Wednesday, September 1, 2021

It's been a rollercoaster of a year...

Hello, Stamping Friends! Is anyone still out there? It's only been well over a year since I posted, heck, since I've crafted regularly. My desk is literally buried in half completed projects, cards, wall hoops, and command strip velcro pieces. If you want to know more about my personal journey, I'll add some details below. It's clear enough that I lost my crafting mojo, and even getting supplies out to craft was no guarantee I'd make anything. When I was asked if I wanted to try out Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge again, my brain lit up! Yes, that's what I need...a committment, a goal, something to DO. I felt so adrift this last year, never knowing what to do or even how to plan for anything. I cannot even express how good it felt to shove a clear spot into my mega mess of a desk and just make a card last night. 
I apologize for the image quality. I need to figure out what I did with my shot box. I literally didn't even know where my laptop was to write this post. I haven't put away any of the craft supplies I've gotten for months. So I sat down and used what was closest and able to be reached easily. The grid paper is from an old holiday paper collection, but I'm loving all the diagonal plaids you see in the newest lines lately. Collecting craft supplies and using craft supplies are two very different hobbies. I softened the pull of the black and white background with some vellum. I stamped that vellum with a sentiment in versamark (You brighten my day), and powdered it with some irridescent barely there powder that photographed very blue. 

I was aiming for a black, white, and gold color combo for the Color Dare Triple Play Challenge, and I swear that butterfly is black and iridescent. I used the leaves, sentiments, and butterflies from Smiles from the Garden. I do have the adorable matching die cuts, but for this I trimmed them out by hand, very close along the stamped edge. Then I detailed the butterflies with gold gel pen, gold shimmer brush, and iridescent powder. I added lots of little sparkles from my stash, which is organized by colors. I love the little black and gold flower sequins (which I think I got from here.) There's plenty of gold stickles daubed about, too. I love the simple elegance of the color combo, plus it's fun to see the slimline cards back! I so appreciate Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge for having me back, and I hope you'll come out and play with us again, too! I'm making plans to stick to my crafting schedule again finally, because it's not just fun but it is so, so good for my mental health and wellness. 

I'd love to read your pandemic stories as well, friends, if you want to share them in the comments below. Sending hugs to y'all!  

MY PANDEMIC "HIGHLIGHTS"....I guess we can call it that?! 
Since February of last year I know we've all been on a rollercoaster of unprecedented events. On my personal rollercoaster we've discovered that my family was only gluten intolerant (not celiac!!) and that our protocols had finally healed us enough to allow us to eat gluten again. We were almost a month into our gluten challenge when the lockdown. aAt first we were all like "oh, sure, just a couple of weeks". I gave my youngest permission to wear nothing but jammies until it was over...and it was over a year before real clothes touched that child again. My dear MIL went into hospice shortly after we started to feel like we could handle that first round of distance learning. We were lucky enough to be able to keep her at home, so she was surrounded by people who loved her for her last days. I only wish we'd been able to help her sooner, because it was such a shock to lose her so soon. 

After a summer spent indoors at home, we did an online academy for the boys for the whole of last school year. I love my children dearly, but sitting at our table trying to help them through 9th, 7th, and 5th grade was not something I ever anticipated as a mother. In a previous career life I was a music teacher, and I've always been an excellent student. That experience in no way prepared me for the whirlwind of teens forced to sit at home with no where to go, no breaks from their siblings, and no rest from the endless school assignments (and the mother who couldn't figure out how to let it coast). We all learned a lot of lessons last year, and thank goodness for online counseling, xboxes, and coffee, because most of our important findings had nothing to do with school.  

My goal shifted from "we are gonna ace these lessons" to "we are gonna come out of this stronger as a family". We got a dog...which is now permanently attached to my hip like velcro. I gardened successfully for the first time in my life. I rescued plants, grew them from seed, and even managed to grow some veggies that were edible this year. I worked on my mental health, adding new tools (medication and tapping) and letting go of old crutches like my need to DO ALL THE THINGS!!! Most projects were started and abandoned each day - so many half done crafty things, home projects, even a garden path. I stopped to play with the boys, to cuddle, to watch a movie, to take a nap. Ahhhh, naps. Seriously, I never used to be able to nap. My brain simply COULD NOT STOP. Naps are amazing.  I played Folklore on endless repeat. I joined a meal kit service, which is now one of my favorite things ever. I'm still trying to get over the deep seated shame I have over not getting all the things done, but most of the time I'm too busy cuddling/walking the dog/reading/napping to let the anxiety rule me like it once did. Plus halfway done is so much better than can't start unless I can make it perfect. 

So that's me right now. I made a card. I shared it here. The photography isn't quite right. The butterflies made me heart happy. Writing this blog post makes me feel less alone. I'm excited to make something else, and working towards a clean studio space. 

I wish all of you peace, happiness, crafts, and a nice nap. 


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