So, Valentine's Day…


Let's start with The Bear's Valentines, because they were easy. Because I used a free pattern from a web-sourced idea. Felt a little like cheating, but what are free online patterns are for, after all. Also felt little like cheating because they're so similar to the ones I made Bear last year, right down to the metal type stamp and fingerprint hearts on the tag/hanger detail (with edges unfinished and fantastically susceptible to fraying). But woolen hearts are an allure I just can't beat, and for another year I chose not to fight it. 


Candy would be the default go-in. But it's not as if these kids need more sugar in their lives. Stickers and tattoos are Bear's go-to happy-makers, these days. And as she's the closest insight I've got to Toddlers These Days, that's what we're going with. 


Also, hand-stitching the couple dozen hearts with a luxe perle cotton completely stamped out my long-harbored notion that I dislike handwork. Because apparently I do quite enjoy having a lap-bound project while cozied up under a throw. Or passing time at the breakfast table while the children agonize over their last quarter inch of yogurt. Or taking a break from playground hovering. Or multitasking while checking Facebook updates. And, just as with reading a book or doing my crossword puzzle, I like the kids seeing me make things in front of them.


As for The Boy's Valentines, I can't trace the exact genesis of these with a simple url. DIY seed tapes and seed bombs and seeded paper have been making the rounds for a while now, and it's an idea I heartily support, even while my own thumb is steadfastly disinclined to make things grow. But those bulbs we planted in the fall have been poking up and reminding me that plants indeed have the ability to grow around here with the minimal maintenance that a Kindergartener can supply. And I love the idea of sending out cards with a bit of fun utility to them. 

So we pulpified some colored tissue paper, starting with the bright green sheets that swaddled the fancy heirloom seeds we picked up at the fancy gardening boutique. Not having the proper paper-making supplies (there are some crafty supplies I am missing, after all) we simply finger-pressed seed-embedded wads of the blender-puréed pulp into scalloped cookie cutters placed over super-absorbant cloths (OK, they were cloth diapers). Left them in front of a heater vent to dry out for a couple nights and they were compacted and hard as the cardboard on those 4-up to-go trays you get at Starbucks. It's a lot like felting loose wool into a tight little bead.

And then those sat around for a couple weeks while I put off designing the cards around them. 

My design process:

  1. Try to conceptualize the product. 
  2. Fail.
  3. Get distracted by the little hexagons that I've got going.
  4. Put off working on the project because I don't have a clear vision for it.
  5. Faced with dwindling lead-time, force myself to just sit down and push pixels around for the thirty minutes that it takes me to come up with an idea I'm really excited about. 
  6. Remind myself of all those designy aphorisms that tell you to just stop thinking and get to working. Also remind myself that I've been doing this pixel pushing for a while now, and I'm actually pretty ok at it.

Every damned time.


So, the cards came together. I could have made more effort to better tie it all in to Valentine's Day than that tenuous "Happy Valentine's Day" bit I've got there. Still, I've already mentioned that I'm crazy happy with them. I'm also fairly confident there are enough visual cues to dissuade the Kindergarteners from trying to consume them. And that's what good design is really all about.

Tags: cards, hearts, plants, seeds, Valentines, wool felt

Maps and bails and writing in ink


"The Girlie," while being a fairly accurate descriptor, is not what is listed on all her legal documents. Her real name, the one we sometimes refer to her as, is one she she shares with our old college town. And when your name is also a location on a map, well, the crafty possibilities are endless. 


Here, belatedly, is the card we made up for the grandmothers for Mother's Day. I snipped out appropriate sections from old maps and road atlases, Mod Podged the hell out of them, and glued them onto pendant backings. That little loopy thing at the top, where you're supposed to run your chain through, is called a "bail," and not, surprisingly, "that little loopy thing." The things you learn. 

The Boy, outfitted with my hole puncher, really a heavy, blunt awl of a device, banged out a couple of holes for threading the pendant through with my go-to scrap yarn.  Then for some paint-smeared-all-over-the-hands prints on the card fronts, which I'd printed 2-up onto a letter-sized cutting from a cereal box. 


And, of course, The Boy took a careful dictation and scrawled his message on the inside. And I just have to ask: What is up with very-nearly-4-year-olds and the backward letters? Perfect penmanship can shove it. I'll take an inverted "S" any day.


Tags: cardboard, cards, map, pendant

Love Letters card

Cards printed and folded and pasted and drying in the wee hours of the night. In the shop. Read more about me at

Love Letters card

The fiber-y sheet affixed to the inside to serve as writing space. I tested this paper and my standard vellum, and found that while you can see the glue through the vellum, the texture of this onion-skin-y stuff effectively hides the glue. In the shop. Read more about me at

Love Letters card

Glamor shots of the finished card. In the shop. Read more about me at

Love Letters card

Glamor shots of the finished card. In the shop. Read more about me at

Love Letters card

Glamor shots of the finished card. In the shop. Read more about me at