Thursday, October 21, 2010

Card Tricks & Challenge!!

Happy Thursday everyone! You've made it past "hump day" and the weekend is within sight. It's a good feeling, right? You've been busy all week with your job, the laundry, running errands, taking care of the family and everything else that you can possibly crowd into your day. Now, what have you done for yourself? Did you find some quiet time to think about what form your creativity might take if you were to pursue some artistic delight? I'm hoping some of you have taken some time to think about this and hoping even more that you might have started a project just to test the waters.

One easy way to test your creativity is to make some greeting cards. Yes, I know there are stores that sell them and have lovely ones. But, do these store bought cards really express what you want to say? Are you really happy with the design of the card or did you grab one that seemed to be the best you could find and thought, "Well, no one really cares about the card, it just gets tossed away." You might be surprised at the number of people who keep the cards that are sent to them and go back and read them every time they need a reminder that someone took the time to say that they really cared. You didn't realize your card had that much meaning. You didn't know that beyond saying "Happy Birthday", that the card also said that you cared enough to think about the recipient and their special day. The power of that one card is amazing. It can turn a not so good day into a memorable one for a recipient who has just had a horrible day at work, had a flat tire on the way home, but once they got home and picked up the mail, there was a piece for them that had their name on it. It wasn't a bill, another promotion from the cable television company or a past due notice on a library book. It was a card, just for them and it said to them that this friend really cared enough to send it. Sure, you can send e-mail greetings and it's a nice way to remember someone or brighten their day. But a card that you send in the mail is something tangible, something that can be held, read over and over again and saved to look at again, maybe when feeling a little down. You didn't realize that you had that power to make someone's day with a simple little card, but you do and if you only knew that a handmade card would have even more significance, do you think that maybe you might be tempted to try making one?

It's really not that much different than writing a letter. Right, you haven't written a real letter in years. See, that's the problem. We've taken it for granted that no one cares to receive a card anymore. It's so old fashioned, e-mail is so much quicker. And you have to put more thought into what the card looks like and what it says. Ah, now we're getting to the heart of the matter. It takes more thought, consequently it means more to your friend who hasn't really celebrated a birthday in years, let alone receive a handmade card in the mail.

Okay, I've got your attention now, right? Go to an arts and crafts store, look at the cardstock on the shelves. Those packages that have four or five colours in them or even a package of ivory cardstock. That always looks elegant and you can add colours to it with markers, rubber stamps or just coloured gel pens. It really doesn't take much to get going on this project and I guarantee that once you receive a complement on a card you sent, you'll be hooked. You'll start looking for opportunities to send one of your cards. You're going to feel good about what you're doing and you're being creative at the same time. You're not thinking about the report at the office that needs to be done first thing Monday morning. You're relaxing, having fun and being creative.

So, pick out some cardstock, one package to start. Pick up some envelopes at the dollar store to go along with your cards. Maybe buy a couple of rubber stamps and ink pads to get started. Maybe a little ribbon to add as an accent or any one of the many little accessories that are filling the racks to go along with your card making. A basic tool kit should include a paper cutter, some extra blades for it, a glue stick or glue runner (a device like correction tape only it puts down a line of glue), scissors, a ruler, a cutting mat to protect your table and a box to keep all your scraps in along with one for your supplies. One of the first rules in card making is to never throw away your scraps. That little piece of gold trim might be just what you need on another card. It's always time and cost effective to make multiple cards rather than one at a time. You can cut enough cardstock for a dozen cards and it won't take you that much longer to make them than to make just one. The trick is to put the scraps from the first card into the second card and so on. That way there isn't any waste, you've got a stash of cards at your finger tips ready to send at any time that you want to.

If you are someone who can draw well, it's wonderful to use that talent to design the front of your card. Look at Liza Lambertini's web site. The URL is to the right of the blog under "Other sites you might find interesting." Liza's specialty is painting the most wonderful faeries onto the front of the card. She writes a poem to go along with this particular faerie telling you a little about them or the magic that they bring along. Liza then goes one step further to make her cards special. She takes the time to treat them as the piece of art that they surely are and places a matte behind the card so it can be framed. The card still opens for you to write your greeting inside and the poem is on the back of the card. Liza uses a collection of inks to hand craft each card and signs them with her name. I look at her cards and am amazed at how she captures the elegance of each faerie, the lush colours painted carefully to bring to life that little creature. Take the time to go to Liza's web site and see if you're as captivated by her work as I am.

My card making skills are no where near those of Liza's and the major card companies don't need to worry that I'm diving into their territory. I use rubber stamps, sometimes accented with little extras that I draw into the scene. I try to decorate the envelope so that it gives the recipient a little hint of what is to come. And yes, sometimes I can't avoid the temptation to use a little glitter or to put a little confetti into the card to come tumbling out as it's opened. I have as much fun making the cards as my recipients do receiving them. I've put a few of my newest creations up for you to see. One of my regulars that gets birthday, Hallowe'en and holiday cards told me that he has saved them all so that he has a collection of Rutheemac cards. He's actually the person who gave me the name Rutheemac. And so for the past 10 years, I've been Rutheemac, spelled in many different ways, but what you see is my preferred moniker and spelling.

So, please, if you feel that you aren't creative, give this a try and see if it doesn't get your imagination running wild with what you can make. What you will be making are special memories for each and every person that receives one of your cards. And, if you're up for it, this is a great family project. Get all the family involved in making your holiday cards this year. I guarantee that you and your family will find this to be one of the best parts of the upcoming season.

Wishing you a wonderfully artistic week, one full of inspiration and the determination to make time for some memories.

Sincerely, Rutheemac

Okay, Hallowe'en is coming and we need to have a little fun! So, we're all going to be divas and decorate a tiara and use it as our avatar next weekend, Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31. My gentlemen readers are encouraged to enter into the fun as well! Instead of being a diva, I will consider you to be knighted for the weekend. That doesn't mean you get a free ride on the household duties! LOL So, post your avatar and then leave a comment on this site telling me what you twitter name is i.e. @rutheemac, so that all of us can have a look at your tiara. You are welcome to have a picture of you wearing the tiara or a picture of just your tiara is fine too. While you're here leaving me a comment about your tiara, sign on as a reader of this blog. It's encouraging to me and to others to see a list of names of people who enjoy the blog. Right now, I can tell you that most of the people viewing the blog are from Canada, followed by the U.S., then the U.K. and last but not least, there are a few readers in South Africa. Leave a comment and tell me and the other readers a bit about yourself and what kind of art you do. One last word on the tiaras - please leave your comment and have your avatar up for early Saturday, October 30 so that I can log in throughout the day and put up the comments so we know what user name to look for to see their tiara. Good luck and let's see some real creativity!

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