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What I've been up to

The Christmas Card Story

Once upon a time, when I had no kids, 9,852 rubber stamps and nothing better to do, I would hand-stamp all my Christmas cards AND envelopes for their delivery to the loving recipients, most of whom tossed them in the trash on December 26th. And this was no assembly-line process - they were all original cards. Nary a match in the bunch. You couldn't play "Go Fish" with them. You dig?

But wait, there's more.

I didn't send store-bought cards for ANY occasion. In fact, if someone (*cough*John*cough*) were to suggest that I purchase a card, my hands would fly to my chest in an "I might need CPR!" fashion and my face would scrunch up into a foul "smell-a-fart" look, and I'd convey visually my displeasure at the suggestion while simultaneously attempting to regain the ability to breathe and speak.

She says, all exaggeratingly and pretty darn thesaurus-ey, too!

And then the little lovelies were born.

For the last 10 years it's been a good year if I manage to send a card at all. It's an extremely good year if the cards contain a family photo or school photos of the kids. It's an unheard-of year if the cards also contain a letter. It's time to look for pigs flying by if the cards are hand-made, on-time, contain pictures and a letter.

No need to look for pigs this year. Or letters. Or photos unless you're an aunt/uncle or grandparent. Lifetouch is expensive and the economy is bad, yo!

But I did hand-make 50 Christmas cards and they are addressed, stuffed, stamped and ready to go to the post office as soon as I finish this blog post, put away the Frito's, shower, dress and go to the post office.

But the cards smell bad.

Like, really bad.

Because I went shopping with Bonnie, that's why!

Have you met Bonnie? (To be said in the voice of Barney Stinson)

Bonnie stitch I am convinced that Bonnie is Experiment 627, the much cuter, creative and productive younger sister of Stitch. She must have four hands because I'm not sure how else she could manage all the decorating, baking, hand-made items and volunteering that she manages to cram into (supposedly) the same 24-hour-day that I have.  

It's like she doesn't even realize her super-hero status when she calls me (like she did last night) and apologizes for not returning my call earlier but she had been helping a friend's daughter re-decorate her room Parisienne style, but on a budget, so they'd been painting, sewing and altering all day! A week before Christmas, mind you! 

Please. Could I make that up?

On my first lunch/shopping day with Bonnie I had to watch uncomfortably as she purchased craft supplies to make button trees and other handmade gifts for friends and family. (While I, in contrast, checked out the KOYDNMAA) (Kiosks Of You Don't Know Me At All) In a moment of guilt-by-association (which means I felt guilty for being a lazy Pizza-Palace-playing, kiosk-gift-buying sloth while associating with Martha Crocker over there) I purchased a Quickutz die of a Christmas tree and announced with ridiculous certainty that I was going to make some Christmas cards this year!!!

That evening, with the Bonnie-juju still flowing, I hauled up my die-cutter and a healthy stack of Christmas patterned papers to the kitchen island, and prepared to start my cards.

Dude.

The Quickutz tree was in 4 pieces, yo!

Like I was going to have to squeeze out a couple hundred pieces just to make 50 trees and they would all have to be glued individually. And I'm really good at math, so . . .

Oh hayull no!

And just at that moment, with desperation mounting, Emma startled me from behind, causing me to jump, drop my scissors, topple over a drinking glass, which hit my die-cutter, which was ridiculously close to the edge of the island, and in true Rube Goldberg style, it went crashing to the floor, making a huge gash in the wood.

*sigh*

I put away the supplies and vowed not to compare myself to Bonnie anymore. I also vowed to act completely bewildered and innocent if John ever noticed the gash in the floor. (Hope you're not reading, hon!)

But gosh darn if Bonnie's unselfish cheer isn't, like, uber-contagious! On our next shopping trip I found myself, once again, pondering if I could make Christmas cards. It was in the bookstore that I spied the perfect ingredient - a Dover clip-art book of vintage Christmas card images. YES! I could just print them out, mat them with some pretty paper, throw them in an envelope and it would completely count as handmade! And do-able! So do-able! (TWSS)

Look, you've been very patient reading this far to try to find out why my Christmas cards are stinky. And I do plan to tell you, I do. But I need just a small diversion here to explain that TWSS stands for "That's What She Said" - which is what Michael on "The Office" says anytime there's an opportunity to make something sound dirty that wasn't intended to sound dirty. John and I do this all the time with each other and also with our friends, Geoff and Tammy, who love The Office and juvenile humor nearly as much as we do.

Moving on . . .

When I printed the images onto cardstock they looked sort of . . . blah. I probably should have printed them on glossy cardstock but I didn't have any, and if I went back out with Bonnie I was liable to purchase supplies to build my own manger and stable in the front yard, or something. It was just too dangerous.

So instead I rooted through my stash and came up with a spray can of glossy preserving spray. I tried it on one of the images and it perked it right up! (TWSS) Perfect! Except . . . I have the patience of a two-year-old and the spray wasn't drying very quickly. So then I decided to use a piece of transparency for the card itself and let the spray act not only as a glossifier but also as an adhesive. Even more perfect!

But apparently if you spray a highly fumey glossy spray and then immediately cram it under a non-porous piece of plastic you preserve the fumes for eternity.

Because it's several days later and the cards still stink, yo!

Plus I had to go all "overboard" and start adding ribbons and beads and charms, oh my. Many of the cards are a little too bulgy for their envelopes (TWSS) and I'm hoping that the postal machines don't tear them to shreds.

But as long as you get the shards of a handmade card . . . it counts!

Just wear a gas mask when you open it, please.

Merry Christmas!

RKQOTD (Me: I'm tired of you two moping around and bickering. Go find something to do. Karl: Emma, let's go strengthen our relationship by playing a board game!)

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