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I've made a whole lot of Thank You cards recently. When my father first went into the hospital in late November, I made a bunch of cards for my Mom to use to Thank all those who had sent Prayer Cards and Mass Cards for my Dad's recovery. As Dad's hospital stay continued, she used up quite a few of these cards. A few weeks later, when we knew that recovery wasn't going to happen, I began making more Thank You cards while sitting with my Dad in the Hospice facility. The outpouring of love, comfort, and encouragement after Dad's passing was nearly overwhelming from all of Mom and Dad's friends, folks from their church community, Dad's former co-workers, friends and co-workers of myself and my sisters and brothers, and from lots of family members. We received flowers, Prayer Cards, Mass Cards, and best of all, donations to charities on Dad's behalf. What a huge blessing! Thinking that this might happen, I wanted to make sure that the cards Mom sent to Thank all these folks for their kindness and generosity were just right.
Designing and making the cards presented a challenge. I could only bring a few supplies with me to the Hospice facility and those needed to fit into a small rolling file cart. Thank goodness for Stampin' Up! Designer Series Paper! I chose a pack of paper, pulled out cardstock and ink in the coordinating colors, a package of envelopes, tucked in some basic tools and adhesives, some "flat" embellishments (to minimize the postage costs), a few punches, and a couple of stamp sets that might do the trick. Add a small table, a work light, and a chair and that was my task for the day.
Most of the time, it was hard to focus on a card design while sitting in the Hospice facility. The reason for being there was never far away from my mind and there were times when I was consumed by the inevitability of the end situation. But the staff members at the Hospice facility were intrigued with what I was doing and as the days wore on, they began to participate with helping me to work out design issues. You see, if Dad was "awake" I would site with him and hold his hand while talking to him about what was going on around him; I would only work on the cards while he was "sleeping." The supplies would be on the table and as the staff walked by (on their way into the room to check on Dad) they'd see what I was doing and we'd talk about what I was trying to achieve. They'd look at the stamp sets, the embellishments, and the punches and ask the "what if" questions. We'd talk about it and when Dad went back to "sleep" I'd work with their ideas to see what I could come up with.
The first couple of Thank You cards use the Love Letters Designer Series Paper. An appropriate choice for Thank You cards, don't you think? The edges of a strip of this truly lovely paper were sponged with Riding Hood Red ink and adhered to the bottom half of the card front (the edges of the card front were also sponged with Riding Hood Red ink). A strip of Basic Black cardstock was punched with the Scallop Trim Border punch and a piece of Very Vanilla 1/4" grosgrain ribbon was knotted and placed over the top of the strip. The ends were folded under the strip and pressed in place onto a small piece of Sticky Strip on the back of the strip. The Basic Black strip was then placed over the top edge of the Designer Series Paper.
My focal point for this card is the sentiment from the Butterfly Prints stamp set. I stamped that with Riding Hood Red ink on Very Vanilla cardstock, punched it out with the Scallop Oval punch, and then sponged the edges of the cardstock with Riding Hood Red ink. I matted the sentiment with two pieces of Basic Black cardstock punched with the Scallop Oval punch; the two pieces cut apart to surround the punched sentiment. The focal point was adhered to the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals. The butterfly was stamped with Riding Hood Red ink on Very Vanilla cardstock and punched out with the Butterfly punch. The same butterfly was stamped on the card front with Riding Hood Red ink and the punched butterfly was positioned on top of the card front butterfly and adhered with a Mini Glue Dot under its body. The body of the butterfly was stamped on top of the punched butterfly with Early Espresso ink. [Having this stamp set in the Clear Mount option certainly made positioning the butterfly's body correctly a breeze!] Then the wings of the punched butterfly were gently pulled up.
The inside sentiment area of the card features a couple more of the butterflies from the Butterfly Prints stamp set, stamped with Riding Hood Red ink along the left side of the Very Vanilla cardstock. The bodies of these butterflies were stamped with Early Espresso ink. A sentiment from the Flight of the Butterfly stamp set extends from the upper butterfly toward the upper center of the cardstock. The sentiment was also stamped with Early Espresso ink. The edges of the Very Vanilla cardstock were sponged with Riding Hood Red ink prior to being adhered to the inside sentiment area of the card.
The medium Very Vanilla envelope front was stamped with the same butterfly and sentiment used for the interior of the card. This time, the sentiment resides along the left front side of the envelope with the butterfly positioned above the sentiment.
Butterflies often come to mind when I think of loved ones who have passed away. I like to think of their souls visiting us on Earth as the butterfly visits flowers; gently flitting by to share their wonderful colors and charm, causing us to smile, and reminding us that there's a wonderful, loving Presence that makes our world possible.
Stamps: Butterfly Prints, Flight of the Butterfly; Inks: Early Espresso, Riding Hood Red; Cardstock: Basic Black, Riding Hood Red, Very Vanilla; Designer Series Paper: Love Letters; Embellishments: Very Vanilla 1/4" grosgrain ribbon; Adhesives: SNAIL, Mini Glue Dots, Stampin' Dimensionals, Sticky Strip; Tools: Paper Cutter/Scorer, Paper Snips, Sponge, Bone Folder, Scallop Oval punch, Scallop Trim Border punch; Other: Medium Very Vanilla Envelope