Thursday, January 12, 2012

Christmas Goodies

Last year at Christmas time, my son was only a couple of months old.  I was too exhausted for coherent speech, let alone to make anything crafty for the holidays!  This year, thankfully, he is sleeping better.  So somewhere in the middle of November, I started making my Christmas cards for this year.  I had about an hour a day to work on them between when he went to bed and when I needed to get ready for bed myself.  So it took a lot of evenings, but I sure had a lot of fun.

I'm finding that I like cardmaking more than scrapbooking, for the most part.  Maybe it's a copout on my part, as making cards means that I don't have to choose pictures, have them printed, pay for the printing... you get the idea.  Plus, cards bring joy to others moreso than a scrapbook on my shelf does, so that's a draw, too.  Don't get me wrong - I am still scrapbooking!  (I'm currently working on the scrapbook I started for my dogs before my son was born.  The neurotic person in me has to do these chronologically... so I haven't started the kid's yet.  And yes, I am that person who scrapbooks their dogs.)

The hardest part for me about making cards is developing the design.  I sometimes let myself get overwhelmed with the possibilities and get bogged down.  So I started with a Workshops on the Go guide from one of last year's Christmas kits, and then I modified it to make it my own.  I also didn't want to make all my cards from the same design, so I branched out a little from there when I felt like it.  I like having the flexibility to do that and I also waste less paper.

Here are three of the designs I did this year.

For all three of these cards, I cut a 6" x 12" piece of solid cardstock for the card itself, then folded it in half.  For this first one, I stuck the large white/striped piece on first, followed by the red vertical strip.  I cut the brown square, stamped "Noel" with a dark blue ink, and added a dab of Liquid Glass by each "Noel" for a nifty look.  Next, I punched a 1/8" hole on the left side and added the pre-made flower (the center of it is a brad).  Lastly, I stamped the ornament on white cardstock using the rock 'n' roll technique (whoa, check out that video that's linked there... holy hair!!) to achieve a two-color look.  This is why it looks a little darker around the edges.  I used Holiday Red for the main part of the stamp and then rocked it in Barn Red.  I cut it out and attached it with regular scrapbooking glue.  I love the result.


The technique for this card was very similar.  I obviously used the same papers, but in different configurations, and got a totally different look.  I also used a different ornament and a snowflake brad that I thought was a nice complement.  I skipped the Liquid Glass on this one.  Note the way the ink I used on the ornament stamps matches the red color on the snowflake paper.  This is no mistake; CTMH is great about coordinating colors so that they match perfectly.  If you buy a paper packet in cranberry, and an ink pad in cranberry, they WILL be the same color.  It's one of my favorite things about our stuff.


And finally, I got ambitious with this last one (and had run out of the red snowflake paper, ha!); I stamped and cut out three small ornaments.


I did learn a great little trick about mass-producing cards like this, even if they aren't all the same design.  I learned to cut my papers all at once, which involves some pre-planning, then to split the cards up into stages.  For example, I'd cut everything I needed to make four of the same card.  I'd glue the decorative paper elements on to the plain cardstock, stopping just short of adding the dimensional elements like brads.  (The idea is to skip anything that could be smushed.)  Then I stuck the four cards, damp in spots with fresh glue, under a huge heavy dictionary until the next night.  I found that the dictionary eliminated any dimpling or distortion from the glue, so the next night, I could just add the final touches and be done.  The finished project is much better.

Next up?  Valentine's Day cards!  Last year I was still pretty new at this, so the cupcake-themed card I made for hubby kinda looks like an 8 year old made it.  It won't be hard to top!

Want to try your own?  I promise you'll be better at it than you give yourself credit for.  First step, go HERE and start shopping!  The sky's the limit.

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