Last night a friend came over to do some card making with me. I have been a scrapbooker and card maker for several years, and doing those things in company with others is always fun. Rather like an old fashioned quilting bee, I think. Your hands are busy and there's a lot of laughter, but there is also plenty of time for talk that can end up digging pretty deep by the end of the night.
Before my mother's passing, I'd been working on some Christmas gifts for my girls (my daughters and daughers-in-law), but since I returned home I've noticed that my creative inspiration is in really, really short supply. The projects sit on my craft table, untouched since early October. I'm not sure if I'll get them done this year after all. I hope so, but inspiration had better strike soon.
The fact that I ever took up paper crafts in the first place is hard to believe. I was the kid in the (1960s) kindergarten class who couldn't color within the lines or cut out a pre-printed shape or keep the paste from smearing all over every inch of her worksheet. I vividly remember how my 5-year old heart would sink whenever our teacher said we'd be "cutting and pasting" in our workbooks. I hated the feeling of having paste up to my elbows and knowing that my classmates could do these tasks so much better than I. When the art teacher arrived on his once or twice a week rounds for art class, I wanted to hide. I swear, my kindergarten arts and crafts experiences scarred me for life, because even now the memories of humiliation are very real.
When I moved to Utah in 2002, I moved to "scrapbook central." The number and size of the craft stores and manufacturing warehouses is quite staggering. Two major companies are based in Utah -- Provo Craft and Making Memories. The semi-annual warehouse sale put on by Making Memories has to be seen to be believed. And the papers are so beautiful! Before I learned how to scrapbook, I would browse through the papers just for the fun of seeing the pretty designs and colors.
My neighbor in Utah eventually taught me how to scrapbook, and she was very generous with her own supplies - I had an abundance of papers, embellishments and tools to work with right from the start. She also shared her knowledge and her artistic taste with me, gently guiding me when things didn't go together quite as I'd envisioned. Over the years I have had a lot of fun making scrapbooks and cards -- some to keep and some to give away as keepsakes for others.
And you don't have to color within the lines or be able to cut a shape by hand. Ha!
Last year it became apparent that there was interest in scrapbooking among some of the women of our church, so it was my turn to take on the role that my neighbor had played. I set up monthly evenings for scrapbooking, and I've opened my own storehouse of supplies to the women who join me. It gives me an excuse to keep buying beautiful papers (something that no scrapbooker can resist, even when a new project is not being contemplated at the time).
I chose to make gift tags last night in order to try out my new Cricut cartridge (snagged it on sale on Black Friday!). The new cartridge makes some cool Christmas shapes, and it felt good to be doing something that required a small amount of creativity. The last several weeks have pretty much been about just keeping my head above water with work, housework and daily life.
Now if I could just get some inspiration to finish those projects for the girls! I'd tell you what those projects are, but I happen to know that at least two of the girls read this blog. So, if I get them done, I'll post pictures after Christmas!