Sunday, June 27, 2010

52CP25: Don't Look Back

Hello again! Technically, this is the halfway point of the year, and this should be challenge # 26, but you already know the deal there...

This week I want to feature artwork from Mary Engelbreit. She's one of my favorites, and I have quite a few of her things - calendars, mugs, bookmarks, cards, etc. My mother sent me this card a couple of decades ago:I apologize that the picture is a bit blurry. I couldn't find the card itself, so I found a poster online and the only image I could save was small, so when I enlarged it here, it didn't retain clarity. Regardless, you can get the idea...
The reason my mother felt I needed this particular card was because I was going through a difficult time in my life, and doing the "woulda/coulda/shoulda" regret wallow. She was trying to point out the uselessness of that particular project. On this card, the sign on the left says "Your Life", and the one on the rights says, "No Longer an Option".

What? No longer an option? What a freeing concept! And yet, we seldom - if ever - stop to consider such a thing! There really, truly is not a single, solitary thing we can do - or undo - from our past. There may be some tidying up to do, as in making amends and the like, but what's done is done. Turn the page, close the door, whatever metaphor you care to use - it's over and it's over - on to the next thing!

When someone close to me was going through a similar regret phase last year, I made her this card:The sentiment says, "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." I thought that it summed up the concept perfectly. I used the Faux Burnt Edges technique behind the flower to signify "rising from the ashes".

I also happen to hold the belief that everything happens for a reason. We're all on a journey here, and we're all learning all the time (at least, we are if we're paying attention). The people we meet, the books we read, the conversations we have and those we hear, the things around us - all are being attracted to us to teach us what we need to know to move along our path. With that thought in mind, this is what I made this week:

Stamp: Close to My Heart Goodness of Life; Ink: CTMH Olive; Papers: K & Company Hannah collection, Basic Grey Sugared collection; Accessories/tools: Sizzix Top Note die, K & Company/Brenda Walton Brianna Flowers stickers

Again, I apologize for the not-so-great picture. I'll see if I can manage a less murky one in daylight tomorrow to replace it...

Here's Mr. Linky for you to link up your creations. Please leave a comment after you add your link - that way I get an email, so I know to check... Thank you so much!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Anybody There?

I'm so sorry about never getting around to posting this week's challenge! I've been playing catch-up with work and playing out drama in other areas since I got back from vacation, so the time has just escaped me! Let's just skip this week (sorry!), since we're already on Thursday and I have yet to do anything remotely creative...

I promise we'll have a challenge (and project) up this Sunday! Thanks for hanging in there with me! If you want to see a few pics of family from the trip, you can check out my other blog HERE. Have a good one, and I'll see you Sunday!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

52CP24 Featured Artists

I'm back from my family reunion! It was great to see everyone and get reacquainted, but I'm really glad to be back to my bed and my shower, among other things. We had a few players this week, and here they are:

Erica started us off with an appreciation of partnerships:

I just recently acquired that oh-so-cute birdie stamp in a set I got on clearance - yay me! I love her use of fibers and the mix of patterned papers. Deb continued the red/white/blue theme on her card:

I love the deep blue with the bright red, and the sentiment includes appreciation for the little things, yes? Bev joined us again with this pretty card:

I love the folded corners and stitching details... Thanks, ladies, for your contributions this week!

I didn't get in until midnight last night, so this week's challenge won't be up until tomorrow, but I wanted to acknowledge this week's players and say hi to all! Off to do the Father's Day stuff now - have a good one!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

52CP24: Appreciation

As you read this, I am either en route to Carpinteria State Beach (CA) or already setting up camp! This is a scheduled post, and I won't be able to read comments or check out links until Sunday, June 20th, when I get back. I hope that doesn't dissuade any of you from participating, though!

This week I wanted to take a little bit of a closer look at one aspect of “saying” that I touched on last Saturday.
I mentioned the importance of expressing appreciation, and would like to expand a bit on that.

While it is a great thing to express general gratitude, showing appreciation for something specific is that much more meaningful. On occasion my husband is mystified when I say “thank you”, and will ask “for what?” Then I will tell him specifically what he did that I appreciated. It could be something as trivial as taking out the garbage or something more meaningful like working all weekend on a home improvement project, but I don’t want him to think that I don’t notice and/or that I take him for granted.

Often we will compliment someone, “Oh, you look so pretty today!” And that is a great thing, and you probably don’t need to go beyond that. However, I personally would like to know why, so I can do it again. Is it my hair? The color I’m wearing? The cut of the dress that’s flattering? The way I did my makeup? Again – probably not necessary, but so much more helpful and personal!

I apparently am The Giver of Overly Specific and Therefore Odd Compliments. The best example of this is from my college days: One of the girls in my dorm had the most beautiful complexion and, one afternoon when we were all just sort of hanging around, I told her something to the effect that “the colors on her face were all in exactly the right places”, which made way more sense in my head than it did out loud! I was thinking that the pink in her cheeks was exactly where they taught you to apply blush, etc. Oh well, at least I said

Along those same lines – I believe that “constructive appreciation” is a valuable tool in helping to grow – in our jobs, in our creative pursuits, in our relationships. What am I doing right? Tell me, so I can keep going that direction. I somehow tend to think that this is more helpful than “constructive criticism”, although that does have its place, too…

In our day-to-day routines and mundane duties, how often do we take the time to stop and appreciate anything? A sunrise, the taste of your favorite beverage, the sound of the birds singing, the freshness of the breeze… How much are we missing out on because we’re not being appreciative, and how much richer and more blessed would our lives be if we switched gears and made that a habit?

My thought too is that, as we are being more appreciative, we are also becoming more aware – of our surroundings, of the ones we love – even of ourselves! I’m going to strive to make this a habit, and watch myself be dazzled by the abundance of things in my life that I can truly appreciate! You, too?

Here's what I'm proposing this week for our challenge: Do something specific to show someone what you appreciate specifically about him/her, then report back. It doesn't matter if you make something, say something, write something, or do something, just let us know how it went! Alternately, if you want to take time out some day to really notice and appreciate your surroundings, then do that and tell us about it! I just really want this week to be about testing what happens when we do something like this...

I'll report back on my own personal experiment when I return next Sunday. Have a great week!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

52CP23 Featured Artists

Happy Saturday! This is a scheduled post, and by the time you read it, I will be on my way to CALIFORNIA!!! I'm headed to a family reunion, which includes my brothers and sisters and their spouses and their children and grandchildren, and my children and grandchildren - woo hoo! If you posted a link after I composed this, I apologize for missing you, and will add you next go 'round, k?

We had a few more players this week - thank you all very much - and some great cards to view! Lawren started us off with a bang (ha - so punny, I am...):

Great patriotic flair, and a heartfelt sentiment, too!

Next up was Penny, who tailor-made a couple of birthday cards for her mother-in-law. Her MIL prefers humorous to the sentimental/mushy cards, so Penny made these two:

Pretty fun, huh? The second one says, "What's one more friggin' candle?" on the inside. Go to Penny's blog to see a picture of it (there's also one of the inside of the first card - too cute!)

Deb used one of my favorite sayings on her card, and made THE cutest button flowers EVER!

I love the color combo, too - so summery and bright!

Bev was back with us this week with "a smile for Sue", she says:

It did make me smile, too! What a gorgeous color combo, and that ruffled/pleated ribbon is perfect! Thanks, Bev!

Finally, Ann made an elegantly simple card for her sister:

I'm sure it will brighten her day! Just lovely...

That's it for this week's lovely creations! Check back tomorrow for a new challenge!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

52CP23: Whatever You Say

True confessions: I love Martina McBride. I love her lyrics – so thought-provoking and dead-on. One of the first songs that caught my attention was Whatever You Say, and – for whatever reason – that song has been running in my head this past week.

Another true confession: I’m a “blurfer” (blog surfer) and a blog lurker. I regularly read quite a few blogs that I’ve subscribed to in Google Reader, but rarely make comments (no time, usually – I’m on the fly). One reason I have no time is that it frequently happens that the blog I’m reading references something interesting on another blog, so I go there, and so on and so on. I’ve found some amazing things that way! What does this have to do with “whatever you say”? Well, one of my regular blogs referenced this post on Marion Williams-Bennett's blog, so I read it, and it reminded me of this post on Gina's blog.

All of this song-running and blog surfing and all has culminated in a brew of thoughts on the importance of choosing our words carefully:

Growing up, we all heard the little playground adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. While this is helpful against playground insults, it is not true as we get older. The suicides recently of two young girls who were the targets of unkind words is proof. The lyrics from the INXS song The Devil Inside (yeah, I’m old) include the line “words are weapons sharper than knives”. Anyone who has been at the receiving end of truly harsh words can testify to the truthfulness of that, as well.

Abuse in all of its forms is abhorrent and not to be tolerated, but verbal abuse is especially insidious because it can take longer to recognize as there are no outer, visible wounds, and because the scars are also not visible – they are carried in the psyche and subconscious and wreak havoc with the lives carrying them. Often professional intervention is required to heal.

On the flip side, a kind word goes a long, long way. I completely agree with the above-referenced blogger who states that it takes only a second to thank someone, give them a smile, whatever, but that it could totally make someone’s day! Mark Twain stated that he “could live two months on a good compliment”.

Florence Scovel Shinn was a metaphysician and author who wrote several books in the 1920’s. She had much to say about the power of the spoken word, and even declared that “your word is your wand”, creating your reality for good or bad, so it was in your best interest to carefully choose only positive things to say for yourself and to (and about) others.

In an earlier challenge (52CP19: Have I Done Any Good?), I mentioned how important it is to SAY something to those who are hurting or going through a rough patch in their lives. Even the awkward phrase transmits the caring behind it if it is heartfelt and sincere. An excellent quote comes from the TV show (now canceled, sadly) My So-Called Life: ”Sometimes someone says something really small, and it just fits right into this empty place in your heart.”

Finally, I’d also like to mention how important it is that we SAY in our relationships – especially with our significant others. Silence – while it may keep the surface waters calm – does not bring resolution to any problem, but rather festers into defeat and/or resentment. Those you love cannot meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are!

It is also important to verbalize what we love and appreciate about those who share our lives, in whatever capacity. We may think that they know by our actions, and we shouldn’t have to say, but you know how much better you feel when someone tells you, so why not take the time to make them feel that way?

With that thought in mind, let me take this moment to let those of you who read this little blog – as disappointing as it can be on my “off” weeks – and most especially to those who participate in the challenges: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Even the lurkers are much, much appreciated and I love that you take the time to drop by!

Oh, the kind words we give shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other;
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.

~Joseph L. Townsend

Paper: Cosmo Cricket Honey Pie dp, DCWV red textured cardstock; Accessories/tools: Nestabilities scalloped heart dies, Martha Stewart doily heart border punch, Fiskars butterfly punch, Primas, ribbon, computer (Home Sweet Home and CAC Pinafore fonts)

Here's Mr. Linky so you can share your creations with us:

Be kind to each other this week, and thank you again for joining me here!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

52CP22 Featured Artists

Whoa - this week totally got away from me! Sadly, I never did come to a conclusion on my project, but - lucky for us all - two fine followers managed to create some pretties for your viewing pleasure:

Kristen used the actual inspiration photo to create this beautiful card:

And Wintam was inspired by the colors, which she used on this fun mini-album she created as a gift:

Thanks for sharing your talents with us, ladies! See you tomorrow for another challenge! (And yes, my project for this one is already finished and photographed...)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

52CP22 Update

Well, I've started and stopped and re-geared a few times on my project for this week's challenge, and still have nothing worthy of sharing, so I just went back and added Mr. Linky to the original post... Hopefully you're having a more successful creating session, and can share with us! Thanks!

I'll be sure to add my finished project (if/when that ever happens!) to Mr. Linky, too...