I apologize in advance for such a long-winded post. I warn you it contains quite a bit of poor poor pitiful me, with, hopefully, a glimmer of hope at the end. But it's also a bit boring, so if you don't read all this, believe me, I will NOT be offended. :)
My first Finally! is because I have finally made THE card. You know the one. The one that you've wanted to make since you'd discovered the art of making cards, but have never quite achieved. The one that makes your heart skip just looking at it because all of the pieces, inside and out, are dancing together in perfect harmony. The one that is your Starry Night, Cherubs and Mona Lisa all rolled into one.
I have finally made that card. Okay, it's not the Mona Lisa, but the card that I am absolutely satisfied with has eluded me for so long, it comes awfully damn close!
Honestly, clever does not come easy to me and I'm not really very creative. What I am good at, however, is being able to look at something and know whether or not it works. I say this because the things I love most about this card were actually ideas I saw elsewhere, and I am very grateful to those who generously put their ideas out there to inspire the unspired masses, like me.
For example, I got the idea for this little birthday circle from My Mind's Eye. I had bought some embellishments from its Lost and Found Christmas collection, which contained something almost exactly like this one. It was incredibly easy, and I think it's cute as can be, but it's not something I would have thought of on my own. (Yeah, I know MME makes a profit from putting their ideas out there, but I LOVE the ideas, so I am still grateful.)
My second Finally! is that I finally got all of my glitter--gobs and gobs of glitter--to stick where I wanted it to! Well, except for the glitter that's in my hair, my diet soda, and the dog's poop, that is. :)
I absolutely LOVE glitter, but rarely use it because I've never been able to make it stick, especially when I want it to adhere to a stamped image. But I recently discovered the stupendous Scrap Happy Sheer Glue. It is the crack cocaine of glue in that it thinks it is ALL POWERFUL and can lift vst amounts of powdery substances with its little finger. Well, guess what? It can! That's because it dries sticky and stays that way until you stick something to it--like the tons of glitter I used on this card. Seriously, I've spent a small fortune on adhesives just for glittering purposes, including Sticky Stuff and glue pads, with very limited success. With the discovery of the Scrap Happy glue, my next project will be huge, gorgeous swirls of glitter--all over my bedroom walls!
In keeping with how others inspired me, my third Finally! is because I finally distressed a card, and it worked! I've tried distressing a number of times, but for some reason, it's always just looked like someone took a pair of scissors to the paper and then shoved it in mud, so I'd given up. But then I got very, very lucky and happened upon Clare's Creations. Seriously, my jaw is out of joint because I spent so many hours with it stuck to the floor while taking in one gorgeous work of art after another. Eventually, I began to see how I could combine the way Clare distressed her cards with some of my ideas, and voila! No more mud! I really think this took my card to the next level, and I am so grateful to Clare. If you're looking for inspiration, drop by her blog. You may not be able to chew for a while afterwards, but it will have been worth it.
My fourth Finally! is because I was able to finally stitch something close to a straight line!. I stitch by hand, and have thrown away a gazillion cards because the stitching always looks wonky. But this time, while the stitches aren't perfect, the overall effect is of straight lines, and I am ecstatic about that! :)
My fifth Finally! is that I finally decorated all sides of the card, inside and out. I utilized stamping techniques I've always been to nervous to try, like stamping layers of multiple images, and though it's hard to tell from my poor photos, they turned out very pretty. I also made a ton of embellishments and stuck them everywhere. (I purposely placed the black frame off-center, but it's not as out of kilter as it appears in the photo.) There are even flowers on the back of the card, which is probably a bit weird, but it works. The thing is, I've decorated the inside of cards before, but it wasn't until I saw how Clare did it that I realized I needed to step it up a notch. This is yet another example of how inspired I was by others who so graciously share their talents with peons like me.
My last, and most important Finally! is that I finally feel like I've gotten some of my Mojo back. I am disabled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia, both of which are extremely debilitating. I lead a very lonely, isolated life because I am unable to get out and about like normal people. I've been ill for eleven years this month, with the vast majority of that time spent full of despair and depression, and obsessing about how to end it all.
Then, about a year and a half ago, I discovered paper crafts, and for the first time, in literally a decade, I felt enthusiastic about something. Even though I had to craft from my bed, it was just so much freakin' fun I happily slept with the glitter, scraps of paper, ribbon, ink pads, more scraps of paper, punches, markers, and yet more scraps of paper, not caring a bit. All I knew is that I had finally found something to do other than being stuck inside my head feeling dead, and I was content.
Then a couple of months ago my illness got much worse. Other things happened as well that dragged me down that I won't go in to. But the pain has been unbearable, so much so that all I am is "pain." One of the symptoms of FM/CFS is a severe reduction in cognitive abilities, and I always struggle with that. But when my illness gets as bad as its been these last few months, I can't think at all--it's just one huge black fog of pain. This led to the loss of my enthusiasm for crafting, and I crashed. Bad. Scary bad. Suicidal bad. I know that sounds ridiculous, but making cards has been my life for over a year, and if I can't do that, I don't know what I'll do.
So, when I was able to pull this card together, and actually enjoy doing it, that was HUGE. I was very afraid I'd lost my love of creating permanently, and frankly, I'm still worried. Perhaps that giddy enthusiasm for it is gone, forever, which was probably inevitable. But I felt exuberant again as I watched this beautiful card come together in my hands, and that encourages me that I will again.
I have no illusions that things are fine. They're not, and I'm grasping at something to hang onto every moment. But the fact that I spent an entire day outside of my head, happily getting glitter everywhere, means something, and I just want to shout Finally!
My Mind's Eye Lost and Found Union Square papers
My Mind's Eye Princess stamps (birdcage)
Heartfelt Creations Bella Rose stamp
Fiskars Make a Wish (Lincoln quote)
Stampin' Up Circles of Friendship "Sending You Birthday Wishes" stamp
Stampin' Up Bliss stamp
Autumn Leaves Cling Rubber Stamp (Vintage Birdcages)
Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels One dies
Spellbinders Donna Salazar flowers
Spellbinders Heartfelt Creations Bella Rose die
My Mind's Eye Lost and Found Christmas brads
Scrap Happy Sheer Glue
Lots and lots of red glitter
Black Pearl Cotton Floss
Bunny Zoe's Crafts~sketch
Anything Goes~anything goes
Cards and More--red, brown and cream
Scrap Creations~anything goes
Crazy Amigo Challenge--squares
Bows 'n Berries--glitter
Die Cut Dreams~at least five flowers
Incy Wincy Designs~distressing
Kaboodle Doodles~lots of layers
Nettie's Digital Gems--anything goes
Ooh La La Creations--punches/dies
Pollycraft Monday Challenges--swirls and pearls
Stamp with Fun~anything goes
Stamps & Fun = Creativity--shapes and/or die cuts
There She Goes~Birthday with Pizzaz
Addicted to Stamps--stitching
Corrosive Challenges~punches and/or dies
The Squirrel and the Fox--anything goes
CES Challenges~Use at least four different types of embellishment.
Di's Digi Designs~anything goes
Easy Craft Projects~at least six different patterned papers
Stamp, Scrap and Doodle~birthday
Crafty Ann's Challenge Blog~something out of your comfort zone (Mine was distressing and stitching.)
Creatalicious Challenges--anything goes
Crafty Ribbons Challenge~anything goes
Cute Card Thursday~anything goes
Moving Along with the Times~sparkle
Paper Play Challenges~punches/dies cuts
Ruby's Rainbow~for a girl