During the first week of January, who wants to talk about Christmas cards? No one. But I wanted to show you mine and I simply couldn't do it before they all went out because I like the element of surprise for the receivers.
So here we have put Christmas 2010 behind us and I'm dredging it all up again. No matter. Close your eyes, imagine the jingle bells, and hum Mariah's "All I Want For Christmas" to get you in the mood.
I started with black paper and envelopes from Paper Source. This is what 100 flat black cards looks like. I chose black because it was the color of the movie logo, and I always try to make the card fit the theme of the year. As our year was mostly centered around The Gorilla's movie, it fit.
The last few years I've let The Gorilla design (or direct, as the case has been) the actual picture for the card. Of all of the elements of my Christmas card, the picture is what I care about the least. Isn't that backward? It's true, though.
The thing I care about most is the hand-written year-end summary that I include every year. One year I spray-painted the inside of the card, one year I screen-printed them.
This year I wanted to do a flat card with the picture on one side and the words on the other, so I wrote out the summary as usual, then scanned and printed it like a 4x6 photo. At the time, I thought this was genius and would save me in the end. But since I had to tape them all in, it didn't actually save me that much time. It would have been better if I'd printed them as a sticker (my original idea) but I couldn't get that to work.
When I was creating the summary, I did it the inside words in red and an outside border in black listing all of the places we'd traveled to in 2010.
I used double-stick tape to adhere it to the back of the card, and placed it off center so I would have space to write a little message in the margin.
The Gorilla's idea for the picture was to re-create one of the big scenes in his movie where the star rides a jet-ski out of a pool and over the bushes. (Incidentally, this scene looked really cool in 3D.) We took a screen shot of the moment we wanted to re-create then headed into the back yard with a bench, a broom, a fussy baby, and matching sweaters.
Our friend Rick took the photos for us. If you think there wasn't a lot of laughing, you'd be wrong.
But then *whoops* we realized we were really at the wrong angle for the future photo shop job. Adjust!
This isn't going well.
Finally we got something that worked. Because he is a photoshop master, The Gorilla turned it into this:
Now I had to attach it to the front of the black cards, which I did by eye-balling it with double-sticky tape.
I cut them with a cricut paper cutter and while I measured them loosely, I didn't get all perfect about it when cutting or when affixing them to the sides with the double-sticky tape.
The wonderful thing about a hand made card is how they're all just a little different and less-than-perfect.
Finally I had a finished product that I addressed with a silver Sharpie marker and slapped custom return address labels on that I had ordered previously from Zazzle. (For the record, Zazzle is the most user-friendly and inexpensive way to create business cards, address labels, etc. I highly recommend them for any such projects.)
While this was fun and all, I'm calling a gigantic end to my handmade Christmas card days. They lived in infamy for nine years, but I'm packing up my glitter. I'm not saying that I won't do Christmas cards, I think I probably will. But this year, for about 75 reasons, I decided that I don't want to spend my holiday time in this way any longer. The entire process takes me about three weeks. THREE WEEKS. And our list of friends and loved ones is only growing longer, making it harder and harder to be manageable.
The Gorilla rolled his eyes when I made this declaration. He claims I make it every year. But this year I mean it. I want to find another way to send creative and festive holiday greetings that don't require quite so much manual labor.
I guess I have eleven months to figure it out.