Friday, November 30, 2012

New Personal Record

I make my own Christmas cards and I've done it every year except one since 2005. I have a reasonable excuse for the one year omission: it was the year I made save-the-dates, wedding invites, and personalized store-bought thank-you cards. I usually do around 60, though some years I've made 80. After the first year I got such positive feedback that I thought, "oh crap, now I gotta do these every year." Meanwhile, I love it. I usually get a little stressed about coming up with a new design that I like while trying to minimize cost. After a couple of years of designing really time-consuming finicky cards (individually hand cut scalloped ovals anyone?) and a necessary trip to a massage therapist I've added "be less finicky" to the list of things that I stress over. I thought printing is the answer. 

I've never blocked printed so I thought I was going to go that route but I was inspired by an article in the Vogue Knitting Holiday 2012 about printmaker Carol MacDonald. She uses knitting to make prints. I'm a knitter, I have needles and yarn, and I wouldn't have to buy block printing supplies - this is genius! As I was looking for the right kind of ink I found and bought a paper cutter that makes rounded corners and trimmed all 60 cards of their pointy corners before printing with the cheapo tempera that I settled on. But then I had to figure out how I was going to add my holiday message. I worried if people would get that my print is of a large cable knit swatch bordered by seed stitch and that, therefore, it is supposed to evoke winter and cozying up to a fire with a warm mug of mulled something after a long walk in the snow.

The solution I came up with, using materials I already had on hand, turned out to be quite finicky and time consuming. Apparently that is who I am (blogging about the steps I took to make these cards is example of that). I briefly got angry with myself for coming up with a design element that required scoring and cutting paper, calligraphy, embossing, hand cutting, multi-stage glueing, and a single dot of pearlized ink that takes hours to dry. But then I remembered that I like doing this stuff. Well, actually my husband reminded me that I do and then I remembered it for myself when I got into it. I really like the cards - I would show them to you but it must be a surprise for those receiving them in the mail. 

The best part is that they are all made and it is STILL NOVEMBER! I've never done anything, anything at all, this much in advance of when there is a looming deadline. This is the new personal record. I used to justify my procrastination by saying that I needed the stress of the last minute in order to do things but this shows that personal growth in the areas of time and stress management has actually taken place. Yay! I know they are just cards (that still need personal messages written in them) but I'll take it. 

Note to self: Remember to buy a good paper slicer for next year's round of cards.

Sincerely, 
Merlot