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!