It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Of course, I had super high expectations for our Christmas cards this year. I wanted our first official Christmas card as husband & wife to be extra special. Meaning, I would be way ahead of schedule. Each envelope would be carefully & perfectly addressed with pen & ink calligraphy, EVEN the return addresses. I would cultivate festive vintage holiday stamps, and hand-cut colorful paper envelope liners to add even more holiday flair. Ha.
Well... a few of those things happened. I did use some of the beautiful stamps I inherited from my grandmother's collection to add some additional charm to the adorable winter birds & vintage truck stamps that I recently bought at the post-office. (My favorite place to browse vintage stamps is on Etsy. If you're interested in finding some for next year, take a look at these beauties - here & here.) I did manage to practice my calligraphy, but it was far from perfect. And I did remember to include return addresses this year, but they were hastily done with a white Gelly Roll pen, not my calligraphy pen. (Yes, the same Gelly Roll pens you used in middle school - the white ink one is a frequently used one in my pen-case.) I did not do envelope liners, but I did include a photo of the ones I did last year to show you what my aspirations were (below). And I did manage to get (most) of my cards out before Christmas (just barely), but will be sending some out a little late because I had to order more envelopes (because, there were plenty of discarded ones after my ink dripped, or my nib caught, or I ran out of room for the rest of the address... or all of the above. Calligraphy is hard.)
So, please do not have any delusions of grandeur about my experience of sending out Christmas Cards. Let me tell you - I made it happen, but it was not easy. I was not sipping egg-nog in front of the fire, or penning sweet sentiments while the scent of Christmas cookies wafted from the kitchen. What I was doing was sitting at my make-shift desk, with my unorganized address book while cheesy Lifetime Christmas movies played in the background. It did smell like grandma's freshly made Christmas cookies thanks to my new favorite candle from The Bluebell Mercantile (scent: Gladys' Kitchen) & I did bask in the comfort of our humble little Christmas tree. But despite the stress & rush, what I did find was that writing each individual address out by hand was a great testament to the season - it forced me to pause and reflect on the wonderful family and friends who we have shared countless memories with over the last year. It allowed me to linger on our beautiful wedding photos and reflect on the trip of a lifetime - our wedding week in Cody, Wyoming.
So, despite my Christmas card experience not going quite as planned, I am so glad I did it. Not only do I get to share our best wishes and wedding photos with those we love, but it allowed me to take a moment and bless each of these people in our lives as I carefully penned their addresses. It was a great cause for reflection, which in the end, is really what this season is all about, right?
Now, for my second round of Christmas cards (the ones that I did later because I ran out of envelopes...) I decided to change things up a bit, since I no longer felt the pressure of the Christmas rush and I was working with a smaller quantity of envelopes. I took the time to experiment with different materials. I thought I would share some of my favorite tools so that you can try them too.
First, I traded the white ink out for red. My favorite is the Winsor & Newton goache - this time in Primary Red. I also tried a new calligraphy nib - the Hiro 40 Nib - which I loved. Then, just for fun - I did some hand-lettering/faux-calligraphy with a white Posca marker & a Tombow Fudenosuke dual-tip brush pen for some shadowing. Both of these are great tools for practicing your own hand-lettering and brush calligraphy.
Thanks you for visiting & observing my adventures in addressing envelopes. I really appreciate it.
I hope your holiday season was wonderful, your Christmas was merry & your New Year is happy!