Anatomy of a Christmas Card: 2013

December 18, 2013

@home, @play

If you’ve been hanging around Team Phenix for a year or more, you know that we over-think our Christmas card.  And by “we” I mean “me.”  When people comment to Billy about how much we seem to love creating and sending cards, he’s fond of saying, “Actually, my wife loves Christmas cards and I really love my wife!”

True enough.  I’ll take it.

I don’t make it to many parties and I certainly skip the “dress up in seasonal finery,”  but one thing I certainly do with annual regularity is embrace the holiday festivities and exercise my creative muscles with our card.

This year might be my favorite outing yet!

It starts with a nugget of an idea.  Mine came last year when I saw how a mom edited her sleeping baby into different positions. (here) SO fun!  Immediately, I co-opted the approach for our card.

Of course, I’m not a photographer.  I don’t draw. I don’t use Photoshop.

But those seemed like minor obstacles.

I started by enlisting the help of my amazingly talented photographer friend, Joy Cannis, and explained the vision.  The key was to get us into poses that an illustrator could use to draw in Christmas bling.  Joy “got it” and moved on the idea in two days time.  Woot!

Her pictures were super fun and she kept the mood light.


The goal was to pose with shots which would provide lots of opportunity to insert illustrations. We did a bunch of poses with open hands.


We were silly for as long as attitudes held out. (Fortunately Joy is speedy!)


Next, we sent the pictures to my brilliantly artistic niece Lindsay who has, among other fabulous talents, mad skills as an illustrator.  (She did my Nine Toes Production logo too!)

Lindsay busted out Photoshop and returned a cache of pictures.  She took an image that started like this…

And transformed it into a winter scene like this…
Lindsay changed Billy’s jump shot into this epic pic…
While Billy was doing the half-pipe, I was chilling with Santa!
We had 16 illustrations to choose from and I couldn’t begin to decide, so I sent the results to Lisa at Chouette Design Group, and she picked for me!  Lisa decided to maximize the use of pictures by using an accordion design. 
I was smitten!

I wrote the notes.  Billy and I edited our mailing list (the ugliest part of the process!), Billy and the kids folded and stuffed envelopes (I was traveling), and then we were done!  Joy, Lindsay, and Lisa did the heavy lifting on this project and MAN are they great!!!

Aside from the tobogganing picture above, which is on the back of the card,  the rest of the images are below.


My son’s glamor shot!

At least one of the jump shots made the cut!
Friends have called these the “mini-me” shots!  A mini Joy…
… and a mini Billy!

Make a joyful noise!


Have a very Merry Christmas!


Love, Team Phenix!

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6 Responses to “Anatomy of a Christmas Card: 2013”

  1. Bram Floria Says:

    MAN I love Photoshop! I love REAL creativity even more! You rock.


  2. Sheila Mitchell Says:

    What a treat!!!!!! Such a cute family!Thanks for sharing, it’s fun to see how the kids
    really do resemble u guys!
    Lisa and I would love to get together
    With u and Amy and hear all about your next
    exciting ride! I’m honored each time I see a post now
    to be reminded to look at my 10 toes and cover 9 Toes
    Production in my prayers!

    Merry Christmas


  3. Rachel Bos Says:

    So FUN!! Miss you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


  4. Tammi Bateman Says:

    Love these, Joy. You seem to have such a fun family! God bless you and Merry Christmas. Looking forward to hearing what the new job and new year bring your way. =)


  5. Joy Says:

    Love, Love, Love!
    Thanks for being awesome and raising a generation of awesome ;)


  6. Mark Allman Says:

    Great idea.


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