Crafty Words

Me and my sister

Me and my sister

I’ve written before about my limited, nay, let’s call it what it is, my nonexistent ability to measure accurately, draw straight lines, use scissors or employ any of the other skills needed to successfully create a beautiful, useful, or display-worthy handmade object.

But today, I’m about to share with you something that I can do, and you can, too. You can make personalized cards for family and friends that are funny, touching, embarrassing or all three, depending on the occasion, your relationship, and your inclination. All you need is a collection of photos, a computer, an internet connection and a little time.

The lead picture on this post is a birthday card I made for my sister Mary Kay. I don’t remember the occasion of the photo, but it strikes me as very ill-advised. I can only surmise that either our mother did not truly have the love she professed for my younger sister, or that I had taken it upon my eight-year-old self to pop her into my bike basket for a quick ride. Clearly, my sister had some reservations but little power to do anything about them. I’m happy to say she survived to enjoy the birthday card many years later.

This is a card I made for my brother, from one of his favorite photos.

Jim's birthday

Jim’s birthday

I include it primarily to curry favor, because he gave me grief for writing a post about my sisters awhile ago.


Blake’s graduation

Here’s one I did for my nephew when he graduated from high school.

The point is not to bore you with bits of family history, but to say that though it takes a little time to find the right photo and figure out what you want to say, the actual making of the card requires no special skills. And the end product is so much nicer than the $3 or $4 or $5 card you bought at the store that doesn’t quite say what you want it to, but it’s all you could find.

If you have a Mac, it’s super easy to make a card. You just select a photo from your photo library, click on “create a card,” drop it into the pre-formatted layout of your choice and come up with the words you want to say. You can use more than one photo, and you can choose to make a card with no text on the front or inside. However, I always have a lot of words I want to say, so I always choose the text option both on the cover and inside. Once it’s done, you can order it online and get it within a few days.

I don’t know if a similar program is available on PCs, but I do know there are sites like Mixbook, Snapfish and others on the Web that let you do the same thing. You just upload your pictures, choose your layout, write your text and there you go.

I’m not typically an advocate for DIY projects, because in my experience, things can go very, very wrong. However, this is something that is really fun to do, and so easy that even I can do it. The card you make is really a gift in and of itself, because you’re giving your thoughts, your time and your love. It’s a very fun way to use your words.


Anniversary Card


It’s getting closer …


Readers Write


  1. Shannon Schauer

    I have come to look forward to this monthly blog, it lightens my mood and I really enjoy hearing what you have to share. I cannot begin to tell you how anxious I am to read the next Leah Nash book. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Susan!

    • Hey, thanks Shannon that’s really nice to hear. Dangerous Places should be out in a few weeks. I think it came out pretty well. But I guess I’ll have to wait to see what you, and others, think! 🙂

  2. Dian Frayser

    And I can attest to how great it is to receive one of these birthday cards. Mine was so funny, and clever. It’s no longer, “Hallmark if you care to send the very best.” It’s the home made card from Susan. Next time you’re out here Susan, I’ll have you give me a lesson. And can’t wait for your next book to be out. Hope you can take a break in between books!

  3. Dian Frayser

    Ooops! That would be, “Hallmark if you care ENOUGH to send the very best.”

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