The Big Reveal, DIY and a Message

After almost sixty hours, my annual Christmas cards are done. Whew! I smiled while dropping them into the mailbox and imagined my friends and family opening up my little art project. Time is at a premium and many don’t even send store bought cards. We live in an electronic age where communication is at our fingertips. We make contact through texts, tweets and Facebook. Very few pick up the phone and actually talk to people anymore. Everyone is too busy.

I am a dinosaur in today’s world. I plodded through the week while drawing, printing, cutting, and pasting. My gift to others is not just about the card. It is about the love  and time it takes to create them. Each one  took over 45 minutes. Yep, That was a little overboard. I have a wealth of new ideas for next year and promise to start in July!

The Process:

First I decide on an activity. My family is found skiing in many of my cards, but I wanted to come up with something unique for 2013. It has been an exceptional year in some ways, but I was derailed by breast cancer. When I thought of the concept, Dancing on 2013’s Grave, I laughed out loud!

Yes Wild Riders. I am ready to dance once again. Did you miss me?

First I sketch my ideas. Once I have a workable drawing, I use tracing paper and a marker for a final copy. I  hope to capture the likeness of everyone. I only draw once a year, so I am always a little nervous when I start. Sometimes the illustration just works like this year when it only took two hours. Other times, I find it challenging to recreate the shape of the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the jawline. There’s always some printing involved. Thank God for the invention of the inkjet. I used to run back and forth to a commercial printer in a neighboring town to get the pieces camera ready.

2013 drawing



While perusing my Sabuda pop-up books, I discovered two of his creations spun. I loved the idea of moving in this dancing card. I had no idea how many hours I would tack on for a little quarter turn. But it rocks, literally!

The Pieces and Parts:

I had to figure out the mechanism. I made several prototypes that failed. When I used card stock, instead of flimsy paper, I had my Eureka moment. I made it all one unit, printed them, and cut them out.

spinning mech 1


spinning mechanism

pieces and parts

There was a lot of trimming involved with the front cover and the message inside, but I had to add the snowflakes!

front of card

Of course there had to be mountains. We are the Colorado Lindaus after all. This entailed more printing and trimming.

inside of card

I printed the illustration as large as possible.

illustration cut out


I folded 95, yes, 95 sheets of red cardstock in half. I glued the front cover and then the inner sheet with the message.

finished cards

After they were dry, I glued down the tabs.

gluing spinner to base

spinner 3

I glued the illustration onto the circular tab. DONE! Wait. I had almost 300 snowflakes cut out. I glued one above the mountains. Now I was DONE!

Front of Card 2013

Inside 2013 Christmas card

My Holiday Message:

Prioritize your time in 2014. When I was first diagnosed, I wasn’t sure I would live to see Christmas! I feel very grateful the cancer was caught early. Find your passion and don’t give up! Balance work and play. Spend quality time with family and friends who support your dreams. Like the dinosaurs, we only have a short time to plod around on this earth and most want to leave a lasting impression, not just a pile of bones.


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Contest winners Lame AdventuresMary D. Pierce, 4 AM WriterPegoleg, and Kecia Adams guessed correctly (or were close enough), and will receive a card! Click on their links and check out their fabulous blogs.

107 thoughts on “The Big Reveal, DIY and a Message

  1. Wow! Those cards are way more impressive than anything Hallmark puts out. Not even close. You are so scary talented, young lady.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours. And a very kick ass New Year.


    • Thanks so much!
      If a person has never created art work, it is hard to imagine how long any project takes. Next year, I plan to cut these hours in half! It’s a plan anyway.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  2. As per your example I sent out all of my cards. I made sure I signed them all and left an appropriate message. Mailed them, patted myself on the back. Got an e-mail from my younger niece, she got an envelope but no card. Rummaged around and found her card in the holding area. E-mailed her message and holiday wishes. Yep, senility is setting in.


    • HahaHa! I’ve done that before! Danny’s mom got an empty envelope one year. We brought her a card when we visited Wisconsin!
      I am so glad I inspired you and am sure your family and friends were happy to receiver them!
      Merry Christmas Tom!


    • Thanks so much! It’s weird to me how drawing is like riding a bike. I thought it would take forever to get the likeness. I got very lucky!
      Next year, I plan to create a flat card AND a pop up so I can send more out.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family too!


  3. Susie, I’m so impressed! Awesome cards and love the theme – if anyone has a right to dance and stomp all over 2013 it’s YOU! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and all the best for 2014! ~ Julie xoxox


    • Great to see you Julie! Merry Christmas to you and your family.
      It just popped into my head. It was a miserable year for many although my family had a great year. I am glad to see it go! ….stomps while dancing on graves…..🙂


    • Thank you so much Maria! They are the one art project I create during the year. Before I started writing, almost three years ago, I considered illustrating cards to sell. I even had a couple of sketches worked up. I shelved the project and started painting scenes with words instead!
      I wish I could send them to everyone.
      I love the feeling of dropping them into the mailbox. Ahhhhhh!
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  4. Your card is perfect, Susie. I love the idea of rocking in the New Year with your family and I’ll definitely be joining you. I felt all warm and fuzzy when I knew we were both making our own cards – thousands of miles apart but on the same page, so to speak. Life is too precious not to savor every moment of it spent with loved ones.


    • Coming from you, that means a lot. Thanks so much!
      I don’t think many will get the cliche- dancing on 2013’s grave, but they’ll get that we’re happy this year is over!
      We’re kindred sisters thousands of miles apart and yet there we were, cutting and pasting away!
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!


    • Thanks Maggie C! Well, its going out with a bang! I’m glad I got through 2013. When I look back, it is pretty surreal, but it is ending a very high note!
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  5. You blow me away with your amazing, home-made cards. I love the message of balancing work and play. To answer your question, my favorite holiday tradition is watching my son open his Christmas presents. He just turned 11 and still believes in Santa. Don’t know how many more years I can get away with it. But I have a back-up explanation that might keep him believing for the rest of his life.


    • That is a very good plan! The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the Lindau household even though I have adult children.
      Thank you so much! They were a huge project, but they worked! Thank God!
      We all have to make time to play and spend time with friends and family. Life is so short!
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!


  6. Whoa, what a card Susie! And I am among the winners? Double whoa! I wish you, Danny, the kids and Roxy a very Merry Christmas from the warm and sunny San Francisco Bay Area (back in the Apple for Bew Year’s). And good health to you in 2014 buddy.


  7. Wow, you’re my hero. That’s a looooooottttt of work. I hope your friends appreciate the love and effort you put into them.

    So glad you’re here to dance another year. Cyber world and Colorado would not be the same without you.

    Merry Christmas!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  8. WOW!! You are wonder, Susie. I’m so happy to have won one your amazing cards – they are truly a work of art. As are you (far from a dinosaur)! I have a glass fronted cabinet in my den where I keep my treasures, which is where your card is going. Thank you!

    And thank you for blessing us with your courage, charm, and wit throughout what was a tough year for you. Happiest of holidays to you and your lovely family, Susie.



    • Wow! I am honored Mary. Thank you!
      It was a Wild year and I’m glad it’s all behind me. On to the next great adventure! Thank you for all the support throughout!
      Merry Christmas to you!


  9. The cards were pretty amazing, Susie. Even assuming I had the patience to make them (I don’t), I lack the skill. Great job…do you ever have that “and how do I top that feeling” from year to year?


    • Thanks so much Dave!
      This is the only artwork I do these days. Writing has taken over, but gives me the same satisfaction. I do get a rush from creating something out of nothing.
      I compete with myself and that’s why I have stuck with pop up cards since I started creating them! I always loved them as a kid.
      Thanks for stopping by!


  10. visit, read the article and thanks for posting your article is quite good and we hope that all our friends all success and thank you all, greetings. (This is a good thing)🙂


  11. Holy crap, you’re really good! I didn’t realize you were an artist too… good for you for being a dinosaur, the cards are little treasures! I am forever spending lots of time on smallish things that I could never sell for enough to make up for the time. But that’s not the reason I make them, as you would understand. Great job 🙂
    Merry Christmas! x


    • Thanks so much!
      I can sooooo relate! This is the first year that I kept track of my time. Thank god, I didn’t do any extravagant entertaining! I would have been just a little stressed!
      Merry Christmas to you!


  12. I am DElighted to receive your card, Susie, but even more delighted to have gotten to know you so well this year we practically went on vacation together!

    I’m praying that 2014 is fabulous: blessed, happy and healthy for you and your family.


  13. Fabulous cards … yet again, o creative one! This holiday season will be all the more meaningful given the tremendous challenge you all faced. You are the gift that keeps giving, Susie, with your fabulous outlook, endless talent, and magical ability to bring people together. No wonder we all love you so much! Warmest wishes to you and your family!


    • Awwwww! Thanks so much Alarna! I am glad to see this year go. It is ending on a great note, with great health, my son graduating last weekend and my daughter on the Dean’s list! Things are looking up!
      I wish you the very best in the New Year too!


  14. Wow. I am absolutely amazed. You should do this as a side business and make some extra cash!

    Well, 2013 is almost over. So much has happened good and bad. Let’s look forward to a better 2014! Merry Christmas!


    • Thanks so much Phil! I had thought about the card business before I started writing almost three years ago.
      Absodanglutely, I am ready for an amazing year!
      Hope your Christmas very Merry!


  15. I really love the images — I bet your cards are amazing. I feel really honored that I get to see one, touch one, in real life! I can’t wait!!

    Have a merry Christmas–I’m sure you’ll get lots of dancing in!🙂


  16. Hi Susie!
    Came by earlier but didn’t get comment sent due to dogs crashing into things!
    So cool. That “half turn” you struggled with had to be ice skating.
    I used to start wrapping Christmas presents after Halloween as each was a similar individualized little piece of artwork. (Sometimes the item inside was a bit out-shined – but the wonder is important for Christmas. Except somehow that irritated my sister-in-law. So stuck on bows for her now)
    Your message is so important. One of the best I’ve seen this season (hmmm, looks like I’ll need to stock up on ink for the printer to attempt this…but so cool.)
    Jingle on, Susie. You add a lot of merry for us all!


    • Awww! Thanks so much Phil and for all your support throughout the year. Your guess was close!
      I have seen some pretty amazing wrapped gifts. I bet yours are amazing! Ignore your sister-in-law and blog about them next year!


  17. Pingback: Jumping for Joy! Literally… | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  18. Susie, These are gorgeous! What a treasure for your friends and family to receive. They will cherish it always. Your talents never seems to end. Although I am reading this as I catch up on all the blogs I missed during the black out (so I am very out of date), I am really glad to be able to dance on 2013’s grave as well. Keep on rock’n.


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