Crafting Friendship and Meaningful Greetings

Hallmark and American Greetings have nothing on these two.

In between moments of concentration, casual chit-chat and laughter is heard round the room when my mom and her friend, Jan, get together to craft. What’s their forte? Greeting cards. Of all shapes, sizes, patterns, colors, and for all of life’s moments.

They’re quite skilled, come up with never-ending ideas, and have bags and bags full of paper, cutting tools, tape, patterns, and embellishments like rhinestones, sequins, ribbon, stickers, and more I can’t tell you the names of.

Cards that fly out of their hands are both simple and ornate, but they put immense care into each one. They are meant to be appreciated, shown off for a while, and maybe even saved — more than I can say about most greeting cards. And when you really look at them, you can see the time, effort, and love put into each fold, each added sparkle, and each stamp or embossed design.

The cards they make that impress me the most are ones featuring Iris folding, which is basically a way to fold different colored paper to form a design that results in having a blank space — or iris — in the middle. Until my mom sent me one, I’d never seen it before and it blew me away. I’ve seen her and Jan use this technique to create flowers, sailboats, animals, ice cream cones, winter clothing items, and even Geisha women.

Apart from making them on their own time, they try to get together once a month with their other friend, Nancy, to socialize and construct new creations. Sitting in on a crafting session can be pretty amusing, as they pretend to pick on each other and share smile-inducing stories throughout the hours. And believe it or not, they don’t even indulge in any alcohol during these moments. I personally think wine should be part of each gathering, but thinking twice about that makes me wonder if cards would turn out a bit… less than perfect!

These ladies are pretty serious about card making, and watch out if you’re ever with them when a sale pops up at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores. “Just wanting to look” quickly turns into buying extra supplies for at least an hour. However, they all share their items between each other without hesitation, so when you think about it, they have an endless supply of everything they need at all times.

One of life’s joys is to be with friends you love and enjoy doing something together, and I’m glad my mom and Jan have that. I think it not only gives them a creative outlet, but also keeps them young, engaged in life, social, and provides fun memories to recall. I hope to have something similar with a friend or many friends when I’m older.

Bonus! If you’re interested in purchasing individual or sets of customized, hand-made cards from Jan or my mom, they take orders for any occasion! Email me at for more information.

Do you craft with your friends? What do you create? Let me know in the comments below.


About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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12 Responses to Crafting Friendship and Meaningful Greetings

  1. Janet M Schnell says:

    Beautiful write up on our fun and crafty get togethers! Thank you!

  2. Grace Stiegemeyer says:

    Such fun to see your story about your mom and my sister. Their crafting skills are amazing. You should see Jan’s scrapbooks. Your story was so accurate about this crafting group. One thing not mentioned is that Jan sends out cards to shut ins and those on the prayer list for her church. What a blessing her card ministry is to all who receive them. And yes, I do have several cards saved and displayed in my craft room.

  3. Kimberly Butterfield says:

    Loved this story, and I love that they let me crash their craft day when I’m in town! Sometimes they even plan it special so that I can be there! They are the best kind of friends to have, and I am blessed by having them in my life. Maybe you could turn this story into a freelance article for a crafting publication?!?

  4. Julie says:

    My favorite story yet. These two ladies have a gift and I have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of their creativity. I am so blessed and inspired by what they do.

  5. Laurie Nuffer says:

    Karin ~ this is so cool! I love the article and the pictures. They do make amazing cards. I love the “crafty bitch” sign my mom gave your mom ~ too funny. My mom said they had a great time spending the weekend with you! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Stacey says:

    Like you I was completely awed by the intricately folded cards and have one from a Christmas past that comes out every year now as a decoration! It always gets comments from everyone who sees it. I have saved every one I have ever received because I know how much love was put into making it.

  7. Kimberly Mendes says:

    Karin, thanks so much for sharing things about your mom (my BF:)and her favorite crafting that I didn’t know. It was also neat to finally “meet” her dear friend Jan. And your sprinkling of “feel-good” words: rhinestones, ribbon, sparkle, chit-chat, joys, laughter. . .brightened my day and made me smile! Not to mention that now I know what “iris folding” is! Love & hugs!

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