Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Warm and Cool Colors, Old Style

First, thank you so much for the kind comments and emails I've received on my last post. I'm surprised email subscribers are still receiving the blog as Feedburner was supposed to go inactive last summer. 

Second, I started playing around with old Hero Arts (copyright 2006) wood-mounted stamps and trying to make them look fresher and more "in style"--but then I realized I have no idea what's in style and what's not. So I aimed to take old supplies and techniques and put them together in a way that felt fresh to me. 

Anyway, I used a combination of SU and Memento markers (all at least 10 years old) with a spritzing technique to achieve a watercolor effect (very old school) and then used a StampinUp textured embossing folder to create a thin vellum mat...the only sort of "new" supply used. The textured, colored cardstock has been in my stash for about 17 years...purchased when a scrapbook store went out of business. 












I really like the vellum layer with its wavy edges and texture. 

Which color combination do you prefer: the warm yellows and oranges, or the cooler purples? I love them both myself and love especially how they feel so different in mood. 

Finally, several people have commented that they miss seeing my puppy pictures, so here are a few recent ones to catch you up on our pups. 


Cooper and Lily

Cooper's smooshy wooshy face

Lily's happy face

Cooper's Cujo face. In his defense, Lily was 
biting his upper lip. I got a lucky photo.

Lily trying to be top dog. Cooper
could not care less. He's just chewing his bone
while she humps his head.

"I finally caught it!"

Cooper's give-me-a-treat face

Young man blessed with dogs.

"Please, may I have some chimkin?"

Don't let that last picture fool you. Lily is a demon. She routinely chews on poor Cooper's face...so much so that his fur is becoming discolored on one side from the spit. But he loves her like a hen-pecked husband and can't stand when she goes anywhere without him. 

She's the same way about him. After all, whom else would she torture!?

Mercy, grace, peace, and furry love,

Susan

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Blessings

So, it's been a while since I posted. Life has been rather strange and challenging for all of us for the past two years, and now, as some things are returning to "normal" (whatever the heck that means), many of us are finding ourselves anxious, depressed, confused, wrong-footed, or at the very least, out of sorts. 

While I have been spared the tragedy of losing close friends or family to COVID-19, I admit to feeling more anxious and depressed than I should. In fact, I have had several panic attacks in the past two months and found myself at the doctor's office 12 hours after the first one seeking help. The doctor was incredibly kind, patient, and helpful, and as I sat waiting for my prescription, I thanked God for the resources I have available to deal with this crisis. 

You see, I've referred about twenty students to counseling in the past two years...even walked a few over to the counseling center at the college where I work. I've filed behavior intervention reports for students whose mental health status scared me for them. At church, I've volunteered as a Stephen Minister 12 years) and Stephen Leader (8 years), connecting hurting people with people who can help them. I've taught the Crisis Theory training module to Stephen Ministry students, so I know how to assess my toolbox for the right tools to handle my personal crises, and I know how to quickly identify when I don't have the tools and need to ask for help. 

And I know how to get help. I did it. No fuss, no difficulty. If that doesn't reflect my privilege, I don't know what else could. 

Many people think, because society tells us so, that we are supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and deal with things on our own, that asking for help is a sign of weakness, proof that we can't handle ourselves well. 

That's bullshit thinking, and it needs to stop.

I've been back in therapy with a cognitive behavioral specialist for over a year because sleeplessness (caused by hormones--thank you, Mother Nature) was making me feel crazy in a world already crazy from political polarization and pandemic. I'd done well, eventually got on hormone replacement therapy, and was only meeting with my therapist once every 2-3 weeks. I was about to tell her we could stop meeting when the panic attack happened. 

We're now meeting every. single. week. 

And it's helping. 

So is the prescription.

I'm putting this out there for you because we need to have public discussion of how to help ourselves and each other through these crazy times of one freaking crisis after another. We need to recognize when our toolbox needs new tools to deal with new problems and when we need training on how to use those new tools. We need to know how to ask for help and how to get it. 

We need to normalize that process of crisis management for all ages and all races and all orientations and all religions and all political parties and all genders. For all humans. Especially right now. 

If you're struggling and feel alone and lost and in need, reach out for help. Be careful. Don't reach out to just anybody; choose a sensible pastor, a Stephen Minister, a therapist, a doctor, a good and supportive friend. Someone you can trust. I'm blessed with an abundance of those types of people, and if you're not, don't let that stop you. Ask for help. Persist. 

One thing my therapist has encouraged is stamping. Being creative, making things even if nobody cares, is therapeutic. If you're reading this blog, you already have and use this tool. I've made a few cards this year, but mostly now when I sit down to create, I dither and make trash. Not even pretty trash. 

This was one of the exceptions. Inspired by Pauline's Papier, I made several cards not nearly as pretty as this one, which evolved from the others. 


The process of evolving a card design can be extremely satisfying...when my head is in the right place. When it's not, I have to look in my toolbox and see what I can do to solve the problem. In the past, reorganizing supplies has been extremely helpful. Choosing a particular technique or supply to use and just playing with it sometimes helps. 

What tools do you use when you're in a creative funk? I'd love some new ideas. 

And remember. Don't go this alone. You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if someone stole your boots. And there are plenty of boot-stealing crises out there right now. A lot of us are shoeless. Ask for help until you get it. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Coloring Books and a Little Catching Up

I'm stunned that those of you who subscribe by email are getting these posts. Feedburner made such a big deal of saying the emails would stop in July, and it sort of took the heart out of me for blogging. Thanks for all the positive emails and encouragement!

Today's card was made months ago, after I received an order from Hero Arts. This bookshelf stamp turned out to be MUCH bigger than I thought it was online, and the coloring took for-ev-er. But it was worth it!



Colored with Copics and sentiment from Papertrey. 

So weird coincidence (or God thing...you decide). This morning, while driving my son to church, we were reveling in the fall colors. They brought to mind the line from the hymn "To God be the glory, great things he hath done!" I said the line out loud, and then, guess which hymn was the opening for worship. Yep. 

Fall is my favorite season. 

I was liturgist this morning and take the act of reading "the word of God for the people of God" both very seriously and very lightly. On the one hand, I practice beforehand (even more if there are hard words!) and want to do the words right, as a holy act of service in worship. On the other hand, worship should be joyous and celebratory, so I emote, use inflection, and have fun. To God be the glory, indeed.

Several of you asked for a Lily update. She's poorly named. If you've watched Lucifer on Netflix, you're familiar with the demon Mazikeen. She helped Lucifer torture damned souls in hell. We've decided that Lily should be called Mazikeen because she's torturing poor Cooper. She eats his face, people. Hangs by her teeth from his lip. Poor Coop. 

Cooper's butt makes a nice pillow.

Ms. Happ

Silly Lily

She's a joy and also a teenager...so maddening and crazy-provoking at the same time she's cute as all get out. 

Since we last visited a few things have happened. 

1. We went on vacation in early July to Minnesota, where my husband took engagement photos of his niece and her fiancĂ©! I just took snapshots of the fun. 



3. I started Noom in mid-July and have lost 26 pounds. It's amazing. My muffin top is gone, my resting heart-rate is lower, and I feel so much better. About 12 pounds to go and a lifetime of lifestyle changes that will stick. 

4. Face-to-face classes (a few, at least) resumed at Sinclair Community College, so I'm back teaching in the classroom through a mask. It's awesome, but everyone is really struggling. Pandemics suck.

2. I went to Dallas, TX, for a girls' weekend of wedding dress shopping for our niece. In a house full of men, I never get girl time...what a joy! Many thanks to my SIL for hosting!

Mother of groom, mother of bride, bride, and me

It's kinda hard to believe that tonight is Halloween. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. I hope you all have stayed healthy and are getting somewhat back to normal. 

Having dropped out of the stamping world for about five months, I feel behind, so maybe YOU can catch ME up on what's going on. What are the latest trends? Is there something I really should look into...a product, a video, a technique, an Instagram account? Please let me know!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Susan

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Still Being Inspired by Mia

 This PIN by Mia inspired my card.



I've made about five cards in the past two months, most utterly forgettable. This was today's effort, and with inspiration like that gorgeousness from Mia, it was easy to slip back into our fabulous hobby and feel like I made something cool. Thanks, Mia.

On a different topic, Karen's Card Shop has passed the $3,000 mark. Five years of sales (including a pandemic with limited access to the building) and much good has been done. I wanted to once again thank all who have contributed cards to the shop. My stock is good for now, but with the church opening back up and traffic increasing, we might need more cards in the new year. 

The new year. 

Oh my. 

At the end of 2020, 2021 said, "Hold my beer," and proceeded to prove that 2020 wouldn't be the outlier. I feel we need to speak softly and pray a lot as 2022 says hello. 

Blessings to anyone still reading this blog...and to all who have read it in the past. It feels weird to post again. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and kindness,

Susan

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Thanks, a New Puppy, a Graduate, and Email Subscription News

So let's start with the email subscription issue. Feedburner goes defunct next week, so if you receive this blog in your email, you will no longer receive it after Feedburner shuts operations. I am researching other options and will post as soon as I do implement one of them. You will be able to re-subscribe on the new platform if you wish. 

Until then, you are invited to bookmark this blog and check in periodically. I hope to post more frequently in the coming weeks as my stamping time is, indeed, getting longer during the summer.

Now, for the new puppy. Putting Daisy to sleep was so very, very hard, and we are all still grieving that loss. She was a once-in-a-lifetime dog, so very special. Cooper became very sad, too, and we called his breeder to see if she would put us on the list for her next litter. She did better than that: she offered us a puppy she had planned on keeping for herself, a puppy who was almost old enough to go to her forever home. We named this puppy Lily.





In addition to this wonderful new puppy adventure, our son Jack graduated from high school. From riding the "special" bus to tooting his horn and heading to community college in the fall. I'm so proud of this young man!








The Springboro High School Band Program offers a scholarship every year in memory of Kyle Chowen, a former student who loved the band with his whole heart, came early, stayed late, volunteered for everything. Kyle passed away far too young, and the scholarship named after him went to Jack this year because Jack loves the band with his whole heart, too. 

This momma's heart was full. So very full. 

And now for the thanks. Thank you all for reading this little blog, for all your cards and emails and comments of support and love, especially in the past month, and for loving this hobby so much. 




Thank you. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Grief and Balm

Author Dean Koontz wrote about his grief after his golden retriever Trixie died. One day, he and his wife were walking and saw a perfect golden butterfly flying by. That butterfly sighting left them feeling at peace, as if the butterfly carried a message to them that Trixie was fine and they would be, too. 

When our golden retriever Hoover died, we told him to send us a golden butterfly, and he sent us Daisy. She was our golden butterfly for 11 years. 

In the week and a half she's been gone, the longest I've made it without crying is 24 hours. She's been by far the hardest of our dogs to grieve for. Cooper is grieving, too. After the first few days, he became mopey and sad. 

Friends of my son sent us this message:

We heard that you had lost your precious Daisy and wanted you to know that we are very sad for your loss. Many times the loss of a pet is the hardest of all as we know that they always expect their humans to make it all better and usually we can...until we cannot. Our final takeaway from them after all of their years of giving us their absolute all every minute of their short lives is that we were always in their best place to possibly be when they were with us. We were their everything and the most excellent life we lived with them is all they wanted. Their true Heaven was here on earth with us. Now, go get a puppy!

We are taking their advice. Meet our new golden butterfly.



My husband wanted a new puppy ASAP, and I contacted Cooper's breeder. She informed me that a female became available from a litter that's ready to go to their new homes this weekend. She's cuddly, sweet, and not an alpha pup. 

Miss Lilac (so-called for the color of ribbon she wears to distinguish her from her littermates) is coming to live with us the weekend after next. (This weekend is Jack's high school graduation...no puppy should have to deal with that chaos!) 

Neither George nor I can picture ourselves yelling "Lilac!!!" to call her inside, so the short list of possible names includes Clover, Lily, and Magnolia. Lily is the frontrunner, simply because it's close to Lilac and might cause her less confusion. I prefer Clover because it has "love" in the middle, and George likes Magnolia because we can call her Maggie for everyday and Magnolia (with a southern accent) when we're mad at her.

It's hard right now to imagine EVER being mad at that sweet face, but after she widdles on my shoes and chews a pillow to pieces, we just might raise our voices. 

A new dog never, ever replaces a dog in our hearts. The gaping hole left by Daisy will take a very long time to heal. But little Clover/Lily/Maggie will wiggle her way into our hearts and lives in her own uniquely golden way. 

Grief is love with nowhere to go, and I think Daisy, who was the embodiment of fur-covered love, will appreciate us pouring the love she can't receive right now into this new puppy. 

Cooper will have a playmate again. 

And Daisy will wait for us like the good dog she was, is, and forever will be. 


Mercy, grace, peace, and most of all love,

Susan

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Thank You

Thank you all for your emails and comments and cards of comfort, and thank you to all who have cried with us and told me so. You have no idea how much that means to me. The empathy and compassion we've experienced in the past week have been a balm. We've loved all our dogs excessively, but Daisy was a once-in-a-lifetime dog. The loss of her will take a very long time to process. 

Today, I want to share the cards I've received. 

From Eddie

From Angela

From June

From Rachel

I'm displaying these beautiful--and meaningful--cards on our mantel next to the box of Daisy's ashes and her clay pawprint. Thank you so much. 

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

Susan