Monday, October 03, 2011

Homemade Christmas Cards

Brrr!  We had a cold front move in on Friday, and it is chi-i-i-i-ly!   Typical North Georgia weather: Summer on Thursday, Autumn over the weekend, Winter this morning at a brisk 38*.

It will likely warm back up again before it really turns off Winterish, but this usual early-Fall chilly snap is good for kick-starting any Christmas projects one may have in mind to do. Hard to think about Christmas when it's warm out, so this freezing-my-tail off puts me more in a Holiday frame of mind.

Generally about this time I'd be starting to think about my Christmas shopping - and I still need to do that - but recently I was reading one of my romance novels (that had nothing to do with Christmas) and the H and h of the story exchanged cards/love notes they created where they added pictures torn from magazines, doodles they drew, a leaf one of them found (I forget what the story behind the leaf was)....Anyway, it gave me an idea.

For the past couple (ok, maybe more than a couple) of years, I have been an Epic Failure in sending out Christmas cards. No reason, just straight up sorri-ness. I have several boxes of Dollar Store cards, nothing to do but sign, seal, and mail, and I couldn't even do that much? Bah! Humbug on me. 

Then I read the above mentioned story, and thought: I will make special, homemade Christmas cards for my family this year. 

First, I need to make a List of Who I'm creating the cards for. That way I know how many cards to plan on making, and if I want to I can customize the card for the family I'm making it for. 
I went online and google'd Free Christmas Printables and found a site offering free decorative printable Christmas card lists:

Then, I needed ideas.
The original idea was real similar to the glitter-and-construction-paper cards we made back in elementary school.
There are lots of graphics, scanned vintage cards and postcards, poems, printables...a whole slew of stuff available on the web for printing out and using to make a card.

I google'd for some ideas and found some pretty good ones:
Disney's Family Fun site has some good ideas; I especially liked the Build-Your-Own-Snowman idea for the cards I'm sending to family with kids.

A reader submitted the idea of making name initials using pipe cleaners.
I can integrate these into a card decoration, but make them detachable to become Christmas tree ornaments.

I love this idea, using their inititals gives it a personalization that makes it a little more special.

Another site I ran across, was referred to from another site I had been looking at is Tater Tots and Jello. This post from the week before Christmas last year was a weekend wrap-up party, and 507 other bloggers posted ideas and links that I'm still wading through.

And that's just one blog post. I know that last year I looked at a couple other blogs that did the same Linky-party-thing and people posted mutlitudes of links and ideas.  It got me encouraged to create a Christmas Vignette on top of my Sweetheart cabinet.
So anyway, I'll be doing more google'ing for ideas.

As usual when I get something on my mind, it'll keep me awake at night thinking about it. Soon as I laid down, I had an idea, then another, then another. I had to get up and get my notebook and write the ideas down before they would leave me alone and let me go to sleep (I woke up just before 4am dreaming about making Christmas cards!).

One of the ideas is really simple: it's just a pretty large cardboard Christmas tree ball ornament.

I had seen some ideas for painting/personalizing Christmas tree ball ornaments, but they were the real balls, which wouldn't fit into a card, and would then become a Christmas tree ornament project, rather than a Christmas Card project, as intended.
I thought, I need to flatten the ball out.  Yeah, but a flat ball-ornament isn't unique or special.  Hmm, but a dinner-plate-sized ball-ornament would be unique. Covered in a shiny mylar wrapping, trimmed around the edge with silver, red, or green string-beading. I have some Christmas stencils to be able to make a design on the front and back with white glitter.
I need to figure out the hanging thing, and I'll probably have to make my own envelope out of 12x12 scrapbook cardstock.
But I think one of my loved ones will get a kick out of opening a BIG handmade, glittery Christmas card.

One of the other ideas involves using real cedar/evergreen to make a flat Christmas tree on cardboard/green cardstock, then trimming it in miniature garland and ornaments.
A spin-off from that one would be to get one of the miniature silver trees (they sell them at the Dollar Tree) and arrange it out flat on carboard/cardstock and trim it.

The first idea, which I'm still meditating on, but I wanted to create a Nativity scene for my Great Uncle and Aunt, and I thought, how neat would it be to use real twigs as the "log walls" of the manger.
Not sure if I want to just use a couple of twigs and make the roof and side walls, or if I want to make the manger scene inside, and make the front open-able.

I found this image posted somewhere on the 'net.  It's alot of red to print, so I think I'll upload it at Walmart and have it printed as like a 5x7 photo. I need to get some other prints made anyway, and it only costs a few cents.

Maybe I'll use twigs to build a manger around this image.

So, having some ideas down, it was time to go shopping.
Upstairs. Because, for the most part, if I don't already have it, I probably don't need it.  I have sooooo freakin much stuff!
Except spray adhesive. I think that was invented after I stopped crafting so I never got any.

First I dug into my scrapbooking cabinet and Christmas decor corner.

I have scrapbooking paper, stickers, die-cuts, stencils, gift bag tags, wrapping paper, ribbon, colored tape, Christmas cards from Christmas past, new Christmas cards still in the box that ought to have been sent out over the past several years, and...


This is Christmasy-recipe-ads torn from magazines, and free recipe cards/booklets that you can find all over the grocery stores starting sometime before Thanksgiving (maybe even now).

I have this obsession with magazine ads. Especially the colorful, full-page pictures of foods with recipes advertising a product.  I tear these out and stick them in a page protector in a three-ring notebook and collect them.
I get alot of free magazines, and end up with duplicates of some of the ads, but I hold on to them in case a project comes up I might can use them on. And when I'm at the store and find the little free Holiday recipe cards and booklets I pick up a couple extra, in case.

I haven't decided yet if I want to make a magazine-ad-recipe-book-card, or if I want to just incorporate one recipe into a card, or what.

Then I got into craft supply stash. (Sorry for blurry picture, I must have moved before it took.)

Here I have felt, foam, beads, pipe cleaners, mini ornaments, pompoms, googly eyes, wooden letters, ribbon, cord, slick-paint, glitter, "snow", holly confetti, silver string-bead, buttons, and lace from my Grannie's stash.

And lastly, for now, I scanned some old Christmas pictures that were in my Grannie's old photo albums.

I'd like to get a print made of this picture of my sister and me, and decorate it up with....  Like..... Well, I don't know. I'm stuck there.

On one hand I want to really do it up, kitschy and bright and festive as all get out. But on the other, I don't want to take focus away from the picture.

I am open to suggestions, ideas, links, etc!

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