Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You're such a card

If someone calls you “A Card" it means you’re a witty or eccentric character.  The earliest notable use of this term was in 1836 by Charles Dickens in which he referred to someone as "a knowing card".   This expression came from playing cards which had long used such phrases as a sure card, a safe card, a best card, and so on and so forth and whatnot. 

Charles Dickens was quite a card himself . . .  he was an obsessive-compulsive neat-freak.  No matter where he was, if a room didn’t “feel” right to him he would viciously rearrange the furniture until it was just right and if it wasn’t neat and orderly he would take it to task and clean the place himself. If everything wasn’t just so he couldn’t concentrate or write.  He habitually combed his hair hundreds of times a day and had to touch certain objects three times for luck.  He also had an obsession with magnetic fields which he felt effected his writing abilities; because of this fixation any bed he slept in had to be facing north-south.

Speaking of cards, many early greeting cards used selected prose from Victorian authors . . . such as Charles Dickens.  Classic examples culled from Dickens’ work include:

It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God Bless Us, Every One!”

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! 

I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday - the longer, the better.

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time.

What could be more personal and meaningful than a card made by your own hand given to someone special to you?

Self-made cards have been given for centuries. The first printed Christmas card was sent by post Christmas 1843 by Sir Henry Cole.  That year he commissioned illustrator John Calcott Horsley to paint the card.  The first Christmas card depicted a scene showing the feeding and clothing of the poor saying "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" and was sent to friends and family of Sir Cole.

Since then billions of cards have been sent for all manner of holidays and occasions containing poetic verses, words of wisdom, humor and sentiment.

Making handmade cards is relatively inexpensive and fun to do.  More importantly, it provides someone you care about with a one-of-a-kind memento of a special occasion that is significant in a way that no commercial card can match.

That’s not to say I’m opposed to mass produced cards.  There are not enough hours in the day to do everything I want or need to do let alone make a card for every event and occasion.  But, there are times that a handmade card can make a special moment even more extraordinary.

The following are some examples of cards I made for this Christmas.  They only took a few minutes a piece to create.  Handwriting the notes on the inside take me the longest because it takes some effort to make my scrawl legible and I have a goofy left-handed tilt that I attempt to correct.  But the result is satisfying and homey.  It’s a real feel-good project that I’m sure you will enjoy.

What says winter fun better than mittens and socks drying on the line after a day's play in the snow.

This is super easy to make.  A piece of twine, a scrap of felt and some mini-clothes pins are the makings of a quaint little card.

I made them pretty minimalistic but they would look super cute with embellishments on the mittens and stripes on the socks and maybe some poofs of cotton on the bottom for snow.

These reindeer are whimsical and fun all in the shape of my thumb (heh, I made a rhyme).   With their little googly eyes and pom-pom noses these little guys are awfully adorable.

I simply used a brown stamp and my thumb to make the heads out of my prints.  I drew antlers with brown crayon and gave them eyes and noses and voila . . . reindeer.

If you're wanted for a crime this project is probably not for you.  :-)~

I had visions of gingerbread dancing in my head when I made these . . . gingerbread - sugarplums . . . whatever.    Who even knows what a sugarplum is anyway?

Anyhoo . . . I bought a pack of the little felted ginger people for a $1 at a craft store.  There were plenty in the pack to make several cards.

The look almost good enough to eat!

Snowflakes are so classic.  No two are alike.  They're pretty, sparkly and you can pack them together to chuck at your husband as he leaves for work in the morning.

Again, these snowflakes were bought in a pack from a craft store for $1.  The addition of some embellishments make these cards shine.

Candy canes for santa.  Everyone knows the acronym KISS?  Keep It Sweet and Simple.  What did you think it meant??

 String and felt candy canes or trees make for a sweet statement of simplicity.  Enough said.

I made all of these cards in less than an hour.  I'm personalizing them as I decide who is going to get which card which is making them even more special.  

Let your imagination go and get into the spirit . . . you can make something very nice with nothing more than felt, paper, string and some glue.  

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