The Case of the Cardboard Trees

and the Crap Grocery-store Glue

my happy place

A trip to Bethany’s isn’t complete if I haven’t broken out the box cutter a few times and showed some cardboard who’s boss. So when I discovered that Christmas Eve is actually tomorrow and not today (How did I get that mixed up?), I decided I needed to make some cardboard Christmas trees STAT.

However, cardboard is not so abundant around Bethany’s house as it used to be. I poked around her garage and found the old exercise equipment box but I already hacked that thing to shreds last time I was here. None of the pieces were nearly big enough for my grand plan. I had a Christmas tree LOT on the brain.

I shoved my cardboard Christmas tree idea into the back of my head until later in the week when I just happened to be at the craft store buying supplies for my mystery Alpha Mom craft (which posts Thursday). NO, I didn’t buy cardboard. Who do you think I am? That’s just silliness. I drove around to the back of the store where they keep the dumpsters full of cardboard and swiped a mother-load of flattened boxes for FREE!!! If only my little hatchback trunk was bigger. There were so many boxes back there I could have built a whole cardboard city!

And you know I would if I just had the time.

spray paint is FUN 7days outtake

After the cardboard was successfully transported back to Bethany’s (no small feat) and sliced and diced into stand-up trees, I whipped out some silver spray paint (that I just happened to have on hand for my mystery craft) and sprayed those puppies silver.

Silver spray paint is awesome! Now I know why those grandmotherly plastic flower-arranging types spray paint their flowers silver! It might look cheesy but it is SO EASY and SO SATISFYING!!! This paint is a dream. I don’t remember what kind I bought but I’ll go check later and link it here. It goes on smooth and dries in seconds!!! It was so fun to paint, I found myself eyeballing Bethany’s patio furniture and wondering how she might feel about a metallic theme.

Waiting for paint to dry is my least favorite pastime. Right up there with waiting for glue to dry. Which brings me to a big thorn in my side. Glue! Oh glorious and stupid glue! Why are you so tricky? I have spent way too much time in my life trying to figure out what is the best glue for which craft.

I would say hands-down that a glue gun is the BEST and most AWESOME glue and should be used for ALL crafts except for the part about the burning and not being very kid-friendly. Stupid glue gun. Why do you have to be so hot like that? And no, cool glue guns are not as good. Trust me.

After the trees were all painted and looking pretty in a row, I decided I’d glue some opalescent sequins to them for a Christmassy flair. I reached into my handy dandy craft box and pulled out the white school glue that I had bought at the grocery store the night before.

And now I know why the store brand glue was so much cheaper than the name brand glue. GROAN! What a mess! It was completely separated into two parts!!! Some kind of nearly clear water on the top and thick white paste on the bottom. What the?!! I guess glue isn’t a top seller at the grocery store.

I was so mad. I shook and shook that glue but it would not mix up. Then I squirted off a good bit of the oily part into Bethany’s flower garden (sorry gardeners, I think it’s biodegradable..er, um…) and tried to glue with milky mixture that was left. It did not work.

helping

White glue dries slow enough as it is but when it’s separated like Italian salad dressing, there is no hope. Those sequins slipped and slid all over the place and no matter how long I left them out in the not-so-sunny sunshine they would not stick! Stupid glue!!! I may have shouted more than once for the nice neighbors to hear.

Then I tried to wipe off the watery glue and start over and that ruined my beautiful perfect silver paint job that I was so in love with!!! BAH! In the end the best glue was some glitter glue that I found in a drawer of Annalie’s art supplies.

It’s by far the quickest at sticking and it isn’t too terribly messy for kids to use. Plus, it sparkles! Win win! That stupid grocery store crap can go hide in some smelly old back room next to the trash compactor as far as I’m concerned. It’s completely useless. Maybe the gardeners will discover it makes a great fertilizer. Pfft.

if you squint you can feel like you're in a field of trees

Anyway, the trees are done and they look pretty cool in Bethany’s window. She has such a great view.

silver trees!

Just don’t look too closely at the sequins that are only glued to one side.

The sad story of the unfortunate Christmas milk jug angel.

I should have stopped here. Glubert means business.

Phoey. This craft was a real pain in the butt and doesn’t look half as good as I wanted it to. I told you not all my ideas are good. It was fun to make but it took entirely too long and at the end of the day it looks like a trash fairy on top of the tree instead of the Christmas Angel of Recycling.

I’m not even going to write a how-to because I have no clue what I did. I just pulled out my trusty glue gun, Glubert, and made it work. I’m thinking there could have been a better way. Like maybe some of my cuts could have been inverted to create the wings…maybe some better dart cuts to create a better bodice shape… I don’t know. I challenge someone to make it better! Surely there is someone out there just as crazy as I am with a glue gun.

sad tree topper trying to reach the angel

Seven hot glue burns later I obliterated four milk jugs and created something foppish to sit on top of Bethany’s tree. I decided she wasn’t an improvement over the bouncy star Bethany had up there and demoted her to the kitchen.

angel in the dark better a kitchen fairy

She makes a pretty good kitchen fairy, I think. Besides, I like leaving behind artwork for Bethany to look at every day. It’s sort of my inside joke for me, since I know half of it will magically get lost in the move when they are relocated to Washington DC this coming February. (Bethany’s husband, Troy, is in the military and he got a promotion! Though yes, we will miss them fiercly.)

I’m sorry poor Kitchen Fairy. I don’t think you’re going to make the cut. But enjoy guarding the dish rack while you can!