Category Archives: Card Making

Little Nudges

IMG_5446You know how the universe sometimes conspires to send you a message?  Well, I’ve been pondering an issue for the last few days and the universe is busy throwing answers my way.

This weekend we hosted two artists who were displaying at our local art fair.  Listening to them talk about their art (both make jewelry) made me yearn to be more proactive about allotting time for my art, making cards.  I felt a little frustrated that even after focusing on card making during my 366 Somedays and again a couple of months ago, card making is still a “someday”, with the exception of the ones I make for friends and family.

Then, my second son read me a passage from The Fellowship of the Ring:

Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea.  That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, ‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all’.  Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.

My son clearly feels this describes our home, Toad Hall, but the quote made me feel a little sad.  That was how I felt the first summer I was here.  After a winter of intense work on our new house, I spent the summer luxuriating on the deck, reading and writing for hours and relishing the eclectic qualities of the house that brought me joy.  Since we didn’t yet actually live here, there weren’t the homeowner’s chores staring me in the face.  It felt like a summer-long vacation.  For the last two years we have actually lived in this house.  I still enjoy the beauty surrounding the house and the views on my daily walks never get old, but I’ve lost the feeling of relaxation and “just sitting and thinking best”.  I’ve let my priorities shift to the do, do, do.  I need (want) to sit and think.  I want to be creative with my cards.  I want to write and read.  I want to bring back those feelings of relaxation and bliss.  But how?

As I pondered this throughout the weekend, I began to feel even more sad and I knew I would need to address this situation and find an answer for myself.  Well, my pondering brought some answers.  I unpacked a bag from my last trip to Portland and discovered two books I’d bought at a garage sale while there.  Both are on the topic of women and creativity.  Then, I picked up a magazine that’s been sitting around for almost a year and I opened it to an article titled, Be Your Own Life Coach, with five steps to begin sorting out the needs, the must-dos, and the wants.  I had just been in the kitchen discussing my sadness with my husband and then, BAM, there were these books and there was this article.  I thought about this upcoming weekend when I will be out-of-town with my husband while he is working and I suddenly realized this is the perfect opportunity to do some thinking, to take stock of where I am and where I want to be.

And then yesterday morning I opened a gift bag I’d been given as a thank you for volunteering for an event.  Inside was a lovely little tea towel with the words, “Do what makes your soul happy!” emblazoned in gold.  I hung it in my bathroom where I will see it regularly.  I need to remember to make the time to let my soul be happy.

Little nudges, little reminders and I’m listening!  Yesterday I enjoyed my coffee out on the deck, I made cards, I took an evening walk, and I’m writing.  My soul is happy.

Wish vs. Do

Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you’re prepared to do.

–Percy Cerutty
A view from my afternoon walk

Yesterday I walked – twice.  I also made cards.  I ended the day feeling relaxed and peaceful (even with the political storm swirling around).  I walk or run in the morning almost everyday, but yesterday I went longer than normal and, later, when the beautiful November afternoon beckoned, I didn’t look at my extensive To-Do list; I went outside.  Before my afternoon walk, I spent a few hours working on greeting cards I wanted to send out.  A couple of hours slipped by as I experimented with my cutting machine, selected papers, found quotes, glued and taped, but they were restorative hours that were thoroughly enjoyable.

During the twelve months of this 366 Somedays, I will have tried twelve activities I’ve always thought I wanted in my life.  I’ve discovered some of these activities simply don’t call to my heart as I thought they would – speaking Italian, for example.  Sure, I’d love to speak Italian, but not enough to put in the time to learn it.  Unfortunately, the same may be true for learning to play drums.  I’m not ready to cross that one off my list, but I’m getting close.

Yesterday, as I practiced a little self-care, I realized I really love walking and running, especially when I do them outdoors.  I also really love making cards and playing with paper.  It dawned on me that a benefit of this 366 Somedays process is I’m homing in on activities I truly love and am prepared to pursue as well as discovering which activities are simply wishful and probably need to fall by the wayside.  I want to spend my time pursuing those activities that leave me with the relaxed, peaceful feeling I experienced last night.  That feeling shouldn’t be reserved for days when I have made a concerted effort at self-care.  That feeling should be the norm and getting there requires letting some activities go in order to focus on others.

Stick Figures & the Creative Process

As I work toward stepping up my card-making a notch, I’ve thought a lot about what creative process happens as I come up with a card idea.  I have to admit, first, that I had a hard time typing in the word “creative” in that last sentence.  I had always thought of creative people as those who “make art” – painting, drawing, sculpting, etc.  I cannot replicate an image, in any medium – I can barely draw stick figures.  Several years ago, sitting with my family, I said something about not seeing myself as a creative person.  My oldest son, who I consider to be a creative person, piped up and said, “You’re creative, Mom.  Creativity isn’t just painting or drawing.”  Since then, I’ve struggled to remind myself I am creative.  My writing is creative, my cards are creative, and I know I have other creative outlets just waiting to be discovered.

IMG_2286So, what’s the process of creating a meaningful card?  Just as with my writing, sometimes the ideas just come to me as I’m walking.  I see something or think of something and suddenly and idea has sparked in my brain.  A couple days ago, as I walked in the morning, I passed over an area where somebody had used chalk to write a word on the path.  The word was “ROAR”.  I looked at it and suddenly an idea for a card popped into my mind.  I’ve been playing with options for completing the idea ever since.

A week ago I sat down to make a card for a special occasion and wondered where to go with the card.  I paged through my paper scraps and came upon a piece of paper with a calendar image in one corner.  I found a quote to go with the image, pulled out some coordinating paper and, quite literally, the pieces came together.IMG_2276

So is this creativity?  Just being open to ideas that form from all the stimuli around me? Maybe, for me, the key to continuing to be creative is to continue to be “out there” embracing my world and keeping my mind open for those little stimuli that can turn in to words, or cards, or maybe even stick figure drawings!

The Flip Side

Marie's Card

After lamenting last week about the card I’d found in the garbage can, I’ve received an outpouring of support and encouragement.  Last night I received one of the nicest forms of support yet.  I went to a friend’s house for an event and, sometime during the evening, she said to me, “By the way, I love your cards!  I even keep one you made me on the buffet,” and she motioned to the adjoining dining room.  Sure enough, there amidst her other décor and trinkets was a card I’d made her.  Heartwarming!

Is Handmade Obsolete?

Email.  Snapchat.  Skype.  Instagram.  Twitter.  Vine.  Facebook.  Text messages.  FaceTime.  Google Hangout.

Three cards I made earlier this week.

In a world with instant communication, where using the telephone to make an actual call is a bit outdated, is there a place for a piece of paper conveying a sentimental feeling or thought?  Is the message in a greeting card actually read?  Is the care and effort put into a handmade card acknowledged and appreciated?

As I began working on my August Someday of advancing my card-making abilities and exploring avenues for possibly marketing my handmade cards, I had these questions slammed into my head when I emptied a garbage can and saw a card I’d made for someone had been tossed in the can.  My feelings were a bit hurt, of course, but seeing my little piece of creativity thrown into the refuse, also makes me wonder where we are headed.  Is our world moving so fast that we’re losing the ability to cherish a small gesture?  Is handmade obsolete?  I don’t know the answers, but being an optimistic person, I’m going to forge ahead with my August Someday and do my part to revitalize what I believe to be a lovely form of communication.

My Heart’s Desire

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.

–Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz


I didn’t even have to go as far as my backyard, I simply walked down the hall to my office/studio and saw my heart’s desire in my workspace and supply closet.

My workspace (the cat likes to help)
My supply closet

I’ve always had a thing for paper.  I love a pretty piece of paper.  I’ve also always had a thing for cards and letters.  Email is great at getting information conveyed quickly, but it’s transient.  I love a written letter or a handmade card.  I love the feel in my hands as I read the words.  I love that I can put a letter or card away and reread it later – maybe in a month, maybe in ten years.  It will still be there.

Having been a letter writer and card sender since I was a child, I realized several years ago that I love to make cards.  I’ve gone through several different styles, making cards for my own use in a totally casual manner.  I love the cards I make, but I know there are processes I’m not aware of and ways to improve the quality of my cards.  Two years ago, for my birthday, I bought myself a machine for cutting shapes for my cards.  I’ve only recently unboxed it and I haven’t yet figured out how to use it.  I also wonder if there’s a market for my cards.  Perhaps others would like to purchase a personalized, handmade card.

Given my love of making cards and knowing there’s more to learn about the process as well as potentially marketing the cards, I’m dedicating my August Someday to improving my card-making skills and to researching possible markets for them.

My heart feels happy with this choice.