We’re all familiar with that poem ” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and the line “not a creature was stirring…” I don’t know about you, but in the days leading up to Christmas, I was stirring, stirring up lots of projects!

As usual for December, we had lots going on. This year was no exception. Plus, it really seemed like the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were shorter than normal. So, right up to Christmas, I was finishing up projects. Since I didn’t get a chance to post them before the holidays, I’ll post them now so you at least see the ideas. As always, change the stamp set used and you go from a Christmas card to say a Valentine’s card.

First, the Lawson Family Christmas Cards. I used the Holy Triptych Stamp Set from Stampin‘ Up!TM. For paper, I chose Garden Green and Rose Red for my cards. With the exception of the stamp set I purchased, I was trying to use supplies I had on hand so I had some cards in Garden Green and some in Rose Red. I also used designer series papers as an accent on both the front and the inside. I used Merry Moments and Christmas Cocoa Specialty Designer Series Papers. I printed my sentiments onto Sahara Sand card stock and I stamped my Holy Triptych images onto Very Vanilla. I used Soft Suede to stamp the images. I used the wise men, angel and Holy Family images. On the inside of the card, I used the sentiment from Christ is Born, stamped Chocolate Chip. I have to thank my pal, Diana, for inspiration on this card. I was struggling with how to simplify assembly and still use all three of the images. She suggested the layout that I selected. It worked wonderful!

For the front of the card, I wanted to recreate a technique I saw Shelly Gardner use at Regionals. She created a beautiful project using pages torn from an old book. It was just beautiful and I wanted something like that for my cards. I didn’t have an old book so I decided to print a hymn onto regular copy paper. I did not want to use card stock because it would be too heavy. I found the lyrics to “We Three Kings” online as a jpeg and put four copies on a page. To age the paper, I mixed a few drops of Soft Suede re-inker with some water and softly brushed it onto the paper with a sponge brush and then wiped it off with a towel. After it dried, I crinkled the paper and then tore the edges to get the parts I needed for the card. When I glued it to the card fronts, I very intentionally chose to let the crinkles be raised up to add texture. It worked great and I love the way it turned out.

Holy Triptych is a line art set and lends itself to watercolor techniques. I needed to make 43 cards so this took a great deal of time, explaining why I was working right up to Christmas Eve. Good thing most were hand delivered. I used my pastels for water coloring the images. Although Stampin‘ Up! does not sell one, I used a chalk blending solution and a fine brush. You get the same look with a blender pen, but I work better with the solution. For colors, I generally stuck to Rich Regals for the wise men, Soft Subtles for the angel, and Earth Elements for the Holy Family.

For the angels wings, I decided to first apply the Barely Banana chalk. After, I went applied a very light coat of White Shimmer paint. I used the same technique for the star above the Holy Family and the “halos” on Mary and Baby Jesus.
It took a bit of time to finish all the cards, but I love the way they turned out. Once all the water coloring was done of the images (3 x 43 =129!), it actually went rather quickly to assemble things. The bulk of the work is in the detail of the water coloring and also cutting all the paper. Everything else goes pretty smoothly after that. Here are 37 of the completed cards (6 had found their way to their new homes by the time I took the photo):
Now, how do you change this up for Valentines? Use Real Red and the song lyrics to the “your song.” Also, you can select more romantic stamps. You can also get some cute Birthday Cards using the lyrics for “Happy Birthday to You.”
The next Christmas project I want to share is our photo Christmas Card. I handed a few of these to family and friends who would like to have a photo of the kids. I used a card template in My Digital Studio to create this card. The template I chose only had one photo, so I made some changes, adding a background paper and then two photo boxes. I selected photos of our kids from our Church Christmas pageant. When it was complete, I exported the card as jpeg and then uploaded to a local drugstore photo website and did the one hour printing. I took advantage of a sale for printing. If you haven’t purchased My Digital Studio yet, it is a well worth the investment. I’ve always enjoyed the photo cards that people send out but never liked the expense of having them printed. By taking advantage of the sale, I was able to print the 15 photo cards I needed for $1.75. I’ll likely do this throughout the year as a way to keep in touch and share family photos with others.

The next and final project for this post are the teacher’s gifts from the kids. We decided to use the Big Shot to cut snowflake ornaments using the Snowflake #2 die and a soda can. Yes, I said a soda can. Wear gloves when you do this to avoid cutting your hands. Cut the cans open so that you can lay them flat onto the die and then run through through the Big Shot as you normally would. Once it is cut, the edges roll up and they are no longer sharp. Use twine, ribbon or silver elastic cord to make a hanger. The photos show the finished product hanging on our tree. I also did something similar using a sheet of clear plastic from some packaged stationary. I cut the snowflake and then applied plain white glue and then some glitter. You can also use felt in to achieve a similar look.

Another project that I plan to save for another day as I want to change it up for Valentines Day is a photo cube using CD jewel cases. I will be planning out the 2010 Workshop Calendar soon and I plan to do the CD jewel cases shortly after the first of the year. Come back later for more information.

God Bless & Happy Stampin!