I've been to Curves already this morning, so I'm not as lazy as I appear
I went twice yesterday
I've also been basement crawling this morning, seems the policy wasn't in the filing cabinet where it should be, but rather, in one of the many boxes of paperwork buried deep. That was a workout onto itself
Enjoying my third cup of coffee 'bout now
Everyone is home for the 12th day in a row. Wheeee.
The van runs now - it was the distributor cap
I have another post planned for later
I'm still mailing Christmas cards. heh.
I'm still having a hard time remembering what day it is - it's Tuesday, right?
Grocery shopping day.....we go thru a lot of milk when everyone is home
I've been introduced to Karen Kingsbury books - talk about a bawl fest
We have no snow but for a few random dirty looking piles here and there. bah.
Brian (the 3 year old) is having a hard time adjusting to everyone being home so many days in a row
The tree is still up - the goal is to take it down before Pa does - he doesn't do such a good job putting the ornaments away
But we won't talk about that
My left tube fell out the other day
But so far I can still hear
Did you know that ear doctors go on vacation before the kids are even out of school? True story.
I had called him because my right ear (not the ear that the tube fell out of) was bleeding. I'm still waiting for him to call me back - 14 days later
Wendy is really enjoying sewing - today she is working on practicing while making a blanket for her American Girl doll
We're going to need to go thread shopping soon
This photo reminds me of the song, You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille..... because my cousin Steve H. used to tell me this joke. He'd say - what song did the trucker sing as he was driving down Quincy Hill and one of his wheels fell off? Answer: You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel. hahaha. I always thought that was the best joke.
Speaking of jokes - did I tell you that Pa and I went to Borders the other night? He had a gift certificate. What did he buy? A joke book. A dumb joke book. A joke book combined with everyone home for 18 days is enough to have me running for the border. I'm settling for twice a day runs to Curves - it's as far as I can afford to run right now. ;)
Seems like I had another ramble, but I'm not recalling it right now - but I'll be back later
okay, actually - the mailman didn't get this this year - but the year that we did make one for him, he came back and told me that his wife proclaimed it the best gift he ever got from his route. I raised the bar too high that year and he's been disappointed ever since. Live and learn.
This year, the hairdresser got one - only because I walked out with her Christmas tip x 3 haircuts that night in early December, and because I think it's a good idea to take care of the lady who holds scissors to my noggin every five weeks. So her and Wendy's teacher. Well - we're planning to make one for the teacher - the hope is that she'll get one this year thanks to the fact that the last day of school was a snow day, thus delaying the Christmas party and gaining me an 18 day recovery time to pretend that I'd been on the ball all along. A snow day that actually worked in my favor - whooda thunk?
So anyway - onto the gift. The kids LOVE to help with these. I normally theme them - for instance, the year the mailman got one if I remember correctly - he got the one with a mug, hot cocoa, that sort of thing. The theme was to stay warm.
For this one, I went with color and kept things mostly green and blue. Except the wrapper - we totally went off the wagon there, but I was rushed, what can I say...I just survived the craziest December of my whole forty-one years.
So, do you wanna see what we made? I tend to ramble, don't I?
Okay - first - we use 2 liter soda bottles. We don't drink a lot of soda in this house, so I have been known to buy soda specifically so we can do these. For those of you that don't know - these are refundable in Michigan, we pay 10 extra cents for our soda at the register and return these for 10 cents. Or eat the 10 cents and use them for projects. It's cheap entertainment, I figure.
Are you ready for the project?
It was hard to take a picture of this clear bottle one handed - but the first thing you do is rinse out the bottle really well (save the cap) and tear off the label. Once the label is off it's not longer returnable for you Michiganders - so there's no turning back now.
Then - when it's all nice and dry - cut a door. I often dry it out just a little bit more after cutting the door, by way of putting my hand inside with a paper towel or rag and running it around the inside picking up any condensation that is stuck in there after washing.
I tend to cut my doors about five inches across by three inches deep - but I never measure - this visual was just for you guys. I'm totally a wing it girl - whatever works, yanno?
This was the bulk of what went into this particular bottle. I enjoy using some type of shredded packaging - in this case the green shiny stuff - to camouflage the insides a bit and make it just that much more fun. Tissue paper doesn't have quite the same appeal for this project - unless it's shredded into strips.
Then we start dropping things into the hole, kinda poking and arranging as we go. It can be tricky - but again, fun. I stuff the shredded shiny stuff as I go. When everything is in - use some clear packaging tape to tape the door shut.
Technically - I guess it doesn't really have to be clear since it'll be hiding by your wrapper anyway - but I like clear. It keeps me calm. It's similar to knowing that the insides of my dresser drawers are neat and tidy despite the fact that nobody but me ever sees them. Calming. Clear. Clean.
Next - is the wrapper. Now - I used to use sticker paper for the wrapper and if I ever remember to buy some again - I'd prefer that. But I'm forgetful and I don't have any sticker paper in the house anymore - so I had to go a different route.
Also - for you scrapbookers out there - 12" patterned paper doesn't quite go around. I know - crazy, huh? You would think it would - but it doesn't. Trust me. Over an inch short and as annoying as heck. Of course, it could be pieced, or the open area could be used to place a to/from label - all sorts of possiblities.
Also - I have mailed these - but that was ages ago when I mailed the last one - at least 8 years ago - so I'm not sure what they are okaying and not okaying at the post office anymore. My data is dated.
For this wrapper - I used gift wrap. The tree I made originally to cover the space when I used patterned paper. That attempt didnt' go real well and that pop bottle is currently helping me make some ice candles, but that's another story. So for this one - I used gift wrap, my tree tag, some Bazzill trim for the border and clear tape to stick it all on.
I covered the lid with just a bit of tissue and bakers twine - quick and easy.
And if I hadn't been in such a hurry to get this done and delivered before she left her last day of work - I'd have taken better pictures....but you know me. It was a hit at the hair salon - and again, fun to do.
Our power went out last night, and we have some big limbs down in the back yard, nothing major tho. We're also out of milk and the van won't start - and we don't all fit in the second vehicle.
Life's a hoot.
So let's talk Christmas, shall we?
Wendy got a sewing machine. I was actually eyeballing this last year, and decided to wait a bit. Then, just after Christmas, when it went half off - I bought it and put it away. Then, when this year came - I almost didn't give it to her. Her attention span can be very short at times, and I just wasn't sure if she was ready. Then there was the question of where to keep it/use it. Her room is the playroom - and she shares a room with Brian. The kitchen table doesn't work for the same reasons - the boys would be relentless.
Well, due partially to the fact that the Christmas fund ran dry and partially because I didn't have any other bright ideas - we did give it to her. And she nagged me for three full days to help her set it up. Nothing makes me feel worse then giving a kid a gift and not having time to help set it up, but I really didn't - I had commitments to finish.
Finally, in between commitments yesterday, I found time to help her at the pace I prefer. Relaxed - instructive - patient. And she loved it. She practiced for hours and didn't want to stop. We set it up right next to my sewing machine in our room and she went to town.
I think it's a good thing
eta: here's the link for the sewing machine - I got lucky and got it on clearance for $55. We've only used it one day so I don't have a solid review yet, but it was recommended to me by a friend and it does have good reviews here.
I'm feeling a bit better - still not sure what hit me, and I know I'm not completely up to snuff because I'm tiring quickly - but I'm better. Which is good, cuz I ain't got time for no bugs!
So - back to the Laakso gift exchange. Pa made my mother a walking stick
Walking sticks are hard to photograph - I didn't measure it, but I think it's just over five feet tall. Or shorter.
And my table was not greasy - it was freshly washed. I was just in a hurry. Typical.
My brother Dennis had my brother Brian - and he made him a guitar out of a cigar box....it was really cool.
Brian had Terri, and he took a very neat shot of a flower - I was hoping it would be on his flickr account, but it is not
Terri had Pa - and it's coming. Soon.
Shannon had me, and she braided me a cool rug to match my kitchen - it's been keeping our toes cozy when we're washing dishes.
Kevin had Shannon, and he made her a cool box that was supposed to be a sewing box but could really be any kind of box and it even came with a boxed set of Waylon CD's. That's cheating - but I'm so impressed with her good taste in music that I'm willing to overlook it.
My dad had Kevin, and he took a very cool photo - impressive because his camera has been in the box it came in for about five years, never used - and framed it. All just days before Christmas.
My mom made my brother Dennis a quilt, and it matches their living room
After the adult exchange, we played the dollar game - a game that went on about 20 minutes too long - but it was fun.
I think I had the most fun watching these two clowns tho. Their packages were all wrapped in blue - and they'd get the giggles everytime one of the little kids got close to picking one. Rebecca - four - picked the first one, and once she decided on the blue packages she was picking them each time - and from turnip greens, to travel mugs, to whatever other oddball items my brothers found for a dollar - she was all sorts of fired up. On turnip greens. I was a bit photo lazy, so I didn't get a photo of that.
But just imagine, a kid fired up on turnip greens. It was priceless.
Now - tomorrow I'll try to share what my kids got - I finally got around to helping Wendy with hers this evening. I was kicking myself for getting her a couple of high maintenance/assistance type gifts - but after tonight I've decided it was worth it. How's that for a suspense filled ending? :)
I'm here. With a near two year old Mark on my lap helping me bang keys.
I'm feeling a little off this morning. Pa and I went on a cheap date last night - he had a gift certificate from Borders, I had a gift certificate from Starbucks. We shared. But I think I should have ordered what he did - very soon after I finished my drink I was doubled over with bad stomach cramps - I'm really not sure if it was food poisoning or not - but it kinda knocked my socks off for the evening and this morning I'm a little dragging - but nothing like last night.
I just sent Pa and the three oldest to absorb one more take at The Henry Ford as our membership expires in a couple days. I'm trying to get my class done, and counting the minutes until I put the youngest for a nap.
I feel like I still have so many pictures and stories to share, and not enough hours in a day. Yesterday I felt like the whole month of December caught up with me. Today found us sleeping in late and two of us (the girls) still in our pajamas at 11:30 am.
But it's time to get busy - the kids don't have any kids clothes, I have another class due, general maintenance and cleaning - that sort of thing. So I'll spread my photo sharing out over a few days.
I'll begin with the gift I made.
I had, a long time ago, linked to a very cool piece of art on etsy. The creator has since taken it down but what I remembered of the piece is that it had old black and white photos on wood - and that it looked really cool. My idea kind of stemmed from that.
I headed out to my friends woodpile a few days ago, trying to find a piece that fit the image in my head. This wasn't exactly it, but we made it work.
I think it's interesting how projects progress - not always like we imagine in our heads, but how they might fall due to circumstances, chance, procrastination - you know, that sort of thing.
My plan was to actually adhere the photo directly to the wood, but when it came down to it - I couldn't do that. I have a hard time actually adhering heritage photos - even in my scrapbooks I've made them all so that they can be removed easily. This particular picture is my dad and his brother Ed - Ed died of cancer more than a few years ago already, so that picture has that much more meaning.
I decided to put glass instead. The tricky part was finding a piece of glass that fit my last minute - just hours before the party - change of mind. I quickly scooted thru the house taking a glass inventory as I went, and landed upon a perfect size frame on our dresser - in which held (held) a picture of Pa's folks. That frame is now glassless - as it was a perfect fit here.
The glass was also very brittle - so I wrapped it in gaffer tape. Even then, it cracked (in the lower left corner) as I was placing it. Allan and I decided that it adds to the art, I dare you to disagree. ;)
I had also originally planned on just having the hole for hanging - as I remembered from my inspiration - but then decided that I wanted a hanging option. Pa has this cool waxy thread that reminds me of macrame stuff - I used that to braid a hanger. I kinda think it adds a little something.
I had originally planned on three, side by side - but as I was hunting pictures to fit - I wasn't finding the right mix.
As it turns out - I have my dad's name next year as well - so perhaps he'll get the other two then, whaddya think?
As I was typing this, my mom called to say that her gift arrived so I can share pictures of that too - I'll do that later with the others. For now tho - I've got a shower to take, some laundry to put going, and a class to write!
Enjoy the day! Stay safe - we're in the midst of ice here - pretty, dangerous. I'm glad we decided on not traveling, but I know that so many of our friends and family are - so again, be safe.
Have I mentioned that I get a Santa carving every year? Meet year three - my favorite so far (I say that for all of Pa's carvings)
I also got some bling. Can you guess which one I got this year? I wore it all day long.
I still have party/gift exchange photos to process and share - but gosh, if I don't feel like I've been run over by a mac truck, left on the side of the highway, dragged by a tow truck - by my toes, and trampled by children and denied sleep for three weeks. So hopefully I'll get to those tomorrow.
Until then - be good! 364 more days until we do this again!
Here's a treasure. Just sitting here, trying not to nod off - waiting for some (four) kids to fall asleep - you get the drift.
I ran across this picture this afternoon when I was looking for a piece for my dad's gift (which I did get done with plenty of minutes to spare, by the way, thank you veddy much) and I knew I had to share it.
We used to spend our Christmas Eve's with my mothers side of the family - I'm the one with the braids on Santa's knee. I was just coming out of only-child'dom at this time - my brother Dennis having been born a month and a half earlier. That tall blond with the updo is my cousin Lynette, holding up her brother Greg. My cousin Debbie is making some good eye contact with Santa there and Danny is at my side.
I'm thinking I should have been more like Debbie - she probably got what she wanted from Santa that year wheras the evidence shows that I was disappointed.
I still have a few cards sitting on the counter here - one for an aunt and uncle I thought were coming down for the holiday, another for a friend that moved, some that I tried hand delivering and didn't see in church *ahem* - but for the most part, they've all been sent out.
This layout was created for that class - I think the story behind the card is often worth sharing, don't you? Here's the journaling in case it's too hard to read there:
I have a feeling that more than one person is going
to ask what Brian is laughing about in our Christmas card photo. Truth, I almost
included both shots on the card but then thought – nah- let them wonder. Completely unprompted and
unexpected – our silly
Brian wiggled his butt at the photographer – ME-
and faked a, um, toot. (This layout is being used for one of my classes – I
must be proper) The expressions that followed were priceless – and so very
Christmas card worthy!
Happy Holidays one and all! May those that are traveling have a safe journey May those that are lonely, find comfort amongst friends May those that are worried about the future, not worry May those that are givers - receive blessings unknown to others and may you all know peace and joy!