Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bookmarks from old Christmas cards

Here's a fun and easy craft project to make use of those beautiful Christmas cards you just can't bear to throw away. I learned to make these bookmarks a long time ago -- probably a good 30 years ago -- and had forgotten all about them until I found these four in a box at my parents' house. I believe I'd given these as little gifts to my parents and two siblings, but there they were, stashed away in a box, unused. I was happy to be reminded of this idea!

These two old bookmarks were made with landscape-type scenes from Christmas cards.

One of these is made with a pretty photo of a lantern from an old Christmas card. The other is a depiction of the three wise men. You can see that bookmarks can be made from cards that have either a horizontal (like the first two) or a vertical design (like these).

To make these bookmarks, you first cut rectangles from old Christmas cards, the approximate size you'd like the bookmark to be, rounding the corners a bit. (The end product will, of course, be a bit larger because of the crochet stitches surrounding it. The ones I made were about 4 and three-quarters inches long and about 2 and one-quarter inches wide.) I made mine a double thickness by cutting a matching rectangle from the blank back of the card -- plain white card stock or a color would work too. If the card stock the Christmas card is made from is really sturdy, one would not need the second rectangle.

Then, holding both rectangles together, you punch holes with a small paper punch -- those in the photo are about an eighth of an inch -- at intervals all around the bookmark. I punched holes at quarter-inch intervals.

Again, holding both rectangles together, simply use crochet cotton and a small hook to single-crochet around the bookmark, starting at the center top of the bookmark and putting 3 stitches in each punched hole. I think that when I try this again I will put an extra stitch in each corner. When you get back to the beginning, join the last single crochet to the first one with a slip stitch at the point where you started, but do not fasten off. Instead, chain enough stitches to make the size loop that you want -- it looks as if I chained 20 or 22 stitches -- and then join with a slip stitch at the starting point to form a loop. Make a tassel with crochet thread and add to the loop.

There are a few changes I would try if I were making these today. I would try using red, green, or another color of crochet cotton instead of just white (I'm sure that's all I had back then). I also have a sport weight of variegated Christmas yarn with a glint of gold that would be very pretty for this. Also, there are so many neat charms and embellishments available now. I think I'd try adding a charm to the loop at the top instead of a tassel.

(It probably goes without saying that I would not cut up lovely old vintage cards for these. I have scanned all of my old cards -- so if I wanted to use vintage card designs for these bookmarks, I would print my scanned images out on card stock and use those to make the bookmarks.)

I'm inspired now! As soon as my crafting of Christmas gifts is complete (there are still some family members we've not yet exchanged with), I'm going to try making a few of these with last year's cards. Hope others have fun with this idea!

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