Most years, I tend to get rather frantic trying to figure out what I’m going to put on my card that year. In 2013, I recorded this sequence of steps, and it’s pretty accurate for most years:
- OMG, I have no idea what I want to do, and it’s already December 8th (or 9th, or 10th. Sometimes as late as the 13th). Increasingly frantic as time goes by.
- Do I really want to do a card this year? In the middle of this phase, I tend to get a card from someone saying they’re really looking forward to my card this year. Oh crap.
- I get an idea, but I’m not sure I can pull it off. Or more precisely, I don’t think I can pull it off, but I’ll give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, go to Plan B. If I can think of a Plan B.
- A false start. Or two. I suck, and the idea is looking less and less promising.
- I start to figure out the mechanical details of how to pull it off.
- Hey, this is starting to look like something!
- Done! I did it! Now the purely mechanical chores of laying out the card, and printing them. Yes, my printer does still hate me.
This year, though was different, because last Christmas Eve, we had a storm the night before, which left everything under a coat of ice.
Besides the hedges, I also got some pictures of the bows my mother put on the front railing. As soon as I saw this picture, I made a mental note to save it for this year:
It turned out the picture required very little in the way of retouching, which was good, because my ancient copy of Photoshop has given up the ghost under the most recent version of macOS.
I’ve been printing my cards on quarter fold card stock for ages. I started using it over a decade ago because I was having difficulty getting cards through my printer, so I wanted to be able to get two small cards per sheet. I bought a new printer a couple of years ago, though, and production has been easier. So I decided to go with half fold stock this time, giving me a larger card.
I never know what to put on the inside of these cards. I generally put a holiday message printed on the inside, and add a handwritten note to each one, (hoping that the recipient can read my writing.) Most years, it’s the same message, just updating the year. But I had more room to fill this year.
The latter part of this year has been pretty crummy — starting in July, nearly every non-work moment for several months was either rainy, or devoted to chores. I haven’t had much chance to take the motorcycle, bike or kayak out, and I only went diving a couple of times this summer. But then, I was looking through my photo library, and realized I really had done some cool things this year – Bonaire in January, England in May, the balloon festival in June, and a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard. So I decided, since I had the extra space in this year’s card, to put some pictures and text of what I’d done on the inside. Since the front was a horizontal picture, I had the additional fun of trying to lay it out in Pages sideways.
As it turned out, the printer was less cooperative this year than last. For some reason, I could not get it to print two sided, meaning I had to print the two sides in steps, and apparently there is spilled ink inside it, as a fair number of cards were spoiled until I rearranged the layout so that if there were any smudges, they would be on the back of the card.
In hindsight, I think the quarter-fold layout works better for home-printed cards, both because it saves on printing time, but also because the smaller card size gives you cards that feel stiffer, even though the stock is the same weight. Nitpicking, I think I lightened up the picture a little bit too much. I may carry forward the idea of inside cover photography though. Here is the final result:
Merry Christmas everyone.