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.

Zen and the Art of Painting a Cardboard Snowy Village

lurking hand foot monster

Yesterday Bug took a nap early and woke up about 3pm with nothing particularly special planned by me to keep her busy. (Did I just write a sentence backwards? I do that all the time. But I can’t re-order it for the life of me so I guess it will just have to stay that way.) So you know what that means. It’s not time to cook dinner yet, we have no business to take care of (i.e., errands, grocery-shopping, etc.) and it’s a bit chilly for the park or the beach so it must be CRAFT TIME! Break it down!

Except 3 o’clock is a bit late to be starting on a craft project in the wintertime. Winter days are so short! Man! It seems like summer lasted forever and we were sweating constantly and now FINALLY it’s winter and we can do stuff and there’s next-to-no daylight time to get anything done. Short days are cramping my style. Moan, complain, bitch, whine…

Halfway in we were already losing daylight and getting paint on our coat sleeves because it was chilly and for some stupid reason we do not have painting coats. And there is no way I’m moving a painting craft indoors no matter how polluted my carpet already is. I have some standards.

coloring on the backside

We worked fast and furious and unfortunately it showed. Good thing I’m not a perfectionist!

painting snow

It’s good not to be a perfectionist when you have a constant helper like I do. Sometimes I have to go to my zen happy place so I don’t lose it when she paints something the wrong way and mucks up my grand vision. She is so patient with me though.

"helping"

I do lose it sometimes. I mean, I don’t yell or anything terrible but I get a bit irritated and sharp with her when she paints the house color on top of where I just painted the roof color. So when she says something like, “Mommy, you make me afraid I’m going to paint it wrong,” it just slaps me in the face because why am I doing this craft anyway? Aren’t these activities for her? There should be no fear in crafting.

painting together

I have a long way to go in the patience department. I’m just glad God gave me a such patient kid. She’s way more patient with me than I am with her.

done painting

In the end her every-which-way strokes did not really mess anything up. It was me hurrying that messed it up. I tried to add some shading to the snowy slopes and used a dark color instead of a light color which is completely backwards to what it would be in real life. I had a vision of painting some round shady hills like this painting (that I love so much) but with snow instead of meadows but I rushed through it and was sloppy.

all done!

You guys don’t really need to know all this behind the scenes stuff…it was a fun project and who cares where my expectations were right?

let it snow, let it snow, let it snowWe buy glitter in bulk.

We added some “snow” and that made everything better. I’m so glad I stocked up on the industrial-size bottle of glitter. It’s totally been worth whatever I paid for it.

lugging my craft box upstairs

I like this photo Bug took of me lugging my giant craft box up the stairs. She put a nice big fingerprint on the lens (which is why I have a waterproof/kidproof camera) which worked as a nice softening filter. You should try it sometime. I feel like I’m back in the seventies instead of just some dork wearing a hat that is not all that flattering.

little did the sleeping villagers know that a giant pink bear was about to smash them to blithereens

So that’s that. A craft and a lesson (for me, hah!). Now what am I going to do with this awful thing? Anybody want me to mail it to you? I’m kidding. Sort of. I’m keeping the kid.