So, earlier this week, I picked an idea and went with it. I decided to use ribbon on a card somehow. I have quite the stash of scraps and paper-craft tools, so everything I need is right at my fingertips.
For starters, I cut a piece of cardstock in half the short way and fold it in half, creating a 4"x5.5" base to work with. Why? Because that's the size of the envelopes I have, and that's where I draw the line. Let someone else worry about making the envelopes, and I'll make the pretties to go inside. One item a friend got me that really helps for this is a straight-edge paper cutter.
I pick some kind of theme for the card - this one was a belated birthday card. Next, I dig through my scraps to create some kind of nifty collage on the cover, with or without writing.
For this one, I used vellum paper to make the background more interesting. In the lower right corner of the card, you can see the light flower design on the paper. I cut the edges with a pair of crinkly scissors. Then I found the phrase and the clock - perfect for this card. (Actually, the phrase comes out of a card catalogue - as in, a catalogue you would buy cards from. So I made a card with an example of another card on it. Which is okay, because I'm not selling it.)
I attached the vellum paper with double-sided, permanent tape. Usually, that's my standard, but for the little bits on top, I broke out the 3D foam tape. It gives the pieces a little life, making them stick out more and giving the eye more to explore.
Next was the ribbon. I always test the outcome by laying pieces in place before attaching them to the card - a very important step. That step with the ribbon showed me that ribbon in each corner would not be visual overkill - you don't want the card to be too busy, even if all the individual parts are cool.
I also attached the ribbon with double-sided tape. I sliced each piece to the right width and attached it to the ribbon, which I then laid on the card at a careful angle. This is a step for which I probably could have used glue, but I didn't want the excess glue to stain the card or ribbon. Glue also has the potential for leaving funny bumps under stuff, so I went the more meticulous route instead.
Then comes the inside. I always try to tie the outside and inside together with some sort of theme. In this case, everything ties together a little: the ribbon, the crinkle-cut paper, and even the writing mimicks the writing on the cover. (You can use a printer to make your writing more uniform, but I like the hand-written version better.)
Little differences that make it pop: the hand writing, the different angle of the ribbons, and the cream cardstock instead of vellum. I was actually out of the vellum, but the recipient doesn't need to know that, and won't guess it because it all ties together.
Last is the back. I have my symbol and "company name" on the back of every card. It makes them uniquely mine, and friends will remember that I made them even if, for some weird reason, I don't sign my name inside. The symbol is a stamp - the red bit doesn't tie in with the card at all, but with the name "red wheelbarrow," I figure it's okay.