Sunday, July 14, 2024

Birds of a Feather

First of all, a big thank you to Martha B for sending some lovely card for Karen’s Card Shop! Stampers are the BEST!

Today’s card comes courtesy of Tim Holtz dies, continuing my feather theme. These layered dies are so pretty and interesting…and help me use some of reams of colored card stock I’ve been hoarding collecting for years.



And speaking of hoarding collecting, I had to add another set of drawers for my Copic markers. They needed room to breathe, especially after I added another ten colors. 


It’s so much easier to find the color I’m looking for, now. And of course, I had to make some cards with Copics and will be showing them over the next week or so. 

A friend has recently been a bit down, and she decided to start a sewing project. Perked her up quite a bit. There’s a lesson in that for all of us. While doing a creative project won’t “fix” serious depression, it is worth the effort, when you feel a little down, to seek out creative stimulation. 

And for an extra mood booster, put on one of the top ten songs that make people happy while you create. What a great list!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan 

Monday, July 8, 2024

Soft Christmas

It’s rare that I make a card I actually like with a colored card base. I love lots of cards with colored card bases made by other people, but the cards almost never look like I made them when I do it. There’s some sort of cognitive dissonance that afflicts me almost every time. 

But not this time. 



This card feels completely mine. The soft, grayish, greenish blue (or bluish green) makes me so very happy. *squeal* Stamps by Papertrey. 

____________

It feels good to speak your truth. I finally sent the email I composed in May to the lawyer for dad’s estate. She’d sent me a form, as per South Carolina law, but let me know in no uncertain terms that I was excluded from his will. Big surprise, that. 

Not really. He disowned me when I was 19. For a while, my sister was the sole beneficiary of his will, on the condition that she gave me not a penny. Narcissists like to sow discord and division, and I’m proud to say that he never succeeded at that with me and Lisa. Then, Lisa did something to piss him off, so we were both cut out. 

Anyway, I considered not responding at all to the lawyer’s letter, but this morning, I realized that this poor lawyer was doing her job. I assured her that his beneficiary deserved his estate given how kind he was to them in life, and they to him. Those of us treated unkindly by him don’t want a thing from him. He didn’t give us the one thing we valued, which was honest love.  

THAT would have meant something. 

It felt good, but so sad. How can one human create so much chaos, conflict, and harm in his life? As my sister said, it ends with us. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and honest love, 

Susan

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Angles and Curves

One maxim of design I learned from Cathy Zielski was that angles love curves. When a card has too many curves, throw in some angles. When it has too many angles, throw in curves. 

Today’s card uses lots of both. Curves come in the flower forms, the leaf fronds, and the wood-grain embossing of the background panel. The angles come in the rectangles and squares. This card makes me so happy! Especially the white on white, the Stickles on the flowers, and that embossing folder. 


I’m currently writing through some of my feelings about my dad now that he’s dead. It’s hard, and sad, and painful, but I know it’s necessary and very much worth it. One pattern keeps popping up in the writing: all the good people who helped me through his narcissistic abuse. 

Over and over, good people stepped into the breach. And that news is amazing. Because good people still do! Right now, the United States are not very united, or so it seems if you pay attention to the media. I think there are far more good people than bad, and far more people who want unity over division, peace over conflict, love over hate. Nobody is perfect, but there are more good people than bad. Kindness isn’t loud, nor is unity. But the impulse for both is all around us, if we take the time to look…and to be.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Friday, July 5, 2024

The Soft and the Bold

Today, we’re looking at two cards made with the same Waltzingmouse Fine Feather stamp. The first is soft, monochromatic, and, well, feathery. It takes advantage of quick-dry pigment inks in three shades of pink. 

The card is serene, symmetrical, and appropriate for the sentiment. 


Our bold cards is, well, bold, with a Kaleidacolor spectrum ink pad as the star of the show. Since the feather has white dots, it made sense to go darker to enhance the contrast, but then, how to create a background? 

Speedball brayer to the rescue! The colors got so rich and beautiful! I cut two strips from the brayered panel, flipped one so they fade in different directions, and added the gold speckles, gold thread, and sentiment. The boldness, beauty, and touches of gold fit the birthday sentiment perfectly!



I hope my American readers had a lovely Independence Day celebration. We attended a concert by the Centerville Community Band and Chorus. Our younger son plays trumpet in the band. 




Last night I slept with Cooper because he’s so scared of the fireworks. [I sleep in the guest room as George snores like a chainsaw, and Cooper usually sleeps with George.] He settled down once the trazadone kicked in.

As long-time readers know, our dog Lily is a bit of a demon. More like Puck than Beelzebub, but still, a demon. Here’s some photographic proof.

The two of them sounded vicious…and of course, 
Neither one meant it. Because they are goldens.

I snapped this picture two minutes after the first.
Such pretty and patriotic pups!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, stars, and stripes,

Susan

Monday, July 1, 2024

Waltzingmouse Revisited and Revived!

Claire Brennan’s Waltzingmouse Stamps were AMAZING, but world events (Brexit) crushed her small business exporting from Ireland. She’s stayed busy in the meantime (lots of beautiful fabric designs posted to her Facebook feed!), but for those of us in stamping who’ve missed her brilliance…she’s working on a comeback. 

It’s going to be slow, she assured me, but she’s coming BACK! Yippee!

To celebrate, I’m playing around with one of her old sets, Fine Feather. Today’s card uses Impress Fresh pigment inks, which give such a lovely, opaque finish. My pigment inks have been sadly neglected lately, but it certainly was fun pulling them out. 




And below, there’s a photo of the packaged cards for Karen’s Card Shop from Kathryn, Pat, and Eddie!  Took them to church today and restocked the shop. For the first time in a few months, get well cards were fully stocked!


Finally, here’s a bonus picture of my son Nick (he of “it’s just water over beans”) and our Best Boy Cooper, just for fun. 


Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Sunday, June 30, 2024

It’s Just Water over Beans

My firstborn Nick is a self-confessed coffee snob and works at “the best” coffee shop in Cincinnati. He sometimes he has to consciously remind himself that “it’s just water over beans.” 

In getting back to basics and this blog’s mantra “doing simple things well,” today’s cards fit into the “it’s just ink on paper” category.




Both cards use stamps from Simon Says for the shapes. These very basic sets have solid and outline circles and hearts in a wide range of sizes. Inks are all Simon Says pawsitively saturated ink, except the black, which is Ranger Archival. 

I challenge you to share a card that’s just ink on paper. Have fun making it! Then share it in a comment on the blog or on Simplicity’s Facebook page. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan


Saturday, June 29, 2024

Simple Card Set

 A lovely stamp set from Gina K features in today’s three cards. I wanted to make some very basic—but very pretty—cards. I’ve been messing around with dies and BetterPress plates and watercolors (making pretty trash, mostly) and wanted to get back to my roots as a clean-and-simple stamper.

So satisfying!





Lavender, aqua, and lime…a lovely combination for a set of monochromatic cards. I was so surprised I had coordinating colored card stock to mat each stamped panel. The tags were punched from an old StampinUp punch, and of course a bit of craft thread makes up the bows. A final little touch…I used a very old and still working Sakura stardust pen to accent the centers of the little flowers.

It’s so easy to be seduced by all the products and gadgets and techniques, but we used to make cards with paper, stamps, ink, markers and pens, and an occasional punch. I love that we have so many options today, but sometimes, back to basics is enormously satisfying!


———————

Quick prayer request for a friend. Mary has stage 4 colon cancer, a recurrence of the disease from about 13 years ago. She has two surgeries in July and begins a new chemo treatment. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan




Monday, June 24, 2024

Hello in Gold and a Nightmare in Springboro, OH

A big thank you goes out to Kathryn and Pat whose boxes of cards for Karen's Card Shop arrived today!

For today's card, I needed something quick and remembered several cards I'd seen on Pinterest that had letters half-inked or half-embossed. Thought I'd give it a try!



While I did heat emboss the gold on the sentiment, the gold added to the stem was done with a Sakura stardust gold pen...much quicker and easier than embossing. I'm surprised how much the three different golds match in real life. The photo above distorts the colors somewhat on my screen.



This 6.25" x 3.5" card also has a mat of gold shimmer paper from Sizzix. The sentiment die is from Poppy Stamps, and the stem is from Alexandra Renke. 

-----

Now for the nightmare!!! Beware!!! You cannot unsee the picture at the end of this post!!!




Now, you have to see it, right? And it will haunt your dreams as it does mine. 




So a few weeks ago, I was leaving church and glanced up at a building beside the parking lot. After a double-take, I saw a terrifying sight:





The cinder blocks and vines and wiring--not to mention the moss and iron bars--combine to make this SUPER creepy! 

She overlooks the church parking lot (who knows for how long!), and I want to save her. 

But I'm scared. So very scared!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love for sure.

Susan

Friday, June 21, 2024

Guy Cards

If you’re anything like me, you find guy cards difficult…just like guys, really, because they are hunters and generally approach life with a “see mastodon, kill mastodon, grill mastodon, eat mastodon” approach to life. The finer points of gathering flowers and cute little creatures and little embellishments are often lost on them. There are, however, exceptions to the rule, and my son Nick is one of them. He likes design, art, creativity. So there’s extra pressure to make him a card he appreciates. 

Here you go. A guy card that was super fun to make and looks (according to Nick, at least) great.



The square was die cut from a piece of watercolor paper I’d made with Twinkling H2O paints. The shimmer is lovely and works well with the gold embossing. The script embossing folder was used on a piece of watercolor paper cut from a large sheet (Arches 90lb) with a raw edge. The bit of gold thread sort of hugs the focal point. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 

Susan


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Do You Have Favorites?

Many, many thanks to Eddie for the fabulous box of cards that arrived today for Karen's Card Shop. Stampers are the best, and Eddie has contributed so many cards for the shop! 

Now, on to stamping by way of books. As a lifelong and very vocal reader, I am often asked, "What's your favorite book?" That's like asking me which of my sons is my favorite...and thus the question is unanswerable. I don't have A favorite, but I do have a whole LIST of favorites, though, in no particular ranking.

When it comes to stamps, my tastes change, or I use a set to death and get bored, or I run out of ideas. Surely you know the feeling? But a few sets have withstood the test of time, and today's set--A Wreath for All Seasons by Papertrey Ink--is one of them for me. It's definitely on my list of favorites. 

It's not a terribly versatile set as far as design goes, but there are so many techniques you can use to make these stamps wreath your heart with joy!



The card uses Simon Says Stamp inks (honey and the warm grays) and incorporates a berry stamp from Simon Says and a tiny circle for the center of the flowers. The results are sweet, summery, and oh so pretty!

And on to life....

Computer gremlins have been messing with me. First, I can't comment on my own blog on my iPad, which explains the delay in replying to your comments on my recent posts. I caught up this afternoon on my computer and want you to know how incredibly honored I am that anyone takes the time to comment on blogs still. Second, I've not been receiving Simplicity emails from follow.it and suspect some of you may not be either. Not sure what's going on there, but I'm investigating. 

Third, my printer...can we digress a moment on that special place in hell for designers of printers? Seriously, I'm not a violent person, but our last HP printer almost had the crap beaten out of it BY ME with a baseball bat AFTER I spent three hours on the phone with HP support, only to be told my printer, which was four years old, was obsolete. My husband intervened on its behalf, but when I dropped that %$#&* into our trash bin, it was with force, I tell you! 

The sound of crunching plastic...so satisfying.

Anyway, back to my third point. George can't get his work-from-home printer to work at home at all, and my printer prints only when the spirit moves it. The spirit wasn't moving yesterday when George needed to print a document. Sometimes, when his computer won't work with my printer, mine will. So I went to my computer to print his document, which he emailed to me, but my computer updated and rebooted yesterday, and for some reason, Outlook wouldn't work. It said it was "NEW!" and asked for passwords I haven't used in years...and then would not accept them. 

Now, after 20 minutes of trying to get Outlook working, and maybe but not definitely swearing and slamming of hands on a desk, George came in and very gently suggested that he could email the document and perhaps it was wine o'clock and time to Wordle.  

I love him. 

So today, I worked myself into a really good mood and decided to try to fix Outlook. First off, I restarted the computer...and magically, everything works now. No problems at all. 

And that's life in a nutshell. 

And now back to our topic of favorites. Do you have a few sets you love immoderately and have loved for a long time? Care to share?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Saturday, June 15, 2024

You Are Wonderful

Today’s Question: Have you ever used Sizzix stamps, and, if so, did you like them? I found a set on sale at Marco’s and bit. The images are darling, but the stamps themselves feel different from my usual brands. They obviously stamp just fine (see card below), but I do so love the smell of photopolymer in the morning, and these don’t really have an odor. So just wondering if this is an issue for anyone or just a variation on normal.

Today’s card goes out to all those who have contacted me about sending cards to Karen’s Card Shop! Charlotte A’s shipment arrived today and is already packaged for me to take to the shop tomorrow. Thank you all so much for supporting this little ministry. We’ve pulled in $5,000 since 2016, and keep in mind the pandemic hurt sales considerably for several years. EVERY ONE OF YOU who has donated over the years is wonderful!


To make the card, I took a 3” x 4.25” scrap and randomly stamped images from the set onto it in Archival black ink. I’d planned on coloring with Copics but forgot to use Memento Ink, so I flexed to Distress inks and water colored the images with them. (Note that Archival ink is waterproof but will bleed with alcohol markers like Copics.) For most of the images, I left a lot of white to keep the whole effect feminine and soft, and then I used a black mat, heat embossed the “you are” on black cardstock, and then diecut the “wonderful” twice, glued them together, and then glued them onto the card. The sentiment is from Hero Arts.

While this is a busier card than I usually make, it certainly was fun! What do you think?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 

Susan


Friday, June 14, 2024

Craft and Art and Thirty-Eight Years

Craft

Today’s card is another sympathy card, this one featuring the soft, sweet, peaceful technique of creating watercolors with multi-step stamps from Altenew. 

First, I inked the stem stamp with old paper distress ink, spritzed it with water, and stamped on watercolor paper. Then, I let it dry. Second, I inked the flower with tattered rose, spritzed, stamped, and let dry. Third, I inked the flower center with wild honey, spritzed, stamped, and let it dry. Fourth, I stamped the sentiment (Papertrey, very old) in Simon Says cozy ink. Finally, I flicked specks of old paper and tattered rose onto the card stock.

Drying time is pretty fast, but if you don’t give each impression a chance to dry, the colors might run together. If that’s what you want, go for it! If not, let that stuff dry in between impressions.





Art


Our new dining room table is a work of art. Our previous table lasted 30 years, and we fully expect this one to last just as long or longer. 


I am in awe of the artistry of this furniture. The chairs are so comfortable, and the cherry top…simply magnificent.

Thirty-Eight Years

And today is our wedding anniversary. My word, we’ve gotten old!


Man, that cake sure was good…thanks to cousin Gail! 



Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan



Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Doggos and Butterfly

The dogs had me laughing this morning. For those who may be new, let me introduce our two English cream golden retrievers.

Cooper, age almost seven, aka 
The Goodest Boy


Lily, age 3, aka Mazikeen the Demon

This morning, Cooper came over to me and rolled over for belly rubs. I obliged. Lily, who was sleeping nearby, woke up and decided that Cooper shouldn’t be getting rubs when she was getting nothing. She came over to me and made a bid for my attention. I kept one hand on Cooper and scratched Lily with the other. But she realized what she really wanted was Cooper’s attention, so she rolled over right next to him and wriggled. I got the shot. Then she jumped up and bit his face. 

Lily is sweet as can be to people, but poor Cooper puts up with a lot. Bless his heart.



 Today’s card reinforces my request for Karen’s Card Shop. We are almost out of sympathy and get well cards. I’m doing my best, but not everyone likes my CAS style. A variety of cards boosts overall sales.

Butterfly cards do well at First United Methodist Church of Springboro because Karen Wenzel, after whom the shop is named, loved butterflies immoderately. Her best friend in the church, Anna, is on the worship committee and makes sure there is ALWAYS a butterfly somewhere near the altar. Karen was a Stephen Minister, and after she died, our Stephen Ministry group donated banners to hang on either side of the altar…with butterflies. They hang during regular time, which is right now, and so I’ll get a picture of them soon. 

Karen sent cards and postcards all the time. As I’ve commented before, she made sure my birthday card made it in the mail before she was transported to the James Cancer Center, where she passed away the next day. 

She would have loved this monochromatic blue beauty. 


The ink is Simon Says Stamp Pawsitively Saturated night…a new color in the line. The photo makes it look a bit darker than it is in real life, but it IS dark. Like night. 

Well, obviously.

Anyway, if you feel like donating cards (especially sympathy and get well!) to Karen’s Card Shop, we’d be grateful. Just email me at susanraihala at iCloud dot com. Remember that we prefer A2 size cards, for which I provide envelopes and cello bags to protect them. Please do NOT put any sentiments inside the cards as buyers cannot open and read the cards because they are in cello bags.

Here’s an older picture of our card shop (I’ve updated the labels and signs since it was taken) with Pastor Joe and young Will, the son of one of our biggest customers. Will is now much taller, and Joe is balder.


Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan





Monday, June 10, 2024

Sympathy Cards

Long-time readers know that my church has a card shop, and many of you have contributed over the years. If you want to make cards or have a stash of cards you would like to donate to Karen’s Card Shop, we are happy to take them!

Right now, we urgently need sympathy and get well cards, so if you feel inspired to help, I’ll be happy to send you my address! 

I’ve been making sympathy cards since I got home last week, and here are a couple I particularly love!




Back in the day, I bought from only three companies: Hero Arts, Papertrey Ink, and StampinUp. These stamps from Papertrey (Through the Trees) is at least 15 or so years old, but the design is timeless. 

I heat embossed the birch trees in white and used distress inks to shade the images. I also inked some plain card stock for the background squares. The asymmetry of the design and the hard edges and corners mimic how it feels to grieve, when life feels broken. The serene center, with a hint of light on the horizon, offers hope. 

At least that’s how I intended it. Whether someone else sees that is up for grabs. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan


Sunday, June 9, 2024

She Sells Sea Shells…

We had an unexpected delay getting home. Weather in Dallas meant a two-day delay, so we’ve been playing catch-up. So for today, you get a three-for-one using Julie Ebersole’s set Shells and the coordinating dies. 



I adore this set. Julie is a genius, and the sizes of these shells are perfect for clean and simple cards. The pink card uses a very subtle splatter of ink for the background, and is highlighted with dew drops. The teal card’s background uses a Tim Holtz 3D embossing folder and rhinestones for accents. The purple and taupe card uses a coral stamp from Hero Arts. 

Do you have a favorite? I don’t. 

It’s just so much fun to vary colors and designs with a single stamp set, and particularly enjoyable to mix and match sets as needed. Thank goodness for a healthy stash of supplies!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

——————-

Personal stuff and life advice!

My father, a full-blown grandiose narcissist, disowned me when I was 19. The no-contact allowed me to get help and begin healing from a childhood of mental, emotional, and (early in life) physical abuse. I’m writing more about this experience in private ways right now (he died in February), but I do want to share a bit here so those of you who are fortunate enough to have two healthy parents might have better tools for helping friends who have experienced a narcissistic parent. 

First, when a person tells you they have gone no-contact with a parent, do NOT trot out Bible verses about honoring your father and mother. Do NOT tell them they only get two parents and they need to take care of them. Do NOT blame the victim. 

Instead, say something like, “This must be really hard for you. I’m here to listen if you need to talk.” Then, listen. Validate the person’s feelings (“I can understand how you would feel that way.”). Know that narcissistic abuse is like death by a thousand cuts…it’s constant, subtle, and relentlessly destructive to the victim.

And when that parent dies, the feelings an adult child has can be…complex. Again, listen. The feelings may go all over the place in a chaotic imitation of their childhood abuse. Or they may have reached a point in healing where they’ve processed and (mostly) healed. Or they may be somewhere in between. 

Do NOT tell them they should attend the memorial service. Do NOT tell them they need to “pay respects” to their abuser. Do NOT expect them to help write an obituary. 

Narcissistic abuse is insidious. Mostly, it’s invisible outside the home. I’ve listened my whole life to people tell me what a great man my father was, how generous he was, how kind, how supportive. That was not my experience…or my sister’s or mother’s experience either. We kept the secrets, we protected his image, and we suffered for his ego. 

The morning after he was found dead in a hotel room (heart failure at age 83), I spoke to the coroner. He asked me, delicately, if I knew why my father had a bullet-proof vest and four guns in his hotel room. I replied, “I have no idea, but I’m not surprised. He was paranoid, a conspiracy theorist, and a gun nut.” 

THAT sentence was the truth. And it felt amazing to utter it matter-of-factly. The truth DOES set you free. To then hear someone tell me a few weeks later that I needed to “pay my respects” to my abuser was upsetting to say the least, and then to have that same person bully me to help write the obituary was even more upsetting. I joked it off, saying he could put my name in it only if he worded “is survived by” as “Survivors are….” But seriously, dude. Your wife just told you not to mention the obituary to me, and you’re asking me to help you write it? WTF.

Don’t add to the suffering of an adult child of a narcissistic parent or spouse of a narcissist. If you can’t understand what they’ve been through, listen with an open heart and no judgment. Then thank God for your healthy parents and spouse. 

Because it was hell, I assure you. And no one, absolutely no one, deserves that.


Friday, May 31, 2024

Be Still and Know

One of the unfortunate side-effects of having a narcissistic parent is the high alert that follows you into adulthood. This manifests as people-pleasing and feeling guilty when you just sit still. My father, who cut me out of his life when I was 19, ingrained in me the constant need to “do”—to keep him happy, to meet his needs, to avoid punishment. 

Habits established in childhood are very hard to break.

For the past 15 years or so, I’ve been practicing meditation—being aware of the moment—and that has helped. Yoga has helped even more, although you’re not still in yoga, you are profoundly focused on your body, balance, and, for me, the humor every time I gracefully fall out of half moon pose. Yoga isn’t for anyone but myself, and it certainly doesn’t feel busy or pressured. Regular worship in community also makes me be still and know/trust.

Sometimes, we just need to be still, be in your own skin in the moment, and trust God or the universe, or whatever you call that higher power. 

Being still can be a good thing. 

And today’s card preaches that. Inspired by THIS PIN, my version simplifies the inspiration piece a bit. The colored squares were painted with shimmery watercolors. Sentiment is from Simon Says, and I honestly can’t remember the source of the die…Poppy Stamps, maybe? Or maybe Simon Says? 

Anyway, I love the softness, the shimmer of the squares and bling, and the peacefulness of the card. The design leverages the “angles love curves” design rule, pairing the right angles of the squares with the graceful curves of the die cut branch and flowing layout of the bling.

Make some time to be still today, and be at peace. 



Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Layered Circles

Many thanks to those who commented on the blog or Facebook, or who emailed. You warmed my heart, the encouragement is much appreciated.

So on to business. For the past few years, I’ve loved circles. A number of stampers (especially in Europe) use circles creatively in a CAS style, and I owe all of those stampers a debt of gratitude for the inspiration. 

Today’s card offers offset layered circles. The middle circle is white card stock stamped solid with Simon Says Stamp zest ink, and the flower (an old Papertrey stamp) is stamped with the darker yellow honey. The bottom circle was embossed with a Tim Holtz folder. Sentiment is from Simon Says. 



While this card is monochromatic (my favorite for lots of reasons), I’ve been experimenting with more interesting color combinations. Some of those experiments will appear on the blog. Don’t worry, though. They are still simple!

G and I are currently in Colorado (Grand Junction) visiting his parents for a few days. The scenery is awesome!



Mercy, grace, peace, and love, 

Susan 

Monday, May 27, 2024

The Good Stuff

 Hello!

I’ve missed you. 

One of the main reasons I started blogging was to connect with other crafters on Simplicity and other mothers on Questioning my Intelligence because stay-at-home motherhood is rather lonely. Those online connections kept me sane through my jobless phase of life, a time when I was navigating the strange and difficult and hugely funny world of motherhood and also trying to keep sane with papercrafts.

That season of my life was made so much better by blogging and the connections I’ve made with so many of you. 

Seasons change, culture changes, lives change. When I returned to teaching, the connection aspect of my life became face-to-face with students and colleagues. I stopped blogging regularly, and then pretty much stopped blogging at all. 

I miss it. I miss writing about life, with all its light and fun or serious and meaningful happenings. Mostly, these days I write assignments and educational content for students. And while that’s rewarding on many levels, it’s also a job. 

I need to write “the good stuff” again, have needed to write again for several years now, but I’ve finally diagnosed the reason it’s been so hard to motivate myself to just do it: depression. 

Those of you who’ve followed me from the beginning know I have a history of depression, and Lord knows we’ve had lots of triggers for depression since 2020. My having cancer didn’t help, but thankfully, I am cancer-free and only mildly bothered by side-effects of treatment. Yay! 

But my mood…well, that’s not been so good. Partly, it’s been circumstantial: cancer (my own and that of dear friends and family), family issues, politics, world affairs, pandemics, a significant death. How does one process all this mess healthfully and healingly?

Therapy and drugs, people. Therapy and drugs. 

Crisis theory tells us that when we enter crisis mode, we use the tools in our toolbox to try and regain equilibrium. Part of a therapist’s job is to help us learn how to use new tools when our old ones aren’t enough anymore. My therapist and my husband have been God-sent and helped remind me that just doing stuff—small steps in a positive direction—makes a huge difference. 

So here’s a small step toward reconnection and healing. Being vulnerable again, trusting the goodness of people, and remembering that sharing is caring…these are good things. 

Blogging is a conversation, though, so what sorts of things would you like to see here? I’ve been stamping and creating through all of this, have new goodies (like the BetterPress) that I could share, have reorganized several times, and would be happy to share personal stuff here as well, without reviving Questioning my Intelligence. Or would you prefer me to keep the personal stuff to a minimum? 

As you contemplate your answers, if you care to contemplate at all, here’s the last card I made, a happy attempt to get back to basics of paper, ink, glue, and just a bit of bling. 



Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Happy 2024

It’s 2024, and I’m posting the first week! Woohoo! And I’m posting a card with a Sahara Sand base instead of white.

Today’s card was inspired by THIS PIN. It started with five colored squares and just didn’t work. So I flexed to a single color (very pale blue) shimmery watercolor wash. I liked that much better!


Don’t worry. The squares (or three of them, at any rate) didn’t go to waste. Tune in tomorrow to see a variation on the layout that uses them.

I hope you all had a very safe, happy, and creative holiday. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan