By the time I got home the kids had safely in bed, sleeping off all the sugar they must have consumed today. But they did leave behind for me some treats and sweet sentiments.
2012: Feb 14
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:
- Try to conceptualize the product.
- Get distracted by the little hexagons that I've got going.
- Put off working on the project because I don't have a clear vision for it.
- 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.
- 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.
Some stitching at breakfast with coffee
Felt hearts are pretty awesome on their own, but with coffee they're just perfect. www.lovelihood.com
2012: Feb 10
These little hearts, like the similarly felt hearts I made up last year, are just so precious I want to gather them all up and nuzzle them against my cheek. Or a more likely scenario: I'm so frazzled with all the V-day makings that I shove them into Bear's little hands to just get rid of them already.
2012: Feb 9
Battling a doozy of a cold, I somehow managed to crank up the Valentine production to the point where it all seems feasible. Almost.