Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cards

Recently I expressed my complete puzzlement as to how anyone was able to raise children, and work full-time, when I feel quite busy and unequal to keeping up with the general business of life with neither of these demands.  I received a couple of rightly terse replies from women who do succeed, or have succeeded, in this everyday but nevertheless astonishing and, to me superhuman achievement, to the effect that you get extremely tired and don't do much else.  In fact both of them seem to be capable of doing all kinds of  other very impressive things, like reading a lot of books and blogging, to say nothing of singing and making things and all sorts of stuff and who knows what else.

However, one thing probably most people with proper lives don't do is spend ages and ages hand-making their Christmas cards.


Why then do I?  I don't even really like the whole business of Christmas cards.  And on receiving one of these offerings, most people will, quite frankly, either not give it a second look, since they've probably got at least 200 more to find room for in their homes already groaning with festive trappings with which my card will be chucked out with a sigh of relief on or before the feast of the Epiphany,or if they do will, quite understandably snort with derision and the probably words ' Well, she must have too much time on her hands!'

In fact those words are almost certainly somebody-somewhere's judgement on most everything I do, from blogging to burning wood to making chicken stock to reading poetry to scrambling egg in the microwave to make Molly's dinner more interesting.  Likewise they are my judgement on all manner of activities I don't understand or wish to participate in.  Only I try to judge not that I be not judged, though there are some things....

But  the fact is, I simply do enjoy making things sometimes.  We don't send a small fraction of the number of cards other people in the Anglo-Saxon (yes yes, I know it's both an ethnographic and a historical misnomer...) world do, partly because we live in a country where it isn't done so that lets us off the hook where neighbours and colleagues are concerned, and partly because we're an anti-social pair of no-mates.  Some years we just order charity cards, some years Tom does a picture and gets it copied. Yet other years I have dug out the stored piles of previous years' cards (because I don't sling them out because I'm hopeless about not wasting anything, while, like most thrift-obsessives I strain at gnats and swallow camels) and carefully snipped and glued and collaged them into new ones.

This year I ordered Moo mini cards of croppings from my photos, and snipped and glued and collaged them into bigger cards.  I always have stacks of coloured card and paper about because I can't walk past packs of this in places like Lidl and Noz.  I used hole punches, a standard round one and a heart-shaped one from somewhere like Lidl or Noz.  I'm still a little uncertain about hearts as a decorative motif, but I'm thinking more Scandinavian folk art than the sew-on jeans patches and teenage girls' magazines of my youth.

Like many of my creative efforts, they have an air of the primary school or Blue Peter about them.  But I enjoyed myself.

Now I'm fairly hopelessly behind with many other more pointful jobs which even in my child-free and part-time employed state I still ought to do, and must go to bed.  I might get around to putting some links into this post tomorrow.

18 comments:

the polish chick said...

well, they are lovely. i once made hand painted cards for those near and dear to me (thank the good lord i have a small family) and they got used to it. a store-bought card (especially one with nothing on it but a signature - gee, thanks! now i know your name!) would be considered an awful insult in my family.

lately, though, despite being under- to unemployed, i have given up the hand drawn and painted card. i wish i hadn't because it would be the thing to force me back to the drawing board (quite literally) - as a child i did nothing but draw, now...well, let's not talk about it, shall we?

yesterday i got an email from my husband's office with a list of all the names, spouses' names and addresses, for the express purpose of sending out dozens of meaningless cards with our signatures on it. i promptly deleted it with mr. monkey's heartfelt blessings. we don't do cards. we don't do gifts. but we love christmas.

still, and for what it's worth, whenever i do get a card either handmade or featuring a photo, i tend to keep it.

rb said...

Well, I would so love one of your Christmas cards. I am not big on Christmas cards but I love things that people have put time and effort into and that reflect a little bit of them. My youngest always makes cards and we always send a few of those out - but obviously he can't make that many.

The Crow said...

Your cards are lovely pieces of art, Lucy. I like them very much.

marja-leena said...

These are absolutely lovely, Lucy! I love the colours and designs, and yes the Scandinavian hearts. I always save handmade or printed cards. The commercial ones sometimes get recycled into gift tags, that sort of thing. I'm really impressed, for I've not had the time to make all my cards by hand for years, instead I print digital versions of my designs. And I make fewer now since so many of us email our greetings, what with the cost of mailing.

Kelly said...

Those cards look great and I am impressed that you would give so much of yourself to those who receive them. I find myself at odds with those who focus their lives on family, children, and all of the assorted activities because I chose the live the life I enjoy. I have accepted that it is perfectly ok for me to acknowledge I am not a good fit in the "Dad" role and I can focus my energy on being all the fun that I am. When I get grief from those I know I am quick to point out that our poor planet is so overpopulated that I have chosen to no contribute to the problems to which I get some kind of argument that rapidly fades into a so what from me.

Having spent the last 5 years trying to regain my health from a point that I recognized it might not go so well, I realized that every moment is a gift and a person should spend that moment in pursuit of the things that make joy and happiness for as many as possible. Or in my case, use it to make commentary of the malcontent on my blog (btw - I'm back at it). I envy the creativeness that you have Lucy, don't give let those who chose a different path distract you.

Julia said...

Great idea about the Moo prints! I love making cards and such, it's such a pleasure to do. We used to make lino prints but I think the photo snip idea is an even better one.

Barrett Bonden said...

Well it is a super-human achievement and deserves alluding to at every opportunity. As to DIY cards I have on three or four occasions devised them for Mrs BB and I was surprised and touched to discover she had retained them. Christmas cards are another matter. When they came in packs of a dozen one pack covered my needs. Now they come in metric-dozen packs I have several left over from one pack. We live a very limited, anchoritic life here in Hfds.

Fire Bird said...

...can't wait to get mine!!

herhimnbryn said...

I make Christmas cards too. I like to think about the people I am sending them to and create something special for them (I hope!).

Your cards are smashing Lucy, long may you keep making them.

leslee said...

What lovely cards! Great idea. I bought cards and am daunted by the prospect of just writing them out and sending them. (sigh) Looks like you had fun and I'm sure your friends and family will love them. I always love hand-made cards.

Elizabeth said...

Those are BEAUTIFUL!
I started making hand printed cards in High School...got written complaints when I tried to send stroe bought cards...LOL.
Not sure yet WHAT i am doing this year. Last year's card was combo Christmas card & birth announcement...that was fun :)

julie said...

As everyone has already said, your cards are lovely! I'll bet that everyone who gets one loves it; it shows that you cared enough about them to take time to make them something beautiful.

Plutarch said...

When I was young I remember being impressed by the schoolmaster father of a school friend, who recycled the previous year's cards. Well known for his eccentricty, he used simply to cross out the name or names of the senders and replace them with his own name. That's what people nowadays call transparency, but I suppose, recipients might have found the practice disarming, as long, that is, as they were not the original senders.

Lilacs In May said...

If you are creative,you have to have an outlet. I ran out of time this year but I will make the effort next year, Your photos are lovely.

zephyr said...

They are lovely!
i also make and send cards.
Because i love receiving them. Even if there is no time for the sender to write anything beyond "Happy Holidays" or "thinking of you."

If you send me your address (in an email, so as not to advertise it in the public posting place) i will be very happy to send you the star-card i made this year using a photo of golden chestnut leaves--with no strings attached. i would simply enjoy sending it "across the pond" to you...for i think it would make you smile.

Rouchswalwe said...

How wonderful!

Plutarch said...

If I were any good at chanting I would probably want to chant all or nearly all these. So far I have no favourites.

Magpie said...

Being in the full-time work & mother too camp, I resorted to Shutterfly for my Christmas card. But the handmade cards that I get each year from my sister-in-law are the ones that I keep - one of woven strips of the prior years wrapping paper ended up in a frame. Yours I'd keep too. :)

That's why you do it. Because you enjoy it, and some of your recipients will well and truly appreciate them.