Liven up your fall letters with this quick and easy stationary project

November 3, 2009
Never underestimate the power of a pencil crayon

Graphic design secret: Remember to use odd numbers of each leaf

There’s still time to send off a couple of handwritten letters before the Christmas rush.  Not that you don’t have enough on your plate already, especially with that green and red Godzilla of holidays looming dark on the horizon (*), but the effect of a few heartfelt words and some pencil crayons can be just as magical for the sender as for the recipient. Of course, it’s also handy that leaves are a whole lot easier to draw (not to mention show up a lot better) than snowflakes.

Click here for time saving tips for writing and sending your own handwritten letters.

(*)Note: Do I sound a little jaded? You try staying festive (or even fully conscious!) after stocking hundreds of toxic, rubbery plastic ornaments at a Michaels Arts & Craft Store – one fateful October! And don’t even get me started on the Cinnamon scented pinecones that will haunt me till, till… oh the humanity!


The birthday card you can only get away with when you live across the country…

June 9, 2009
Note the bunnies heehee

Click on image above to open the card...

I’m still a little shocked I sent this card to my grandmother, but she is one of the zestiest women I know, with a true felsian sense of humor, and (if I dare say) the unfailing ability to look absolutely fabulous in a swimsuit. She has been my style inspiration from day one, and I can only hope my card inspired some giggles from that lovely gal and her darling husband. Yes, the very same man who ‘endures’ younger-trophy-man status for eleven months out of every twelve. 

More creative card ideas from SavingCymbria:

When the stork arrives…

When it’s Mothers Day…

When you need a general idea…

When you need a ‘smart’ birthday card…

Ideation to creation: Teaming up for the ultimate ‘co-worker just had a baby’ card

May 28, 2009


Path from ideation to creation

Path from ideation to creation

When a co-worker is having a baby, the customary grocery store cake just doesn’t cut it. Finding a sugar saturated, crumb-ling ruin in the office kitchen can be boost on a birthday, I suppose, but bringing a new life into this world demands celebration. The card above is the result of two artistic (and neurotically perfectionist) minds coming together, created (astonishingly) without either of those lives being taken from this wold by the other. This brain sketched out half a dozen concepts – only fluorescent pink will do for the most serious ideation – and illustrator Christina Nichols fleshed out what was “deemed” (tension, what tension?) the most promising.

The 'winning' concept sketch

The 'winning' concept sketch

Our receptionist’s hair is 100% true to life, and so is her handwriting. It’s amazing what you can produce when you open your eyes to the diverse, even under-the-radar, skills of the people you work with. True, the diplomacy has a time and energy cost, but teaming up is the only way to create an optimized skill set guaranteed to take your projects to the next level. Teamwork can make for a dandy card too, and it’s the only way I know to get your stork turned the right way round!

A ‘Radishing’ Mothers Day Card?

May 11, 2009
When your mother's a poet...

When your mother's a poet...

I found this tiny radish pin (drawn by Calgary illustrator Kim Smith) at a comic expo and was instantly reminded of a certain spectacular someone. It’s all in the eyebrows~wink.

So go ahead! Be bizarre. Be cute. Be mushy. Next time you need a card, try making one. There aren’t any rules, just picture the person in your mind and try to imagine what would make them smile : )

Looking for more ideas?


Quirky Science 

A glimpse into the creative process…

April 28, 2009
The "Dirty Work"

The "Dirty Work"

How does an idea evolve? The example on the right shows scraps from the natural evolution of the “molecular diagram” card from my latest post: Looking for great birthday card ideas? The top left shows the original family tree sketch before it morphed into the rough molecular diagram below (bottom left). Brainstorming for general ideas, and specific nomenclature, takes up the rest of the page, and what about those strange random rectangles in the top corner?

Some deeply sourced philosophical breakthrough was trying to claw its way out of my subconscious and express itself on the page in a wild desperate push to communicate its glorious insight to a lost and lonely world… obviously. This unrealized idea, translucent in our world, was as yet too abstract to speak in all but the simplest forms of our visual language. Sigh, I wonder. Yes, I wonder what it means. Although, something tells me that “Stop doodling and get to work!” would be a pretty good guess!

Looking for new Birthday Card ideas?

April 22, 2009

Note: See also “How to make fantastically unique birthday cards” for more ideas!

It’s so hard finding just the right card when an important birthday rolls around. Why not get creative and make your own! The example below, which I made for my (chemical engineer) grandfather’s 80th B-day, can be tailored for almost any science minded relative. I came up with the idea while trying to draw out our family tree. With our blended family, I found the diagram quickly started looking more like the molecular structure of some bizarre new chemical compound…
Birthday Card for my Grandfather's 80th

Birthday Card for my Grandfather's 80th

I formatted the text and blank box in Microsoft Word, then hand-drew the diagram (using double lines for partner bonds). The caption inside reads: (Bonus Question: Label the 25 distinct atoms in this ground-breaking, multi-functional compound – affectionately nicknamed “The Patriarch” – for extra marks ). For the personalized scientific name, I just googled some chemistry terms and subbed in my grandfather’s name. Make sure to liven up the inside of the card (since the front’s a touch technical) with a blast of love and colour. And P.S., don’t forget to decorate the envelope!

Don't forget to add the hug inside!

Don't forget to add the hug inside!

How to make fantastically unique birthday cards

September 24, 2008
Start with this inspiration...

Start with this inspiration...

Start by finding an image off the net that makes you think about that special someone. Print the image onto the lower left corner of a piece of cardstock, don’t forget to add a caption on the right. I used “the magic is what you dream outside the picture”, but you can try “beyond the borders”, “outside the box” or your own variation. Fold and cut the card, then begin to extend the picture with pencil crayons. Let your creativity run wild as you get further away from the photo. Have fun!

...print it on cardstock and add a smidgen of text plus pencil crayon magic to create this Birthday card
…print it on cardstock and add a smidgen of text plus pencil crayon magic to create your own “outside the box” Birthday card

(flower photo source)