"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan




Merry Christmas Wreath Cards

by - Monday, December 23, 2019

 
 
 
I went more traditional for my Christmas card send out this year. Over three weeks I made twenty-two cards consisting of nine designs centered on a gorgeous wreath die that came with a craft magazine. This year’s send out turned out to be a lot more work than I was expecting but I think I did a stellar job to get them posted just a few days later than last year considering I had eight more cards to make this year.

I’ve become quite the social butterfly that I now have too many friends to send cards to. It is a lovely problem that I’ve fought hard for and I’m very blessed, but I don’t know if I will keep up with this each year. I might need to simplify my cards even more and stick to one design so it’s more manageable.

The beginning of my card making marathon was relaxing and therapeutic, but it quickly became stressful halfway through.  Surprisingly, coming up with nine different cards didn’t flare my mental fatigue too much but boy did working on them flare my pain up. I was physically fatigued and my whole body felt like it was on fire. One day I was so unwell that I thought I would have to pull the pin on the whole thing. I ended up taking extra pain medication and crafted until the dizziness and nausea forced me into bed.

But I never go down without a hard fight and I somehow clawed my way back and conquered Mount Freaking Everest with the help of opioids, heat packs and gross frozen supermarket meals.

When planning out these cards a few months ago I decided that I wanted to use a sweet little wreath as a focal point. I didn’t have a wreath die in my stash and I sure couldn’t cut out a million individual leaves and clue them together in a circular shape, so I set out to find the perfect wreath die I could quickly run through my Cuttlebug machine.
 

I couldn’t seem to find a die I liked in online craft stores and it was looking like I would need to change plans when I spotted a craft magazine in a newsagency that came with a wreath decorative metal die from Sara Davies’ Signature Collection. This die was perfect and meant I wouldn’t need to stamp and cut out a Christmas sentiment to place under the wreath — two birds, one stone.

I grabbed the magazine and started planning. Initially, I planned three designs for my cards. For one of them I would use a stencil and spray inks to create a gorgeous backdrop.

But that didn’t happen.

As soon as I started working on my cards more ideas flooded my brain and I went off on a tangent, derailing from my plans. But that’s the beauty of craft; it’s such an adventure — you can plan out something in your head and end up with something completely different at the end. I fell in love with this cute die and off I went. I couldn’t stop the ideas and I didn’t want to limit my creativity to three designs.

But as much as I loved this decorative die, it wasn’t easy to work with. After cutting it’s a bit of a nightmare to poke the wreath out from the cutting paper without breaking it. It took me 10 minutes for each one. For 22 cards that’s two hours and 22 minutes just to cut out a die cut. Halfway through I realised just how insane it was and I may have thrown a few frustrated tantrums over failed cutting attempts.

So I made the rookie mistake of not taking this die for a test run before centering all of my cards around it. And I’m no rookie card maker. That was a big face palm moment! I put too much faith and trust in this die.

Another issue I have with this die is the gap that’s in the letter A. I thought I was cutting it wrong at first but after several attempts I referred back to the image printed on the packaging to realise it’s supposed to have a gap. This hurts my perfectionistic heart.
 

My biggest gripe with this die is that it only works well cutting through a thin piece of paper with a piece of cardstock as an additional layer between base and cutting plates. The only paper I had in my craft stash that worked with this die was my American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad which was a challenging limitation. I had to go full glitter. But nothing says Christmas like glitter and shimmer.

I swear that this damn glitter will haunt me into next year. Every nook and cranny of our apartment is covered in glitter particles. It’s in my bed, it’s in my bathroom, it’s nestled in my carpet. It’s in our kitchen and it’s dispersed across our floorboards. And just when you think you’ve cleaned and scrubbed it all up? More of it appears.

I recently had an appointment with my podiatrist and took off my shoes (as you do for a podiatrist) and there was — you guessed it — a cluster of glitter in my darn shoes. Sometimes it’s so inconspicuous that you don’t realise you’ve picked some up from somewhere. Just this morning I walked into my bathroom and realised I had glitter on my face and arms. I’ve resigned myself to it.

I’m really taking the quote ’’She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten’’ to a literal level.

My goal for these cards was to use up single sheets of scrapbook paper, cardstock and scraps I’ve had sitting in my stash for years. In hindsight, this was not the most sensible goal for making a big batch of cards as one sheet of patterned paper didn’t go very far and I had to keep coming up with new designs to use all the different paper I had. But it was good to use up some leftovers I didn’t quite know what to do with.

Here’s what I came up with:


Frankincense and Myrrh Merry Christmas Wreath 

Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, Kaisercraft Twig & Berry Collection P913 | Myrrh & P912 | Frankincense, American Crafts Cardstock 12x12 Weave | 71027 | Rouge, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Kisercraft Decorative Die - Bow, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas, Kaisercraft Rhinestones | Red, Crafterschoice Bling | Champagne, American Crafts Pow Glitter Paper.


This is the first card design I worked on and the only layout that was a part of my original plans. This one came together easily but cutting and gluing five pieces of paper to make five of these cards made it time consuming. But this card made for a nice distraction — I was up at three one morning working on these because I couldn’t sleep because of pain.


Now lets talk about that adorable bow die cut. How darling is it?! I purchased this Kaisercraft die from Spotlight on clearance last year hoping to use them in last year’s Christmas cards, but I couldn’t make it work with the cards I made, so I’m thrilled it worked perfectly for the cards I came up with this year. For some dimension I left the ends of the bow unglued, and for finishing touches I added small rhinestones to the bow and also framed the outer square for some depth so that the squared layers don’t get too lost in the card.



Gingerbread Merry Christmas Wreath
 
Materials: Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD362 | Jade, Art Stamps Australia 12x12 paper | SP383, kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, American Crafts Cardstock 12x12 Weave | Coffee, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas, Quickutz gingerbread cookie cutter die, Crafterschoice Bling | Mini Green Hue.
 

For my second card design I used up a single sheet of gingerbread paper that was buried deep in my stash. As I was rummaging through my die cut collection I came across a little gingerbread die I hadn’t had the chance to craft with and thought it would be a super cute addition to the background paper to have the die cuts holding the wreath. 


I used green and brown for the focal point of the card to tie in with the adorable gingerbread print. I believe I picked up this scrapbook paper at a craft show and I now regret only buying one sheet of it. Unfortunately Art Stamps Australia no longer seem to have it and I’m so bummed. It’s as cute as a button and I wish I could make more cards with it. But at least I had fun using it up.
 

I made these cards while indulging in ginger shortbread which made for a lovely crafternoon. I kept this card super simple, so it only took me about an hour to tick a few more cards off my list. I sent this one to some of my friends who have kids because it made sense to.



Simply Classic Merry Christmas Wreath
 
Materials: Kaisercraft Kraft Cardstock 12x12, Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD116 | Khaki, Simply Classic Inspirables | INSC006 | Celebration Charm, Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, American Crafts Pow Glitter Paper, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas, Kaisercraft Decorative Die - Bow, Kaisercraft Rhinestones | Red, Ruby Rock-It Eklectique Paper | Bloom.
 

It’s all about the layers for this card. It’s where my brain took me, so I just went with it. If you’re a makeup lover like me, you know those days when you just want to put all the makeup on your face and look like a drag queen? Well, that’s is like what happened with this card. I wanted to use all the paper. It works okay but I want to experiment further with this layout as it’s my least favourite card design. 



After making a handful of cards I was tiring and I tend to produce work that I’m not overly happy with when I’m exhausted. It’s not a terrible card and I guess it’s better than some printed cards out there but I just wish that I wasn’t so pressed for time so I could take a good break from it and work out how to perfect it to my liking.

I sent this card to one of my aunties who I know will absolutely love and adore it anyway.


Yuletide Merry Christmas Wreath

Materials: Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, Kaisercraft Twig & Berry Collection | P910 | Eve & P909 | December & P908 | Yuletide, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Crafterschoice Bling | Champagne, Kaisercraft Decorative Die - Bow, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas.

Like the first card it was nice to use up some papers from the Twig & Berry Collection, an oldie but a goodie from Kaisercraft. I decided to layer three pieces of paper at the bottom of the card for something different, which seemed like a good idea at first until it took me hours for my brain to work out a combination of patterns and papers that looked right. Besides that issue this was another simple card to throw together. 


To change up the placement of the bow, I glued it down on the bottom of the wreath. This is my favourite way I’ve used the wreath and bow die, I think it’s stunning.


Advent Merry Christmas Wreath

Materials: Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, Kaisercraft Twig & Berry Collection | P911 | Advent, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Crafterschoice Bling | Mini Hue Green & Mini Hue Red, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas, Kaisercraft Nesting Circles.

For a change of pace I started incorporating Kaisercraft’s Nesting Circles die cuts into some of my cards, propping them up with some foam squares to help make the wreath stand out and glisten.
 
 
 
 
I really enjoyed layering some flowers underneath the circle and adding matching rhinestones to make them pop. I’ve had these flowers sitting on a shelf for years as none of my projects suited them, so it was great to find a use for them. They’re perfect paired with the Advent paper from the Twig & Berry Collection.

I think this card is my favourite out of the lot.



Starry Night Merry Christmas Wreath

Materials: American Crafts Cardstock 12x12 Weave | 71027 | Rouge, Mymemories 12x12 Scrapbook Paper | 143278, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas, Kaisercraft Nesting Circles, Kaisercraft Moon & Stars Die (exclusive to Spotlight), Sullivans Star Punch.

For my next card I wanted to use a silver colour palette with exploding stars. I got halfway through making the card when I had to abort plan because it was looking more like a wedding invitation. Not only am I an overdresser, I’m an overcrafter, too. I guess that makes sense though.

I eventually worked out how I could use some stars in a card and I’m happy with the end result. What I’m not happy about though is that in my frazzled, fatigued, brain fogged state I forgot to take a proper individual photo of the card before sending it. (Unfortunately I didn’t have enough paper to make one for me to keep.)

ABORT PLAN.

Luckily I got a shot of it with all the cards together which you can find at the end of this post. It’s not ideal, but hey, it’s better than nothing.

For the base of this card I used a bold present print scrapbook paper. I only had one of this in my stash and trying to use it had been doing my head in, so I’m glad I came up with a design that worked with it. For the big stars I used a punch and mounted them with foam squares so they look like they are exploding out from the circle die cut. I also stuck some small stars down flat on the present print paper. I cut the smaller stars with a die in my Cuttlebug machine.


Glitz Floral Merry Christmas Wreath

Materials: Kaisercraft Nesting Circles, Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, Traci Smith & the glitz girls Cashmere Dame Floral | CD3856, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas.

By the seventh design I was desperate to make a super feminine and cheery card for some girlfriends. This card makes me feel happy, it really is the epitome of Christmas — merry, bright and pretty. I used two different nesting circle dies for this card so it wasn’t too similar to the previous cards with a circular centre.

This was the card where I really started to struggle with my health. I was in a lot of pain, and nausea and dizziness had me feeling less than human. I tried pushing through side effects of pain killers but I ended up in bed feeling horrifically unwell. 


I thought I would have to call it quits on the whole thing that night. I felt like I was dying and I didn’t know how I would make it through the night without ending up in emergency.

Thankfully, I somehow got to sleep and bounced back a bit the next day, so I kept going, only because I had come so far and had just five more cards to make.


Crimson Silver Merry Christmas Wreath

Materials: American Crafts Cardstock 12x12 Weave | Crimson, Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 Snow, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Kaisercraft Rhinestones | Silver, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas.

As I was struggling with my energy levels, I made a more basic card this time. I think the silver glitter wreath and rhinestones make it look elegant enough to make up for its simplicity though. It was a relief to get some silver into the mix; it’s so classy.
 


By this card I was delirious. I was flurrying around like a chicken with its head cut off. Where the hell did I put the freaking double sided tape? Aargh! Lost my damn mind I did.


Mint Twist Merry Christmas Wreath

Materials: Kaisercard 12x12 Weave | CD301 | Snow, Kaisercraft Mint Twist Collection | P933 | Candy Stripe, American Crafts Christmas Glitter Specialty Paper Pad, Crafterschoice Bling | Mini Hue Green, Kaisercraft Nesting Circles, Signature Collection By Sara Davies Decorative Metal Die Merry Christmas.

For my final Christmas card making adventure I couldn’t resist some pink. I wanted to let loose and make a fun girly card. These papers are from Kaisercraft's Mint Twist Collection which is another oldie I’ve had sitting in my stash. I have no idea what brand the gorgeous pink glitter paper is by but I know I got it from Spotlight a year or two ago. Photos don’t do it justice; it’s super pretty.


My sister saw me preparing the papers for this card and was like ''This is cute! Can I have one for a friend?'' She tells me this AFTER I’ve finished cutting all my papers and scoring cardstock. I was all ''No you cannot, I’m so done.'' She likes to complain about the mess I make when mass crafting but is more than happy to take advantage of my hard work whenever it suits her. But that’s what sisters are for, aren’t they?!

I later whipped my Cuttlebug machine back out and made her one. Yep, sister of the year over here. She was lucky I had some papers from these cards leftover. 



And that’s a wrap for 2019’s cards. I made most of these cards to the tunes of Little Mix with me sobbing along to:

Once we were made like towers
Everything could’ve been ours
But you left it too late now my heart feels nothing nothing at all
(From Towers)

Because I’m one hot basket case of a hormonal mess.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what you can do with one beautiful little Christmas wreath die. The possibilities are endless and I could have kept going if it wasn’t for my pain and fatigue flaring. But for now my body is all Christmas carded out.

I don’t know how I managed last year’s Christmas card making marathon. From now on I’m planning a year in advance. I have plans to be at Kaisercraft on Boxing Day when it opens so I can grab some Christmas collections they released this year before they completely sell out so I can get a massive head start on next year’s cards, because I cannot do what I just did to my health again and risk a catastrophic relapse.

Okay, I’m out. I’m done. Mic drop!

I wish you a Christmas that is as bright and merry as these cards.
 
 
 

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