*A quick note before I begin, to give my heartfelt thanks for everyone who prayed and sent warm wishes for Max and for us. His final blood test showed that his bone marrow has stopped producing red blood cells, making his illness, whatever it may be, terminal. We received some good news today: he is not in any pain, and his Vet does not anticipate pain to ensue, or believes he has any understanding of what is happening. He simply feels tired, which matches his mood. He is still going through his normal routine, just at a slower pace. Our plan is for him to stay with us as long as he is comfortable, and help him be as happy as possible. May I suggest you buy stock in Friskies. Upon hearing the news, Sara grabbed the video camera and is trying to document and narrate his last days with us. Very, very Sara. She can be the most surprising and endearing child. When I told the kids I would not be ready for a 3rd cat anytime soon, Kelly replied as only Kelly can, “Don’t worry Mommy. Sydney-Cat will be dead soon too.” Oh Kelly. Always with the feelings. Sara and I can’t stop crying, and Kelly and Daddy are busy naming a new kitten. Some call this balance. I call it a clear division of our gene pool. OK, wiping more tears away for my Little Bear Buddy, and moving on with our story today…*
A few of you have written to take note of a lack of birthday-ed-ness prep. Usually by May I have published a theme, a birthday muse, a focal point, colors…Oh My God. I’m insane, aren’t I? This year, I told Kelly she could have her party ANYWHERE she wants. Pottery? Gymnastics? Bounce Place? NOT AT HOME…hint, hint. Mommy thought a year off might be really nice. But Mommy was wrong. Mommy has created traditions that are not to be undone. After much thought, Kelly told me she would really, really like a party at home. A Mommy-style party. Well, geez. Who can blame her? Mommy parties start with LOVE and end with SUGAR, with a boatload of crafting in between. I told her it would mean a tiny invite list, because the main floor doesn’t hold as many as the Gymnastics studio. She could not be swayed. AND, she had a theme in mind: A Rainbow Art Party. Hold the phones! You had me at Rainbow.
I spent a couple of weeks designing this in my head, and then another couple of weeks contacting Cricut and all of my friends, only to discover Cricut does NOT have an “art themed” cartridge. THAT…IS…BROKEN, people. BROKEN. Moving on. My childhood pal, Roxanne, had a couple of great cartridges, including one with a paintbrush, and she was awesome enough to ship them to me from Georgia.
So, Step 1: I printed off a black and white picture of a paint palette. I taped it to my window, and traced it onto card stock. No, wait. FIRST, I tried to start this project at night, and tracing against a window without the sun is tricky. Step 1: Order sunlight.
The paint splotch I free-handed, and the white paint sections were made with a hole punch. The cutting was the rub: I found the world’s tiniest Exacto knife at Jo Ann’s. It has a swivel blade, and fits around my pointer finger. It’s rather wicked cool. It took some time to learn to maneuver, but after some practice, it became a little addictive. I made a template and traced it over and over onto white card stock, BACKWARDS. Therefore when I cut it out, the pencil tracings would be on the back.
I also used a template to make a slightly larger version of the palette without holes, and traced it onto charcoal grey. You’ll see in a moment why this invite needs a back layer. Next, I had to figure out the wording and sizing. I probably messed around with this step for a day or two. Getting words to fit into a paint splotch took a little patience. But once I got it, well…it’s done. Just print it off on yellow paper over and over and chop-chop with my paper slicer. I made sure all of the little splatters would be covered by one sheet of yellow. My rough draft including me gluing separate tiny pieces of yellow behind all of those splatters. Um…wow. Dumb waste of time. Dumb mistakes is why I always make a rough draft. It’s usually a pretty close approximation to the final invite, so I give it to the cake ladies who make a cake to match the invitation every year. BECAUSE IT’S CRAZY AWESOME TO SEE MY WORK REPLICATED AS FOOD.
I next gathered my supplies. My Cricut cut the circles, paint brush, and the paint brush layers in the time it took me to trace 2 gray palettes. And THIS is why I have a Cricut. If you don’t have a tape runner, let me suggest it’s money well-spent. Glue is great, but lumpy. Some things just look better with a tape runner that allows you to control the exact amount of tape you want to use. The pre-cut squares? Nope. Sometimes that little square is just too big. My tape runner is in the picture below (and thank you to Ana Paula who gave me my first one).
The assembly was a piece of cake: I flipped the palette over to the back side with the pencil scratchings, and taped the rainbow paints in place. Then the yellow was taped into place and trimmed. Took all of 30 seconds.
Lastly, I assembled the 3-layered paintbrush with tape, glued the grey backing to the palette (hiding the entire back of the palette), and then I glued the paintbrush into place. I took all of the paint splotches that I cut out of white, and glued those to the back with my RSVP and address details. I just couldn’t fit all of the info into that one paint splotch, but was wholly unwilling to let go of my invitation concept. Where there is an inspiration, there is a way.
Usually I fiddle around with my templates to make sure they fit into pretty standard invitation-sized envelopes. Not this year. This year I’m so less controlling…as you can see. I actually picked a chalkboard font to try and match my very handmade looking invites. Great. That alone defines me as insane. It’s in the DSM-IV. Look it up. Moving on. I bought the huge, ugly 8.5 x 11 manillas, and decorated them with art stickers. Weird, honkin’ big envelopes arriving to Kelly’s friends’ homes in summer? Why even include a return address? They’ll know it’s from me. (Little hint: I give my girls their limit, and let them write their invite list. It’s their party, not mine. I had my 40th, and honestly, no kids were invited whatsoever. But with this year’s pet drama, I kept the limit embarrassingly small. Mostly family, a few friends. Momma is tired.) So there you have it. There is no magic to crafting: 2 weeks, a trip to the craft store, borrowed tools from friends, a whole lotta tape and glue, and a bit of patience. Oh wait…and there is a deep, abiding love of making things with my own hands. Won’t you join me? Tell me about your latest project.