Meet Gina

Crafter extraordinaire

Hi, I’m Gina

Why do I make cards? I have been wanting to write this for a while, and now is a good of a time as any. Honestly, one of the things I am bad at is composing posts in my head that never actually see the light of day, and this one really needs to not be just something that keeps bumping around in my head.

Where do I start? Well, I will try and start at the beginning since that is as good of a place as any. When I was a kid I had a fascination with mail, everyday things magically were brought to your house by a nice person. When the mail was for me it was always magical, especially since as a kid it was generally a card.

Going to the post office was an epic adventure as well, it was just so cool. My parents pointed out that the best way to receive mail was to send mail, this led to me amassing several penpals (most of which didn’t last very long). Back in the day, there were books called “Free Stuff for Kids” that you could send an SSAE to places and they would send you stuff, I would devour those books. My dad also collected stamps and got me interested in that as well, which meant there was always stamps to use to send my missives.

So, for a bookish, geeky, introverted kid without a lot of friends, the mail became even more amazing because it allowed me to connect with the world in a way that worked for me.

I started making friends and passing notes became more common than writing to penpals, but the realization that I was still very much sending my thoughts through written word was not lost on me. I also developed an addiction for going to Hallmark stores and simply looking at all of the different cards, and occasionally picking one up.

The thing is I learned that if you give someone a card (especially if you find the perfect one) it makes them really happy. What a great way to improve someone’s mood with something so small? My freshman year I devised a system of knowing my friend’s locker numbers so that I could deliver them cards to make them a bit happier. Making others happy makes me happy. Then we moved.

I gathered my friend’s addresses before we moved and wrote them as much as possible. I was in a new school clear across the country and it took me a long time to build new friendships. I was lonely a lot, and whenever I was lonely I would pull out my address book and write someone. It helped me keep my head above water until I started to make new friends in my new town. Every once in awhile I would even receive a letter from back home and I would get the chance to feel like I was right there again. Books and letters once again saved me. In all, I attended five different high schools, so there was lots of rebuilding of this process.

Then came college. I attended a school that was nowhere near where any of the high schools I attended were located, and I started at midterm. It made my first months really lonely. I had a friend who heard me and started sending me cards. It was awesome to go to my mailbox and there was actually something in it. I hung all of those cards on a wall in my dorm room so that I could look at them and they reminded me that I was not alone in this world. Some were funny, some were sweet, but they all were the most amazing thing in the world to me.

 

During all of this, I still had an addiction to going to card shops and looking at all of the amazing cards and occasionally picking up one when I could. I also developed an addiction to pretty writing paper. I always had a stash of paper to write letters and it would go to waste if I didn’t send letters. I also had friends scattered all over the place that I didn’t want to lose touch with.

When I got married I didn’t write as many letters anymore, and most of the cards were for family occasions. Computers were starting to become more prevalent and email was much more common. I would make web pages and graphics, but I still longed for paper and cards. I would go to a local paper store and get crafty things while looking longingly at the card making supplies. The laundromat that I frequented had a little nook of stamps and such and I would again look longingly at everything while sitting there. I made a promise to myself that if I was ever diagnosed with MS (my mother had it so it was a possibility) and couldn’t walk I would learn to make cards. That day came.

I kept my promise to myself and I am so glad that I did. I have learned that when I am having problems with the pain I can focus on making cards and I am not focusing on the pain. I have lost the ability to do a lot of the cooking and baking that I used to do (I attended cooking school) and have found that many of those techniques can be used in making cards. I used to sew, my first job was at a fabric store, but I can’t really run a sewing machine at this point, I do use a lot of my old craftiness still. While I am working on my cards I can either think about what is bugging me or block it all out. I have been able to build strength in my arms and hands, and it is great as a cognitive exercise.

The most important thing is when you go through times in your life of no friends, you truly appreciate the friends you do have. Just because I have lost touch at different moments doesn’t mean that I don’t cherish each and every person that I have been blessed to call a friend in my life. When I send cards it is my way of saying “I see you! I love you! You are worth something to me!” I get sad that there are people that I haven’t found again, or that have passed on.

I am sure that I forgot things I wanted to say in here. I might make another post if I can remember things. I think the biggest thing that I needed to say was that when I send you a card I don’t expect anything in return. I wish I could send more to more people, but I do what I can. I send them with the hopes that they make you happy. If it made you smile than I did my job.

What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.

~ Author Unknown