Thursday, August 28, 2008

Un-Usual Suspects

For those interested, the new line of clear polymer stamp sets from Stampington & Co., including full-color samples and my coloring tips, may be found at

The Stampington website offers information on all their products including publications (Somerset Studio, among many others) and calls for submissions to current and future magazines/books. You may also sign up for their on-line newsletter.

If you are fortunate enough to live near a rubber stamp or scrapbooking store, please ask your retailer if they will be carrying this product. If you are new to stamping with the clear polymer dies you will also need a set of acrylic blocks (available from Stampington and others) on which to mount them. Once you've worked with clear stamps and can see exactly where your image is being placed, it may cause you to remember all those cards (or envelopes) over all those years which had to make up for stamps that didn't land just right.

Any stampers who love working with color pencils will find the Un-Usual Suspects offer the chance for endless variations. And the comprehensive coloring tips that come with each set will, I hope, inspire everyone to take pencils in hand and see what happens.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Wonder of Resilience

Talking with a friend who spoke of tiredness which he thought was caused by the heat, I suggested that perhaps there was something more going on, something more universal. My experience of the moment seems to have components of wariness, a harboring of energies (meaning no willy-nilly expenditures), the sense of circumstances requiring us to be serious, viewing events from a Big Picture perspective and not becoming dazzled and distracted by the loud, lurid and trivial.

It is a time in which many of the people either close to me or close to those I love are trying to find their way through enormous losses. A beloved husband, mother, sister, nephew; a small, smart dog who was family; a vanished job; diminishing eyesight; a home forefeit; dreams of retirement and safety evaporated; gloomy medical projections that, while not actually here, cause sleepless nights.

And I don't imagine that these tales are unique to my community. That we are all in this together becomes clearer as we have a chance to tell pieces of the story as we know it. And yet...I remain, as I have been for some years, overwhelmed by our resilience, our ability to grieve and still congratulate a friend on some current success, the way we can actually weep and laugh at the same time, the skill with which we can plan and hope while watching something of irretrievable value slip away. We are all, on wildly varying scales, survivors of catastrophe; I don't know of a life that has never been touched by grief or trauma or loss. And still songs are written, cartoons that are actually funny appear in the daily papers, impossible cakes are dreamed of, baked and enjoyed, babies, weddings, new ventures and old movies cause us to smile.

For my 50th birthday party I made laminated pins, a pair for each guest's treat bag - a birthday without treat bags? No. One pin said, "The first 50 years are the hardest," which I have of course revised as time has passed. The second said, "In spite of everything there is laughter." I haven't changed my mind about that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where We Meet

My father was a writer. He treasured history, nature, words that had fallen from popular usage and the printed page. He would sometimes end a phone call or letter with, "Leave a note under the rock," which I always took to mean regardless of events, we would devise a way to be in touch.

Today, my second day of reading and responding to comments from kindred spirits met and unmet who have found this blog, I thought of the phrase which has stayed with me these many decades. What we are doing, as I interpret it, is leaving each other notes under the rock. As each one passes by, she picks up the message, reads it, adds whatever thoughts or images it has sparked and puts it back for the next pilgrim. And the words or their intention circle back to us, whether under the rock, over the wires or through simple telepathy. It took me some time to understand how a blog, unlovely as the word is, might enrich my life and expand my world and, I can only hope, allow me to do the same as I leave my rock-weighted note and walk away.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Street Team Challenge #22 - I'd Like to Thank...

Imagine yourself as one whose name is read when they open the envelope during some Hollywood awards show. You have mere seconds before the orchestra plays you off stage. How could that possibly be enough time to thank everyone who has helped you reach this moment? Be prepared. Start your list.

Where are you today - in your creative, spiritual, financial, personal, professional or any other version of your life? Where might you be were it not for all the love, teaching, effort, faith, trust, friendship, kindness or reckless enthusiasm that has been poured into you over the years? Who stood behind each of those blessings, large or small? For today, we can think our gratitude. We can reach back for the names and the uplifting acts. We can move out of our minds and into our hearts, clear that our success, our very survival, is the result of so many people who extended themselves for us in ways that were nothing less than the answers to prayers.

For today, give yourself the gift of remembering. Be present in the moments that shaped you and gave you courage, that taught you to believe in yourself. See the faces, hear the voices, recall the words. For today, simply allow the experience of goodness to be replayed. Sit in the knowledge that we are here with, for and because of each other. We can work on the speech tomorrow.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Beginning

August 7, 2008

For anyone who finds this, it is a week (as they all are) of blessings, one of them being that I discovered press releases when I googled myself, trying to see about having this blog be one of the google entries so readers can be sent here. A new line of clear polymer rubber stamps sets based on drawings of mine is in production by Stampington and Co., due to be released this month, and marketing director Sarah Meehan prepared and distributed (who knew there were so many on-line public relations sites?) a press release - oddly, one of my previous careers - with information about the stamp sets and the fact that each set will include detailed instructions for working with color pencils, assisting customers in duplicating the color samples.

It is also a week when the reminders are all around me that we are here to offer support, comfort, cheer - whatever useful things we bring to the table - to one another. As friends have taught me, one of the most significant gifts we have to offer is our witness, that we can hear and affirm each others' experiences. Sometimes the fact that someone listens is enough.