Monday, July 9, 2012

Christmas in July: Part 1

This month I'll be reaching back into the cozy, old archives to share some of the stamped Christmas cards I've created through the years.  Not every year is represented here, but I hope you enjoy the series.  I promise, the cards will get better (I hope you think so, too!) as we progress.

Join me for Christmas in July.

Once upon a time I would draw the artwork for my Christmas cards, by hand one by one for every person on my Christmas card list.  When I discovered rubber stamps, the intrinsic repeatability was a welcome relief.  My cards were more consistent, and I could produce them much faster.  All good. 

From 1993.  Black ink faded to purple.
1993 was the year I bought my first stamps.  I didn't always color the images in then, but was more concerned with composing the scene.  The billion-dollar scrapbooking market had not yet materialized, and most stamp companies were mom-and-pop establishments.  Not many of the stampers I knew thought about embellishments.  It was all about the images--how you used them, and where you got them.  Shopping was done via catalog or brick-and-mortar store, if you were lucky enough to live within driving distance of such a thing.  My favorite companies were those that included a free unmounted stamp or two (called "dies") with each unmounted order--some companies still do this, I'm happy to find. 

Stamps Used: Printworks (letters, stars),  Leavenworth_Jackson (trumpeters).  Hero Arts (angel),  hand-carved by me (Star of Bethlehem).

1994's card shows some growth as a stamper.  Masking, coloring, and sponging were new skills to me at the time.  Once again, a hand-carved element (sleigh) found its place in the design.  The other two images are from TooMuchFun.
1994.  More black-to-purple ink.

Christmas 1996 was a fun year for us.  Our first baby celebrated her first birthday just a couple of month's prior and she was pure joy.

Baby Holly donned our cards that year.

The photo was a wallet-size one that I attached (uncut) to the inside of the card.  I cut a "baby-shaped" window into the front side of the card so her photo could peek through.  Proper alignment of the window was crucial, and though my recollection is fuzzy, I am certain that tracing paper and stamp positioner were employed to create a jig of some sort.
1996.  A color-fast black ink, at last!

The inside of the card included stamping underneath the photo too.  This way if the bearer wanted to remove the photo, the scene on the front would still make sense.

Props to my husband who traveled solo to a far-away stamp store in search of an image that I wasn't sure even existed.  I think the phone conversation went something like, "Quick!  I need a Christmas stocking stamp big enough--but not too big--that I can plop Holly and a bunch of toys into..."  He found this image from Judi-Kins on one of the store's bazillions of shelves, and it was exactly what I needed.  Awesome husband!

Other images are from TooMuchFun (teddy bear), Arizona Stamps, Too! (doll), and PictureShow, (toy bunny).

Stay tuned for the next installment of Christmas in July, coming up on Thursday.

Update! Links to other posts in this series: 
Part 2
   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7

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