Who’s Whose 2007 Show and Tell

Today is my grandmother’s 84th Birthday. She is just over 50 years older than me and just shy of being 20 years older than my mom. That has made it very easy for me to remember her age. Kind of like my mom’s birthday is the mirror image of mine. Hers: 9/23 and mine: 3/29. Also Alex and I share the same birthday day of the week every year, except Leap Year. If his birthday falls on a Thursday, so will mine. Except this year, his was last Friday and mine will fall on Saturday. Obviously, I have spent a lot of time thinking about numbers in my life. Maybe that stems from Mom’s math genes.

I was not able to join Grandma for her surprise birthday lunch, so I have tried to call her at least three times today. Sounds as if she has had a very busy day. A birthday party followed by a Mardi Gras party, and then lunch by 5. Whew! She will be worn out by the time I talk to her.

Grandma has inspired me over the last year. I guess you can say that she is on of my muses. I unsuccessfully tried to paint her portrait. It is fine, but nothing to write home about. Or, rather take home to show her.

Then I created the painting about the first time that my mom called her “Mama.” I think that she really enjoyed that painting. She tells everyone it is about a time that she spanked my mom. That wasn’t really my intent, but she would tell me the story almost every time I talked to her. I believe moments like these are powerful points in life. So I wanted to capture it. Plus she is my only living grandparent, so it is almost like I am trying to soak up all of her stories like a sponge.

For Christmas, I thought that I would create a little book for my cousins’ children. I am in North Carolina frequently, but not that often. And so many of us are scattered all over the South – from DC to Atlanta. When we are together, little time is spent explaining who belongs to whom.

We grew up seeing each other almost every week. We would have lunch together at Grandma’s house after church on Sundays. My cousins were like my brothers and sisters. We saw each other all of the time, with the exception of Erik and Jason who moved away in the very early 80s. We were always excited when they came to visit us.

I worked very diligently to capture pictures of everyone. That was a real challenge. I had to email and ask for specific pictures. So that gave away a lot of the surprise. But let’s be honest. I can’t really keep a surprise. But I also don’t intentionally try to spoil one either. So I used two of my favorite projects that I have repeatedly demonstrated and taught at Paper Source and brought them together into one. This is the largest book project that I have created. I made 20 editions, which I knew would cover everyone and leave with me a few extra copies.

My cousin Mark, on the Rutledge side, is my printer. I sent the file to him pretty late on Thursday before we left DC. Since he took Friday off, I didn’t give him a lot of time. I should have called a little earlier in the week to see what he had planned. I had precut ribbon in advance, created my paper portfolios, added my labels, cut the A7 cards, added the ribbon to the interior card – all of the steps that I could to do as much in advance as possible. But on Saturday afternoon, I was about to have a stroke. I needed to get to work on folding, cutting and assembling the final book. I am a pretty calm person, but this was stressing me out. Exasperated, I finally told my dad that I needed a beer. He looked at me and said with a stern response, “You are not allowed to have any alcohol in this house.” Hmmm… some things will never change despite your age.

I finished the books on time and they were great. I think that everyone really enjoyed them. Although, I was sad that because of various circumstances, none of the intended audience was there. But that is also part of growing up.


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