How about a couple of birthday cards for today? They're made with Dare 2B Artzy's Eat More Cake set and represent my playing around with color and placement. One is, in my opinion, more successful than the other, even though I like them both.
The first card is fine, although I would like the candles and sentiment to be placed slightly closer together. The colors are fresh and fun citrus and perfect for a summer birthday, don't you think? But analogous color schemes (three in a row on the color wheel) can be a little flat if there's not something for contrast (such as black). Note that the first and last candles are lime, just like the sentiment, to create a better sense of unity for the design. The flames are accented with yellow Stickles.
The next card has a much more successful layout.
Adding the bow to the sentiment as if it were a wrapped present is much more unifying and visually interesting than the row of candles. The colors are essentially complementary (opposites on the color wheel), which gives a huge amount of pop to them. Also, taking advantage of the rule of thirds and placing the whole design on the 1/3rd line at the bottom of the card adds interest and stability.
At least, that's how I read the two cards. You might have a different opinion!
And Now for Some Holiday Talk
I'm a hypocrite.
You see, I posted a Christmas card for Friday, but Saturday morning at JCPenney I ranted to my son about how retailers start the holidays too soon.
"Maybe they're just trying to draw out the holiday spirit, Mom."
"No, Nick. They are trying to sell stuff. Lots of stuff. And they want you to start buying Christmas presents right now, hide them, forget about them, and buy more the day after Thanksgiving."
Holiday cynicism. It's justified.
Of course, in making holiday cards early, there's no sinister ulterior motive...I'm simply trying to prevent a last-minute panic of having to make 120 or so cards in a rush at the busiest time of the year. Been there, done that, not a lot of fun.
But some of you, I know, can't stand seeing Christmas cards on blogs this early. You either don't make holiday cards, or mass-produce them at some point closer to the holiday, or have really short lists of people you send cards to and don't fret about it as I do. You feel like I did at JC Penney. Or at Hobby Lobby in July when the Christmas stuff started appearing there. I get that. And I'm sorry.
Now, since I became a mommy, I've been rushing from one crisis to another as they pop up in my life. I just sent a whole pile of birthday cards for October late, for instance. Oh, the cards were made months in advance, but I didn't send them out until late. I'm human and forgetful and distracted and hate myself, but there you have it.
Christmas, however, usually gets more planning...and this makes my AR/OC self happy.
By the middle of November, I'm usually finished making cards and turn my focus to making some larger crafty items (teacher gifts and such) and tracking down addresses of people who have moved. After Thanksgiving, I start shopping for gifts and decorating my house, the family goes to a tree farm to chop down our own tree, and I start writing my Advent posts for Questioning my Intelligence.
In other words, I'm fairly organized when it comes to Christmas. Since 2004, I have kept a Christmas planning journal...just started volume two this year. I read back over it to remind myself where I've gone wrong before, and of tips I found that were really helpful.
What I have learned from this journal is that most of what we stress over is pretty pointless. The holidays should be a time of joy and love and peace and happiness and celebration. Anything that keeps us from feeling that joy is unnecessary baggage.
This Christmas, things are changing somewhat. With my recent diagnosis of specific allergies, a lot of our décor will need to be reconsidered. A live tree? Is that any worse than a fake tree full of dust mites? I have the same allergic reaction to putting together a fake tree as I have to trimming a live one. What will we do this year?
After I decorated our new house last year, I was extremely dissatisfied with the results. Our decorations had looked great in the old house, with its 18-foot ceilings and balconies and showcase stairs, but here, in our one-story home with 9-foot ceilings and much darker decor, they were just too much. Too much garland, too many dusty old nick-knacks, too much clutter. I want a simpler, cleaner Christmas this year.
My sinuses will thank me for it. I hope.
So even though it's not yet Halloween and I hate the early commercialism of Christmas, I'm going to start sharing my thoughts and experiences with Christmas planning and our family's move toward a minimalist Christmas.
I'm going to focus on the following question: What is the least I must do to make this Christmas our most festive ever? In other words, where's the balance? It's time to evaluate what is really important and what we do because everyone else does or because we think we must or because we're trying to live up to other people's expectations or because it's what we've always done even if it's not exactly fun anymore.
It's time to be kind to ourselves this holiday season and not run ourselves ragged trying to do everything and be everything. And because I'm a Stephen Minister and think about these things, I'll also address things you can do (or not do) when you're having a very blue Christmas full of uncertainty, pain, grief, or fear.
I sincerely hope my thoughts and experiences help you find your own way to Christmas peace and joy this year, even if you're a maximalist sort of Christmas person. As usual, my advice is to be yourself...intentionally. Find your own balance, your own happy place in the holiday season. By sharing my intentional process, perhaps you will find your own more easily.
That would make me very happy, indeed!
PS I'm going to start using labels for posts again. I know at least one reader will be happy about it (yes, you, kegbo!). I will not go back and label past posts, but I will move forward using them. Or at least try.
stamps: Dare 2B Artzy Eat More Cake
accessories: Stickles, rhinestone