My grandmother was the family glue. Most families have someone who fills this role. The person who knows when everyone’s birthday is and shares everyone’s news so that the family remains connected even if they don’t all talk or see each other much. With my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, her role obviously changed over the years and the ties between my extended family loosened as a result.
Growing up, having a big, connected family was amazing. It was loud. It was crazy. It was full of drama and love. Thirty years on, we are separated by distance and, in some cases, too much time apart or old grievances but there is that old saying, “Be the change you want to see”. I can’t fill my grandma’s shoes but I can start small by remembering everyone’s birthdays. My goal to send birthday cards was inspired by the idea of reaching out more to all my family – to try to enforce or create ties between us. I’ve always felt blessed by my big family and I want my kids to know and be blessed by their relatives too.
Toward this goal, a lot of our art this year has been making cards. In this post, I’ll share some of our simple ones: felts and paints.
Felts are great because it’s sweet and simple. There is not a lot of fuss and muss. My kids can get stuck using one colour for their whole creation so I have a rule that they have to use at least as many colours as their age (i.e. Q is 3 so at least 3 colours).
The kids prefer to use paints though whenever I let them. Sometimes we keep it simple and just paint. I let them pick three or four colours and put just those colours out on a yogurt lid. That way it keeps paint cross-contamination to a minimum:) If they want to use black, I let them use it at the end. I also only put out a little black and then say it’s time to clean up. Otherwise, I’ve found, the whole thing can end up black!
Other times, we play around with the paint. On the cards above, we painted and then we flipped the brush around and drew into the paint with the blunt end of the paintbrush. After the paint dried we added jewel stickers, sequins, and buttons.
This is only the tip of the birthday card iceberg, but as this post is long enough, I’ll save our other birthday creations for another day:)