crafting

July card- “Bee” sweet

I make a card each month for a group of people at my church and select friends and this was my card for July.  I originally designed this as a card to sell and I will still be offering it, but when I saw this Bible verse a few months ago, I thought these would pair perfectly for a summer card..

In a world where so much of our communication is electronic and impersonal, I love being able to brighten someone’s day with special something in their mailbox.

Clip art purchased from digitalartsi on Etsy

seasons

Avoiding the summertime blues…

clip art purchased from http://www.digialartsi.com

I make a card each month that I share with some members of my church and any other friends I think might need a little pick-me-up.  I know sending cards has gone out of fashion, but that’s precisely why I do it. I like giving people something to look forward to in their mailbox.

This purchased clip art made me think of summer the moment I saw it on Etsy and I was excited to put it together now that I’ve finally figured out how to manipulate the images in Microsoft Word.

My favorite part of this card is the joyous little sun. I know summer usually is a happy, relaxed time for most people, but I used to get really depressed.  Houston is just so hot for so long. We are already at least 90 degrees every afternoon and will not see cooler temperatures until the end of September (if we’re lucky).  There is also the constant specter of a hurricane when living this close to the coast.

clip art purchased from http://www.digitalartsi.com

However, a couple of years ago I discovered that by reframing my thoughts around summer and looking for the positives, I could make a difference in my mood.  It worked so well last year I once again came up with a bunch (well, actually a few) of the things that I really like about summer and will be replaying this list in my head for the next several months.

  • Cherries, though oddly enough I only started eating cherries a couple of years ago.  I generally don’t like messy food, such as ribs or wings, and I always avoided cherries because of the pits.  However, once I actually ate some, I decided the flavor was worth the mess and now eagerly look forward to their arrival in stores.
  • Watermelon- all I can say is yum!
  • Longer days- I have noticed that sunlight is a real mood booster for me.  Days are so long now it is still light outside when I go to bed.
  • Less traffic- no school means less congestion on my commute back and forth to work.
  • Fall stuff starts showing up in stores.  I know it sounds weird, but fall is my favorite season and I am a very anticipatory person.  I can deal with the heat and humidity a lot better when I can start shopping for pumpkins.

I hope my card recipients like this little visual burst of summer and that everyone is able to celebrate a happy and safe season!

clip art purchased from http://www.digitalartsi.com
Holidays

Holiday Nerd

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“Holiday nerd”- I think this is the perfect term to describe my complete fascination with all things holiday.  And it’s not just the major ones like Mother’s Day and Halloween that I enjoy, my calendar is full of all sort of lesser known holidays as well.  World Otter Day? Yes, it’s coming soon, Wednesday May 29. Food holidays? Yes, please! Pizza day was February 9, pretzel day was April 26 and doughnuts actually have two days for celebration, the first Friday in June and November 5.  I mean, if any food deserved two holidays, it would have to be doughnuts! Even kale gets its own holiday- the first Wednesday in October, though strangely, I keep forgetting to put that one on my calendar. Hmmm.

The really weird thing about enjoying holidays so much is that I am basically a minimalist and those two things seem to be in direct conflict with each other.  Wouldn’t someone who loves holidays have tons of decorations? Easter tea towels? Halloween pot holders? Christmas shower curtain? I’ve seen all of those, but am content to leave them in the store.  Maybe that actually helps a bit? My celebration of most holidays doesn’t involve unboxing and boxing all the things, which really isn’t much fun.

I am not sure where this obsession comes from.  When I was really small, I loved Halloween (and it’s still my favorite holiday).  I remember being a preschooler and dressing up in one of those cheap molded masks that come with the plastic cape.  It was a struggle to see out of the eye holes, but I kept watching the sky, sure that I might see real live witches flying around on brooms.  And I really loved Christmas too, just not Santa Claus (as you can see).


I think part of it is my work history.  My very first real job was working in a fabric store, then I moved down to the other end of the mall and sold shoes.  My next job was as an assistant manager for a card store (also in the mall, this was the 80s) and that was where I stayed until I went back to college. I was totally immersed in all the occasions and I guess it really imprinted on me.

I’m also the type of person who thrives in routine and absolutes.  That is probably another reason I like holidays so much. The transition from one to another is hard coded in our culture, even more so than the change in seasons.  I know that winter will transition to spring, but it is less exact. Will the winter cold linger or will it warm quickly? Will the groundhog see his shadow? Will there be a late freeze?  There is really no hard fast rule, each year is different. But I can guarantee on December 26th, before all the cookies have been eaten or the clearance bins have been emptied, that the stores will be putting up Valentine’s products.  And after that will come Easter and then Mother’s Day and so it will continue in the expected cycle. No matter what else happens in the world, I can count on that.


clipart sourced from http://digitalartsi.com
Uncategorized

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