Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Small Change - The Month of Love

I love this time of year!  Spring is just around the corner, and yet, overnight we received a new dusting of snow and today the sky is gray.  A perfect excuse to stay home in pj's and get messy with paint.
My one small change goal for the month of February is to return to using cloth grocery bags.  They've been sitting in the backseat of my car and I keep forgetting to take them in.  I foiled my plan this past week when I found myself in the grocery store, yet again, empty-handed.  I felt bummed as I walked to the car holding three paper bags.
As a way to make it up to this poor tree and to stay creative every day, I decided to repurpose the bags into vibrant Valentine's Day cards!
I started with very simple supplies:  the bags, scissors, acrylic paint, water, brushes, scrap paper and magazines.
I put on my Ani DiFranco Pandora station and went to town covering the paper with a mixture of background colors.

I played with my brushstroke and added swirls on top.

I used white fabric paint (Tulip Matte) to add some texture.

After the paint was fully dry, I cut out a variety of hearts of different sizes.

Then, I used the colorful paper and hearts to make my cards.  Here I stitched an outline with my sewing machine and glued the painted paper to a scrap piece of card stock.

I cut the brown paper bag in card shapes and added fun sayings from magazine clippings.

I loved this project because it gave me a wonderful opportunity to slow down.  As I played with paint,  I enjoyed memories of how much I loved Valentine's Day as a kid.  I remember the excitement of decorating the boxes to collect candies and cards from the boys I had crushes on.  I thought about all of my friends and family that I care so much about.  I thought about my grandma, living in a nursing home, and that her biggest excitement of the day is when the mail arrives.
I'm so excited to write messages and send my colorful love notes the old fashioned way.  I'm happy that using paper bags wasn't a total waste.  (Although I'm still planning to use my cloth bags next time!)

Your Personal Reflection:  Receiving a handwritten letter in the mail is the best, and it rarely happens.  Think of someone you love and surprise them with a handmade love note today.  


  1. I've made a lot of cards like yours ;)
    I Love to paint with many colors, experiment, cut out nice pieces and feel free!
    It's a long time ago....time to make cards :D
    Do you like to receive one in your mail?

  2. i love this idea! thanks for visiting shannon! you have such a fun and colorful blog. i´ll be back often. besos-jane

  3. i do the same thing with grocery bags - i've gotten a load of reusables and never remember to take them in. secretly, i think it's because i LOVE the kraft paper of grocery bags and never get tired of taking them home. i love the valentines you made from them!

  4. Beautiful cards! At least you get paper bags for your groceries - if we forget our cloth bags, we get plastic carrier bags - but I might just do a Tuesday Tutorial on what you can do with them sometime soon!

  5. I love this Shannon! What a wonderful way to turn these brown bags into something beautiful!!
    And, doesn't Pandora just make everything better! Love it!

  6. What a great project! Love the colors and the little notes from magazine cutouts. This project is a great way to reuse those paper grocery bags. Once you get in the habit of taking the cloth ones with you it will become automatic. I have been using cloth bags for years and years, even using canvas bags my mom used when I was in highschool!

  7. I remember doing this with my children when they were small and teenagers! We sat around the kitchen table and made loads of them from brown paper and paint. Thanks for reminding mexx The sad thing in the UK is that we rarely find shops that use brown bags..it is either plastic or bring your own!! When l lived in Nassau in the Bahamas, that is what l loved. Everything was sold in brown paper bags. That is where l first learnt to make paper-bag books. I am searching all over London trying to find brown paper bags for projects!!! I really am going scatty in my old age!!xlynda

  8. Oh my goodness.... I can't wait to do this! Shannon, you're amazing!!! So I'm totally naive when it comes to art... Is it acrylic paint that I should buy to keep on hand for any kind of spur-of-the-moment craft days? Like if I just want to paint on some poster board, paper bags, canvas, even my kitchen cabinets, or what not???

  9. I love these! What a wonderful repurposing you have done here!!

  10. Wow!!!

    How bright and colorful!!!

    Some lucky people are going to get some wonderful Valentine cards from you!!!

  11. pretty, pretty cards! I know that guilty feeling--what a good way to redirect it.

    I need to find a way to remember my reusable bags too--I know once it's a habit I'll never forget--but until then???

  12. My change for the month was to only use reusable produce bags, so far so good. Having said that, I might be inclined to 'accidently' need paper as well if I made a project as cool as you've done. What a way to turn it around.

  13. These turned out so pretty! I'm always amazed how brillant colors look on top of plain brown paper but yet for some reason never think to do it.

  14. These are so beautiful, I love the idea, thank you for sharing it!

  15. WEEEEEE! Just play, yes! Looks like lots of fun, and a great way to upcycle.

  16. My mom was showing me this (she subscribed to you on Feedblitz) and it reminded me of my Valentine's Day cards - I wanted to be green, but not too green. For my Girl Scout troop (14 girls): I cut each plain page of paper in half and then folded them (2 cards per piece of paper.). Then painted the front. Then I cut out hearts from cardboard stuff - pasta, cereal, and dishwashing tablets (all of my food is organic) - and pasted them on my cards - picture side up so people could tell I recycled. Then inside I wrote the girls name then added words (Carri: Caring, Awesome, Real cool, Real fun etc, etc, etc...). Anyway, I loved this article! P.S. I 'm an artist too.

  17. What a fun way to create cards and have fun! Love the colour of the hearts!
    Great description.
    Happy Valentine's Day!

  18. Thanks to each of you for stopping by. So glad my Valentine's were an inspiration to you. I mailed them all out (a day late) BUT I had SO much fun making them!!


Thanks for sharing!