Stamping 911: Cards in a Crunch Part 1

Stampin up celebrate you

I recently received an email from Charlotte asking for ways to speed up the process of creating a card.  She said that between her time and money spent on card making, her husband recently quipped, "Well, that's about $1000 a card."   While I believe I fall somewhere below the $1000 per card mark (I try to focus on versatile products), I must confess that my personal stamping process borders more on the Hokey Pokey than Speedy Gonzales. 

For those of you nodding and chuckling (as I did) over Charlotte's request and her husband's commentary (sound familiar?), today's post is dedicated to creating cards in 10 minutes or less, or "Stamping 911."  Click here for my complete Stamping 911 Gallery.  I also put together tips below for keeping your stamping supplies streamlined and making quick and pretty cards.

I needed another masculine birthday card (ditto tomorrow's post, so you are going to get a double dose).  TIP:  You can "dress" any card up in "boy" or "girl" fashion with a change in paper, colors and embellishments.  Need more masculine card ideas?  Check out my "You've Got Male" category.

This card is for my nephew, Joseph, a teacher in Chicago, a entertaining and trendy guy.  Consequently, I jumped right in with Stampin' Up!'s Washington Apple Designer Series paper (Riding Hood Red, Bashful Blue, So Saffron, Pumpkin Pie–entertaining and trendy in every way). 

I began with a 4.25 x 5.5 card base (scored at the top) of Riding Hood Red with a delicious Washington Apple checker print on top.  The vertical panel is Bashful Blue Textured card stock with a row of Real Red brads across the top.  TIP:  Real Red brads are pretty close to Riding Hood Red.

Stampin up celebrate you close up
The Party Hearty "Celebrate You" sentiment was stamped on Whisper White twice–first in Pumpkin Pie and second on Bashful Blue.  Circle Punches (1 3/4" and 3/4") coordinate with the outside and interior of the stamp. I popped out the separate elements in no time, added a Real Red Brad to the center and adhered the Bashful Blue stamp with a Stampin' Dimensional. 

The simple 2.5 x 2.5" square beneath the sentiment can be created from two full squares (I used Pumpkin Pie and Riding Hood Red Textured card stock) cut diagonally in half.  TIP:  Alternatively, cut a right angle, 2.5" on each side then slice off the excess between the longest points.  This saves on paper. 


1.  Don't start from scratch.  Inventing the "wheel" takes a lot of time.  Find a basic sketch and copy (with proper credit to the designer if you're a blogger or are going to publish it).

2.  Check out the Splitcoast Stampers Daily Challenges (listed on my right side bar) for color and sketch inspiration.  Today's posts uses the Featured Stamper Challenge FS85 based on this card by Shannon.

3.  Get Organized.   Paper, ink pads, tools and embellishments need to be ready when you start your project (think like a firefighter). I like to scribble my layout, colors and embellishments on a piece of paper.

4.  Develop a system for finding the right stamps quickly.  I use a 3 ring binder with stamped images of each set on 8.5 x 11 card stock pages.  I divided it like the Stampin' Up! catalog (nature, greetings, holiday, etc.).  I can see my options all in one place and what stamps fit in my layout.  My sets are tucked in drawers alphabetically.

5.  Pick a stamp that doubles as a focal point and sentiment (like "Celebrate You").

6.  Bookmark Stamping 911 for projects that can be recreated in less than 10 minutes. It's a link so will update automatically when I add new ideas.

7.  Punches.  They create art in a snap.

8.  Limit your layers.  There is beauty in simplicity.

9.  Pretty paper pops.  Designer paper or textured card stock can add a lot of "wow" without the need for a lot of embellishment.

10.  Edit (I stole this from Tim Gunn on "Project Runway").   Focus on just a few cool ideas to jazz up the card and resist the rest.  On this card, it was my red and orange square and the red brads.

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave me a comment with your favorite tip(s) to create cards in a crunch.

Carry on . . . Hugs and Pretties . . . Mary

COMING UP . . . More Stamping 911 AND "Picture Perfect" (cheap and easy ways to make your card pictures look pretty).

Stamp Set:  Party Hearty
Paper:  Washington Apple Designer Series, Riding Hood Red Textured, Pumpkin Pie Textured, Bashful Blue Textured, Whisper White
Ink:  Pumpkin Pie,  Bashful Blue
Cool Tools:  3/4" and 1 3/4" Circle Punches
The Perfect Touch:  Bold Brights Brads (Real Red), Stampin' Dimensionals

Party hearty


  1. Cute card.
    You mentioned project runway. My precious step-daughter’s cousin is one of the designers on that show! Her name is Leeanne Marshall. Sooo much fun rooting for her!

  2. Love the 10 tips esp. about the binder with stamp sets for easily remembering what I have and fitting in my layout(#4)…Thanks for the time you took to tell us!

  3. Beautiful card. Love all the bright colors.

    God bless

  4. All great tips. Thanks, Mary!

  5. What a fun & bright card! I think one thing to keep in mind when you need to create cards in a crunch is that sometimes less is more!

  6. That’s a great post, and I love your tips. I love making cards that are involved, but I do realize that not everyone has as much time on their hands as I do.
    (And gotta love the $1,000 a card comment! Although I never pretended I got into card-making to SAVE money…)


  7. Fabulous card! I love all the detail and the two toned layer under the sentiment, so cute! Love all the bright colors too. Fabulous job as always!

  8. I hope you don’t get tired of hearing this, but I love the card!!!

  9. My tip: make at least 2 when you make a great card and start building up an inventory. If you do this, start a list of who you sent that card to, so you don’t accidentally send another later.

    Dear Susan:

    I think this is a great idea, especially making a list so you don’t send the same (or similar) card again! Thanks!

  10. Colleen Kramer

    Very cool! Love the 2 color square (you clever girl). I’m sure Joseph will love it. My tip? Go to, this is one amazing stamper, who always has great ideas. In fact one of the secrets I use from her is to keep my dimensionals nearby to “pop-up” a key element on my design.

    Hi Colleen: You are divine. Thank you for your confidence and die hard plug! Do I say “pop-up” on dimensionals a lot? Eek. Ditto “luscious,” “delicious.” . . . . I have become my mother (not a bad thing but a tad scary–OK, add “tad” to that list). Hugs M

  11. Nice card. You always know how to come up with the perfect card. Thanks for sharing.

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