I hate picking out store-bought cards. Many of them are so stereotypical: the Father’s Day cards about golfing, fishing or something involving a remote control; the Mother’s Day cards about taking a break from cleaning the house; the anniversary cards that profess undying love for your spouse…except that one, of course. 🙂
We have a Michaels craft store that’s spitting distance from our house (not that I’ve ever tested that, or that I could personally spit that far if I did, but I bet someone out there could). Now come to think of it, I believe I’ve blogged about this before in a previous version of Burpo Banter, but I do think it’s worth talking about again. I don’t go into this store all that often, but when I do, watch out! Michaels’ company tagline is “Where Creativity Happens” and boy, they aren’t kidding! Because let me tell you, if there’s anyone in this world less creative and crafty than I am, I challenge you to find them and bring them to me. Because I bet you can’t. But when I walk into Michaels, it’s like something steps inside me and takes over. I’d say her name is Martha, but honestly, I’m not worthy. More like Martha’s disowned sister.
Which all sets the scene for this past Saturday when I needed to purchase a few cards. More like 50, actually, between birthdays in August and September and other misc. needs. Not being up for tackling the Target card aisle (no, I’m being serious, I did actually have to tackle someone there once who picked up the last card I wanted after standing in front of it with her screaming kid in the cart for 10 minutes), I thought I’d just swing by Michaels and see about picking up a few card-making supplies instead.
Enter my alter ego: Martha’s disowned sister. The first thing I noticed is that not only do they have aisles full of Halloween goodies already, but the Christmas items are also well in progress. While tempting to explore the upcoming holiday possibilities, I vowed to stay on track, heading straight the scrapbooking and card area. Okay, maybe there was that one brief stop in the baskets because a girl can never have too many storage options, but that was all. Oh, and that one other stop in the vases….and fake spring flowers aisle. But seriously, other than that, straight to the card stuff.
My first stop was the stickers, which are contained within about 63 aisles. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities. (I was always a sticker fan…) Then there was the card stock. So many colors. So how does that work, exactly? Before I know it, I’m in the aisle with the cutting thingys, wondering exactly how those work, too, yet imagining all the things I’m sure I could achieve if I only had one of those cutting thingys. There are books sprinkled throughout….like How to Find Your Inner Martha and Card-Cutting for Dummies. I am intrigued by all of them. Finally, I come across some pre-cut cards. Some with envelopes. Some without. And so many colors to choose from! How does one make these difficult decisions? That’s when I decided I’d better go check out the 10 aisles of scrapbook paper to see what colors and patterns I might pick as background for my cards.
Overwhelmed there, I shifted over to the three aisles of stamps and inks. Did you know that there’s this thing called clear stamps now? I had no idea how to use them, but they definitely looked cool. And cheaper than rubber stamps! At the end of one of the stamp aisles, I attempted to read a chart that explained the differences between types of ink and ink pads – but overwhelmed there, too – I decided to take a break and go look at some frames. A while later, I jumped back into the card-making fire and reluctantly began making some choices. Then I put those back and made some new choices. Rinse and repeat.
Eventually, my phone rang. It was Jeff. “Hey, where are you? I thought you were just running to Michaels. Are you at Nordstrom?” Me: “No way!” (I have seriously no idea why he would ask me that.) “I’m still at Michaels. I’ve been a little caught up, but I’m getting ready to wrap up.” “Okay, well I’m heading off to the store to pick up dinner. Hopefully we’ll see you soon.” Beep. A mere hour(ish) later, I wandered up to the check out with my purchases, with visions of card-making grandeur dancing in my head. And of course, this was going to be a great little project to do with Ian. All that precision paper cutting and stamping and fancy stickers that would need to be carefully placed…perfect for a five-year old!
I’m not revealing how long my visit to Michaels was in total, but let’s just say the word embarrassing comes to mind. After I got home and the Burplings were relieved to find out that their mother had not abandoned them, I told Ian I got stuff to make cards. Naturally, he was psyched, but due to the late(ish) hour, the card-making fun would have to wait until Sunday. Sunday afternoon I finally got around to sorting through the purchases. That’s when I realized that being crafty seems much more fun in the craft store than it does at home. Frankly, at 5 p.m. on Sunday, it kind of just looked like a lot of work. (Target, anyone?) Alas, Ian and I tackled our cards while Elena whined at my feet the whole time about wanting up so she could get in on the action, which made our little craft project even more enjoyable.
In all seriousness, though, part of what triggered this all was wanting to make some thank you cards for Ian and Elena’s teachers at school. And, I must say that from some experience making cards with Ian previously, it is nice to have some supplies on hand to do some homemade creations rather than always heading to the nearest card aisle. Of course, like everything else it just takes finding the time and energy to do it. But once I rallied (which I will admit was after Ian and Elena were in bed and I could focus a little more) – check out my creations for Elena’s two teachers! Now, I realize it’s probably not time quite to quit my day job just yet and rent some retail space for Burpo’s Greeting Cards – but not bad for a beginner, right??
(Oh, and in case it’s not all about me: the one on the far right is Ian’s creation – which he made especially for a little friend’s birthday party this weekend. I don’t think you can see it here, but he drew an elephant for her because according to her sister, she likes elephants and we didn’t have any elephant stickers.)