Guess What’s Spinning Out of Control – A Contest!

While growing up, my sister and I kept busy by creating all kinds of art projects. Accustomed to drawing, I chose an art degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. I worked at a hospital as a medical illustrator for a few years. When Danny and I were married in 1987,  I drew our first Christmas card which started a family tradition. They never took more than a day. I dashed off to the printer and picked them up when they were done.

step 7

Last year’s card. They were a piece of cake compared to this year’s.

What started out as a simple illustration  has become a complicated marathon. It all started a couple of years ago, when I paged through Robert Sabuda‘s Christmas pop-up books. I stared in wonder at the amazing crafted paper which transformed into 3-d objects before my eyes. The BRILLIANT idea of creating a moving card was born.

Christmas-11-024_thumb.jpg

How does he do it?

This year, I searched for inspiration in Sabuda’s books once again. I found two pages that popped up and spun. After five hours of studying and trying to copy the paper mechanism that created spin in the book, I had a breakdown. The stupid thing wouldn’t turn.

deconstructing Sabuda

Deconstructing Sabuda. I finally pulled off the circular part to examine the folds underneath.

Instead of wasting more time, I drew the illustration. It only took two hours. I considered printing the card without the pop-up, but something deep down inside screamed, “Don’t give up now! It will be so cool if it works!” I tried to shut the little voice up, strangle it really, but it kept getting louder. I attempted to create the mechanism with heavier card stock. It worked! It was a gift and a curse.

After nearly fifty fun-filled hours of printing, cutting, and pasting, the cards are finished. The small quarter turn I worked so hard to create, may not even be noticed when opening up the card. Oh well… I know it’s there. 

I’m not sure whether it’s determination or stubbornness that won’t let me give up on an idea. Once I visualize a project, I feel compelled to complete it. When I consider the alternative, it feels like defeat.

Doesn’t compelled sound similar to compulsive? I looked it up: “Compulsion is the state of being compelled. The irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the irrationality of the motivation. “ Well, there you go.

I made it to the finish line exhausted, but happy. Next year I promise to keep it simple and sprint through the project. Yeah. Right.

Guess what my family is doing in this year’s Christmas card and I’ll send you one! The more specific the better. If there are more than three winners, I will draw names.

Have you ever felt compelled to do something irrational?

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About Susie Lindau

I am a Boulder, Colorado writer and artist who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride!
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93 Responses to Guess What’s Spinning Out of Control – A Contest!

  1. The card sounds very interesting and wonderful!

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  2. Pingback: The Big Reveal, DIY and a Message | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  3. “How does he do it?” Um, he probably has a staff for god sakes! You are amazing….seriously badass amazing! My guess would be something regarding your amazing vacation. Perhaps a pop up airplane (that probably really flies) going over the beautiful cities you visited.

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    • susielindau says:

      Thanks so much Lisa! Great guess!
      One of the commenters worked making the Sabuda books. She said It took a lot of glue!
      I am planning to start a lot earlier next year. Hopefully….
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  4. Pleun says:

    Whatever is on that card, I’m sure it will look amazing! I might have to give it a go next year ;-)

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  5. Pingback: Homemade Greeting Cards | this time - this space

  6. pegoleg says:

    Miss Susie, you are cray-cray! And my idol. I’m not even doing cards this year, since I’m barely able to write my name lately.

    I bet your family is dancing…with joy, because their mom/wife is so creative.

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  7. timethief says:

    Dear Susie,
    I love making my own greeting cards. Thanks so much for sharing your moving card tips here. I have been into sliders and pop-outs for several years now. Each card and each wreath I make is unique and specially designed with the recipient interest in mind. All my cards have been mailed and I completed my last contract for the year yesterday. Woo hoo! Now I amready to deck my halls.

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  8. Cayman Thorn says:

    It’s getting tiresome…to say you have outdone yourself. But ya have . . again. At this rate, you might as well start on next year’s Christmas card, like now.
    Seriously though, it’s a testament to your stick-to-itiveness that you even ventured into this project and then STAYED there. You’re always inspiring.

    The guess would be that the gang is playing football in the front yard whilst you coach ‘em up. The ‘Buffs need to hire you, tell you what.

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  9. jbw0123 says:

    I’m still wowed by your cards from last year! Gorgeous!!! Out of compulsion comes art.

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  10. mj monaghan says:

    Hmm … me compelled to do something irrational?? Never! :)

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  11. The Hook says:

    I have no idea what the Lindau clan is up to in your holiday card, but as long as they do it as a family, I bet it’ll rock!

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  12. Do I ever feel compelled to do something irrational? Well that happens every single day when I get up early and write my novel before going to work. :P
    PS – I’ve worked on a Sabuda pop up book (Brava Strega Nona). A lot of glue. Crazy stuff!

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  13. Wonderful, Susie! You are so creative and tenacious! My whole life has been a series of irrational but compelling decisions. It makes for good stories, right? Anyway, I’m not good at guessing games… I’ll wait for the big reveal (did someone say there’s going to be a video?? ;) )

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  14. SO glad you put the “Yeah, right…” line at the end of your next year proclamation, Susie. It saved me from having to call you out on that next November/December.

    You and your adventurous mind in combination with a compulsion to do more, make it better, and never give up? Inspiration defined! And, they look so beautiful! Go ‘head. Give me one thing at which you don’t excel. I’m needy that way. ;-)

    Me? I’ll be happy if I meet success with The Hubster’s family tradition fudge squares on the first round. Dang fudge-like topping. Dang instructions from departed MIL to boil seven minutes with no indication of temp. Dang sugar crystallization. In years past, I’ve chucked up to six batches before I got that shiny clear surface.

    Give up? Never!

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    • susielindau says:

      Wow! Those sound like challenging brownies! I bet you did it on the first try this year!
      I think I get determined after coming up with an idea. I doubt many will realize that 50 hours went into these cards this year.
      You have to guess Gloria!

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  15. I’m just completely impressed. I smiled at the compelled/compulsive discussion. That’s probably the artist’s dilemma. I hope you’re very happy with the results…you should be. :-)

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  16. Michelle says:

    Seems to me that I remember a version of this story from last year’s card, haha. But yes, I totally understand. I try to think that (if I give up) the recipients won’t ever know what I originally intended, so why make myself crazy? But I will know! I hate to put in the work and then give up, and I just WANT, so badly, to make it work the way I envisioned it in my head.

    And here’s the thing about those Robert Sabuda books: he only has to create one.

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    • susielindau says:

      That is so true! I think I get really excited about the idea, like a little kid, and HAVE to do it!
      I skimmed the comments and someone after you worked for a while putting together Sabuda books!!!!
      Can you guess what we’re doing.

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  17. Nia Simone says:

    You are so funny! Thanks for making me stop complaining about all the cards I had to write! They are gorgeous by the way.

    You are an artist, that’s why you have to do it.

    Hugs,

    Nia

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  18. 4amWriter says:

    Thinking that there is a spinning mechanism, I will guess you’re dancing while holding flower pots in front of your chests. ;)

    I’m pretty compulsive when it comes to anything special that I plan. I want to see it through, no matter how difficult it is, like my Halloween parties that I throw for the kids.

    I bet your cards are divine.

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  19. Catherine says:

    Can we see a little video of the moving card? All that work, you should show it off!

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  20. marydpierce says:

    Given your disco dancing across parts of Europe this summer, and the fact that your son is a DJ, I’ll guess you’re dancing!

    Can’t wait to see the end result. What ever your family is doing this year, the cards will no doubt be amazing!!

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  21. Is it a picture of your little wonderful family holding flower pots in front of their chests (like your iconic photo) and you can open the flaps to see what’s behind the pots? :) That would actually be pretty cute! LOL.

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  22. You’re nuts.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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  23. I guess you are all gathered around the fireplace looking very happy. I am irrational when it comes to trying to fix my old vehicle myself. It becomes a passion. (of course it is a beautiful 1978 Toyota FJ 40 land cruiser , but hey.

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  24. Widdershins says:

    I try and do something ‘irrational’ at least once a day … it cleanses the palate and liberates the spirit!

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  25. Those cards look awesome – and so satisfying to do! Somewhat envious of how well organised you are. In our household, the week or two before the festive moment devolves to a frenzied scrabble to Get Everything Finished, of which festive preparations themselves seem to come last… sigh… I’m not sure how things are in the US, but here in NZ the Christmas period involves about a three week summer shut-down of Absolutely Everything and it’s the apparent need to get the year’s activities finished before the universe (evidently) ends that erodes the time. As I say….sigh…

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  26. I’ll guess making a snowman. Well, happy holidays.

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  27. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    I can barely draw a stick figure and you expect me to even attempt anything like this? I’ll leave the crafty masterpiece to you and stick with buying my cards at Hallmark!

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  28. Popup card engineering is so satisfying. I can completely understand your obsession (the time spent is not wasted when it is used in an activity that brings satisfaction to you and joy to the recipients.)
    Are you decorating your Christmas tree, or stuffing stockings?

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  29. tomwisk says:

    You are sooo far ahead of me. I still have to make calls to relatives to collect addresses and e-mail addresses for the relatives whose envelopes from last year got tossed in the last purge, I mean major cleaning.

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  30. If you’re taking requests, after you announce the winner of your card guessing game contest, how about posting a video of how it works? My guess is that you’re rocking around the Christmas tree.

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  31. colonialist says:

    Hmmm…
    There is compulsion, and then there is obsession … Never mind, most genius-types have the latter.
    Is this a photo of the family looking at you in some apprehension wondering what the latest daffty thing is that you are about to get up to? :)

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  32. Beating your husband with bionic boobs? jk. I do irrational things all the time – like publishing books three people will read.

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  33. I would hazard that you are driving on the wrong side of an English country road all wearing doom laden expressions.

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  34. Kecia Adams says:

    Hi Susie! Your post sounded a great deal like my artist daughter’s breakdown last night. She conceived a number (2 sides of closely ruled 8×11 paper’s worth) of art projects to draw, construct, and give to her friends for Christmas this year. She did the math last night (never her strong suit–math) and discovered she just wouldn’t be able to finish it all given her school and sports schedule. Oh, the tragedy. I don’t think she’s given up on the ideas, though, math notwithstanding. The compulsion may come with the artistic mind. I do believe there is an artistic temperament… I love that you take time to hand craft cards for your friends and family. THAT is the true meaning of Christmas, I’m thinking… What are you doing? Dancing with joy! :)

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    • susielindau says:

      I feel your daughter’s pain! If I would have known that in the end they would take 50 hours to make, I may have cut back somewhere. Nah!
      I did the math in my head and I think it comes to 45 minutes a card. (Not bad for an art major) Cra Cra!
      I will be joyously dancing through the weekend that’s for sure. :)
      That is so interesting about the artistic temperament. I believe you’re right!
      Have a fabulous holiday. Thanks for guessing!

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  35. (Nutcracker dancing on ice?) Do hope your story gets noticed by news – perfect for trending segments.
    I know that pop-up artist. Pop-up book always fascinated me (lucky small child was careful with all those we bought) Impressive you built one! (All that attention to detail helped in med illustration) Of course you had to get that quarter turn…”better is the enemy of good”
    Love all your jingling! (makes me feel lazy!)

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    • susielindau says:

      Thanks so much Phil!
      I’ve always loved pop-up books too. I had a completely different idea in mind, but maybe I can develop it and do next year’s cards in July! Nah….

      Yeah. What’s up with that barely a quarter turn thing? Oh well. They’re all done. Now if I can fold them flat and put them into envelopes!!!

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  36. El Guapo says:

    Whatever the image, I bet it will brighten the holiday of everyone who gets it!

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  37. icboulder says:

    Susie, this story and your cards needs to be covered locally and then picked up nationally. I do have one contact at 9 News. Do I have your permission to share?

    Sent from my iPhone Sarah

    >

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  38. Tori Nelson says:

    You are so crafty it hurts my feelings :) Kidding! Can’t wait to see the finished masterpiece. My guess would be you guys are running (jogging? extreme walking?) in the card. Now that I wrote that it seems completely wrong!

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  39. John says:

    Well there’s snow up in those mountains! We flew over them yesterday on the way to Michigan ha! Have an awesome Christmas Susie!

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  40. Robert Sabuda is a genius. His books always enthral me. There is no way I would ever try to figure out how he does what he does. You are definitely a rock star in my books. I’m hoping you will show us how it all turned out in the New Year.

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  41. Cathy Ulrich says:

    I’d guess skiing at Breckenridge, Susie. Or, if I get a second guess, dining in some amazing restaurant in Barcelona. Yes, I get compelled with many projects, especially when I’m doing some kind of fiber arts. I just won’t quit until I figure it out!

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  42. Anonymous says:

    WordPress cut off on me here. your name is Suzy and I know you can do it. I would have had a stickfigure card

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  43. Anonymous says:

    They are skiing? Wild guess hahaha But that woud he HUGE and difficult.. of course your name is Suzy>>:)

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