Sunday, August 24, 2008

Okay, so I'm not EXACTLY on time ...

Sorry I didn't write yesterday, as promised. It was another one of those "first one thing, then another, then the Olympics" days. It's gonna be so weird not to have the Olympics on TV anymore! We're going over to the folks' to watch the Closing Ceremony tonight, but of course that's not the same as competition, and it already looks like it won't be quite as good as the Opening since it's gonna have rock-star-boringness in it. (Hey, no Phil Joel or Newsboys-with-Phil, can't be good, KWIM? lol)

So, first, a card:
Some men may need a little "jogging" from time to time, so I thought this card would be perfect! Never mind that there are flowers on it, they're actually from a Basic Grey line called "Oh, Baby! Boy", and they're blue, so I figured that was masculine enough. The stamp is from American Art Stamps. This was a "try" of mine on "Faux Copic Coloring". Yes, this is an actual technique, of sorts, using Bic Mark-It markers and/or Sharpies. I think I got the tutorial off Splitcoast, but there are several tutorials floating around the web, even one with a video, so if you google "faux copic" you can find them.

I wasn't overly happy with my results. I think there's still too harsh a line between my darker and lighter color of each shade. And the brown ... basically that part just didn't do well at all. I'm hoping whoever buys these cards won't notice or care as much as I do! I did read on one blog (as I was trying to find the tutorial for you) that they suggested using watercolor paper, which I did not do. And the tut I have said to lay the colors down quickly so they'll still be wet when you blend them. Maybe that was my problem. Anyway, I'm still not a huge fan of marker coloring (i.e., of doing it myself). I prefer watercolor crayons or pencils and blending pens or Gamsol. For me it just makes things smoother and prettier. But I'll keep practicing. (The other problem I have with coloring in general is that it kills my neck if I'm doing more than one card at a time, even with the "desk on a desk" thing that I have for this very purpose.)

So, that was my card for the day. I spent yesterday working on two more designs -- finished one and am still working on the other (well, okay, I haven't been in the loft yet today between church, lunch at the folks', watching a "catch-up" episode of Mythbusters, napping, and writing in my blog). I feel hopelessly behind for this craft fair. Bjorn's sister is coming to visit on Friday and staying for the long weekend, and I won't be able to get much done in the loft then. The fair is just weeks away now (still don't know exactly when -- I'm gonna call the activities center this week to find out), and I haven't finished the Major Project (scripture "flip book") that I really wanted to have ready, and I'd like to do a few other non-card things, plus I don't feel like my inventory is big enough. *SIGH* That's what the stinkin' chronic sinus infections have done, and now I feel like I'm scrambling to catch up. And it's hard to "force" creativity, y'know? I am seriously considering selling cards, etc. online after this so I can create sort-of as I go, not under a deadline, and still have hope of making a bit of money out of this habit.

So, speaking of selling cards ... I told you last post that I was going to tell you about a couple of things that have been on my mind lately. One of them actually does have to do with my selling cards. There's a cause that I've become very interested in/concerned about lately -- human trafficking. It tears my heart apart to think about young girls being sold into brothels so their parents can have money to live on, or young women selling themselves so they can feed their families. And there are children who are sold into or stolen and placed into these situations all the time all over the world, but particularly in Third World countries. Imagine if one of these children was your daughter or son! I can't personally imagine ever being poor enough to even consider such a thing, and I'm not sure I would even if I WERE that poor. But there are thousands upon thousands of families who do this every year, and more thousands of young women who feel they have no other recourse but to use the only thing available to them in order to survive in this world or to keep their families alive because they have no marketable skills, no other way at all of making a living.

Praise God there are Christian people rising to the occasion, creating places where these women and children can go to receive hope and healing. There are several good ones that I'm aware of -- the International Justice Mission, Freeset Bags (storefront where you can buy bags made by women in Calcutta who have been rescued from these situations), Servantworks (unfortunately I just noticed their web account has been suspended, and I'm worried about what this means for them), and Hagar International. I've been thinking I'd like to donate $1 of every card/project I sell to one of these organizations. The one that keeps popping into my head to commit to on this is Hagar. I gave them some money back in April after my grandmother died and I received a bit of money from her estate. I've had some contact with one of the women there, and they just sound like a really wonderful organization. Since I can't move to Cambodia to help these women and girls personally, I thought this might be a cool thing to do. So if the craft fair organizers will let me, I thought I'd hand out some brochures (or just have them on the table) and put up a sign saying I'm donating to this cause. And then if/when I start to sell online, I'll make that part of the deal.

Anyway, please check out these websites and see if you feel led to do something, too -- give money, pray, whatever. I can't stand to think about what life has done to these children and women. But it thrills my soul to know that God has His people out there working His love and healing in their lives.

Okay, the other thing that's been on my heart: Just a couple of days ago one of the ladies on my SU Friends Yahoo Group posted about a friend of hers who has a little 5-year-old boy named Caed with a really awful condition called a volvulus (twisting of the bowels). They've been struggling with this since March, and it's been very hard on them. Good thing is, Caed survived the initial "attack" of this. Bad thing is, it's still going on, and even though his condition has certainly improved from then, he's not out of the woods, and they're getting down to their last resort on what to do to fix him. This family is a wonderful Christian family -- the father is a youth minister, I believe -- and they're having to be split apart location-wise because of little Caed's condition and where he has to go for treatment. Also, Caed has an older sister and a baby brother, and his poor mother is seriously exhausted, mentally, physically and spiritually.

So the lady on SU Friends sent a link to their blog, and I'm going to post it here because Caed's aunt "hacked into" the blog asking for people to please post comments telling the family they're praying for them and where they're located so the family can see where the prayers are coming from. First, I think you should read this post, because it explains just what happened to Caed. Then you can go to the top of the blog (here) and find the August 22, 2008 entry to read the aunt's plea. I'd also encourage you to read the mom's post just below that (Wednesday, August 20, 2008) to see just how stressed and exhausted she/they are right now. It just really grabbed my heart, and I know I'll be praying for all of them as part of my daily prayers now.

Aidan had to have surgery when he was barely five. He had a partially blocked ureter (the tube that goes from your kidney to your bladder) on the left side, and the doc said if we didn't get it fixed it would eventually block completely up and he would have kidney failure. So, of course we got it fixed! But I remember how terrifying that was, just to have him go in for three hours of surgery (major surgery, yes) and back in to a regular room, home again in two days. To read the account of little Caed, having to have two surgeries when it first happened, being in ICU, being in the hospital for so long and still having to have a feeding tube even now ... it just breaks my heart. At the same time, I am amazed by the faith this family has, and the wonderful way that they hold on to God and trust in Him, even when I'm sure they're ready to just throw in the towel. So please keep them in your prayers, too, okay? I'm sure they'd appreciate it!

A last Olympic quickie: The women's 4 x 400 meter relay was amazing last night! I was so thrilled they managed to come from behind and win the gold. Allyson Felix is a Christian (they had a neat little bio of her -- her daddy was a preacher for years, and she was testifying to the strength her faith has given her), and I think at least one of the other girls in that group is, too. No, I'm not saying they won the gold because they're Christians and God gave them favor. He just gave them the amazing talent and they worked hard to get where they are and to win. And then they gave Him the glory.

Okay, gotta run. If I keep up like this I won't have any time in the craft loft at all today! Hope your weekend was wonderful and that you have an awesome week ahead.

School starts Tuesday. Pooh.

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