When I set out to make some Easter cards this year, I knew I wanted them to feature bunnies. I think I’m pretty much an equal opportunity animal lover when it comes it crafting, but bunnies are just a notch higher on the cuteness meter. They look so soft and cuddly and then there’s the ears and the hopping- just so adorable. I stayed in a very chi-chi hotel for work a few years ago and the place was stunning with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and amenities that exceeded anything I ever could have afforded on my own. However, my favorite part of the whole fancy place was the little brown bunnies hopping around the yard. I could’ve watched them all day long.
Once February 15th arrives, it’s easy to find rabbits in every incarnation imaginable- edible, inflated, illuminated- everything goes cottontail and with them comes the promise that warmer and longer days are coming soon. Yay! Another reason to celebrate bunnies! Yet, once their season of glory passes, they are relegated to the clearance bin even more quickly than last year’s jack o’ lanterns.
I adore the little critters, but have always categorized them a spring animal. For example, I can’t imagine featuring a card with a bunny scampering through the autumn leaves or sticking his head out of a pumpkin or stocking- it just doesn’t work. I thought I better get all my rabbit crafts done now before it gets hot and their moment passes. However, once I put these watercolor gingham cards together, I loved them so much I just had to find a way to enjoy them year round. This prompted me to plan a set of small framed prints using the same clip art and paper for my office at work. Something so precious should be enjoyed more than just once a year.
We had a very special visitor at one of our church events recently- Joy, the comfort dog. She is a specially trained golden retriever who is part of a local ministry sponsored by Lutheran Church Charities and it was such a treat to meet her.
I was amazed at how well trained she was. She had kids, including really little ones, groping all over her and she was so chill. We had ice cream at the end of class and Joy didn’t react at all (her trainers shared that she never gets treats; only gets her dog food). My angel dog, Shelby, would have been in a frenzy trying to get a “taste” of everyone’s dish.
I know spending the evening with her had a great effect on my mood and maybe this is why I like to feature dogs on my cards. They just make people smile and feel good. I’m following Joy now on Facebook, getting to see how much love she shares with the community by visiting hospitals and airports, and I am enjoying all the positivity she adds to my feed.
Of course, cats shouldn’t be forgotten as they also bring a lot of joy. After we lost our dog, Shelby, last year we had planned on an extended period with no pets. But our house just felt empty and lifeless. We welcomed Max and Mia the day after Christmas- kittens we adopted from a local rescue group and they have certainly added a lot of happiness to our lives. We definitely have to count our family as Team Dog and Team Cat and I love to feature both in my projects.
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.