Saturday, June 27, 2020

Papercrafters Unite Against Racism

I am happy to be participating in the Papercrafters Unite Against Racism blog hop. I believe creating is good for the soul, that whatever you can make—cards, scrapbooks, scarves, bread, poetry—you should! Your shared creations can inspire others, bring them comfort and help them realize they are not alone.

And that's what this hop is about—it's about showing our crafty sisters and brothers of color that we are here, we are aware of injustice and we want to do better and be better...for them, for ourselves and for our children. This is a fabulous time to show love and support. The world is insane right now and we can take a minute here and just say to our fellow crafters, we got you, fam.


When someone says something racist or even just ignorant, it's our duty to say something. When you correct someone, they aren't going to appreciate you, they aren't going to say thanks. They're going to be put out, angry or belligerent. Too bad. It's time to say, that's not true. You're wrong. I won't listen to these words. I can't let you talk like that around my kids. And whatever else needs said. When someone says, "I'm not racist, but..." you can say, "I'm glad you're not racist, but that belief sounds racist. You might want to phrase it differently or find out for sure what the facts are." 

I chose a powerful quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. to letter and turn into a card for my first project. I think sometimes it's easy to put people into the "other" category so we don't have to worry about them and the current adminstration encourages this mindset. Enough of that! We have to speak out now and see that what's happening to some of us affects all of us and that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."




For my second project, I fell back on the cute projects I love to create...for me, cuteness in the world can counteract ugliness and I gravitate to cute stamps like this freebie from Heffy Doodle. And the sentiment is something I'd like to send everyone who is feeling disheartened and angry and afraid and alone...if I could, I'd send out loving vibes to everyone who needs them. I watercolored the bg and used colored pencil and markers on the images and fussy cut them. The grass is just a bunch of markers. This is a British post box, but the image also comes with a US mail box...I just liked this one better and I have no idea if they're blue. The sentiment is Phrase Builder Sending die set from Pink & Main.




The next stop is to hop over to see Jess Crafts here...I think you're going to like her work! You can head to the amazing co-ordinator, Justine Hovey's blog to find the full hop list.

Kristina Werner has put together a list of crafty IG accounts if you want to show some support by following. And Jennifer McGuire has put together a list of things here that can educate us on some important topics. You can scroll down two posts here to my Juneteenth blog post here to see some places you can donate to that are doing some good in the world. Other places you can donate include Black Table Arts, The Loveland Foundation, Fair Fight, Black Girls Code and The Bail Project. We have many ways that we can give our time, talent and treasure so that this world is a little more just.

Thanks for stopping, thanks for adding your support and your voice to ours so that we can make the papercrafting community inclusive and loving.

p.s. if books and reading are your thing, like they are mine, you can see a list of books on racism on this blog post at Books Make a Difference.


Happy Saturday,
Chark


Friday, June 26, 2020

Happy Chocolate Pudding Day, Puddin'

So, yay for chocolate pudding...one of those fast and easy desserts when you just need something chocolate and creamy. I love the individual puddings meant for lunch boxes but my favorite flavor, Snack Pack Chocolate Marshmallow is hard to find anymore...and I'm guessing that means they don't sell it but it was tasty good. 

My daughter loved to make instant pudding when she was a kid because it was easy and she could add in chocolate chips or marshmallows and her little brother thought she was the best :)

One of my favorite ways to make a pudding dessert is to make a chocolate cream pie with it. I will almost always order that if I find it on the menu somewhere. I've included a recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie on this blog post, even though it's my post for Lemon Cream Pie Day...I figured if Lemon  got their day, Chocolate should too.

Since it's summer and hot here in Ohio, here's a Frozen S'mores Pudding Pie recipe
from Shaken Together that uses instant chocolate pudding. I've used a similar recipe before but in addition to adding marshmallows, I added in crushed oreos, white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you want to add these in, just decrease the amount of marshmallows so you end up with less than 2 cups of additions. 



There's something really fun about this frozen pie...it's not like an ice cream pie and not creamy on account of being frozen, but it's perfect for summer. And, yep, it's an easy one! I highly recommend it! It does need 3-4 hours in the freezer before eating, so make it in the afternoon so you can have it after supper.

And, if you don't even have time for instant pudding, just put a Snack Pack pudding in a bowl and stir in some marshmallows and chocolate chips and gram crackers crumbs. It'll freeze faster too, since it's smaller...win/win.

Since it's still quarantine time, you could buy some little pudding cups and leave them on a friend's doorstep with a little note that says, "Hi, Puddin', Happy Chocolate Pudding Day!" Add in a little free clipart pudding cutie and you're good to go!


My husband has taken to saying, "Hello, Puddin'" to me like the character Ray-Ray from the Rock's version of the movie Walking Tall...I've tried to find a video clip of it, but I can't. If you're a Rock fan, you've probably seen this movie and know just what I'm talking about. However, I didn't watch that one and so I had to have it explained to me. I do think it's funny, though.

Hope you'll join me tomorrow for a special extra weekend blog hop!

Happy Friday!
Chark









Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Juneteenth

I don't know when I learned of Juneteenth, but I know it was when I was already an adult, not in history class as a child. It's amazing how little history of black culture was taught. I could also say that women's history wasn't taught enough...I learned about the 19th Amendment on Schoolhouse Rock. I hope this is different now in schools, but I'm guessing it doesn't go as far as it should for the 21st century.

Everyone celebrates July 4 in the USA, to commemorate the victory of the colonies over England, but it really just celebrates the victory of white colonists, since black people were left enslaved here—there was no victory for them. June 19th, however, became an important date starting after the Civil War for the freed people living in Texas. You can read more about the history here, in a PBS article that I've excerpted below, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The boldface type is mine.

While national black leaders continued to debate the importance of remembering other milestone anniversaries, the freed people of Texas went about the business of celebrating their local version of Emancipation Day. For them, Juneteenth was, from its earliest incarnations, as Hayes Turner and others have recorded, a past that was “usable” as an occasion for gathering lost family members, measuring progress against freedom and inculcating rising generations with the values of self-improvement and racial uplift. This was accomplished through readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, religious sermons and spirituals, the preservation of slave food delicacies (always at the center: the almighty barbecue pit), as well as the incorporation of new games and traditions, from baseball to rodeos and, later, stock car races and overhead flights.

Juneteenth ought to be celebrated all through the US, since these are our forefathers as well. Just as history class skipped right over the important contributions of the women at NASA (that I had to learn from the movie Hidden Figures), it ignored the celebration of Juneteenth. In my education, even the Reconstruction period and the importance of the Jim Crow laws were skimmed over. I knew what they were but not how they were truly important. Emancipation Day is a huge deal and should be celebrated as such.

During this confusing, angry and downright disheartening time of Covid and the need for the BLM protests and the lack of intelligent leadership from anyone in the white house, when things seem absolutely crazy, I've been quietly digesting and reading up on politics, race, health and relationships. I feel overwhelmed, sad and angry at all the injustice I'm seeing. I felt like white people jumping in and saying "my black brothers and sisters" was almost trite or patronizing until I realized, we are supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ...that the phrase "my brothers and sisters" indicates a fellowship of people on the same team, in the same family, on the same journey. We have to be close as family and help and support one another. 

It broke my heart to know that George Floyd called for his mother with his last breaths. I'm a mother and my children will always be my babies, no matter how old they get. I would move mountains to save them and protect them. So, too, I must see there are even more children who need me. Black children who are living lives I never really understood until now, though this has been happening forever. Children at the border who are separated from their mothers need me and Asian children who are discriminated against because Covid is a "Chinese" virus need me. 

We have to realize we are all more alike than different and that whenever any prejudiced notions pop up in our heads, it's important to analyze them. Why did I think that? Is there any basis to this thought? Where did I hear that? Do I know if this is true? Would I feel differently if the race of this person were different...and why or why not? 

My husband is a firefighter and so I know there are good police officers, but I know, too, that many of the departments have policies that need improving, that protecting each other's bad behavior is rampant and that the military can train soldiers in non-lethal detention...so our police departments on the whole must do better. And that individuals must do better. I would love to see a huge wave of women and minority young folks become police, firefighters, teachers and politicians right now. We need more varied voices in the room. I am hopeful that we will improve but I am afraid many of us won't. 

So, I will give money to charities like Save the Children, the ACLU, the NAACP legal fund, and Chinese for Affirmative Action. I will read to educate myself on my fellow citizens like Native Americans and how to help them here and read books on racism like the ones on this list for further education. I will learn about the health crisis so I can correct people who say black people don't wash their hands and that's why there are more cases in their communities. I will tell other white people that racist words or jokes are unacceptable. 

The hardest thing I had to do as a teenager was speaking up to my dad. He was talking about a friend of mine who people thought was gay but wasn't open about it (which would be impossible in the 1980s in my small town). Dad said his name in a singsong way to imply his femininity I guess. I knew what it meant—that my friend was gay and that being gay was worthy of contempt. I had let it go a few times and finally couldn't take it anymore. "Dad, he's my friend and I'd appreciate it if you didn't talk like that about him." 

I'd like to say I was more eloquent, that I educated him on homosexuality or something, but I was just a 16-year-old kid raised in small-town America with no more tools than he had. It was the only time I spoke up to my dad, to tell him he was wrong and I was upset with him. I'd like to think he respected me for it because he never did it again. It's ok to say, "that's not cool with me" with your friends or family, even if it means the whole family will give you crap about it and call you a snowflake or whatever. Because it's just time. Time to act like grown-ups and stop picking on people to prove you're better than they are. Because that's what it feels like. You can't tear other people down to feel superior. We have to be better. 

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, and it rightly deserves its place in history books. I know we cannot wait to be free from the fear of corona virus, to be free from violence and ignorance, we cannot wait to be free to just live and love and be who we are. It is my greatest wish that we grow from these dark times, that love will win and peace will come and we will learn that we are better for learning these painful lessons. 

Happy Friday, with hope in my heart,
Chark






Friday, June 12, 2020

Meditate On This—Journaling with Julie 6

Can't believe we're up to the 6th project in this cool Art Journal book that my sister, Julie, and I are completing in our own homes and then sharing with each other.


For this project, we decided to Facetime while we created, which ended up being way more fun. We chatted about this and that while we each worked on the project. We got to share progress and say hi to family members who wandered in and out and we offered advice and encouragement. I highly recommend doing this with a buddy...it's the next best thing to being there (some commercial stay with us forever, thanks, Bell Long Distance).

For this project, you were supposed to meditate and get in touch with your feelings, physical and emotional and then draw a girl meditating that represented you. My girl did not look like me much, but Julie did make her girl have blue hair—which she has currently. I used a pink and red situation because I didn't want to make gray hair, lololol.

You start with water soluble crayons or watercolors and then add acrylics and markers and collage the background. It was pretty enjoyable even though during the process we both were like, you know what—this is a hot mess. I felt like it came together more after adding the dark outline and kind of pulled the whole thing together. 


Here's Julie's version. She was afraid to add in the black outlines and totally mess it up...but I'm going to try to encourage her to keep going next time...because it's a process and kind of cool to go where you've never gone just to see what it's like. Shhh! Don't tell her I plan to push her out of her comfort zone.


Did you notice we both decided on rainbow clothes? In the original project, you're supposed to add chakra symbols but they're kind of complicated, so we both ditched that idea. Julie added her chakra beads, though, so that counts.

Hope you're able to do some crafting or watch cool crafting videos like I do (Vicky Papaioannou is one of my faves, she's got this great accent, is crazy talented and does the voice over instead of talking while crafting...plus she's a cardmaker and art journaler, so there's something for everyone) during this holed-up-in-my-house virus time.

Happy Friday,
Chark


Saturday, June 6, 2020

It's A Bird! Journaling with Julie 5

So, my sister and I are each completing the art journal prompts from this fab book by Tamara LaPorte—it's on sale here at Dick Blick I noticed. Julie and I live a couple states apart, but we try to work on the same lesson at the same time and then share our results. This week's lesson was a Quirky Bird and it was super fun and easy.



We used watercolors and doodles to make them. It's supposed to be a representation of you, so my bird is holding a pen and book and Julie's has glasses. Here's my bird in the early stages of watercoloring.



And here's the finished version after markers and doodles and lettering. The quote on the book is something my husband's Aunt Mae said about me once. I took it as a compliment.


This is my sister's version. I really like the black background and the intricate symbol she drew. 



Are you doing any collaborative art projects during this crazy time? I'm joining in some challenges to try to keep my art going so I don't get discouraged with life right now. Art heals and I'm determined to keep a positive outlook and hope for a better world.

Happy Weekend!
Chark




Friday, May 22, 2020

Dragonflies Make Me Happy

I have a fabulous cover die from Stamplorations that I can't get enough of...I have a stack of these die cut from different papers just waiting to be used and I thought I'd share a couple here.

This first one (my entry for the Stamplorations Spring Fling Linky Hop) is in white cardstock and the background is watercolor on Bristol paper. The body is done in Stickles and the eyes are dimensional clear and glittery from Stickles and Tonic Crystal Glaze. I edged the card in silver washi tape and used a little white gel pen on the wings.


This one uses a piece of Bristol cardstock that I watercolored with ink smooshing and Distress Inks in Picked Raspberry, Salty Ocean, Squeezed Lemonade and Peacock Feathers. I backed it with text paper from an old book and actually Did Not Use any glitter products...wha?! I felt like the die was colorful enough as is. I entered this project through IG in the Linky Hop.



I love large cover plate dies that take up the front of a card, especially cool ones like this that need very few additions. I could've added a sentiment but I just didn't want to cover any of it up.

I'm planning to enter project #1 from here in the Spring Fling Stamplorations hop...you have until May 31 to join in to win prizes.


Happy Friday!
Chark