fter the screen printing insanity of our Christmas cards was complete last year, we had really only begun. (If you missed the madness of the first step of our Christmas cards last year, you can start here.) We still had to put a message on the backs of the cards, add a photo, create the envelopes, put stamps on each envelope, and address each envelope. I get tired just typing that.
I know tired sloth, me too, me too.
Let me set the stage: we had one week in New Orleans before we flew to South Dakota to be with my family for Christmas. I was in the last push of teaching before the winter break – which meant lots going on work-wise (aka not much extra time to help with the cards that were my vision aka “Bobby, if I lay out the steps for you could you pretty please help get all these cards done?” aka never do this to your partner aka Grace Learns The Hard Way).
I also should mention that I had taken on other projects that needed to be cranked out before we flew out. I had gladly agreed to take on a commission from our dear friends, Benjamin and Maren, to create their Christmas card AND I had signed up for a holiday mail exchange where I had agreed to swap not just one but TWO themed packages of mail art goodness with my partner in Singapore.
If Hobby Lobby and Michael’s got into a war, it would probably looks somewhat like our house did last December:
Bobby literally could not escape from the crafting. It was everywhere. The kitchen table, my designated craft desk, our upstairs TV area. I kept it out of the bathroom but that was about it.
While I was at work, Bobby took a message that I had handwritten for the back of the card, transferred it to a transparency, shrunk it to the appropriate size, and got it printed on the back of every card that we had screen printed. He’s a copy machine master and made everything fit perfectly. Of course, this took an entire afternoon to get it just right.
We printed out wallet sized photos of us…but those needed to be attached. So the next step was taking tiny photo stickers and pinning down each photo. One by one. On more than 100 cards. Bobby did the lion’s share of this.
OK! The card itself was finally complete – now, on to the envelopes! (I know, it’s crazy-making.)
For over a year, I had saved up lots of holiday, winter scenes from magazines and catalogs – enough to make a unique envelope for every single person on our list. Bobby and I worked on these together for an entire weekend but were only able to create about half of them.
This meant that he continued to slave away on them while I was at work. (He spent last winter observing various golf instructors and working on his teaching philosophy – so his schedule was more flexible, although I know that he never anticipated adding this Extreme Crafting stint to his resume.)
After each envelope was created, we had to glue on stamps. Of course, a simple Forever postage stamp just wouldn’t do – they had to be vintage stamps. For obvious reasons, older stamps are not the correct amount of postage until they are added together. This meant that we had to lay out lots of stamps on the table and put them in little stacks that added up to $0.49. Only then could they be glued on to the front of the envelope.
Bobby feverishly glued on stamps while I addressed the fronts of the envelopes. Literally every night that week, I would come home from school, we’d quickly eat something, and then I would sit and address envelopes.
After hours and hours (and hours) of work, they were finished. There’s no denying, they looked glorious when they were all spread out on our table.
Putting that huge stack of cards in the mailbox was ceremonious.
We had a long, marriage-y talk about guidelines for doing projects in the future and I apologized for taking one of my passions and making it a nightmare for Bobby. To be clear, he’s still more than willing – excited, even – to undertake certain projects with me, which is a true testament to him as an amazing human. We just made a pact that all future crafting would be done on a better timeline and discussed fully and realistically first. Lessons LEARNED.
Just to brag a little bit, our Christmas cards this year have caused ZERO stress for Bobby – and really, none for me either! I’m learning, I’m learning! Once they’re in the mail and have arrived at their destinations,
I’ll do a post on them. (Click here to see the first post and to here see the second!)
(It goes without saying that Bobby’s canonization is currently underway. He will be the patron saint of husbands with crazy, crafting wives.)
Merry-almost-Christmas from a (now) sane and peaceful Nixon Peterson household!
I spy my card on that table :-). I keep all your cards, Grace. So now that your thoughtful work is appreciated!!
Knowing there were friends like you who would appreciate it so much and hang on to the card is what pushed us through at the end stages of this project, Liz – so thank you! I keep your mail art, too! :)
Whoa, this post make me anxious just reading it. And it happened over a year ago! Grace, you are intensely crazy – but I’m so happy to read that you learned a big lesson from all of this and especially, that this year was better. Good job! Can’t wait to get our stress-free card in the mailbox.
Haha, always nice to get the “intensely crazy” stamp from your mother. ;) No, you’re right, this was INSANE! My ambition and vision got the best of me. But I’m excited to see what you think of this year’s card, too! Love you xoxo
PS. Bobby deserves “Husband of the Year ” Award. :)
YES a million times YES!
Oh my goodness! The scope of this is incredible! I’ve never done or even envisioned such a wildly outlandish amount of handcrafting in such a short time! Props to you and Bobby for somehow managing to churn so many wonderful Christmas cards in such a short time. I don’t know if I can properly relay how astounded I am that you undertook such an ordeal while being a full-time teacher, so close to holiday season!
It’s both insane and admirable. ;)
But what a beautiful product! They are so gorgeous to look at. And I’m sure each person on your Christmas card list felt absolutely special and blessed to receive such a vivid, intricate piece in the mail.
And I think those projects, the ones that get out of hand and make you realize you’ve stretched past your limits, the ones that get you into talks with your partner about better defining things and planning them, the ones that become stories that you can tell as hilarious vignettes or cautionary tales at holiday parties, we all need those in our life. And from the sounds of it, this holiday season is a lot better for it too. So kudos on a job incredibly (crazily) well done.
Haha, thank you, Celeste! As a creative yourself, I know that you truly “get” the blood, sweat, and tears that went into these. It was such a trek, but you’re absolutely right – this holiday season is better for it and it gives us the best story to look back at, laugh at, and say NEVER AGAIN!
Catching up on your blog on my 9 hour trek to Georgia!! Enjoying every moment! This post made me giggle…a lot!! The thought of you teaching all day then doing all that when you get home…girrrrl! (I said that in my best Iesha voice)
Haha, love everything about this. You’re the best and I miss you terribly, Ms. Sandifer! YES it was unreal leaving our little classroom and then going home to do these. Never again! Have SUCH a great Christmas in Georgia! xoxo