The “Better Late Than Never” Cards

I can’t believe it’s October already…and holiday card season is here. I also can’t believe that the end of the year is just around the corner and I’m just NOW getting out my own family cards for 2010-2011. Since I’m extremely busy this time of year with custom holiday card orders for my clients, I’ve always done Chinese New Year cards instead of traditional Christmas cards. I’m half Chinese, celebrate Chinese New Year with my family…and since it usually takes place in February, I buy myself a little time with getting them done after the deadlines of the holiday season are over. Plus, I like the idea of sending out a card for an occasion that most people would not likely get a card for!

Each year (for the past few years), in mid to late January, we’ve been lucky enough to be “guinea pigs” for my sister’s latest vision of a family photo shoot. My sister, Julie of Lot 116 Photography, is so VERY talented and has an incredibly fresh and creative style of photography. I’m always game for whatever she suggests and the photos are always AWESOME. Once I see the photos, I start work on designing cards that I hope will live up to the fabulousness of her work. Last year (2010), we did a “Glamour Meets Grunge” shoot.  Julie’s photos were beyond fantastic and it was so hard to choose a few for the cards, so I ended up creating a booklet to show off as many photos as possible. They’re still one of my all-time favorite card ensembles.

I didn’t know how we were going to top 2010’s photos, but my sister came up with another AMAZING concept…and with the help of our good friend, Jeff, who was able to pull some strings to grant us access to shoot at the Salk Institute, the 2011 photos were even more wonderful than I had imagined. You can read about the shoot on my sister’s blog and see the photos here. I was so OVER-THE-MOON, in LOVE with these photos, the whole feel of the shoot, the incredible location and that mustard yellow couch…that I immediately ordered all the materials and papers and started designing!

Um, that was in EARLY February. Julie had the photos edited and ready for me, I had all the materials, I had an idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted our cards to look…including the fonts and graphic elements. So, WHY did it take almost EIGHT months to finally get them out??? I really don’t have an answer…

Let’s just say I’ve been REALLY busy. Seriously. BUSY. But we all know that’s nothing new and my schedule is always crazy…so that’s no excuse. But the start of 2011 was a little different and brought my busy-ness to a whole new level. First, I took on a 365 project (Sketch Every Day) which added blogging about each sketch to my daily routine. Besides my household duties, kids’ school schedules/volunteering, and single-handedly running ALL facets of my custom stationery and decorative painting business…I also accepted (or rather, did not turn down any) bookings for a lot of last-minute (time-sensitive) wedding and painting projects starting in February through April. And then wedding season was in full swing. Aaron and I ran the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race in May and I had to take three wedding ensemble projects with me to finish up while we were in the Bay Area. We cut our visit short so that I could be back in San Luis Obispo to help with a beautiful ranch wedding coordinated by Events by Design. My personal projects, including my “One Project A Weekend” to-do list and our Chinese New Year cards were left on the back-burner while I scrambled to meet one deadline after the next. My husband and two boys were equally busy – Aaron had his own work projects and deadlines, in addition to taking on much of the responsibilities around the house (including shuttling kids to school and activities), so that I could have more time to focus on my overwhelming workload.

Next thing I knew, it was summer. 

During the summer, I realized I wanted to merge EITAK with my blog name (I already had lovepaperpaint as my blog domain) and become LOVE PAPER PAINT. Yep, right in the middle of an already overbooked wedding season (not to mention that I was at painting projects during the day and also working on baby showers, birthday parties and other custom stationery), I decided to start redesigning my website, logo, change my business documentation and transition everything over to LOVE PAPER PAINT…after 11+ years of being known as EITAK Design. I had a bit of help from my husband who worked out some of the glitches on the programming and web development side of things, but I pretty much did everything myself – from illustrating the logo, to transferring the blog from Blogger to WordPress and then creating the site and populating all the content/images. 

Since I do not advertise, I consider sending out our Chinese New Year cards (to family, friends, vendors and some clients) as my only “marketing tool” for the entire year. So, I figured I would announce the new name, logo and website in our Chinese New Year cards. The cards have been completed since early September, but since it took a while to get everything done, I had to wait until the new website launched before sending out the cards. I also thought that I would send out some of the cards with my boys’ birthday party invites (to save on postage, since lots of the cards were going to the same addresses). The party invites just went out yesterday.

Yeah, so that’s it. I had a lot on my plate this year and it took a while to get to these cards. Some friends suggested I just not send them out and use the photos for the 2012 Chinese New Year cards. I simply could not NOT send out my annual cards! That’s like telling me not to do a birthday party invitation for my kids! Gasp! This is what I DO! It’s what I LOVE! My personal cards are a way for me to really showcase my style and my ideas…and it’s a labor of LOVE, every piece, every cut, every score, every fold, every punch. It brings me great joy to do them and I”m thrilled to know that they are well received, appreciated and enjoyed by my family and friends. The photos themselves are a cherished keepsake (how lucky am I to have a sister as talented as Julie!), I couldn’t imagine not sharing them with the people in my life. Besides, I know my sister will have another unique and fabulous idea for 2012 (I think it’s going to be tough to top this year’s photos, but Julie never ceases to amaze me)…

The cards have been mailed out. FINALLY. Better late, than never!!! And worth the wait, I’m sure everyone will agree. Without further delay, our 2011 Chinese New Year cards:


  1. Justine says:

    I look forward to your card every year! You are so talented and have such a gorgeous family!

  2. lynn says:

    FAVES: last page/pictures and “bacon and sushi”. AND the subtle splash of color! I just smh at the amount of talent you possess in your pinky alone.

  3. 10she says:

    Absolutely fabulous! Got the mail today and threw everything aside to rip open the package. Well, not really… I grabbed some scissors so I could meticulously open the box so I wouldn’t mess anything up. Love the invite and am so amazed with the wonderful card. We hope to see you soon!