Being a stationery designer means I have to think about a holiday long before everyone else does

I've said it before... I love designing stationery. There's only one downside to it. I have to be thinking about a holiday LONG before everyone else. I have to be in a "Christmas-y mood" months before I necessarily feel like it.

I try to release at least one new design for every major holiday every year. This year I've had a design in mind for my 2012 Christmas release for quite some time now. The problem was the more I mulled it around in my head, the more elaborate it got. After I discovered the fantastic paper art of Kevin Kidney, the design in my head got even more elaborate (click here to check out his great blog post on making a Christmas poster). It reached a point where I intended on handcutting every element of the design out of paper, mounting it just right, lighting it just right and then photographing it.

Then visions of trying to do all of this with the "help" of my feline studio companions, combined with their stray hairs and the inevitable creative meltdown that would ensue started to pervade my thoughts.

I was at a creative standstill (it happens to me often). So the design wasn't getting done and the time to release something in time for people to use it for the 2012 holiday season loomed closer.

Yesterday, I finally decided to break down and just do it. I figured I could create a similar look digitally (it wouldn't be near as cool as Kevin Kidney's, but OH WELL!).

I ended up visualizing the pieces the same as if I was going to cut them out of paper, except I created them as digital vector shapes instead. I did all the letters in Illustrator (a major feat for me) and then brought them into PS3 and did the Santa shapes with the rudimentary vector tools in PS3 and was just as happy with the result (if not happier).

Once I had finalized the art. I started incorporating it into various layout versions for different stationery styles.

First, a simple no-message layout for sending as a free ecard at (for an added fee you can have it delivered in a cute digital envelope like the one below):

Then I did a layout to send as a free photo ecard at so people can add their own photo to personalize it:
I did another version of the layout so someone could include a personalized message on the free ecard at also does a cool printing and mailing service called "postal pinggs" (click here to learn more about "postal pinggs"). So for people who want to send out printed Christmas cards, all my above pingg layouts can be sent that way by

And, finally, I did a layout for a printed photo card for my zazzle shop, Rosehaven Cottage Stationers:

If anyone is interested in a DIY personalized printable file, I will make that available too.

Now my 2012 Christmas design is finally out of my head and available for other people to enjoy. You can't imagine what a huge relief this is for me. Now I can sit back and look forward to Thanksgiving instead of being haunted by visions of paper Santas being pawed at and chewed by naughty kitties... just a tad different from the sublime visions of sugar plums dancing in one's head.
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  1. Wow! I can't believe (but really I do) that you created all of this without cutting out all those tiny pieces. What a cute card. Several years ago I made all of the 7 YW value girls with tiny cut out pieces of paper! Yikes... I will only do that once. I did look at Kevin's work and it is pretty amazing.

    1. Joanie-- That must have turned out so great with all the YW values in cut paper! I wish I could have seen it. I will eventually do some cut paper art again when I feel adventurous.

  2. Pretty and festive! The one thing that jumped out for me in this post though was your admission that you have creative standstills often. I read that and I'm like "Yay! I'm not the only one." Sorry. *grin*

    1. I have them ALL the time. I manage to psych myself out and create a conundrum regularly. My coping mechanism is to have a number of go-to activities that aren't intimidating when I feel like that. I do those and know that the feelings will eventually pass.

  3. Cindy, that's gorgeous, I am always blown away by your creations.

    And I am like Carolynn, it's so good to know that we are not the only ones with creative standstills.


    1. Oh thank you, Jen! Like I told Carolynn above, I have creative standstills ALL the time. I'm glad that the two of you can relate. Sometimes I think I'm the only one. :-)

  4. Cindy, You are sooo artistic and creative! Just wonderful.


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