Tag Archives: paper

Surprise Message Bunting Cards

4 Feb

The other day I was chatting with one of my twin daughters about Valentine’s Day and all the fun we’ve had in the past making up special treats and cards for their classmates over the years. Over here in Italy (and I think generally in Europe) Valentine’s Day is a day reserved for couples and adults and not something kids celebrate like in North America.  So even though my kids have always been one of the few that celebrate it in school it has still become a lovely yearly tradition to make something together for their friends.
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This year we decided to make simple cards with sewn paper buntings that have little hidden messages.  Easy, quick and fun for kids of just about any age.IMG_4048-001

This is all you need to make these sweet little cards.  I used glassine for the actual bunting paper so that you can see the pretty patterned paper through it.  If you don’t have glassine paper any type of paper would be fine.
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I cut the glassine paper in long strips and folded it in half to have a square piece of paper.  I then sewed the pieces of glassine squares together with the sewing machine (making sure the folded edge is on the bottom).  This way the glassine paper is sewn on the top, closed by the fold on the bottom and open on the two sides (to make it easier to slip in the small pieces of paper with message on the back).IMG_4068After sewing the bunting together we slipped in little square pieces of paper with our special messages on the back.  Seeing as the glassine is open on both sides the messages are easy to slip in and out.  We then simply attached the sewn paper bunting to our cards with tiny heart stickers (pieces of washi would also be nice).

Now to come up with all the short little messages to go inside.  Some of my favourites that my kids have suggested for their classmates are: ‘you have nice handwriting’, ‘you are pretty smart’, ‘you have the best snacks’ and ‘you don’t smell’.  Let’s hope their romantic sides develop a little more in the years to come.

Snail Mail Booklet Letters

6 Sep

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It’s Friday and we all survived the first hectic week back to school.  The kids returned home from their first days at secondary school actually relieved.  Which means Mama was relieved.  They love the new schedules and running back and forth between classes and the fact that they are being treated more and more grown up.  It seems as though they’re ready for all this so I guess I have to be too.  Wish me luck.

As you may know my kids and I are big fans of snail-mailing our friends and family from around the world.  Snail-mailing is something that I have been doing for years (you should see my Japanese stationary collection that I started in my teens!) and my kids have definitely adopted my love for writing letters the old fashioned way.

For us it’s also an ideal way for my kids who are schooled in Dutch and French to practice writing English in an interesting and engaging way.  You should see those early letters that they wrote to their grandmother!  Sweet and almost impossible to understand.  Luckily they’ve come a long way since then in the spelling department.

A few months ago we participated in Giova‘s Flat Project with some little handmade fabric embellished cards.  We all loved this project so much that we’ve been busy thinking of new ways to make our own letters and cards for our penpals.  Here’s our latest idea.

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Materials Needed:

Patterned and solid coloured thin cardboard (or even heavy paper)
Scissors
Small hole punch
Brads
shapes for tracing (cookie cutters, bowls, boxes, wooden shapes etc)IMG_0809

One day my daughter and I were rummaging through one of my (beloved) drawers full of crafty goodness and we came across a little box full of brads that I had received from my mother years ago.  We took them out and admired all the little coloured metal and cloth embellished brads and decided we needed to use them immediatly (I love it that my daughter enjoys these things as much as I do).
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So seeing as we had a long list of penpals to write we decided to make little books in various shapes using our favourite patterned and solid coloured papers.  We searched the house for any possible object that we could trace  for interesting shapes (cookie cutters worked the best) and my daughter  hand drew a few shapes that she had in mind as well (unfortunately we don’t have a hot air balloon cookie cutter!).

IMG_0823We made books with anywhere from 3 pages to 8 pages and either alternated with solid and patterned paper or just did a patterned cover with all solid pages.

This is a great and simple paper project to do with kids of just about any age and ability.  My kids (who are 11,11,9 years old) are experimenting with more and more complicated shapes now as well  (airplanes, windmills, various pieces of clothing and maybe even a James Bond gun).

One daughter decided to start a back-and-forth letter with one of her pen-pals using one of the books.  She wrote her letter on the first page and her pen-pal will respond on the second and send it back.  She has dreams of this little book going back and forth over the ocean for years to come.  That’s my kind of dream!

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Happy Week-End!

Snail Mail

3 Jun

Any snail mailers out there?  Turns out it’s becoming the hip thing to do.  My instagram feed is full of photos from serious snail mailers from around the world and their elaborately decorated letters that look like little works of art.  Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved sending letters and packages to friends and family all over the world – it’s such a nice feeling knowing that someone will open their mailbox to find a sweet little surprise (and will maybe send one back in return!).

So when Giova of the lovely blog One Bunting Away asked me to do a guest post I jumped at the idea to participate in her snail mailing Flat Project (these accordion envelopes are my favourite).  Any project that involves ideas to pretty up your snail mail is a project for me.   I had a lot of fun making up these little fabric embellished note cards with my daughters (we had actually made similar cards for their birthday invitations a few years ag0).  Take a look here.IMG_8468

Origami shirt and tie

8 May

Being Canadian with a Belgian husband and living in Italy has made it so that I never know when Mother’s or Father’s Day is. I know that it is in different months and on different days for each of the countries and I’ve pretty much mentally blocked all those dates from my mind. I had a feeling father’s Day was coming up so I spent hours with the kids making these origami dress shirt garlands. Then my son proudly announced that he was making me a Mother’s Day gift at school which must mean Father’s Day isn’t for a while (but we’re prepared and ready well in advance!).

These origami garlands are so sweet and my kids were the ones who actually folded the shirts (even my little guy). Origami has become very popular in our home and I’m so glad I brought back that suitcase FULL of origami paper from Japan (despite comments such as “are you sure we need 30 packages of origami paper?”).I sewed the little shirts together before glueing on the ties and bow ties. You can make these shirts any size you want. My kids have made tiny tiny versions and almost life size versions. When we’re in restaurants they even fold the cloth napkins into these little shirts. It takes under a minute to fold one so you can make loads in a short amount of time.

The kids can hang them up on a doorframe or to put them into an envelope to open on Father’s Day (whenever that may be). You can leave them loose or sew them together like I did. Last year my kids included a pocket and put in really nice messages and poems.

Here’s how to do it yourself! There is one step that will make you want to crumple up the paper, run out of the room and never try origami again but please believe me that once you ‘get” it everything will run smoothly. Hopefully my instructions will help you a little (original pattern idea comes from Martha Stewart Living June 2004). Continue to read for the step-by-step…

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