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.

Sequins macro

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?)

Christmas tree production

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!

Christmas tree card

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.

Happy Hanukkah!

34 Responses to “Now with even MORE Christmas spirit! (plus Hanukkah Blessings)”

  1. Angella says:

    I love your cards! So pretty!

    I also listened to the BNL CD while making my own cards yesterday :)

  2. SAJ says:

    Wow. Those ARE pretty. Amazing really.

  3. Gorgeous cards Bethany!

    I think my favorite Chanukah song is the BNL one that you mentioned. Last year I heard it for the first time and had tears in my eyes. It is beyond beautiful. Last night I played Adam Sandler’s song for my son, but tonight after we light the candles it will be BNL all the way!

  4. bluejaye says:

    Great cards. My handmade cards never turn out the way I envision. I’ll have to clear the table off so my 12 year old can do them this year. (When she’s not helping me with the great muslin bag project.) Brenda’s success is wearing off and keeping me busy.

    Merry Christmas!!!!

  5. Scrooge Cuz! says:

    OK. I’m laughing. I have fond memories of doing “holiday crafts” and cards and such with my Hammer! That was 11 years ago and 5 kids ago! Why we’re entering day 3 on just tree decorating: day one – tree in stand and watered; day two – put up lights, but wait! 2 large strands caput (daddy stopped at Target on way home to get new lights!) day three – dressing 2 kids to head to Hobby Lobby to get ornament hooks just to finish putting beads on tree, so kids can ORNAMENT it upon arrival after school (before piano lessons).

    So I commend anyone who actually SHOPS at Hobby Lobby for craft items and then allows their child(ren) to actually play with them in the hopes of getting a useful product at the end! Can’t wait to see one! :)

    oh, ya, and music, cd’s? I shut OFF all noise making items in my house! “Over-stimulation” and I are very intimate. But you’ve given me pause to maybe LOOK for a Christmas cd amongst the wreckage of my toyroom where I noticed they were recently used for “stepping stones” over the carpet “moat”! I’ll have to have Hammer look up the BNL Holiday on iTunes!

    Happy cutting and pasting! and enjoy these days while you can!

  6. Amy says:

    I already commented on flickr, but these cards are just gorgeous. Thanks for making the holidays that much warmer!

  7. familymclean says:

    Fanrastic card idea, I think tha tis more the route I should have gone with Kaitlyn!

  8. jek says:

    oh wow! what a wondrous and fabulous idea! the cards look absolutely amazing! LOVE!

  9. Sarah says:

    These cards are really so beautiful. I’m seriously considering have a jealous sulk right about now.

  10. OMSH says:

    Ooooh, I just bookmarked that for an idea for the girls to do while we’re home on Christmas Break! Make BIG trees or whatever else they want.

    They are lovely.
    You have my address, right?
    heh heh

  11. Those cards are beautiful. I think Mike and I should make some, even if we don’t have kids to help with the crafts. What do you think? I love them, seriously. (You could sell some, even! I’d totally buy them!)

  12. jastereo says:

    You are silly w/ the “amateurish versions”… having seen them in the flesh I can say they were anything but, I remember thinking how cool it would be to have kids so we could do the same. The one for this year is gorgeous too. I hope you plan on saving one for a scrapbook or to put on the mantle for xmas’s to come. The sequins totally make it…but then, you know I have a thing for sequins.

  13. lorimo says:

    Your cards look wonderful! What a fun project to do together. Now I am thinking of how to use it with my son or maybe my Sunday school class. I suppose it could be adapted for any holiday-is any one else thinking how nice it would look to make them with pastels and cut into hearts into Valentines?

  14. slynnro says:

    These are amazing!

  15. polly peirce says:

    Your amateurish cards are of far better quality than many I’ve seen for sale on e-bay! Give yourself a well earned pat on the back; they are lovely. What’s more you are giving the gift of time to anyone who receives them; which is far more than the shop bought, mass produced variety ever can.

  16. maura says:

    They are SO SO lovely. I love them!

  17. lunasea says:

    These are great – I love the idea of cutting them into tree shapes. I cut our big squares into smaller rectangles and made regular note cards out of them – I almost hated to give them away, I thought they were so pretty. I think I see the kids’holiday thank-you cards in my future.

  18. [...] have twelve handmade Christmas cards left. At this point I think it’s safe to say I won’t be getting any more 2007 holiday [...]

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  21. Regina says:

    really great project!

  22. Mari says:

    I love these cards! I will be sitting down to do some cutting and sticking with my kids this afternoon for sure!

    (and, in answer to your question, you are not the only one who does the post-bedtime fixing/finishing….)

  23. Heather says:

    These are stunning and look really fun. My two year-old son LOVES glue, also! :)

  24. suzi says:

    May I borrow this idea, to make cards with my own kids?

    I followed a link from The Crafty Crow to your blog.

    The cards are so cute – and my kids would really enjoy this project!

  25. kristen says:

    love, love, love these! art projects using foil are ALWAYS

  26. kristen says:

    oops! I sent the comment before I was finished! Anyway, foil are is always extra special. Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea! :)

  27. wayfarer says:

    what a great idea! and yes, 3 seems to be the stubborn, i know best age.

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  29. kangaroo says:

    thank you so much; i referenced this idea in yesterday’s post, after big B and i made a similar version using his old artwork. SO cute! happy holidays!

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  31. [...] made Christmas cards with this craft last year. It was fun for me and Annalie, and I was really happy with how the cards [...]

  32. jucarii says:

    May I borrow this idea, to make cards with my own kids?

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