Tuesday, I taught another workshop with Forest Park Public Library. This was my second Valentine workshop and fourth card making workshop with them and like always, it was so much fun making cards with my community. (Thanks to my neighbor, Meghan, for the picture of me awkwardly sharing the fox folds!)
We made an origami fox bookmark, a folded flower, tiny accordion-fold hearts, a 3-D fish, and a simple watercolor card. The fox and the fish were the most fun, but also the most difficult. Should I attempt to share a how-to here soon? (The lighting is usually so bad in the wintertime for taking pictures, but we have a nice streak of sunny days coming up!
I have another letter writing presentation coming up in March in Batavia. It’s the third time I’ve given that talk, but it will be the first time in person. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my good mail and favorite supplies with everyone!
December is a blur. I guess it always feels that way, doesn’t it? The holidays come in like a rush and leave the same way. Then we’re left with January…gloomy, quiet January. (To be fair, January hasn’t been so bad. I kind of like staying in after a month of holiday parties and activities.)
We got our tree on the Portillo’s lot a few blocks from our house. It was SO convenient and it lasted a pretty long time (for a dead tree!) I am still not used to our higher ceilings here at the house but we juuuuust made it this year again! Whew!
On December 2nd, we hosted our annual Holiday Walk party. Forest Park hosts a holiday walk along Madison Street the first Friday after Christmas. Shops and restaurants have live window displays and specials, the tree gets lit, and Santa arrives and meets kids. It’s like a Hallmark movie here in Forest Park. Naoto and I have been inviting people over after the walk for soups and snacks for several years now and it’s grown from two people to thirty people. Naoto made minestrone and his famous chicken noodle soups and our house was full for the first time ever. (Last year we held the party outside around the fire pit which was fun, but less comfortable than being inside on a cold night!)
I ordered us all matching pajamas. Presley hated them. (But isn’t she so cute?) But for real, these are the first non-sweatsuit winter pajamas I’ve had in a long time and now there’s no turning back. I’ve ordered myself more.
We sent out loads of Christmas cards. They deserve their own post because like last year, Donovan captured Presley just perfectly.
We went to the year’s favorite activity, Chris & Heather’s Calendar Show, which was fabulous as always. Naoto and I got there late but ended up with a front row seat (well, stand technically) and I got to change out the artist cards! It was so ridiculously fun.
Due to a close call with Covid, I had to miss our book club tea this year. It was a bummer but I didn’t want to risk infecting anyone if I did have it. (Thankfully I came out unscathed!)
Christmas was very cozy at home. I’ll share my gifts in another post, but one of Naoto’s highlights is this cookbook holder made by my dad. We are trying to cook out of our cookbooks more (it’s been a long struggle) and this has been making it more convenient. (I sent this idea to my dad and he modified it a little bit to make it even better!)
Presley got slippers for Christmas…she tolerates them but will kick them off and send them flying through the air.
She also got a catnip banana for Christmas, which ended up being her favorite toy. She didn’t leave its side the entire day. (And totally like a cat, she hasn’t touched it since!)
I hosted the book club friends for a little post-Christmas dinner. I used my Ruby Red Depression Glass set and decorated the table with some of my favorite Christmas things (like my green mailbox!) and vintage Shiny Brites. I made Ina’s lasagna and everyone contributed for the appetizer, salad, and dessert. It was such a warm, comfortable night…I just love hosting small groups and using some of my more special things.
The Putz Christmas village has a new home in the kitchen! When we remodeled this fall, we added in this “china cabinet” area next to our new pantry area. It turned out to be the perfect place for the village. Plus, I love having some Christmas spread across the house. I’ll share our kitchen someday…we’re still waiting on our last light fixture to come in and still choosing furniture for the space.
And finally, we ended the year with some friends at a dinner party. It was a perfectly quiet way to say goodbye to 2022 and ring in 2023.
I hope your holidays were jolly and the new year is treating you well.
This year, we sent Valentines from our cat to everyone on our Valentine list. (Unlike in 2016 when we just sent them to a few of Presley’s favorite fans.) I wanted to send a bunch of little Valentines this year, and I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work. (Also, confession–I think I have an old Paper Source Valentine kit somewhere…but I don’t know where.) I decided to see what Walgreens had in terms of photo cards and I found this design. They are basically a 3×8 photo card that is designed to be cut into classroom Valentines. I chose a serious Presley, a sweet Presley, and a family picture from last spring, sent them off and they were ready in less that thirty minutes.
I used 4bar envelopes from my stash, and some I made last year, and had fun playing with postage stamps. I am very tired of my love stamp selections, so I need to make a point to find something better at the next stamp show. (Also, I regret not buying more of the monster stamps–they are super fun to play with since they come with little accessories in the selvage.)
It felt good to make some mail again. Next up, Olympics mail!
Last year I taught a Valentine workshop online with the Forest Park Public Library. These origami hearts were some of my favorites. They are super easy to learn and they’re so versatile! You can tuck them in with a letter or a card or you can use them to build your own DIY Valentine.
I used this short video to learn the folds:
I folded a ton of hearts to prepare for the class. I used some thin, cheap origami paper and also some really fancy washi, like this purple one above. (Can you see all of the fibers in the washi paper?) Washi makes really dreamy hearts, but the thinner stuff is easier to work with, especially if you’re folding with kids.
For some of the Valentines, I tucked a little message inside the front where the two halves split. I just used thin strips of scrap paper leftover from another project.
I don’t have a better picture of the origami heart card I made because I mailed it last year! But if you wanted to send something more substantial than a tiny origami heart, you could always glue it to a fold-over card. I made a little banner for my message and adhered it with foam squares for some dimension.
I had most of these hearts packed away from last year since we were closing on the house and packing up to put our condo on the market. It felt good to find them again and release them into the mail world along with my cards for this year.
Last year, I taught a Valentine card making class with the Forest Park Public Library. It was my first zoom workshop and it went way better than I feared! All of the participants got a little kit with supplies and then they followed along at home as I talked them through paper crafting. It was so weird for me to make cards that didn’t involve rubber stamps but since we couldn’t share supplies, I was challenged to use only paper, scissors, and glue!
One of my favorites from the workshop is this bird. It’s based off of one of the first Paper Source kits I ever bought.
You’re Tweet Bird Valentine
A variety of colored card stock, including orange for the beak Heart cards (or you can cut your own hearts using your card stock) Scissors Hole punch* Pencil Glue stick Brads* (Michaels and Amazon have a nice selection if you want to get fancy colored brads.) Googly eyes (or you can draw eyes with a marker) Something about 2″ round to trace or a punch that makes 2″ circles (or you can freehand)
*If you don’t have a hole punch or brads, you can still make this card–it just won’t have moveable wings.
Take two hearts, ideally different colors but the same size, and cut one in half vertically. These hearts are from Paper Source but you can cut your own.
Next make a two inch circle and cut it out. It doesn’t have to be exact. Just find something in your house that is round and about two inches in diameter and trace it onto some colored card stock. You can also freehand a circle.
Glue your circle onto the bottom heart (the un-cut one.) Remember this is the head, so eyeball it to see how it looks best.
Next, lay your cut heart on top of the bottom heart and head and punch a hole at the top of each side, as shown above. This hole will go through the top heart, the bottom heart, and the head. (If you don’t have brads, you can skip this step.)
Poke your brads through the holes to make the moveable wings. (If you don’t have brads, you can glue the wings on. Remember to consider your envelope while deciding how wide to make your bird’s wingspan!)
Glue on your googly eyes (or draw on some eyes if you don’t have googly eyes) and then cut a beak out of some orange card stock. Glue on the beak.
Finally, write your message. I typed up some messages on the Royal Safari, but you can hand write a message on the bottom heart too!
Isn’t he so cute and easy? And for real, if you don’t have a hole punch and brads, a bird with glued wings is still very cute! You could also rubber stamp or glitter the wings to make him extra fancy.
If you make one, please tag me on Instagram or share on Twitter!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I taught a winter card making workshop at Forest Park Public library last month. It was a drop-in class so people could come at any time and make a card or two. I have taught in-person card making classes, and I’ve taught a card making class on zoom, but I had never taught a card making class where everyone wasn’t working on the same card at the same time. I was a little bit nervous, but while making my samples, I figured there were several places in each card where independent work would give me a chance to help someone else. And it all worked out just fine. I even got the highest compliment from a women who makes cards all the time. She said that she learned some new things at the workshop. Goal achieved.
I had six card options–two origami, two with other paper folding, a layered card, and a shaker postcard. The glittered vintage paper trees were by far the most popular, and the most challenging. It’s really hard to get the hang of the folds, even though it looks so simple.
It was especially fun to see everyone making the cards their own. This is an example of a snowcat card based on my snowman card. I love how Michelle used the little gems to make a holly accent on the hat and just the whole concept of a snowcat!
Has anyone started thinking about their Valentines? Too soon?
May I present our 2021 holiday cards? I loved them so much and I couldn’t wait to show you, even though I think some may still be arriving or on their way.
Last summer, I asked Donovan if she would draw something for our holiday card and she agreed. I still love and use the stationery she drew for my birthday a few years ago. I asked her to draw a tree with ramen, cocktails, mail, and a tuna underneath–a few of our favorite things.
Then, I shared this picture of Presley on Instagram. She was looking very grumpy in a Santa hat and Donovan decided to add Presley too. We couldn’t have been more delighted.
I had the cards printed as flat cards (like a postcard, not folded like a greeting card) because I don’t write long messages in my holiday cards. It was the perfect little greeting. (And thanks to my friend Mark at Printing Plus for printing and delivering them to me!)
In addition to our cards, Donovan surprised us with these wonderful faux postage stamps. She was inspired by Presley to draw holiday stamps of a bunch of cats she knows for her Patreon supporters. (If you scroll back on her Instagram (@dovbee) you can see them all. Or you can join her Patreon and download them all!) I used our stamps to decorate the envelopes of our cards that went out to cat lovers and Presley fans.
I hope it was a good holiday season in your mailbox and I’m looking forward to writing some mail this week and I ease into the new year!
P.S. This is not a sponsored post–just genuinely love Donovan and her work and Mark’s print shop!
Book club has been a wild ride through the pandemic. We met on zoom for all of 2020, and finally reunited in person in May for a rainy meeting in my back yard. Through the summer, we were lucky to have good weather for outdoor meetings. Even in November, we met around our fire pit with blankets and winter coats. We’ve really made the most of being together.
Last month, before Omicron and the latest surge, we decided we would do our annual Christmas tea in person. We are all vaccinated and boosted, so we all geared up for a back-to-normal kind of party again. But…things changed so rapidly, and we decided to modify our plans at the last minute.
We still met in person, but we decided to do our toast out on Susan’s porch in the open air. We all masked when we weren’t actively drinking and we wore our winter coats to stay cozy. There were only six of us–two members were traveling, one member wasn’t feeling well, and one member had a close call with Covid so decided to opt out–so we spread out in Susan’s spacious living and dining room to eat and then put our masks back on for the book discussion. We ate chicken salad sandwiches, radish and sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones, grape salad, and lots of Christmas cookies. Susan made a spiced ginger Prosecco cocktail that was warm and festive.
It was super cozy eating and chatting by the fire. We read Miss Read’s Village Christmas which is a short, sweet book from the 1960s about two spinster sisters and a Christmas adventure with their new neighbors. If you’ve never read Miss Read, her books are just delightful.
In 2022, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary as a group. Who knows what that celebration will look like, but I’m so grateful for this group of ladies who share my love of old books!
We got our tree over Thanksgiving weekend and it’s the tallest tree we’ve ever had! Our new house has taller ceilings than the condo did and I figured, why not go all the way to the top!
Well, things look a lot smaller on the tree lot! Our tree is one inch from the ceiling–thank goodness we didn’t go for the tallest option and thank goodness I never put the star on the very tippy top! It was also slightly more uncomfortable driving with the tree hanging out of the backseat window. But we made it home!
It only took another purchase of lights to finish everything off, but I think it’s well worth it. I just love this time of year when it’s dark outside but there’s a comforting glow of Christmas lights inside.
I’m teaching a card making class at the Forest Park Public Library on Thursday! If you are local, you can sign up here. It’s a drop in class, so people can come and make a card or two and leave, or they can stay and make all five. I have a couple of Christmas ones, but also some general winter ideas so if Christmas isn’t your thing, there will be something for everyone.
I am bringing a typewriter, rubber stamps, vintage papers, some origami, and glitter…plenty of glitter. (‘Tis the season after all!)
This is my third library event. (I don’t think I told you about the week I presented about letter writing with Schaumburg Library, did an online Valentine making workshop with Forest Park Public Library, and closed on a house, have I?) Library events are a lot of fun–a very relaxed way to learn, and free!
I’ll be back with more Christmas posts–holiday parties, workshops, and wholesale orders are keeping me busy these days!