just an old-fashioned girl

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making Christmas Cards

For the past few weeks I´ve been making Christmas cards, something which would normally take only a couple of days, but these are a little more complicated than most because they´re stitched rather than printed. Well, the motif is stitched but the layout is printed. Stitching is the fun part as I can plug myself into my iPod and lean back and relax during the day without that nagging guilty feeling that I´m neglecting other more important tasks. But all good things eventually come to an end and once all the stitching´s done I reluctantly unplug myself from my iPod and get on with the more tedious parts of the project. First the motifs have to be washed and pressed then stiffened by the addition of an ironed on backing. After that comes the part I enjoy least, namely designing the layout which entails some very precise measuring...not my strong point. The following screen shot may give you an idea of what´s involved.

As you can see, the layout is in 3 equally sized parts, (designed to fit onto an A4 sheet of card) the back of the card, the aperture and the flap which covers the back of the motif. By the way, the little corners within the frame are my guidelines for cutting out the aperture. For that I use a steel ruler and a sharp knife. The 4 vertical lines are for scoring the card in order to fold the flaps neatly and the large rectangle is the actual size of the card. If I´m feeling lazy I only print the card once and write the greeting by hand after the card is folded, otherwise I have to create a new layout with a printed greeting on the right side which will be on the inside once I´ve turned the card accordingly and printed it. Does this sound complicated? Believe me, it IS! However, it only has to be done once as I can alter the layout and change the aperture and the greeting for any similar cards. After printing I score the folded parts, cut the card down to size using – thank goodness – my trusty paper cutter, then all I have to do is cut out the aperture and stick on the motif using double sided sticky tape. I also use the tape for sticking down the flap to cover the back of the motif. TADA! One card down, a whole pile more to do...No, not really as I only make these cards for a chosen few.

Having said all that, here are some I´ve already finished. 

I enjoyed stitching this Christmas pudding so much I made a batch of them, some on cream linen and some on green. I think I prefer the contrast of the green but I like both variations. It´s just a pity that the glittering thread and the shine on the beads don´t show up on these scanned images.

I forgot to say that although the second pudding is smaller than the first, it´s only because it was stitched on finer material.

This angel is very glittery because I used lots of sparkling threads. Again, the effect is lost when it´s scanned.

The following 2 motifs were really intended by the designer of the chart to be stitched using black thread on white linen but I think they look more effective and dramatic the other way round. By the way, I stitched the house motif before I realised that it was too wide to fit into a landscape layout and I had to create a portrait layout especially for it. You can imagine how I enjoyed doing that!

I´m off now to start a new project using this chart.

I stitched this motif many years ago and gave it to a friend. This time I´m going to keep it and frame it and hang it in my living room so if I´m not around for quite some time, you´ll know where to find me. I´ll be sitting comfortably in my workroom plugged into my iPod....with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door.


  1. The cards are great, I love to cross stitch, the time just seems to fly and I find it so relaxing.

  2. These are absolutely precious. I display all your cards every Christmas on the shelf. They're a treasure and I admire the time and patience it takes to make them.

  3. These are so elegant and lovely! I'm afraid I don't have the patience for all that detail (like the template of the card - I'd never get to fit exactly right.) I like the black & white ones a lot and hope you'll share the finished version of the last design. It looks wonderful. I've got a card to design now and I'm not sure if you're inspiring me or daunting with such perfection.

  4. Lovely and what wonderful memories you have brought to mind. My three girls from the time they were in Kindergarten cross-stitched Christmas presents for teachers, friends, and grandparents. I have pictures of some so maybe one day they will be scrapped. I'm a bit at a loss as my printer is not work right now and I can't print any cards this year...guess they will have to be digital!