Twenty-five years ago, I married my second husband. As I did, Rich had two grown children. Christmas gift-giving had to be imaginative and it was a pleasant but curious surprise when I opened mine from my stepdaughter. Kim had given me a card-making program to use with my computer. At that time, the internet hadn't yet been offered to residential areas. There would be no internet surfing, site browsing, or links for informative sites. The writing I did on the computer required snail mailing. Kim thought I could use a break from wracking my brain looking for something about which to write. In addition to writing stories, poems, and essays, she thought it would be a great program for fun. She was right. Not only was it fun to use, but it also sparked another side of my imagination that I never knew existed. Once I began making cards, I never stopped. Five years later, I purchased my first card program that came with its own artwork. While it was great having a set format, I found the artwork to be a bit boring. Yet, finding the art or image I wanted, at first, wasn't easy since this was an entirely new method for me. By this time, the internet was in almost every home but browsing sites created other problems. Google hadn't been created yet so if you didn't know the URL address, using the internet was something you didn't do. Looking for any kind of artwork on the computer, for me, didn't happen. As I said, it wasn't easy until I was out fishing with my husband. The sunset was breath taking and I thought the little island that sat at the edge of harbor looked so peaceful. I grabbed my camera, which was always with me, and took the photo. When I downloaded the photo to the computer, I saw, not just the sunset and the small island in the water, but a lone bird flying to who knows where. I called that photo, “Flying Home” since it seemed as though that's where the bird was going. At first, I didn't use the photo but kept it stored in the computer. After taking many others, my imagination ran wild. I'd found a use for many of the photos I'd taken. I used a photo of a sunrise and wrote something like, “With the rising sun, a new day is yours to enjoy your special day.” I was invited to a birthday party where the honoree was given a beautiful bouquet of red and pink roses. The bouquet was so lovely, I took a photo. I still use that photo to make birthday cards. And the imagination keeps going. A few years ago, I found myself hooked on Pinterest. It's on that site where I discovered 3-D cards. Wow, I thought to myself, I can do that, too! And I did. I know most of the cards on Pinterest are posts so others can imitate them. I'm not one of those imitators. As far as I'm concerned, those cards were the imaginations of others and I have no right to use them, especially since now, I attend many craft fairs. What I do is study the cards I see, then using my imagination, copy the intent but change the look. With so many different colored papers and ribbons, it's easy to change the look of a card. The sentiment inside is always mine since I still write poetry. I've learned to heat-emboss, which is a lot of fun. Between dry-embossing, making cutouts, heat-embossing and using pop-ups, I've gotten many compliments on my cards and have received a few private orders. While it's true that I'll never make enough money to call this is living, it is a hobby that supplies with fun and the ability to demonstrate, or more pointedly show off, my imagination. The few dollars I make, end up buying more supplies for my crafting. Nope, I'll never get rich but I am having fun. My family and friends love receiving my cards and show them off to each other and their friends. When I look back and remember the way all this got started, I always send an email to my “daughter” reminding her of that very first program and thanking her for getting me started on what has turned out to be fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. In fact, I've gotten some of my friends hooked on card crafting and we often get together for a few hours and make cards together. There is a craft fair approaching in the next few days. My friend, Lorraine and will be there sharing a table and displaying our work. It's a day I can definitely look forward to between sharing it with friends and meeting new people. So, again, Kim, thank you for getting me started on this great, fun-filled activity.
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