Ghosts of Christmas Cards Past

I have made my own holiday cards since I was a child. My mom got me started, so I can blame this on her. She used to do block prints. I remember one where she took all of the religious icons and had them morph into peace signs. That was probably in the late sixties. She had me making potato prints where I would carve a Christmas tree into half of a potato and then I would dip it in tempera paint and press it onto construction paper to be used for cards. I haven't stopped making them since. I made fish cards in 1992 and hand painted them.

This one was scratchboard, but instead of printing it myself, I paid a printer to print it and fold it. That was way better than the three days it usually takes me to make around 120 cards or so. I used to send out about 200 cards, but I've had to cut the list back. We owned espresso bars in Atlanta when I made this over-caffeinated Santa.

I can't remember when I made this one, but I think it was the year that my book, "The Night I Followed the Dog" came out, which was 1994. That would explain the dog theme.

In 1998 I got fancy. I created this skating polar bear in chalk pastels and Peaceable Kingdom Press printed and sold it and sent me a stack, so I sent out full-color glossy printed cards for the first time. 

I'm not sure what happened between 1998 and this card from 2006. I know I created and published a slew of books. But this card with a "gourmet snow-person" featured my brownie recipe inside, which called for all-purpose flour. This was the year before my husband's health went from bad to horrible and we discovered he was allergic to wheat and gluten. This was also the last card I illustrated.

For some reasons that are not so odd, life started to become very difficult. I switched to making cards with photos that I took, printed, and glued onto cards that I also printed, cut and folded. It seemed to take a little less time to go into Photoshop and use Illustrator for layout instead of illustrating in whatever medium I chose- mostly it had been scratchboard in the past. 

In 2009 we had a really bad year, but somehow we survived. Hence the Titanic theme. We wished for a better 2010, and it was a little bit better, but I won't show the card I made that year. I don't like it.

This year I'm going with a photo again. This year has been rough. Not quite Titanic rough, but we still feel a bit beat-up. So this year I'm going to look forward. Not back. And I'm hoping that next year I'll have the desire to illustrate again. Something fun. Something feisty. Something festive. 

For those of you who are on my list- you will get the card in the mail. Hand made. Days of printing, cutting, folding and taping. For those of you who are out there in cyber-space- I will share the card with you here. May we all have have happy holidays, a happy new year, and may the ghosts of the past go on their merry ways and send nothing but good cheer.

From my heart to yours.
With love,


  1. Nice to see artist's christmas cards. I sometimes rise to the challenge, hand printed etchings etc. but haven't done that for a while. Thanks for sharing these cards.

  2. Nina,
    Recognize and love those early cards! Whatever you send – via post or cyber mail is always a treasure – as are you. Much love and look forward to your 2012 visit to Atlanta? If not we'll "see you" on the blog. XO and Merry Everything, Yvonne

  3. This is the unique card. so this is great moment enjoyment for this Christmas...Thanks

    Christmas Cards


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