Happy Mail: New Stamps

Latest stamp order.

Hello! I have been ordering new supplies and products like a madwoman lately. Today one of my orders arrived with some wonderful stamps and a coordinating die.

The top one made me think of fall so I am thinking of some autumnal cards. I also think I can use the sentiments, leaf and pumpkin will be good to use in my bullet journals.

The next stamp is called Lotus lady and I thought she would be good for the some of the spiritual cards I would like to offer.

Underneath the Lotus Lady is a wonderful floral stamp with a large sentiment in the middle. These are cool stamps because they cover the entire cardfront and I can color them in different colors. They also included extra flowers so I can make it more dimensional. I am so excited to work with this one.

The bottom stamp is so cool. It is a 4-season window scene. I bougtht the matching dies because my fussing cutting days are over whenever possible. I look forward to using it this fall to make a cute fall scene.

I can’t wait to ink these babies up!!

Belinda

Thoughts on 4th of July

I thought it would be a great opportunity to share my thoughts as we conclude this years’ celebrations of Independence Day in the United States. As a small child, I remember celebrating the day with pride and looked forward to all of the pretty fireworks. I remember standing for the pledge of allegiance each day at the beginning of our school day with one hand over my chest.

As an adult, the fourth of July and many other holidays like Columbus day have become more problematic for me to accept and celebrate with the same zeal as I did as a child, after learning more of the history behind these dates and individuals, and how incomplete or just downright misleading the history we learned in school was. With how the information is presented in the school curriculum, I am not surprised that most people celebrate without blinking an eye, as the grandeur for what is presented would certainly demand this acknowledgment, but as I stated earlier these stories are very one-sided.

It’s easy to go with the flow without critically looking at our country’s past and present for that matter. When one takes the time to really look at this country’s history, and how it was built on the backs of slaves and indigenous peoples. As well as, all of the cruel inhumane acts that have occurred under the banner of “freedom”, the injustices that continue with our current systemic racism, and all of the atrocities that have been committed under the same flag, it is quite challenging to celebrate with the same vigor, pride, and innocence that I once did.

It is like this country has amnesia when it comes to teaching and acknowledging all of its history in totality. We don’t get to pick and choose. We have to look at it all…

When the words “founding fathers” are mentioned to me, I cringe, knowing that some of these men that professed freedom and equality for “all” were themselves slave owners or direct profiteers from this enterprise. So they were not my founding fathers. People talk about the ideals this country was founded on with pride, without acknowledging this fundamental gap. When these “founding fathers” put forth their rhetoric using words like “humanity” and “mankind”, they were not considering people like me in that group.

“Under the terms of our country’s founding document, slaves were defined as three-fifths of a man, not a real, whole human being.” This doctrine allowed this country to treat black people as less than and as property. Which laid the foundation for all the systemic racism that exists today.

There is so much to unpack about this country’s history but as an African American, I won’t blindly celebrate on holidays that did not include my ancestors as equals. It is kind of foolish. But perhaps as Juneteenth is a more appropriate date to celebrate, I think July 5, 1852, should also be considered. It’s the day that Frederick Douglass gave a speech entitled, “What to the slave is 4th of July”.

Because I am a genealogy lover I have included a video from NPR of Frederick Douglass’ descendants reading his famous speech.

I also included another one performed by the Great James Earl Jones.

I share my thoughts and these videos to illustrate the complicated history of this country and as we continue to work through our racial inequalities and prejudices in this country, we should also be mindful of our annual celebrations (their history, their intent) and how they are perceived and received by fellow Americans such as myself.

Earth Crafts: Reusing household items

For the past few years, I have made it a point to make sure I include “earth-friendly” goals as part of my new year’s resolutions. Two years ago, I pledged to only use reusable bags for both grocery and regular shopping. I ordered beautiful bags that I carry in my purse and use when I am loading up at Target, Michaels or clothing retailers. I purchased additional insulated shopping bags for my grocery shopping. I have stuck to that pledge and it makes me really happy.

This year, I add a few more “earth-friendly” goals and today I thought I would share with you a quick project that acts on the principle of reuse which is one I am working on in 2020. More important than recycling, reusing items is a great way to elimate waste.

Calender photo in frame.

Every year, I always purchase a wall calender for my craft room that has some sort of nature as it’s theme. For 2019, I bought a weekly calender with 52 beautiful flowers. So when I replaced it with my 2020 calender I wanted to think of what I would do with it. I could not bring myself to throw away these amazing photos of flowers. So I measured the pictures and grabbed a frame that I previously used with holiday sentiment displayed in it and used it to display the beautiful image. I will cut them to size and swap out other flowers as the year progresses.

Displayed it on my gallery shelves.

I can’t tell you how amazing it looks displayed on my gallery shelves. I could pay a lot of money for art like this in the stores but now I have saved these beauties from the landfill and gained beautiful art for my craft room.

So make sure you pause before throwing things away and try to reuse then because it is so much better than recycling as well as it stretches our creative mind.

Have a blessed Monday my friends!

Belinda

Happy New Year!

Wow, It’s really 2020! I am loving this number. It rolls off the tongue so nicely. I have been away for some time now enjoying the end of 2019 with my family. The holidays tend to sweep me up and I tend to let go of my routines. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and start to your new year.

Reflecting on Belinda’s Crafts in 2019

This is the post I typically share all of my plans for the upcoming year. But first, I want to pause and reflect on last year, in order to prepare for 2020. So indulge me for a bit and read on. (You should grab a cup of tea. This might take a while!)

What happened to Belinda’s Crafts? When I think about this question, there are many factors that come to mind. I have a family that requires my love and attention, I have my health that I work on daily to keep optimum, But one of the real reasons, Belinda’s Crafts started to unwind was after a few years of using Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the visual aspects of this social media platform. I found inspiration from other artists and connected with friends and family.

But one day I realized that the act of using Instagram had become toxic for me. Where I used to find inspiration and community, I began to feel doubt and envy creep. I would find lack in myself when I closed the app. I began to question my skills and products and didn’t see a clear picture of where I fit in. I lost my creative mojo and turned away from creating new products.

Finally it was like a veil was lifted and I knew that Instagram and I needed to break up. I needed a break. I felt like each day, I was bombard with people sharing their lives with me in what I call the “look at me” culture. I had to scroll through so much to get to what I really wanted to see and that was creative and spiritual content. But once you sign up and friend people, you get stuck with whatever “oversharing” they chose to throw out there. I fell victim to it myself but one thing I knew was that I needed to dial it back and focus on me. So I stopped all social media with the exception of Pinterest, Youtube and a couple bookish apps.

Eventually, I took the last couple years off from creating new inventory for my online Etsy store. For the past two years, I only dedicated time to custom orders. It wasn’t intentional at first but I remember feeling more comfortable creating custom orders for people I knew.

This break was perfect because I focused on other interests, coloring with other mediums, with a focus on colored pencils. and reading books like a mad woman and of course time with family. These activities gave and still provide me with an immense amount of pleasure.

However, leaving the big social media platforms by choice meant that I was often and still am out of the social loop with my friends because I don’t log into my Instagram app and rarely touch Facebook (that’s a whole other story.). But I am ok with that, because I feel like I regained my calm and have been slowly rebuilding my confidence when it comes to my business and me.

So what’s up with me for 2020 you ask? Well I have decided I will spend this year rebuilding my company. From visuals (website, branding etc.) to new product development and marketing. I have been thinking about what to do with the question of social media and it’s role to help my business and have decided to create a business account that will focus on my company and connect with a select few businesses for inspiration and support. I won’t have a personal account (so no “look at me” posts). I am going to keep it small and use it to promote products. I will think about a separate one to focus on connecting to friends but at this time, I think it will just be a distraction and I don’t want to go down that path again.

In 2020, I will also be restructuring this website a bit to be more conducive to my business objectives. I will also use it more to market and promote my business as well as a place customers can see what I do at work and when I am at play. I will try to bring more mindful content on a regular basis.

As for my confidence in my craft and products, I will take it day by day and as I create more, I believe I will feel more confidence. I am really happy to say that I have regained my inspiration and will be creating new product lines for Belinda’s Crafts. Most products will continue to be papercrafting products but I have a few ideas up my sleeve that I might give a try.

I hope you all will be patient and stick with me through this because I believe it is going to be an exciting ride with ups and downs but great results.

Thanks for taking the time to hear me out today. I am always so grateful for your time.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

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