Thursday, December 11, 2014

2nd Week of Advent {pretty, funny, happy, real}

Like Mother, Like Daughter is one of my favorite blogs. When I want to read something inspiring and see something beautiful, I head over there to browse the new posts and re-read the archived ones. Leila and family are amazing folk. Every Thursday they host a round up of posts based on the theme, "pretty, funny, happy, real." So here is my post for the second week of Advent.

1. Pretty: It's one of my favorite things every year, choosing a pretty Christmas card to send out to family and friends. Last year, I sent out almost 200 of them. I didn't have enough of the card I'd chosen ("Christmas Night at the Hermitage" from the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, CA) so I had to fill in with a few cards of other types.

This year I'm not sending out quite so many cards, but still, it's a day's work pretty much to get them all addressed, signed, stamped and mailed, not to mention writing the messages inside or at least composing a short letter to print onto the card. To save myself time, I picked up these colorful Madonna and Child cards that caught my eye during the after Christmas sales. Less than $2 a box!

First Choice
2. Funny: And yet...while I liked these cards, they didn't quite have that zing! factor to them that made me feel happy about sending them out. They're perfectly nice, maybe a little cartoonish. I love the bright jewel colors though.

To me, a card is a gift. Not just a piece of paper sent out of obligation or a dated formality. Sending a card is an opportunity to share something beautiful with the receiver, along with your kind and cheerful message inside, of course

Maybe you feel you don't have great taste in choosing cards, or know much about art in general. I encourage you to find a card that catches your eye, even if you don't understand why, pick something that you think is beautiful, or creative, or gives you a good feeling. Try not to just pick a box of cards that makes you think, "hmm, this will do, and it's on clearance." That is pretty much what I was thinking with my first choice.

Back up cards left over from previous years.They might even be from the grocery store. No, these won't do either.

The geometric igloo is cute, but "warm wishes," ugh.

Five more boxes of Christmas Fairy cards sitting on the window sill.
I liked the glitter and overall colors, but looking at this card for a while, it feels a bit melancholy.
I don't want to send sad Christmas cards.
Can I return them? Probably not.
I almost forgot about these. Twenty different vintage cards.
I forget what I was going to use them for. The kids? To give to teachers?
Save them for another year...hmm.
3. Happy: But then I thought...hey, I'm an artist! Maybe I should, like, you know, draw something. Something bright, festive, personal, unique... Like that cool winter liturgical calendar I finished yesterday. You can read more about the process of drawing it here.
Angel, Madonna & Child, Bright Festive Colors?
Sounds like Christmas Card material to me.
And it's useful!
And there's even evangelization happening all over it!
I'm so thrilled with finally discovering the obvious solution to the Christmas Card blahs, that I am sitting down at my desk to scan in my drawing...

Finished artwork ready to scan!
The curved painting of Mary is also from the New Camaldoli Hermitage, I think it's called Our Lady of Big Sur.
It doesn't seem to be available on the website currently, which is too bad.
I love the California coastline in the background, the hills all covered in wild golden poppies.
...and while I'm here, I can show you a few ornaments and knick knacks I have sitting around my desk currently. Last year, I hung this multi-colored garland around my bedroom door, but this year, I hung it over my desk to enjoy it even more, since basically I am at my desk half of the day and not standing in my bedroom doorway admiring the mouldings as much as I'd like.

I like a little creative crazy around me.
I have quilted ornaments made by aunts and grandmas, a Hawaiian angel, a red metal heart made by my little sister and a white felt heart made by me, the cork from our wedding champagne, and a set of 
Nutcracker characters I first hung on my dorm Xmas tree.
Over here, is my college pennant and a picture of me graduating from college and even a paper nativity scene I bought in college and have managed to keep all these years. Below, is a picture of my favorite writer I read throughout college, C.S. Lewis. College, college, college. Oh, there's my diploma back there too.

I printed a photo of Lewis from the internet and glued it to some English-y floral scrapbook paper.
He's British, he won't mind.
Over on the other side, are some even older pieces. I bought the beeswax angel at a medieval faire a million years ago. I am always amazed that this one is still in one piece. Though, as I was untangling it from last year's garland, for some reason, I set it in my back pocket while I was working, and it sat there all day, warming against my posterior and ended up curved, but not broken. Not sure how to make it flat again without ruining it.

I made the red ornament with my mother in 1976 or so for Valentine's Day and the little Swiss cottage on the shelf belonged to my great-great-aunt, and it's one of those picture window clicky things.

In the center are two angels, one made by my great-grandmother out of tin cans (Depression era crafts) and one from my mother. Behind that is my original master calendar wheel, drawn on the back of a desk calendar page.
So, there's my desk. Now, back to working on this year's card....

4. Real: The wireless scanner won't talk to my computer. Argh. Off to the copy store I go. Still have 14 days til Christmas anyway, right?

Wireless technology, I love/hate you.
One advantage of greeting cards: they don't have internet connection problems and you never have to troubleshoot them.

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