Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where Oh Where is My Patent Leather Purse?

Where Oh Where is My Patent Leather Purse?

As a little girl I packed my treasures in various boxes and bags.  Around kindergarten, the object of my affection was a shiny black patent leather (well, probably plastic) purse.  Inside it I kept one or two mini red pencils from TIME, bazooka joe comics, a princess phone key chain  and a fake garnet ring.  I’m sure it had other treasures, too, but I remember those in particular.  And somewhere along the way, I lost that purse.  Despite much desperate seeking on my part, it never reappeared and over time I stopped grieving for my lost things.

But not really.  For some reason, that particular collection of items was special to me, and I’m not really sure why.  I think that it must have represented some sense of my unique 6 year old self such that all these years later I can still recall the texture and feel of those objects.

I’ve noticed there is a great deal of interest in meaningful, with a capital “M,” objects these days.  You can check out the Smithsonian’s list of 101 Objects that made America   for a truly historical look at meaningful objects.  For a more intimate look, The Washington Post has a great series, MINE , chronicling people’s one special object that defines them in some way.  (My own contribution would have to be the anvil my dad made, which I wrote about last month).  The relatively new site Zady, a purveyor of fine, handmade items, takes such pride in the idea of distinguishing stuff from meaningful objects that they have started an Instagram campaign to chronicle people’s thoughts.   And in a twist on all of that, I ran across a story about a performance artist who gathered thousands of  items in a Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, letting people select and take home an object to uncover their own sense of “art.”   Sorry I missed that event, as it lifted the notion of “one man’s trash, another man’s treasure” to an actual art form.

IMG_3278Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that I love tiny little objects that are meaningful only because they were once so common.  In particular, I am fascinated by Cracker Jack toys from the first half of the 20th century.  Many of these charms were made from an early plastic called celluloid and they have a depth of color and precision that puts modern toys to shame.  The earliest charms were often made of metal, tin, or glass–and some of them are incredibly lovely.  Stuffed away in drawers, pinned to moldering felt hats, or lovingly placed on a charm bracelet, these tiny toys were a treasure far beyond the price of a Cracker Jack box.   I use them to make jewelry because they add an unusual element to my work, especially for mixed media projects, but I also just love looking at them. Here are some of my favorites:

lost in time--tin cracker jack watches

lost in time–tin cracker jack watches

Six year old me would have loved these items, too, just because they were so, well, cute.

Celluloid charms, some retaining their bright colors

Celluloid charms, some retaining their bright colors


Someone's treasured charm bracelet, found on ebay long ago

Someone’s treasured charm bracelet, found on ebay long ago


little orphan annie

little orphan annie

But grown-up me cherishes them because they  have retained their charm, despite the many years that have passed.  In fact, I think it is the notion of time  bound up in these objects that makes them so fascinating.  I may not own big pieces of the past, but these tiny little objects of desire (and collectors will pay a lot for some of the truly rare ones) that once belonged to someone else,  are now mine to cherish, preserve, and

gorgeous tin toys--small tops and planes.  not sure if they were in cracker jack boxes but still amazing treasures

gorgeous tin toys–small tops and planes. not sure if they were in cracker jack boxes but still amazing treasures

perhaps, pass on.

Can Art Take Away Pain?

Can Art Take Away Pain?

My daughter was recently diagnosed with POTS–postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.  Basically her body isn’t responding to the pull of gravity, so her blood pools when she stands up, the brain doesn’t get enough blood, it sends out panic messages, the heart races, adrenaline flows, and the poor kid ends up in a constant state of nausea, dizziness, lack of focus, and many other symptoms.  Treatment involves medication, exercise, increased sodium and fluid–and it is incredibly hard work to get better.  Rebecca has  a good attitude, but many of the things she most enjoys aren’t feasible for her right now.  To my surprise, she has turned to drawing as both a way to pass the time and as a stress reducer.IMG_3267IMG_3268

Why to my surprise?  Wouldn’t you expect the child of crafty lawyer, with all those crafty forebears, to be into art?  Ah, that’s not the way the world works, is iit?  She always enjoyed art, but didn’t have a passion for it, even though she has great color sense. She never particularly liked making jewelry, either, especially since she could just tell me what things she liked and I would make it!  But in the last couple of months that has all changed.   Not only has she been drawing every day, but she designed a few necklaces as thank you presents for people.

She started out doing a pain journal, using drawing to show how she was feeling–an example below.myheadissplitAfter that, she started drawing everything, especially people, which is hard.  I’ve always found that I could get the curve of a hairline or maybe a chin right, but would have trouble with the eyes or the nose–it’s interesting talking about those things with her because it helps me understand how she SEES things and how that tranlates from eye to brain to hand.

The Travelers--sketch in progress

The Travelers–sketch in progress

More importantly, with an illness that zaps concentration, to see her so focused on trying to capture the line of an object or the curve of a smile is exciting.  None of us can figure out exactly why this kind of concentration brings her comfort, but I’m glad it does.  I’ve always found that creativity, in whatever form, is an outlet that calms and energizes.  I’m glad in this difficult period she, too, is finding that art brings solace.

trees--a common theme.  Her cardiologist saw this and said it reminded him of blood vessels--appropriate for someone struggling to keep her blood flowing, perhaps

trees–a common theme. Her cardiologist saw this and said it reminded him of blood vessels–appropriate for someone struggling to keep her blood flowing, perhaps

How do you use art to calm your soul?

In the Words of Rosemary Clooney, et al “SNOW!”



I love snow days.  Seriously, when there is the first hint that we may get a major storm  I start to stalk the weather blogs and watch the predictions of 4, 5, 6, or more inches and keep my fingers crossed that the world will come to a halt for just a day.  We have snow day rituals in our home that require us to  a) build a fire b) bake and c) roast something.  More and more, my husband, Michael, is the chief cook on such days and today was no exception.  He made potato leek soup and Irish soda bread for lunch and there is a slow cooking  (200 degrees) roast beef noisily  caramelizing in the oven right now.  Unfortunately, I worked all day, but working in front of a roaring fire with your loved ones nearby is a pretty sweet work-life balance.

My mom sent me this picture of her amaryllis in bloom--the backdrop is the icy Missouri river.

My mom sent me this picture of her amaryllis in bloom–the backdrop is the icy Missouri river.

Some recent soldered charms i made using 1940s children's books--expressing my feelings about snow!

Some recent soldered charms i made using 1940s children’s books–expressing my feelings about snow!

Poor guy.  All snowmen should have coats, don't you think?

Poor guy. All snowmen should have coats, don’t you think?

This may be why I like snow days.  As long as we have electricity and heat and plenty of chocolate, the snow is a welcome pause in our hectic lives.   With email and gotomypc and such, we are never really disconnected from work, so things that must be done are still done around here, but I just love looking up from my computer and seeing husband and child doing their thing while I do mine.

I also love to go around the house singing, “Snow, snow, snow,” per White Christmas and Rosemary Clooney.

I will pass on washing my hair in snow but just the thought of snow can make me smile–with or without Bing Crosby or Danny Kaye.

Reading and Writing and ‘Rhythmatic– Math Art!



A special treat.  My friend Greg gives us a report on some of the beautiful artwork inspired by mathematics.

Dear Friends of the Crafty Lawyer,

I am Greg Coxson.  I have been a friend of Mary G. (the flesh-and-blood crafty lawyer), for decades now.  I would like to report on an exciting development that you may find interesting, maybe even life-changing.

The past several years have seen a growing exploration of intersections between Mathematics and the Arts.  Here “the Arts” is meant in its full flowering, including not just two dimensional paintings, but also sculpture, music, dance, fabric and bead art, poetry and beyond).   There are two notable fun and inspiring gatherings of this burgeoning Math-Art community each year.  One is the Bridges conference which takes place in July each year in a different city somewhere on the globe (in 2014 it will be in Seoul, South Korea).  The second is the judged mathematical art exhibit at the Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM), which takes place in January in some American city (usually in the south for obvious reasons).

In the last several years, I have become more and more interested in these developments.  Frankly, I now find what these folks do to be quite amazing.  For one thing, the artwork needs to be appealing and interesting.  Also, the artist needs to consider the materials and how to create the artwork from them.  Furthermore, and I am not sure this is where it ends, the piece has to have some serious mathematics behind it.   For some of the artworks at the Bridges conference, for instance, the artist even writes a scholarly journal-worthy article to explain the background of the piece.

This year, the JMM took place at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore,  To take advantage of this remarkable opportunity, the Crafty Lawyer dispatched me to report on the goings-on.  These conferences tend to be times of great busy-ness for me.  Still, I was able to find the time to stop by the show.  I quickly found the newest offerings by Margaret Kepner, a Washington-based print artist.  Margaret does very clean, sharp, colorful works that are at the same time appealing and based on very sophisticated mathematical methods and concepts.  Margaret actually won first prize in the judging in 2011 for a print based on a magic square where the magic takes several forms, which Margaret highlighted using both pattern and color.

While Margaret’s mathematically-based prints are wonderful enough, I am going to share an inside secret.  Her custom-designed cards are even more amazing.   For years she has been doing cards for events in her own family.  These are based on mathematics too, and they celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and holidays in creative, fresh ways.  If you get a chance to talk with Margaret, it is really a treat to see and learn about these cards.


Margaret had two pieces in the JMM mathematical art exhibit this year.  The one I chose to feature is pleasantly relevant to the Crafty Lawyer.  This piece is a print rendered in white and various shades of blue.  The first pattern that strikes the eye is a 6 x 5 array of 30 hexagonal or “hexagon-like” shapes.  Each of these hexagonal shapes is divided into eight triangles (or near-triangular wedges) combined in a pie-shaped arrangement.  Each of the eight triangles represents a separate bead in an eight-bead necklace; its color is one of two colors for that bead.  So one of these 30 pies stands for one way to color an eight-beaded necklace where each bead can have one of two colors.  You are probably now well ahead of me in asking, “Why only 30?  Aren’t there 256 ways to color eight beads using two colors?”  Well, you would be right, of course.  However, after you consider symmetries, it comes down to 30 “distinct’” possibilities.  One pattern can be rotated to give as many as eight that are essentially the same pattern.  The set of 30 provides a minimal yet full set of representatives for the 256 possibilities without tiring the viewer with unnecessary redundancies.

As with many works by Margaret and other mathematical artists, it does not end there.  She has also worked into the piece the 6 ways to color a four-beaded necklace using two colors.  These are depicted as different colorings of four-section diamonds.  Note that the 6×5 array has 36 corners.  These 36 corners are arrayed in 6 columns.  Kepner has placed the six possibilities down each of these columns.  Then, from one column to the next, she cyclically shifts the ordering of these diamonds by a single shift.

Okay, that is probably already more than enough mathematics.  Perhaps, though, you join me in feeling a bit of wonder at how Kepner forms a piece that appeals even without inspecting it for the mathematical underpinnings.

I want to thank the Crafty Lawyer for this arduous and risky assignment.  Despite the stress and the late nights, I am available for similar reporting at Bridges in Seoul this summer, or JMM San Antonio next January.

13 Rocks–A Look Back at a Crafty Year


IMG_2774Last year wasn’t a good year for this blog, as family health issues and intense work requirements didn’t leave much time for play.   This year may not be much better, but I have realized that in the midst of all the craziness last year, we still managed to create some pretty cool stuff, and that I better memorialize it while I could.  In fact, writing about incorporating art into my daily life isn’t just fun–it’s therapeutic.  So, before 2014 gets any older, here’s a quick recap of fun and easy things you can do to celebrate and create.

image  1.Make a Memorial Ribbon.  As you know from my last post, my dad passed away last year.  When the whole family was together (ten kids, 8 spouses and partners, 17 grandkids, various dogs and cats) there were tears and laughter, but lots of time just sitting around reminiscing and catching up.   I wanted to make something for all of us to wear for the funeral.  There wasn’t time for the soldered glass charms (and not really a guy thing, anyway), but a photocopier, black electrical tape, and purple ribbon allowed us to create our own memorial ribbons.  Black electrical tape is an old family joke–our dad fixed everything with black tape!–so edging the photocopies in black tape held meaning as a symbol of mourning and of his creativity.   Tucking a folded purple ribbon behind the picture gave us something to attach a pin to and incorporated his favorite K-state color into the mix.  We made forty of these in a few hours for family to wear and remember.  You could do the same for happier occasions as well–to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary.  And I’m starting to think about how to turn the idea into a valentine–maybe a heart shaped photocopy, outlined in red duct tape, with the line “keep me close to your heart, valentine.”  What do you think?

!13 Rocks--Amethysts made special party favors, little books found on etsy, table cards from moo.com2.  Thirteen–or any age–Rocks!  Rebecca turned thirteen in 2013 and we had a lovely bat mitzvah celebration for her.  At the dinner following her ceremony, we used the theme “13 Rocks” and decorated not with flowers, but with amethyst chunks and candles.  You can find all kinds of rocks online and many people sell you big old boxes of crystal chunks relatively inexpensively.  I had tiny little tags made that commemorated the date, and Rebecca and Mike’s mom, Rita, stuck them on the bottom of the geodes and chunks.  The geode candles glowed and little chunks of amethyst sat at every place setting–the room glittered.  We were able to avoid costly flowers and party favors, but gave everyone a unique remembrance of Rebecca’s special night.  And I’m told that some of the littlest partygoers loaded their pockets with rocks–which is exactly what we wanted

image   3.   Make a really big collage mirror–I have been saving all the little bits and pieces of my life for years, reluctant to let them go but growing increasingly tired of boxes of “junk,”  A few years back, i had done an assemblage of Rebecca’s childhood toys and castoffs on a huge mirror I had picked up in the TJ Maxx clearance section.  I had been holding on to my other bargain mirror in the hopes of making some kind of matching piece and it finally occurred to me that I could make an assemblage of my own tiny things.  To do this yourself, you really just need an old mirror with a frame at least 2 inches wide, mod podge, some craft glue or epoxy for heavier objects, and the patience to fit all the piece of your life together.   I actually did most of the work in a weekend, but this kind of collage work benefits from some sitting and thinking time, and in fact, has many layers, so you can start the project, set it aside for awhile, and come back to it. I will revisit the idea of a collage mirror later this year, and give you step by step instructions for making a smaller version.


4.  Home-made banners in a hurry–when a case my husband had worked on for years was decided favorably in the Supreme Court, you bet we celebrated.  But how to make a banner out of a legal case?  Find a quote that summarizes the case–either from the decision or from a newspaper article– copy or retype it, center it and then increase the font size until just a few words fit (centered) on the page.   Suddenly you have 10 or more flags to string on a ribbon.  If you want, cut the flags into triangles (pointing down) and create that pennant feeling so popular these days.  I will admit that the fellows in the fancy restaurant were a bit stunned when I pulled out a banner to decorate our table, but they took it in stride when they saw the delighted look on my surprised husband’s face.IMG_2970                         IMG_2967                                                 IMG_1419  5.   Halloween–worth its own post but here’s a teaser:  Is Your Child a Teenager or a Zombie?  Take our Quiz.  We had lots of fun with this and Rebecca came up with the idea–will revisit this at Halloween.

IMG_0027 6.  Picture table runners.  OK, this is kind of a cheat, since I made these on Shutterfly, but I knew that I wanted to do something special for my in-laws who moved from my husband’s childhood home into a retirement community this year.  On our last visit to their house,  I snapped a bunch of pictures and then later incorporated them into this table runner.  I thought the sentiment really said it all “The House May Change but the Love Never Does.”

Go here: Table Runner from Photos of Mike’s Family Home

7.   Fun jewelry.  This was a year of making bat mitzvah presents out of invitations.  I think a personal piece of jewelry made from an invitation, a save the date card, or a program is a terrific way to remember and treasure an event.  For girls, at least, we made sure to include a special charm to remember the day.  Here are some samplesBat mitzvah invitation necklaceellaback of two charms--one is a detail from an invitation, the other a snippet from an old book

So, despite the appalling lack of writing on this blog post in 2013, there was lots of creativity in my house.  This year, I’m resolving to track it and write about it a bit more–I hope you will join me and share your crafty lawyer, baker, teacher, candlesticker maker stories as well.

My Dad Made Me an Anvil–What Has Your Dad Done for You Lately?


Tomorrow (January 6) would have been my dad’s 87th birthday.  Paul Sanders Giovagnoli, inventor, mechanical engineer, father of ten, and true love for 55 years (and beyond) of my Mom, Joyce, ,passed away last April.  His legacy as an  inventor (Dad’s obituary )of the baseball pitching machine is a story we have told a lot in the past year,

My young dad at the beginning of his pitching machine career

My young dad at the beginning of his pitching machine career

but Dad made many things, large and small.  I thought I would pay tribute to him today by recounting one of the most amazing Christmas presents I ever received:  my very own jewelry anvil.

Handmade for me by Dad about fifteen years ago.  Look at those markings on the base--it's like art!

Handmade for me by Dad about fifteen years ago. Look at those markings on the base–it’s like art!

Take a look at the photos of this stainless steel marvel.  Not only was it handcrafted, cut and polished by hand, but Dad imagined my nascent jewelry career and anticipated what he thought I would need to successfully pound and shape delicate wire earrings.  See the carpeting attached to the bottom–Dad’s solution to cushioning blows and keeping the sound down. photo 2

thick industrial carpet, cut from who knows what salvaged item,  ensures that all my blows are gentle on the ears  and that the anvil won't go flying!

thick industrial carpet, cut from who knows what salvaged item, ensures that all my blows are gentle on the ears and that the anvil won’t go flying!

And the little airplane/butterfly screw on the end?  My own personal mechanism for twirling and twisting wire.  He made me a tiny jewelry hammer as well, and a jig  (with random holes for greater creativity) and a butane torch holder .  Maybe he was just so excited that I had found a hobby that involved manipulating metal or that I needed lots of tools, but I like to think that he knew that my jewelry anvil would last forever and that every time I used it, a little bit of him would be infused in my art.

In the last few months of his life, Dad continued to invent things, even making his own rehabilitation tools.  But the greatest thing he did–perhaps his best and final present–was to share with us till the very end his absolute love for his family, his faith in God, and his belief that if you just thought through a problem enough, you would find a solution.

Happy Birthday, Dad–we love you!

I have no idea what Dad is working on here

I have no idea what Dad is working on here

Dad as present

Dad as present

Mom and Dad were never afraid to show us they loved each other--another gift!

Mom and Dad were never afraid to show us they loved each other–another gift!

My mom is also very crafty--and you just have to love her couple's self portrait in shrinky dink plastic!My mom is also very crafty–and you just have to love her couple’s self portrait in shrinky dink plastic!

Scaffolding, beautiful scaffolding


In the sixteen years I have lived in Washington, D.C., I’ve lost track of the number of times that our monuments and landmarks have been obscured by scaffolding.  But ever since Michael Graves first designed scaffolding for the Washington monument years and years ago, I’ve kept track of some of the more attractive uses of pipe and board and construction gizmos to make the art of rebuilding beautiful in itself.  The 2011 earthquake in D.C. led to several striking examples of creative scaffolding  which, two years later, still grace our cityscape.   Say what you will, I think the Washington National Cathedral looks rather jaunty with its scaffolding caps–at least from a distance.  And the latest scaffolding surrounding the Washington monument creates a brick by brick facade outlined in blue–giving the otherwise white marble landscape new texture :

IMG_3027 IMG_3009IMG_3070

And sometimes, the scaffolding literally brightens the sky:


which goes to show that something that most people consider to be ugly or an obstacle to beauty can, itself, become effervescent!

Halloween Recap: Presidents v. Zombies–Our Best Yard Ever

Halloween Recap:  Presidents v. Zombies–Our Best Yard Ever

Eleven days after Halloween, this year’s yard display is finally dismantled.  Miraculously, all the Halloween props have been boxed up and some are even put away in the attic.  This may sound a bit slow, but since this year’s theme was based on the election, we had to leave it up through Wednesday!.  The weather and rain and wind were starting to take their toll on both the zombies and the Presidents, however–poor Abraham Lincoln was losing his head on a routine basis.  This blog is largely pictoral, but I wanted to pass along a few tips on yard displays.

George Washington (sans head) gets his lifelike posture from PVC pipe–and his support from garden stakes. The boots are from the Shakespeare Theater Company annual garage sale.

1.  PVC pipe and my devoted husband rule!  Mike built the “action” figures–Washington and Lincoln with plastic pipe.  It took a couple of trips to the hardware store to get all of the right couplings, but the results were well worth it.  Here’s the hint: we bought garden stakes that were sturdy but thin enough to fit inside the pipe.  This ensured a strong footing for the figures and extra stability.  He still wrapped chicken wire around the pipe very lightly (sort of tubes within tubes) to give enough shape for the pants and jackets, but the PVC gave him so much more ability to create lifelike movements. Check out Washington’s throwing arm.

2.  Tree branches don’t make great arms.  See Ray Gun’s droopy jacket–I ducktaped a big old tree branch across his back.  For a zombie, I guess, the kind of falling apart look worked, but not sure I would try that again!

3.  Can’t do without lighting: my flicker lights from Grandin Road.  I have three sets acquired over the years–they look like real candle flames and are super sturdy and bright.  This year they provided the marquis lighting for the “Barack Obama–Zomney Hunter” sign, but I’ve wrapped them around an old chandelier in the past to create mood lighting.

more foam core insulation. You need a few coats of spray paint to cover the pink but moss green with gold accents and a little bit of cream colored fleck stone spray created a very spooky background. And of course I had to put a “Smart
Women Vote” sticker on the sign–this is our own little effort to celebrate election day, after all

4.  Thick foam insulation is another can’t do without product–it makes great  tombstones and signs.  It is thick enough that you can stick some small garden stakes into the bottom to create sturdy tombstones and it absorbs color beautifully.  Hard to believe that both the Presidents v. Zombies sign and the Barack Obama sign started life as pink,huh?  I use to buy big canvasses at the art store for signs, but the foam core insulation is a better and cheaper choice.

Anyway–enjoy the pictures and feel free to ask how we made this all happen.

Halloween Preparations: Our Trip to the Hardware Store

Halloween Preparations: Our Trip to the Hardware Store

The big haul–PVC pipes, new tools, and lots of duct tape

So, the time has come to put our Halloween preparations into full gear.  We have been planning this year’s yard display–our tenth aannual extravaganza– for quite some time, but we needed to move from talk to action.  Neither my husband nor I is overly fond of Home Depot (too big, too confusing, too filled with purposeful people who seem to know what they are doing), but we found ourselves in the plumbing aisle trying to find the right PVC pipe to form the skeleton (or as I’ve learned to call it from all my art classes, the “armature”) for one of our characters–an axe wielding George Washington fighting off zombies  (more to come on this, but don’t want to give away too much just yet).  We were there two hours, looking like little kids with tinker toys, screwing this piece to that and gumming up the aisle with our toys.  One man finally asked us what kind of plumbing project we were up to–oh silly people who look at PVC tubes and only think of plumbing!  I think he was relieved to hear we were building a skeleton of sorts, as our pipe construction looked nothing like any kind of thing you might find in your bathroom.   Michael is the mastermind behind all of our figures, and so after a while I wondered off to get other necessary supplies, like duct tape.

Exciting PVC pipes, connectors and wavy things that just looked useful

We already have chicken wire, stakes, lighter wire, and mannequin heads in the Halloween vault.  And of course you can’t go to Home Depot without finding some cool tool.  In this case, we got both a cool PVC pipe cutter

Pipe cutter. I don’t know why this makes me happy, as it will probably be a pain in the neck to use, but there’s something about feeling like I can cut through any object–it must be how superman feels

and a much smaller cutter that is supposed to cut up copper pipes–I’m going to experiment on some thin copper tubing I purchased (not pictured, left abandoned in the trunk of the car for now), but just in case, I also found these cool little copper rounds that have a plumbing function but look like the perfect size for small bezels to fill with paper, beads and resin.

You say “Copper Crimp Ring, I say “Jewelry Bezel.”

You’ll see the results of those experiments when I get around to them. Oh and I got new sandpaper sponges of different grades to keep working on my soldered charms.  No matter how hard I try to make everything nice and smooth with the soldering iron, it just doesn’t always work out, so I’m excited to sit down with my sponges and smooth out the rough edges of my life.

Soldered charm, still rough around the edges and with no jump ring–but you can see why I need sandpaper

OK, rough edges of my charms, as it takes more than sandpaper to smooth over life.

But this little adventure to the hardware store was a fun way to spend time with my husband and to keep us thinking about why we like to do things together.  Breaking out of the rut reminds us that we have a good time doing nothing, even in the hardware store plumbing aisle.

Banners R Us and So Can U

Banners R Us and So Can U

Rebecca and I have been enjoying the creative possibilities of decorating our own banners.  We’ve been buying them at Paper Source and decorating our hearts out.  You often see these banners, made of heavy cardstock, decorated with other scrapbook paper, which looks very cool.  I am partial to Sharpies, however, because the cardstock easily soaks up their nice deep colors.  The Sharpie people have expanded the range of colors enormously, too, so it just gets more and more fun.  I’ve actually been thinking about this blog post for AGES, but one of the banner recipients–my Mom, Joyce–hadn’t yet received her birthday banner.  Umm, yes, her birthday was back in August and yes, the box with presents and the banner has been sitting in the trunk of the car since, well, Labor Day.  But the box is finally off, and so the grand reveal can be made.  Happy Birthday, Mom.

Happy Birthday, Joyce

Super important here to recognize the joint nature of this work–Rebecca went for intricate patchworks, I went for tiny details

We are also big fans of lavender, so had to put that in!

And of course, you need birthday candles.  You can and I have make the pennants yourself–cut a bunch of long pointy triangles out of heavy craft paper (a nice sketch pad with thick paper, scrapbook papers, heavy stationary paper) , use a hole punch to give yourself some clean slots for the ribbon and thread ribbon or string through for you own banner.  This is a great, kid friendly project and Rebecca and I were both proud of the results.

Here we are, staring happily at the banner we made for my father-in-law’s 85th birthday party!  Now get to coloring!!!!

“Doggie State University” banner–it’s a family joke!

happy happy birthday