June 12, 2007

Stamping With a Purpose

Personal soapbox alert! Before I get to that, here is the card I made for my father in law for Father's Day. You'll see in a minute why this prompted my soapbox alert. Supplies Used: Cardstock and Inks by SU: Real Red and Always Artichoke; non SU shimmery white cardstock; frog image Rubber Soul; heart by Memory Box; words from Impression Obsession (a set of individual clear words); Cuttlebug Heart Embossing Folder; bling on flower by Amuse Arts twinkle mini. Ok, now that the card is out of the way, here's my problem and my solution. Problem: stamping with no purpose This wastes my money and time -- two things that I happen to like! I've been randomly making cards with no particular purpose other than to have fun. While having fun is a good thing, I've been struggling with the point of this hobby, given its expense, time and space hogging qualities. Sunday is Father's Day. Today is Tuesday. I had no card ready -- and my FIL is many miles away. So, tonight, after rushing so fast to make this card that I forgot the artichoke layer under the frog, and really was too stressed to enjoy my little froggie, I'll slog through a thunderstorm to get to the post office to mail this priority mail (wasting even more time and money). Solution: stamping with a purpose I'm not looking to get published or to try for a design team or to make money. So, what can I do to infuse this hobby with a purpose? I'm making a list of all the cards I know I'll need for the next few months and I'll work my way through the list. Next, I'll be sending cards to the folks who send them to the troops for their use, and I'll be sending RAKs. There is always the need for a bit of brightness in someone's life. So, instead of making and posting stuff and letting the cards pile up, I'll be directing my money, time, and energy to something useful and purposeful. Whew, I feel better already!! Now -- off to the post office . . . . and yes I am going to photograph and post the autism contest cards. It is on my to do list!!

18 comments:

  1. I sure hope you let us see your cards as you go through your purposeful stamping. Sounds like a good plan.

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  2. Excellent post! You should see the pile of card fronts I've made over the last couple of years, just messing around with ideas or doing SCS challenges. No purpose except for me to have fun and justify the closet full of stamping supplies. And yet, tomorrow is my wedding anniversary, but I haven't made a card my husband! Ack! It's time to think about stamping with a purpose. THANK YOU!

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  3. That frog is so cute! I love all of the hearts!

    I know what you mean about stamping with a purpose. If I'm not making a card for a specific reason...I try to think if it would make a good RAK. Now I just need to get on the SCS Bloggers RAK list.

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  4. Joan - I agree - I usually stamp with a purpose. Thank goodness for the birthday lists in which I participate - they inspire/force me to make cards on a regular basis! I usually need a specific goal to inspire me.

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  6. Joan, I always enjoy reading your posts whether on your blog or on SCS. You always shake some *sense* into me. I've just re-discovered stamping after a 5-6 year haitus and I'm afraid I'm still stuck in shopping mode. No card making nor cards piling up - just the shopping. :( But thank you, I *need* to use my stuff and hopefully, with a purpose.

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  7. Hi, Joan. ;-)

    I guess I have mixed emotions about having to have a specific purpose in mind for stamping or other craft/artistic endeavors.

    "Justifying" my creative outlets almost seems at cross purposes to the respite these activities give me from the rest of my hectic, often harried life. Yes, stamping, cardmaking, etc. ARE costly and do require more space than I ever imagined. But still very inexpensive if you categorize their expenses as 'health insurance.' ;-)

    These creative projects are not only relaxing [if I don't get hung up on justification and production requirements!], they provide me with sustaining joy and personal gratification that really does help balance out the other areas of my life.

    If stamping for a specific purpose is the only way to enjoy the craft without adding more stress to already over-stressed lives, then consider nursing homes, children's hospitals, senior/community centers, etc. There's surely no shortage of folks whose days could use brightening from a bit of handmade loveliness delivered in an envelope.

    For me, all the above applies with one important addition: I've reached a place in my life journey where my delight in and passion for creative expression comes without guilt and, blessedly, no longer needs any justification beyond itself.

    ~ pk ;-)

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  8. I also have struggled with the "purpose" of this hobby. I know I do it cause I enjoy it and I like having some relaxing time to be creative. But, then I look at the piles of cards I have and wonder what the heck am I going to do with all of them. I just need to make more time to pass them on as RAK's, or donate them.

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  9. Great post! You're now doing exactly what I do. List of needed cards (I made a table in MSWord, LOL!), then cards for soldiers (DH is in the AF). That structure gives purpose and meaning to what I'm doing. Thank goodness there will always be creative free-spirits who can feel perfectly justified in doing something for the sole purpose of expressing their creativity, but I'm not one of them. Just too practical, I guess! I feel like I'm doing something meaningful for others at the same time I'm doing something for myself--and that enriches the activity for me. And totally keeps me from feeling guilty about all the money I spend!

    If you need a contact for cards for soldiers, PM me at SCS. My contact forwards to all her "suppliers" the e-mails she receives from the grateful troops, which really gives me a warm fuzzy to know what a kick the men and women in uniform get from the packages. Very motivational and inspirational.

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  10. I know what you mean! I was going through that too. A friend that I exercise with at Curves heard that I do stamping and make cards. She makes bouquets from day old flowers that florists donate to give to our local hospice patients. It was close to Valentine's Day and she asked if I could make some special little cards for the bouquets. Of course I jumped at the chance. Now I make cards for all the holidays. There are usually about 20 patients. I feel that I am doing something useful with my hobby. I suggest to others who NEED a reason for their cards to check into their local hospices. Even without bouquets you could find out when there are birthdays and also do holiday cards. These people actually realize how precious life is and savor every moment and gift that they are given. Okay I will get off MY soapbox now. Hope this helps some of you who needed an idea for where to help.

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  11. Wow, I am the exact opposite. Whenever I need a card for a particular person for a particular reason, it turns out like crap. I do much better if I can make cards randomly, and when I find that one is turning out especially nice, I start to think whose whatever is coming up that I can use it for, then tailor the finishing touches for that person.

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  12. I think it's wonderful that you will be stamping with a purpose Joan. :) I love making cards for my children and grandchildren. I have one granddaughter who *loves* getting a homemade card from me. She is 9 years old and loves crafts too so she appreciates my cards. :) I just sent her another one today. Your card for your FIL came out great! I'm sure that he will love it.

    Mary

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  13. I enjoy stamping the very most when there is absolutely no purpose. That is when stamping refreshes and relaxes me. Money can't buy that most of the time. I have a very stressful job as a teacher in a juvenile detention center. One of the ways we destress in class is to do art with no purpose other than making our day better.

    Life requires so much responsibility and purposeful productivity that I look for ways to just be "in the moment". I don't think you would be wasting either your time or your money when you invest in joy!

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  14. Very cute froggie card!! I hope your fil gets it in time.

    Re: Soapbox.

    I've never had the opportunity to make cards for no purpose, LOL. I am sooooo slow and always appear to be waiting to the last minute to get a needed card done, LOL. Mind you I have no life, I'm home ALL day with no children (all grown and left); however, I have a very legitimate reason for not getting things done...drugs and pain, haha. These two will definitely stop you in your tracks even if your sitting still, LOL.

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  15. Karen (aka Karen Stamps! on scs)6/15/2007 12:08:00 AM

    I hear what you're saying, but I've come to terms with it because I stamp for me, because it's fun, and because I like to try new artistic efforts. That's purpose enough for the moment. I can foresee a time though when I need to do something with these creations! Luckily cards are pretty small....

    Great blog!

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  16. I think I represent both sides of the coin. I totally agree with your frustration of investing time and money into some cards and projects while events come up like Father's Day (it's Friday, and I still need to make a card for my husband!) and I'm not prepared. So now I am feeling pressured coming up with a card. On the other hand, stamping without purpose takes pressure away and allows me, as a beginner, to just "play" with new techniques and materials. Knowing that I don't have to give the card to anyone "takes me off the hook" of anyone's else's expectations. So, your issue is a great one and a double-edged sword for me. I need to figure out how to be prepared for events AND have creative learning time. Thanks for the great post. Your blog always inspires and gives food for thought.

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  17. Good idea Joan, I need to follow your lead and make a list of the cards I will need and then actually make them before the "day of" the event. Ha ha. Then maybe I can do some extra stuff for a good cause or RAKS, etc. At least you're stamping on a regular basis, I find myself not even stamping, just buying stuff and not using it! Now that I'm out of school for the summer maybe I'll focus my energies on more fun pursuits.

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  18. I like it when you get on your soapbox. I've been through this very thought process, myself. Yes, I try to think ahead but I still wind up needing last minute cards with nothing in my stash that's suitable. All my cards get used for something and I sold about 20 of them the other day which I had saved up for that purpose. In the past I've distributed cards to the residents of a local nursing home for their personal use. However, I do believe there's value in the creative outlet and I know I need that. Like others have mentioned, I feel most free with my stamping when there's no deadline or immediate need. I know I can always use a friendship card or a "thinking of you" card for a RAK or even a "thank you" card for the folks who share their work on blogs or in galleries. And there's birthdays galore to acknowledge. I do understand and appreciate the practical side of you that has brought you to this decision and I admire it. I'm glad to hear that, rather than give up something you enjoy, you've resolved to give it a purpose.

    Also, I like your Father's Day frog card and it doesn't look like it's missing a thing. I will say that my stash is lacking in masculine cards and those usually wind up being last minute. I should resolve to fix that situation. I always enjoy making them, same as anything else, I'm just not inclined toward them so much as the feminine cards.

    Thanks for this post, Joan. It's been thought provoking and I appreciate that.

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