Day Ten: Quick Valentines. Dress up some store-bought candy with stickers and then hide them in places where they can be found.
Ok, this one is for all those people out there who are last minute OR have teenagers OR both. You know who you are!
I think my 17 year old still likes getting a Valentine from his mom. But… you can never be too sure. My hunch is, he’d be so sad if I didn’t do Valentines–but only as long as I don’t stage some flashy public display that would embarrass him. So, yes to the candy. No to the balloon delivery at college.
I would never do that, for the record. But you get my point. They’re temperamental creatures, handle with care. And if they don’t have a Valentine of their own this year, all the more reason to carefully litter their world with love.
But this is also great idea for you last minute Valentine people! All you need are some stickers and an imagination. Everybody likes a bit of chocolate, but you certainly don’t have to limit it to candy. Replace the fruit label on their orange or apple with a heart sticker and toss it into a lunch bag. Or sneak a heart sticker onto a much used water bottle, or on the front of a credit card in a wallet. Just make sure your sticker is someplace it will get seen.
Like, say, a backpack!
(I took took this photo this morning while he was running around getting ready for class. I don’t even think he noticed me standing there with a camera!)
The upside to a simple sticker, is that if your teen finds this “love memo” in a very public place (like the cafeteria!) it’s not nearly as embarrassing as a writing all over their lunch stack, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. XOXOXO MOM.”
And if you’re the last minute type, well– a sneaky little sticker might just save your holiday. (PS, if your local store is all sold out of Valentine themed stickers, check out your local business supply store. They often have gold foil heart stickers all year round!)
Day Five: Parchment paper envelopes for all your little Valentines.
It’s what’s inside that counts, right? But, it doesn’t hurt if what’s inside comes wrapped in a pretty box, as any girl who has ever received a blue box from Tiffany’s knows. Sometimes, especially if what you’re giving isn’t homemade or seems too commercial (hello Via Lattes from Starbucks) a sweet envelope or pretty package can express your true feelings. “This might be a bit commercial: but I was thinking of you, just the same!”
This was the handmade Valentine that I sent to long-distance friends in 2011. I printed it out and glittered the band on his hat. Then I glued it to red card stock and included a lolly. Tucked it into a red envelope and off it went.
And then I waited. And waited. And discovered, much to my horror: nobody really liked my Valentine.
Um, it was a dud. I don’t think any of my friends even got the reference — it was just too, “out there”. Too “handmade” (is there such a thing?) I was sad. I had hoped to create a fun little way of saying, “I’m thinking of you”, but instead just confused people. The whole thing fell flat.
And I think there still might be glitter in our carpet.
I’ll confess, when Valentine’s Day rolled around in 2012 I was still stinging from the rejection. “Maybe people just don’t get the idea?” So, instead of sending out handmade cards to friends for the holidays, I opted out. I’m not sure many people noticed.
Funny how our feelings get hurt, right?
But, this year, I am determined and frankly, have learned my lesson? The truth is, I miss my long distance friends terribly. And the we often say to one another, “I wish I lived closer so we could grab a cup of coffee.” So, when Starbucks offered these trial Via Lattes, I scooped up a bunch. I’m sure our barista thought I was some strange sort of coffee hoarder. But, while completely corporate, these little make at home coffee packs say what good old Telly could not!
Of course, I can’t just mail these as they are. Can I? Noooooo. So, I created these really simple little envelopes for my Via Valentines. They’re easy to make, although they do require a sewing machine. If you don’t have a machine, fear not. Even wrapping your little corporate gift in a bit of parchment paper and tying it up with a ribbon works beautifully. Just that little extra touch can make a very impersonal gift card feel festive!
Not every gift you give has to be handmade. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a bit of splash and personality to the gift giving process!
Day Four: Making Time For Romance… AFTER you get the kids’ Valentines made, of course!
If you have lots of littles (or even just one!) Valentine’s Day can be an exponential nightmare. Especially if the memo home says, “Please, no candy.” Or worse, “Please, no store bought Valentines.”
Our son is 17, so we’re long past the need to create hand made Valentines en masse, but I remember. Oh. I remember. I remember thinking, “SURE it’s cute your child’s name is Sophia-Annabelle, one word. But, it won’t fit on this tiny Valentine in 2nd grade penmanship.” I remember fighting with my child to get him to sign his own name, 30 times and wishing we’d named him, “G”. And, oh the tears, “No, you’ll have to wait until Valentine’s Day to eat the candy. Yes, I’m sure someone will give you a Valentine with that kind of candy in it. Yes, I’ll save one of yours just in case.” Sigh.
Plus, there was always the fear: what if you choose/buy/make the WRONG thing and your kid gets laughed right out of the room. There’s always that kid, right? Who points and laughs and the rest of the little darlings join in. Sigh.
And what’s up with the store-bought ones always including something completely inappropriate in the mix? If you need to give 30 Valentines, and the box of 15 has 5 in that say, “I think you’re HOTT!, how many boxes of Valentines must you buy?
Oh! The pressure. Now multiply all that by 90, because you have 3 littles. It’s no wonder you think you don’t have time for romance. You don’t!
I can’t help you with the tears, long names, or the math (my son says it’s 3 boxes!) But I can save you some time! I’ve rounded up the cutest, kid-pleasing, handmade Valentines you can do with your littles of all ages. So, take a few notes and get cracking this weekend.
DIY Kid Valentine Round-Up
Via U Create. What you need: a printer and boxes of Candy Hearts. EASY PEASEY! (free printable)
Adorable free download from Sweet Muffin Suite. What you need: a printer and pencils. You could also use Pixie Sticks!!
Butterflies! What you need: card stock,Lollies, and goggly eyes. School say “no candy”? Use a pencil! Via Skip to My Lou
Who doesn’t love Swedish Fish? These are adorable. What you need: plastic bags, a printer, ribbon, candy. Via I Heart Naptime. (PS: goldfish crackers work for the toddler set!)
Be Amazing! Fun printable maze. What you need: printer and pencils. Found on Balancing Home.
Time to stir. . .
Observant readers will notice that I’ve unlinked my store and sidebar options. After much thought and lots of math, I realized that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I need to do and keep Mireio up and running. So, I’m opting to shutter the store and focus my energy on other projects.
I’m sad. But I’m also optimistic. Sometimes, a break is a creative jumpstart. And even with the closing of Mireio, my time seems ridiculously filled. I don’t like the word “busy”. We’re all busy! But, I am noticing that down-time is a thing of the past. So, I’m hopeful that by taking something off my to-do list, I will have a bit more breathing room to accomplish some of my other goals. I rather do less, well… than do more, poorly. I just don’t have the time working 30+ hours a week and homeschooling to focus any energy, much less creative energy to Mireio. And I love my little store too much to not give it my all.
So, it’s time to stir things up.
And the first thing on my list is this ridiculous disasterpiece we live in! After a year of living in an unfinished construction zone, I’m breaking out the paint brushes and setting to work. I have NO idea when the unfinished carpentry projects will get done — that’s a cash-flow and time reality (who has time to vet and hire contractors? I’m still so emotionally scarred from last year, that I don’t even want to let anyone with a toolbelt through the front door.) But I can paint. And while IZ is working 70+ hours a week and can’t really help, our adorable son offered to step in and man-handle a paint-roller.
As for that color. . . well, it’s a peachy-pink not in the plan in any way sort of color. It’s for the upstairs lounge — the room where all our old furniture goes to live. It’s a risk. It’s not the plan. It’s not even remotely what I imagined last year when I was envisioning the future. And it’s aptly become a metaphor for this moment in my life.
Time to stir things up.
Ode to an Opaque Window
This is really a Work in Progress. IZ and I have been contemplating replacing the very scratched plexiglass window on our porch for an opaque or frosted version to help provide some privacy. It’s not an inexpensive project and there are other things in line that need to be done around the house, so we’ve not moved on it.
But then the neighbors took down privacy hedges a month ago and wow do we feel exposed! We hadn’t realized how much their hedges had provided a visual break and shielded our property. Now, we feel like the porch is a fish bowl. And that point was driven home when another neighbor mentioned her shock at seeing us on our porch one morning, while we were drinking coffee. It wasn’t a complaint as much as she hadn’t noticed our sitting arrangement on the porch from her yard before.
Grab a book? A cup of tea? Settle in for a quiet read.
While I’m fairly certain we’d love having an opaque window in the space, it’s still a big investment and probably not on this year’s agenda. So, I started doing some research on how to “frost” plexiglass as a make-shift solution. Something that will give us a chance to live with the idea without committing funds to something we might regret.
Originally, I thought I would just “etch” the window like glass. But that’s not possible with plexiglass. Your options are have it sandblasted, use a sander on it, or spray paint it.
Yeah, you heard me, spray paint it. Rust-Oleum makes a product called Frosted Glass Spray that can be used on plexiglass. (though, it’s not mentioned on the can, google assures me it’s ok!) You can pick up Frosted Glass Spray at your local hardware store for about $5 a can. I had also read online that a can would cover about 20 square feet, so I initially bought 2 cans to complete my project.*
I’m not completely enamored with the results. But it’s a huge improvement over what was there previously. And I think it might be the inspiration I need (read: Kick in the pants) to finally make a bench cushion. Because those slatted seats are oh-so-unkind to the posterior. But really, doesn’t it look like a nice place to read a book? You know, without being watched.
Photos of the process, step by step, below the fold.