31 March 2020

Finding My Heart(s)

I was pretty bummed late last week after Lizard's physical therapist was furloughed. I am so sad for her and her family, plus, I also saw how hard this hit Lizard. Others I know have lost their jobs. I wish this whole situation didn't have to happen, and I feel helpless because I feel as if there is absolutely nothing I can do to help.

I also worry the PT office might not be able to keep busy enough to stay open. I'm trying to learn everything I can while I watch Lizard go through his PT so I will know what to do to help him just in case.

I didn't feel like doing anything creative for at least a couple of days. I was just going through the motions while working from home and while trying to catch up on housework and/or necessary gardening when off the clock.

Friday night we discovered the Heart Hunters, which began as an Illinois socially distanced scavenger hunt for school children and has since evolved into a worldwide community of people doing their best to shift focus from fear and negativity to love and hope.

We'd had a bear hunt in our little community earlier in the week. Almost everyone put stuffed bears in their windows for the children to search for during their walks. My bears are too tiny to put in our window; no one would see them! So I put Lavender in my window, and it was so much fun watching the little kids trying to figure out from a distance what kind of animal she might be.

I have a couple of reams of colored paper at home that haven't been touched since about 2015. I actually cleaned out the bottom of one closet and organized another while searching for my Activity Days supplies from years ago. It felt really good to finish a bit of unplanned spring cleaning, and it was fun to find things I haven't used in five or more years that could come in pretty handy in the coming weeks. I started to feel a little better.

I cut out hearts from each of the neon colors plus the purple from the regular colors, then quickly taped them to my front door. I had a lot of scraps when I was finished, and anyone who knows me is well aware I hoard paper scraps as much as fabric scraps. I'm just not capable of throwing away things that can be used. I looked at these pieces for a few minutes, then realized I could use the hole punches I'd found while digging through supplies to make little hearts for little hands.

big heart punch

I initially, I planned to package up my punched shapes in resealable snack bags to leave in the quickly melting six inches of snow that fell Friday night and looked so beautiful on my garden on Saturday morning. The flowers coming up now can handle snow, as long as they are blanketed from a deep freeze. I don't think the temperature fell below 30, and my plants are all safe.

I thought this would be a great activity to go hand-in-hand, without touching, of course, with the scavenger hunt. But as I was punching my biggest hearts, I realized this would be perfect for my grands, whom I don't get to see until all this is over. I would be literally sending them a piece of my heart, right in time for Easter!

Unfortunately, my large heart punch died after three hearts each in three different colors times 14. I was five bags short, and I still had three more colors of scraps to use up. I decided to give three boys in one family and one boy in another family bags of punched stars - because boys aren't into hearts anyway, right??? - and one grandkid in another family a bag of whatever I could punch before yet another punch might die. I began punching smiley faces in the yellow paper because they seemed made for each other.

Before I could finish three yellow punches 19 times (57 smileys), the smiley punch started getting stuck. Lizard helped me take it apart and lube it with oil from my longarm quilter. By the time I finished all my little punches, the smiley was fully operational again, although it left tiny oil spots on the very edges of the first 20 or so smileys I punched post-grease.

It didn't take long to run out of scraps, so I was punching from whole sheets for about half of my project. I sometimes tried to make designs with the punches, thinking the kids might be able to do something fun with the strips I cut.

Some of the punches I'd never used make big messes.

I forgot to snap a photo of the finished 19 bags of punched shapes. After mailing the paper treats, I made two more little bags of colorful shapes for my little neighbors and took photos.

After delivering my neighbor's snack bags, I felt so good about trying to do something to make a difference in the world. Even if just my tiny little corner of it. Perhaps one day I will get to see the fruits of my labor.


  1. What fun and a good use of materials that are just 'collecting dust'? Should make some happy moms too.

    1. Thank you, Helen! I have heard from only one mom so far, and her little one was thrilled. I think the other moms may be overwhelmed because they have so many kids!!!

  2. That is a great way to get creative indeed. Neat idea for the kiddos as well to get them to guess and see when out and about walking.

    1. Thank you, Pat. Not many homes in my little village are participating, but perhaps it will grow in time. Perhaps families with kids are just too busy with schooling to see what's popular on the internet...

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about Lizard's PT. Hope everything works out for you both, and for her.

    What a fun idea to punch all those bright shapes and give them away!

    Hang in there, dear friend.


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