Friday, November 12, 2010

Its never as easy as it looks ...

(warning: whining ahead)

How hard can it be to make little cards - right? Well I'll tell you ~

First you get that cool idea. "Oooh, I know - I'll make little tiny cards!!"
Then you start the actual process of figuring out how to make them.

Lay them out in Photoshop so you can print several on one page. Not hard.
Test (aka 'waste') different papers, determining just the right combo of the image looking good plus foldability. Settle on something after printing way too many on paper that will now be used to line the bird cage.

Trim them all. Start with a trusty utility knife and straight edge and cutting board. Think "this is crazy" and go buy a 'cutter' at the crafts store. Decide the cutter is a cheap piece of crap, and go back to the utility knife. Think "this is 10 cent an hour slave labor - is this really what I went to art school for?".

Ruin several cards, and realize the knife could probably use a new (aka 'sharp') blade. Change the blade and be momentarily amazed at just how sharp a new utility blade actually is, and realize this is a job that needs to be done while very WIDE AWAKE with no distractions. Do quite a few, until attention starts to wane, and pack it up for the night.

Think it might be cute to have rounded corners, so use the cute little 'corner rounder thingie' that was also purchased at the craft store. Practice diligently on 'bad paper' until confident to move on to the real cards. Make several 'just slightly off' cuts which produce a notched effect rather than a perfect rounded corner (usually on the 4th corner of a card, which looked like it was going to be successful).

Throw bad card into basket. Try not to calculate just how much this is costing, what with paper, ink, printing and cutting and folding time (oh we haven't even gotten into folding yet!). Go pour a drink. Ponder what made us think this was a good idea to begin with. Wonder how all those people on etsy just whip this stuff out like its nothing. Question our very existence. Eat something.

This is the evil, EVIL, corner rounder thingie. This is the little orange machine-like punch thing that not only doesn't work perfectly every time, but also can give you carpal-tunnel in the punching arm after about 10 minutes of use.

I'm still waiting for the envelopes I ordered to arrive. And figured out after the fact that they are 'ungummed', meaning you can't lick them to make them stick shut. Will anyone care? There isn't a 'gummed' option in this size. A lesson in "read the fine print". I knew it was too good to be true when I found them. If I don't use them, I will have a box of 1000 wee tiny envelopes taking up space in my closet. What to do, what to do ...

So that's what's been going on at my place. And now you'll know why I'll be charging $25 a card when they finally get up in the shop. Oh I'm kidding but not by much. Lets add in the 'joy' of experiencing the craft store with its 3 different awful songs playing simultaneously over the loudspeaker in different parts of the store to get all of us shoppers 'in the mood' (one was Christmas, the others were just everyday annoying - and if you stood in the right place you could hear all three of them at the same time!).

But let's see if I can end this on a positive note. The amazing genius computer guy came and fixed my Photoshop issue. YAY. And did some other fiddly stuff while he was here.
I'm working on some art I can't show, so that's a drag, but the way it is.
And I just bought some new candy to draw - some new taffys and other goodies, so that will be fun.

So hopefully the next time I post I will have something to show for my trouble, and there will be less whining.
Pumpkin ice cream awaits!


CC said...

Adorable cards.
If it doesn't get better, go for stand up comedy! This post is hilarious. I love the wind up ....that we'll understand the teeny cards selling for $25 ea on Etsy! Too much.

As for closing the envelopes.... ever seen the swell Japanese washi tapes?
Only $11million dollars more.. ;-)
Good luck!!

TaraLarsenChang said...

You totally crack me up. (Have you looked into PSPrint or Moo or some other service? Watch for their sale - they really end up being worth it).

Am looking forward to seeing them on etsy, despite the shenanigans. :-)

Constance McLennan said...

Another exhibitor at our gallery printed sets of greeting cards for which, if she were to break even, she would have to charge over $21. She regretfully sells them for a fraction of that and considers it promotion. I think self-published greeting cards may be one of the few worse ideas than self-published children's books--though people occasionally manage to profit from each. ;->

Sally Springer said...

You make me laugh, Paula! Probably because I SO understand this frustration!

Ann said...

I enjoyed your post and totally understand your frustration! This is how it goes sometimes, sadly.

Janet Pantry said...

So funny, Paula! You brightened up my day, I can so identify with your frustration. As someone has already said, might be worth looking into Moo or some such service, if only to avoid all the kerfuffle of doing it yourself.
PS. I love your sweetie drawings - they look great on the cards :>)

Paula Pertile said...

I appreciate all the commiserating!
Moo cards are 1.5 inches - no one, and I mean no one, does 2 inch cards. Leave it to me to decide that was the perfect size.
PSPrint doesn't either, but I've asked if they do custom sizes. Anytime you add 'cu$tom' to an order, you know what happens.
Also, for etsy, I worry about losing the 'handmade' aspect of the whole enterprise if I have everything outsourced. Its a grey area that I'm a little unsure of.

Lisa said...

Paula, you had me laughing out loud! It's really nice to know that I am not the only one who has had card issues. No matter how they are produced, your cards are beauiful. Thanks again for sharing the process. You made my day!

Beth said...

Well chalk it up to experience that all artists have to go through to get to our 'expertise' level where we can charge more! Eventually you will get it down to 'an art'!

Enjoyed the post! Very humorous, which I very much needed!

Belinda Lindhardt said...

LOL Paula been there done that lol .. so funny exactly what i have done barring the rounded corner things.. i wasnt going to go there...

I had issues with the folding as well, getting a straight fold and getting it neat.. not to mention smearing some kind of oils from my hands onto the cards... lol .. tip.. try to do a score of some sort on the underside of where your folding before your folding seems to do a better job.. Yes i figured my cards are most likely costing money more than making money ..but they are getting your art out there i guess. and ppl will appreciate them :)I hope :)

Feathers said...

Ok Paula, I can tell that you're not giving up yet--as for how to stick the little envelopes shut--why not print tiny images onto self-stick labels and then use some sort of hole punch to cut them out with (after all, you've already got carpel-tunnel, what's a few more punches???) :-)

Loved this post, cause I've had my share of problems with my cards.

Kendra said...

I'm chuckling at your process and frustrations but I have gone through similar situations! They're going to be just beautiful when finished!

Chris said...

Thanks, I needed a good laugh. I agree it is never as easy as it looks. :)

maybe double sided tape will work