All in

Cathy ZielskeCards41 Comments

The other day I was having a phone meeting with Catherine, my friend and also the publisher (and my employer) of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine. Commenting about my recent foray into cardmaking, and the accompany barrage of sharing on my CZ Design Instagram account, she said, “Man, when you go all in, you really go ALL IN.”

It’s kind of true. This is not the first time I’ve heard this. Just about 28 years ago, it was one of my traits that drew Dan into my circle. He loved my all in approach to life. Now, what he didn’t know then and he clearly knows after a lifetime with me, the all in has its upsides and its downsides.

Upside: I get shit done.
Downside: I neglect to clean my house, do laundry or plan meals.

Upside: I immerse myself in whatever it is that I’m all in on.
Downside: I spend a bit too much money to do so.

Upside: I am focused and methodical.
Downside: Well, I know there are downsides on this one but right now, they’re escaping me.

I have always loved having a new thing. Scrapbooking was that thing in 2003, meaning, it was new then. I did the same thing as I’m doing with cards. I dove in full throttle because something just clicked.

Last night, I literally lost track of time working on a card. I started after dinner and then it was 9:30 and it felt like I’d blinked. And the kicker was I was having so much fun doing it. I kept going into the family room where Dan and Cole watching the Wild Game and trying to explain to them how CRAZY cute the Wink of Stella effect was on my tiny planet. You have to picture this: middle aged mother showing 17-year-old son how the glitter looks on a tiny stamped and die cut planet. I’m sure it would have been hilarious to the casual observer.

But me? I was just swooning over the process. (And yes, I’ll be sharing that card and process next week, if I can figure out how to replicate it.)

Year ago Dan was using a metaphor to explain how we were different. I may have shared this before, but it bears repeating…

He said, “Let’s say that I’m interested in learning more about Amish culture. I would go to the library, maybe check out a book or two, and see what I could learn. You? You become Amish.”

Again, there are upsides and downsides, friends.

But the feeling of having a creative injection is making every part of my life a little more infused with joy.

And also knowing that we create our own passion. No one does this for us, right? If you nurture it… if you cultivate it… it grows.

There may also be Copic markers involved.

Just sayin’.

p.s. check back tomorrow for some fun news from me regarding stuff I make!




Cathy ZielskeAll in

41 Comments on “All in”

  1. #1
    Kimberly O.

    This is totally me!! 🙂 One year, I saw a really cute painted mailbox on eBay. I didn’t buy because I figured I could do it myself. $200 later for classes, books, paints, etc., I had a beautiful mailbox that survived three months until a snowplow wiped it out. Evidently the driver didn’t like it. So then I used my die cut machine and put our name, house number, and a flourish on a black mailbox. It’s still there a few years later.

    Every new “thing” is definitely an “all in” experience. Any new techniques that intrigue me? Yep, buy it all. However I’ve found that sometimes I don’t actually like the technique, so that’s bad. Or maybe I need to watch more YouTube videos to get it right. It’s probably user error.

    I like that Amish saying… “You’d be Amish.” 😀

    My husband is the same way though. He took up photography and I didn’t say a word about most of his purchases to go along with it. Except the time he said “Oh, did I show you my new lens?” And I said “How much was that?!” $1200 WHAT?!! Yeah, that’s right before I ordered my first Silhouette machine. 😉

    Now he’s into shooting guns again. I’m okay with that too because I’m right with him as far as owning a gun and having a CCW license. However he’s taken up competitive shooting… which means he bought another gun. So now he needs one like “the other folks”… Eh, that’s okay. We don’t hang out in bars, etc.

    Turn about is fair play. If he doesn’t say much about my hobbies, I certainly can’t say anything about his… except his cost much more than mine. Too bad there aren’t any machines or things I’m interested in… 🙂

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      My husband is much more the other way, taking a little bits here and there so he can learn at a pace that is comfortable for him, although as a new teacher this year, he’s really had to immerse himself in a way that is out of his comfort zone at times. It’s all good.

  2. #2

    I’m having so much fun watching *you* have fun. I loved seeing your astronauts and planets cards in your Instagram story. I don’t always go for cute in cardmaking, but I routinely fall for Lawn Fawn’s mini sets for holidays. For example, last year’s Valentines featured hedgehogs sending hedgehugs (squeee!) and this year everyone was notified that they “octopi” my heart. lol

    1. #2.1
      Cathy Zielske

      My inner punk rock girl is as surprised as anyone that I am so in love with all of the cute stuff that Lawn Fawn makes. But seriously, their stuff is so legit!

  3. #3

    Fantastic post!!! Crafting, learning, helping someone, new project, planning a party? You name it, I’m ‘all in’ too. It makes me happy, keeps me sane, and most of the time, the people around me reap the benefits on some level. As the saying goes…I’d rather go an inch wide & a mile deep, than an inch deep & a mile wide!

  4. #4

    I took am on the journey you are on. Spending lots of dollars on everything Tim Holtz and anything Jennifer Magiireuses or recommends. I am finding pure joy incsrslimg and I tell myself I can use this stuff for svrspbooking too!!!
    The men in my house just roll their eyes when I present a new card or slink past my craft room so they don’t have to listen to my misunderstood enthusiasm

  5. #6
    Valerie W.

    I am laughing as well, because I, too, am you!!! 🙂 I have never really enjoyed making cards as all those videos use so much, well, crap! I LOVE your cards, and I think you have a super awesome market opportunity if you can educate us on keeping cards as simple as your scrapbooking for those of us, well, like you!!

    PS: Thx for the Copic addiction and also being “all in”, not sure to thank you or not, haha! I did make my husband a birthday card, and let him know it likely equated to a $200 value given all I purchased and time it took me to make it! 😉

    1. #8.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Also? Because this is how I make a living? All craft materials are write offs. BIG bonus. 🙂

  6. #9
    Barbara Barnes

    I am lovin’ that you have found this gateway opening to the wealth of creativity that cardmaking has to offer! I have been stamping for over 25 years – even worked for a stamp company, but took a hiatus for about 5 years and did other papercrafts. About 2 years ago I happened upon Jennifer’s blog (who I had followed when she first started and bought every book and mag that she was in – and you as well, tho scrapbooking has never been my thing. You are just darned hilarious…) and I could not believe all the changes in the industry. And so much talent. And die-cutting? Man, what an addiction THAT started. I had a Silhouette…but dies with their beautiful curved edges? LOOOOOOVE. So I am telling this long tale because I am an all-in gal as well…tho it’s really only about art and craft supplies. When I die, my husband is going to freak over how much investment there is in my craft room; but until then, I am trying to keep it under wraps, LOL. Have fun, Cathy – and can’t wait to see all the great cards you will make and the enthusiasm that you bring to us!!

    1. #9.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I can’t believe how much stuff is out there in card land. It really reminds me of when I first found scrapbooking. All. The. Things.

  7. #10
    Sandra B.

    If you’re Amish, should you really be online? (Obviously, I have a lot to learn as well.) Thanks for your awesome presentation and sharing, as always!

    1. #10.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Sometimes I wonder, “Should I tell that Amish story, I would hate to offend anyone,” and then I remember: they’re not online. 😉

  8. #11
    Chris S.

    your card making adventures make me laugh!! i’ve been making cards for at least 15 years now and sometimes i think this sucks, where’s the nearest f*cking hallmark. but i keep doing them cuz i sell cards at my vet’s office and all the proceeds go to our local shelter. can’t leave them high and dry now. they call me the “card lady” when i take them money.

    i started doing this cuz my friends and family suck at sending cards, so i decided i had to find some other way to use up my card stuff or sell it all on ebay. i don’t care what anyone says, not getting cards in return totally sucks!! especially when you make them.

    i totally miss the snail mail days!! i keep thinking that snail mail will come back in style one of these days, like bell bottoms or those horrible gouchos…. i had several pen pen pals in HS that were from other countries, i totally miss that!

    oh and i totally show the men in my house all the crap i make, they just nod. they could care less, but they know i make all the food and do all the laundry so they better show me some love.

    so keep making and buying all the stuff, i am enjoying your journey!! your enthusiasm makes me want to make more cards!!

  9. #12
    Lisa D

    I have to say I’m not that fond of reading blogs (more addicted to watching YouTube videos!!) but as I follow you now on Instagram your “all in” and photo of lawn Fawn inks (I LOVE INKS!!) had me curious so I found your blog and your All in entry made me smile? As soon as I read “I get shit done” I thought I like her!! I look forward to reading more – keep up the great words Cathy!

  10. #15

    Jealous! I have yet to find this again after scrapbooking (circa 1996-a few years ago). Photography fizzled and waned. I haven’t found anything that drags me from household chores and makes me lose track of time. I would love to! Cardmaking didn’t grab me, but I enjoy yours.


  11. #16
    Heather Johnson

    Ever since I stumbled upon Jennifer McGuire’s Youtube Channel I have been smitten with card making. I am only just now getting going, but it IS fun isn’t it? Super jealous of the Copic markers…I just learned what they are like last week and had to reign myself in from buying some right away. (Instead I went to Simon Says Stamp and bought some stamps, ink, and a MISTI.)

    Oh Boy.

    I am so all or nothing as well. I get it. Boy do I get it!

    What I think is really amazing about all of this is that it really is about spreading joy. When I send cards people are SO happy. It’s bringing me great joy to start with this new hobby!

  12. #17

    A perk to taking the cardmaking sidetrack:
    while you’re playing with all the new-to-you card stuff, they’re busy making more scrapbook stuff which will be new-to-you and so exciting when you go all-in back there 😉

  13. #19

    I have been a stamper and card maker for years, but you have inspired me to try a little copic coloring. I always felt like it was too expensive and I figured I wouldn’t be good at it anyway since I am not really artsy and don’t understand how shading really works. But then I saw how “frugally” and simply you started and you got such good results. I bought my first markers and ordered the party animals stamp and die set–which is very hard to find now and I am thinking that is because of you. ? So, I will be stamping and coloring and cutting lots of little bears and balloons for cards in the near future. And if that goes well, I may inv st in a few more markers and make some little chicks.
    I will be watching you to see what you make next.
    One of your stamp sets may be on my wish list too. ❤

    1. #19.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I have to say, even though I have spent quite a bit of, ahem, money over the past month, I am really working to use everything that I have now in different ways. I am going to work on a post of what I’ve learned (and probably what I’ve spent to be realistic) as a new stamper. Of course, the benefit I have is that what I purchase for crafting is tax deductible because this is my business and job. So that’s a lucky break, right? 😉

  14. #20
    Emily arrington

    Your insta videos and singing are a breath of fresh air!! Keep ’em coming! You’re reminding us all about the JOY of creating!! It’s contagious!!! And therapeutic. I’ve focused more on stories and getting project life stuff done, but have forgotten the joys of creating! Thanks for reminding me…and the singing. NAILED. IT.

    1. #20.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thanks Emily. I really feel joyful in both my work and my crafting right now. I know that is a gift, but I also need to cultivate it in every area of my life. Singing? Well… it’s just silly good fun!

  15. #21

    Oh my gosh, this is totally me. My friends laugh at (hopefully with) me because when I get into something, I AM IN! Photography … I had to know everything about everything and take every class!!! And buy almost every lens. Scrapbooking … I have learned every aspect of traditional and digital and hybrid scrapbooking … because I HAD TO KNOW ALL ABOUT IT!!! Photo editing … I have taken every class and tried every method and every action! And I will ignore all other aspects of my life while on a current mission.
    BTW, I’m loving your daily instagram stories!

  16. #22
    Diane Downs

    I love the new direction you’re going in. I’ve been in limbo land as I figure out what to “focus on” now that my kids are teens and early 20’s and want nothing to do with me or my camera.
    Probably this goes hand in hand with being an abstainer vs a moderator, yes?

  17. #23
    Bridget Peller

    My husband and I watched the incredible, profound and quaint “The Way”. He said “I have to go and walk the Camino.” I said, “Great movie.”

    After having been married 31 years, I was not surprised. He is the “all in” one of us!

    Have a great weekend!


  18. #24
    Sherrie M.

    Welcoming you with open arms to the cardmaking world Cathy!! Yay!! I was a scrapbooker way back when, back in the days of Simple Scrapbooks and Big Picture Classes. Sort of fell out of scrapbooking world, found my way into cardmaking about 3 years ago, and am having a ball. Cards take less time and stamping is super fun. Each card is a new canvas that has so many possibilities. Going to pre-order your snarky stamp sets now….

    On another note, just finished Amy Krause Rosenthal’s Textbook. OMG. Wow. Big fan of her work since Encyclopedia and now I’m motivated to finish your METAV class I’ve started 3 times.

  19. #25
    Mary-Anne V

    Ha this is a very fun post! I love how you go all out! Also thank you so much for that copic picture. I was hoping to start with a few copics but I was thinking of only buying 2 shades of each colour (ha that is my plan probably will not go well once I start buying!!!!). If you can please continue to post more copic 2 marker blends pictures like this. BTW WELCOME to the awesome world of card making…it is a great way to spread some happiness.

  20. #26

    “You. You become Amish”. Best. Quote. Ever. And now, to go along with my “Cathy-Girl-Crush-whose-last-name-I-can-never-pronounce-correctly-in-my-head”, I’m also in love with your hubby. (Don’t worry … I have one already! 25 years and counting). A few things:
    1. I just watched your first card making video. How is it that this was the first video of yours I ever watched (maybe besides the dancing bumble bee)? I don’t know. But I love your voice.
    2. I don’t know much about card making (past attempts include very simple designs, mostly gluing lots of paper/plastic/vellum/wood veneer things onto a card) but I’m about to learn, thanks to you! Stamping and die cuts and inks for cards? Who knew? (Only the rest of the world, apparently). I do, however, know A LOT about letter writing. I write at least one letter every day. (Yes, I have lots of pen pals. Yes, I search for sites/pages that put out a call for post cards and letters for elderly/sick/going through rough times/milestone birthday celebrations and I write. The World Needs More Love Letters is my favorite site.) Lately it’s my sanity check and my semi-craft outlet. Also, I already knew all about embossing. I have ALL the powder and ALL the glitter in ALL the colors, so welcome to that little world! But I guess card making and letter writing sort of go together, so I’m in luck! (What will I do with my Hallmark-Store-Sized collection of cards and all my Crane stationery you ask? Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that one it!)
    3. I am suddenly back into your blog with gusto! I love your card projects and I want to see more because I’m a beginner like you and those videos by the pros intimidate me. I’m ready to learn more. Bring it on!
    4. You are making me want to buy all the things too. A glitter pen? A MISTI? Those Copic markers? Clear stamps? I never knew I needed these things. But now I do!! And it’s totally all your fault. In a good way. Besides, two years ago my husband, who has never cared one lick about cars, bought a 1971 VW bus and has spent the last two years trying to keep it running. I’m suddenly married to a car guy! That thing sits in our driveway undriveable more than it is driveable. Every time my husband goes outside, the bus points a gun at my husband and says, “Give me your money”. And that’s exactly what my husband does. So guess what. I’m taking my credit card out for a walk tonight. We’ll be back later. We might even stop for ice cream on the way home. Don’t wait up.

    I’m seriously so excited to learn this style of card making like you! I can’t wait to see more of your work! Thank you!

    1. #26.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Well this all sounds awesome! Check out my blog tomorrow. I have a post about All the Things from my beginner perspective!

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