Posted tagged ‘Construction paper’

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”

December 14, 2012

This morning the lawns were white with frost and the cars windows would have needed scrapping. I walked across the lawn to get my papers so I could hear the crunch, that wonderful sound a freezing night brings to the morning. I could see my breath.

This room is such a mess my sensibilities are distressed. Every spare space is filled with wrapping paper, boxes, tags and presents. They are my next week’s projects. Today is sending packages and making goodies for sister as I’ll see her tomorrow. I’ll bring her favorite fudge, a recipe from a long ago friend of my mother’s, and date-nut bread, my grandmother’s recipe. The traditions continue!

When I bought my house, I didn’t have much money. My mortgage was half my month’s salary. Everything I bought was a necessity, nothing frivolous, including furniture for a while. I had a desk, a TV and a studio couch in this room and some pots and pans for the kitchen. I ate, slept and watched TV here in the den. The rest of the house was pretty empty. That first Christmas I bought a small tree. My mother gave me some ornaments, and I bought a couple of strings of lights. One night I went about making paper garlands out of construction paper. I cut the paper into strips then the strips into smaller strips. I used tape to connect the small strips to one another. There were four garlands, each a different length with the shortest at the top and the longest at the bottom. They were perfect on the tree, being colorful and making the tree more festive and hiding the lack of ornaments. I used those garlands for a lot of years. One Christmas a few years later I was sitting in the living looking at the tree, a taller one with more decorations, when I heard a strange sound from the tree, and then I heard another. I investigated and found my garlands were breaking apart. The tape had yellowed and lost its ability to hold the strips together. I grabbed my favorite tool, my stapler, and used it to keep the garlands together. It worked.

A year later when I was bringing out my tubs of decorations, I noticed the garlands had just about completely fallen apart, and, for the first time, I noticed how faded the colors had become. It didn’t matter to me, though, as I still hung the smallest of the garlands on the tree that Christmas. I still have that garland.


“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!”

February 14, 2012

Before Valentine’s Day, we’d spend one art class making our valentine boxes out of shoe boxes brought from home. We’d use crayons and construction paper and, for those of us lacking any creative talent, our imaginations. Boxes were covered in paper then decorated with red hearts and a few flowers. We’d make slits in the tops of the boxes so all the valentines we expected would fit inside. In those days, the valentines were small, made from light cardboard, and they had silly sayings on the front. The backs were empty so we could sign our names. They even came with envelopes we addressed with our classmates’ names. My mother would buy a few boxes of the valentines, and we’d sit at the kitchen table and write them out then put them in the box to carry them to school. They never went into the school bag. They were too precious. The boxes were carried by hand with great reverence.

During the day we  had to keep the boxes under our desks. That was the worst as the day went so slowly, and we could see each others’ boxes just sitting there while we wasted our time on arithmetic and English and whatever else was forced into our heads. I doubt we learned anything. We were clock watching, just waiting and biding our time until the party.

All of us brought something for the party: sugar cookies in the shapes of hearts, cupcakes with red frosting or bags of conversation hearts which said Be Mine or True Love or I’m Yours. None of us ever believed the sentiments. We just ate the candy.

The party was always the last part of the day. Away went the books and on our desks came the boxes. We’d take out our valentines and students, called by rows, would walk around and put an envelope in someone’s box. Sitting at my desk, I’d hold my breath hoping I’d get a valentine or two or several.

Once everyone was finished, the party began in earnest. We’d get to chat and eat and open our valentines. I remember hoping for one from my latest crush and being thrilled when I got it. When school ended, we’d walk home talking the whole way about the party and showing off our valentines.

We carried our boxes home with even more reverence than we had carried them that morning. The valentines inside were special.

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”

May 1, 2011

Happy May Day! Wherever you are, I hope the sun is shining and the sky is blue in celebration of the day. Here is a bit chilly but still lovely. I think Miss Gracie and I will take a ride later. A pretty day ought never to be wasted.

I remember making a May Basket out of construction paper during art class. We’d decorate the sides with flowers using our crayons. I always drew daisies. Either that or every flower no matter the kind came out looking like a daisy. Art was never my strong point. We’d cut a handle and glue it to the sides. The glue was in bottles and had rubber stoppers cut at the top. My fingers always got so gluey that the paper stuck to them. I remember a red basket I carefully carried home for my mother. On the way I picked dandelions to fill the basket. I always had to hold my basket by the bottom as the handle was delicate and was barely held to the sides by the glue. I always knew my basket was a work of art.

When I was in Ghana, I made all my cards except for Christmas cards. Those I could buy. They had Ghanaian scenes and were hand painted by the art teacher. The cards I made for the other holidays were on white paper folded like little books. I’d cut pictures from magazines and glue them to the pages. The pictures were meaningful to the recipient and me. Little sayings were written on each page. My mother saved a Father’s Day card I had sent and gave it to me. It must have taken me hours to find exactly the right pictures. They too were glued. Luckily I had learned the gluing skill in elementary school.

My tulips have opened. Some are red; others are multi-colored. They highlight the garden. This morning I stood and surveyed the front yard as I do many mornings. The birds were singing, the sun was warm and the garden looked lovely. I would stayed a while more, but I knew my freshly brewed coffee was probably ready and I had my papers. It was time for Sunday rituals.

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

February 10, 2011

It’s cold, mighty cold. I let the dog out, made coffee then stood looking out the window as I waited for one or the other to finish. The sun is wan, barely giving any light. The breeze is slight but even slight adds to the cold. I don’t see any squirrels. I figure they are comfy in their nests. There are no birds as I need to fill the feeders again. I’ll bundle up, wear my ear muffs and my mittens then brave the cold, all for the birds. When I finally got the newspapers, the cold almost took my breath away.

I have a list of places and errands. Gracie and I need to go to the dump, one of her favorite places, but on a day like today, the dump has an arctic wind blowing across all its emptiness. I’m rethinking that chore.

The weather has me in a reading mode. Staying inside wrapped in a quilt and reading a book is about the coziest way I know to spend a winter’s day. I finished Tick Tock and The Inner Circle this week. Both were quick reads, deep thought not required. My mother always said that buying books for me was a waste as I finished them too quickly. I couldn’t help it was always my answer. Once I get hooked on a book, I read and do little else. If I have a necessary chore, I’m on it and it’s finished in a heartbeat so I can back to my book. I hate it when I’m close to the end of a book I’ve really liked.

When I was a kid, I used construction paper for all sorts of projects. Around this time, I’d be behind a closed door in my room with paper, scissors and crayons so I could make my parents their valentines. It never really took all that long to cut, fold, paste and compose, but my parents always acted as if I had given them a valuable piece of art. One year, a long while back, I made valentines for my mother and sister. I cross-stitched a heart and a Happy Valentine’s Day then used red construction paper to make my card. I cut a space then glued the cross-stitch so the message was in the space. Inside the card was just love and my name. The card didn’t really take long to make, but my mother was thrilled with a home-made card. I was proud in the same way I had been as a kid. I still keep construction paper in the house.