Paper Inspiration

Do you ever get that feeling?  You know the one where you have a card to design, a very specific occasion for a specific person and the mind just goes blank?  You do?

What do you do to get inspiration when nature, photos you have accumulated and books just don’t help you fill the blank?  Or when it is something very specific you require?

I have a few specific blogs which I turn to.  If it is , what I call a fussy card or which most paper crafter would call, shabby chic then it is to Yvonne I would turn to. http://cardartblogkilcoole.blogspot.ie  Yvonne has also included some wonderful recipes on her site.

Another blog which constantly inspires me is https://cardsandcompany.wordpress.com   Lorraine gives great directions and added to that she gives a glimpse into the city of Ballarat, in Victoria, Australia.

On YouTube  Geraldine on little snippets  is just full of wonderful ideas and again with straight forward directions. https://www.youtube.com/user/littlesnippets1

Now I will freely admit that I love Pinterest and it is a great resource, especially at 3.00 a.m. when sleep is elusive.  It is just amazing the wealth of ideas which abound there.   A word of warning though, you may find that you spend hours rather than 10 minutes on it.

However, I have two special crafting buddies to whom I turn to time and again. Invariably they come up with some great ideas.  Anne my paper crafting buddy who is my expert on die cutting.  What she can do with a die cutter is just amazing.  The other is Mary, who taught me how to make my first greeting card.  She has great ideas.  She is a great artist.

Image result for free clipart of friendship

These two ladies have one thing in common – they have the patience of Job.  They remain calm and will explain things over an over again.  Which is just as well for me.  Thanks to you both. You are amazing ladies.

 

 

Fountain Pen + Notebook =

Have you ever realised that having a pen and paper can be very rewarding?

It is amazing what is to be seen or heard and having that pen just enables me to remember those moments.   I have always thought of writing as being very solitary but I have learnt otherwise.

I was sitting recently in a restaurant waiting for my order to be served, took out a lovely small brown leather-bound notebook.  A great present from my son, as it holds my new fountain pen snugly in the spine and they both fit into my pocket.  Christl thanks for the fountain pen which goes everywhere with me.

My coffee arrived in a large bulbous mug.   The mug was so apt for a coffee.   It invited me just to wrap my hands around it and to savour that little moment.   And yes, the coffee lived up to expectations.

I drew my notebook to me and started to write just snippets, random thoughts.   I was soon lost to my writing and the thoughts which had been buzzing around my head.   I like to use word pictures as a quick way to get my ideas down before I totally forget.   Forgetting ideas seems to be happening more and more.

The coffee shop had got busier while I had been occupied and soon I was joined by two young ladies who turned out to be from Michigan in the USA.   After a brief conversation I returned to my scribblings but felt I was being watched.   It’s a feeling I don’t like so I quickly looked up to find one of these ladies staring intently at my fountain pen.  IMAG0940[1]

It turned out this young lady, had never seen a fountain pen.  She had heard about them but had never actually seen one.   Talk about being amazed.   I mean I know I was born in the last century but not to have seen a fountain pen!  Soon there was an engaging conversation on ordinary useful objects which had become obsolete or if not obsolete very seldom used.

To see their faces when they googled fax machines, 1970 computers, early mobile phones, telex,  their faces were a picture of total astonishment.   As for the Teas Maid the shrieks of laughter drew glances from a few other customers.

One never knows just where a pen, paper and a mug can lead one and what stories emerge never mind the memories which can be created or rekindled.  A simple fountain pen brought different generations together for a short while amidst much lughter.

Secret Santa

 

 

This year for the very first time I have been involved in a Secret Santa through an on-line book club which I was able to join this year.

My Secret Santa parcel arrived this morning and with it a dilemma.  As you know paper is important to me.  My present was beautifully wrapped in Art Deco type paper.  Black background with small bronze Christmas trees in a line.  The next line was bronze zig zag with angular corners.  So reminiscent of the Art Deco period.  Each bronze decorated line was followed by a pure white straight line.   The pattern on the paper was a work of art.

Oh my, but I was torn.  I wanted to find out what book I had received but I did not want to damage this beautiful paper.  A mug of coffee later and it was time.  With a scalpel, extra light on my work table and a steady hand I began the job of opening the paper.  Thank goodness, my Secret Santa had not used double sided tape.  With care I actually achieved removing this beautiful paper to reveal my book.

However, before scrutinising the book, the paper was ironed to remove the creases.  Yes, ironing it does work.  Just make sure it is a dry iron at low temperature.  I already have a few ideas for using it.  It definitely could be used as background for a greeting card but I think for the moment it will be placed in my drawer containing “special paper” to be used at a future date, possibly.

The book I received wrapped in that wonderful paper was “he said she said” by Erin Kelly and published by Hodder and Stoughton.  I would have walked past this book in a book shop.  The dust cover would not have attracted me nor would the fact that it was termed a “psychological thriller”.   Like everything else in life there are times to try something new and I look forward to reading it during the Christmas period.

Happy Christmas reading especially if it is a genre which you don’t normally read.

A Christmas Card

I know this is going to be contentious but here it goes.  In Ireland over the last 10 years there has been a growing push by charities asking people to donate to a charity and not post or send Christmas Cards.  Why are they doing this?

There are many people and not just older people who look forward to getting Christmas cards in the post.   The card pops through the letter box usually with a Christmas postage stamp, the envelope hand written and inside there is a personal greeting.

Please pause a moment and thing back to the last time you received a personal greeting through the post? Let’s face it the occasion very rarely happens.  With the advent of paperless billing the volume of post has dropped.  Isn’t it good to receive that personal greeting?

Isn’t it wonderful to think that a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, a family member has taken the time to choose a card, write a greeting, address the envelope and then post it.  Isn’t it good to feel that even for a short time you were important to that person?

I attended a workshop during the year and a young lad asked me if I sent cards at Christmas. “Of course,” I replied “but why are you asking”? I learnt that this young lad has a chronic illness and at times it results in anxiety and depression.  When his energy is low and he feels his anxiety rising he will take out one of the Christmas cards he received and remind himself that he is important.

This conversation has remained with me.  We just never know how the simple gesture of sending a Christmas card can impact on someone.  I am sure there are many other examples of the smiles that a Christmas card can evoke.

Then there are the people who make their own Christmas cards who not only get a great buzz of making those cards but who also make others feel very important.  The hours which are spent choosing designs, paper and finally putting it all together before actually sitting down to write the personal greeting.

Many people send cards which they have purchased from specific charities knowing that the money is going back to that charity. These charities range from Children’s hospital to animal welfare. The money from those cards are important to those charities.

Can I ask a question of those charities who are asking people to donate rather than sending out Christmas cards? Why do you not ask people to consider donating the cost of an extra Christmas present? Why are charities not at Easter time asking people to stop buying Easter Eggs and instead donating the money to charity? There has grown the tradition of the 12 Pubs at Christmas in Ireland.  Why have the charities not targeted that?

These charities that ask us to donate instead of sending cards should really consider the impact this has on those who receive these Christmas cards.

 

Christmas puds

A Punch

 

 

I can’t believe that the paper punch is over 100 years old.

I am sure if you use Google on a daily basis you have now realised that on 14th November 1886 it was patented by Frederich Soennecken.  This led to Benjamin Smith’s patent in and to the patent of Charles Brooke which not only punched a hole but also collected the paper which had been punched out.

I like punches: from the simple one-hole punch to decorative paper punches.   On my shelf I can see the one-hole punch, double hole which was used to hole foolscap paper.  I have one which can punch numerous holes for ring binders.  Great for keeping magazines in one place.

I can remember as a clerical worker a punch was an invaluable piece of equipment for storing correspondence in files.  However, if you had a punch which gathered the punched pieces of paper you were in heaven.  Those pesky bits of paper were in one place.

In later years, I have decorated jam jars or mason jars with those pesky bits of paper to give the effect of snow with a tea light candle glimmering inside.  All the time keeping a wary eye that the glass wasn’t getting too warm.  Those battery-operated tea lights have taken the worry out now.

Over the years I have seen beautiful handmade greeting cards which have used only punches to create wonderful designs.

Is a punch part of your life? Do you have more than one? Or is a punch obsolete?