Christmas Card 2012!

Our Christmas cards begin around July or August each year. (For those who don't know, we have been making homemade Christmas cards since 1990.  To see past cards, click on the link above.)  Much thought goes into the message of each card, and also the stylistic theme.  Many ideas are brainstormed, tried out, discarded and revamped before a final design is decided upon.  Then we go into production!

This year's message seemed incredibly appropriate, and the further we got into it, the more I loved what it had to say.  The theme is TRUTH.  What could be more important than Truth?  

The stylistic theme was inspired by vintage children's storybooks, in particular, a Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire theme.  I don't know how many would know this, let alone recognize it, but one family comes to mind.

(If you couldn't find all 27 truths, email us for the answer!)

So we began with the kids drawing pictures of their ideas of what Santa Claus would look like.  This took time!

The thought was to have the pictures "framed" in gold.  But how?  Every year we try to use techniques and materials that we have not used in any other cards.  This gets more difficult as the years go by, but on the other hand, many more techniques and materials are available now than twenty years ago!
 I first planned to frame the pictures in different styles of gold trim, gimp, braid, rick rack, what have you.  Until I tallied up the cost.  So there went that idea.
Then I looked into making my own types of trim, out of various materials.  Each idea reached its dead end due to cost, availability, or just logistics.  When we came to the idea of doing embossing - something I had never done before - I originally scoured the internet for rubber stamps to make the frames out of.  When nothing was found, I researched the next step...

How to carve my own rubber stamp frames.  

This was kind of fun.  I'd never done this before either, but learning something new is half the fun.  They did not come out as precise as if I had found a manufactured stamp, but on the other hand, we kind of liked the "rustic" look it gave, sort of like a vintage storybook print.

We decided upon a simple gold and red theme.  The red is pencil crayon.
Hannah and I would sit and work on the cards with corny Hallmark style Christmas movies playing on my computer.  This is my routine each December.  

Hannah drew the amazing artwork on each page, and the St. Nicholas at the end of course.  I love her style, done in black crayon.  

And then, like every December, I lose my table to the card, along with every other flat surface in the house just about, as piles of pages in production appear.  

An important part of the card each year, is not just that each family member contributes something to the card, like a drawing, but also that each family member can actually DO something in the making of the card.  Maggie and Silas were quite capable of putting on the embossing powder after I stamped the image, and tapping it off and pouring it back into the container.  They all took turns carrying the completed pieces over to the oven where Hannah, Canaan, or Daddy would take shifts at heating the embossing powder until it turned to gold. 

And by they way, embossing is waaay cool to do.

Something new this year for addressing:  Maggie did ALL the addresses!  She did a great job, and if you incidentally have a near-sighted mailman, you were certainly in good shape to receive our card!

And although it's not required for the pets to get involved with the card, each year Pizza is fascinated with the piles, and all that I am doing.

Guarding the cards, just in case.

Thankful for all the huge books that Hannah owns.  I've used them almost every year to press cards!  I had to research the best way to attach the pages of the card together to best resemble a book.  Eventually my research found a webpage where a guy had discovered the secret to binding books at home convincingly.  I tried it out, and it worked!  Gorilla glue!  Who would have thought.  I learn something new with every card.  
After pages were glued together, they were glued again into the cover.  The cover was printed on 8 1/2 x 14" paper to compensate for the quarter inch book spine.  Then the covers were trimmed, and the binding of red duct tape was taped on each one.  Then they were pressed again.

 How can anyone live in a mess like this?  Well, it's temporary, thank goodness, and yes, it is one thing I really don't like about doing the card each year:  the mess!  As I am writing this, however, the cards are stacked up and ready to go, and I can see the top of my table again.
Each card gets checked over several times, and each time I go through them, I find mistakes I missed.  I think no matter how many times I checked them, I would still find mistakes.  Hope yours did not have any!

Eden stamped the return address stamp on the back of each envelope.

Maggie, Silas, Eden and Isaac all put the stamps on the envelopes.

Kiki put the Santa stickers on the back of each envelope.

 And the 2012 card is complete and ready to go out in the mail Dec 19.  Not bad.  We pray that each card will touch those who receive it, and that you will reflect upon the message in it.  
Nothing is more important than knowing the Truth.


1 comment:

  1. I just love your Family Christmas cards! And, your family, too. I believe I've found my newest favorite blog. I will be following your Journey to bring your newest sons home. And, a donation to help will come, too. God Bless You, All! ~ Jo