Tag Archives: Holidays


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.

Scrapbook: Christmas Highlights

1 Jan

I’m not going to make you guys suffer through another long Christmas post (like I did last year). I’m sure your’ readers are chalk full of them, anyway. If you want the whole Christmas story, feel free to go here. These photos are just the highlights of our holiday celebration, made unfortunately short by the sharing of a family cold virus. Merry Christmas to all of us! Peace and joy to the world! Now let’s all huddle under a nest of blankets on the couch and play Mass Effect till our eyes fall out.

Scrapbook: Christmas Decorations

18 Dec


NYE Ridiculousness

11 Jan

I know I’m rather late in posting NYE photos, but seeing as how I only ever edited two photos from last NYE, a couple weeks late is a freaking miracle.  Ridiculous times are generally had at our New Year’s get together and some of the photos in this post are from 2009. Because that’s how I roll.

The first one is an adorable shot of some of the ladies. I am excited because I can finally show you the adorable vintage ski jacket I keep getting stuck in!I have worked the zippers all the way down so I can get it on and off with a little wiggling. I know, my cool points totally just shot through the roof right now. This photo is ridiculous because Jake is doing one of the best photo bombs ever.

Isobel took this shot herself. She insisted.

In 2009 I tried to take a shot of Stefanie and myself. It, uh, didn’t come out.

Right here. The photo of my career:

As if one failed attempt at a shot of Dave wasn’t enough, here’s a picture of my bun that was supposed to be a candid shot of Dave.

Here we are in 2009, making duckface. I think Stef’s, all the way on the left, is the best. Nailed it, Stef! This totally counts toward your doctorate, BTW.

NYE is also John’s birthday, which must suck all kinds of ass. Sorry John. To make up for it I found him this hat while thrifting. If you look closely, you can see it says, “White Trash Thuggin.” What started out as a hat became performance art.

WTT with Mountain Dew:

WTT worn on the side:

WTT while drinking Keystone. Light.

And now we have Jake. He’s tall, he’s cute, and he has a graduate degree from Yale. Laaaaaaaaaadies.

That’s just by day. By night he’s a superhero: Caffeine Man.

Noble Angle:

Hardcore Angle:

Duckface Angle:

And now for something… sappy…

(These are all from 2009.)

You Are On The Naughty List

18 Dec

We took Isobel down Christmas tree lane this year, seeing as how she’s more sentient and sort of knows who Santa is. Based on her only experience with him it’s possible she thinks he’s a giant fire truck, with people inside, blaring loud Christmas music and handing out candy canes. After such a Santa visited our house before dinner one night she sobbed as we took her back inside. She kept saying, “Santa! Santa! Outside! Santa OUTSIDE!” We eventually had to convince her Santa was sleeping so we could finish making the macaroni and cheese. (From scratch – three cheeses , garlic and bacon. OMFG it was good. Like, Anthony and I made inappropriate noises while we ate it, good.)

Before hitting up the larger Christmas tree lane we investigated the smaller one not far from our house. This one’s unique because the neighbors got together and created a train track and a train that goes back and forth throughout the cul-de-sac.

Isobel admires Christmas lights from the car and when I pick her up from Grandma’s she eagerly points out all the houses that have lights on them as we drive home. If a couple houses go by with no lights she starts saying, “Lights! Where are you, lights?” It’s a-freaking-dorable.

Since the street is small and the night was quite warm (the pictured gloves and hat came off after about five minutes), we took a tour on foot so she could get close to the lights and explore.

The kid was impressed. And it was a welcome diversion considering that we spent our night as a family, wandering around different neighborhoods, entertaining our toddler FOR FREE. That’s a miracle at any time of the year, but doubly so in a cash-strapped month.

Then we headed to the larger Christmas tree lane. It was late and her little legs were tired so we pushed her around in the stroller. I only got one shot of her all bundled up, with a thrifted crocheted blanket in her stroller, but I used flash and she’s covering her eyes and making a pissed off face so I’ll spare you.

This Christmas tree lane had been decorating every year since before I was born. I remember visiting it as a child and looking for certain decorations year after year. This neighborhood had the works, lights timed to music, animatronic figures, a and a Santa, handing out candy canes.

Several families were also on foot and we even passed by our neighbors who live across the street, which was pretty funny. When we approached Santa he gave Isobel a candy cane and she held it out in front of her, stiffly, and crinkled the plastic wrap. I don’t think she’s aware candy canes are edible, which is fine by me. She loved just holding it.

As we were leaving Santa a giant truck drove by and rudely shouted out, “HEY SANTA!” This guy was a total ass. Without missing a beat Santa turned around and shouted, “YOU ARE ON THE NAUGHTY LIST!”

For those of you waiting for Christmas cards from me and wondering if I’ve forgotten, I haven’t. It’s just taken awhile for me to collect everyone’s address. I want to mail them out all at once because if you’re a parent you know that the few trips you endure to the Post Office with your child during the holidays, the better. I’m also trying to plan our yearly Christmas budget, so sending cards all at once will help me gauge that. I hope to get them send off by Monday. Happy weekend.

Etsy Picks: Toddlers & Young Children

13 Dec

I no longer wonder why so many people create treasuries on Etsy. It’s like window shopping, really, really fun window shopping.  A friend on Twitter recently asked if I could put together an Etsy Picks list of gifts for a toddler or a small child, particularly including items for boys. The amount of awesome stuff I found is staggering, and I had more than a little trouble editing it down to the items listed here.

Etsy, you never disappoint.

1. House Blocks

Create a lovely neighborhood for your hot wheels or littlest pet shop animals.

2. Crayon Roll

Roll up your crayons for easy travel and pull out in case of waiting room or restaurant emergencies.  Or keep them in the roll at home, because those flimsy cardboard boxes never last more than few weeks anyway.

3. Magnetic Fishing Set

Finally! A fishing game I will 1. be successful at and 2. enjoy. Bonus: if you have cats, this is like two toys in one.

4. Lego Crayons

I have a weakness for rainbow colors.

5. Personalized Car Mat

I am definitely ordering this for Isobel when she’s older. This Isn’t just any car mat—it’s your own neighborhood as a car mat. Awesome and educational.

6. Felt Veggies

Start good habits early.

7. Felt Numbers

These don’t have to be so lovely to be so useful, but they are.

8. Wooden Dinosaurs

What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs?

9. Sailboat

These are freaking awesome. Simple, inexpensive, hours and hours of fun.

I want one.

10. Personalized Super Hero Capes

For your little super hero.

11. Robot Woodcuts

I also want these. For myself.

Is that wrong?

12. Scoop and ball

Scoop them! Sort them! Chase them across the floor!

13. Wooden Camera

The with pushable button and adjustable “lens.”

Pardon my drool.

14. Card Table Fort

So. Freaking. Awesome.

The Haps

9 Dec

Here’s the haps:

* First and foremost, I’m participating in my Etsy Team’s sale, which means everything in the Little Big Shop is 15% off for shoppers who use the coupon code “librarylove.” Today is the last day of the sale. As my friend Librarianearp says, tell all your friends about the sale, or the terrorists win.

* The lovely and talented Windsor Grace allowed me to interview her. Check out her blog and an Etsy shop.

* I guest blogged for world-traveler and good friend Marie on her food blog Five Flavors. She asked me to post a recipe that I make often and so I’m sharing with you my version of Rebaked Potatoes. I attribute the success of my marriage to this recipe. It’s hard to fight when you’re eating enormous amounts of cheese. You’re just too damn happy.

* It’s worth mentioning that Marie is in New Zealand, which means I’m reaching a whole new audience: Middle Earth.  

* Anthony went to his first Christmas party with his new company. And he didn’t get drunk and Xerox his butt! I’m counting that as a win.

* Last night we did some shopping at Target and Isobel ran through the aisles shouting, “WE DID IT! WE DID IT! WE DID IT!” She also does this new thing where she says, “No biting! No biting!” before she tries to bite you. She’s also obsessed with the concept of sleeping. If the TV’s not on, it’s sleeping. If the bathtub isn’t full, it’s sleeping, if the neighbor dog isn’t currently barking, he’s sleeping. It’s adorable. Everything she does is adorable, though.

* Isobel quit using binkies when she was just a few months old. I really think that was tipping point in between her being a newborn infant and her being just a baby. Sometimes Isobel rummages through her old baskets and comes across her old binkes. She generally starts shouting, “Baby! Baby! A BABY!” The other day while I was doing laundry she left the room and came back a minute later with two binkies. One she put in her mouth and one she insisted go in mine. So we finished the laundry with binkies in our mouths.

When you have a toddler, you just have to roll with it.

* My daughter SINGS. She sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Ring Around the Roses,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and pretty much everything on Yo Gabba Gabba. Grandma taught her how to sing, “La Cucaracha”, and the other night she learned “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in about three minutes. I’ve been trying to get a video of her singing. She’ll sing sponantously: at dinner, in the car, while playing with her toys. She’s a big (little) girl now.

Life Goes On

28 Nov

I enjoyed writing the Etsy Picks post so much that I have a few more in the works. A friend on twitter requested I post some things that would be appropriate for boys around 3 years of age, and this is turning into a post with some of the best toy finds on etsy. Then I’m doing a round up of stocking stuffer ideas because it seems like those can be the hardest. Finding inexpensive gifts isn’t necessarily hard, but finding inexpensive gifts that will be used and enjoyed and appreciated (and not tossed in a junk drawer later) is a whole different game.

Finally, I’ve been working on a collection of picks for some of the hardest people to find etsy gifts for: men. Men can be hard enough to shop for anyway, but finding stuff on etsy for them can be a challenge. Especially once you start looking for stocking stuffer gifts. Maybe it’s just me, but my husband is not the easiest person to please, and if you have a friend or a boyfriend to shop for, then you’re also skating that line of finding something they’d like that’s not too serious or intense, yet at the same time, is something they’d love and love you for.

It’s entirely possible I’m reading too far into gift-giving at this point, but I figure if you’re coming here to read this then either a. you enjoy my neurosis, or b. you share it. Either way, welcome to the nut house.

Yesterday, while I was groaning from the weight of a migraine that took all day and three Imitrex pills to conquer, Anthony and I set up Isobel’s Big Girl Bed. No, we’re not using this bed yet. It’s too tall to be safe and we don’t have a mattress for it yet. We’re using an actual toddler bed my in-laws bought as an early Christmas present. It was delivered a few days ago but yesterday was the first day Anthony felt well enough to set it up. We were both nervous about making the transition.

Isobel cosleeps with us. There are a lot of opinions out there about cosleeping, and let me tell you, I heartily care about none of them. Someday I will probably write a post about our experience with it and what it has meant to me, but not now. Maybe you cosleep. Maybe you’d never dream of it. It’s one of those Hot Button Parenting Topics that everyone has their own opinion about. Honestly, the only reason I’d ever want to write about cosleeping is to help someone who feels the same way as I do examine their feelings about it. I would never want to persuade someone one way or the other because parenting is not a “one size fits all” method, and the last thing I’m here to do is to tell someone they’re doing it wrong.

So. Our challenge was to get Isobel out of our bed and into her own. And we were nervous about this because Sweet Holy Picard Baby Jesus, I loves my sleep. Our first day & night (we had her nap there) of Big Girl Bed Sleeping went well, and I’m happy to report there’s nothing to report.

I’ll post some better photos of the bed soon, these were just the ones I took with my phone to send to the Grandparents.

Oh, and in the tradition of Sunday Home Movies, here’s a Thanksgiving video we took of Isobel and my in-laws rocking out to Life Goes On by the Beatles.

Etsy Interview: Excessively Diverting

24 Nov

I have a special affection for Lisa Rabey. She’s a librarian, an awesome friend, and now, an etsy shop owner. Lisa turns classic works of literature into glorious ornaments and lovely pins. Right now she’s working her way through Jane Austen, a personal favorite of mine, and plans to work with other classic novels also. And she’s offering Little Big readers a discount! Read further for details.

Ornaments like these make gorgeous gifts for the holidays, and her exquisite pins make the perfect stocking stuffer – if you can resist buying them for yourself.

1. Would you please tell me about the process of making these awesome pins and ornaments?

Tell Me About Your Pins – The Novel Accessory

I have one method for making the pin itself, the text however has variations.

I use recycled wood that has been pre-cut into 2″x1″x1/8th, sand it down so it’s smooth. I then paint it with a single layer of paint or wood stain to keep the wood grain visible. After the paint has dried, I add a single layer of luster. The luster takes 15 minutes to dry, but because of how many layers I will be adding, I make sure each side dries 30 minutes for the first layer.

For pins where I print the quote myself, the quotes are printed on archival antique, heavy bond paper in archival inks in Baskerville font.

I adhere the quote to the pin with a single coat of luster. Let dry for 15 minutes. I repeat this step several more times so that there is anywhere from 3-4 layers of luster on the paper and pin.

The following day, I adhere the finishing to the back and let that dry for an hour. I then add another coat of luster to the back to blend in the pin adhesive. I give it one more coat through front and back and let that dry again overnight.

I can do maybe a dozen or so pins in a sitting, but the whole process takes several days.

For pins where I am recycling the text from the book, the text is meticulously cut out and adhered the same way as the quotes I print myself. Same process, just takes a bit longer since there is no guidelines available for cutting the text since it is freehand.

Tell Me About Your Balls – The Novel Ornaments

For the ornaments, this is a little bit easier. I played with various size balls (heh. heh. heh. I’m 12!) and I really liked the 4″ ones the best for presentation. I stuff the balls (heh. heh. heh.) with strips from a book. Right now I’m working through all of Jane Austen’s books, but I plan on adding more from other classical works in the next few weeks.

The text is printed, again in Baskerville font, on archival heavy bond paper in archival inks and printed on both sides. Each 4″ ball takes up 2 sheets of paper, which with JA’s chapters being so short, can be a full chapter or a chapter and a half.

For balls (heh. heh. heh.) that I use recycled text from, the amount varies so it can be 3-4 pages instead of two, depending on the size of the book.

I top the whole thing off with a pretty ribbon, suitable for hanging (left or right – heh).

I choose the Baskerville font because it was one of the more popular fonts used in printing back in the day.

2. What are your future shop plans?

The next medium I will be working with will be clay. I’m getting really excited about all the possibilities I can do with the pins and am looking forward to stretching my creativity into using new materials.  I’ve started playing with the clay recently and hope to have product up in the stores sometime in the late December or early new year.

3. I love Pride & Prejudice. I realize this isn’t a question. But I fucking love Pride & Prejudice.

I started laughing madly when I read this because TheHusband hates, hates, HATES Jane Austen! He tried reading Northanger Abbey once and started referring to it as NorthBanger Abbey.  So now I refer to this as well, which makes me giggle. A lot. I think one of the reasons why I love Jane so much is that she’s antithesis in literature of what my husband loves, namely dead, white, male Russians.

Though honestly, I loved Jane before TheHusband and I got together but nothing says “Eat crow, husband!” like Austen’s absurd popularity that continues to grow nearly 200 years after her death.

I also think part of her appeal is that she is the godmother of loads of different literary styles, not just “chick lit” such as satire, romantic comedy, comedy of manners, irony, pastiche – I could go on actually, in which she influenced the early Victorians and later which influenced the moderns which influenced contemporary authors.  There is very much a direct line from her to many contemporary authors today – even if they don’t want to admit it, but secretly they know they can’t deny it.

I’m NOT saying she’s the founding person in any one of those genres (though many associate her with being the founding person for chick-lit, which is FINE. I GUESS.), but I AM saying that her work at the time she was writing eschewed what was popular.

Byron and the rest of the Romantics were all hobnobbing about on their great European tours, banging their cousins and half-sisters or wandering around the Lake District talking to trees while the transcendentalists in America were just getting their feet wet.

Gothicism was starting to wane (“Northanger Abbey” is a pastiche to Ann Radcliffe, THE author of Gothic novels) so here is our dear Jane writing these dear little novels about society, culture and life in the country that was radically different than what was being published OR written at the time.

And then she dies tragically, unmarried and with no children. How can you not love her for this?

Then! To make it even more awesome, all six of her novels are considered “greats” in literature. I don’t know any one author in the entirety of the written English language who can make the claim that their entire canon is considered “required”

Most people who “love” Austen love her for P&P and no nothing of her other work, which is disturbing. Or they associate P&P with JUST the ’95 BBC version ala Colin Firth and his g-d wet shirt scene. I just pity these fuckers.

4. What is your secret? Do you have a secret? Is it embarrassing?

I look younger than my husband (who is 7 years younger than me) because of all the virgin’s blood I drink. You know, like TrueBlood but not quite as sexy! Heh.

But Wait, There’s More!

Lisa is generously offering Little Big readers a 20% discount if they use the discount code LITTLEBIG20 at checkout. Visit Excessively Diverting – Novel Accessories to see all of her wonderful, adorable, novel accessories.

Little Big Gifts – Vintage Collection

22 Nov

It’s taken many an Isobel nap time to complete, but my latest collection, Little Big Gifts, is up in the shop and ready to go. In this collection I’m featuring small gifts that are inexpensively priced that would make great gifts for the holiday season and perfect stocking stuffers. I’m also hoping that the non-celebrating amongst you will also be interested in this collection simply because they are cute pieces that I’ve priced them attractively as well.

You’ll notice the glass bubble try in the first photo. How I love that petite little tray. There’s something about the circular pattern that is so wonderfully vintage yet so perfectly suited for a modern home. It would be great as a tray to hold outgoing mail or jewlery.

This tiny wooden frame holds a delicate yet perfect scene of Japanese fishermen.

Ever interested in ways to pimp my desk or office, this colorful needlepoint would brighten up any space.

The Parthenon. You don’t get more vintage than ancient Greek ruins now, do you?

Avocado Pyrex? Yes, please.

This Mid Century Mod bowl features the rare “Starlight” pattern and was made in Bavaria.

My mom tried to convince me not to sell this lapis-colored peacock dish because it was “too pretty.”

As you can see, Isobel really likes this plastic daisy.

I use bowls like this emerald green and crystal clear one for cat food bowls. Luxurious!

This tiny, Japanese sparrow-vase could also pimp out a desk with vintage class.

Vintage Avon. Happy Holidays.

Last but certainly not least, we have the Austrian Heraldic plate. Nothing says “badass” like a two-headed eagle.

I have several more items in the shop besides these and I will be adding more as we progress toward the holidays. I hope you check them out.

Thank you so much for your support of me and my shop. I really appreciate all the kind words. It keeps me going. Truly. Think handmade or vintage for the holidays this year!