First the Back Story.
It is a well-deserved haven after making cards for eleven years in that dank, dirty, cold/hot garage, lit by a single overhead florescent light and the wee light that came in from a north-facing curtained window in the side door over by the garbage cans. For more information about the Playhouse, you can click on the tab on my top home bar.
In my nonblogging world, I am recently retired from a lifetime as a legal secretary/administrator. I am wife of the Mister (Kevin), mother of Dan, MIL of Rachel, and doting devoted grandmother of twins, Adam and Henry and granddog, Duke. Here is the most recent photo of all of us:
1. What Am I Working On Now?
Here's a photo to prove that the Playhouse is not always as neat as a pin! I'm working on trying to purge the Playhouse, get my clear stamps organized, cut my 12 x 12 patterned papers to fit in my cabinet drawers, catch up on the cards and letters I owe, write a book about how the universe would be a better place if everyone listened to me and just did their jobs with gratitude and grace, and finish up the last half of the Online Watercolor Class that I started back ... when was that?
Oh, and I'm constantly working on keeping Hammy, the hamster in my head, from being bored and leaving home, and the same goes for the Mister, who is often very neglected by this absorbing hobby. I'm extremely fortunate that he is supportive of my hobby and he subscribes to the wonderfully old-fashioned and intelligent notion that whatever makes me happy, makes him happy!
But, like all Bloggers, I struggle to find balance. Especially if I get an inner ear infection or my dicey left knee starts acting up.
2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
If we are talking about card art as a genre, specifically clean and simple (CAS) cards, then honestly, I don't think my work differs from other card artists all that much. In fact, more often than not my cards are designed solely as a result of
I realized some time back that my purchases were accumulating in the Playhouse at a faster rate than I was using them and quite often what I purchased was being put away and forgotten. So I coined NBUS (never-before-used schtuff) and started numbering each time I posted NBUS on a card. It was a personal challenge to myself and it has definitely helped me take a look at my schtuff and not automatically reach for the tried and true images I've used before. It has been very fun to see the movement and the aaackronym picked up and embraced by other Bloggers.
I bring humor or whimsy into most of the cards I make,
Now if we are talking about blogging as a genre, since this hop is all about featuring Bloggers, I will say that my blog differs from some other card hobby blogs in that I have my own style of, erm, creative and appalling writing. It's kinda hard to describe, you just have to be a regular reader and then decide if you like my plays on words and playing with words. You can read more about it on the tab on my home bar called "Away With Words."
I think my blog is one of those things that people have a strong reaction to: they ether like it a lot or they don't like it tall. And I'm kewl with that. I enjoy being silly as often as possible on my blog and in real life. Like so many of you, I have serious health issues, so I want my blog to be a place of lightness and joy for me and for you. A place to share my cards and my humor with my friends.
I recently saw a television program where two thirty-something career ladies were jogging through a park. The conversation went something like this:
Persimmon: "Well, now that you aren't doing that job any longer, what are you going to do?"
Mango: "Oh, gosh. I don't know. [pause] But I've been thinking ..."
Persimmon skidded to a halt. Facing Mango, she grabs her arm and gasps:
"Oh, God, please don't tell me you're going to start writing one of those old-lady blogs!!"
And there you have it. For some reason blogs have been given a bad name and we are all swept up in the same dustbin. It's unfortunate because it's such a positive hobby to have and many young woman are spectacular card artists and bloggers. As for retired "old ladies," it can be difficult to leave one's lifelong profession or have your children grow up and leave home; we are often left out to sea with ourselves. Even if we live in cities, the days of women's groups and hobby groups getting together is not as common as it used to be. So if we can share our hobby and join an online community of like-minded hobbyists, I think the resulting friendships, validation, inspiration, and brain activity are all positive aspects of blogging that should be celebrated, not made fun of!
I need to make another aside real quick. Most card blog hobbyists I know don't just engage in this hobby and blogging for frivolous and self-centered reasons. We make cards for specific charities and/or for people who need to know they are being thought of or cared about. It's a simple act of kindness that can have profound results.
When I first started blogging in late 2011, I just flipped through blogs, looking for ideas, as I used to flip through magazines. But very soon I realized that I felt a human connection with the people behind these sites, a connection that I didn't feel from flipping through magazines, so I took the time to get to know the individual bloggers. In that way, conversations started and friendships quickly developed.
It's also been extremely satisfying and complimentary to watch other Bloggers identicate my format and style of blogging and my way of introducing new followers. I especially love traveling through Blogland and seeing more and more supportive commenting going on.
If you are in a hurry and in a serious search for card inspiration, I think you can find that on my blog. You can easily spot my card, hopefully leave a quick comment, and then zip away. But if you are looking for a blog that is a comfy place to sit and visit for a while, take off your shoes, pour a beverage, and possible have a giggle, I'm that blog. The Playhouse door is always open.
Even in today's age of instant technology, who among us doesn't like to shift through the bills and unsolicited adverts in the mailbox and find a card? To receive one that is handmade makes a person feel very special. As a card artist, it makes me feel very special to send such a card, knowing it will bring a smile to the face of the recipient.
- Sometimes my card is born from a need for a specific card for a specific person. Then I'll check challenges.
- Sometimes I will see a challenge happening that I simply "must" play in and I'll start with that.
- Sometimes I'll have an item from my huge Mt. NBUS that I really want to ink or use, so I will start from that and then find a couple of challenges that spark an idea:
- Often I will start with finding a sketch that appeals to me.
- Next I will look at theme challenges.
- And finally, I will look at color challenges.
- (Or vice versa.)
- At that point, one of three things happens:
- I just take my card base and start stamping and the whole card comes together QACAS (quick and clean and simple), or
- I will use a piece of scratch paper and stamp or layout dies this way and that to make sure that what I'm trying to design will work and then the card comes together, or
- even with all the inspiration help, there are times when I can't get my focus button to work. My thoughts are scattered all over the place. That's when I call for help from the hamster I mentioned above. He's very brilliant with ideas, but more importantly, he has the ability to slap some sense into me and bring my thoughts back to ground where I can complete the design and make my card.
- Then I write my post and link to the challenges.
I'd like to say thank you to all the other Bloggers who share this philosophy, as well as all the faithful readers who do not blog. I would not have been able to keep up my blog with over 700 posts if it weren't for the support, love, and encouragement from all of you in my little corner of Blogland. Bless you!
The Future Story.
Please meet my three "Tagees":
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the three fantastic bloggers that I have tagged. These wonderful artists will continue the hop next Monday, August 11th. Please make a note to return to their blogs and follow the hop next week!
In Alpha Betty order, please enjoy these bios:
LISA ELTON of My Paper Tales:
Hi, my name is Lisa Elton. I'm a former floral designer/instructor, current stay-at-home wife. My husband and I are high school sweethearts who are blessed with a very handsome son, his beautiful wife and soon-to-be first-time grandparents to their baby girl who's due in December! In my free time, I enjoy long walks with my ridiculously adorable mini-schnauzer Max and adventurous photo-taking journeys with my husband. I'm hopelessly addicted to polka dots, pretty papers, and all things related to card making! My blogging journey brings me joy and I hope to inspire others with my designs.
Many thanks to you, Darnell, for tagging me. Your creative cards and witty way with words bring a smile to my face every time I visit your blog. I'm honored and so very humbled that you thought to include me in this hop!
Lisa consistently inspires me with her designs and her joyful and enthusiastic passion for our hobby. We are all fortunate that Lisa is a member of several design teams which gives us many opportunities to read her posts and see her beautiful card art!
ALEXANDRA SIRUGUE MACLEOD of Art, Scrap & More:
Hello! My name is Alexandra Sirugue Macleod. Born and raised in Paris, I'm currently living in the Windy City with my husband Mark and our youngest Gallianne Lily. We have two older children, Gabrielle Rose (almost 21) and Keelan Ange (19). Both are studying at McGill's in Montréal.
I have a profound love for arts and crafts in general, but my favorite medium is paper. I consider myself as much a scrapbooker as a cardmaker although when I think of it, this whole adventure did start with a love for stamps so I'm probably a stamper at heart!
I started a blog called art scrap & more back in May 2006. I needed to share my passion with fellow scrapbookers and cardmakers and was craving for a creative platform with no bounderies. My blog is a form of creative journal, sometimes I share a card, a page, a recipe or a tutorial and sometimes it'll be more personal. It has allowed me to meet wonderful friends from all over the world and given me job opportunities through various design teams and publications.
I'm a Project Lifer and have been keeping two types of weekly albums. I think that alone tells you I'm a little obsessed with time passing. I try to capture the essence of our daily life so our children and hopefully children's children will have an idea of what it was like to live in Chicago in a bilingual family of five.
I would like to thank Darnell for picking me, I'm surprised and incredibly flattered! Darnell is a complete artist. She inspires me and cracks me up on a daily basis! I so wish I could visit her in her studio. I've already decided that I would bring a chilled bottle of Veuve Cliquot and some freshly baked Gougères for a special Happy Hour in front of her studio! [Just say when, Alexandra! It would be such a pleasure!]
Not only is Alexandra incredibly talented in card artistry and techniques, scrapbooking, journeling, and photography, she is one of the most generous bloggers I know when it comes to sharing how she makes her beautiful works of art! I always learn new tricks along with being inspired!
DIANE WRAY of Pixie's Crafty Workshop:
First of all, I'm delighted and very honoured that the lovely Darnell asked me to join in The Creative Blog Hop - all the more when I looked back and saw so many talented people joining in, sharing their amazing work and stories about how they create. As for me, I don't get overly serious about my art and only craft because it is very relaxing and enjoyable.
My main love is card making and I got into that whilst wheelchair bound after an accident back in the early 1990s. In those days everything for crafting was bought either in a shop you visited or via 'paper' mail order catalogues - how things have changed with the arrival of online shopping!
I started my little blog in Spring 2010 and have made so many wonderful friends, some of whom I've been lucky enough to meet in 'real life' and they have proved what a fabulous community we're a part of.
In addition to my blog, for the last two and a half years I've been looking after The Pixie's Snippets Playground, a weekly fun challenge where all you have to do is to use up some snippets/scraps and just have fun. And that's what I think crafting is all about - fun!
The Pixie's Snippets Playground was one of the first challenges I joined when I started blogging and Di immediately became a friend and even kindly helped me with a technical issue with my blog layout. She is not only an extremely talented and self-effacing card artist, she is a true and steadfast friend who's a whole lotta fun!Wrap Up:
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me better, even though it was a three-beverage visit! I would love it if you visited the four bloggers spotlighted in this post today! Also, please remember to return to my taggee's blogs next Monday the 11th to see how they answered the questions and to become better friends with them. Afterwards, it would be great if we all continue to visit the blogs that are tagged down the line! It's an easy and awesome way to make bloggie friends and be filled with inspiration!
Because several of us have already been asked more than once to participate in The Creative Blog Hop, I have created this button, with the help of my friend Nikki, which I am placing here and at the top of my salad bar. This button will identify me as a participant which will save my fellow bloggers the trouble of emailing and asking if they can tag me.
If you have already been tagged or if you are tagged in the future (and I hope you'll say yes!!), please feel free to copy and paste this button on your own salad bar at any time. Also, please feel free to use the TCBH button you saw at the beginning of this post. (I got a kick out of making that one all by myself when I couldn't found one on any former TCBH hop posts.)
*Life Is Too Short!
Click the Home tab under my blog banner which resets the post.
Click Page Down to reach the end of the post.
Click Comments and the pop-up box opens.
Click Jump to Comment Form; no more car pool tunnel!