Sunday, April 5, 2020

Thoughts and Prayers

At this weird and crazy time, thoughts and prayers are important. So I made this card with soft greens, the color of hope and life.

The technique used is marker coloring and spritzing. I'm loving the softness and ease of this technique.

Hunker down and stay safe, folks. Hang in there, and if you need some mental health help, I encourage you to check out Brene Brown's new podcast called Unlocking Us. Her first podcast and the recent one titled "On Anxiety, Calm, + Over/Under Functioning" are extremely helpful. Also, the Calm App is amazing!

Feel free to share whatever resources you're finding helpful now in the comments. We could all use some extra tools in our mental health toolboxes right now!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and distance socializing!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Winner and a Demonstration in Contrast

The random winner of the bookmark is lucky number 1...Colleen! Her comment is a lovely inspiration:

What a cute bookmarker. Thank You for this giveaway opportunity.Me & hubby are coping by just taking it one day at a time and staying to home as much as possible not get overly stress. Being patient, calm, prayer, along with faith and the love in trusting our Lord that this crisis will be over soon.You know, when there is a serious crisis like this; it brings people closer together; helping one another and caring for each other and I do think that is what the Lord is telling us all; Just help one another through the good times as well as the bad.
In the meantime been doing craft projects; working on homemade Christmas items, etc.
In the meantime; everyone stay safe & healthy and say a prayer that this crises will be over soon and keep the faith.God's Blessings to all.ColleenB.~Tx.
Colleen, please send me an email at susanraihala at roadrunner dot com with your snail-mail address. I'll get the bookmark in the mail ASAP!

Thanks to all of you who commented!

And now, I want to share what stamping between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning yielded earlier this week. (Can't sleep. Too many thougths.)

The two cards truly are a study in contrast and were inspired by a number of designs on Pinterest, as well as several different cards using the pink and gold color combination.

First up, I went with crisp and clean, using a very old Hero Arts shadow stamp (only three of the five blocks on the stamp, though), Hero Arts cotton candy ink, and Smooch gold lame. The larger two hearts are Hero Arts Infinity Hearts dies and the smaller ones are from a Martha Steward heart confetti punch.

This was lovely but struck me as a little too crisp, if you know what I mean. So I flexed to a different Hero Arts shadow stamp and handmade paper, Tim Holtz preserved raspberry ink, and a Penny Black branch die. That Smooch is fabulous on both cards!

Scattered hearts just did. not. work. on this larger block background. At. all. I had this die cut sitting on my desk (because Francie M. and Joan B. recommended a metal shim to get this die to work...and work it did!). I tossed it onto the watercolor panel, and magic!

Several observations.
1. The artsier card makes me happier, but the cleaner card makes me smile, too.
2. Except for the way the "birthday" die cut gets lost on the card.
3. And except for the use of rhubarb ink for that little stamped heart and "happy." Not sure what else I could have done there, but there's just something off. I tried to add a third bit of rhubarb, but the design was already getting cluttered. Maybe the "birthday" die cut should have been rhubarb. But that would have been pretty heavy on the rhubarb. Just. not. sure.

I'm feeling very staccato today (or perhaps staccata, if I remember my Italian correctly and since I identify as female). Lock down is making me feel disjointed. cut off. stuck. The flow. Not happening.

Except, apparently, at 2:00 in the morning.

How are you feeling in your current place in the pandemic? Please share!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and distance socializing!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Woodland 'Shrooms

A number of extremely beautiful cards on Pinterest feature paper with lots of texture...which inspired me to look through my box of unusual papers. There, I rediscovered this lovely "wood" paper (pretty sure I bought it at Michael's years ago). It seemed like the perfect backdrop for some cute little mushrooms.

The card base is from PTI. All the little flecks on the cream cardstock add interest and softness.  The spots on the 'shrooms are Hero Arts pumpkin pie, and the little rhinestone was colored with a Sharpie to match.

Isn't the texture of that wood paper beautiful! The paper is actually very fragile--brittle, even. I used a die to cut it and a very light bead of glue to adhere it.

Here's hoping this post finds you well and holding up in the quarantine.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and safety,

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Giveaway--Edited


The past two-and-a-half weeks have been...interesting. I hope this post finds you well and coping. We are.

Well, no one has melted down or thrown things. So there's that.

On Tuesday, March 10, Sinclair Community College announced suspension of classes until March 23 so professors could move face-to-face classes online. I've basically been sitting at my computer ever since trying to convert my classes and learn how to teach via Zoom. The first week of online teaching has gone better than I thought it would. So yay. But I'm exhausted.

Today, I just had to take a break and spent about four hours at my craft desk. After making a bunch of pretty trash, I made this.

I'd like to send this bookmark to someone as a little pick-me-up during this tumultuous and stressful time. Just leave a comment telling us how you're coping with the crisis. I'll select a winner at random Monday  Tuesday night after 6:00 p.m. eastern. I will mail it anywhere...because the whole world is in this mess together. (Edited because I didn't post this to Facebook like I usually do!)

As for my coping, the fact we're all healthy so far helps a lot. Work keeps me too busy to watch the news (a very good thing!), and rare downtime is spent reading fluffy fiction for pure escape, watching movies in the evening with my family, calling friends to check in, and walking outside every chance I get. Ohio is operating under a stay-at-home order, and we argue over who gets to go do the shopping. I've also continued my Calm app meditation streak, which is at 142 days. Ohmmmmm.

So what about you? How are you coping?

Mercy, grace, peace, and lots of love,

Friday, March 27, 2020

Our Viral Grief

Often, people think of grief only in terms of loss through death, but we grieve—often very deeply—other types of loss. In the face of pandemic, we have much to grieve from stay-at-home orders and social distancing. We grieve missed hugs, financial losses, and the loss of physical community for worship, work, and school. We grieve lost vacations, sporting events, graduations, weddings, and funerals. 

We want to do the right thing—flatten the curve for everyone—but the losses hurt. How can we process all this hurt and deal with this new, viral grief?

Recognize your feelings. Grief can stir up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings that need to be acknowledged. Feelings are neither good nor bad…they just are. We can’t control what we feel, but we can control how we respond. The first step in responding well to our feelings is to recognize them. 

Accept your feelings. For instance, Christians sometimes think it’s a sin to be angry at God and therefore have a hard time accepting that feeling. The good news is that God’s not afraid of our anger. God’s love in infinite. God can handle our anger and every other feeling our grief might conjure up.  

Express your feelings. Cry. Punch a pillow. Keep a journal. Pray.

Trust that feelings are unique to each of us. People might have the same source of grief but very different feelings about it. Trust that everyone’s doing their best with their feelings…even you! Treat others’ feelings the way you want them to treat yours, even if you might not understand them.

Share your feelings with someone you trust. Often, the most healing part of working through grief is putting the words out there; feelings often lose power in the open air. Talk with someone who listens without judgment, without trying to “fix” the feelings, and without telling you what you “should” do. (And remember to be a good listener when others share their feelings with you!)

C.S. Lewis said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” Indeed, we now see in our response to this pandemic just how closely related fear and grief are. God is with us as we wash our hands and struggle with this new—and temporary—normal. God is with us through this uncertainty, fear, and grief. God gave us feelings; let us work through them together. 

This is a slightly edited article I wrote for our church newsletter, and it comes out of my experience as a Stephen Minister and Leader. If you want more information, please email me through the blog. Blessings and peace to everyone. ~Susan

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Inspired Butterflies

Today's butterflies were inspired by THIS PIN. I wanted the natural colors and grassy softness of the inspiration with the adorbs little butterfly from Hero Arts From the Vault Bugs. The grass here comes from an old PTI set. Lovely!

I used a couple of Copic markers to color the body of the butterfly and add some shading to the wings. The effect is soft and pretty!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Little Purple Butterflies

More fun with Hero Arts From the Vault Bugs. The purple and green color scheme makes me endlessly happy!

This card was inspired by the numerous inchie cards I've seen on Pinterest lately. Most are shabby chic, collage, or artsy looking, which we can all agree I don't do well. But my 3/4" square punch certainly enjoyed a workout, and this simple card was worth all the failed squares!

That script birthday sentiment is from one of the PTI Keep It Simple Birthday sets. I adore it!

What are your favorite sentiment stamps? Or at least ones that you get excited to use?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,