Tag Archives: Handmade Christmas

Crafty: The Heart-Shaped Box

17 Jan

I am so excited to finally share this project with you. I really didn’t do much in the way of handmade gifts for Isobel this year. Focusing on thrifting, hosting Christmas, and just being with my family took up most of my time so I thought I really wouldn’t bother with handmade gifts for Isobel. She is just swimming in toys and things she carries around to play with that aren’t toys, and I knew she’d be getting piles of stuff for Christmas, so it was easy to justify not making her a bunch of gifts. And I’ve already explained my theory of thrifted gifts and why I’m an asshole anyway. But, when the Pixie and I stopped by the craft store a week before Christmas to pick up supplies for the gift I was making my friends, I couldn’t pass up this sweet little paper heart box for 99 cents.

Using craft paint I already had, I used time when Isobel was with Grandma to paint layer after layer of pink paint on the brown paper surface. I decided to paint the inside of the box red to make it stand out more, which I don’t regret but made the whole thing more complicated because each mistake meant waiting for paint to dry to apply another layer to fix the errant blotches.

The craft store also had these fantastic jewels for three bucks, and I can’t think of a more perfect treasure to fit inside. Isobel adores her heart box, and I’m so glad I took the time to make it. Total cost of the project was less than five bucks. Although I made this as part of Handmade Christmas, wouldn’t this be the perfect Valentine gift, or even project, if your little one was school-aged? It could be filled with chocolate and covered with doilies or modge-podge.

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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.

It is I, the Christmas Asshole – A Thrifted Christmas

20 Dec

Anthony and I are not going to tell Isobel about Santa. We are the type of asshole parents that approach child-rearing with the aim to be as open and truthful (and developmentally appropriate) with our child as possible. That’s not to say she won’t find presents waiting for her under the tree on Christmas morning, or that we are going to squash other children’s belief in the big guy. She’ll know all the myths and stories about him, but they will remain just that: myths and stories. Besides, lots of people this time of year are so keen on telling everybody that Santa isn’t the reason for the season anyway, so I don’t think this deviation from the parenting norm should really be all that big of a deal.

To reiterate, though: I do not care if you wholeheartedly encourage your child to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Loch Ness Monster or the viability of a Republican candidate for the presidency. Santa is small potatoes in the big scheme of parenting and it’s not worth making a fuss over. I truly believe that in this regard parents make their own rules for the household and it’s not my place to judge. Or care.  So why don’t we focus on what matters: presents.

If Isobel asks why we don’t believe in Santa we are going to tell her about the universal spirit of generosity and goodwill Santa represents. It sounds better than saying, “Honey, we believe in science!” but it means the same thing. “Yes, we believe in science. That’s why this year you’re getting Quantum Presents this Christmas, my dear! This one’s from someone named Schrödinger. Your present may or may not be a dead cat. Don’t open the box, sweetheart! That ruins the mystery.”

Since we are embracing the Handmade & Vintage Christmas this year I have been saving up thrifted items for her since this summer. I can’t wait for her to discover these gifts under the tree:

BAM! You just got Care Bear Stared IN THE FACE! You now possess the uncontrollable urge to share.

Can you believe I found the vintage 1983 Care-A-Lot for thirty cents? Thirty cents! I nearly died. After I found that I won Funshine, Tenderheart, Cheer Bear, and Friendship Bear on eBay for seven bucks. Earlier in the year I made a major CB faux pas when I failed to remember the correct name is “Funshine Bear” instead of “Sunshine Bear.” Multiple people came forward to tell me what’s what. This lead Anthony and I to have a discussion about The Care Bears Cousins. Remember them? If you don’t I’ll jog your memory: their names, according to my perfect memory, were Lion-O, Trumpet Face, and Hippo. Since that incident I’ve collected several stuffed Care Bees (as they are known in my household) at thrift stores and yard sales.

Isobel spends about 90% of her daily vocalizations requesting I turn on the Care Bears. Of those times it’s an even split between asking if she can watch “Care Bears,” meaning the Big Wish movie, or “Different Care Bears” meaning any of the newer Care Bee movies that are out. Big Wish is by far her favorite, and I’ve had it on so often that I’ve unconsciously started singing the songs only to be found out and heckled by Anthony. LET YE WHO HAS NEVER SUNG ‘I LIKE FISH’ IN THE VOICE OF TOODEE CAST THE FIRST STONE, ANTHONY.

Before our household underwent a freeze on any non-crucial spending I did pick up a few other things while thrifting and out and about at Michael’s. These presents are for Isobel’s stocking. Er, except the globe, which won’t really fit. But damn, three dollars for a vintage globe that still includes Rhodesia and the USSR? That shit is coming home with mama.

I bought her two kazoos because she’s going to need one each for her and Kingston when he comes over to play. Last summer we got her together with the neighbor kids and made an impromptu marching band with their musical instruments. Imagine the melodious sounds of seven kids, all under the age of 11, banging on drums, wailing on the recorder, and clashing the cymbals as they marched down the street. A ruckus like that is a surefire way to make our property values skyrocket.

That train whistle in the photo above is supposed to be for ages 5 and up. This confuses me as it has no small parts and my child can exhale just as well, if not better than, your average five year old. That’s my baby! She sure can breathe out good.

The teapot we found while thrifting is going to make an excellent addition to her Thrifted Toy Kitchen.

I know many of you are participating in Handmade Christmas. Any one else out there doing a Thrifted Christmas as well?