Wednesday, November 28, 2012

christmas merger

Sometimes I'm torn between making it or buying it.

It's the struggle between quality and time...daily decisions (dinner) or seasonal (gifts and decor). And with more quality ingredients or materials available, it seems like we've been invaded by a DIY nation.  When I browse through this season's magazines and blogs, there are so many inspirational custom and DIY cards seen on Pinterest (or check out SavvyMom's list of "18 Best Holiday Cards") that it's difficult to not feel the urge to make hand crafted cards, wrap and decor?

When we were first married, at Christmas we would spend hours handwriting each greeting and address (we send about 60 cards at any given year) on store bought Christmas cards.   Then, we had kids.  We started enclosing those cute, wallet sized Christmas portraits done at a department store photo studio.  (again, more handwriting of names and dates on the back of the photos).  And honestly, the greeting card companies have really stepped up their selection to compete with e-cards.  With so many pretty embellishments and sparkles, store bought cards really takes away the labour of gluing things ourselves!

So what do you do when you love the look of personalized custom cards, but don't have the time or craftiness to make them from scratch (all that handwriting, gluing, cutting!?!)  And what do you do with those boxes of cards you bought at last year's boxing week sale? (admit it...the prices after Christmas makes those card purchases very tempting!)

Merge the two.

I think I've found that happy medium of being creative but efficient with my time (and budget) with my Christmas cards.  I create collages of photographs, add text (yea, no handwriting!), then add the photos to pretty, glitter covered store bought cards.  I hole punch the photos and the cards and attach with a ribbon. (Of course, you just print your photo collage on card stock and say you're done!)

So in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I'd show you two photo collage ideas.  I used Picasa (it's free) so my instructions below are for that program.  But this can be done with any photo editing software.  They're pretty simple...and you can check off one more thing on your Christmas to do list.

Layer two photographs. 
(Picture Pile Method)

1)  In Picasa, click the "Create a collage" button.  The button looks like this:

2)  Choose 2 photographs...the one with the family portrait and the other of a beautiful background picture...something simple (the pine cone pic here was taken at the cottage with my phone and an Instagram filter).

3)  Add photos as a "Picture Pile" where the photos are scattered on the page. I like this so I can position and the size the photos as I please.

4)  Choose a photograph as your background image.

5)  Adjust your photo to the desired size and position.  Add text and filters.

Here's some examples:

Split Screen Photo with clip art 
(Mosaic method)

1)  In Picasa, click the "Create a collage" button.  The button looks like this:

2)  Find  or layer free clip art onto a word document, then add your text to create your message or find already created free clip art Christmas messages (the chalkboard one I found here), and save it as a gif or jpg file.

3) Choose your portrait.

4)  Add both portrait and your clip art photos using "Mosaic" where the photos are automatically fit into the page), pick your portrait.

Here's some examples:


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