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8/18/2014

The Creative Blog Hop


It's the start  of  a brand new week, so grab a cup or glass of something tasty, and get ready to settle in for a long post. It's my turn to join in with The Creative Blog Hop, which is held each Monday. Quick explanation, TCBH is the brain child of a blogger, whose identity seems to have disappeared along the way as the hop progressed. The hop includes all kinds of artists: watercolour, paint, mixed media, and cards, as well as writers, photographers, and all sorts of needlework artists.

The idea is for us, as Bloggers, to get to know each other better - some describe this as a game of 'Tag, You're It'. Each Blogger answers four questions about themselves and afterwards they "tag" three more Bloggers and so on - and then on it goes with the next 3 bloggers.

The hop is only held on Mondays
(Just FYI, there are knock-off hops going around called "Getting to Know Me" and "Blog Hop With a Difference", which is fine. They are structured similarly, but some have different questions, so there might be some confusion as all these hops are hopping around all over Blogland. It's all good as we get to know each other a bit better).
So how did I come to join in? Come and meet my 'Tagger'.

The sweet and lovely Miss Diane of the Pixie's Crafty Workshop (aka The Snippets Playground.) I met Diane at the beginning of my blogging adventure, when another blogger visited a very early blog post. In her comment, this blogger suggested that I submit that card over at the Snippets Playground (??say what??) I had never done any linking, but I tried; made a total mess of the linking process. Diane -- {Miss Pixie as I call her - or just Miss} -- is our Playground monitor who keeps all Snippeteers on the straight & narrow. It can sometimes get rowdy over there. We have a little mascot named Parsnip - who guards the Playhouse gate. Diane was so patient in fixing my mess-ups, explaining (and then re-explaining several times!) how to do this link business. All the time she was being very encouraging, friendly and just so generous with her expertise. Finally the light blinked on, and I got the process done properly. Over the time I’ve blogged, Diane has helped me with so many things as I stumbled along. In the process of doing some Snippets Playground challenges, I've had the pleasure of meeting lots of other lovely bloggers. That’s why you will see the italicized word snippets on my blog, even if I don’t submit that particular card at the Playground. There’s times in my life (just as in yours too) that I have other demands on my time, and I can’t go visit other entrants, so I’ll miss that week. When I do have time to 'play fair', the Snippets Playground is my favorite place to submit a card. I occasionally enter other challenges, but Diane and the Snippets Playground have a warm place in my heart!

Diane was  interested in crafts right from early childhood and has enjoyed  dressmaking, patchwork, embroidery, knitting, playing with fabrics - and of course paper! She made her own clothes for many years, which I think is quite amazing.  After a holiday accident left her rather incapacitated for a time, she needed to find a new interest to occupy her and sent for some card making catalogues via a craft magazine. Thus was born an addiction and the rest is history, to our great good fortune. You can learn more about who Diane is here and enjoy her work. 
Now about me:

I have dabbled in various hobbies over the years, but also held down a full time job all my working life. The last 25 years of my career was sometimes 12-14 hour days, 6-7 days a week for long periods of time. I worked at an nuclear power plant for a South Florida electric utility and it was a stressful, challenging position. It was rewarding financially, as well as teaching me a lot about many different technologies. Hubby(DH) &  I had a small daughter (DD) & a home to care for, with all the responsibility that involves. I frequently took night classes at our local college, to improve my career opportunities, so that didn’t leave a lot of hobby time.  My Mom was an avid seamstress - but couldn’t teach me (my fault – not hers). I occasionally took sewing classes, then quilting classes & always had a love for color & fabric. As a family, the 3 of us also dabbled in ceramics for a time, as it was something DH & I could do with DD in free time.

Fast forward to retirement for DH and me after our daughter finished college and moved on into her own life. We relocated to Upstate South Carolina. Belongings were stored for over a year while our house was being built. It took another year to get the place situated as we wanted. The house, which was meant to be downsized when planned, ended up with a basement & big attic- but these were unfinished at construction's end. With some family help, DH finished off the attic as a sewing room for me. The basement was finished off as a big tv room for DH – and the other room was kitted up as an extra bedroom. There's also a drive-in garage in half of the space, which is very convenient in the winter.
Then came time for us to make new friends, since we only knew the local relatives. Occasionaly I visited a local stamp store, and saw other customers at work in the classroom. I was too intimidated to try anything they were doing. The store owner kept urging me to try a class, so one day I did. In this classroom I met some super talented card makers who were so generous in showing me techniques, along with providing information about local places to find nifty supplies; this hobby (umm.. addiction?) began to take hold. Eventually my supplies have taken over the basement tv room. We recently eliminated that area's bedroom environment and now that’s part of my craft area. (Pictures of the reclaimed basement bedroom are posted here, if you care to see). In March 2012, I took the plunge and started a blog. That's been the most enjoyable part of this hobby to-date, since I've met so many generous, talented & wonderfully creative people who have shared this unexpected journey through Blogland with me.

On to my interview questions:

1. What am I working on now? Not really anything specific other than keeping up with family birthdays or other occasions for which I may need a card. I watch Youtube videos and see techniques that I want to try. I’m more confident with copic markers, and I try pencils, watercolors, etc.  but  always return to copics. If I don’t feel like doing anything else, I stamp some images -  so there’s always something to color when I’m in the mood or ready to take along when we travel. Usually I watch tv as I work, but since our basement has very poor natural light, there’s Ott lamps for  craft lighting. Stamps & copics are my favorite tools, followed by dies, embossing folders and a Genesis paper cutter. This cutter has been one of my best investments, as it cuts straight & smoothly. I wasted a lot of paper trying to get a straight cut with the plastic cutters.  

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?  I’m an admitted copier and not an original designer, so don’t think that my work differs in any specific way. If I see a card or technique that intrigues me, off I go to try it.  I'm careful to credit any of my inspirations in the blog post.  I’ve always heard that copying is the most sincere form of flattery, as you are admiring the originator’s good taste.  If my card ever inspires someone else, that pleases me. I don’t do lots of layers – although I like that look. I love clean and simple cards, vintage cards, almost any style of card. I seldom do ‘grunge’ (ala the Tim Holtz look) but I enjoy seeing it done by others. That look requires lots of imagination to select appropriate elements, and then skill to combine them cohesively to create an awesome project. One of my card craft goals is to learn new card folds.  At this stage of my life, I don’t need more objects to display, so I prefer creating just cards. Cards express something that I am feeling at the time & will be for a particular purpose.  Therefore I seldom do tags or other more dimensional projects. I do enjoy reading the descriptions of the process used by the creator's work, however. Frequently I’ll read something that sparks an idea for a card.  

3. Why do I create what I do? That’s easy - it gives me pleasure to create something pretty. I’m happy when it turns out as I envisioned in my thoughts. I’m also honest in saying when this falls short. I realize that may sound like false modesty at times, or perhaps that I’m fishing for compliments, but truly, that’s not the case. When I read that my guru experts have had frustration with something they’ve done, I learn a great deal by their explanation of how they saved a problem card. I hope that by honestly sharing my card frustrations with blog readers, it might benefit another who struggles the same way I do. We all need encouragement & we’re all learning new things. When I started this blog, I made a promise, that even if I thought what I had done was awful, I'd share it, and be honest in my evaluation of what was wrong with it or where I went astray.  

4. How does my creative process work? Hmmm… since I’m kind of a seat of the pants card maker, I usually start with a stamp that strikes my fancy at the time. Normally decision #1 is  coloring method. If I will be using copic markers, for instance, Xpress or Neenah paper will be selected for stamping. I prefer the Copic Xpress paper as I like the way it blends copic markers better than any paper that I’ve used. If the plan is sponging with Distress Inks or coloring with pencils – then likely a cheaper quality paper, (Georgia Pacific, etc)  will be used. Sprays or gelatos will need watercolor or mixed media paper. Recently I’ve discovered Dylusions sprays and some other spray brands;  these _usually_ work better on mixed media paper. I didn't achieve good results with earlier spray attempts. I’m not sure what clicked with the Dylusions, but once I got started making backgrounds, I liked that look.  I'm  still struggling to master sprayed stenciling and embossing pastes. It's best to use cheap gloves as the sprays can make a mess of your hands! Once  an image is colored, next I hunt for a good die to showcase the image; then some nice background papers & embellishments. If I can’t find papers I like, then I’ll find the sprays to create my own papers. It's rewarding to take time & just play with various spray colors to see how they blend together. It's good to allow time for air drying  rather than heat drying. Air drying yields some lovely color marbling, while blotting with paper towels or other materials can result in a textured finish; the heat tool yields a different, still pretty result also. This background will either be used as is or embossed with a folder, depending on how it will finish the card.
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Now if I haven’t totally put you to sleep with all the blah-blah above, let me introduce you to 2 bloggers that have become friends. One I’ve known for  quite a while, and one I’ve just recently met and am so looking forward to getting to know better.

 

Brenda of Friends Crafting with Friends. Here’s a bit of what Brenda will be sharing with you on August 25th, when she participates in the The Creative Blog Hop.

Hello, my name is Brenda. I am mother to 6 boys -all grown- with my "baby" in his first year of college. I am grandmother to 6 girls and 1 boy; a wife to a die-hard farmer. I have some health issues as does my hubby but we are blessed so much. I love to spend time with our grandchildren and family, cook, bake, read, hang out by the pool or hot tub, go 4-wheeling and of course paper crafting! I have been crafting since I was a young child. The first craft that I did was from a book chosen from my school library when I was in 4th grade. I didn't have a good home life and crafting took me away from that life. That little book opened the door to the world of crafting to me and I just kept going. I went on to cross stitching, making animal pillows, plastic canvas, etc...Then when our boys were little, they would always complain we never did anything and that is when I decided to get into scrapbooking. The idea was to show them we did a lot, perhaps nothing that cost much money, but that we were always doing things together. Now my guys love going through the scrapbooks and realize that we did do a lot of things together. Then I went to work at our elementary school and didn't have time or energy to scrapbook. So my scrapbooking took a back seat. I finally had to leave my job and come back home because of health reasons. I got into design teams and started making cards as well as scrapbooking. I still do many types of crafts but mainly stick with paper crafting. I hope that one day my grandchildren will get interested in making cards with me. I love riding the 4-wheeler around the farm to see the crops growing with my hubby. Farming is his passion and I love seeing his hard work growing. We have a lot of nature to look at, I guess I am just a country crafting bumpkin!

Next up is Veerle of Veerle Her Little Card Corner. I’ve just recently become Veerle’s follower after meeting her at Darnell’s blog. We’ve been emailing and getting to know a bit about each other’s lives. Here’s Veerle’s biography – and you will be learning more about her on August 25th, when she does her post for the The Creative Blog Hop. Veerle lives in Belgium. While she uses her native language on her blog, she also has a translation for those of us who only speak English.
 My name is Veerle, 47 years young ;-) Ever since I was a child I was busy being creative with words, with costumes, with crayons, what ever.

For instance, when I was playing with my cousins there had to always be told a real story while we were playing. Then I would say things like "alright guys, we will take our horses (bicycles) and ride towards the sunset (the pond)"  etc. I was an extremely detailed child in everything; also a daydreamer. That was a way for my creativity to burst out since my head was always full of lots of things.  Here in Blogland I am a baby and I started this way of card making just over two years ago. I had always made my cards on a different level from what we see here in Blogland. I love being among so many talented people and learn from them although it makes me feel even smaller. But hey, what did Jim Rohn say "Why scratch with the chickens if you can fly with the eagles?" That's exactly what I am doing here my sweet friends, I am flying with the eagles. And it gives me wings.
 
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Okay-  that's my post for TCBH. Please do pop over to visit with my co-Taggees Elizabeth & Hettie, to learn about what goes on in their lives...personal as well as creative! 

hope you're still awake & have enjoyed getting to know me, and meet my tagged friends. I should have had 3 taggees, but unfortunately, many of my blogger friends have things going on in their lives that didn't leave time for playing in the hop. But I'm very grateful to the 2 talented bloggers who did choose to play along. So please check their links and visit each of them on August 25th, to learn more about their lives. I think knowing a bit about each blogger makes it so much more enjoyable when you're visiting their posts. If someone 'tags' you, I hope you'll join in the fun, and let Blogland know more about who you are.

Thanks for hanging in there for a Uber long post! Come again & I'll try to not be so long-winded next time!! Big Hugs, and I hope you now feel like you know me much better than before!

28 comments:

Benzi said...

What, no card????????? Well, I did get to see your reclaimed bedroom. Looks like plenty of space for your goodies. Of course, it doesn't take long to outgrow a space when we keep purchasing, does it? :-) I see you posted that while I was on vacation so I didn't get to see it.

Bonnie said...

Enjoyed learning more about you! So glad to have you as a friend!

Darnell J Knauss said...

That was just fabulous, Mary! It was very engaging and a real treat to learn more about you and your creative process!! I'm so glad you started your blog so I could meet you! Hugs, Darnell

Sarah said...

A brilliant "interview" Mary!! A lovely way to get to know what you are "about"!! xx

Maarit at Violets Corner said...

How lovely to get to know you better Mary, and such working hours you used to have at the nuclear power plant! I'm so glad that you have plenty of time and room for crafting nowadays.

Warm hugs
Maarit

Elizabeth said...

Hi Mary, a thoroughly super post and I enjoyed learning more about you and why you create. Oh, and your craft room is fabulous. Hope you got the Gelli plate out as planned, and paints, and got messy creating prints for your cardmaking :) Hugs, Elizabeth xx

Hettie said...

Great post Mary. Loved learning more about you.
Hugs
xx

KT Fit Kitty said...

So fun to read this and get to know you better! Love your awesome craft space too!

Veerle said...

Hi Mary, Veerle here. I loved reading the complete post now. And oh dear am I jalous at your craft space !!!! My,my what a great place. I am always complaining to my hubby that my craft place is so super smaal, thiny, petite. But we live small so there's no chance in expanding it. So I am constantly looking for solutions to store everything. I'll get back on that later. Looooooooove from me xxxxxxxxxx

Redanne said...

Hi Mary, I loved reading through your post and learning even more about you and your creative process. I love visiting your blog and seeing all your beautiful creations! Hugs Anne xx

Kathleen said...

Very interesting post Mary and I love your reasoning and tell it like it is method, if things don't work out.
Great post.

Kath x

rachel said...

great stuff Mary - I did my post too today! Its very different from yours! Hugs rachel x

Pat said...

Hi Mary. How lovely to learn more about you and your working life and eventual retirement to your lovely home, and what a fabulous crafting area you have, just like an Aladdin's cave. Thanks for this great glimpse of you and your crafting life. x

Brenda said...

I loved learning more about you Momma Mary, although I think I knew most of it. lol I do know that you and hubby have earned your retirement years and I'm so glad that you get to enjoy staying up late and crafting!! It's your time and you can do whatever you want even if that means sleeping all day long! Or napping!! Big hugs, Brenda

Tina Campbell said...

Well done Mary and glad to know more about you, we do enjoy life more when we create :)

Lisa said...

What an awesome post, Mary!! I really enjoyed getting to know more about you and your creative process!! Have a great evening my friend :)

Lisa
A Mermaid's Crafts

Irish Cherokee said...

Great job Mary. Nice to meet you. LOL. Thanks for sharing. It was very interesting. - Jim

Carol L said...

This was a good read Mary! Well done, and a pleasure getting to know you better :)

Maxine D said...

How lovely to get to know you better Mary!
Blessings
Maxine

Di said...

Hi Mary! Sorry I'm a day late calling by - I was out most of yesterday. Then when I got here I trotted off to your craft room (how ever did I miss that post?!) and spent aaaaaages mooching about in there. In fact, if you go and look I might even still be sighing over all those stamps and punches on your lovely open shelves!

A great post ans isn't it good to learn more about one another, As has already been said, you earned you retirement for sure!

Love and hugs, Di xx

Marilyn said...

WOW!! Great interview. Enjoyed getting to know you better. I took another look at your craft space - you sure do have a lot of stuff to work with. Thanks for sharing.

Sue said...

Enjoyed so much learning more about your Mary! huggles Sue xx

Faith A said...

Love your post and learning more of you, however I already know you to be a generous and enlightening person and I thank you that.

I also had another looky at your craft room. You is one busy lady LOL.

scrappymo! said...

This has been so much fun to learn so much more about each and every one of you!
I looked forward to reading your post and now look forward to Brenda and Veerle's.

Thanks for the kind comments re my inky card. Boym it is so much harder than it looks to get good results. It can get muddy so fast if you are not careful! lol
That one was fun to do but I have added a bit more aqua chalk to the sky background as it did not seen to show up enough in the photos.

Jenny L said...

Hi Mary,
enjoyed all your details about yourself, and how you started crafting.
My you have a wonderful craft room, and it's so tidy too.
I am amazed at all your crafting goodies on the shelves.
I would just love to spend a few hours looking at your stash, but I think it is a little too far for me to travel. Boo Hoo.
Lots of crafty love and hugs. Jenny L.

Dr Sonia S V said...

It was so wonderful to read about you Mary and how you really got time to craft only after retirement!!
Cheers
Dr Sonia
Cards Crafts Kids Projects

jimlynn said...

Mary, this is great! You DO have a way with words and I really enjoyed reading all about you. Great post!
Lynn

aussie aNNie said...

Mary , gosh and I thought I knew a bit about you before, now I do more and more....love reading your post...xxx♥aNNie The Journey is the Start