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The Little Things

My husband said recently that he hasn’t seen me this happy in months.  I’d have to agree.  It’s a combination of things – the first two weeks I’ve had off in a row since starting a very cool but demanding job, the joy of Christmas, the happiness of seeing our kids play together with no timelines or places to go… oh – and my first two-consecutive hours crafting in over two years.  We’re all a little under the weather – inevitable holiday downtown illness right?  The upside this week has been that our girls have had two solid hours of nap time almost every day – and one day mommy even got to hide away in the craft space we created when we moved here … for my first reunion with my sewing machine, cricut, and crafts in a long, long time.  Total geek.  It’s okay, you can think it.  I admit it.

For me it’s always about the little things.  The person that drops you an unexpected email or text to say they were thinking of you, the little little ‘tank you’ from one of our daughters for the dinner we prepared (that they may or may not have eaten), the pillow my son put behind my head ‘just to tell you i love you mommy’ so that I would read one more chapter of his bedtime story and the five minutes of peace we enjoyed sitting on the couch while our kids played – almost harmoniously, around us…  The little ways I often show people I care are through things I make. Often not to be mistaken with professional wares because I don’t have the patience for measurement or precision, but always made with love and a precious few minutes of down time.

In this two-hours I dusted off my old friend the sewing machine and made some cards.  Sewing actual material will need to come later.

Before I go any further I have to tell you: I love pinterest. I thought I was a lone wolf for a long time, but the amazing crafting talents posted on that site inspire and amaze me whenever I get a chance to peruse.  While wandering through a few favorites, I came across a blog with a design that I loved.  Using my cricut (or just a simple punch would do) I made the heart shaped cards.   These really just require any symmetrical shape – so I cut out houses and little books as well – but the options are endless; butterflies, bees, flowers, sunshine- you name it.heart card

It’s an easy way to create a card that is simple, homemade, and unique.  The blogger I linked to above does a better job laying out the steps than I do – but this is how I made mine …the best part is that you can create in bulk batches pretty quickly so you have a store for those special moments that call for a personalized hello.

Start with the shapes you want to use.  Cut out the same shape in at least three different types of patterned paper.  For this project I chose hearts, houses and rectangles to make a story book:cards

Then make your cards.  Use at least 100lb card stock.  If there is one tool I would recommend for any home crafter it’s a bone knife – with that you can make all your cards look professionally folded.  They aren’t expensive and you can find them at any craft store or online craft sites like this one. I’ve had my paper cutter since my big sis bought it for me 20 years ago – it still works beautifully but I know there are more advanced cutting machines out there for the avid paper crafter.

making cards tools

After you’ve made up your cards – stack 3-5 of the shapes on top of each other and line them up so they match up perfectly, place them in the middle of your card.  Then sew a line just on top and below the shape – right through the middle.  sewing the heart

Cut your threads and voila! Little cards straight from your heart to …whomever you please. I love the little book ones  – I added this to a box of homemade cookies today and wrote a little story in it about the receiver and how great it was that they were having us over for a visit to add a little more of a personal touch 😉story card

Sigh.  I love paper.

Hanging on…

Some people love this week – the time to start fresh, clear away all the clutter, step into the new year and new possibilities.  I understand all of that, but I still find this time of year a little hard – taking down the tree, the decorations, and the lights.   Storing the Santa plates and reindeer place mats for another year.  We did it all this morning and we brought our live tree to the chipper with the kids as well (we put up two this year – a synthetic one for the kids to decorate and a live one with stars and lights for the entry).   Our son is a sap like his mom and found the whole thing sad, and packing the toy Rudolf away was particularly hard; while the girls just liked the idea of packing things – so I’m sure we have a few forks and stray toys wrapped in tissue paper in one of our Christmas bins.

tree matty

I now find myself surrounded with little treasures – a multitude of ornaments that the kids made this year, reindeer hand prints, decorated paper trees, stars and Santa artwork, a baby Jesus in a Popsicle-stick manger and a tissue paper forest of Christmas delight.  How does one hang on to these precious crafts and memories year over year? I know I can’t keep them all, I’ve taken photos of many of them, and I’m not much of a scrapbooker… so I’m really at a bit of a loss.  I guess it ultimately comes down to the fact that I’m hanging on to that Christmas feeling as much as the kids are.  One more day until reality returns.  It’s been such an amazing break this year – so much magic and so many smiles to be thankful for.  The last few days were particularly special for me, as I had a great opportunity to take each of our kids out on their own for an outing – with hubby back at work, and our nanny back as well it meant my last two days off could be dedicated time for each kid.  Having three kids 18 months apart often means they do everything together, and special moments can degrade into chaos pretty quickly.  It was really neat and very rare to have alone time with each child.  For the most part they chose their dates: Kate and I watched the airplanes take off and land at the YVR observatory, Matty and I went for a very late night outing with Grammie to Mary Poppins (awesome show!) and Charlotte perused the Art Gallery and danced through downtown with me as her sidekick. Little fingers hanging on tight to mine in excitement and delight and the time to enjoy that little person one on one –  I’ll never forget those dates.  Now to plan a special date with that cutie pie husband of mine…

I’ve also had lots of great blips in time to create little things that I’ve been thinking about from cards and kitchen wares to some fun things for the kids.  I’ll post about those shortly – but for one more moment I’m going to walk around the house and enjoy the peace of the last of the holidays… and if you have any ideas on how you hang on to your magic times I’d love to hear them!