Work it

When I saw October Afternoon’s 9 to 5 collection about a month ago, I could not resist getting some pieces. The first detail I noticed: one of the secretaries on the patterned paper looks like Joan from “Mad Men,” one of my favorite shows.

The line, with a vintage theme, has items that feature typewriter-ribbon labels, office ephemera and guides that may have been found on a secretary’s desk decades ago, such as excerpts from 1949’s “How to be a Super-Secretary” pamphlet (to see a PDF of the pamphlet, go here).

Three die-cut cards from October Afternoon’s 9 to 5 “Miscellany” pack on a backdrop of the 9 to 5 “Supply Closet” cardstock (the reverse side).

After checking out my loot and brainstorming ideas, I created a checkbook cover and a birthday card using pieces from this line, other products I’ve had and a bit of digital design with a typewriter font.

I needed a new checkbook cover. I had made my old one, and its design seemed outdated and the plastic cover was worn.

I saw the blond stenographer on the “Shorthand” patterned paper and thought, “That could pass for a large, old calculator,” and cut her out. If this would be your first hand-cutting experience, be warned: It’s time-consuming, strains your eyes and is not for the faint of heart. I’m a professional (ha!).

Here’s how to make it:

Cut a piece of teal-and-sea-foam-green patterned cardstock (such as from the Watercolor collection by Me & My Big Ideas) to 6 1/8 by 6 5/8 inches. Do not fold in half.

Using detail scissors, cut out a stenographer from October Afternoon’s “Shorthand” cardstock (the bottom will be trimmed later).

Cut a 6 1/8-by-1 1/4-inch piece of dark-blue cardstock. Cut a 6 1/8-by-1-inch piece of grid-patterned paper (I used the paper from the 9 to 5 “Miscellany” packaging), and adhere, centered, on top of the dark-blue cardstock.

Using a computer program, type a line — slightly less than 6 1/8 inches long and slightly less than 1/2 an inch high — of dollar, cent, percentage, equal, addition and subtraction symbols in dark-blue and red typeface using a typewriter font (I used the Rough Typewriter font by JibbaJabba Fonts, which you can download here), using red for every fourth character. Print on sea-foam-green textured cardstock. Trim the paper around the symbols to make a 6 1/8-by-1/2-inch strip, and adhere, centered, on top of the grid-patterned paper.

Attach polka-dot and typewriter-key brads (from the 9 to 5 collection) and an oversized, red rhinestone sticker in a row on the bottom-left portion of the three-paper piece. Punch two 1-inch circles from red-and-cream patterned cardstock (the reverse side of the “Shorthand” paper) and adhere, one next to the other, to the back of the piece, 1/8 of an inch from the upper-right corner.

Adhere this piece to the teal-and-sea-foam-green patterned cardstock, 3/16 of an inch from the bottom. Apply a black frame rub-on (such as one from Mini-marks Accents Book One by American Crafts) on top of this, 3/8 of an inch from the bottom and 3/8 of an inch from the right edge.

Adhere the cutout over the rub-on, making sure it will not overlap where the cover will bend. Trim the cutout’s overhang on the bottom. Affix two sea-foam-green gem stickers (mine are from Martha Stewart Crafts) to the cutout’s earrings. Insert into a clear checkbook cover.

I made this birthday card for a friend and fellow copy editor, and it features the “proofer’s marks” die-cut card from the 9 to 5 “Miscellany” pack. The marks still are used in the profession today, and I thought the die-cut would be a nice keepsake.

Here’s how to make it:

Make a card from a 9-by-6 1/4-inch piece of rose-coral textured cardstock.

Stamp a retro border image in rose-coral and light-green inks (such as ColorBox Cat’s Eye Queue fluid chalk ink in rose coral and ColorBox Petal Point ink in mint), slightly off-centered, on a mini die-cut file folder (such as one from the “Miscellany” pack).

Using small alphabet stamps, stamp “COPY” in black ink on the folder’s tab.

Adhere the folder’s edges together and insert the “proofer’s marks” die-cut into the file folder (do not adhere the die-cut card; it should be removable). Adhere the folder, tilted, to the front of the card in the upper-right corner. Tie two different patterned ribbons in coordinating colors around the card front’s left side.

Trim a note-taking secretary from the 9 to 5 “Shorthand” cardstock. Cut a strip of red-and-cream patterned cardstock (from the reverse side of the “Shorthand” paper) that’s about 1/2 an inch wide and the same height as the secretary piece, and adhere it under the right edge of that piece so 1/4 of an inch is showing.

Attach apple-green, light-pink and teal brads (I used brads from the 9 to 5 collection) to the lower-right portion, on the edge between the secretary and red-and-cream pieces. Adhere this piece to the left side of the card’s front, under the ribbons and overlapping the file folder.

Using a computer program, create “have a marevelous brithday” in a typewriter font (again, I used the Rough Typewriter font by JibbaJabba Fonts) in black, making sure the phrase is no wider than 4 1/2 inches (leave room in the margins). Print the phrase on cream textured cardstock, and make proofer’s marks in red marker (I used Marvy LePlume II No. 65 in cherry) to fix the errors. Trim this piece to 4 1/2 inches by 1 inch. Adhere to the card slightly above the bottom, sliding its top edge under the lowest brad. Use glue dots to adhere the left edge on top of the ribbons.

Stamp a pointing-hand image (such as from the Lost and Found Union Square “Perfect” collection by My Mind’s Eye), in black ink (I used VersaFine in onyx black) in the space between the file folder and “marevelous brithday” piece.

Affix two small flower epoxy stickers (such as from the Mod collection by Autumn Leaves) at the top-left edge of the secretary piece, near the ribbons, and where the bottom of the file folder intersects with the secretary piece.

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