Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Cup of Tea

The desire to have my own business started many, many years ago. Like so many others, we work to support our families, and often that job takes us far away frrom the dreams of our youth. Yet I feel fortunate that my corporate career took me to world renown companies. Each of those companies allowed me to make a good living and learn skills in so many different areas. I would not trade those years of experience and growth for anything.

During my corporate years I did make time for my artistic passions, whether it was sewing, cross-stitching, scrapbooking, or photography. During the past few years I further developed my life-long passion for photography and, at the same time, found a very satisfying outlet in making greeting cards from scratch. As diverse as these two creative endeavors may seem, they came together by abbreviating the scrapbooking activity, and sharing the photography through a different medium, greeting cards. The cardmaking then became a new sideline, resulting in handcrafting close to three hundred cards over the past three years. I love this craft! What is so surprising, and satisfying, is that people tell me that they can't bring themselves to throw away my cards. I even gave gift sets of the cards for people to use, but they wouldn't part with them unless it was for a very special person. Wow! Thus was born my little idea to take it to the next level in a company called "Made for Keeps Originals". Not only does that name seem an apt description of the cards, but when I was little my grandmother told me that I was "made for keeps".

What about the photography? Absolutely a big part of my life, every bit as much as the cards and I will continue to build that business, as well. Many of my posts so far have featured photos and there are many more to bring out of the vault. But for this post I want to share a new card design that we are pretty excited about. A few weeks ago I showcased some cards that were submitted to a magazine. I won't know for some time yet if any will be published. So, I continue to make cards (all from scratch) and take photos to put into my little shop at the Branson Craft Mall. I am happy to see more success there as the busy season gets underway. Other outlets for both the cards and photos will be announced --- soon, I hope!

So, here are some cards inspired by a recent trip to the Amana Colonies in Iowa. One of my favorite places there is the General Store which is like walking into history. They have so many fun things and great gift ideas. Well, being attracted to beautiful colors, I found a basket of beautifully wrapped tea bags -- yes, tea bags! Bright burgundy for raspberry tea, royal blue for Ceylon tea, turquoise for Japanese green tea, lavender for Darjeeling tea, teal for vanilla spice tea, .... well, you get the idea. So did I! Thinking about all the paper I have at home in dozens --- ok, hundreds-- of colors and prints, a layout formed in my head to put a special surprise in the cards. Thinking of friends far away who I know enjoy tea, these cards were designed with them in mind. So, to say "Hello! I wish we could have a cup of tea together", here's "Have a Cup of Tea on Me":
And inside, one of the sentiments:

Find an island of tranquility in each day, and have a cup of tea on me!