MonthFebruary 2015

70 Candles


This was a card I made for a friend who turned 70 a few years ago. She is a good spirit and loves a good laugh. My concept was simply to attach 70 standard birthday candles to a card. Did you know that 70 candles lined up takes up 14 inches?

Of course I had to make a custom card and print it on an 11 x 17 page. I decided to make it look like the top of a cake. If you have any interest in making your own version of this, you can download my card background here. Just print on 11 x 17, score the center, trim and fold.

Blank cake background for the candles.

Blank cake background for the candles.

The big thing I learned with this project was glueing wax candles in the summer is a challenge. I started on this project several days before I needed it because I was worried the glue wouldn’t hold. It tricked me by holding up until the day we needed it. Then a few here and there decided to come off. In the end, it was okay.

If I were to do this again, I might 1) make paper candles to use, 2) wrap a little paper strip around the candles tightly to glue, or 3) make a clear pocket to cover all the candles and hold them in place.

My designer takeaway: All projects, for work or fun, offer a learning experience!

Let Them Eat Silly Cakes

We’ve been celebrating a few birthdays in my family. We’ve gotten into a groove of silly cakes for everyone, young and old. Here are the latest tasty treats we made:


I did a little search for birthday cake ideas, and I fell in love with these cute little fish. The bonus was that they looked super easy, and they were! My preschooler even helped me sort M&Ms by color for the scales.


This cake was a lot of fun to make! We used this tutorial to get us going. It was a great project for little ones to help with, too. My only warning is it makes a lot of cake. Have a plan for who is eating all that cake/cupcakes!

My designer takeaway: We all need a little silly every now and then!

Word Search Card

This was a fun birthday card I came up with for my six-year-old’s friend. It was so easy and very personalized. Who wouldn’t love it!


I started by using this tool to create the word search. This is a tool I’ve used many times for kids activity books for work, and at home, I sometimes put my son’s spelling words in there to give him some extra practice that’s a little different. I just typed in the name, “happy” and “birthday”. I played with the size of the puzzle until I liked it. I ended up using an 8 x 8 letter puzzle because I wanted it simple. See what you like.

Then I copied the word search into Illustrator (but you could certainly do this step in something like Word). I changed the font, added some color to call out the three words and printed it. I attached it to a glitter cardstock card and ta-da! It’s really that simple.

My designer takeaway: Think of new ways to use your old tools.

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