Tag Archives: Christmas

DIY: Gift Cards

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Regardless of your age, unwrapping gifts of all shapes and sizes is fun. It’s suspenseful. It’s messy, but every last bit of mutilated piece of wrapping paper strewn across the floor just makes it more fun.

Although most could probably agree that unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning defines holiday tradition, not all of us are the stellar gift givers that provide such seasonal cheer.

Sometimes it’s the recipient’s particular tastes and preferences that deter us from choosing the perfect gift. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes it’s time. But sometimes you’re just stuck, without even a clue as to where to shop, what to look for and what to buy for that special someone.

That’s where gift cards come in. You eliminate the last two steps of gift giving and simply choose where the recipient will shop.

I’m not always a fan of gift cards. If I had the time, I’d rather make a gift or choose something more personalized from a retail store the recipient often frequents. But as people get older, tastes change, and time slips away faster than you’d assume to be possible. And now that I’m older, I’m more aware of what people will want and will use.

Needless to say, I was a gift card shopper this year.

But, naturally, I figured I should make the time to put a bit of my personal touch into a few of the gift cards I’m giving away this year: Gifts that didn’t come with something tangible to wrap.

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I made a few handmade gift cards – nothing too fancy or involved. But at the very least, these cards represent something I know my family members will appreciate, regardless of the length of time it takes them to simply rip open the envelopes, or the size of the mess that accrues once the envelope is tossed on the floor.

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Christmas Spirit

Photo: National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 6

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December 12, 2012 · 10:06 am

A Start

Apparently two viewings of The Nutcracker in one weekend put me in the mood to start my Christmas cards last night.

I started with the envelopes:

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Following a design I found on Pinterest, I used the giant mug I painted at All Fired Up! to trace half circles along the bottom right corner of each envelope.

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Instead of painting the green wreaths on each envelope and waiting for them to dry, I used two green shades of my watercolor markers. I like the way the colors blended together!

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Next I moved on to the cards. (I’ve counted 76 recipients, but I’ll make 80 just in case!)

Using the green cardstock I bought at Hollo’s last month, I cut half circles to fold into the Christmas trees for the front of each card.

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I opened another find on Pinterest to create each tree. Although the folding part was tricky to master based on the photo I found, I kept trying slightly different techniques until I found a method that worked well.

80 paper Christmas trees later, I’m off to a good start!

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‘Tis the Season for Scrapping

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

Although that was true two weeks ago, unfortunately, before Thanksgiving fix-ins and family time even entered my mind, now I can justify all the holiday festivities around town, in department stores and on TV. These include my recent obsession with Christmas pinning.

I’ve created countless handmade Christmas cards over the years, but I’ve never put much focus on the envelopes – the image my friends and family first see. So this year, I’d like to try something new, something I found on Pinterest: Christmas wreath envelopes.

I think I’ll write the name of the recipient along the edge of the wreath and possibly substitute the red ribbon bow with a red bow sticker instead.

Hoping to start on these this weekend, once I collect some green paints to use!

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Christmas cards, repurposed

Here is a glimpse of the Christmas cards I created with extras I had kept from past years.

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November 14, 2012 · 1:06 pm

The Cards of Christmas’ Past

past holiday cardsI knew I kept those extra Christmas cards for a reason.

The other day, I sifted through handmade cards I had created as long as six or seven years ago. It was interesting to see how my designs and materials have changed since then, how my cards have improved and how my creativity had puckered out, in some cases.

Although these cards represent extras I made – or had forgotten to send to certain people – I figured why not reuse them to create something new?

First, I cropped the front of each card to avoid sloppy handwriting or messages I had written inside. Then, I pasted the design onto a new blank card that fits the envelopes I have on stock. cropping a card

I also used extra stamped pieces from one of the designs I created last year to quickly put together a few additional cards.

Christmas stamps

Yesterday I delivered my new Christmas creations to McKay Bricker Framing in downtown Kent to see whether they’d like to sell more of my cards this holiday season. I noticed a few of my other designs I had dropped off last month still sat on the shelves among dozens of other artists’ handmade cards, but the employee I talked to said he’d try to find an extra stand to display my Christmas cards alongside other holiday designs. The handmade card nerd in me is excited to have my own display stand.

Yet, the procrastinator in me has yet to start this year’s Christmas card collection. Surprised?

2008 Christmas card

Perhaps while I’m resting from multiple Turkey Day feasts next weekend I’ll gather the energy to get started. Until then, here’s to hoping more early bird Christmas card shoppers scope out the local scene these next few weeks for their 2012 holiday greetings – or early 2000s designs in disguise.

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A Pet Peeve

Halloween had yet to pass by when Christmas-themed decorations, lights and clothing hit the shelves and racks at nearly every department store I’m familiar with.

It takes a lot to anger me, but early Christmas decorating, premature holiday radio tunes and most of all, those tacky, inflatable Christmas characters that too often invade the front lawns of residential neighborhoods are really irritating.

Why take the time to blow up that giant Santa Clause and his Rudolph companion when Northeast Ohio’s infamous winter winds and heavy snowfall will ultimately flatten them to the ground anyway?

So although the Dec. 25 festivities strike a nerve when they creep up into other holiday seasons earlier and earlier each year, in my book, there is one Christmas tradition that is excusable come early November: holiday card preparation.

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Chantel and I made another trip to the Hollo’s Papercraft store in Medina County this weekend – I’m thinking it will become a yearly tradition for the two of us as I peruse my handmade card business and she her homemade cake business. As you may assume, I was unreasonably excited for our shopping spree from the day we planned it about two weeks ago.

“You would get too excited over something like that,” says my brother. Obviously he just wouldn’t understand.

So I primarily stocked up on paper (you pay by the weight – so much cheaper than other chain craft stores, it’s worth the drive!) for my annual Christmas card collection. I made the count the other day and it looks like I’ll be making approximately 80 cards this year. Yikes. So maybe Christmas doesn’t seem too far away after all…

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But this time I also bought some cellophane bags to improve the packaging of the cards I plan to sell on Etsy and in downtown Kent.

20121104-221026.jpgI could have spent hours – and much more money – in Hollo’s, but I limited myself to stick to the basics this time and in the meantime, I’ll plan another trip sometime within the coming months. I’m sure Chantel won’t complain, either! (It turns out Hollo’s cake packaging products are pretty cheap, too!)

Happy scrapping!

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