Christmas by definition, as a birthday celebration, should be joyous and fun, but the existence of holiday stress is no secret. Article after article recounts the stress of shopping, selecting gifts, decorating, traveling, cooking and family gatherings. I just want to add to that list: Christmas cards – if you decide to nurture your inner crafter and make your own. The story begins as I paint a whimsical little watercolor of a fox on a beach contemplating a lit Chrisrmas tree. So far, so good. My inner critic thinks the charm outweighs the blops and blips that watercolors tend to produce. ‘Don’t be a perfectionist, just scan it and keep going with the card-producing process,’ I tell myself. ‘Watery drips are inevitable with this difficult medium,’ I further admonish myself.
Red Fox and the Christmas Tree
So I turn on my new computer with the truly annoying Windows 10 and turn on the scanner and printer. I also have installed a new (to me) bit of software called Adobe Photoshop Elements, a kind of cheaper, easier version of Photoshop, but still known for its ‘steep learning curve.’ I have got all these bits of technology to play well enough with each other and have been fiddling around with Photoshop a bit, so I feel I can pull this off.
Now let me just skip past a week or so of me fiddling around, muttering, doing calming breathing exercises, Googling for advice and tutorials, swearing in an un- holiday suitable way, and finally realizing that no decent card of any kind is going to lurch out of my printer anytime soon enough to get my cards mailed in time for THIS Christmas! And also letting it be known that ‘steep learning curve’ is a euphemism for what idiot designed this freakin’ software?
So then I decide to use a simple black and white drawing from my sketchbook of a November-blooming rose, so that I don’t have to mess with colors and pixels and other complicated stuff that all those programs and gadgets don’t seem to like. But I can’t get it centered and sometimes it comes out upside down or on the wrong quadrant of the paper. Please, please don’t say this is easy. It isn’t. My computer, printer, scanner and all the software on them hate me and the feeling is mutual.
So then I decide to take the fox painting to Staples to scan and turn into folded cards. The result is ok, but problems happened with the card stock not matching the envelopes-sold-separately, and the fact that I painted a square painting seems to confuse the printer who informs me that either I get square cards, but there are no square envelopes, or I will have blank margins on the top or bottom, but not both, or they could crop the painting only they can’t do that. Huh? There is a line of print center customers behind me as I contemplate cropping the moon or the fox or having weird margins or weird envelopes. And realizing that my square watercolor paper block was not a good choice for card -making. Who knew? Not me.
Meanwhile back at the Crappy Crafter tech center, aka: a corner of my family room, my scanner is no longer speaking wirelessy to my printer, my computer now asks for my password twice before it lets me get to my desktop, my picture collection is scattered in various ‘clouds’ randomly, or eaten up by photoshop, and I am ready to hit some heavily spiked eggnog. Without the nog. I hate that stuff. Bah humbug!
Merry Christmas and may the Fox be with you. Consider this blog post my card to you. I seem to have spilled the eggnog on my Staples bag.