Thursday, September 29, 2016

ICR discussion on Branding and Marketing

Hello everyone!
I am Paru Mahtani of Paru's Perceptions Handmade Greeting Cards.
I started making handmade cards as a hobby about 18 years ago and have only recently attempted to make it a business.
Asha of Indian Craft Room asked me if I would share some tips and trick that I have learned along the way, to help other crafters with the issues they might face.
It would be my honour to do so!
Today, in my last post,I would like to talk about BRANDING AND MARKETING.
This, I think, has been my biggest challenge!!
Making the card is the really fun part of this journey! Creating a brand and then marketing it is something I've had to teach myself.
My first task was to believe in my product 100%! There were times when others doubted me...there are still those who do...and, there are many many more times I doubt myself.
But, I've taught myself not to give up and to continue to believe in my product...with the help of my ever supportive husband and family!
I then started participating in small exhibitions..and slowly bigger ones. Along the way I knowledge and confidence.
Today there  is social a lot easier to be seen.But, since everyone has the same idea, I have to make sure I put out quality content on a regular basis. This is how I have created an interest in my BRAND.
I have a style and mostly, I stick to it. Slowly customers have started to recognise the brand.
As for MARKETING, Social Media and digital marketing is the way forward. What's App works very well too!
Here, exceptional photography is the key, since the customer cannot touch and feel the product, the photograph has to convey everything.

Blogging makes me more visible and I often give a set of my cards as gifts to friends. Word of mouth is the good old fashioned way of marketing!
Here are some excellent links with lots of ideas about how to brand and market handmade cards.

I has been my honour to share my experiences with you here and I hope that these discussions have been helpful.
Please leave me a comment...I would love to hear from you.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Have  good night.
Paru Mahtani

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Handcarved rubber stamps

This past month I have been playing around and making handcarved rubber stamps using speedball rubber sheets (you can also use large size erasers like Staedler) and speedball carving tools.
Here are some images showing the process.

It took me a while to work out...was very satisfying in the end!

The stamps are carved our of a thick rubber sheet. They have no capability to cling to an acrylic surface. So in order to use them with an acrylic block, 
I used a reusable cling sheet 'Tack 'n' Peel from Tsukineko.
I cut and mounted this sheet on an acrylic block to provide a cling surface for all my hand carved stamps. Now stamping with these homemade stamps is super easy.

Here are some more designs...

and the tags I made with them.

I used Tim Holtz distress inks to stamp on textures card stock to give it an uneven fabric like feel.

I hope you are inspired to create some of your own!
do leave a comment below if you have any questions.
Thanks for stopping by...
Have a great day!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cash and Gift card holders

Hello!! I am back with a post for CraftAdda..the awesome craft store!!
After much deliberation I finally got myself an envelope punch board from We R Memory keepers! And what a fun product this is!!!

 I decided to make a few cash and gift card holders today, 
using the awesome papers from Craftangles.

For the first two cards, I used papers from the 'Autumn Harvest ' Paper pack. The colours are beautiful and the papers are really thick and luxurious! You can buy them here.
I added a strip of vellum to hold the gift card in place and added the die cut sentiment from Winnie and Walter.
the gift card holder is also help in place with a tiny piece of double sided tape.

The cash gift holder card below is also made using paper from an assorted Craftangles 6"x6" paper pack.
With so many kids going off to college just now, I thought it would make a nice motif for the cash gift holder. 

The tilted banner and sentiment are from Simon Says Stamp and the patterned paper is mounted on a kraft card base.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these cards as much as I enjoyed making them!
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a great night!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How I photograph my cards

I am back with another post for Indian Craft Room...this time about Photographing Greeting Cards.
Apologies for not posting yesterday, as promised!
I'm Paru Mahtani, an avid cardmaker and photogrpahy enthusiast. My passion for  card making led to a need to photograph my work; hence developed an interest in photography. Once I started exploring this hobby, it became addictive!
There are so many good blog posts, video and discussions on the internet about photographing you cards/crafts/art work. Thanks to the popularity of online shopping, crafters have realised the tremendous importance of photography!
The lessons I have learnt in my 15 plus  years of making cards are...

1. Research!! Research!! Research!!
Read blogs, look at others photos, read what they say about their photography processes, look at photos on Pinterest and Instagram and learn! 
Here are some resources:

2. Take a few photography classes to earn how to master your camera. 
Then you can create some amazing photos.

3. If you have a spot with great natural light, that's fantastic! If like most people, you don't, make an inexpensive lightbox (learn how to make one here.) and learn how to use it! 
The results are amazing!!
Here is an image of my set's not perfect (the light box is a little wonky) 
but the results I get are just fab.

I have set it up at a height so that I don't have to bend. I have a put a little side table on top of my dining table and then placed the light box on top of it.
The lights are 'Sonia Trilights'. They have an adjustable stand and it is continuous  white light.
These are photography studio lights, but the same can be acheived with any continuous light.
I use a Canon 7D dslr, but very often take photos with my iphone if I dont have time to set up the light box.
I usually make a bunch of cards and  photograph them all together.

Here is the result!

These are photos taken on my desk with an iphone...

I hope this post has been useful and you have been inspired!! Do leave me a comment...I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
I will be back next Thursday with another post.
Have a great evening!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Autumn harvest papers from Craftangles

Hey all! I am on the CraftAdda blog today with a couple of cards made with the awesome new 6"x6" Autumn Harvest paper pack from Craftangles
You can see a flipthrough of this paper pack here!
The papers are gorgeous...thick and luxurious to work with. 
The patterns work well with each other, as you can see.

The card techniques  are pretty much self explanatory.
I used the "Landscape trio" die from Mama elephant to add some interest as well as the feather dies from Simon Says Stamp and the gold heat embossed sentiment from 'Paperwishes'. 
The jute twine is from MayArts ribbon.

Come on over to the CraftAdda store and check out all the awesome patterned papers!!

Thanks for stopping by!
Have a great evening!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September challenge at Paru's Card Making Challenges

Hello everyone! 

Welcome back to all of you who have played Paru's Card making Challenges,
and a big welcome to those who are stopping by for the first time! 
I hope you have great fun playing  along!

This month we have an interesting looking forward to all your great interpretations!
The challenge for September  is..


Make a card or tag using the theme given. 
Take a photo of your creation and link it up below.
If you have a blog, write a post about our challenge and link it back to our challenge, including photos of your card or tag.
Please display this storyboard prominently in your blog post so that others may be inspired to play.

ALSO, please display this logo prominently on the sidebar of your blog so that others may join us.


If you don't have a blog, post your photos on social media and TAG them with #PCMCHALLENGES
If you don't tag them, we will not see them on social media.

Link your blogpost/social media post to the linky below.

Now for some inspiration...

To make this card, I used the burlap background stamp 
from Impression Obsession on ivory card stock. 
I stamped over it with Winnie and Walter stripes stamps, 
using distress inks, spritzed with water. 
Once the panel dried, 
I added sentiments from MFT stamps "Celebrate Big" stamp set.

I added some burlap twine from MayArts ribbon 
and sequins from Pretty Pink Posh to finish the card.

To make the tag (cut with the mft tag die),
 I used the honeycomb stencil from 'CraftAdda' and Fired Brick distress ink from Tim Holtz.  
I then filled in some of the spaces with Sakura Koi watercolours in primary colours. 
The 'hugs' die is from Winnie and Walter. 
To make it pop, I added a bit of vellum under the die cut. 
I finished the tag with some black cord.


As always, we have a fabulous sponsor lined up for this month.

 A $20 gift voucher from Serendipity Stamps

I will have the Guest Designer post and information about the second prize, up on the blog
 in a couple of days!
Don't forget to check's going to be exciting!!!

We hope you have been inspired to create some beautiful cards with a focus on WORDS!
Can't wait to see your creations!

I will announce the winner of this challenge on the 28th of September, so don't forget to stop by!

You can link up your creations below.

To be eligible to win a prize, please follow all the instructions carefully...
you will find them above and in under 'how to play' in the right sidebar.

Thanks so much for stopping by...
Have a great day!

Paru Mahtani