The Labor of Our Hands

October 23, 2015 8:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

scanned card 2

This blog marks my 101st post! I feel like I’ve passed a real milestone here. Of course, many people might have celebrated their 100th post, but I wanted to be just a little different, so I waited for my 101st. As an amusing coincidence – at least to me – this blog post is about making things to show you care, and my blog is one of several ways I feel I do that. And it really was a coincidence: I didn’t plan for my 101st blog to be about crafting. It just worked out that way. So today I am crafting a blog that I hope will bring you joy, about crafting things that I hope bring people joy! Makes sense to me.

scanned cardThere are many way in this word to show you care, but making something with your hands is, in my opinion, one of the very best. I’ve talked about my quilting, and about my crocheting, and I hope you’ve enjoyed those posts. In the future I will be sharing some recipes, because making food from scratch is another way to express your love. Those are all wonderful ways to show you care, but there are many other crafty ways to say “I love you!” Here’s another one I like.

Everybody likes getting a personal letter in the mail. Sometimes a letter can change a bad day into a good one. But few people send actual letters any more, and the personal mail you most often get – not counting bills – is usually a card. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, they’re all wonderful, but they are also usually store bought. It doesn’t have to be that way.

2015-08-29 20.50.15I won’t try to teach you how to make cards yourself, but it’s easy enough to learn if you want to. I have been making my own cards since long before the Internet came along, but if you look on YouTube alone, you can find hundreds of card making videos, such as this one. There are also whole websites dedicated to handmade cards, like this one or this one. So, the how to of this conversation is the easy part.

My job is to convince you why you should.

The most obvious reason may be that you can make any kind of card you like. The ability to customize the cards you make gives you the chance to say something more specific than a Hallmark mass-produced card can. You can choose a specific color that someone loves, or avoid one they dislike. You can include or exclude anything you like. Have a friend who can’t stand the iconic Valentines Day heart? No problem, just use something else. Another friend loves roses? Send them a rose-themed card.

2015-08-29 20.38.16You could choose to make a card for a specific person, or you can make a card for a very specific occasion. As an example of this, my daughter and son-in-law chose to have a sort of “coming of age” ceremony for my grandson. I’m sure you’re not surprised when I say Hallmark had nothing like that. So, the ability to customize your cards is a great benefit. You can also make several of a certain type, say sympathy cards or anniversary cards, and use a paper or element that you have an abundance of, and you think goes well. Have a bunch of black lace on a spool? That might be good on several sympathy cards, and you can make them all at once.

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The right tools, such as this graded cutting mat, will make the work easier, but don’t let that stop you. You don’t need much to get started!

The second reason is just the joy of crafting something. I think many people today have forgotten how much fun it can be to create something that you can hold in your hand when you’re finished. The process of designing the card, laying out the paper and accessories you will include, cutting, gluing, and bringing it all together, well, that can be a great way to spend some time. Even shopping for the supplies, anticipating what you will be able to construct can be exciting.

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Make your card look stitched by drawing dashed lines like I’m doing here

But for me, the greatest reason to make my own cards is simply that I made it for whomever I send it to. I made that specific card for that specific person, to brighten their day, celebrate their birthday, stand with them in their sorrow and grief, I made it for them, and nobody else. I made it with all the love in my heart. I can’t think of a clearer way to say I care, I’m thinking of you, I am your friend. This is a major reason why I craft for anyone, perhaps the largest single reason. If I’m sending you a card, that means I’m probably too far away to give you a hug. The card is, in many ways, a long-distance hug you can hold in your hands.

2015-08-29 20.51.50God in His Heaven is the greatest of creators, and I am sure He delights in us when we follow in His footsteps. Why don’t you give it a shot? Why don’t you see what you can come up with. And, when you make your first card – or your 101st! – let me know. You might consider sending me a card!

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This post was written by Grace Fabian

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Grace Fabian
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