Monday, November 3, 2008

Photo Christmas Cards: a How-To

So it's November and that means that it's the start of the Holiday Season. (It's also Basketball Season!) The first thing I do every holiday season is make my Christmas Cards. In fact - I fill them out and address them during the Thanksgiving Day Parade every year.

Don't worry - I don't ignore Thanksgiving, but we're never home for it so we don't decorate. I do, however, bake. And Bake. And then I bake some more. It's delicious.

Anyway - back to the cards. It's not hard. It's more personal than uploading an image to a website, having the computer print up everything including the addresses and - I imagine - having that website mail it for you. Every year more and more people are outsourcing their Christmas cards, which is a sad, sad state of affairs to me. Does everyone need to channel their inner Domestic Goddess and make home-made cards and goodies every year? No. But in the spirit of the holidays - you can at least pick up a pen and sign your own name.

This is a how-to blog. So I should stop ranting. I've been ranty a lot lately. I blame the Stress Of Limbo. I'll try and curb the rants. I can control that, even if I can't control limbo.

So here you go.

Step one. Supplies. To make any card you will need blank cards, and items with which to decorate. I headed over to Good Ole' Target and picked up a package of 50 blank 3 1/2" x 5" white note cards and envelopes. I've also got packages of these delightful photo corners laying around from a project I did several years ago. In overbuying, I managed to supply myself for Christmas cards for a few more years. Shimmery cranberry paper (I picked it up second-hand, but I'll pimp Paper-Source because I love them and their paper collection never fails to satisfy.) And either craft glue or double sided tape. As with the gift-wrap how-to, my craft glue is glued SHUT so I opted for double-sided tape. And of course - you'll need a photo, since this is a photo card how-to.

I start by trimming the paper to the size I want - here I opted for a wide band, but in the past I've done thinner and played with positions. This is something that is completely left to your taste, but keep the Rule of 3rds in mind. You can never go wrong with that. I secured the paper to the inside of the front flap at the edge of the fold. It's important not to go into the fold or your card might not shut, which is irritating for the recipient.

Next I wrap it all the way around the the back of the back flap. I chose not to wrap it inside because I'm not sure how much I'll want to write and I didn't want the card to get too thick that it won't slide into the envelope easily. Note the bit of looseness in the red paper? This will pull tight when it's closed. If you make the paper too tight, it won't close -- and again there's irritation and potentially tearing, which would negate all of your hard work.

Next step - attach photo. I find it easiest to get the corners onto the photo first and then attach the whole thing to the paper - I pulled out the photo so you could see just the corners. But if you're a measure twice type of person and you want to go another way, more power to you. I like to eyeball and if it's off a little bit, my mom (and her mom before her) says: "Your friends aren't gonna care. And if they do care, then they're not your friends." Which is true for almost anything.

Step The Second to Last: photo. I blurred it out. I'd hate to ruin the surprise. It's not a recent photo, but it's a fabulous one.

Then you just write a cute little phrase, sign it, stick it in the envelope, address, stamp, and mail. And voila! You're spreading Holiday Cheer.

After you get the groove down with the babies you can just churn right through them. I find doing it with a cocktail and one of those movies I love and never tire of has many positive effects: I don't feel like a slug for lying on the couch staring at a movie, and I'm not feeling like it's a chore to do Christmas cards. And the booze doesn't hurt things, either.

Happy Holidays!

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