time out if you need to! I have a quilt I started when I was hospitalized for a couple of months some 20 years ago. I never did get back into it after I left the hospital - it served it purpose which was to help me pass the time. Maybe one day I will finish it if I ever find it again!