You’re never too old…

Greeting cards, pay it forward, handmade, thank you card

…to try something new.

It can be hard to change your habits, particularly ones you’ve had for over 40 years.

I’ve always had a tendency to start things I didn’t finish, but as I got older I began thinking I might have undiagnosed ADD.  I’m easily distracted, and each new idea I come across leads away from completing the preceding idea.

In my craft room I can be distracted by every piece of paper, embellishment, ribbon, and die.  I generally have at least three cards in progress at any given time.  I’ll look for an embellishment for a card and spot something else while I look that I really want to use, although it won’t work on the current card.  So I start another card before I finish the first one.

I’m grateful to have such a wide variety of materials to work with, but it’s hard to keep your table organized and decluttered if you’ve got multiple projects going at the same time.  And you greatly increase your chances of messing up one card while trying to work on another one in the same space.  (Well, maybe you don’t, but sure do!)

So I decided a couple weeks ago to try something new:  I’d finish one card before starting work on another!  (Hope you weren’t expecting some earth-shattering revelation! lol)

I started with one of the cards I had in progress, and didn’t allow myself to deviate until I had it done.

It worked out well, so I finished the two others I had going.  At that point it seemed much easier to tidy up my work space before starting a new card.

Next it occurred to me that I had many pre-cut squares and rectangles of paper, but at the same time was going hunting through all my papers, always looking for “something different.”  Which meant pulling out various sheets of paper, holding them against each other, and then pulling out more when what I had wasn’t quite right.  And guess what?  I’d be too excited when I found the perfect paper(s) to stop and put the rest away again!

So I decided I was going to make cards using my previously cut papers instead of pulling out new ones.  I know that I can easily make cards that don’t look alike, even if they do happen to both use a piece of the same patterned paper (a 12×12 sheet leaves you with a lot of leftovers after making one card with it!).

At some point I might figure out a reasonable way to limit  my ribbon or embellishment choices, too, but for now I don’t want to go that far (no, must have many, many embellishments! lol).  And since my embellishments are mostly in drawers sorted by color, they’re pretty easy to put away.

It’s been heartening for me to discover that I actually can wait to start a new card until after I’ve finished the current one.  I wasn’t sure if I could make myself do it.

Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks! lol

I Love the Fall!

Gratitude, thank you, greeting cards, tree
Fall is my favorite season!  I love the cool air, the beautiful colors of the leaves on the trees, the rainstorms, the smoky smell of wood fires or burning leaves.

I’ve been to Hawaii, and it’s beautiful.  I sometimes fantasize about going to live on some small tropical island.  But the truth is, I’m grateful to be in a place that has seasons.

I’m also grateful that here in Washington state the seasons are mild.  I’m grateful that we don’t get measured-in-feet snowstorms or monsoon rains.  We don’t generally have to worry about water shortages or power brownouts in the summer.

While the passing of the seasons is a reminder of time flying by, it’s also a chance to celebrate all the variations of nature — sun and snow, blossoms and branches.

And a reminder that, even if you’re going through some bad weather, there’s a promise of light and color waiting to be revealed once you wait it out.

It’s just the nature of things.

Gotta love a bargain!

Dollar tree, greeting cards, stencil, pay it forward

I like shopping at Dollar Tree.  Whenever I’m in there, I go up and down all the aisles, looking for interesting things I can use for crafting.  And I always find them!

When I spotted this little notepad/journal thingie, I was, “Oh, that can’t really be cutouts – it must be black printing on the green cover!”  But when I picked it up, I found out I was wrong!  The cute plastic cover has a chevron pattern cut into it.  Score!  One stencil for me!  And it’s just the right size to cover the entire front of a card!

I was able to pry up the edge of the comb binding just enough to pull off the covers.  Luckily, the back cover is the same stiff plastic as the front.  I wonder if I might be able to cut another stencil out of that?  Yet another inspiration (aka project) to add to my never-ending list!

I’m so grateful that I have access to a Dollar Tree store!

What’s your go-to place for awesome craft finds?


Let it go! Let it go!

Rose, flower, card, greeting card, flower

Okay, I love that song from Frozen, but it’s sometimes tough to do.

i have a hard time using liquid adhesives.  Give me a tape runner, a glue stick, self-stick embellishments, foam tape and I’ll do fine.  But lately I’ve been trying to use more of the supplies I’ve collected over the years, and some of them call for (four-letter word here) GLUE!

I’ll pull bits and pieces off shelves and out of drawers, and mix and match to get a “design” I like.  And then, I have to GLUE something.

Now I have the vision of the end result in my head, but I have to stop working on it until the glue dries.  And that’s so hard for me that I generally need to leave the craft room entirely.  Because if I stay to work on something else, I’ll go back and check on the glue, which is never dry yet! lol  (I sometimes think glue simply won’t dry when I’m in the same room with it.)

Having experienced a number of glue-related mess-ups, I’ve retrained myself pretty well now.  I’ll squeeze out that dollop of glue, position my two pieces, peer down over them to check the placement, then actually pull my hands up and step back from the table, reminding myself to let it go instead of fiddling with it any further.

For me, I’d rather find myself wishing I got more done, than find myself swearing over a project I’ve just ruined because I couldn’t wait for the glue.  Just let it go!

Now, if I could just figure out how to do this with food!  lol

I’m grateful for people who do hard jobs

We had a big hornet’s nest on the side of the house, so I contacted Cascadia Venom Collection – they’ll remove the nest for free as long as you haven’t sprayed it.

I idly wondered at the time if there were any women who did this kind of work – well, the answer is “Yes!”  I talked to her about how she got into that line of work; she was happy to talk about it.  (She knew someone who worked for the company.)

A pleasant young woman doing what most of us would consider a very unpleasant job.

I’ve always been aware of the many types of work that I would hate to do (garbage collection is an easy example), and am grateful that there are people out there willing to do them.  There are so many fundamental occupations that are necessary to our health, safety, economy and/or comfort that people are filling all around us.

I’m so glad they are!

That’s one of the reasons I decided to make pay-it-forward thank you cards, to express my gratitude to the various people I run into during each day, who make my life a little better with each interaction.

I just wish I could make enough cards for them all…

That’s where you come in!  Who’s done something nice for you lately?  What’s an occupation that you think is under-appreciated in our society?  Thank somebody with a little card, or just a few kind words, and you can be one of those people that others appreciate, too!


Crafting While Desperate

greeting card, card, handmade, glitter, gold, anniversarygreeting card, card, handmade, anniversary, gold, glitter

Now that I’m retired, it’s easier to spend an exorbitant amount of time making a card! lol

It’ll get faster with practice, I’m sure.  For example, I hadn’t done any heat embossing in years.  So I had to look through all my embossing powders to see my options (after I remembered where I’d stored them!) and then do tests to see which gold I wanted for this card.  Then I had to destroy some glitter paper while trying to emboss on it (see previous post lol), find my de-static stuff to prep the paper with, find a paint brush to brush off powder still sticking in the wrong places, etc.

But now I’ll be ready to heat emboss again.  Sort of. 🙂

While the experimental “fails” were frustrating at the time, I actually enjoy the results: finding new ways to use my papercrafting supplies.  I never would’ve chosen to combine gold glitter paper and gold heat embossing if I weren’t cutting out multiple pieces and switching them around to see what I liked best.  Putting the gold glitter paper under the gold-embossed paper was actually kind of a desperation move, as I wasn’t finding the look I was hoping for while trying my more conventional choices.

So don’t discount desperation as a source of inspiration – you never know where it might lead you!  Imagine that – I can even be grateful for desperation!  lol

How NOT to use glitter paper!

heat embossing, embossing, glitter, glimmer

I was working on a “golden” anniversary card, and having a hard time deciding: gold glitter paper, gold foil paper, brushed gold paper, glittery gold embossing powder, or plain gold embossing powder.

In the course of trying out combinations, I tried something I’d never done before, which was heat embossing on glitter paper.  You can see the result above!

In case you can’t tell, the glitter coating on top of the paper is embedded in/on what’s probably a plastic film.  When you heat it, it melts, bubbles up from the surface, then starts curling up and shrinking in on itself.  The card stock underneath is a yellowish color, although the reverse of the paper is white.

It’s always interesting to see how a “new technique” will turn out.  This isn’t one I ever plan to duplicate! Yuck!  lol

Tiny treasures in my own back yard

embellishments, cards, greeting cards, cardmaking

I don’t spend enough time outdoors.  But yesterday I walked around our shady yard trying to figure out if there was any place that got enough sun to put in a small garden (next year, and my sister will be rolling her eyes if she reads this, because I have never gardened lol).

While I was out back I spotted these teeny tiny pine cones in the grass.  So naturally I thought, “Those would be cute on a card (because really, what tiny thing wouldn’t, right?).”

So I picked some up and brought them in.  When I put them on a card, I’ll post a picture.

And now I have another reason to get outside every day – to go on a tiny treasure hunt!  And another reason to be grateful – for unexpected little gifts! Continue reading “Tiny treasures in my own back yard”

Free at last!

Greeting card, papercrafting, stamping
Your kindness is always appreciated!

The long-anticipated day finally arrived – I am officially retired!

All my life I thought it was sad that so many of us go through life working at a job we don’t necessarily like, just because we have to, and wishing impatiently for the weekend/next day off/vacation.

I hear that the millennial generation feels very strongly about finding work they can be passionate about, and where they can actually make a difference.  But that’s not unique to them.  Wouldn’t most of us like to spend our time doing something fulfilling, while knowing that we were leaving the world a better place because of what we did?

We don’t always have the luxury of waiting for the perfect job.  But as human beings, we can make a difference in the world, one day at a time, one person at a time.

Practice kindness.  Tell someone they’re appreciated.  Offer help when you can.  Smile at people.

We’re all in this together.  And you never know what little gesture or word of encouragement may inspire someone to “pay it forward,” or to go on to do great things that benefit us all.

Brush it off and move on

All dies are not alikeDie, dies, diecut, diecutting, cutting, brush, card making, papercraft

I resisted getting a die brush for a long time.  But I love dies, and have been buying more detailed dies for a while now, so I went for it.  Now I’m really glad I did.

The die in the photo above was one of a set that I bought already used, and hadn’t tried.  When I needed to add a white panel for writing inside a dark card, I decided I didn’t want a plain rectangle — I wanted an interesting shape or edge.

Finally, a chance to use this lace-edged rectangle!

It was only after I ran it through my Big Shot that I realized there was something different about this die.  While it clearly has cutting lines that cut out little triangles, the holes in the die are just little dots.  On most of my dies, the shape of the “hole” in the die is the shape of the piece it cuts out.  On those dies, the larger holes mean I can pop out most clinging pieces with a fingertip or fingernail.

Not this time!

But, in spite of the tiny size of the little dot-holes, the stiff bristles of the brush poked through and saved the day!

just goes to show how having the right tool can mean the difference between a fun experience or a frustrating one!   I’m thankful for all the people who create new tools (and techniques) that help keep me happy, productive, and inspired!