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Not My Fifth Grade Volcano

Getting back in touch with childhood arts and crafts to celebrate a wedding anniversary

Photo of Elle Allison-Napolitano
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This is a more personal story about creativity. This year Icelebrated my first wedding anniversary. As you may or may not know, sometraditions call for gifts of paper between spouses on their first anniversary.I had an itch to make something for my husband out of paper mache’ and I hadjust the inspiration: Our grocery lists for the year. I know, sounds a bitweird to think of grocery lists. But you see my husband and I write our grocerylist each week on a pad of fancy paper, each one adorned with a quote about“love,” that we keep on our kitchen counter. It is a collaborative grocery listevolving over the course of the week, in each of our unique penmanship. We keepthe grocery lists because we like to re-read the quotes. Sometimes we drawpictures representing some aspect of the quote on the pad. We almost alwaysdraw a picture of the dog to remind ourselves we need more dog food. Itoccurred to me that through the meals we prepared for each other, these grocerylists in large part, represent the first year of our marriage. Aha (thoughtI)!! I’ll shred those lists and make my husband a paper mache’ bowl for ourfirst anniversary! And so I did. The bowl is kind of homely but it has acertain charm. You can spend some time turning it over and over, readingsnippets of love quotes and parts of both pedestrian and exotic groceries—milk,blue cheese, Cherrios, scallops. My husband loved the gift and I loved doingpaper mache’ again—something I have not indulged in since I made a misshapenand soggy volcano in the fifth grade. Sucha joy to make something and give it to someone you love.

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