Many year-end fortunes: 2013 Christmas cards!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here are my 2013 Christmas cards: personalized End-of-Year Fortunes! They’re little fortune cookie inspired cards printed in black and white on Via Vellum cover stock with a willow shade, with the recipient name stamped on the front in gold, and a little kraft paper-coloured insert for a handwritten message to use as a fortune. I reused extra paper I had left over from printing the covers of Pieces Before Dishes as well as People In Front Of Places.

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I thought it would be cute to go back to a mini format like I did in 2011. A mini format has a lot of things going for it – cuteness plus economy (I can fit a lot more up on one sheet when I’m printing and assembling them myself)! One of the other reasons I also went with a smaller size was my hope that a smaller card would force me to write less (I always tend to go on and on in my cards and they end up taking forever)! It worked … kind of.

My original idea was to create random fortunes printed on the underside of the inserts so that even I would have no idea who got what fortune, but in the end I decided I didn’t want generic messages and I also worried about someone getting something that was unintentionally inappropriate or ill-suited to them. So in a way it doubled the work as I had to think up 2 messages per card, one for the fortune and one for the actual greeting. I keep joking that maybe next year I’ll do Mad Libs cards!

Initially, there were a few ideas hovering in my head – a single colour (black and white) card, and adding colour with rubber stamps. This past fall, I had developed a bit of a minor obsession around the fall with rubber stamping. I’ve always liked the idea of stamps, but never used them in my own work. However, I really liked the look of vintage typewriter letters, and seeing the work of artists like mellenmade who were handcarving their own stamps just added to the appeal for me!

Ultimately though, I didn’t go with carving my own stamps because:

  1. I initially ran out all fired up and bought some rubber erasers, thinking I could carve them with an Xacto knife. Unfortunately, the Dollarama erasers I bought were too soft to be effectively carved with my terrible skills (also they smelled very strongly like tape gum candy. It was weird).
  2. Thus, I needed to invest in proper tools. But I tend to be super indecisive about buying art tools and supplies even if they are cheap.
  3. Also, work was busy and I was running out of time to experiment with an unfamiliar medium. Not to mention no time to keep going in an out of art supply stores waffling over what carving tools and substrates to buy.

Regardless, I built my initial sketches around the idea of having a stamp, so the general aesthetics carried through to the final design. Luckily, I had bought some little serif type stamps from Michael’s on sale in the fall, so I decided I could still use them to get the coloured stamp effect!

Sadly, I can’t share much work-in-progress of the conceptualizing phase. In the spirit of welcoming a fresh start to the new year, I cleaned my desk this past weekend and threw out a bunch of the sketches and drafts I had done for my card designs. I do have this in my sketchbook at least!

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This was one of the very latest iterations (there were many more sketches ahead of it!). You can see I was trying to figure out how to impose the cards on the paper when printing (to keep costs down especially for little handmade paper projects like this, I set up and impose my files myself so all the printer does is print flat sheets), and also playing with a firecracker theme on the cover.

Here’s the process of me trimming, scoring, folding and assembling my cards!

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Hope you all have a very merry and warm Christmas, and that your New Year kicks off with a sparkle!