Friday, February 5, 2010

Crafting with Seniors

(Click on an image for a larger view.)

Today I conducted my first crafting class with the members of the Dorchester Senior Center where I saw some familiar faces from last week and met a few new ones. By way of introducing myself to them, I brought along some samples of my previous work so everyone could acquaint themselves with what I do and to show them the variety of possibilities inherent in card making. Because Friday afternoon is somewhat slow at the center, only a few members stayed around for the class. This actually turned out to be a good thing. It allowed me to give everyone individualized attention but, more importantly, it allowed me to observe and slowly maneuver through their physical limitations. This information will help me put together projects that suits their abilities and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

I had pre-cut most of the pieces at home and organized everything into individual kits that I distributed to everyone along with a set of instructions and a photo of the completed project. However I deliberately left some things undone so I could see how they carried out the necessary tasks. Right away I discovered that a most of them can't see well enough or do not have the dexterity to cut anything out with a scissors. Also they tend to move more slowly than I anticipated. This is good information for me to have for future crafting sessions. Now I know where I have to make some modifications to allow everyone full access to my projects.

This was a new learning experience for me that I found very satisfying. The seniors came away with a pretty little card and I came away with a whole new perspective. To see the card they created this week, check out the blog post just before this one.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentine Volunteerism

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Last week in my personal blog, I mentioned that I would be volunteering to teach crafts at a senior citizens center. (Click here to read that post.) This is the card I've created as my first project with the seniors. Because I will be dealing with people who have dexterity and visual limitations, I have to limit the amount of detail work they have to do to complete my projects. For this card I have cut out and prepared all the pieces into a kit so all they will have to do is assemble the finished card. This should go pretty quickly. Here are the instructions if you would like to try your hand at creating this card. Good luck.

Valentine Love Card
This bold black card creates a striking and unconventional backdrop for the traditional reds and pinks of Valentine’s Day. This project uses a 6.5” X 5” card and matching envelope but any similarly sized card can be used. The proportions of the decorative elements can be varied to fit the size of the base card. Heart shaped paper doily is purchased. Large heart is cut by hand to fit inside the edges of the doily. Plain oval, scalloped oval and tiny hearts are cut with a die punch. White paper pieces are cut by hand.

Materials List:
1. One black base card and envelope
2. One heart shaped paper doily – 3 ¾ ” x 4”
3. One large red patterned heart in a size to fit the doily – 3 ¼” x 3 ½”
4. One white oval with stamped sentiment – 3” x 2 ¼”
5. One red patterned scalloped oval sized to fit white oval – 3 ¼” x 2 ½”
6. 4” x 5” piece of paper for inside of card.
7. Nine tiny die punched hearts in assorted red and pink patterns
8. White paper strip – 5” x ¼”
9. Glue stick
10. Coloring Pencils or other coloring medium (markers, crayons, etc.)
11. Black marker
12. Tweezers
13. Foam Tape (also called dimensional tape)

Construction: Card
1. Using black marker, carefully edge the large heart and the white oval.
2. Using glue stick, glue red patterned heart in the center of the paper doily. Glue the completed heart on the left side of the card front.
3. Color the sentiment in the white oval then glue it in the center of the scalloped oval.
4. Take two pieces of foam tape and tape them to the back of the ovals. Remove the protective paper from the tape and adhere the ovals in the lower right corner of the card front slightly overlapping the bottom edge of the heart. Because the tape is thick, it raises the ovals off the surface of the card creating dimension.
5. Place the 4 x 5 piece of white paper inside the card to determine placement. Once determined, run glue stick around the edges and glue into place.

Construction: Envelope
1. On the front of the envelope, glue white paper strip about one inch from the left edge.
2. On either side of the strip, alternate seven of the tiny hearts, spacing them evenly and angling them slightly away from the strip. A tweezer can be very helpful in handling these small items.
3. (Not visible in photo) Turn the envelope around. On the center of the lower edge of the envelope flap, place the remaining two hearts, slightly overlapping and angling them for interest.

Ta-daaah! Your card is done!

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva