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My Workshop with friends!

Yesterday (11/13/21) I hosted the final "assignment" for my Altenew certification with a card making workshop. Four people were in attendance who are friends and colleagues from my work and from my church. We had great fun! We were joined by Virginia Lu (from Altenew who lives in Toronto) and Erum Tasneem (from Altenew who lives in Pakistan) through Google Meet.

I always feel much better about teaching in person, and because the group was small and all have been fully vaccinated, we felt comfortable meeting in my dining room.

We made 4 cards featuring Altenew products. What follows is the description of what we did and photos of the "prototypes" of the cards that I made as examples for the participants, but they were invited to truly make them "their own" by decorating them in whatever way they wanted to, and having a choice of sentiments for the cards so that they could use them as they chose.

  1. Christmas card featuring the Festive Poinsettia stamp and die. For this card, I provided the participants with a gold embossed stamped outline of the poinsettia, and then had them use watercolors to color it in. We started with that so that the watercolors had a chance to dry. The method we used was putting down water into the embossed “wells” and then dropping in colors to “paint” their flower in the color(s) they choose. We set these aside and moved on to the other cards, and came back to it in the end when we used the die to cut out their flower and then assemble the rest of the card. The base of the card was a white 4 1/4 by 5 1/2 inch piece of card stock on which I embossed with pearl white embossing powder in a subtle snowflake background. Then we mounted a pink panel that had been debossed with the Dotted Swirls debossing plate in the lower left of the base panel. A sentiment (either Peace & Joy or Blessings) was provided to be mounted in the top right. The poinsettia was then mounted on the pink panel. Embellishments were provided so that the participants could add some sparkle to their card. The finished card looks like this:

2. Fall/Thanksgiving pop-up card This card features the leaf dies (Leaf Mix and Tropical Leaf mix) as well as some leaf die cuts from the Buttercup Craft-a-flower layering set. It has a pop-up front and 3 layers (the base, one layer under the front panel and then the front which will has a leaf frame. A variety of the leaves from the 3 sets were provided to allow the participants to design a card in the way they wish. An example is shown below:

3. A shaker card featuring the Peeking Leaves die:

Participants were provided with a die cut panel using the Peeking Leaves die, as well as a slightly larger frame and an acetate piece to put under the cover die cut. Several additional outside frames were provided to build up the “well” where the embellishments will go. A panel in fall shades served as the background. Die cuts of the words “Grateful,” “Thankful,” and “Blessed” were used for the sentiment, which was glued down to the base panel. They were provided with different colors of sequins to use for the shaker part of the card. Here is an example of the finished card:

4. A fall themed card

Participants were provided with an alcohol ink panel in orange and yellow shades and rimmed with gilding flakes, and leaves from the Leaf Mix and Tropical Leaf Mix die sets to decorate the front of the card. The panel was then be mounted onto a base that is embossed using the Hanging Vines 3D embossing folder. A “Happy Thanksgiving” as well as a Happy Birthday sentiment were provided that had been heat embossed onto vellum using Rusty Hinge embossing glaze. This is an example of the finished card:

Here are some pictures of the participants holding the cards they made. They seemed to enjoy the class and their lovely finished products. I know I sure did!!

A huge thank you to all who participated - Patty, Marsha, Gretchen and Mary Lynn as well as Virginia and Erum who gave up their precious Saturday time to be with us!

A Few Reflections

Those emails from Altenew kept appearing in my "in box". You know the ones - "do you want to turn your passion into a career?" - emails that catch your eye, make you think but then you say - I could never do that. Then you start to "flag" those emails, come back to them and think about how you really might be able to accomplish this educational journey. So one day, I did - I indicated my interest and I began down the road of the Altenew Educators Certificate Program. Now, several months later, I have come to the end of the "formal" training process with Altenew, but of course, like all life-long learners, I want to keep learning, keep improving and continuing to develop my skills.

I have been an educator for the past 40 years. I graduated from medical school back in the early '80s, and as soon as I started my residency training, one of the true joys for me was teaching medical students - sparking their interest in my specialty (Psychiatry, one that often gets pushed to the back or dismissed). And in order to be a good teacher, one must be a good learner. But we also don't want to give the impression that we know it all - we can't possibly. But we can share the joy of learning together. I regard myself as an educator and I'm happy to say that my teaching skills during my professional life were recognized by students, trainees and the institutions for which I worked.

Now that I am retired, I still want to continue to teach and to learn. It was about 4 years ago that I realized that the creativity involved in paper crafting, particularly card making, was something I really enjoyed. So when I made the decision to reach out to the Altenew folks and apply for the AECP program, my goal was to take my skills to the next level. The cards I was making before I started were nice, people liked them, some people even bought them. I had the desire to learn more and to bring even more joy for myself in creating better cards, but beyond that, bringing joy to others who receive the cards, whether they are from me or from someone to whom I have given or sold cards. It's all about spreading happiness!

Whether or not my training with Altenew results in any monetary rewards doesn't really matter. I feel that I have accomplished my goals of improving my skills, and also continuing to hone this craft going forward. With the great products and the online classes offered by Altenew (as well as other inspiring teachers out there in the paper-crafting world), I am glad I embarked on this journey and very much look forward to what the next steps might be.

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