That’ll Be Easy (the Final Crafter’s Saga 5)

Pondering the next step, well, I decided on the next – step.

Not sure where the idea came from, but I found if I could insert the paper into the upside down punch and hold it firmly enough to flip, I could place it on the floor… and… step on it.

After about 200 of those couch slouch sitting, toe touch bends and leg lift/lowers, my heel got a little sore.

So, I switched. I guess being right-handed’s akin to being right-footed. The left foot was adequate, but the right foot had the rhythm, and later the blues and purple-ish greenies, too..

Tender, bruised heels = my second documented suffering for art. The first suffrage had to do with a v-shaped linoleum cutter across three tips of three fingers leading to the post-healing inability to feel the strings on the electric Yamaha folk guitar I’d won from WINE Radio. Lessons were dropped.

Sure, there’ve been nicks and nail splits, Mod Podge in the eye, hot glue gun burns and other unique displays of self-damage along the way, since then. (Wrong tools/wrong sitting position, mostly.)

I have an absolutely adored hideous collection of paint splattered, glue stuck, ripped clothing. The kind your mother warned you that you wouldn’t want to be wearing if you were ever involved in a car accident. Only outdone by the sage advice that you should always have pristine underwear for the same reason.

Many an undergarment went into the laundry basket on wash day and never returned. I did make every effort to rescue perfectly-worn jeans from the same motherial fate, I succeeded a number of times. I do occasionally dispose of one. Very occasionally. Only if I have a back-up to my back-up.

Anyway, in the middle of semi-concentration required stompage, it occurred to me that I could be pretty specific, if I wanted to. By this point I pretty much assumed I wasn’t going to be making my Sunday afternoon drop.

And, there you go. Add another level of dafter-crafter. Might as well.

So, after stomping enough to cover 34 cards, plus extra because some were bound to be ugly, I spent some time pouring out unnatural leaf shades for known preferences: Purple, Blue, Green, Rainbow. (You know who you are. 😉 ) Drying time required.

Plucking my little punches neatly into smart piles, wasn’t all that easy, either. I mean I made about 275 grouping decisions determining which color dominated the petite pieces of paper. Took a bit of patience and as good bit of time because I got side tracked by, “Oh, I love this one!” and “Oh, I should frame these three,” and “Oh, I saw one just like this a moment ago… wonder which pile I put it in? Orange or Yellow?”

The ‘Easy Horizon’ was in view, at last. All I needed to do was plop 7 or 8 glue-dotted paint chips to each card.

I faltered at the first leaf. Should the one dedicated to the top of the barren tree be hanging down, barely holding on? Should it be lifted up by a strong wind or just standing signifying the season?

For once, I decided not to decide. Sort of. It depended on the randomly selected leaf pattern. Some looked better dangling; others were perkier upped.

As for the other fallen additions, I tried to assembly-line stagger their positions into something resembling a true pile. That’s about as almost-random as this particular run of salutations got.

37 printed, cut, glued and commented seasonal message inserts later, it was time to sticker the backs, stuff & seal, address, lick stamps and apply return addresses to envelopes. Yep, I had enough matter for a solid three more mastered works.

28 dedicated hours later, I can proudly say, I drove off to the mailbox in a daring 5:10 PM dusk, and made it back home before the streetlights even flickered. Easy.

Quote for the Week:

That’ll Be Easy (A Crafter’s Saga 3)

Plaid lines to follow! Success was on the horizon.

Seriously. How hard could it be to cut a straight line when there are lines to follow?

Kinda hard if you’re working with a maybe-a-little dull rotary push blade, a slippery plastic ruler, still stubbornly assuming an awkward couch-to-coffee-table posture.

I didn’t count the passes. I just know I, multiply, veered off the rule, lost the grip, over-corrected and then over-corrected the over-corrections.

After a few thinner, shorter, not card worthy swipes, I tried another roll-over aiming to trim with fabric scissor. Ancient, pre-Jeff, inherited, fabric scissors. When I thought about it, I calculated they were nearing or at 50 years old, holding just a smidgen of rust.

Correctable, in my view. A kitchen trip to grab the knife sharpener and hone away, also netted me an apple. It was a particularly good batch of market apples. I needed a break, so I savored, while staring at the rotten fruits of my labor.

That’s when I decided. Deviously counting the odds, here’s how I added it all up. The lop-sides and veers would herald obvious hand-made. By default, this would make them endearingly rustic. At least that’s what the perfectionist in me planned to say if anyone had a word about it.

Creative minds envision orderly procession, despite the disorganization of supplies and the tendency to rationalize with the phrase, “For now…”

Who wants to put away paint tubes by color when another fabulous idea has surfaced, which, if isn’t documented this very minute might float away, forever.

For now, I’ll leave it there. For now, I’ll remember where it is when I need it. For now, I’m just going to take a 10 minute (ahem 1.2 hour) break.

60 minutes later, the fabric finagling ended satisfactorily.

Since the Singer was still set up, I figured I’d give it a try for straight-cutting paper layers.

That’d be easy, for sure.

Quote for the Week:

That’ll Be Easy. (A Crafter’s Saga.)

I love Thanksgiving.

It’s fall and comfort food. It’s a chance to be more consciously thankful, and people seem to be happier in general. Yes, there’s a connection there – between those two things.

The pride of my yearly crafting is my Thanksgiving card design. I spend the whole year thinking and looking at art trends. I toggle between simple and elegant and more complicated mini master-arts. I only call them that because each of the 25-30 cards I make each year is similar in style, but 100% an original like no other.

Sometimes my choice of action comes down to time and how much I have or don’t. Depending on how early or late I decisively decided to commit to a card and how complicated my choice is.

Breaking a card down into pieces helps determine the order of preparation and assembly. Early on I learned that gluing all the pieces together for each card individually takes way more time than an assembly line approach.

This year’s card was no exception. I decided to multi-media for a more impressive pallet.

Then, I played around with supplies on hand, measuring if there was enough of everything to create a full 30 or if some number would end up with slight back-ground, frame or brad variations. I miraculously came close to using one specific set of stock. I rationally suspected I may have a few shortages, but the likelihood of someone in one state sharing their card with someone they don’t know in another state assured me that was going to be ok.

I always over-cut, over-stamp, over-fold, in case of slips, skews, and off-pattern veering. And in case I forgot any new recipients I might have acquired over the past year.

Assembly would be straight forward once I established my steps and prepped my foundations.

  1. Determine the length and width of the fabric first layer, cut 34.
  2. Determine the length and width of the second paper frame layer, cut 34
  3. Determine the length and width of the inked third layer, create 34
  4. Fold and background ink 34 cardstock cards, assuring 34 size-match envelopes are available.
  5. Gather 68 brads knowing some will be of similar shape and size, but likely different colors.
  6. Punch 260 leaves, projecting 8 per card.

Pleased with my planning, I pronounced what all experienced, yet still unwise crafters (incredulously) proclaim at the beginning of any project.

“Great! That’ll be easy.”

Quote for the Week:

My Favorite, Noel.

I decorate for Christmas.  

Some years, not a single soul sees it. Some years, maybe one or two or three tops.

But, that’s because I travel, and it really doesn’t matter. I do it for me.

I refrained for many years. I could only see painful reminders. I suppose if there was such a thing, I’d say my grief has matured.

One year, I decided I’d at least try. I went through the box and struggled through each memory. Then, I went to World Market and Target and Meijer and struggled through buying new non-traditional décor in fuschia pink and winter blue and brilliant 80’s lime-ish green.

I couldn’t bring myself to put up the unique partial tree that Jeff and I had marveled over. Imagine a fake three-foot fir in a wicker basket – neatly sliced in verticle half to allow for wall hanging.

We used it in the townhouse, much to Miss Fred’s annoyance. She’d sit near the wall and balefully mewl. I suspect she was either trying to convince the tree to come down and play or she believed her caterwauling would spur us into action and bring all the shiny things down to her level.

It seems every year, I’ve managed to find the baby-steps, bits and pieces strength to add another sentimental piece. At least that’s what my lighted, miniature, fake burlap sack ensconced pine tree is telling me.

These are a few of my favorite things:

The purple and gold swirl paint bulb Jeff made.

The beaded snowman pin that Jeff also made

A tiny box with a big message from my mother-in-law, Sally

The tree topper is a handmade ornament from Nannee Vincze

The paper folded pinecone is a purchase I made at a craft show from a couple who reminded me so much of us.

The glass chili pepper is part of a set of six I bought for Jeff the Christmas after our store opened.

The Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh were a beautifully authentic biblical present to myself, and to others one year.

The Hershey kiss angel, by my best guesstimate, is somewhere between 20-25 years old – the result of a crafting episode with my sister-in-law.

The illuminated pine bottle was a gift this year from a friend who likes to call me ‘sis’.

The miniature Hannukah lamp was a gift from my mother that year we took her to Bronner’s. That is a story unto itself.

The nativity was my first, acquired the same year I purchased my condo.

The tatted cross is a gift that is a story unto itself, as well. A heritage heirloom I was astonished and honored to receive from a family that wasn’t mine to start with, but now completely is.

The Christmas Loon comes from the same family. No one has ever able to explain why, and the only thing I’ve found on the internet is a reference to the Loon being the state bird of Minnesota.

And I have no idea where the super shiny sparkly pine cone came from or how it landed in my Christmas storage tote, but… I like it.

All of this sits on the top of my living room hutch. There’s a lot of love crammed onto the four-foot-long top, which is conveniently completely Blu proof. He’s got jumping issues.

Happy Christmas from me. Repeating an adored adopted phrase, I’m the one who wants you to know – God loves you, and so do I. Noel.

Picture for the Week: 2019 12 24 Merry Christmas Noel jakorte