Andrew and I had a tough time deciding what design to use for this year’s Christmas cards. We considered having a reindeer on the card but we couldn’t come up with a design we were satisfied with. Andrew and I both like cats, though, so we began toying with designs including kitties. One idea was a kitty sitting with a Santa hat on its head, batting at a Christmas ornament or a mistletoe. Eventually, though, we went with a cat, with a Santa hat on its head, peeking out from a stocking.
I drew the sketch below to get a basic idea of what I was looking for. This turned out to be pretty spot-on and I didn’t really need to make any major changes to it, though the stocking needed a few adjustments.
I scanned this image and recreated it in Silhouette Studio, making changes to my liking. I tilted the stocking to make it look like it were hanging. Therefore, the kitty would have its head tilted in the opposite direction to “correct” for the tilt of the stocking. I also decided it was cute to have the Santa hat hang down over the kitty’s eye just slightly.
I rendered the mouth and pupils in Silhouette even though I wouldn’t have it cut those out. Those would be drawn on with ink.
I created the above prototype to see if we really liked it and to see if there were any changes we wanted to make before buying the paper to make the card in bulk.
I spent at least 20 minutes in the paper aisle at Jo-Ann debating what colors of cardstock to get. For the kitties, I bought three colors: two shades of brown and a shade of gray darker than what I used in the prototype. I decided that the gray in the prototype was too light and there wasn’t enough contrast with the whites. I liked the sparkly yellow background but I also went with a sparkly white background because it looked great and would look very snowy (despite having less contrast—but it still stood out enough for me). For the base, I went with a more pearlized cardstock and got it in green, yellow, and red.
This is the first Christmas card we’ve made using our Silhouette Cameo die-cutting machine. It sure cut down on cutting time (puns not intended). Above you can see 24 efficiently cut-out stockings. We cut out two sheets of stockings, aiming to make about 48 cards.
It took us a few hours to get the heads finished! There were a lot of small details to take care of. We ran out of eyeballs because we kept messing up the pupils, so we were left with one cat left with zero eyes to glue on. So we drew little curves to look like the kitty’s eyes are happily closed. The cats were pretty much all based on the same design, but each one has something unique about it.
The prototype had a little pink triangle inside the ear. However, we decided that was just one step too many and eventually decided not to glue them on, even though we cut out dozens of little pink ears. It just wasn’t a necessary detail.
Above are stacks of kitties in stockings! At this point they still needed the white balls glued onto the ends of their Santa hats. Even though the prototype cat was a prototype, we used it (with a new background) and gave it as a Christmas card to Andrew’s parents.
We glued these onto backgrounds which we embossed using Andrew’s Sizzix Big Kick. We tried numerous backgrounds before we settled on what we liked. (Even though we tried several embossing patterns that we were less fond of, we didn’t waste them and included them in cards we sent for variety’s sake.) The white cards got the daisy backgrounds because they looked very snowflakey. The yellow backgrounds got polka dot patterns.
It was a thrill to complete each card. We had some extra kitties for some reason, so a few special people got two kitties! One of these people is my cousin Kevin, who has two cats, so we wrote their names on the stocking. We wrote cat names onto the stockings for a few other people with cats.
These cards took a lot of work and time due to the number of small things we had to glue onto each card. But it was worth it. I love how the cards turned out. It’s great that each one is unique in some way, whether it comes down to color combinations or a slightly different face. I think the cards are adorable!