I've been subscribing to the SheetLoad of Cards monthly online magazine for, well, months. Here's the concept: every month they send a recipe for making a bunch of cards using a few sheets of cardstock, a few embellishments, and a card map. The instructions are for the bulk production of cards, cutting out all the pieces, then assembling them en masse. What a cool idea. I had to subscribe the second I heard about it. But for a while they've been stacking up in my inbox waiting for me to actually get out the cardstock and put some cards together.
I think what I needed was a reason to make a slew of cards in one sitting. Well, Jen K, who you've heard so very much about here in blogland, was kind enough to offer to bring my cards to Stampin' Up's convention to swap them for me, since I can't make it this year. She's just so darn nice. And she's dilligent. She's making 100 or so cards to bring with her, so I couldn't just hand her 5 or 10 cards and feel like I wasn't a total loser. Enter SheetLoad of Cards! I found my reason to get to work.
My feelings on the results? Though each card isn't it's own individual work of art like most of the cards I create, I'm really happy with them as a set of matched or coordinating copies. Each recipe in the issue I used (July Issue: Christmas in July) creates eight cards. Knowing I want to make a few different kinds to send along with Jen, I only doubled the recipe and still made a nice little assortment of girly pirate cards. The instructions were really clear and easy, and the examples were great. I changed a fair amount of details for my own cards, but that's the great thing about their card maps. They allow for a lot of creativity while keeping things uniform enough to do the assembly line thing.
If you're looking to make something one of a kind or extremely elaborate, you probably don't want to go with this system, but honestly, as lovely as a individually tooled card is, in most cases this is perfect. You create something personal, pretty, and creative while saving time and energy. Since most cards, no matter how treasured, are only kept so long, a system like this makes wonderful sense, particularly in the case of cards with many multiples needed--holiday cards, gift assortments, Valentines, stationery kits, etc. I know I'll be referring to their magazine when I'm working on sets of cards for xmas gifts for my friends and family this year.
Before I forget, there's one more advantage to using the instructions provided: it is fun. I really enjoyed seeing the cards come together, revealing my cards' design even as I made them. So, I say subscribe. All you have to lose is a few sheets of paper and I doubt you'll be less than pleased with the results.
P.S. I hope everyone likes my pirate a la femme. I think it's about time we had a pastel pirate around here. With the amount of glitter all over me, they should be sparkly enough to attract attention, anyway. I looooove glitter and I'm really super glad Stampin ' Up is not retiring it!