Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Rules for Living (if you're 55+)

This is not one of my typical postings but my daughter shared this with me.  It was a Facebook posting a few weeks ago. I don't know who posted or if it was there original words but I hope the person doesn't mind my sharing it.  It holds alot of potential meaning for those of us 55+ years of age.  It did for me.  Number 14 spoke especially loud to me as I have always had a hard time thinking of what I do for enjoyment as a hobby but in many ways, cardmaking and penpaling are just this.  I get great pleasure, satisfaction, and joy out of these two activities.  And while cardmaking can cause me MUCH frustration at times, I find great purpose in the idea of greeting cards serving the purpose of personal connection, whether it be giving a card in person or sending it across the miles.  I encourage you to read this.  You might not agree with everything written here but hopefully there's something that speaks to you.  Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

Many of us are between 65 and death, i.e. old. My friend sent me this excellent list for aging . . . and I have to agree it's good advice to follow. The guy who sent this hi-lighted #19.
1. It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital. Warning: This is also a bad time for investments, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.
2. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.
3. Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.
4. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other. The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then, enjoy it together
5. Don’t stress over the little things. Like paying a little extra on price quotes. You’ve already overcome so much in your life.You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.
6. Regardless of age, always keep love alive. Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor and remember: “A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.”
7. Be proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.
8. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you – keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.
9. ALWAYS stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.
10. Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.
11. Never use the phrase: “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.
12. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.
13. Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.
14. Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.
15. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven’t seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don’t get upset when you’re not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.
16. Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.
17. Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.
18. If you’ve been offended by someone – forgive them. If you’ve offended someone - apologize. Don’t drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said: “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.
19. If you have a strong belief, savor it. But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.
20. Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what’s not to laugh about? Find the humor in your situation.
21. Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking. They’ll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Let them talk and don’t worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!
REMEMBER: “Life is too short to drink bad wine and warm beer.”

Monday, June 4, 2018

The First Handmade Greeting Cards

Did you know that the first handmade greeting cards were made by the ancient Chinese? They created scroll greetings to exchange with one another to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Early Egyptians also created early greetings on papyrus to send and exchange with one another. (Wikipedia)

Visit (and Like) our Facebook page (PaperOwlArtist’s) and our Etsy shop for more interesting posts about handmade greeting cards, free card and papercraft tutorials, and latest card offerings!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

DIY Happy Mail Makings!

Don't you just love to receive happy mail, mail decorated to make you smile and look forward to opening the "gift" inside?  While I'll admit I don't always spend alot of time preparing and decorating my envelopes with mail art I do like to use decorative paper, stickers (of all kinds), and the occasional glued down washi tape.  Glued down because washi tape can curl apart from the envelope and cause havoc in the postal machines.

Last month Jeff and I taught a happy mail workshop.  This was the secone one in a series of two.  This time around we focused alot on handmade postcards, decorated envelopes, and even made a simple pop up card.  We had eight people in attendance.  Jeff and I brought enough supplies to teach an army! LOL!  Here's a sampling of what the participants made.  You might even want to try these things yourself!

Handmade collaged masterboard postcards
Collage one side of a large piece of 140 lb watercolor paper.  
Collage in layers using either matte gel medium or mod podge
Once you have enough layers (2-4) let dry.
Once dry, turn to back side of collage, measure paper into postcard size pieces
 and cut with ametal ruler and Xacto knife.
Draw back of postcard to look like a regular postcard.  Write message on 
left side, recipients address.  Affix appropriate postcard postage.  

Easy and fun to make pop up cards.

"Ransom" postcard and acrylic painted envelope
Ransom postcard:  Cut a 4" x 6" piece of 140 lb watercolor paper
Watercolor the paper and let dry.  In the meantime, 
decide on a message you'd like to send recipient.
Find and cut out a variety of different letters from magazines 
to use for your message.  Using mod podge or gel medium, adhere
letters/message onto postcard.  Let dry then write message and recipients
address on back.  Affix appropriate postcard postage and mail!

Acrylic painted envelope.;  Tear a piece of glossy magazine paper from a large sized magzine. 
Cut an envelope template from a used envelope using sturdy cardstock or paper to make the template.
Use envelope template to cut magazine paper envelope.
Lay magazine envelope on table, right side up and paint with a variety of acrylic paints.  Be sure
layers of paint are thin to allow for minimal drying time.
Once painted envelope is dry score flaps of envelopes, fold and glue bottom and sides together.
Leave top open to insert your mailing.
Make mailing label from plain paper or an adhesive label.

Here's some samples of other happy mail projects we made.  
Email us for directions if you like,

One pocket fold up

3-envelope foldup

 Happy "happy mailing"!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Looking Towards 2018 with Paper Owl Artists

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for Paper Owl Artists.   January has us facilitating a Happy Mail Workshop at Jaffe Center for Book Arts.  The workshop will be alot of fun with more than enough projects and goodies to fill the day.  Registration is already full but perhaps another will be scheduled for the Spring. 

February we'll participate in the Jaffe Center's Maker's Marketplace, one of our most favorite events.  A great venue, exceptional vendors, fabulous visitors (and buyers), and always yummy donuts and coffee.  We'll be spending time in January making new cards to add to our current selection.  If you're in the Boca Raton, FL area, please plan to visit.  We'll post more information about the event as it gets closer.

In case you haven't seen one of Jeff's handmade journals, you don't know what you're missing.  They're beautiful.  Each one is a treat to hold in your hand, let alone write or sketch in.  I'm trying to convince him to leave his full-time job to make journals but he likes his job (and paycheck) too much to listen to me.  However, he will be making more journals in 2018.  They'll be available in our Etsy shop throughout 2018 along with our greeting cards and paper collages.

As for me, I'll be continuing to work on paper collage cards and am also developing a new "line" of watercolor cards.  I've loved watercolor for the longest time.  2018 is my year to work with it.  I am NOT an artist, abstract art is my most comfortable medium so you can expect to be some interesting and uplifting cards this coming year.

Why do Jeff and I have such an attachment to making greeting cards?  For one thing, they're fun and meaningful to make and send to people we know.  We also think it's important to express our creativity.  It's also satisfying to us when people purchase our cards  Cards, whether store bought or handmade, are a way for people to connect and communicate with one another. In today's high tech world of email, texting, and Facebook and Twitter postings, we believe our world is losing the ability and feeling of emotionals and  tactile human connection. Greeting cards are just one way of providing this connection.

We hope you'll continue following us throughout 2018.  Let us know what kinds of cards you'd like us to make.  Visit (and support :-) our Etsy shop .  Make a heartfelt intention and commitment to send or give  just one card (or letter) to someone you know.  More would be even better!  Whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, get well, sympathy, or just to say hello, I promise you that you will touch the recipients heart and soul.  And who knows, you might even receive one in return!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

To each of you, our warmest wishes for a happy and prosperous 2018.  Thank you for your support this past year.  We look forward to sharing 2018 with you!

Monday, December 18, 2017

The History of Holiday Greeting Cards

We're getting our bits and pieces of paper together to make our annual holiday greeting card  (see below).  I'll post a photo of the finished card in a few days.  But why do we send holiday greetings and when did this tradition start?  To read more about the history of holiday greetings, visit my friend, Carol Christmas' fabulous letter writing blog,  Carol is a retired postal service delivery worker with a love for all things mail and letter writing related.  She and I have been letter writing penpals for a few years now.  Her blog is well worth visiting!

The start of
Jen and Jeff's 2017 Holiday Greeting Card