Saturday, February 24, 2018

I'm Never Going To Do That!

Yes, we've all said it sometime in our lives...I'm never going to do that! Well, let me tell you from experience, that as soon as the words come out of my mouth I am somehow launched on an unconscious path to do that very thing.

Shabby Chic ATCs
Take, for example, artist trading cards. When a friend of mine first shared with me that she was creating these miniature 'works of art', I thought she was crazy. I mean, why would you want to waste your time making these things? It made no sense to me.

Two years later, I discover the world of mail art and I finally 'got' it. I start making ATCs to swap and trade with others. I now have several large binders FULL of artists creations from around the world. 

Then, let's move on to pocket letters. When I first came upon these through a Facebook group I belong to, I could not see myself EVER doing them. I was a bit intimidated by the thought of attempting one, in fact. It was a trendy fad that would fade as quickly as it appeared, I thought. A friend continued to work on me, in spite of my protestations, trying to pique my interest in them.

Winter Themed Pocket Letter
Once again, about two years later, I decide to give it a shot. What the heck, why not? The more I learned about pocket letters, the more appealing they became to me. I watched a lot of YouTube video tutorials and I thought it was finally time to experiment with one.

Big sigh...I got hooked again! Now, I am participating in multiple pocket letter swaps and I have a couple of regular pen pals that I exchange with too. I'm having a lot of fun sending and receiving them. Check out this video to see a Valentine's Day pocket letter that I sent to one of my partners.

Thank You Card for Swap
Let's move on to greeting cards. The lovely cards posted by others on Pinterest amazed me, but I could NEVER create anything like that. I was convinced of it. I'm simply not talented enough for that, I told myself.

I resisted for a LONG time, until just recently, when a friend tricked/bribed me to join a greeting card swap on a group we both belong to. I foolishly took the bait, and signed up for it. Now, I want to make lots more greeting cards for every occasion.

You know, now that I think about it, it was the SAME friend who got me interested in ALL of those things! She's had a diabolical plan all along, hasn't she? YOU know who you are, friend. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Year Begins - Welcome 2018

Every year at this time we look back on the year past with fondness or regret and begin to plan for the twelve months ahead with an anticipation that rarely lasts past the end of January.

We often set ourselves up for failure with goals loftier that we can reasonably achieve. Then when we do not succeed our enthusiasm wanes.

I'm trying not to do that this year. I believe that my list of goals are reasonably achievable. I wish to make some simple lifestyle changes to make it easier for both my body and soul.

I want to focus more on taking care of myself and not worrying as much about looking after everyone else. That strategy only wears me down and does not leave enough in me for self care.

My decluttering project will continue, not in a mad flurry, but a little at a time. By the end of the year, I anticipate a major improvement in my house and my peace of mind. I want to downsize my way to a happier, more fulfilled life. Here is my motto for the year, Don't put it down, put it away!

Crafting will remain a big part of my life. I am happiest when creating and sharing my art with others. I've changed my main focus from artist trading cards to pocket letters over the last couple of months, although I will continue to participate in a few ATC swaps. That includes the annual 31 ATC Halloween swap and a monthly swap with a group in Alberta.

I have several pen pals across Canada that I am exchanging pocket letters with now, and hopefully, building lasting friendships. I was introduced to this fun way to send happy mail a couple of years ago but I did not realize how much I would enjoy it. To learn more about this new trend, do a search on YouTube and you will find tons of tutorials. 

What are your plans for the upcoming twelve months? Whatever they are, I wish you great success and much happiness. Have a great year!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Making Rosettes

All paper craft artists have boxes, bins, drawers or piles of paper scraps left over from various projects. I wonder sometimes if I will EVER use all these bits and pieces of paper that I've been saving, in the off-chance that I can utilize them 'some day'. 

Faced with that same issue this past weekend, I came up with a plan for a few of those scraps. Several 12" X 12" pieces of patterned card stock had been cut down into 2.5" X 3.5" size cards for pocket letter inserts. What I was left with were several scraps that were approximately 1.25" X 12".

I remembered a tutorial that I'd watched on YouTube some time ago and decided to try to use up those odd shaped pieces to make rosettes. I scored each piece every 1/4", then folded along the creases accordion style.

After gluing one end to the other, I manipulated them into the round rosettes and glued them in place with a punched out piece of card stock on the back side. On the front, I glued another circle piece of card stock, then added the chipboard sticker on top of that to finish them off.

They are going to make fabulous gift toppers. I may even adhere a magnet to the back of them so they can be used a fridge magnets. And the best part of all, they cost very little and were fun, easy & quick to make.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Clutter Collectors

Have you ever noticed how practically every horizontal surface in your house or apartment ends up being a clutter collector? This includes kitchen tables, dressers, nightstands, coffee tables, end tables, chairs, desks, countertops and even the bed in the guest room if you have one. There are many other surfaces left unmentioned too.

These platforms seem to attract all kinds of stuff; from paper to books, dishes to clothing, and piles of other bits & pieces too numerous to mention. And piling MORE stuff on top of the other stuff is so much easier than actually putting it away in its proper place.

But wait, shouldn't that the first part of this equation? START BY ASSIGNING AN APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR EVERTHING, making sure that these spots are as easy and obvious as the surfaces we are currently leaving them on. Isn't that an interesting concept? (sarcasm intended)

However, once you are overwhelmed by the surface clutter, how do you escape from it? The problem looks so huge! The situation seems so bad that we often give up on it. That is where I have been for a long time now, stuck with those terrible feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. I don't like feeling that way. Have you been there too? I imagine everyone has been at some time in their life.

I've reached the point where I am resolved to 'fix' it. I'm ready. One way or another, I want to eliminate the stress associated with an untidy home. I'm tired of feeling guilty about living in a messy space. I'd like to be able to invite friends over without being embarrassed about my surroundings.

The key to success, I believe, is to take baby steps. It’s easier to have one goal than many, so I will stick to clearing one surface at a time until it's done, then moving onto another one until the whole job is completed. It doesn't matter how long it takes as long as there is continuous progress made and no regression back to the way it was. 

It did not get to this state in a day, it will take more than a day to clear it all up. I will set aside one or more 15 minute blocks of time each day to tackle the clutter. No more excuses! Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop this woman from the completion of my appointed tasks. I'm determined! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mixed Media Weekend Project

I am continually watching YouTube videos for artistic inspiration. I got the spark last week from this video by Shira Manor on a technique for creating mixed media ATCs. I did not have all the same products and materials that she used but, as always, I worked with what I have, including drywall tape, modeling paste, embossing powders, old book text, acrylic paint and washi tape. The base is 100 lb. watercolour paper.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3
Two of the ATC size cards had to be sacrificed in the name of art. I needed to cut them down for some of the bits and pieces used for the layered clusters on the seven completed cards. I added Tim Holtz metal gears and simple two word phrases to finish them off.

A couple have already been traded or gifted to others. And I had so much fun making this set, that I made another similar set on the weekend too! It was a great way to spend a long weekend.