Thank You Note Resolutions

ding!

Now that I feel like life is going to slow down a little bit, I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe I’ll call them February Resolutions. I’m not setting my goals too high. It’s just some thoughts I’ve had.

My first resolution is to make thank you notes. Just like they say about the cobbler’s children having no shoes the same is true for me. I can make cards so I don’t buy cards. So does that mean I have lots and lots of cards at my disposal to send out thoughtfully for every occasion? NO! I have a box full of envelopes! Seriously. Come over to my house. I’ll show you. I’ve got envelopes in every color and size.

I don’t know how many times people have emailed me to ask if a gift arrived and I’ve had to hang my head in shame and email back that yes, we got the gift, loved it and I’ve been meaning to write a note but somehow got steamrolled by five or six months of doing something else. It’s sad. Pathetic really.

I could just go out and buy some cards. There are thousands and thousands of designs I love and drool over but I can’t! I just can’t make myself buy something that I know I could make myself. It’s madness.

So I’ve resolved to kick myself in the butt and just make some. This will be the year of making cards I declare! I’d love to make some print-ables that you guys can download and play along. Help me stay on task and turn into that girl who sends cards. Really, if anyone should send kind thoughtful things in the mail, that should be me! The one who loves to design things on paper. Sheesh.

As you’ve probably heard, we’ve been hit by some kind of epic storm. Tornado warnings and everything. We’re totally fine of course. I think the only people who have been in danger are people that live in lowlands that tend to flood. One of our neighbors had a tree blow down on their house but here in our second story apartment we’ve kept nice and dry.

Being true Californians, we did not go out of the house. Ack! We might melt if we get wet! And forget about driving. Nobody drives around here if there is even the slightest threat of oil-slick roads. We stayed in the house and made thank you notes ALL DAY LONG. It was awesome.

we work together

I was supposed to design something with rainbows and seeds to go along with Bug’s birthday party since these notes were for gifts she received for her birthday…but I just wasn’t feeling it. I really wanted to draw and paint with water color. I knew if I waited until the rainbow and seed inspiration hit me again it could be months. Maybe even never! If I’ve learned anything about myself in these many years of pretending to be an artist, it is to go along with the flow of creativity. Don’t block it. Make it work.

us us

I’ve also learned that when you’re doing something crafty with a kid around you have to just let them go with the flow too. You can’t sit your kid down and say: Paint this. Use that color…etc etc. You’re better off just doing the craft by yourself and letting them flit in and out like a pretty butterfly. Sometimes they’ll knock over your water and smudge your ink but that’s life with kids. A good mother will (mutter a few choice words inside her head and then) mop up the water and look at the smudge as a way to commemorate that one day that you guys sat down and did something together. Maybe it’s not the masterpiece you set out to do but it’s a better one because now it’s a memory preserved forever in a piece of art. A messy piece of art. The best kind, right?

new laptop and balloon Olivia

I’m just glad that we made some thank you notes. And in a timely manner at that! Go us! Now if I can just keep this motivation going throughout the rest of the year.

thank you notes

You’ll help me right?

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.