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.

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That’ll Be Easy (A Crafter’s Saga, 2)

First – the fabric stash.

Some of my well-traveled fabric has moved every time I have in the last 30 years, along with the books and writings and art supplies and chickens.

Yes, that’s right, I have antique (lol) fabrics, most with permanent fold marks.

(Only because I don’t own an iron, or an ironing board. A garment steamer has been on my ‘someday’ list for about 10 years now. But, you know how that goes… hot water heater, A/C, new interior doors pending and long over-due garbage disposal replacement – since I ground glass with the current one.)

I guess you could say I’ve been more of save-it-for-the- right-time collector, than an avid user for quite a while. I tend to stock-pile fall-ish hues. Patterned; reflecting the warm, calming colors of autumn. About 75 % can be accounted for in this category. The other rows are neon, old filmy curtains, and Christmas. And chickens.

By the most amazing stroke of luck, the perfect Nashville yard and a half was waiting for me exactly where it should have been.

Crafters will empathize with me on this. There are a lot of “Well, that’s where it’s supposed to be… ” moments, searching for an obscure item which we know we have and have been saving for the appropriate purpose. There’s a lot of self-questioning that comes with being creative. Like the, “If I were me, where’d I’da put it?” that comes out of my mouth. Often.

But, never mind that. The re-organization gremlins were apparently COVID-quarantining and there it was: right in the brown section, toward the darker end. That was easy.

Tools are always an important choice. I could scissor my way straight through the fibers or pink in jagged edges. I could rotary-cut along a metal rule. Or, I could take out that over 15-year-old, Singer Electric Rotary Cutter my husband gifted me. Which, 1. I never used in his presence and 2. vaguely remember a short-lived attempt at mastery. Once.

Yep, I’ll go that way. That’ll be easy.

The manual was vague, but I kept referring to it and eventually, tightened the tension and got set. Illogically, on the coffee table, in front of the couch. Maneuvering was awkward because I had to hunch from the couch and step on the pedal and keep the fabric feeding. A table would have been a better location, but mine was in the basement and I had assembled and carried all of the necessary paraphernalia up from the basement, so I was gonna make it work.

It worked. Badly.

Warbling foot-pressure speed, misguiding and failure to keep a straight line, resulted in messy, uneven, thread-warped swatches. So, I slid off the couch to the floor and tried again. Pretzeled with one leg up to apply pedal push and one under tingling uncomfortably. Success escaped me. Again.

I tried to scissor-trim the scraps into shape, leaving me with slightly skewed, ill-fitted measurements. I caved.

Manual rotary blade. One swipe later, I declared the treasured fabric non-cooperative and trucked down to the basement to find a better idea. The inspiration genies were smiling down on me as I pulled the Michigan acquired, grid-patterned, auburn packet from the vertical fabric file.

Lines to follow!

Ok, yeah. That’ll be easy.

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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.”

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