Handmade Christmas Cards

There’s something fun about the stacks of paper and supplies that I always have when I’m making my Christmas cards.

Blue cardstock, strips of old sheet music found at the thrift store, green tags cut with my current favorite paper punch and stamped with a design and a greeting, a large stack of pictures of my (somewhat) supportive children, and smaller tags punched from the sheet music with our names on it.

The letter is written (short and sweet!)

Last year my pregnancy hit me hard at the beginning of December, along with another crisis in our lives.
I was so exhausted I was afraid of falling asleep at the wheel on the way to and from school!
I mailed my cards at the end of January.  That’s not going to happen this year!  I’m determined to get these cards done and mailed before I start other Christmas projects.



progress… (note the change in lighting, now we’re working late at night) DONE!

Here’s the final product:

Hooray!  Most of them are mailed.  I just have to pick up a few more postage stamps and track down a handful of addresses, and then they’re REALLY done.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to you!

Birth Announcements

Okay, so I know that you don’t usually celebrate a baby’s first 3.5 months of life by mailing the birth announcements.  I realize it’s supposed to happen sooner than that.  But… when it’s your 8th baby and you’ve done it for all your other children, well, you do it late rather than not doing it at all.

I’ve had the design figured out since she was 3 weeks old, and the supplies have sat, cut and neatly stacked ever since.

paper crafting supplies

vintage garden tote with craft supplies

stacks of cut paper

I love tidy stacks of cut paper, just waiting for something to happen to them.
These came from my stash of old scrapbooking supplies.  Perfect colors, perfect amount.  Hooray! (No shopping.)

I also used some of this lovely embossed white paper.  (Again, from the stash.)

embossed paper

This week I finally managed to carve out the time to assemble.

I had four pictures I wanted to use, so I made an announcement that could be opened, accordion style, to see them.  This meant I needed a strip of paper around 16 inches long, so I used strips of 12 inch paper and sewed them to 4 inch pieces that were the same width.  Before I did that, I used my dry embossing tool and made fold lines at the appropriate spots so it would be easier to sew and easier to fold.

paper, paper cutter and embossing tool

With my paper cutter as a guide for straight folds, I made fold lines at 4 inches, and then two more spaced 3 and 7/8 inches down.  This left me with about 1/4 inch at the end for sewing my paper together.

The strip looked like this when I was finished.  You can see the faint fold line in the paper.

embossed paper

Next I took my stack of 4 inch long pieces, and carefully lined one of them up with the tiny tab on the long piece.  I then placed them on the sewing machine.

I put my sewing machine on the slowest speed setting and carefully stitched the pieces together.
I now had a strip of paper that was just under 16 inches long.

I then centered the pictures and birth information in the appropriate spots, and secured them to the paper.  The birth statistics I printed on more patterned paper from my stash.

It’s starting to take shape!  Because of the fold lines, it was easy to get them folded neatly, and they lined up just right!

I guess I should mention that on half of them I added a couple of little ribbon tabs on what will be the front, but when I ran out of ribbon I didn’t worry about the rest of them.  They looked pretty either way.

Time for the final assembly!  I took my stack of pink paper which I had embellished with a strip of striped paper and her name stamped in brown, along with a little detail on the left edge.  These were half sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper, cut to be 8.5 by 5.5 inches.

Don’t you just love stacks of pretty things?

I laid a piece of lovely olive green vine ribbon down the middle of the striped paper (my ribbon was cut in 14 inch lengths).  This ribbon is my all time favorite ribbon, made by May Arts .  I feel like this ribbon was the perfect complement to the announcement.  The olive color grounds the whole project and adds balance to the dark brown ink and sepia pictures, but the ribbon itself  is very dainty and fragile looking.

paper with olive leaves ribbon

Next I put a glue dot on each corner of the last section of the embossed paper (which was the part I had sewn onto the long strip) I carefully centered it on the paper and adhered it.

I punched the final picture of her little fist using a scalloped circle punch and put it on the center of the front fold.

Lastly, I tied the ribbon in a loose knot.

olive leaves tied around paper

Finished, at last!  Now they’re mailed and gone and I’m so thankful!

birth announcement

I should probably also note what a bittersweet thing it was to spend a few hours with pictures of her as a newborn.  She’s changed so much!  I love her as she is now, but I hardly noticed the changing as it happened, which reminds me how quickly she will be different again.

Part of me wants the newborn back, but another part of me is so grateful for the passage of time… it means we’re a little closer to new routines, I’m a little closer to feeling fully recovered.  I just wish she could stay the same during the adjustment!  But alas, God didn’t appoint it to be that way.  Still, I can wish, and hold her close and try to capture this moment with my heart, before it’s gone.

Book Page Wreath DIY (Part I)

Last week I saw a post on The Inspired Room about a wreath made from the pages of a book.

I popped over to Living With Lindsay and read her tutorial, then watched her video on how to make one.  She shows you how to roll the paper and how to avoid burning your fingers to death, which is a good tip.  Now, I had a lot to do, but all of a sudden the only urgent thing in my life was to get to the nearest dollar store and make one of my own.  As in, tonight, before I go to bed.

Lindsay was right.  It really costs only $2.00.  Now that’s my kind of project!

Lindsay’s video and tutorial are far better than what follows, but for what it’s worth here’s how I did it.

At my dollar store they only had 2 kinds of books:  dictionaries and Bibles.   The idea of tearing up a Bible didn’t sit well with me, so a dictionary was what I came home with, along with a foam wreath.

I didn’t have any craft paint that wasn’t all dried up, so I used a dark brown ink pad to rub the edges of the pages.  After I’d finished, though, I wished I’d had paint.  I think it would have been a little more noticeable.

I also found that tearing pages out of the book didn’t work too well.  My binding was too good, I guess.  I ended up using an exacto knife to cut my pages out of the book.    It was 11:30 pm when I finally started this project.  I plugged in my glue gun, took a deep breath and started.

Soon I’d gone all the way around.

I turned the wreath over (again, check out Lindsay’s blog) and kept going.  After a while, I had a wreath!  Hooray!

I pinned a piece of ribbon to the back and rushed to the wall to hang it up.  It is so light that I just used a thumb tack to pin the ribbon to the wall.

What do you think?  I like it!

I hung it in my family room, between two pieces of furniture.  I’ve been planning to hang something circular there for a long time.  Well, here it is, I guess.  (And yes, I know there’s one piece on the top that is sticking out too far.  Beginner’s lesson learned:  stick that paper down in deep more quickly or it dries where it paused.)  That’s okay.  I’m not into perfect.  (I might be lying here, just a little, because I’m really a perfectionist, but I’m overcoming it.  Having 8 kids sort of forces me to do that.)

I realized a few things after doing this.  Mine is more gray.  That’s because the dictionary I used had newsprint pages.

It got me wondering:  what about a book with gilded pages?  Or a vintage book with red edges to the pages?  or what about an old book with yellowed pages?  Or a book with crisp white pages?   Changing the kind of book you use could change the whole look!  Kind of fun.  I think I’m going to make another one after I go scan the thrift store for old books.

Editorial note:  To see part II, which shows how the wreath looks using 4 different books, click here .

Meanwhile, I decided to try an experiment with my wreath:

I got a long piece of orange ribbon and very loosely tied it in a knot around it.

And that’s how it stayed.   You want one of these, I promise.  They’re fast, cheap, simple and fun.  Try it!

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