Thursday, March 7, 2013

Make a simple birthday card & Drink dragon well green tea

At some point I became the official birthday card maker in my office. I think I volunteered one time and everyone really liked what I came up with. Not to toot my own horn. I actually have a formula I use for all the cards I make, and it's easier than most of my coworkers think.

All you will need is some colored paper (check near your office's copy machine), a pencil, scissors, stick glue and a felt tipped pen like a Sharpie. And some patience. This is a quick project, but it will turn out best when done with care.

And of course, you'll need some tea. I sipped Dragon Well green tea from Dean & Deluca. It was a stocking stuffer from my mom last Christmas. It's a very light loose leaf green tea, with leaves that are flattened into large flakes instead of rolled. It's a very accessible flavor if you're new to green teas.

The first thing I did was gather paper scraps from previous card projects. I made sure to get every color my office had to offer. Next I made a quick sketch of my design, labeling the color of paper I would use for each shape. This card is for a coworker with an upcoming birthday who is also leaving for the season this week, with a road trip the next thing on her docket. So I imagined her driving through the mountains off into the sunset!

Next I started drawing and cutting. I started with the most prominent part of the image, the green mountains and foreground. Then I marked out the road and purple mountains. For some pieces I eye balled it and for others I put one piece of paper over the other before sketching. I did my best to cut inside my pencil lines, since I found the markings almost impossible to erase neatly.

To make sure the car shape was symmetrical, I drew half the shape then folded along the center line (see image below for clarification). For the window and tail lights, I used the scrap from around the car shape as a guide. I used the same folding technique to make those shapes symmetrical too.

Next I started gluing. I find solid stick glue easiest. Make sure to get glue along the edges of each shape to keep them from sticking up. Before I started, I stared at all my paper shapes for a few moments. You want to make sure you glue them down in the correct order, as many of them overlap. For example, I made sure to glue on the smaller segment of blue road before tacking down the green foreground piece and the wheels before gluing down the car.

I used a cutting board to trim down the extra yellow paper around the edges. I also used this to make all the edges flush and square. You can see in one of the photos below that the green bit didn't end up flush with the bottom of the blue road. Trimming fixed that issue.

After trimming, I carefully outlined the shapes on the card with my Sharpie. This hid any pencil marks left on the edges and also gives the card and almost comic book appearance. Next came the message of the card, in the neatest penmanship I could muster. My coworkers and I used the open spaces on the card to write other personal messages. Finally we delivered the card, with some cupcakes and off tune singing!

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