>The Joy of Handmade Holiday Cards

>There are few holiday traditions as time-honoured as greeting cards. A mailbox bursting with good tidings from family and friends is one of the fundamental joys of the season. Although their history dates back 19th century England, when a mere 1,000 copies of a design by artist John Horsley were printed, billions of greeting cards are now sent around the globe every December.

Options abound for Canadians planning their holiday greetings for 2010. According to Shelli Gardner, cofounder of Stampin Up!, a crafting and décor company, handmade cards are the ideal solution for creative types looking to put a personal touch on their holiday cheer. A few materials and a little bit of inspiration are all that you need to create personalized holiday cards. For those looking to experience the joy of card-making for themselves, the tools of the trade are simple:

Choose your base: Card stock is the easiest and most accessible base for making sturdy and colourful cards. Other options include recycled paper, handmade paper and specialized pattered paper. Just fold a sheet of paper cross-wise and you’re already well on your way. Use a punch: Scissors and punches are invaluable tools for creating customized shapes and designs to be adhered to your card. Punches are high-precision tools that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be used to create virtually any effect. For example, try a snowflake shaped punch to create the stick-shaped arms of a snowman, or invest in a scallop-shaped punch to add a special curved border to a ribbon trim.

Add a stamp of originality: Rubber stamps are another easy way to add a festive touch to a card. Select a stamp with a holiday image, such as a Christmas tree, star, ornament or wrapped gift. Experiment with different ink colours and application techniques. For example, try a white or vanilla coloured ink against a dark background, or stick to a traditional red and green palette.

Get personal: Adhere photos of family members, friends, pets and other loved ones to the front or inside of the card for the ultimate personal greeting. Try cutting photos with a shaped punch for an added decorative effect.
Don’t forget the finishing touch: A sprinkling of glitter can easily add sparkle to even the simplest handmade card. Add some texture by crafting an appliqué with Designer Fabric in a seasonal motif, such as the new Candy Cane Christmas Designer Fabric. Tie on a ribbon for the ultimate
finishing touch.

(Source: News Canada)