Sunday, December 23, 2012


The 2012 Annual Family and Friends Christmas Card has gone out in the mail and it has been opened by all my family and friends.  I'm not so sure of the response this year since some have even failed to mention it to me that they even received it.  No problems with that.  I'm glad to have gotten it done and completed on time.

Here is the scoop on this years design.  I was toying around with a couple of designs this year.  One was a pop-up with a winter scene and a window as if you were looking out your window to the snow and landscape outside.  I wasn't sure about this design since I had done a pop-up way back while I was in college and I didn't want to repeat myself.  I drew a couple of pictures and even made a few mock prototypes to see how the design would look.  But in the end I felt that I did not have the energy or time  to work out the logistics to be ready for Christmas.  I was trying to take on too big of a project and I am glad now that I realized this and made the change before I got in too deep.

My second choice was a sketch of a cartoon character I have created years back called 'WIGGI'.  I love him and would love to play around with him and I thought he would make a good come back this year but that too was not quite right.  I was hurting for a idea to come to me and decided to get out some of my Christmas ideas and sketches to get in the holiday spirit. Basically, I thought that some of my designs might spark some light bulbs going off in my mind.   I became smitten with a drawing that I had done years ago, back in 1988!  I never used the drawing because of the size and format of it.  It was in a long rectangle and I was thinking of how I could get it to fit a card format.  Needless to say, I kept going back to this drawing and asking myself, "how can I turn this idea into a card?'  Well one day, a few weeks ago, it hit me like a spark and then a mini MIND GIGGLE!  I thought, "I can put it into a regular envelope and make the card a really long rectangle.  I never thought to design a card that was so long and narrow.  I guess I thought it wouldn't look right, but I knew this was the perfect format for the design that I was so in love with.  BINGO.  That is how I came up with this years design.

After printing out a mockup of the design, I decided to do the drawing in a different color than the black line drawing that it was created in just to add some festive appeal to it. I thought a wine color would look really pretty and print the drawing on an ivory card stock.  I knew it was going to be a long rectangle and I thought I could add a colored card stock underneath the ivory and cut the top part shorter to reveal the color underneath it.  I also, got a Christmas punch and punched out the corners to add a little extra bit of a 'sneak peek' to reveal more of the wine color below.  I made a couple of mockups and I was going to add a 'jute' cord so it could be hung anywhere, but in the end I decided to leave it be. One day, I was in a dollar store and found some lovely ivory colored envelopes that were the perfect size. It was as if they were there just waiting for me.  They were in a spot that I would normally not have even looked at.  "Could it be?" I thought as bent down and I snatched them up off the shelf.  And they were only... one dollar for 25! Could things get any better? I'm on easy street.   I quickly purchased them and brought them home to see if they were the right color.  They were great. They were so pretty. I was on a roll.  The color was perfect and they had an expensive feel to them.  I knew I was moving in the perfect direction.  All the planets were aligning and I was smooth sailing. Life was easy... But then, and with a big thud everything came to a halt.  Where was I going to put the message on the front and what was it going to say?

 I struggled for days with the sentiment writing on the front and inside.  I wanted to play around with the vintage look of the drawing and then add something funny inside.  I thought the surprise inside would be fun and maybe unexpected.  I only had a little space to put the type, so the wording had to be short and to the point.  No fooling around.  I had to say what I wanted to in as few short words as I could but I came to a stand still. I couldn't move in any direction.  I was stuck. What to do?  Days were going by and no closer to a idea.  Would I get the cards done on time?  I was so getting anxious and worried.  How could it be?  Everything was going so great.  UGGHHH!!!  My mind hit a blank.  An emptiness.  Nothing. Nada.  I thought I was surely out of ideas.  Who was I kidding?   I was creatively 'toast'.  But then... just when I thought my card design was to be scraped and never see the light of day, the idea flowed out from my pen.  This process took a couple of incubating days and when I just let my mind 'relax', the idea came to me.  I was saved.  I was rescued from the creative wall that was staring me down while being so relentless.   I took a breath and knew that I narrowly escaped the doom of an idea that was a 'flop'. a 'failure', a 'trash can' wonder.  The tide turned and out of the 'fog' and 'storm' was an idea that I was proud of and something I felt was exactly how I imagined it and wanted it to be.  "Christmas, I thought, is here!"

Monday, December 17, 2012


This years Christmas card design is finished and on it's way to family and friends.  I want so bad to give you a sneak peek however, I don't want to reveal the design until they are snatched out of the mail box and opened up.

This years design was a hard one to come up with.  I have to say that I went to my archives to play with some vintage Loren drawings and designs.  There has been one drawing that I have been eyeing for years and I knew it would make the cut one year in the near future.

I have been having a hard time lately, with loosing my Gram this past August as well as, struggling with a bad knee, feet and back.  This past Friday evening, I was ER bound with a swollen leg and knee. The paramedics swooped in to rush me to the hospital. The thinking was that I may have had a blood clot, and tests were run.  Thank goodness no clots in my leg!  I do, however have some serious issues with my swollen knee and foot, possibly from standing 10 1/2 hours waiting for and seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert here in Philly.  UGGHH!!! I' have been having to rest my leg and put ice on it.  This is a hard one for me because I like to keep moving.

Well, anyway...I was again as I do every year, uncertain whether I would make the Christmas card happen and more than that, would it be better than last year's card.  Well, I don't know if it's better this year, but it is definitely different, especially for me.  The design is pretty, elegant and in some ways minimal.  Oh, I wish I could show it now!  But you have to wait until they are in the Loren's MIND GIGGLES blog mail, too.  I will, however, tell you that it's design is an ivory and a wine color palette.  When I reveal this year's design, I will tell the tale of how it was created and how the design was finally chosen.  I will try to talk about the thought process that I go through to create my design each year.  So, for now, please hang on for 2 days until I can reveal the 2012 Annual Family and Friends Christmas Card Design.


Sunday, December 2, 2012


Well, it's that time of year again and the pressure is on.  You see every year I design a unique family and friends Christmas Card, you know for my peeps.  It is always a lot of angst in the beginning phase of the design process when I don't have the slightest idea what I am going to make.  Right now... I don't know what I am going to make.  I'm drawing a blank for that special idea that will meet the expectations of my peeps!  I have been doing this annual Christmas card for at least 20 years, yes 20 years!  You can check out my last year's design in my post here and you can see the pressure I am under!!!

Some years I've done plain ol' cards and some years I have really gone all out and created ornament and hanging mobiles.  Some of my Christmas card designs are in my etsy shop for sale right now.  Take a peek over to Dabbling Delights to have a look at the ideas I have come up with each year.
Every year about this time, I begin to realize time is passing and I don't have a clue what to do.  I do a little sketching on napkins and scrap paper in hopes that the super charming idea just flows out of me, however it's not happening this year.  The problem I find myself in is that every year my peeps think it is the best I have ever done and so the following year, it has to get better than last years.  You may wonder, "why all the stress over the annual Christmas card?"  You must know, it has become a family tradition for my family and friends.  They wait for the card to come and when it gets there, they are thrilled and they call each other to see if they have received it yet.  They oooh and aaah over the little wonder that I shipped to their home.  They all say, "it's not Christmas, until Loren's card gets to my house."  Even when I don't feel that great since my Mom and Gram have passed on, I still feel compelled to keep the tradition going regardless of my own personal troubles...  So, this year's card has not been hatched yet and I'm working up some ideas in my mind as well as I've mentioned on paper.
I don't know what it is about this Christmas tradition that makes me feel so strongly that I need to create something neat and unique every year?  It's not to get the kudos from my family and friends, I already have that from them.  I guess it is because I want to share my joy with them.  I love to see their faces when they look at the design , which they put on their tree.  Yep, that's right.  They put every design on there tree each year.  It's getting kind of  filled up with the cards/ ornaments.


For now, I will sign off with this to you.  Stay tuned if you can because you will never know whether I make it to the end with a creation that meets the standards of my peeps. and maybe you too.  Keep checking back.