Greeting Card Design: Weddings

Handmade greeting cards add a wonderful personal touch to any occasion. With a few basic materials, anyone can create a beautiful card that looks as nice (or even nicer) than anything that you would buy at the store. Weddings are the perfect occasion to create a card that reflects on the couple’s personal tastes. When designing a wedding card, a great place to start is looking at the style and theme of the wedding, along with any wedding colors. For the design shown, the bride wanted a black and white wedding because she “didn’t want color to ruin her wedding.” She preferred simple, modern designs, with black and white as her only colors.

To begin, first assemble all of your materials. The materials needed for this card are: 1 blank white card, 1 sheet of red card stock, white ribbon (1/2 inch thick, and 1/8 inch thick), a heart-shaped pop-up punch, white eyelets, rubber cement, scissors, eyelet setter, and computer printer.

The theme of this card is as simple as its design: love. Although the bride did choose to use any colors other than black and white for her wedding, I chose to use red on the card because it is a color that symbolizes love. Once you have assembled all of the necessary materials, take the red sheet of card stock and head to the computer. Using the word processing program of your choice, choose an elegant font. Create a text box and type the word “Love” in large, bold, black letters, centered in the middle of the text box. This will be used on the front of the card. For the text inside the card, create another text box on the same page. I chose to use 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for the message on the inside of the card, but feel free to personalize the message any way you like. Use the same font for the inside message as for the front of the card, only use a smaller font, and it does not have to be bold. Once you have finished typing your message, print on the red card stock.

After printing, take the card stock and cut out both text boxes. Take the one that only says “Love” to attach to the front of the card. Before attaching it to the card, use the heart-shaped pop-up punch to punch a heart on the bottom of the piece of card stock, centered under the word “Love.” Then use a small amount of rubber cement to attach this piece to the center of the front of the card. Then take your eyelet setter and set one white eyelet in each corner of the red card stock that you have just glued to the front of the card. Once your eyelets are set, take a piece of thin white ribbon, approximately 6-8 inches long (more or less depending on how much you need to tie a bow). Open the card and place one end of the ribbon through one of the top eyelets, and the other end of the ribbon through the other top eyelet so that you can tie a bow on the front of the card. Tie a tiny bow on the front. To help the bow stay tied, add a drop of rubber cement (or white glue, or super glue) to the center of the bow and wait for it to dry. After it has dried, trim off the ends of the ribbon. Then take the thick white ribbon and cut two pieces, each just slightly longer than the width of your card. Glue one piece on the top of the card, and the other piece on the bottom of the front of the card with rubber cement. Wait for the glue to dry. Once the glue has dried, trim off any extra ribbon with your scissors, and rub off any extra glue from around the ribbon on the card. Finally, cut out the message text box from the red card stock and glue it to the inside of the card. Once the glue has dried, your card is finished.

Learn More

Easy Cake Decorations: Chocolate Drizzle, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Web Designs and More

If you’re like me, you’ve got no problem whipping up a cake from a box mix or from dry ingredients in your pantry. But once you’ve got the thing baked, the only thing you can think to do with it is frost it neatly and slice it for your family. Why should we be forced to settle for boring cakes? In this article, we’ll discover five simple ways to dress up a boring cake, making it the centerpiece of your next special occasion.

To make explanation easier, all of the following ideas will presuppose that you’ve made a 2-layer round cake. If you’re really trying to make an evening special, resist your urge to make a sheet cake! Round cakes always make a more elegant presentation, and are well worth the extra effort. So, what can you do to make your cake really special?

Buy a frosting comb
Frosting combs are interesting plastic cards with teeth of varying designs on the edges. You simply drag a frosting comb across the surface of your frosted cake, and easily create interesting designs and patterns, with very little effort. Can’t find a frosting comb? Try looking at your nearest large craft store. Still can’t find one? If you’re willing to spend the time, you can use the tines of a fork to make designs in your icing, or can simply purchase an ordinary hair comb from the drugstore. Just remember to mark the comb in some way, so that your family members know it’s only intended for use on cakes!

Try decorating with dried fruits and nuts
They’re a healthy alternative to candies and icing, and fruit and nut decorations can be easy to assemble and look very elegant. Try using long, flat almond slices to make flowers, and drop a dried cranberry or white chocolate chip in the center. Use walnuts to make a border with excellent texture, or press chopped nuts into the sides of your cake to make a sort of crust.

Get elegant with a smooth chocolate drizzle
If you’ve made a flavor of cake that will go well with chocolate, then give this a try! Simply melt down some white, dark, or milk chocolate chips in a bowl over a pan of hot water (or in the microwave) and use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the entire cake. The dribbles will look elegant and gorgeous, even if you don’t have a very steady hand, so don’t worry about precision! To make a cool chocolate border, use your spoon to carefully drip chocolate right on the top edge of your cake. The chocolate will cascade down the sides of your cake in pleasing, random drips, and will look absolutely delectable!
Try using butterscotch chips instead for an interesting variation!

Get fancy with a pulled ‘Web’ design
To make those fancy webbed designs you see on store-bought cakes, simply get a thin, liquid icing (the gel icings work well) in a color that contrasts with the frosting color of your overall cake. Use the icing to draw concentric circles radiating out from the center of your cake, like a bull’s-eye. You then want to get a toothpick and gently press it into the very middle of the cake, and drag it very smoothly to the outside edge, pulling the icing in a straight line. Work all the way around your cake making the same move, keeping the lines you make about an inch apart at the outer edge. Then, to make it really fancy, do the same move again, only backwards, starting at your cake’s outer edge and working inward, making these new lines evenly spaced between the ones you’ve already made.
Make a mistake? Using a knife, swirl the icing all together, to create a marbled design that will look intentional.

Use icing in all the right places
Everyone loves those thick tubes of brightly colored icing that come from the grocery store, but it can be difficult to make thick icing look classy, and to know when you’ve used too much! I would recommend using the star tip that comes with your tube, and practice making stars on a piece of waxed paper until you’re really comfortable with it. Then you can make a neat border of stars around the top and bottom edges of your cake! Borders like this are easy to do, and they’ll look very professional if done neatly. For a child’s party, finishing this type of cake with rainbow sprinkles and some candles will make a delightful presentation that you’ll be proud to say you made yourself!

Learn More

HGTV Design Star 2009: Celebrity Home Challenge

HGTV’s Design Star 2009, episode 8, is a celebrity home challenge. The Design Star final three (Anthony Ballatore, Lonni Paul and Dan Vickers) showcase their decorating chops in individual challenges. All three receive accolades from the Design Star judges (Vern Yip, Candice Olsen and Genevieve Gorder), but will it be enough to keep their show from being canceled?
HGTV Design Star 2009: Celebrity Home Challenge
The Design Star hopefuls open their paint cans to find out which celebrity they will be designing for. Antonio Ballatore is given the task of designing Kathy Griffin’s office. Lonni Paul draws Tiffani Thiessen’s guest bedroom. Dan Vickers is challenged with redoing a nursery for Jason Priestley.

The Design Star finalists are given a budget of $20,000 to complete their individual makeovers. They have a time limit of thirty hours and three days. Help is given to them in the form of two carpenters, each.

HGTV Design Star 2009: Kathy Griffin’s Office
Antonio Ballatore is immediately given flack by Kathy Griffin. Kathy said that she “doesn’t feel comfortable working with a straight designer.” All kidding aside, Kathy tells Antonio that she needs an office for “Team Griffin.” She wants desks for three employees, with drawers and ample workspace. She tells the Design Star finalist that she is looking for a minimalist modern zen feel, with absolutely no clutter. Kathy actually gives Antonio the most leeway with his office design, giving him carte blanc on color and design. She wanted to see what the potential Design Star could do.

Antonio instantly starts thinking of the functionality of the office’s design and how to make it flow with the rest of Kathy Griffin’s house. He goes bold in color choice, using a light purple for the walls. He then pairs the lavender with gray and silver accent pieces. He decides to use laminate wood flooring, to withstand the office chairs. The Design Star 2009 contestant used metal custom made furniture for the work areas. The desks were separated by book shelves and each had a magnetic board. Antonio also provided Kathy with a wall clock for each time zone. For a feature wall, Antonio had a cool U.S. map cut out of metal. The map was then covered with a clear material, making it a dry erase board.

HGTV Design Star 2009: Tiffani Thiessen’s Guest Room
Lonni Paul designed a guest room for Tiffani Thiessen and her husband, Brady Smith. They requested a contemporary, eclectic and eco-friendly room. Tiffani stated that, “We are not modern at all.” The Design Star contestant’s celebrity room challenge clients stated a preference for earth tones and pops of color.

Lonni immediately begins to form a design plan. She knows that she wants to use textured wallpaper, hardwood flooring and organic bedding. She finds a grass cloth wallpaper and covers the room in it. For a focal bed wall, she gets the wallpaper silk screen printed with a pretty greenish blue design. White organic bedding goes on the bed. The gorgeous piece of reclaimed lumber she found for the headboard did not make it up on the wall. Instead the Design Star candidate balances the headboard on two nightstands. She provides the pops of color with blue and green accents.

HGTV Design Star 2009: Jason Priestley’s Nursery
Dan Vickers’ celebrity home challenge is to decorate a nursery for Jason Priestley and his wife, Naomi. They requested a nautical, Cape Cod and beachy look. The Design Star contestant’s challenge was to also make the nursery a transition room, that could also be used for a toddler and guests.

Dan decides to go with blue and sand tones. The walls are painted an overpowering pale aqua blue, with one random light green wall. He purchases a crib/toddler bed and changing table in antique white. Other furniture in the room included a day bed, dresser and three chairs. The Design Star hopeful took ready made curtains and customized them with a wide band of fabric in the middle. He made wooden ship hull outlines and hung them from the ceiling. Taking a cue from the first Design Star winner, David Bromstead, Dan painted a picture for the room.

HGTV Design Star 2009: Celebrity Reactions
Design Star candidate Antonio Ballatore provided Kathy Griffin with a cool headquarters for “Team Griffin.” Kathy loved the office’s design and thought it would function well. She appreciated the time zone clocks, saying they would come in handy.

Tiffani Thiessen and Brady Smith were thrilled with Lonni Paul’s guest room design. They joked about ditching their master bedroom and sleeping in the new guest room.

Dan Vickers’ celebrity clients, Jason and Naomi Priestly, were also pleased with their new nursery. Naomi proclaimed the space genius and delicious. Jason dug Dan’s artwork.

HGTV Design Star 2009: Judging
Design Star judge Vern Yip gave Antonio Ballatore credit for his office’s design and function, but thought the scale of some pieces were off and it “looked like a hobbit went shopping.” The judges found Antonio’s lavender and gray color scheme to be fresh and exciting. They also praised Antonio’s original and engaging hosting. Candice Olsen called it “unique” and “unorthodox.” She thought Antonio was the “real deal.” Genevieve Gorder said she was shocked, in a good way. Genevieve did have issues with Antonio’s accessories and wished he would have dressed the room more, giving it a designer touch.

Design Star hopeful Lonni Paul’s guest room also received her share of compliments. The judges were excited about her unexpected take on eco-friendly. Vern thought she looked gorgeous hosting on camera. Candice loved the wall treatments. Genevieve thought she had a great temperament, but thought the focal wall was repetitious of what Lonni had done on other episodes. The judges worried about Lonni’s ability to multi-task under time constraints.

Dan Vickers was heaped with praise for his nursery design. Genevieve was impressed to see a designer room and thought it worked on many levels. Candice thought it worked the nautical theme without being too literal and thought Dan was going to “designer heaven,” for his suspended ship frames. Vern loved the painting. All of the judges seemed to think Dan was still too giggly and stiff in his hosting.

HGTV Design Star 2009: Elimination
Design Star host Clive Pearse gave the final three contestant the judges’ decision. Lonni Paul’s constant inability to complete tasks got her Design Star dreams canceled.

Antonio Ballatore and Dan Vickers will battle it out to be the next Design Star. Details were not given, but previews showed room demolition. One could guess that they may have to take on a complete room remodel. They were told that the final challenge was the most difficult yet. Oh, and it starts now!

Learn More