Monday, September 27, 2010

A Week of Gratitude: Day 1

Six years ago, my pastor preached a sermon about how sad it is that Thanksgiving gets lost between the commercialism of Halloween and Christmas. That year, I noticed that Target had six aisles dedicated to Halloween. The Halloween aisles switched straight to Christmas. In fact, the only display specific to Thanksgiving was one end-cap, although there was one side of one aisle with dried fall arrangements and a row of hand-towels on another end-cap in Home Decor.

The pastor suggested several ways we reclaim Thanksgiving from the mad rush of Halloween and Christmas. My favorite won't surprise you at all. He proposed that we take special time each year to send Thanksgiving cards or letters to those who have touched our lives in some way.

Oh, yeah! I have been ALL OVER that one ever since. Each year, I send about twenty cards to random people from my address book, letting them know that I'm thankful they are (or have been) a special part of my life.

Mary Dawn and I had so much fun with Kraft Week a while back that we decided to do something else later. Later is here, and it's a Week of Gratitude! We're going to showcase cards expressing gratitude to various people. We'll have two prizes for random drawings from comments on both blogs, so the more posts you comment on, the more chances you have to win! The prizes are

1. An issue of Papercrafts Card Style (oh, how I love this special-issue magazine!) and two shadow inks.

2. A $25 gift certificate to Shady Tree Studio.

We're also challenging you to join in. We'll be adding an InLinkz button later this week for everyone who wants to take up the challenge to reclaim Thanksgiving for themselves.

For my first card, I chose to go vintage with a shabby chic card. I KNOW!?!?! Where did THAT come from?!?!?!

 But I was thinking about my friend Deena, who was my best friend when we lived in Boise, Idaho. Deena and I shared all our secrets and supported one another each and every day. We worked side by side for three years, and then I moved to Rapid City.

And that was it. I tried to keep things going via email, but Deena felt like she had to write whole letters and just never found the time. We sent each other Christmas and birthday presents, just little things to let each other know we were thinking of each other. Then, she started sending the gifts late. Then, my last birthday and Christmas, she sent nothing at all, nor did she acknowledge my Christmas package.

Through another mutual friend, I know that she is fine and busy and doing well, but she has gone the way of so many civilian friends. You see, military folks are so transient, we learn to make friends very, very quickly. Our military friends understand the effort needed to stay connected over distance and DO SO, largely because we know that eventually, we will probably be reconnected at another base. There's hope of reunion, and that keeps the friendship close.

Civilians, on the other hand, lose hope, and friendships fade. To use a military metaphor, you fall off their radar scope, and their lives are too busy to put forth the effort of extending their scope's range to maintain long-distance friendship. They've got enough on their scope to keep them busy closer to home.

I used to be hurt and a bit bitter about this fact of life, but after it happened for the umpteenth time, I realized not to take it personally. FaceBook has helped to reconnect with these lost friends a bit, too. But Deena isn't on FaceBook. So I decided I'd send her a card this year.

It's vintage style popped into my brain when I was looking through Take Ten and seeing all the cards with text backgrounds. I thought the shabby style would reflect the friendship itself, a bit worn around the edges, a forgotten corner in the garden of life but still beautiful and precious nevertheless. The color scheme is soft pink and brown, a bit faded and washed out. But still pretty.



How-To Tips: First, I masked the vintage cream card base, and stamped Text Style on a long rectangle in Soft Wheat ink. Then I sponged some Pixie Pink VersaMagic to give the rectangle a bit more definition. After removing the mask, I stamped the large branch from Turning a New Leaf in Pixie Pink and the sentiment (from a fall PTI set from last year...can't remember the name) in VersaMagic Sahara Sand, a lovely light brown. The flowers were punched from a piece of stamped and distressed vintage cream (the paper was wadded up and flattened repeatedly, and sponged with Pixie). The centers of the flowers were punched from a piece of kraft that I repeatedly ran through a paper crimper (haven't used that in FOREVER!), poked holes into, and tied twine like a button. This keeps the card flat for mailing but adds some lovely softness and texture to it.

I hope you like this because OH MY GOSH, I do. It's wonderful when the style of a card reflects the message so perfectly and in such a personal and specific way for the recipient. I make hundreds of cards for other people every year...cards used by soldiers whom I don't know and will never meet and sent to people who are precious to them but unknown to me.

It's wonderful to make a card for someone I know and love. That's what makes handmade extra special, don't you think?

If you haven't done so already, check out Mary Dawn's blog My Pink Mexico for her kick-off to A Week of Gratitude!

77 comments:

  1. How very special to receive a card from you when you put such thought into it. This is a beautiful card made special by that thought.

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  2. I have the same dismay at the number of relationships that end this way. It's really hard to make good friends and then to loose them, well, tragic.
    This is a lovely idea for inspiration this week. Love the shabby chic, its a new direction for you and it's brilliant!

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  3. Thank you for giving me pause to think about those I am grateful for. We don't do Thanksgiving in the UK but when you put it that simply it sounds like an excellent opportunity to think of others in our life that we are grateful to/for.

    Your card is beautiful *sigh*, I just love the softness of the pink and brown. Thank you:)

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  4. I love how you can do shabby chic clean and simple! Beautiful card. Thanks for the encouragement and challenge to show our gratefulness to our loved ones.

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  5. Beautiful card! I love the softness of it, and I think cards for troops is a wonderful idea. I would love to do something for the troops, but have no idea how to start...what kind of cards, sentiments inside or not, envelopes, where to send them...etc.

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  6. Absolutely beautiful! So much great detail, yet still wonderfully clean...and one layer at that! You've made me think of some old friends that need reaching out to. Thanks for that!

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  7. Wow...the card is beautiful I think it still qualifies for clean and simple...a gentleness waifs from the soft color...makes me want to touch it but ever so lightly so as not to spoil the moment...as much as we would like our relationships to be forever, many are seasonal...for a time and a purpose...what a treasure to be able to remember the specialness of your friend and have allowed the hurt to fade away...
    blessings
    patti moffett

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  8. What a wonderful card! Still your style, but with a bit more detail...gorgeous!

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  9. Your card is beautiful, and so is the fact that you made it to give to an old friend. I'm totally inspired to send cards to old friends - thanks so much.

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  10. Thanks for sharing about friendships that fade over time ~ we all can certainly relate to that... It took me awhile to adjust my perspective the first time we failed to get a wedding invite to a friend's child we watched grow up. Then our first son was married and due to limitations of space, budget, bride's family preference, etc, we found ourselves making the very same difficult choices. Correspondence issues aren't quite the same, but there are parallels with making difficult choices in the use of time. I am very challenged in housekeeping, but still send cards to those who take more time to keep a neat home, but don't take time to send cards... My priorities are with yours, Susan ~ keep it up!

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  11. Susan, this is a *gorgeous* card. Even if this card doesn't rekindle your lost friendship, I know your friend will be touched that you're still thinking of her.

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  12. I am thankful for this blog! You are making me think of many people I am thankful for, and a handmade card is such a lovely way to tell them.
    This card is beautiful, it's easy to see that it was made for someone special in mind.

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  13. What a beautiful card! I like the idea of making the faux buttons. Love the idea of sending cards at Thanksgiving to those we are grateful to have in our lives. I love fall colors so this will be a great excuse to make more fall cards. Thanks for your continued inspiration!

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  14. So pretty!!! Love the softness of the colours and the sponging! And I love that the 'shabby' is not over the top!
    Sharon D. from Canada

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  15. Very pretty--I love the softness of this card.

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  16. I love the CAS Shabby =) So delicate, so sweet, so to the point!

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  17. I especially like the kraft instead of buttons for mailing and the use of pink for Turning A New Leaf. I am grateful for the inspiration you give me in each posting!

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  18. The card is beautiful...and your story really touches my heart. I have certainly been Deena with a best friend from college. Thank you for showing me a little of what my friend must feel like...I will send her a card this week too. Susan, honestly thank you for all you do to inspire and motivate others.

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  19. gorgeous card! love the softness of it. and thank you for the reminder that we need to send those "thankful" cards to those we love!

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  20. Even civilian-civilian friendships go through the same distancing sometimes (and even when you're both still in the same city) - I guess it's just part of the life cycle. I often think people come into your life for a reason and sometimes that reason ends and you both move on in different directions. But thank goodness for the forever friendships - my closest friend is one I made in university and here we are 40 years later still just as close.

    I totally love your card. I struggle with combining CAS with vintage, shabby chic, and distressed. But your card really inspires me to keep trying. Did you see one of the cards I favourited (is that a word?!!) on SCS CAS favourites yesterday - http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/gallery/photo/1801188 - it also inspires me to expand my CAS horizons.

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  21. First of all, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is about togetherness, not gifts. Your friend will appreciate this lovely card and its sentiment. I have a friend who used to be close and we send each other handmade cards randomly throughout the year. Each time one arrives, it fills me with joy. So even though life gets in the way, it is a reminded that friends remain dear. I much prefer these cards to an anonymous Facebook posting.

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  22. I have a friend like that and it really hurt me when they stopped responding, but I have to say I like your attitude! It's just what life has become. As a special thank you to you, I'm going to try and CASE you as often as I can this week on SCS, and send the viewers back to your blog. Thank you for being such a wonderful individual to take back the simple things in life that mean the most!-Audrie Eastside Settle.

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  23. The card is nothing short of perfection, Susan. Sheer, absolute perfection.

    And, for what it's worth, here's another perspective on friendships lost due to lack of communication. ;)

    I have a small assortment of friends, dearest in the world to me, that I know will always be there for me, and I for them, despite a year or even 3 going by without communication. We refer to ourselves as "low maintenance". :) We can pick up right where we left off 3 years ago, without skippin' a beat.

    We do not feel hurt. We do not feel guilt. We do not feel forgotten or neglected. Instead, we feel only the greatest joy when time and circumstances do allow us to reconnect once again, no matter how sporadically, no matter how many years since the last time.

    My "low maintenance" friends are a rare species; without them, I would be an utterly miserable and lonely creature.

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  24. Thank you for your great idea of keeping Thanksgiving alive. I haven't made many Thanksgiving cards, but now I think I'll follow your example and start that tradition myself. Your clean and simple/vintage combination is beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  25. Your card is so beautiful!! I love the pink and browns together and the softness of the whole thing!!

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  26. This card is just stunning in its simplicity. I love everything from the colours to the layout to the stamps you chose. I absolutely adore that flower with the paper buttons. Genius! I'll certainly be adding that to my repertoire this year.

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  27. Susan I just wanted to say that I've been making and sending Thanksgiving cards to friends and family since I started this hobby. I don't ever want that holiday to pass without expressing how grateful I am to those I am close to. To me, Thanksgiving really matters. Glad you are doing this week of gratitude!

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  28. I just love how you write- it is soothing and comforting and I could read it all day. A perfect voice in my head for this gray rainy afternoon. So glad I found your blog that I didn't even know about! Keep it up my friend! Oh yes, and I love the card. It is ideal and lovely!

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  29. Thanksgiving is really forgotten and this year I especially want to thank everyone that helped us through a difficult time with their prayers and support. Thank YOU for the wonderful idea that I will start on right away. I especially LOVE your card and will definitely CASE in various colors.

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  30. Came here from MD today! I love this idea and must steal it! Your card is a true winner and perfect for mailing with all that masking!

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  31. Have a quick peek at my friend's blog - she is living a YEAR gratefully - and blogging about it!

    Rx

    http://livinggratefully.co.uk/living_gratefully_blog.html

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  32. I have to say that your story was a bit sad. I have friends like that, however, that have fallen from the radar, but I still think about them. Deena will surely appreciate your card. It is beautiful!

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  33. If that card is a version of vintage then I like what I see and think I could probably manage that (it is usually a style that is a bit disorganised for me). Gorgeous

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  34. Soft and pretty. I like the masking idea here.

    Very nice idea to send out "grateful" cards.

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  35. Oh this was worth the hype and waiting! I adore your CAS, Vintage style! So sweet and what a lovely gesture for Deena!
    Hugs,
    Aimes
    x

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  36. what a wonderful idea, I also keep thinking I should send cards to say thank you, but I always chicken out. I think I will now.

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  37. Since becoming an adult, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And because it's getting "forgotten" more and more each year as Halloween as taken off as a HUGE decorating/party time; I started sending out a few Thanksgiving cards to friends a few years ago.

    I don't send nearly as many as I could. But these are to people who I am truly thankful for having been in my life. Some still are on a regular basis, some not so much but I want them to know I was thinking of them and that I am thankful for the times we did share. It doesn't matter to me if I hear back from them, and I say so in the card. I don't want the receipt of a card from me to become some sort of obligation. I'm fine with our contact having "gone by the wayside", that's part of life. But if I remember them fondly I want them to know!

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  38. Pretty card! I think Deena will be delighted that you let her know you're thinking of her. It is hard to find time to keep in touch when we all seem to get so busy. I like the idea of making Thanksgiving a more significant day.
    DeniseB

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  39. What a wonderful idea! I've been trying to make cards more frequently to send out, and this is a perfect start! Beautiful card, love the idea of the text on the background of the card.

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  40. what a wonderful idea, your pastor is a wise man! Your first card is lovely and I look forward to the future cards! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  41. Thanks for the reminder that we don't have to wait until November to let people know that we are thankful for them. It is so hard to keep up with old friends when you move and get caught up with new friends, jobs, kids activities, etc. You are a good friend!

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  42. This is soooo delicate and lovely...

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  43. What a fun idea for your posts this week. I think today's card is neato -- the softness of the colors and the mix of textures and patterns. I hope you and your friend manage to reconnect, if only a little.

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  44. Totally gorgeous, and totally worth waiting till today to see!

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  45. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing a beautiful card and such a personal story! :)

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  46. Oh, this is so pretty, soft and lovely!

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  47. Oh wow this is a beautiful, soft card with a beautiful soft story. Your friend will love it.
    I love this whole idea of recapturing Thanksgiving and making a point of thanking those people who have touched our lives. Thank you for your blog and this post which has inspired me to follow your lead.

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  48. I'm sure your friend will appreciate your beautiful card. I think your suggestion about sending Thanksgiving cards is a good one.

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  49. Thanks for sharing both stories! I love what your pastor had to say -- beautiful idea. And the card you made for your friend is wonderful and unusual, but still very much Lateblossom style!

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  50. absolutely love this card..so different from your usual cards yet it still is you! I'm sure your friend will love this card too!

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  51. What a beautiful card. It sure makes me reflect on the friendships I have let go because of "whatever".

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  52. Just too beautiful. and YES it is lovely to send something special to those we know and love

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  53. A beautiful card and with so much thought. I am going to send out some cards today to friends. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  54. I try very hard to stay in contact with friends. But life does get in the way. I love your idea of saying thanks at this time of year. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am going to start right now making a list of my special friends that need to know just how much I love having them in my life.

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  55. Deena has a wonderful friend. Such a beautiful card.

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  56. I love this card! It's so peaceful and beautiful.

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  57. Such a pretty softness to this card!

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  58. i appreciated your take on friends who don't write back, it does happen, bummer! and i loved your card, pink loves brown for sure. thank you for sharing.

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  59. Dear Susan. I am soo moved by the thought that went behind this card. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us. God bless.

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  60. This is a very pretty card. I am one of those civilians that loose track after separation. Your understanding and grace of this situation are beautiful.

    Most likely you are in many of your friend's fond memories and thought of often.

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  61. Beautiful card. And you are so right about Thanksgiving being lost. It's my most favorite time to celebrate family, friendships and what we are blessed with.

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  62. Susan, your card is BEAUTIFUL! In fact it inspired me to make a couple of cards as well. You can see them here: http://lisascreativecorner.blogspot.com/2010/09/heart-to-heart-card-drive.html

    I made my cards for a card drive to send to Alzheimer's caregivers. I don't think they are thanked enough.

    Thank YOU for reminding us all that we need to be thankful all year round for all of God's blessings. *Ü*

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  63. I'm in awe! You're great at shabby chic too! Gratitude Week is an excellent idea!

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  64. Such a beautiful card! I love the softness and shabbiness there!

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  65. beautiful, but simple card. I love it!

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  66. Your card is beautiful in its simplicity!

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  67. It was really nice to read your post today. I thought a lot about what your pastor said, and what we all see in the stores this holiday season. THanks for the 'food for thought', Susan.

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  68. I love it! Shabby and Vintage is so in right now. I hate the jump from Halloween to Christmas at the stores every year. I like the idea, but I will not send TG cards just for the total cost of it or for having to choose who is worthy and who is not, I'm kinda all in or all out so I don't have to choose. LOL I know, crazy, but that is how it is, things snowball for me continuously!! And have not sent Christmas Cards for the cost of them the past 2 years as I made my own and there was printer ink to consider and postage just keeps climbing. We have lived in many places and I have accumulated people that I like to send to, of whom maybe 20 respond or send them themselves(who are mostly my family),many only respond if they get a card from me. I used to send to all of my childhood friends and their parents and none of them keep in touch and none of them send their new address when I have religously sent cards for 27 years, so I get quite a few back and my postage down the drain. And some people feel inferior to those who craft, I don't know why and it doesn't make any sense or maybe it's the cost of $3.00 per card off the shelf at the store because they are not crafty? and then guilt just takes over because they think you are so good and they are so bad for not responding and the span of time just gets longer. And now they are just embarrassed to reply. It's the same reason people quit going to the gym for their New Year's resolution, it's easier to stop going so they don't have to feel guilty when they miss a time or two because their schedule got messed up/was too busy. I do love Thanksgiving and I do make cards or treats now that I stamp, that I can hand deliver and not pay postage. =D

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  69. I forgot to put my name. LOL Paulette S. from MO

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  70. Susan,
    That is ONE AWESOME CARD!! Well deserving of the 'build up' and more! just absolutely breathtaking.And thought behind it is amazing as well.
    Tonight I finished up a sympathy card for a very dear friend of 38 years whose husband is in the final stages of cancer. I have three more to do, for her three daughters. I have started these early as I want them to be very special,one of kind, just for them. During the process i think of them and whisper prayers in God's ear..to keep them in His loving arms as they go through the process of saying goodbye.
    Lu C

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  71. that card is wonderful! and I'm not a girl who loves pink!
    that story is very touching. I am horrible about keeping in contact and i feel bad but i never do anything but neither do the old friends. this inspires me to try this too!

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  72. thank you susan.
    you are a truly lovely person.
    this card is simply beautiful.
    even i cd make one like this.
    your inspiration is much appreciated.
    marty ferraro

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  73. Beautiful card! Good work!

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  74. This is so soft and lovely, Susan!

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