I have several friends and a sister who are all cardmakers.
I mean cardmakers as opposed to people who make cards, which is what I do (in the same way that I am not a photographer, I take photos).
When I can be bothered.
Or if there is a special person in need of a card and I think the personal touch is required. (Or if it’s the night before I’m seeing someone for a birthday or something and I’ve forgotten to buy a card.)
I’ve always been blown away by the amazing cards that my friends and Lil Sis produce. They are so technically perfect, so exquisite. They look stunning and I’m always sad when it comes time to pack them away.
My own cards, in contrast, are somewhat plain, simple, unimaginative, and shabby. I often wonder why I bother, when I spend a couple of hours producing something I’m not particularly happy with, didn’t particularly enjoy doing, and could have bought one and spent the time doing something fun.
Part of the problem is that cards do have to be more or less perfect. They are so small, that any little mistake is blatantly obvious and hard to cover up. This isn’t the case with a scrapbooking layout, where there is more of an opportunity to hide things that didn’t quite work because they’re a lot bigger and there’s room for error.
Cards are fiddly and I just don’t have the attention to detail – or the manual dexterity – to do that kind of fine work. Although if you told my colleagues I don’t pay attention to detail they’d laugh you out of the room – ‘pedantic little shit’ is the way one colleague has jokingly described me at work (at least I hope he was joking). But being able to sit down and argue for hours on end about what a single clause in legislation means is a completely different world to creating a piece of art. For a start, it’s words, and words – especially written words – are where I find the most comfort.
So I’ll continue to assert that I don’t have the attention to detail to be a cardmaker.
On Friday I decided to make a get well card for Lil Sis’ husband Mr Tall, who is in hospital. I started the card at scrapbooking on Friday night, but couldn’t finish it because some of the stuff I needed was at home.
Today I had to finish it to get it in the post tomorrow. It turned out to be a bit of disaster and I bitched and moaned my way through the process on Twitter, as I found I’d lost my paper piercer, was dropping small brads on the floor that I couldn’t see because they were the same colour as the carpet, inked the greeting unevenly after five perfect practice runs, smeared ink over the back of the card because I didn’t put the lid back on the ink pad, couldn’t get things to line up properly . . and on we go.
So one of my Twitter mates said something along the lines of, well if you hate it so much, why do it?
I never set out to make cards. I kind of fell into it because it’s part of the ‘papercrafting’ scene. If I hadn’t been doing scrapbooking, I doubt it would even have occurred to me to make my own cards. But because it uses pretty much the same tools and materials, it seemed like a logical thing to do.
Only it’s not a compulsory thing to do. Just because I do scrapbooking, it doesn't mean I have to do cards as well. Surely no one is going to think any less of me if I buy a card instead of make one. And there are plenty of beautiful hand made cards out there that people who actually know what they’re doing have made. Why not support their work, rather than make myself miserable trying to live up to it?
So I think from now on, I’ll be making very few cards. In fact the only card I will commit to doing each year is for Juniordwarf’s birthday just because I want to. And if I decide to do cards for other occasions and I start to get frustrated and annoyed, I’m going to give myself permission to stop and buy one. It’s really not worth the hassle.
And so after I got well and truly sick of the card, Juniordwarf and I took Sleepydog for a walk – the first time I’ve been confident enough to let him come with me, so this was a big step for him.
When we got back, we spent some time putting together our new raised garden bed, which will no doubt be blogged about in days to come.
Then after lunch, we went to the park and he rode his scooter on the excellent bike path that they’ve built for the kids down there. He’d been trying to ride his scooter around the back yard, but there’s not really enough room to get any momentum up, so I’d promised him we could go to the park on the weekend.
He had a go on the gym equipment at the park. He’s a bit small to use it in the prescribed manner, I think.
We went for a walk to see the ducks.
And finally he played on the swings and slides and struck up a friendship with an older girl, who was on the same equipment. The most amazing thing was that he climbed along a climby thing he’d never been on before.
I have no idea what these things are called (hence 'climby thing'), but it’s a series of hoops, each one slightly higher than the last, and the line of hoops connects two platforms of the play equipment. There’s one set from the ground to the first level, then another from the first level to the highest level.
Juniordwarf has often climbed from the ground to the first level, but he’s never been game to do the second one. That changed today, when the girl he was playing with did it. What did he do? He had to follow her. He was very nervous and wanted me to stand underneath him while he was climbing. But he did it – and you know what? He seemed to be better at it than the girl, who seemed to be at least two or three years older than him. He was fantastic. I was so happy he’d done it all by himself and done it so competently. It was hard to believe he’d never done it before.
He’s really growing up!
And I was incredibly glad to have gotten out of the house and away from the card debacle.