Friday, November 1, 2019

Birthday Mission


I'm a crafter on a mission.

I sat down at my craft desk today to start making birthday cards for next year. Christmas is pretty much a lost cause at this point (Barnes & Noble has some lovely cards anyway), so I shall forge ahead with a mission to make all the birthday cards I need next year.

That's about forty cards. Which is about twenty more cards than I've made this year. But maybe, just maybe, I can do this.

Today's card is a promising start, completely indebted to THIS GORGEOUS CARD.

You'll note the obvious changes and similarities. First, I increased the white space around the focal point with a horizontal card (6.25" x 3.5") because, you know, why not? The color scheme isn't very different, but I used hearts instead of flowers with a watercolor effect. Instead of a single strand of string, I used two to bring together the colors of the hearts and add a little hearts are much more basic than Kleine-stempe's gorgeous flowers. And orange and hot pink look so fun and fresh together, don't they? I kept the black sentiment on a banner. 

For the mechanics, I used circle punches (1.5" and 1.75"), and to ever-so-slightly pop the top circle, I punched a 1 3/8" cardstock circle to glue under it. The Memento markers blend so nicely with a single spritz of water. What a simple, beautiful technique!

The Birthday Mission is definitely off to a satisfying start. Yay!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Lot of Cards...One Even by Me!

I made a little time to stamp last weekend, and came up with this card, which is a little busy for me, but I like it anyway.

The sentiment is an old Stampa Rosa wood-mounted rubber stamp that's closing in on 20 years old. The holly comes from a Hero Arts clear set. The burgundy and shadow gray are such a dramatic, contrasting pair!

And now, a huge thank you to Lisa, Eddie, Kelle, and Jackie who all donated beautiful cards to Karen's Card Shop in the past couple of months. Special thanks to Kelle who included Christmas cards in her package because she knew I hadn't made enough of my own this year. What a treat to have some of her beautiful cards to send to my friends and family who are used to getting handmade "specials"!

Here the card shop donations are...all bagged, sorted, and ready to take to church. I'll be putting some of them out in the shop tomorrow.

And here are cards that people have sent to me in the past six months or so. Today, my cork board got updated. It felt so good, and I can't thank those of you who have sent cards enough. 

Stampers are awesome people!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Saturday, October 12, 2019

So Much Gratitude

People are good.

I know. Some aren't. Of course. But in the past two weeks, I've encountered a lot of good people. Kathy's family has encountered a lot of good people.

Kathy's funeral service was astounding. Her church, her friends, her family turned out for standing room only in a very large church. The receiving line for the visitation lasted three hours. The eulogies were given by her pastors and one pastor's wife. The choir, which must have had 70 people in it, sang some of her favorite songs. There was laughter. There were tears. She will be missed. So very much.

Because Kathy's youngest daughter had a third of her head shaved (a consequence of surgery to relieve pressure on her brain the day after the accident), her older sister asked everyone to wear hats to the funeral. In memory of Kathy, in honor of my uncle, and for one day only, this Duke University graduate wore one of George's caps.

I am grateful that Kathy's daughter is recovering so well from her pelvic fractures and brain bleed.

And now, the long adjustment. Kathy and I were very close--physically and emotionally--growing up, but in our adult lives, we've seen each other only occasionally.

Front: Aunt Linda, Kathy, Jenny (her sister)
Back: My mom (hiding), Grandma, me, my crazy fabulous sister

Her parents, her husband, and her daughters, however, now have to adjust to life as amputees. A big, vital part of their lives disappeared in an instant. They keep looking down, expecting to see her. They could use your prayers, good wishes, positive energy...whatever goodness you can send out into the universe.

I'm grateful for my department and their support as I went to NC for the funeral and had to cancel a class. I'm grateful for my students, who took the change in schedule in stride. I've never cancelled a class for personal reasons in all my years as an adjunct.

I'm so grateful for the cards I've received.

I'm grateful to the baristas at Starbucks. I walked up to the counter at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning after sitting in my car texting Kathy's husband and crying. I looked like hell. The first barista didn't even say hello. She just said, in the kindest, most sincere voice imaginable, "What's wrong?" "I just got back in town last night from a funeral," I blurted. "I'm so sorry." And then they called my name when my drink was ready. I walked up to this cup and started crying again.

I think I might spend a little too much time at Starbucks.

I'm grateful for all the kind comments and emails on my last post. Stampers are the best sort of people.

I'm grateful for some time today to stamp. I'm not exactly in form since my stamping time has been cut so dramatically, and it's a good thing I have a stash of store-bought Christmas cards. But it was fun to get inky and make a few cards and some pretty trash.

On the school teaching is so very satisfying! I was asked to participate in a study this semester, and it's going very well. Also, the English Department is promoting me to Lecturer II status. It's taken over a year, but I do feel like I'm getting my feet under me again. It's wonderful.

My thanks to those of you who are holding on to my blog and most especially those who continue to send cards to Karen's Card Shop. You're keeping it going! (Two of the cards I received were purchased there!) I miss stamping so much, I miss being able to sit down and produce something blog-worthy in a half-hour or so. I miss being able to play.

There's a time to every purpose under heaven. Now's the time for grieving, working, and seeking balance. But as Paul says, in all things give thanks. Thank you, Lord, for all things, but most especially so many good people.

If you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear what you're grateful for. There's so much goodness in the world, and we should celebrate it. Kathy would appreciate that!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Thursday, October 3, 2019


Well, life is in many ways great. Five of you have sent cards to Karen's Card Shop, for which I am so very grateful. Thank you. School is going extremely well, for which I am so very grateful. I had time to stamp about a month ago and am now am making time to post one of the pictures, for which I am grateful.

Stamps by Hero Arts

The full-card picture looks rather washed out because the colors are so light and my photo skills are limited, but in real life, those pearls are pearly and the colors are soft and frosty looking, as in the close-up. Oh, how I long for cooler temperatures in this unseasonably warm autumn!

I'm grateful for so many things but also feel rather washed out and grieving. My cousin Kathy died last weekend as a result of a car accident. Her younger daughter was in the car with her and just got out of the hospital today. She will, thankfully, recover, but because she had surgery to relieve some pressure from a brain bleed, she'll be wearing a hat at the funeral. Her older sister has asked everyone to wear hats to the funeral so her little sister won't feel weird.

Kathy, her sister Jenny, my sister Lisa, and I grew up together. Kathy was funny, bright, and crafty. She taught elementary school, loved Jesus and babies, volunteered in her church, went on mission trips, led youth groups, played the guitar, loved horses, took amazing photographs, and was a huge University of North Carolina Tar Heels fan, just like her daddy. I've never held that against them, though they did rib me about going to Duke.

One memory of Kathy from our childhood keeps playing in my mind. I walked into Grandma and Papa's house and found the living room door closed, which was unusual. (Papa eventually removed that door because it was mostly just in the way.) So I knocked on the door and heard a muffled "come in." Grandma and Kathy were sitting on the sofa with their arms around each other. Both were sobbing. "What's wrong?" I exclaimed. Neither could speak through the sobs, but they both pointed to the television. It was the episode of Little House on the Prairie when Laura's dog died. I sat down and cried with them. We three were weepers. I still am. Grandma and Kathy aren't weeping anymore, and it's a small comfort to think of them together again, giggling.

Her husband, two daughters, mom, dad, sister, and so many extended family and friends are devastated right now. A bright light as gone from our lives, and we miss her so much.

Sunday, I'm wearing a Tar Heels baseball cap to the funeral. It'll make her dad smile. But y'all, my heart is breaking.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Healing Wishes

Here's the last card I have in my computer from Before the Flood, or as I have taken to calling it, BF. As we've been purging and reboxing stuff in the basement, I've been labeling the new boxes "PF" for post-flood.

Which means I should be labeling stuff before the flood "AF" for anteflood, sort of like antebellum but with a flood instead of a war. But why label boxes that are going in the recycling bin? That's just silly.

I want my craft space back! It's hard to believe the flood happened on Father's Day. Almost a month ago. And this downtime has happened when I actually have had more time to stamp. It's not fair!

Since Father's Day. That's a lot of Whining Time. Or WT, if you will.

Instead of more WT, however, let's look at a pretty card using an old staple, Dot Spot from Papertrey.

The large Dot Spot was inked with Memento pinks, spritzed with Tattered Angels sparkly stuff, which doesn't show up on the pictures, but oh well. The center was inked with Memento Dandelion and spritzed. The paper is a Hero Arts handmade watercolor paper, which is delightfully textured.

And hopefully by the end of next week, I'll be able to make something new.

Thanks for your patience!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Saturday, July 13, 2019

An End in Sight

Whew. The insurance company finally came through, and the restoration company should be putting everything back to order starting at the end of next week. They call it "put-back," which isn't a very creative name, but boy howdy, do I want it.

The chaotic aftermath of the flood isn't over yet, but hopefully, it will be in a week or two. In the meantime, George and I are going through the mess trying to purge as much junk as possible. There may be some grab-boxes of crafty things for sale soon!

I still have a few cards from before the flood to share. Today's card makes fantastically minimalist use of some of the MANY bottles of Stickles littering my embellishment drawers.

My original plan was to add a raised sentiment over the stems, but there wasn't quite enough room so this card remains sentiment-less.

I think it's fine just as it is.

Because glitter. Glitter is good.

This style...mostly black with touches of bright color...truly satisfies the minimalist in me. It's a go-to design that always works.

What are your go-to designs? I can't stamp right now, but I can live vicariously through you!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and put-backs,

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Well, That Was Unexpected

Happy Treason Independence Day to all my American readers. If you haven't already read it, Signing Their Lives Away by Denise Kiernan (a friend of my sister) is a must-read for the holiday. It's entertaining, funny, and informative, and it celebrates the real humans who committed treason in the name of freedom 243 years ago tomorrow.

Now, for a couple of cards after such a long break. These were made over a month ago. I was playing with color layering stamps from Hero Arts. So much has happened since I made these two cards. 

This card was totally inspired by this photo on Pinterest, but June. June happened. I can't remember exactly the thought process that led to this super different version. Still, you can see the connection, I hope. And my signature white-on-white layering. These layers were made with 80lb Neenah Solar White, while the card base is 110lb of the same.

Note that I embossed AND die cut for this card. So out of my usual, but so possible because of Eva's gift of a Cuttlebug. Still so grateful for that! Thanks, Eva!

And then, this card evolved while I had the stamp set out.  The color combo came from a pin as well. Aqua and yellow. What a fresh and fabulous combo.

Okay, so June was a weird month.

First, while in Lakeside, OH, waiting for the start of the commissioning of a friend as a provisional elder in the United Methodist Church*, which was delayed by a tornado warning, I received a text from my hubby saying he was quitting his job. Wow.

That was weird. And wonderful, as George's skill set is in high demand in the Dayton area, so he landed a new job with little effort, no relocation required. He's currently goofing off between jobs, making homemade pierogies and roasted chicken and other yummy things.

Flashback to Father's Day when I woke up and found the carpet squishy underfoot. Basement flood. First, insurance said they wouldn't pay. Then, after a second flood, the restoration company figured out the problem was the sump pump. We have a sump pump rider on our homeowner's policy, so yay! It won't cover everything, but still, yay!

The second flood happened three hours after the restoration team of three big, strong men spent 8 hours ripping out wet carpet pad and floating the carpet with 16 blowers.

The second floating. Magic carpets make me sad, now. This
whole area is empty, awaiting new padding and carpet/baseboard reinstall. 
I completely lost it when I saw the water squirting up between my foundation and the wall of the basement. Squirting! Gushing! It poured through the cleaned out area, with nothing to impede its progress to completely dry parts of the basement. The second flood was worse, completely saturating the entire basement, ruining baseboards and drywall that had been unaffected by the first flood.

Hormones. I'm blaming the hormones for my sobbing phone call to the restoration company to tell them that all their equipment was running in a new flood and ohmygoshweareallgoingtobeelectrocuted!!!!!!

Perimenopausal hot flashes and vacillating between homicidal rage and thumb-sucking fetal  depression rendered me a (literal and figurative) hot mess in the face of the mayhem in my basement. 

Everything is dry now, but we can't move any of the piles of stuff until the restoration company does its repairs, which await insurance company approval, which is delayed by the higher priority of tornado damage in north Dayton from the Memorial Day tornados that did WAY worse damage to already impoverished areas of Ohio.

My craft area. So sad.

One great pile. I've started to go through this and throw away
damaged stuff or old stuff we should have thrown away years ago.

See, Eva. The Cuttlebug is fine.

A small bedroom stuffed with stuff.

The larger basement bedroom, also stuffed full.
What a mess.

Two unfinished areas are similarly chaotic. Our beautiful new sump pump is working away, keeping everything dry.

I'm just grateful we can get this all fixed up.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and dry basements,

*The UMC has made national news since its February, 2019, Special General Conference made some unfortunate decisions regarding policies related to LGBTQIA+ inclusion in ordained ministry and same-sex marriage. I'll be weighing in on my religious blog, Transforming Common Days (which hasn't had a new post since 2017), once I can type without either crying or raging...neither of which is very helpful. Or Christ-like. But crying and raging are most definitely hormonal. Ain't perimenopause grand?

Whine over.