Friday, January 29, 2010

A Valentine for Your Valentine from Valentine

When I was planning my wedding, many moons ago, I wanted to make my handmade invitations special from the envelope right down to the response card.  So, on top of using pretty love stamps, I thought it would be extra fun to have the invites mailed from a place with a Valentine-y name since our date was Feb. 15th.  I jumped online and started researching and was soooo excited to find out there is a town named Valentine way, way, way over in West Texas!  Can you believe it?

I quickly called the postmaster, a kind lady named Maria, who was more than gracious about my request to hand stamp 300 wedding invitations. So, I bundled them up and sent them on their way to Love Station. When my parents' invitation arrived, I was so excited to see how the stamp turned was perfect! Not only did Maria hand stamp them and handle them with care, but she also sent us a wedding card of congratulations!

Later, I thought it would be fun to have a special invitation sent to me on my actual wedding day. So, I sent one with a thank you note to Maria for all her help.  Sure enough, my very own invitation was waiting for me when we came back from our honeymoon. This time, it had the cutest Valentine postmark in red ink! It turns out, the little town receives about 15,000 cards every year to be stamped with a specially designed Valentine's Day stamp and Maria and her assistant handle each and every one. I think their special postmark is more unique than other Valentiney cities because each year, there is a contest among students in the tiny town (population 200, yeeeee haw) to design the coveted stamp. I imagine the kids thoughtfully drawing their lovely designs in a one-room schoolhouse like Little House on the Prairie. I know, it's bad but I can't help it. Just don't tell Maria.

If you'd like to add a special touch to your Valentine cards, put your addressed, stamped cards inside a larger envelope addressed to:

To make sure you don't miss out, mail your cards pronto. Also, remember to choose a Valentine with a light-colored envelope so your fancy stamp will really stand out. While you're at it, include a little Valentine for Maria, I'm sure she'd love it!

Click here to check out a listing of some of the country's most romantic postmasters just waiting to add their own extra special touch to your Valentines.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Butterfly Boots

Check out my butterfly boots! I painted them myself!

This Christmas I decided to paint cowboy boots for my mom and sister. I've seen painted shoes on etsy, and thought boots would be really neat. I had no idea where to start, so I bounced around online and found some tips for painting on leather, then I pulled up my boot straps (you know it was bound to happen) and jumped right in. Once I figured out what I wanted to paint and could see the finished product in my head, I was super excited!

We bought the boots at DSW and I made sure that the leather was smooth and the right color for my design.  Then, I sketched the design on the boots and blocked out the area to be painted with black Sharpie. I figured out it's best to bend the boots a bit beforehand to see where they will naturally crease and place your design around those spots.  I didn't do that, but luckily, there isn't too much paint on those spots.

After I blocked out the area, I prepared the leather by sanding it down with sand paper. You have to sand it down enough to get rid of all the varnish on the shoes, so that took a while. This ensures that the leather will soak up the paint and won't flake. I sanded them really well so they were like suede when I was done.  Once the leather was prepared, I primed them with a very diluted white acrylic paint--almost watery. I used the best artist's acrylic, not craft acrylic. If you bend the leather while it's wet, it will help the paint penetrate. Then, I painted the design with acrylics just slightly diluted. I let the boots dry overnight, then sealed just the painted part with satin varnish.

What do you think? Do I have a future in boot design? Mom and Leti have worn their boots out and about, but I haven't, yet. I need to find just the right pair of jeans! Anyway, I'm ready for Rodeo fer sher!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kiosk Calendaritis Remedy

I'm back and ready for 2010! Finally.

I'm only 3 weeks late. The deal was that I didn't have a calendar and I need one to wrap my brain around a new year. I know. Weird. I've been looking for one, but cars, barns, whales and wolves don't exactly inspire me. Blah. And some of them are just ridiculous.  Case in point:

The worst are those calendar kiosks at the mall. They give me hives. They invade your space. It's like the calendars themselves are mocking me. "Hey you--don't you have a Thomas Kinkaid CD case calendar yet?" I know he paints with light and all that, but he's not exactly my type and I don't feel like spending money on his calendar. (No offense, Tom.)

Anyhoo, since January is half over, I decided to get a move on and make my own calendar. I know it's a bit late and you probably bought your calendar months ago, but I thought I would share mine with you anyway. I added some fun holidays and celebrity birthdays to it. (I found out I share mine with Cher!) So, even if you already have a calendar, you will definitely want this one, too. You don't want to miss Bubble Wrap Day this year, do you?

You can preview the entire calendar in the window below. Cool, eh? To get your very own official 2010 Silly Bee's Chickadees Calendar click the "download" link. If the calendar preview doesn't show, just click on the highlighted text above the box. By the way, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is next Monday, the 25th!

2010 Silly Bee's Chickadees Calendar

P.S.  I would love for you to share my calendar with your readers too, but please don't save the file as your own to distribute. Instead, include a link to this post. I greatly appreciate it!

Don't you just love the cute fonts that I used on the calendar? They are courtesy of Kevin and Amanda. Check them out!