Scrap-Happy July: Cards and Letters Come Full Circle

I’m joining Kate, of Tall Tales from Chiconia, for her monthly scrap-happy blog post. The challenge is to create something made entirely of scraps.

Here is the inspiration for this month’s scrappy project.

I’ve been friends with Carrielin for nearly forty years. We met doing theatre at San Jose State in 1980. After she left the area, we stayed in touch the old-fashioned way: through cards and letters. Recently Carrielin came across a box of correspondence from me, mailed between 1989 and 1994. She re-read the letters, then offered to send them my way.  My dear friend mailed the cards with little notes attached letting me know what she had liked about certain cards. Isn’t that the sweetest?

Assorted cards sent to Carrielin in the early 90’s

It took some emotional preparation to re-read what I had written nearly three decades ago. When the time felt right, I read each one. Then I hatched a plan.

Now parts of those cards are heading her way once again, but this time as slivers of the past.

I decided to try a paper-piecing pattern shared by Kate on her blog. Kate is collecting gorgeous quilt squares to include in an ovarian cancer fundraising quilt. She’s done several over the years, with blocks she and other quilters create based on a theme and the color teal. You can read more about her efforts here.

One of Kate’s squares for the theme Scinteallation is called Basketweave Braid Star, a paper piecing pattern by Nydia Kehnle. You can have a look at Kate’s gorgeous paper-piecing star on her blog.

Using her design, I cut strips from several of the cards using blues and creams. I chose bits of the cards that represented our interests, including theater and dance, whimsy, art, flowers, cats (of course) and the Victorian era. I used card backings which are generally white, and I even included her name from one of my letters.

Carrielin loves dance and teddy bears
Strips of original cards featuring interesting details

There was only one blue envelope in the batch, so I carefully cut triangles to create the star effect.

Pale blue envelope postmarked 1989.

Here is the finished card with the envelope border.

Finished card using strips of greeting cards with a recycled envelope border
The finished card

Do you like crafting from scraps? Why not join us for the next round.

From Kate’s blog:

“ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? You can email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. You can also contact Gun, via her blog, to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long-term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.”

24 thoughts on “Scrap-Happy July: Cards and Letters Come Full Circle

  1. You gave me a bit of a moment back there when I thought I’d somehow managed to miss ScrapHappy! I love your use of the basketweave star – I think there must be dozens of paper piecing patterns that would work for this kind of art, if you enjoyed making it. I must try and remember to link to this post rather than any subsequent one you put up before the 15th.

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  2. What a lovely treasure you have created for Carrielin! It feels like a complete ‘circle of love,’ dear Alys! You always put so much thought and heart into everything you create. I’m so happy that you decided to read your old cards and letters. They are a vey important part of your story during that special time and place. Wishing you sunny, creative days ahead, my friend! 💗

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  3. It’s delightful, Alys! There are so many layers of friendship here ~ sending the original cards, your friend sending them back, then you deciding which are the parts that show that friendship, and finally making up the card. All done with love and care and thought. xox

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  4. Now that’s impressive and genius!!! I love the idea of what you have done here as well as the finished product. Only you could come up with this crossover project. 😉 It couldn’t be more beautiful or heartfelt. A friend for 40 years is a treasure indeed and you’ve found a way to make that evident. I’m blown away by this.

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    • Marlene, you always have such a kind word and thoughtful praise. Thank you! It’s fun when a project can encompass several things, in this case a scrap happy post, Kate’s design and Carrielin’s cards and letters. Big hug, dear friend.

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  5. I thought I’d save this post for the 15th but then realised I’d probably lose it well before then….. This is such a lovely thing that you show here, not just in terms of what has been finally made, but also in the way forty years of friendship has been tracked and treasured by both of you. Today I have been made fully aware of the treasure our old friends are to us and your heartfelt and beautiful commemoration star brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

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    • Pauline you have such grace in everything you say and write and think. Thank you. Hindsight gives us wonderful perspectives on the world, and if we’re paying attention, we can look back and see how lucky we’ve been. The dark times fade when you let them, and the treasures of travel and friends and a full life can take their place. I love you. xo

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    • Thank you, Lynn. To add to my further embarrassment, I was supposed to mail the card at the same time I posted this. I’m hoping she hasn’t seen it yet. Either way she’ll love it as she’s just that way. xo

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  6. This is a really clever idea, making the move from quilt to paper art! And what an incredible gift to your long-time friend–it sums up such a long friendship in a way that honors it but doesn’t take up the space of all the original letters and cards!

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    • Kerry, yes! And to take this even one step further, the treasures of a long friendship are often threaded with moments. One card, one letter, one chat over tea, all add up to that uniquely wonderful feeling of knowing and loving someone over a long period of time.

      Thank you for your kind words.

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  7. ScrapHappy day is my favourite blogging day of the month, so it’s lovely to have this unexpected treasure to read to keep me going (and remind me I haven’t got on with my project this month). Your friendship star is beautiful… and will be so lovely to display, unlike a box of letters and cards.

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    • Thank you for saying so. I agree, too, that it is a lot of fun, and I’m sorry when the time goes by and I’ve missed it. Publishing early though…now that’s a first. I’m still laughing about it.

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  8. Wow, Alys! I’m catching up and so glad I got this far! I can believe you would create something like this from such a blast from the past. It must have been memory giving to look at all these and isn’t that what we do? Live, create, recreate? It’s such a metaphor.

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  9. Hi Alys, what a stunning card. I love the idea of using the pieces of cards you sent over the years. I’ve been looking for a way to do something with all our wedding cards. We just celebrated 36 years. I’ll have to check out the blog you recommended, maybe some one there will have an idea. This is beautiful but the card might be huge. Wish you were close enough to help me. This is a beautiful gift for your long time friend. I hope each piece makes her smile or sigh and remember how much you love her.

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  10. Pingback: ScrapHappy July: back to Days Gone By | talltalesfromchiconia

  11. Pingback: Scraphappy – August 2019 | DawnGillDesigns

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