Thank You Anniversary Easel Card

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our local volunteer group is in our 25th year. I thought we should have a memento so I decided to make “thank you/ anniversary” cards. I made Eighty-five of them! What was I thinking?


Thirty -Two “Exploding Boxes”

I got really excited when I discovered the “Exploding Box”. I thought right away that they would make great “thank you” gifts. An exploding box is a type of  folded, mini album which may have interior or exterior embellishments arranged on layers consisting of four “flaps”. When folded upwards, these flaps form a box shape which is then held in place by a square lid.

The finished boxes including the inspired John Deere box.
The first thing I did was to make a sketch.

Next I gathered together the supplies needed: Three different colors of 12″ x 12″ card stock, 8.5″ x 11″ card stock for top, decorative paper, printed images, die cut outs, scorer and board, double sided craft tape, glue, glue dots, and embellishments.

I trimmed down the three pieces of card stock to be stacked in layers at center of exploding box  from large to small. Sizes were: 12″ x 12″, 11.75″ x 11.75″, and 11.5″ x 11.5″

1) Score each piece of card stock at the 4″ mark, rotate & score three more times at that mark. You should have  nine squares bordered by score lines. 2) Cut out the four corner squares. 3) Use a corner cutter to round edges. 4) Tape medium sized  to larger, then tape smallest to medium sized creating three layers.

I embellished the bottom, large (blue) layer first, then the medium (gold), then the smallest (burgundy). The embellishments of these layers represent the various themes and charity projects of our organization.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Search of A Paper Die Cut Machine

After making the pop box card/envelopes and designing  the contents for my Explosion Box, I realized a lot of hand cutting was involved. For what I had in mind a paper die cutter was definitely needed. This is my journey and research into picking the right paper die cut machine for ME. EVERYONE’s needs may be different.


  1. No mat
  2. No expensive cartridges
  3. Good customizable software
  4. Reasonable price
  5. Ability to cut 12″x 12″, 8.5″x11″, scrap card stock
  6. Ability to cut other materials
  7. Color variety

My research led me to the most popular but after reviewing forums, I realized #1 & #2 of my criteria. I also knew I would not use the majority of cartridge designs, did not want to maintain or buy mats and would prefer to design many of my own designs. You Tube was a good resource for different die cut machines. , blogs, and Yahoo Group forums were also great research sources. Next I set a price, notated my criteria in a notebook then made a comparison chart for each of the models I was considering. It came down to the Pazzle and the ECrafte by Craftwell. For me I really wanted to use third party software to enhance what I could do. I listed the pros and cons. Next I Googled the prices. This led me to for the eCraft   where I not only saved a lot but saved more by joining the OClub and gained $42 in reward points and FREE shipping. I chose Make The Cut software to create cutting files. Their website had a special and I saved $20 dollars!! WOOT WOOT! It also turns out they had recently joined Craftwell to make the software compatible with the eCrafter. (I learned that from the YahooGroup forum). *What I’m learning is that it’s SOFTWARE, SOFTWARE, SOFTWARE. Then the machine you want/need. It turns out that not only can the eCrafter cut out intricate designs as small as 1/2″ but it also cuts, paper, cardstock, vinyl, vellum, fabric, some types of felt, magnetic, chip board, etc. Anything not thicker than 1mm. Best of all, it came in a variety of colors including my favorite color of blue! HURRAY!!

LOL Now I need a craft room . . . . . .