Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

As a long time social media user - Blogger, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest - I am more than aware of the power of the platform. Facebook especially has enabled folks who would normally keep their thoughts and hands to themselves the power to start expressing themselves publicly, and many times to a rather large audience. The ability to press “like” instantly connects them to like-minded folks all over the world, and possibly adding those folks to the bulging list of “friends” they have collected.   Since I joined Facebook in 2008, I have watched people I know “friend” people in their lives, only to “defriend” them – sometimes not only on Facebook, but in real life as well.  I went on a “defriending expedition” of my own a few years ago when I realized that I had amassed a network full of people I wouldn’t recognize on the street, would never want to dine with, and didn’t want to have a glimpse (no matter how small I allowed) in to my private life.  Every election has resulted in millions of Facebook friendships being burnt to smithereens. The online battles that caused the fire often carried out of the virtual world to reality. With it a whole bag of emotions and consequences many were not prepared to deal with when they didn’t have the armor of their favorite keyboard. A world of introverts now had to come off the wall at the party and be accountable for the words they published.

So here we are. It’s November 11, 2016, a day we should be honoring and remembering those who have fought for our right to do such things as voice our opinions and vote, and instead we are fighting and protesting like little children. Waving flags, burning buildings, flinging bottles, spouting hateful rhetoric.  I may be na├»ve, but I would like to scream “Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we find some platform, some space, where we can have a facilitator navigate us through these troubled waters? Where is our voice of reason? Where is the logic?” Excuse me, but it is certainly not in our new President who is instead still rambling on Twitter. I had hoped his handlers would have deleted his account on Wednesday, but alas, his fingers are still allowed to touch his virtual armor.  

The last two days I have tried to be the voice of reason for my loved ones. First to my daughter. I had to sit her down on Tuesday night, then again on Wednesday, and remind her how awesome our country is. Now in the last day I have heard from people whom I love tell me that they are so horribly depressed that they cannot leave the house. I have also watched as friends and family members are fighting, and folks are on defriending binges, and some are going on social media hiatuses because they can’t handle the impact the election result is having on what their Facebook friends post. A part of me wants to give them the biggest hug I can muster, put a vice in their hand (cigarette, joint, beer, cake, chocolate, wine) and say “Let’s go party like it’s 1999.” Why 1999? Because that’s the year we were told that the world would come to an end. The year that Y2K had everyone with an online bank account terrified that they would lose their fortunes. And where were we on January 1, 2000? We were just fine.

So, I have only this to say to you, my loves, my friends, my neighbors, and any of you wonderful beings that I haven’t met (and probably never will because I am also an introvert with virtual armor who gets as close as she can to a wall when at a real cocktail party) that I am an American. And the fact that I am an American gives me two very strong powers. 1. The right to speak my mind. 2. The power to vote. And as an American, you do too. So, the next time there is an election, I want you to sit down and read as much as you can.
  • Ballot Measures – don’t just listen to the one liners presented to you. Sit down and read the text. What real impact will it have? Is there a piece missing that could be damaging and possibly hard to reverse?
  • Candidates- Do they share your values? Do they have a real platform? Do they have a plan? Are they presenting what they consider something that needs to change, give you a hearty back up of what they will do to initiate that change, and what the change will do for you? Look at the Representative and Senator’s background? What have they supported in the past? What will the new Mayor do to your city? What will he cost you? (Those of us in Portland have paid dearly because of our last few, and not just with our money.) Will the County Commissioner listen to your concerns over traffic? How will that new School Board member help your neighborhood school?
  • Think Local. Pay attention to all of it. What effect with that county measure have on your neighborhood? What will that new highway do for businesses?
  • Get involved. Even if it means heading to your Neighborhood Association meetings, the local school PTA meetings, the School Board meetings, maybe even join a local lodge that shares your values.
  • Pay attention. You may have been guilty of the Not in My Back Yard mentality and had your head in the sand. Pull your head out. Look around. What’s happening in your neighborhood? What is taking place in the city? Folks that don’t have kids rarely pay attention to what is happening in their parks and schools, but I can tell you from experience that wonderful change blooms out of both those spaces.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Buy from the local fruit stand. Eat at the coffee shop down the street. Making connections will allow you to be a part of something and possibly help foster a change that will run all the way up to the national level. It happens all the time. An idea seed is planted by one and grows to many until the support reaches the majority and becomes the rule. Where do you think Donald Trump came up with the idea to run? Someone whispered it in his ear when he and Barack Obama were flinging insults at each other. “You should run for President”.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Rosettes

One thing I never tire of is making mini rosettes. They are so cute and versatile for decorating.  In the past I have made them and attached them to tags for Christmas, as Valentines, or for Spring cards. 

I kind of cheat in my process, though, because I use a Tim Holtz Sizzix Die. Before I had this, I tried to score and fold the rosettes, but they would very easily fall out of alignment, resulting in a lop sided rosette. The die also allows me to cut a great deal of them out in a matter of minutes. 

I have been feeling a little blue lately, and I've been trying to sneak creativity in whenever I can, because making something always makes me feel better. This week was productive with pads and cutting out pillows, but I often have craft ADD, and once I realized next week is Halloween, I decided to pull out some papers and get started on some decorations and gifts. (Full disclosure, ideas to create often involve a trip to the art supply store, and collage always has yummy Halloween and Day of the Dead items, so I had to visit there for more paper).

We haven't bought pumpkins or brought down the decorations yet! We meant to yesterday, but my husband wasn't much in to it. So, I took my papers, retreated to the craft room to cut the rosettes, punched out some circles, grabbed the glue, and folded and rolled while we all watched The Frighteners. 

Halloween 2016 Rosettes

Monday, October 17, 2016

Scrapbook Paper + Tops 3x5 Memo Pads = Cuteness

I love paper. It could be newspaper, books, Printer Paper, journals, sketchbooks, stationary, legal pads, flash cards, handmade cards, store bought cards, envelopes, and more. You name it, I love it. I even love Toilet Paper. It serves it's purpose. I especially love paper when it's fresh, crisp and and new with no signs that any other human has touched it.  I love paper so much that I have amassed a huge collection of scrapbook paper. I will never use all of it, so last year I found a great way to put the scrapbook paper to good use. 

I bought a huge box of Tops plain 3x5 memo pads from Amazon. There are 168 pads per box. This year I did it again. I used a portion of them for vendor gifts and Swag Bag gifts at Scratch Made Market. I will use the remaining 80 to sell at the Grout Elementary Holiday Bazaar.

l cut out at strip of scrapbook paper to cover the front of the pad, and 1/4 way down the back. I glued the paper on at the top, and on the back of the pad with Alene's glue. I made sure the paper was flush to the top of the pad, and that the back had a good amount of glue on it. Be sure to always watch your glue quantity. Paper only needs a small wipe with this glue to stick. You can hold it with a binder clip for a few minutes if you're concerned. 

After the cover dries, I decorate the front with images, sentiments, little flowers, sequins, or whatever other little elements I have around. (I have so many drawers of ephemera I could make thousands of pads).  

This process serves two purposes. 1. I use up scrapbook paper to take a boring ugly duckling plan pad and beautify and personalize it.  2. I will have made a difference in someone's life. Who knows? They might be able to reach for their one of a kind, crisp and new note pad that they have in their purse or pocket, and write a note that will change their life.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Pleasure of a Sunday Crafternoon!

One of the best things about having a Crafternoon with a group of your favorite women is not the end result of your work, but the chatting and connecting that occurs when you're all together. It is especially sweet when you haven't seen some of them in months. Catching up for 5 hours in one another's home is much more satisfying than meeting for Happy Hour in a busy and loud restaurant bar and rushing to catch up in two hours. Today was especially fun because my Mom and my sister were able to join us. 

One of the realizations we had today was that we all hadn't been together for a major Crafternoon since Day of the Dead crafts almost a year ago. A few of us made Valentine's at the beach in February, but I cancelled my Christmas in July due to family activities. Thankfully I can reschedule that event, though it will be probably be called "Made from scratch holiday cards" or "Give something handmade for once". I have a whole ton of Christmas and Winter papers and doo dads that we can all use to create some super cute greeting cards. 

Connecting and letting each other know how much enjoy spending time with one another is such a satisfying way to spend a Sunday.  We used The Sits Girls tutorial. They are SO easy. If any of you are planning a wedding, they are a wonderful decoration. We are using them to decorate the ceilings at Scratch Made Market! I can't wait to see how they look!  

Paper Bag Stars for Scratch Made Market

Pads for my booth at Grout Elementary Holiday Bazaar