It Seemed Innocent Enough

The question came as most of them do, innocently enough and without a clue of what was to come.

“You must save so much money by making all your cards.”  Before Cara D’stampmore could respond, the speaker continued, unaware that she piled insult upon injury.  “I was telling Roger last night that if I had an extra few shelves, I might buy me some supplies and have them on hand.  When I think of the time I’d save by being able to whip up a card when I need one rather than drive all the way to the store…  Do you know it took me five minutes just to find my mother-in-law’s last birthday card.  I bet I looked at every single one.  The dang thing cost me two bucks too!  It was the cheapest one there– well, aside from those tacky 99 cent ones.”

On Babs Blitherwood went, talking about how there was such a fine balance in choosing a card.  One had to be so careful not to spend too little and be considered cheap or too much and have your mother-in-law rant that you’re sending her son to the poorhouse.  “At least a homemade card doesn’t have a price tag on it.  No one knows how cheap it is.”

Cara swallowed hard and tried not to respond.  Years of trying to explain that perceptions were all wrong about papercrafters had taught her that it was useless.  At best, people assumed that she was just clueless.  At worst, they considered her defensive for being so cheap as to make something that everyone else bought.

“At least there’s something more personal about a homemade card.  No one can say you didn’t care enough to take the time for them.”

Will she ever shut up? Cara screamed inwardly.  As Babs chattered about how Cara had a talent for making something so inexpensive look so nice, she added, apparently not.

Then, just as Cara finally seemed in complete control over her unreasonable–or so she hoped–desire to strangle her neighbor of twelve years, Babs had one of her “brilliant ideas.”

“You know what!  I just realized that you’re always making cards.”

I can’t imagine how you figured that out. Cara’s inner sarcastic seemed to have come out to play.  What else was she supposed to say?  The woman just stood there waiting for a response, so Cara said the first thing that came to mind.  “Well, always might be a bit of an exaggeration.”

“Gotta have time to sleep!  No seriously, think about it.  You have stacks of those cards in your little desk in your room.  I could just come buy from you!  It’d save time and people would think I made them myself.  I’d pay you of course.”

“Of course.”

“It’d be perfect for both of us.  I’d save money, you’d make a little money…”

Cara choked at the words “save money” when the woman had already admitted that her top card price was two dollars.  “Just how much per card were you thinking?”

“I knew the idea of making a little spending money would appeal to you,” Babs teased as she wagged her finger.  “I don’t know, but since most cards I like are between two and three dollars, I’m thinking a dollar a card would be good.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to cheat you or anything, so I think anything less than that…”

The urge to scream, “Get out, get out, get out!!!” nearly overpowered Cara, but she forced herself to shut her mouth.  Her brain swirled into a goo of sludge that should have made it impossible to think, but apparently her gray matter was working quite well.

“You know what.  We’re such good friends, why don’t you just come over and pick a few out and I’ll figure up costs.  You can have them at cost.  I mean, if I make a profit then I have to report it on my taxes and that just gets hairy.”


“Oh, come on.  Come show me what you like.”

For the next half hour, Babs combed through hundreds of cards, picking out quite a few.  Every time she added a new one to her pile, she blushed and said, “I  just think it’d be less awkward than to have to ask you each time I need one…”

“Oh, please.  Take all you want.  I’ll be giving you a bill, after all.”

“Maybe I can buy you a coffee as my thanks.  That isn’t taxable, is it?”

“I don’t think so,” Cara said, trying not to laugh, “but it really isn’t necessary.”

“I’d feel better though.”

I doubt that.


The next day, a bill arrived for the cards.

Dear Babs,
Here is the cost per card I promised to figure out.

Ribbon per card .50
Base paper per card .40
Designer paper per card .75
Various “bling” per card .50
Rubber Stamp per card 3.50 (assuming I’ll use that stamp enough to get that much out of it.  I’m giving you a break on that– just in case.)
Use of paper trimmer per card– .50
Use of Big Shot or punches per card-  .50
Tape, dimensional, glue dots, glue, etc. per card-  .25
Marker use per card-  .50
Electricity to produce card-  .25
Wasted materials to produce one decent card-  4.50
Total per card-  12.15
12.15 times 37 cards comes to a total of $449.55  I take checks and paypal to (but please mark it personal or add extra for fees.  We did agree that this would be about covering ALL my expenses.)  Oh, P.S.  I’ll get you a separate bill for the gas to pick up supplies and for my internet use for inspiration and things once I figure all that out.
Enjoy your cards.  Let me know if you need or want more,


25 thoughts on “It Seemed Innocent Enough

  1. Loved this! When she started picking out cards I was LOL because I knew what was coming. Thanks – I needed a laugh. I will be sharing this! TFS Hugs!!

  2. I know exactly how she feels. When I make my cards, I put a lot of feel into the card because they are personal…they have to fit the person. If I had to put a price on my cards, some of them might total $15 each. But the other evening talking to my mother, she said she was playing cards with some of her friends, (now these ladies are 80-90 years old, but very active), and one of the ladies she said made a real pretty card on the computer. She then proceeded to say, “those cards you make take too much time and this one is just as pretty.” After I picked my chin up off the floor…my inner self just said, “don’t say it…just don’t say it.” It never ends…consequently, I don’t send her MY cards…I send them to those who appreciate my creativity and the personal touch. All of this could really turn into a new book “Chicken Soup for the card maker’s hurt feelings.” or “The card maker that couldn’t scream!”

  3. ROTFL!! LOVE this narrative! Oh, if only non-cardmakers understood! A few weeks ago, I had someone ask if they could look through my stash of handmade cards (they had never seen my cards before – just heard me talk about them) and after much ooo’ing and aaahhh’ing over them, they gasped: “You could make a fortune selling these cards!” – but of course, when it came to buying some of them…… hee hee, I just knew what was coming….. I don’t think I’ll book my around the world cruise anytime soon…….

    The other thing that cracks me up is to see printed on the front of cardmaking magazines: “Save time and money by making your own cards!”. Umm, really?

  4. LOL!!!! I love it!!!! I am going to post a link on my blog back to your story!!! All my crafting friends would sssssooooo love to read this!!!!!

  5. LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! This is so true that it is almost scary to think about!

    Sometimes even our children don’t understand. My son has remarked many times how much money I must have tied up in my stamps.. If only he knew all of the other things NECESSARY to make cards LOL. At one time he even suggested, I could have outright and purchased Hallmark ROFLOL!

    Just think, if I go broke making cheap cards, I can always retred my tires with the rubber, and burn the wood blocks for heat 🙂

    I’m a happy stamper, and I don’t care if I make cheap cards!

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