Thanking our TEA-chers

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Thanking our TEA-chers

This month marks the end of His Majesty’s first year of play school.  He goes one morning a week at a church located about a 25 minute round trip from our home; A duration of time just long enough for me to accomplish nothing of real value.  I call it “doing the preschool shuffle”, because the amount of time is just long enough to start something, but not long enough to finish anything.  I can grocery shop, but I can’t make it all the way home, unload the car, and get everything put away.  I can clean a few rooms, but then I find one more thing to clean, and I don’t leave myself time to put everything away that has managed to navigate into the wrong place, resulting in yet another pile of stuff that then needs to be tended to “later”, as I dash out the door to pick His Majesty up at the appointed time.  Every time I tried returning home to clean something, I was late picking him up.  Every time.  I tried taking Christopher out for breakfast, but he doesn’t like getting dressed before 9, and he says that he gets more work done without His Majesty squawking in the background.  Even shopping for myself– in all of the unaccompanied bliss that the preschool morning would afford me– proves challenging, because most of the department stores that I favor don’t open until 10, and/or are a 30 minute drive from the school, which wastes far too much time.  So, I’ve all but given up on finding practical uses for that 2.8 hours a week (it actually works out to be a little less than 2.8 hours, since His Majesty is not a morning person, and the more I try to get him ready on time in the morning, the more he digs in his heels and intentionally moves slower, resulting in us chronically arriving about 15 minutes late), and I have taken to doing more self oriented (note that I did not say “selfish) activities like reading, making uninterrupted social phone calls, eyebrow and hair maintenance, and the occasional deep tissue massages.  I’m all about time management, folks.

So, as much as I now enjoy those few hours, what’s more important is that His Majesty LOVES it.  He runs down the hallway towards his classroom, bursts through the door, practically rips his backpack and jacket off and rushes to embarks on what is certainly an exhausting few hours of hard core play.  He makes art work.  He goes on the playground.  He listens to finger plays and songs and stories. He thoroughly wears himself out, and takes a monster nap when we get home.  He is all about going to play school.

Plus, he loves his teachers, Miss Beth and Miss Sarah.  Aside from noticing that they are always hugging him and telling him how fantastic he is, I also noticed that they always show up with coffee or hot tea in the mornings.  So, when I originally pinned this tea wreath, from Kojo Designs, it was with them in mind.  Last week, as I was getting a thoroughly awesome massage from Tabitha at Balance Day Spa, it dawned on me that due to an upcoming family trip, His Majesty’s last morning of play school was coming up this week, and I had better get moving on the project.  The things that occur to you while you’re getting a massage.

Luckily, it didn’t take long, and the supplies are easy to find and inexpensive.  You probably have some of them lying around your house already.

Here’s what I used for each wreath:

A large cardboard box to cut the circles that would serve as the wreath

10 inch Dinner plates to serve as the stencil for how large to make the wreath

A compass (remember those from when you were in school?) to make the inner circles

2 large pieces of scrapbook paper (I used 14 inch squares)

ribbon, coordinating with your scrapbook paper (to hang the wreath)

wooden clothespins (I used 24 on one wreath and 21 on the other, it just depends on how you space everything out)

mod podge

foam brushes to apply mod podge

hot glue and hot glue gun

tea bags in individual packets (equal to the number of clothes pins you’ll adhere to your wreath)

scissors

a pencil or pen for tracing

I started by cutting out my wreath forms from the cardboard boxes.  I traced around the plate and then had my husband cut them out.  I am not handy with a pair of scissors.

I used thick corrugated boxes for my cardboard, so I didn’t bother gluing two circles together like the tutorial at Kojo Designs, but that’s your call, depending on how firm the cardboard you use is.  Remember that it is going to support the weight of the clothes pins and the tea, so you don’t want it to be too flimsy.

I traced the cut out circles onto scrapbook paper, sticking close to the edge.  Don’t trace your circles in the middle of the page.  Tracing close to the edges allowed me to use the leftover paper to trace out the pieces that would eventually be used to cover the clothes pins.

Trace on the “bad” side of the paper, so that you don’t leave marks on it after you’ve cut the strips out.

Then I had my husband use the compass to trace out the center circles, and cut them out.

Finding the center of the circle.

You want the thickness of the cardboard to be about as wide as the clothes pins.

I covered both sides of the cardboard with scrapbook paper, using mod podge applied with a foam brush.

Then I covered the clothes pins with the paper strips, again using mod podge and a foam brush.  I let them dry for a few minutes, and then applied another thin layer of mod podge to the top of the scrapbook paper.  You only need to cover one side of the clothes pins, because the other side is going to be glued to the wreath.

I let everything dry overnight, and then I glued the ribbon that will allow the wreath to be hung on a pantry door or hook.  I knotted the ribbon together, tied a bow at the top, and hot glued it for stability.

The next step was to use hot glue to adhere the covered clothes pins (applying glue to the plain, uncovered side) onto the wreath.

As the glue was drying, I opened up my tea packets.  Learn from my mistake, please. I bought three yummy sounding teas made by the same manufacturer.  But then, I opened the first box, Lemon Zinger, and sighed.

They were not individually wrapped tea packs.

Boo.  When I bought them, I had a 50/50 chance of getting what I needed.  A smarter woman would not have gambled the entire purchase on one brand, and would have gotten multiple brands, just in case she was wrong.  I was mesmerized by the delicious sounding names, and made a bad call. Raspberry Zinger, Lemon Zinger, Honey and Vanilla… Mmmmmm….. Learn from my mistake.

But, as it turned out, I had many varieties of tea in individually wrapped packets in my kitchen, and more than enough to complete this project.  Plus now I’ve added these three boxes to my collection.  Quite a selection, indeed.  Friends who are reading this, accept my offer for tea when you come over next.  Please. I have so many options for you to choose from.  Just. Drink. Some. Tea.

In any regard, you want your tea to come individually wrapped, like this.

I applied them to the wreath using the clothes pins, alternating the colors to make them extra pretty. (After I took this picture, I found another variety, so I swapped some things around and added an additional choice, which you may notice in later photos)

I finished both wreaths in under about 2 hours total (divided up into smaller blocks of time) and spent less than $10 per wreath.

I’m going to combine these with gift cards, and I hope that the combination will be a nice treat for His Majesty’s teachers.

But what do you think?  Did I do the tutorial justice?  Do you think the gift will be well received?

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