I had a spare background paper from demonstrating in class (see the recent travel layout here) and I wanted to make it into a few quick cards. First I cut my 12x12" paper into equal 4x6" pieces, one for each card. I then rifled through my stash of small embellishments (see my super cheap organised stash idea here).
I let the colours on the mixed media background guide me in picking some embellishments. I wanted mostly masculine birthday cards and avoided flowers (except on one). It's easy to find matching bits and pieces because I sort them all by colour.
Next I simply picked a matching cardstock or patterned paper for a mat, cut it to size and matted everything on a kraft card base.
My rule of thumb is a 4x6" card base, a 3 3/4 x 5 3/4" mat, a 3 1/2 x 5 1/2" background. Every layer is 1/4" bigger than the one above. That way I get 6 card bases out of 2 sheets of cardstock and 6 backgrounds out of 1 sheet of background paper. I broke that rule on the red card, since I wanted the stripes to show more, but you get the idea.
I had punched 6 tags from my leftover map paper, so they all share that too.The rest is scraps.
Everything you see is bits and pieces I hold on to, like most crafters do. Of course it means that no two cards are the same, but it's a great way to use up what you have.
Sticking it all together was the fun bit and I did that while watching a bit of telly. I hope you find some inspiration to use up your stash too!