I have been scrapbooking for 14 years, way before the hobby craze started. Back then, it was hard to get AF paper. 12x12 paper was unheard of and there were only stickers available. I used to create my own embellishments. There were no diecut machines and the only letters there were was either to use stickers or create your own. I would create letters on the computer and patiently handcut them out. Yes, I took a while to finish my layouts but they were my own, no one would want to duplicate them. :o) Anyway, here is a layout I recently finished for The Scraproom. The challenge was to handcut a flourish.
This is the pattern I handdrew.
And then the cutting process.