Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top books in 2008

I set a goal with a friend at the beginning of last year to read 25 books, not including children's books. I made it to 32 today. Out of all of these, many were fluff, some were lousy, and at least one was just plain terrible. I'll let those go, and hope that someday I'll forget that one. On a brighter note, the following are my favorites from this year:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Namsake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Martian Child by David Gerrold
Left to Tell by Imacculee Ilibagiza
Walking in Circles before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe
Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule
Escape by Carolyn Jessup
Marley and Me by John Grogan
Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket

What did you read this year that makes your 'favorites' list?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Made It Monday: Handmade Christmas in review (some repeats)

Here are a few of the gifts I made this Christmas. There is at least one more that I haven't posted, but that one I'll share at a later time. It's my sister's tea-towel and apron set, to go in her hope chest (or hopeless chest, as we've called them for a while). I can post a link to the tutorial I used for that one, too. It's bright and gaudy and kitschy, which means it's perfect for her.

All in all, probably about 50% of Christmas was handmade. Partially because I ran out of time, partially because that some gifts were cheaper to buy than they were to make (though many times this was not the case!), and partially because the purchased gifts suited the receiver better than a hand-made gift would have. I would like to do this again, yes, but I think it will require more planning on my part.

I was saying the other day that it's odd not to be compelled to craft now- I can do it for me, and I'm not hurried to get things done. I wouldn't say I regret making the items for others, but I think I can take the time to enjoy the process of creating for fun. I went to the craft store to spend a gift card after Christmas, and found myself momentarily at a loss as to what I wanted to do. Looking at fabric, paper, and yarn, the feeling changed to "What don't I want to do?!" Two quilts, or the pieces for them and some embroidery are sitting in my basket now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

"What Naughty List?"

Here it is, Christmas Eve, and the list looms large. I'm not going to lie, I'm currently downing a Mountain Dew to give myself the boost I need to complete it. One and a half gifts remain to be made, as well as constructing a gingerbread house, making bird feeders (to honor the animals for their silence the night Christ was born- one of my favorite Christmas legends), read the Christmas story while Stinky sets up the Nativity, make a nice dinner (frozen chicken currently sitting RIGHT in front of the heater as I forgot to take it out to thaw until just now), and not throttle the toddler who is hovering dangerously close to that 'naughty' list.
May your days be harried, I mean merry, and bright. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Made It Monday: Happy Birthday, Baby.

At 12:07 in the morning, two years ago, my baby made his entrance into the world. Now he's a big two-year old boy, and I can't imagine how life would be without him. Happy Birthday, Stinky, You have filled our world with more joy than you will ever know.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Overheard at our house: why we won't tell the dog to shut up anymore.

Stinky: Snow's yummy!
Me: It is... but I wish you weren't eating it off the bottom of your boot!

Stinky: Shup, Mommy.
Me: did you just tell your mom to shut up?
Stinky: Yup.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Spirit

Growing up, we had a neighbor who put up a beautiful Nativity display every year. One year the baby Jesus was stolen, and he didn't want to put it up after that. Everyone was sad, but understood.
We saw this scene at a church we were driving past- lots of dolls in a manger, offered freely to those in need- just like the Savior. I love this reminder of what it's about.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

That Snow Day I was Hoping for

I hope your day is this much fun. Tonight we see Santa.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day

I am married to a teacher in one of the 7 districts across the western half of the state NOT to call it a snow day. It is so disappointing to watch all the other schools listed in red on the news, then our district pop up a mean shade of yellow. Two hour delays are for the birds. Now, Stinky has a combination of a cold and cabin fever. Wish us luck.

Thank you for your encouraging words on my last post. I really appreciate them, and things are definitely looking up. Sitting and watching snowflakes fall always cheers me up. Bring on more snow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's probably the hormones.

Really, I'm almost certain it's the hormones. I like to think of myself as a positive person but I find myself, feeling a little defeated tonight. I won't get into details, but I hit a wall and found myself wanting to throw in the towel today. So, tonight I'll let myself pout a little, indulge in a few too many tootsie rolls and some diet dr. pepper. Then, I think I'll clear off the table and put in a little creative time, because I think I need to feel good at something. Tomorrow, I can start over and work on ways to get past this wall and continue to move forward. Anyway, I may delete this in the morning, but thanks for letting me vent a little.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I made it Monday: Mom's gift

I did it! I finished the Nativity wall hanging before Christmas! I'm so happy! I really feared it wouldn't be done in time, but it is, and I'm so proud of it. Mom really loved it too. I will reiteratethis, however. The next time anyone hears me say "I'm thinking of making this mixed media piece" slap me. Hard.

The homemade Christmas plans are going well. I have 4 gifts to complete, and all are one-day projects at this point. I had to take a break yesterday as 'crafter's back' hit me really hard, an was made worse by standing in heels to teach at church (dumb). After a day of rest, Aleve and heating pads, I'm ready for action today. It's funny how when you make creative time a regular thing, how much you miss it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just too good not to share

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 12, 2008

11 sewing days left 'til Christmas.

I really wanted to focus on a mostly handmade Christmas this year. It can be a cheaper option if you're smarter about it. I've had to look at using what I already had, since the budget leaves little wiggle room. (As an aside, crafters, don't we always have more supplies than we have projects we're working on? Still, I will never turn down the opportunity to buid the stash. I digress). I've also had to find cheaper options when the project did require spending money. On average, using what I have on hand, and buying things as cheaply as possible, I think I've spent around $8 per handmade gift- something I'm very proud of.

I've also gone 'green' with gift making, repurposing some items to create new ones. The creativity I've had to incorporate is really satisfying, when you figure it out, and it's nice to know I'm not using resources needlessly (whoa, what tree-hugger just said that? Couldn't have been me!) Though, like mama says 'we've been green since back when it wasn't trendy, and was called being cheap.'

More than that, though, I've been able to be more thoughtful and maybe more frivolous with the gift giving process with it. Fortunately, none of the people I love are in serious need of anything, and I'm grateful for that.

The negative is that we've been eating dinner on TV trays for probably two weeks now, as gift-making has taken over the dining table. Maybe after Christmas we can eat at the table again. Then, Stinky won't grow up thinking the Simpsons are regular dinner guests.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the bare necessities?

Can we agree that somethings just are not necessary? For example, high fashion hospital gowns? It turns out they exist, and I'd like to thank TAMN at Seriously, So Blessed in all her ironic glory for introducing me to this new level of... I don't even know.

There was a recent blog over at Domestic Felicity titled Baby Un-Necessities, pointing out the pointlessness of many baby products, when you actually thought the product through. It was a great article. Contrast this product, which yes, is very cute, but when you really think about it?

You'll have to launder it yourself, and it's probably going to get rather messy. Also, chances are you're not going to look really cute while laboring to bring your precious child into this world. When precious child does make their entrance, they're probably going to be the focus of any pictures taken, and not you in your cute hospital gown, I am very sorry to say. But when it really comes down to it, why spend almost $50 on something you have a high likelihood of pooping in?

Don't get me wrong, after 2 days in the hospital following Stinky's arrival, I wanted my own clothes pretty badly. Having somebody else take care of that laundry, however, was worth wearing standard-issue hospital gowns.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Adventures of Stinky.

Yesterday, I heard him singing in the living room "I got boobs, I got boobs...." I couldn't imagine what on earth would prompt such a song. Then I saw. Then, I grabbed the camera and started singing, too.
For the last two days, he's decided that his bed (freshly laundered linens and all) is a toilet. I don't understand the logic that makes jumping in his own poop a fun thing to do, but he does, and apparently it's hilarious.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You may already be a winner!

Congratulations to Rachel at Made with Love and Glue (whose blog title I LOVE). You win our Family's Mix CD this year. Please e-mail your address to rae _ a drop of golden sun @ hotmail.com. I hope you enjoy it!

As for I Made It Monday... I'm still working on so many gifts for Christmas. I have finished two lap quilt tops in the last 4 days. I still have several gifts to go, but one that must be finished by tomorrow's lunch date. However, above you can see the pajama sets I've finished - one is for Stinky, the other is for my almost-sister-in-law. Hope she doesn't read here- if you do, please pretend to be surprised! I used the tutorial for pants from SouleMama's book The Creative Family (this book is and incredible source for parents and crafters alike.) You can find several tutorials for this online, though. It's not exactly how I did it, but this tutorial is really good.

This handmade Christmas thing seemed like a good idea at the time. I find myself saying that over, and over, and over again. How are there only 16 days left?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

'Tis better to give than receive.

Today is my birthday, and in honor of it, I'm putting upa wow-I-wish-I-were-a-big-cool-blogger-giveaway. It's nothing fancy, but I'm offerring our family's Christmas Mix CD for one of you this year. Because WBH hates most Christmas music (he worked in retail for too long), I try to find music that isn't overplayed, and I think I've got some really fun stuff pulled together- Barenaked Ladies, Jane Monheit, Jason Mraz, it's a good mix!

To be entered, comment here by Tuesday with your favorite Christmas song, just for fun, and I'll randomly select one on Tuesday. Mine is "I heard the bells on Christmas Day"

Got to run- WBH stayed home from work and jsut made me a HUGE yummy breakfast. How I love him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What goes around....

Dear Christine,

I am truly sorry for all the Sundays that Stinky, WBH and I sat behind you and your children at church, because they were more entertaining than the meeting. I apologize for how hard I laughed when one of your youngest said to his brother "I'm going to punch you in the nose until I kill you!" with a big ol' grin on his face. I understand if you hated us for laughing the time they tried to strangle eachother with their neckties.
You see, someone said to me last night "I so enjoy sitting behind you and your little boy at church on Sundays, you keep me awake all through the service," and now I know how it feels. I wasn't judging you as a mom. The Sunday you marched all of your children out into the hall for a talk about their behavior is in my top examples of awesome moms.
Thank you for not punching me in the nose, because I understand how it feels now. Clearly, what goes around comes around


Monday, December 1, 2008

Made it!

I'm glad the picture isn't very detailed, because, frankly, it's not very good. However, this doll quilt was a great learning experience for me.

First, learned how to do binding. With the exception of joining the ends together, it was much easier than I thought it would be. Second, change the top thread to white when machine-sewing the quilting. It will look much better (probably a duh, but this is my first quilt since making one for a church project 10 years ago or so). Third, handpiecing is nice that it's portable, but having a sewing machine now (HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY ME! WBH ROCKS!) made it speed along so much faster that I probably won't do it very often. Finally, I love the look of sewing it up before washing, then washing and drying the completed project. The wrinkliness really is as lovely as other bloggers said it would be.

I have no clue what to do with it now- much of it's pulled apart in the wash (another reason hand piecing probably won't happen often).

I Made it Monday: Oops

This week's I Made it Monday will happen tomorrow- I was up late last night finishing the project and forgot to take a picture. So, tomorrow, I'll be certain to have the picture up.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. WBH is back at work and we're both bummed out about that. Stinky made it through the weekend without saying anything that sounded profane (what was supposed to be flicker has become "fwicker" and I'll take it!). As for me, I'm pretty sure I gained back all that weight I lost. Back to work.