Now, I'm not a graphic designer, so I don't have those cool custom designed backgrounds that you see on the beautiful invitations and announcements that other people offer on Etsy. In simple terms, that means don't have a lot in the way of graphics. Still, I think these are classy enough to get the information out, and I like to think that the paper layers provide some visual interest. And they're different! That counts for something, right?
I had a few Save the Date bookmarks listed previously, but honestly, they were kind of crude and I wasn't completely happy with them. It's certainly a learning curve when trying to develop something new. I finally decided to overhaul them when I got the chance to make some college graduation announcements for a very nice woman I connected with through Alchemy on Etsy. She wanted something different than the standard announcement done in her school colors. So I came up with these, although I've changed the name and enough of the information to make them samples. I think they're pretty fun and interesting. We crammed a lot of wording onto that 2 1/4 inch space!
Once I did those, I really wanted to get to work on those Save the Dates. And so I came up with these, customizable to the client's information and color scheme.
Who wouldn't be excited to get one of those in the mail?! I did have some baby announcement bookmarks listed but I need to work on those, too. I think the ones below are super cute; the problem is, people are really excited to show off their new baby, usually with a beautiful photo, and I just don't have the space for that! So those are on the back burner for a while.
Old baby announcements- needs work!
On a similar note, I've got bookmarks listed as table favors: a takeaway treat for party guests! They can be customized for the event in color and wording. I would love to do them for an event where everyone gets their own personalized bookmark with their name on it. How special would that make people feel? Can you tell I'm excited?
There are so many options with these bookmarks. Now I'm hoping to find some people who want to be a little creative!
Beef and Barley Stew
2 1/2 lbs. stew meat or beef chuck cut into small chunks
3 T flour
1 tsp pepper
Salt or garlic salt to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil (or other oil)
4-5 petite red potatoes rinsed and cut into chunks
1 large onion rinsed and cut into quarters
4 ribs celery rinsed and cut into pieces
8 ounces carrots cut into chunks
1-32 oz box beef broth or 4 cups water and 4 tsp. beef boullion
1-14.5 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cup quick-cooking pearl barley (in the rice aisle)
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat the beef chunks in the flour/pepper/salt mixture and cook in a dutch oven or other large pot in the oil over medium-high heat until browned. Add all the other ingredients except for the barley, cover the dutch oven and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Add the barley (it will still look runny at this point) and cook for another 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
It's as easy as that! If you are a slow cooker person, follow the recipe- browing the meat on the stove first- then instead of adding everything and putting it in the oven, put the meat and everything else but the barley in the slow cooker and cook 4-6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. About an hour before serving, add the barley and let that cook for an hour (until barley is tender). Remove the bay leaf before serving. I haven't tried it in the slow cooker, so if anyone does, let me know how it comes out!
Helpful hints and options: I mix the flour with the salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag, add the beef, and shake it up to coat it. Then you can just pour it into the pot. To make it even easier, I use baby carrots, which means no peeling and no chopping. I just throw them in whole and they get soft enough to cut with a fork. Instead of red potatoes I usually use 2 russet potatoes because that's what we have hanging around most often. I also rough chop mushrooms and add those, and throw in some frozen corn and peas. The more veggies I can cram in, the better. I do check the stew as it's cooking, giving it a stir, and adding some water or broth if it looks like it's drying out.
We always have leftovers with this meal, and it's even better the second time around. Give it a try on any busy day when you need to get a meal together but don't have a lot of time to spend on it.
And there you go! One Valentine card holder ready to decorate! You can also write a name on the handle so everyone knows who's who.
If you use the smaller paper, this is how it sizes up- pretty cute!
Decorate your envelope with multi-colored and multi-layered hearts. The easiest way to make a heart is to take a square piece of paper, fold it in half, make a half-heart shape with the fold to the inside, and then unfold!
So there you have it! It's a fun and easy project that doesn't require too many materials. The kids (and adults!) will have fun making them, and you can save them and use them year after year if you like. Happy Valentine's Day!
Then she decided that my mini square magnetic bookmarks would be great "cards" for the Valentine's exchange at school and ordered a set for the class. They are a great size for children's novels (or adult paperbacks) and they look adorable with the monogram on the front. I decided to list them in the shop in case anyone else was looking for Valentine's cards, available in red and pink.
I love the idea of these as a classroom gift because they encourage reading and they are useful! They (hopefully!) won't just be thrown in the trash when they get home, as is the fate of so many school Valentine cards.
The shop mainly features bookmarks of different shapes, sizes, and designs, but there's also some notecards, gift tags, and bookplates there, too. Most of the items are layered, mixing papers of different color and texture. Wander over to bythebookpaper.etsy.com and you will see the end result.
Come back and visit me here to see what new things I'm putting in the shop, as well as a smattering of other odds and ends as they happen.
My first listing! Square magnetic dragonfly bookmarks.