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Thrifty Living: How To Make A Terrarium Ornament

30 Jan

As you may remember, some friends and I decided to make this year a Handmade Christmas. What gifts I gave were either thrifted or handmade.  While browsing my local craft store for Halloween decorations in September I found a bin filled with these empty plastic ornaments and immediately I knew I’d be turning them into terrariums come December.

If you’ve never made a terrarium before I have a beginner’s tutorial as well as an assortment of terrarium inspiration and information. Terrarium ornaments are simple to make and it was fun to give my friends the gift of something green and growing during the cold winter months. The medium-sized ornaments were a $1.50 at my local craft store, which meant that even I could afford a bunch to give as presents.

Materials:

  • garden soil, preferably damp, hold the gravel
  • plastic ornaments from a craft store, medium-sized
  • paint brush or chopstick
  • tweezers
  • weeds, moss, or other small plants
  • a funnel (or a piece of paper cut to size and rolled to make a funnel)
  • a small shovel

If making tags like mine you’ll also need:

  • decorative paper
  • glue or rubber cement
  • scissors
  • pencil

Instructions:

1. Take your soil and mix in drops of water (or use a spray bottle) until you have damp–but not soggy–soil.  Soil with good drainage works well, so look for the kind that has bits of Styrofoam mixed in or that is specially made for succulents and cactus. Valley soil is perfect because it’s so sandy, but you probably don’t live near me, so look into your local soil first to see if you can use it straight from the ground like I did.

2. Remove the wire topping of your ornament and fill the it a third of the way full of soil using your trowel and funnel. Make sure any rocks or gravel pieces aren’t going in. While they are useful for drainage they also add weight, which we don’t want.

3. Gently pluck some weeds from the ground (or from the fancy container you purchased your plants in) leaving the roots intact. Gently use your tweezers and the stick end of your paintbrush or chopstick to poke your plant through the hole and arrange so the root side is in the dirt. This is the trickiest part, but also why weeds are a good choice: they are used to growing in challenging circumstances and bouncing back even after they’ve been shoved in a jar.

4. Add a few (very few) more drops of water, replace the top, and there you have it–and awesome handmade terrarium ornament that took you all of fifteen minutes to make.

Let’s say you are giving these as a present and want to make a gift tag like I did. No problem, it’s easy! I used the tags that were already attached to the ornaments because they were simple and sturdy.

1. Leaving the tag on the ornament, trace its shape onto a decorative piece of paper using a very sharp pencil. Include a mark for the center hole.

2. Cut out and use that tracing to make two tags for each ornament you are making.  Cut them out.

3. In each tag, cut a slit and a hole for the plastic ring to go through. This is difficult for me to explain, so if you need a visual, click here.

4. Glue the decorative paper to each side of the tag. I used rubber cement and then set a book on top of each tag to prevent warping.

5. Finally, add the person’s name or a holiday message with a pen. A really good idea would be to include simple care instructions on one side of the tag as terrarium maintenance isn’t exactly a common skill. I did not do this because I only just thought of it, but I wish I would have.

I tried making these with both the larger ornaments and the medium-sized ones and it turns out that the medium-sized ones are far better. I wanted the large ones to work because they could hold more plants and maybe even some plastic toys, but the thin wire ornament tops wouldn’t support all that weight and the whole thing kept falling apart. Not a good sign. The medium size worked perfectly.

You can decorate these with plastic toys as long as they are small, lightweight, and will fit through the opening. You can adjust them with your tweezers and paintbrush once they are in. Ribbon would be a lovely way to accentuate and hang these ornaments, too, if you don’t like the look of the plastic ring or the tag. The fact that these ornaments are so simple is what lends them great potential and versatility.

This project was extra thrifty since I had all the materials on hand except the ornaments. If you try this, please let me know! I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

1/25/12

25 Jan

What I’m up to:

– I am finally getting over a cold that’s left me barely functioning for the entire month of January. I know some of you were a little disappointed about the lack of a Follow Friday post last week, but I had been running on empty for days and halfway through editing I knew it was a lost cause. It will be back with a vengeance next week, though, so don’t worry. It’s not going anywhere! In the meantime, check out my new 50 Thrifty Fun Things To Do series. I’m drawing on all my experience of taking care of Isobel while working with a budget that dips into the negative numbers on a regular basis.

– Speaking of vengeance, last week I asked you to send in your questions about me so I could complete the versatile blogger award. I received  a bunch of emails, DMs and tweets after I threatened people to post Beck lyrics if no one responded. Well call me a dead hobo on the patio! After that threat I was inundated with responses so I will answer a couple per week until I make it through all of them. If you still have a question for me it’s not too late–email, tweet, comment, or DM me and I’ll answer it in a following Snapshot post.

– Isobel occasionally refers to Anthony as “Swiper.”

– Next month I’m going away with some friends to visit my dear friend Stephanie in Reno. I’m excited to cross this item off my life list, even though I’ll be going without Anthony and Isobel. Since we started a family Anthony’s gone away for work and fun a couple times, so now it’s my turn. I’m going to be going four hours away over Donner Pass with my besties. What could go wrong? P.S. Can you be kicked out of a state for being inappropriate? Asking for my friends. Specifically.

-Also, this is the first time I can remember going overnight somewhere without Anthony since 1998. Holy shit.

– Since I’ve been sick I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek, and, consequently, Isobel has watched a lot of Star Trek. Fortunately, she loves it and dances and shrieks with joy when she hears the theme song. I shit you not. It’s hilarious to hear her take on what she sees, too. To her, Klingons are lions, the Borg are robots, and Worf’s son Alexander is a girl.

– I have been getting more photography work, which is good because I feel really guilty about quitting my job to stay home with Isobel in such rough economic times. I’m not going to lie, we’re personally dealing with some rough finances and so are most of my friends. A friend recently sent me a link about the Ten Worst Cities for Finding a Job. If you look on that list, the first five cities are within about an hour from where I live. The other day a girl came to our door and asked if I had any scrap metal for her family to sell. It’s so bad  nearly grabbed my bindle, flung Isobel into a sack of potatoes, and rode the rails to Canada.

– Yesterday we were in line for checkout at the grocery store when I noticed Isobel was chewing on a head of broccoli. I let her. Because it was broccoli.

– One of my recent shoots has been for my bestie’s Etsy shop. She is selling some awesome Valentine’s cards, including robots, Alice in Wonderland, and my favorite, the Anti-Valentine. I really love the Eat Me/Drink Me tags. How perfect would those be attached to a plate of homemade cookies for a housewarming gift? Too perfect.

– If you’re into vintage clothes, check out my friend Valerie’s shop. She has been uploading like mad and I’m personally drooling over several dresses, particularly this 1960s rainbow dress. I probably shouldn’t show you this adorable children’s owl sweater or orange townhouse dress.

Little Big Links:

– Thank the Sweet Baby Picard Jesus those Princess Bride movie remake rumors are false.  Via Amanda Stretch

Goats in a tree. This is called “making my day.” Via Ian Boudreau

Reading Rainbow meets Star Trek. This derailed my whole afternoon. Via Veronique Rickets

– Good as backup NFMBFTKS, but not as primairy NFMBFTKS . Read the first review. For Samurai Ninja Rockstars, only. Via Chris.

Downton Abbey Drinking Game. To my utter delight, Anthony enjoys watching this with me–without drinking, even!

Feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships, in fact quite the opposite. A fascinating study. Via Justin

Weekly Photos:

Reader Question:

This post is running waaaay long, so I’ll answer just a few.

1. Why the Viking liking?

My family is Swedish-American on both sides, and we still have a pretty strong Swedish culture three generations out. I grew up with lots of stories about Sweden, about my pioneer relatives (it was all very Kirsten), and Scandinavian culture in general. I live in an area settled by many Scandinavian families and my parents used to be very involved in the local Scandinavian heritage festival. So it’s just something I grew up around.  That and vikings are badass.

2. Do you still go in your child’s room at night to see if she’s breathing?

Oh hell yes. Though my main paranoia is in regards to her choking. I still want to slice grapes into miniscule pieces for her. I got too far. It’s totally irrational. She has learned she can fake cough to get my attention because she knows I’ll come running.

3. Are you a loser, baby?

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey. Butane in my brain and I became the junky with the plastic eyeball. Spray paint the vegetables dog food skull with the beefcake pantyhose. Kill the headlights and put it in neutral. Stock car flaming with a loser in the cruise control. Baby’s in Reno with the vitamin D, got a couple of couches, sleep on the love seat. Someone keeps saying I’m insane to complain about a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt. Don’t believe everything that you breath you got a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve. So shave your face with some mace in the dark. Saving all your food stamps we’re burning down the trailer park.

Yo.

Cut it.

Don’t Bother to Bring Your Goat to the Antiques Roadshow

5 Jan

Snapshot

4 Jan

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

– I have so much to share, I don’t know where to begin.

– Christmas was great despite the head colds Isobel, Anthony and I succumbed to on Christmas Eve. As I mentioned in my scrapbook post, we ended up cancelling on three of our holiday activities and spent the day playing hours and hours of Mass Effect. Quality family bonding, obviously.

– I hope everyone saw this year’s Christmas card(s). It was difficult, but I think I managed to top last year’s.

– Isobel got a ton of new toys, which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, Yay, presents! on the other hand I now have a crap load of stuff to organize and fit in to our already toy-filled abode. She received lots of fancy, expensive toys, but the gift she liked the best (after the vintage 1983 Care-a-lot plus bears, obviously) were the inexpensive set of blocks from her grandparents. We enjoyed them, too. Perhaps being sick had something to do with it, but she spent Christmas day in a new-toy stupor.

– New Years’ was even better. As a family we had all recovered from our malaise and we spent two whole days eating, hanging out with friends who drove in from all over, and playing Scribblish, with hilarious results. We now have a new saying: “I’m trippin’ balls off that Care Bear stare!”

– I’m having a lot of fun thinking up new goals and items for my life list. I’ll share the revised version later this month.

– Remember when I set up a twitter account for Isobel so I could record her milestones, but instead it became yet another outlet for my ridiculousness? Me, neither. But the other day the idea suddenly popped into my head that I could use that account to tweet actual things she says to me, rather than things I made up based on my best assumptions and my faultless mother’s intuition. If you want to encourage me in my delusions or hear about how much she loves the Care Bears constantly, you can follow her on twitter here.

– Everyone deserves a little something pretty to start the new year off right, so don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a free Vegan-approved handmade bow from Inez Gill! These little babies are adorable and the contest is open until Friday. Don’t forget to follow Inez Gill on twitter. Not only will it give you an extra entry in the contest, but she tweets as a real person, not as a business, so she’s great to talk to as well.

– My friend Camilla sent me a whole box of cookbooks and they arrived just in time for Christmas. My favorites so far are the ones that involve cooking with kids, which she sent my way especially for Isobel. Right now our favorite is the Peter Rabbit and Friends Cook Book, which strangely had no recipes for hasenpfeffer.

Packing up Christmas is kind of a pain in the ass.

– I’m working on a special project for next week: the Best of Follow Friday 2011. I’m using my favorite 100 photos from last year and choosing the best of the best tweets from 2011 to create seven days of Follow Friday posts. The posts will not only highlight the funniest moments but it will also serve as a scrapbook of the year’s best photos and memories from 2011. I hope you all enjoy it.

– Really and truly, this was one of my favorite New Years of all time.

– I owe everybody (especially @turtleparade) a fabulous recipe for Roast Chickpeas. I haven’t forgotten. It’s coming and it will be worth the wait.

– My friend Korinne and I came up with the latest fad to lose your shit over: Mustache Bird. It’s going to be huge on Etsy.

Photos from the week:

Favorite Links:

– Vintage Alice in Wonderland invitations. I feel a themed party coming on. Via The Red Star Designs.

– My twitter wife shared this video with me: All the Single Ensigns.

– Dave Polak’s adorable kittens have started a Tumblr. As the Jennui once said, “The Internet is made of cats.

– Are you a new parent? Perhaps you’d enjoy the book Give Baldy Your Tit. Via Stray.

– The Dr and Mrs The Doctor Monarch sing Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Best of 2011: Scrapbook

29 Dec

These are my favorite Scrapbook and Adventure posts from 2011.

 

Snapshot

21 Dec

Here’s what I’m up to:

– Woohoo! I am late again this week. Go team.

– My friend Kristi made gingerbread chickens instead of gingerbread men and now I’m obsessed with the idea of making non-traditional gingerbread creatures.

– Have you seen Erin’s creative way her family counts down to Christmas? I couldn’t find a photo to link to, but she writes the count down on a chalk board in her family’s kitchen. It’s so adorable, it might be my favorite advent calendar idea yet. I found several chalkboards while thrifting. I’m going to give this a try next year.

Marie showed off a photo of her Hipster Analog PDA. Is it weird that I love seeing the handwritten way people keep track of things? When I still worked at the library I made my own datebook using a notebook and a due date stamp. Now I use a shared google calendar with my husband but I can’t leave the pen and paper world behind: I have a binder that contains all my ideas, my to do lists, important papers I need to have handy, and my menu plan for the week. I’ll show you sometime if you’re interested.

– Another friend named Erin is making a homemade Huckle for her lucky kiddo this Christmas. It is amazing. She is so talented.

– I’m going through the photos on my hard drive (er, hard drives. Let’s be honest, here) and I’m trying to delete the ones I don’t need to make room for future memories. I uploaded more photos from our trip to Cayucos last March for Chris and Jenn’s wedding.

– I recently got a spam comment that was left by “A Puppy.”

– I was having a terrible night until petersagal posted this tweet: Yo Yo Ma on the floor of a bathroom, with a wombat. Then he said, “There. I just justified the existence of Twitter.” Yes you did, good sir! Yes you did.

– While shopping for supplies for Handmade Christmas at Michael’s, we bought some (pink!) pipe cleaners and had some fun. All other games were quickly brought to a halt, however, when she discovered that I could shape them into hearts. Soon she had covered our tree in heart-shaped ornaments. It was so fun.

– My cat Poppy totally clotheslined herself on the Christmas tree garland this morning.

– I’ve realized that ironically it’s Rich People that are best able to pull off Handmade Christmas.  You have to really work to keep your crafts affordable, and they take so much time. Ideally, participants in Handmade Christmas are independently wealthy, so in addition to having all the funds they need at their disposal they can make their butlers help when their fingers get tired.

– I’m still getting more Christmas cards! Thank you so much, friends! But I’m still not returning the favor till after Christmas. Happy New Years cards are for the fashionably late.

– Speaking of cards, I’ve been doing more portrait work in time for the holidays. Earlier this week I shot the best portrait session of my life–a friend wanted to take the most awkward family Christmas photo with her brothers as their gift to their parents. Think matching sweaters, ridiculous headbands, and too-huge identical sets of plaid pajamas. It was epic and I learned it’s difficult to shoot while crying tears of laughter.

Photos:

I like big buns and I cannot lie.

Bring your pink purse with you on your walks.

Wearing your Flair to the grocery store.

Monorail Cat.

Handmade Christmas.

Multitasking.

Little Braid.

I do what I want.

Follow Friday: Christmas Elf

16 Dec

Today’s Follow Friday is brought to you by Isobel’s $1.oo thrift store Santa dress. It’s the miniature version of the Christmas dress of my dreams, and since it just barely fits her this is probably the only time she will get to wear it. I’m trying to get as much mileage out of it as possible.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

rileyroxme Can’t wait for the day C.P.S shows up and they’re like “Twitter.” and I’m like “Hold on while I livetweet this blowjob.”

JulieFredericks Newt is having a surge. Gross.

suitcasetricks Email from my husband: “I love you and the Hamburger Helper I’m eating for breakfast.” This guy really knows how to talk to the ladies.

thejohnblog My boss is in the stall next to me. Is it brown nosing if I periodically say “Good one, boss?” Because OH GOD HE TAPPED MY FOOT

dadourianbow Get the fuck outta here you beanie wearing motherfucker. #MerryDissmas

MmeSurly Ruby just called the bad guy from Inspector Gadget “Dr. Claus” which explains why she’s been so nervous lately.

shariv67 I never thought I’d see a day when our phones were smarter than us, and yet here we are.

ProfessorSnack Crotchety: pertaining to the groin. “After a week of not bathing, he smelled crotchety.”

michellehudson Getting in a very sappy life-loving mood this morning. Must be the second cup of coffee.

eliza_evans Do not sign a professional email with ‘Hugs!’ Just don’t.

milonguera @MeganBoley I quoted The Jerk in a reply yesterday. And then favorited myself. Super winner.

neiltyson Suffering existential angst over a Pluto-less mnemonic? Try “My very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos”

MeganBoley And yet, I find myself quoting Anchorman in my inner dialogue multiple times a day. So I guess my inner dialogue is obnoxious.

Lilacmess @exlibris You can see Avery Brooks trying to keep that crazy tamed but sometimes he has to let it run free.

simontarr Having an allergic reaction to something. My eyes are so swollen I look like a UC Davis student.

sween Sometimes I see parents with their kids and I get jealous. [Sips beer. Plans leisure activities. Counts disposable income.] So jealous.

jberthume The Dew is required. I am doing it.

ProfessorSnack I just want to get toned enough that dogs want to hump my leg again. #NewYearsResolution

MmeSurly I think Gwyneth Paltrow and I have a lot in common. For instance: I think we both hate Gwyneth Paltrow.

AuntiPax Oh THAT was the deputy? Ok then I guess I shot him too. My bad.

MariaMelee The BBQ I had for lunch is haunting me in a profound way.

pnkrcklibrarian Aging, alternative hipsters apparently spend their nights stuffing balls and listening to a lecture on land tax in England from 1692 – 1963

MrWordsWorth Zombies celebrate the holidays with a Perducken: a person stuffed with a duck and a chicken.

shelldash Google Music is apparently offering me (ME!) “free Dave Matthews Band concerts”. Wondering if Bing Music might counter with “free earplugs”.

CandyWarhole You don’t know what you got ’til its diagnosed by a licensed physician.

theRratedBull When Texans ask me why I moved to Kansas I just tell ’em I’m a storm chaser because it’s the only reason they could possibly comprehend.

ecsuperhero I have the best work Secret Santa. So far I’ve gotten a wine glass and a McDonald’s g/c. Alcohol and fatty food? YOU COMPLETE ME, SANTA.

sgnp If you want to know how long a minute is, my daughter will be happy to ask you every single second of one.

badbanana My favorite holiday drink is the Little Drummer Boy. It’s one part rum, three parts pum.

donni Tuneless whistling is about to be the #1 cause of murder-suicides on this bus.

slackmistress I don’t think I know who Ryan Gosling is which is probably a sign that my ladyparts are going to fall out.

sarcasmically …Is UPS not doing too well? Because the UPS man just rolled up to my house in a golf cart.

jenstatsky A lot of oddly-shaped presents get a bad wrap.

sarcasmically Just yelled “USE YOUR WORDS” at the whining dog, so it’s probably time I called it a day.

rstevens Warning to all who visit: My wifi is now called Invisible Touches

badbanana “I enjoy working with a hammer, but I don’t want a blue collar job.” – Everyone who eventually becomes a judge.

theleanover If reality was better we probably wouldn’t need pretend talking.

pilotbacon I only drink coffee so I can stare at a blank Final Draft document for longer than usual.

mikeleffingwell Super surprised to find out the most popular song played at orgies is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”

johnmoe Still unclear whether the next debate will be hosted by Larry the wacky neighbor from Three’s Company or Jo from Facts of Life.

mylifeasadad I’m scraping Alela’s two day old butternut squash purée off my sweater because really, no one will ever know.

tommycm if today were a labrador, i’d have it humanely put down.

steenyweeny i’m named after an ancient sumerian god who used a giant spiked hockey stick to clobber the skulls of those who said ‘holy doodle’ too much.

sarcasmically When is “fuckton” going to be officially accepted as a unit of measurement? –because it is probably the one I use most.

ohnoCAPSLOCK Jack is having a growth spurt. I just leaked milk through a breast pad and three layers of shirts. #sexyandclassy

davepolak I am coming up with my strategic game plan to maximize the amount of ham I eat over the holidays.

sgnp Not a big fan of someone entering the restroom immediately after me and then choosing the stall next to mine, like we’re in a horrible race.

JRehling Like my desk wasn’t messy enough already, now it’s totally covered with Higgs Bosons.

InfiniteChicken You haven’t heard Christmas music until you’ve heard it in a lobby, transposed into augmented minors by a jazz combo.

RailbirdJ Worst Christmas gift? A dolphin t-shirt. Take a second to look at my avi. Do I look like a dolphin guy to you?

helgagrace It’s that time of year! People coming in to the library to find out their property values.

ajthizzle Ok. I need to do something productive. Butt, say goodbye to couch. No, don’t linger. It’s better this way.

MassageByTed In the way that protesters sometimes throw red paint on people in furs, I propose throwing some sort of ersatz jizz on guys in Tapout gear.

apodixis I don’t really want to go to Funkytown, to be honest.

BillCorbett I finally get it! “We built this city on rock-and-roll,” meaning they smothered and crushed rock-and-roll under huge buildings, killing it.

EvenMoreSarah Me to the dog: “Come here, little fellow.” My BF: “Did you just call the dog a dildo?” Oh sure, *I’m* the one who needs my ears cleaned

JerryThomas Klout “believes” that I am “influential about iPhone.” Do you hear that, iPhone? (give me a free iPhone)

CParkhurst1 I strongly suspect that after the fourth day of Christmas, someone started dropping hints that more bird gifts would not be appreciated.

MisterSnuggl3s I have to carb load before brushing my teeth. In case you were curious about what kind of athlete I am.

Patheticist You can unconditionally love children and animals, other adult humans must have a few conditions.

hipstermermaid Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before weed, forget how to rhyme.

MeganBoley Twitter, I never say goodnight to you. I always just doze off in mid-conversation like we are at a 5th grade sleepover. Goodnigdkendkjszzzzz

CanuckLibrarian Sometimes you just need a little Kool & the Gang.

kaitlin_olson My boobies are getting big. I want to say that makes up for not being able to drink, not sleeping well and often peeing my pants.

RothNotIRA “I love you dada. I love you couch.” Well, at least I’m on par with furniture.

corrinrenee Autocorrect just changed my name to Cotton Floater.

SpaghettiJesus EVERY KNIFE BEGINS WITH KAY. #HappyHolidays

theleanover If I was a Hispanic hair dresser I would name my salon “Jesus Dyed.”

NoReservations What Would Jesus Eat? Apparently pigeon.

muffpunch “Who’s this Ting Ting person and why is he in my CD player?” Oh, mom.

apelad Why is everyone so concerned about my eyesight? Every email I get begins with “having trouble viewing this message?” The answer is no!!

Greeblemonkey We’re working on more homemade Christmas presents tonight, which basically means I am covered head to toe with modpodge.

cheekyattitude Took a while, but I overcame my fear of butternut squash.. in its defense, it wasn’t really trying to maim me.

burnstand AWW YEAH! Dropping food flakes in to my brand new keyboard! This thing is gonna be disgusting before you can say “gluttony”!

notthatkendall In the massage train of life, I am on the wrong end.

mikeleffingwell There are no atheists in foxholes. All foxes are Hindu.

The_Pigeon Just did a 5K run. I put 5 thousand dollars in my pants & got outta there.

DachsundDays And I saw a gigantic evil badger on a throne with 13 chihuahuas at his feet, yipping the theme from The Omen . . .

NicLewis “The best part of waking up? No, you’ve got Folgers in your cup.” #HonestSlogans

SpaghettiJesus “The world runs on starch and animal fat” #honestslogans

ecareyo It’s almost like the E! channel specifically knows that I’ll dedicate many hours watching a countdown of the most notorious lady murderers

JohnFugelsang Mitt Romney is as genuine as a mass emailing from Phoenix University.

JerryThomas If you need anybody to lie utterly motionless on the couch for six hours tomorrow let me know.

CorporateMonkey “only way I’m dropping trou in front of that many people is if there are Quaaludes involved.” -actual convo occurring in my office right now

ncguk “We spent so long looking for the Higgs boson, and all the time it was in our hearts.” — Higgs Boson Christmas Special

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

Snapshot

14 Dec

Here’s what I’m up to:

– I’m very late with this post! I’d like to blame it on the cold I’ve had for the last three days but as time wears on and I’m still feeling The Ick I’m wondering if it’s not a cold after all and if instead it’s related to my weird blood problem that almost certainly isn’t cancer. Let’s hope it’s just a cold or maybe my Crohn’s acting up. Either way I’m so happy I am home because calling out sick to work always made me feel horribly guilty and in the end I was taking care of the baby anyway. Since yesterday I really wasn’t feeling my day was much Care Bearier than usual.

– I decided that since I was on bed rest (couch rest, technically) I should make myself useful so I uploaded a ton of old photos to IG and flickr to clean them off my phone. When I say I a ton I mean a ton.

– Last weekend was my friends’ annual holiday party and we spent a large portion of the night drinking eggnog, eating homemade flautas and chocolate chip cookies and singing weird Christmas carols. Have you ever looked at some of the lyrics to your favorite carols? They are strange, and not just the ones that were written several hundred years ago. Jingle Bells seems to be about getting some and that made us realize there is a theme: hymns are about Jesus (makes sense) while secular Christmas songs, by and large, seemed to be about Doing It. So, not really different from regular music.

My phone is gaining sentience and it wants to cuddle.

– I found this dress while thrifting last week and I used it to transform Isobel into a Christmas Elf for the party. Anthony was sure the dress would never fit her just because it was labeled 12 months, but every woman knows that sizes are big fat liars. I held it up to her and it looked just about right and the material had plenty of stretch and give to it. It was a little short in the sleeves and she may never wear it again, I’ll take it.

This is still the preciousssssss.

– A month ago Isobel scratched her face and since then the wound hasn’t healed because she keeps picking at the scab when we’re not looking. At two years of age she’s already learned to savor the fruit of rebellion. Anthony and I have been dealing with this problem by putting ointment and one of those small circular spot bandages on it but she keeps ripping them off, too. We’ve become so desperate I’ve tossed around the idea of getting her one of those cones like you get for dogs to keep them from worrying their wound after surgery. Apparently they don’t make them for toddlers so I’m stuck trying to decide if she’s pug or Jack Russel Terrier-sized.

– My friend Justin probably thinks I’m a horrible mother for suggesting a neck cone. He’s in favor of hand cones.

– The Christmas season is upon us and I wanted to direct your attention toward some very awesome Etsy shops (besides mine, ahem ahem). My bestie makes awesome holiday cards, birthday invites, and baby announcements. She’s flexible and will work with you on custom designs. Her shop is The Red Star Designs. My twitter friend Kelly has just opened the most amazing shop featuring pins, bags and other crafts based on her illustrations. Her shop is Let’s Die Friends. For the post-apocalyptic, urban decay fan that has everything, send them a Postcard from the Wasteland via Sharp Shiny Claws. And even though I’m quite proud to have created the slogan “Novel Accessories” for my friend Lisa’s shop, Excessively Diverting, she’s thinking of changing it to “YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE MY BALLS.” You most certainly will! Like my bear ears? A friend of mine knits similar ones and sells them at her shop, Knit in Public. And last but not least, my friend Val has some adorable vintage items and kid clothes in her Etsy shop, Little Weird Hen.

– Last year I created a couple of gift guides for the holidays:

– Holiday cards are pouring in and I have yet to even print mine out. Cards from us may not happen until after the new year so if you haven’t received one from us it’s not because you aren’t awesome. It’s because I’m not awesome. And speaking of Christmas cards, my friend April sent me an email about sending holiday cards to our men and woman overseas, particularly one service member she’s friends with. Her note said,

I have a friend in the military and he’s currently serving in the Middle East and he’s away from his little daughter for the holidays for the first time… I keep hearing from everyone what a morale booster mail call is for our service members overseas and I thought it would just bring him a huge smile if he got a few extra holiday cards this season…from people he doesn’t even know…  So, as you’re finishing up your holiday cards, would you address one to Scott?  To send a card to an APO, you only need a regular first class stamp.  And I imagine a few extra cards this holiday season would make being away from his little one a little more tolerable.

Scott Lefton
Australian DET
Camp Alamo
APO AE 09320

For the price of a first class stamp and one of your extra holiday cards, you can make his holiday a little brighter. And to make yours a little brighter, here are our Christmas Card Outtakes from 2008.

Scrapbook: Christmas Parade

11 Dec

We went to the local Christmas parade last weekend with our friends the Waltons and the Serios. It was Isobel’s fourth parade but the first one she was aware of what parades actually were. Valerie brought a surprise for the kids–glow sticks, which (unsurprisingly) were a huge hit. Note to self bring glow sticks to the parade next year. They’d also be really fun during fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Each time a float rolled past us Isobel called it a bus, and she kept saying, “I want to go on the bus! Mama and Isobel go on the bus.” She said it so firmly, as if she said it with enough conviction it would come true. I didn’t feel like lugging my regular camera around so instead I packed Camera Jr, which means the photos are kind of terrible but I love them nonetheless.

Snapshot

22 Nov

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

– Last week our dear friends from Reno came to visit. Isobel and Kingston showed off for them by using the dress up chest to transform into Inspector Fabulous and Sargent Spectacular and by knocking over the cat scratching post and riding it again. Speaking of the dress up chest, a couple people asked me about what I use for storage. Everything except the hats fit in this green tub that we keep in our library. I don’t expect to keep everything in there forever, though, especially since we’re nearing capacity and I am not at all done gathering items for the chest. I suspect we’ll eventually move everything over to the thrifted green chest in the living room. Right now it holds puzzles and an assortment of random toys.

– A lot of people I know are already gearing up for the holidays. Last year my friend Angela made some printable gift tags for Little Big readers. They are adorable and available for free, and I’m all about anything that will help me get that much more prepared for Christmas.

– I got a lot of progress accomplished on my gigantic Etsy project. I’m pretty much done with the first part, the sorting and organizing, and the storing and packing part. Now I just have to go through the sixteen boxes I packed away and get things photographed and listed. And then I can go thrifting again. Yay!

– I am addicted the avocado-veggie spring rolls they make and sell at my supermarket.  I want to take long walks with them and compose poetry inspired by them and tenderly lick up all the sweet chili ginger sauce they come with. I look forward to grocery shopping specifically so I can take some home with me.

– I’m grateful that  my MIL likes to dress Isobel up as a cream puff and have her picture taken as Santa’s Little Christmas Prisoner. I love them not only because not only am I her mother, but because I possess a keen enjoyment of the ridiculous. She even got a few shots with the pink purse, Isobel’s constant companion.

– Last weekend I got to spend some time with friends I met on the internet. They are so great! And totally not murderers! And they like me! But probably only because I didn’t scream “I AM NOT A MURDER, EITHER!” when we met for dinner.

Things that also happened:

Inadvertent mother-and-son-wardrobe coordination.

Blanket forts.

My current favorite photo of Kingston.

Isobel has a hard-knock life.

Fabulousness.