Fairy tales & faux postage for the festive season

My little sidetrack regarding perfection & fir trees the other day came about while I was browsing for Christmas card ideas.  But for once, I have actually managed to make some Christmas cards before December (even better, before Christmas Eve!).

Inspiration finally came in the form of a sheet of ‘real’ faux postage, which I was recently able to add to my fairy tale/postage stamp collection.  Since 1904, Denmark has issued an annual sheet of Christmas ‘seals’ which look just like postage stamps (but without any marked value) and are sold in aid of charity.  Similar to artistamps except commercially produced, they’re just used to dress up letters and cards sent during the festive season, and in 1994, an amazing set was released featuring scenes and tableaux from Hans Andersen’s fairy tales:

Denmark,1994 Christmas Seals

Amongst others, you can pick out the Ugly Duckling, the Six Swans, Thumbelina, the Little Matchgirl, and the Snow Queen, but the story that wanted me to work with it this time around was the Little Fir Tree (top row).  I don’t know how well you know the story – if you re-read it, you might be surprised by how sad it is – but at the same time, it celebrates the beauty of nature (in its natural habitat!) and evokes some wonderful festive imagery to balance out the poignancy.  I was so happy when my sheet of seals arrived, and have picked out just a few of the images and combined them with short extracts from Andersen’s original tales to make a lovely seasonal collection of cards:

Little Fir Tree cards

They really emphasise for me the magical (,perhaps a little old-fashioned) but natural aspect of Christmas that can be overlooked amidst the swathes of red & green & gold & glitter of commercial festivities.  In fact, only one of the quotations includes a specific mention of Christmas, so if you prefer to celebrate a non-denominational or pagan or ‘other’ seasonal solstice festival, they are suitable for almost all occasions.

Fir Tree Zine 2013I was so taken with the illustrations that I also ‘re-jacketed’ last years ‘Seasonal Celebration of Trees’ to match (the inside of this combination zine & card is still the same).  It’s now called ‘The Fir Tree: a Celebration‘ which suits the contents just as well. 🙂

Click here for the original Andersen Little Fir Tree fairy tale.

Click here for a gallery of & further information about Denmark’s tradition of Christmas Seals – this site is fascinating & well worth a visit!

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MORE Christmas cards (Fast-As-You-Can!)

Even though for once I was relatively organised & had actually made a small batch of Christmas cards before December even began, I decided I needed just a smidge more variety for all that last-minute card-sending.  I should have thought of it sooner, really, but the first part of December always disappears in a flurry of time lost, and for some reason the thought only just formulated itself.  So there you go & here they are.

festive fayc cardMy little Santa-hatted Fast-As-You-Can Courier stamps have been adorning all outgoing ETPrintworks mail for the last couple of weeks, and I decided they needed a little showcase.  A mini-sheet of festive FAYC stamps is mounted on the front of the card, and the reverse has been printed so that it can later be upcycled as a postcard by the recipient (as per the Evergreen Greetings).  The back of the card features a brief introduction to the Fast-As-You-Can CoCo, and is hand-stamped with the FAYC postmark.  I’ve been long overdue in designing a FAYC CoCo envelope, so I popped that into the mix, too…  I’m really happy with them, and hopeful that my speedy little gingerbread couriers will hasten them to their recipients in time for ‘the big day’, even despite the late date.

I have an extra batch already made up, so if you want to chance a last-minute order, I have added stock to the ETPrintworks and Folksy stores & will despatch all orders received ASAP.  I will, however, be leaving them available to purchase year-round, just in case anyone actually wants to plan ahead next year! 😉