Donna Sanders of Chippewa Falls openly admits to forever finding ways to stretch a dollar.
“Five kids…you have too,” she says. “But I go back farther than that. I remember the first nickel I ever got. It dropped in an open radiator on the floor of a country store. It was there every time I checked.”
In her seventies, Sanders has been stamping cards ‘frugally’ for 20 years. She is recognized consistently in a national stamp magazine. She is the choice of Chapter BF, P.E.O. Sisterhood to present two classes on “The Frugal Stamper” at the 12th Annual Stampin’ n’ Scrappin’ Stampede Expo Saturday, March 17 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Club, 2588 Hallie Rd., Lake Hallie.
Stamping is the process of using rubber ‘stamps’ to create designs on paper, a technique often used to make handmade cards. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m., with $4 entry and a “card buffet” from 8—9:30am.
Besides speaking at 11:30 a.m. and at 1:00 p.m. at the event, Sanders wants to support the Stampede Expo in Lake Hallie “because businesses and home-based vendors are “always developing new techniques.” The event is beneficial, she says, because it features stamping products from demonstrators in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and “you don’t have to drive through the Twin Cities to get there.”
The low admission price is also appealing to Sanders, who notes that all monies raised by the Chippewa Falls P.E.O. Chapter go to scholarships for graduating women from the Chippewa Falls School District.
Sanders also has trade secrets to share.
“Buy gift bags as a source of paper,” she suggests. Or, “instead of buying decorative paper, make your own.”
She likes to give paper a new look with the polished stone technique by dabbing alcohol ink on glossy paper. “It dries almost instantly,” she says, “and if you don’t like it, add another color.”
To save money, don’t buy craft spritzers, Sanders said, but instead purchase $1 spray bottles in the travel section of department stores.
“I try to get my supplies as cheaply as possible so I have more money to spend on stamps,” she says.
Sanders buys velvet ribbon after Christmas and uses her dye cut machine to create a variety of shapes. She recycles calendars, plastic gift cards and jewelry (from thrift sales) to embellish a card. She once bought a photography book at a thrift sale to use the pictures within.
“It hurt my soul to cut that book apart, but otherwise, it was destined for the garbage,” she says.
Another Sanders tip: Punch pattern paper scraps into geometric shapes to use in quilt-like designs. She’s used this technique, and others, to make 300 to 400 ‘clean and simple’ greeting cards and sent them yearly to U.S. soldiers.
Sanders’ work has been published for the last six years in a magazine out of Michigan called ‘Just Cards!’ She says at least one of her originals materializes in every quarterly issue, and once a record thirteen surfaced in one issue.
“You can have family and friends say your cards are good,” she says, but getting published “validates my card making.”
It’s a rare day that Sanders makes a card without heat embossing. “That’s what originally attracted me to stamping,” she says.
She makes 22 birthdays cards at once so not to lose track and repeat sending the same card twice.
Sanders finds new tips from reading magazines, attending conventions and by bookmarking five or six favorite blogs of people she admires. She’s green with envy over the work of a female artist in Sweden. But Sanders warns that any card-making instructions gleaned from a European publication are not offered in standard inches, but in metric measurement.
Sanders shies away from online market eBay, “where you can get some good deals,” but still must pay shipping. “I want to support my local stores,” she says. At conventions, she does not buy what she can purchase locally. “Local stores can respond to customer’s wishes quicker than big craft stores,” she adds.
Ten Stampede vendors to date are: Bella Rosa Paper Arts, Close to My Heart, Cracker Box Palace, Creative Hideaway, Creative Vision, Door County Rubber Stamps and Scrapbooking, Fun Stampers Journey, Picture This, Stampin’ Up and Willow Creek Retreat.
Excluding vendors, the public may wish to enter the Shaker Card Contest, try their skill at the “card buffet” (pre-registration required) or enjoy the new afternoon Card Wars event, where they can buy a small kit of supplies from participating exhibitors and get 15 minutes to design a card—maybe even win a prize. Event details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/stampedeexpo/.
“It’s never too late to get into stamping,” Sanders says. “To start, buy a good set of word stamps, “Happy Birthday” or “Anniversary”, then examine cards in magazines and online to see what style of card-making you enjoy.
“Most importantly, only buy stamps you love.”