I’m “Guilty” of Disability

For me, it was painful knowing I had to go to work and sit at my desk while my brain was foggy and I couldn’t actually get anything done (fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue). It upped my chronic depression to a whole new level because I constantly felt like I was cheating my employer (and my coworkers). It continually stressed me, wondering whether I was going to run out of sick leave or wind up not being able to hold a job at all.  I even got desperate enough to ask my doctor to test me for Alzheimer’s.

Worst of all, I knew that some people questioned whether I was really “sick” or if I just didn’t want to work.  (And I could understand that, because I’d sometimes had the same thought about others.)

My employer/supervisor was generous and accommodating, providing paid sick leave and health benefits and allowing me to work part-time and on a flexible schedule, but over time even that wasn’t enough to keep me going. I didn’t qualify for disability but felt like I was falling apart. I barely held on until I reached the minimum age to draw retirement benefits, which meant I wouldn’t draw full retirement pay.  I moved in with my boyfriend and let my house go into foreclosure. It was the only way I could “afford” to retire.

But I still have the ability to do something I love – making greeting cards – which uses more visual judgment and creativity than logic (at least when I’m the one doing it).  I’ve started a “teeny tiny business,” and I’m struggling with exactly what I want to do (creative/artistic/inspirational) and who my ideal customer is, but I can rest whenever I get tired and there are no timelines I can’t change.

It could never have happened without having financial support, because my physical problems definitely slow down my ability to learn things (like new technology) and to accomplish things (like getting business paperwork done). So my business will be built at my own (snail’s) pace because it doesn’t have to provide my sole income.

I’m so grateful to be in this space now, and that my retirement has relieved the horrible guilt and stress I felt while I was still working.  And even more grateful to my supervisor, who bore with me through the ordeal!

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?


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”

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…


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!


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. 🙂