Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gifts at Graduation

All last week I found myself busy with end-of--school activities.

And even though Jack has just finished his sophomore year in high school, I had many friends whose children were/are graduating from either high school or college.

 The graduation announcements and party invitations have been pouring in; and it feels somewhat surreal as I remember Jack playing flashlight tag and chasing the ice cream truck alongside many of them.  I guess as Jack gets closer to senior year, I start to pay more attention to all the end of school graduation rituals.

I have one good friend in particular who has one son in Jack's class and another who is graduating and will be attending Ohio University in the Fall. Due to a crisis at her work, this friend missed the "official" ordering of the graduation announcement at school. So...I piped up and volunteered to make them for her.

While I was making the announcement, I got the idea to combine the logo of his high school and his college.

The mascot for Ohio University is the bobcat so I thought it would be fun if somehow the bobcat could be dragging the kid off to Ohio...But I couldn't get him to pose with his butt in the air so I could photoshop him into the bobcat's mouth, so I used his high school logo instead.

This became the heading for the graduation party invitation...And then I printed him about 50 thank you notes as well...


In the process, I realized how important a time it is not just for the graduate but for his mom as well. Up until now, I've always kind of shrugged it off like..."Graduation from high school is no big deal. Everybody graduates from high school!" I don't know. Something changed in my attitude this year and I think I'm beginning to get it. It's not really the academic achievement of the graduation that is being celebrated, is it? It's the whole growth of the kid and marking their next move onto college...and typically, out of the house...and out from under parental control...After high school, they're increasingly on their own.  They're cooked. They're baked. And you just pray you did a good job.

I finally felt that for my friends this year. And so I added a few extra party enhancers to my graduation package. I made a few party picks by printing out the logos onto cardstock.    These picks are great because you can use them for anything...cakes, appetizers, place settings, flower arrangements, behind photographs, etc.


I have one of those all-in-one printers that was about $99 5-years ago, an Epson NX400...so it's not fancy. That being said, I've found that by using the both the inks and the special papers made by Epson, I get a MUCH more stunning result. The difference is night and day.

My friend also has a very large Italian family so there were lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins coming to town to spend an entire weekend at her house. I knew she would love a special guest towel for the bathroom...


Now, I'm not much of a machine applique-r.  I'm much more comfortable with a needle in my hand...so I made a practice towel first using cotton quilt fabric to cut out the "L" and using tear away stabilizer behind the towel.

After making a few mistakes on the corners of my practice towel, I did a much better job on the actual applique on my gift towel. Not perfect but who wants perfect anyway? I found the towel for $2.99 at one of those discount places like T.J.Maxx... All in all, she was thrilled and it didn't cost me much to help enhance the special-ness of her weekend...more time than anything else.

And, should you need a creative idea for giving money to someone for graduation or something else, I wrote a tutorial a couple years ago for this money tree...


You can read that original post here.

Since then I've had people write me who have made them in other shapes to suit the occastion, like a Christmas tree.  One group of hairdressers used the idea to take a styrofoam wig form and cover it with money "hair" for one of the stylists who was leaving their salon. I thought that was fabulous!

OK everyone. Graduation is over so I'm back to the beach and shelling.

Happy Summer!

16 comments:

Dolores said...

Wow, that is impressive. You are a friend that goes the extra mile. Thanks for all the ideas which can be used for many other occasions.

gracie said...

You are so creative!

Linda H said...

Susan, you are awesome! The ideas you come up with, and the time you spend - well that's all part of what makes you so special! Your friends are blessed to have you !!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

As I have come to know you, it does not surprise me one bit what a generous friend you are. I think you realize how really extra special you are making this party!

Oh, I understand well the feelings you are just starting to realize with Jack's march to graduation. I look at Corey and realize how close he is now...less than one year away. He has matured so much into a generous and caring young man. But I still can't picture him as an adult making his own way in the world ~lol~
xx, Carol

Rachel said...

I'm sure the party will go with a bang!

Heather M. said...

What a nice gift. I'm sure your friend will appreciate it very much. Both my children graduated at the same time, though they are a year apart in age. One jumped ahead a grade. Now one is married.

Enjoy having Jack at home, time goes by so quickly, it won't be long before he's gone. I have to say that, though they no longer live with me (they're in the same city), my relationship with each of them, and the son-in-law, has grown in wonderful ways. They've become friends

Wendy said...

Thank you for such a wonderful idea on the money tree!

Createology said...

Susan this is the gift from the heart that you have made and given to your friend. Graduations are happening and writing checks along with a card is not very rewarding so I truly adore your gift of thoughtful and meaningful useful items. You are amazing dear...

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Susan you have done it again! Again.

hummmm...CollegeGirl graduates from UW next year...purple and gold....I will have to talk to her sister about a party.

black bear cabin said...

those came out fabulous!!! maybe you can help me with Jordyn's when her big day comes :) No worries...you have plenty of time! ;)

Anonymous said...

From a mom who's been there/done that: Junior & senior years, you have to be really organized, esp. if your child (like mine) tends not to be! There will be numerous tests to take & college applications to fill out. You'll need some academic information over & over. Every college application will need the list of activities and/or offices held, as well as awards won & volunteer duties. I made one big file (things were still very "paper" back then) & kept all end of school/college stuff in there. That really helped.

By September of senior year, we were already rounding up applications for colleges & for scholarships, asking teachers for letters of recommendation, and writing essays. I say "we" but I mean Dear Son did most of that kind of work; I kept the paper trail straight. And what a messy trail it was til we got back the ONE letter of acceptance that we were waiting for, and that positive result from the scholarship applications!

Be ready, mom -- it's coming, and it's coming fast! Get the good old maternal safety net in place! :)

P.S. -- Don't worry....they'll be back...they know where you live & where you bank... :))))

Judy S. said...

What a great gift that will surely be appreciated. Celebrate that your Jack is on the graduation track; for many years I've helped folks, who got derailed for one reason or another, get their GED,an achievement, yes, but most would've given anything for a diploma! Bless you for all the support you've so freely given him during these past years. It's coming into fruition!

Allison Aller said...

So joyous and loving, your gifts, and of course, greatly creative and so well executed. Great post, Susan!

And yes, it might be good to start psyching up for when Jack heads off to college. Have lots and lots of projects lined up for the minute you get home from dropping him off, because it is very hard.
But when they turn into men--as my sons have--it is an entirely new and fantastic experience. So it is all great in the end!!!

verobirdie said...

Yes graduation is for Mom! It marks another step in life.
When Emilie and Amandine were about to finish high school, I found myself some occupation. It was patchwork.
When they graduated for real, I mean the final exam, I felt I had achieved something: raising them.
Amandine did not want to attend her graduation. Althought I respected her wish, I resented it too. I wanted to celebrate, and show how proud I was of her...
Anyway... You are a very good friend and you did a great job helping your friend.

Elizabeth said...

What an absolute treasure you are!!! Your parents certainly baked you to absolute perfection, kiddo!!! What an awesome friend for this gal who needed some help!!! You are the VERY BEST kind of friend and I am so very very blessed to call you one of my friends!!!

Catherine said...

You are so clever!!

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