Art and Craft

Renewed Purpose

I spent the last week in Florida with my mother, hoping to keep her spirits up on the 1 year anniversary of my father’s death.  We spent a good deal of time reminiscing about him – his unapologetically unique and authentic self, his attributes as well as his faults.  She and I cried a little, laughed a lot, and we fought some, too.  I guess it wouldn’t be my family if there wasn’t at least a little of that.  But I think my mission was accomplished – I definitely kept her busy!

On two occasions, I also got to spend some quality time with my aunt and uncle.  Growing up, I adored these two so much.  My aunt was always creative, passionate, hip.  And my uncle was such a loving partner to her.  In getting to know my uncle, seeing how he cared for my aunt, what was once my fractured image of what a life partner ought to be was shaped into something much brighter, much more tender.

A few years ago, my uncle was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  And since then, mostly from afar, I’ve seen his condition slowly deteriorate.  At first, during family gatherings I was able to attend, I’d notice that he’d forget what I had just told him in conversation.  No big deal, I didn’t mind repeating.  Now, he sometimes forgets who I am.  He clearly remembers his distant past, his youth.   My aunt is his touchstone.  Years ago, I always loved being around these two when they joked with one another.  Spending time together on this visit, I got to see him be playful in just the way he always used to.  He’s still there.  But his confusion about what’s happening to him is definitely growing.  I can’t imagine an illness worse than one, which, bit by bit, takes away all your memories.

The way I understand it, routine becomes really important to individuals suffering from this disease.  So I’ve decided to add cards from me to my Uncle Yet’s daily routine, firstly, to hopefully give him a reason to get up and out the door of his unit, and secondly, to help my aunt through the challenges ahead with reminders of simple things for which we can be grateful.  I may share some of these simple projects with you.  Perhaps all.  We’ll see.  I will tell you that I’m glad to have found renewed purpose through cardmaking, a way to hopefully help.

For my first card, I picked up some bright mixed media scraps – these had been painted way back when with Clearsnap iZinks and a brayer.


The bright happy colors reminded me of the simple pleasure of how sunshine feels after you’ve been cooped up.


I used a die from the new Happy Trims set that I used in my last Sizzix blog post.  This one has an intricate leaf pattern.  This die barely fit inside my scrap piece of paper – the Magnetic Platform was so useful in keeping my die exactly centered on top of the scrap!


All three dies in this set really exploit the potential for detail possible through die-cutting.


To simplify adhering this small die-cut to a card front, I used my Xyron X Tool.  Love that thing!


I liked the random look of leaving whichever leaf interiors decided to hang on, so I left them.  A few sequins, some staples, and a word – something simple about this life for which we can be grateful.


These warm and cool hues always make a funky, energetic pairing, don’t you think?


I’m still doing my 365Grateful journal and am thinking it has probably influenced this process I’m initiating with my cards.  What a beautiful ritual that has truly improved the quality of my life!!!


6 thoughts on “Renewed Purpose

  1. Vivian, making the card for your Uncle and Aunt is a very sweet thing to do. It will bring joy to your Uncle even on the days he doesn’t recognize your name. I know how insidious this disease is. My mother lived with us for the last 10 years of her life and the last 5 were in advanced Alzheimer’s. The cards will especially be nice for your Aunt. It is always the hardest for the caregivers.

  2. It’s been awhile since visiting your creative blog. I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing. I too lost my father and matter of fact, going to Tokyo for his memorial in Sept. He’s been gone for 6 years (but Japanese tradition counts it as 7..don’t ask, need to look it up – lol!). First year, my mom always had a visitor everyday (my brothers’ families) but she told me nights were hard. I stay with her two weeks at a time when I visit…sorry, rambling.

    Anyways, I love what you are doing for your aunt and uncle – I am sure they appreciate the cards 🙂 Beautiful warm & bright like the sun background – I need to pick up the brayer again and try this with my paints. Thanks for the reminder!

    Have a good week and much love to your mom!
    MargieH in Chicago

  3. Hi Vivian, for me it’s has been also a while that I have visit your blog……….sorry for the loss of your father, I know how difficult it is…….I still miss him after 20 years………I was touched by the story of your uncle and aunt and had to post a comment……..great that you will sent beautiful cards to brighten up their days! hugs from across the ocean……Miranda

  4. I am so sorry that all this has happened. Hugs to you and your mom. Your uncle’s disease is so sad. Sending him cards to brighten his day along with words sounds like a wonderful idea. It reminds me when my grandson was far from me and just a baby, I used to take my favorite picture of us and always punch it out in the round and put it on the back of cards I would make him hoping that when I came for visits, he would remember me and the adjustment period would be short. It worked and he always knew who I was. Our memories can be temperamental as we get older. I probably should still continue this for different reasons now. Light and Love to you and your family.

    On Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 8:33 PM, contadina k wrote:

    > contadinak posted: “I spent the last week in Florida with my mother, > hoping to keep her spirits up on the 1 year anniversary of my father’s > death. We spent a good deal of time reminiscing about him – his > unapologetically unique and authentic self, his attributes as well as ” >

  5. How very thoughtful to send cards for your ailing uncle! Nothing better than being thought of and even more meaningful when made with loving hands! My prayers are with you and your family.

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