I’m taking a break from the latest holiday movie binge (our list thus far this year has included Elf, Scrooged, Die Hard, The Santa Clause, and one Christmas-themed episode of The West Wing as of today) to share the start of spirited holiday goodness in our house.
Over the next 11 days, I’ll be sharing a few different blog posts with our holiday decorating and DIY spirit. One of the things I love most about the holiday season is how much time, attention, and energy we put into things like decorating our homes, buying and making gifts, and getting creative. Even trying just one craft project can boost your confidence and keep you busy enough to avoid eating dozens of holiday cookies (I can attest to this). Today’s post features the Klein Family Holiday Card. I am really excited to share the DIY spirit in this card, so let’s get right to it.
Dan and I talked for a while about creating our own homemade holiday cards this year. With Dan taking on photography and my own penchant for DIY-ing, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go the photo postcard route. We’ve sent out photo postcards on multiple occasions and love knowing that they could be the first thing our friends see when opening up their mailboxes.
For our wedding in 2013, we created save the date postcards with our photographer, Sarah Postma Photography and a fabulous Etsy designer, BeJoyful Paper. Sarah took the photos and Bejoyful Paper designed the Krista and Dan logo for us. We actually cut out pieces of plywood and spray painted them with chalkboard paint to create those speech bubbles.
After this design, I became hooked on the simple look of the photo postcard. It’s a little cheaper to mail, less cumbersome, and produces less paper. I actually printed all of the save the dates through Vistaprint, an online printing company for mass mailings. We had to order 250 for the wedding, so I trolled Groupon for weeks, managing to snag some major discounts.
Last year, Dan and I were still in post-wedding bliss, so I decided not to go the typical holiday photo route. Instead, we used one of our favorite wedding images and went with Minted.com, one of my all-time favorite design websites. Minted houses a collection of independent artists and designers around the world to make custom art, cards, and other materials. I love Minted, and I am so happy with how the post-wedding holiday cards came out last year, but their costs are definitely on the high end. To support an independent artist, I am definitely willing to spend more, but at $58 for only 35 cards, this was a bit too pricey for starting an annual holiday card tradition.
This year, we decided to try something different. I originally planned to work with my amazing friend and photographer Larry McAllister II, as he helped us with a fun engagement photo shoot a few years ago. However, Dan’s newly discovered passion for photography meant that we could create our postcard entirely in-house. In fact, Dan used his Sony NEX-6 mirrorless camera with a lens adapter and utilized some of his dad’s older Minolta camera lenses for this photoshoot. With only the help of a tripod (and, let’s be real, a little photoshop), he was able to create this beauty:
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we had to decide on a location. I, being particularly fall-obsessed, was looking for a local spot that could provide the autumn charm that I love so much, right before everything turns completely dark for winter. We headed to Kitchell Park, a section of the Loantaka Brook Reservation in Morristown, New Jersey. Once we got to Kitchell Park (which was frrrrr-eezing, by the way), we had a Krista-themed photoshoot to choose the location we liked best.
We really liked the lake area, but as you can see, those cattails were totally giving me a Napoleon complex. Moving on, we found the perfect spot just a few steps away.
The bridge provided some depth to the picture, as well as a better vantage point for the last of the color-changing leaves. It helped that we chose outfits to accent the fall color scheme as well. I went with a neutral cardigan and tan boots with a colorful bird scarf (put a bird on it!). Dan chose to complement my outfit with a bright turquoise sweater (who knew he would be the more colorful one?). Not to mention, the turquoise really helped bring in the feeling of winter and the holiday season. More on that in a minute.
To complete the card, Dan brightened up the image using Photoshop and we scoured the internet for some fun, free fonts to use. These two fonts are from Font Squirrel, a free font downloading website. The “cheers” is a font called Grand Hotel, and we put a shadow underneath it to help it stand out. “The Klein Family” is written in Ostrich bold font. It only took us about an hour to choose and edit the right photo, fonts, and colors for the front.
Since this is a postcard, we wanted to leave room to write a cheerful message to our family and friends, but we didn’t want to leave a completely blank card, either. We chose to utilize Dan’s sweater color and wrote “happy holidays” in Grand Hotel font. The snowflake outline was just a downloadable design that we changed to a light silver color. Since I had such a great experience using Vistaprint for our save the dates, I decided to use them again. This time, they had a fantastic special going on: 50 cards for $10, with an additional $5 charge for the color backside of the postcard. Plus $6.40 for tax and shipping, these holiday cards ended up costing us only $21.40! Not bad for a completely custom product, especially at half the price of our 35 Minted cards from last year. I can definitely see this becoming an annual tradition!
I would love to hear about the holiday DIY-ing going on in your world. I’ve already seen about a million cute wreaths, cookies, Christmas tree designs, and I can’t get enough! Happy DIY holidays!