Over the years, I have received several beautiful handmade Christmas cards from my good friend Renske. They usually take the form of a quilted postcard, and each one is so unique and lovely that I’ve kept them all, displaying them every year at Christmastime as part of our holiday decorations.
I enjoy every card and letter I receive during the holidays, but it’s extra special to receive such a personal token of friendship. And this year, I decided it was about time that I made one to give to her in return!
Renske was born in Friesland, and she has had a lifelong love of Frisian horses. I chose to make her a card that depicted a Frisian horse, its mane and tail represented by black beads, with some green and red beads added in for a Christmassy touch.
The body of the card is Pellon, which is stiff and fusible on both sides. I fused the light coloured fabric to one side, then cut out the horse shape and zig-zagged it on to the centre of the field. My nine-year-old daughter has a vast collection of beads, and I borrowed a few to create the mane and tail. (The red and green beads don’t show up as well in the photo as they do in real life!) Then I fused on the backing fabric, covering all the stitches. I created a contrasting edge by zig-zagging around the whole card with black thread. Really, it was a pretty simple project: handsewing the beads was the most time consuming part of it all.
Then I decided to Google the Frisian words for ‘Merry Christmas’, and thanks to a translation site, I found the phrase: “Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier.” I understood it to mean, “Merry Christmas, and good luck and health for the New Year.” I wrote it on the back of the card and added my name, hoping that it was right, or close enough that she would understand the sentiment.
Although it’s theoretically possible to send a quilted postcard through the mail by simply putting a stamp on the back, I was afraid of the beads getting stuck in a letter-sorting machine, so I wrapped the card in tissue paper and put it in an envelope before mailing it.
Today, Renske emailed to say that she’d received it, and was delighted to have gotten Christmas wishes in her native tongue. It was very fulfilling to send her a personal card! I loved the warm and fuzzy feeling I got as I read her ‘thank you’ message — I will definitely be making more homemade cards in the future!