The Best New Crafting Bling: Fimo Slices.

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It’s been way too long since I’ve made a craft project worthy of sharing. Today’s is brought to you by purchasing the wrong product, because sometimes you discover something fabulous by screwing up. Such was the case with Fimo barrels.

I loved making Fimo beads when I was a kid – the rolling into a barrel, then slicing to show the amazing detail. I was never great at it, but it was fun anyway. When I saw that you could very inexpensively order pre-made super detailed barrels, I was thrilled.

Fimo ProjectIMG_4741sI ordered this set and this set, and they should last us for many craft projects.

I did not realize, however, that the barrels were already baked, making them more of a hard rubber than the soft clay I was used to working with for beading.

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In retrospect I should have assumed so – they were advertised as nail décor – something I would NOT be using them for. (Any mother knows that supergluing something adorable to our fingernails would be a practice in maddening futility.) But alas. I had excitedly ordered them, then when I found out what they were, promptly put them in a junk drawer for over a year – which is, apparently, the amount of time it takes for me to have a eureka moment as to how to utilize something.

That realization was that we could use them for a 100 Days of School craft.

Using an X-acto knife, I carefully sliced 100 slivers for each of the kids (and 100 for myself – because if we’re gonna craft, I should get to craft too.)

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(Aren’t they gorgeous? It made me happy just seeing them all.)

I drew us each a tree with a metallic sharpie on scrapbook paper I had left over from previous craft forays (these were from a frames project from YEARS ago. I have trouble purging craft products.)

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Then I gave the kids some glue and told them to have fun.

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I have to say. The finished product, though useless except to lay around the house for the next year and a half until I finally throw it out, was VERY satisfying.

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And the kids loved all the different shapes – there were Angry Birds, flags, playing cards, emoji, and a animals. The random variety kept them endlessly entertained and plugged into our crafting project.

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A couple of weeks later, it was about to be my Mom’s birthday. She is a Master Gardener, so I thought it would be fun to use the barrels in the shape of flowers to make her garden birthday cards.

I pulled out my scrapbook paper again, and also my Washi Tape (from my gift wrap hack that I’ve gloriously used for the past three years.)

I sliced the kids one of each of the flowers, along with other things that would belong in a garden.

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I then drew them stems, handed them glue, and told them to go to town.

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The finished product further convinced me: Fimo barrels should be in everyone’s craft drawer, not sadly languishing in a junk drawer.

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Of course, as delightful as the outsides were, I’m pretty sure Gramamma preferred the freestyling insides.

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But let’s be honest – crafting before sentimentality. Those Fimo flowers are THE BOMB.

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A Valentine To Remember.

I have strong personal convictions about Valentine’s Day.

I think it is inanely stupid.

It’s contrived, it’s expected, and it’s downright annoying.

It forces single people to feel sad, it obligates non-single people to feel pressured to write something disgustingly mushy on Facebook, AND it’s the single worst night in the year to attempt to eat out, making one choose to either a) wait 4 hours to be packed in like sardines at a prix fixe meal out, or b) COOK AND WASH DISHES AT HOME.

WHY would we allow something so ugly into our culture*?

I mean sure, Chris and I celebrated it for a number of years at the beginning of our relationship – until that beautiful day that we got comfortable enough in our love to have that most romantic conversation.

“I think this is stupid.”

“Really? I do too!!”

We would much rather celebrate romance on our anniversary. It’s ours and we don’t have to share it with every other couple on the globe.

Welcome to the romance of the cynical.

* Feel free to disagree with me. You may find Valentine’s to be the most romantic, loveliest of holidays and that is 100% fine. Continue to enjoy the pinkest and reddest of days and by all means don’t let me sour you toward it.

Anyway. My lack of disregard for this holiday is why, when my Dad texted me Tuesday morning and asked if he could stop by, I didn’t even think for a second that it had to do with Valentine’s. I wondered for the next 30 minutes to what exactly we owed his visit. Although it’s not unusual for Dad to stop by, his text implied more than the usual “I’m dropping by.”

He walked in with a big red envelope in hand.

“I brought you a Valentine.”

Now. I derive 105% of my cynical genes from my Father.

This was clearly a confusing turn of events.

I opened my Valentine to find a handmade card, in my Mom’s writing. So this was a joint card….still feeling a bit odd.

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And then I opened it. And I remembered why my parents are THE best parents in the world.

FullSizeRender 63“Twisted” is the word that is obstructed by Herman’s Grade A Packaging, just in case you couldn’t figure that out via context.

Have you ever seen such a perfect way to celebrate this holiday?

No. You haven’t. Because my parents just created it.

After I opened the card and gushed at my Dad’s thoughtfulness, he pulled out another baggie.

“It’s a two-for-one day!”

That’s right. I was gifted not one, but TWO dead mice for Valentine’s Day. No $200 bouquet could top such a thoughtful, personalized gift.

I squealed with happiness.

“I even had a Valentine’s balloon in my roadkill kit that would have expired today if I hadn’t found something!!”

Dad beamed, obviously proud of his perfect timing.

After he left, Noah and I headed out to the driveway in bare feet, and I put the rubber gloves in my kit to use for the first time – after all, Herman and Marge would have to be posed.

I got them how I wanted them, but the plastic stem of my balloon kept popping off the ground, sending Herman rolling over.

Carcass Models are such divas to work with.

I finally had to employ my toes to hold the stem down, then had to crop out the tippy top of my big toe to finally capture the essence of the moment.

Yes, I had gotten what I wanted. Now it was time to write A Valentine Tale worthy of the image.

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Marge tried to feign excitement about Herman’s proud cheesy gift of an oversized balloon – she knew he loved her to death, after all – but all she really wanted was for him to have not been such an idiot when he decided to make their home near that tempting, deadly, beautiful, terrible Mouse Trap Subdivision.

And that’s how I received the best Valentine’s Day gift ever.

The Inner Poet.

My daughter is the epitome of a cheerful optimist.

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She is nearly always happy, always pointing out the beautiful and amazing things around her, and is constantly looking to thank me for something or state how much she enjoys whatever it is we’re doing right then.

“Thanks for taking us on this run, Mom. I love running!”

“Doing laundry is the best, Mom. Thanks for letting me do it!”

“Thank you for allowing me to clean this toilet, mom. It’s so fantastic!”

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Although I appreciate her enthusiasm, because I’m a cynic at heart, I sometimes suspect that her cheery disposition is actually rooted deeply in her people-pleasing-oldest-child-personality and then multiplied by opportunism to capitalize on her little brother’s general lack of cheery disposition (and his being told to quit whining and/or arguing approximately once a second) in order to differentiate herself as The Favorite Child.

I believe this because the whinier he is, the cheerier she is. The more he says he hates something, the more she says she loves it.

It’s as if he left his lunch money in her room and she’s perfectly happy to collect interest on it.

But maybe I’m reading too much into her personality. Maybe she somehow missed all of my genetics and is genuinely the nicest person that ever lived.

Or maybe, deep down, she’s as cynical as I am. And is just WERKING it.

“Thanks for this English assignment, Mom. I LOVE writing acrostic poetry!”

Those are words that Ali spoke last week. Those words definitely never came out of my mouth, as I despise all forced attempts at rhyming or rhythm, mainly because I’m absolutely horrible at it. Like seriously – cannot write a rhyming verse to save my life. Additionally, I hated every English book and class that I ever knew. One time I loathed my English book so badly that I asked my Mom if I could finish the entire book that day and not do English for the rest of the year. She said yes, and I happily obliged.

(I didn’t learn much English that year, but I’ve managed to figure out the basics of the language in spite of my self-administered mini-term.)

But Chris is an excellent song-writer, so I thought that perhaps Ali has her father’s talent and love for the art.

She handed me her poem with excitement and glow.

“I wrote my acrostic poem about winter! Don’t you love it? It was fun to try and start all the lines with the letters W-I-N-T-E-R.”

I read her poem.

I giggled.

I read it again.

I giggled some more.

“It’s amazing, honey. Simply. Amazing.”

And at that moment I knew, deep down, in the places she doesn’t like to talk about, Ali had a hidden dark side, just like her mother.

Because Ali’s poem sounded just like April Ludgate had written it, and is best read with her fantastic monotone delivery.

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You go, Ali.

Keep being sunshiny and positive on the outside, but enjoy your Inner Evil Poet as well.

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