December 4th, 2007
Update 12/5/2008: Welcome, Crafty Crow readers! Thanks for stopping by.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been drooling over the card designs at Purple Stork and making my own amateurish versions. Even though it looks to other people (Hi, Mom!) like it’s a frustrating process, it’s an enjoyable creative outlet. I’ve especially gotten lots of positive feedback about the Christmas cards. I intended to make another one this year, but then we ended up spending the entire month of November away from home, with no access to most of our photos. So I wasn’t really sure what we were going to do about cards this Christmas.
Then I got a handmade card in the mail from friends of ours, stamped with red and green shapes and their toddler’s handprints. Eureka! We could make Christmas cards this year. I’ve designed cards on the computer a half-dozen times, but never made crafty ones. And Annalie loves to glue things, so I was pretty sure she’d be willing to help out.
After some googling, I found something at scrumdilly-do! that seemed perfect for Annalie: a decoupage-like project called tin foil festive. I gathered foil, glue, tissue paper, sequins, and other supplies. I explained the project to Annalie with unnecessary enthusiasm (I had her at “glue”). She especially enjoyed painting the watered-down Elmer’s onto the foil with a sponge brush, all but cackling with glee. My mom and I helped her a little, but she did most of the work of arranging the tissue paper and sprinkling the whole thing liberally with sequins as a final touch.
I made the mistake of not telling Annalie at the start that we would be cutting up the finished projects into shapes to paste onto cards. When I did suggest this to her a day later she said skeptically, “Well, I like them big. I think we should leave them the way they are.” So that night after she was asleep, I snipped out one triangle and one rectangle and glued them to cardstock in the shape of a Christmas tree. I thought perhaps if she could see the finished product I could convince her my idea was a good one. (Is it just Annalie, or are all 3.5-year-olds so secure in their own opinions? And do all parents eventually resort to post-bedtime skulduggery like this?)
It worked! Annalie thought the finished card was very pretty. I don’t think it hurt that I promised her more glue and star sequins and little tiny jewels to decorate the cards with. Together with my mom, we slowly put together eight cards before Annalie got bored. So after she was in bed, I made another twenty or so cards while watching the musical Hairspray on DVD. We’ll make some more cards together with what’s left of the collages. Maybe we’ll even make some totally different cards, who knows? The point is, handmade cards are fun!
Making these with Annalie is definitely increasing my Christmas spirit, and putting me in an Advent frame of mind. Hauling out the Christmas CDs and playing them is also helping. The first one I listened to this year was Barenaked for the Holidays, BNL’s 2004 holiday album. It’s unusual in that it has Christmas songs AND Hanukkah songs on it, including the original “Hanukkah Blessings” which was composed by Steve Page, the band’s lead singer. The tune is great fun to sing, and the lyrics are meaningful, and you can’t ask for much more than that in a song, can you? Oh, you want it to include Hebrew blessings? OK, it has those, too. It’s a song about remembering, in this culture of commercialized Christmas, the blessings of Hanukkah, that the God of the universe performs miracles to protect and sustain His children. I think that’s a fantastic thing to celebrate and remember. So I’ll be walking around singing “Hanukkah Blessings” a lot in the coming weeks.