5 ways to use your card-making superpowers for good

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Crafters … assemble!

Just like the recent devastating bushfire season, which now seems like it was years ago, we are facing a fresh challenge. And just like before, I feel an overwhelming urge to do something to help. There are lots of sensible things I can do, like staying inside, washing my hands, keeping my distance at the supermarket and post office. But there are lots of crafty things I can do right now as well.

So many of my family, real life friends, business friends, internet friends and people whose avatars I recognise because they are regular contributors to online communities … are doing it tough right now. Some are immuno-compromised, at risk due to health concerns or age, have lost their jobs or had hours cut, are on the front line doing essential jobs that keep people healthy and supplied with the things they need. I see so many people struggling, and it hits people in different ways, at different times, and all cope differently.

The one constant is that every single time I have sent a handmade card with a message of support, it has made their day just a little bit brighter. As card makers, we couldn’t do much during the bushfire crisis, but by golly we can make a difference now!

So … if you are a card maker who also has that deep need to do something to help, I would love it if you’d put on your cape (or tiara … whichever you prefer), and perhaps one of these projects will appeal to you.

1. Make & send cards to friends

I did a call-out on my personal Facebook page, asking friends to send me their postal address via snail mail if they felt they could use a little positivity in their letterbox. Some friends, I know where they live, but not the actual address, others have moved or are online friends so I don’t have their address … so I had to ask. Several took me up on that, so I am updating my address book, and sending out cards to them. If they gave me their address, then they really need that card!

Social media has helped me to see who is struggling as the world is changing so suddenly, and those are the ones at the top of my list. If I can’t hug them in person, I can send them a paper hug!

I have enjoyed digging into my stamp collection to find positive, uplifting messages, and am thrilled that the stamp companies have come through in recent years with many suitable sets, like these …

2. Make & send cards to heroes

It might seem a bit weird, but right now, a mini card with a message of thanks and support is something I want to keep on me so I can just hand it over to the next supermarket employee, courier, teacher, postie, nurse, cleaner, truck driver I see. At a time where they are risking their own health to look after the wider community, receiving abuse and critisism from scared and uneducated folk, I’m determined to let them know how much they are appreciated.

A simple message is all that’s needed …
“Thank you for risking your life to save others. You are appreciated”
“Thank you for caring for those who need it. You are my hero”
“Thinking of you as you do this difficult job. Thank you”
“I’m so grateful for the work you do and risks you take to care for this community”
“Thank you for making a difference.

Yet again, our amazing stamp companies are making it easy to create those thank you cards, with sets like these …

3. Make & send a card to a stranger

I have a friend who is a counsellor. From the moment there was talk that people would need to self-isolate, be quarantined and schools closing, she was instantly concerned for those who would suddenly be trapped at home with an abusive person. I share her concern.

Today I asked her if we could create cards with messages of love and support for her clients, and she agreed. If you would like to join me in this project, I will be creating cards with simple messages and sending them to the Hunter Women’s Centre. If you have a similar facility in your local area, message them and ask if you can help them support women in your local area.

To do this, though, there are some rules …
* No religious messages. Please do not write “I’ll pray for you” in a card, as this may not be well received by a non-religious person. If you do wish to pray for them, though, please do, but we need to be sensitive to all.
* Sign your card with your first name, but please do not include any other personal information, like surname, address, phone number or suburb.
* Place your card into an envelope but please do not seal it. Staff need to be able to read the message inside to ensure that it is appropriate for the recipient.
* No shaker cards, rainfall cards or noisy cards, no glitter … the recipient may need to keep it hidden, and will not want to draw attention to it if they need to take it out and read it to get through their day.
* Include a note to the staff at the facility you are sending cards to, explaining what they are for. It would be nice to thank them for the work they do also.
* Keep your message simple, and if you are lost for words, please feel free to use one of the messages below.

“You are beautiful. You are loved. You deserve to be happy. Stay strong”.”
“You are strong. You are awesome. You are courageous. You are not alone.”
“In case no-one told you today … You are loved. You are here for a reason. You are stronger than you think. You’re going to get through this.”
“I know we don’t know each other, but I want to tell you that I’m thinking of you during this difficult time.”

… any combination of these … you get the idea 🙂

Similarly, some nursing homes and retirement homes are keen for cards and notes for their residents. I do recommend checking with your local seniors village or nursing home before sending, though. Some are not passing on mail for fear of contaminated envelopes making their residents sick … so call or email them first.

I will be sending cards to
Attn: Kylz
Hunter Women’s Centre
PO Box 38
Mayfield NSW 2304

Also, this seniors facility has asked for cards, letters, drawings (great way to get the kids involved) for their residents. If sending a card (or cards) here, the rules are different (they encourage a return address, and interactive cards would be fun!), and you can find more information HERE. Their address is …

Mercy Services
24 Combo Lane
SINGLETON NSW 2330

Here are a few ideas from some pretty amazing stamp companies …

4. Make a kit for someone

With so many people isolating themselves right now, many people find themselves with time to take up a new hobby. If you know someone who has a little cabin fever, or could use a little distraction, perhaps a card making kit can help them while away some happy hours. If I were putting together a card kit, this is what I would include …
Card bases
Envelopes
Pattern paper (pre-cut)
Cardstock (pre-cut)
Sentiments
Die-cuts and/or embellishments
A small stamp set
A small ink pad
Double sided tape or a tape runner

From there you can have the fun of face-timing or Skyping with them so you can craft together!

5. Thinking ahead

There is a wonderful Facebook group called #remakechristmas (you can find them HERE). Their goal is to build a community of crafters who will create handmade ornaments, cards and gift tags for families who lost their Christmas decorations in the recent bushfires. Now that the fires are out, the floods have been and gone, and now the Coronavirus pandemic is here, it’s easy to forget these people, but they are still struggling. When Christmas 2020 rolls around it will be the first anniversary of the fires, and it’s going to be rough. That’s why I love what this group is all about. So if you’re in the mood to make Christmas cards or gift tags, you can send them to …

Juanita Watters
#remakechristmas
PO Box 370
Dickson ACT 2602

The deadline is October, and I recommend setting up a tub, placing your items in there, and sending them when you are done OR when you have enough to fill a box or satchel OR in September/early October at the latest.

I hope that you have found some inspiration here, and I hope that you and your loved ones are safe during this crazy time! Keep watching for videos and ideas on my Facebook page (HERE), Instagram (HERE) and TikTok (HERE) … and if you have questions, please message me any time!

7 Comments

  1. Kylie

    Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for doing this Dawn. This concept will truly make a significant difference in people’s lives during this challenging time. Warming hearts one card at a time.

    Reply
  2. Debra Barlow

    Hi Dawn, what an absolutely wonderful inspiring post, THANK YOU! It was sent to me from one of friends in Tennant Creek, NT and I live on the Gold Coast. However, I am originally from Newcastle, where I’m guessing you are from? I had thought about sending cards to me friends during these uncertain times just to stay connected in a more tangible way and this is just taking that thought but expanding it to a whole new level. Thanking the ones on the front line (my sister and brother-in-law are both nurses at John Hunter)and encouraging and inspiring others. You are a gem, fantastic idea and I will be certainly doing as much as I can to carry out some of them if not all. Thanks again Dawn for this thoughtful idea. xx

    Reply
    1. Dawn Lewis

      Debra, please thank your friend for sharing my blog post … I’m so appreciative of that 🙂

      I’m on the Central Coast, but have family and friends in the Hunter & Newcastle area, and visit often. Thank you for joining me 🙂

      Dawn

      Reply
  3. Jan Mills

    Hello Dawn,
    Excellent ideas. I love the sharing/caring of the crafting community.
    For a couple of years I have been making credit card size encouragement
    cards to cater for all situations. My counsellor daughter has a display of cards in her room and lets her clients take what they want, when they want. Sometimes she will proffer one she thinks will help especially help them at the time. I do put Christian ones in the mix because many of her clients want them. They are small enough to carry around and hide if necessary.
    Thank you for being so thoughtful and prompting us to do what we can. Getting stuck into crafting sure eases the drama of the day and making it for someone else is so rewarding. Blessings to you. Jan

    Reply
    1. Dawn Lewis

      What a wonderful idea! I will ask my friend if she would like a regular supply of encouragement cards, and in that case I think it would be appropriate to include religious cards if she has clients who would be encouraged by them. Thank you so much for sharing about the cards you make … just the right size to tuck into a pocket.

      Dawn

      Reply
  4. Gloria Russell

    What a lovely idea. Thank you. I have just had my house painted so I will have to rummage around to find where my craft things are.

    Reply
  5. Gloria Russell

    Thank you. It is a great idea.

    Reply

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