Let's face it, after Christmas is over, we can feel a little down. Two things I can do in January really help me get over it. And, they are things I learned from my former husband. Yes, sweet, lovely things can come out of unions that don't last a lifetime!
The first activity is creating Christmas present tags out of the Christmas cards received. Even if you don't feel you have any artistic ability, you can absolutely do this. It takes no time at all and it's quite fun.
The first thing I do is survey all the cards. Of course the ones with family pictures get put into a different pile (they replace last year's pictures that are posted in a collage in the office).
There are ones that don't have a lot of interesting things going on. Sometimes the colors, textures and patterns let them become nice tags. Or, they just aren't interesting enough and aren't used at all. And then you have the cards that have a lot going on. It's typically some kind of winter or Christmas scene. And with these, you can often get multiple tags out of one card!
The key is to center on the central object if you have one (like a wreath, santa, horse drawn sleigh, etc) and figure out beforehand where will the back side of the tag come from. It's ideal when it can be above or to the left of the central object for a tag. Here, the fold will be just above or to the left of the central object. If you are worried about your centering and cutting straight lines ability, just use a ruler and a pencil with an eraser to get your centering correct and lines straight.
It's not that you can't make a tag when the back needs to be to the right or bottom of the central object, its just that it wouldn't open in a standard way. If I really love the tag, I will allow this, or maybe even make a tag out of two card sections by doing some cutting and pasting. Of course, if the tag is just a neat design or texture, you don't have this problem (you will be able to have it open with the fold on the left or top).
The percentage of cards that end up being usable from year to year varies a lot. This adds to the fun! When next Christmas comes, and you can use them as tags on presents, you'll see that they can really make wonderful accents for your gifts, especially when you match up the tag with the wrap and ribbon. Note that this is a fun activity to do on your own or even with children (just make sure you use the safe/blunt scissors).
The second activity is especially wonderful on a snowy or very cold day when you are relegated to the house. It has to do with developing a very special ability that you probably thought you are either blessed with it or you aren't. It's drawing. I told Peter when we were just dating how much I loved to draw. But I only took one art class and that was in high school. Although I got As, I thought that I didn't have much natural ability. I was sad and disappointed about this particularly because I knew both my mother and great grandmother had a fair amount of artistic ability, and both drew and painted some very beautiful things.
The next thing I knew, we were on a field trip to an art store. Drawing paper, pencils and erasers were bought, as well as the most wonderful book there is on drawing. It will show ANYONE how to draw and how to draw well. It's called Drawing On The Right Side of The Brain.
Honestly, it is remarkable how quickly this book gets you to develop skill here. If you have any interest at all in this, you have to get this book! You will be so thrilled and amazed with what you will be able to do.
Here is the first drawing I made (as I was reading the book).
My biggest challenge now is not learning how to draw, but giving myself permission to take the time to learn and practice. I always seem to have other priorities that "must" be taken care of first. Otherwise I feel guilty for indulging. Take a look at the dates of the drawings. Years can go by before I draw again!
But, as with riding a bike, once you develop some skill here, you have it for life!
Get out there and draw!