Saturday, January 1, 2011

Making the Card: 2010 edition

Despite my lack of holiday spirit this year, I had BIG PLANS for a Christmas card.....(brace yourself for a near-repeat of last year's nonsense.)

We may not have a ton of traditions, but sending a Christmas card is annual goal. And believe me- I say "goal" instead of "occurrence" for a reason. You see, every year I insist on designing it myself, and end up spending FAR too much time agonizing over the whole thing. And after buying the envelopes, cardstock, ink, and stamps, we end up spending a small fortune. Every year I vow to just cave in and buy a generic box of cards from Target (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), or just skip the whole thing altogether....And just about every other year, I do skip it. So far- we've only sent cards in odd-numbered years. But without fail, when December rolls around, I go through the process all over again, even if I end up throwing in the towel in the eleventh hour. I go for it each time with fresh enthusiasm, because Christmas cards are just too “up-my-alley” to skip.... I mean, you get to brag about your awesome life, AND show off your craft skills. Yes, and yes. (Does anyone else enjoy judging Christmas cards as much as I do? Don’t lie....) But really, aside from the terribly narcissistic nature of it all, I really do love a Christmas card. People don’t mail anything anymore, so it’s fun that it’s become a little old-fashioned to send cards. And though I joke about judging them, I love to read people updates, and see photos of their kids (and trees, and cats, and matching sweaters...).

And as you all know, when it comes to things like this, I tend to go a bit Cah-RAZY and think that every year has to top the last (as if anyone remembers besides me! especially when we only send a bi-annual card!). This year, I decided the big design point would be a photo. I know...not super unique, but we’ve never sent a picture card before....we’re strictly letter people. (OH- do you remember letter people? From Kindergarten? So fun! Anyway....). So I designed this whole card, picked fonts, did the layout, the whole deal. I left space for a photo, figuring I could just search through our computer for a good shot, and we’d be done. Oh no no no. Never that simple. Would you believe in the hundreds (and hundreds) of photos from the past year, there is not ONE of the two of us that is card-quality? Honestly. Here’s the approximate breakdown:

  • Photos we are both in: 47
  • Photos where we are both in focus: 35
  • Photos where we are both in focus, and my face doesn’t look stupid: 12
  • Photos where we are both in focus, my face doesn’t look stupid, and Dustin has a shirt on (lots of Jamaica pics!): 5
  • Photos where we are both in focus, my face doesn’t look stupid, Dustin has a shirt on, and we’re not doing something completely ridiculous (wearing snorkles, riding a giant fake cow, etc.): 3
  • Photos where we are both in focus, my face doesn’t look stupid, Dustin has a shirt on, we’re not doing something completely ridiculous, and that fit the horizontal layout I allowed for on the card : 0

See where we went wrong here? So Dustin says we can just take a new picture, and use it for the card. And THAT my friends, is where Courtney’s Creative Train of Thought went off the rails......Allow this to be a glimpse into why Dustin sometimes wonders what he got himself into by marrying me (also known as “You can cover up the crazy REAL GOOD when you get engaged after 2 months.”) Because as soon as he mentioned that....this exchange followed:

C- “Dustin, I have a great idea, please say yes!”
D- “I don’t think I like that.....”
C- “Please.....”
D- “Ok.”
C- “Can we send a new year’s card?”
D- “Sure.”
C- “Great. Now I have an even better idea, pleeeeeease say yes!”
D- “ok.....”
C- “Can we take a fun picture for it?”
D- “Sure.”

And boom goes the dynamite.

Because what you don’t realize, (and what Dustin certainly didn’t realize....even after all these years) is that my interpretation of that conversation was I had just gotten license to go over the top ridiculous, and build a photo booth in the living room. Complete with a backdrop, props, a tripod and lighting. Not joking.....

So because Dustin is the best husband EVER (file this under: "Humors me and my wild, excessive ideas. So so much.") he obliged. Which includes tolerating me dragging in box after box of sparkling junk, wearing the outfit I picked out, helping me black out the window behind the backdrop (I did the lighting test at night....we were shooting during the day....amateur mistake) and generally not rolling his eyes at the entire endeavor.

And after all that? The day turned out exactly as fun as I expected (which was TONS) the pictures turned out at least as well as I hoped (which was humble, based on our track record), and the card turned out better than I imagined (love them!)

Hopefully you received on live and in person- but if not....let me show you the finished product...(or three....after all that fun, we couldn't settle on just one!)

So............Happy New Year!
I think it goes without saying that we're approaching 2011 with our trademark Bowdenisms-gusto. Tons of fun, a little crazy, but full of love. Hope the start of your year is full of everything you wish for!


  1. First of all, I just smiled at the memory of kindegarten letter people. Second, and more importantly, those cards are fantastic! So cute. I always have the same dilemma surrounding the intent to send out a Christmas card, but when it does happen, it's never that good.....

    Happy New Year!

  2. you guys are too cute! seriously, those cards are wonderful, as is your breakdown of your photographs in numbers. happy new year to you, too!

  3. ohhhhh i LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE your cards!!!! love your photo booth idea court - i've been wanting to do that. you guys are way too cute and creative for words. next year i want a card from you guys!! (and want to send one to you as fact, i have a handful of our cards still sitting here waiting to be addressed and mailed!!)
    happy new year to you both!!!

  4. I love the card! In fact, I'm going to hang it on the fridge...

  5. Thanks ladies! I'm glad you liked them!
    Renee- we'll have to add you next year- send me your address!

    oh and Christina- glad you got my grade school reference....I loved them!

  6. Now that I know how much work went into these I truly appreciate receiving a card! Thanks and Happy New Year!!!

  7. I loved it Court! I was so afraid I missed the cut off for the Christmas card and I was eagerly anticipating it- loved the envelope and the card- great pic of both of you.

  8. Thanks Erin and Sus! I never thought our cards would be worth coveting! :)