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!

Using up the bits and pieces

Okay, maybe I’m a paper hoarder.  Or a craft hoarder in general. 🙂

I can see crafty possibilities in so many things, that I have a hard time getting rid of them.  Take paper scraps, for example.

I often find myself trimming down card layers to get the framing of the layers a little different.  Which leaves me with teeny little strips of paper that I’ve taken to calling “whiskers.”

Instead of tossing them, I found a place to put them away, and eventually used some as an embellishment on a card.  The card turned out great (one of my favorites, actually), and so I decided to find more ways to use my whiskers.

On this particular card, I sifted through my little stack to find reds and pinks and just criss-crossed them to create a little interest.  But I felt like a little something more was needed.

Which led me to poke through some odd-shaped pieces left over from some intricate die cuts.  Yes, I sometimes save those, too, if they’re a decent size and an interesting shape!

So I was able to add a couple of these curlicue scraps to my whiskers to fill in my design a little more.  And I think it turned out great!  Which is why I guess I’ll continue to save these little bits and pieces.  🙂

Whiskers, scraps
Using up little bits and pieces is fun!

Oops! I was bad! :)

I got to see how easy it was to do this marbling technique – although I didn’t buy any of their products (yet).

I meant to take photos at the Scrapbook Expo today…

The first booth we went to had a “no photography” sign.  After that, it was too late!  I was so busy gawking at things (does anybody use that word any more?) to remember to take any pictures.

But I did come away with this nifty little sample of a marbling technique.  It’s from a company called Local King Rubber Stamps.  They specialize in solid-image stamps like the car above.  Instead of a stamp where the outlines of the image are raised up, they make the outlines indented and the insides of the image raised up to take the ink.

They scribbled (literally) directly on the stamp with their markers to get the marbling.  They have their own line of water-based markers that they say will stay wet for 6 minutes on the rubber.  As they scribble one color over another, the inks blend to give the marbled effect you can see on the car.

It was an awesome demonstration, but I couldn’t buy everything!  I’m going to try to see if I can get a similar effect with markers I already have.  But I will share some of the things I saw and did buy in other posts to come.

It was sooo much fun!

It had to be done…

Tassel

Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to go to a government office and wait in line.  Even though it’s been eight years since I had to renew my driver’s license in person, that couple of hours (plus travel time) felt like an eternity.  But it had to be done.

I heard someone say, “I should’ve brought a book.”  It didn’t occur to me until after I got home that I should’ve brought a project.  I used to keep a portable card-making project that I could take along to appointments where I might have to wait.  While papercrafting in your lap isn’t ideal, I think it’s time to put together a new project pack that I can take on the go.  If it has a basic set of tools and supplies, it can also be a “grab-and-go” for taking to classes.

And anything that gets me crafting is a good thing. 🙂

I’m going on a papercrafting adventure!

Ribbon thanks

Not that time spent in my craft room isn’t an adventure in itself, but … this is even better!  There’s a scrapbooking expo coming up in two weeks, and I’m going!

I haven’t been to one of these in a lot of years.  It’s a chance to see what new ideas are out there, both in products and techniques.  And to crowd around the booths with hundreds of kindred spirits, going “ooh” and “ah” together.  lol

I’ll take pictures (where allowed) and share them here, so stay tuned for fun stuff to come!

 

Time Flies When You’re Making Cards…

Greeting card
Your kindness (in sharing your tips) is appreciated! lol

I recently did some timing while I was in my craft room to see how long it actually took me to make a card.  I practiced on some little thank-you cards, and I made each one unique, because I’m not fond of mass-producing cards.  (If you’ve ever done it, you may understand why.)

I was shocked to find that it was taking me 20-30 minutes to produce a 4×4 card!

I quickly discovered that I have a lot of work left to do in organizing my supplies and work areas – which seems to be a never-ending battle for me!  I suppose it might help if I stopped buying things for a while. 😉

What slows you down when you’re “getting your craft on”? Have you discovered any tips that really helped you?  Please share them with the rest of us!

It Made My Heart Glad…

I was talking to a younger coworker last week about making greeting cards.  I told her that I thought most card makers were older women, since young people probably used texts and emails instead of paper.  She surprised me by saying that her nieces and nephews had discovered the joy of giving and receiving cards, and regularly made cards for each other.

I guess I’ve been guilty of my own kind of “ageism” in making assumptions about who makes greeting cards.  But I’m very happy to be corrected!

Are there young people in your life who like to make cards with you?  You can comment below. 🙂

Psst — Pay It Forward!

I make little thank you cards to hand out when someone gives me good service or is very cheerful in dealing with me.  And to “spread the love,” the message inside the card encourages the recipient to pass it on to someone else.  Please, copy and share this idea! 🙂