Just to say “Hello”

It seems, from what I read, that genuine human connection is becoming a lost art.  In an era where almost anyone at anytime can “reach out and touch someone” as the old Bell TV commercials used to implore us to do, it’s odd that so many people report feeling alone.   The numbers have prompted some public health officials to characterize loneliness as an epidemic, though others disagree with that terminology. Regardless of what it’s called, feelings of isolation are certainly on the rise along with memes about “finding your tribe” and the availability of professional cuddlers.  

As an introvert who is very shy and struggles with social interaction, I can certainly understand this issue.   I am working on expanding my social circle and making a real effort to actually look at people and smile when they talk to me, even it’s a clerk in a store that I may never see again.

I was quite a prolific letter writer when I was younger and early in my work life I worked at several card shops. These provided ways for me to forge relationships with people that I might have struggled to connect with had all our interactions been strictly face to face.  

Today, when I am really strapped for time (and it seems I always am) a quick “hello”, “congratulations” or “happy birthday” message on Facebook or in an email seemed to be all I can manage.  But I thought, wouldn’t it be better to be able give an actual card, something my recipient can hold onto? And wouldn’t it be even more significant if I made the card myself? As a person who works two jobs, sometimes my time is even more valuable than my money and using it to create something special gives me a lot of joy, a feeling I hope my recipient can sense when they open it.

Clip art sourced from http://www.etsy.com/listing/90763967/puppy-love-digital-art-valentine-clipart

Calendar projects

One of my favorite parts of celebrating a new year is picking out a new calendar.  Between the three of us, we have rotated through themes of Shetland Sheepdogs (a nod to our dog, Shelby), cats, Bible verses, airplanes, cars, Taylor Swift, and more.  One of my personal favorites was one that had amazing photos of lightening, tornadoes, and other weather phenomenon.

Joshua and I are huge Halloween fans and have joked for years about how we would like to find a calendar that celebrated all things scary.  The closest kind we have been able to buy to commercially is a zombie calendar, but it was just too limited.  Halloween is about a lot more than zombies.

Last summer, on a whim, I decided to see if I could make one myself for him.  I searched for blank calendars on Amazon and was surprised to find several different styles.  We sat down and planned which scares would occupy which months and had a blast putting together something that was totally custom to his tastes.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much I decided to do another one for my office at work.

I knew my calendar had to be safe for work (no vampires!) and I wanted to make it a little smaller than the 12 X 12 inch one I put together for Joshua.  His ended up being very heavy after we added all the background pages and artwork.  I wanted to continue the colorful themes and positive messages of those I had bought for my office in previous years.

I was so disappointed with what I put together for January, I almost abandoned the entire project.  But I told myself that if I finished it and didn’t really think it was worthy enough for work (where anyone who comes into my office could see it), I would just use it at home.

I learned from what I didn’t like in January and it really improved as I went through the year.  There are a couple of months that are just really lovely and I proudly hung it on my wall on January 2nd.  Yes, January was not-so-great, but I knew that it would only look better as 2019 went on.

Joshua and I plan on a repeat of both for 2020 and I can’t wait to start putting those together.

www.etsy.com/shop/LaurieFurnellDesigns

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DigitalArtsi