Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY or Die, and a First Birthday Card

I'm not sure when exactly it happened.  I used to be a normal, functional human being; one that would slap store-bought sauce, cheese and vegetables atop a round of pita bread, pop it in the oven and call it homemade pizza.  And hey, from what I remember, those pizzas were not only quick to make, but also pretty tasty little fellas.

Then I discovered pre-made pizza dough.  All I had to do was punch it down, roll it out, and the rest I already knew.  And hey, this kind of pizza was more like a pizza, and it only took a few more steps.  Insert a slightly more inflated sense of self.  But wait, what's this?  A simple, one-bowl pizza dough that only takes a couple of hours to rise?  This is a homemade pizza to be proud of.  Whoa... hold on, this 18-hour pizza dough is really light and chewy.  Well worth the time and advance planning.  Gotta make the sauce from scratch too, naturally.  Oh man this pizza is so good.  I'll never buy another pre-made pizza again.

So what's the problem, exactly?  Well, it's not just pizza.  I started making other things from scratch.  And then I started making many things from scratch: yogurt, preserves, party decorations, granola, fresh juice, knitted socks, greeting cards, baby food, my wedding dress, and most recently, 4 dozen ladybug-themed red velvet cupcakes for my friend's kid's one-year birthday.  And when I'm not making something from scratch, I'm THINKING about what I can make from scratch.  I read restaurant menus to brainstorm make-at-home meal ideas.  Scrolling through my Pinterest feed makes me feel inspired to create, but also stressed and anxious.  The worst symptom of all is when I want to buy something at the store but decide not to, because "I can make it myself, but better and cheaper".  DIY is paralyzing my life.

Don't get me wrong.  I still very much enjoy the slow process of turning raw materials into a finished product.  And that euphoric sense of achievement when I've finished it is one reason I keep coming back for more.  But when buying a ready-made pizza for dinner makes me feel like I'm somehow shortchanging my loved ones, I wonder if my desire to craft and create is crossing into unhealthy territory.

First Birthday Card

This card was wholly inspired by The Indigo Bunting's collection of paperless cards.  Colourful and simple, they capture the essence of what a child's birthday celebration is all about.  This easy paper version can be put together in less than an hour, and the card is customized with the birthday kid's name written on the front.

What you'll need:

- 1 blank card and envelope (4" x 6")
- a set of pencil crayons
- 2 scraps of paper: 1 for the talk bubbles (light yellow), 1 for the number one (purple)
- scissors
- ruler
- pencil
- eraser
- fine-tipped black marker
- craft glue

Roughly pencil draw your talk bubbles and number "1" on their respective coloured scrap paper pieces.  Use a ruler with the number "1" to ensure a straight edge.  Lightly pencil in the words into the talk bubbles, and the smiley face into the number "1".  When you're satisfied with how it all looks, cut them out.  Use the black marker to finalize the words and face.  Wait a few minutes for the ink to dry, and gently remove all pencil lines with an eraser.  Glue talk bubbles and "1" onto the front of the blank card.

To draw the confetti, select 5 or 6 pencil crayons of various rainbow colours.  Starting with one colour, add short lines of various length scattered evenly on the front of the card.  Repeat with each of the other colours.

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