Archive | December, 2010

Happy New Year already

31 Dec

I have been sick all month.  My birthday, office Christmas party, Christmas itself…sick, sick, sick.  I missed every Christmas party this year.  And I guess I learned my lesson because I’m not socially comfortable anyway and wasn’t really that excited about having to make witty conversation with people I don’t know and am not even sure I like but I kind of missed being out this year.  Usually during Christmas we get to do things we don’t normally get to do around here like, you know, leave the house, leave the house without the kids, leave the house in something nicer than jeans and flip-flops, leave the house and not come back for a few hours while out doing something fun and entertaining without having to save for months to be able to do so.  You see where I’m going here. 

I did manage to work on a few items.  I have been trying to make re-usable coffee sleeves but the design I had in mind just would not work.  Not for anything in the world.   So while I had some downtime to drink Nyquil and sleep in the same pajamas for days at a time I was able to think up a few ways my design might work.  I will save the details for later when I actually have a good piece to show for it.  That way if it goes seriously awry and doesn’t work and I end up sewing my shirt into the sewing machine while attempting some delicate sewing maneuver no one will ever know.   Well, my daughter will know because I’ll have to get her to cut me out of the machine then I’ll have to swear her to secrecy. 

While I’m here, let me leave you with a question.  First a back story, of course.  I knitted my dad a scarf for Christmas.  The first ever completely finished knitting project and I was pretty happy with it.  My dad liked it, or said he did to spare his full-grown adult daughter from bursting into tears in front of the whole family.  Now I’m knitting one for my husband and was thinking if I manage to pull off two nicely knitted scarves I could make a few and sell them in my Etsy shop.  Well, and this is where the question comes in, I found one EXACTLY like the one I knitted in someone else’s Etsy shop.  Same yarn, same knitting pattern, same length, etc.  I promise on my big toe I did not see it until today so there’s no way I could have copied her design.  And even if I wanted to copy her design, it’s not like there’s a patent on the garter stitch and the yarn we used.  However, for some reason I feel weird about it.  She is in an entirely different region and of course with any item you can think of you can walk into several different stores and find similar if not the same items in regular stores.  What do you think?  Go ahead and sell mine as well or move on to something else?  I mean, if there’s really nothing new under the sun then there would be plenty of overlap in the Etsy/sell your handmade items world right?

Did you waste money on a boring book?

6 Dec

Let me start off by saying basically the same thing everyone else who has made this wreath says…I am not a book hater. I think books are a great way of learning and even with the advances in technology I don’t think I can give up the feel of a real book supporting my face when I fall asleep and slobber the text off the pages. I’m afraid I might zap myself if I fell asleep on a Kindle and slobbered on it. Plus, you don’t have to recharge or find batteries for a regular, old-fashioned book. AND how else would libraries smell like rotting book glue if the whole world changed over to Kindles and E-Readers and all those great tech gadgets. But just in case the world does go completely tech and decides to get rid of the books I have one idea for a few of them. A book wreath.

I first stumbled upon the tutorial at Living With Lindsay and I really like how her’s turned out.  Then I found this post at NONSUCH BOOK with different variations.  What I ended up with was a few burnt fingers and a wreath that looked nothing like either site but I’m happy with it.  Very happy with it for two reasons; it looks pretty good and for a long time I felt bad for wasting money on such a horrible book but now that I found something positive to make of it I feel I actually put my money to good use.   I looked up the author and he has been on #1 on the New York Times bestselling author list.  I guess this particular book must have been an off period or maybe he was going through some difficulties in his home life.  I wont mention who he is but I doubt we’ll be having him over for dinner now that I have defiled 287 pages of his verson of a man’s struggle for survival as he delves into a world full of haunting memories to find out who is double-crossing him while he hunts down a high-ranking official that could possibly be responsible for a man’s murder 25 years ago.  Or something like that. 

I think total this is about $15.00 worth of supplies maybe.  The wreath I bought at Hobby Lobby last night for about $4.00, the book was from a Thrift Store for about $2.00, the glue and glue gun I’ve had a while and the coffee (which is really the most important part of this project) was about $6.99 for a large can of Chock Full o’ Nuts.

 

I pretty much followed the tutorial at Living with Lindsay aside from how I folded my pages.  I used brown paint on the edges of the pages like she did in her tut but I don’t think I put it on thick enough.  Anyway, it didn’t seem to make a big difference on my wreath.  Basically all you do is tear the sheets out of the book, roll the page and glue it to the wreath.  Oh, and try not to touch the tip of the hot glue gun to your fingers.  Yeah the hot glue on your fingers is bad but the tip of the glue gun is like surface of the sun hot.

Here’s another photo of it with the rest of my decor.  And I use the word decor lightly.  Very lightly.  I’m working on it ok?   I would also like to say that it was very difficult for me to destroy a book but now that I have the taste of blood I might tear up a few more.  Who knew crafting could bring out such a rebel.

Balls of Fury

3 Dec

Monday was the Deck the Hall gathering that the ladies like to do on what we call “the long hall.”  Being mostly ladies who have it together, we’re supposed to bring some kind of finger food and put up wreaths on our office doors.  I, being one of the not so together ladies, usually either forget the food, wreath or occasionally…both.  This year I managed to bring food but didn’t have a wreath and the food I brought was not so great.  I made baklava once before and it was a big hit but this time it just sucked.  I had all the ingredients and even put them together correctly but forgot one crucial step in the process.  NO silly, I did cook it.  There’s a particular moment in the sequence of events that you slice the baklava before you bake it then when it comes out you drizzle this special high sugar and honey content super duper drizzle over it that only hummingbirds can stand without going into an immediate diabetic coma.  Anyway, it has weighed heavily on me that I have not been very successful with my Deck the Hall participation and I hoped to change that by putting up my most spectacular wreath on the most spectacular day…MY BIRTHDAY!!!

I know I’m nearly a week behind.  Granted, I was out two days this week coughing up a chinchilla out of my neck.   I was also sacked out so hard I barely woke up to eat lunch.  You know when I can’t drag myself to the table to eat something is very very wrong.  Alas, I got the idea that in order to make up for being 4-5 days late (depending on if you count Friday or not) I decided I would make a wreath unlike any other wreath on the long hall.  Instead of the usual greenery I would make……wait for it……wait for it……here it comes…..

A CHRISTMAS BALL WREATH

It took me half a dozen tries, re-starts, do-over, back-ups and a whole slew of other hyphenated words before I managed to turn this:

Into this:

I really love the colors.  It’s not the typical Christmassy colors, not that there’s anything wrong with that but I just feel like these colors are more mature and tomorrow being my birthday I think I need to start showing my mature side.  Yeah right, this from the same woman who wanted to title this post “Balls to the Wall.”  I mean Balls of Fury is kind of a compromise right.  I was furiously working trying to get this done before tomorrow.  Anyway, I like it and I’m amazed I pulled of something this nice and I dare say classy.  Though if I had to do it all over again I would maybe not have used a coat hanger and I probably would have glued the top parts of the ornaments, the part that the hook goes into if you were to hang them on a tree, glue them on to all of the ornaments instead of only gluing the ones that fell off because if you don’t glue them they eventually all fall off.  I did do a little forward thinking and get plastic balls instead of glass.  I dropped almost all of them on the floor at one point or another.   I also have to say it was nice dusting off the hot glue gun.  I haven’t used that thing in a while.  I do wish someone would show me how to use it without getting those little cobwebs of glue everywhere not to mention  hot gluing my finger a few times. 

I was working so hard on my wreath I forgot to cut my son’s hair.  Again.  See, I manage to bring food but not a wreath or a wreath and not a haircut or Kool Aid but no sugar…

 p.s.

Go check out my Etsy shop.  I don’t have any wreaths there but I did put up several of my photos for sale.

Brown paper is a gift in itself

1 Dec

I’m still under the weather.  Literally and figuratively.  I woke up sounding like Anne Bancroft swallowed a frog.  Except on the late Ms. Bancroft it would have been sexy.  On me, not so much.  Perhaps more frog on my end.  Plus, a tornado ripped through a neighborhood not too far from where I live.  Thank God everyone is ok that I know of but December is stressful enough with Christmas coming, Thanksgiving mess still needing to be cleaned up (I know how some of you are), and always it seems like there’s a ton of house fires because of lights and whatnots.  It’s the whatnots that always get you.  Now we have all that plus tornado and high winds to deal with.  But eh, it’s December.  I hope all those families are still able to pull together a Christmas and be thankful things weren’t worse.  We are so blessed.

So even being under the figurative weather today, sounding like the froggy Bancroft and sleeping til nearly noon I finally got a fire under my butt and decided to wrap some gifts.  The kids came up to check on me in my room last night and I just knew it was a matter of time before they found the boxes from Amazon.com.  (Another little trick of mine to pull off the best gifts without getting out of my jammies.)  I order everything I can from Amazon, try to get as much free shipping as I can then have it sent to my office because if it’s sent to my house it will sit out there for all the world to see and probably take.  I’m talking about you Derrick.  Stay out of my garage!

Anyway, I went upstairs to wrap some gifts and lo and behold, after pulling out all of my wrapping paper, digging to find tape and scissors I find this…

A whole rainforest of brown packing paper in one of the Amazon boxes.  So what did I do, being the frugal/cheap and also old-fashioned woman that I am I took the paper out of the box and put it ON the boxes.

It looks like old-fashioned packaging and even the wrinkles and crinkles give it character.   You can even write directly on the paper so no need for those crazy gift tags that require the teensiest precision handwriting.  I may even get some twine and wrap around the boxes with that.  You can see in the background I already wrapped one gift before I came upon the brown bag idea.  I actually sat and thought about re-wrapping that one to match all the others but I didn’t.  After two days of total inactivity I think I over did it in my gift wrap gusto. 

Oh, you may be wondering what I did with the boxes that came from Amazon that the kids were eyeballing last night.  Well, I did what any good parent would do and re-taped them and put them back in the same places they were last night so if the kids see them again it will drive them nuts.  That’s just the kind of parent I am.  I tell my husband all the time, what fun is having kids if you can’t torture them a little.   Hopefully they are still grounded from the internet so they can’t accidentally find my blog.  You would be amazed what happens around here “on accident.”

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, yesterday I said I’d post pics of what I worked on this weekend.  Well, I think my daughter’s shirt may be in the washing machine but this is the case I made for my husband’s glasses.  I may make some more for the office folk since we all have spare readers in our desk now even though none of us are willing to admit it.  Hopefully they aren’t reading my blog right now either or that wont be a surprise.  I guess I could just not post that but you know, I’m too excited.  I’m posting it.  Plus, I’m the only one reading my blog anyway. 

And with that, I’m hitting the NyQuil and going back to bed.