Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Posts from the ‘thrifty’ category


This year I was inspired to create handmade cards for friends and family instead of having one of my designs printed. This meant that I was not able to send them to a long list of recipients as in years past but in the end I think I made and sent about 45 cards.


To keep the cards affordable, simple, and colorful I started with large sheets of plain, brown craft paper, then ripped up and glued down shreds of colored tissue paper that I had on hand.


After the glue dried I cut the craft paper into 5″ strips and cut those strips into 8.5″ lengths to form individual cards. After that, it was time to draw and personalize …


I began with a handful of images and themes sketched out on a piece of paper but sometimes allowed the shapes and colors on each card speak to me. I liked making each card a little different. Even if I reused an image/idea, I tried something new with the drawing.


It was important to me to send out something personal and special since I have received so much love and support from my friends and family through my career change and relocation process, which is far from over. I wish I’d had the time to make more of them so I’ll have to try it again for another occasion!

Supplies used to create these cards: Craft paper, tissue paper, glue stick, scissors, ruler, Uniball pens, imagination, love.

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As a last-blast meet-up group event, Gina, the now former leader of the Betty Spaghetti Meet-Up Group of Art and Debauchery organized an event where members make banners to display in a public place. The banners had to have a positive message for the general viewing public to enjoy. I really put my heart into my banner; I love the idea of creating public art to surprise and hopefully inspire people who might see it. (The origin of my encouraging phrase is explained in a post from earlier in the year.) The idea reminds me of a great YA graphic novel I read called The Plain Janes, but Gina found the idea on a website called “Learning to Love You More.”

We met around 2pm on May 2 inside of Grand Central Terminal along with one other group member, David, who helped us hang our 2 banners. I was hoping a few more members would show up to witness or hang banners with us, but it all worked out fine.

There were more than a few police men & women patrolling the inside of the building but we actually accomplished our goal without anyone of authority telling us to stop what we were doing! The spot we chose also helped cloak our activities… there is an overpass that connects the main hall to 42nd St., and the since this balcony-type railing area juts out from the main walk-way, it was impossible to spy us from the main hall. Below the overpass was a ramp leading to the Oyster Bar, food court, and lower-level train tracks. Plenty of people were walking on the ramp but apparently no one who wanted to stop us.

After hanging, admiring, and photographing our work, we sat down for a snack in the food court, then parted ways. The banners were still hanging when I left GCT, and there were people taking photos of both banners. Each side of the ramp had a bridal party photo shoot with the banners in the background! So, who knows how long they stayed up there. Gina and I assumed that the cleaning crew or someone who works in the building would spot them by the end of the day and they would be removed. Overall, I found the experience very satisfying, although my living room wall seems bare without the banner.

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If anyone out there is reading this… I’m ba-aack! It has been so long since I have posted anything here, I apologize to my blog-starved fans. There were many times over the months when I noticed things going on around me that were inspiring, perfect for my blog. So, in addition to my main idea for this post, I’ll try to do a quick review of everything I should have been writing about!

One of the events that always inspires me to tears is the Olympics. It impresses me that the athletes spend so much time focused on training and competing in their sports for years on end. Seeing Michael Phelps reach his goal by winning all of those gold medals in one year was really amazing, but so were so many of the other Olympians.

As a life-long Democrat, I had many inspiring moments during the election season. I’m still not used to the idea that we actually had a woman and a black man in heated competition for the office of President. It has been too long coming if you ask me, so I’m glad we have finally broken that barrier in this country.

Once Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination and the playing field was narrowed, I was ready to get in there and do what I could to help get him elected. I’ve never been one to send money to politicians or become directly involved with a campaign, but I have believed for a long time in making one’s voice heard and playing my part in the government and my community as a citizen and voter. After all, that is an important part of how this country is supposed to work; of the People, by the People, and for the People.

With all of this in mind, I started making calls to the battleground states via’s phone bank system. I volunteered some time doing this during the 2006 elections. (Right now, I am drinking some tea out of the mug I received as a thank you for my efforts!) Basically, MoveOn set up a call script and a phone list online. I would log in to their website to gain access to the system and helped to spread the word about who MoveOn was supporting in certain states, and remind people to vote. In the case of the ’08 election, I was often calling to ask people if they would be willing to volunteer at their local Obama campaign office.

Many of the calls I made were to wrong numbers, no answer, people who were Democrats but didn’t have time to volunteer, etc. But the folks I was able to have some positive interaction with were great. They were fired up and ready to go, as the saying goes, and whether or not they could volunteer, I had some good conversations. I really enjoyed speaking with the people who wanted to do something but didn’t know how to help out until they spoke with me and got the information. I also had fun attending one of MoveOn’s “calling parties” where you gather at a neighbor’s place, have some snacks and everyone gets on their cell phones to make calls. It was fun to meet like-minded people and see how our collaborative efforts made a difference in the number of volunteers we got to sign up. I remember feeling tired from my usual Sunday chores when I arrived at the party but I was very energetic and charged up by the time I went home a few hours later.

Obviously, this all led up to another inspiring moment: ELECTION NIGHT 2008!!! (I know, this is a loooong post! You may take a bathroom or snack break now, if you like.) By November 4, I felt quite confident that Obama would win, although many of my friends were skeptical early in the evening. I went to a bar/music venue to watch the results with a few friends. The place was quite packed as more states returned results, so my friends decided to leave! I stayed because I really wanted to be out and about when the final decision was announced, and it was glorious when that happened! Everyone started dancing and hugging each other. I was a little sad that I had no one to hug, the people near me didn’t seem like they wanted to hug a stranger! But I stayed and danced for a while and decided I wanted to be home to make sure I heard every bit of THE 44TH PRESIDENT’S acceptance speech. I waved to and cheered with other happy Brooklynites on the streets as I walked home.

As you probably remember, there was all kinds of celebration in the streets in the cities here in the U.S., but also, ALL OVER THE WORLD! This made me very happy. I remember falling asleep some time after midnight to the sound of illegal fireworks and people chanting “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!”

Then, of course, the inauguration. It is thrilling to be alive to see all of this history unfolding, even as we are dealing with one of the worst, wide-spread financial crises most of us have ever seen. Which again, is fodder for more inspiration. I have found it easier to feel worried about my higher bills and lower pay, and about how many people are out of work and struggling worse than I am right now. Amongst my friends, I have noticed that it seems to be a time to change paths or forge ahead with new ideas, and that is really rubbing off on me. I know that I want to take my artwork and ideas to the next level, only I am not so sure how to do it. I also need to get a design portfolio going to show people that I can do more than illustration and magazine production, so that I may have an additional source of income.

I think these hard times are causing many people to rethink what they really want out of life. (I really want an overseas vacation but I think it is going to be a while before that happens.) It is one of those times when I have to ignore the obstacles and just go ahead with what I want, or find out what I want, and stay inspired all the way along. Some friends of mine decided on two words for 2009: Fearless and Thrifty. These words resonate with me, too, so that has become my mantra for when I become overwhelmed with “what to do?” I should also keep on bloggin’! But that’s enough for now.

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