What I didn’t completely grasp before having kids was that one of the most joyful parts of having children is getting to re-experience (and maybe appreciate that much more) all of the best bits of childhood. Having my son brought me back to the colorful and vibrant world of creativity that I so enjoyed as a child—from drawing for hours on end, to creating my own secret language with my best friend, to taking copious notes in my secret spy journal–documenting all the less-than-exciting conversations I eavesdropped on and entirely mundane observations I had made while perched in my favorite park tree (in my secret language, of course).
Practically from birth, I was waiting for my son to grow big enough to sit with me at my art table in our craft room so that we could work on a project together. One of the first projects we completed was thank you cards addressed to guests who attended his 2nd birthday party (a firetruck themed party: the berries we hot-glued onto the cards were also used as centerpieces at his party).
And what can be more fun and versatile than homemade cards (not to mention messy if you are not careful—I suggest using shoeboxes to organize various supplies and odds and ends and labeling each box).
Not only are the possibilities for types of cards endless, but also in particular the possibilities for reusing and recycling odds and ends that call for another life.
The holiday cards we sent out last year we created from upcycling many years of past holiday cards that we received, but I could never throw away. All those years of storage in my closet finally paid off!
Some other beloved materials that often make appearances in my homemade cards include dried plants and flowers, washi tape, scrapbooking paper, maps, buttons/ribbons/strings, photos, embossed stamps, hand-sewn flourishes with needles and thread, toys and miniatures, and even candy.
But the most divine part of working with kids to make homemade cards is that no matter what the result—the cards are always cute–even if an utter disaster. More than a few times my son and I have assembled a birthday card fifteen minutes before leaving for the party: he randomly places stickers on a trimmed piece of construction or scrapbooking paper, I stamp the child’s name and the date, and together we hot-glue on a few crafty elements ranging from string, ribbons, bits of tissue paper or paper scraps to abandoned or never used toys to feathers and mini-banners.
Not only does the recipient (pint-sized or otherwise) appreciate the efforts of a homemade card just as much (if not more) than a store bought card, but inevitably they both end up in the same place (usually at the bottom of a shoebox, a drawer, or a closet).
And, if you’ve ever had the chance to sort through all the cards you’ve received during the last 5, 10, or 15 years like I have (particularly after a series of monumental life events such as graduation, marriage, and/or having children), you most likely have come to the very stark realization that the greeting card business is a very lucrative one–which may provide you with even more motivation to make your own.
Connect with Jessica Shaool
Right now, I am passionate about:
1. Living room dance parties with my family after work
2. Finding and fine-tuning the perfect soup recipe
3. Getting ready for the arrival of our second child (a girl!) due in October