Susan Rocan over at mywithershins is a lovely person and a fantastic creator of homemade greeting cards. Every Wednesday she posts whatever craft she’s working on and I, without fail, am dazzled by what I see.
It wasn’t long before I decided that just had to have one of those cards. So on one impulsive day this past fall, I begged Susan to put me on her Christmas card list. She, being lovely and Canadian (but I’m being redundant), happily agreed. I was delighted.
It then dawned on me that by asking Susan for a homemade card, I was agreeing to make a homemade card for her. This didn’t delight me so much. I haven’t made anyone a card since I was a tyke. I didn’t know where to begin.
So I did what I usually do when I need to shove an unsettling fact out of my mind; I repeated my time-honored mantra:
“I’ll come up with something.”
This mantra hasn’t failed me yet. But my confidence wavered when my birthday approached and I got this in the mail:
The photo doesn’t even begin to do the card justice. The level of detail is incredible. The subtle color blends, the textured papers… I was amazed.
I was also touched, for Susan didn’t just make a card and send it to me; she made a card specifically for me. To construct this card, Susan used paper made out of elephant poop. (Perhaps I should explain: Once upon a time, Susan mentioned on her blog that she bought some sheets of elephant poop paper. Ever since, I have repeatedly commented on how I would loooove to get some elephant poop paper of my very own.) Also, I don’t know if you can see it in the photo, but the lower right corner of the card sports a tiny goat! Oh, how I love goats!
After receiving this card, my mantra changed slightly:
“I’d better come up with something.”
I played around with the idea of a pop-up card. It didn’t work. Not even close. I tried a collage. It looked terrible. And as I continued to experiment (and fail) precious time slipped away.
By the time my despair tank was about half full, Susan sent me a note asking what color my eyes were. “Oh, Dear God, what is she working on?” I asked aloud to no one in particular.
I had no choice but to jump back into my comfort zone. I doodled. I didn’t know what to doodle or how my doodles would work in a card, but I doodled away and hoped for a Christmas miracle. The miracle never came, but I eventually found myself with an appealing Santa sketch.
That’s was when Susan’s Christmas card arrived:
Can you believe it? And, much to my surprise, inside was an apology.
“I looked all over for brown googly eyes, but I couldn’t find them. Hope black is okay!”
This is what happens when you exchange cards with a Canadian. They do something amazing and they still think they need to apologize.
Just look at it! Those gingerbread men are my wife, my son, and me!
It should also be noted that, somehow, Susan made the card smell like gingerbread. I have no idea how she did this, but if you told me she took a trip to the Serengeti, fed elephants Christmas cookies, and then loitered around the area with a shovel to collect their droppings, I’d believe you.
The pressure mounting, my time almost up, I finally came up with this.
It looks simple, and compared with what Susan gave me, it is. But making this thing was far more involved than I ever could’ve imagined. After making a satisfying Santa doodle, I polished it up and photocopied it onto a piece of résumé paper – which gave me a nice enough texture to add color. Then I cut out the jolly fellow out with an x-acto knife and pasted him onto a sheet of Bristol vellum. Then I meandered around an A.C. Moore for what felt like 96 hours puzzling over Christmas-themed papers. Then, using my beloved Royal – and its very Christmas-y red ribbon – I typed out my greetings on the Christmas-themed paper and pasted the paper in the card.
I have always been impressed by Susan’s skills, but now I am impressed to the tenth power. Thanks again, Susan, you amazing crafter, you! I will hang onto your cards always. Do forgive my modest effort; it wasn’t due to lack of trying, that’s for sure.
Here’s hoping all of you fine bloggers (and blog readers) had a happy holiday! See you in the new year!