Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Been A Crafty Crafty Christmas

This year, as you know, I've tried to give consumable gifts... or at least handmade and useful. I tried to think of things that Kid might be able to do (or help do). One of the things I thought of was fleece scarves. Essentially a skinny 1/4 yard of fabric (that I painstakingly straightened at home using my wood floors as a guide... because if you've ever bought fabric you know that that is NOT how the fabric ladies cut it!). In theory this could have been a no sew project... but we embellished ours (and by we of course I mean me... Kid just told me where to put things). I thought Kid would have even been able to cut the fringe but I miscalculated both her hand strength and her attention span. She did *help* me cut by placing her hands on top of mine in the big sheers and applying pressure as I cut (yes this was very annoying... but I summoned the patience to push through it because I wanted her to feel involved). She did like going to the fabric store and picking out the fabrics and buttons.. boy did she like picking out the buttons... a lot of editing had to go into a kind of cohesive theme for each scarf. These scarves could have been 75 cents apiece... but Kid's expensive button taste pushed these up over 6 bucks a pop. She is quite proud of them as you can see...

Ah yes... there are buttons for everyone... even the men in your lives.

I also made this little felt baby doll head (with bells inside) for Mr F's baby niece. It seemed like a cute toy that a baby could poke and chew and rattle with out fear of Chinese poison (I jest... kind of).
I'm not loving it to be perfectly honest... I would make some changes to it next time. I didn't have pink felt or I might have made some rosy cheeks... I think it's missing that. The bangs didn't come out looking the way I wanted BUT Baby grabbed it out of my hands as soon as I was done stitching it closed and yelled "My baby!" and ran off with it. So I guess it looks enough like a baby for a baby. And since a baby is my intended audience I guess it's not so bad after all.

This is the back... like the bangs I topstiched texture to make it look like hair. I hand sewed the facial appliques and machine stitched it together. I didn't use a pattern I just traced a saucer and went from there and used up little bits of scrap felt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Life Coach

So tonight I was pretty tired and just plain old emotionally exhausted. I was lying on the couch refusing to get up and put the kids to bed and letting them watch organizational and cooking shows with me while a lay like a lump.

After a while I said to Kid "Don't you think if you are mad, you should be allowed to be mad, and if you are sad, you should be allowed to be sad?" "YES!" she responded emphatically, which made me smile and give a little silent cheer... at least I'm raising them right.

A little bit later she got off the couch and went to her desk and came back with a sheet of paper and a crazy princess pen.

"What are your problems?" She asked.
Where to begin?!! I tried to think of things that wouldn't be too traumatizing...
"I don't exercise enough, I've been eating too much unhealthy food..." I started.
"What else?" She said sagely
"I'm worried about whether I'll get everything done before Christmas."
"What else?"
"I don't read enough books" I replied trying to fish for more neutral issues.
"How is that a problem?" Kid responded some what baffled.
"Well... I spend too much time online and then I don't have time to read." I explained.
"Anything else?" She asked.
"Nope that's it."

She was quiet for awhile and then stopped writing stood up and said (verbatim):
"Workout more, eat more healthy foods such as: broccoli, green beans, and salmon. At dessert eat only a little unless you are particularly starving." She stated. Then she paused and said "I have one more recommendation: go online less, which means, stay away from your desk... unless... you need a stamp for a letter."

God, she's good. I should know, too, I've had a lot of therapists in my time.
If you need a session let me know... she'll probably be booking up pretty fast.

Oops I Did It Again

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ready To Relax

This week has been intense. I had my big round of boxes to go out (you should be getting them today or tomorrow!). Then I had Mr F's party and the turkey (third one... and let me tell you the brining and high heat is no fail!). Cleaning the house for the new sitter (which went GREAT!!!). Shopping for fabric and last minute gifts. Three loads of laundry and four trips to the post office... two of them today... as well as two batches of cookies for teacher gifts. I have hardly sat down all week. And while I've been subsisting off of caffeine and cookies (seriously folks I've had nothing but White Trash all day)... I think I might have actually lost weight. Being on your feet all day will do that (thank God for small favors).

The Christmas push is over and I feel relieved. I have two more gifts to ship out but I can get them together this weekend and get them out Priority on Monday. I picked up Priority envelopes for Mr F (still helping... I can't help myself) so he can fill them up with the kids this weekend. I've got most of what I need for the kids and Mr F and the sitter is coming back next week (that's my plan anyway) so I can get those without companions and without the weekend rush.

I put together gift bags of goodies for Kid's teachers with cookies and stationary I have collected (one from India and one from Italy... hey hoarding pays off when it comes to obligatory gifting!). The class parent had said that the teachers wanted money (yes actually said this) and I was bullied into contributing a financial gift as well. Who doesn't want money?!! But my thought on teacher gifts is that it be something that the kids could have (in theory) made/picked out. Last time I checked she doesn't earn any money. I still wanted Kid to give something to her teachers. So I made gift bags at the last minute today and she went through them gave her seal of approval and wrote a card. A mom I've befriended called out "brown noser" from her car window when she saw them.

I'm in the home stretch. Today was Kid's last day of school and I'm really looking forward to a more relaxed schedule. I'm looking forward to two weeks off. I'm looking forward to not having to get up and make Kid's lunch every morning. I'm looking forward to having time to finally clean off my desk... and maybe read a book. Soon, soon, I can feel it.

Here are the things I have left to do:
Make the girls xmas skirts... I got really cute peppermint candy patterned fabric
Get Baby's jewelry box and jewelry (so she'll finally leave Kid's alone) and more high heels.
Help Kid make Baby a fleece fringe blanket (only cutting involved)
Help Kid make gift for The Cougar
Fix Baby's stocking
Get last two gifts mailed out on Monday
Take Kid shopping to pick out Mr F's present (always interesting... and usually a nutcracker)
wrap gifts for kids and Mr F... assemble Santa gifts


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Post Wherein I Explain The Capes

Okay let me break it down "feelings style". You may recall that the shit hit the fan when I blogged about my in laws during their visit to Michigan back in May. Some crazy stuff went down. Crazy. And things have been pretty fucked up ever since. (don't worry I'm almost done swearing) Well time has gone on and not much has changed. Sure they drove 14 straight hours in order to ambush Mr F with a bizarre intervention... but other than that weird display of completely inappropriate boundaries... nothing has really changed.

Oh... wait.... wasn't this supposed to be about how I'm the "bigger person"? My mistake. Let me get myself more composed.

I was left feeling that the only answer to the situation was to remove myself. The problem with that is...well... my involvement is complicated. Without my involvement there is no involvement. Of course they don't want to know that (not that I blame them) or acknowledge it. So much so that they have quite a revisionist history going on. You see, from their perspective, I have been single handedly driving a wedge between Mr F and his family. Apparently that has been my sole desire since we first met.

I wish someone had filled me in on that. I could have saved myself quite a bit of time and trouble. Not just the nearly 10 straight years of stressing over how to get Mr F more involved with his family. The endless nagging to make a phone call... ask about his sisters. The planning of trips. The buying of gifts and wrapping and shipping. But also the 3 day drive alone with an 18 month old so that I could make a wedding cake. The giving of all our baby things and furniture (which we could have sold... and certainly could have used the money). These things I did to unite the family. These things I did because they are what I would have done for my own.

I needn't have bothered. I needn't have hand tied every one of those wedding programs. These things that I didn't do for any other motivation other than to be involved.

Apparently I didn't like a set of coasters someone gave me enough.

And so I have feelings. Hurt feelings. Victimized, overlooked, demonized feelings. What did I do... but marry a man... who didn't care to love you more. What did I do... but try. Try to love you. Try to make him love you more. Try to be involved. Only to be ignored. Only to be treated with a standoffish hand.

I made one mistake... one... mistake... and that was to trust. To trust that my space was mine. I was wrong, but I wasn't in the wrong.

And so I made capes. Three red satin capes with silver cord. With my hands. With my time. Because I can't be as cold as they need me to be. In the end it just isn't my nature.

There will be no differential effect. No one will say anything. No one will thank me. No one will change their opinion or their view. Three little boys who don't know any better will have a moment of happiness. That is all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Down... Two To Go

Roughly a 30" square piece of polyester satin lining fabric. Side edges hemmed. Top hemmed to make a drawstring pocket.

1 yard length of silver cord.

No need to hem that bottom edge... leave that salvage (if in good condition) as intentional fringe. No one will know the difference.

Knot the ends of your cord so they don't unravel.

Ta Da!

1/2 a yard of fabric for $1.25, 1 yard of silver cord for $2.
Super hero cape (or devil, or magician, etc) for $3.25.

More on all this later. Seriously. A lot freaking more.

It Was A Judds Emergency

And like a ThunderCat I could see the call for help in the sky. It was coming from Alaska.
A quick email confirmed the worst.... MegO was in fact living life without Christmas Time with The Judds.
I couldn't stand by and let that happen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sugar Cookie Icing Tutorial

I couldn't think out a better way to show this. I think when I make them this weekend I can get Mr F to photograph each step while I do it. It was pretty hard to do it and video it at the same time. Even harder with Kid bashing into the table.

I will answer your questions if this doesn't help you out enough.

Basically make royal icing in whatever manner you'd like.
Make a thicker icing for piping an outline of your cookie shape. This will serve as a dam for your thinner "flooding" icing. Outline cookies inside of the outer edge. Let icing dry a bit. Make a looser icing. If you stick a knife in and make a dollop it should drop back down to a smooth surface (you kind of need to watch the videos to picture what I'm talking about) in 3 seconds. That is thin enough to flood while not being so thin that it is a glaze. You can either use a piping bag (and I suggest a #3 tip for the outline and a 3 or 4 for flooding) and fill your cookie in. Or you can dollop the thinner icing in the middle of the cookie and push it to the edges with the tip of a butter knife (or similar). Let your cookies dry completely before packaging!!!

Busy Bee

I've been a little crazy trying to tie up all my loose ends for this batch of gift boxes.

It's actually quite hard to find a photo with the girls heads close enough together to fit in these ornament frames... even harder to find one where they are both smiling.

I've also got Kid's first holiday performance tonight (she's an her request. She has informed me that there are three angles. Guess which one she is? Yes the one that stands over Jesus, Mary, and Joseph... how fitting). Then tomorrow I will hopefully have all these boxes shipped out! I ran out of popcorn so that's holding me up. Then I start brining the turkey for Mr F's office party. Yes it's a potluck. So far I haven't attended an event in Asheville that hasn't been (someone tell me what's up with that?).

Off to go stress inordinately about which shipping arrangement is cheaper....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

O Tannenbaum

We got our tree last night at an impromptu lot set up next to a gas station. What it was lacking in atmosphere it made up for in perfection. This tree is over 9 feet tall. Check out it's majesty.

We typically have gotten our trees at big box home improvement stores. We paid a little bit more for this one... but Mr F didn't have to lick a finger. They hoisted it up on the car and off we went. Plus when shopping in the garden department you miss out on some of the atmosphere of being 12 feet off of a major 4 lane road. Because nothing says "holidays" like losing sight of your nearly 2 year old in a maze of trees and panic strickenly screaming "WHERE IS SHE!!!!!" as you and your spouse set off like crazed lunatics running through the trees praying you catch her before a speeding car does. Yeah that was magical. You should have been there. It put a serious dampener on the whole event and we pretty much picked the next tree we saw and got the hell out of there.

Having said that we would go there again next year. I mean our tree is beautiful. And it was cut the day we bought it... which means it will still be alive past Christmas... and that is worth a few bucks more.

When we got home and were setting it up something truly magical happened.

A bunch of bona fide carolers knocked on our door. Believe it. Sometimes (if you look past the graffiti and occasional loose pitbull) our neighborhood can have a real small town vibe to it. Last night was one of those nights. The night last week when the cop car drove by each house very slowly was not.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin