A few weeks ago, my husband’s family threw an engagement party for my sister-in-law, who will be getting married next year. Unfortunately, we live entirely across the country and with 3 kids, it gets really expensive and difficult to travel so we were unable to attend the party. As such, we wanted to make sure that we sent a gift that would represent us well in our absence.
I pride myself on personalizing gifts when I give them to people because I like to put thought into the gift. Sometimes this becomes difficult because I certainly don’t have an unlimited budget, so I am forced to come up with homemade alternatives. And, as I have mentioned in the past, my creative side and my artistic side don’t always mesh up so the projects rarely turn out the way I plan. Even so, I keep trying and this gift-giving time was no exception.
Once again, I found myself scouring Pinterest with my kids, getting all kinds of ideas and then realizing there was no way I could do any of them in a useful way. CURSE YOU, PINTEREST! However, we did see a cute, vintage mailbox that was used to hold wedding cards at an outdoor wedding. My older son loved this idea and it seemed like an easy enough project to do with 3 little kids. It also fit the outdoor picnic theme of the party so we decided to go with it.
I searched several old shops to try to find a cute, vintage mailbox, but couldn’t find any in good shape, so we just went and bought a new one, which I put together with my mad building skills, along with yellow and purple paint to match the party colors.
I liked the “P.S. I love you” written on the side so we definitely wanted to keep that, but I also wanted to be able to have each of my kids add a personal element to the other parts of the box without overwhelming the whole thing (which can happen very quickly when all 3 start “helping” at once).
Granted, our PS I love you portion was not quite as pretty as our inspiration mailbox, but it made it on there so I was happy. Even though my son had originally shown the most enthusiasm as we chose this idea, once it came time to actually participate, he decided he just wanted to add his initials (which happen to also be the first initials of the betrothed couple – yeah for that coincidence) and his fingerprints in between them, which we turned into little smiley faces.
Next, we did my daughter’s side of the box. She wanted to make flowers and butterflies because that’s what she is into these days, so we used her fingerprints to make those. They were a little lopsided, but she insisted on positioning everything herself so it’s authentic! (I am very grateful that craft paint mistakes wipe away easily from mailboxes, allowing for quick fixes when necessary)
Now, my youngest is 20 months old so there wasn’t a whole lot that we could do with him without messing the rest up, so we just used his fingerprints to add a small 4-leaf clover to the back for good luck. I’m Irish, so I try to add those “lucky” kinds of details when I can and it worked perfectly for a toddler’s attention span!
After all of the sides dried, we decided to break out the trusty old chalkboard paint to add a few small spots for the couple to write their own notes to each other.
The fun part about this gift is that after you use it to hold cards or notes for the couple at the party/wedding, the couple can then take it home and use it in their house; whether for containing actual mail, or leaving notes for each other, or for anything else, it is a reminder of a day that was just for them.
I hope they liked the idea as much as we did and I’m glad we could participate in the party happenings, even if it had to be from 3,000 miles away this time.
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