Saturday, December 3, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 30: The Best of the Rest

So here we are on the last day of this project.  It has certainly been fun and enlightening for me and I hope it has been for at least some of you too.

When I chose 30 days for this project it was sort of arbitrary.  It wasn't until day 4 or 5 when I thought I better count my card designs and make sure I had that many.  I did but beyond that late step nothing about this was really planned.  Each day I chose a card somewhat randomly and wrote about whatever thought process it seemed to inspire in me.  It only occurred to me after Day 29 that I now had the pressure of choosing only one card from more than a dozen designs left.  I've decided to solve this dilemma by choosing my 5 favorites and presenting them each with a short commentary below.

Thanks again for reading.

Christmas Is Kindness card
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Christmas Is Kindness, it seems like such a simple, obvious statement but all you have to do is attend a late night Black Friday sale to see how easy it is to forget this.  It gets away from me sometimes too but luckily something always reminds me that the best thing about Christmas is all the opportunities it presents to do something nice for other people. 

Click Here to see more products with this design at Hippie's Shop.

Peppermint Cat Holiday Greeting Card card

My cat Baby Boy is pictured on this card.  He had another name once but now we just call him Baby Boy, even though he is 15.  The Holidays can be a little challenging for him because he has epilepsy.  Most of the time it is controlled with medication but you know how people sometimes describe Holiday excitement by saying "there is an electricity in the air", well my vet says there is something to that and it actually triggers seizures.  So in our household we dial down the excitement as much as we can and concentrate on the cozy and comfy. 

Click Here to see more Cat themed designs on cards, gifts & apparel.

Elves At Work Holiday Greeting card
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I snuck a picture of this sign outside Santa's workshop.  Its kind of a ridiculous sign considering all that loud heavy metal music the elves listen to while they work.  I guess Santa doesn't know about that.  Anyway, the unique thing about this card is that the message on the inside rhymes.  That's unique for me because I have often expressed a marked disdain for rhyming cards but for some reason I just couldn't help myself with this one.  Fortunately, its easy to change the message with one of your own.

View more Messenger Cards

This card features an image of my painting of the Angel Gabriel.  In my understanding and imaginings Gabriel is androgynous, all knowing, intimidating but somehow familiar and not unfriendly.  I hope that I captured all that because I like Gabriel.  I think he/she had a very pivotal role in the story of the birth of Jesus.  He/she tells Mary, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God." and then gives her the low down on all that's about to happen.  She was a teenager at the time, so just imagine if she had been all insecure and self doubting and thought, "this crazy angel has no idea what he is talking about."  There might have been a whole different story.  This is why it is important to believe in yourself and be able to take a compliment, especially when its coming from an androgynous, all knowing angel.  Just saying.

See other Winey cat Cards

This one is sort of self explanatory.  I find it funny that whenever I mention wine on my facebook status, the next thing I know I start to see ads for rehab clinics on the right hand side of the page.  The thing is, as much as I love wine I really don't drink it all that much.  For the most part it is reserved for special meals and special occassions.   There just happens to be a few more of those around the holidays and I am all the merrier for that. ;)

Okay so there you have it, I can cross my 30 days of Holiday Cards blog posts off my perpetual to do list.  Yay!  Now...what will I blog about tomorrow?  Hmm...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 29: The Glory Of Imperfection

Angel Art Christmas Card card
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Today I am featuring my "Angel Art" Christmas card.  On the front is an image of a recent painting I did entitled "Angel of Imperfection" and inside it reads, "Happy, Joyful, Wonderful Christmas!" (or change to your own message.)

There was a time when I required the perfect circumstances before I would even attempt a painting.  I needed to have all my other tasks and chores done, my studio needed to be clean and I needed a clear mind and a positive attitude.  This ensured that I very rarely painted.  In fact, the only times I did paint was when my desire to do so led me to override and rebel against these requirements.  Slowly, I realized the requirements had to go.  Now I'm proud to say I finished my last painting while in my bathrobe at 4 o'clock the morning of Thanksgiving in a messy studio when I had a million other things to do, which was absolutely the perfect time.

That was a victory but I am still a recovering perfectionist when it comes to painting and a lot of other things, including Christmas.  I suspect many people suffer frustration this time of year due to high expectations and a perceived need to buy the perfect present, have the perfectly decorated house, host the perfect party or make the perfect meal.  Very rarely do things work out the way we plan them but most of the time they do indeed work out, sometimes even for the better if we are patient enough to adjust and look for the blessing in every circumstance.  Sometimes a last minute gift is a big hit, a broken ornament becomes part of a beautiful mosaic, a snowstorm allows a party to be more intimate and relaxed or a burnt turkey leads to the best pizza you've ever had.

Like some of the best Christmas presents, life's gifts don't always come neatly wrapped in beautiful paper with a color coordinated bow.  Life can be messy, chaotic and full of challenges and it is often all the more glorious for it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 28: Christmas Cats

3 Wise Cats - Peace, Love, Christmas - Holiday card
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Today's card is my "3 Wise Cats" Christmas Card.  It features my drawing of 3 Wise Cats, one holding a peace sign, one snuggling with a heart and one hugging a toy Christmas tree.  Inside it reads, "Happy Holidays From Our Family To Yours" (or personalize with your own text).

Christmas is a fun time for cats but this can be somewhat challenging for the people they own.  After many years of being trained by my feline children, I feel that I have learned a lot about the delicate combination of holidays and cats.  Here are a few of my tips for new or frustrated Christmas cat trainees:

1.  Two words: Shatterproof ornaments (note that this is not the same as a chew proof or claw proof ornaments).  If you are really set on using glass ornaments, use them sparingly, set them high up on the tree and secure them to a sturdy branch with a pipe cleaner or floral wire (this is a good idea for all ornaments).

2.  If you have kittens or especially mischievous cats, do not decorate the bottom third of the tree.  As my cats get older, I am able to put ornaments lower but if you look closely you'll see what is there is slightly worn or tattered.  In fact, I put a few "distressed" bows where my cat Motley can reach them so he can live up to his reputation as a bad boy without destroying anything new or valuable.

3.  Either wrap your presents behind closed doors away from your cats or have plenty of "decoy ribbon" on hand.  I save ribbon from my presents each year so that when wrapping time comes around I have plenty to distract idle paws with.  I also have some retired gift boxes (boxes my cats destroyed on previous holidays) for my cat Isabelle to climb into.

4.  Don't put any presents underneath the tree until the last possible moment.  It really is best that all wrapped presents remain in a secure area until you want them to be opened.  If you are worried about it looking bare underneath the tree, no worries, just put a tree skirt there and your cats will be happy to occupy the area for you.

5.  Learn to enjoy or at least accept a little chaos.  If you have been owned by cats for more than a few days, you have probably realized that nothing in your home or your life is ever going to be neat, orderly or cat hair free ever again.  This is true during the Holidays as well.  Your cats will eventually convince you that this is for the best.  After all, they are perfect, so nothing else really needs to be.

I hope these tips help you and your feline rulers adoring feline children to have a safe and Merry Christmas. 

Christmas Cat ornament
Christmas Cat by Victoreeah
Get an ornament from Zazzle.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 27: Gratitude

It is almost Thanksgiving and I have so very much to be thankful for.  Among the many, many blessings in my life are the people I have gotten to know through my involvement in the Zazzle marketplace and community.  These are people who are striving for the same achievements I am but still recognize that we are all unique in our talents and contributions and that we can all benefit from supporting each others' efforts.  I also have come to know that, in addition to being amazingly talented and intelligent, they are all genuinely kind and beautiful souls.

As a small token of my appreciation for their encouragement and support, I thought I would share some of their Holiday cards below.  Thanks so much for reading and have a Happy Thanksgiving (or a wonderful Thursday).

The Holidays Come And Go So Quickly card
The Holidays Come And Go So Quickly by dradcliffe
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 26: You Get What You Give

Holiday Mailbox card

Today's card is my "Holiday Mailbox" card.  This card features a photo I took of my neighbors beautifully decorated mailbox one snowy morning a few years ago.  This is a great card to give to your mail delivery person or favorite post office clerk.  This can be a busy and demanding time for them and I'm sure they would appreciate it.

I know people that simply don't send holiday cards to anyone.  Sometimes I envy them.  Sometimes I'm grateful to them because they are one less person I have to send a card to.  It isn't so much that someone has to send me a card every year to stay on my Christmas card list, I'm not keeping score or anything.  It is just that if they don't see the value of sending Holiday cards then I assume they won't appreciate the value of getting one.

It can sometimes seem like a hassle and an added expense but I really love sending out my cards each year.  In what can be a very hectic season for me, it is an opportunity to slow down and take the time to think of all the wonderful people in my life.  In what can be a time when it is tempting to focus on what I lack materially, it is an opportunity to literally count my blessings and be grateful for how rich my life is with friendship, family and wonderful Holiday memories.

I know that I probably send out more cards than I receive each year but by the grace of that Holiday magic, I still manage to get something more than what I give.

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 25: Holiday Fantasy

Magic Holiday Elf Greeting Card card

Today I am featuring my Magical Holiday Elf Greeting Card.  On the front is my "Berry and Bright Elf" digital painting and inside it reads, "Wishing You A Magical Holiday Season" (or personalize with your own message).

I guess I do a lot of what is termed "fantasy art"; fairies, mermaids, elves and the like.  However, to me these creatures are very real.  Not that I think I am going to run into a band of fairies at the coffee shop or see a unicorn at the zoo but I know them when and where I do see them, and so do you.  These things exist in books, films, all forms of art and they exist in our collective imaginations.  I myself was raised on fairy tales and these stories and images are to me like another language, a way to capture and express feelings and experiences of the magic I can find in an ordinary day if I take the time to notice it.

It's easier to see "fantasy" images this time of year.  Elves and flying reindeer and any number of mystical beings come out of the woodwork and invade shopping malls and television screens and yes, even holiday cards.  I suppose you can see them as advertising gimmicks or silly characters that entertain gullible children but I don't.  I see them as very wise and dear friends.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 24: Beware The Evil Elf

Evil Elf Belated Christmas card
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Today I am featuring the Evil Elf Belated Christmas Card from Hippie's Shop.  On the front it says "The Evil Elf Stole Christmas" and inside it reads, "At Least That Is My Excuse.  Merry Belated Christmas and Have A Happy New Year."

I know it seems like you have a lot of time to get ready for Christmas but you really don't, that's just what the Evil Elf wants you to believe.  You see, the Evil Elf steals time.  It lulls you into a false sense of security and complacency.  "You still have plenty of time to send out your Holiday cards," it tells you, "You've got most of your shopping done.  Relax, watch Rudolph, have some eggnog and look, there's pie!"

And the next thing you know, it's Christmas Eve and you only managed to send out half of your cards and you are making the executive decision to re-gift year old fruit bread to Aunt Sally.

Hopefully, you will heed my warning and not let this happen to you, but if it does, you know who to blame: 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Days of Holiday Cards - Day 23: Holiday Dressing

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Today, I am featuring my "Holiday Dressing" Card.  On the front is my drawing of a girl whose fashion ensemble resembles a very stylish Christmas tree and inside it reads, "Wishing You A Bright And Beautiful Season With All The Trimmings" (or change to your own text).

It is the weekend before Thanksgiving and my Hippie Husband and I have started doing some Christmas decorating.  We won't turn on any lights until Thursday evening but I like to get a bit of a head start on these things.  I must admit I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to decorating the Christmas tree in the front room of our home.  I have a very strict color scheme and theme and there are no exceptions.  However, in other areas of our house the decorating rules are less stern, especially when it comes to decorating Elvis.

That's right, I said decorating Elvis, as in Presley, the King of Rock and Roll.  Hippie and I are big fans.  We had an Elvis impersonator sing at our Vegas wedding, we went to Graceland for our 1st Anniversary and as an anniversary gift another year, my parents gave us a large ceramic bust of The King himself.  It had a place of honor in our last home but we never could find a good place for it in this one.  So every year around this time we place it on the counter separating our kitchen from the living room and decorate it with some sparkly garland, lights and a few ornaments.  It stays up there through January 8th, The King's Birthday, which is also an official holiday in our family.

So now I am eager to get back to decorating.  Think I'll go put on some Elvis music (not the Christmas album, that's for the official lighting ceremony on Thursday night) and get to it.  Thanks so much for reading...oops, I mean "Thank you, thankyouverymuch."