Right at Home with Joan Bardee #1 | A Monthly Crafty Chit Chat Column

A huge thank you to the tremendously talented Nicole for providing me with the opportunity to write a monthly column for Right at Home. I love her products and am thrilled to be here! I hope you’ll enjoy reading this column.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a retired lawyer who has been stamping for well over a decade. I blog at Dear Paperlicious. My blog is mainly cards, but lately I’ve been writing about life. This column is a little bit of both.

Right at Home with Joan Bardee | A Monthly Crafty Chit Chat Column - rightathomeshop.com/blog

I was upset, very upset. So, instead of going to lunch in the cafeteria with my friends, I walked down the perfectly polished hall of my Catholic girls’ high school towards the principal’s office. I wanted to know what went wrong and I figured the principal would have the answer.

I can still see her tall, somewhat thick, body sitting behind her wooden desk. Her nun’s habit covered all but her face. She seemed old and very wise. Now I realize she was probably 30. The nuns were a mystery. We didn’t know their real names or the color of their hair or where they grew up. Like the Wizard of Oz, they came from nowhere, but we listened to their every word, expecting to receive the answers to all of life’s mysteries.

My SAT scores had come the day before. The envelope sat on the kitchen counter, mixed in with the electric and other bills. My mother hadn’t mentioned that they had come. Parents (at least mine) were completely uninvolved in our education back then. But I was keeping an eye out for the envelope. I took it up to my room. I wanted to savor this moment by myself.

I had always been a very good student. I worked hard for those A’s, often late into the night. English was pretty easy, and I could memorize geography and foreign languages. But, math and science were tough, so I spent hours every night trying to master them.

My father had graduated from high school, but my mom had dropped out of school after 8th grade in order to help support her family during the depression. I was the child expected to go to college. I couldn’t wait. I poured over those college catalogs the way other kids looked at Seventeen Magazine, imagining living in a dorm room and staying up late in the night talking with my roommate. My SAT scores, plus my good grades, were going to be my ticket to a college scholarship.

The principal’s door was open. She looked up, surprised to see me. “Sister, do you have time to talk to me?” Yes, she did. I handed her my SAT scores and asked her why they were so much lower than my friends’ scores. Without skipping a beat she said: “Joan, you’re not smart. You do well in school because you work so hard. We can see it in your eyes in class. If you didn’t work so hard, you’d just be average.”

Average? My face blazed with embarrassment. I sat there for a moment and, after mumbling some thanks, walked out of her office and back to my next class. I could feel the Scarlet A for Average burned on my forehead (the things we do to ourselves).

That conversation, which took place almost 49 years ago, was the beginning of years of self-doubt. No matter how hard I worked in college or law school, or later as a lawyer, I knew that I was just faking it. I kept waiting for someone to show up and declare me a fraud.

But, that didn’t happen. As the years went on, I often won my cases, in part because I was so well prepared. Judges complimented me on that preparation. My clients (well, most of them) liked me. I still wasn’t the smartest person in the room, but sometimes I beat the smartest person in the room simply because I worked harder.  I learned that, given a choice between hiring someone with a perfect SAT score or a hard worker, the latter made a better employee.

Stamping doesn’t have a lot in common with lawyering. In fact, it uses very different skills. But, I’ve been on a somewhat similar journey in stamping. I wasn’t born with the artist/design gene. In fact, my dear blog readers will sometimes comment “Love the card, but I really love your writing.” In the beginning, those comments reminded me of that awful moment in the principal’s office. They felt like an insult.

Not anymore.  I am finally able to agree with those comments and I appreciate and value every single one.

Now, I enjoy trying to make cards that work for me. Rather than worrying that I don’t make stunning cards, I just keep plugging away like I did in high school. I study cards that I love, trying to unravel the mystery of a good design in the same way I tried to understand chemistry. I ask myself -- what is there about that card that appeals to me? Then I try and incorporate that design element, or elements, into my cards.

For example, one stamper almost always places the elements of her cards in the upper left or the bottom right corner of the card. I love how that tight focal point is balanced by a lot of white space. It works for her, so I try it. I didn’t come up with the idea on my own, but I use that technique sometimes.

Another woman stamps her images so that they wrap beautifully, almost delicately, around the sentiments on her cards. It’s not easy to copy that idea (I’ve tried!), but I can at least admire it and improve my layouts.

And then there’s the cardmaker who frequently uses a color scheme of bright colors + black on a white card.  I’ve learned from enjoying her cards that that combination of colors almost always works (see my card below!).

I used to feel that copying design elements was “cheating,” and that I should only create “original” cards. I wasted a lot of money and time and frustration trying to ace the SATs of cardmarking. I don’t have the design or artistic talent to create unique show-stoppers, but with hard work, I enjoy making cards that (I hope) people enjoy receiving.

And, speaking of cards, here’s one that I made with one of my favorite Right at Home sets, Grateful Heart. 

Right at Home with Joan Bardee #1 | A Monthly Crafty Chit Chat Column - rightathomeshop.com/blog

I repeatedly stamped just one small leaf from the set, and colored them with alcohol markers in an unusual aqua/blue combination. Then I added a sentiment from Happy Mail. I’d say it was quick but it took a few tries on scrap paper to get the leaves where I wanted them.

I don’t give my cards grades. That would take me back to that awful time when I thought my worth was valued by getting as many “As” as possible, or devalued by an average SAT score. And I hope you aren’t silently grading yourself either.  Cut the cardstock, stamp the image, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this card and column!  See you next month! 

Joan

Grateful Heart
17.99
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Happy Mail
7.99
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Hello Pumpkin Spice Coffee Card // Coffee Lovers Blog Hop Fall 2017

Hey there, coffee lovers! 

Who's excited for today's blog hop? I know I am! Participating in these hops are always a highlight of my season so I thank Amy for always inviting me. I feel like this blog hop was made for the fall season so I'm even more excited to share my project with you today. Let's get brewing! 

Hello Pumpkin Spice Card // Fall Coffee Lovers Blog Hop Fall 2017 - rightathomeshop.com/blog

So that it is finally fall it is officially pumpkin spice season! To celebrate, I knew I wanted to use the "Hello pumpkin spice" sentiment from my How Have You Bean? stamp set on my card. I also pulled out my Cup of Joy stamp set (obvs) and my Grateful Heart set as I wanted to use a few of the little elements. 

I started my card by die-cutting the to-go cup, band, pumpkin, leaf, sunflower, and small stitched rectangle from some Strathmore Bristol Smooth cardstock. I'm using this specific cardstock as I will be using ZIG Clean Color Real Brush Pens and Distress Oxide inks. You'll get the best blending results by using this paper! 

Hello Pumpkin Spice Card // Fall Coffee Lovers Blog Hop Fall 2017 - rightathomeshop.com/blog

I colored in all my pieces with the pens (colors listed below!) and added some details with a white gel pen. On my stitched rectangle, I stamped my sentiment in a crisp, black ink, and then sponged some Fossilized Amber and Spiced Marmalade Distress Oxide Ink towards the top. I adhered my pieces on top of the sponging with some foam tape and stamped my card base with the steam image from the same Cup of Joy set. I love how it looks like woodgrain! Oh, and you can't forget the Nuvo Drops! I used English Mustard. 

  • To-Go Cup: 090 Gray, 091 Light Gray
  • Band: 043 Olive Green, 046 Mid Green
  • Pumpkin: 023 Scarlet Red, 043 Olive Green, 060 Brown, 070 Orange
  • Leaf: 020 Red, 022 Carmine Red
  • Sunflower: 052 Bright Yellow, 062 Dark Brown

If you're more of a video watcher like me, you can watch my full process in the video below.

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I hope you are fueled and ready to continue on the hop! I'm currently on my way to get myself a brew as well before clicking along. 

Also I'm giving away a $20 gift certificate to my shop to one lucky crafter who links up her project on the Coffee Lovers Blog Hop post. You can add your submission here.

Have a caffeine-tastic day! 

Nicole

Cup of Joy
17.99
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Cup of Joy Die Set
21.99
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Cup of Joy Bundle
51.99
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Grateful Heart
17.99
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Grateful Heart Die Set
9.99
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Find the Beauty Die Set
21.99
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Hello Fall Happy Mail Swap Packaging Ideas & Tips by Jessica

Good morning!  Jessica here to share a sneak peek into my HelloFall Happy Mail swap box!  This was my first time participating in something like this and I had a lot of fun shopping for my swap partner!  One suggestion I have is to (politely) stalk your partner on social media (Facebook, Instagram, blog, etc) to get an idea of their likes and dislikes.  My partner actually surprised me with bookmarks from one of my favorite tv shows and I'm guessing she figured out that I liked that show from looking through my IG feed! ;) When I looked through her IG feed I realized that she had a few cats so I made sure to throw in an extra surprise for them in my box! :)

Hello Fall Happy Mail Swap Packaging Ideas & Tips by Jessica // rightathomeshop.com/blog

I stocked my box with a few crafty items and a bunch of fun autumn gifties!  I attached a card to the top of the box and decorated the envelope with a floral stamp from Find the Beauty.  I also included a set of blank cards that I made using Grateful Heart as well as a custom stamped linen bag that I stuffed with catnip cat toys!  I included a tag with a note indicating who the toys were for! ;)

Hello Fall Happy Mail Swap Packaging Ideas & Tips by Jessica // rightathomeshop.com/blog

My partner has already received her box so I can show a closer look at the inside of my box!  I love those soft socks from Bath and Body Works and those pretty autumn-themed washi tapes!  I hope my partner liked them, too!

Hello Fall Happy Mail Swap Packaging Ideas & Tips by Jessica // rightathomeshop.com/blog

f you didn't get the chance to sign up for this swap I hope you'll consider participating in the next one...it was a lot of fun to receive a box of fun goodies and to make a new crafty friend!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a fabulous day!

Jess