Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Language of the Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day! This day is set aside to let those dear to us know how much we love them. In most cases hopefully they know that every other day of the year as well. Over twenty years ago I decided to let the women in my life know this by making handcrafted valentines for each of them. The list was relatively short, as it was mostly relatives and a few close friends. I think I made about 30 at the time. Well, as the years in my life grew, so did the valentines list. Today I send out right around 100 to family, friends and my working gals. I think every year it will be my last, but alas, this year delivers one again to them all.

This year’s them has been in the creative process during the last five years. I started with an idea, sketched it out, mulled it over, reworked some parts, and then let it age for a while. I just needed to find the right time to make the virtual image a reality. This year was finally the time. The design is an around the world theme which I have also been working on for a “Wee are the World” collection.

The card does not open, it is a spinning wheel with heart windows showing two phrases as the wheel is rotated. Kind of a color wheel of the world. There is a set of words meaning “love” that each child is holding, representing the language of their nationality. As the children rotate to the right, the phrase “love makes the world go round and round” is shown in the second set of hearts (starting with the little Dutch girl). The top piece of the wheel is attached to the bottom piece with a teeny tiny little brad.

When the card is turned over there is a globe of the world, complete with yours truly and a few icons representing various places around the world. What map is complete without the “you are here” phrase? Which just happens to be in my heart. :) The outside edge finishes off the love around the world theme with a verse from the beautiful Sandi Patty song, written by John Phillip Mays and Jonathan Mark Mohr, “Love in Any Language.”

Since many of the people I send valentines to are all over the country and a few beyond, and they are as diverse as the theme, I felt it fitting to let them all know I’m sending love from the heart, a language we all can speak.

I’m sending it to you as well. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and share the language of the heart with those you love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, Nuts! I’m a year behind.

I realized that I forgot to tell you all Happy Valentine’s Day last year and now we are a week away from hearts and flowers and candy once again. This is a holiday that I love, but not because I’m all about the box of chocolates and flowers each year. It’s because I take this time each year to create and send out valentines for my family and friends. This is the time to create what’s in my heart for those close to my heart and I have been doing it now for twenty-one years.

I promised myself last year that I would stop at twenty years. However my daughter, who finally is at the age to have her own mailing address said she’s been waiting all these years to finally get her own valentine and envelope with canceled stamp sent to her very own mailbox. I cannot disappoint the only daughter I have so . . . the cards are ready to go out Thursday and once they do I’ll share them with you as well.

In the meantime I’m going to get you caught up on the card from last year. As you know by my woodland holiday art I was big into squirrels and birds and deer. The squirrels have a special spot in the heart so they wandered right into my valentine design and settled in.

As you see above, the card was designed with a pull-wheel (the acorns on the green ribbons, which were longer than you see here) that would change phrases on the clock face as the acorns were gently tugged. Of course the obvious phrases were “Be My Valentine” and “I’m Nuts About You.” A few tip-ons were added for the window at top with the little bird and the flower pots at bottom.

The back of the card shares a sentiment I feel for all those close to me and at the top is a small hanging device so the card can be hung on the wall, as it really isn’t such a good standing card design. :) Oh, and one more thing. This is the only pink version of this design. I actually branched out and made all the other cards with reds instead of pinks. It seemed a bit more fitting for the holiday.

Don’t forget all those nutty people in your life you love so much and send them sentiments of love on Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Case for Good Design

My daughter, Shelby, as you’ve heard, has gone off to college this year. No one starts college anymore without a laptop. Well, probably most kids already have their own before they even finish high school. Let’s just say we’re not the first on the block to get things, but when duty calls, Shelby gets her own Mac. And that she did.

The problem is, Shelby and I have a hard time finding just the right thing in products out there in the market place. One of the frustrations of being the creative fam and just wishing you could design and produce it yourself. There is many a time I have seen this creative girl reconstruct, redesign and re-Shelbyfy items that need a special style she can be all about. The latest creation comes in a laptop case to keep her beloved Mac protected in.

As her mom is a huge collector of almost anything retro-30’s-40’s-50’s (other than actual full-sized cars), Shelby has her pick of nostalgic fabrics at her fingertips. She is quite the seamstress and dabbles in hand-stitched embroidery work. She’s a natural at it. She does not use patterns, but prefers to come up with her own, more or less wings it, and every time it comes out perfect. (This mom can say that; I can be proud, while the kids stay humble:)

She found these neat quilter pieces from my retro stash and voila, here is her one-of-a-kind laptop case embellished with name and sequins.

Case closed, Shelby’s got a great eye for design!