Archimedes: The Highly Educated Owl

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I finally did it.  I had a spurt of creativity while hanging out in our new garage space and began making things for Ayden’s birthday party.

For months and months, I have been saving the cardboard toilet paper rolls from our household.  I even made sure that these rolls were transported here during our move from Rock Hill.  I felt a bit like a hoarder holding onto them without knowing what I was going to use them for… but just knew, somehow…somewhere, I would use them for something.

I’ve been struggling internally with trying to come up with a “Theme” for Ayden’s upcoming birthday party.  He is turning two!

I have tried to stay aware of the battling the pull of the societial beast that is “Overachieving Mom”.

I’ve already failed in a few ways with my Mom planning.  I invited all of the guests to Ayden’s party through Ye olde’ Facebook.  The correct version of Wendy would not have been this lazy, and would have actually created a handmade invite and MAILED it.  Old Fashioned, huh?

This online, Facebook version of Wendy then publicly asked the question, “What should the theme of Ayden’s party be?”  I left it in the hands of all of the guests to give me ideas, and also to choose the plans for my own son’s birthday party.

Some pretty great recommendations came through, though:

“Carnival!  Then we can all dress up like carnies”– I do love this one.

Then there was the overwhelming response of “Pirate!” which everyone voted for.  I didn’t want to go with “Pirate” but I also didn’t want to ask a question of my guests, only to go the opposite direction of their helpful input.

So… for awhile, I decided “Screw it.  I can’t come up with anything for a theme, we’ll just mix and match.”

As the date for the party grows closer, I have slowly begun planning it out in my head.  I envision where we will place the tables, where the cake will go, how many chairs we will need…whether or not I want to set up in the front yard under the shade tree, or in the back yard near the wooden deck.  On and on, I slowly began thinking about the plans for this party.  I love to come up with themes and ideas…but have noticed that I  also allow myself to feel the pressure of succeeding.  I want people to think that my decor is cute and my ideas are unique and creative.  Why do I feel the need to decorate based on what I want others to think of me, or how I want them to praise me and my creative genius?  This is a problem.  However,  I’ve become aware of it…and once I noticed it, I began to take control of it.

On to last night in our garage.  I felt this sudden urge to play with my “crafties” as Aaron and I call them…so I grabbed this three ring spiral notebook that I had my Aunt buy for me at the dollar store.  Inside this notebook, I inserted print outs of all of the ideas that I have seen and liked on the internet.  Most of these pictures and ideas came from the greatness that is Pinterest.  (I sometimes feel that Pinterest is a way for uncreative folk to rip off other creative folks’ ideas and pass them off as their own).

This three ring binder became my “idea book/inspiration book” for last night’s crafty festivities.  I didn’t think that it would become this when I printed it.  I fully intended on printing these ideas out so that I could replicate them and then possibly try to sell them online.  Nice, huh?

Side note:  I was proud of my little idea book because I had actually seen value in PRINTING out these pictures, instead of leaving them in my own personal Pinterest online space.  The survivalist in me couldn’t allow all of those great ideas to sit on the internet…where they may be lost or never accessed again, so I printed them.

Anyhow, I got the urge to create.  A few days ago I had the idea to glue two toilet paper rolls together to make a set of binoculars to hand out as a random party favor to any kids (or grown up kids) who attended Ayden’s party.  So, to begin my creative fest, I gathered together all of the toilet paper rolls.  Then, I looked through my idea book and highlighted all of the plans and ideas that I thought were neat for the party.

Then, I decided I wanted to create binoculars that were wrapped in burlap.

Then, as I wrapped these binoculars in burlap, I noticed that I had cut the burlap too wide for the rolls, and that there was excess burlap hanging off of the edges…then, I saw what they were to become:  the eyes of Archimedes The Highly Educated Owl.

I began to pull the thread from the edges of the excess burlap, and fray the hangy-over part.  After I pulled out the length of twine from the burlap, I noticed that the frayed edges looked like eye lashes!!!

Owl eyes!  Cool!

Now…that defensive creative part of me immediately thought:  “Great.  I like owls, but it is also a fad to like them.  Not very original”

Then, I allowed myself to just let everything organically unfold.  I created a set of these “owl eyes” and then put them up to my face to play with them and show Aaron what I had created.  I then said “WHoooooOoooo is here for Ayden’s birthday party?”  Aaron replied with a quote from Disney’s “The Sword and the Stone”.  He quoted Archimedes!!!

There we have it. THIS is to be our theme for Ayden’s birthday party.  Aaron and Ayden both love “The Sword and the Stone”  Why not make this the theme?  Haven’t seen this theme in awhile.  It is a classic.  It is not overdone.  It is not a fad to have this theme.  This theme is not Pirates.  WIN!

So…I burnt blisters onto my fingers with my industrial strength glue gun and created party favor Archimedes owl eyes.  Some have longer eyelashes than others (for the girls).

Awesome!

Then, as I finished covering the remaining toilet paper rolls that I had on hand:  I decided that I was going to make a wall plaque for Ayden that said something “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AYDEN!” using an old mounted photo from my photography business that I had printed as an amateur mistake.  I ripped off the print of the newly married couple that I had printed incorrectly and covered the mounted backing (foam inside, cardboard with plastic edging on the outside) with burlap.

I then began playing around with the super sized hot glue machine (shocker) and decided to glue pieces of the twine I had pulled out of the owl eyes to the front of the board.  I was thinking that would glue on a twine border for the sign.  As I glued the twine around the edges, I noticed that it looked like a bit like a shield.  Perfect!!!!!!  A shield for our little Wart.  Then, I continued playing with the twine, placing it around the front of the newly deemed shield.  I figured out next, that all of this leftover twine should become the beard of Merlin!  Merlin’s face on the front of the shield.  YES!

Soon, Aaron and I realized that it was almost 1 in the morning.  My mother in law is coming to visit Ayden for his birthday.  She is flying out from California today to see him.  We decided we’d better end the crafty party and come inside.

Side note:  The whole time I was creating these crafties, Aaron was next to me creating crafties of his own.  He recently re-decorated and arranged the back garage to become an outdoor cooking space.  We recently bought him an outdoor stove, powered by propane.  It has two open burners on it that burn with gas flame.  He loves cooking on it.  While I was gluing, he was cutting up a zuchinni from the garden.  A zuchinni that our son had brutalized the day before. (Ayden was taking it out of a cooler we had it in, throwing it on the ground, and then putting it back in the cooler).  SO…while we were hanging out, Aaron was creating zuchinni fries on the new stovetop.  What a great time!!!!

Well, the night ended and we came inside.  Ideas came bursting out of me to go along with the Sword in the stone theme.  Ideas such as dancing teapots with arms, books with legs, askew sugarbowls dancing down the center of the table runner toward “THE EXACT SPOT!” where Ayden/Wart would be sitting at the head of the table for all to see.  I envisioned him sitting in his high chair, a chair covered in old fabrics that I had stored up and saved.  I pictured a particular piece of fabric from a show that I had helped decorate, “The Fantasticks”.  ($300 on Fabric!?!??!?!)

On and on these ideas went.  I keep a notepad beside my bed to write down such ideas or “To do’s” that I think about while lying in bed.  Several times I was almost asleep when I saw another idea come to life in my head.  My mind would just not stop!  A good thing, though.  Now I feel ready to decorate for Ayden’s party.  I feel like the idea and theme were fully organic, and are also fitting to our lives.  I’m ready for Grandma Cindy to visit so that we can create and decorate together.  I no longer feel like overachieving, stereotypical Pinterest Mom.  I just feel like Ayden’s Mom, Wendy.

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