Christmas cards

I’m sitting here at my computer in my kitchen with a cup of coffee feeding 7 x 10 scored card stock paper through my printer. I’m making my own Christmas cards this year. I’ve got to admit that I have a problem with Christmas, not the holiday itself as much as the commercial frenzy we’ve made of it. The Black Friday hysteria. The expectation that we need to spend lots of money on the perfect gifts.  The stores decorated since Halloween. I do what I can to ignore all that. I tune out commercial TV and radio and all the ads. Pandora internet radio and streaming shows on Netflix are great commercial free alternatives. I shop online and avoid the shopping mall circus, but I do that year round anyway. Sorry,  I’m getting off topic.

Sending (and receiving) cards is one of the best things about Christmas. Who doesn’t love getting a card? They’re sweet “I’m thinking about you” messages. They bring some peace into the season. They make a great holiday display too, arrayed on a table or taped onto a banister.

Last December I went on a field trip with my camera club to Antietam National Battlefield to shoot the annual luminary lighting. Volunteers place 26,000 luminaries on the battlefield, one for each fallen or wounded soldier in the bloodiest single battle of the Civil War. It’s beautiful and solemn. I’m using one of my photos from that trip on the front of my Christmas card. Not this one. I want to surprise those of you on my card list, but here’s a view of the event.


Luminary lighting at Antietam National Battlefield, Dec. 4, 2010

I used a program called Pages on my Mac to design my card. It’s not exactly a traditional card. It’s dark, like winter, and more than hints at the sacrifices made to keep our country together. But it also has light shining into the darkness, and that’s really what Christmas is about. Under the photo, I put “Wishing you peace and joy” in a font called Zapfino. It took a bit of time and patience to get my printer to handle the card properly, but I think I’m pleased with the result. It is pretty amazing that I can do this right here in my kitchen!

Wishing you peace and joy,




The pink apron, top center, is the one I'm making. Mine will be purple!

It’s a crisp November Saturday, and I’m rediscovering the art of sewing. My mother sewed, and between her and my junior high home ec teachers, I learned this immensely practical and creative skill. When I graduated from college, I needed some career clothes but couldn’t afford much. So, I sewed. I made dresses, skirts, jackets, pants, and blouses. Practical as that was, it was also pretty satisfying. I was proud of what I could create. Eventually, I earned enough to buy more of the clothes I wanted. And I started filling up my time with other activities. My patterns, pin cushion, and sewing basket went to the back of the closet.

How about a purple apron!

I recently painted my bedroom and decided that I need new curtains to complement the new gray-green wall color. I also had some skirts and dresses to hem. Why not get a new sewing

machine and get these projects going? If I make the curtains myself, I can get exactly what I have in mind — a contemporary print in the sizes I need for two bedroom windows.  Imaging the possibilities, I ordered a new machine from Amazon. The day after it arrived, I trotted over to a local fabric store. Once there, ideas just started popping. I opened the pattern books and started thinking about all the things I could make. A hat and scarf for winter. New skirts, pants. Dare I try a jacket? It’s been a long time since I’ve done this. I decided to start small and left the fabric store with patterns for my curtains, an apron, doggie jackets, and a sewing machine cover. Got a bit of fabric and thread too.

I like to cook and bake — and tend to get batter and sauces all over myself when I do. That’s why I’m working on the apron now. It’s a good practice project too as it will test my ability to sew straight and curved seams. It’s not something I’ll be wearing out of my kitchen either, so it’s not critical that it be perfect. It this goes well, I’ll progress to the curtains.

Back to work!

Laying out my apron pattern pieces

Gettin’ Started

Hi Everyone,

Setting out on a new adventure here, and I welcome you to read along. What brings me here? The big boss at work wants our organization to have a blog, a set of blogs on different topics really, and he’s asked me to lead the effort. I’m excited, but a little unsure because I’ve never really been a blogger. I’m reading a lot about what makes a blog successful and talking to people who’ve done it. Of course, the best way to learn is by doing. So, here I am!

And what do I intend to blog about? Photography, writing, cooking, renovating and redecorating my house, maybe even sewing. The common theme is creativity — imagining what’s possible and taking the steps to make it happen whether it’s capturing a beautiful image or seeing the potential in an old, ugly wallpapered room.

Why would you want to read this? To explore the creative process — the technical side and the artistic vision. I plan to write at least once a week. Forgive me, if I slip up on that commitment in hectic times. I’ll come back. And I’ll try to use some good visuals. too. Photos from my Flickr site are over on the right side. Enjoy those!

More later,