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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the guide: make your own card, make someone happy

On my desk I keep a card that my grandmother sent to me at college. There was no particular occasion for the card. My 80 year-old grandmother wrote about a visit to her niece in Minnesota, a new pattern she found for a blouse (would I prefer blue or green?) and what she made for lunch that day (a tomato and mayo sandwich on white bread. Toasted.)

One of the reasons I treasure this card is that I think of her at the kitchen table on a sunny Massachusetts September day with the windows open letting in autumn air. Her first language is French and sometimes she would pause to find the right word in English. I can see that in the card, a pause as she smiles and writes down her daily thoughts to me, her oldest granddaughter away at school.

The fact is that I kept this card and every letter she ever sent to me. I also kept every letter my husband has ever sent me including the letters when we were long distance dating. There are hundreds. I have the notes my best friend Mimi passed to me in high school and every card I've ever received cataloged by year in several clear boxes.  Reading Mimi's notes I remember the excited thrill of how it felt when our crushes smiled at us at our locker (we shared, of course. Lockers, not boyfriends.) My mother reminds me to be responsible (college: Junior year) and an Alumni tells me he'll be proud to help me get into Boston College Law. These make me happy.

I read an article recently about the fact that letter writing is a dead art. Students aren't learning cursive writing like we did in school. I thought about this and it's true.  We email, text and pay bills online. When was the last time you received an actual card in the mail? When you did, didn't you pause at the mailbox and open it right then and there and smile? What if you could give that smile to someone else?

Last year when things weren't so good I turned inward, to my bed and towards macaroni and cheese. I secluded myself which really was just a cowardly move. One day I made myself write cards to a handful of friends and family I had disconnected from. It seemed like an easy way to slowly reconnect. Over the past year the list has grown to 30 or so and the list always changes. Sometimes someone you barely know needs to to hear "You're cool. You're loved. I made this for you." The cards are all handmade and each one contains a Tazo tea sachet themed to the color of the card or the season. So far there have been 7 in the series.

the february collection

Yesterday I mailed out collection No. 8. The cards I prefer to work with come in packs of 8 so I made 32 cards. They are easy enough to make in an afternoon with just a few supplies.

Here is what you need to make someone's day:

  • card stock (available at craft and specialty paper stores)
  • stamp (available at craft stores or online. I like Impress Stamps
  • stamp ink
  • marker
  • glitter glue
  • glue dots (or double sided tape for tea sachet)
  • teabags (Tazo teabags come in individually wrapped pretty paper wrappers)

Here is how I made the summer flip-flops card:
  • I chose a horizontal format for the cards and stamped the flip-flop design in orange ink. 
  • The straps are outlined so I filled them in with a turquoise marker then went over the turquoise with a fine-tipped glitter glue tube.
  • Let dry overnight.
  • The next day use 2 glue dots or double sided tape to attach tea sachet to the inside of the card. 
  • I like to choose a short quotation in addition to a personal note for the card and for this card I hand wrote the following quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would your card say?

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