Xmas cards

Homemade Christmas cards are quite time consuming, which explains why they haven't been made every year, but it is quite satisfying to send off your own work to family and friends. Thinking about the design can take some time and so the search for inspiration has to start quite early. The actual making of the cards is done in a production-line manner which can easily take two or three evenings and sometimes more. The letters also take time, and it appears that quite a few of our recipients really appreciate receiving the letter every year, so the letter takes precedence when time is short. Below is a short description of the creative process and by clicking on the the blue underlined year you can see a scanned image of the card in question.

In 1995 Dawn started going to art classes in Dublin. She was inspired by her teacher's homemade Christmas cards, to try making some herself. The idea was to use preprinted or photocopied outlines/designs and then hand colour them. The basic design was preprinted black fir tree silhouette shapes on white paper, the sky was a wash of blue paint and a white tree shape was stuck on the foreground for a 3D effect and finally a silver star drawn on. This was stuck on to black folded card. That same year she painted about 6 winter scenes with fir trees and these were sent to a few people (click here to see the one we kept)

In 1996 we were going to be spending  the Christmas period on holiday in New Zealand. We decided to send the cards out before we went and we wanted a NZ theme. We printed the two NZ islands and a compass rose onto blue marbled paper. The addition of a punny "Christmas GreetiNZ" tag, and the colouring of the rose with gold were the finishing touches and the design was stuck on to black folded card. 

In 1998  the design was quite simple, but also quite successful. A cartoon type Christmas tree was snagged from the web, a star and Christmas ball shapes were added and the words "uit Tilburg" (Dutch for 'from Tilburg') were added to suggest the pot under the tree. The design was printed on to red card, and the star and balls were coloured with a gold pen. 

In 1999 the appropriate theme was the change of the first digit of the year to a 2. We did not ascribe to the general idea that this signalled a new millenium, but understood that it was a significant thing to celebrate and so we chose the car odometer design. The champagne glasses were snagged from the web and Baldur made a nice job of the odometer part. Note that the choice of fonts (letter type) is all important in creating the desired effect. The design was printed directly onto green card and the champagne and bubbles were coloured with a silver pen.

In 2000 we went back to the glue pot. The design is misleadingly simple. It took quite a bit of calculation and fiddling to get the strips the right shape and size to produce the correct size of triangle tree. Once the concept was in place, it became a matter of a production line. We were pleased with the end result. The tree is made from strips of green metallic foil and the pot is red paper, which were stuck onto black folded card.

In 2001 Baldur used a program called POV-ray, in order to make a 3D design for the Christmas tree and surroundings. The program allows the definition of where the light comes from, which determines where the reflections and shadows lie. The multipointed star was a nice touch. Our faces are overlaid on the surface of the spheres and the floor tiles are evocative of the Noord Brabant flag and the tiled floors in perspective often seen in Old Dutch Masters. Having bought a colour printer that year, we printed this design in colour on white paper which was then stuck onto cream folded card. Note that this scanned image really does not do the original card justice. 

In 2004 Baldur decided he would really like to do a homemade card again after a break of a few years. We decided to use a wintery photograph and the one we chose in the end was taken the previous winter by Dawn from our balcony. The photograph was 'faded' to save ink more than anything else and a frame was added. Ths frame was a good idea as it gave the final card a bit of a 3D effect. The photo plus frame was printed on white paper and stuck on to marbled grey ready bought cards.   

In 2005 Baldur wanted to make another Christmas card with a photo of a bowl of our own balcony grown tomatoes. We thought that the red would look nice and Christmassy. The picture was cropped and provided with a green 3D frame and printed on white paper. This was pasted onto red card. Referring to the fact that tomatoes are berries, the inside greeting was the bilingual "A berry merry Christmas, Beste wensen"  (bes being Dutch for berry)..