A few months ago, my boyfriend announced he didn’t want birthday cards this year. I was overwhelmed with emotion – no birthday cards? No anticipation as you open the card to see if there’s money inside? No mementos of your day to scrapbook? No fun card design you can cut out and save for a later crafty recycling occasion?! Admittedly, Cobb doesn’t do any of these things, but his main reasons for his insane choice were (annoyingly) more logical. According to Cobb:
1) They don’t really mean anything – anyone can wander into Clintons, buy something with a standard joke on the front and sign it: ‘From Random Person’.
2) Thus, you keep them for a few days and then just chuck them. (Well, I don’t but I hear regular people do).
3) Therefore, it’s a waste of money.
4) And also, bad for the environment.
He went on to say it would be different if someone made him a card, and used only things they had already so it was giving the materials a new lease of life (I’ll admit he didn’t say it in quite such a douchey way). So I decided to make him one. However, as you can see from the title of this blog, the idea may have evolved somewhat into something un-card like but, what can I say? I get carried away.
So I set myself the challenge of using only paper I had already (and preferably not printer paper because that’s a) lame and b) not using up old stuff, and just making my parents buy more all the sooner. I came up with this little poem for the card, but as I had to make part of Cobb’s present (it’s his fault for having a birthday when I’m unemployed!) I realised I could put it in a calendar and do one line a page (I later realised there were 16 lines and only, ahem, 12 months in a year so had to double up a bit…). I wanted each page to look different, but all go together tonally and look kind of cool and eco and stuff seeing as Cobb is into that. I gathered up brown paper bags, newspapers, used envelopes and old brown card and paper that I already had in my craft box (always save for a rainy day!) and scoured Facebook for photo memories that would go with the poem.
The plan was this: 1) Cut and arrange the paper into A4 2) Print the photos, calendar and poem lines directly onto the paper 3) Hole punch and whack some string through (I found some old picture cord from somewhere) 4) Bob’s your uncle!
However, it did not go to plan! As you can see, the front cover material (thin brown cardboard) and my printer got on like a house on fire. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that tissue paper and printers are like my internal system and dairy – they don’t get on. What’s worse is that having unjammed my printer from the brown paper bag it had ensnared, I couldn’t cancel the print job in time and ended up with a 12 page calendar on printer paper, and 12 separate pages of recycled materials (well, 11 after the printer was done with the paper bag) that were going to go to waste (which, as you are well aware, was the opposite of my intention).
I did the best with what I had – I wrote or traced the months onto the recycled pages (you’ll notice which ones I did free-hand – they’re the crap ones), cut and stuck the rest on, and either saved what was left for another time, or put it in the recycling (so I still get green points!)
|This deconstructed envelope is my favourite, even if it has my Mum's address on it!|
And voila! You could do all sorts of variations. You could use wrapping paper to make it more colourful, or in-jokes instead of lines of a poem (which, in retrospect, would have been less cringey) or pictures and quotes from their favourite films. Either way, one excellent, personal, home-made gift without spending a single penny. Result!