If any of you are not familiar with Stampin' events...we do a crazy thing called "swaps". All you have to do is make 100 or two a one or a few cards, then trade them with other stampers. It's a great way to get new ideas and have samples of products that you don't currently own. There is almost always something to take away from a card that you get even if it is not one you particularly like. Maybe the layout or color combination is unique, or a product was used in a way that you hadn't though of before. We always try to make cards that are simple but cute and easy to duplicate. I think a good card has at least 3 layers and a couple embellishments.
A fun technique used on the birthday cards is... inking the embossing folder before running it through the embossing folder.