Giving Your Holiday Cards A New Life

Happy New Year, Readers! I hope your Holidays were spectacular and that you've entered 2012 with feelings of excitement, determination, and peace.

The first week of January, I attempt to do some spring cleaning. I clean out my closets, shred old papers I no longer need, go through old magazines from 2011, and do an inventory of my business stock. I also file all of my receipts and get my books in order as I prepare for orders in the new year and tax season. In other words, I purge, breathe, and usher in something like order before the chaos begins.
Now, this is all important because I'm a bit of a pack rat. Okay, that's a bit extreme, I'm not a pack rat, but I do like to keep cards and movie ticket stubs and anything else that reminds me of a favorite moment in my past year. I have boxes of things like this and I love having them, but I also spend time sorting through them and making sure I'm not carrying too much of my past into my future.

Which is why I tackle the pile of Christmas cards I received in January that first week.

In the past I felt horrible at the thought of throwing away a card that someone took the time to send me. Eventually, the photo card came out and I didn't quite feel so bad about recycling cards. You may be wondering why? The truth is that it is so rare that someone writes on their photo card that the card is impersonal. And so purging of Christmas cards became easier and my paper load less.

It wasn't until last year that I discovered a wonderful little way to really recycle your cards (photo cards not included) that involves giving your cards a new life - donating them to St. Jude's Ranch.

For more than 30 years, St. Jude's Ranch has been collecting used greeting-card fronts to reuse.  The children at St. Jude's Ranch turn the card fronts into new cards that are sold at the gift shop. Not only do the children learn to craft, but they also learn about recycling and running a business.

St. Jude's Ranch accepts all cards, not just Christmas cards. They take general, birthday, thank-you, Easter, Valentine's Day, and any other holiday I'm missing, but currently they have a need for both birthday and thank-you cards.  They prefer the front of cards sized 5"x 7" or smaller and have no writing at all. I tend to tear the card and recycle the back with the writing on my own. Something to be aware of is that St. Jude's cannot accept cards by Hallmark, Disney, or American Greetings because of trademark and/or copyright issues since they sell the remade cards.

I know you're thinking that shipping the cards to St. Jude's defeats the purpose of recycling the cards, but honestly, you're doing an amazing thing by sending these cards to children in need and you can mark the postage charge as a charitable contribution on your taxes.

So now, take all your card fronts and put them in a USPS Flat Rate Box and ship them to the following address:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

For those of you looking to doubly make a difference, you can host a collection with friends to mail one big bundle to the group. Turn it into a party where you invite your friends over, have some snacks, catch up, and gather those cards into a sizable donation. We're spinning the craft party in another way!

You can also purchase cards from the children next year for your own Holiday card needs. Cards are sold in packets of 10 for $10.  You can find out more information on the categories and how to order on their website.

Any questions can be directed to St. Jude's directly via phone at 877-977-7572 or you can visit their website.

Happy New Year of Crafting and Recycling!


A Few More Crafty Resolutions for 2011

Happy New Year!   It's that resolution time of year and if you're anything like me your crafty life could use a resolution or two.  Here are five to get you started:
Knock Knock Studio
1. Get organized
You can't work if your space is piled high in supplies. If you're organizationally challenged, check out some of our past Workspace Wednesday blogs for inspiration.  Get crafty when it comes to space saving and storage solutions turn tea boxes into drawer dividers or cans into pencil holders.  Optimize your storage space by using wall space.  I was inspired by a pegboard design in Ready Made magazine.
Journal by BlueStitchBooks
2. Use what you have before buying more
How many times have you bought supplies only to find that you already had that item?  I do it all the time – I must have a dozen sets of number 8 knitting needles!  If you've got 8 balls of the same yarn – make a project with that first. Figure out what size brushes, needles or what color pencils you need before you buy another.   I’m writing a list of all the needles I have and keeping it on my iPhone ( I bet there’s an app for that).  Write down what colors you don't have in your silkscreen paints. Keep an easily tracked inventory if needed in a notebook if you are lo-tech.  Check out some of the journals available from The {NewNew}.
Pillow by AlexandraFerguson

3. Finish at least one unfinished project before tackling a new craft
Many of us have multiple interests and mediums. If you spin and knit, finish spinning that skein and knitting that hat before moving on to a new embroidery project. Don't buy expensive screen-printing equipment when you've got 4 unfinished quilts sitting in the corner in a basket.  In other words, just say NO, temporarily that is!
4. Donate unused supplies
Did you decide that sewing was just not for you but still have a box of fabric? Give it to a nursing home. Tons of empty sketchbooks that you’re ignoring in favor of beadwork?  See if there's a daycare that can use the extra paper. Pastels a thing of the past? See if your local elementary school can use them.  Schools, nursing homes, and women's shelters are always good places to contact about donating supplies.
5. Use your powers for good
There are plenty of charities that accept handmade goods.  Sew up a stuffed toy and give it to the women's shelter. Knit some preemie hats and give them to a local hospital. For inspiration check out the hats The {NewNew} and visitors to the Maker Faire donated to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital last fall.
Share your crafty resolution for 2011 with us!  We'd love to hear from you.