Thursday, March 26, 2009


One of my great passions is card-making. It used to be rubber stamping…but it’s not just about the rubber anymore. I’ve never been what you would call a “crafty person.” When we had homemaking nights at Relief Society I was usually the one who had to have the homemaking leader or the craft demonstrator tutor me one-on-one throughout the whole process. (Perhaps it’s a mental-block thing, maybe someone in my past told me I wasn’t creative or artistic.) And I never had a skill (like knitting or crocheting) or a hobby (like tole painting or cake decorating) that I could share with and teach the sisters.

I went on a cruise in 2002 to Mexico – it was only four days, so stop drooling. I went with my dearest friend, Kay; my best friend from California, Vicki; Vicki’s sister, Robin; Vicki’s good friend, Randi (who worked in a scrapbook store); and Randi’s friend, Cara. What the other four did…every free minute of the cruise…was scrapbook. They brought dozens of big rubber totes FULL of paper and scissors and embellishments and ribbon on board…!!! (The cruise line said you could bring as much luggage as you wanted, as long as it stayed in your cabin – they were fortunate that the ship let them use the “card room” and leave all their supplies there…otherwise we would all have been sleeping on top of tote boxes!)

The last day of the cruise was our “day at sea.” I had planned to do nothing but lay out on the fantail of the ship, basking in the sun while the deep blue sea slid by, rousing occasionally to ask Raoul, the pool boy, to bring me a virgin colada. Nature, however, conspired against me. It was overcast and foggy and drizzly – totally miserable, with about 20-foot swells. (But at least we had beautiful weather our first day on Catalina.)

So our last day on the ship Vicki and Robin and Randi and Cara scrapped their little hearts out, while Kay and I SPENT our little hearts out at all the duty free shops on board. Late in the afternoon we visited the scrappers. Randi suggested making cards for our waiter and assistant waiter (who had been with us the whole cruise). She took a piece of cardstock, folded it; took a rubber stamp, inked it and tap-tap-tap – presto! an intricate design all over the card; then another, ink, tap-tap; more color on the card; snipped a length of ribbon, tied a bow…and voilá ! A perfectly cute little card.

I was stunned.

I thought, “I can do that!” It took no drawing skills or advanced artistic ability. The stamp did all the work. I got pretty excited. So when I returned home I immediately went out and spent a couple hundred dollars on stamps and inks and paper. This was a bit premature, to say the least…and I’ve always cautioned beginners, who’ve never stamped or made cards to take it easy, to look in some magazines or on-line projects to see what they like, to borrow things from others to experiment…I discovered I hated the fact that it was SO difficult to match the colors of the paper to the colors of the inks I had. Stampin Up© was the answer to that dilemma, because all their papers and inks are color-coordinated…and I have progressed to where I can utilize various color combinations, so I’m not limited much anymore (it doesn’t hurt that I now have a store-sized inventory of papers, patterned papers, decorative scissors, embellishments, stamps and ink pads! Oh, and did I mention I’m the Button & Ribbon Queen of Orem, Utah??)

I was pumped. I settled in to make my first card. It was a sympathy card for a neighbor, who’d lost her brother. It was gonna be great – a beautiful, hand-made card that would impress everyone who saw it.


I discovered (again) that there were some things that were absolutely critical to card-making.

First, you have to have the right tools. Second, you have to have the right tools HANDY. (It took me about three hours to get everything rounded up – the ruler was upstairs in the desk in the kitchen, the scissors were with the sewing stuff in the office, the gel pens were behind me…no they weren’t, they must be at the church in the Primary closet – which necessitated a visit to the bishop’s house to retrieve the keys, a drive over, a hurried search through shelves and boxes…okay they WEREN’T at the church, then a drive home, another search in the basement/craft room…where I discovered them under a pile of laundry that needed folding.

Okay third, you have to have PRACTICED stamping before you can produce a decent-looking card. You also have to practice CUTTING the cardstock to the size you need, and LAYERING the paper so that it looks even. You have to practice TYING BOWS (I’m still severely bow-challenged). The final result, after hours of frustration, was a card that I wouldn’t give to a sight-impaired enemy. *sigh*

I was despondent and tired and irritated. What on earth had I spent all that money for??? I was hopeless.

But I persevered. I practiced. I tried things, I experimented with buttons and ribbons, with different color combinations. My early attempts were kind of sad. I’ve kept them as reminders. Eventually I started turning out finished products that people thought were cute. And I’ve kept it up. I used my Stampin Up© catalogs as inspiration, I subscribed to paper crafting/card making magazines, I surfed the internet for project ideas. I get SO excited now when I hear of or see a new technique or new project idea. I have to immediately try it out.

My only disappointment is my failure to interest my ward. I offered to teach card-making for a pre-Christmas homemaking night. I spent WEEKS cutting cardstock, I spent money on new Christmas-themed stamps because I didn’t think I had enough, I bought ribbon and embellishments and drafted card layout ideas. I then packed everything up and hauled it over to the church and set it all out. Unfortunately we had a lesson on budgeting before the work-portion of the meeting…and it went SO over time that we had about twenty minutes left…and I had all of three people come to make cards at my station.

I compare that to my offer to do a card-making class at Vicki’s ward (IN CALIFORNIA) in November of 2003, where I packed all my stuff up (again), but this time it was a fifteen-hour drive instead of five minutes. We had about thirty ladies and everyone had a ball…lots of gorgeous cards made, and everyone went home happy. It was actually a terrific visit, I stayed with Vicki, and we set up tables in her living room and spent most of the week either watching Johnny Depp movies or card-making. (You can’t get much better than that!)

The next November, Vicki’s daughter, Andria, asked me to come to HER ward – here in Orem – and teach another card-making class. It wasn’t quite the success of the California class…but we had about fifteen-twenty ladies and they also had a great time and produced some terrific cards. I’ve since taught a class at a brown-bag lunch at work, with about twelve people in attendance…who all had a great time and made some cute cards; and I’ve tutored friends and taught the basics to them…everyone has always seemed to have a good time and enjoyed themselves. But my neighbors? Not so much.

(A prophet has no honor in his own country, I guess.)

Oh well. It won’t stop me from enjoying my hobby (or spending money on it! I nearly own founder’s stock in Archivers!) I’ll keep on stampin’ and paper-crafting, it’s a creative release and helps keep me sane. (Just wish it would make me wealthy!)