Thursday, November 11, 2010

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue

It's an incredibly beautiful November day today in west Michigan. Sunshine, temps in the mid-60's, still some color left on the trees. God is so creative, and every time I make my feeble little attempt at being creative too, I feel my kinship with Him all over again. Consider the colors of His world: flowers, rainbows, even trees and grass are varied shades of green (or in my backyard, brown where George Bailey plays). But I love the color blue. It always makes me smile, and it seems so peaceful and unassuming. There's lots of agreement on the pleasanter characteristics of blue: blue chip stocks, true blue (THANK YOU, VETERANS!), bluebirds of happiness, and nothin' but blue skies. Of course, there are those who would disagree: the baby blues, singin' the blues, the blue flu, and a blue Christmas without you.

Once again I've taken a little step outside my personal "box". No flowers this time, no pearls, no embossing. Just circles, all in blue, just because I like it. and, believe it or not I saw several challenges to enter this card!

If The Shoe Fits                                  the color blue
Totally Stampalicious                          blue
Crafty Creations                                buttons  (lower right-hand corner)
Gingersnap Creations                         sewing notions (2 buttons in corner)
Moving Along With The Times           nice & bright (wash away Autumn Blues!)
Daring Cardmakers                            colors of topaz (blue)
Raise the Bar                                    curves
If the Shoe Fits                                  blue

How cool is that??!!! See? It really is a wonderful day!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Second-Hand Rose

Today I've been looking at other artists' blogs and admiring their creations. I realize that my "art" all too often imitates life, and I wonder if that's something unique to me, or if everyone feels that way, at least some of the time. I so admire those little masterpieces with the perfect colors and the just-right embellishments. I'm sure their creators are the same people whose outfits and accessories always inspire second looks and sounds of appreciation. I so want my cards, like I want myself, to be an "Uptown Girl," but we both just sort of end up being a "Second-Hand Rose." Is there hope? Can it be learned through repetition and attempted duplication? It's what I'm working toward.

How I wish I knew how to add more embellishments to this card; I envisioned something "luscious", like a wedding cake. The card is lighter lavender than it appears: the front was cut horizontally, the sentiment stamped on the inside, and the top and bottom of the front are held together by a strip of acetate, creating a "window" to view the sentiment. Most of my papers and embellishments have been in my craft room, just waiting to be of service, so I rarely know the company they came from. As simple as this card is, though, it still fits a few challenges.

Oh Alice                            window or hole
Challenge Up Your Life      lace and pearls
The Shabby Tea Room       pearls and pastels
City Crafter                       flowers and frills
Easy Craft Projects            purple

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Everyone Has Her Price

Mine is chocolate! No anti-anxiety medication, no tranquilizer, will ever equal chocolate's soothing properties. There are times in my life that I really would love to jump into a huge vat of molten chocolate, a la Willie Wonka. But alas, I generally just end up eating one exquisite truffle. Cheaper than a prescription, faster working, and tastes better, too! I made this card for Pastor Appreciation Day, October 10 this year; the inside reads "Actually, (pastor's name)  is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!" My pastor loves candy, so I hope he enjoys this card and knows how much he is appreciated.

I actually found some challenges that seemed to fit this card:
Raise the Bar                                                 something yummy (couldn't be yummier!)
Ooh-La-La                                                     sentiment
Creative Inspiration                                     2 stamped images
Secret Crafter Saturday Challenge            anything goes

Friday, September 17, 2010

Better Than Therapy

That's what my true friends are! And I want them to know it, so I will often send a card for no reason other than to say "I want you to know you are valuable to me." This is why I'm enjoying the creativity I'm learning through the cards I've been making, and I'm loving that I'm able to send a part of myself (blood, sweat, and tears -- LOL!) every time I send a card. I truly hope the people I touch through the mail, will understand how much they each mean to me.

Front/Outside of card
Inside of card with a perforated tear-off bookmark

I found three challenges at the same time this week: a color challenge, a notecard challenge, and a bookmark challenge, and voila! a card was born. To create this card, I cut it (from kraft cardstock) wide enough so that the back/inside could be folded inward 2 inches, and perforated on the fold to create the bookmark. It's something I saw on a commercially-made card decades ago, and I said "I can do that!" I think it's so much fun to get something "extra", don't you?

I've entered into these challenges this week:
Crazy 4 Challenges                               color challenge black, red, kraft
Sweet Stampin' Challenge blog              notecard challenge
Totally Stampalicious                             bookmark challenge
Order of Opus Gluei                              use letters challenge
Daring Cardmakers                               come fly with me (OK, the dragonfly on the bookmark is a stretch)

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Thing I Know

It seems the older I get, the less I know for certain. As a new wife and young mother, I "knew" the answers to all of life's questions. Gradually, though, I began to realize that not everything is black and white, and just like I'm expanding my horizons in my card-making, I'm learning to open my heart to thoughts, opinions, and even life-styles that differ from mine.  And I realize now that the desire to understand these differences does not necessitate  adopting an "all roads lead to Rome" point of view. However, there are some things that I know which will remain unchangeable truths: the sky is blue, raindrops are wet, every baby is a miracle, and "He (God) is mine forever." It's so good to know that the things I know for certain remain true and unchanging.

This card evolved over several days. I knew I wanted to use this sentiment from Our Daily bread, and that I wanted to use colors I hadn't used before. And after playing with, and discarding, every idea, I finally decided on this combination of K & Company papers, a flower and pearls I've had for a while, and some little mini-hatpins I've been trying to make. And just in time, too. I just found out my "co-grandma" of three of my grandchildren has had some surgery. I hope she will enjoy this "pick-me-up". In searching for a challenge for this card, I found a few:

Sentimental Sunday recipe challenge 1 solid, 2 patterned papers, 3 embellishments
Die Cut Dreams pearls and pins
Totally Papercrafts going dotty
Cook Up A Card recipe 1 sentiment, 2 ribbons, 3 autumn colors
Stamp and Create pearls and gems
Creative Inspirations lace/sparkle
My Time To Craft jeweled

Thursday, September 2, 2010

If You Carry Your Childhood With You, You Never Become Older

(Quote by Tom Stoppard)

I often wonder if I'm the only one whose dreams and emotions and spirit just don't seem to match my physical age. Inside, I'm actually 30 years younger than outside, but I've been acting my "outside" age and it's no fun! I realize that I created boundaries long ago, constantly telling myself that I can't wear this or I shouldn't do that, and I can't create, I can only copy. Now I'm trying to figure out why I ever placed such restrictions on myself, and the only reason I can come up with is that somewhere along the way, I stopped carrying my childhood with me! Today's card is yet another attempt to do something new, and I'm continually amazed that whenever I take tiny steps outside of my box, the world doesn't explode, people don't laugh at me, and my friends still love me.

I've had the background paper for a long time; it's pink toile and shows little girls playing at being grown up. The sentiment is one that makes me think of my own kids and grandkids, and literally brings a lump to my throat every time I read it. Colored ink didn't work for it, but the black was just a tad too stark, so I put some velum over it, which I punched with a lace border. The pearls seemed to be the right "soft" touch.

I enterred this in the following challenges:

One Stop Craft              sentimental
Paula's Ponderings         pink background
Craftypad                      pearls
Sentimental Sunday       clean and simple
Die Cut Dreams             soft shades of vintage
The Shabby Tea Room  old meets new

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Star of Wonder

Well, it's not like me to get two cards made in a week, but here I am! Totally Gorjuss and City Crafter both have "star" challenges, and Crafts 4 Eternity's challenge is "holiday" using their sketch. Paper Cutz has an anything goes challenge, and Opus Gluei wants something un-ordinary (blue is NOT the color usually associated with Christmas). Finally, Made By Momo has a birthday challenge, and of all the people I love and who have impacted me the most, the birthday that we celebrate on December 25 is the most precious to me. (I've since removed it from this challenge). This card didn't scan so well, but there is a glittery gold star on the paper just under the image, and the dark blue paper under that has tiny crystal stars (all individually applied by hand -- whew!) I know it's still August, but this year I intend to get my Christmas cards made AND mailed on time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Today's post header is taken from an old "Negro spiritual" that we folk music enthusiasts of the '60s used to sing, and too suddenly it has become my reality. My husband died at 31 in 1977; the following year my dad died. The year after that my mom was seriously ill and close to death. I have thanked God through all these years that He allowed her to remain a loving, vital part of my somewhat shattered family. In April, she finally went "home", leaving me a true motherless child. And that has been a kind of scary place to be. Sometimes it feels as if I'm walking in the dark, never knowing whether my next step will land on solid ground or send me tumbling to somewhere I can't get back from. Ah, but though my husband and parents are gone, my Father still holds me close. And when I saw the Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge (based on the verse in Psalms that says, "When I am afraid, I will trust in You") I thought I should enter. So here is one little verse that speaks the truth of my life.

The blue background is actually heavy corrugated cardboard (like packaging cartons) and REALLY difficult to cut! The papers are just scraps from my stash. The butterfly's flight trail is a piece of gold key chain -- yep, the kind you actually put keys on when you don't have a real keyring! After I finished this card, I realized that I have created a "box" of my own:  a couple of squares, a background, and some words, with a winged creature thrown in. Yikes! Got to break out of my own box. But for today, I also entered this in:
The Shabby Tea Room     a little bit of metal
Craft Your Days Away     with wings
Crafty Creations                butterflies
Sentimental Sundays        words that inspire (at least I hope so!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Expressions Of The Heart

So many of the creations I see on the blogs I try to follow, are works of art in every way. The layouts, sentiments, and colors fit together perfectly. Not so for me. A simple "Hello" (the recipient is so glad to finally hear from me she'll ignore the boring card) "Happy Birthday" (ditto) or "Get Well" (too sick to be critical) have been my standard fare, with a few Christmas cards thrown in when I remembered in time to actually get them made and sent. So, for the next step in my quest to get out of the box, I chose a card that I've always stayed away from: a sympathy card. Cuttlebug actually has a sympathy card challenge, so I embossed the background. The Shabby Tea Room has a Delicate Cottage Rose challenge, which led to the Speedy the Cat challenge (anything, flowers). OK, forget Speedy the Cat. I tried 6 times and couldn't get entered. For the layout, I used the Oh! Alice sketch. Finally, since everything I used was something I already had on hand (including the coffee filters for the rose) I decided to enter this card in the Opus Gluei challenge to make something only from your stash. I sincerely hope that the person who receives this card will know how much he/she is cared for.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

(Almost) Farewell to Summer

Every year about this time, summer begins preparing to relinquish her reign and give way to autumn. This is the one season change that always makes me a little sad. It means having to wear more layers of clothing, keeping a more regimented schedule, and spending less time with the kids. But it also means seeing my favorite creature: the delicate dragonfly with his sturdy body and gossamer wings. I experimented this week with a stamp I love, the large dragonfly, and stamped him on acetate. I get really excited when I can use someone else's cast-offs, and that's where the acetate came from. (The company I worked for a few years ago was going "high-tech" which meant putting presentations on PowerPoint and getting rid of transparencies. I got a brand new box of 100 sheets!) I knew I wanted color to show through his wings; I searched for an entire afternoon but wasn't happy with anything in my stash. Then yesterday as I was "playing" with my delightful friend Elena ( we thought of using stamp pads directly on paper to create colors I liked, then cut them into "twinchies". While I was doing this, Elena searched until she found a challenge for this card. After I mounted it all on a Cuttlebug embossed background, I entered my card in the:
Cuttlebug Cuttin' Up! challenge
Raise The Bar Challenge ABC: (A)nimal -- is a dragonfly an animal? (B)lue twinchie, (C)uttlebug
Totally Gorjuss  Aqua (bottom right twinchie)
Paper Pretties Challenge  Summer

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gabe Turns 4!

Here he is: the man of the hour. He can finally hold up four fingers! Just look at that face; is it any wonder that the world looks brighter when Gabe says "Wheee!" ?  This picture was taken on an absolutely perfect day spent at the zoo. I'm not sure who had more fun, Gabriel or his mom and me. God has certainly compensated me for growing older.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's a Blue Monday

It's a blue card for a "blue" Monday  --  storming here this morning. The thunder and lightning are putting on quite a show! And I'm blue because I made this card for the Shabby Tea Room Challenge using soft blue, cream, white, brown, and/or a house. I figured this card nailed it. But alas! The deadline was Sunday night, and I didn't get it entered. Well, I hope the person I'm sending it to appreciates it. It was fun to experiment with embellishments, which I'm trying to become more comfortable with. Hope you have a sunny day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ya Gotta Love Green

Believe it or not, green is not my most favorite color. But I saw two challenges that looked interesting, and these papers fit both of them, so green it is! I made this to say hello to a very old (oops, make that a long-time) friend. I hope she likes it as much as I enjoyed making it.

I found two additional challenges to enter, so here are all four of them:
Crafts 4 Eternity Recipe Challenge #44 Birds & Pearls
Simon Says Stamp Goin' Dotty Challenge
Die Cut Dreams Challenge Gingham
EBTKS Challenge Buttons

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Summer Birthday Card

My previous years of card-making consisted of following directions or copying samples precisely. The cards were faithful reproductions of someone else's creativity, but never had my personal imprint. This is my first attempt at "breaking free"; my goal is that this will begin to affect the other areas of my life as well. As I learn to express my own creativity in my cards, I pray that I will exercise that same freedom in my daily life, and in my relationships with strangers, family, and friends, and most especially in the worship of my Lord.