Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dad, Me, SPI and a Card Challenge

Earlier this month, I accompanied my father on what I now call his annual "pilgrimage" to south Texas.  When my mother was in better health, the two of them would escape the cold winters in Missouri and go to their home in Texas.  It started out as a January to April stay so that they could spend Christmas in the mid-west with the family. Eventually, they (or maybe just Dad) decided that four months wasn't nearly long enough, and they began leaving their Missouri home in October instead. I enjoyed seeing my folks enjoy their retirement like they did.  They made so many new friends, and even had a chance to visit more with some of the people my Dad had known since his younger days in southern Illinois.  They had a lot of fun and made a lot of wonderful memories.  Mom is no longer able to travel and Dad no longer drives, but that doesn't quell his desire to travel.  He began asking me last October "Where are we going to go on vacation this winter."  I'm the single one among my siblings, so he has appointed me as the offspring who should accompany him on these get-aways.  Is it my first choice for the essay "How I spent my winter vacation"?  Well ... I'm almost ashamed to say "Not really."  However, when it gets right down to it, whether he foots the bill or not, I can't help but think of the sacrifices he and Mom made for my siblings and me as we were growing up, always demonstrating their love for us, so the least I can do is spend some of my time off to look after him and help him get as much enjoyment as he can out of whatever years he has left. I sure wish Mom could still go, though.  Anyway, after he asked where we were going this year, I thought perhaps he had decided to do something different and go somewhere other than south Texas for a change.  Since I knew he still wanted to go where the weather would be warm, I mentioned we could go to a beach somewhere.  After several conversations about many other things and several weeks of not giving him an actual point on the map, his question then became "When are we going to south Texas?"  Now I don't mind south Texas, but if you've ever seen the Rio Grande River, you would know that the only common denominator it has with a beach is that water is present -- in some places.  So I suggested a compromise of sorts. Since his friends live only a little over an hour from South Padre Island, I asked if he would consider renting a place out there. We could still visit friends and be relatively close to good health care facilities (should that need arise), and I could still enjoy morning walks on the beach. He agreed. Our condo was right on the Gulf and the view was true refreshment. I sat on our little patio each morning in my jammies having my coffee and listening to the waves. After getting my caffeine fix, I would throw on some comfy "real" clothes and walk the shoreline ... and walk ... and walk ... and walk while Dad snoozed.  When he was ready to go, we would go.  We had a lot of fun, and he was happy. I was happy too.  That's what it's all about.  So all of this leads me to that picture up there. It's a photo of another card I made for another card challenge. I've nearly waited until the last minute (tomorrow is the deadline), but I can still get this one in under the wire. Darlene's March challenge at Live Love Cards is to use colored cardstock.  Like her, I don't tend to use it very often. I get more enjoyment creating backgrounds, coloring stamped images and trying different products and techniques when I make my cards.  However, I found a great deal around Valentine's day on some 12x12 card stock that I chose not to pass up.  This challenge gave me the opportunity to use some of my bargain paper and do a different kind of creating.  I decided to go with a "sunshine on the water" theme and memorialize the trip Dad and I took to South Padre. I used a Paper Smooches die to cut the waves in three shades of blue, and I used graduated sizes of Spellbinders circle dies for the yellow, orange and red of the sun. After layering the circles together, I traced the wave line with a pencil onto the sun and then trimmed it to snuggle up against the wavy horizon line. I went with a pale yellow for the rest of the sky to contrast with the blue waves.  The sentiment is from a Hero Arts wood block stamp I had in my stash.  It seemed fitting.  I layered the finished image on black and then added it to a white card base.  This was a fun way to combine a good card challenge with some good memories.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Distress Crayons

It's been a chilly and dreary afternoon (and early evening), so I've been playing inside.  Kind of reminds me of "The Cat in the Hat," except that I didn't get any visits from talking cats with cakes on rakes.  Nevertheless, I made my own fun after finishing a busy, tiring but good work week this afternoon.  I've recently become interested in art journaling and have been really impressed with some of the creativity I've seen from others on the www.  I had a whopping 50% off coupon from Michael's this week, so I decided to splurge on a pack of Distress Crayons, a new product that I had been reading about and for which I have viewed a few tutorials.  While I realize that I just used this same Bible verse for a greeting card last month and, therefore, may be perceived by some to be in a rut, I really had a lot of fun creating this journal page with the new crayons.