I didn't plan on sending cards this year. I've been creatively blocked since my dog Darby died last December. But, I live in Nevada County, a place where everyone's an artist and everyone's connected.
Here's how I went not sending cards this season to sending custom-made ones with hand-crafted envelopes distressed, stamped, and lettered to look like they came from the gold fields of California.
Erin not only runs The Outside Inn, a quaint and funky Nevada City treasure with 16 individually-themed rooms, she also writes the best blog in Nevada County about what to do and see. It's called InnSide Nevada City. It's beautiful and informative, and she has lots of contests, which is how Sheila met John, by winning his design services.
So I met with John and he helped me with my web traffic. Later, he told me he wanted to make dog portraits using vintage photographs. He sent me this...
I told John that if he made me a card with my two dogs, Tyler, my current dog who is a macho survivor, and Darby, my first dog who had the sensitive heart of a poet, I would send it out as my holiday cards. He met my challenge with these guys...
Then, I decided I wanted the cards to look like they came from 19th century California. After 1.) making this Pinterest board and 2.) panicking (is this how brides feel?), I called Erin at The Outside Inn. Because Erin is also a passionate card maker. She told me that if I brought lunch and could guarantee "each envelope would be individual" she would help me.
I drove over to The Outside Inn bearing turkey sandwiches and a gift basket with a bottle of Montoliva wine (from a vineayard a few miles away), brie, and homemade pomagranate jelly (I made with my neighbors in November with fruit from their tree). Erin and I sat in the front office, greeted guests, and made these...
It might sound absurd to hand make envelopes or care about stamps that will get thrown away. But this year, through your readership, advertising, and donations, I saw how significant the individual gesture is.
Making these cards with Nevada County artists brought that lesson home to me, and I wanted to share that. This has been a year of loss and recovery. I didn't believe that I would get through it, or that I would find another dog. But you kept telling I would. I trusted you. I am grateful. And I wanted to let you know.
I would be happy to send you a handcrafted Tyler & Darby card from the gold fields of California if you email me your address.