Expectations and Aspirations

For the past month, I have been delving into Dickens’ Great Expectations with one of my students.  As a teacher and student of literature, I have read my share of ol’ Charles, but never this tome.  It would be easy to get lost here in the mists and marshes of my own ideas about the novel, but I will spare you all but one thought since I’ve got some cards waiting patiently in the wings!

As I prepared my lesson on aspects of irony in the novel (not the least of which being the title!), I got to thinking about the difference between expectation and aspiration.  Expectation connotes a sense of certainty, deservedness, and righteousness. It is a passive act; expecting is waiting, or literally a “looking out for” (“spectare,” from Latin, meaning to look). In the novel, the characters’ expectations and consequent attachments to particular beliefs lead them to not only make poor decisions, but also cause them deep unhappiness. The greater the expectation, the greater the devastation!  Poor Pip!

On the other hand, aspiration, which literally means to breathe in, carries with it a more positive, and active connotation.  The Latin root “spirare” (to breathe) is related to “spiritus” or spirit.  When one aspires, one strives or breathes toward a higher purpose.  The goal or desire will not simply be had just by waiting or thinking it will be so. There is work, life force, flow and action involved!

So how does this all relate to this week’s final CASE Study design?  I approached my card with an image in my mind and an expectation that it would manifest as perfectly as I’d perceived it. I had my own great expectations for this piece.

And as a result, I experienced a deeply unsatisfying and frustrating session when I attempted to make my vision a reality.  There was no breath, and no flow.  And then there was very little time to revise.

So there my card lay as I contemplated expectation and aspiration and hyperventilation, and prepared for my student’s lesson that afternoon.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…(Okay, okay get back on the shelf Steinbeck!)

It took until yesterday for me to be able to see the card with new eyes, rip it apart, start again, and then find something still missing after I had taken and edited all my photos for submission!  What a comedy of errors!  I was dreadfully afraid of how the image would represent over at CASE since I captured it at night under the garish glow of an overhead light!  Happily, it doesn’t look as horrible as I’d expected.  (There’s those darn expectations again!)

Joni’s Card

While I loved all of our muse Joni’s cards, this one particularly struck me in its ethereal beauty.  That breathy pink!  The layered vellum!  I remember seeing it on her site when she first posted it and I was immediately drawn to it.  Let’s take a look!


And here is the final incarnation of my card!

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I knew I wanted to follow lines of Jodi’s card, and originally envisioned the city as the centering point, with vellum and cardstock umbrellas dancing beneath just as her leaves are doing below the sentiment on her card.

However, hard as I tried, those umbrellas just wouldn’t work.  They seemed to overpower or compete with the city.  There was just no flow!  I won’t even get into how I ruined the top of that nearly completed card by smudging black ink on it.  Then I cut it too short and it was really all over then baby blue.

TIP: Make sure to ALWAYS heat set your pigment and Versafine oil-based inks!! Even if you think they have dried after 30 minutes!!!!

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I recently purchased some PTI vellum cardstock and gorgeous turquoise and silver vellum at Impress Stamps. I wanted to capture the airy feel that the vellum conveys, and so in my final incarnation, I laid a panel of the turquoise down and tried a couple of my “cloud” scraps (left over from the Avery Elle Love Notes pockets I made last week, seen here).  That seemed to work.

But when I returned to my card and saw it in pictures, it just felt off.  I kept wanting a black and white stripe along the bottom of the city, but none of my washi looked right.

So it was, at long last (11pm to be exact), the addition of baker’s twine that tied it all together (pun intended!).

CASE Close Up

Another aspect of the card that was inspired by Joni’s is the subtle, airy sparkle of my stenciled raindrops (really they represent the tears I shed and the HELL-o this card gave me! 🙂 )

I used Kelly Purkey’s stencil, Heidi Swapp’s Color Shine in White., and some masking to achieve the background.

All papers are from Bazzill– that gorgeous texture of the grey, like stone, and the crosshatched orange–delightful!

The back and inside are finished off with some coordinating orange washi.

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So in the end, it wasn’t quite the card or the process I’d planned, but I am fairly happy with the result, and I hope I’ve done justice not only to Joni’s work, but to my post as the guest designer over at CASE Study this month.  It really has been wonderful working alongside and getting to know some of the very talented ladies on the design team.

I hope I have provided you with some inspiration along the way!  I encourage you to get your CASE on and play along with us!  Check out the design team’s individual websites while you are at it.


Amy Wanford
Clare Buswell
Debby Hughes

Jeanne Jachna

Maureen Merritt

Silke Ledlow

Tasnim Ahmed

March Guest Designers: 

Sarah Gough

Here’s a sneak peak at all the cards I created based on Joni’s design.  I will be back tomorrow to talk process and products, and since it’s all about Seattle, I’ll also share some details on an awesome new coffeeshop we discovered this weekend!  And a lil’ something about Stamp Nation!

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May you aspire in your creative endeavors this and every week!



The Wise Craft Launch Party at Drygoods Design

Hello crafters and specifically Seattle area folks! Thought I would re-blog this post from the awesome Drygoods Design in Ballard. Tomorrow is Art Walk and here’s hoping the weather will be as balmy as today for a jaunt around wonderful Ballard Ave. Looking forward to inspiration from local Blair Stocker and her new book! And if you missed it, check out my post here featuring Drygoods Design and the amazing fabric I purchased on my birthday! You must drop by this shop, and check out their awesome classes for all sewing levels.

Just two days from now we’ll be hosting the wonderful and talented Blair Stocker for a fun night celebrating her first book, Wise Craft! In tandem with Ballard Art Walk (we have the fantastic work of Traci Paulk on the walls), the fun will begin at 6 p.m.! Come in to the shop, grab a book and have Blair sign it as the content of Wise Craft takes center stage in the studio. Blair’s cooked up some lovely touches and there will also be a station where you can make a quick project from the book.

Throughout the evening will be a drawing for one of these sweet garlands from the book!


Hope to see you then so we can all toast Blair and the love of craft!

wisecraft party

See you Saturday, March 8th from 6 to 9. Looking for parking? Don’t for get the Landmark on Leary, Hotel Ballard…

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Ampersand Art, Urban Adventure, and A Sunny Valentine

It’s been a little quiet around Pinned & Penned the last week; however, quite a bit has been happening behind the scenes!  I’ve been encountering some new art and music, which I am excited to showcase here soon, and whipping up some colorful cards.  As a result, I am facing a bit of an inspiration pile-up! I’d hoped to write this post before Valentine’s Day, but anytime is a good time to spread the love, right?

If you couldn’t tell, CASology really inspired me the previous week with their AND challenge.  Since then, everywhere I look, I seem to be encountering ampersands!  Today, we ventured to the Bellevue Arts Museum and I saw this sculpture, “Linkage, 2005” by Gyongy Laky:

Linkage, 2005; Manzanita, red ink

She incorporates materials from the natural world into much of her symbolic work, and according to her website, “As an environmentalist, her work often employs materials harvested from nature and agricultural sources with some recycled elements incorporated.  She is attracted to humble materials and simple, direct methods of hand construction that she associates with basic, grass roots, human ingenuity about making things.  Laky has been a strong advocate for the establishment of an environmental sustainability curriculum in design and art at UCD.  Other themes of her sculptures and site-specific works touch upon various issues including gender-equity and her opposition to the war in Iraq.”

Here is another ampersand of hers:


In downtown Seattle, one of the most famous ampersands can be seen at Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, which sits along the shore of Puget Sound, overlooking the Olympic Mountains.  It is a delightful place for an urban walk or run, and when I was teaching at a nearby high school, I often brought my creative writing class here for some visual inspiration and exercise, especially in those waning days of the school year when classroom confinement became a struggle!

Aside from Alexander Calder’s “The Eagle”, Roy McMakin’s “Love & Loss” is one of the more visible icons of the park from afar.  The neon red ampersand lights up the sky and can be seen rotating from West Seattle across Elliott Bay.

Roy McMakin, Love & Loss; Photo by Waymarking

Upon closer inspection, one notices that there is more to the installation than the ampersand.  Steps, seating and a table spell out LOVE and LOSS, as seen below.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nyctom/3952559876/
Looking over the Puget Sound toward West Seattle and the Olympics. Photo by NYC Tom.

If you live in the greater Seattle area and haven’t made it to this park, or are traveling from afar, I recommend the following urban adventure on your way there.  This happened to be how we spent our Valentine’s Day!

1. Grab a coffee at Seattle Coffee Works, just outside the main entrance to Pike Place Market, and next door to the Green Tortoise Hostel.  Here you will find amazing, seasonal single origin coffees.  If you have time, enjoy your coffee prepared at the slow bar through a variety of extraction methods: Siphon, Chemex, Aeropress, Hario, or French press.

2. Sip your coffee as you make your way through the Pike Place Market and down Western Ave., toward the Olympic Sculpture Park.  On your way through the market, make sure to check out Lamplight Books and Left Bank Books, if you are in need of a good read;  Moon Valley Organics for some nourishing body products in gorgeous packaging; Fini, if you’d like some new jewelry or trendy accessories; and White Horse Trading Co. if you’re craving a quiet corner to read and sip a beer.  These are just some of my frequented spots in the Market!

2. Hungry?  There are so many choices, but I want to highlight one of my favorites. Before or after your walk around the market and park, stop at Le Pichet, a fabulous French restaurant just up the hill from the Market, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Consistent and authentic, a dining experience here transports you to a bistro in Paris tout suite. I dream of their rillettes de porc. Make sure to get a box of their homemade caramels before you head out the door!

3.  Don’t forget the flowers!  We picked some delicious tulips on Valentine’s Day after our equally delicious brunch at Le Pichet:

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Early tulips from Pike Place Market to bring some spring into the house! The gorgeous vase was a birthday present.

Well, I certainly hope your Valentine’s Day was as replete with delicious delights, colorful experiences, and love as ours was!

To honor my sweetheart, I created a somewhat non-traditional color-burst Valentine, inspired by the current CASE Study challenge.


Aside from the delightful Danielle Flanders’ card above, the design team and guest designers have whipped up some jaw-dropping work that screams spring happy!  Like these beauties from Chupa and May Park that I can’t stop looking at:

So here is my contribution:

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I absolutely love the Hero Arts floral die for its beauty and versatility.  I inlaid the various colored pieces into my “rising sun”.

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The sentiments are from Papertrey Ink’s Movers and Shakers series.

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I cannot get enough of this aquamarine blue lately; it is absolutely divine with the orange and yellow.  Paper Source provided the envelope; the orange and yellow cardstock is from Amuse Studio, white linen paper is from Ellen Hutson, and patterned paper is from October Afternoon.

In closing, I will leave you with two of my favorite ampersand cards from the CASology challenge.  These ladies have some awesome talent and provide me with eye candy on a regular basis, as well as some sweet comments and camaraderie in this crafting world of ours.

I hope you found some aesthetic and gustatory inspiration in today’s post!  Let me know; I love hearing from you!  And if you, or someone you know, happen to be visiting Seattle any time soon, drop me a line and I would be happy to help you with your urban adventures.

I will return tomorrow with my other entry to CASE Study’s challenge and some paper art that may make you faint!

Bonne nuit et bisous!