It started out as a typical Saturday. Everything about it was "ordinary". Even the weather outside was nothing of note. Things were quiet. In retrospect, maybe that's it. Maybe things were TOO quiet--sort of like that quintessential portent of an approaching storm. It was a day fraught with lessons--life lessons. If I had been a sailor, I would say it was a "Red sky at morning" kind of day.
So...mundane day. Breakfast was over (I fixed a nice Frittata, sausage, toast, fresh fruit). The table was cleared; dishes done; kitchen cleaned. Everything was normal (or "Normale" ...nor-MAHL-ay...as they say in Italy).
That is where it all...turned. (insert creepy organ music here).
After watching me make cards all week...my dear husband (heretofore referred to as DH) decided that HE wanted to make his mom a birthday card--with as little "help" from me as possible. This brought great joy to me! I mean, how many of us can boast that our DHs support us in our obsessiveness let alone JOIN us in our creative ventures? I was THRILLED. Of course, my mind started clicking at about light speed with all the techniques and products I wanted to teach him and share with him.
Lesson #1: Creative styles can be like oil and water--not mixing--
no matter HOW MUCH you stir it, shake it, or blenderize it.
no matter HOW MUCH you stir it, shake it, or blenderize it.
I am an on-the-fly-go-with-the-flow kind of gal. I start with a basic idea, then just let my creative muse lead me where she wants to go. I'm at the whim of my creative muse. Each step may zoom off into another direction--I never know where I'll end up, and I don't care because I know however it turns out, it will be cool. I love to look back and see how the whole shebang unfolds and evolves. Creating for creativity sake, that's me--Little Miss Right Brain.
DH, on the other hand, is a plan-everything-out-to-the-smallest-detail-BEFORE-starting kind of guy. Everything for him must be outlined, precisely measured, calculated, re-measured, analyzed, brought before a committee...discussed. He mentally breaks the process into its tiniest component parts...dissects it...and then and only then...creates--Little Mister Left Brain.
For me, it has EVERYTHING to do with the journey. For him, it's about the destination. Interesting insight.
Now we're starting to see where this day was going. Here I am throwing out ideas left and right at breakneck, brainstorm speed while DH's eyes grow wide and his head starts to explode. Ok, Torrey...just give him 3 choices at a time. 3 won't be too many.
After what seemed like forever to me, he decided on a "theme". Chocolate cake. Good theme. Now, he's thinking a drawing of a cake or stickers or something. I'm thinking: "Ooooh, I saw this REALLY cool Kirigami pop-up cake online that would be WICKED cool for this card".
Me, of course.
So, he printed off the template for the cake base and was really dismayed that he didn't have it perfectly centered on the printout. That should have been my first clue as to how the day was going to go. I told him "Oh that doesn't matter, we'll just position it where we want on the cardstock". He didn't understand the whole template-over-cardstock thing. He thought we were going to transfer the template to the cardstock with carbon paper or something. So, I explained how we would slap some temporary adhesive on the back of the template and stick it directly to the cardstock...then he would cut/score through both the template and the cardstock at the same time--remove the template--voila...cutting done and no guide marks to ruin the look. I made the first couple of cuts to show him...reminding him that he cuts the vertical lines, but only scores the horizontal ones. He got it.
I left him to do his cutting/scoring. Sometime later, he called out to me and told me he was finished. He thought he was done. HAHAHAHA. I then told him he had to go back and re-score all his score lines. This did not sit well with him. I had to explain the difference between "valley" folds and "mountain" folds. After he re-scored everything, I directed him to start folding his scored lines...and showed him which were valleys and which were mountains. I knew this was confusing, and I did have to show him several times about which were which type of fold. The folding was NOT easy...little tiny pieces very close together, thick cardstock--not a good combo...but he got it.
Then he turned to me and said "There is NO WAY this thing is gonna fold flat. Impossible".
"Trust me, it will...just keep deepening those folds.", I said.
He got it about 3/4 of the way there and I finished off the final folding so it would lay flat. He was impressed when it actually DID collapse on itself.
Then he decided he wanted the surrounding paper around the cake to be a different color. I asked him if he'd like me to do it (since I knew he'd be measuring it for DAYS). He agreed. I had the background done in about 5 minutes--just used the original template as a guide for cutting out a perfect aperture that exactly fit around the cake. When he stuck it down...he didn't get it exactly lined up, so there were a few parts that were overhanging and bent. This made him REALLY irritated. I said, "No problema, WATCH!!"...and I took the X-acto knife and trimmed off the overhang. Problem solved. Thus ends day 1. Time elapsed: 3 hours.
Sunday, day 2:
Lesson #2 - Choices are not always a good thing.
Each step evolved into the next. This was fine by me...but NOT OK with him. He really doesn't like this "go with the flow" stuff. With every choice I gave him he became more frustrated. I was totally in my element. He was totally NOT. I thought I was being helpful...giving him a few options to choose from at every step. This just agitated him more--which, in turn, agitated me.
Jonathan: "I want it to look festive with confetti and stuff".
In all fairness, he did suggest we use Saran wrap to create pockets on the outside to house confetti. It actually would have been cool (though I would have used transparency)...but I knew the amount of work turning into a shaker card and the subsequent frustration on his part would have made it not worth it.
Torrey: "Ooooh, you could use patterned vellum to cover it, or some stickers or diecuts. Maybe we could add a punched decorative strip here and here and here!"
Jonathan: (frowning with deer-caught-in-headlights look) "My head hurts."
The mood shifted right then and there. The reason I kept giving him choices was so that this was HIS project...not mine. I knew he didn't know what was available for him to work with...and I did. That was when it ceased to be an enjoyable project and turned into...something akin to me helping him with his homework at the eleventh hour. Neither of us was having fun anymore...and the card was only half done. We still had to devise/construct pop-up candles for the cake, put the sentiment in, and add the final decorative touches.
Somehow, we got through it...snarky comments and frustration levels (that would strangle a cat) aside.
Here is the end result. It's an amazing feat for my novice card-maker husband. He likes it, and he feels like it's HIS design. That's good. I didn't want it end up MY project. You can still see "Torrey touches" here and there...but it really is HIS design. Total time from start to finish: about a month. Ok, so more like 8 hours.
Will we ever do cards together again?
I shudder at the thought right now.
I reminded him Christmas is fast approaching and that we were going to make cards. He sighed and said it would only work if I designed it ahead of time and we set up an assembly line for him to put the pieces together. That would work. So, that's what we'll do. But, for the sake of our marriage, next time he wants to do a card specifically for someone...I'm staying out of it.