Today, I welcome Jennifer Smith-Kirk to the blog to chat about how crafting – in particular, making cards – has elevated her life to a whole new level. I have known Jennifer for many years and love her positive spirit! Here she is, at the door. Do come in and join us.
Take it away, Jennifer:
Firstly a huge thank you to lovely Christy Birmingham for allowing me to write a guest post. A little about me, firstly my name is Jennifer Smith-Kirk, I am in my early 50’s, and through various circumstances I have found a hobby card-making that has become my passion.
I have some disabilities and was diagnosed with Pulmonary Sarcoidosis just over 10 years ago, Sarcoidosis in an autoimmune multi-system disease, which affects my eyes, joints and skin. I have overcome 2 major strokes & 2 mini strokes I was at the time in retail management with a large team of staff under me. I hung on to work mainly in denial until poor health took over, then I was no longer well enough to do my job.
I have had to learn to walk again twice and I am now left with right sided weakness and I walk either with a cane or a 3 wheel walker depending on how I am as it changes on a day to day basis.
I am married to a wonderful, patient caring man who is loved by my friends and family. He encourages me and on days that I want to disappear as I am quite often in pain he manages to lift me up.
Once I finally accepted my health status a friend who I call my sister suggested I try hand making cards because I was making the ones from a PC program, mainly because I could not always find what I wanted in the shops etc. I joined a craft class and have never looked back. When I can I go to a monthly craft club where you are surrounded with like minded people and we mainly finish projects we started at home or elsewhere or have a huge catch up chatting, laughing etc and it is 4 hrs of uninterrupted time just for us, bliss.
This is one of my favorite cards, “Stunning Blue Masque on Flutters.” I love the mystical feel of this image and the colors really speak to me.
Over the years I have sold my cards at many craft shows, schools, community centers, car boot fairs etc health got in the way because it often involved long days, but now I do a weekly indoor market on a Thursday, fortunately my Husband does all the fetching and carrying and he helps me with selling my cards.
From years of doing craft shows etc., I have amassed quite a few customers who still order cards today as well as friends and families. I really cannot believe people buy my cards, but card making for me is very therapeutic, it takes me to another world where I can block out pain and discomfort.
I was a make-up artist so hopefully with a touch of makeup to the outside world people see me first and not my disabilities. Crafting is my passion and I have been doing it for just over 10 years and love every minute except for the times I wish there was more hours in the day and that my body and mind fall into step but it works with how I am feeling.
The card above is another of my favorites. I call it “Vanity Fayre.” When I bought this image, the idea of this card was there instantly. I love to embellish my card and add detail to hopefully enhance the image.
I hope that at least one person with health challenges who reads my post that it encourages them to try to do something that stretches them and gain satisfaction from it. When I personalize a card and give it to the recipient, it is a joy especially when their faces light up, that feeling is priceless and it lifts me up and adds to more positive energy.