Birthdays

 

Foiled and hand-colored card

 

I continue to bring in cards to the food bank where I volunteer weekly. Since we are past Mother’s Day, I’ve focused on birthday cards. Every day someone is having a birthday!

Watching a card maker who has fantastic videos, Natasha Foote, I’ve learned new techniques to use with my cards. Natasha encourages everyone to use what they have when recreating cards they see online—you don’t have to buy the latest dies, inks, or patterned paper. I appreciate this approach as I have neither unlimited funds nor space to store regular purchases of card making accessories.

So, focusing on using what I have, including those pieces that don’t turn out as hoped, these cards are going into the food bank this month.

Embossing folder and paper

Two cards were made using my foiling machine and an embossing folder.




 

Unfortunately, embossing with foil didn’t work well. By trimming the bad pieces, I was able to make two very nice cards.

  

 

 


 

 

Employing the same embossing folder in its intended use--without foiling--and adding some inks, this card came out very nice.



 

 

Using both pieces of a card front with a balloon cut, I was able to make two cards that I really like. One card uses the empty space, and the other uses the piece that was cut out.



 



 

 

 

 

 

Another way I use what I have, is to recycle pages from my daily calendar into cards. Using dies to cut a nice edge and adding some embellishments, I love the way these cards turn out. I figure anyone can use a pick-me-up card now and then. 



Sometimes Life Does Imitate Art


 



The book I’m currently working on features a protagonist who is an assistant manager at a food bank. The idea came to me because I love volunteering at a food bank near me. Recently, while setting up for the morning shift, I noticed several Easter cards on a table with miscellaneous non-food items.

If you’ve read this blog even occasionally, you probably know I’m a card maker. I love incorporating new techniques and patterned papers, but
have far too many cards to use myself. In my book, the main character is also a card maker (write what you know, eh?). I asked one of the managers at the food bank if I could bring in cards that I make and he gave the okay.

Joy! Something to do with the cards I love making, and our clients have been enjoying them as well. I brought in several Easter cards last month and since it’s a little too early for the Mother’s Day cards I’ve stockpiled, I focused on birthday cards this month. 

 

I pulled out the hot foil plates and press and spent 45 minutes preparing card bases that were then ready for embellishments. The week after Easter, I started taking in the birthday cards and saw one woman take home three! 


While there are organizations that take extra cards, like my protagonist, I enjoy seeing my cards go home with people who are excited when they see them.


I'm blessed to be able to craft cards and have a full plate. I'd love it if readers would consider regular donations to their local food banks. All proceeds from my upcoming book will be going to the food bank where I volunteer.

https://www.udistrictfoodbank.org/donate/






 

Easter 2024

 

 

 

Easter seemed to be early this year, so I checked the earliest and latest dates it can fall, which can be anywhere from March 22 to April 25. So, not the earliest this year, but I still had to get hopping on card making!

Pinterest is always a great source for card ideas, and Easter is no exception. I also found a tutorial for an Easter hat card on a blog by a card maker I follow. Along with patterned papers, ink, glue, die cuts, and the Cricut, several different cards are now ready for mailing.

I love the simplicity of the card at the top of the page and the cute little bunny standing in for the letter “A”. The Cricut made this one easy.

What’s Easter without a chocolate bunny? I used the bunny cut out from another card to make this one. The patterned paper featuring chocolate bunnies made a perfect background.



 

This card uses the reverse of the chocolate bunny card above and features an embossed design over patterned paper. The cut image allowed me to use another sheet of patterned paper.

 

 

Here’s a cute little bunny peeking in to wish us a happy Easter. This one used very basic shapes and it was fun to powder the bunny's cheeks and draw on whiskers.

 

 

This card allowed me to use the most patterned paper of all the cards. It’s simple, and I love how it turned out.


 

What’s Easter without an Easter bonnet? Yes, this is a card based on a card maker’s blog this month. The bottom of the hat opens up to allow for a written message.


 

 

But the best Easter basket of all? This little cutie! :) 


Quashed!


Trellised Squash

I’d been planning my 2024 garden for months, and double-checked a list of vegetables in the brassica family. Due to a thyroid condition I have to avoid brassicas, so they shouldn’t be taking up space in my raised beds.

Plans quashed! The brassica list is longer than I realized and includes the well-known broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. Never having grown those successfully, I wasn’t disappointed. However, greens I love such as arugula, Swiss chard, and bok choy are also brassicas.

https://whatscookingamerica.net/squash.htm
Fortunately, I love squash so I searched the Burpee seed catalog last month for several varieties to plant in the new 4x8 raised bed that I have. This year I’ll be trying baby butternut (my favorite squash), a new squash that resembles the look and taste of mashed potatoes, acorn squash, sugar pie pumpkins*, and winter delicata.


I don’t have a lot of horizontal garden space, so the squash will grow on trellises (photo at top of page) which worked out well last year. Beans are a great companion plant for squash, and this year dragon’s tongue and scarlet runner beans will join the squash. The latter can also be trellised. Last year we had more beans than I could enjoy fresh, so the rest went into the freezer.



*I use a lot of canned pumpkin as a replacement for oil or applesauce in recipes such as these bran muffins. Be sure to toss in a teaspoon or two of pumpkin spice and some cranberries for a fall treat!

https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/moist-molasses-bran-muffins/

I am often low on eggs, so I replace the two beaten eggs in the recipe with a mixture of a tablespoon each of chia seeds and ground flax as a binder. It is so good that I make the muffins with the egg substitute every time. Extra fiber and Omega-3 too!

Pumpkin seeds are a great substitute for nuts and I look forward to roasting my own pumpkin seeds this year. The original garden plan may have been quashed, but now it's squash!

 



 

 

 





 

What a Wazer to Go


The Wazer: https://wazer.com/
 

I retired last month after working 44 years at a large university. Woo hoo! Some people worried that I’d stay at home, just resting and rusting. Pffft! I've already found a couple new hobbies, one of which is stained glass work.

Nice clean edges, and simple pieces for beginners

The first step on the learning curve was to be certified to operate the Wazer, a water jet cutter, at our nearby makerspace. It was intimidating! It seemed there were so many steps to getting it set up, but after a few runs I gained confidence. Other than glass, the Wazer can cut steel, stone, and tile. When cutting glass, the edges are smooth and no grinding is needed, nor do I need to trace patterns and scribe the glass for manual cutting.

 

Having learned to operate the Wazer, I now needed supplies: solder, copper tape, a fid (to firmly press the copper tape onto each cut piece), flux, flux brushes, flux remover, and a carborundum stone to smooth the one area the Wazer leaves to hold the cut piece in place during the high pressure cutting process.

Ready to assemble? Not yet. The PDF designs I purchased from Etsy needed to be converted into the DXF file format Wazer uses. I thought wrapping copper foil around each piece with only a millimeter of play was difficult, but learning to convert files took much more trial and error! Fortunately, my husband is a wiz with various software applications and patiently walked through the process with me over two days.

So, in addition to learning how to solder stained glass pieces, I’ve now learned to use Inkscape to convert files for the Wazer, create the Wazer files, and save them to an SD card. Whew!

Finally, some completed pieces! My foiling and soldering skills have a Waze to go, but I’m enjoying this new hobby. 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Birthdays

  Foiled and hand-colored card   I continue to bring in cards to the food bank where I volunteer weekly. Since we are past Mother’s Day, I’v...