Easy Peasy Christmas Cards

I know, we didn’t even have Thanksgiving yet!  The stores are filled with Christmas items and there are sales going on everywhere.  There is a big retail panic going on.  Christmas is no longer a ‘thing’ for me.  I don’t need anything, except a new kitchen sink and that will be my Christmas present, really.  Sometime in December I will haul down the 3 foot pink tree, already decorated and laden with baubles, from the loft.  That will be my tribute to Christmas.  Although I grew up with Christmas being a big celebration and I loved it as much as any child, I am not a religious person and no longer feel that I need to get into the Christmas spirit, whatever that may be.

However, I do like to send out cards.  I made some cards last year and only have a few left over.  Luckily I found some more blank card stock.  The problem with my card stock is that when you stick something onto it, the card is very difficult to get into the envelope. That’s what happens when you buy cheap card stock.  To get around this, I used the gelli-plate.  It is easy to make tree stencils and they fit the size of my card.  I used both the positive and negative parts of the stencil.  Here is a sample:

xmas cardsAs you can see, they are all different.  I used some gelatos to fill in some bits where the paint didn’t stick and I got a nice grunge effect on some of the cards.  I didn’t wipe my gel plate.  I used student grade paint which is great to use on the gel plate and as most likely these may end up ultimately in the recycling bin.  I also had some Christmas washi tape purchased at Lidl that I used to embellish some of the cards.  These didn’t take long to make and I had a bit of fun too!

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A Minimal Christmas Time

As the year is coming to a close and Christmas will soon be upon us, I have been reflecting on how I have celebrated this holiday over the years.  As a child, my brother and I would get very excited about Christmas.

Arlene.Paul0001Most of the time we had a real tree that my father was in charge of decorating (he was the arty one).  Fake snow and loads of tinsel, and beautifully decorated glass ornaments that would seem very old fashioned now.

When I got married, I collected similar ornaments and I was sent ornaments from the USA when I moved to the UK.  My children grew up with a tradition that was passed down a generation.

Since I moved from London to the South Coast, I have had to downsize considerably.  Although I have a fairly large loft space, I don’t like having it full of stuff.  So, the decorations the children grew up with got taken up to London and now live with my daughter.  I have given away a lot also.  I am now down to a very small, pink tree that is fully loaded with decorations.  My husband decided to put the whole tree in a bag and I gained 3 extra storage boxes!  Plus I have a few lights in the fireplaces and few little things on the fire mantles.  I remember my mother-in-law whipping out a little tree with fibre optic lights and not much else.  I may be slowly turning into her by following her example.

Since my husband and I went travelling around South America 4 years ago, we have had a chance to see how other cultures celebrate Christmas, very low key.  They seem to celebrate on Christmas Eve and we didn’t see many decorations around.  When you don’t have much money, I suppose that isn’t that important.

I don’t remember many of the presents I have received over the years, but I do remember being around my family, grandparents and cousins.  Somehow, being with people is what makes a holiday for me, and is probably why Thanksgiving is so huge in America as no presents are involved – just food and people.  It also doesn’t have any religious attachment to it either.

I am not a religious person, but I still like Christmas, having a tree, making dinner, and having people around.  It is the only day of the year when I get all of my Christmas CD’s out and actually enjoy singing along while doing the dinner.  This year we have invited a friend as she would be on her own.  Otherwise it would be just the hubs and me, plus the dogs.  We won’t exchange presents as we don’t need anything or we already bought something at the time it was needed.  My two boys are in different countries, and my daughter is creating memories with a grandmother who may not be around in the foreseeable future (she has dementia which has steadily gotten worse).  As my daughter lives in London, she would usually come down to visit for her Christmas beforehand, but this year she was travelling for work, so I am not sure when I will see her next.  This is what happens when children are grown, have lives of their own, and don’t live near you.  You have to share them with others.

Where I live they have caroling at The Bandstand on Christmas and Boxing Day.  If it isn’t raining, we shall go with the dogs and sing a few songs and then pop into the pub for a swift one before having our Christmas dinner.  The dogs don’t know about holidays and all they care about is food and having a walk.  We might get them a big bone to chew on.

So, that is my evolution of Christmas.  However you all celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day.  Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog and hope to see you next year!

 

Xmas Cards on the Gel Plate

I am not going to use the ‘C’ word until December, but I noticed that a lot of people are making cards now.  I can understand if you want to sell them that one has to be prepared months in advance, but I really can’t be thinking about all of that until after Thanksgiving.

When I first moved down to Eastbourne, I used to take a lot of photographs with a nice camera.  I thought I would buy some card stock and print some of my photos and make cards.  That never happened and I still had about 150 blank cards in my cupboard.  I had used some for birthdays by cutting up some of my watercolors.  I am trying really hard (really) not to buy new things if I can make do with what I have.

A couple of months ago I went through all of the prints I made on the gel plate.  I had loads. Some came out really well and they have been put aside for matting.  I had a lot more unsatisfactory prints than I have space for so I decided to use them to make cards with my supply of card stock.  I spent a whole day just cutting up prints and making cards.  Some of my gelli prints got a makeover as I learned a trick about putting a stencil on top of very dark paint and picking up a print with an old gel print.  Only a little of the original remains.  You can see an example on the card on the right.

IMG_3886

I managed to use up most of my card stock and had about 30 left.  Then a couple of weeks ago I wanted to do some printing but didn’t know what to print, so I decided to make some Xmas cards with the leftover card stock.  I wasn’t going to make a template, but in the end I made a tree out of cardboard, rolled some ink on the 6×6 gel plate and got cracking.  I started with greens and yellows but I preferred the reds, magenta and yellow.

I decided not to be too precious about the card making and some of them look rather primitive.  Each card is different and I also used a stencil to fill in some areas.  For some of the longer cards, I found a small stamp that says Happy C… that I could use on the white space below.  By the time I finished making the cards, the template was completely covered in paint, so when it was dry I used it to make my last card so nothing got wasted.

It looks unlikely that I will be purchasing anymore cards for a while as I now have a stash of 100+ to get through!