Homage to Valerie; or, my mama didn’t raise no fool

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Well actually my mama did raise a craftin’ fool.  All this crafty madness is because of her.  For all the silly stuff that comes out of my mouth, you’ll have to talk to my dad.  I’ll admit, this post is a departure from my usual super-detailed projects.   I’m treading on my mother’s coat tails on this one.  While I am waiting for the reading nook (or secret reading hideout) to be completed so I can post it, I decided to do a little post about honoring a loved one.  Craftily, of course.

My mother passed away 14 years ago from colon cancer.  I was 25.  (Yeah, yeah, I’m almost 40.  That’s a whole ‘nuther post).  Somehow in that short time I absorbed a lot of my mother’s ingenuity just by watching.  I’m not saying I can always execute it, but I learned from it.  She had a way of putting that final touch on everything that gave it that extra bit of flair or personality.  She also had a way of cursing at her sewing machine when something didn’t go right, so now I feel no guilt when I become frustrated with a project and I let the expletives fly.  I know now her fingers just ached to get involved whenever I told her I had a school project, like the way my ears perk up now when Geoffrey or Logan suggest something.  Or not even suggest something, they just mention an idea in passing and it gets stuck in my head.    Two of her ideas:

  • The school had a contest to show a balanced meal.  I tried to draw a drumstick and vegetables on a plate on a piece of paper.  My drumstick wasn’t coming out right.  Because I was 8, I didn’t know the f-word yet but I would have used it if I did.  My mom passed by and said, why don’t we cover a piece of cardboard with some shelf paper like a table cloth?  What if we glued down a paper plate and plastic cutlery?  What if we cut out a drumstick on construction paper?  I at least suggested we hole punch some peas out of green paper.  The final product was awesome.  I won a WALKMAN, back when a Walkman was a big deal.  And about as large as a tape recorder.  For those of you who remember what a tape recorder is.  Was.  Whatever.
  • I had to make a diorama of a book I read (Forever Ramona, if I recall correctly).  I was depicting a scene in a church and everything was going great, when my mom ever so casually wandered by (I’m starting to see a theme here) and suggested we put a table in the scene.  Before I know it, she had whipped up a table out of construction paper and a thimble.  Then she took it to the next level, y’all.  A shortened birthday candle with one end dipped in glitter became a candle for the table.  A few small pieces of paper stapled together became a book.  A brass casing of some sort became a vase, and a few buds snipped off a bunch of dried flowers were the flowers in the vase.  That tiny table is my mom in a nutshell.  Believe it or not I still have it.  I have saved it since 5th grade:

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Pardon my language but that’s how freakin’ bad ass my mom was.  I finally put this in one of those cases you put a baseball in, because I guess I have decided to keep this for a very long time.  That is one way of remembering my mother and everything she was to me.

I also inherited my mother’s fabric stash, most of which I am reluctant to use.  I have a feeling the material Dad brought back from Vietnam which is too pretty to sit in the bottom of a fabric caddy but too pretty to cut too will eventually make its way out into some sort of something for my mom but hey, it’s been in there for over 40 years, what’s another 20?  I did find some pillow cases my mother embroidered (as I recall, on a trip up to Pinecrest Mountain with my friend Cassy and her parents).  That was 1982, and again, those pillow cases sat around for 20+ years.  I think it’s time to do something with them.  I managed to set up a little crafting/sewing corner in the spare bedroom, and when I came across these pillow cases, I decided to frame them and hang them near the sewing machine, which incidentally was my mother’s as well.  Maybe this framing thing is something to do with all the silky Vietnam material that I can’t bring myself to cut.  Anyway, once I hang the embroidery I’ll include that picture, too.

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I have also come across quilts my mom sandwiched together but did not sew.  Those have been a godsend in a pinch for a special new baby on the way.  I gave one to my brother and sister-in-law that my niece now uses, and on the tag I put quilted by Valerie and Melody.  I also did the same for a very special baby of my friend Cassy.  I had a girly quilt just waiting for a friend to have a girl.  Cassy’s mom and my mom were best friends, and it is because of them that I have known Cassy since birth.  We have both lost our mothers and so I knew Cassy could appreciate not only a quilt, but a quilt from my mom.  Now maybe if she’ll cough up a picture, I’ll post that as well (nudge nudge Cass.  If those kids give you two minutes to snap a picture, right?)

The hardest part about honoring a loved one is that you can go so overboard that you start to be reminded more of their death and the fact that they are no longer there, rather than celebrating all the wonderful things about them that you love.  Other than those times when I hear my mother’s voice issuing from my mouth (“Who put these in here like this?”  “I ain’t playin’!”  “There are children in Africa who are starving”), crafting is probably the time when I feel closest to my mom, like a little bit of her is living on inside of me. It’s hard to let go of someone who knows you so well, but I am lucky I have a second mom who probably loves me as much as my first mom, so way to go Dad on choosing wives.  It’s a shame Mom never got sucked into Pinterest or got in on these birthday parties, she would have been in her element.  Well like Forrest says, that’s all I have to say about that.    Or as my mom liked to say in her Mr. T. voice “That’s right, foo’!”

(Yeah there’s no monopoly in our family on talking silly)

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Backyard Halloween Carnival; or, ghouls and fools

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It’s that time of year again, where kids change their minds every hour on what they want to be for Halloween, each more implausible and impossible to create than the next.  “Batman!  No, a dragon!  No, Spiderman!  No, Ironman!”  Make up your mind kid, so Mommy can create it!!! A few years back around this time, my husband was going through a serious health issue.  Once he was out of the hospital, I felt that we all needed something to look forward to and distract ourselves.  Well really mostly me — my answer to a stressful situation is apparently to craft, and craft hard.  What the hell, plan a party!  A Halloween party!  A backyard carnival where kids can wear Halloween costumes as opposed to day care where they are not allowed to do so on Halloween (I found out the hard way one year.  I love you day care, but that rule about no costumes on Halloween still bothers me.  I get it, but it bothers me)!   Let it go, Mel.  I needed a party that was economical and relatively easy to set up. Most everything I chose was based on if I had the components on hand or would not cost me to much out of pocket.  This was my first attempt planning a party beyond the usual family gathering and at this scale.    I was intimidated but determined to distract myself:

I am a list maker.  A spreadsheet maker.  A lover of Excel for its ability to sort and filter.  I created what has become my standard for planning a large party that is craft-heavy (so, all my parties).

  1. Create list of games, food, decorations, invites and goody bags and needed supplies for each
  2. Determine cost of said items and refine list as necessary to stay under budget
  3. Create list of all tasks needed to complete list of games, food, decorations, and goody bags
  4. Assign a complete-by date to each task
  5. Create calendar which breaks down what will be accomplished on each day, saving big projects for the weekends.

Is it anal?  Oh yes, ever so.  But this method works for me.  When my friends ask “How in the hell did you find time to do this?” it is because I usually give myself 6-8 weeks, and I do little projects each day on my lunch breaks or after the kids go to sleep.

I started with the invite, going with a carnival ticket theme.  I played around with layering clipart and fonts in MS Word and came up with this:

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I printed it out in color, cut it, and pasted it on to brown card stock, and used a pack of envelopes I already had.

For the Halloween carnival, I decided on 3 games:  Candy Cornhole Toss, Can Toss, and Pin the Spider on the Web.  I decorated each station with balloons, and simultaneously deafened and scared the caca out of myself when one of the balloons popped in the trunk of the car as I was loading it.

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The Candy Cornhole Toss was a large appliance box, covered in brown craft paper which I already had on hand (ahem stole from my husband), and orange, yellow, and gold paint.  I traced the holes in the box and cut them out, and then covered it with the brown paper and cut the holes again.  I painted a candy corn shape on the front to represent the small, medium and large holes.  I had some candy corn material inherited from my mom which had been watching me for years, just waiting to raise its hand and say “Ooh ooh, me me me!  Pick me!!.”  I made some little toss pillows from those scraps of fabric, so that did not cost me a dime.  Candy Cornhole Toss, done.  All supplies were on hand, so zero cost.

The next game was the Can Toss, which I unfortunately did not take a picture of.  I cut off the top and one side of a small packing box, leaving about a 2-inch lip at the bottom, like a stage for a diorama.  I painted the box silver because . . . it needed to be decorated somehow, and then filled it with sand (hence the need for the lip).  I collected various sized tin cans over the course of a few weeks and covered them in orange, purple, green and black construction paper, and anchored them in the sand in a pyramid shape.  I had a couple of fabric balls in the toy box which were for tossing in the cans.  The kids ended up using the cans to scoop up the sand.  It was at this point I realized I should probably have assigned people to stations to show the kids how to play the game, but then the adults don’t get to have any fun.  Lesson learned!  Again, all supplies were on hand, so zero cost.

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The last game was Pin the Spider on the Web, which was a piece of leftover cardboard covered in paper with a spiderweb painted on it, decorated with insect cutouts.  I made pompon spiders with goggly eyes and black construction paper legs I cutout a spider shape and glued the pompon to it, with double-sided tape on the bottom.  This was one of the projects I did at work, and the big boss wandered by and did a double take at al these pompons on my desk, walking over and rubbing his eyes as if to say, “What the hell?”  I offered no explanation, just very innocent eyes, and he wandered away as silently as he had arrived.  After that interlude, I then  wondered how each kid would know which spider was theirs.  At this time I had not invested in a metallic pen, so I settled for the next most logical thing which was to give the spiders orange pedicures.  I mean that’s only natural, right?  I painted one leg for the first spider, two legs for the next, etc etc through 8 spiders.  The kids kept cheating at this game but it really didn’t matter, it’s not like it was the Olympics or anything, as long as they had fun.  The pompons were approximately 3 dollars, the goggly eyes were 2 dollars.  The other items I had on hand.

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Goody bags and prizes

I kept the goody bags relatively simple, just a brown paper lunch bag with each child’s name printed and glued on the front in a fall theme.  Now that I think of it, I probably could have used the carnival ticket template from the invite, but . . . maybe next time.  2 bucks for brown paper bags.

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I had imagined the prizes for the carnival would be awarded as each game was done, but this party turned out to be the last time I expected kids to follow some sort of plan.   I had an enormous tin of Happy Meal toys and other still in their package filler-type toys which I let the kids dive into.  So it sort of cost me 0 dollars to do this because I already had toys on hand, but this also represented 4 years of investing in Happy Meals.  All those fries stolen from Big Brothers plate.  Yes, I took the hit and sacrificed my waistline for the sake of a Halloween party.  It was tough, but I managed to make myself do it.

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I also made Spiderlicious Hot Chocolate.  I am proud of this idea because I thought of it myself.  Lil’ Bro was young enough where he was still eating baby food out of glass jars, so I saved the jars and also ensured I bought more baby food to have enough jars.  I removed the labels and spray painted the lids silver to cover up the Gerber logo.  Using the same spider template from Pin the Spider on the Web, I made more spiders on black felt this time, minus the pompon but with googly eyes, and glued that to the top of the lid.  I filled each jar with Ovaltine, mini marshmallows, and mini chocolate chips.  I then printed instructions for the hot chocolate, which was basically 1) heat up milk; 2) dump jar in milk; 3) stir; 4) drink, on a carnival ticket label, and pasted it to the front of the jar.  They were super cute, though — I loved them.  2 Sheets of felt, 1 dollar.  Googly eyes already bought.  All other ingredients on hand — yeah baby!!

Decorations and Food

As far as decorations I kept it to a minimum — I basically used streamers, green and black, and orange and yellow.  Sometimes I feel that orange and black are kind of overdone for Halloween, so black, purple and green are sometimes a nice change of pace.  All streamers on hand.  I have the Skittles assortment of streamers, I must have just about every color.  For one hysterical but cool moment, I considered making a spiderweb out of back streamers in a concentric circle around the dining room lamp.  But I didn’t.  I still think it would be a great idea.  Maybe next Halloween.

Food:

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This is the menu I came up with:

  • Chicken Drumsticks ($8 for 10-12)
  • Cornbread (all ingredients in the pantry)
  • Little Smokies ($6 for two packages)
  • Calexico Pizza ($3 cheese, $2 olives; $2 tomatoes; $2 beans)
  • Spiderweb Sugar cookies (all ingredients in the pantry)
  • Rice Krispy treats ($3 rice krispies; $2 marshmallows)

I think everything on here is self explanatory except for the Calexico Pizza.  I happen to have a bread machine that I use to make pizza dough.  I had some chicken with Mexican seasoning in the freezer, and was trying to figure out if I could work this into the menu.  So I came up with the Calexico Pizza:

  • Pizza dough (I made it in the machine)
  • Mexican seasoned chicken (or beef)
  • 1 can of Mexican seasoned stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can refried beans
  • Grated cheese (monterey jack or cheddar)
  • sliced olives
  • green chiles or jalapeños — optional

Spread the pizza dough on the pizza pan and par bake for about 7 minutes according to the directions.  Spread the crust with refried beans.  Puree the stewed tomatoes (I’m anti-chunky tomato, so if you like your tomatoes chunky, ignore this) and spread on top of the beans.  Sprinkle with the chicken or beef, then the cheese, then the olives.  Finish baking in the oven until the cheese is melted and crust is baked through.  I this case, I cut the pizza into small bites to make more of an appetizer.  A Calexico pizza doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Halloween but it sure as heck tasted good.

Spiderweb Sugar Cookies

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I dyed some sugar cookie dough orange and then melted some black candy melts (leftover from a previous project) and poured them into a candy squeeze bottle.  I made a swirl on each cookie, and then used a toothpick to drag lines radiating from the center to make a spider web.  I ran out of candy melts, so I made a quick green frosting from butter, powdered sugar and milk, added a smudge to the top of the cookie, and made a pumpkin sugar cookie.

The party went over very well.  There is a lot more I could have done, but given all the bad luck over the previous couple of months and the fact this was my first larger scale party, it didn’t turn out too bad.  Just like me — a little more foolish than ghoulish.

Pirate Birthday Party; or, thar be no fool’s gold here, only doubloons — savvy?

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Lil’Bro doing the Captain Morgan at cake time

Prior to the Star Wars Birthday Party, there was an easier birthday party to plan.  Aye, me hearties, ’twas a pirate birthday parrrty.  Why was it easier?  If it’s okay that everything looks rustic and requires a great deal of brown craft paper and red paint that you already have in abundance, it’s easier than a Star Wars party.  This was actually a Jake and the Neverland Pirates party for 3 year olds, but why limit yourself to one Disney show when there is such  large pirate universe to explore?

Cardboard Box Pirate Ship

It all started with a box.  Again, that pesky bat in the spare bedroom that caused me to want to sell the house was the reason why I had so many boxes sitting in the garage.  In the midst of searching the internet to get pirate ideas, I came across this post for a cardboard box pirate ship.  It was on like Donkey Kong then — “Well I already got me some boxes cluttering the garage!”  This was the point when Dave knew I had lost my mind, when I started dragging huge boxes in the house and tried to say very nonchalantly, “Oh, I’m just building a pirate ship.  Well actually two.  No biggie.”  Batten down yer hatches, me darlin’ husband.

Using the inspiration from the post, I took a microwave appliance box (yes!  The very same box that later spawned the Star Wars styrofoam spaceship window!) and a wardrobe box (yes!  The very same box that later spawned the Millennium Falcon Wading Pool!) to create the stern of the ship and the bottom and sides.  I cut off one panel of the wardrobe box and used that piece to form the nose of the ship.  It was kind of scary how easy the frame came together.  After I completed the second one, I had to clean out the garage to make space in order to answer Dave’s very good question: “You made ’em — now where the hell are you going to put them?”

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I toyed with the idea of spray painting them, but it was gonna take a lot of spray paint and possibly convert me into a tagger or a huffer.  This caused me to toy with the idea of not painting it at all, but that un-perfectionist insanity was short lived.  Where did I turn?  To craft paper of course.  I measured the circumference of the ships and unrolled a length of paper a little bit longer than that.  I folded the paper lengthwise (quite a chore) about three times to get six rows.  Using brown acrylic paint, I painted lines on the folds, a simple step which took a lot longer than I imagined.  A very very thick Sharpie might have been quicker but then again maybe not.  Anyway at random intervals I painted vertical lines to resemble wooden planks on the sides of the ships.  Now here was one of those little steps that made me do the Happy Crafty Dance (It looks a little like the Cabbage Patch and the Elaine put together and it ain’t pretty).  To mimic the nails on the boards, I dipped a wine cork (thanks Jen for the selfless hours of wine drinking to create that cork collection!) in black paint and stamped away on the 4 corners of each board. Boom.  Nailed it.  I taped the paper to one end of the ships and wrapped it around the ship, and then folded it down over the edges.  After looking at the silhouette, I ended up adding two small packing boxes to the top of the stern (the helo deck my ex – Navy co-worker Chris called it, remembering that fine tradition of pirates and helicopters).  I wrapped those too and glued them to the ship.

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The ships were pretty much done.  A few weeks later I decided to add a porthole made out of blue and yellow paper, and a leaded glass window made to of blue paper and black electrical tape.  The last one did not stay on too well but it looked cool while it did.  I also found some blue striped wrapping paper to make sails — I ended up double siding them together to make them stffer, and printed out the Jake gold doubloon symbol to glue to it.  On the day of the party I took some spare moulding to make a mast and scuttled the ship (i.e. cut a slit in the bottom) to anchor the mast, and then taped it to the small packing boxes.  I hadn’t thought this part through beforehand and didn’t count on how the wind might actually catch the sail and kind of threaten to literally drop the boom on some poor kids, so I would advise further anchoring the mast in the ground or otherwise securing it better.  I made some cannon balls out of packing paper wrapped in small sections of black plastic trash bags, and invited the kids to have a battle between two ships, or try to sink the small “boats” I made out of leftover “wood siding” and diaper boxes.  Moms are never at a loss of small boxes while there are diapers in the house, heeyyyyyy.

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Roguish Decorations

Once I get a good idea going, the ideas just seem to keep on coming — my brain is like a hamster on a wheel sometimes.  I mean roll of brown craft paper, will craft.  I decided to make a birthday sign, table runner, and door sign that referenced a pirate map.  There was a great deal of cutting of gold doubloons printed from the Disney website, black sharpie treasure trails, and Disney character cut outs.  By the end, there were little bits of brown paper all over the house from weathering the sides to look like maps.

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I also took some scroll printer paper and created a useless but cute map of the house to show first time visitors where the bathrooms were, basically (or poop decks, and I didn’t even care if that is not what a poop deck is).

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Using more character cutouts, scrapbook paper, fishing wire, and some wooden pirate cutouts from Michael’s, I created some dangling centerpieces for the table.

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A totally inexpensive idea was the cutlery table.  I spray painted a wine box you get from the grocery store with a glossy red paint — it was a glossy surface so it took the paint well.  This was a utensil and napkin caddy.  I also happened to have a striped bedsheet which mimicked the ship sails, which i used as the table cloth.  Had it been slightly bigger I would have used it for the table.

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Treasure chest and Loot bags

I really had no need for a treasure chest but it was such a damn good inexpensive idea.  A styrofoam cooler chest, painted brown, and glued with more wooden pirate cutouts from Michaels.  If I could have lined it with velvet I would have, but I did take a scrap of brown pleather and some leftover upholstery nails to cover up the top of the chest.  I decided to use it to hold the loot bags, which were large brown lunch bags with a pirate map glued to the front.  I made telescopes out of cardboard paper towel tubes, the scraps of pleather, and yellow paint.  I also included gold chocolate coins, gold Rolo-nuggets, and colorful Hershey kisses to mimic jewels.  I also included cheap eyepatches, Jake bubbles, and Jake stickers (the girls got pink patches, and I tied those bags with pink string instead of twine like the others).   BIG hit, like a cannonball on a British frigate.

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Games

It has been my experience that corralling kids at a party for organized play is like herding cats, so I am a big believer in free play.  I set up a few stations:

Cardboard ships of course:  as explained above

Cork ships in a wading pool (yes!  The same wading pool that spawned the Millennium Falcon wading pool): At the last minute I decided to make a water station using a very clever cork ship idea.  My friend Jennifer came to my rescue with wine corks — I glued four together with two popsicle sticks for masts.  I cut pieces of craft foam for the sails.  I did test them beforehand and they floated fine, but at the party it was like Admiral Nelson and the British Navy beat the crap out of pirates — the ships fell apart.  I wish I had used the skewer and cork catamaran I tested before:

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Unfortunately I did not take any close up pictures of the pirate ships, but since they apparently weren’t seaworthy, just pretty, it doesn’t matter.

Walking the plank: My dear husband, after much prodding from me, made a simple plank from a 2×6 and some other wood scraps.  I added a blue sheet to mimic water and made some shark fins from black card stock in a triangular shape (much like the Yoda ears from the Star Wars birthday party) weighted down with stones.  You can see it in the background (barely) below:

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Food and Cupcakes

I made a pirate themed menu with little cards using the pirate map template and card stock.

  • Fish & Chips (Goldfish and potato chips)
  • Cannonballs and Peg-Legs (olives, carrot and celery sticks)
  • Guac the Plank (Guacamole and tortilla strips)
  • Fruity Booty (grapes, apples and pineapples)
  • Lemon Grog (lemonade), Apple Grog (apple juice), & Sea Water
  • Map-aroni and Cheese
  • Sea Dogs (hot dogs) — I had to look this up to make sure it wasn’t some obscene pirate reference but it’s Sir Walter Drakes’ crew.

Cupcakes were decorated with white frosting, mini chocolate chips to mimic a treasure trails, and strips of red licorice to make the X that marks the spot.  With some of the leftover batter I made a small cake for Lil’ Bro to blow out the candles, and decorated it basically the same way:

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That was our Pirate party — there was fun for every-booty!  Even the grandpas made fools of themselves:

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Bridal Shower Memory Box; or fools in love

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I have known Jennifer since I was 8 years old when we sat next to each other in Mrs. Roeding’s combination 3rd 4th grade class.  Yep, she’s in the rarefied “BFF” category for sure.  Fast forward holy crap literally THIRTY frickin’ years later, and Jennifer is finally marrying Matt, the nuptial all of the East Bay has been waiting on with bated breath.  So being she’s my friend of such long standing, I really needed to get her something special for her bridal shower.  But I was just stumped on what to get her, figuring the usual lingerie or cookbook just didn’t feel meaningful enough and plus this wasn’t her first matrimonial rodeo either.  I finally got the idea to make her a wedding memory box.  I had a laminated box I saved because it was pretty, but I couldn’t just hand the girl a plain box — “Here’s your big empty box — good luck with married life!” I decided to use Power Point to make an entwined monogram of her initials and her future husband’s and add some clip art to represent his heritage and her interests.  Since Matt is proud of his Dutch heritage I went with tulips and clogs, and Jen is very into antiques so I included a cameo for her.  Once I printed it out I used some clear contact paper I had on hand to laminate it, and then cut around it with pinking shears to make the edges pretty.   A little glue stick to the back, pressed it on top of the box and voila — personalized memory box.

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I included a very heartfelt note that made Jen and everyone else at the shower tear up — even me and I wrote the damn thing dry-eyed.  I guess booze will do that to a bunch of ladies (Ok ok I didn’t drink anything so I have no excuse, I know Jen is going to call me on that.  I love my friend, so what?).  Anyway, I told her this was a box to keep all her mementos of what I hoped would be many happy years together with Matt.  I said it a lot more elegantly than that, of course.  Then, being an equally elegant lady in person, I pumped my fist when Jen burst into tears and I crowed “Yes!  I have made her cry!”  Jennifer already knows I am weird, otherwise she wouldn’t have been my friend this long.

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Look how freakin’ artistic my friend is when I ask her to take some photos of her box!!  She’s so awesome!  When all the guests asked how I made it and I explained this process, Jen’s (future) sister in law muttered under her breath “Damn she’s crafty!”   It made me want to dance like a fool.

DIY Greeting Card; or, fools rush in (the store and forget to buy a card)

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A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to 2 birthday parties on the same day that were 60 miles apart.  The bonus was they were kid’s parties.  The additional bonus was both my boys were going, and it was going to be two kids on one parent.  The super dilly deluxe was one party was at the beach and I could expect to slog not only my children through the sand but all that crap you have to bring to the beach too (towels, blankets, sand toys).  Little Bro is a runner and fully occupies the need for one hand.   Hopefully you realize by now my use of the words “lucky” and “bonus” is sarcasm at its highest.  The only true bonus was that the sand was not hot like it was a month later when we were at the beach and I told myself the sand was just “pleasantly warm,” realized it was burning the crap out of my feet, and frantically relived my track and field days sprinting across the hot-ass sand holding a toddler and a diaper bag like Forrest Gump ferrying his buddies out of the Vietnam jungle. “I gotta find wet sand, Lieutentant Dain!”  Somehow in the flurry of wrapping presents and packing the bags, I realized I had no cards for either gift.  This was like 11:00 at night.  What to do?

 
Like a none-too-gentle cuff on the back of my head I heard my mother’s voice say, “Pull out that big ol’ box of scrap paper and make somethin’, girl!”  Okay, mama. 

 
I didn’t want it to look like “I forgot to buy a card” DIY but “I took time to create this just because” DIY.  Which we all know isn’t true but momma said a little white lie never hurt nobody (there’s that Forrest Gump again with his Flexo-lite Ping Pong paddle.  OK so I’ve watched the movie a few times).  I had some comic book pages leftover from Big Brother’s Batman party (as always, more on that later), as well as some blank cards and envelopes.  I sifted through the pictures I had but none of them really worked.  I was starting to get worried (but also slightly happy because now I could say screw it and just go to bed) when I remembered I still had the Scholastic magazine and maybe there were some pictures I could use there.  I saw a picture of a crab, which would work for the beach party, and the movie Planes 2 which was trendy enough.  While I was at it I cut out some other pictures to save in my scrap box just in case.  I cut them out and then found some coordinating scrapbook paper for a matte, and glued them to the card.  The Planes background is popcorn, in case you can’t tell:

crab card planes card

I printed some corny little sayings on the computer: “Happy Birthday, the sky’s the limit” on the Planes card and . . . well now Tex I don’t remember where he come from I mean I don’t remember what I wrote in the crab one.  Why Forrest Gump keeps popping up I couldn’t tell ya.  Maybe because my Dad will read this post and be the only person who recognizes it.  Oh in the crab one I wrote “Hope your birthday is a splash!”  I used Word Art in MS Word to make the outline wavy for the beach card saying and puffy like a cloud for the Planes card.  What can I say, a rectangle just won’t do sometimes — I like to kick it up a notch.   Anyway, I pasted the sayings inside the cards and saved myself a late night or early morning trip to Walgreens. 

 crab inside  planes inside

I would like to have printed the inside in color but our printer guzzles color ink like Forrest Gump drinks Dr. Pepper (last time, I swear) so it was bone dry.  I was really happy how these came out in a late-night pinch.  I shoved the cards in Dave’s face and said, “you’re married to a genius, now kiss me you fool!”