Monday, December 28, 2015

a wonderful christmas, followed by terrible news

good morning, everyone, i hope you've had a lovely holiday, if you celebrate xmas; or, alternately, just a particularly nice weekend! apologies for the radio silence over here, the run-up to the big day became incredibly busy with the finishing of some last minute gifts and projects, including a forest of fun vintage paper trees i made for my mother and aunt, of which i'm showing a few pics in this post. the pretty pinecone and glitter houses displayed with them were a serendipitous *steal* i lucked into (on sale less than half-price!) at michaels before the holiday, but after the trees were in the works... score! 

we had a fantastic if super-busy holiday with my family, followed by loads of cooking and travelling to visit with jeff's family. in between came the "terrible news" part, which... if you read crafty blogs you may already know, but if not, i'm sorry to be the one to tell you: our lovely blogging friend and SOS mastermind, leslie hanna, aka the crooked stamper, died suddenly on friday.

needless to say, all of her online friends-- and she had LOTS-- are reeling a bit from both the shock of such unexpected news and the sadness of the loss. i'm not even going to attempt any kind of eulogy here; i don't think i could do it at the best of times, and frankly i'm still very much in the processing phase. besides, if you knew leslie, you already know everything i'd say: that she was smart, talented, creative, incredibly productive, and funny as hell. she was also exceedingly generous, with her time, with her words, with encouragement for fellow crafters, and especially to any one new in the papercrafting or blogging spheres. she left fabulous comments, she'd drop everything to answer a question, or find you a link, or explain how to do this or that. and always in a way that made you feel that it wasn't a stupid question, that she had been there, too. she was, in fact, incredibly kind... but in such a matter-of-fact way that you almost didn't notice it except in retrospect. which is the essence of graciousness, really, isn't it? though if you said any of that to her, i suspect you'd get an *eyeroll* of epic proportions, lol. 

i suppose it might seem weird to grieve for a person one has never "met" in real life, but i think that my fellow craft bloggers will GET IT. i marvel constantly at the astonishing good luck of having made so many cool crafty friends online... too many to list, really, like leslie, and stephanie, and june, and amy, and all my lovely SOS sisters, and well, all of YOU reading this. the serendipity and good fortune of it never fails to blow my mind. i didn't really have any papercrafty friends irl when i started blogging, so it just felt AMAZING to me to suddenly have contact with people who spent a lot of time thinking about just the right adhesive; or taking photos of store window displays b/c the design *might* look cool on a card, or cutting out an advert from a magazine because the font was pretty. up until then i thought i might actually be the ONLY person in the world who did those things. then, in the crafty blogosphere i found my tribe, lol, and i'm grateful every day! ♥

i'll miss hanging out with leslie at SOS. i'll miss her you-better-not-be-drinking-coffee-unless-you-wanna-wear-it blog posts. i'll miss seeing pictures of bobra, the world's most handsome cat (just ask him!) in her instagram feed. i'll miss the little flurries of short-n-silly emails we'd exchange when we were both online at the same time. in the way of human nature, i expected, without really even thinking about it, that i'd have a few more years of all of that. i suppose we all take the good things --and the good people-- in our lives for granted, on some level. but it's probably not a bad idea to really *SEE* them once in awhile, and express our gratitude to each other and to the universe, whether it be inside our heads, or perhaps in a really long, somewhat meandering blog post, lol! :) i for one, am one of the luckiest beings alive, and being friends with leslie hanna for the last few years was both a pleasure and a privilege i will not soon forget. if there's a crafty afterlife, i figure she's already up there organizing the supplies and thinking up fun challenges for the other inhabitants. meanwhile, i think i'll go cry for a bit, and then make a card... both of which i hope are a fitting tribute.

ciao for the moment, darlings, 
and lots of love to you all!


  1. I was shocked to read the news her son posted on her blog! I'm glad that he took the time to let us know what happened, though. The crafty world, and world in general, will be missing a great person in Leslie Hanna. RIP.

  2. Lauren - First of all - beautiful and moving comments about Leslie! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    But I also want to slip in how wonderful your trees turned out! Absolutely a gorgeous project -combining them with the wonderful sale village was brilliant and makes a stunning centerpiece or credenza decoration! I bet your Aunt and Mom loved them!

  3. Just stopping by to share a hug ... I am also deeply saddened by the news. Best wishes!

  4. Lauren, I am so very sorry to hear this news and send my deepest condolences to her family and all of her friends, whether they knew her irl or online. In the spirit of your beautiful post, I'd like to say to you how thankful I am to have 'met' you here in blogland and to thank you for all of your amazing inspiration and wonderful and supportive comments. Sending hugs of support and condolence as you grieve this devastating loss, Deb xo

  5. Lauren, such a beautiful tribute to Leslie♡

  6. Beautiful tribute, awesome I need a tissue...again.

  7. First, as in the order of your post, the trees are fabulous! I was shocked when I heard then read of Leslie's passing. Today, after returning from 3 weeks of holiday travel, I cried opening her Christmas card. She always made me laugh with her humor, and I was so happy to count her among my bloggy friends. She brought me to your blog, and I am thankful for that. I love what you wrote about her, she is/was all those things and more. Sending you and all her friends hugs as we work our way through this sad news.

  8. Man, your words. So eloquent and heartfelt. I'm tearing up again. What a beautiful tribute to our dear friend. ((hugs))

  9. Dearest Lauren,
    I am so very saddened to hear this news! I have just returned from visiting family and am working on catching up with reality, which has been diffiult. Your blog was my second click with my morning coffee. (I love your beautiful project!)
    Beautiful words for your dear bloggy friend and such an inspiration she was! Although we had a lovely Christmas in Southern ON, we too had sad news. On the morning of our travel back home, my son heard the news that one of their beloved and very popular teachers from their elementary school passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I was especially fond of him due to his easygoing nature and his level of comfort working with children who have special needs. He loved children and teaching and it was obvious. Such a sad way for our school community to start back up again on Monday. He will not soon be forgotten, neither will Leslie.
    Hugs are in order all around,
    p.s. On a happier note, there were three cards awaiting my return from holiday - one was yours! Imagine my delight when I opened it to find a vintage skier on the front! Thank you!!! Not for simply sending me a hand-made card (which is a huge treat in and of itself) but for making it so personal! You are such a gem and your card was a bright spot in an otherwise sad day. Thanks for being you, Lauren!

  10. What an amazing and beautiful gift! And to find the supplies less than 50% off…even better. Your tribute to our mutual friend is perfect; and several days ago the one all SOS gals wrote moved me beyond words. Perfectly lovely sentiments shared. Big hugs to you, my dear friend. Love you! June


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