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Postcards (creativity to the rescue!)

One of the good parts about being an artsy fartsy kinda person, is that when you need something you can’t find, you can just whip it up yourself!

Case in point.

For my letter-writing group (for National Letter Writing Month) I wanted to send those in the “mad letter writers” (a sub-group who want to send a lot of mail, not just a few things to one pen pal) a post card from Folsom. Who knew they’d be so hard to find? I found a few, but I needed 46, and most of them were kinda boring.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, make her own, of course!

I went down to the American River, one of the prettiest spots in Folsom and took a few photos. Amazingly, even in the middle of the day, my patience was rewarded with a shot with no cars on the bridge. I was so excited!


I tried printing the photos on heavy watercolor paper, but it was too thick. Plan B – print on regular paper and glue the photos onto the heavy paper.


I fancied up the back like a real postcard using my signature border (I use it a lot!)


Then my “post card” needed some embellishing…what to do, what to do?

I experimented with a few things, but nothing looked as good on the card as it did in my mind. I ended up liking just a simple look the best.


So. Problem solved, using supplies on hand and a little creativity. I’m actually kinda proud of myself. I was determined to send postcards and didn’t let a little thing like not being able to find any I liked stand in my way! Yeah, it was more work, but way worth it to send something I feel good about.

Now to get them written, addressed, and put in the mailbox!

How do you use creativity to solve problems? I’d love to hear your stories!

Reasons, Reasons, Reasons

Initially I was going to title this “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.” But as I was writing was able to admit there are few excuses good enough to get myself out this screw up unscathed. So I’m accepting responsibility. With an explanation…or in other words, “Reasons, Reasons, Reasons.”

First the story (ridiculous as it is) followed by photos of the process.

I belonged to a now defunct ATC group. For years we did a monthly challenge, sending in 3 ATCs following the theme that the hostess for that month set. In the beginning there was lots of participation, and slots for getting to be the hostess were filled up a year in advance.

But as time went by, people’s lives changed, they got busy, lost interest, and by early 2014 we needed to invite people from outside our initial group to participate. Even then, participation was low. Hostesses backed out at the last minute, and it was a struggle to keep going.

But I really didn’t want to let the group fall apart, so I stayed and continued to be involved long after the thrill was gone. It really is just not as fun when only a few people are involved.

So. I volunteered to hostess for June. I knew I was busy, but I figured how much work could it be with so few people likely to sign up? As long as I’m done by early July, I’ll be able to handle it.

As predicted, only 3 three people in addition to myself  signed up. Piece of cake.

But then not all the cards came in, and by the time the last one arrived, it was July and we were leaving on vacation early the next morning, I was up to my eyeballs in preparations, and they would just have to wait until I got home.

Until that point, I was on solid ground. I felt completely justified in not being able to get them out until August. It was later when it got weird – almost a comedy of errors, a bit of procrastination, and, let’s be candid, everything else in my life being more important combined with a little “I don’t want to do this.”

Every time I would get to the point where I was about to force myself to sit down and take the few minutes needed to get them out, something would come up and it wouldn’t get done. They’d fall through the cracks again, and weeks, if not months would go by before I thought about them again.

At one point, I couldn’t find the cards I’d done myself and had to do them over again. I did that, not once, but twice. TWICE. SOMEWHERE in this mess I call a studio, there are 2 sets of “Hearth and Home” cards. And I have to confess, doing them over for a third time just wasn’t floating to the top of my “to do” list.

And, of course, our travels have gotten in the way, as well.

Finally, today I decided I needed to get these off my plate. Yay me! I’m igniting (you know, my word for the year – getting inspired to complete all those unfinished projects!)

And now that they are done, and the cards are in the mail, I’m wondering why I made such a big deal about it. I LOVE doing them, and now that the group is no more, I am going to miss it.

And while I’m at it, if any of you ladies involved in this fiasco (you know who you are) are reading this, my apologies. No excuses. I screwed up. And I REALLY don’t like disappointing people, and I know I have. I probably owe y’all a little sumpin’, sumpin’. But by the time I figured that out, I knew it would mean them not going in the mail today, and we know where THAT would lead!

For starters, my work area is a disaster (yet another “reason” why it’s been so hard to get in there and get this done.)


So. For these cards, I used stuff I already had on hand, and as much recycled stuff as I could. For my substrate I used old business cards a friend sent me, cut to size. To that I modpodged torn pieces of a book page, and sheet music left over from another project.


Then I laid down the first coat of paint, dried it, and added the sky color and a few accents in a deeper shade.


I’d purchased an architectural stamp awhile back (I didn’t have it when I did the 1st two sets!) and decided it would make an interesting accent.


Then I found a card I’d started with a background I’d done on my gelli plate. I thought it might look good for the hills, and cut them out and glued them on.




Then I paper-pieced a simple house out of scraps and added a few accents with my pitt pen.


A little chalking, a bit more color, and a little more pen work, and they were done.



So should I save the scraps for another project?


I’m tempted. But, no. They’re going in the trash.

And in the back of my mind I’m wondering “should I find another ATC group to hook up with?”

I know. I’m nuts.


National Letter Writing month 2015

April is National Letter Writing Month. At a time when so few people rely on snail mail, it’s kinda nice to go to the mail box and find pretty envelopes one month out of the year.

This is my 3rd year to participate in a pen pal mail exchange with a group of ladies, spearheaded by our fearless leader, Lindsay Ostrom.

Some of the things I like best about it are the opportunity to make a bunch of cards that actually go somewhere, using my gelli plate, and doing production work. The downside of no longer selling the things that I make, is that I no longer do much in the way of production work, and I REALLY like it.

Today I whipped out the last 25 cards for round one of mailing (I have a pen pal that I will be sending a minimum of 4 pieces of mail to, plus I’m on the crazy mailers list for people who want to send more mail – there are 46 of us! That’s down from last year when there were about 125 participants, and I sent one note to each. Yikers!) This year Linz decided it was getting unmanageable and limited participation to the first 100 to register and you had to sign up to be on the crazy mailer list!

Anyway, it’s been ages since I’ve had my gelli plate out, so I thought I’d show you my process.

First I laid down a background. I chose ivory, lavender and lime green for the base.


As soon as I started playing, I knew I was going to be absorbed for hours, which meant even if the weather improved I probably would’t be getting many steps in. So, I set up a station for drying the cards that created a little track so I was walking back and forth, back and forth, taking cards over and moving them back to add each layer. If I’m going to get my 10,000 steps in and still have time to do my art, I’m going to have to do some double duty when I can!


Anyway. They sure don’t look very impressive with just the base layer!



The lavender swirls and pink accent helped spruce it up a little, but still kind of “meh.”



Even the next layer of ink didn’t help a lot.



A little added pink paint…



…and a few purple accents and we’re getting there.



But the ink doodling is what pulls it all together.


I just LOVE doing these, but I don’t need many cards in my day to day life. So I’m glad every once in awhile a little project like this comes up so I can make a bunch!

Oh, and my steps? The weather did stay wet and cold most of the day, and I ended up doing thousands of steps just walking around in circles in the house. But the steps this morning helped. Yay me!

Tie Dye – a Little Primer

Whew! Now that I have my latest issue worked through, it’s time to get back to my little life!

But this story has little to do with me, other than I bought the initial kit…

Let’s back up.

Before we left for Maui, I bought Hannah a tie dye kit because she LOVES the tye dye style and I thought she might like to try it herself. I also thought it would be a good project to do outdoors so we didn’t get dye all over the condo. But, as luck would have it, the weather was pretty crummy while we were there, so we didn’t get to go outside much. We used the outdoor time we had on things like zip-lining and horseback riding, and the dying never got done. So the project came home.


The week AFTER we got home was spring break, so mama had the girls at home, and lots of time, so they decided to do the tie dying without telling Gaga. Then they showed up at our house in the cutest tie dye shirts, and I didn’t make the connection. They looked so cute, I thought mama bought them!!

No kidding!

When their cousin saw them, he wanted to make one, too, so they had a tie dye party and made even more.

They started with white tee-shirts (and camisoles, and panties, and shorts and whatever they could find that was made out of white cotton!)


Following the instructions in the book, they set about grabbing up parts of the tee shirt and wrapping it with strategically placed rubber bands…



Once all the bands were in place they began to add the dye. Each bottle comes with powdered dye in it, and you just add water. Then they started squirting away!









When they’d applied all the dye they wanted, Mama wrapped their pieces in plastic wrap where they needed to sit overnight. They look so pretty already!


The next day, she got them all together again so they could see their creations!

But before they could be worn, she needed to rinse the dyed clothing in hot water, then wash and dry them to set the color.



Then it was time for the unveiling!  They’re beautiful!



Ever since, they have practically LIVED in their tie dyed clothes, and want to dye their whole worlds!

I don’t blame them. I’m thinking I might need one myself!

Important (for a change!)

Sometimes, when I get a little overwhelmed with the happenings in the world, my little blog seems so insignificant that I feel unable to write about the day to day happenings in my life until I come to terms with the big things that are on my mind, and either write about them, or move on.

Since the issue heavy on my heart at the moment involves religion, I’ve been trying to move on without writing about it, and I’ve tried coming up with the words that will say what I need to say without being offensive. But it hasn’t been working. I am sad to say that I have lost “Christian” friends because of my political views so I have TRIED (without much success) to avoid the issue.

Then this morning, the perfect words came across my newsfeed (Facebook can be SO much more than sharing silly videos and recipes, if we let it!)

The issue? How Christians are acting, particularly as it has to do with politics, but really it is so much more. It’s how we Christians are presenting ourselves to the world. I have written both on my FB wall, and on many other blogs about how sad I think we are making our Lord with the way we are treating his other children. I just haven’t been very eloquent. But these words? They ARE eloquent. They brought me to tears.

I’m going to reprint them here, along with a link to the original blogger. Please take the time to read them and see if they resonate with you. If they do, please pass them along to other Christians. If this insanity is going to stop, it has to start with us.

My Dear Children,

I’ve seen what’s been going on there lately. Actually, I’ve been watching you all along and I really need to let you know something, just in case you misunderstand:

This isn’t what I had planned.

This wasn’t the Church I set the table for.

It wasn’t the dream I had for you, when I spoke in those parables about the Kingdom; about my Kingdom.

It was all supposed to be so very different.

It was supposed to be a pervasive, beautiful, relentless “yeast in the dough” that permeated the planet; an unstoppable virus of compassion and mercy spread person-to-person, not needing government or law or force.

It was supposed to be that smallest, seemingly most insignificant of seeds, exploding steadily and gloriously with the realized potential of my sacred presence, becoming a place of safety and shelter for all people.

It was supposed to be something so very precious, such an obvious, invaluable treasure, that it would make all those who discovered and experienced it, feel like it was worth selling everything they had to hold onto it.

It was supposed my very body, here in your very flesh.

You were designed to do this, to be this.

My kindness, my goodness, my forgiveness; you were created to be the method of transportation for all of it.

You were made to deliver the greatest good news to a world so desperate for it.

This wild, extravagant, world-altering love I have for my people, was intended to travel from my aching heart, through your trembling hands, to my hurting people.

This has always been your calling. It has always been your purpose.

It still is. This very second it is.

I have placed you here at this exact place and time in the history of creation, not to defend me, as I need no defense; not to protect me, since I have already willingly laid my life down; not to judge others on my behalf, as this is far beyond your capacity and my instruction.

My beloved, I placed you here, not to defend or protect or replace me, but simply to reflect me.

That has always been my most critical commandment and your most pressing obligation; loving God and loving others. I thought that I was clear on that, when I was asked this before.

I showed you how to move in this world.

I kept company with priests and with prostitutes. I touched lepers and washed feet and dined with sinners, both notorious and covert. I served miraculous free meals to starving masses, and I allowed myself to be touched and kissed and betrayed and slandered and beaten and murdered… and I never protested.

All that is happening these days, all the posturing and the debating and the protesting; does this really look like love to you?

Do you really think that the grandstanding and the insult-slinging and the side-choosing, that it feels like me?

Do you truly believe that the result of your labors here in these days, is a Church that clearly perpetuates my character in the world?

Is this the Gospel I entrusted you with?

To be honest with you, I simply don’t see it.

How did you drift so far from the mission?

How did you become so angry, so combative, so petty, so arrogant, so entitled?

When did you begin writing your own script for this story?

When did you turn it into your story?

My children, here’s what you may not realize, being as close as you are to all of this. You may not be able to see it clearly anymore.

You certainly don’t have the perspective that I do, and here from my vantage point, this is what I do see:

You are driving people from me.

You have become an unbreachable barrier between myself and those who most need me.

You are leaving a legacy of damage and pain and isolation in your path.

You are testifying loudly, not to my love, but to your preference.

You are winning these little violent battles, and you are losing people; not to Hell or to Sin, but to all of the places outside of you, where they go to receive the kindness and decency and goodness that you should be showing them.

This life is not about your right to refuse anyone. If I wanted to avoid serving those I found moral faults with, I would have skipped the planet altogether.

I came to serve.

Your faith in me, cannot be an escape clause to avoid imitating me.

Asserting your rights, was never greater than following my example.

Your religious freedom, never more important than loving the least.

Your central cause, should be relentlessly conforming to my likeness, despite the inconvenience and discomfort that it brings.

When I commanded you to deny yourself, I was speaking about the times when it is most difficult to do so, because that is when “self” is the most distracting, the most dangerous, the most like an idol.

Obedience to me, usually comes with sacrifice to you.

I can’t force you to reflect upon these words, and I can’t make you live as I lived or love as I love. This was never the way I worked or will ever work.

I can only tell you that you have surely drifted from the course I started you on, and as often is the case in long journeys, it is a divergence that unfolds by the smallest of degrees, almost imperceptible while it’s happening.

That is why what feels like victory to you, is really another slight but definite movement away from me, and from the reason you are really here at all.

Not long after I walked the planet, as my Church was just beginning to blossom and my Kingdom was truly breaking out, a Greek statesman named Aristides, wrote these words about those who bore my name then:

“It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbours. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies.

They live in the awareness of their smallness.

Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a travelling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.”
– Aristides, 137 AD

To the Christians in Indiana, and those beyond who are still listening today; you would do well to hold these words up daily as a mirror to your individual lives, and to the expression of me that you make together in this place.

Is this what you see when you look at yourself?

Is this what the world sees when it looks at you?

In your words and in your ways, Church; do they see me?

If not, then regardless of how it seems to you, you haven’t won anything.

May this be truth, that truly sets you free.


This CONCEPT is what has been going through my mind for the longest time. I am SOOO not either a perfect person or a perfect Christian, so I am not setting myself up as either. I know I have areas in which I need a lot of improvement, and I’m trying. But I have felt like all the divisions in the country are not being handled in a Christian way. Neither our Christian leaders in the Church, or Christian politicians, or even the Christians commenting on blogs have been keeping in mind WWJD. I regularly receive messages both on my FB wall, and in my inbox that make me cringe at their ugliness. Because I KNOW in my heart, Jesus would not respond to ANYONE with hate and exclusion. He would let his kindness speak for Him. Jesus did not come to this earth and FORCE His people to follow Him. He exuded such a light of goodness and kindness and love that people WANTED to follow Him. And he left us in charge of His church – to exude the same goodness, kindness and love, that people would WANT to follow Him, based on what they saw in His people.

Can you honestly say that what is happening right now does that? Why would ANYONE want to be a Christian when they see such hate coming out of the mouths of Christians? Even if you are not one of those spewing hatred, are you sitting silently by and letting the words of others go unchallenged?

We do not need to sit by and watch while things we disagree with go on. But we DO need to think about HOW we disagree. The viciousness with which we speak about our president and other elected officials and even our fellow Americans is not Christian.

Our country has always been a melting pot. At one time there were probably more believers than non-believers. But our founding fathers wanted this country to be a beacon for people who wanted to chose how, or even IF, they wished to worship. Freedom OF religion, also means freedom FROM religion. We cannot MAKE anyone believe. They need to be convicted. And they won’t be convicted if we treat them poorly.

“God” was not always mentioned on our money, or in the Pledge of Allegiance, and there was a reason for that. We are a country that was meant to include everyone – believers and non-believers alike. We have lost sight of that, trying to meld church and state, in direct opposition to what our founders wanted.

This government CAN function. But we have to put away the religious litmus test in order for that to happen, and just treat each other as we’ve been commanded. THAT’S how we improve the country. Not by becoming the American Taliban.



Old Dogs/New Tricks

Well, guess what? You CAN teach an old dog new tricks, after all.

My daughter decided that she wanted to go ocean paddle boarding, and that it would be great if I went, too. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but Bea was going to give it a try and I figured someone ought to be there to play on the beach with her if she either couldn’t do it or changed her mind about trying. (Somewhere in the back of my mind I must have thought one of those things would surely happen ‘cuz I was pretty sure I couldn’t!)

So, we met our guide at Makenna Landing and got started.


And guess what? Not only did I do it, we all did!


 Bea was amazing! She popped right up like she’d been paddling her whole life!


Mama looked like a pro!


Daddy is super athlete, so we knew he’d do fine!


Hannah, too, looked like she was born on a board!


And, yeah, even this old dog learned a new trick! And LIKED it!

I have to give our guide/teacher, John, a lot of credit. He was super supportive and patient. And he gave easy to understand instructions. He also pointed out how many similarities there are with yoga. I think that perhaps our visits to the yoga studio made it easier for me to be successful!

When our time was up we were all pretty tired, but we had a blast and are anxious to do it again next year!

We got silly in our last shot!


Mr. Tattered gently chided me that my shakka was actually pointed the wrong way, but oh, well, like I said, old dog, new tricks…I’ll get it right next time. And he may even try it with us next trip!

And We Have a Completed Purse!

I am so happy to announce that I have actually completed a project.

Bea’s “Mary Frances” inspired purse is ready to be unveiled!

But first a little refresher in case you didn’t see the original post.

I bought a couple of Mary Frances purses on our last trip. I was so excited to re-make their acquaintance after a many year separation!

When Bea saw them, her face just lit up and I knew I had to make one for her. I set about finding a base purse to decorate and collected a variety of “bling” to use for the creation.





I brought all the supplies with us on vacation hoping we’d have time to make it, and it actually happened! Woohoo! Follow-through is not one of my strong points, but she was just so excited about this, I knew I HAD to do it.

Glueing the beads on was the most tedious part, but I was able to develop a shortcut that helped a lot, so it didn’t take as many hours as I projected.

And finally this morning it was complete, and I have a VERY happy girl!




Here are some closer photos to show the intricacies…








Bea is thinking her Gaga is the bee’s knees right about now.



And my reward?


Doesn’t get any better than that!


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