Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ice Cream Cards for Teachers

My two younger children attend a Wednesday morning preschool program called TLC at a local church during the school year, and this week will be their last session.  I always give gifts to the teachers to thank them for their loving care all year.  The problem is that my kids are in two different classes, and each class has 3 teachers, so I have to produce 6 teacher gifts.

Whenever I need a gift for someone, I always ask myself this question:  Do I have more time or money?  If I don't have time but can squeeze some money out of the budget, I just save time and buy gifts.  But more often I find that I have time and supplies but not much money to work with.  So that's when I do something homemade.

For this year's teacher gifts, I went with a homemade/store-bought hybrid.  Our favorite local ice cream joint is called Double D's (yes, that name seems like it belongs to a different sort of establishment).  I went to Double D's and bought 6 gift certificates worth $5 each (more than enough to buy any delicious treat they have to offer).  I thought it would be nice to give them a summer treat as a reward for their hard work all school year.

Then I decided to make homemade cards to hold the gift certificates.  I already have lots of paper and cardstock on hand, so I could make the cards for free.  

I have a Silhouette SD (if you click on this link it will tell you about the newer model, the Silhouette Cameo).  It's a cutting machine that connects to your computer and uses special software (that comes with the machine) to create shapes.  Once you have the shape how you want it in the software, you load your paper/vinyl/fabric into the Silhouette machine and it will cut the shape for you.  Shapes generally cost $0.99 per shape on the Silhouette website, but I check the weekly clearance section and also take advantage of occasional sales.  The Silhouette Blog offers a free shape every Tuesday, and I download the shape each week no matter what it is (you never know what you'll need someday!).  

Here's my Silhouette SD in action:

For this project, I started with one shape:  an ice cream cone. 

I separated this shape to make one sheet of cones, one sheet of ice cream scoops (the tops), and one sheet of slightly larger outlines of the whole ice cream cone.

I went through my stash of solid colors of scrapbooking cardstock and chose colors I thought would be suitable.  Then I got to cutting.

I pressed one paper at a time onto the sticky cutting mat and fed it into the Silhouette.  Once each shape was cut, I removed the scraps of paper around the shapes and then removed the shapes.  Here's a shot of removing the paper around the cones:

Once I had all the parts of the ice cream cones cut, I used another shape to cut simple cards.  I sized them to be slightly smaller than 5x7 (to fit in 5x7 envelopes).  The cards have a scalloped edge on the front, and the machine cut perforations where the card needs to be folded.  

Then it was time to put everything together.  

I started by assembling the ice cream cones.  I used a glue stick to adhere the cones and ice cream to the blue outlines.

I love how the cone and ice cream fit together perfectly like puzzle pieces:

Then I glued the cones to the cards.

I thought they still seemed a little plain, so I added the word "Thanks" in various hand-written fonts on the cards (along the cones, just for fun).

On the inside, I wrote "Having you as a teacher has been such a TREAT!"  I matched the font of the word "treat" on the inside to the font of the word "thanks" on the front of each card.  'Cause that's the sort of thing that makes me smile.

Once all the cards were completed, I tucked a gift certificate inside each card (they fit perfectly!  Another random thing that made me smile) and put each card in an envelope.  

These were a little time-consuming, but this project cost me $0 (besides the gift certificates, obviously).  {See Jared?  It's a good thing I'm a craft supply hoarder.  I can whip up these free projects just when I need them.}

Once these were completed, I decided I wanted to do the same thing for Nolan's kindergarten teacher (why didn't I think to do hers along with the others?).  So she will be receiving a larger gift certificate to get treats for her whole family.  I'm also writing her a heartfelt thank-you because she has been so amazing with Nolan (and me!) this year.  

I have had kids in the TLC program for 4.5 years (Nolan only did the second semester his first year in the program).  I give the teachers gifts at Christmas time and at the end of the year.  So it has become a challenge to find affordable but cute/practical gifts for these awesome ladies.  And now we have regular school teachers to honor with gifts as well, so I will always be keeping my eyes open for new teacher gift ideas!



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