Christmas Crafts - Sudden Write Turn Freelance Writing

Christmas Crafts

Linoleum block cutting and spoon print.
It looks better from a distance. Like a Monet.

One Christmas my mother made candy wreaths for our elementary school teachers. She bent a metal coat hanger into a perfect circle then painstakingly tied red and green curling ribbon around the hoop, adding peppermint candies along the way. She was very good at making ringlets with a quick zip of the ribbon between thumb and a scissors blade. The wreaths were a fun, creative and inexpensive way to say “thank you.”

I’ve never quite mastered the ringlet-making – about 3 out of 5 times I get it right. My sister, on the other hand, is making wreaths for every season and holiday these days.

There is my mother the ribbon ringlet wreath-maker, my dad the Macy’s-worthy gift wrapper, and my sister whose teacher’s penmanship is the crafter’s equivalent of a “tell.”

I have crafty ideas, but my execution is at about second grade level (don’t even get me started on wrapping gifts). The year that my husband and I had our first apartment, I collected pine cones, dipped them in glue and then in glitter. I used a glue gun to attach red and green ribbons.

My husband thinks the pine cone ornaments are cute as heck and digs them out every year, no matter how hard I try to hide them under other, more desirable, decorations.

Even though my crafting efforts largely disappoint (me), I still get that itch to create.  And I believe that handcrafted items have special meaning.

So when I decided to make Christmas cards to send to the people who were a part of my writing year, I turned to the two-dimensional craft that I can do with acceptable results: Block Cutting and Spoon Printing.

My first try was a miserable failure. I forgot some of the rules I learned about keeping the design simple and allowing for deliberate imperfections. I forgot to include a border and didn’t heat my linoleum block for easier carving. I just gouged away and swore every time a brittle section broke away and ruined my vision.

The resulting prints were awful and I dramatically declared that I was done trying to be crafty.

The next day I started over.

Candy Cane Block Cutting
Sketch, cut linoleum block and print. I made this!

I followed the rules. I took my time. I used softer linoleum and wasn’t too timid about adding more ink to my palette.

The resulting cards are not Laura Wilder-level prints, but they are handmade, by me.

I put my heart into these cards because I am so deeply appreciative of all the people who played a role in my first year as a freelance writer. I could not have told any stories without them. Including this one.


Reader Interactions


  1. The main thing with crafts is that you enjoy the process. The cards look great. And truly, I would much rather receive something made with love than a mass-produced item anyway. Keep at it!

  2. They look great, Terra! I did that one year, quite a few years ago now, and it was fun and satisfying. My first year of teaching, in VT, I made spatter-print cards for every student, with mixed results but also satisfying. Nothing like home-made to show you card!

  3. Well, I have always been called “creative” and “artsy”, and mastered a number of media in the past, and I THINK they look orignal and fresh. Pepperminty! How much is a box?

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