Mar 21, 2008

and celebration number 27 passes quietly


For posterity's sake, and the little old lady me, I thought I would record the bit of requisite gluttony that occurred yesterday in honor of the vernal equinox and my 27th birthday.

The day passed with a nod and a smile, devoid of all of the hubbub generally associated with birthdays. All of our friends are out of town for the Easter holidays, and Patrick and I enjoyed the quiet day, sipping a rare coke from recycled glass bottles (so much tastier this way - why do we stand for all of this PLASTIC? Plastic toys for children, plastic food containers, etc. Have you watched this video yet? If not, then consider it my birthday wish!)

The dearest birthday gift I received this year came from my Mom, in the form of a short email, describing our first meeting. I must preface this with a bit of a birth story - I was born by emergency C-section after three days of labor, in an age where medical technology hadn't caught up with the most pressing needs of mother and child to connect right after birth. My mother was under complete anesthesia, and I was born at 7:28 P.M. I'm sure it was even a while before I was put in my father's arms, as they washed, bundled, and did whatever else they deemed "necessary" for a newborn before handing her off to bond with family. Nonetheless, my Mom's description was lovely:

I have a memory of our first eye to eye contact that I cherish. Bundled tightly in a soft blanket you were placed in my arms at about 4:00 in the morning. Your eyes were wide open and you seemed to be ready for conversation. I brought you close to my face and told you how happy I was to finally see you and hoped I would be a good mother to you. Your little mouth puckered an "o" and your eyes seemed to open even wider. I was dumbstruck by the realization that we had been "talking" for many months and that while you grew and rested under my heart - loved sight unseen - nothing had prepared me for the outpouring of love that funny little face evoked!

I'm touched beyond the scope of words that my Mom offered me such a thoughtful, immaterial gift this year. Patrick and I have a bit of a tradition of "gifting" in non-traditional ways ... by turning commercial holidays on their heads and using the occasion, instead, to find little extra ways that we can express our love for each other. For example, yesterday I was the recipient of breakfast in bed and a heavenly shoulder rub. In the past, we have written out "coupons" on index cards, which could be "redeemed" at any time. Here are a few examples from a batch that Patrick gave me on our first anniversary, right before we moved to Mexico. (And yes, Amelie is actually an anniversary gift!)

gifts of love coupons

Do you eschew the commercial, the contaminating, and the mass-produced for thoughtfulness and homemade gifts? I'd love it if you could leave a comment and share your ideas and suggestions for giving more meaningful gifts for parents, partners, and especially children. Who knows - perhaps our small efforts will make an impression on our own children, friends, and families, and we can stamp out at least a small patch of that omnipresent commercial wildfire, fed by corporate marketing to children. If you have a chance, read this article that was published around Christmastime. It's certainly food for thought.



Stacy said...

What a lovely post. Happy 27!!

Anonymous said...

I try to make as many of the gifts I give as I can, buying only small things that will (I hope) be treasured and buying handmade and/or used when possible. I find that one small, personal gift is always far more appreciated than the more mainstream alternative.

Hoping that 27 will be your best year yet!

Anonymous said...

Your post was beautiful and inspiring. I, too, wish gift-giving could be simpler. I will be using the coupon idea in the future.

Happy Birthday!!!

Carrie said...

Happy Birthday!

I have a 3 year old and I've really enjoyed making playthings for him and his friends (birthdays mostly). I don't have the time to make as much as I'd like, but I do hope he remembers me as someone who was always making things. He seems to appreciate most of what I make and enjoys the process as well. He did his first sewing the other day!

None of my ideas are original, I am completely inspired by the internet at large :)

Cara said...

My husband and I are there with you on the non-traditional gifts. In part because we somehow amass too much 'stuff' and in part because the 'stuff' we really want usually can't be a surprise. So, we typically do something together, either in gift certificates (like your coupons) or on that day. For everybody else, I'm trying to give something they need or will really use all the time or, my favorite, something I've made.

Unknown said...

Happy, Happy Birthday. I love your blog and read every post, though I rarely comment (if ever).

Donating in someone's name to a reputable and worldwide cause has always sounded like a great gift to give (I've yet to do it myself... bad Liz). This website in particular is inspiring to me:

Meg McElwee said...

Thank you, thank you! Madre Adoptiva - I think that's a great idea about donating to a good cause in somebody's name. We've done it before through Heifer International.

Anonymous said...

Happy 27th!

Anyway, as a fellow Montessori teacher/fabric artist, my husband and I also go the giftless route as much as possible. For Christmas, my husband set up our web site (and blog) since it was far down on my to-do list. It was one of the best gifts because he completely surprised me.

We will often plan a Christmas with a storybook (complete with pictures and story) of a reasonable vacation that we would like to go on the following summer. You must have pictures of places to visit, etc. That way we have something to open on Christmas, but not something to dust or store.

We have kept the gifts to a minimum for our 2-year-old son as well. We always give a book as a present, so he knows they are gifts, too.

Thanks for blogging!

KitKnitty said...

Last year, we gave my parents coupons for 12 homemade meals, one for each month. Some of the meals were really fancy and some were really simple, but it was always nice to just have some time together with some good food. I try to make all of my gifts these days and try to make anything that I can, really.

I also like to buy memberships to museums or zoos to give as gifts, or tickets to concerts. These are things that my friends and family usually find too expensive to buy for themselves.

And we try to make as much for my little boys as possible. My husband is even going to take up woodworking to try to start making some little toys for our sons.

Donations to charities in someone else's name are always nice too, when you know that it's a cause that the person really cares about.

I saw that Story of Stuff video and it really was well done. I hear her voice now in my head when I'm deciding whether or not to buy something.

And that "Born to Shop" article is the sort of thing that just infuriates me completely. I remember when my first son was born, it was kind of assumed by everyone around us that he HAD to have those Baby Einstein and Leapfrog toys and at first, we worried that we were depriving our child because we couldn't afford things that were sold as a series or sold to be used with all kinds of different attachments and accessories. But now we've read a lot more about marketing to babies and I feel very happy that we mostly make gifts for him or we pick very select items of value. The thought that sticks with me about all of it is that the real baby Einstein did not need Baby Einstein to develop his talents.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I thought your request for comments could not go without comment.

Happy birthday!

s said...

Happy Birthday!

A new favorite of ours for celebrating special occasions: a treasure hunt of sorts. It starts with a morning note under the pillow, which leads to the next note, and so on, until the final note is found and the surprise is revealed. Treasures vary, often it is similar to what you do with the coupons. What I love about this is that no one seems to care what's at the end - it's the running around, finding the notes, deciphering the clues to the next note that is the joy.

I usually write the notes on index cards, and my boys have saved them all.

Bridget said...

Hi! I'm not sure if I have posted on your blog before, but I thought I would this time and tell you a little story about gifts.

For my son's birthday (9) this year, I made him a coupon book and we gave him this wrapped along with some other presents. That night when I was tucking him in bed, he asked when he could get another coupon book and told me it was his favorite present. YAY!!! I'll be making one for him every year from now was my favorite, too! :)

Bean said...

Happy Birthday!!

I love to give people food made from scratch - like bread, cakes, cookies, etc... people don't eat enough home-cookin' these days ;) For my husband's birthday I make cinnamon raisin bread and whatever he requests for dessert, along with a new book to read. He makes fudge for mine!

Sheila D. said...

Yay! We share a birthday! Happy Birthday! I am 2 years your senior, though!

Thank you for sharing the husband and I just moved and it was a NIGHTMARE how much "stuff" we had accumulated! Quite the eye-opener. After donating/selling the majority of it, we feel so much better about moving into our new home with only the basics! This time around were attempting to be wiser about our purchases.

It's funny about the Born to Shop article. I asked my foster daughter to think about what she wanted for her birthday. I suggested some clothes, because I've noticed her experimenting with fashion, so I told her to write down some articles that she thought she might like to add to her wardrobe. In my head I meant to add specific articles like: babydoll shirts, cardigans, embroidered jeans, etc. and I was appalled (not with her, just in general) when she came back with a list of BRAND names of the clothes kids at school were wearing! Well, it was an intervention for me...her interest right now is to be a fashion designer's time to teach this fashionista (with expensive taste!!) how to sew her own! Thanks for the inspiration, as usual, Meg!

Ali said...

Happy Birthday Meg. What a lovely thing for your Mother to give you. The from the heart presents are always the ones which remain with us.

jillytacy said...

I have to admit that I was teary eyed reading your mother's message to you. It reminded me of my first conversation with my daughter when she was born 4 years ago! What a great gift for you!! happy birthday! As for heartfelt and homemade gifts I think they are great and am trying to make myself go that route, however sometimes with all the effort that goes into making a gift it's almost easier to purchase something. Especially if it's for someone who doesn't understand or appreciate the effort and love that goes into handmade goodies!

Gracie G. said...

Wonderful! We used to give out coupons like that for Mother's day and Father's day when we were little. I agree that your time and company make better gifts than plastic stuff (especially for kids!).

One gift that usually is a hit with everyone is a scrapbook. For my grandma's 80th birthday we had each of her 10 kids write letters to her and give pictures, each of the 25 grandkids did the same, and we had her brothers and sisters and friends all write to her with birthday wishes and memories and pictures and we put together a scrapbook with stories about her life and pictures and letters from all her friends and family. She doesn't like to keep things people give her because she doesn't like to accumulate junk, but she loved the book and still has it. And it was fun to put it together as a family so we all got to spend time together.

Sorry for the super-lengthy post!

Happy happy birthday. I enjoy ready your blog very much. Thanks for sharing the lovely letter from your mom, your holiday/celebration traditions and your thoughts about today's gift system. It's neat to see that others feel this way too.

Again, happy birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day and year to match!

Berlinswhimsy said...

Oh Meg... First, Happy, happy birthday! Wow, I cannot believe you're only 27. You truly are amazing.

I love this post and I will send it on its way to many of my friends----so lovely in its message of love and the true meaning of life.

Your post also caps a day for me of recognition of how far our culture has stepped into the realm of taking for granted the simplest things in life. I'll write soon about my own experience but I so enjoyed reading your post today...

And your Mom's letter is just beautiful---perfect.

Teaching Handwork said...

happy hippo birdie

27 is a good number!

KR said...

Happy Birthday! It sounds like your family knows just the way you enjoy celebrating. What a gift that is in and of itself :) Blessings!


amber said...

Hi. I am new to your blog and thought I would pipe in and share a good idea link with you. Courtney of Two Straight Lines posted in January about gift giving between her and her husband. They give gifts for each of the five senses. This whole post is good, but the five senses giving is talked about at the very bottom. Thought you might be interested!

Happy birthday!

amber said...

Um, sorry, it doesn't look like the link made it into the comment.

It's the Giving+Receiving post in the January 2008 archives.

Dena Rooney-Berg (SugarShop) said...

Inspiring! My husband and I feel the same at least with most holidays. I did a post on how my most fave gifts are things that my husband carved out of rock for me. There is nothing better than picturing my super manly hubs carving away a chunk of sandstone into a heart! Great post.

jojoebi-designs said...

happy Birthday Meg,
I like to give something home made and since my son has been old enough we have included one of his pictures too. I have also adopted animals in the past, I figured out which animal the person receiving the gift were in the Chinese zodiac and tried to find an endangered animal to adopt as a present, so my step-dad got a gorilla (year of the monkey) and someone else got a tiger.

village mama said...

Feliz Cumpleanos!

shelle said...

wow that is a great video, thank you for the link. but in my american consumer head, i want to buy fabric today, where does that fit into the picture? Is it slightly better because I am the end maker and consumer to my own product, or should I really learn to remake clothes?

I like, they have two great resources for non material gift giving.

happy birthday meg!

Nix Muse said...

The 20th was my 27th birthday too!! Happy birthday fellow Pisces!

Just Jonna said...

Happy 27! I remember that age...;-)

I LOVE to make and recieve handmade gifts, or nontraditional gifting ideas. However, I find it almost impossible to do this for the men in my life (husband, brothers, dad, etc)

There is very little crochet or sewing that seems gender appropriate for men and boys. Or at least none that I have thought of.

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday!
When my mother started homeschooling my brothers and sister and me, she started a valentine tradition so that we wouldn't "miss out" on the valentine exchange traditon. Every member of the family, including my parents, put out a box the night before and we would fill them with our handmade valentines. Then first thing in the morning we would open our boxes. I remember one year my little brother could hardly sleep, thinking of opening his box in the morning. I have a special box where I have saved almost all of the valentines that I was given over the years. Good memories that I hope to repeat with my family when my baby gets a little older!

Anonymous said...

How sweet!

Happy happy birthday!!

mary said...

Happy Birthday!

Heifer International is a wonderful way to give gifts that keep on giving. For example, you can buy a goat to give to a family in a developing world and part of their agreement in taking the goat is that they will give the first offspring to someone else in their village, town, etc. The multiplication factor is wonderful!

Emily Cole said...

Sorry I'm late - but Happy Birthday! What a wonderful gift your mother gave you - a great story. I love the way you and your husband exchange gifts too - so much more meaningful and heartfelt. I love it!

Kris said...

I absolutely loved that post Meg! I try and make as many gifts as possible - belts, embellished goodies (t-shirts, towels, etc.), aprons, bags, pouches. I've also been buying more on ETSY lately - such original things! Hubby and I have pretty much stopped giving each-other material gifts. We don't need much :) We tried to get family to change their x-mas habits this past year and it didn't work. We'll keep trying...


Anonymous said...

Hi Meg,
One of my fondest memories is the celebration of our first wedding aniversary. We had a nice diner at home and in between the different courses my husband and I read fragments of our favourite books to each other. He made me cry while readying a story about Fausto Coppi, an Italian biker.
We also sometimes read to each other in bed, mostly childers's books we enjoyed ourselves so many years ago.
Now we have a boy who is 2 years old. He has toys, but doesn't play that much with them. He likes to walk and be out in the open far more, so I often take him to the forests here or on my bicycle (I live in Holland). When he's older, I'd love to go birdwatching with him.
Thanks for your blog, I like reading it.
Greetings from the Netherlands, Ria.

GlowWorm said...

Sounds like a lovely birthday. I love thoughtfull gifts like that. We don't have television in our home and that really helps all of us curb the urge to consume consume consume--especially my kids, so many commercials are aimed at children. We like to make things for each other. My husband writes poetry to me sometimes. :) I think buying gifts is okay--just because you buy something doesn't mean that you didn't put a great deal of thought and love and effort into figuring it out--My husband just bought me the kitchenaid mixer I have wanted for years and I am so happy about it. But there is definitely an excess of consuming in our world.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Wow--my 27th b-day is on this Friday, the 28th. I think only cool people are born in March. ;)

Bethany said...

Happy Birthday Meg!!!! My husband and I tend to travel or do something special on birthdays to make memories rather than get more stuff for each other. But sometimes you have to be careful with that. Some people's "love language" is gifts (like my son) and they would be very upset not to receive something! I am trying to buy handmade now. For kids I always try to give art materials to little ones, books to older ones and fun food items to parents who have everything!

Chelsea the Yarngeek said...

Happy (belated) birthday!

My latest hand-made gift success was in the form of a birthday present for my grandmother. I made her 3 face cloths out of a bamboo and merino yarn in her favorite color and paired those with an incredibly delicious smelling soap made by a local artisan. She was very touched and even sent me a thank you letter to let me know she was using them.

manitos a la obra........ said...

happy birthday to you...cariƱos de tus amigas GINE Y GILDI

Shannon said...

I saved corks from the bottles of wine that we drank together for about 6 years. I recently glued them all together onto a very sturdy piece of cardboard (thin wood would have worked better) to make a bulletin board as a gift for my husband.

Starla said...

well first off, happy belated birthday!!
that was so beautiful what your mother said! got me a little teary actually. i so cannot wait to be a mother. :)
also, is that a mexican coke in the picture? it's so weird how you can go your whole life not knowing about something and then in the span of a week, hear it mentioned numerous times! lol i just found out about mexican coke this week from my hubby (because of a lost podcast) and then we went out to a restaurant for some bbq and they were selling mexican coke. it's yummy! and yes, i love love love the glass bottles. they feel so nice in the hand when you're drinking them!

heatherly said...

So many wonderful people have been born on the equinox - my partner, my college roommate and you!

My grandfather came from a poor family and he vowed to make Christmas a huge celebration. The drawback was you got EVERYTHING at Christmas (underwear, bathing suit, clothes - and a few fun things thrown it) but I love the usefulness of it all and we still look forward to our pjs and toothpaste. In college we got laundry detergent and quarters.

Now I do a mixture of handmade and store bought, but because of the nature of our holidays I learned at a young age to buy and make throughout the year and store it under my craft desk. When November rolls around I go through the gift box and usually have 90% of my gifts (same goes for B'days). They are close to perfect gifts too because I get them only when I have been inspired not because I NEED something to wrap!

This allows me to enjoy the holiday season shopping free and to focus on my family and friends.

happy belated birthday.

Anonymous said...

Your mum's aces! My mum had 4 of us in 5 years - details about the early years get a bit muddled up, bless her. I try just to keep my 2 children's names straight. Must keep a journal of special little moments to give them in the future.

Pecos Blue said...

I have a friend who write memories down and puts them in a memory box. What a cherished gift, I think. And unique.

Winterswan said...

What a great blog. I'm inspired as an artist, Mom, and person living on this planet!!! The gifts I cherish most are the handmade ones. I think the energy and thought and spirit that goes into a handmade gift makes it worth more than anything bought in a store. When I can, I make peices of art for friends and family. A girl friend of mine tells me how much she loves seeing my painting hanging on her wall, and that makes me feel good because, after all, our gifts of talent are for sharing, not hoarding. I have similar gifts from friends that I treasure. Happy Birthday!!!!!

Jenny said...

I have been working on something for some time now for my mother's 60th birthday coming up next year. As the days pass, I recall a special moment in my life that involved her. I write it down.

In the end, I am hoping to have hundreds of special moments, each on its own strip of paper, that will be folded up and placed in a beautiful glass jar that my mom can read as she pleases.

Anonymous said...

We try to be economical, creative, and totally unconventional with our gifts. This could be handmade or storebought, but certainly no "diamond journey necklace" for anniversary! Personally, I find that kind of gross. We do the "traditional" anniversary gifts in a creative way. For example, for our second "cotton" year, he rented me a cotton candy machine!

rebecca said...

First... Happy Birthday, secondly
thanks for helping to get the word out about the importance of organic and fair trade products.

We have been working with textile training centers in West Africa for the past eight years. Please take a look at the beautiful cloth they create and consider using it in your next DYI project.

We have also been members of the Fair Trade Federation since 2001.

becca said...

I've been loving your website. I'm in montessori training now, for elementary, and am very inspired by all your homemade materials.

my family is very fond of celebrations, rather than gifts. We especially like to make up games that everyone can play. for my parents' 25th anniversary, my siblings and I created the "not-so-newlywed game" where our parents were contestants and had to answer questions about each other and their life together. for my younger brother's 18th birthday last weekend we played "who can out-dave Dave?" wherein we each competed with him at something he does in his daily life- cook a scrambled egg, analyze a poem, gel his hair, etc. these games end up being so much fun to plan, and even more fun for everyone to participate in. Plus, everyone always tries to out-do each other.

Anonymous said...

hello! i stumbled upon your site from designsponge. i have never really looked at handmade crafts before or read about a rural lifestyle (i am from new york city). i came across your blog and just looking at your artwork almost moved me to tears. you really are so talented. everyday i walk by the "fashion district" and see mass produced marc jacobs, louis vuitton, etc, but none of it has ever moved me before. and your life sounds so amazing. very inspirational. thank you.

HomeGrownLife said...

Gifts... I tried to make as much as possible for my children this past Christmas- "bean bags" stuffed with rice, painted doll furniture, wooden fruit and eggs that I painted and lots of special books. These things have stood the test of time so far and all of the other plastic that they received has already broken and proven disappointing to them.

Anonymous said...

i love your photos!!!my compliments

Anonymous said...

i love yuor pothos, my compliments!!!

Nettie said...

Happy b-day!

I have only recently started to think of different ways to give gifts. This year (this week actually) I baked my husband a cake for his anniversary gift. He loved it and I felt proud that he was pleased with it. I have plans to make each of my children something to welcome the spring and summer this year too.

Broe said...

I hope you had a great birthday! I would like to send you an email, but I don't have your e-address.


Unknown said...

My son was telling me how all these kids he knew got ipods and other expensive presents for Valentines! He asked me that morning if we bought him anything ad I told him no. He seemed disappointed. But that night we went out to dinner and I presented each of the boys with handmade coupon books, for things like a bike ride together, extra goodnight story, their favorite meal for dinner, etc. They thought it was an excellent present!

And happy birthday!!!!!

Marmadaisy said...

Oh I'm sorry I missed this post. Happy birthday. We are currently sorting our house out and it's shameful how much crap we have. Personally, I like to give gifts that have been recycled or repurposed, I love giving an old object a new life.

Tiffany said...

I do agree with you about the overuse of plasics. My children watched the story of stuff and now anytime I buy anything from a big box store they ask me, "why are you feeding the yellow arrow?" I am loving these alternative gift ideas. BTW, your apron pattern is now one of my favorites and my mother will be receiving one for her Christmas gift this year. And, a belated happy birthday to you!

Anonymous said...

Hello, my son is 4 and I gave him a my Favourite Book of ABC Cars. He knows the alphabet and loves cars so I got car's ads from old and new magazines and made a book with A for Audi, B for BMW, C for Cadilac and so on. His picture was in the front page on our car, with his thumbs up. He will keep it forever, I'm sure, and all I had to buy was glue.

Anonymous said...

As someone else mentioned, treasure hunts are a great way to gift-give. My dad would plan hunts for me when I was little and the memories of them have always stayed with me. This past Christmas, I took my first stab at jarring and made relatives and friends roasted red pepper sauce. I got such a great response from everyone and it was such a nice feeling to put my heart into something that folks could enjoy. I will definitely continue the from-scratch tradition.

trash said...

I am a little late to the party but happy 27th birthday. I'm positive it can be expanded to the other groups you mention but certainly one of the best presents you can give children is time. Time and listening.

bridgmanpottery said...

I love all of these comments- and your blog. Every year my mom gives me packages of spring bulbs for Christmas- it has been so nice to see my garden growing every year and counting which rare/unusual/beautiful bulbs came from her. My husband made me a wonderful bottletree (here)
for our first chirstmas. He also built a website for me (now down), and for our engagement, he built me a bookcase!

tricia said...

Happy Birthday:) What a great post. And the stuff really inspired me. I am going to share it with my high school students as we start a recycling project. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I've learned that something kids love are traditions. An easy gift to create and give, if you're a consistent kind of person. For me it takes effort, but children seem to love it, so over the years I've tried. Basically, just repeating things year after year. Simply giving pez in a stocking every Christmas, becomes a part of how-things-are. Inexpensive, anticipated, and part of the life story. Other things like baking german macaroons at Christmas only, dinner out with any available family members for birthday, IHOP before summer camp . . .

For my god-daughter, I have given a snowbaby (a collectible type of thing) ornament each christmas since she was about five y.o. Usually between about $7-15, not so expensive, and as much everything else that she gets, this is something uniquely between us. Years from now, she'll have these ornaments for her own tree (I remember how long it took us to collect, over years, to keep our tree from looking sparse).

Little things, but from YOU for THEM and they love it.

Anonymous said...

This past year, my husband gave me the best Christmas gift I've ever received. He bought a goat for someone in my honor through World Vision. There are many other gift ideas like that at§ion=10024&daniel_prod_ses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

Happy birthday!

Clare said...

Hi Meg, I came across your blog on a google search for a "montessori child's apron". Instead I found a very talented artist/teacher! I have a one-year old and this Christmas/birthday/Easter was a trial run for how we want to minimize holiday consumerism.

Santa brings are daughter 3 gifts (representative of the 3 bags of gold St. Nicholas brought, and the gifts of the 3 Magi) and stockings. Then my hubby and I pick one big or a couple smal special/handmade gifts or books. Her birthday was just a walker wagon and some books. Easter was some bubbles, wooden food and gardening tools. We try not to buy anything made in China, and just buy really nice things or handmade items from Etsy. I am trying to find a nice way to ask extended family to give books and classic DVDs.

I started buying my husband a Christmas ornament characterizing the past year. We try to keep gifts to each other simple (a bag of tea, some fancy chocolates, fresh flowers, etc) I love the coupon idea. Birthdays are a scavenger hunt with little "treasures" leading to a "favorite" home-made breakfast or big gift. Sorry this is so long! Hope these ideas are helpful to someone!

Anonymous said...

I read this quote for Christmas giving for children and it's now the rule around our house:

Something you want, something you need, something handmade and something to read.

It seems to be just right.

The Hemleys Blog said...

Meg, last year for Valentines, I got a special paint from the craft store that you can paint on windows and it "hardens" to a wobbly plastic finish. I made hearts and scripted 'luv u' and put it in the bathroom mirror. We still have them on the mirror. My little toddler loves to peel them off, then stick them back on. My hubby loved it.


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