This year’s Christmas card is a watercolor painting of a chickadee. The birds in my yard rarely pose long enough for their portrait (ha ha) so my source photograph was taken by my art teacher and used, with her permission, as the model for my 2020 card. I finished the painting in the Fall of 2019 and I sent it to the printers this Fall in time to mail out my cards. However, the mail system is so overwhelmed during the Pandemic, that I am sending more digital copies than usual. Merry Christmas!
For those who are following my holiday card-making adventure closely (exactly four people according to WordPress’ awesome statistical counter, two referred by my plaintive Facebook post last week, one bot from the Ukraine and an expat friend in France, thank you all) my story continues. Setting up the little seashell and holly still life was easy, involving a brief saunter across the street to prune some holly branches with berries. Musing on the whole male/female holly tree topic, I was not diverted to Google that. I just plunked a couple of berried twigs in a large clam shell. Then sketching with pencil on watercolor paper and inking it in with a fine tip black marker followed without too much angst. So far so good. I posted the drawing to Instagram and our group family text and Facebook to much thumbs upping. Again thank you to all my fans. So now comes the hard part. Technology rears it’s ugly head. (Does technology have a head and, if so, what kind, but I digress.)
The next step is to turn this simple little drawing into a Christmas card. Having chronicled my despair with Adobe Photoshop in other posts, I muse a bit about other picture editing software. Now here you can picture me reading articles about this process, visiting card-making apps and websites, going to actual craft fairs to steal card ideas, mourning the demise of Google’s Picasa, and finally taking a medium dive into what Windows 10 on my PC has to offer. Because my mantra here is Keep it Simple Stupid (and Cut Costs. ) The angst level is rising a bit now.
I scanned the drawing and printed and fiddled with the settings and so on and then saved the image several times with several names in several folders somewhere on my PC never to be found again. Then of course I started that process again saving the images to a desktop folder, mindful of some old techie advice to never save stuff to your desktop because… I don’t know, viruses? Gremlins?
Then Windows forced me to edit the drawing in some pretty useless bit of software whose greatest capability is to crop and rotate. So I did. And saved that image with yet another name. Then somehow I ended up in Paint which led me to Paint 3D which demanded that I save the image just to Paint with yet another name. This drawing now has more names than a Tolstoy character and equally confusing.
So the last step is printing, that intersection of software and hardware where no one plays well together, with the added fun of low ink and paper jams looming in my mind. The angst level, or angstometer, is registering ever higher.
I had bought card stock paper in Xmas Colors on one of my explorative trips out of the house. So now I tested the printer as to whether the color should be up or down and MADE A NOTE on the clipboard where I was jotting the card’s ever-evolving name changes and path through various software applications. Then I said a brief incantation to the Ghost of Printers Past to not get jammed on the card stock.
I will pause here while you all remember the scene from the movie Office Space where the frustrated employees smash an ornery printer to bits.
So I should stop here by saying that a week or so after I drew the little drawing, I now have four cards with matching envelopes. One card for each follower of my blog. Including the Ukrainian bot.
Last year’s Agony of Xmas Card Making was chronicled in my Crappy Crafters blog https://crappycrafters.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/fun-making-the-yearly-christmas-card-the-true-story/#
I survived that, so there is hope…