I always type a Christmas newsletter and add a family picture. I know lots of people hate reading mass produced newsletters, but I happen to love it- as in "drop everything that I am doing and sit on the couch to take my time and read it" kinda love it! I really make them for our family- mainly Harbor and David and myself. It is a complete family history starting at the first year we married. If I can manage to continue it for 40 years, I can only imagine how much fun it will be to reread them all one day. So far, I have done it for 10 years.
When you know that you have to make upwards of 150 and add a picture and a newsletter, your design options are limited. This is the first card in almost 10 years that I have made where my picture isn't on the front, but I was ready for a change.
I decided to make an ornament with our monogram for the front and add the newsletter and picture a few layers in.
While I am typically a fan of grosgrain ribbon -it doesn't fray as much as other types- I chose to use a yarn. This yarn is found in the crotchet area of our Hobby Lobby. It is called Haute Fur- it is great fun if you are looking for something textured and it comes in lots of color patterns. Since I knew I wanted a deep purple theme, I started with this yarn. I typically find either my ribbon or paper first, and then decide what we will wear for our photo shoot later. For some people, that my be working backwards, but it works really well for me.
Several years ago I invested in a nice, heavy-duty paper cutter. It has saved my life, literally. If you don't have a nice cutter, you will just about kill yourself trying to measure and cut by hand.That would be the end of my card projects, pronto. Last year I made a really neat Christmas card with a pocket for my newsletter, but decided to use wrapping paper- huge long rolls of it- as my backing paper. I thought the cutting would never end! I may do it again someday- after I forget how much trouble it was.
I also just use off the shelf card stock, although two years ago, when Harbor was born, I invested in 1500 sheets of chocolate brown from an online shop I like. I used it to make our Christmas card/baby announcement for 2008. Harbor was born in November, so I was all about killing two birds with one stone. I am still using that brown card stock. In fact, I had enough to make all of this years cards with it as well. It ended up being a great investment.
The feature that I love on my Xacto cutter is the premade measurement section. It completely takes the guess work out of my measurements. It measures by envelope, so once I decide on a size, I simply line my card stock up and go for it. Lifesaver.
I was thinking of this year's cards last summer when we went to the Kansas City Plaza. My very favorite paper store is located there- Paper Source. It is the happiest place. I wish we had one closer. While we were there, they had a huge sale on these crystal colored circle die-cuts. I bought 160 of them.
I originally had planned to cut our picture in a circle shape and turn it into the ornament "face", but after a few failed attempts to make a clean cut, I decided to stamp instead.
Wal-Mart carries a great self-adhesive envelope- very affordable for mailing cards in bulk.
I don't use fancy tape- just a good double-stick works best for me.
You will need a good hole-punch to punch through multiple layers at once or you will develop a serious case of carpal tunnel. My card had four layers, but I tried to punch them in layers of two.
I used two metallic paint pens for the top of the ornament, but what I wished I could have found was a stamp with an ornament topper and hook.
I typed a two paged newsletter that was cut down to about the size of a 4x6 print. I used vellum since my photo was on the very bottom layer and wanted it to show through a bit.
I attached all the layers with the yarn so each piece could swing freely from the other layers- if not, it would have been too tight to read the letter.
My theme for this year's letter was "Our Favorite Things." I went month by month, from January 2010 to this December and wrote a few lines about something special that happened in every month. I was hearing Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music singing in my head the entire time.
Our photo was the last thing I had made. Since I knew the color scheme early on, I was able to make my cards throughout the year and didn't feel any enormous pressure to finish them. They were done in November for the most part and we had our photo shoot right around Thanksgiving. Brandy from Foshefotos is a high school friend and a special person to our family- she always does a wonderful job.
I hope that answered your questions! Happy holiday crafting!