Hello, again! It seems that I have gotten lazy over the past few months. My creative juices ran dry after only 5 posts... in June?!
Not really. Let me explain and offer some advice. Never take on a large project in something in which you have no confidence. For me, that's writing fiction. I thought it would be fun to try taking on a new version of a chapter of Pride and Prejudice written in a modern tone. Except that I had forgotten how bad I was at writing fiction. Three weeks later, and totally burned out, I was left with a sucky version of HALF of the chapter and had been sapped of any desire to do something creative. For those interested in the text - too bad. That crap will never see the light of day. Working with physical objects is more my speed.
So, I'm back now, doing the things I enjoy! I've been occupying myself for the last month or two with my all-consuming annual project: handmade holiday cards! Typically, this involves a lot of paper, scissors, and glue - and this year hasn't been any different.
First, the design. This is inevitably the most maddening part of the process. Searching for ideas doesn't always work. I usually look through my little card making book, catalogs, magazines... Usually the idea just comes to me: a flash of inspiration (eureka!) in the middle of the day when I'm working on something totally unrelated to greeting cards.
Having been obsessed with Mad Men (including a theme party earlier this year), I drew inspiration from the show and AMC's "Mad Men Yourself" application. I figured that a little 60's style would be fun for my holiday cards. Who doesn't want a Gimlet, skinny tie, or house frock to brighten up the holiday season?
So, I made pictures of a male and female figure with the suit and dress that I liked:
Then I printed those images out on white paper and then cut out the clothing only so I could get a clean silhouette without the other body parts. I scanned the images back onto the computer so I could print them en masse from Powerpoint directly onto the red paper I was using. (This year's card was designed to be made mostly from leftover paper from previous years. If any of you do arts and crafts, you know what I mean. I am sick of having random paper scraps lying around the house!)
Snip, snip! Dresses and suits in red!
I used organdy ribbon to create a ruffle at the bottom of the dress. Despite my horrific freehand sewing skills, I gathered the organdy ribbon with a needle and thread to make a bunch of little ribbon lengths. I then sewed them onto the bottom of each dress to create a raised "hem." It's surprisingly difficult to create a length of ribbon the same length as a piece of paper unless you're measuring against it every second.
Cut velvet ribbon was used for the trim around the red suit jacket. I glued the ribbon to the jacket and then trimmed with scissors for a custom tailor job. Santa needs to look as slim for the big night!
I freehand drew some Santa hats. I have to tell you that Santa hats can look weird if you don't get the droopiness just right.
Sticking everything to the card and finishing it off with a "Merry Christmas" stamp is where the relief sets in for me. Sadly, I was a little indecisive this year about how I wanted things positioned, so there were a few versions as I have shown below, a few versions where the couple look like they are toasting each other, and a few versions with crooked stamp placement. (I should add that the stamp is totally optional in the case of non-religious friends. Unfortunately, I may have already offended with the Santa theme. Oh, well.)
Voila! It's a swingin' 60's Santa with his Mrs. Claus. Times 40 cards. Equals a lot of time devoted to cards instead of holiday shopping.
This year's design is definitely not my favorite. Aren't we always our own harshest critics? Below is a lineup of my work over the years. I loooove my paper.
The bottom three are "Christmas Surprises:"
Materials used for this project: