Tuesday, January 20, 2009
All of the New Year's cards are mailed (though the overseas one just went out today cause i actually had to go to the post office to do that one; sorry Francie) and it is still January; i consider that a success. In truth many of them were out before January 10th (which is my arbitrary goal that i have never actually made) but this year i had a lot of ones that i needed to find new addresses for so it took a bit longer to get the fourth and final mailing done. I was telling someone the other day that i made 98 cards this year and she wondered how I produce so many similar cards. It all starts with the list. I write out the list of who i want to send cards to so that i know how many i need to make; generally i have 3 lists - A for the people that have to get cards, B for people that should get cards and C for people i would like to send cards to but there is some issue like i don't have their address or it has been several years since we've been in contact with each other. The A, B and C lists this year combined to 105 people so i knew i'd need 2 large packs of card blanks and that the card base would be white (cream only comes in packs of 40 so i'd have to by 3, making it too cost prohibitive). Next comes a design. Normally i have a stamp, an image, a paper or a concept that i want to use; this year i started with the idea of a ribbon across the center of the cards. I had some Michael's gift cards from Christmas so i decided to splurge and get new paper. I found this awesome black flocked paper and turquoise ribbon and calculated how much of each i needed to buy to make the cards. The big glitter leaf was born out of the pattern on the paper. Time to prototype. This is the most time consuming part of the process cause i want the card to be nice, but reproducible. When i am make one card at a time i can put 15 intricate steps together and spend 2 hours on it, but mass cards have to be assembly-lined. You can see from the picture that the prototype is a mess as i try a bunch of different things. Once i am pretty sure of the design i start to get the materials ready. Flowers get ripped apart; Paper and ribbon get cut into the proper lengths. I will assemble one or two cards to figure out which adhesives are best for which job (this card used brads, tape runner, terrifically tacky, and 2 sizes of glue dots) and then set up a production line. (wow, the lighting was really different in those, huh?) To keep from going insane i will do some little jobs like punching a hole in the base of each leaf or coloring silver brads black with a sharpie all at once, but do big jobs like folding, stamping, signing and assembling in batches of 20-30. I also addressed, labelled and stamped the envelopes in batches of 40ish. When i finished a set of cards i would write them out and pop them into the envelope ready to go; that's why there were separate mailings and those of you at the front of the alphabet got yours a week before poor Rickki W and Kathy V. Having a system laid out keeps me from getting bored, prevents Arthur Itis and his gangsta cousin Carpel T from visiting and allows me to accomplish something every night instead of the process dragging on and on forever. There are always flaws in every system, like when i ran out of mono glue at 2 am and production came to a stand still or the fact that the middle mailing (about 30 cards) went out without the "09" written on in turquoise sparkle ink, but overall the process works for me. Right now i am working on 50 cards for an event promoting my Etsy shop and from conception to completion it will take about a week.