art,  Behind the scenes

Christmas projects and wild dreams

Since it’s my birthday, I’m going to just post on something fun. I’m exercising that prerogative.

I’ve been working on hand-painted watercolor Christmas cards this fall. I started in early September, in between working and basically trying to stay Delta Variant free. By my count, I needed about fifty of them, and I ended up doing about fifty-five of them by the time I was done.

The biggest obstacle for me was the handwriting part. My handwriting stinks, and with ADD/ ADHD, I can’t get my hand to move as quickly as my thoughts ping around in my mind. I’m faster at typing, but there’s still a lot of information lost during the transition. So I wind up scribbling in an attempt to record what I’m thinking.

The end result is some really bad handwriting. That was a problem because although I’m confident about what I can put on the front of the cards, putting something legible into the inside was really stressing me out. Now, I’ve never considered myself to be “a crafter,” so I was out of my depth on this. Stencils? Letter presses? What to do?

Luckily, I was introduced to the wonderful world of acrylic stamping. I bought a couple of sets of stamps and I found a way to cheat! No more sloppy handwriting, people!

My acrylic stamp collection.

My acrylic stamp collection.

I found some great fonts, cute but not too cutesy. I wanted to find some religious ones, but I’m an Episcopalian (Anglican for you non- Scots and Yanks out there). Anything too Calvinist was a no-no for me. I went ahead and got some different colored ink pads. Excuse my naivety, but I didn’t know how easy it would be going in to find some Christmas-y colors. Throw in a set of different-sized acrylic blocks and I was good to go.

One of my boo-boos

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One of my boo-boos

I started by painting all of them. Since I’m not Oprah, I couldn’t really afford actual watercolor paper for the cards. I had to use card stock. That meant warping when they were wet, which meant pressing the finished paintings before I moved on to the stamping part. I made several mistakes, including this poinsettia one that went south pretty quickly.

Others turned out better. I learned how to do holly berries and kind of went on a kick:

A card using stencils and white goache

A card using stencils and white goache

The next step was stamping. When I first got the stamps, some of the blocks were covered with tape, so I accidentally stamped one of them upside down. So I peeled the tape off so I could see them before I put pressure on the page.

Although I’m still embarrassed by how bad my handwriting is, I decided to at least give hand lettering a try. I’m still traumatized by the fact that in elementary school we tried calligraphy and the nubs wouldn’t work with a left-hander. I watch a lot of Emma’s Christmas cards videos, and she inspired me to at least try.

at least give hand lettering a try

To that end, I looked around and found an old book on lettering I had bought at Five Below. I’ll post some updates as soon as I get some lettering done. Right now, I think I can at least handle some short words like “Joy” and “Peace.” I can, right?