Good Spirits

I am an idealist with a healthy dose of realism.  We can be taken down by the disappointments of our daily lives and the dark forces within them, or the greater world, or we can confront these realities and counterbalance them with creativity and compassion.  My idealist nature has opened me up to not just a few tricksters throughout my life, and in recent years, I’ve experienced a not-so-healthy dose of disappointment.  It is easy, and human, to become discouraged, to want to disengage as a result.  And this reaction very well may be necessary for our own healing and growth.  Like a yoga instructor once said to me, “It’s important to open, but you have to close, too.” This was a really important revelation for me.

But then you need to find a way to open back up again–to trust, to forgiveness, to acceptance.  That is the hard task of living.  Cynicism, negativity, rigidity are much easier, but if prolonged, much deadlier states of being.  I know I have held on to people or incidents using them to stoke my anger, as proof of what a dismal business any relationship can be.  The reality is no matter how generous or kind you are to some people, no matter how authentically you try to conduct your life, you can’t necessarily expect reciprocation, and to expect as much, while only natural, can be a recipe for disappointment.  It also leads to a transactional view of the world or relationships (rather than a transformational one) which isn’t healthy or realistic in the long run.  What I’ve come to find, rather, is that often you will receive what you need when you need it, and it may be from an unexpected source, at an unexpected time.  Sometimes this source is within us, other times it is outside of us.  Reminding myself of this on a daily basis is one thing that helps me persevere in my personal and professional realms.  It also helps me recognize my own shortcomings and forgive myself when I haven’t directly acknowledged or repaid someone’s kind act.

And this weekend in particular gave me pause to reflect on all of this, not only because of the conversations and interactions I had, but also because I received an unexpected gift in the mail from a fellow paper crafter.  There are myriad reasons why anyone creates art–for me, one reason is to counteract the ugliness in the world, and sometimes in my mind.  It is the same reason why I, and many of us, retreat into nature.  Both remind me that the world is a beautiful place and we can have a hand in that beauty.  Becoming part of an international group of paper crafters and artists has contributed to that sense as well.

So I just wanted to publicly thank Jeanne of A Kept Life for her kind gesture.  Not only did she send me one of her gorgeous cards with a wonderful note, she included some Pretty Little Studio materials–and I love their work.  In case you don’t know Jeanne, she is on numerous design teams and has an amazing flair for color and pattern.  Her cards just pop out of the screen, and are even more delightful in real life.  Please pay her a visit!  These are just a few of my favorites of hers, seasonally appropriate! Click on image for more information.

I have been working, as usual, behind the scenes quite a bit on different pieces, but haven’t had much time to write and post the work.  I finalized this card last week, inspired by Fusion’s latest challenge.  There are some AMAZING entries (as usual) from the design team and players this week!  Go check them out!


I integrated most of the imagery in the photo, including the branches and the mini candelabra, and manipulated the sketch a bit.

Trick or Treat1

The inside sentiment is from Waltzingmouse’s Halloween set released last  year. inside trick or treatAll of the ephemera is from an old American Crafts set; I die cut the clock (Crafter’s Companion), branch (Memory Box), and leaf sprig (Maggie Holmes).  The papers are old October Afternoon, and the base is one of my favorite cardstocks, “Fuse” by MFT.  I am not a big twine or ribbon user in my cards, but I do love the look of that moldable wax twine as a finishing touch sometimes.

close up trick or treat1

Click to enlarge.

I am also playing along with AAA Cards and a new-to-me challenge, Time Out (I made it over, Anita!!)

timeout challenge
Time Out Challenge


In the next few days, as the moon becomes full and the veil thins, I hope your world will be full of good spirits, and if you encounter any ghouls, may you find the power to cast them off.  I plan to be back with some more Halloween fare before the week is out, but if not, enjoy this enchanted season and revel in the treats of Halloween night!

16 thoughts on “Good Spirits

  1. I agree, lovely personal reflections that have wound their way to the realization that you are thought of in some ways with no strings whatsoever, for what you are..a wonderful sweet crafter that inspires all of us!

    So glad to see your fantastic creation for FUSION, I adore it!!!! LOVE all of the fab elements, layering and your thoughtful placement that is just perfection!!!!

    HUGS and Love Kimberly!!!!

  2. You are one of many talents Kathryn – I was first attracted to your beautiful style, then amazed at your gorgeous photography, and now I find you are an excellent writer! I want to copy and paste your post today because you captured so many things that I think and feel. Yes it is so tempting to withdraw from the ugliness in the world, and I too try to “create” my own “beautiful” place. We are surrounded by angels – people placed strategically in our path to lift us when we need it! I feel blessed to know I got to do a good deed totally unaware that the timing would be perfect. Here’s to the beginning of a very long friendship! 🙂

  3. Yay, you made it Kate … and with such an awesome card! Love how you’ve layered and blended the elements so beautifully … a spooky delight! Fabulous to have you playing along with us at Time Out, my friend! Hugs, Anita 🙂

  4. Kathryn!! I certainly don’t get around as much as I used to, or would like, but boy am I glad I stumbled across your post here! I was lured in by your gorgeous card with all the layers you carefully added in a thoughtful way (so hard to do), but was completely touched by the story you had to go along with it. I am taking away your “transactional vs. transformational” idea, as that will be very good for me to keep in mind. I’m often bothered by transactional things with one specific person and that just sucks a lot of energy out of me. I really would like to look at this situation differently. Thanks so much for your words!

  5. Be “you,” and live with your face toward the sun. Step out unafraid and with confidence in the woman you are. Find happiness everyday. Life is good in spite of the nonsense that assails us. Trust me in that… And let’s talk about your card for a second… It’s Halloween delightful, not one bit frightful! From the bannered base to the b&w grid panel, to the gold accents and twine… wonderfully constructed. Fun design. Great card! Yep. Love this one!

  6. What beautiful thoughts and as I read through them, I found myself saying, “Yes!” 🙂 It does often seem like help and encouragement arrives at just the right times, doesn’t it?! Other times, I feel a nudge to send someone a little note or pick up the phone and call. I don’t want to ignore those little nudges. Sometimes just knowing someone is thinking of us is a big, big help!
    Your card is gorgeous and I just love that gold handed clock! 🙂

  7. Wonderful words and so good of you to share, great to see you at TO and with such a wonderful card. Adore all the layers and love the clock especially. Thanks for joining us at TO

  8. You are able to combine and create as I never will, your layering is perfect and so is the added gold! ps great post, I would love to be able to write as you do but my Gemini brain won’t allow it lol.

  9. Fabulous Halloween elements here and a perfect sentiment inside too.
    Brilliant attention to detail and a super striking card
    Thanks so much for linking up and playing along at AAA Cards.
    Sarah x

  10. Sorry to be so late stopping by…
    Your card has such a great combination of elements – so many textures and colours coming together to create a beautiful design! I absolutely love your die cut clock face – especially how you kept the numbers inlaid – very cool! I agree with you that creativity and art is a great escape from the harshness of life – it is my escape as well. Thanks so much for playing along at AAA Cards and Time Out! Jill

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