creative craftiness . . . and not in the malicious way

I’ve decided to start making cards for my kid sister, who I may have mentioned is out missionary-ing for her church.  Anywho, I’m not much of a letter-writer-er (I know, funny, right?  I think it’s because I can’t correct my spelling and such when it’s handwriting.  Also, I hate my handwriting.), so I figured she’d be lucky to get maybe two pieces of correspondence from me while she was gone.
See, I also have a bias against writing letters in a Word program, printing them and mailing them.  If you’re going to send a letter, send a freaking letter!  Seriously, people.  A printed letter is so impersonal, you might as well just send an e-mail.  Sometimes my aunts will send me printed letters.  I think they do it to spare me their cramped, tiny slanted handwriting or something.  Possibly their motivation is the same as why I avoid writing letters, who knows?  All I know is that I would rather receive a letter in their cramped, tiny slanted handwriting that is so reminiscent of my late mother’s cramped, tiny slanted handwriting, written on the thin crispness of proper stationary and in the uneven stains of penned ink.  It’s so much more personal and human and thoughtful.
I’m actually something of a saver and a packrat, and I have a binder stuffed full of memorabilia.  Photographs and handwritten letters, birthday cards, thank you cards, Get Well and I’m Thinking of You and I’m Sorry and Happy Graduation cards.  Over the years, as I moved from place to place, I began trimming the Binder of Memories back, trying to keep it into one overstuffed binder rather than several.  So I threw out printed letters that didn’t mean much, or cards only repeated the pre-printed greeting followed by, “Love So-n-So,” or maybe a, “Good luck! Love, So-n-So.”
Instead, I saved the stuff that obviously had thought put into it.  Handwritten letters or hand-made cards, cards that were filled up with handwriting, well wishes and inside jokes and thoughts and communications.  I saved the memories, not the filler.
Anyway, the way all this relates to my missionary sister is that shortly after she went out into the field, I bought her a card and some Sesame Street stickers at Target.  Then a few days later, I saw another funny card, and I bought it.  This pattern continued for a week or so, until I had a whole pile of cards.  Then for about two months, once a week I’d sit down with a card and scrawl her a note that piled across the inside, around the pre-printed message and spilled onto the back.  I decorated the envelopes with drawings and stickers and sent them off, hoping they’d bring a smile to her day.  (Mormon missionaries have hard days.)
Then I ran out of cards, just as our funds hit a bit of a tight spot.  I didn’t want to go on another card-buying streak, but I didn’t want to stop writing kid sister.
Solution?  Make cards!  I went to a second-hand store and bought some old children’s picture books that were slightly damaged for a very low price.  Four of them total, for less $1.50.  Then I dug through my cabinets and such and found some other cool stuff that would look awesome when creatively applied as Artistic Card Stuff.  And here are my results!
p.s. I wish we had a scanner.
(All are blank on the inside.)
“We’d like our dessert first, if you don’t mind.”
The paper is from a scrapbook store in Olympia that went out of business years ago.  The picture of the man is from an ice-cream recipe book my mom had.  And the text is from a children’s picture book about synonyms and acronyms.
“You know,” said Synthia, “you’re really a very nice person.”
The paper was part of a large pack of special scrapbooking papers that were in at Costco a year or so ago.  There were foiled and stitched and handmade papers in it.  This particular piece is silver foiled with a vine print.  The brown paper was red-backed, so I flipped it for the the contrasting effect.  The figure was from the same ice-cream recipe manual, the text from the same children’s book.
“Back in the Saddle Again”
The paper is the same paper as used in the first card.  The text comes from a Boy Scout songbook, the bird comes from the synonyms and antonyms children’s book.
The paper is my son’s construction paper, which I didn’t realize was a special sort of magic-marker paper that responds to inks and glues and such by changing color.  The cards are (obviously) excess Candy Land cards (we had one and a quarter sets), and the sticker is a leftover from my scrapbooking days.  This one is unfinished, I think.  It looks all empty and underwhelming.  My little sister loved Candy Land when she was little, though, so I think this has nostalgic possibilities.
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