School Valentines, 2016-2019

We don’t do much to celebrate Valentine’s Day in our family. It’s just not a holiday we celebrate; even back when my husband and I were dating.

With our boys in school now, Valentine’s Day is back on our radar and every year I fully expect my boys to want store-bought, character valentines. It’s been a few years now and they’ve surprised me with wanting something custom-made by their mom. I’m not sure whether to feel used or that I set myself up for it.

The year my oldest was in kindergarten, we missed his party because he only attended school three days a week, and the Valentine’s Day party fell on a day he didn’t attend. I thought I was off the hook with valentines until he went back to school after the weekend and a box of Valentines and treats was waiting for him from his classmates. I felt like a stellar parent.

The next year I knew he would have been happy with character Valentines from Target, but I wanted to do something fun and non-edible since there were a couple of kids in his class with scary allergies. We already had a bunch of bacon bandaids, so I made this little card and printed them onto card stock, then added the bandaid with double-sided tape.

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The following year, my oldest set his expectations high with something fun again and considering the sheer amount of candy he got the year before, I wanted to try and avoid food again. So we went with hand warmers! I took his photo and played with it in an iPhone app called PicsArt. Then I added the background and text in Adobe Illustrator. We stuffed the card and a hand warmer into a some 4-bar envelopes I had left over from a baby shower and done!

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Last year (2018), both kids were now in school and my oldest wanted to use PicsArt again to make some fun photos. I asked both boys to put on a red shirt and they chose the same Manchester United jersey. Then we made their cards with PicsArt, a little Illustrator, and we taped mechanical pencils and Dove chocolate hearts to their cards.

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This year, I was feeling very meh about Valentine’s Day and was all set to hit up Walmart and see what boxed valentines they had left 3 days before their school parties. Then my oldest asked what fun Valentines we were going to make this year and if we could go look on Pinterest for ideas. I couldn’t say no. We searched for non-candy valentines and saw a couple of baggies of Goldfish crackers with a fun, fishing-themed greeting. That was the winner! My boys (especially my oldest) are WAY into fishing right now.

Here’s what we made:

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We already had a box of Ziplock snack-size baggies that we weren’t using much (they’re so small!), so we bought a few big boxes of Goldfish Crackers filled enough for both classes. Then I took photos of each of my kids in good light and re-drew them in Adobe Illustrator, added the cartoon-y fisherman bodies, a less-then-thrilled fish, and Voile! The “Hooked on You” graphic is on one side and the “Fishing you…” graphic is on the other. The only difference is the names and different heads, of course.

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I saved some time (because I created these 2 days before the parties) and had everything printed onto 8.5x11 card stock at my local Office Depot. I trimmed the pages, scored, and then stapled them onto the baggies that my boys filled. I really love how they turned out…. so much that I may add them to my Etsy shop next year that others can customize.

I know there are only a few years where we’ll get to make Valentines for school. I’m pretty sure they stop around middle school. Whether you celebrate or not, have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Our Holiday Card 2018

With another year, came another fun holiday card for my family. Every year for the last 6 years we’ve had Santa photos taken with FotoFly, and it’s become a fun, family tradition. I make a point to schedule the photos right before Thanksgiving so I have time to design a card!

My boys love to dress in the same outfit and they now give input on how they want to pose with Santa too. This year, my 9yo had the idea for his brother and him to wear their “wedding clothes” and sunglasses and pretend to be Santa’s bodyguards. I thought it was a cute idea and we went with it. Of course, the night of the shoot I completely forgot the suit jacket for my youngest (In my defense, I was suffering from a nasty head cold). Even without the jackets, the photos turned out cute.

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I have to give a shoutout to my friend Amanda for coming up with the fantastic words for the front of our card. That part is always the hardest for me!

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Here’s the back of our card:

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I had these printed with Overnight Prints. They turned out great and were very affordable. When it was time to mail them, I really like to get colored envelopes, so I picked some up from my local Paper Source in their Clover color. I would have preferred a shade of red, but they didn’t have enough on the day I went. I should have thought of that ahead of time and ordered from their website.

Relax, that’s not really the Wiselka Family’s address.

Relax, that’s not really the Wiselka Family’s address.

I printed names and addresses onto the envelopes using the same fonts I used on the card. My trusty HP laser printer, that I’m sure is more than 10 years old, but it still does a great job.

I don’t get to do much design work for my own family, so our annual holiday card is one thing I really look forward to designing every year. I think my kids love getting to add their input too.

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Cards 2018

Holiday cards are up in my Etsy shop and will be available until December 14, 2018. If you don’t have any Etsy account or would prefer to place an order outside of Etsy, you’re welcome to send me an email and I’ll get your holiday card made.

Here are some of the designs I added this year. Click on the images below to link to the listings on Etsy.

These two designs also have the option to showcase one portrait photo instead of two landscape.

This one below can be done with either a blue, red, or green background.

I also added our holiday card from last year. You can choose between a green, red, or blue faux knitted sweater background.

I added two background variations to my popular Santa’s Most Wanted holiday card.

The design below is a variation on the Santa’s Most Wanted Card that I created for a client a couple of years ago. This one really cracked me up! Through the listing you can choose from three different chalkboard background colors: red, green, or blue.

If you’d like to customize any of these designs with different colors, fonts, or layouts, it’s totally doable through a custom order. Just shoot me a message or email with any questions you may have: alextebowdesigns@gmail.com

Happy Holidays!

Happy Hanukkah!

Last year I created this fun Hanukkah-themed cootie catcher. My youngest loved figuring out how to make it work. Today through Monday, December 10th, it’s just $1.00 in my Etsy shop. After purchasing you just download the file and print as many as you need. The file is sized to print on 8.5x11 paper and folding instructions are included… you know, in case it’s been while since you’ve folded one! If you live where A4 paper is the norm, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to send you the file at that size.

Here are the “fortunes on the inside:”

·Keep your head high and watch birds soar, keep your head low and find four-leaf clovers.
·Let your heart make decisions, it does not get as confused as your head.
·Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.
·Sun always shines after a downpour.
·You will see something today that will make your heart shine.
·Today is the day to show someone you care.
·Happiness is hidden everywhere, you just have to look for it.
·Your life will be healthy and harmonious.

Enjoy!!

Our Holiday Card - 2017

I look forward to creating our holiday card every year. I do a lot of design work for clients throughout the year, but I don't do much for my little family. We don't have elaborate birthday parties for our boys, so our annual holiday card is the one thing I get to work on that's entirely personal. 

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to a local photography company called FotoFly. They do unique Santa photos every year where one of the parents wears the Santa suit, hopefully ensuring that the kids are calm and happy for photos. The results produce some really beautiful and unique holiday photos. 

My boys and Santa have been the feature image on all of our holiday cards since the very first card I created in 2013. You can see other years here: 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Here is the card I created for 2017:

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I used the fun knitted sweater texture that I created last year. My oldest requested a dark green background. And since our cards hardly ever include my husband and me, I added a little snippet at the bottom, "Bill & Alex send their love too."

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I had my cards printed with OvernightPrints for the first time this year. I've always used VistaPrint, but this year, both companies' pricing was comparable and a close friend of mine raved about the quality of her business cards that were printed with OvernightPrints. So I gave them a go. They didn't charge me extra to print my cards two-sided, which I love, so above is what I put on the back. Plus, only $1 to add rounded corners. Score!

When I shared my photos on my Instagram account, I was notified shortly after Christmas that I won their Art & Design contest! Woot!

Part of my prize was being featured on their blog. Click on the image below to read the blog post:

Thank you so much OvernightPrints for not only beautifully printed holiday cards, but for the feature! Pretty sure you've created a very loyal customer. 

Hanukkah Cootie Catcher

I have been thinking about more holiday-themed cootie catchers that I can create, and this year I added a Hanukkah one to my shop. I chatted with a couple of Jewish ladies in a group I'm in and they helped me choose the right cartoons and Hanukkah-related terms. That ways it's not glaringly obvious that this Gentile had no idea what she was doing when she made this. 

The file is set up to be printed on 8.5x11 paper and the downloadable file includes a page of folding instructions; in case it's been a while since you've folded one. You can purchase it from my Etsy shop. If you live somewhere where A4 paper is the norm, shoot me an email and I will happily send you the file at that size.

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My 8yo just started teaching my 3yo how to work a cootie catcher, so he's still a little awkward on how to hold it. My favorite part was when my 8yo thought he had to show ME how a cootie catcher worked. 

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Happy Hanukkah!!

What holidays should I do next?? 
Christmas DONE
Thanksgiving DONE
Halloween DONE
Independence Day??
Valentine's Day??

Halloween Cootie Catcher

Last year I created this Halloween-themed cootie catcher and I put it up on Mama Say What?! as a free download. It's also for sale in my Etsy shop for a few bucks, but if you're a follower of Mama Say What?!, then you know where you can get it for free. 

I wanted to go a little more colorful than the standard black and orange usually associated with Halloween, and I love to find excuses to use purple where I can. 

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My seven-year-old was happy to play with it so I could snap a few photos. He's asked if I can create one for his birthday that showcases all of his favorite things. I might just have to do that!

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Happy Halloween!!

Our Holiday Card - 2016

We were back at FotoFly this past fall to take some fun photos with Santa. I donned the Santa suit this year as we brainstormed with our photographer some new poses that would work for our two boys. My oldest asked he we could take a selfie with Santa and it ended up being the best photo.

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For some reason, we were busier than usual this year and failed to get matching PJs figured out in time for the photo shoot. I asked my boys what they wanted to wear and Hawaiian shirts won. I only wish I had thought to throw a "hang loose" sign with my right hand when we shot this.  

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The back was kept simple with my boys showing off their goofball selves.

This holiday card design is available in my Etsy shop in the fall where I use your family photos. You can see the listing here. Merry Christmas!