Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rainy Days are for Stitching

There have been a lot of rainy days in my neighborhood. That usually means I can be found in my favorite chair creating cards to send to loved ones and shut ins.
I love to work on dark cardstock because it makes the colors "Pop".
I began making cards by using rubber stamps. Paper Embroidery became a passion for me in the last while. Then just lately I decided it would be great fun to combine the two of them. I usually color the images with colored pencils and sometimes water colors. It has brought new excitement to my card making. Combining the two mediums has opened my mind to other possibilities. Isn't that what keeps us creating?

I am so thankful to live in a time when there is such a wide range of colors and different kinds of threads to choose from. My colored pencil box is huge too. I have the rainbow at my fingertips. It seems the more I do, the more ideas that come.

Hope these will brighten your day.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A new kind of Mother's Day

Darkness has fallen on Mother’s Day 2011. I am ready. I knew the first Mother’s day without Mother would be difficult. You just don’t live for almost 70 years with your mother in your life and not feel a deep sense of loss when she is no longer with you. She will always be in my life because she will always be in my heart but it is different.

I knew it would not please or honor my mother to have it turn out to be a day of mourning and tears. But I also did not want it to be a “business as usual” kind of day either. Some wise soul told me that it is sometimes a good thing to embrace our pain. At first I thought this sounded like a lot of craziness. But I decided it was worth a try.

I had made plans to make a memory garden in her memory so earlier this week I picked up the perennials to do that. I chose flowers that I knew that she liked and a few that would remind me of her. As I can no longer get down on my hands and knees I decided I would put them in containers and have them near my little deck table where I often have morning devotions.

Then this afternoon I went out to the deck and began to plant the flowers and at the same time buried some of my tears into the soil. There were no deep sobs, no lost feelings, just a sense of love and peace that seemed to come from my mother. Once they were planted, I sat in the sunshine for a while just feeling it’s warmth and the presence of God. . I find myself wondering how my own mother worked through her time of grief when her own mother died. I realize it is a cycle we all take and yet we do not seem to learn from those who have gone before. It is a personal thing and we must each walk the road relatively alone.

My reality is my mother has died. We will not see each other again until we meet at the feet of Jesus. I know she is at rest and I need to continue my way to find peace about that.

It is time for me to find a new part of myself, new growth and hopefully a way to bloom once again.

Mother’s birthday was June 11th so that is my next hurdle. But I have learned things from today and I hope I will manage as well as I did today. I am truly relieved that this first Mother’s Day is over. I cannot but hope that next year will be just a bit easier.

So tomorrow I will return to dong the creative things, cooking meals and gardening, hoping I will grow and bloom and all the love and hard work of teaching me the best she could will be rewarded.

I had hoped to post photos of the new memory garden. It will have to wait until I can shoot pictures in the daytime. Perhaps I will let them settle in just a bit.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you, even those who are missing their mothers. Memories can bring us close


Sunday, April 3, 2011

April is here, Spring is not

Well it is warm enough here so that we are getting rain instead of snow, but I still need my winter coat. I am planning a celebration for the day coming when I can hang it in the closet for a few months.
I so want all the things that come with spring so I have been putting some of those things into my cards in the last couple of weeks. I love the baby bird! It is one of a set of bird clear stamps that I bought this last month.
I also found some lovely quilt block patterns in paper embroidery that reminded me of all the joys I found in quilting in years past. And just as pretty on paper with threads.

The little Lily of Valley flowers were just what I needed to work on on the first day of spring as flurries of snow fell from the skies.

I am so thankful that I have art to express myself and to share with others. Hope all of you enjoy them as well
Hope you will all find ways to embrace a season you love.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Last of the hummers

These are the last of the humming bird cards that I will be making for a bit. I am looking forward to the real ones coming when the weather warms up some.
I really love the paper embroidery design to be used with ribbon. It is a nice touch.

My goal for the coming year is to use more of the supplies I have on hand, which includes printed scrap book paper, ribbon and embellishments. I was able to do that with these cards with a little imagination. Sometimes it takes a little effort and imagination to stretch the borders of what we have become comfortable with.
I had not used my Twinkling H2O's in a forever and it was fun to pull them out and add glimmer and sheen to the humming bird. When I begin to poke into the depths of my art room, I am amazed what I find there.
It is not unlike poking around in the flower gardens that have lay dormant for these last months. I have started clearing the beds on days that are warm enough for me. It is so much fun to pull back the dead leaves to find the first shoots of daffodils and tulips in their fresh greens and yellow tinges. What promise they hold of spring coming and beautiful blooms to come. The soil is soft and nice to work with.
It is the same in the art room as I pull open drawers to find treasures of beautiful paper I had forgotten I had and a box full of embellishments that would add such a pretty touch to a greeting card.
There is that same promise of wonderful possibilities in my art room as in the flower gardens. Creativity is everywhere for the taking. We just need to take the time to discover them.
Hope spring and creativity is headed your way.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Little Things in LIfe

Things are still pretty lifeless looking here in Michigan. Not even a sign of buds on the trees yet. I looked for the hint of crocus in the flower beds but they seem to still be asleep too.
So I decided it was time to poke around in the art room and see if I could see any signs of spring there.
I found a stamp that I had purchased a few weeks ago but had not put it in ink yet. Sure enough, there was this lovely little hummingbird!
I have been trying to get myself back into stamping and coloring and this little fella just buzzed right into my heart. I used Twinkling H2O's to color him. I haven't used them in a while and had forgotten what a treat they are.
But of course the Paper Embroidery is still calling my name so I decided to combine the two mediums.
Now this little guy is ready to "flutter" through the mails to hopefully cheer someone else of the winter doldrums.
Hope spring is winging its way to you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In times of Sadness

A Dear Aunt of mine passed away in the last week She has 5 children that live all over the U.S.A. I live far from her home too so I was unable to attend the funeral. I decided to make each of them a card and send a personal note with each one. I chose 3 different designs to stitch and stamp. Making Sympathy cards is not something I want to do all the time , but I hope that the ones I have made will convey the love I have for my Aunt and her family.
This second card had a soft cream base and was a bit difficult to scan because you could not really tell where the card borders were. So I placed another piece of paper behind it.

It is hard to lose one loved one after another as we grow older. I realize that I have become the "older generation". It means that I need to make some changes in my own life and my way of looking at things. I realize that my own time is growing more limited and that I want to live those days touching and blessing others as best as I can. I hope that these cards will do that for my cousins in their time of grieving the loss of their mother.

A Stitch in Time.

Snowy winter days in Michigan has meant that I have been spending a lot of time in my art room or sitting in my favorite chair.
I have been doing a lot of paper embroidery and am not attempting to compliment the work with things like embossing or painted images with paper embroidery as an embellishment.

This pieced began with a embossed border design with an area in the center waiting for a stamped image, a stamped verse and in this case an altered paper embroidery design.

This one had the added feature of bead work.

I think the thing I love about making cards is that there are a million different ways to design and make them. There is no time for boredom because you can only do a few selective things.
The world is truly my oyster when it comes to making cards. This reminds me that spring is just around the corner and the real flowers will soon be in bloom.

Friday, February 4, 2011

winter of 2011

What a snow filled winter it has been for us here in Michigan. If it isn't the winter storm of 2011 that has swathed half the United States, then it is lake effect snow for us living so close to Lake Michigan.
I am quite content, no matter the weather as long as we maintain power so I can stay warm. I am thankful I don't get cabin fever easily.
So with snow in mind, I decided that staying inside and making snowmen was a good pastime.
Making them inside does not involve cold winds down my neck or icy cold fingers inside my mittens. And I can even enjoy hot cocoa and pretzels in between snowmen. These are my latest creations. Aren't they happy fellows? And they won't even melt in the sunshine.

The verse inside these reads: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
When life gives you snow, make snowmen.

Hope all of you are staying warm and cheerful like these snowmen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

visiting creative friends

There is something so good about being able to visit creative friends.
Yesterday I went to visit my friend, Ruth. She is a rubber stamper, a knitter, a reader and a person that also does paper embroidery. I never know what I will find her doing next. I hadn't seen her since before the holiday because she was ill the first of the year. So there was so much to talk about and so much to share.
There is nothing like a creative friend to bring out a person's creative muse. Ideas fluttered back and forth like butterflies around summer flowers. When I got home I could hardly wait to set my creations together. The card with the flowers was my first attempt of adding color to Paper Embroidery. I am not sure how I feel about it. I think I will have to play with the idea some more before I make a final decision.
I have something on my scanner it seems so there is a blemish on the picture of the second card. I will have to correct that before I scan again. This one is the first of 7 sympathy cards that I need to make.
We both agreed that we had not done any coloring of stamped images lately even though it is something we both really enjoy. So..... I stamped some images last night and hopefully in a few days I will have something more to share with you and my friend Ruth too when I see her next.

Hope you have a great day filled with memories of flowers and friends.

Monday, January 24, 2011

When your up your up....

When my children were little and in preschool they used to stand in a circle and sing a song with animation. It went: "Oh when your up, your up, and when your down, your down, and when your only half way up, your neither, up or down." It was a great song for the children to sing on a winter day when they could not go out into the play yard to play. Their lithe young bodies would stretch up to the ceiling and then stoop clear to the floor and then come only part way up before making a quick stretch to the top and quick drop almost to the floor. Each time the song was sang the music tempo was increased until the children ultimately could not keep up the motion and would fall to the ground in a giggling heap.
Life gets like that sometimes. We rise one day to sunshine and good work and good friends and then almost instantly something happens that brings us crashing down to almost the bottom. Then our lives take another turn and we seem to be teetering somewhere between being up and down.
The problem is, as we get older and the tempo of ups and downs come faster and faster, it gets harder for us to find the "halfway up" and when we come tumbling down into a heap we find we have forgotten how to giggle, knowing it is all a part of life.

As I have grown older the "downs" of life have been the loss of friends and loved ones to death. We all know we are not going to get out of this world alive, yet when death comes to those we love it seems so wrong. Not now! my heart cries, Not yet! But I know it is now for that loved one and that I will feel pressed low for a while. In time I find myself rising out of the sadness and I see there are others who are celebrating yet another year of life and I find myself being lifted out of my sadness to celebrate their lives and I feel half way up. And then a baby is born and I feel the newness of life and I find myself stretching to the fullness of "Up", knowing that life does go on and there is newness to rejoice in.
January brought me more "down" moments and fewer "up" moments as there were no new births in my small circle. So I find I am living in a "halfway up" condition, struggling just a bit to find newness of life in other ways.
My card making list has 3 birthdays and 7 sympathy cards and 3 thinking of you cards. If I take the right attitude that seems to balance things out pretty well. I chose to begin with the birthday cards and have two to share with you this week. One should always rejoice in celebration to have another year with a friend. I hope you enjoy this weeks work and wish you the ability to fall into a heap of giggles when life comes at you faster than you can make the transition. S

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snowy Michigan Days

On snowy days when everything seems so cold and frozen, I like to think of some things that bring me pleasure in other seasons. The butterfly is one of those. So I found myself stitching flourishes and a tiny silver butterfly and thinking of warmer days. It is not that I don't like winter, because I really do. It is just that I miss the flowers, butterflies and the leaves on the trees. I know they will all return in their time but it is still much fun to create them on winter days and send them off to friends hoping that they will warm their hearts too. I love the paper that I worked up the oval with the tiny Martha Stewart flowers in the center. The paper has a weave that makes it look like finely woven linen. It has a bit of a sheen to it also. I find it at my local Joann's. It is not the strongest of papers (much lighter than cardstock) but with a little TLC it works up quite nicely.
I have gobs of ribbon and I am trying to use it as well as some of the beads, pearls and embellishments that think they have found permanent homes in my storage units. I tell myself less is more and so am trying to lessen somewhat, what I have in my art room. I have kept so many things saying I want to use them for something special. Well the truth is, everyone I make and send cards to is special to me. So..... out come the ribbons, and embellishments in 2011 and I am sure 2012, 2013........

I did venture out today. I went shopping for a new chair. I spend so much time in my recliner and it certainly takes a beating. The one I have is showing the wear and tear and has been shampooed and brushed clean more times than I can remember. So it was time to say goodbye to it and replace it with one that is almost identical except in a different covering. I am waiting now for them to deliver it.
But of course, a new piece of furniture means I had a bit of cleaning to do in order to make the transition. I don't know about you, but the area around my chair looks like a busy board room.
So I have cleared the clutter and wait with excitement for the coming of the new and the going of the old.

I hope all of you are finding "treasures" to create with and are pushing out the old things and refreshing your life with something new that will bring you comfort and pleasure.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reaching out to others with artistic Cards

I made some of these calendar cards and mailed them off to friends. I try to make some each year and find the hardest part is choosing a design that I wouldn't be bored with after a couple of months.
This year I used threads and beads. In previous years I have put magnets on the back. This year I decided to put small easels on the back too so it could be used as a desk calendar.
So even as these were sent out my mind began whirling on something new and different for next year.

The little card is one I am sending to welcome a new member on and online group I belong to,
She is concerned that her work is not as good as she would like it to be to share with others.
So this little creation of mine is a simple tag with a verse on it. I made the pocket to hold the tag by cutting the corner off an old envelope and layering a pretty scrap on top. It was fun poking around in the fiber drawer to pull out some different fibers to make a tassel. If she doesn't have kitties this tag could become a bookmark. At my house, tassels and fibers are an open invitation to the kitties. Or at least that's what they tell me.

I have two more cards almost finished that I will share with you soon.

Hope all of you are finding creative ways to brighten your day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

winter storms and stitching cards

We have twenty inches of snow from the storm over the weekend. I took advantage of needing to stay in and off the roads by doing some more paper embroidery while watching movies.
I am not sure what it is about watching the movies. I guess I always think of reading a book on stormy days but I really did want to accomplish something this time too. So the movies were second best. Besides I really needed some sympathy cards.
You will see a bit of golden yellow around them because the base card stock is white and the edges did not show up on the scan. It was the manila folder that I lay behind it to make the edges of the card show.

I think I am embracing paper embroidery right now because it makes me feel closer to my mother. I know how much she enjoyed embroidery work over the years. She embroidered pillow cases, luncheon cloths, dresser scarves ( remember when we really did use them?) and dozen and dozens of dish towels. I never did enjoy doing the work on cloth because the back of my work was so messy. At least with paper embroidery I can hide the back with another layer. I don't think mother ever quite understood why I preferred working on the paper. Still she admired the work.
I have missed mother even more as time goes on. Coming to the realization that I will never hear her laughter or pick up the phone and hear her voice, leaves a hollow hole in my heart.

Just today I heard a funny joke and as I laughed I thought how mother would love this one. I could almost see her smile.

It is hard to make sympathy cards when I am still grieving myself. But then I think, what better time? I know some of the feelings they are having and I know I am comforted by the cards sent to me. With that thought in mind, I think I will make a couple extra to have on hand.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year -New creativity

2010 was a sad year for me with the death of both of my parents just a few months apart from each other. I can be sad for myself but at their advanced ages ( in their 90's) and their poor health I know it is a blessing that they are at peace and rest and reunited.
I still feel the emotional turmoil of it all but also know that my mother would not want to sit in my sadness. I can almost hear her say: "Sallyann, life is for the living, so get off your duff and get busy with something."
So I have returned to my card making for the time.
I had 3 birthday cards to make for friends on one of my lists. So I just finished those and will post them here. I hope to be posting here on a regular basis in the coming year.