Nathan’s Graduation Card for the Be Inspired Blog Hop

It’s time for another Be Inspired Design Team Blog Hop – what fun! The Be Inspired Design Team is a group of Stampin’ Up! demonstrators from all over the world who are excited to share our themed projects with you. I’m so honored to be a part of this group of talented stampers!

For today’s Be Inspired Hop, we are creating masculine projects. Projects along the hop are designed to celebrate the men in your life – birthdays, Father’s Days, thank yous or congratulations. If you aren’t starting the hop here, then you probably just popped over from the amazing project shared by my talented Canadian friend Carolynn Sander.

Happy Graduation, Nathan!

Before we jump into today’s project, I have a quick fill-in-the-blank quiz for you. The child of my cousin is my _______. I’ve always called my cousin’s children my cousins (each is technically my first cousin once removed), but according to the Internet (which is never wrong), I should refer to my cousin’s son as my nephew and my cousin’s daughter as my niece.

I had to look up the answer to that question because my cousin’s son, Nathan, graduates from high school this week. I wanted to make a special card for my special nephew (I feel like I just gained a new nephew since I’ve always thought of him as a cousin). Card makers tend to have a hard time with colors on cards for men. Today, I’m sharing one solution for getting color onto a masculine project. Here’s the card I made for Nathan:

Special Celebrations, Stampin' Up!, Brian King, graduation card

Before you determine that I’ve made a Hogwarts-themed card, please continue reading. Nathan’s graduation card has nothing to do with Harry Potter. 🙂

Tips, Tricks and Reminders

  • Merry Merlot. It was really easy to pull color into this card for Nathan – I simply pulled his school colors into my project. Nathan’s path is similar to mine – he is graduating from my alma mater high school (Pumpkin Pie and Pacific Point) and moving on to my alma mater college (Merry Merlot and Crushed Curry). I decided to create his “congrats” card with strips of color from his new college – I glued strips of cardstock to the central panel on this card to create a striped background. What an easy way to choose colors that will be appealing! Merry Merlot is a new shade of red in the Regals family – a beautiful burgundy – that’s sure to be popular. Here’s how Merry Merlot compares with some of the colors you already know and love: Merry Merlot Comparison, Stampin' Up! New Color: Real Red, Cherry CobblerTo see my comparisons of other new colors in the new family colors, CLICK HERE.
  • Special Celebrations. The strips of cardstock on Nathan’s graduation card are accented by a large circle of Thick Whisper White cardstock. Inside the circle is a sentiment from Special Celebrations that’s perfect for a graduation card: Special Celebrations, Stampin' Up!, Brian King, graduation cardThat big, white circle also serves as a design element – it creates a calm spot in the middle of a bunch of bold stripes. Your eye goes right to the sentiment but recognizes all that’s going on behind it. Here’s a look at the amazing, all-occasion sentiments in the Special Celebrations stamp set:Special Celebrations, Stampin' Up!, 143885
  • Go Cougars! The College of Charleston, my alma mater (and soon to be Nathan’s), is an amazing school in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina. When I go home to visit Mom, I almost always head downtown to just walk around the campus. Love that place! The school colors are burgundy (VERY close to Merry Merlot) and gold (VERY close to Crushed Curry). Combined with Gray Granite, they are magic together. If you like this combination of Crushed Curry, Merry Merlot and Gray Granite, save this: Stampin' Up! Color Inspiration: Crushed Curry, Merry Merlot, Gray Granite

Stamp Sets: Special Celebrations  Papers: Gray Granite, Crushed Curry, Merry Merlot, Thick Whisper White  Inks: Archival Basic Black  Accessories: Layering Circles Thinlits Dies, Stampin’ Dimensionals

I’m so glad you stopped by and hope you like my project. I also hope you’ll continue the Be Inspired Design Team Blog Hop to see more projects that I’m sure you’ll love. The next stop is my dear friend from down under, Louise Sharp at . Click on the banner below to continue through the hop:

Thanks for stopping by today!


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In case you get off-track at any point during the hop, here’s a listing of all the participants in this hop:

Here are links to the products I used to create this card:



  1. Love how you striped your nephew’s card Brian, and love the new merlot! Charleston is so beautiful, I spent several weeks there one summer (back in the 80’s) while my husband’s ship was in dry dock. Enjoyed the Spoleto Festival!!!

    • Thanks, Dawn! It started as a 4″ x 5-1/4″ panel, but the stripes really overpowered everything. It was much more appealing once I trimmed it down. As a Charlestonian (I grew up 10 miles north), we stayed away from downtown during Spoleto – SO CROWDED – except to attend a couple of events each year. <3

  2. The bold stripes in the college colours are perfect for Nathan’s card and I’m sure your nephew/cousin once removed will appreciate the ‘calm spot’ you’ve created with circle and sentiment. I’ve added Charleston to my bucket list – so you will have to take me one day…I can tell you’re already excited!
    On a side note…aren’t you lucky that both colour combos are on your colour wheel and would look great on you!! lol

    • It’s precisely why I chose College of Charleston, Louise – burgundy and gold are part of my “winter” complexion color wheel. 🙂 You MUST go to Charleston – I’ll, perhaps, pop over to see you when you are there. <3 Thanks for your comments, my friend.

  3. Love how you did the stripes on a diagonal. Very classy. BTW, Merry Merlot and Crushed Curry are also colors for one of my alma maters (Boston College.)

  4. Great card Brian. Really – nephew – really? I always thought cousin. Your revelation turns my whole world in a new direction. Now I have to figure out titles of all of my relatives!!

    • It’s important to call people by the right name. 🙂 In reality, I just call him Nathan, but I was astounded by this, too. I looked it up to see if he is my “first cousin once removed” or “second cousin”. I was gobsmacked to find that he’s (familiarly) my “nephew”. Crazy!

  5. Cool card! You can pretend you did not make a card with Gryffindor colors but…..

    • I am pop-culture-aware enough to know that these are the colors of Harry Potter’s scarf. That’s about where my knowledge of HP stops. 🙂 Thanks, Windy!

  6. Love the stripes on this card and how you placed it off center with the solid strips down the sides. I had thought of this sentiment for a birthday card, but it is perfect for Nathan’s graduation card. Charleston is one of my favorite cities as well. Enjoy your day!

  7. this card is a wow…so atypical look from the usual grad card. the colors are perfect…I live in the upstate of SC, Charleston is such a beautiful place~

  8. Fantastic card Brian and I’m sure he’ll absolutely love it. This is a great design and I’m thinking I might CASE for my nephew’s birthday.

  9. I love the idea of making grad cards with the school colors, the stripes is a very fun way to do this. Not that I didn’t believe you….but I had to google your statement of your cousin’s son being your nephew. I’m a senior and have never heard this before. WOW, you learn something new everyday. Thanks you for enlightening me, this is good to know!

    • I’m so glad you went behind me to research my statement – and I’m even more happy that you got the same response. I checked in different places and wondered if I would get the same answer. Thanks, Katrina! <3

  10. Love this card! I struggle every year finding ideas for grad cards incorporating the school colors and this layout is perfect! I will store it in my special grad card folder to bring out next year. Merry Merlot is going to be a big hit this fall and Christmas. One small correction… it is in the “neutrals” family (huh??). I know.. it should be in the regals 🙂 . Hope you are having a great day. I’m building an ark as Fla is surely waterlogged.

    • Ah! Yes! Thanks for the update, Debbie! I’ll need to correct my message – still getting used to these new color families. <3 I'm so glad you like the layout and colors! <3

  11. What a celebration of Nathan’s graduation and beautiful way to show off the school colors!

  12. Maybe this is your subconscious telling you that both you and Nathan belong in Gryffindor! Bravery, daring, nerve and chivalry. Yes, Gryffindor it is!

  13. Someday I must go to Charleston! Love the bold stripes! Perfect for your nephew!

  14. Absolutely fabulous card Brian and I love that the Gray Granite calms the combination of Merry Merlot and Crushed Curry down. The color combination is just fabulous and not completely covering the entire front of the card with the stripes was brilliant! Just enough pizzazz, just enough brightness, just enough colors of significance for the absolutely perfect graduation card. Love it!

    • Thanks so much, Grace! I’m glad you like the balance of color on the card – I had to cut away at the stripes for a while to get exactly what I wanted. <3

  15. Fabulous card Brian. And did you know that those are the colors of ASU here in Arizona. Except for the Gray. Great card I love it

  16. Not only a fantastic color combo, I love the bold look of the diagonal stripes! It’s a great attention grabber, and I like that the stripes are diddering widths. Great job, Brian!

  17. Your card is amazing ;o)
    It is the absolutely perfect graduation card

  18. Brian, between you and Mary Fish … yall really must see my inner creative bug when it’s sleeping. I’m attending a 3 day scrapbook event starting tomorrow and lost on what to work on after I finish 1 set of cards for a swap. I wanted to make some “after graduation” thought cards for sons/daughters of some of my work team members. Well, you have given me the extra inspiration, thank you! I’ll personalize each with their high school or upcoming college colors and there ya go. I tell ya, you and Mary come through when yall don’t even know I’m stuck.

    By the way, love the colors, same for me … Loyola New Orleans.

    • Yay! That makes me so happy, Maleta! I love to hear that I inspire – that’s what I want to do more than anything. I hope you have a wonderful time at the retreat and get lots of stamping in. <3

  19. Maria Rodriguez

    Awesome Graduation card, love how you combine the colors of Nathan’s school, elegant and simple, that is the way to go when creating cards for young men, this one is going to be pinned onto my Graduation Cards Board.
    Thank you for sharing.

  20. Hey, Brian-Call Revlon Cosmetics and tell them we have the perfect new lipstick shade for them: Merry Merlot. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

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