This second Dickens-like Christmas pop-up card was sent to friends whose Labradoodle dog, ‘Juno’, was the subject of a portrait found in the post for March 9th. . .

The front of the card

…..and its pop-up figures inside serenade the viewer with carols while ‘Juno’ wishes she were inside next to a warm fireplace :

….with the final design carbon traced onto a cream-coloured, blank notecard, the image is completed in watercolour —

4.5″ x 5.5″ notecard stock

…..and Christmas trees added, cuts carefully made with an x-acto knife, and scored folds added to then oh-so-carefully make the folds and the cuts pop out. And once a successful Christmas pop-up snowy cityscape with Christmas trees was successfully done, it was time to then make fifteen more of them . . .

The biggest surprise when doing this was discovering how well a dollar store package of six blank notecards with envelopes received watercolour. Painting on them was almost as forgiving and receptive as my go-to Arches Hot Press #140 watercolour paper — and, a package of 6 is $1. Even the envelopes could be festively painted over and made to look handmade.

Designing a hand-painted watercolour pop-up card for Christmas began in August because there were going to have to be seventeen of them in time for mailing.

Here is a look at the process and progress:

layout for the pop-up design on a folded 4″ x 5.5″ blank greeting card
cuts made, and folds scored, a prototype of the card’s 3D pop-up shape
Hand-drawn template to be carbon copied onto each greeting card

! חג אורים שמח

November 29, 2021

Chag Urim Samaech!’ translates as ‘Happy Festival of Lights’ and proclaims with Jews everywhere the eight day remembrance of a miracle, when, in 165 BCE, in a period of dark unrest, at the rededication of the 2nd Temple, “. . . though there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the Temple menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply. This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival. . . “

It is worth noting that Hanukkah is considered one of the lesser celebrations in the Jewish year with Passover (Pasach), The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Rosh Hashanah far greater in significance. But likely due to the overwhelming global attention lavished on Christmas, Jewish children have come to expect their own share of holiday fun and presents, especially when both celebrations (usually) happen in December. And so many Jewish households enjoy parties with latkes and jelly donuts, games like dreidel and the giving of presents on each of the eight days during which a new candle is lit on the menorah and prayers and songs are sung. Because December is the darkest of months, lighting these candles in a darkened room takes on a mystical quality, bringing warmth and glowing wonder to a cold and dismal time of year, while also joining celebrants with their ancestors from long ago.

In honour of Hanukkah, and because here in Kamloops, B.C., there isn’t a Hanukkah card anywhere to be found, I’ve designed and made a pop-up card for my former mother-in-law:

4″ x 5.5″ front cover
The Pop-up set of Menorah candles open against a watercolour-rendered Tree of Life motif with the Hebrew blessing for the kindling of the Hanukkah candles printed below

A Happy and Blessed Hanukkah to our Jewish friends, colleagues and neighbours here and around the world!

Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2021

Here in Canada, our Thanksgiving is a rather lowkey meal held mid-October–lowkey, that is, in comparison with the American extravaganza on the fourth Thursday of November. Ours takes the form of a harvest celebration–a fitting end to Summer’s seasonal bounty. And while there is usually a turkey dinner–and yes, it is often family celebrated–no one is going to insist on anyone flying in from any of our three coasts in order to eat it. Nor will there be parades featuring gigantic floating Pillsbury Dough Boys or any loud, beer-laden watching of football. In fact, many in my circle have a modest restaurant version along with a friend or two: a glass of wine, the roasted bird entre, pumpkin pie, coffee and conversation–and then home again to peace and quiet and a spotless kitchen.

That said, having been born and raised in the good ol’ USA, I know exactly how to produce a Thanksgiving card imbued with the Yankee spirit of throwing Kraft Miniature Marshmallows and pineapple chunks into an already sweet, sweet potato dish, as well as cramming oysters and chestnuts (and anything else) into turkey stuffing.

5.5″ x 8.5″, the cover is an autumn leaf from our front yard Red Maple

…..wait for it…..

BAM!

The 8.5″ x 11″ inside is a watercolour paper chain of maple leaves which bounce forward along with dried/pressed chrysanthemums and a hand-painted pop-up turkey against a backdrop of watercolour-rendered maple leaves

It’s my pop-up card version of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (without a helium-filled Bullwinkle).

A Very Happy American Thanksgiving to all!

November

November 1, 2021

Ah, November, most favoured of months, you’ve finally arrived. Oh, that lingering scent of wood smoke when walking the dog at 4:30am; fog lifting above the river at dawn; the return in earnest of sweater-wearing, cozy clothing; the mystery of never quite knowing if that smell in the air really is the precursor of the first flurries, and finally, that blessed silence which can only come when neighbours store away for good those dirt bikes and Harleys.

In honour of the occasion, a seasonal pop-up card…..

watercolour painted autumn maple leaves….

The card is folded in half. In pop-up land, any crease becomes the means for popping, and in this case, the two cut outs will be glued onto either side of the crease so when the card is opened, the crease will provide the muscle for lifting the two leaf cutouts….

A dried and pressed autumn aster has been inserted onto a levered paper addition placed inside the crease, so it also pops up when the card is opened.
….another photograph of the same card

A second sheet of paper is cut and then hand-painted with watercolour, glued onto the back of the other piece in order to provide additional sturdiness; and as a final touch, an actual Fall maple leaf is glued onto the front. Using diluted Elmer’s Glue serves as a sealant:

There are all kinds of ideas online for how to do a simple DIY pop-up greeting card. Here’s one site I found helpful: http://mashustic.com/category/pop-up-and-other-cards/. Pop-ups can be as simple and as complex as one wishes, one for the person whose personality is ‘I just can’t be bothered’ to the person who likes getting lost in endless detail.

Here is the cover of the completed card….

This is the Hebrew wording for a Rosh Hashanah hymn/song which begins (reading right to left), ‘On Rosh Hashanah, On Rosh Hashanah…’

And when the card is opened, here is the English translation…..

And here is the watercolour painted scene with three pop-up klezmer musicians:

(card surface is 4.25″ x 5.75″)

This was such a fun and entertaining project, especially during these pandemic-restricted days when we really don’t quite know what to do with ourselves, ha ha.

A Happy and Blessed New Year to our Jewish brothers and sisters everywhere!

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