Monday, 14 January 2013

Standby for some honesty..

shocking bad photography, possibly proving the sentiment..

The walls of my workroom are lovingly, haphazardly and beautifully decorated with the odd postcard that's caught my eye, handmade cards that I've been sent and some fabulous artworks from WOYWWers that mark anniversaries and generally make me feel hugely important and good about myself.  And because I really like them.  As you can discover very easily by scrolling back a little, most recently I've been admiring my received handmade Christmas cards.
                 You may not want to read on if you're a bit squeamish.  
Once the cards have been displayed and thoroughly enjoyed by many, I keep them in a pile in my workroom and leaf through them, often. To make me smile, to look for inspiration, to admire a particular image, to examine and try to identify a technique.  They are a source of great pleasure to me for some time after their display date.  And then, when they aren't...I recycle them.  
                 Now, if your paper bag is allowing you to breathe more evenly......
As a genuine and prime example of my birth sign, (Cancer) I have enough guilt to fill the seven seas.  This means too that I have enough sentiment to fill the heavens.  But apart from that, I'm a normal English housewife who lives in a three bed semi somewhere relatively rural. We  do not have room.  And I have learned this the long and the hard way.  After the battle of putting stuff in boxes and 'saving' the boxes into the attic, we then find we need to convert the attic to living space.  The boxes have to go and I simply cannot find a logical case for keeping lots of them.  For I have not opened them, some for years, since they were consigned to be 'saved'.  Ridiculous. I do not have the ability to sort the 'best' from the others and just keep the ones that 'mean something to me'; they all mean something to me.  So I give myself (and poor Mr Dunnit) a break and just enjoy them for as long as they are enjoyable.  
This is the spirit with which I make cards.  I once had a stamp by Judikins that was to be stamped on the card back and read something along the lines of  'this is a handmade card and you better appreciate all the work that I did to make it and keep it forever'.  It was far wittier than that.  But I didn't use it often, because it's like passing on the guilt!  See, when I make a card for someone, all I put into it is equalled by the pleasure I get from doing it.  Assuming the recipient enjoys the attempted greeting or felicitation, that's good enough.  What they do with my erm 'art' after its display date is not only of no concern to me, but frankly, of no interest. Because I've had my fun with it...I'm moving on to the next one.
Now I know that this post will probably come as close to a confession as I'm ever likely to make (in public). But even if you think I'm a heretic, you also kind of get it, don't you?

37 comments:

Helen said...

Oh, how I recognise this... not so much with handmade things but other things I 'must' save and never look at... One day, I really really will recycle 'stuff'.

voodoo vixen said...

I get it! I wish I could do it too! I obviously don't get the quantity you do though, so I try and incorporate the few I do get into things so that I can save them... I have often used them as a page in my Journal Your Christmas books (which serves two purposes, the handmade card is saved and I have one less page to make)!! ;) I wish I could be more ruthless with a lot of my craft stuff... especially as I am going through boxes trying to decide what I can or cannot take to Oz!!

Annie said...

Well done you Julia....I struggle to throw anything out but used to have an elderly Aunt who was brave and strong minded enough to throw out anything that hadn't be used for 12 months :-)
Hugs,
A x

Carol Yates said...

I can go along with this Julia, I don't always do it as my bursting at the seams garage will attest, but I do try! I will be doing a recycling trip on Saturday with my grandson, in order that the Christmas decs. can be put away properly. Wish me luck.
Carol.x

My name is Cindy said...

Totally, totally get it. I have a LOT of stuff on display in my craft room and in one cabinet downstairs and 1 shoe box under my desk. But when it all needs to move round to make way for something new something in the shoe box has to go. Having said that, I would probably never re-cycle a canvas or an art doll - but I think that is different to cards. I have actually had one sister (who gets a handmade card from me, my mum and another sister every birthday and Christmas) say she loves them but is getting too many to keep. I have told her she can get rid of them or if she feels bad about that when she's tired of them give them back to me and I will re-cycle them!! So don't feel guilty, that's just the way it is!!

triciasconfetti said...

Also being a Cancerian I too struggle with the 'guilt ' complex. Thanks for sort of giving us permission to get rid and not feel guilty. Still find it hard though!! Tricia

Lynne said...

I get it! I really do get it! I am a Cancerian and can NOT repeat NOT bring myself to throw out anything that may come in useful in the future! I have bags and boxes of handmade cards and gifts I have received from my many crafty friends over the years....

Linby said...

yes I get it. I had a sort out the other week, some handmade cards I had kept for 7 years, felt guility and then thought - 7 years - it's long enough. some others are older and I kept as they mean more.
Linbyx

Elfcrafts said...

Good for you. It is good to have a sort out & a house full of boxes is not good for the mind. It's great to enjoy things for a while, but then it's time to replace it with the next. Besides our houses just aren't big enough are they? Em x

PeeJay said...

I'm going to make a suggestion, gleaned from someone else, that may help. Recycle those cards you can by giving them to charity. Photograph it for prosperity first (when you've enough photographs scrap them or produce a photo book). If they've got an insert, take it out and replace it with a new one (blank if you've no mind to do a written one), bag it and give it to a charity of your choice for them to sell. Easy to take out the old insert .... heat gun it gently to release the sticky. If there is no insert then the card can't be recycled in this way but it may glean some toppers or such like that somebody else might use.

SiskiyouSue said...

I was raised to save EVERYTHING! And I inherited way more of it than any one deserves... so I have decided to free myself of this burden (and the fire hazard it creates...) and to keep only what has important meaning for me and may have important meaning for my children. That does not include many, many things. Do I feel guilty? At least once a day!

MaggieC said...

I know exactly what you mean, but it is so hard, when you know how much effort has gone into those cards. It is one job I have been putting off for a long long time. I had not thought of photographing them first to keep the memory and thought. The other problem is that no matter what you throw out the pile that is left expands to fill the space. The heaps and boxes never get any less in my experience. I have a regular clear out of clothes, and never buy as many in a year as I get rid of. Yet my wardrobe and cupboards still seem to fill up again. xx Maggie

KatzElbows said...

I do this. I tear things out of magazines and when they stop inspiring me, out they go. I do the same with practice pieces. We all have such limited space that if we're not ruthless at times, we wouldn't be able move. Good for you for speaking out.

fairy thoughts said...

yup! i totally get it. I often recycle handmade cards i receive . . . it keeps them alive doesn't it and i just add to the art. As for the making my handyman often comments on the time a single card takes and why do I bother..... because I love it... the making process, it's my cocaine :)
janet

Redanne said...

I get it too Julia. Being a fellow cancerian, I am just the same as you but we are having some work done so I HAVE t be ruthless......I am sure you can feel my pain.

I made a card for a friend who was having a special birthday. I spent hours on it and it was the most complicated and lovely cards I have made. After her birthday she said 'I hope you don't mind but I gave your card to my Grandaughter to cut up as she loves crafting too'. I don't think I will ever recover from it........ Hugs, Anne x

Li'l Pidge said...

I feel your pain sister! Never know what to do with some of the items I make let alone those that are gifted to me.
Kyla

Ali H said...

Yes my husband would say I am a hoarder in the first degree - but even I feel the blessed relief of just letting things go sometimes ! Ali x

Samantha Elliott said...

I know what you mean Honey. I have some "special" ones that I don't do much with and have the same issue with tags I have made. I have taken my tags down in my room and popped them in a basket and WILL recycle them for cards THIS year. As for C cards, I have now done a layout with them on. See my blog soon! That was fun!
xx

okienurse said...

OMG! Julia we are so related! My DH tells me he is going to write the show Hoarders and see about getting them to come for an intervention. I need to go through the boxes and get rid of a lot of stuff. If I can give it away I don't think it will hurt so bad but I definitely will have trouble just trashing it!! Vickie

Darnell J Knauss said...

Totally, I get it. I do the same and feel the same. Well said!

Eliza said...

I hear you girl I am the same in most ways, limited by the amount of stuff that can be kept. I made a resolution about 6 or 7 years ago I must throw one thing a day away. It could be my shaggy toothbrush or a paper but i have kept up with this promise and when I am away from home for days on end when I get back I throw something big out. I keep my cards in a box behind my chair in the office tucked under the cupboard and this is the standard size I use over my whole office but I put cards in then take some of the real old ones out that I have outgrown. Mind you some stay forever. So whatever you do, it must be good don't feel guilty it isn't worth the energy, use the energy to craft more.

Hugs Eliza

Sunshine Girl said...

Oh I am so with you Julia - I too now have to throw out due to lack of space but I have two wall hangings now that I can attach cards/tags to for a while until I decide its time to clear out the old to make space for the new! wish I could do the same with clothes.....

Cardarian said...

I am reading your post and thinking if I will be moving I will have to go through all the stuff I have gathered over the years! Another year of work! Huh!!!!
Yes well my thoughts are the same - I love to make the cards - I am happy if people like them and say so but after that I don't ask and don't want to know what happens to my "art"!
Lots of hugs,
Cardarian!

JoZart said...

I really get it! I really DO get it!
I stood in Tesco with a bag of card to go into the Willowbrook Dump bin to do as they do with them and my hand went in and out, in and out, in and yet again out!... then I walked over to DH and asked him to put them in for me pointing over to the place to do the dastardly deed as I walked off down an aisle so I couldn't see.
Jo x

Princess Judy Palmer said...

I get it and I practice it with cards for sure and more recently with gifts too. I've also learned not to give my hubby little trinkets or silly things because he will hold onto them FOREVER if only because I gave them to him.

I will be even more shockingly honest than you. I have a couple of card making friends whose stuff doesn't even get recycled because dang... they need a new hobby. One they are good at.

Claireliz said...

Thank you Julia, I no longer feel guilty about recycling handmade or special cards from friends! For years I've snuck them into the recycling bag when no-one was looking :D
C xx

Hammers said...

I get it, hubby and I are relocating to NYC and I have had to face the craft, bag, shoe, clothing demon. Which consists of bags and boxes stored all over the place, full of the aforementioned items. I finally got to grips with it all about 6 weeks ago and now twice a week, I sort through and get rid of it...I even got a bag out of the loft, got hubby to look in it and agree to take it to the charity shop without me looking. Now that is progress. I believe all crafters have a tendency towards hoarding.

trisha too said...

Oh my yes, I do get it . . .

:)

Elizabeth said...

Hi Julia, you will know from a recent post of mine that I do not throw cards away - I stick them in an album. Admittedly, I do not have anything like the quantities you receive, so don't have the storage problem either. However, the only thing that goes up in our attic is the Christmas tree and the decs - absolutely nothing else. And I do live by the decree - if you haven't used it in some way in the last two years, toss it in the direction of a worthy charity - they will love you forever and the planet will benefit too :) Hugs, Elizabeth xx

peggy aplSEEDS said...

it's a good thing i don't live anywhere near you, Julia, because I would surely be looking through your rubbish bin regularly to check whether you've thrown anything out which I want, LOL! no wonder my attic is full!

sandee said...

I'm the same way, I had a friend that made me a plaster card one time just so I wouldn't be able to re-cycle her card, lol Extreme, huh? Oh well...you can re-cycle, trash, whatever you wish, the reason it was sent is the important reason, not holding onto it for 20 years. Unless you want to frame mine...lol ♥ waving hi from the soggy hills of North Carolina :)

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Wish I could do that but alas, I've got boxes and boxes...and then some more. patsy

Neet said...

Hear Hear! Well said Julia. I keep my Christmas and Birthday cards for a whole year, only to be replaced my the next batch. Then they go to my friend fro recycling for the annual Hospice Shop where they were so good to her when her husband was dying.
I like to share and someone else can have as much pleasure as I got from my cards from friends.

Morti said...

Oh my, confession time indeed.

On the recycling of handmade card front, the best ones I keep in a scrapbook for inspirational purposes, the rest I may recycle in one of two ways - out with the bin man or *GASP* dismantled and the parts re-used (esp. if there are nice brads or charms!).

On the storage front, moving into this house with no garage, and the larger loft being full with the owner's possessions - we HAD to take on storage for certain things, including our trailer. Not too expensive, but it's somewhere to put the Xmas decs and the things we don't currently need, like the fridge and tumble dryer (actually, that latter one may yet be got rid of). But even so, we have too much stuff hoarded and I need to do some heart-wrenching clearance.

Lastly - I have 2 of those Judikins stamps..... though not quite your wording (I think there were 3 or 4 in total) I know one says that the recipient should be impressed by the skill of the maker! LOL.....

Di said...

Oh so true - recycle away Julia!! Hugs, Di xx

Leslie Hanna said...

I'm with you. I keep them for a while, moving them from one Save box to the next, until I finally cave and reclaim space. I feel the same way as you about making the cards, and I also do NOT presume to think other people will keep it forever, so I've never guilted them by using a "this better not go in the trash" stamp on the back.

In other news, your blog posts tell me when it's Wednesday. :)

donnalouiserodgers said...

Oh God, I lost my moral compass, i do declare I actually had a blog post that showed me 're-purposing' a card - I suspect then that I may not get one from that blogger next year?

dxxxx