Hey there, this is the ifsew’s husband. The guy who is usually taking the pictures of quilts, shaking a fist at the sky when all the loose thread bits clog up the vacuum and who asks “you need more fabric?”.
Years ago we mistakenly started a tradition to hand make our Christmas cards. Shannon and I got to team up – her doing the paper crafts, me doing the photography. This was a great excuse for me to get my hands dirty and let out some creative hands-on desire. Cutting paper, gluing tags and stamping holiday scenes sure beats Photoshop. This year, we made the Christmas cards a bit more meaningful by using recycled material. While Shannon is hard at work on the sewing machine (pictures and blog posts to come soon I hope), I bring to you “The Recycled Christmas Card”.
1. Holiday themed grocery paper bags.
2. A Gocco (or anything really, just depends use what you got).
3. Cutting table, cutting implements (those sharp things you aren’t suppose to run with).
4. Time, creative spirit and a few movies to keep the 4 year old occupied, when he gets tired of helping.
5. A design.
Start with the design.
We always include a picture. We like to send a picture of Johnnie, because we are getting old and wrinkled, whilst he is cute and silly. I don’t really care if you don’t think he is the cutest kid in the world. A wallet size picture is ideal because they are cheap, doesn’t make people feel bad about throwing it out come January 15th and lets you design an integrated card with picture that all fits into a 4x6 card. We had chosen immediately to use Shannon’s Gocco as we don’t use it enough and its plain fun. Being a computer geek and photodude, this dictated Photoshop as my design medium. An hour later, we had our design. Design done, scaled and printed ready for the Gocco.
Our Paper Source
In the past, we have had always purchased our paper from Paper Source. They offer some of the most fabulous choices. Funny, when we get their catalog in the mail, I sit on the couch and read it like some men do with the Sports Illustrated (not withstanding the swimsuit issue, of course. Come on, I like to be crafty too, but I’m still a dude). I’ve been known to wrap presents in paper grocery bags. Its seriously the best sturdy paper available and its pretty much free. I understand its not really free, but who hasn’t got a stack of them under the sink? Granted we’ve been doing the ‘bring your own bag’ for a while, there are still the times when you forget. Out of some pure moment of genius, Shannon says, “we should use our paper bag collection for Christmas cards”. We didn’t even need to discuss, our telepathy decided it would be so. What’s best, is this time of year, every grocery store has holiday grocery bags. They are rather well decorated with great colors and holiday scenes.
The workload had been set. Gather holiday themed grocery bags, plant oneself at the cutting table and cut 4x6 sheets of paper from grocery bags. At first, I attempted to work my way very carefully around the fold marks and I tried in earnest to keep the holiday scenes intact to make a delightful card back. This got old soon and became to realize that half the curiosity of this year’s card was its imperfection. I did, however, become very skilled at laying out the best cutting plan to use the most possible amount of each bag. Some time later, I had 30 cards ready for the Gocco.
Print, Print, Print
Next, grab the Gocco, the 4 year old and some ink. Johnnie loves to flash the Gocco screen. The bright flash, popping noise and lingering smoke all excite him like any 4-year-old boy. Printing card after card after card, well that usually results in a “will you play with me”. Time for the movie. Quickly finish your Gocco prints.
Call me insane.
I blame it on a rainy day and Johnnie playing really well by himself, but I went a step further and made custom envelopes. Yup, back to the cutting table with more holiday grocery bags. Basic envelopes are pretty easy to make. In college, I used to make envelopes using magazine covers that my roommates would discard. (That sweet, crafty and sincere side of me always worked well on the girls. Did I say that out loud?) More cutting, some folding and there you go, holiday envelopes from grocery bags.
We still need to attach the picture of Johnnie to each card and address them all. If you are lucky to be one of the 30 to get one of these handmade buggers, keep the picture come January 15th and recycle the rest.
--Andrew (the husband guy)