Saturday, January 7, 2012

Recycled Christmas Cards

The whirl of the holidays enveloped me something fierce, and I have been scattered in many different directions. However, I was able to find some time to mentally jot down a few resolutions. My first one was to declutter. My second one was to finish all the craft projects that are languishing in the garage before starting new ones. It took me less than a week to break #2, but I am not ashamed, because by doing so, I upheld #1.

If you are a green hoarder like me, you amass vast quantities of materials on the grounds that you may be able to use them for a project "one day". You feel virtuous because you are keeping stuff from the landfill. In the meantime, dust and cobwebs accumulate on your loot. This is not very practical. It drives me crazy to hate clutter yet generate it.

Here's another piece of dirt on me: I am very frugal. I dislike spending money as a general rule, but I especially hate retail prices. So I have been watching the post-Christmas sales, because I was out of Christmas cards. Every time I was in a store I would look over in the Xmas direction. I never buy at 50% off, because you know they will eventually go to 75%. But this year that 50% sign seemed to be stuck.

The time came to take down the tree and the cards strung across the mantle. I throw a ribbon from corner to corner, and hang the cards with teeny tiny clothespins, like fresh laundry. This year we only got a few. I am very bummed, because I love mail, sending and receiving it (yes, it's not green, I know, but #1: not everybody is online and #2: it's one of my few non-green indulgences). Like a good hoarder, I put these cards in a box, with those from 2010, 2009, 2008... And then Resolution #1 stared at me in the face. I had to go into action

I went to the Dollar store and bought a few sheets of poster board. My husband always loves to ask me how much I paid for Dollar store items. HA! This time he would have been stumped, because each board was 50 cents! I also went to Michaels and found blank cards on the clearance bins. I am not exactly sure what the discount was, but I am very pleased that each package of 24 ended up being 99 cents. I bought enough cards for the rest of the decade.

So after putting all my materials together, I got something that looks like this

These cards could be as easy as you wish. In some cases, I simply cut the front using normal scissors and glued it to the blank card. Other times, though, I used fancy pinking-style scissors.

As the Christmas cards arrived this year, I also saved the envelopes that were colored or had shiny lining, because you never know... Once again I was hoarding for the sake of green crafting. They came in handy for this idea. I punched out some shapes, and created tiny presents

On Christmas Eve, after dinner, we opened presents with our friends. The living room looked like this

Santa was very generous. I looked at all that beautiful, glittery, expensive wrapping paper. It seemed like a shame to just make a huge ball with it. I pulled whatever pieces of tape I could, smoothed the wrinkles and set it aside. But in my recycled Christmas card mode, I had an idea. While watching Knight and Day (horrible movie! But it was filmed in part in my hometown, so I HAD to sacrifice), I cut ornament shapes from one of the wrapping papers. Then I glued them on a card made from an old folder, from the part where the pocket is. I used the rest of the folder to make more cards.

I also saved the gift tags. This card could not be any simpler

By the way, the string from that star is what I used for the bows on the little presents on the card above.

These cards are all so simple that they can be a fun project for kids. I am not a parent, but if I were, I would probably try to find a life lesson out of every situation. By making these, children could learn how you can create something useful (and dare I say, pretty), out of what lots of people throw away.

I am by no means done with this project, and I will add a few more photos soon.

And by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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