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Christmas Crafts - Sudden Write Turn Freelance Writing

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Christmas Crafts

Linoleum block cutting and spoon print.
It looks better from a distance. Like a Monet.

One Christmas my mother made candy wreaths for our elementary school teachers. She bent a metal coat hanger into a perfect circle then painstakingly tied red and green curling ribbon around the hoop, adding peppermint candies along the way. She was very good at making ringlets with a quick zip of the ribbon between thumb and a scissors blade. The wreaths were a fun, creative and inexpensive way to say “thank you.”

I’ve never quite mastered the ringlet-making – about 3 out of 5 times I get it right. My sister, on the other hand, is making wreaths for every season and holiday these days.

There is my mother the ribbon ringlet wreath-maker, my dad the Macy’s-worthy gift wrapper, and my sister whose teacher’s penmanship is the crafter’s equivalent of a “tell.”

I have crafty ideas, but my execution is at about second grade level (don’t even get me started on wrapping gifts). The year that my husband and I had our first apartment, I collected pine cones, dipped them in glue and then in glitter. I used a glue gun to attach red and green ribbons.

My husband thinks the pine cone ornaments are cute as heck and digs them out every year, no matter how hard I try to hide them under other, more desirable, decorations.

Even though my crafting efforts largely disappoint (me), I still get that itch to create.  And I believe that handcrafted items have special meaning.

So when I decided to make Christmas cards to send to the people who were a part of my writing year, I turned to the two-dimensional craft that I can do with acceptable results: Block Cutting and Spoon Printing.

My first try was a miserable failure. I forgot some of the rules I learned about keeping the design simple and allowing for deliberate imperfections. I forgot to include a border and didn’t heat my linoleum block for easier carving. I just gouged away and swore every time a brittle section broke away and ruined my vision.

The resulting prints were awful and I dramatically declared that I was done trying to be crafty.

The next day I started over.

Candy Cane Block Cutting
Sketch, cut linoleum block and print. I made this!

I followed the rules. I took my time. I used softer linoleum and wasn’t too timid about adding more ink to my palette.

The resulting cards are not Laura Wilder-level prints, but they are handmade, by me.

I put my heart into these cards because I am so deeply appreciative of all the people who played a role in my first year as a freelance writer. I could not have told any stories without them. Including this one.

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Comments

  1. The main thing with crafts is that you enjoy the process. The cards look great. And truly, I would much rather receive something made with love than a mass-produced item anyway. Keep at it!

  2. They look great, Terra! I did that one year, quite a few years ago now, and it was fun and satisfying. My first year of teaching, in VT, I made spatter-print cards for every student, with mixed results but also satisfying. Nothing like home-made to show you card!

  3. Well, I have always been called “creative” and “artsy”, and mastered a number of media in the past, and I THINK they look orignal and fresh. Pepperminty! How much is a box?

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