Lazy Sunday

I got back yesterday from a four-day trip to New Orleans. I’ll soon finish a fun post about my trip and the stationery shop I went to while down there, but not today.

I’ve spent today listening to the roar of the 13-year cicadas, lounging on the couch and deck, and reading an awesome book about mail art called Good Mail Day by mail artists and bloggers Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Giligan Wheeler.  It’s a lazy day for me, so reading about other people’s creativity is all I’m capable of at this point.  But I’m “filling the well” for the next time I return to my craft table!

Sometimes it’s easy for me to feel bad about not doing something “productive” every moment of every day.  But I’m coming to realize that enjoying (or cursing…do you hear me cicadas?!) the sounds of nature, reading and viewing inspiring works of art, calling family members on the phone, and laying on the couch and letting my mind wander is actually filling me up with ideas that I can use in future artistic endeavors. 

No artist or creative person operates in a vacuum.  We need inspiration.  While I was in New Orleans, I adopted a slower pace, taking time to sponge up the inspirational sights and sounds and tastes around me. I’m continuing that process here in the more mundane surroundings of my own home.  I’m finding normally unremarkable items teeming with possibility. 

So if you’re feeling lazy, I encourage you to give into it; languish over the smell of your favorite perfume, stare at a texture until it comes alive, let your mind wander, and smile at the sun.  I hope it’s as good for you as it’s been for me.

More soon.

Dana

Mail art #1

I’ve been trying to add a bit more artistic flair to some of my letters recently.  Below is the start of a card or envelope…I’m not sure what it will be yet:

And here’s an image I sprayed onto the back of an envelope.  I used Smooch Spritz, which I love.  The results are spectacular and a bit random, which is part of its charm. (It’s available at craft stores like Michael’s)

Here’s a fun envelope I made out of a magazine cover with a few embellishments…

side 1:

side 2:

Sometimes I love the simplicity of beautiful stationery on its own…other times I want to craft it up and make it unique.  Just depends on my mood.  Lately I’ve been craving chances to let my artist side play more, so I’m trying to let her loose!

Sending spring notes

Nice weather and my last free weekend for a while inspired me to make some spring-themed notes.  I’m hoping my snail mail can enhance the joys of blossoming trees, warm sunshine, birds singing and all the other wonders of a world coming back to life.

Here are some pics of the process…

And the final results, ready to go!

P.S. As soon as I mailed these, we had a threat of snow and I had to break all my sweaters back out.  Guess that’s what I get for celebrating spring too early!

Valentine-making party

I had a few friends over last Saturday to make Valentines.  I designed five cards, provided the materials and instructions for others to recreate them and also had a “free for all” table for those who wanted to break free from instructions.  Six hours later, we all had handmade cards, bellies full of quiche and cupcakes, and smiles on our faces!

I wanted to share pictures of my valentines here and a couple before and after shots to show that we all got our craft on.

Here are the five designs:

“butterfly love”

“cupcakes!”

“punk rock love”

I made the “SWEET” sentiment using antique wood-block type I have.  A friend found a printer’s drawer filled with wood and metal type in his attic after he bought the house. What a find!

“friends”

My favorite was the “nested hearts” one below.  The heart was attached to the homemade envelope and folded open like a flower:

I lined the inside of the big folded heart with pages from Lady Chatterly’s Lover.  I found the book, falling to pieces, in a box at a yard sale.  I read it and then decided to repurpose it in a new, romantic form.  We all sought out the naughty bits to embellish our cards!

For the party, each card had a station with directions and the materials to make them.  Here’s a pic of the “butterfly love” card station.

I love the Stampin Up! stamps I used on the inside of this card.  Folks had three options of image and sentiment: cheese grater with “grateful for you”, antique sewing machine with “sew glad we’re friends” and typewriter with “just my type.”

Before and after shots of one of the tables:

And did I mention there were cupcakes?

Friends, food, and crafts.  What a glorious day!

Birth of a crafter

When I was in second grade, my mom had a great idea: we would make homemade valentines for me to give out to everyone in my class. She broke out the construction paper, paper heart doilies, glue sticks, markers and the pinking shears from her sewing kit. I was THRILLED! I thought pinking shears were the coolest scissors I’d ever seen and I loved every minute of making those cards with my mom.

After a wonderful night of valentine design, I woke the next morning, packed my homemade stash in my backpack and headed to school. When it came time to pass out the valentines, my teacher instructed everyone to go from desk to desk and slip our valentines into the construction-paper envelopes taped to the front of each student’s desk.

I froze. Everyone else had bubble-gum colored, store-bought valentines. Garfield- , Strawberry Shortcake-, and Snoopy-adorned valentines flew from the hands of my classmates. The sick feeling in my stomach told me that I was giving out valentines that were ABNORMAL and people would laugh at me. No one else had made their own cards. I must have been a freak for doing so. I was mortified, silently cursing my mom for forcing me to make these awful things that would jettison me so far from the “socially acceptable” zone that I’d never make my way back before prom.

With nothing else to hand out, I quietly slid my devastatingly crafty creations into everyone’s valentine pockets and returned to my desk filled with dread. I awaited the social fallout.

Much to my surprise, my classmates ooohed and ahhhhed over my creations. Some came and thanked me personally, telling me my valentine was their favorite. I was elated. I silently apologized to and thanked my mom for helping me make the best valentines ever. Undoubtedly I puffed up a little bit with pride.

I realized a few lessons that day:

1. Being different isn’t always devastating.
2. People enjoy receiving a thoughtful, homemade card. It makes them feel special.
3. I have an irrepressible love of craft supplies and that’s OK, people will find a way to see beyond that and love me anyway.

More than I could have foreseen on that fateful day in second grade, these lessons have served me well. Developing a certain level of comfort with being different has allowed me to live a full, authentic life (perhaps much to the chagrin of my parents during my heavy metal, black finger nail polish, leather-clad teen years). And connecting with people through cards, especially ones I make with my own two hands, has been a gift. The thrill of creating them is wonderful; having someone else derive joy from them is icing on the cupcake.

In honor of that emotion-filled day back in the early 80s, what I see as my crafting birth, I am having a valentine-making party this weekend for a few friends. I can’t wait to share pictures here with you!